so b and i took the plane out the morning of our last day of bachelordom. you know, they day you run around like crazy trying to get done all the chores you should have been doing all week. anywho, someone had gotten a hold of a white can of spray paint. hopefully not from our little league's stash. we use it to mark the foul lines in the outfield. and to make it easy to find where the fence goes. so anywho, this amature artist had drawn some penises out in right field. wow. joy. i'm like soooo impressed. anywho, one of the guys found some green spray paint and tried to remove the offensivity. it couldn't really be seen from the walkways around the parks. but birds had a great view of the human male anatomy. the plane was balanced nicely. the plan was to practice landings. it went great. well, great until one of the approaches was a bit too steep. like maybe 87 degrees too steep. cracked the nose section and the rudder control broke off from its mounts. oh dear. it's gonna take some love to figgit. till then, we grounded.
the beautiful and talented alisa and g are off having a blast at cub scout camp. b and i weren't invited. we had baseball to play. and firefly episodes to watch. and pizza to eat. i took him to work on thursday. he played video games all day. well, "played". he launched every game in our portfolio to see if my latest code had broken anything. of course it had. sigh. something was broken at work on friday. not my fault. and i couldn't fix it. so we took the rc airplane to the park. last time the plane was seriously nose heavy. so we moved the battery pack away from the nose. a test glide unexpectedly flew flawlessly. we tore pages out of the manual to stuff into the nose to keep the battery pack from shifting forward on the hard landings. course every landing that day was hard. we had several flights that lasted over a minute. i think there's an updraft over the park. cause once the plane got over 50 feet it wanted to just keep going up. in short order we learned to re-trim the plane after flight. to align the wings and tail so it'd have a hope of flying straight on the next flight. the park guys showed up with a lawnmower. we were running out of juice anywho. so just one more flight. which broke a wing. time to go home. we've repaired it. and hope to try it out again soon. was fun day with my boy.
ben bernanke was asked recently why the economy isn't doing what we want it to do. he didn't know. okay here's a clue. i googled for world dpd 1900 to 2010. turns out it's called gwp. which makes sense. and i googled for world energy production for the same time. and i plotted them in a graph in open office. actually i plotted energy consumption. which i assume is more/less the same. ie we don't produce energy if we don't consume it. gwp grew faster than energy. there are two reasons for this. first, we're more efficient now than before. ie we can make stuff with less energy than we could 20 years ago. and second, gwp includes financial services. like 40% of the us gdp. now, clearly *some* financial services should contribute to gdp. matching up lenders with borrowers is a useful service. but 40%? come on. common sense suggests that's a wee bit excessive. most of our financial "services" is speculatively moving money from one person to another. ie it's a poker game. a **HUGE** poker game. with a $5 trillion pot. where the winners are taxed at 15%. or not taxed at all. gee ben. what's wrong with the economy? heh. not enough energy. too much financial "services".
one meaning of conservative is opposed to change. another definition is understated. as in, a conservative estimate. it also means cautious. ie risk averse. that's me. i oppose change if change is riskier than status quo. along with all the other kind of conservatives. unlike them, i embrace change when status quo is riskier. the problem is evaluating the risk. i think some people are hard wired to inflate the risk factor of anything new and non-traditional. heh. so the last offered definition leads to the first. cool. anywho, consider Conservatives. as in, religiously traditional. they are extremely risk averse. crossing god is risky. god says don't smoke or drink or fuck. so they don't. and everything's fine. or would be. except there's this other group that isn't so risk averse. maybe they don't fear god. so some of them smoke and drink and fuck. which looks like a whole lot of fun. which really isn't fair from the conservative's point of view. so they're very politically active. to make things more fair. ie make laws so you can't smoke or drink or fuck either. which really isn't fair from the non-conservative's point of view. i don't smoke or drink of fuck outside my marriage. so apparently, i'm a conservative. mostly. the big difference is i'm willing to let *you* take all the risks you want. as long as you don't put me at risk. so smoke all you want. but not near me. drink all you want. but don't drive. and fuck all you want. heh. i should be a lock for both the conservative and the liberal vote. timmer for president.
do science naked. that's what i always say. i don't study whales. but i'd certainly swim naked with them if i did. erm. tropical whales. i might rethink that whole plan if i studied beluga whales. in the arctic. like this lady
. course if i had her yoga fueled super powers to hold my breath for ten minutes in freezing cold water, yeah maybe. science would be a lot more popular if it had more hot naked scientists. just sayin.
somebody just announced a supercomputer that hits 8 petaflops. which makes it the fastest super computer ever assembled. that's pretty incredible. in fact it's faster than the next three combined. damn huh? yeay, that's pretty yawn. the bitcoin community has dedicated a total of 125 petaflops to servicing this e-currency. that's more than the top 100 supercomputers in the world put together. damn. the currency still only has a $100 million market capitalization. but it's still pretty new. like just over a year old. it could crash. on the other hand, assume 1% of the world's trade would prefer to be under the big brother's radar. that's some $600 billion with a b. if bitcoins capture 0.1% of that... that's a $600 million valuation. ergo, bitcoins easily have room to appreciate by 6x. or... it could crash.
so shortly after i bought some bitcoins, the community had a crisis of faith. two things happened to mt gox more/less simultaneously. i don't know if they're related or not. first, an early bitcoin adopter had his wallet stolen. with like 25k coins in it. worth some half million dollars. bitcoins are kinda like cash. if you keep cash in your computer box, it can be stolen. and it's gone. it'd be insane to keep $500k cash in a shoebox. dang. encryption is pretty easy. and a good idea. especially if you have obvious indicators your computer has been compromised. sheehs. anywho. the other thing that happened is the mt gox exchange database of user names logins and hashed passwords was stolen and published. the price of bitcoins went from $14 when i first saw them. peaked around $30. went back down to $15 when i bought. then dropped as low as $1 when this shit hit the fan. mt gox is on its way back up. i had a whole $7 in my account. and i don't reuse passwords. so it was no big deal to me. unless of course bitcoins go away. but that seems to not be the case. will bitcoins catch on? probably not. but they might make a pretty nice proof of concept for the e-currency that does catch on.
father's day 2
oh duh. i forgot to mention the coolest gift i got for father's day. g made me a comic book. he and his brother are the stars. and all drawn out in pencil are some of my favorite kid stories. some of which you can find in previous blogs. g playing soccer
. g hitting a home run. g reading a 600 page book in one day. the time that baby b decided to drive the car out of the garage, down the driveway, across the street, and into the bushes. the time g was just learning to speak. the beautiful and talented alisa, exasperated asked, who are these children, where did they come from? g said, bennett and garrett. home depot.
iraq is hunting for $17 billion that went missing during the iraq war. uh huh. in other news, oj simpson is hunting for the real killer. both are expected to turn up any day now. i'm holding my breath. honest.
best father's day ever. or nearly. got to sleep in. no breakfast in bed. harumph. course i don't really eat breakfast. so small nit. presents! yay! i got a hammer, a screwdriver, a nerd light, and wheels axles bearings for my skates. i've been skating to the train station again now that the weather's nice. onlive bought me a go pass. woo hooty! can't beat that. then we went to the park to fly the model airplane i got for christmas. pre-flight showed it was balanced properly. but it flew like it was seriously nose heavy. full throttle, full elevator, full elevator trim didn't achieve level flight. we went with the hand launch technique. it just nosed over and *crunch*. ouch. the wings are held on with rubber bands. so they give a lot on impact. the prop is behind the wings so it doesn't smash into the ground. instead it chops hunks out of the wings. oops. so we drove it around the dirt infield like a remote control car. tried to take off a few times. never succeeded. after it ran out of juice, we went home and we played warhammer quest. scarfed down some lunch. then went geocaching. "pool of names" made me laugh out loud. it's hidden in plain sight. the look on the beautiful and talented alisa's face when she found it was priceless. then we watched hubble in imax. that was cool. i had a bacon cheeseburger for dinner. and we played braid on onlive until bedtime. good day. thanks everybody.
okay. so i bought some bitcoins. kinda just for fun. buying bitcoins is not for the faint of heart. the "easy" way is to go to a website like tradebitcoin.com. find an anonymous person in your area. contact them. negotiate a price. make a date. meet up with them. hand them cash(!). give them your account number. get your bitcoins. voila! easy peasy. okay that might feel a little sleazy. and not appeal to the less anarchy type. upstanding law abiding citizens such as myself might want to do things the "hard" way. first, open a bank account. i used the bank where i have a mortgage. cause i can get an account that has no fees or minimum balances. which is kinda nice. i made sure to not get the overdraft protection. you do not want someone to be able to withdraw money from the account when there's no money there. you're going to give your account number to an internet company. you think it's not a fly-by-night operation. but you never know. new accounts can be created online. but make sure you get your routing number and account number. i did it in person. i moved $100 into this account from my real bank account. okay second, open an account on dwolla.com. add the bank account to the dwolla account. wait three days. they will verify your bank account is real by depositing a few cents into it. after that goes through, tell dwolla how much they deposited. now they trust you are who you say you are and not some fly-by-night operation. now transfer money to the dwolla account from your bank account. wait three days. you'll see the money disappear from your bank account very quickly. but it won't show up in your dwolla account for the full three days. third, open an account on an exchange like mtgox.com. transfer money from dwolla to mtgox. wait a day. which is actually pretty fast in comparison to the bank thing. fourth, buy some bitcoins. i bought 6 at market price. course it's not clear that there's a charge for this of about 1%. so i actually got 5.96 in my mtgox account. now transfer the bitcoins from mtgox to your wallet. wait about a minute for the coins to show up. unconfirmed. you can wait 1-60 minutes for them to get their first confirmation. but for the most part, the bitcoins are now yours. congratulations. it took me 10 days to go through the whole painful process start to finish. much of which was moving us dollars. moving the bitcoins in comparison, really was as slick and painless as advertised. it'd be nice if this currency catches on. at least enough to make the banks improve their service. hoo-yah.
finally. at last. some sanity coming from washington. the senate voted to cut ethanol subsidies. yay! here's the situation. we grow some food. we burn a bunch of fuel to turn the food into a different fuel. at the end of the day, we have, wait for it: fuel. and yeah a few people with work to do. hungry people. on the other hand. in the past, and hopefully again in the future, we grow some food. and at the end of the day, we have: fuel *and* food. like duh. totally duh. it was an interesting experiment to do on a small scale. but on the large scale, it is some sort of greed fueled boondoggle.
it looks like the sun is going cold. ie this sunspot cycle might be the last one for a while. it's entirely possible the next peak, #24 around 2016 or so, might be the last one i ever see. dang. that thought is making me feel old and mortal. anywho, it's actually kinda nifty that it's happening. cause right now there are a bunch of folks who claim global warming is caused by the sun and not by people. if only we could shut off the sun for a while. then we'd know for sure. heh. we might get that wish. current estimates put total warming at about 0.3 to 0.4 C warming per decade. observed temperature fluctuation due to the sun's periodic active/inactive cycle is closer to 0.1 C per decade. unfortunately, the data that will confirm/rebut that prediction won't be available for about 25 years. really unfortunate. it'd be nice to know right now if we need to seriously put the brakes on our exploding population like the "alarmists" say. or if we can party on like the "denialists" say. i'm inclined to be conservative here. at least for one meaning of the word. we can always make more people later if our fears turn out to be unjustified.
so we tend to recycle instead of throwing away. and we tend to reuse instead of recycle. so the storage space above the garage is full of empty boxes that we might reuse some day. and we do. though many of them have been there for a long time. probably because they're oddly shaped and not all that useful. the same phenomenon shows up in our stock portfolio. we actively trade stocks that are doing well. but then there are the dogs that never do anything. eventually we go through and clean everything up. both the attic and the portfolio.
i played over 100 different video games yesterday. whew. i'm tired. that totally shattered the previous record. by nearly 2x. some days, i really love my job. some days, i really hate my job. some days, i really love and hate my job at the same time.
so one of the latest trendy fad things is the hcg diet. hcg is a real medicine drug used to induce ovulation. it's also a homeopathic weight loss placebo. homeopathy means to dilute an active ingredient until there's literally nothing left. anywho, for the hcg diet you take a shot of water. presumably whenever you feel hungry. which will be often. cause the other part is reducing daily caloric intake to 500. heh. i think i might have an idea why these people are losing 1-2 pounds of adipose fat per day. heh. if you need to drink magic water in order to stick to the diet, i have no objection. course 500 calories a day is dangerously low. you should visit a real doctor every few days or so. you know. just to reduce the risk of accidentally killing yourself.
we don't need alarm clocks. the cats have taken on that responsibility. course they don't really care about clock time. they know the sun is up. they can't remember the last time they ate. it must be time for breakfast. which wasn't a problem a few weeks ago. but the sun is rising earlier and earlier. they claw at the closed bedroom door and mew pitifully until we can't stand it any more. they've learned to mimic the sound of a hungry baby. which evolution ensures human parents cannot ignore. they use a different strategy if the door is open. it usually involves cat games under the bed. over the bed. under the bed. over the bed. under the bed. over the bed. sigh. or worse. there's the jaws approach. tippy. tippy. tippy. toe. across the covers. must hold perfectly still. must not stretch. aw nuts. POUNCE! got that toe-mouse. one morning i was successfully ignoring them. until a certain bodily function commenced. pffft-POUNCE! what the?!?! argh. okay okay. i'm awake. i'm awake. i'll get you your breakfast you little butt-mouse-pouncer.
so june 9th was fuck a friend day. i didn't get the memo until after. bummer. go ahead and google it. but be warned. the original fuck a friend day was started by a bunch of dirty hippies in the sixties. judging by the photo on the top hit, it's the same people behind it today. just 50 years uh wiser. yeah okay. that definitely invokes some thoughts. best expressed, as typical, by xkcd
so i did some banking this week. the nice lady who helped me just called. called to make sure she provided level 5 service and to let me know the thing i wanted done was done. which took a whole lot of words. ending with, okay thanks bye. click. um... wait? did she just mark on her form that the customer confirmed she provided level 5 service? heh. slick. fired. so fired. her and the person who thought this callback thing was a good idea.
continuing yesterday's theme... no bodies were found where a "psychic" said they would be. like duh. like big fat giant enormous duh. which really, is very good news for the "psychic". otherwise the cops would be all over them wondering how they knew what only the mass murderer should know. which is a very dangerous game. especially for the easily deluded. ie people who think they have psychic powers. the internet abounds with stories of innocent people who confessed to crimes they didn't commit. or were duped into imagining a scenario that fits a real crime.
exxon announced it found some 700 milion barrels of oil in the gulf of mexico. it's the biggest find in a decade. dang. that sounds like a lot. so we're good, right? heh. the world uses 85 million barrels a day. so even if that 700 million isn't an exaggeration, which it probably is, it will last all of 8 days. lessee we're finding 8 days worth of oil every 10 years. hrm. let me do the math here. hrm hrm. we're doomed.
so yesterday i blogged about how bitcoins work. some of the claims are extraordinary. let's imagine a world where bitcoins are as common as dollars. governments will want to stick their fingers in your books. ie a legitimate business will make public its account number. and refuse to do business with anonymous accounts. and pay taxes on business transactions. otherwise governments will criminalize the use of bitcoins. that won't stop bitcoin usage in the black market. but if you use bitcoins it'll be assumed you're a criminal. which isn't good for the good guys. so bitcoins are only anonymous in theory. presumably i can be persuaded to identify who i've been doing business with. the second claim is there's no central authority. but there is. the most efficient way to mine coins is to join a pool of miners who are colluding and sharing the coins they collectively mine. it takes about a year's worth of computing to solve a block. which is worth about $900. which is a lot like playing the lottery. a crooked lottery. cause whoever has the fastest computer is more likely to win. the biggest pool is deepbit with about 30,000 computers. an individual computer has zero chance of finding a solution before that super computer does. my computer does 100 kilohashses per second. deepbit does 2 gigahashes per second. damn. the third claim is transactions are irreversible because you can't fake my digital signature on transactions that take coins from my account. the only way to do that would be brute force. and nobody controls a network of computers so large as to make that feasible. oh wait. that's exactly what the bitcoin network is and does. heh. oh dear. hee hee. third, if someone compromises your computer and gets your private keys, they can drain your bitcoin account. so you need to keep your bitcoin keys encrypted, secure, and backed up. fourth, an attacker could easily ddos attack the network with bogus transactions. or bring down the pool coordinator. none of this will kill the bitcoin network. but it could make it sufficiently unpleasant to use. fifth, it's kinda difficult to acquire bitcoins. established currencies don't want any competition. so the banks aren't exactly making it easy to exchange real dough for virtual dough. it's currently easier to convert electricity into bitcoins than cash into bitcoins. which kinda stinks.
so i set up a little operation mining bitcoins. it's an experiment that will likely end real soon. bitcoins are a form of internet currency. they are hyped as anonymous, secure, irrevocable, and distributed. which makes them very attractive to the black market. for obvious reasons. okay so here's how it works. i generate a random account number. i join the peer to peer network and broadcast that account 123 transfers 1 bitcoin to account 456. presumably in exchange for some good or service or good service. i digitally sign the transaction with my private keys. which anyone can verify using the public key associated with account 123. these transactions are passed around the network. each one is verified. they are accumulated into a block. and some 60,000 computers in the network set to work looking for a string of random bits that will produce a hash value with certain properties. like it's less than some difficulty value. there's no known way to do this other than brute force. ie a typical gamer box would take a year on average. but after 10 minutes or so, one of the computers finds a solution, adds the new block to the chain, and shares it with all the other computers on the network. and now we're ready for the next round. the winning computer is rewarded with 50 shiny new bitcoins. there are some pretty obvious issues. most of which have been addressed. like abandon the shorter chain when multiple solutions are found. and the number of bitcoins issued as payment decreases over time. and the difficulty of finding a hash solution goes up as more computers are looking for solutions. at current exchange rates, the cost of the electricity to run the computer is pretty close to the value of the bitcoins you mine. at current exchange rates. bitcoins have appreciated some 100,000% in one year. no, that's not a typo. obviously, they can't keep appreciating at that rate. but if bitcoins mined today appreciate by 10x over the next year, then mining could be real profitable.
so g and i were sacked out waiting for sleep to come. he said, dad, can i do something to b's bed? sure. he climbs up to the top bunk. less than a minute later he comes back down. about an hour later b comes stomping down the hallway. fetches scissors and a flashlight from the kitchen. stomp stomp stomp. a few minutes later he comes stomping back. and of course, it's really late and he's so sleepy he can't vocalize intelligibly. something about someone tied up his bed. hrm. stomp stomp stomp. next morning, g has no recollection of doing anything to his brother's bed. either he's getting really good at lying. or he pulled a prank in his sleep.
in case you haven't gotten the word yet, the word is to get everyone to stop using the word. and the word is retarded. literally. which i think is just dumb. which makes the word sentence delightfully ambiguous. anywho, i mean it's pretty cool to stop using the word to describe a medical condition. or someone with a medical condition. if you're into nounizing words. but be real. stop using the word completely? sheehs. that's the dumb part. notice that i reused dumb. instead of using the much more entertaining word, retarded. i think i'm going to use the word as much as possible. but only to mean what it means. like, this traffic is fucking retarded. meaning slow. the old lady in the checkout line is retarding us. my progress at work is retarded because accessing the resources i need to get my job done is retarded. has the new retarder arrived yet? the helicopter sprayed retardant on the fire.
i'd tell you a joke about my penis. but it's too long. ha ha. funny. or so i thought. until the retort. i'd tell you a joke about my vagina. but you won't get it. doh!
so i coded up the math problem from a couple of days ago. my coworker was pleased. "this was gorgeous, btw." some days, i love my job. yes, it was a real world problem. though i took liberties to make it sound a bit more fun than asking, how many symbols taken 6 at a time are required to encode a 22 bit number? boooooring. in this particular communication protocol, the symbols are sorted. i is pretty stupid think which. idiot invented protocol this what? be fired prejudice should they with. alphabetically its should sort tweets twitter. eirtttw.com i'll ooo ooo start up! be gonna i'm man rich so.
so bongo came limping home one day. his right front paw was swollen up huge. like nearly bigger than his head. he wouldn't put any weight on it at all. but it didn't seem to be exceedingly painful when prodded. we googled. and we called the vet. he got sedated and got x-rays while we went to dinner. he was pretty loopy when we got him home. he'd kinda stagger around and fall over. it was kinda funny. princess jumped in his travel box. and he looked at her like he wasn't gonna take no trouble. not from either of them. next morning the swelling had gone down to almost normal. it healed too quickly to be a sprain. x-rays showed no broken bones. there was no evidence of a bee sting or thorn. so maybe he removed it himself. or he just had some bizarro allergic reaction. anywho. he's a-okay now. just $300 poorer. stupid cat.
okay so a coworker hits me with the math problem of the day. you've identified a traitor in a city of 4 million people. but you're a super spy. and you don't want to blow your cover. the only way to communicate with the authorities is by dropping a bag of tokens in a laundry chute. the tokens are unique - dog, car, iron, cannon, etc. the bag holds exactly six tokens. how many different tokens do you need in order to identify the traitor? give me an algorithm that efficiently maps the traitor's id to a set of tokens. and vice versa.
according to the internet, people play computer games for 3 billion hours a week. holy crow. that seems like a lot. that's 100 million people playing 4 hours a day. crikey. don't these people have anything better to do? hrm. turns out. maybe they do. even better. maybe they can keep playing games and solve real world problems at the same time. not quite sure how this one works. but it's an interesting idea. so, game on.
"the only way i can get my mother in law to do any work around the house is to threaten to make my husband do the dishes." crikey. some people live in a world completely different from the world i live in.