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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

An Appeal To Reason From Great Minds

Recent developments have made me start thinking about the wisdom and sanity of the various approaches to managing relations among nations. In my mind, the unspoken reality is that technology has advanced to the point that even talking about a nuclear oligopoly keeping the nuclear peace simply will not work in the 21st century. I believe we are at a crossroads, where the futility of attempting to control nuclear weapons in a world full of bellicose nations becomes self evident. The Soviet Union’s rather speedy development of a nuclear arsenal in the late 1940s and early 1950’s raised similar questions.

The greatest minds of the day rose to the challenge. Their response and vision is summarized in the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, first issued July 1955 in London. You can read it for yourself here.

The manifesto brought to bear the realization that with two nuclear powers competing, the idea of reliance on military means to address international conflict is not acceptable. It seems to me that with numerous nuclear powers, the agenda becomes far more immediate than in the 1950’s.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Enumerating Binomials for Fun and Profit

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, let’s talk about my favorite subject, me. My full time at work has been extended two weeks into May. Since I had expected to be about half-time, I have a lot of commitments outside of work. Funny they are a little irked at me, since I will miss several partial days in order to keep my commitments. I’ll be involved in pursuits far more enjoyable and suitable than they can provide.

In any event, I actually was able to use the binomial theorem to solve a real and immediate problem involving individual and family – level payment limitations. A note to snotty high School Students who like to ask, “When will I ever use this?” Well, I learned this in Algebra 2, and I made about $500 using it for a couple of hours.

That's my stroty and I'm sticking to it.

My My Hey Hey, I Heard An Angry Voice of Hope Today!

Neil Young has pre-released his soon-to-be-released record on the internet. Hear it here: Mr. Young has raised quite a buzz. I listened to the entire album, and I am thrilled. The album speaks to me, to my deep feelings betrayal and heartbreak at what a small group of criminals and their unwitting dupes have done to the world’s greatest country, and the unfortunate citizens of other countries who happen to cross their murderous path. Forming the backdrop to Young’s unapologetic lyrics is a nearly religious optimism that, starting with appropriate remedial action, i. e., “Let’s impeach the President”, America can and will be great once again.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Hey Ho Let’s Polka

Punk Rock Accordian Classes!!! Clarinets welcome!!! In the name of “Our lady of Anarchy”, I think this guy is serious. Check out his website – . His page even has some samples for your listening pleasure, not to mention the shock and awe. Ramones and Sex Pistols, all stuffed into one squeezebox. Bob and Darlene’s in Milwaukee has nothin’ on Oakland, nothin’ I tell ya.

I have half a mind to try to team up with this guy (accordion and clarinet) and become famous rock stars. We'll make the Schmenge brothers look like a two-bit comedy routine!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another Fibanocci Haiku

May be
For ever
A day lost to time
The relativistic impact
Of fluorescent lights in modern work environments
Causes time to stand still, energy to become mass and the minutes to move like hours.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Haikus for Geeks

The use of
Recursive concepts
In the writing of haiku verseIt makes my heart sing like a young Algebra student!

This new breakthrough in structured verse comes to us via a math geek with a blog. The syllables in each consecutive line follow the Fibanacci sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8,13. . .). Each number in the sequence is the sum of the two preceding numbers.

See for the birth of this math geek blog game that has transformed the world of poetry in a short, two week period. Okay, so I accept transforming the world of poetry is not the biggest deal in the world. I also am beginning to think maybe iot doesn't take a lot to rock the wrold of poetry.

Don’t take my word for it, read about it in the NY times: Fibonacci Poems Multiply on the Web After Blog's Invitation .

And I am
Now sticking to it.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Now, Let’s Talk About Me, Me, Me

It’s been a busy few weeks, and I am feeling pretty tired. I have to play a band concert tomorrow night, after that I should be able to take it easy. My major project at work is really done, except for tying up some loose ends. I will reduce to 24 hours per week effective May 1, then in theory down to 2 days per week in June. We have lots of fun vacation time planned for June, so much fun it’s possible the bosses won’t be able to stand seeing someone having so much fun. I am making every effort to be cooperative (however without putting out too much effort) so they might consider another consulting engagement when they have their busy time next year. It is fortunate their busy time corresponds with the local rainy season.

Per usual, I really do not have any plan or long term vision for where I want my life of work to go. I think that I am a very lazy person at heart. The deal is that I am no less ambitious than anyone else, it’s just that I am truthful with myself. Maybe I should become a motivational speaker. Blah,blah,blah.

I should probably come up with some immediate plan for something besides being a bum in the near future. I am talking about getting more math students for the summer. Parents like giving their kids tutoring in the summer, so they don’t forget everything. Summer tutoring is a little more fun than tutoring during the school year, since I get to hand out a lot of homework, and I get to hear the kids whine. Tutoring will probably be good for about 2 or 3 afternoons per week. High School kids are too lazy to get up for morning sessions.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Einstein on The Planet of the Apes - It's About Time

Thought I’d pound in another entry while listening to BBC World Service (Whilst listening, as they would say).

It’s been rainy ‘round here, so we’ve been spending our time indoors. I have been working on playing a new soprano recorder that came in the mail last week. I feel like I am catching up pretty fast, however I will never enjoy the very high vocal range of that instrument. We’re talking piccolo range here. Soprano recorders are tuned in C, while alto recorders like mine are tuned in G. If you want to be respected by other recorder players, you need to be able to read music and play in both tunings. I started all this because my group which normally rehearses on Fridays is taking two weeks off.

What about Planet of the Apes, you may ask. I read an interesting article about the Theory of Relativity and Euclidian Geometry in the Science Column of The Magazine of fantasy & Science Fiction. The article is here: . The point of the article is that you can use a pretty cool thought experiment and the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate the relative passing of time from an astronaut’s versus earthbound perspective. The explanation is clear and the math is pretty easy to follow (you need nothing more than H S Algebra 1 and the Pythagorean Theorem, and some serious thinking time to set things up).

After about a week of messing around with diagrams of time and space viewed from two alternate frames of reference (me in Sacramento, and a fast spaceship with a light bulb within), I finally set it up so I could work out the time dilation factor from first principals.

I finally got it right during one of my High School Geometry tutoring sessions. A couple of the kids got a kick out of this, which is a good thing. Geometry is much more interesting when you can use the Pythagorean Theorem to figure out how fast the astronauts in “The Planet of the Apes” needed to go to make any sense out of an otherwise goofy movie. The formula reads: K=1/(1-V^2/C^2)^(1/2). K is the dilation factor, which represents how many years I’ll age here in Sacramento while the astronaut ages one year. V is the astronaut’s velocity, relative to my frame of reference in Sacramento, and C is our old friend, the speed of life, equal to the square root of energy divided by mass for reasons I do not comprehend.

What is interesting is that even at 90% of the speed of life, the astronauts only age about 2 years and 4 months while I age one year. The “Planet of the Apes” ship must have been traveling close to the speed of light. As write this, Pythagoras is probably turning circles in his grave.

Ender and Valentine Wiggins must have been traveling at about to have experienced their aging effects, they would have needed to travel at many time the speed of light (between 10 and 50 C, I am too lazy to research the novels) to reach other star systems, so they lie outside of the range of values for which this formula, as well as anything else I know about physics is relevant. It’s good not to let the science constrain the fiction.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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