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Archive: March 22, 2004

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The Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Monday,  03/22/04  10:53 PM

The Hubble Space Telescope took an amazing picture the other day - actually it took 11.3 days of exposure time, taken over the course of 400 Hubble orbits.  This image - called the Ultra Deep Field - contains about 10,000 galaxies, cutting across billions of light years.  "In ground based photographs, the patch of sky in which the galaxies reside (just one-tenth the diameter of the moon) is largely empty."

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field

(click image for full-size interactive viewer)

Be sure to hit F11 to maximize your browser's window so you can see as much of the image as possible.

As usual, I upsampled the image and am serving it with Aperio's image server software.


Engineering Conversions

Monday,  03/22/04  11:25 PM

The other day, in my massive catchup post, I mentioned some crucial engineering equivalences:

  • If something is physically impossible, then it is really hard.
  • If something is possible but you don't know how to do it, then it is hard.  Even if, once you knew how to do it, it wouldn't take much time or work.
  • If you know how to do something, it is easy.  Even if it takes a long time and requires lots of work.
  • If you know how to do something and it won't take long, then it is done.

In the same vein, Ken King, Aperio's CFO, points out some important engineering conversions:

  • Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter: Eskimo Pi
  • 2000 pounds of Chinese soup: Won ton
  • 1 millionth of a mouthwash: 1 microscope
  • Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement: 1 bananosecond
  • Weight an evangelist carries with God: 1 billigram
  • Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour: Knot-furlong
  • 365.25 days of drinking low-calorie beer because it's less filling: 1 lite year
  • 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone: 1 Rod Serling
  • Half of a large intestine: 1 semicolon
  • 1000 aches: 1 kilohurtz
  • Basic unit of laryngitis: 1 hoarsepower
  • Shortest distance between two jokes: A straight line (think about it for a moment)
  • 453.6 graham crackers: 1 pound cake
  • 1 million microphones: 1 megaphone
  • 1 million microphones: 1 phone
  • 1 million phones: 1 megaphone
  • 1 million megaphones: 1 bedlam
  • 1 million bicycles: 2 megacycles
  • 2000 mockingbirds: two kilomockingbirds (work on it...)
  • 10 cards: 1 decacards
  • 1 kilogram 102 grams of falling figs: 1 Fig Newton
  • 1000 cubic centimeters of wet socks: 1 literhosen
  • 1 millionth of a fish: 1 microfiche
  • 1 trillion pins: 1 terrapin
  • 10 rations: 1 decoration
  • 100 rations: 1 C-ration
  • 2 monograms: 1 diagram
  • 8 nickels: 2 paradigms
  • 3 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital: 1 I.V. League
  • 1 millihelen: amount of beauty required to launch one ship

Offered as a public service...


Monday,  03/22/04  11:42 PM

So, let's see what's happening...

BBC: Beloved Queen Mother Dies. "The former Dutch queen, Juliana, has died at the age of 94 after a prolonged period of illness."  A woman who, while Queen during days when The Netherlands was truly a Monarchy, always retained the common touch.  [ via Adam Curry ]

Dave Winer thinks we need a Reality mode for TV interviews.  Sounds good, but who's reality?  Dave's is clearly not mine; "Example. Cheney didn't say things are better in Iraq, only that Hussein is gone and his death squads are too.  The void they've created is (remember we're in Reality Mode) certainly as bad as he was, probably much worse.Worse?  [ Later: Adam Curry has a different reality from Dave, too ]

"frozen falls"Check out daily dose of imagery.  Some amazingly beautiful photographs.  I like this one a lot.  [ via Tom Coates ] now has 21 bloggers, and lots more activity.  If you're interested I built an aggregated RSS feed using  Feel free to use it!

Citizen Smash reports on My Interview with Rebecca.  Amazing.

Neilsen Hayden: On the Getting of Agents.  If I were still writing a book, this would be very relevant.  Oh, wait, I am!

Mark Cuban has a blog!  The ex-founder of and current owner of the Dallas Mavericks is known for pulling no punches, especially with NBA referees.  Check out this post, for example.  "This is posted for your enjoyment only and is not to be used for gambling, April Fool’s gags, or coming to conclusions."  Yeah, right.

cat attackHere we have - Cat Attack.  Click on the pic at right to watch the movie.  I don't know about your cat(s), but mine would play with this until they drop.

Mark Andressen:Why Open Source Will Boom - in 103 Words:

  1. The Internet is powered by open source.
  2. The Internet is the carrier for open source.
  3. The Internet is also the platform through which open source is developed.
  4. It's simply going to be more secure than proprietary software.
  5. Open source benefits from anti-American sentiments.
  6. Incentives around open source include the respect of one's peers.
  7. Open source means standing on the shoulders of giants.
  8. Servers have always been expensive and proprietary, but Linux runs on Intel.
  9. Embedded devices are making greater use of open source.
  10. There are an increasing number of companies developing software that aren't software companies.
  11. Companies are increasingly supporting Linux.
  12. It's free.

Interesting review of Debugging (the book).  The Nine Indispensable Rules:

  1. Understand the system.
  2. Make it fail.
  3. Quit thinking and look.
  4. Divide and conquer.
  5. Change one thing at a time.
  6. Keep an audit trail.
  7. Check the plug.
  8. Get a fresh view.
  9. If you didn't fix it, it ain't fixed.

These all seem really "right", to me.  And I would especially point out #6, which is often neglected, and #9, which is invariably true, even when it appears not to be.

And finally we have: Biologist stopped at airport with severed seal's head in luggage.  I am not making this up.


Return to the archive.

this date in:
About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained