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If nothing else, I am committing to posting books I read this year to LJ.

So far, it's been just two I've started and finished in this calendar year. Pathetic, I know.

The first was fiction, "Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure" by Michael Chabon. Enjoyable, but I don't see myself revisiting. The adventures of a pair 10th century AD Jewish mercenaries.

The second was a biography, "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth" by Paul Hoffman. Erdos was a famous mathematician who spent his life travelling the world to co-write papers with other mathematicians. Enjoyed that a bit more, and it reminded me of all the math courses I took.

Now, for a bit of silly math.

I recently saw the DSCOVR image of the Earth and Moon that's making the rounds. If you haven't seen it, please do. It's inspiring, at least to me.

As a do-I-remember-my-geometry exercise, I found myself wondering if I could figure out how far away DSCOVR was using this picture (well, plus a couple other facts). So I downloaded the image, and measured the Earth and the Moon's sizes in pixels. The Earth is 1590 pixels in diameter, and the Moon's diameter is 582 pixels.

Next I looked up the ratio of the diameters of Moon:Earth (0.273), which meant that if Earth were at the same distance as the Moon, it should be 582/0.273=2132 pixels, or 2132/1590=1.34 times bigger. Similar triangles means that Earth must be 1.34x farther from DSCOVR than the moon. Let's call the distance from DSCOVR to the Moon "D", so that makes the distance to Earth 1.34*D. So Earth-Moon distance is 0.34D.

Looking up the approximate Earth-Moon distance (384000km), and dividing by 0.34, tells us D is 384000/0.34=1129000km; adding back in the 384000km E-M gives us the approximate distance to DSCOVR from Earth. 1,513,000km.

Now to check the answer. (Drumroll as I google "distance to L1"): "about 1.5 million kilometers".


Tomorrow is my b-day, and as such I have some personal funds allocated to me.

What do LJ folk think I should spend my money on?

Poll #2004050 If you had to give up Chocolate or Cheese...

If you had to give up Chocolate or Cheese for the next 10 years, which would you choose?


Music and movie behind the scenes recommendations:

Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey
Muscle Shoals
20 Feet from Stardom
Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?)
Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings
That Guy... Who Was in That Thing
I Know That Voice

“Cooking in the Archives” sets out to find, cook, and discuss recipes from cookbooks produced between 1600 and 1800.
Alyssa Connell and Marissa Nicosia take recipes from the 17th and 18th centuries, and translate them into modern cooking terms, and cook them. Come for the Jumballs, try the Carrot Pudding, stay for the Maccarony Cheese, and wash it all down with some Could Possett. But you may want to skip the Fish Custard.

Waiting for the bus this morning, I watched a few cars go by, and my mind drifted to the self-driving cars in the news, including the recent no-steering-wheel google car. And it hit me what the killer app for self-driving cars is going to be. Sex.

In the present day, the driver has to drive, and a passenger can read, look out the window, or even watch something these days. The two can talk, but sex-while-driving is not a good idea. It is the kind of thing that ends up in cautionary tales of necks snapped by steering wheels and penises being severed by teeth.

Wealthier people today can have limousines with discrete chauffeurs and blackout partitions. But put a robotic chauffeur in a car with dark tinted windows, and suddenly any couple can spend their trip time fooling around.

For April first, Megan Lynch will be giving away her album "Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me" for free download on Bandcamp.

I already bought a copy some time ago, but hey, how can you go wrong for free?


You can stream it now, and if you like it, give it a download tomorrow.

yolen asked me to write down today's macaroni and cheese before I forget it.

1 lb pasta
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
most of 1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup flour
1 can evaporated milk
1 evap milk can's worth of water
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
almost 8 oz of cubed monteray jack
2 oz of shredded mozzarella
2 slices of muester cheese
2 oz of cream cheese
sprinkle of mozzarella, sprinkle of parmesian/romano

Eating breakfast with my son, I had a thought about how when he was first born, and could not even talk.

And then I was thinking, that's just how our reproduction works. What if somewhere else in the universe exists intelligent life, where their form of reproduction includes copying memories? So that when you are born, you wake up with a full set of memories? I'm thinking a race that does gene exchange via pollination, where everyone has both "male" and "female" capabilities.

So when you are born, you have a full set of your mother's memories, up to the point you were born or thereabouts. And also, her mother's, and her mother's mother, etc. Getting vaguer and sketchier the further back you go, but still in existence.

No need to learn how to speak, or read, or any of those childhood things. Just gaining physical size and growth, and you remember going through that lots of times before as well.

Your siblings would have similar sets of memories, +/- stuff that happened to your mom between your births.

What would their society look like? Would such a species fear death in the same way?

You and your maternal cousins would remember being the same person two generations ago.

What if the memories were higher fidelity -- you could remember back 10 generations or more?

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