The Oxymoron Exists

I Googled for the phrase "mournful banjo" and came up with pages of results. Mournful banjo? All the banjo music I've ever heard has been upbeat and happy. I actually listened to a couple of tracks that claimed to be mournful, but they didn't seem that way to me. What say you?

Handicapped Spots

Ever notice how the handicapped parking spots are the ones closest to the front door of a business, but the handicapped bathroom stalls are the ones farthest from the bathroom door? What's up with that?

New Amazon Kindle Book

See the link to the right. I've published a new Kindle e-book on "How To Be a Web Designer." Hope you all enjoy.

Glacier, as in 'slow as..'?

Today Amazon Web Services (aws) introduced a new archiving solution: Glacier. It's for archiving data and has a very, very low cost of only one cent per gigabyte per month. Amazon says it's for archiving and backup data. On the surface, it looks good: very few limits, handles huge data, good API, very low cost. But I'd never use it for backup. Why? The restore time. Amazon says once you request retrieval, it may take 3.5 to 4.5 hours to get your data staged to be ready for retrieval. A wise SysAdmin friend of mine once said "The most critical part of backup is recovery time. After that, almost nothing else matters in terms of speed." He's right. When a system's down and dead, the amount of time it takes to recover data from a backup is the main thing, the ONLY thing. I just can't see waiting 4 hours after a crash to get you data ready to be downloaded as a viable backup strategy for any online business.

So How Do I Get a Gig Like This?

The cover of the latest Costco Magazine has a photo of a man captioned "Education provocateur Sir Ken Robinson" A friend's card says "Brand Futurist", somebody on LinkedIn the other day was asking about the title "maven." So: provocateur, futurist, maven, how do I get a gig like this? I know these people just make up these titles. What odd titles have you come across, and what would be yours?

The Wisconsin Booms Caused by Earthquakes?

A series of booms heard in Wisconsin earlier this week rattled windows and woke residents. The official line is that it was caused by magnitude 1.5 earthquake. Really? How much energy would be in an earthquake that size and would it produce that kind of tremors? The Richter scale is logarithmic, with each point in the scale about 10 times the energy of the one below it. Consulting Wolfram Alpha for the numbers, we see an earthquake of that size would release about 11 Megajoules or 5.9 lbs of TNT, or given a stick of dynamite releases 2.1 Megajoules, about 5 sticks of dynamite. So could 5 sticks of dynamite cause booms like that? Probably if they were in the open air, but underground where earthquakes happen? Sounds iffy to me.

Yep, Too Subtle

The previous post was a visual pun, on:

Feral: of or characteristic of wild animals; ferocious; brutal, as: Feral hogs are an increasing problem to farmers in Georgia.

Ferrule: a ring or cap, usually of metal, put around the end of a post, cane, or the like, to prevent splitting.

Ferrule Pig

Maybe too subtle, what do you think?

[caption id="attachment_353" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Ferrule Pig"]Ferrule Pig[/caption]

 

How Much Gold Does It Take To Make a Goldrush?

In touring the Dahlonega Gold Museum, they told us that during the Dahlonega Gold Rush (the first major gold rush in the U.S.) three million ounces of gold were mined. But how much is that, really? First, let's get it to kilograms to work with it more. Precious metals are almost measured in Troy ounces, so if we go to Google.com and type in "3,000,000 troy ounces in kilograms" it tells us "93,310.4304 kilograms." (or the hard way, 32.150747 troy ounces per kilogram) We take another unit conversion turn and find it's about 102 short (English) tons. Ok, about 100 tons of gold makes a Gold Rush, but how large a cube would that be?

According to the Internet, the density of gold is 19.32 grams per cubic centimeter, so:

Dropping down to grams: 93,310,430.4 grams x 1 cm3 / 19.32 grams = 4829732.9 cubic centimeters. How long on a side is that? We take the cube root and get 169 centimeters, or 1.69 meters, or about 5 feet, 6 1/2 inches. So all the gold taken from the Dahlonega Gold Rush would form a cube about 5 1/2 feet on a side, that weighs 100 tons.

If you're interested, more information about Gold Rushes. Enjoy!

The Different Types of 'Open' Software

There's been a lot of talk lately about Open Source vs. Open APIs. I've written a wiki page about openness. Hope you enjoy, and it creates some discussion among my geek friends.

Happy Static Electricity Day!

Today, January 9th, is National Static Electricity Day! Brought to you by the National Static Electricity Council who encourages us all to go out there and use more Static Electricity. So rub a balloon on your wool sweater, or shuffle your feet over the carpet, and zap an unsuspecting friend for us all today.

My First Instructible: Fireplace Blower

I just published my first instructible, on how to make a fireplace blower. Hope you enjoy.

Woman's Half-Day

Today the latest issue of Woman's Day arrived. It's getting mighty thin, down to 160 pages. Given the amount of actual content that represents, without the ads, it's more like Woman's Half-Day, or maybe even Woman's Lunch-Hour. Woman's Day is one of what in publishing circles was known as the Seven Sisters. I remember when they used to be more like phone books. Of course, I guess they're still like phones books, since the yellow pages business is drying up as well. What say you about paper publishing? When was the last time you used a paper telephone directory? Yellow pages? How many paper magazines do you subscribe to?