The venerable cformII plugin has been retired as it’s not supported any more, and spam bots started pinging my mailbox.
I’m hoping the that the shiny new contact form plugin works well.
I’ve been blessed with a full head of thick hair and decided to share that blessing with others. Today I had my pony tail cut off, harvesting approximately 13 inches for donating to charity. It will be used in making wigs for children with hair loss due to cancer or other conditions.
I was never really thrilled with the WordPress plugins that use <pre>…</pre> for delimiting code, because of bad mojo between the WordPress editor and <pre>, specifically when the two meet the lowly < character. (Specifically, code can disappear without warning.) I detest having to tip-toe around software; humans shouldn’t have to bend to the code.
I’ve installed SyntaxHighlighter Evolved, which uses the  notation, and doesn’t care how < is encoded.
Quick documentation can be found on WordPress’ Posting Source Code.
Jay’s Astronomical Observing Blog has some excellent instructions on how to get to the Wolf Creek site.
Sometimes you just need a quick one or two sheets of a specific type of graph paper.
A site called, well, Print Free Graph Paper has a nice selection of basics here.
Maybe not “ever” but very cute. This image has been floating around the Net.
I’ll be playing around with changing themes and so forth. I like the previous one, but it’s a bit of a pain to use and doesn’t always display right to boot. Thus I’m giving it the boot.
The question was posed, “Would someone please explain further why time slows as speed increases?”
As an exercise, I make an imperfect attempt to explain.
This is an anal break down of a simple, everyday event.
If I throw a baseball back and forth with a friend, the ball goes between us with a certain speed.
Those things are obvious, and pointing them out anal. I get that.
Let’s change the situation slightly, and add motion.
If we get inside a big cargo airplane and it flies through the air, we can still play catch. The ball goes back and forth with the same speed between us as when we were on the ground.
Looking at it from the ground, the total speed of the ball changes because the moving airplane has to be taken into account. When the ball goes forward, it is going a little faster than the airplane. When the ball goes backward, it is going a little slower than the airplane.
In this situation, when we look at speed, distance traveled, and time…
The important part is that two things are fixed (distance, time) and one has to flex (speed).
Here’s a kink in the picture.
If my friend and I could throw light back and forth like we could a baseball, things would work differently. No matter the situation, light in space travels the same speed. This screws things up.
If we got on a space ship and sped up to tens of millions of miles per hour (seriously you have to go that fast), the effect can be seen. Here’s what happens:
|Throwing a baseball on an airplane:||Throwing light on a space ship:|
|The distance traveled by the is fixed. LA to NY on the airplane.||The distance traveled is fixed, star A to star B.|
|The speed of the ball is changing as it goes back and forth. It’s a little faster going forward, and a little slower going backwards.||Light’s speed is fixed in space. Nature’s a bugger about that.|
|Time is fixed; a second is a second.||Time is … ?|
The only part not nailed down is time. The amount of time to travel back and forth has to flex.
The effect is only seen at insane speeds, at tens of millions of miles per hour. If you’re not going that fast, the effect is so tiny Mother Nature doesn’t notice or care. In other words, time is fixed; a second is a second.
Her expedition goes the insane speeds, so time flexes for her. From her perspective only a short time has passed.
She is depressed by the fact that for her boyfriend, time has not flexed, and nine years have passed for him. She laments,
I want to be hit by the rain, I want to go to a convenience store and eat ice cream together… Noboru… Noboru, who’s become 24 years old! I am the 15 year old Mikako
Patrick Henry put forth resolutions to put Virginia “into a posture of defense…embodying, arming, and disciplining such a number of men as may be sufficient for that purpose.” Before the vote he delivered the following impassioned speech without notes. The resolution passed narrowly, putting Virginia into the cross hairs of Parliament.
23 March 1775
No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope that it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen, if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.
This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty towards the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?
For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth — to know the worst and to provide for it. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House?
Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with these warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation — the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motives for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies?
No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer on the subject? Nothing.
We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer.
Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.
Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope.
If we wish to be free — if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending — if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!
They tell us, sir, that we are weak — unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?
Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable — and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, “Peace! Peace!” — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!
The following is a lightly trimmed version of an e-mail I sent back in 2006.
I was rather surprised that my 5 year-old daughter came in near the beginning and watched the whole two hours with me. She asked a lot of questions: who are the people, what are they doing, why… and added even more commentary of her own as she told me the story. This naturally led to talking in simple terms about WWII. It was one of those precious events that couldn’t be captured other than in my mind.
Here are a few main points about WWII (and the movie) through the eyes of a five-year old.
I don’t know that I could come up with a better summary with so few words.