Friday, April 25, 2014

Domestic Cat Problems in 1916

I checked out a book from the library, The domestic cat; bird killer, mouser and destroyer of wild life; means of utilizing and controlling it (1916) by Edward Howe Forbush.

The book was in storage at the Milwaukee Central Library when I requested it.  It still has the old “Date Due” card inside the front cover.  The earliest date on there is October 1936 and there were about thirty stamps up to July 1945.  There was only one more after that, 1975.

That’s a pretty cool connection with history.

(You can guess Forbush's recommendation for dealing with feral cats)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Room 237

Room 237 is a documentary discussing various interpretations (maybe ‘conspiracy theories’ is the better phrase) of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic film “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson & Shelly Duval.  6 different people give their take on the movie.  We watched it last night.

One guy believes that it is Kubrick’s movie about the Holocaust, which Kubrick was never able to make (the typewriter was a German Adler, and the number “42” comes up frequently – Germany, 1942…).  Another guy believes it’s about European genocide of the American Indian.  One woman believes that the skier in a poster is really the Minotaur and there is an Indian in a buffalo headdress, so along with the maze it means…I’m not sure.

Another guy says that the movie is actually Kubrick’s confession, so to speak, of the fake moon landing footage that he did for NASA.  Recall Danny’s Apollo 11 sweater as he enters Room No. 237 (Room No. = Moon Room).  “I’m not saying NASA didn’t go to the moon, just that all the footage was faked.”

One guy superimposes the movie playing backward over itself.  Not surprisingly, key things overlap in the center of the film. Actually, that is pretty cool.

They also discuss some of the interesting incontinuities in the film, speculating as to whether or not they have meaning (they all seem to).

It’s more interesting than what you’d  think.  I haven’t see The Shining since the 1980’s (Stephen King hated it).  We’ll have to get it again.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

F. Bacon

In 2012 we were walking through some back "streets" in Venice, pretty far away from our hotel and the tourist crowds, if you can get away from the tourists in Venice, and we stumbled on an art show of Francis Bacon's works.

I thought that was pretty cool.  Francis Bacon! Here we randomly stumbled on an art exhibit of one of the top scientist of 16 century England, the guy who nearly single handedly invented the scientific method!  I didn't even know he was an artist!

I recall a story in a history of science class I took.  Bacon was riding in his carriage and suddenly came of with the idea of preserving meat with snow.  He stops the carriage, goes to a house and has the owner kill a chicken so he can stuff it with snow.  He caught pneumonia and died.  It was the only experiment he ever did.

As soon as we went into the exhibit, it was obvious that this was not the Francis Bacon, but the other Francis Bacon.  We were the only ones there.

Serves me right for not knowing more about art.  A triptych by Francis Bacon recently sold for $142MM.

I don't know what made me think of this.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cube of the Digits

There are four numbers, not counting the trivial examples of 1 and 0, where the sum of the cube of the digits equals the number itself.

153 = 13 + 53 + 33

Thank you James Randi.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Diesel Truck Emissions

New diesel trucks (at least big, commercial ones) need to meet certain EPA emission standards.

One way some trucks are meeting the N-oxide specification is with a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system that uses a Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).  DEF is a 32.5% mixture of urea, (H2N)2,CO, and water.

The process is pretty simple.  The engine exhaust goes through a filter to remove the carbon particulates (AKA soot).  The exhaust is then sent into the SCR where it is mixed with the DEF, where the N-Oxides are converted to nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water.

I assume that the reaction would be:
2(H2N)2CO + 4NO + O2 = 4N2 + 2CO2 + 4H2O

If this works, it would be a pretty elegant solution to nitrogen oxide emissions.  I haven’t seen any data, though.

It seems like it’s an awful lot to ask of a pretty small reaction chamber.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Winter 2013/14

This has been a rough winter so far, with twice the average snowfall and cold weather.  It was -12 when I got to work this morning.

Tomorrow we may see 30F (and we might go to the zoo) but then it will turn cold.  The high on Sunday will be 6 and a low of -18.  Monday will be brutal with a high of -12!

I don't mind the cold that much.  If you're dressed for it, it's easy to deal with.

But I'm glad I'm not going to the packer game on Sunday!