Monday, December 31, 2007

(Late) Friday Cat Blogging

In our absence, it seems that life continues back at the ranch. WL reports that the last Tea of the year was a special one:

For the record, on Friday afternoon NR broke out some of RG's special cranberry vodka. No exact measure was made but it was north of 100 proof as it had 100 proof vodka and some undetermined amount of 151 rum in it. Oh, and of course cranberries. Very good.

Our question is, can it really be called vodka if it's got rum in it?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy First Full Day of Winter

Let's hope it doesn't make us too restive.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Party

Today (!) is the unofficial holiday party/potluck. After our meeting at 11:00, that is.

The rumor is that Tea may not be held at its usual time.

Blogging has been light this week - and might be even lighter next week - depending of course on the political scene.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

Huckabee is surging!

New poll shows big shake-up in GOP race

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) -- Mike Huckabee's dramatic jump in the polls is going nationwide. The former Arkansas governor is in a virtual tie with Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll out Monday.

Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, is backed by 24 percent of Republican voters nationally while Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is at 22 percent.

The two-point difference is well within the survey's sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

You know he's going to win - he's got the Chuck Norris endorsement, the Tim LaHaye (of the "Left Behind" series) endorsement, AND they're calling him the new Ronald Reagan!

MORE: Mr. Huckabee on Rick Mercer's "Talking to Americans."

UPDATE: More Surprise: It's been noted that Mr. Huckabee has a temper!

UPDATE: Arianna collects some notable coinage: Huckenfreude, Huckacide, and Huckaplomacy.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


OK, so it's no longer Friday - but it is of the utmost importance that we inform you that the South Koreans have done the world an incredible favor.

Please take note of Fluorescent Cats!

UPDATE: CNN's version of the story here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Summit Closes With a Whimper

SR is gone? He has left us? What shall we do? To whom shall we go?

We are bereft.

Three Hours!

Three hours to get home last night, most of it in Sudbury. Luckily there wasn't too much road madness engendered. Also, there was some small comfort that GB was behind us.

Since it's Friday, there will be Tea - but who knows what sort. Maybe the theme should be "in the shadow of the weekend blizzard."

Thursday, December 13, 2007


News Flash: "w00t" has been named Merriam Webster's word of the year 2007.

That is all.

UPDATE: Blamestorm is pretty good, too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More Schism News...

It wasn't even close.

Los Angeles Times, By Rebecca Trounson, December 9

FRESNO — Central California's Diocese of San Joaquin on Saturday became the first in the nation to secede from the Episcopal Church, taking the historic, risky step as part of a years-long struggle within the U.S. church and global Anglican Communion over homosexuality and biblical authority.

Despite emotional last-minute appeals from opponents to reconsider or delay, delegates to San Joaquin's annual convention voted 173 to 22, far more than the two-thirds majority needed, for the key constitutional change to break the diocese's ties to the Episcopal Church.

The action could serve as an impetus for other dioceses around the country to leave the Episcopal Church and try to start a more conservative alternative church. It could also lead to more lawsuits over who controls millions of dollars worth of property.

The delegates formally accepted an invitation to align their small, largely rural diocese with an Anglican province in South America and its conservative archbishop.

As the results were announced, a majority of the delegates in a hall of St. James Cathedral in Fresno applauded, shouted congratulations to one another and rose in a standing ovation. But toward the back of the room, faces were glum and a gray-haired woman wiped away tears.

San Joaquin Bishop John-David M. Schofield, a longtime critic of the Episcopal Church who pushed hard for the changes, was exultant after the votes were counted.

"We've seen a miracle here," Schofield said, as he was flanked by supporters in a crowded parish hall. "We are now clearly outside the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church."


Anybody seen PG lately?

Hey! We're still evolving! Who'd a thunk?

Study finds humans still evolving, and quickly

The pace has been increasing since people started spreading through Europe, Asia and Africa 40,000 years ago.

Los Angeles Times, By Karen Kaplan, December 11

The pace of human evolution has been increasing at a stunning rate since our ancestors began spreading through Europe, Asia and Africa 40,000 years ago, quickening to 100 times historical levels after agriculture became widespread, according to a study published today.

By examining more than 3 million variants of DNA in 269 people, researchers identified about 1,800 genes that have been widely adopted in relatively recent times because they offer some evolutionary benefit.

Until recently, anthropologists believed that evolutionary pressure on humans eased after the transition to a more stable agrarian lifestyle. But in the last few years, they realized the opposite was true -- diseases swept through societies in which large groups lived in close quarters for a long time.

Altogether, the recent genetic changes account for 7% of the human genome, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Software Summit

Yes, another Software Summit impends.

Here's the schedule:

12:30 PM SR arrives

[blah, blah, blah]

12:30 PM SR leaves

It's a pity that the third day isn't a Sunday.

78 claims!

That's a lotta claims for one patent. We hope none of them are ever challenged!

Our favorite claim?:

69. The device of claim 68 in which the substantially opaque intermediate layer is comprised of tantalum oxide.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Day which Will Live in Infamy

Yes, we picked December 7th to install at our first customer site.

We hope it doesn't take 4 years to see us win this war.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


So, it turns out that time dilation due to velocity is not (!) quite the same as that due to acceleration.

First - due to Velocity: From the great Wiki:

Time dilation is symmetric between two inertial observers

One assumes, naturally enough, that if time-passage has slowed for a moving object, the moving object would find the external world to be correspondingly "sped up." But counterintuitively, Einsteinian relativity predicts the opposite, a situation difficult to visualize. This is based on an essential principle of the overall theory: if one object is moving with respect to another (at an unchanging velocity), the other is equally moving with respect to it.


All that matters is the rate at which observers are moving relative to one another. If A finds that B has undergone a slowdown-in-time during the period of relative motion, it must work out that B will also find that A has a relatively slower "clock." It seems an inconceivable situation: yet the math works out, and actual tests confirm it.


In the Special Theory of Relativity, the observed clock is found to be ticking slow with respect to the observer's clock. Observer A measures (by all methods of measurement) observer B's clocks to be running slow and, similarly, observer B measures observer A's clocks to be running slow.

It turns out that Time dilation in a non-inertial (accelerating) frame acts differently than that in the inertial case. Here it appears that the mythical "person on a spaceship" would age more slowly than a person in a non-accelerating frame.

Unfortunatly, the equations are kinda long - so if you're into it, visit the link.

One final hard-to-believe fact from the great wiki:

...Indeed, a constant 1 g acceleration would permit humans to travel as far as light has been able to since the big bang (some 13.7 billion light years) in one human lifetime. The space-travellers could return to earth billions of years in the future (provided the Universe hadn't collapsed and our solar system was still around, of course). A scenario based on this idea was presented in the novel Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle.

Of course, this is WRONG - 13.7 billion light years is 1.3 x 10^^26 meters, whereas straighforward Newtonian calculations for 100 years of 1 g acceleration would yeild only 4.88 x 10^^19 meters.

-- more later, maybe...

Today is Repeal of Prohibition Day

On this day in 1933, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified - leaving it to the states to regulate alcohol.

Mississippi was the last state to repeal prohibition, in 1966.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


and happy first day of Chanukkah...

Black Pepper

According to Wikipedia:

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The same fruit is also used to produce white pepper, red/pink pepper, and green pepper.[1] Black pepper is native to South India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is a small drupe five millimetres in diameter, dark red when fully mature, containing a single seed.


The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine (an Alkaloid!).


"Pepper" was used in a figurative sense to mean "spirit" or "energy" at least as far back as the 1840s; in the early 20th century, this was shortened to pep.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Two Word Review

"Sounds Good"

That's the sense we get from today's guest reviewer, WL. He's eaten at the Texas BBQ Company in Northborough - on GB's recommendation - and seems to really have enjoyed the experience.

WL relates:

I had the beef brisket and cole slaw. Both real good. Small place. They sell beer, wine, drinks. The Sam Adams winter on tap was excellent. Definitely have to be in meat eater mode.

Today is Freedom from the Tyranny of the Lawn Day

I hope you all enjoy it.