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Timmerov's Blog
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
g's school had a science fair. i don't expect much from 3rd and 4th graders. but it still saddens me that folks don't know how an airplane wing produces lift. two kids presented this topic. one got things more wrong than the other. newton's third law: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. the reaction is the wing being pushed up. but what's the action? this is the question the kids couldn't answer. it's the air being pushed down. so the next question is how does the wing do it? the answer can be demonstrated at a sink. turn on the faucet so you have a nice laminar flow. touch it with your finger tip. the water follows your finger and is deflected towards your hand. the action. the equal and opposite reaction is your finger being pulled towards the water. same thing happens with air across a wing. the air sticks to the surface of the wing and is deflected down. the reaction pushes the wing up. simple, no?
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
given a 3x3 grid. fill it with the digits 1 through 9. the digit in each square must be larger than the digit in the square above it and to its left. how many different ways are there to fill the grid?
Monday, March 29, 2010
  re-lent-less dieting
i haven't mentioned my diet in a while. i dropped 12 pounds in 2 months. then i kinda went off it for a month. i haven't gained any weight back. which is really good. my stomach is definitely smaller. i feel quite full after what would have been a normal sized meal last year. i still feel pretty pudgy. so i'll go back on the diet. after easter. gotta get my chocolate. yum! heh. so basically. i gave up dieting for lent.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
i had to install drivers for the plug and play keyboard i plugged in to my new vista box. wtf? what part of *plug*and*play* doesn't make sense to you? sheehs. if microsoft was an ethical company they'd mandate free upgrades from vista to win7. heh. if they were ethical. i am such a funny guy. bills gates is gonna be so rich.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
lotta people have this delusion that never backing down makes you strong. in reality, it means you continually run headlong into brick walls. no compromise, is the battle cry. sheehs. study game theory. it's a losing strategy. if your opponents cooperate and you don't, you lose. sheehs. study religion. love your enemy. turn the other cheek. those aren't just sound bites to be pulled out on sundays when you're safely surrounded by your warm friendly congregation. that's easy. it's lazy. go share the glory of the lord. kill them with kindness. get stuff done. plain and simple, in case you haven't actually been paying attention in church, it really is what god wants you to do.
Friday, March 26, 2010
  are you sure?
windows and windows apps don't trust me. they put up a large number of dialog boxes. are you sure you want to do the thing you just told me to do? yes yes yes and for the umpteenth time yes. sheehs. stupid fucking computer. people are so conditioned to push yes that they don't pay any attention to what it's actually doing. i bet most folks don't even read the things any more. do you agree to the terms and conditions of our malware? yes yes yes.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
when is a pointer not a pointer? when it's created by microsoft. it's true. directx CreateTexture returns a pointer. it works just fine as a pointer to a c++ class. ie you can call all of the class's methods. but if you try to look at the fields in the debugger they're all goofed up. you can create your own pointer to a derived c++ class. and you can use it happily anywhere you wish. except in UpdateTexture. it checks to make sure its pointers are magic mushroom microsoft pointers. otherwise it doesn't even try. weird.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
little league season started of yesterday. b and g are on the same team. which is kinda odd cause they're three years apart. g is too good for farm. and there's only one major team this year so b didn't get pulled up. we should enjoy it. last years they've needed to be in two places at the same time every day. they're both catchers. b looks so much like a catcher it's crazy. we have the classic problem. gotta get the kids to swing the bat.
Monday, March 22, 2010
  hcr predictions
my predictions for what health care reform. the actual honest to goodness quality of health care won't change a bit. the *perceived* quality of health care will plummet. why? change is opportunity to make money. perceived quality is the lever health care providers have available. they're going to convince you your health care now sucks. you're going to bitch and moan to your congressmen. and they're going to go turn to the health care providers for fixes. and they're gonna say give us more money. they're gonna be so rich.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
i don't like doctors. well, they're wonderful people. but man. imagine this. i drag you into my salesroom against your will and threaten you with death if you don't buy my product. if this was legal i'd be so rich. sounds absurd. but that's exactly what happened to the beautiful and talented alisa. she was taken to the emergency room where the doctor got all in my face that if she didn't have a cat scan immediately she was going to die. and i was a shitty husband for even thinking about declining this medical procedure. damn the cost! your wife's gonna die! i politely informed her that i don't make decisions based on emotions. i make rational well-informed decisions. i asked her how much the cat scan cost. she didn't know. i asked how long it would take. she said 10 minutes. i didn't believe her. i asked her who was going to pay for it? she said insurance. mine or yours? blink blink. yours of course. why? she was injured while undergoing a medical procedure here at your hospital. you brought her here against her wishes. it seems really unethical to charge a person for injuries caused by you. you really don't want me to call a personal injury lawyer. sheehs. the doctor was behaving exactly like a salesperson trying to sell me a product i neither want nor need. so we left ama. partly because i needed information and wasn't going to get it at the er. we didn't return. miraculously to some but not surprising me in the least, alisa got better as soon as we got home.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
  gym power
the gym was dark today. the power was out. no big deal, right? all the machines are people powered. that's sort of the point. the machine room has nice skylights. so it was reasonably well lit. the problem was the bathrooms were dark. having no windows. for obvious reasons. the first exercise i did i call back-ups. it puts a lot of pressure on my lower abdomen. and reminded me i needed to pee. but it was dark. and well really i didn't need to pee that badly. anywho, power wasn't back on when i finished. so i didn't check my weight. uh... 185! only 7 more pounds to go before i'm officially not overweight. wee. i'm gonna be so skinny.
Friday, March 19, 2010
there are two basic decision making strategies. you can maximize the chances of the best possible outcome. or you can minimize the chances of the worst possible outcome. in a trivial game with two outcomes, win/lose, the strategies are equivalent. things get a lot more interesting when there are three possibilities, win/lose/draw. the classic illustration goes like this: your navy can go around an island to the east or to the west. if you go west you will lose yo-many ships. if you go east it depends on the weather. if the skies are clear the enemy will easily find your ships and sink them. if it's cloudy the enemy will have trouble finding them and sink fewer. if you follow the max-best strategy you go east and hope for cloudy skies. on the other hand, the min-worst strategy is to go west. it'd be nice to say one of these strategies is always better than the other. but it's not. it totally depends on what's at stake. i'm a big fan of min-worst. i only go with max-best when the worst case isn't significantly different from the draw case. heh. which i guess is pretty much never. i don't even buy lottery tickets where the worst case is i'm out $1. heh, i'm a true conservative.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
  nice drivers
i hate "nice" drivers. this happens often when i'm riding to/from school with one of the boys. the driver will see us waiting at a corner to cross the street. and they'll go slower and slower and slower. eventually they'll stop and wave us through. i get mad and yell at them. don't fucking make me wait, dickhead. you're holding up traffic. it's your turn to go, so frikken go. you're not being nice. you're being irritating. you're making me wait. i don't want to wait for you to be nice. i want you to get the fuck out of my way. if you had gone when it was your frikken turn i'd be across the street already. fucking morons. sheehs. course that's what i'd *like* to say. what i actually say involves a lot more gesticulation and much less profanity.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
  snow alarm
grandpa has a house in truckee. we stay there when we go skiing. he's kinda old and his hearing is even worse than mine. the smoke alarm in our room was malfunctioning. weeep! twenty minutes later. weeep! eventually i had had enough. but it was the middle of the night after 8 hours in a car cause of idiots who can't drive in a snow storm. i hadn't acclimated to the altitude yet. and this damn thing wouldn't let me sleep. i'm not quite tall enough to pull it off the ceiling. so i stood there in the dark looking at the source of my troubles just out of reach. powerless. a voice speaks from the dark. i know that voice. it is a good voice. there's a rocking chair in the hallway covered in stuff. i'm glad the voice told me the chair was covered in stuff. i wouldn't have been able to find it in the dark feeling pathetic. standing on the rocking chair i could unplug the hateful device. i sorta wished the voice had told me to get a chair that didn't rock. no matter. i must obey the voice. weep! huh? oh. it's got a battery. i removed that and oh bed looked oh so good. i could go cuddle with the warm soft source of that wonderful voice. weeep! what the hell? i picked up the hateful thing. and contemplated smashing it. but was afraid i'd release the demonic life force that possessed it unto the world. take it downstairs, said the voice. so i did. i opened the front door and pitched it into the snow. thumpity thump. let it wake the snowmen.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
here's doctor timmer's treatment for a sprained ankle. tape it up immobile if you have to use it in an uncontrollable fashion, like say, for a football basketball game, wrestling match, or track meet. you want to keep the injury from getting worse. if possible, shortly after the injury alternate 5 minutes of ice and 5 minutes of light activity. then do light activity until it heals. what happens is your body did some motion that damaged connective tissue. veins close immediately to stop any bleeding. arteries stay open to get the immune system and repair crews to the injury. more stuff goes in than comes out. swelling occurs. the ice closes the arteries. repairs can begin. however, nothing goes out. the light activity opens both veins and arteries. allowing all the debris and garbage to go out. unfortunately, it also dislodges the repair cells. which is why you alternate ice and light activity. stop using ice when the swelling is minimal. the light activity does two things. as i've already mentioned it pumps good in and bad out. it also sends the brain a pain signal when the body starts to repeat the motion that caused the initial injury. your lizard brain learns a reflex to not let the body do that. cause it hurts. which will be a very useful thing the next time you're in a potential injury situation. the reflex kicks in and makes the body react before the damage is done.
Monday, March 15, 2010
  costa rica
should we go to costa rica for health care? or should we bring their health care system here? let's see. costa ricans are healthier than americans. and they spend half as much on health care. seems pretty good. there is the public tier and the private tier. the complaint about the public tier is that services take a long time to get. course that's really a good thing. the consumers and providers focus on ounces of prevention. instead of pounds of cure like our system. so let's suppose we wanted to do what they do. what would we have to do? well, we'd have to get rid of our high fat diet, our high sodium diet, our high refined sugar diet, our sedentary lifestyle, our ability to opt out, and our ability to sue our doctors. until we do that, quibbling about who pays and who gets what is pretty much irrelevant. except to the folks who make their fortunes selling health care.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
i've been skipping the skiing trips. 10 hours or more in a car for half a day of skiing. hrm. not a good deal. do get to stop and visit joe and mary's. so it's not so bad. and grandpa has the internet. anywho, i expect my children to be better than me at stuff as age takes its toll on me and they approach their prime. i figured i had another 3 years or so. but man. i had no idea b could ski like that. he dragged my out of shape butt down some steep stuff with huge junk piles of heavy fresh stuff. he described skiing with me as a lot like standing around looking at scenery. if you miss the humor of that statement, ask the beautiful and talented alisa.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
  wells fargo 2
sigh. the telemarketers calling on behalf of wells fargo returned with a vengeance. they called twice yesterday and three times today. each time i told them to put me on their do-not-call list. with less courtesy each time. i work from home because i need to focus on what i'm doing without outside distractions. like finger rockets whizzing past my head. the last time (so far) that they called i was deep in the tank working on understanding a particularly difficult problem. ring ring. sigh. hello. /begins spiel/. you had better not be wells fargo. actually i'm calling on behalf of wells fargo. do you know you've called here three times today and twice yesterday? have you requested to be on our do-not-call list? every single time. oh i'm so sorry about that. would you like to hear about the great new plan wells fargo has to offer? at which point, i lost it. though i'm sure with behavior like theirs they must be quite familiar with profanity laced tirades at scream volume. i finished by slamming the phone down on the desk so hard i broke it. the phone. not the desk. the desk is nigh invulnerable. then i called wells fargo.
Friday, March 12, 2010
we go out to dinner as a family once a week. g loves california rolls rolled in tobiko. so we get sushi fairly often. we've had some adventures with wasabi. like the time joe popped a hunk into mira's mouth. she tried to scrub her tongue clean with her hands. was simultaneously mean and cute. or the time g scooped up a finger-full of the stuff and popped it into his mouth. his eyes got real big and he lunged for the water glass. or the time b carefully split open an edamame pod and filled it with wasabi so his poor unsuspecting dad got a mouthful of wow. yep. good times.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
i happened to be walking down the hall when the furnace came on. it was a really nice day. so i decided to save the gas and the electricity. and i happened to be right next to the control. except i couldn't shut it off. i turned down the temperature settings. i flicked the hard switches to off. furnace kept on going. i felt like i was in a toyota. perhaps that's what made me mad. i opened the door to the furnace closet and flicked off the power switch. there. the human wins. stupid fucking machine. there might be a good reason for the furnace to want to finish its cycle once it starts. but jeebus farking christ. machines should *never* ignore a human's command to stop. what if it was on fire? or killing someone? sheehs. you wouldn't put up with that behavior from your toaster, tv, computer, or car. it's the second law of robotics for crying out loud.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
continuing from yesterday... when science studies something new, the reaction to the first such studies is skepticism. ie that can't possibly be right. that's gotta be some sort of outlier. so more studies are done. and a fuzzy picture starts to emerge. now the scientists are thinking, huh how 'bout that? things get fun when the results are unpopular. take asbestos for example. though i could have picked smoking, global warming, red dye #5, hiv, vaccines, gm crops, court cases, racism, etc. anywho, people make money selling asbestos as insulation. they have a financial motivation to deny this emerging science. which is a losing strategy. eventually. the best they can do is delay the inevitable. a very effective strategy is to focus on the outliers. and make sure they get way way more attention than they deserve. the media is especially bad in this regard. they don't get paid to report boring consensus. controversy is newsworthy. even if it's manufactured. sigh. eventually that haystack becomes a mountain that can't be ignored. which is good. unfortunately, a whole lot of damage can be done during the haystack period.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
  science bets
people have this idea that science is pure and 100% reproducible. well, it's not. it's a messy business of taking measurements. every measurement has some variation to it. some of the errors are from the observer, jitter, quantum mechanics, inherent in the system, and literally more sources than i can list in this tiny post. so scientists take many measurements to come up with a best guess average. however, that average is pretty useless in a scientific sense unless you know two other things: the error bar and the confidence level. if you repeat my experiment you'll get a result that's within 1% of my result 95% of the time. which means that 5% of the time someone's gonna get an outlier result that doesn't conform to my results. that's okay. that's the way things work. it's part of doing science. a graph of the results sorta looks like a haystack. the outliers are those "needles" away from the main pile. you can think of it as making a bet. you can bet on the outliers for religious/political reasons if you want. but i'm gonna be so rich.
Monday, March 08, 2010
senator bunning took a lot of heat for blocking the extension of unemployment benefits. yeah, i have a lot of trouble going along with that criticizism. first, it's to pay people to not work. second, the bill is not funded by raising taxes or cutting other programs. we need more senators like that. unfortunately, he caved under pressure. bummer.
Sunday, March 07, 2010
  zen slope
we were standing at the top of a snow covered mountain about to fling ourselves downhill at breakneck speed. it was lovely out. there was a sign warning us that marked and unmarked obstacles may exist. oh. ohm. yes, of course. it's a very existential statement. on the descent, i noticed an unmarked obstacle. i wondered if it existed. later, i noticed a marked obstacle. i wondered if it existed. i felt a strange compulsion to find out. at full speed. obstacles that don't exist can be passed through without consequence. the lift approached before i crossed over into pure zen. to this day i still don't know whether that was fortunate or unfortunate.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
the other day i walked into my office. the beautiful and talented alisa was sitting at my computer. her eyes brimming with tears. i knew immediately that something was wrong. she said, it's so sad. i looked at the screen. this page was open. i smiled and tried to sound reassuring. yeah, that's one of my favorites too. she said, didn't anyone tell him he wasn't going to come home?
Friday, March 05, 2010
this is another of my world famous public service posts. i use thunderbird as my e-mail program of choice on both mac and pc. it works. and it isn't made by microsoft. but one day things went all wrong. it would hang downloading the inbox. wtf? it worked great yesterday. persistent prayers to google eventually turned up the problem. it was hanging on one particular message. fortunately, i could use a web browser to get my emails. but i get fifty zillion a day. and our webmail has no filters. inconvenient. anywho, webmail could not display the offending email. it was the one after the last one thunderbird had successfully downloaded. webmail could however delete it. thunderbird worked great after the cruft was removed. that was problem number one. problem number two was i needed to update some of my message filters. doing so i discovered something rather unusual. the internet says thunderbird's message filters are not case sensitive. that's not quite right. i believe that thunderbird converts the message text to lower case. then tests the filter. say for example, the filter is: subject starts with [SPAM]. and you get a message with the subject: [SPAM], it won't match. cause the message subject is converted to [spam] then compared to [SPAM] case sensitive. which doesn't match. pah. the solution is to make your filter: subject starts with [spam]. that will match [SPAM] [spam] [Spam} [SpAm] etc. weird ass shit that one.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
  free secrets
wells fargo called the other night during dinner. usually i have no patience for telemarketers. pretty sure this guy was one. but we do business with wells fargo and it wasn't your run of the mill telemarketing call. anywho, he wanted to talk to us about this great new service wells fargo is offering. what kind of service? he couldn't say. apparently it's a secret service. he assured us we'd love it. cause it's free! it's a free secret service. would we like to sign up? would you like to put us on your do not call list? bye, fucker. next time i interrupt your dinner.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
i have always liked the bad astronomy guy. on account of quotes like this one: "Unlike political ideologues, I try to judge things on their merits, and make up my mind on a case-by-case basis. So you can try to peg me as a left-wing liberal on some issue if you want, but you’ll be wrong a lot of the time." well put. i'm thinking of uncorking it on some of my buddies who peg themselves as right-wingers. but they're actually not a lot of the time.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
  diet pain
it dawned on me the other day why this diet thing is so much less pleasant than past weight loss experiences. i mean, i wrestled competitively for twenty frikken years. cutting weight was part of the game. and it never really bothered me. it was just one part of pushing the limits beyond what mere mortals believe is possible. so anywho, the epiphany was that when wrestling, after making my target weight. i got to hurt somebody. often times, many somebodies. and that seems to make all the difference in the world.
Monday, March 01, 2010
so we've released yet another movie: percy jackson and the really bad sub-title. we did the facial capture for hades. woo hoo! i can't wait to see it. enjoy.
most every day i wander the corridors of my mind and open a door at random.

blogs of friends
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web comics
casey&andy (complete)
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order of the stick

doonesbury (sunday only)
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wizard of id

cool science facts (idle)
exploding unicorn
some ex-intern's
hyperbole and a half

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