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May 25th, 2022



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www.theParticle.com
Welcome to www.theparticle.com. It's the newest pre-IPO dot bomb that's taking the world by storm. Now is a perfect time to buy lots of worthless and overpriced shares!
     What this site is about?

Internet is becoming more and more polluted with junk-mail, people selling crap, and businesses which don't know their place on the net. They're all trying to make this wonderful place (i.e.: the net) in to hell (i.e.: real world). Internet should be viewed as a place of imagination, creativity, and most of all: fun. Internet is not some really advanced tool for searching for people to rip-off. It's about searching, and finding, things which are useful, helpful, and promote the sharing of ideas. This is what this site is striving to become.

News, Updates, & Rants...

     February 22nd, 2022

So here's an idea: the brain is a learning machine that is trying to minimize surprise. A surprised brain burns more energy than a non-surprised brain: so the brain does its best to model the world in such a way that would cause it to be surprised as little as possible. That said, the brain predicts everything: the physical location of every thing in the house for example: if something is moved, the brain is very quick to pick it up: like the salt shaker is on a different shelf, etc. But it doens't have to be the salt shaker, it could be one of other hundred things---so the brain precits the location of the salt-shaker AND those other hundred things, and for the most part, it is not surprised---it's only when the predictions don't match reality is when surprise happens (and brain has to exert energy to learn the new model, or fix environment to conform to the original model; like moving the salt-shaker back to its location).

One way to view Entropy is as an average amount of surprise. So the brain is trying to minimize that: it takes high entropy observations, and uses memory/calculations to turns them into low entropy observations.

- Alex; 20220222
February 22nd at wikipedia...

     February 18th, 2022

Finished Dear Esther. It came up on "sale" [as free] a few days ago, so just grabbed it. It's a really nice game. Amazing visually, and a nice story---very unique game play. When playing world-of-warcraft, I oftne place more value on just walking around and exploring. Dear Esther is all about just walking around and exploring... there are no enemies, no puzzles to solve, just walk around and explore.

- Alex; 20220218

     February 17th, 2022

Finished A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence. There are lots of things that I both agree AND disagree on in this book. The modeling aspect of the brain is explained with just-enough-detail to make it interesting, but not enough detail to actually code it... which is OK, since nobody knows how to make the brain stuff work yet.

The assumption about artificial intelligence as being benign, because it doesn't have our primitive brain---and no intentions unless we program those in, that I don't agree with. I think the paperclip scenario is very much real. It may not be paperclips though, but something a bit more subtle: and that's the point, it's not going to be something obvious that we'd notice. This sort of unintended misalignment happens all the time with companies and laws---it's kinda naive to think that it won't happen to AI. Everything that can be misinterpreted, will be misinterpreted in the worst way possible.

Regarding the brain as being a modeler of reality---without any particular desires, that may be true. The desire to "stay alive" and "eat food", etc., might just be coded in the primitive parts of the brain---the "self" may reside in that primitive portion. The higher level brain may not really care for this "self" state. The book essentially makes the case that we're a very primitive reptile brain, with amazingly good world-model capable mechanism. The primitive brain gets hungry/scared/angry, etc., and the higher order brain figures out the smart-solutions to those issues. Without that primitive brain that evolution created, intelligence doesn't really have hunger/fear/anger, etc., So we shouldn't necessarily expect intelligent aliens to have those traits, etc.

I disagree on actively broadcasting our location to the universe. The dark forest scenario from The Three Body trilogy is quite likely... assuming alien live does exist, etc. (with technological evolutions, it is much less risky to destroy any life you find before they have a chance of destroying you).

One really memorable thing from the book was that "knowledge always grows". e.g. once you learn a fact, it stays with you. For example, once Newton learned how gravity works, we never went back... then came relativity... and again, we never went back on our understanding ---yes, folks can still use F=ma, but we know this isn't how stuff "really" works. Anyways, we still don't know how stuff "really" works, but there's definitely a direction to knowledge. This kinda reminded me of the other "direction" in the universe: Entropy. So entropy always increases, and knowledge (and perhaps intelligence) also always increases. There might be occasional reversals, but on the whole, the universe would be getting more entropy AND more knowledge as time goes on. What is this knowledge: models. Models will get more and more correct/accurate/precise. Unless they're destroyed and forced to start new, the models will keep on growing their knowledge indefinitely.

Imagine a model that learns from reality---one that isn't destroyed by accidents, etc., we can pretend that it will eventually learn all there is to learn. So as the universe entropy is increasing, more and more universe's knowledge is very accurately modeled. Anyways, I found that thought process kinda neat.

- Alex; 20220217

     January 31st, 2022

Does intelligence imply self-preservation? In other words, if something in intelligent, can it be indifferent if it continues to exist?

This is in the context of AI---will it necessarily require self-preservation (and fight human race for it?) or will it be OK existing with the possibility of being turned off.

What makes humans want to exist? Is it an `intelligent' reason, or is it hard-wired into our brain to resist being shut off?

- Alex; 20220131

     January 24th, 2022

For the first time in my life, I'm no longer a student :-/

- Alex; 20220124

     January 1st, 2022

Happy New Year!

- Alex; 20220101

     December 30th, 2021

Been spending a few days in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

- Alex; 20211230

     December 28th, 2021

Been spending a few days in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

- Alex; 20211228

     December 26th, 2021

Been spending a few days in Daytona Beach, Florida

- Alex; 20211226

     December 24th, 2021

Been spending a few days in Clearwater, FL.

- Alex; 20211224

     December 21st, 2021

Been spending a few days in Savannah, Georgia.

- Alex; 20211221

     December 17th, 2021

Driving out on a road-trip to Florida.

- Alex; 20211217

     December 15th, 2021

Tried out Windows 11, and after having played with it for a few days, I must say it's the best Windows I've ever used. So much so, that I'm gonna give it a try, instead of wiping it and installing Linux. Best features: WSL, with ability to run Linux GUI apps. So essentially I probably won't miss Linux when using this thing. I do have a bit of a security concern, but it seems (from what I've seen online), the Windows partition is encrypted, and there's no easy way to get at it without a password---so hopefully that means it's as secure as Linux running on the same hardware.

- Alex; 20211215

     November 25th, 2021

Got a 4-day weekend: spending it at Virginia Beach.

- Alex; 20211125

     November 24th, 2021

Got the flu vaccine at walgreens.

- Alex; 20211124

     November 22nd, 2021

Happy Birthday!

- Alex; 20211122

     November 12th, 2021

Happy Birthday Liam!

- Alex; 20211112

     November 6th, 2021

Doing a weekend trip to Brattleboro, Vermont.

- Alex; 20211106

     November 5th, 2021

Happy Birthday Ian!

- Alex; 20211105

     October 31st, 2021

Finally got around to fixing the TPMS sensor in our car. That tire-pressure light has been very annoying. Here's a short recap of what I've learned about TPMS and wheels in general:

There's a sensor in each wheel. In fact, the valve is part of the sensor. The sensor has a built-in battery that is not user-serviceable (once battery dies, sensor needs to be replaced). Battery life is about 10-years (our car is 2010 model, and battery in one of the sensors just died a few months ago). The sensor broadcasts pressure and its identifier (each sensor has a unique code). The car computer needs to know that code in order to pickup pressure from sensor.

So the step to replacing a dead TPMS sensor is: change it out inside the wheel (more on that in a bit), then reprogram the car computer with the new sensor id. This reprogramming is often done by the dealer (toyota dealer quoted me $100 per wheel to reprogram it; if I change out the sensor myself, or to replace/reprogram TPMS sensors on all wheels: $600). Each sensor is ~$32 on amazon (or over $100 if you buy from dealer)... so 4-wheels ~$130 in parts and $100/wheel in dealer reprogramming--$530 vs just paying the dealer $600 for the whole thing. I'm sure there are cheaper places than the dealer. Anyways, 3rd option: spend $200 on a reprogramming tool (Autel MaxiTPMS TS501 TPMS Relearn Tool Automotive Scan Tool).

Now to replace the sensor: involves removing the tire, or at least part of a tire from the wheel. Never having done that, I didn't think that would be hard---but apparently there's something called ``breaking the bead'' (youtube for it), which is very hard to do without a proper tool. Luckily, there are lots of portable tools for this too: BeadBuster XB-452 Automotive/Car/Truck Tire Bead Breaker Tool

Once the bead is broken, an old 2x4 beam (found in nearby trash) can be used to wedge the tire just enough to expose/reach the old sensor, screw it out, and screw in the new sensor. The just re-inflate the tire, and reprogram the computer using the Autel tool. Done.

All in all, a fun experience. Not sure it saves money though... e.g.: $140 bead breaker tool + $130 for 4-sensors + $200 for Autel tool, same ballpark as the dealer or other shops---but I get to keep 2 tools, and gain valuable knowledge of how to do it :-)

- Alex; 20211031

     October 27th, 2021

Just realized that Google's index apparently rolls-off things (or forgets things). In the early 2000s, when you googled for "mona lisa", this website (and linked image) were top search result. Now it doesn't come up unless you search with "site:" attribute, and even then, it finds the wrong url :-/

- Alex; 20211027

     October 5th, 2021

Happy b-day to yours truly :-)

- Alex; 20211005

     October 3rd, 2021

Went to Seven Ponds Orchard to pick apples. Liam walked a lot---more walking than crawling.

- Alex; 20211003

     September 26th, 2021

Liam walked across the room without falling.

- Alex; 20210926

     September 16th, 2021

Hmm... On the Opportunities and Risks of Foundation Models.

I'm not against the concept of a foundation model---for example, when born, our brain is probably a foundation model, out of which we `specialize' into doing whatever it is we're doing with our lives (e.g. some folks become doctors, others become computer engineers, etc., and yet at the beginning our brains is likely pretty much the same; same capabilities, etc.).

That said, would I think that GPT-3 (or other similar models) are in some sense foundational? Nope. There's a distinct lack of understanding and intelligence.

- Alex; 20210916

     September 15th, 2021

Liam walked a good 5+ steps today.

- Alex; 20210915

     September 8th, 2021

Been thinking about the nature of the universe lately...

"Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve." -- John Wheeler

What if it's a 3rd thing that causes both? For example, what if matter is present and space is bent where this 3rd thing is present?

- Alex; 20210908

     September 5th, 2021

We found an awesome spot: Little Wolf Beach (campground and picknick grounds).

Plan was to drive to Alexandria Bay; ended up at Watertown NY.

- Alex; 20210905

     September 4th, 2021

Had an awesome BBQ by Lake Champlain, by Crown Point.

Staying by Plattsburgh NY.

- Alex; 20210904

     September 3rd, 2021

Going on a road trip. Staying in Albany NY.

- Alex; 20210903

     August 24th, 2021

Tried Quake II RTX. Feels sluggish on a GeForce RTX 2080 :-/

- Alex; 20210824

     August 21st, 2021

There's apparently tropical-storm Henri approaching north east. We drove through some heavy rain in NJ---some streets were very flooded.

- Alex; 20210821

     August 20th, 2021

Liam took 3-steps :-)

Staying in Clear Spring, MD.

Saw a very clear shooting-star from hotel parking lot.

- Alex; 20210820

     August 19th, 2021

Got kids (and myself) tested for covid, and test came back negative. So it must be something else: like a regular cold perhaps.

In other news, changed transmission fluid, front/rear gearbox fluid, transfer box fluid, etc., for first time in 106k miles. It's weird, but the drive feels slightly better after the changes.

- Alex; 20210819

     August 18th, 2021

Kids woke up with 104 fever :-/

- Alex; 20210818

     August 17th, 2021

Visiting the `New River Gorge Bridge' and driving the Fayette Station Rd back across the river.

- Alex; 20210817

     August 16th, 2021

Visiting the `Grandview overlook' of New River Gorge National Park.

- Alex; 20210816

     August 15th, 2021

Liam took his first 2-steps.

Continuing with the trip, staying in Beckley, WV.

- Alex; 20210815

     August 14th, 2021

Progressing towards WV. Next stop Verona, VA.

- Alex; 20210814

     August 13th, 2021

Driving out on a West Virginia road-trip; first stop West Chester, PA.

- Alex; 20210813

     August 8th, 2021

RIP

- Alex; 20210808

     August 2nd, 2021

Used electric scooter (ninebot ES3) to go to manhattan and back. That's about ~9 miles each way [over Williamsburg Bridge]. It was an amazing "ride"; but the scooter battery almost ran out on the way back (started fully charged).

In regular-mode, the top speed is 15km/h, and scooter struggles uphill. There's a sport mode, which ups the speed to 20mk/h and gives it a bit more power uphill... but apparently the scooter burns through batteries pretty quick. Used the speedy mode to get to the destination---but after ralizing that battery was half-dead, stayed in economy mode for the return journey, except for the last mile or so.

- Alex; 20210802

     July 26th, 2021

Changed the liftgate support struts on our 4runner. The other day oil just squirted out of it without warning, and that was it for the hatch support. Good things these things are cheap; got a replacement from Amazon for about $30.

- Alex; 20210726

     July 20th, 2021

Suneli became a US citizen. Yey!

- Alex; 20210720

     July 16th, 2021

Liam got his first tooth.

- Alex; 20210716

     July 11th, 2021

Liam said ``MA-MA'' for first time.

Some of Ian's words:
water: watty
straw: stross
straws: strosses
ketchup: dipit
spicy ketchup: picy dipit
sidewalk: wakinger
entrance/outance

- Alex; 20210711

     July 10th, 2021

Doing BBQ in Shenandoah National Park.

...and back home in NYC.

- Alex; 20210710

     July 9th, 2021

Doing BBQ in New River Gorge National Park, by Sandstone Falls.

Staying in Staunton, VA.

- Alex; 20210709

     July 8th, 2021

Staying in Princeton, WV.

- Alex; 20210708

     July 7th, 2021

Staying in Wytheville, Virginia.

- Alex; 20210707

     July 6th, 2021

Staying in Johnson City, TN

- Alex; 20210706

     July 5th, 2021

Staying in Maggie Valley.

- Alex; 20210705

     July 4th, 2021

Staying in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

- Alex; 20210704

     July 3rd, 2021

Staying in Bristol, Tennessee.

- Alex; 20210703

     July 1st, 2021

Going on mini-road trip. Staying near Allentown PA.

- Alex; 20210701

     June 28th, 2021

Uh, oh!

- Alex; 20210628

     June 21st, 2021

Uh, oh!

- Alex; 20210621

     June 20th, 2021

...and we're back home.

- Alex; 20210620

     June 19th, 2021

Walking around DC. Was hoping to visit the Air and Space museum, but apparently that's closed until July. In fact, everything seems closed---and there are very few tourists out-and-about.

- Alex; 20210619

     June 18th, 2021

We're going on yet-another road trip: to Washington DC. Took us 5-hours to get out of NYC due to traffic :-/. Staying in Aberdeen, MD.

- Alex; 20210618

     June 10th, 2021

Drove to Far Rockaway at sun-rise to see the solar eclipse. The best view was the first 1-5 minutes after sunrise (you could see the whole moon covering the sun), and then the sun went into the clouds and didn't come out for an hour, by which time the solar eclipse looked like someone took a bite out of the sun.

- Alex; 20210610

     June 9th, 2021

Kiddo (Ian) getting first haircut in... a very long while.

- Alex; 20210609

     June 7th, 2021

Uh, oh!

- Alex; 20210607

     June 5th, 2021

...and we're back home :-)

- Alex; 20210605

     June 4th, 2021

Did the morning walk to all the waterfalls.

Staying in Corning NY (to split the drive home).

- Alex; 20210604

     June 3rd, 2021

Found an awesome spot by Lake Erie. There's a BBQ there and a beach. Unfortunately we didn't have much time to spend there, but perhaps next time we're in the area, we'll be better prepared.

The coastal road by Lake Erie is much better than the i90.

Got to Niagara Falls. Did the evening walk to all the waterfalls.

- Alex; 20210603

     May 31st, 2021

Spending day in Chicago. Primarily visiting the Cloud Gate. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, access to the cloud gate is restricted (can only view it from a distance; can't stand under it).

- Alex; 20210531

     May 28th, 2021

Doing a week-long trip around the north east, with plans to visit Chicago, and other places on the way.

- Alex; 20210528

     May 21st, 2021

Uh, oh!

- Alex; 20210521

     May 14th, 2021

Getting 6-month vaccinations for Liam.

- Alex; 20210514

     May 12th, 2021

Happy 6-months Kiddo!

- Alex; 20210512

     May 9th, 2021

Visiting the Great Falls Park. It's actually quite nice. Awesome for picknicks.

Hit 100k miles on our 4runner!

- Alex; 20210509

     May 8th, 2021

Driving through Shenandoah National Park.

- Alex; 20210508

     May 6th, 2021

Flying a kite with kiddo on Virginia Beach.

- Alex; 20210506

     May 1st, 2021

Driving out for a week to Virginia Beach.

- Alex; 20210501

     April 22nd, 2021

Interesting video: Judea Pearl, 2012 ACM A.M. Turing Award Lecture "The Mechanization of Causal Inference"

- Alex; 20210422

     April 19th, 2021

Got a kick scooter: It's awesome to kick-scoot right next to my 3-year-old :-D

- Alex; 20210419

     April 10th, 2021

Visiting the Taughannock Falls Gorge. It's awesome. Kiddo scootied most of the way from parking lot to the waterfall.

- Alex; 20210410

     April 5th, 2021

Uh, oh!

- Alex; 20210405

     March 27th, 2021

Apparently java.sql.DriverManager does not support dynamically loaded driver jars. It only picks up drivers that are in the classpath---which is fine for most scenarios, but if you ever find yourself needing to connect to the `same' database but using two different drivers, it becomes difficult. For example, Starburst is essentially Presto(Trino), yet Presto/Trino drivers won't work with it, and vice versa---yet the connection URL is the same. Depending on what jar file is first in the classpath, it will often try to instantiate the wrong driver.

Anyways, this was causing some headache for SQLRunner, and I've been thinking about having the database jar dynamically loaded for a while, just never got around to it until today.

The solution apparently is simply not to use DriverManager. I played around with dynamically loading the driver, then registering it with DriverManager, but that blows up (can't use custom loaded classes with DriverManager). There are solutions on the internet to create a wrapper ``Driver'' class that is loaded from classpath, but during run-time can proxy requests to arbitrary loaded Drivers (google for DriverShim). The approach I picked for SQLRunner is simply to instantiate the Driver, and get connections from the specified driver, simply bypasing the whole DriverManager business.

- Alex; 20210327

     March 25th, 2021

Uh, oh!

- Alex; 20210325

     March 20th, 2021

Uh, oh!

- Alex; 20210320

     March 17th, 2021

Crazy idea: spinning ring. If a ring is spinning at relativistic speeds, it causes distances between atoms to shrink---such that from any direction you view the spinning ring (as opposed to the non-spinning ring), we observe more atoms per unit of area. (less distance between atoms = more atoms observed?). More atoms leads to more observed mass... so does this mean that a spinning ring has more mass than a non-spinning ring? (well, relativity wise, it has more energy, and more mass---but is that due to the shrunken distance between ring's atoms?).

- Alex; 20210317

     March 16th, 2021

Uh, oh!

- Alex; 20210316

     March 15th, 2021

Neat paper: Subspace Method in Pattern Recognition by Satosi Watanabe and Nikhil Pakvasa.

- Alex; 20210315

     March 14th, 2021

Happy Pi day!

- Alex; 20210314

     March 13th, 2021

Uh, oh!

- Alex; 20210313

     March 11th, 2021

Happy Anniversary! Time sure flies...

- Alex; 20210311

     March 8th, 2021

Happy March 8th!

In other news, got the tooth implant removed. Apparently in about 18 or so months, the entire bone that was holding it in place just sorta gone away---only about 1/4th of the implant screw was still in the bone, the rest of the jaw bone just disappeared. Have no idea how that happens, and why it was this rapid.

- Alex; 20210308

     March 7th, 2021

Got to walk on the frozen Lake George. Kiddo was very excited.

- Alex; 20210307

     March 6th, 2021

Spending weekend by Lake George.

- Alex; 20210306

     March 2nd, 2021

Urgh, the implant is starting to hurt more and more :-/

- Alex; 20210302

     March 1st, 2021

Went for an ``emergency'' dentist visit to see what can be done with the implant. Apparently not much. Got referal to the implant specialist---to see if they can save it.

- Alex; 20210301

     February 27th, 2021

Hiking up Mount Marcy. The forecast called for ``warm'' weather and 60mph winds at the summit. The warm temperature made it rain at lower elevations, so by the time I got to the summit area, all that damp layer froze solid. It was very weird to be fully covered in a layer of ice.

The wind was ridiculous---stuff just froze on the spot. Visibility was bad---almost gave up twice on getting to the summit. But after backtracking and losing trail twice, somehow managed to find the trail marker leading to the summit. The plan was to walk over the summit and to loop back to the Loj via Avalanche Lake, but the wind was so bad on the other side of the mountain that it was impossible to descend---or even peek beyond the summit rock.

The way back was again rainy. So got soaked. Good thing I brought three pairs of gloves/mittens, since they all got wet-frozen-cold.

- Alex; 20210227

     February 26th, 2021

The tooth implant I got in 2008 started to move :-/

- Alex; 20210226

     February 20th, 2021

Spending weekend in Saratoga Springs.

- Alex; 20210220

     January 26th, 2021

How do our brains learn? It certainly does not seem that our wetware brain learns in the same way that artificial neural networks learn. Often, my kid learns something from 1 instance... imagine a neural network learning something from just 1 training instance.

What if we got it all wrong, regarding neural networks that is. Perhaps all those interconnects in the brain are not meant to be interconnects (weighted connections between neurons), but some other mechanism.

- Alex; 20210126

     January 20th, 2021

Happy Birthday!

- Alex; 20210120

     January 6th, 2021

Well this was certainly and interesting day. A crowd stormed the United States Capitol building.

A lot is being said about the "security failure", but I actually think this was a security success (mostly). Imagine the scenario if "security" didn't "fail", and a hundred people were shot? From the videos, there was no lack of weapons on the site... the guards simply refrained from shooting the crowds. As bad as this was---embarrassing that this kind of stuff actually happens in this country---it could've been much worse if guards opened fire on the crowds.

- Alex; 20210106

     January 1st, 2021

Happy New Year!

- Alex; 20210101

     December 25th, 2020

Merry Christmas everyone!

- Alex; 20201225

     November 24th, 2020

Was googling for covid19 vaccine trials data (haven't found it; if you find it, please let me know), and stumbled onto the clinical protocol writeup: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Phase 3 Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Ad26.COV2.S for the Prevention of SARS-CoV-2-mediated COVID-19 in Adults Aged 18 Years and Older. (strangely marked ``CONFIDENTIAL'', yet appearing on the website).

- Alex; 20201124

     November 19th, 2020

Uh, oh!

- Alex; 20201119

     November 17th, 2020

First pediatrician visit for Liam.

- Alex; 20201117

     November 14th, 2020

Happy Diwali!

In other news, checking out of hospital: taking Liam home :-)

- Alex; 20201114

     November 12th, 2020

At exactly 12:24PM, my son Liam was born. Happy Birthday kid!

- Alex; 20201112

     November 7th, 2020

Got a flu shot at Walgreens. First time getting an injection at a pharmacy.

- Alex; 20201107

     November 5th, 2020

Happy Birthday Ian (a/k/a Kiddo)!

- Alex; 20201105

     November 2nd, 2020

Rewatching the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on AWS. Haven't seen it in a long long while. It's awesome.

GPP: Genuine People Personality; Ghastly...

``The major problem---one of the major problems, for there are several---one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them. To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.'' ---Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

``The President in particular is very much a figurehead---he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it. On those criteria Zaphod Beeblebrox is one of the most successful Presidents the Galaxy has ever had---he has already spent two of his ten presidential years in prison for fraud.'' ---Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

In other news, took my 4runner for inspection, and had to replace front breaks :-/

- Alex; 20201102

     October 28th, 2020

Uh, oh!

- Alex; 20201028

     October 10th, 2020

Rode a ferry (inside our car) from Burlington,VT to Plattsburgh,NY. GPS got us to the ferry terminal---I guess we didn't disable "ferry" as an option. Spending night in Plattsburgh NY.

- Alex; 20201010

     October 9th, 2020

Heading out for the 3-day weekend. Spending night in Brattleboro VT.

- Alex; 20201009

     October 5th, 2020

Happy b-day to yours truly :-)

- Alex; 20201005

     September 27th, 2020

Visiting Niagara Falls.

- Alex; 20200927

     September 26th, 2020

Doing a road trip to `upstate' NY. Spending night in Corning.

- Alex; 20200926

     September 21st, 2020

Microsoft is buying Bethesda's parent company for $7.5 billion. So... indirectly, Microsoft now owns id Software, the creators of DOOM and Quake :-)

- Alex; 20200921

     September 12th, 2020

Doing a road trip to New Hampshire, mostly to drive from Lincoln to Conway. Awesome place, with lots of trailheads on the side of the road.

Kiddo walked about an hour on a flat trail someplace in the middle of that scenic drive.

- Alex; 20200912

     September 5th, 2020

Hmm...

- Alex; 20200905

     August 29th, 2020

Happy b-day!

Interesting documentary: The Largest Nuclear Bomb Ever Detonated, recently declassified. Reminds me of an awesome book: The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes.

- Alex; 20200829

     August 27th, 2020

Fed Chairman Powell speaks about monetary policy. Didn't they do their best to increase inflation for a decade? Is he saying their methods didn't work because everyone was expecting low inflation, and that expectation caused low inflation?

There's a lot of confusion about this. Fed is saying they're gonna keep interest rates low---and they want inflation to be higher. Now, if you're a lender, and inflation is high, you'd want more return, which seems to push the interest rates higher, no? Or is FED saying that they will be the ONLY lender? (everyone else will just have to accept lower-than-inflation returns?).

- Alex; 20200827

     August 23rd, 2020

Inspired by Lich King solo, went through all the WoW last-raid-bosses. Just killed Antorus, The Burning Throne---never done it until today.

- Alex; 20200823

     August 16th, 2020

Finally got around to defeating The Lich King :-)

In other news, shaved my head.

- Alex; 20200816

     August 10th, 2020

Random thoughts: What if black holes have negative time on the inside? On the inside, instead of space falling into a singularity, it would be expanding out faster than the speed of light. Stuff falling into the black hole---making it bigger, would act like dark-energy does on the universe---accelerate its expansion.

- Alex; 20200810

     August 9th, 2020

Random thoughts: light emitted by a distant star (in another galaxy) is red shifted, because the galaxy is moving away from us---the space is ``expanding'', so the light wavelength got stretched (wavelength got longer) as space expanded. Since wavelength is energy, where did that energy go?

Similarly, lets say we accelerate to nearly speed of light, then decelerate back. Someone observing us at the destination would observe us in visible light, then observe us blue-shifted (uv light), then back to visible light. We spent energy getting "us" to go at nearly the speed of light then decelerate--where did the energy for that energetic light that's detected come from?

So anyone observing us from the direction where we're traveling needs to observe higher energy light than what we're emitting while stationary. Obviously we're responsible for the energy of that light---our energy reserves are used to turn visible light into uv-light...and the faster we try to move, the higher that uv-light energy has to be... creating a sort of resistance to going faster and faster, with the speed of light limit (we can't be observed via light to be moving faster than light).

- Alex; 20200809

     August 3rd, 2020

Took kiddo to the park. He stopped at an intersection, screaming "STOP". Apparently he noticed the "STOP" sign, and needed to stop in front of it. He had to be convinced to move forward after stopping.

- Alex; 20200803

     July 30th, 2020

Watched most of the Tech CEOs testify at House hearing on Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. It's kinda interesting that Microsoft isn't invited... guess they're no longer an anti-competitive monopoly?

- Alex; 20200730

     July 20th, 2020

Good short story: The New Utopia by Jerome K Jerome.

- Alex; 20200720

     July 12th, 2020

Uh, oh! It seems covid19 is just exploding in Florida.

- Alex; 20200712


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