Ego Vero Seek and you shall find... Ask and the door shall be opened - page 33

So a 4 Quark hadron walks into a bar….

So a 4 Quark hadron walks into a bar….

…and the bartender says “I can’t serve you because I’m not sure you exist!”  Bada-bing!  Meh…needs work.  Anyhoo… it looks like we haven’t yet even learned all of what we don’t know.  That is to say that the more we learn, the more we don’t know.  Or something.  If I can’t get that point across, then I have no chance of explaining subatomic physics regarding the discovery of a new “exotic” particle, the 4 Quark Hadron.  Or rather the confirmation of the 2007 discovery of the 4 Quark Hadron.  So I’ll suggest you follow that link to a very concise and surprisingly easy to understand article on the subject at the UK Daily Mail.  Why do you care?  OK, you don’t but why should you care?  Because atoms and their subatomic components make up everything in our entire universe and we will never figure out what the hell this whole universe thing is about if we cannot even understand what it is made of.

Besides, C'mon!  It's Hadrons!

Besides, C’mon! It’s Hadrons!

And another Birthday

And another Birthday

TCM, or Turner Classic Movies turns 20 years old next Monday, and it’s one of the few things I’m willing to thank Ted Turner for.  There’s no way to describe it other than “the old movie channel”, since they air movies almost exclusivley made before 1970.

I remember mama poster

 

They are also uninterupted by commercials, unedited and usually introduced by a host who will pass some information about the stars of the film or some anecdotes about the making of the film which I find adds to my appreciation of the film.

meet me in st louis movie poster 1

 

When the channel was first introduced, it offered access to a library of films not often seen on commercial television, nor easily found in the once ubiquitous video stores, films one usually had to buy in order to watch them.  Also, you may have had to stay up late or get up early in order to catch a movie you wanted to see, but with the advent of the DVR (and the death of the walk in video rental store) you don’t have to stay up until 3:00AM to see that obscure film.  Schedule the recording and watch at your leisure!

psycho poster

 

Since the audience that these old films appeal to is aging, the looming question is will the channel be able to attract younger viewers with it’s current fare?  Let’s hope they find a way, or that younger people find an interest in classic films.  So Happy Birthday TCM and may you adapt to change better than Blockbuster Video!

Happy Birthday, Dear Mustang…

Happy Birthday, Dear Mustang…

….Happy Birthday to you!  The Ford Mustang, that is, not the horse, nor the “ranch” in Nevada.  Yes, the Ford Mustang turns 50 years old this week.  Though today it is a globally recognized American Icon, it very nearly never came to be.  Accountants at Ford were not convinced of the need for the new model since it was really just a Falcon with different bodywork and they believed it’s introduction would only hurt sales of that model.  Still, legendary marketing man Lee Iacocca pushed hard for the project and won out in the end.  The projected sales for the first year were around 100,000 units, and ended up in reality being over 400,000 units!  And it is a brand that is still thriving today, even after many copycat competitors  have come and gone and come and gone again.

I have owned a few Mustangs, though is has been about 20 years since my last one.  The first car that was my very own was a 65 sedan which I bought from my brother-in-law in the mid seventies for $300.  It had a 200 cubic inch 6 cylinder engine and a 1 barrel carburetor that looked like it belonged on lawn mower.  The transmission was a three speed manual with a floor mounted stick.  It had an after market paint job in a non factory color, a kind of “root beer brown” which earned it the nickname “hershey car” though in reality it was more metalic brown than chocolate.  Overall, a great car – simple transportation, nothing fancy.  I drove the crap out of it for 4 or 5 years and sold it for $200 when the transmission finally went out.  I don’t have an actual picture, but this one is very close:

same hubcaps as mine

same hubcaps as mine

 

My second Mustang belonged initially to my girlfriend who I later married and so it was more ours than mine.  It was also a 65 with the same 200 c.i. engine and three speed manual tranny as mine, but this one was a fastback 2+2 (fold down rear bucket seats) and ran alot better than my first one.  It was positively peppy.  I wish I had taken better care of it and kept it, but after marriage and when a couple kids came along it wasn’t practical.  Again, I have no picture but here is a similar one:

nearly identical to ours

nearly identical to ours

 

My most recent Mustang was the first brand new car I ever bought: a 1979 Mustang “Ghia” coupe.  This generation of Mustang, the 3rd, after the ill-conceived “Mustang II” was not a muscle car in any sense.  It was after all the late 70’s and we had just gone through the Arab Oil Embargo and so small engines were the order of the day.  All Mustangs of that vintage had only 4 cylinder engines, though there was a turbo option (larger engines were re-introduced later).  Mine did not have a turbo, but it was a fairly light car and so performed reasonably well with it’s 4 speed manual transmission.

mine was Burgundy Red, but same faux wire wheels

mine was Burgundy Red, but same faux wire wheels

 

Since the Mustang of legend is always thought of as a muscle car, my next one will be more along these lines:

I'm a vanilla kind of guy

I’m a vanilla kind of guy

 

Oh, who am I kidding?  By the time I’m ready to buy one they will probably be wind-powered…

I suppose I could live with it

…but I suppose I could live with it

How Can an Airliner Just Disappear? (Part VII)

How Can an Airliner Just Disappear? (Part VII)

The New Straits Times (Malaysia) is reporting that Malaysia Air Flight 370’s Copilot attempted a cell phone call after final radio contact and after the plane diverted from it’s planned course to Beijing.  I have seen this reported nowhere else.

The source for the story is an anonymous person inside the investigation.  The source states that the co-pilot’s cell records are being examined (as I assume would be the pilot’s, flight crew’s and all the passengers’) and the examination shows that the phone was powered off about the time that the crew boarded the flight.  This is considered normal.  However, after the flight departed, after the final radio contact with ground controllers and after the flight changed course, the phone was turned on and a call was made or attempted.  The source declined to give further information as to whom the call was attemted or if it was indeed completed.  I will be interested to see if this story is picked up by other media sources.

More “Common Sense” from CA State Senate

More “Common Sense” from CA State Senate

Did I say common sense?  Sorry, I meant stupidity.  This week the Senate Health Commitee approved SB1000 which would require warning labels on sodas and other sugary beverages sold in California.  California will be the first in the nation!  The label would read:

STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking
beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.

Huh.  Who knew?  The next thing you know the government or someone will come out with a study that says Americans like Pizza or something.  But I digress.  We Californians are fortunate that we have such wise stewards in our legislature who realize that Utopia cannot be realized without sufficient warning labels.  We can’t credit them for all the warning labels California requires today though,  the most ubiquitous of which are the “Prop 65” warning labels which you will find on everything in the state.  Of course, I am exagerating (WRONG! I’m not!).  Here a little backgound is in order: California has something called The Ballot Initiative Process.  The idea is that We The People can bypass the Legislature if we choose, draft our own laws (“propositions”) and put them to a vote of the people.  If they pass they become law.  Power to The People!  Right On!  However… sometimes there is an idea so stupid even our legislators realize the can’t have their fingerprints on it,  so they draft their own “proposition” and put it on the ballot.  In this state, if you can sell something in Los Angeles and the SF Bay Area then you get to shove it down everyone else’s throat.  This is how we got Prop 65, the purpose of which was to warn people of scary toxic chemicals that would jump out and murder them unless they were warned.  Oh, and Clean Water!  Surely you’re not against clean water?  Anyway, now we have this warning on every building and product in California:

WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer  and birth defects  or other reproductive harm.

Turns out that everything causes cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm to one degree or another.  True Story: one summer at Lake Tahoe I was waiting for a table at a restuarant.  It’s Tahoe in the summer, so there are a lot of tourists from out of state and while we’re all sitting there, a young woman in another party notices the Prop65 warning posted at the entrance to the restaurant.  Yes, there is one of these posted at every restaurant in California.  She became alarmed; OMG look at this!  We better go somewhere else!  We’ll get cancer if we eat here! (on the shores of pristine Lake Tahoe, mind you).   The locals started laughing and told her not to worry, that warning is on everything in this state. There are two things to take away from this if you’re a California State Senator reading this.  First, “the locals started laughing” and second “that warning is on everything in this state”.

Prop 65 was passed in 1986.  Here it is 2014 and we’re still figuring out which warning labels to put on what.  That’s a lot of time wasted, so I’d like to offer this suggestion.  Let’s just make one warning label for everything so we can be done with this and move on.

My suggestion:

CA warning

You’re Welcome.

How to read this here blog thingy

How to read this here blog thingy

I write about anything that happens to be of interest to me, and the subject matter is varied.  If you like what I write about some subjects but don’t care for others, look on the sidebar to the right.  You will see “categories”.  All my posts fit into one or more of these categories.  Click on the category you are most intersted in, and you will see only posts in that category.  Simple.  Within my posts I often link to additional information and/or another blog or article that inspired the post.  When you see a word in red text, that is a link to additional information.  Click on it and the link will open in a new tab.  Any pictures within a post can usually be viewed in a larger version by simply clicking on the picture.

click on the picture to see it larger

click on the picture to see it larger

 

Please comment! To the left of the title you will see a box with the date and below it a box that says comments.  Click there and a dialogue box will open where you will be able to write comments on the article. This is how I know you’re reading and I welcome all feedback on my writing. You will be asked for your name and e-mail adress but don’t worry!  You can use an alias if you don’t want to disclose your name and your e-mail adress will not be displayed, nor will I spam you.  I moderate all the comments so I will see your comment.

Thanks! and Enjoy!

An Interesting Little History Quiz…

An Interesting Little History Quiz…

At The Volokh Conspiracy:  The question is asked “What do Jamestown (Virginia), San Diego and New York have in common?”

If you wish, you may follow the link and scroll through the comments to find the answer.  OR… read through to the end of this post and I will provide the answer.  The question caught my eye as I am a bit of a history buff and have been to all three places.  They are quite different from each other.

Jamestown isn’t really a city at all, rather it’s more of a historical archaeology site.  It is the site of the first permanent English settlement in America, dating back to 1607.

Jamestown map

New York is ,well, New York.  It’s a helluva town;  The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down.  The area was first visited by Europeans in 1524 (Spain) but not settled until 1624 by Dutch fur traders.

times-square-1024x768

San Diego is regarded as the birthplace of California and is it’s second largest city.  It is spectacularly situated on the Pacific coast and has a beautiful climate.  It was first visited by Europeans (Spain) in 1542, but not permanently settled by Europeans until 1769.

san-diego-skyline-958-x-639

So, what do they have in common?  They all were named after a “James”.  Jamestown, obviously named after a James, that is King James I of England.  New York, not so obviously was named after The Duke Of York (later King James II).  Finally, San Diego was named after Sebastian Vizcaino’s flagship San Diego, which is in English Saint James.

Keep Your Eyes and Your Mind Open…

Keep Your Eyes and Your Mind Open…

As improbable as it may seem…

Credit: tragedyseries.tumblr.com

Credit: tragedyseries.tumblr.com

 

…Perhaps the answer is looking for you.

Concupiscence

Concupiscence

Yea, that’s right, you heard me.  Concupiscence.  Merriam-Webster defines it as strong desire (especially, though not exclusively sexual desire).  For my purposes here, let us define it as the orientation, inclination or innate tendency of human beings to long for things they don’t (or can’t or shouldn’t) have.  Fleshy or otherwise.

You there – trying to sneak out the back!  I’m talking about you!  I’m talking about all of you.  Or rather – all of us.

It is a rare (and probably imaginary) person that doesn’t always want something they don’t have.  If you have money, you want more money.  If you have a house, you want a bigger house.  If you have a car, you want a better car.  And so on and so on…Why did I bring this up?  Only in an effort to understand why we are the way we are.  This is one of those things that is so universally true that I believe it is part of what we are if not who we are.

quote-Blaise-Pascal-concupiscence-and-force-are-the-source-of-1952

At first glance it seems that a trait like concupiscence must be a good thing.  People always wanting to better themselves – what’s so bad about that? It’s the source of all our voluntary actions – Pascal says so!  Except that it is almost always viewed in a negative light, especially in theology.  There’s even a commandment against it (or two, depending on your religion), the one against coveting your neighbor’s house, goods, or wife.  And people being people they usually end up trying to take what they want from other people that have what they want.  Or just hating them for having it.  That’s not good.  Oh wait…I see that Pascal makes no judgement as to the quality of our voluntary actions.

So then it must be an imperfection, a flaw.  Something to be resisted, constrained.  But without it would we ever taken any action at all?  That would make it an indispensable survival mechanism.  Truth be told (see what I did there?), it’s what keeps us going day after day.  Conversely, we have to watch it or it’ll get us in trouble.  But at least it gets us up off the couch.

Why do drummers have such bad luck?

Why do drummers have such bad luck?

Everyone knows the story of Pete Best, the “5th Beatle” and how he was bounced from the band just before they hit it big.  Turns out there was also a “5th Who”..err.. earlier drummer for “The Who” who (that?) was dismissed from the band just before their big break.

Of all the larger than life personalities in Rock’n Roll few are larger than Keith Moon, drummer for The Who.  Today I find out from UltimateClassicRock.com that he was not their original drummer, that honor belongs to a bloke named Doug Sandom.  The short story: in 1962 London there was a group called the Detours.  They were detoured by another group called The Detours and so they changed their name to The Who.  Who?  Yes, that’s right.  No, not Yes.  The Who.  Their drummer was named Doug Sandom.  There were also three other guys, Roger, John and Pete.  The group got an audition for Fontana Records which they failed.  In the fallout, Doug Sandom was fired and eventually Keith Moon was hired.  The rest is history (said in the voice of Howard Cosell).  For a better written and more detailed account, see the article at UltimateClassicRock.com.  If that’s enough info for you then watch this:

And another for good measure:

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