Sunday, August 21, 2005

Einstein and Discovery

Too many uses for the word discovery.

The first is about a discovery of an original Einstein manuscript in a University archive. The paper is title "Quantum theory of the monatomic ideal gas,", is dated December 1924, and is considered one of Einstein's last great breakthroughs. There is a Washington Post Article. If you want something really cool check out the Einstein Archive, which has High -Resolution Photos of the 1924 Paper.

The second is about space shuttle Discovery. I never realized that the space shuttle piggy-backed on a 747. Check out These photos from CNN.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Roe v. Wade, Jesus v. Judas

Because of President Bush's choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with John Roberts on SCOTUS, there has been lots of debate lately over the the case of Roe v. Wade. Many are afraid it will be overturned, and we will return to the earlier situation of back-alley abortions and women dying because of it. Many others are eager to see it overturned. Clearly, it is one of those virulent issues that divides our country.

Anyway, while I was reading this thread on the topic, I saw an almost-totally-unrelated post giving a funny logical deduction regarding the story and sacrifice of Jesus:

1. Christ had to die for our sins so we can all be saved
2. Judas was the instrument that sent him to the cross
3. Judas burns in Hell forever
4. Therefore Judas Iscariot is truly paying the eternal price for our sins.

I was cracking up, because I'd never thought about it that way before. How come they don't teach it that way in Sunday school?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Geek Joke of the Day

I saw this on slashdot:

Heisenberg was driving down the Autobahn whereupon he was pulled over by a policeman. The policeman asked, "Do you know how fast you were going back there? Heisenberg replied, "No, but I know where I am."

I seriously doubt that would work, but it would be funny as hell to say to a cop.

Suicide Bombing in China

A bus exploded in Fuzhou City, Fujian Provice, at around 2:30pm, August 8. I hadn't heard anything about this, and the Chinese government is trying to cover it up. They were confiscating cameras, but thanks to the internet information is getting through:

Read about the blast.

I wonder how much stuff happens in China that gets totally covered up. How many incidents like the slaughters at Tienamen Square did we not find out about? We should all be glad for the internet and any technology which helps enable citizens to fight oppressive governments.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Open Source Fireplaces?

I'm reading through a Benjamin Franklin biography, and I was surprised to read about his views on inventions, patents, and the public domain. When Ben was in his 40's he sold off his printing business so he could focus on studying, writing, and tinkering with inventions. One of his first inventions was a new design for a fireplace which would generate twice as much heat from 1/3 of the wood. He manufactured it, and sold it for several years.

The interesting thing is that Franklin declined to receive a patent for the fireplace design, and indeed turned down all patents for the rest of his life. In placing his inventions in the public domain, he said, "... as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously."

Franklin was a prolific experimenter and inventor (credited with discovering that lightning was in fact electricity), but he had no trouble generating profit from his inventions. Given that the recent trend is to use patents to actually stifle innovation (especially in software markets), I wonder if the world would be a better place if all inventors had his philosophy.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Who says the old HP is dead?

Anybody that does has been reading too much Inquirer or Slashdot. My new lab had a picnic at the lake today, and the kicker is that there wasn't any reason for it! It wasn't to celebrate the end of a release that we just worked our butts off for... it was just to say "Hey, we know you guys work your butts off all the time... lets go have some fun!"

Bill and Dave used to do stuff like this all the time. In fact, they were in the habit of purchasing recreation areas like Little Basin in the Bay Area and Hermit Park in Colorado. You could even find Bill and Dave BBQing at annual company picnics! Our lab manager took on this role today, so there are still vestiges of the old HP alive and kicking.

Friday, August 05, 2005

New Poker Table

As many of you know, I started working on building a poker table for my house. I wanted a simple design (since I'm not a master carpenter) that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg. The table is made of 3/4" Oak plywood, which I had ripped down to 8'x42" at Home Depot. Once I got it home I cut semi-circles on each end (with a 21" radius), and sanded it down. Both sides received two coats of polyurethane, and then 1/2" padding was glued to the top. I opted for burgundy speed cloth, because I wanted the classic casino fabric instead of the velveteen that is used on many home tables today. The rail a pre-fab rail, because it was easy and it looks nice. I finished it with folding table legs so that I can haul it down to the basement if I need to get it out of the way.

I'm going to make a more detailed posting later describing the construction process more in detail, but for now check out the pictures of my new poker table.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The American Pastime

I went to my first baseball game in Colorado yesterday. Even though the Colorado Rockies have the worst record in the National League they really beat up on the Phillies. The game was scoreless going into the 5th inning, when the Rockies staged a 9-run rally. The final score was 9-2. I guess I'm good luck.

I have now attended baseball games in the following stadiums:
  • SBC Park, San Francisco

  • Candlestick Park, San Francisco

  • Oakland Colosseum

  • Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

  • Angel's Stadium, Anaheim

  • Coor's Field, Denver

  • Fenway Park, Boston

  • Yankee Stadium, New York

  • Camden Yards, Baltimore

  • Olympic Stadium, Montreal

I'm not sure I'd want to go to Dodger Stadium again. 5 people were stabbed there yesterday after a game.

Favorites from our European Trip

Well, we're both finally adjusted to US timezones again. We've taken some time to list out our favorites from the Europe trip, so feel free to click the links and check them out:


Favorite Museum: Uffizi, in Florence
Favorite Painting: "Spring", by Boticelli
Favorite Sculpture: Cupid and Psyche" by Antonio Canova
Favorite Fresco: Front wall of the Sistine Chapel
Favorite Church: Saint Peter's Basilica
Favorite Restaurant: Paradiso, in Venice
Most Interesting Dish: Tagliatelle with Crab (at Paradiso)
Favorite Dessert: Tiramisu Gelato


Favorite Museum: Louvre
Favorite Painting: "Las Meninas", by Velazquez
Favorite Sculpture: "David", by Michelangelo Buonarroti
Favorite Fresco: Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
Favorite Restaurant: That place in Paris
Favorite Church: Saint Peter's Basilica
Most Interesting Dish: Gnudi, at that place in Florence
Favorite Dessert: Tiramisu Gelato