Critical Section

Archive: January 16, 2016

<<< January 14, 2016


January 17, 2016 >>>

gray day

Saturday,  01/16/16  10:49 AM

gray day...Had a nice day of coding and watching football.  I'm kinda glad we have cold* weather, it discourages any thoughts of going somewhere :)  What a nerd, right?

* Southern California cold, not to be confused with actual freezing cold

Thanks you guys for the nice notes re welcoming me back.

Can I just say how much I hate the new "dynamic" web page ethic, in which a page wiggles around for 30 seconds while 30MB of crap loads?  I strongly dislike it.  There is no reason for this, none at all.  Do whatever you have to do on the server side, render a page, and then deliver it cleanly to the client.  If my browser window is WxH pixels, then at most WxHx3 bytes have to be transmitted to fill it.  Right?

Netscape logoWhile I was out, I missed the 20th anniversary of Netscape's IPO.  That was certainly an epochal event; not only heralding the "era of the Internet", but the "era of high-flying tech startups".  Both eras are still ongoing of course...  although Netscape has died an ignominious death.  Who can remember they were bought by AOL?  (Who can remember AOL?)  Heh.

Fortune editor Adam Lashinsky: "Netscape is an odd company to celebrate. It lasted barely five years, got trounced by Microsoft, and never made any money to speak of yet. Yet it made its early investors gobs of money, created an alumni network the envy of much more established companies, and changed our everyday lives. More than that, it taught an entire industry how to dream."

Tesla ModelX announcement via PeriscopeAnother thing I missed blogging, the formal announcement of the Tesla Model X, along with delivery of the first five cars.  It was amazing, did you see it?  The car itself is also incredible, but it did end up costing over $120K.  Not exactly the average soccer Mom's car.

Perhaps the coolest part for me was that the Tesla video feed dropped, so I ended up watching it live via Periscope.  That is, someone who was actually at the event broadcast it from their phone, and me and 30,000 others watched it.  What a time to be alive!

Adam Hanson rides 13 grand tours in a rowYou know I'm a huge cycling fan, and while I was out a bunch of amazing cycling took place.  One rather under-reported accomplishment was Adam Hanson completing thirteen grand tours in a row.  (Cycling's grand tours are the main events in the sport, the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta a Espana; they each last three weeks and have 21 days of cycling, averaging around 2,000 miles and 150,000 feet.)  Hanson is a beast.

Peter Sagan blasts away from the field to win the 2015 World ChampionshipAnother beast in the peloton is Peter Sagan, who won the 2015 World Championship (held in Richmond, Virginia!) by blasting off from the field in the last couple of miles to win going away.  Nobody can do that, especially not in the Worlds; nobody but Peter anyway.  This is well worth re-watching if you ever want to watch some exciting cycle racing.

And so now onward, to space...

Ceres! (asteroid or planet, or both?)Ceres, the planet that wasn't.  "When it comes to underdog planets, Ceres might be at the top of the list. Sure, you've probably heard about Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet. But before Pluto, there was Ceres. When astronomers discovered it in 1801, it was the only object known between Mars and Jupiter. Its story echoes Pluto's. After astronomers found more bodies in similar orbits - objects that became part of what's now known as the asteroid belt - they reclassified Ceres as an asteroid.  It's not just any asteroid, though; it's still the biggest one there is, accounting for about a third of all the mass in the asteroid belt."  Excellent.

Related: What are those bright spots on Ceres?  (the new base of the rebel alliance?)

Identical twin astronaut Scott Kelly spends a year in spaceDid you know?  NASA are running a real-live twin study.  "NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly’s twin brother Mark Kelly will spend the year on Earth while Scott is in space. Since their genetic makeup is as close to identical as we can get, this allows a unique research perspective. We can now compare all of the results from Scott Kelly in space to his brother Mark on Earth."  Super cool.

Cassini visits EnceladusJust in case you're wondering: What's Enceladus?  It is "one of Saturn’s many moons, and is one of the brightest objects in our solar system. This moon is about as wide as Arizona, and displays at least five different types of terrain. The surface is believed to be geologically 'young', possibly less than 100 million years old."  Visiting it will be superspacecraft Cassini's next - and last - mission...

Albert Einstein, father of cosmologyNASA remembers the 100th anniversary of Einstein's General Theory of Relatively.  One of the all-time amazing intellectual achievements.  Everything we've done in space depends on this critical insight about the nature of the universe.

You were wondering how I'd tie together cycling and space, right?  Hehe ...

Zooborn: baby giraffe arrives with the new yearWell you knew I had to do it; wrapping up, let's note this baby giraffe which arrived with the new year :)  Awww...

Thought experiment:  Given that we think babies from just about every Earth species are cute, if we encounter aliens in space, will we think their babies are cute, too?



Saturday,  01/16/16  11:10 PM



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