had a strange interview yesterday. the electrical & mechanical department asked me to come in and give them a demo of how i teach, so maybe they want me to teach Statics in the spring. this was strange because i have taught Statics several times already for the "other" department.

so i did a 30 minute mock lecture for them, acting as if they were 19 year old students. .... too strange i thought, but i did well.

then the department head starts yakking with me on and on.... asks me what i am doing these days.... i say i'm retired.... he smiles and nods.

i start to pack up and he says.... "how would you feel if we offered you a one year contract to teach full time in 2008 Spring and Fall".

i smiled ..... he seemed pretty happy.... said he'd run it by the acredidation board (i don't have a PhD, but maybe 2 MS's, a PE license and 40 years out in the real world might be equivalent to 3 years in grad school)..... they need a week or two to decide.


on the TV news .... a laptop was stolen in Boston. it belonged to a PhD candidate who was working on her project for 4 years, and it was on her laptop.

well .... okay, the laptop's a loss.... get another one, load your project files from your backup CD's and move on with life ..... right?

uhmmm ....she said.... backup CD's ? .... uhmmmm.... backup CD's ?

new saw....


in the diagram below, i show 2 people carrying a (very heavy) washing machine up a flight of steep basement stairs..... with vectors indicating the downward force of the weight plus the overturning moment tending to rotate the washer clockwise in the plane of the diagram.

based on the forces shown ....and treating this as a simple STATICS problem..... which lifter would you say is closer to death ?

follow up question: as the washer yields to the forces shown and begins to rotate clockwise, the lifter on the top side grabs the top of the washer and tries to stop it, but this is physically impossible (for reasons beyond the scope of this discussion). at that point, the topside lifter joins with the washer and both of them begin tumbling down the stairs, and the problem moves from Statics into the realm of DYNAMICS.

calculate the time (in micro-seconds) that the lower person has to live.


The 5th of November

Remember, remember the 5th of November.
The "Gunpowder Treason" and plot.
I know of no reason the "Gunpowder Treason" should ever be forgot.

the roses don't get it ..... it's November... but they are still popping up. the other bushes are turning color and making berries for the birds, but the roses won't quit.

but i still buried their bases today to survive the coming cold weather.


i couldn't help myself.... Amazon made me do it....

  • "Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah - Giant Monsters All-Out Attack"
  • "The Blob"
  • "Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla / Godzilla vs. Destoroyah"
  • "Godzilla - Tokyo S.O.S."

nov09 nov09 nov09

This old photograph shows Godzilla's first attack on Tokyo (1954). Clearly it proves that Godzilla cannot possibly be an actor in a costume. The tower on the right is 450 feet tall, so Godzilla is about 350 feet tall ... much taller than any actor.


i had no idea what DRM is.... but unfortunately now i am beginning to understand..... see mike's explanation.

all the stuff that used to be science fiction ... about the big powers crushing the rights of people.... is sadly the reality of today.


did a major behind-the-scenes hack of tikmark awkscripts page which was a secret disaster..... setting up to load up a bunch of scripts.

figured out how to lock up a page very nicely using javascript ... it can be beaten, but not by a novice..... will use it to semi-secure pages and keep the amateurs out. the stumbling block was how to write a secure javascript when the reader has scripts turned off.... a puzzlement that kept me busy for a few hours. my brother cracked my first lock-up attempt in 2 seconds .... however his solution was unacceptably simplistic and doesn't count because he is not a computer wiz.

mike and chris were at a funeral this weekend .... a friend's dad died in a hunting accident ... word is he fell out of a tree-stand... yet another reminder that we are all mortal.... very sad.... he was pretty young too.



spent the day re-hashing tikmark website for awk and tcl ... glad it's over ... i ended up bored.... hoping to look at it tomorrow and say "wow that's cool !".

cold and lonely day today.... deb's working .... so i'm cooking bread and potatoes and soup tonight... that should help.

started to write my memoirs..... but i can't remember what happened .... [/joke]

mike, chris and andrea are coming for thanksgiving dinner .... that is perfect, and i am looking forward to it.... try to get at least one exotic food thing on the table.... we'll see..


from the new yorker .....
....sigh .....

keeping in mind that i retired from GE 9 years ago, i still get e-mails from them reminding me of various behavioral (sp?) issues .... i got this one today, explaining how i should record my time next week...

Due to the Thanksgiving holidays next week, all EED Kronos timecards for FW 46 are required to be approved by this Friday afternoon, Nov. 16th, 2007 @ 6:00 p.m. unless employees are required to work during the weekend.

If you are required to work over the weekend, you should make prior arrangements with your manager to have your timecard approved no later than Sunday afternoon, Nov 18, 2007 @ 5:00 P.M....

EED time and attendance files are due to Corp Payroll earlier than our normal schedule due to the holidays.

Thank you very much for your attention and cooperation...


finished rework of tikmark website. cleaned up all the Tcl/awk pages and sent request to the open directory project to catalog the site..... let's see if they do that. this project will go on forever, but thats good.

then spent hours preparing a radiation and free convection lecture for tomorrow's class .... too boring

realized that i have 2 godzilla movies i havent watched yet!!! how did that happen?



went to Jim and Marcie's "gas turbine reunion" party last night, and it was much fun. John, Lynn, Mike, Liz, Mike, MaryEllen, Debbie and me.

J&M's kids are beautiful.... the little girl (Haley) is so friendly, everyone fell in love with her.... the little boy (Dylan) was busy in the other room with "the big kids". Haley went around the room trying on everyone's eyeglasses and making sure that everyone smiled when she put them on. I can predict a charmed life for her.

my to-do list

  • breakfast with mike
  • food shop for thanksgiving
  • add many comments to awkscripts
  • get some wood indoors for fireplace
  • get fish to johns pond
  • start my christmas list (which i will post here for Santa)
  • bury last 4 rose bushes
  • get plans for a blanket chest for the basement.... and make it
  • get last of leaves bagged
  • photo and catalog my camera collection
  • check out the asus eeecp

4:00PM .... mike skipped out breakfast (so i finished off a chicken burrito i took home from slattery's)..... i turned on the self-cleaning oven, and then checked out the asus eeepc (no command line ????) .... due dates for the other milestone tasks have stretched out to a more realistic timeline.


the average car sold in the US today gets 20 mpg, which is less than the Model T ford got, 99 years ago.

recall the debacle / ripoff scheme with the airline charge card that i tried to cancel and continued to get billed. as a last resort, so my credit would not be ruined, last month i sent them the $15 they demanded and i threatened to call the attorney generals office if i got another bill from them. they sent 3 letters (letter 1) please use the correct address when you send us a payment !!! (letter 2) thank you for the $15 payment on your charge card (letter 3) your account was overpaid by $15, please accept the enclosed reimbursement check for $15.

then today the VISA bill came in and among the 6 pages of charged items, i see "netflix"...... netflix?... netflix? .... i cancelled that 6 months ago and have not rented a movie from them in a year.

i am ready Lord .... send down that chariot and take me home.

Nov.20.2007.... First Snowflurries Have Landed


one of my favorite puzzle games as a kid was the 15-puzzle game (we called it slide the numbers). it was fun and brain stimulating. .... then some geniuses felt the need to explain it, as follows....

png The n-puzzle is a classical problem for modelling algorithms involving heuristics. Commonly used heuristics for this problem include counting the number of misplaced tiles and finding the sum of the Manhattan distances between each block and its position in the goal configuration. Note that both are admissible, i.e., they never overestimate the number of moves left, which ensures optimality for certain search algorithms such as A*.

A simple parity argument shows that half of the starting positions for the n-puzzle are impossible to resolve, no matter how many moves are made. This is done by considering a function of the tile configuration that is invariant under any valid move, and then using this to partition the space of all possible labeled states into two equivalence classes of reachable and unreachable states.

well .... putting mathematical insanities aside for a moment, i just bought a cute wooden version of this game.... it is even more fun than i remembered.... unsolvable algorythms included.

footnote: if the 15 numbers are scrambled simply by shuffling them out of order (that is, without lifting them out of the frame and switching them) the puzzle is always solvable. this is known as dave's 3rd theorem.


Thanksgiving night .... mike, chris and andrea had dinner with us today.... deb cooked turkey breast and ham, potatoes and sweet potatoes and andrea brought apple pie (did i mention how much i love apple pie?) and chris brought brownies which i never got to for lack of belly space.

postscript: the brownies are supreme.

it was a wonderfully personal and memorable day and we loved it and solved most of the world's problems across the table after dinner.

we signed up for Christmas eve dinner, but i promise to have a real fire going that night.

deb's in bed (must be at work at 5:00AM tomorrow !!) .... i am heading for the TV.

pressed the leica against the living room window and took this shot .... say goodnight now...


from the new yorker .....
png png


Started a new page devoted to my camera collection.... the details will go on for years to come ....




deb had the sweet potato pancakes, i went for the greek omlette.... we were both happy and are ready to go back.... it's on daniel webster highway, 1/2 mile south of the mall. they are not big on signs, so watch for it .... its on the west side of the street.

then we malled for 2 hours .... i got a scarf and coffee mug ..... deb bought Macy's.


Technology "off the grid" (inspired by a recent e-mail from mike ...)

This is the latest green-Earth, bleeding edge of high-tech computational excellence ....


  • cheap (under $200), high-powered number crunching
  • market value increases with age !!!
  • zero power consumption / no batteries required
  • extremely rugged, quiet and portable
  • may be used anytime on any airline flight in any hotel room
  • built-in functions: Xn, 1/X, all trig(X), ln(X), log(X), eX
  • no virus threats
  • no spam
  • no pop-up windows
  • no mandatory updates
  • never obsolete
  • very cool leather case with belt loop is attractive to opposite sex (that is ... people who oppose sex !! )