(no) life? (2) anchors (1) astro (7) cars (1) comp (3) English oddities (1) hockey (1) ireland (3) misc (3) music (1) new jersey (3) time (1) to the editor (2) travel (4) whacks (1)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Living in a Small Country

Living in a small country sure has its advantages. It of course has its quirks too. For instance ridiculously interesting facts abound. Ireland has its own Central Statistics Office (the CSO), who routinely release bits of interesting stuff. However I'm writing on facts reported by the Irish Times on June 17, 2015. The article titled "Junk the new registration system and go back to the old format, says leading distributor" (Motors Section, p. 2), reported the following:

From January to May 2015, the following have been sold in Ireland: 
  • One pink car (and 71 purple)
  • One Bentley
  • 78 convertibles
  • 15 'G' carbon dioxide emissions category vehicles (By the way, G = worst)
Also, 1.53% of new car sales have been "Electric", which upon further inspection means any of the following:
  • Electric
  • Petrol/electric
  • Diesel/electric
  • Petrol/plug-in electric hybrid
  • Petrol & gas (whatever that means, I'm assuming some sort of natural gas)
Assuming a linear relationship exists between population and number of pink cars sold, a quick calculation reveals an estimate of 69 pink cars sold in the US in the same time - and 69 Bentleys too - probably none of them pink.

This entry is repeated on UFOD - useless fact of the day. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Rhode Island Chapter of the Jersey Shore Sound

From NJ, February 4, 2008:

Chances are you haven’t heard the song “On the Dark Side” for years. But it’s one of those tunes that you’d recall instantly if it popped up on the car radio. It might take a stanza or two, but soon you’d be singing along: “Ain’t nothin’ gonna save you from a love that’s blind/When you slip to the dark side you cross that line/On the dark side, oh yeah…”
Though it clearly sounds like early Boss, no doubt intentionally, the tune was actually the biggest hit for a journeyman group from Rhode Island called John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, which had toiled for years on the East Coast beach-bar circuit. The big break came in 1983, when film director Martin Davidson (The Lords of Flatbush) began assembling a cast for a little movie called Eddie and the Cruisers, about a Jersey Shore garage band trying to make the big time. The film starred Tom Berenger, Ellen Barkin, and Joe Pantoliano—who has since become far better known for his role as Ralph Cifaretto in another Garden State–inspired drama—and gave fifteen minutes of fame to pouty, pretty Michael ParĂ©, who played lead singer Eddie Wilson with the suitable combination of great hair and disaffected swagger.

Filming took place all over the Shore, most notably at landmark Tony Mart’s bar in Somers Point, and in Wildwood, where much of the story was set. The film centers on Eddie and his partner, Sal, who form a band that becomes the centerpiece of Tony Mart’s in the summer of 1962. The band gets signed and releases a hit album, but the evil head of the record company hates the follow-up and refuses to release it, causing Eddie to crack up and drive his car off the Raritan Bridge. Years later the Cruisers’ first album is re-released and again becomes a hit, revealing a mystery (that sort of doesn’t make sense) about the location of the follow-up album’s master tapes. In a final twist worthy of All My Children, Eddie resurfaces, opening the door for the sequel, Eddie and the Cruisers 2, a dreadful effort filmed, it should be noted, almost entirely in Canada.

When viewed today, clearly the best part the original film is its raw authenticity. Not only does it sound like a Shore band; it looks like the Shore. In this regard, it may be the quintessential Jersey Shore movie, Louis Malle’s Atlantic City notwithstanding. Unlike with other Shore-set treatises—the 1988 Bette Midler weeper Beaches, whose Atlantic City scenes were filmed in Coney Island; the cult CBS crime drama Wiseguy, whose first story arc was set in A.C. but filmed in Vancouver—you can almost smell the saltwater coming off the screen. And you recognize Eddie as he does what many a musician has done before and since: trudge up and down the New Jersey coastline chasing his dreams.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

George Boole at the intersection of science and faith, plus having his house restored

Great article on the views of George Boole (many of them personal) by William Reville, an emeritus professor of biochemistry at University College Cork: available here. Interestingly, George Boole's (obviously former) residence, once a derelict building in Cork City is to be restored as part of the Year of George Boole, announced by UCC President Michael Murphy.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What do you call it when you derive pleaure from another's misfortune?


What about someone who wears gloves when throwing snowballs? Handschuhschneeballwerfer.

Experienced at navigation or seafaring? Seeerfahren.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New species of Sheep discovered in Northern Ireland!

Scientific name: Ovis aries roseus. They are viable - offspring in second photo.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring lamb...

style de la maison...

ou, le style sauvage du "Connemara"... 


And this morning, le boeuf:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Differences in past tense in American and British English (and other English oddities)

What is the only English word that ends in mt? See the bottom of this post for the answer.

In Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand it is more common to end some past tense verbs with a "t" as in learnt or dreamt rather than learned or dreamed. However, such spellings are also found in North America. The "t" past tenses may have been influenced by German past tenses which often end in "t". Several verbs have different past tenses or past participles in American and British English:
  • The past tense of the verb "to dive" is most commonly found as "dived" in British, Australian and New Zealand English. "Dove" is usually used in its place in American and Canadian English. Both terms are understood, and may be found either in minority use or in regional dialect.
  • The past participle and past tense of the verb "to get" is most commonly found as "got" in British and New Zealand English. "Gotten" is also used in its place in American and Canadian, and occasionally in Australian English, as a past participle, though "got" is widely used as a past tense. The main exception is in the phrase "ill-gotten", which is widely used in British, Australian and New Zealand English. Both terms are understood, and may be found either in minority use or in regional dialect. This does not affect "forget" and "beget", whose past participles are "forgotten" and "begotten" in all varieties.
 largely from Wikipedia

What is the only English word that ends in mt? Dreamt.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One small shift for a man... one giant leap for a sport

Larry Kwong’s career with the New York Rangers lasted literally a New York minute, but his legacy lingers some 65 years after his debut ended in disappointment, losing to the Canadians that night and never to play for the Rangers again. He only skated for one shift, in the third period of one game.
Kwong was the first player of Chinese descent to appear in the N.H.L. Despite for playing in one game, he said: “I broke the ice a little bit,” pointing to the numerous players of Asian ancestry who have since played in the league. “Maybe being the first Chinese player in the N.H.L. gave more of a chance for other Chinese boys that play hockey”. And remember folke, this was before Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Full story here

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Live chat with Jack Dongarra re Exascale

Live chat with Horst Simon and Jack Dongarra on Exascale Computing - Live Now!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Elegant Email Spam Deterrent

Have you ever found yourself doing something like this on one of your webpages/blogs/etc...

"Contact me at your [dot] name [at] domain [dot] com", instead of "Contact me at"

...because clearly the latter (on a publicly accessible page) would have your inbox (or hopefully spam folder) crammed with junk in short order?

Try this:

<div style="float:left">
Contact me at</div>
<div style="text-align:left;direction:rtl; unicode-bidi:bidi-override">moc.niamod@eman.ruoy

It will display in a web browser as "", but... try copying the displayed text and pasting it into Notepad/Wordpad/etc. It pastes backwards, and is useless - particularly to robots that try to rip your email address from the document source. (Just don't make it a link!)

This method is of course still exploitable, bit it will avoid your email address from being picked up by poorly written code, of which 99.9% of malicious code is. Additionally, it is as safe as (or more safe than) "your [dot] name [at] domain [dot ] com".


Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy wins race for Obama - Inevitable?

The below article doesn't say that Hurricane Sandy has won the race for Barack Obama, but all of the ingredients are there. Not only is a president in a time of crisis a popular president, but with one week of campaigning left:
  • Obama can effectively say nothing about the election for several days, avoiding confrontation and potential blunder. Instead he can speak of the damage and the aftermath.
  • This is Obama's chance to be seen as an action man.
  • Romney more or less can only watch and reiterate what Obama says. To be critical - foolish. Anything else however will just echo whatever the Obama camp has already said.
  • Obama will get countless hours of in-demand and free television and press coverage. Chances of seeing Romney on television in the next 48 hours? 0.
  • The days after this hurricane will give Obama more than enough photo-ops with republicans such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and switch-hitters such as NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg.
  • Democrats will cite the much criticized response from the Bush Administration in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 
  • Just in case Obama needs another advantage, he can enjoy the fact that he is the incumbent.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Circumhorizontal Arc

Circumhorizontal arcs (pictured here) occur only between 55 degrees South and 55 degrees North, usually near the time of the respective summer solstice. They are formed by plate-shaped ice crystals in high level cirrus clouds. Other accepted names for circumhorizontal arcs are circumhorizon arc and lower symmetric 46° plate arc. Due to their large angular size they are rarely seen complete and most often appear as part of a cloud, as seen here on May 23, 2012 at 39°36'5"N, 74°20'17"W.

May 23, 2012    39°36'5"N, 74°20'17"W     (Click for full-size image)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?...

... was a great song by Chicago on their debut album The Chicago Transit Authority released in 1969. It is also a very difficult question to answer.

The video here is a bit long, but just start watching - you'll finish it!

Here is the accompanying New York Times article. For even more strangeness, Google "daylight savings half hour", and check out this link: Time in Indiana.

Is it time for dinner?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

IBM Pushes Atomic Depths of Data Storage

On January 12, IBM scientists published an article in Science describing a technique that can store 1 bit using just 12 atoms of iron. Modern storage devices typically use on the order of 1,000,000 atoms to store 1 bit. Beyond this, science will have to push through the atomic domain and into the sub-atomic to significantly increase storage density. Too bad it was just one month late to make the 6th annual IBM 5 in 5. Will this month be too long ago come next December for this discovery to make 2012's 5 in 5? If so, 2012 will be an exciting year indeed. For more from the horse's mouth see this link. Click here for the Science abstract.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Not everyone is a doctor at some point in their life, but at some point in all lives everyone is a patient...

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not", nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

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