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( #5 ... from 02/01/37 )

6/26/37 ----------------Groceries
  We have to carry our groceries up a flight of stairs to our apartment. My wife thinks that if we have a large amount of weight to carry, it's best to make two trips.
  I can't seem to explain this to the female mind that two trips also means carrying your weight up the steps also. So, let's say there are forty pounds of groceries. To her, two trips means 2 x 20 = 40 pounds. To me it's ... 2 x (40 + 180) = 440 pounds. So, I'd rather do one trip ... 40 + 180 = 220 pounds. Does this make sense to you ??

06/17/37 ----------------Kroger going out of business?
  I went to Kroger the other day (I usually go to WalMart for food). I got some orange juice ... same kind I get at China Outlet. However, the expiration dates were way behind the expiration date on my soon to run out WM orange juice. Why is the new juice at Kroger way older than what I got at WM the week previously??
  Yesterday, my grandson (9 years old)did me a "favor" and emptied out my fridge based on expiration dates and I thought he was kidding when he said he threw out the Bryant sausage that I needed to make a macaroni & cheese meal for the three of us (his older brother included). "Whoa!" says I ... "I just bought those hoses two weeks ago" ... at Kroger's ... the only place that carries that brand.
  So, I dug 'em out of the trash and ... sure enough ... one had a March expiration date and the other an April date. Mind you, this is mid June. What's up?
  My guess is that Kroger is running on borrowed time. They can't sell their merchandise faster than it expires ... and ... if you can't sell that well ... well ... you can't afford to take it off the shelf ... so ... you leave it there and hope for the best. After all, the expiration date is for sale and as I informed my grandsons, the product can still be OK well beyond that date. Of the two unopened packages, one was bloateed a little so I cast it out. The other had a tight wrapping indicating that it was still "kosher". So we ate from that.
  The moral here is ... if you shop at Kroger's, watch those exp. dates ... or, you might get sick ... and ... find out where the nearest China Outlet is. It's a shame, but WalMart will put anyone else out of business if it enters that market. It's too powerful and has a big warchest. Eventually it will be a monopoly in every department ... unless the government gets into the act ... which will happen sooner than later.

6/11/37 ----------------Phone Problems
  I've just finished resolving a phone issue with SBC. I have a hard line just for internet connections and so I can receive all those wonderful telephone solicitations asking me if I want anymore Viagra or to invest in an African business scheme. I have cell phone numbers too but I can't seem to get any telephone solicitors to call :o|.
  Anyway, the problem was that someone else was on my line taking calls from all over the country. I broke into their conversations and "What are you doing on my line?" ... "It's our phone number" ... "The hell you say, I've had this number for 5 years!". After a week of arranging for the SBC tech to come out when we were home, the problem is solved. He changed some wires at each jack and disconnected (at my request) the phone jack with a common wall with the ostensible offenders. Now, I only have to fix the bill which should come with a few "surprizes". Arrrggggghhhh....
Tech guy said that if the problem returns, use the pager number on his card. He will contact the "investigators". First offense $5000 ... second offense ... jail. Federal crime to tap into somebody elses phone.

05/22/37 ----------------Star Wars (Sith Happens)
  Went to see it last night. It was a fine display of the latest techniques in CG. I love those exotic locations and machines. The story was better than the last two ... good enough that I might go see it again, but I'm not too sure about that.
  There is some slow going when dialogue dominates but not too bad as my grandsons liked it very much. However, what they didn't notice (but every adult did) was the two minutes where Sam Jackson is fighting the evil Darth Sideous (Chancellor Palpatine) who has finally been unmasked. In the climatic scene where Aniken has to decide whether to join the Dark Side or go with the Jedi ... the dialogue is so bad that several in the audience (including me) started to spontaneously chuckle. I mean, George Lucas has a well deserved reputation for wooden dialogue ... but this ... this was unforgivably hideous. You know, you go to some trouble to suspend judgment at a movie in so far as accepting a premise that is usually physically absurd. That's OK. It's imaginary. But ... no writer should do so poorly that the audience is "taken out of the movie", i.e. can no longer lose himself in the plot for the purpose of entertainment. By causing laughter at this point, Lucas almost ruins the entire movie by making it "amateurish" in the extreme. I mean ... like a grade schooler's imagined dialogue between the good guy and the bad guy.
  I was able to get back into the movie because the rest was quite engaging ... and ... the abovementioned faux pas lasted only maybe two out of 226 minutes of movie. Shame on you George and shame on his lackies and sychophants for not saying, "George, this scene really sucks bad. It's an embarassment."
  Nevertheless, I recommend this movie especially to those who have grandkids over 8 years old. The littler ones might be bothered or have nightmares about some scenes where sundry body parts get lopped off of the main characters, etc. It's not a Fred Flintstone movie where everything turns out OK and nobody gets hurt. It sets the bar higher for CG effects than ever before. It keeps the bar lower for dialogue and some things don't make sense ... especially the conversion of Aniken to the dark side which leaves one thinking "Hunh?". You would need much more character development to justify the conversion than what is shown in the movie. And somebody should ask Samuel Jackson if he thought he was done in by a Jedi racist ?? Maybe??
  PS. I asked an old, non-Star Wars type fellow at work yesterday if he had "Midichlorians". He said he had taken "Fibricon" and was no longer troubled by such.

5/17/37 ----------------EBTX Knows Everything?
  Once in awhile I get some hate mail or web comments to the effect that "He thinks he knows everything" ... and ... although this is true (ahemmmmm ;o), I must take issue with the remark.
  First off, there are probably about at least ... 1,000,000 distinctly different subjects that human beings are interested in (and my estimate is probably way too low). If I have about 500 pages on my site, then ... 1000000/500=2000. Thus, I only know about 1/2000 of all the subject material available ... or, 1/2000 of everything. As an example, so far I have said nothing about neurosurgery or knitting or making spacesuits airtight ... to say nothing of the care and feeding of adult, male nutria. However, I do know somethings ... and ... from that corpus of knowledge ... I formulate/extrapolate/interpolate "opinions" about other subjects of current interest to me.
  There is a distinct reason for people thinking that the sum of my writings constitutes an "everything". Human beings can fix about six objects in their short term memory (as compared to birds who can remember only two). The numbering system of birds is as "one, two, many" ... while the numbering system of the human brain is "one, two, three, four, five, six, a dozen or so, a few dozen, a hundred or so, too many to count, thousands and thousands, aaagggghhhhhhh!!! ... billions and billions"
  It's like the stars in the sky. "As numerous as the stars in the night ... uncountable ...". I remember an essay by Isaac Asimov in which he said that the total number of stars visible to the naked eye in the night sky is about 2500. That's significantly less than infinity or even "billions and billions". The moon takes up about 1/4 square degrees ... there are about 10,000 square degrees covering a ball ... so ... about 5000 to cover a hemisphere (the night sky) i.e. about one star for every 2 square degrees. So, on average, an area 8 times bigger than the moon should include about 1 visible star in a cloudless sky ... way, way out in the country where the air is still non-light-polluted. That seems about right doesn't it?
  So if it seems to you as though "He thinks he knows everything" ... it's not because I know so much ... but rather ... because you don't know jack shit.

4/29/37 ----------------Raising Credit Card Minimum
  On the news today: They are going to raise credit card minimum payments. The instigator is the government. This is a good thing as I have always noted that the minimum payment is too conducive to building up a large debt. The hope of the credit card companies is that you will build a large debt then fail to make a minimum payment ... then they raise the interest rates and ... what? ... have they discovered how to get blood from a turnip?
  The way they will implement it will be a bad thing ... a sudden jump. This is the way government operates. As Victor Hugo said in Les Miserables ... something like ... "Such is the way of coarse natures, that they have no transitions". With government programs, there is generally a cutoff. Let's say a teenager is covered by a hospitalization program till age 18. If he's one day short of 18, he gets treatment and lives ... if one day over 18, no treatment and he dies. Get it? This is why I suggested a department of mathematics in the government, so that you could have reasonable transitions. Lawmakers can't do this (they are the coarse natured ones). They can't do math except add (no subtractions just additions). Calculus is from the moon.
  I won't have any trouble with doubling the minimum payment because I already put down much more than that. But some people who are having money difficulties may go under, i.e they will not be able to make the minimum and the credit card companies will jack their rates to 25% (the max, or is it 28%?).
  Credit card debt is part of the regular economy now. Because so many people have such debt, it has bid up prices just as though it were income. Over decades, we now have the situation that if you don't build up debt, you are suffering economically much more than if no one at all had such debt instruments. The debit card is a much more useful invention. You can only take what you have ... without interest.

04/18/37 ----------------Email to Discover Magazine
I sent this to as a reader correction ...

"Bogglers" myths #5 May 2005 issue

Scott Kim maintains that it is solely the deflection of 'bulk' air downward by the airfoil that causes aerodynamic lift. This is false by way of incompleteness.

While a good portion of lift is obtained this way, much is gotten when the high pressure air under the wing (caused by the angle of attack) forces most of the leading edge compressed air over the top of the wing. This air is then adiabatically 'sorted' like the air coming out of the neck of a balloon, i.e. it has less molecular collisions with the top wing surface until such time as the air is thermally re-randomized.

As the wing hits air molecules, they compress like a spring and are driven forward in the direction of the wing. Then they go over the top of the wing as the spring uncoils and wind up exactly where they started from (disregarding turbulence).

This aspect of lift is easily seen in the row-of-tubes-stuck-in-water experiment where air is blown over the entrance of each tube from another tube that is parallel to the surface of the water and connected to the vertical tubes sequentially. As air is forced over the first vertical tube entrance, water rises in it due to lower pressure. Water also rises in the second tube for the same reason but to a lesser extent and so on down the line of vertical tubes till the pressure difference between the moving air in the horizontal tube and the still air in the vertical tube is equalized ... by the aforementioned "re-randomization".

The velocity in the horizontal tube is logically constrained to be the same throughout its travel, else it would 'bunch up'. This fact rules out simple velocity alone as the factor determining pressure gradients in favor of "directional adiabatic cooling" by which I mean that the kinetic energy of individual air molecules is converted from three dimensional randomness to a favored direction ... away from their high pressure source and parallel to the wingtop.

The above paragraph may be slightly wrong ... see Airfoil addendum.

4/12/37 ----------------Burger King Horror
  The Wendy's finger thing has nothing on the ultimate horror that is Burger King. I don't know about you but that Burger King Thing is giving be the heebie jeebies pretty bad. You know ... that commercial where the gal looks out on her lawn and there's the Burger King out there ... with the great big head with a beard & shit eatin' grin and a crown along with the regal vestments. Then she turns to her husband to call his attention and when she turns back there he is right in her face ... the Burger King serial killer!!
burgking.jpg - 2kb   If I ever turned around and found that Burger King Thing in my face ... I'd crap a turd as big as Manhattan! That Burger King is way scarier than ... Freddie Kruger or Jason or any Phantom of the Opera type thing that ever was molded by an FX guy. Gimme' Frankenstein any time ... just keep that Burger King Thing away from me.

4/5/37 ----------------NCAA Finals
  Watched North Carolina get the best of Illinois monday night ... (in high def, oooooo). There is a problem in college basketball. Since when can a school field a team which centers its offensive strategy on the 3 pointer? The purpose of having a three point shot at all is to draw out the defense away from the basket where it's easier to score. Before the three pointer, the game was a little too boring by strongly favored the big man who just laid it in with more muscle than skill. The three point shot makes the game far more open and interesting.
  Unfortunately, Illinois has come to the realization that if you shoot 50% in two point shots, you only need to hit 33% of your 3-point shots to to equal the twos. So why not shoot all three pointers and to hell with the inside game at all?
  This is precisely the problem. For college athletes, the top of the key three pointer is tooooooooo short - given their abilities. The arc they use is for high school. They need to put it out further ... say ... to midway between pro and high school, i.e. another foot and a half give or take a few inches. Then, you could no longer contemplate a solely 3-point offense because the players ability to find the hole (percentage-wise) would drop and the three point shot would go back to its intended purpose ... to pull the defense out away from under the basket. There is a balance to be struck between the 2 and 3 point shots which is not being adequately met at the college level.

4/01/37 ----------------Pope on the Ropes
  For people with inquiring minds that want "to know" ... I've just discovered that Pope John Paul has been placed on a feeding tube and has been declared brain dead. However, those now in control of the church have decided to remove the feeding tube so that the pontiff may pass over into the next life without delay. His body will be allowed to "die naturally ... with dignity, as God intended" said a Vatican spokeman.
  Hundreds of protestors outside the Vatican were arrested when they attempted to bring the pontiff "water" saying that the removal of the feeding tube was "murder" and that the pope was still the pope as long as he breathed ... citing that he never had any critical thinking capacity in the first place and no cognizance of his surroundings anyway ... so what's the difference now?
  The clerics responded, "But this is ... different. It's a mystery ... a mystery of faith which the average worshipper cannot hope to understand without decades of religious contemplation and study. And we can't have a zombie pope ... for Christ's sake!"

3/31/37 ----------------Firefox Trouble
  Today I ordered a midi keyboard from Sweetwater using Internet Explorer. Last night I used Firefox but was unable to complete the order. Firefox would not add anything to the "cart". I had trouble last week with e-commerce and Firefox for another purchase. Apparently, there are some problems yet with this browser. I used IE for ordering and had no problems in each case.
  So, even though IE is maligned and attacked by hackers, it is still the browser of choice for buying things on the net. Firefox is faster and I suspect it will outdo IE perhaps in another two years. Another thing that IE does and Firefox does not is display a "working" copy of a web page when choosing to view the "source" of the document. I use IE to edit my pages when I see a simple typo. I just load the copy on my hard drive, hit "source", make the change and "save". You can't do that with Firefox ... you have to load your html editor and navigate to the page, etc. Bummer.

3/24/37 ---------------- Mystery Meat
  Hearing about the objections to disconnecting Terry Schiavo, it comes to mind the tendency of religious types to view humans as Mystery Meat. According to them, Schiavo has a soul (the mystery part) even if she has no cognitive abilities whatsoever. I guess the brain stem is the "seat of the soul", eh? We are to them but hunks of meat ... and ... if the meat moves, it has a soul and is therefore to be deemed sacred. How do you like being considered Mystery Meat?
  Now, the religion mongers have dug up a doctor who disagrees with the other doctors. He hasn't examined her (very scientific) but ... the tube should be reinserted ... because she "might be" ... what? Fortunately, the judiciary involved, understands that you can always find dissent and has chosen to abide by the unanimous concurrence of all the doctors who HAVE actually examined the living remains and have concluded that this is a persistent vegetative state.

3/20/37 ---------------- Terry Schiavo
  This is a case where no one is right. Some 'life' problems are just not solvable. Time and nature provide the solution to all of them and that is death.
  Just look at the logic what is happening here. The husband wants do disconnect the tube because he knows she wouldn't want to live this way ... but she's not ... she's dead. That is, all her higher brain functions have been terminated long ago. Everything that made her human is gone ... as in "brain dead". Her body is just stuck in limbo waiting for ... what? If aging could be stopped, would she be maintained forever as in a living vessel without contents? Her husband should not care what becomes of her because she is dead ... but says ... she wouldn't want to live this way. Well, she's not.
  The parents want her to remain in her present condition because "There is still hope for recovery". There isn't. She is brain dead except for lower physical functions. They can't accept this because it is their daughter ... and ... she's not dead. We are all part physical and part mental so the body is still alive and that is a legitimate part of a being's existence. Even without hope, her parents take some comfort is seeing her body move around. They supply the higher brain functions ... in their own minds ... using their previously constructed "avators". Who is to say that our integrated memories of a familiar person are less "real" than that actual person's mind? It's just information anyway whether it exists in Terry Shiavo's body or in the brains of her parents.
  The only objective issue here is "Who is going to pay for her maintenance?". And because this is a tossed coin landing on its edge situation, keeping her alive will not set much of a precedence since there are hardly any others in this predicament. The cost of such cases, spread over the entire country, are indeed miniscule.
  So there is no solution but to tread water until Terry Schiavo's body dies. No one is right or wrong. There is no solution within the confines of our present civilization or any other. With greater scientific knowledge, we could maintain her body in this state ever longer. If her aging was stopped, someone, somewhere along the line would have to "pull the plug". So that's correct in principle also.

  See what I mean? Goedel undecidability in the area of philosophy and ethics.

  Enter the government. Their idea of a person is of a "piece of meat". They cannot consider for a moment the value of conceptual information as the foundation of our humanity because politicians are (as I have repeatedly said elsewhere) non-human. They are in fact a very advanced form of insect at the mental level. They cannot comprehend ... in principle ... man as a conceptual being. There is only "meat". So ... if the meat moves ... it's alive ... and, putting their wet finger to the political winds ... decide that she "must be saved". This is the biggest "hoot" of the entire predicament.

3/22/37 Update:
Had this thought today ... why not pull the plug ... she "dies" and then ... we set up a Terry Shiavo medical fund in her name with the estimated moneys that won't need to be spent on her for the next few years. If we save a million ... how many lives can be saved with that? It's quite a few ... especially if we, say, use it to construct a Terry Shiavo Water Purification System in ... hmmmmm ... Ghana? You see where I'm going? Instead of keeping a dead person or live body going ... we save dozens (probably hundreds) of men, women and children from premature death due to cholera, typhus, etc.

3/15/37 ---------------- Robots
  Took the grandkids to see "Robots" on Saturday 3/12. This is a great movie to take kids to. However, it looks like it may bomb at the box office. I went on the opening Saturday (9PM show). I expected it to be at least crowded at the Grapevine Mills Mall (big - 30 screens) ... but it wasn't. There were barely two dozen people there ... and this is a fairly stunning movie. Where did the people go?
  I have yet to find an answer. It's March and that's a slack season ... but it shouldn't be that slack. We'll see what happens to this flick. I think it will bomb ... in comparison to what it would have done in, say, May. Timing is everything here.

2/21/37 ----------------Cellphone Flashlights
  Everyone who has a cellphone should have a flashlight. So, where is the little LED bulb on my cellphone? Why isn't it there? I don't need a camera (if I have to pay to download pics to my computer via the internet !!) But I do occasionally require a simple flashlight. Think of all the battery power. One of the newer LEDs could burn bright continuously for weeks if you turned off the cellphone functions ... or, for many hours if you used it normally. It's an entirely appropriate gizmo to have integrated into the cellphone design. Whenever your power goes out ... you whip out your cellphone which is right there on your belt, turn on your flashlight and go look for the candles or the regular flashlight or whatever else you use. You could change your spare tire at night after you've found out that your regular car flashlight batteries are dead (which is always the case).
  Here is another example of the failure of capitalism in the cellphone industry. Unless they can charge you monthly increased rates (value added) ... you can't have it. No, USB connectivity and no flashlight ... and no walkie-talkie off the grid for use inside of the mall. Noooooooo ... you can't have that. They're trying to shove this new business model down our throats. It consists simply of copying the credit card company model. Get 'em hooked and live off someone else's blood ... forever ... EXACTLY ... like a ... parasite.

2/15/37 ---------------- Voyetra Record Producer
  I just bought this program last week because my Digital Orchestrator Pro doesn't work in XP. So, I only had to pay upgrade price of 39 bucks. The program works just fine with a few improvements. I look forward to bending your ears with my voluptuous melodies. i.e. if you eat a bad lunch, I'll get you to upchuck real quick.
  This is not a music program ... it's a program to control notes. The sounds you hear are most likely from Microsoft's Media Center program. The sounds I would like to get are the "real" orchestral wave tables like those on
and other sites like this. They cost a lot but you can construct music that actually sounds like a real symphony orchestra. Then ... turn your output into an mp3 and everybody can hear it as you intended. This vastly increases the file size but you couldn't hear the orchestral sound on your computer unless you have, say, the Garritan wave table on your computer. You'd probably hear the cheap MS sounds if I just put up a small midi file. Get it? The crap pieces I just made for fun are only 2K and 5K for a total of one and a half minutes of music. The same one and a half minutes of music in mp3 would be about one and a half MEGAbytes.

That's why I've always wanted to see an email reader program that could sample you voice then the email you send would read itself in your voice when it got there ... provided or course, that you've sent your friend your personal voice wavetable to intall on his computer.

2/08/37 ----------------I'm Saved! (the new face of spam?)
  Hello Ebtx,
  A eternity of torment is forever. If you or someone you care about to you has not accepted God please do today. As he is real and alive you need to realize this. The following prayer can save you or someone that you love.
  Say,"Oh God,save my soul. I'm so sorry that I have sinned against you, but I have come home. I will serve you, Lord, the rest of my life. Deliver me from all my sinful habits. Set me free! I do believe Jesus died on Calvary for me, and I believe in His blood, that there is power in His blood to wash away all my sins, all my sins!" Say,"Come into my heart, Jesus; come on in,Jesus.Come on in!"
  If you meant it, He has come. If you meant it, Jesus is yours. Start reading your Bible, pray daily for all those you care about,including your dead loved ones, and believe that somebody's listening; His name is Jesus, and you are now saved.

2/01/37 ----------------Iraqi Elections
  Well, it's all over and I'm delighted to see that lots of people voted in spite of the "dire" predictions of doom. Here in America, people won't go to the poles if it's raining. There, they go to the poles even if it's raining schrapnel ;o)
  Perhaps if enough people die by car bomb, etc., the Iraqis will get their backs up and choose to remain free indefinitely. Let's hope so ... but I doubt it. The religious zealotry evinced by those people is infertile ground in which to plant the "seeds of democracy".
  I give 'em one chance in three of establishing a lasting representative government. I hope I am surprised in the coming years.

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