blivet

I hope all the Americans had a good Memorial Day weekend and fostered some recognition of why we do this to our children. I was a little surprised at how many people (adults) I knew asked about the red poppy on my shirt that I got for contributing to the Veterans today.

OK, I’ll tone down the Manila Express entries. Its just too easy to add links this way! I miss the of bit extra thinking that takes place with multiple cutting and pasting … I’ll adjust.

John at Curmudgeon contributes his personal experience with The Lessons of a Lost Career. “College administrations do not always have academics as their first priority. (A bit tangential, but …)” and of course, that is where it gets interesting.

[have browser] Jim Roepcke is having major problems with his wisdom teeth. I’d watch out for that lower right one too! Ow! Been through that, more on the way elsewhere in the mouth.

[CNN] Rare Mars meteorite discovered in Middle East (a couple of days old but new to me)

A meteorite hunter combing the deserts of Oman found a stone thought to have originated on Mars. Of the 20,000 known meteorite discoveries, the brownish gray stone is only the 15th identified as coming from the red planet, scientists said this week. <…> The rock has chemical similarities to a Mars meteorite found in Antarctica in 1984, which some NASA researchers said exhibits fossilized signs of microscopic life.

more [CNN] Rocker Eddie Van Halen receiving cancer treatment Apparently its an experimental preventative treatment for cancer of the tongue. Man! Another guy my age battling the big C.

David Anderson at Montana News Daily writes: "James V. Smith, the editor of the Shelby Promoter, has written a fine reflection on Memorial Day. Lots of good stuff in this piece. Here’s a teaser:

We disdain reflection in others and fear it in ourselves.

We pack our lives with ferocious activity as if that will somehow give worth to living. In fact, what do we say about somebody not being busy? That he is wasting his life away.

But do not equate activity with achievement, nor reflection with idling and most importantly, do not fail to reflect on Memorial Day.”

They Write the Right Stuff: The right stuff kicks in at T-minus 31 seconds.

At T-minus 6.6 seconds, if the pressures, pumps, and temperatures are nominal, the computers give the order to light the shuttle main engines — each of the three engines firing off precisely 160 milliseconds apart, tons of super-cooled liquid fuel pouring into combustion chambers, the ship rocking on its launch pad, held to the ground only by bolts. As the main engines come to one million pounds of thrust, their exhausts tighten into blue diamonds of flame.

Then and only then at T-minus zero seconds, if the computers are satisfied that the engines are running true, they give the order to light the solid rocket boosters. In less than one second, they achieve 6.6 million pounds of thrust. And at that exact same moment, the computers give the order for the explosive bolts to blow, and 4.5 million pounds of spacecraft lifts majestically off its launch pad.

It’s an awesome display of hardware prowess. But no human pushes a button to make it happen, no astronaut jockeys a joy stick to settle the shuttle into orbit. <…> What makes it remarkable is how well the software works. This software never crashes. It never needs to be re-booted. This software is bug-free. It is perfect, as perfect as human beings have achieved. Consider these stats : the last three versions of the program — each 420,000 lines long-had just one error each. The last 11 versions of this software had a total of 17 errors. Commercial programs of equivalent complexity would have 5,000 errors.

The space program has always been a part of my life. I stayed home from school in the first grade to watch John Glenn fly the Friendship 7. I stayed up for three days in the middle of July 1969. I wept for several hours and was depressed for days after the Challenger disaster. These folks who write the software for the Shuttle are fantastic purveyors of their craft. One error. Wow. For whatever reason it reminds me of an interview I read once with Reinhold Messner. He was a high altitude climber who did his climbing solo. He soloed Everest, Denali, and a number of peaks in the Hindu Kush, as well as a lot of ice climbing (waterfalls in the winter, that sort of thing). He was asked if he made mistakes climbing solo in these extreme conditions and he replied: "I don’t think so, You only get to make one."

[Book Notes] A Happy 25th Anniversary to the Jensen’s!

[Book Notes] “I’m reading A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. I mentioned it last Friday as a title I was adding the Books as Characters project.” What a fantastic book! As a Science Fiction reader, I love that book. As an archaeologist I love it even more, not only as a reminder that the past (in this case the book’s far past is our present) should be spoken of with care, but that we can never fully imagine what ir was like then … Or as Anne McCaffery wrote in the Dragonrider series – somewhen.

[Metafilter]

Jeremy’s CyberCafe and Beer Haus is up for sale, but what’s really cool about it is that it is located just outside of Joshua Tree National Park in the Southern California desert, and they have a full T-1 line that they’re selling along with the business. Hmm…T-1 access plus nearby national park? Maybe we should take up a collection and buy it ourselves? 🙂

I couldn’t agree more! I’ve given some thought to doing CRM archaeology based out of Joshua Tree but the nagging question is “is there enough work there and in the vicinity?” Still, … a cybercafé in the Mojave desert!

I just posted that with Manila Express – This is very cool. Thanks!

[Manila Express] Earlier today Brent released Manila Express for the Macintosh. Manila Express makes it easy to add links to the home page of a Manila site (like this one) without having to go there. Brent has written a How I Did It piece to help us get set up.

Dave notes that Themes are in the pipeline, also largely due to Brent’s efforts.

Al at View From the Heart used a term in his weblog this morning that is new (to me at least) and is so self-evident I don’t understand why its not more widely used in the lexicon. EditThisPage friends. Yep…

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Hal

I am the non-admin personality of blivet tool & die I have been academically trained as a professional archaeologist (MA, RPA) and now live in Arvada, CO. Father, husband, scientist, geek of several trades, and high-functioning Autistic adult. Future planetary expatriate?