08:06 – It’s cold this morning, 8F (-13C) not counting wind chill. Not that I pay much attention to publlished values for wind chill. They’re entirely arbitrary because wind chill values are subjective. That is, they’re calculated by a formula, which varies from country to country, but those formulae use constants that really should be variables whose values vary according to individual perceptions.
Barbara’s mom is not doing well, either physically or mentally. Barbara’s taking her to the doctor this afternoon. Barbara and Frances are looking into getting Sankie on the waiting list for another facility that provides assisted-living services. The issue is that they need to get something lined up before Sankie really needs those services, because otherwise they may end up having to take whatever is available, which may not be very good. Frances visited once facility called Homestead Hills, which has an excellent reputation and is closely associated with Sankie’s doctor. Frances was very pleased with the facility. They want $1,500 to put Sankie on their waiting list, but I told Frances I saw no downside to getting Sankie on the list. That $1,500 will keep Sankie on the list forever, and if a place does become available they don’t have to take it. If they subsequently change their minds or move Sankie elsewhere, Homestead Hills will refund their deposit in full. Homestead Hills costs about $1,000/month more than where Sankie is now, but Dutch’s VA insurance should pay at least part of that difference.
We’re low-stock right now on both biology and chemistry kits. I have everything I need to make up a couple dozen more biology kits, but I need to fill bottles and make up chemical bags for the chemistry kits. So that’s what I’ll be doing today.
11:16 – I opened my last box of 200 half-sheet mailing labels yesterday. This morning, I was printing bottle labels when the printer ran out of paper, and I loaded my last 50 or so sheets of those labels. So it was time to order labels.
I went to the ibuyofficesupply.com web site. Two or three years ago, they had good prices on those labels and other supplies I use a lot of, so I’ve been ordering from them ever since. I noticed that they’d lowered the bar for free shipping from $75 to $45. It crossed my mind that Amazon was affecting their business, which made me realize that I could probably just order what I needed from Amazon. Sure enough, Amazon Prime had both types of labels, as well as the printer paper I needed. So I ordered all of that, and threw in a Roku 3 streaming video player. When Barbara’s TV remote died the other day, I realized how dependent we are on our original Roku XL|S box. If the box failed, we’d be SOL until we replaced it. Even if the remote failed, we’d be SOL, since there are no controls on the box itself. After checking reviews and comparisons, it was pretty clear that the Roku 3 was the standout choice, at least for our viewing habits. It’ll be here early next week. I’ll replace the old box, and keep it as a spare.
54 Comments and discussion on "Friday, 24 January 2013"
Dutch’s VA insurance should pay at least part of that difference.
VA will pay about $1,000 toward self funded care ordered by a doctor for veterans and their spouses. That can be assisted living or nursing home. Once medicaid starts paying for the care that amount drops to $90 of which $0 (zero) is allowed to be paid to the facility or the state. Fought that battle and won. States tell people that the $90 must go to the state to help offset the cost hoping that people will not know the state is not entitled to the money.
Jerry Coyne has just posted about today’s xkcd , which explains that Global Warming ™ really is happening, despite the lovely weather you guys have been having:
“We’re low-stock right now on both biology and chemistry kits”
Any plans to do a physics or electronics kit and/or book?
We’ll do physics eventually. Actually, I pitched Illustrated Guide to Home Physics Experiments to Brian Jepson, my editor, back in 2008, before the chemistry book was published. They’d already contracted with another author to do that book but, as is often the case with first-time authors, the author never finished the book. At one point, O’Reilly asked me if I’d like to finish the book and be listed as co-author. I told them thanks but no thanks. It’d actually have been more work to try to fix a partially-written book than to write it from scratch.
So, there won’t be an Illustrated Guide for physics, at least not with my name on it, but we will do a kit with manual once I get around to it. That’ll be a while. I have to finish Earth Science. After that, it’s AP chemistry, and then biotechnology/AP Biology.
Oh, as to electronics, probably not, but if we do it it’d be with discrete components. One can’t really learn electronics using ICs.
In the late Sixties my parents gave me a Philips kit with individual components to be assembled on to a particle board substrate with spring clips. I wish they still made them.
RE: XKCD’s Global Warming comic. The “first polar vortex”? Like it’s brand new for 2014? Like it hasn’t always sent a blast of frozen air down the natural funnel of Hudson and James bays? Fail on their part. It’s a new term, but the effect is ancient. Again, humankind has reached their typical highest level of understanding, giving something a new name. We used to call it the North Wind.
Is that anything like an Alberta Clipper?
OK, publish a 44 year weather plot and call that a trend? I don’t think so. And I am not a young earther either.
Here is the XKCD that concerns me, long term:
Some of Pournelle’s research says that the ice sheets happen very quickly, like over a two or three year period. “The year without the Sun” is a very troubling way to start a story.
Amazon sells electronics kits by Snap Circuits that are probably the closest modern equivalent. You could also buy an “electronic breadboard” and discrete components if you want to play around with electronics. Of course there are projects like Arduino and Raspberry Pi if you want to tinker with microprocessor based electronics.
If we drop a few nukes on those places we should be able to get rid of the ice… 🙂
(p.s. I gave up WoW (again) on Christmas Eve. Still looking for a game I really like.)
I’m playing less WoW than I used to. My favorite online game is EVE Online. I’m more of a science fiction gamer than a fantasy gamer. If you want to try Eve Online, I can send you a buddy invite which would give you an extra week of free play time. The beauty of Eve Online is there is only one server. The downside of Eve Online is that it has a steep learning curve.
The onset of glaciation may occur very quickly, as evidenced by 20,000 year old quick-frozen carcasses in Siberia that still had fresh vegetation in their stomachs. The day before glaciation starts, it may be an 85F and sunny summer day in Toronto. Literally the next day, it may be 0F and snowing. But it’ll take a lot more than 2 or 3 years for those ice sheets to build up and begin making their way south.
We have a pretty good start on our very own ice sheet in Saint Albans Bay, Vermont, a.k.a. Retroville. It’s been single digits or below zero since our January Thaw last week and well below zero at night, with strong and steady wind gusts off the lake. The new woodstove works great and we have the oil as a backup. Also put plastic up over the worst-offending windows and we’re used to the cold anyway, so keep the inside temp around 60, tops.
Last bit of paperwork for the Feds (for the job I was offered last May and this is the second background “investigation”) was sent in on December 20, 34 days ago. In response to my two inquiries so fah, “they’re still reviewing.” Meanwhile I’ve had phone calls and emails for other gigs in the area, and have been blowing them off, but the UI bennies ran out December 31 and the daily Honey-Do List is getting old while Mrs. OFD swans about the country to places like Texas, Kalifornia, New Mexico, Florida, etc. So I have a phone interview Monday morning for another gig where the site runs RHEL and CentOS, amazingly. We shall see.
Hope everyone had a decent holiday season; ours was kinda hectic, along with travel down to MA and my own mom finally having to go into a nursing home there, which is a really good facility and operates and looks more like a nice hotel than what it is.
Sorry to hear about Barbara’s mom; hope she’s feeling better soon. It’s hard on everybody, as we all know by now.
Heat wave today at 13 right now and 20s tomorrow, with snow arriving, supposedly; the Bay had starting thawing and there was even open wottuh for a while but them days is gone; solid ice way out now; you can drive a truck for quite a distance.
Welcome back, Dave.
Good to be back with youse all; Feds want me to keep tabs on y’all and report back any questionable or untoward comments concerning their holiness and perfection in all things. They tell me this may expedite my “background investigation.” But I’ve been re-reading Solzenitsyn’s “Gulag” and this seems doubtful; I’m probably about to receive a “tenner” or a “quarter” for my own hasty and wrong-headed, misguided, potentially subversive comments. Hey, maybe I’ll get a lenient camp!
Miles – consider Final Fantasy XIV. Similar to WoW, but just enough different to be interesting.
Hmmm. The last computer game I played was Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat.
The last computer game I played was Freecell if I remember correctly. Before that, Quake I.
I’ve got a book about John Carmack, the world’s greatest programmer, waiting in my SBR (strategic book reserve) for reading:
OK, Carmack may be in the top five of the world’s greatest programmers. Bill Gates may be at the top of that list (dude wrote a Basic interpreter in machine language for the Altair 8080). Plus Joel Spolsky wrote about Gates when he was the Program Manager for Excel:
What’s the superstition? If an OFD sticks his head up before groundhog day, there’ll be a blast of arctic air? Something like that.
And, jeez, you’re still waiting for the clearance to go through? I thought that had finished a month ago or thereabouts.
I’ve been waiting almost two months to get a birth certificate from Mexifornia.
Multiple attempts and still no luck.
Last time this happened was on a lost car title, also in Mexifornia, and I ended up going to my senator in Ohio for assistance.
Last video game I played was Myst.
The polar dome settling down over most of North Murka looks to be hanging over us for a while to come, according to weather liar projections. We’re expecting light snow overnight here while the temps are in the single digits and then as the one-day heat wave rolls in, with temps in the 20s, more snow, into tomorrow night. Mrs. OFD is supposed to be flying back tomorrow from San Antonio by way of Mordor, I think, but we shall see.
Not sure what’s been going on with the Feds; the outfit doing the actual background check paperwork review is a contractor company, owned and run by a First Nations tribe out of Alaska, apparently. Last year me and Mrs. OFD were separately interrogated by an actual Fed agent. My actual gig would be as a major DOD contractor outfit working for an actual Fed organization. How this all works got a little clearer for me after reading Erick Prince’s “Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror.” During some of the unpleasantness in the Sandbox region, there were events where the contractors, most if not all of them former spec ops troops, were giving orders and instruction to active-duty soldiers, as that was what was most expedient and survival-oriented for them at the moment. And the active-duty guys had zero problem with that, as it was patently obvious that it was a desirable move. And then I remembered that way back in the late 80s I had been an IT contractor (after leaving the cops) and giving orders to regular DEC drones when I worked there.
Last vid game I’ve played has been the Doom II and III, which I will still goof around with once in a blue moon.
Machine lineup here at Chez OFD currently is this Windows 8.1 box; a second Windows 8.0 box in suspended hibernation in the attic for now, later to be used up there in the developing gun-smithing workshop and radio shack. An ancient Toshiba laptop running CrunchBang on 1 GB of RAM. Wife’s Sony laptop running Windows 7 and her backup Thinkpad running Windows 7 Ultimate. Another desktop in the attic, also suspended, running Mint 16. And a Lenovo IdeaPad running Santoku. Oh, and an Amazon Kindle Fire HD, the big one.
Slowly working on “pimping” out the ’96 Ram truck; just got a Uniden mobile scanner for it. But it needs some substantial rust elimination/cosmetic work on the doors and rocker panels and I’ll probably get it painted completely.
In other nooz, wife wants to talk me into running for office here in town; I might see about attending some meetings, get the lay of the land, meet and greet, and serve on a board or something. Then we’ll see. I am a founding director of the U.S. half of a Canadian political party and may look into running for selectman once we get things rocking down here, as they’re about to up there. Things are stirring in Alberta, Quebec, the Maritimes and may get kicked up a bit this weekend, esp. in regard to military personnel and bases. Or maybe not. We shall see.
Feds want me to keep tabs on y’all and report back any questionable or untoward comments concerning their holiness and perfection in all things.
Hah, you expect me to believe that? The NSA is probably recording everything on this board, has my internet connection tapped, monitors all my cell phone activity, knows what I have watched on cable, all my movie rentals are logged and knows how much money is in each of my financial accounts. Probably also go through my trash.
Not that I have done anything you see. But it is nice for the feds to have all that information so if I should happen to do something the feds can go back and look for something else to slap me with. Holding all that information is needed “just in case.”
Having you spy and report back is double effort and the federal government doing double effort is………..never mind. I forgot to what I was referring.
Hey OFD, long time no talk! At least a day or two.
We are suppose to be back to 70 F by Sunday here in the Land of Sugar. And then back to 44 / 26 F next Tuesday. I turned on the heat lamp in the well house this morning (forgot last night) and am just going to leave it on for a while.
I forgot how tough it is to get a Federal job. I interviewed with NASA back in 1981 and was invited to come write software for them when I graduated. Subject to President Reagan’s federal job freeze that kept on getting extended. I graduated in May of 1982 from TAMU and had a solid job offer (unlike 2/3rds of my mechanical engineer peeps) so I ran to it.
I called NASA before I left and he said maybe another month. I kept on calling every month for six months and got the same answer each time. I gave up and resigned myself to being a plant engineer. Best thing that ever happen to me. Plant engineering sucks but you learn, learn, learn. Something new to fix each day. Sometimes 3 or 4 things to fix each day at a power plant with a 25,000 hp, 50,000 hp, 90,000 hp, 200,000 hp and 600,000 hp steam electric generating units.
The Fed bureaucracy has evidently not studied the methods of the KGB during the Soviet era; physical evidence was nice, but they’d just make shit up; whole cases from cloth, and send people to perdition on whatever they felt like. The Feds may dig having all the info and intel but they don’t really need it, not when there’s a zillion laws, regulations and ordinances to trip us up with; we can be picked up on whatever specious charges and dropped into oblivion at their slightest whim.
I was recalling my days of yore as a street cop; we could stop a vehicle and no matter how much the operator thought he or she had everything completely legal and buttoned up nice, we could always, without exception, find something to nail them for. I’d even say that a big percentage of people we arrested got locked up primarily for being assholes. Now apparently that situation is reversed and a lot of the cops are the assholes.
Be careful out there, y’all; things are beginning to get ugly and likely to get a lot uglier. If stopped, say nothing, literally. Don’t volunteer shit; if asked, hand them, carefully and slowly, your papers. Keep your hands in plain sight and don’t make any sudden moves. If possible, record the encounter, preferably via streaming live to a machine somewhere. Dunno if y’all are aware of that case where the two cops got off scot-free after beating that guy to death for nothing, but their personal and work info has been disseminated and they are marked men. If and when something happens to them, there will be a reaction.
What has been happening in Spain, Greece, Brazil and Kiev is gonna start up here and there in North America sooner than we might have thought.
Just got last month’s heating bill. It does not include the blast we got 2 weeks ago, but is still 4 times higher than the air-conditioning bill for the hottest months. I’ll take global warming any day over cooling.
Thank whatever god(s) there isn’t, you’re back, OFD. As I said once before: don’t ever leave this forum. Anyway, most of us joined in the late ’90’s and you have a long way to go to catch up.
I quite like Minesweeper and Pinball.
The only MMORPG I’ve really loved is City of Heroes/Villains, shut down 30/11/2012 – it was profitable, but just not profitable enough. There’s talk of a bunch of CoH addicts creating a new game that’s similar, but not too similar, to CoH. Will be another year or two they say. I think there should be no copyright if a company just closes down a game.
I’ve tried LotRO (okay), SWTOR (meh), Diablo III (okay) and Skyrim (okay) – but none of them really grab me. WoW was just so annoying – I hated being engaged by critters way below me – I just wanted to complete the quest.
Thanks ech, I’ll look that one up.
Welcome back OFD.
I’ve only got about another week in this house before I move out, have it professionally cleaned, and hand over the keys.
“Don’t ever leave this forum” That sounds like one of those mafia threats: “the only way out of this organization is toes up”.
We’ve had the opposite kind of winter over here. After a few frosts in November – which was pretty late for the first cold weather – it has been unusually warm – around 10C too warm through all of December and the first half of January. Y’all stole our winter weather and kept it all for yourselves! There’s lots of snow in the mountains, but very unstable: the half-melted and re-frozen layers are happy to slide over each other, leading to lots of avalanches.
Computer games – I’ve been so buried in work that I’ve hardly played at all for the last six months. I used to play lots of DDO, but got kind of tired of it. i really prefer strategy games (Civilization) and SciFi games – ideally a combination of the two. But I’m tired of the old ones, and haven’t been “bitten” by any new ones. At the moment, I find the odd moment for a game of Creepsmash – a multiplayer tower defense that started out as a pretty cute and simple student project in Germany.
Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie did the best computer programming project ever. They managed to do a complete operating system in less than 10K lines of C code. Therefore they must be the best programmers ever. Their work was printed in dead tree form with commentary by John Lions.
They managed to do a complete operating system in less than 10K lines of C code.
I once wrote a program that fit on one 80 column Hollerith card. Does that qualify? Took me a week to squeeze it onto a single card.
It was for an IBM 1401 and I don’t even remember what it did. The object I think was just to get it to load, do something (may have blinked a light or two), then terminate properly.
Of course loading on that machine did not consist of much. There were standards, items left in registers that needed to be read, stored and then replaced when the program exited so the next program that boot loaded could access the information.
Okay, my old Kubuntu installation is about to get wiped, and I’m going to download Mint 16 in its place.
Cinnamon, MATE or KDE desktop for a six or so year old machine?
Aw, that’s nothing Ray. I once wrote a single PP Compass instruction that put a Peripheral Processor in to a loop. Had to Deadstart to fix the problem.
I think it was something like
locn LJM expression
where expression evaluate to locn.
I guess most of us have written code that does an infinite loop, but have you done it in 12 bits?
Hey, that was the first “real” computer I ever wrote code for.
If we drop a few nukes on those places we should be able to get rid of the ice…
I’ll bet that you are a big fan of the Orion spaceship drive:
Especially the version that takes off from land using nuclear bombs. Pournelle used that in his _Footfall_ book for an 8,000 ton spaceship named the Michael. The heavier the better in that circumstance. Radiated a lot of Oregon on its takeoff.
At its height, what would be Toronto was under a mile of ice. It takes more than a few years to accumulate that much ice.
0F isn’t unusual here, what is unusual is that it has come earlier in the winter. We are also not getting that much snow. I read that the Toronto schools have been keeping the children indoors at recess because of all the ice. The idiots should be building outdoor skating rinks and throwing the kids outside. But then it would appear that the administrators have forgotten (or never knew) that free outdoor skating rinks in public parks and schools were the norm through to the mid 70’s at least.
One sign of a warming trend has been the disappearance of outdoor skating rinks in southern Ontario over the last 30 years. Hockey on outdoor rinks was Canadian as sandlot baseball is American. It (outdoor hockey) has been disappearing around here.
What do you mean? Outdoor hockey is alive and well – at Dodger Stadium.
Tonight The Ducks vs The Kings.
Hey, that was the first “real” computer I ever wrote code for.
Ah, word marks, reading sense switches and fixed memory locations for the card reader, card punch and printer. We had a whopping 8K of memory on our machine. Biggest mistake I made was getting into some kind of loop that issued page eject commands to the printer. That puppy could move several hundred sheets in a few seconds given the right (incorrect) command.
In my first real programming job, I worked for a guy that didn’t like the OS of the RCA mainframe he worked on as an operator. He wrote his own. By himself. In assembler. While he was waiting for jobs to run. (This was in the late 50s/early 60s.) He had no formal training in computer science other than his training as a computer operator in the Air Force and then in the private sector. Later went on to work on OS/36o for IBM, as a top technical troubleshooter for EDS, and then technical director at the startup where I worked.
It will take years and years to accumulate a mile of ice I’m sure, but after witnessing what a half inch of ice can do after an ice storm, I’m equally sure that a foot of ice will mess us up real good, and I don’t think it would take that long to get to that thickness.
I attended school in Edmonton during a couple of really cold winters in the 60s. Once the temperature went so low (-50F at least) that they closed the school, not because of ice and snow, but because the fuel oil couldn’t flow to the furnaces. So we went skating in the flooded school field, which had a shed that had a pot bellied stove so we had a place to get warm. It was typical for the schools to prepare the field as an ice rink in the prairies, and everyone, and I mean everyone, skated. Now I can’t imagine a school being allowed to put a pot bellied stove in a shed and fill it with little kids any more, let alone flood the fields, but I don’t recall any deaths or disfigurements. I also recall eating warm chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches that were stored in the cloakroom. We were much tougher then, I certainly remember that nobody whinged about the cold. It was just something you dealt with. Some parking lots had electric outlets so people could plug their block heaters in. Lots that didn’t, were filled with idling cars, which nobody seemed to steal.
@Miles: Try “Cinnamon” – it’s very unobtrusive, and pretty intuitive.
I’ll second that. I’ve tried them all. Would like to love KDE, but can’t. Cinnamon is the closest to Windows that I have found. Except for Win8, I really like the way Windows works and find few faults with it.
I also recall eating warm chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches that were stored in the cloakroom. We were much tougher then
I think part of the problem with people getting sick from the slightest contamination has to do with the obsession with sterile. We don’t get exposed to enough pathogens in early life and throughout out our life for our immune system to generate defenses.
I see mothers freak out when their kid drops their pacifier on the floor. The immediately boil the thing and have several spares in biological containment bags. Give me a break. A little dirt never hurt any kid.
I drank milk that was unpasteurized, ate raw food from the garden that had been fertilized with cow dung. Never got sick. Drank water from straight from the creek and never got any sickness. I could probably still eat stuff that would make a billy goat puke and not get sick.
A clean food supply is indeed good. But 100% sterile? I am not so sure that is doing any of us any good.
You’re absolutely right, and I suspect you’ll find that most pediatricians encourage their youngsters to play in the dirt.
Well, my kids were raised with the five second rule in place. Drop food on the floor and you have five seconds to pick it up. Otherwise the dog eats it. I’m old fashioned that way. I made sure that they climbed trees, played with fire, shot firearms, both kids got knives on their sixth birthday, and they both have grown up to be absolutely normal.
Well, my youngest has a fondness for extreme sports, like parachuting and bungee jumping, but otherwise normal.
I have an aunt like that. I was sitting on the floor (at 40-something at the time – why grow up?) playing with a bunch of kids. My aunt came along and shrieked at her granddaughters “you might get a germ!”. Actually, I rather hope they picked up several billion germs, all good for the character. Anyway, at her household, the floor was probably cleaner than most people’s kitchen counters.
It’s not a guarantee, though. Our two are close in age and were both raised identically; my mother found the degree of dirt we allowed appalling, and accused us of raising “orphans”. Yet one has allergies and continual sinus problems, the other does not. Go figure…
Exposure to reasonable levels of pathogens when young is certainly a major factor in developing a robust immune system, but I’ve always suspected that there’s another that no one talks about: nursing mothers pass on antibodies to their infants. Formerly, when humans lived more communally, it was common for mothers to nurse each other’s babies. That’s no longer the case, of course. Most new mothers don’t nurse at all, and those who do typically nurse only their own babies.
Might be different crowds we run with, but that’s no secret to me. Both of my wives nursed the babies and various issues relating to nursing, from degree of acceptance in different social contexts to nutritional and immunological benefits, were not uncommon topics when they were talking with their friends.
To go on a minor tangent, I’m not really a conspiracy theorist, but I sometimes wonder how many of American society’s physical ills derive from some company wanting to make a buck: The claim that lard is bad for you, based on no science and starting just about the time that processed vegetable fats (ie, Crisco) became commercially feasible. The claim that baby formula is better than breast milk, based on no science that I know of. The pushing of various forms of the food pyramid, based apparently on nothing but the desire to keep grain farmers fully employed. The pushing of sensational medical findings with the actual science stripped out and only the sensational bits aired on the TV news.
I’m always amused by the American euphemism for breast feeding: nursing. To Aussies that word can have a number of meanings; well demonstrated when, in the presence of an American visitor, one (unmarried young) woman remarked casually about “nursing” some other woman’s child. The Yank was shocked, the young woman merely meant that she’d held the baby for a while.
Nursing is an occupation practiced by nurses: clean up your language guys!
Your definition of “nursing” devolved from the original meaning of giving suck.
Formerly, when humans lived more communally, it was common for mothers to nurse each other’s babies. That’s no longer the case, of course.
It takes a village to raise a child! Hillary was right! 🙂
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