Memoirs of a Geisha - Peter Goulden

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The Final Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

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Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West - Gregory Maguire

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Belwether - Connie Willis

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Failure To Launch

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Mission Impossible 3

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My Photo
Location: Houston, Texas, United States

It ain't the years, It's the mileage. I was raised a military brat, and wanderlust still comes over me every 3 or 4 years. Still love to travel.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Houston ship channel cruise.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quote of the Day

"There is no security on this earth, there is only opportunity."
- General Douglas MacArthur

Science Fiction Author Bruce Sterling's Latest Effort

The Interoperation is published online at the Technology Review website.

The Interoperation

Architecture had given way to software management. So he turned buildings into construction programs.

It is an okay read. Certainly not Mr. Sterling’s most stirring work, but definitely not a waste of time.

Via Beyond the Beyond

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Back in the Stone Age

I acquired my first Macintosh Computer. It was a MAC IIx. One of the first models where they made the case separate from the CRT (monitor). Even back then, Apple still had it all over any other machine.

I had had the machine a year or so, and started getting some funky I/O errors. Seemingly random, they would cause the machine to crash at the most in-opportune times. I finally got frustrated enough after working through all my Mac owning friends and they were far and few between (We were all clueless about these) that I called Appel Tech support.

I described my issue to the support tech on the other end of the line. He listened patiently while I ran through my rant. When I fianlly wound down, he asked me if I was ready to try something a little un-orthodox.

I was somewhat taken aback by this, but so frustrated that I was indeed open to suggestion. He asked me if the monitor was sitting on top of the case (It was) and would I power the system down and set the monitor aside? I didn’t see what this had to do with anything as when I asked him if we were going to open the case he answered no. But I powered down and moved the monitor.

He: This is going to be a very low tech solution.

Me: OK.

He: Please pick the case up about two and a half to three inches off the desk top. [I did this] OK now drop it! he said.

Me: Are you sure about this?

He: Yes sir, quite sure. So I dropped the case back to the desktop. He had me do it two or three more times. The he had me power it back up.

At this point I was kind of laughing, but the machine seemed to be humming along. We chatted for a minute or two and then rang off.

Turns out the expansion cards were spring loaded and dropping the unit to the desktop a time or two reseated the cards. I did this every 3 or 4 months after this call.

I never had another problem with the mac.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Now This is Just a Little Weird

Art collective Henry VIII's Wives restaged historic photographs with elderly volunteers as the models. All of the models in the series, titled "Iconic Moments of the Twentieth Century," live in a home for the elderly in Glasgow. From the Henry VIII's Wives site:
A group of aged volunteers pose in their everyday outfits and in their daily environment (the vicinity of the Home) to re-enact the scenes from well-known newspaper photographs taken from history books and encyclopaedias. The images in question depict ‘historical moments’ that took place in their lifetime: Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta Conference during the World War II, the Napalm Attack and the killing a Vietcong from the Vietnam War, or the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald, which was depicted live on a TV programme. Each of these images represents an immediately recognisable cultural leitmotif of its époque, the representation that overshadows the event it documents.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Pictures On my Flickr account!

On Flickr over the last couple of days...

From my trip to Austin for Maker Faire.

Some new pictures from downtown Houston. I took this series yesterday. We really do have a great looking downtown district. I stopped on the west side of Downtown in a little parking area on the Allen Parkway. Snapped off (quite) a few pictures and these were the best of the bunch...

The Sculpture Garden a friend alerted me to in a post on her lj. This is sitting at roadside, Texas 288 @ Bellfort. No signs, no warning no nothing. But there it is!
I pulled over on the side of the road. There was a huge shoulder. Took a few pictures and was about to step on to the property for a better look, when I noticed one of the “Posted - No Tresspassing” signs. Dang! Still, these came out alright considering how far away I was. Cool!

There's A New Cat In The House

...And it is good!

Honestly, I like all the eye candy in OS X Leopard...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

This is What happens When Engineers Have Idle Time

Unemployed engineers having fun?


These fellas need to get a life!

Thanx Brenda F.!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Acceleration Defined

One top fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower
than the first 4 rows of stock cars at the Daytona 500.

Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1-1/2 gallons of nitro
methane per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the same rate
with 25% less energy being produced.

A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive the
dragster's supercharger. With 3,000 CFM of air being rammed in by the
supercharger on overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into a
near-solid form before ignition.

Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock at full throttle. At the
stoichiometric (stoichiometry: methodology and technology by which
quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions are determined)
1.7:1 air/fuel mixture of nitro methane, the flame front temperature
measures 7,050 deg F. Nitro methane burns yellow. The spectacular white
flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated
from atmospheric water vapor by the searing exhaust gases.

Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the output of
an arc welder in each cylinder. Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed
during a pass. After halfway, the engine is dieseling from compression,
plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1,400 deg F. The engine can only be shut
down by cutting the fuel flow.

If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up in
the affected cylinders and then explodes with sufficient force to blow
cylinder heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half.

In order to exceed 300 mph in 4.5 seconds, dragsters must accelerate an
average of over 4G's. In order to reach 200 mph (well before half-track),
the launch acceleration approaches 8G's.

Dragsters reach over 300 miles per hour before you have completed reading
this sentence. Top fuel engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from
light to light! Including the burnout, the engine must only survive 900
revolutions under load.
The redline is actually quite high at 9,500 rpm. Assuming all the
is paid off, the crew worked for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each
run costs an estimate $1,000.00 per second.

The current top fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.441 seconds for the
quarter mile (10/05/03, Tony Schumacher). The top speed record is 333.00
mph (533 km/h) as measured over the last 66' of the run (09/28/03 Doug

Putting all of this into perspective, picture this scenario: You are
driving the average $140,000 Lingenfelter "twin-turbo" powered Corvette Z06.
Over a mile up the road, a top fuel dragster is staged and ready to launch down a
quarter mile strip as you pass You have the advantage of a flying start.
You run the 'Vette hard up through the gears and blast across the starting
line and pass the dragster at an honest 200 mph. The "tree" goes green for
both of you at that moment.The dragster launches and starts after you. You
keep your foot down hard, but you hear an incredibly brutal whine that
sears your eardrums and within 3 seconds, the dragster catches and passes you.
He beats you to the finish line, a quarter mile away from where you just
passed him.

Think about it, from a standing start, the dragster had spotted you 200
mph and not only caught, but nearly blasted you off the road when he passed
you within a mere 1,320 foot long race course.

... and that my friend, is ACCELERATION

From an email from my friend bamatex! Thanx, Larry