entropy
archives
July 2006


20 Jul 2006 [link to here]
tic-tac-no

Yesterday I was chided for not having written anything here in a while. Today I discovered that I posses "all purpose" labels. Coincidence?

On another unrelated note, I had this weird idea this morning while gruelingly hauling myself out the the deep pit of sleep like a zombie emerging from a fresh grave. (A lot like that, actually.) The idea was for a tic-tac-toe tournament. It's a stupid game, because it's pretty easy for either player to force a draw. But what if speed mattered too?

Let's say we have a round robin tournament (one in which every player plays every other player). Each pair plays 20 or 30 games, alternating who goes first. The winner of the tournament is the one with the most wins. In the event of a tie, the winner is the one who did it the fastest. Use a chess clock to track the time, or do the whole thing on a computer. If you play on paper, you'd need to use stamps instead of drawing X and O, both to be fair and to let the game be fast enough that there isn't much time to think.

Will people make mistakes if they're playing as fast as they can? How much will they slow down in order to make sure they're not screwing up? I wonder how much practice it would take to be able to play at full speed without making errors. I also wonder what sort of sly moves one could pull on an opponent to lull them into a pattern and get them to make a dumb move when you change things up.

It's still a dumb game, but that's what you get from a guy who hasn't woken up yet.


21 Jul 2006 [link to here]
lying it in

I was at the post office doing postal sorts of things (mailing stuff, not gunning people down). A guy there was trying to weigh something when his phone rang. He answered, then said with great enthusiasm, "Hi! Yeah, it's on its way. I just left the post office five minutes ago."

That reminded me of the guy in the library, who it turns out I talked about here five years ago.


22 Jul 2006 [link to here]
the heat of the moment

Yesterday it was 85°F in the house, so I biked 25km inland, where it's hotter (95°F), played some frisbee golf in the pounding sun, biked back, and watched An Inconvenient Truth, a movie about global warming. (I could go on about the joys of biking in the heat, but if you're into that I've got just the thing for you.)

Today it's even hotter. I think I'll just take a cold shower for the next few days.


25 Jul 2006 [link to here]
losing sleep

I couldn't sleep last night because it was too hot, but that's ok because I had to get up at 3:15am anyway. In fact, it was too hot to sleep precisely because I had to wake up early. If I hadn't needed to hear my alarm clock, I could have worn earplugs, which would have let me leave the fan on. But in the end, I didn't need to hear the alarm at all, because I was wide awake and perfectly aware of the time. So really I could have worn earplugs after all. So complicated, this global warming.

The reason I had to wake up so early, or in this case, to give up on sleeping much sooner than I normally would have, was so I could drive nearly to Tahoe (375km) to search for some missing hikers.

I mentioned before that accidentally lost hikers are a rare source of call-outs for my search and rescue unit and that I hadn't yet been involved in a search with a happy ending. The not-so-grim explanation is that we're a mutual aid group and we only get called if other SAR groups failed to find the subject and decided to call in reinforcements. Usually that means they've been missing at least two days, often longer, and that's not typically part of a happy story.

Today was different though. An engaged couple took their dog for a two hour hike. Enter the bad map, the wrong turn, and the Gilligan's Island theme music, stage left. Two days and nights later, our heros find a road and flag down a passing search vehicle. The dog was tired, but they all seemed to be in good shape, considering.

So it wasn't a storybook rescue. We didn't find them, and they didn't turn out to need our help after all. One could say that my team went through an awful lot of trouble just to nearly go into the field, but really it was much less trouble than we usually go to and with much better results. Instead of crawling through poison oak and not find a dead person, we got to sit around at base, eat sandwiches, play with the search dogs, and see our heros get heartfelt hugs from loved ones upon their return. Really, not a bad way to spend a Tuesday. I just hope I can sleep tonight.


26 Jul 2006 [link to here]
sleep losing

I ended yesterday's entry with I just hope I can sleep tonight.. In fact, I slept very well, and so soundly that I did not hear my phone chirping with the news of today's search for lost hikers in nearby Big Basin State Park.