Showing posts from 2017

Solar Eclipse!

We made our way down to Kentucky and saw the solar eclipse! We did not go to Hopkinsville where there was two minutes forty seconds of totality, but we did see two minutes thirty seconds.

We got there quite early and were lucky enough to find a field that the town of Dawson Springs mowed and let us park on. It was close to the interstate and so we could make a quick retreat north afterward.
The seven foot triangular prism of cardboard is a pinhole camera that I made for a class, Computational Photography at Georgia Tech. It extends to reach 7 feet but collapses for transport or smaller images to 4 feet and a bit.

It could certainly be improved, but it was still quite fun to get all the attention of people near us. This has a few ideas on how to build one: Essentially the longer the tube the larger the projection.
Of course it was awesome to see the totality! Xkcd has a really good graph to show excitement: I…

Tolerance, Once Again

Do not tolerate intolerance, it comes from indoctrination or ignorance. My previous thoughts on tolerance: Progress Stunted, Revisiting Tolerance.

Integrated Memory and What It Means

Can we see the next thing in computing from here? I don’t mean just the next fastest processor or the next larger memory, but a true turn like smartphones were, now that we are living ex post smartus. That is the issue, will it be soft electronics? A totally new way of non-invasive interface that allows us to control the new technology that might be around the corner?
As an unpublished, except for this blog, science-fiction writer I have to say that it frustrates me at the same time it intrigues me. I have written stories about nanotechnology, others about genetics, especially AI, as well as space travel and the differences it may make in our lives, or how it might not be as drastic as we all hope or fear.
So let’s start with a simple, but gargantuan advance: Integrated memory. IEEE reported on a new technology that Intel is releasing soon. It is basically the RAM of the computer integrated into Non-Volatile Memory. Or to put it simply, the entire state of the computer could be saved in…

The Odd Case of Charity Lending

I would ask what hole you are living in if you don’t know what micro-lending is, except you may see, soon, that I would like to join you. Basically micro-lending is set up like a charity where you give money to someone, but you know who it is, what they are trying to do, and you expect them to pay you back. This is so you can lend again, and again.
Let’s take Kiva for example: It has funders, like me, who put in $25 per person to fund an enterprise (farmer, banker, mechanic, store owner, etc.) Kiva takes this money and forward it to in-field institution, Field Partner, who is responsible for distribution and collection. The debtor pays this loan back and you get a portion back until the entire loan is paid. If you have multiple “investments” in your “portfolio” then you may get the $25 to relend sooner and be able to add to your portfolio.
This is great for a few reasons: you are getting capital investment to parts of the world that want to make things better and you have a tenuous but …

Another Attempt

Or, I got really self-righteous writing an attempt at this post, or at least righteous.
So what am I doing now without two classes to keep up with? First, my wife is really happy that I am contributing more to chores. It is amazing how much she likes that, even with understanding just how much work school is. So if I don’t kill myself trying to do two classes maybe I can keep up more than just a token effort on chores.
And speaking of helping I was able to get her research back on track after five minutes of fiddling with the configuration files. It is nice that she can bother me without feeling guilty.
I really want to go fencing. This time for sure, no stopping me, we have all the gear.
More outdoor exercise, oh wait it dumped snow on us last week, just the walk to work was a workout. But the wife and I built a giant snow monster:
More birdwatching. Birds are coming to town! But it snowed and we’ve had some of the coldest weather of all winter. I am afraid that March regressed toward th…

Dust - Expedition

“Whoa! She crumbled” Jared stared down. 

Of course he had to touch it, Elena thought, men can’t appreciate anything they can’t touch. “Didn’t I say something about not touching anything.” 

“I didn’t.” That sounded a bit plaintive even for him. “I just wanted to look at something on her skin.”
It was a good thing that her eye roll didn’t add a chorus to her already restrained sigh. She shook her head and walked back out of the house on the outskirts of a town that must be abandoned. Nothing moved, not even a breeze. Elena was glad that she had photographic evidence before Jared breathed it out of existence. “Come on, and try not to stare too closely at the art next time, however weird that it was in a tub.” 

Elena didn’t understand the grumbled reply, and frankly didn’t want to make a big deal of it. They were already tight on their schedule, so many new places to go with a new satellite making its way across the surface of the Sphere, they had five hours allocated to explore this town an…

Blogger and CSS

My wonderful audience may have noticed a few swaps in my blogger theme, something is really broken on my posts with spacing between paragraphs. Since I can't use tabs without tabbing out of the editing interface I use an extra line between paragraphs, pretty standard for lots of internet content these days. However, blogger's new "improved" themes broke this for many of my old posts.

I tried to edit '.post-body' css but it seems that I will have to back through by hand and edit the html, per post. I really don't want to spend the time migrating to WordPress, but it is looking even more likely now. I was hoping to do more writing and save my developing time for more fun side projects.

Phyton: Episode 5 - First Report

Previous Episode

Airports on the receiving end were just as nightmarish as the sending end these days, Al thought as he pulled his suitcase from an old fashioned belt.  Anyone could grab luggage if they wanted to. The security was terrible too. So many uniforms jostling to look closely at you, your bags, and a suspicious mustard stain if you had the misfortune of spilling lunch.
Back before the purge the entities had monitored from afar with others delivering your luggage directly to you, no mess and fuss of people crowding the belt. Now the security gap left by the entities felt unfillable, all of the personnel seemed frustrated by the number of people milling around and the occasional raised voices of people arguing over similar luggage or trying to convey just how important their lost luggage was to a harried worker.
Al found Jeff already in the crowd as he trundled his decidedly unresponsive luggage away from the chaos.
“You got yours, well that gives me hope. I’ll see you at our firs…

On Why Quitting is Terrible Failing

Many failures may precede success, but failing within an institution is just failing.

I am trying to suss out what is an acceptable level of failure. I grew up with the idea that failing at anything was bad: school, piano, that stupid cake-walk back in cub scouts, and many other venues. I’ll just say that I was so upset at the cake-walk they gave me some consolation pie. But back to the point: failure was unacceptable and very upsetting.

School was and is the prime place of failure being unacceptable. In some ways I envy the kids that don’t care when they fail, but in many others I don’t, since I would be very surprised if they are more successful than myself. Though I am certainly not a paragon of success, just very comfortable.

What does failing lead to within school as an institution? Retaking a grade at the worst save dropping out. I never failed in primary or secondary with my worst grade a C. This kept me from having a free ride through UW. The only fear of failure ever was on spec…

Short Story: Dreams with no Prophecy

“How did we start talking about Joey?” My brother frowned. It was a bit weird I admit.
“Because we were talking about people we know, or knew.” I tried to adjust the flimsy plastic armor plate biting into my shoulder.
“Yeah, but she was a cat.” He leaned back against the netting of the seat and fiddled with the straps, some derision in his tone.
“My favorite.”
He chuckled and shook his head. I just smiled ruefully. A few more pallets arrived on an autonomous lift and were placed in the center of the hold. Neither my brother or I moved as the privates and corporals secured them. That felt weird too, but then we would have been in the way.
I continued, “I think it’s because she lived a long, full life.”
“Yeah, all 19 years. But do you really think so? You always could ‘reason’ your way through anything.” He focused on the tie-downs as the squad finished their work.
I felt a bit defensive, but took a breath before answering. “I was going to say that it really helped me.” I forced a laugh, “But …

Mostly Up, Some Down

This week has been a rollercoaster ride emotionally with school. I just finished the 4th project of 8 for my computer vision course, all about calibrated and un-calibrated stereo vision matrices. Fun stuff. I also got back a terrible grade from the other class, pretty sure that I have to get straight A’s the rest of the semester to get a B. I feel responsible, and between the problem of too many people in the class and the course instructor shooting down my plea to grade the part that we forgot, I almost quit.
I really need to talk to people about if this whole master’s is worth it for my career. Or would I be better off writing and living more?
I have been writing, not as much as I should nor in a great place (read: procrastination.) I have been working on the novel that I wrote 50k words for NaNoWriMo in 2015, mostly going through my wife’s comments and trying to make it read a bit better. The nice thing about waiting so long is that I can really have a critical eye. Nothing is spared…

End of Week 5 2017

Already a month into 2017. A glorious future where everyone is happy, or: Everyone is quite happy to be unhappy if given the choice. I really don’t know what to say that won’t enrage you, I would really love to say that no one has anything to worry about from the new way things are, but that isn’t true. However, it is really hard to believe anything, even if my initial reaction is rage my immediate follow-up is skepticism.
That is the way democracy falls, or even republics if you want to avoid anything with the letters “dem” in it. The more we can be convinced to be unreasonably outraged or not care is a win. The first is easy to crackdown on, and the second just lets them do whatever they want. Try to take a second when something strikes you as outrageous. Let the sweet feeling of indignation die down and try to get some corroboration rather than just believing anything you see.
In less divisive ideas: I am nearly a month into two courses. It is quite a bit of work, but I am enjoying m…

Phyton: Episode 4

**Previous Episode or First Episode**
Jeff sat down next to him and pulled out a stack of papers, of course they were all blank to Al, but he saw the glasses peeking out of Jeffs shirt pocket. “Aren’t you worried that even knowing that there is alot more information on this case might bias my ‘expert analysis’?”

“I hadn’t thought of it that way.” Jeff’s realization and maybe a bit of consternation showed. “But surely knowing that you could be biased would cancel that out, right?”

“I’m not a psychologist, but I already suspected that the agency wasn’t sharing all it knew,” Al shrugged, “Seems to be standard practice.”

“This is the first time I’ve been on a case like this. Have you seen it before?”

“Yes, back during the GMO ban, they used the same tech for documents back when I was part of a team investigating the relevance of the ban. They must have squirreled away a warehouse full of that paper so they could go back to after the secure entity tablets were removed from service.”

“Someone had…