December 2000

5 Dec 2000[link to here]

I moved into a house with a TV, so now I live with television. ¡Que extraño! Someone on TV just said "It's like Mad Max meets Thunderdome.". Sigh.

About a week ago, Steve bought me a caramel apple cider in Starbucks. It was delicious. It was also my first time in a Starbucks, which continues to flabbergast my friends. Tonight, another friend bought me an egg nog latte, which was also delicious. That was my first coffee drink, though there wasn't really that much coffee in it. So I still haven't spent any of my own money there, but I think that'll change.

6 Dec 2000[link to here]

I derive ironic glee from using a digital TV buffering gizmo to skip over TiVo ads.

7 Dec 2000[link to here]

Today's daily dose of irony is brought to us by Sliders. A sheriff, grabbing a rifle, said, "We must maintain the peaceful calm at all costs." Ok, it's scripted, but it was still amusing.

13 Dec 2000[link to here]

Phrase of the day: "optimum high temperature creep strength", seen on the alloy classifications page of the International Titanium Association site. A close second goes to the word "Zambonification" seen on jwz's DNA lounge reconstruction log.

Today I gave a talk at a high school science club. Someone took notes. That was weird in a nice way.

19 Dec 2000[link to here]

The Ecke family ranch in southern California grows over 80% of the poinsettias sold wholesale in the US. Over 90% of flowering poinsettias in the US originally came from that ranch, and 90% of poinsettias sold worldwide are exported from the US. So this one ranch is churning out most of the poinsettias in the world. The flower is one of the few nice aspects of the holiday, so I don't want to inspire any Grinch-terrorism, but that's not a very fault-tolerant setup.

The flower was brought to the US from Mexico in the 1820s by Joel Poinsett, the first US ambassador to Mexico. Some Mexicans don't like his contributions to their history and are annoyed that the flower is named (in English) after him.

I gathered these flowery facts from a bunch of different sites after hearing about the Ecke ranch on NPR's All Things Considered, but my favorite is UIUC's Poinsettia Pages.

22 Dec 2000[link to here]

Bartok was a geek. I was skimming through a dictionary of musical terms, and came across these two entries:

Fibonacci Series
A mathematical sequence in which the next number in the series is the sum of the previous two numbers. Used by many 20th century composers to determine various elements of composition, espeically Bela Bartok.
Golden Section
A mathematical proportion where the ratio between a small section and a larger section is equal to the ratio between the larger section and both sections put together. Used by many 20th century composers, especially Bela Bartok, to determine the point of climax for a given work.

The curious can find much more information about those mathematical notions.

24 Dec 2000[link to here]

Use less power. Every time you use electricity, and every time you buy something that needed electricity to make or distribute, you help cause huge environmental catastrophes.

Martin County's torrent of sludge was more than 20 times the volume of the Exxon Valdez's crude oil spill in Alaska 11 years ago.

Martin County Coal is acting far more responsibly than BP and Exxon did, and there's no evidence that the coal sludge spill was caused by the same degree of negligence, but the fact remains that the more we need this stuff, the more we use it, and by doing so, we create more opportunities for disaster.