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Week of 16 May 2011

Latest Update: Saturday, 21 May 2011 08:59 -0400

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Monday, 16 May 2011
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11:56 - Only a few days left until the world ends on 21 May at about 6:00 p.m. local time, when Christians will all apparently experience rupture. To avoid injury, it'd be best to stay clear of fundamentalist Christians that day, as they purportedly will be ascending rapidly into the heavens, presumably already ruptured. I hope all of them arrange to be outdoors before 6:00 that evening. Otherwise, there'll be a lot of roof repairs needed. I wonder if fundie Christians will wear helmets that day, just in case. And scuba gear. I'm not sure how far away heaven is, but most of the trip must be in vacuum. Wouldn't that be a bitch? To finally arrive in heaven, ruptured and asphyxiated, with a bluish cast and with your eyes bugged out.

We'll probably get together with friends that evening to have dinner and celebrate. The way I look at it, this is a win-win situation. The fundies will all go to heaven, leaving us normal people in peace, finally. There will certainly be a short-term air traffic control nightmare, but that's worth it to get rid of them once and for all.

Oh, and just to make sure I remain with the correct group... I understand that the one unforgivable sin is to blaspheme against the holy spirit. I'm not entirely sure how to do that properly, but I'll give it a shot: "Fuck you, holy spirit, you non-existent old fraud." There. That should make sure I stay safely earth-bound while the lunatics go on their aerial excursion.

You know, I was just thinking. This is a unique business opportunity. Find a fundie and offer him one cent on the dollar for his home, car, and other assets. Hmmm.

Costco run and dinner with Paul and Mary last night. We invited Mary to have dinner with us next Saturday evening. Not Paul, though. Apparently, he was "saved" back when he was a little fellow. He's not religious now, but just to be safe we don't want to be anywhere near him at 6:00 p.m. next Saturday.

Hmmm. Flying Christians. There's another idea: "They are my people! I am their sovereign! I LOVE them. Pull! Drifting to the left..."

We picked up an HP desktop system at Costco to replace Paul's dad's failed system. It's sitting untouched in our living room until Paul talks with his dad about what to do with it. There's a small chance we'll leave Windows 7 installed on it, but, as Brian Bilbrey pointed out, that would mean that Jay's new system would likely be 0wned in short order. I'll probably end up installing Ubuntu 10.04, which is the most recent long-term support release. Jay's been running Linux since Paul built the original system for him. Originally, I think he had Xandros installed, and later we installed Ubuntu 8.10 for him. So 10.04 will be quite familiar to him, and it's a lot more bullet-proof than any version of Windows. Jay spends almost all his time in Thunderbird and Firefox, so it shouldn't take long to get him set up and configured.

I signed up with DreamHost.com this morning and am in the process of transferring the first domain to it. I decided to use Barbara's fritchman.com for the trial run because it's just a web site and an autoforward on one email address. Keeping things simple is generally a good idea. Once I have that domain's features working properly, I'll get all our other domains transferred.

Incidentally, if you've been following dichloroacetate as a cancer treatment you might interested in the summary PZ Myers just posted. As PZ says, we really need full clinical trials, but those are unlikely to happen. Full clinical trials cost tens to hundreds of millions, and there's no profit for the pharma companies in DCA. I've been following DCA since the original paper in Cancer Cell, and I'm sufficiently convinced of its potential that I keep a bottle of reagent-grade dichloroacetic acid on the shelf. As Dylan said, when you got nuthin', you got nuthin' to lose..." If it came to that, I'd make it up right here in the sink. Actually, by that point I might not trust myself, so I'd ask Paul and Mary to make it up and recrystallize it for me.


Tuesday, 17 May 2011
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09:50 - Paul talked to his dad, who wanted us to install Ubuntu 10.04. So I set up the new PC this morning on the kitchen table and fired it up. Being a belt-and-suspenders guy, I decided to create a Windows 7 recovery disc and a system image. Little did I know what I was getting into. The recovery disc was no problem, but when I told it to create a system image it informed me that the image would require 38 GB of disc space. Say what? I assume that must be 1 GB of Windows 7 and 37 GB of crapware. Once the system image is finished writing, I'll fire up the ultimate PC Decrapifier, which is to say I'll boot the Ubuntu 10.04 disc and tell it to blow away the contents of the hard drive.

Things are complicated by the fact that Jay's email is hosted on one of my domains, which I'm currently transferring over to DreamHost. I did that a few minutes ago, but I'll have to wait until DNS propagates before I can check email functionality.

And, looking at that 3.5 gallons (~ 13 L) of 3% hydrogen peroxide I bought at Costco, I realized that, although I don't really need 3.5 gallons of 3% hydrogen peroxide, I am running short of 30% hydrogen peroxide. So perhaps I'll just freeze the dilute stuff. Most of the water forms ice, leaving more concentrated hydrogen peroxide as liquid. Even with mechanical and other losses, that should yield a liter or so of 30% hydrogen peroxide. Actually, I could run more freezing passes and get the concentration up into the 60%+ range, but that stuff is nothing to play around with casually. If I do that, I'd better figure out what to add as a stabilizer, because 60% H2O2 is getting up into the rocket fuel range.


Wednesday, 18 May 2011
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08:51 - Paul's dad's new machine is sitting here ready to be picked up and shipped. It ended up taking a lot longer than I expected, probably about five hours' of work over the course of the day. The problem was getting his email migrated to the new system. When I started to import one folder, Thunderbird told me it was copying message 1 of something like 1,700. Ten minutes later, it was still copying message 1. A while later, it had gotten up to message 2. That obviously wasn't good. Eventually, I turned on the Size column and found that Paul's dad had many, many messages that were in the 15 MB to 25 MB range, with lots of high-resolution images and video files attached. When I checked the original email folder, it was close to 3 GB. I ended up blowing away the sent-items messages and just transferring the inbox messages.

We watched the first disc of Covert Affairs last night. The lead character, played by Piper Perabo, is watchable, and there are several other cuties, notably Kari Matchett. That meets my requirements for a series, and Barbara seemed to like the program. She commented that one of the other major characters, who is blind, appeared to be played by an actor who's sighted, and was surprised that they hadn't used an actor who's actually blind. It's impossible, I think, for a sighted person to convincingly play a blind person. Involuntary eye movements give it away. Still, as I commented, organizations for the blind probably didn't object too strenuously, since the character is portrayed as extremely capable despite his handicap.

Colin is now officially a working dog. He's herding both of us big-time, including zipping in to nip at our feet when we don't obey his commands. He's a typical Border Collie, extremely strong-willed and bossy. Most people couldn't deal with him, which is why you'll find so many adorable Border Collie puppies available on Border Collie rescue sites. People who have no clue about living with a BC pup buy one and soon realize they can't handle it. The pup ends up in rescue. That's why rescue organizations are so careful about placing Border Collies only with people who can handle them. BC pups are cute and adorable, but their personalities are a blend of Atilla the Hun, a Viking Berserker, a Tasmanian Devil, and a weapon of mass destruction.


Thursday, 19 May 2011
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07:58 - If it's not one thing, it's another. The CDC is now warning about a Zombie Apocalypse and recommending steps to prepare for it. Fortunately, Barbara and I have already watched The Walking Dead, so we know that zombies are slow-moving and easy to kill. You just shoot them in the forehead. Of course, the CDC must've forgotten that part, because nowhere in their list of items to have on hand do they include firearms and lots of ammunition.

Since the CDC doesn't make any recommendations, I suppose I'll have to. Barbara's primary anti-zombie gun is a Ruger Mini-14 with a basic load of 300 rounds of 55-grain soft-point 5.56. She likes it for its light recoil and flat trajectory. My primary is my High-Standard 10B 12-gauge riot shotgun, with a basic load of 100 rounds of #4 buckshot and 100 rounds of rifled slugs. Yes, Barbara has 50% more ammunition than I do, but mine weighs a lot more. Also, one rifled slug can take out several zombies if they happen to be standing in front of each other. A 73 caliber (18.5 mm), 550 grain (35.6 g) slug moving at 1,600 ft/sec (488 m/sec) hits like the Hammer of Thor. They're even reasonably effective on elephants. Zombies are no problem at all.

For secondary armament, Barbara prefers her Ruger .357 Magnum revolver, with a basic load of 50 rounds of Black Talon in speed loaders. I prefer my Colt Combat Commander with a basic load of 50 rounds of hardball. That's one in the chamber, seven in the magazine, and 42 more in six magazines carried in a Milt Sparks Six-Pack.

Of course, it's possible there'll be more zombies than we have ammunition, so we'll also include some baseball bats, which are apparently effective. From watching the series, it appears that crossbows are quite effective as well, but I always considered them too slow to reload. For the weight and cost, I figure we're better off just carrying a larger basic load for our firearms.

Colin found the toilet paper yesterday. I went back to the bedroom to get dressed. We usually keep the door closed, but I left it open while I walked back to my office to do something. During the 30 seconds or so it took me to get to my office and return, Colin was busy.

Just for comparison, here's Malcolm, who was a much daintier eater.


Friday, 20 May 2011
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08:48 - Amazon announced yesterday that it had reached another milestone. In mid-2010 Kindle ebook sales surpassed hardcover sales. In late 2010, Kindle ebook sales surpassed paperback sales. As of 1 April, Kindle ebook sales surpassed hardback and paperback sales combined. The only question is, in terms of units or revenue? My guess is that they're talking about revenue, which given the generally lower price of ebooks means ebook unit sales are probably now far higher than total print sales. I haven't seen similar numbers for B&N, but even given their large brick-and-mortar presence, my guess is that ebooks are probably outselling print at B&N as well.

Watching Numb3rs last night, I almost sprayed my Coke through my nose. Two of the FBI guys, partners, one white and one black, walk into a Chinese strip club.

White FBI guy: "We're the only white guys in here."
Black FBI guy: "Yeah, we are."


Saturday, 21 May 2011
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08:59 - We took Colin for his follow-up vet visit yesterday. He's fine, and he's grown to 27.5 pounds (~ 12.5 kilos), which should be about 40% to 50% of his adult mass. My adult mass was 209 pounds (95 kilos), but that was including clothes and boots. I figure I'm down around 200 pounds, not much over my tennis-playing weight. Of course, Barbara won't let me pick up a racket because she says she doesn't want to be a widow. I still think I could hit a few balls without dropping dead.

I'm in the process of getting my domains moved to DreamHost.com. There have been some minor aggravations that have cost me more time than they should. Here's one.

The actual login names are in the form <username>@domain-name.tld. So, presented with this screen, I typed <username> into the box, assuming that it would append the @ and the domain name. As it turns out, it doesn't. That "@fritchman.com" is entirely gratuitous. But it all eventually does work.


Sunday, 22 May 2011
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Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 by Robert Bruce Thompson. All Rights Reserved.