Monthly Archives: August 2006

resuscitating old words

My nudiustertian activities included some titivation, but not as much as Monday.
Nor did I dandle my youngest nephew, but I confess, I did this past weekend.
I enjoy it, and so does he.
My nudiustertian activities did include some detitivation in the nocturnal hours.

(Not sure ‘detitivation’ is an actual word, but if not, tomorrow I will be able to say I coined it nudiustertianally)

Browse my Library

On the left, under ‘Pages’, you will see a new page called “Browse my Library”.

It’s an expanded version of what you see on the sidebar.
Instead of 12 books, you will see 200.
And the images are slightly larger, so you will be able to read the titles more clearly.
It’s for those who really want to know what is on my bookshelf.
Due to the number of images, even with highspeed access, it might take a few seconds to load.
If you don’t have highspeed access, it will take longer.

if you want to see more than 200 books (slightly over 20% at the moment) you will have to follow the link to LibraryThing.

Time to make a decision

This weekend several new metrolink stops are opening. One park-and-ride within minutes from my home.

Pros & Cons of Metro-link

Money:

$40/month saved on gas (figuring $3/gallon) Many St. Louisans have longer commutes than I do, and I get good mileage on my car, so many will save more on gas than I do.

$60/month bus pass

Wear/tear on vehicle probably doesn’t come to $20/month, but it will cut the difference. (Update: TripleA claims maintenance, etc comes to 5 cents/mile. On average. And since my work commute is 100 miles a week exactly, that’s almost exactly $20/month. So cost is a wash.)

$40 is only for driving to and from work, but it’s likely I wouldn’t use the bus pass for much else.

Using the metro-link will not save me money, but it won’t cost me a lot either.

Pros

  • New Brentwood/64 Park-and-Ride is very convenient for me.
  • Conserves energy
  • 48 minutes/day or 4 hours a week of usable time to read books or write.
  • Half mile walk from Union Station stop to work means a mile walk each day – I need more exercise
  • I will have a bus pass for Mardi Gras/St. Patrick’s Day/Cardinals Games, and will save a little money on those days

Cons

  • Half mile walk from Union Station to work means I am unlikely to use the pass in inclement weather. I may decide not to buy a monthly pass December through February. (Which of course includes Mardi Gras)
  • Commute time increases from approximately 20 minutes to approximately 45 minutes. I will need to get up half an hour earlier.
  • I will be ‘trapped’ at work, unable to drive anywhere to lunch.

Have you titivated today?

Most companies have a titivation section in their employee handbook, though admittedly, few refer to it by this name.  Most companies require all employees to titivate daily, with the possible exception of Fridays.  Some companies are titivation-optional throughout the week, but this is rare.

So, have you titivated today?  I have.

Words and Numbers

Some thoughts I had today on this whole planet stuff:

There are some…

who insist that a planet is 3000 miles in diameter or more.

Let’s take a look at the approximate diameters of all 12 objects being considered under the 12-planet proposal:

Ceres: 580 miles
Charon: 730 miles
Pluto: 1,470 miles
“Xena”: 1490 miles
Mercury: 3030 miles
Mars: 4190 miles
Venus: 7,500 miles
Earth: 7,900 miles
Neptune: 30,760 miles
Uranus: 31,760 miles
Saturn: 74,900 miles
Jupiter: 89,000 miles

Guess what the discovered planets were when the 3000 mile definition was created?

I actually don’t know what year this was, but without even looking it up, I am going to guess this was back in the days of the 8 planets, and we knew about all the planets above from Mercury on up in size. And we decided on 3000 because Mercury was just over 3000 miles in diameter. Scientific? No. But I suspect extremely likely. The size of Mercury and the line drawn in the definition could be a coincidence. Coincidences do happen. But in this case, I’d bet on it not being a coincidence.
So now that we know about objects smaller…3000 is written in stone? Why?

“Planet” is just a word. It can mean anything. It can mean the scab on my foot, if I had a scab on my foot. Which I don’t, and it doesn’t. But it could.

If we’re going to base this on size, I think the below proposal would do wonders for our worldly self-esteem:

Diameters up to 7,800 miles are: Dwarf Planets

Diameters from 7,801 miles to 8,000 miles: Planets

Diameters from 8,001 miles and up: Monster planets.

Hey! We’re the only planet! Everything else is either a dwarf or a monster!

What’s less scientific about this?

Or in other words….Size shouldn’t matter.

Isaac Asimov: “The Solar System consists of Jupiter plus debris.”

Priceless

MC Paul Barman Paullelujah CD: $3

The Vulcan Academy Murders by Jean Lorrah (1984 hardback): $1

1 Jerry Garcia tie: $2

Supporting rehabilitation and employment services : Priceless

Notes:

Trek book: I have over 100 Star Trek novels. Most sit on my shelf unread.  I used to collect them, but I stopped once I realized I had stopped reading them.  But this one looked interesting, and was published prior to the books being churned out so often they had to be numbered.  (A few years later it was republished, and given the number 20)  It has a cool Boris Vallejo cover too.  Follow the top link of this entry, and you can admire the artwork, and download the ebook yourself for $3, but that’s not the same thing as a physical book.
Tie: Jerry Garcia ties go for over $30 at department store prices.  This was a steal.  Sure, I could try to ebay it, but I think I will wear it instead.

CD:  This wasn’t the MC Paul Barman CD I blogged about almost two years ago.  I wasn’t sure if it was or not, but I saw it after I found the tie, so I took the chance that even if it wasn’t, the music would still be worthwhile.  Listening to it as I type, i think it was.

By the way.  if you enjoy Star Trek novels, and are missing a few in your collection, there are about a dozen hardbacks.  Mostly Original Series.  All first edition. At the Brentwood location.  Not sure how long they will be there.

Wherefore art thou Pluto

For now, Pluto is still a planet.

The most recent proposal from the International Astronomical Union is for there to be 12 planets.  Here’s a picture of the 12, to scale.  (Click to enlarge)
planets.jpg

Even with the thumbnail you can tell the truth…based on size alone, there are really only 4 planets.  Unfortunately, we aren’t one of them….

One of the most humorous blog-battles I’ve seen in years has occurred between two authors: John Scalzi of Whatever and Scott Westerfeld of WesterBlog.  Scalzi is in favor of Pluto as a Planet.  Westerfeld is against.  Scalzi created a video of his daughter, in tears over Pluto-hayters, feeding Westerfeld (in effigy) to a Cthulhu toy.

I’m in favor of Pluto being known as the name of a cat.  And if someone creates a video of a  black cat tearing a stuffed Pluto dog to shreds, I will link to it.