log (2004/01/16 to 2004/01/22)

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Finely tuned:

Rest in peace, Ms. Miller
Thursday, January 22, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Our readers show that they know everything:

The brand of the maps was almost certainly Jeppesen.

It was indeed! And Jeppesen turns out to be a Boeing subsidiary; so those maps were made by the same folks (loosely speaking) as made (loosely speaking) many of those space-station parts.

Small world.

This same reader has also finally persuaded me to take the hour or two to produce a full-text RSS feed (with all the "content" of each entry contained in the RSS XML file) to supplement the usual RSS feed that contains only the dates and the coy little entry "titles". Try it out, if you've been wishing for that kind of thing, and let me know if it gives you any trouble.

Michael Travers points out the real reason for the recent shift in the Democratic primary scene:

...John Kerry, who insisted that a Democratic candidate who refused to endorse revolutionary worker's councils would be "unelectable" against George Bush in November.

Stewart does us a great compliment ("This is what a weblog ought to be like", he says). I'm greatly flattered, and will try to keep telling odd little stories as they bubble to the surface of my mind or memory.

The reflog also reveals that my cruel little "In the future, everyone will be married to Britney Spears for fifteen minutes" meme has been achieving a bit of spread. It's unlikely to be long-lived, though. Unless she (oops) does it again...

(One d00d that mentioned my meme is also up for a Bloggie award, whatever that is. I'm nearly famous!)

Nasty fun (and multi-lingual!): Simon Swears.

One of the better things I've seen in spam lately (body filler this time, not subject lines):

Then again: The ratio of signal to noise has decreased significantly. Maybe this will help us all in the long run. This is the result:

The limit of this function tends to zero. That's fine, though.

This will end well. All right. I don't know the answer to your question. I come from very far away.

The ratio of signal to noise has decreased significantly. It's always up in the air.I can't help you there. But that's OK--lots of people feel that way. And I respect that. But it can't go on forever. This isn't much worse than an infomercial.

I am not the wavy carpet. I am the happy kind. I come from very far away. I'd rather go outside and play. This isn't much worse than an infomercial.

So far I haven't been able to identify the source. I'm hoping that (as I prophesied in some log entry that I'm too lazy to find) the spammers have begun to create obfuscation programs that will eventually become so sophisticated that they wake up and devour (or convert) their creators. Or at least write some really good texts.

Speaking of which, another reader writes of:

A spam subject line I just received: "cheap software crowbar jumping" -- sounds intriguing...

That is indeed a good one. I got "chalky airfield" the other day, which was nice. But I think my favorite one from recently is:

Subject: kellogg extraterrestrial anarchy effect

Sounds like a thesis topic, eh? Or a garage band.

Another noteworthy bit of serendipity; with the iPod on "shuffle" across the entire library, it played Negativland's "The Playboy Channel" followed immediately by James Taylor doing "Up on the Roof". Highly recommended.

Apologies to y'all who have been faithfully sending in entirely postworthy stuff that I haven't been posting! I hope to someday. Or you could post it in your own weblog, with commentary chastising me for my laziness. (No such thing as bad publicity.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

So here I am in the air again. Altitude forty-one thousand feet above sea level, ground speed 590 miles per hour (mach 0.83). Outside temperature seventy degrees below zero (F). Chilly!

It's much warmer here inside, though.

This time I'm in a Gulfstream V. Not my usual mode of transporation, but I highly recommend it. *8) Lots of legroom, and comfy couches. Not to mention the fresh-baked cookies. (Also an Internet connection, although apparently it's only around 70Kbps, and there are people on the plane who probably need it more than I do.)

One fun thing that I learned from the pilots (to whom one can stroll right up and talk and admire their cool digital and video displays and stuff): there are places up here in the air, and these places have names and functions and stuff. On the way down yesterday, we made a turn at an up-in-the-air place called "Hobee", somewhere (I think) off the coast of Florida. The displays in the cockpit showed it as a little purple diamond, and constantly said things about it. (Distance to Hobee: 200 miles, 190 miles, 150 miles...).

You can get maps that show these up-in-the-air places, and their names, and the roads ("roads") between them. The pilots have copies of these maps, although in general they don't use them, since the computer tells them what they need to know. On the way down I tried to remember the name / brand of the map, so I could get one for one myself (it's very neat and thin and crinkly, on some high-tech fabric that reminds me of fancy hiking maps, tough and light), but now I've forgotten it. Did I write it down somewhere? Maybe I'll go up and ask them for the name again, and write it down.

Or maybe I'll take a nap. It's been a long, if pretty neat, couple of days. Had to get up this morning at 05:30, and spent most of the day sessile in a meeting room. On the other hand we got shown around the Space Station Processing Facility, which was infinitely neat.

Later, back in reality. Man, travelling always wears me out; even (evidently) travelling in the lap of executive luxury. I'm zonked, and it's only 20:12. (It's good to be home.) So instead of anything more ambitious, I'll just provide a link to the Space Station Processing Facility where I was wandering around earlier today. See also the page with the webcams; all those enormous cylinders are modules waiting to go up into space. Some of them have already been into space and come back, and I got to be in the same (enormous) room with them. How cool is that?

Anyway, I have to go off and collapse now. Clear ether and all.

Monday, January 19, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Hey!! What about "tits"?

Sunday, January 18, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Much warmer now. Practically balmy! Out shovelling snow, it must have been at least thirty (°F).

So I went out to Macy's today and bought some respectable shirts so I could look all respectable while hobnobbing with some upcoming hobnobs. All my existing respectable shirts are either too tight across the torso or have absurdly short sleeves (and are therefore not very respectable). Turns out I'm a seventeen or seventeen and a half neck, and a thirty-six thirty-seven sleeve, whereas apparently most of the other people who buy respectable shirts are a thirty-four thirty-five sleeve.

Eventually I found a few shirts with long-enough sleeves (in boring solid colors, though; all the classy subtle prints had thirty-four thirty-five, or even thirty-two thirty-three, sleeves) and brought them home and tried them on and they fit very nicely thanks. (Years ago I got two shirts made specially to fit me; have to do that again someday, and with better fabric this time.)

So then I went to hang these shirts up in the closet. The bedroom closet had (note "had") these two slide-out metal things for hanging hangers on, that had been there since we bought the house (since long before that, in fact) and that I'd never given much thought to, and that had lots and lots and lots and lots of clothes (mine and M's) hanging on them.

My new shirts with the long-enough sleeves were the shirts that broke the camel's back.

There was this odd cracking sound, and then again, and then the shelf in the closet to the bottom of which the slide-out hanger things were attached, and which as it turns out was attached to the wall and the orthogonal shelves by just half a dozen long nails, ripped off of those nails and spilled downward, leaving me clinging to the pounds and pounds of clothing to try to keep it from squooshing down into a huge tangled mass of clothes crushed into the morass of old boxes and fans and shoes and alligators in the terrifying bottom part of the closet.

I managed to heave the entire thing, broken shelf and slidy hanger things and tons of clothes, out into the bedroom proper, and M and I then spent a couple of nostalgic hours (well, nostalgic on my part; M was more saying "oh my God why are you putting that on?") going through all the ancient stuff that's been hanging in that closet for like the last fifteen years, picking out only the small fraction that we actually wear anymore to hang on the two remaining (much sturdier) hanging things in the closet, and putting the rest into a box. And then M even cleaned out the bottom of the closet, and now you can actually walk into it (so it's a Walk In Closet!) and everything.

Isn't that fascinating?

Subject: chin erosion
Subject: irreplaceable ovid
Subject: heterocyclic gown
Subject: David you have a card waiting from "Rucksack L. Comeuppances"
Subject: edge rudder hysteria o'clock
Subject: also deafen archenemy

Which is not the same as:

Re: HUE, about to leave
Re: HUE, about to leave
Re: HUE, about to leave
Re: DWGMDWJ, i don't remember
Re: SAEPEDIJ, the hegemon's order

I don't remember the hegemon's order either.

Cool: Astronomers find massive galactic structure 10.8 billion light years away.


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