Another Ireland image

While in Ireland, we visited Desmond Castle in Kinsale.  One of the especially interesting things in the castle is a room with something of a history of wine in Ireland and the contributions to the wine world from the Irish.  In this room was a stainglass window that I thought looked really cool, so I took this picture of it (click the image for the full-size, slightly blurry photo):

ireland-wine-window.jpg

I have some other pictures from Desmond castle that I’ll get on the site soon, plus some of the information on the castle that made it so interesting to me.  While you wait for what I have, why not check out this Kinsale guide to Desmond castle that has some of the wine history information?

[tags]Ireland, Desmond castle, Wine history[/tags]

Light gets tired, slows down – perhaps an old age issue?

While some people might try to tell you that light is subject to the doppler effect, the authors of this article from the November 1932 issue of Modern Mechanix magazine know otherwise. The reality is, after travelling for centuries and centuries to reach earth, the light is tired, and slows down as a result. My theory is the light just wants to stop and smell the roses, seeing how Earth is the only planet around that has roses. Now I can’t confirm that Earth is the only nearby planet with roses, but I’ve got a pretty strong conviction on this.

mm_red_shift2.jpg

THAT light rays get tired as they travel for millions of years through space, fritter away a little of themselves century by century and end by changing color so that rays which started as blue ones may finish by becoming red is suggested by scientists. Astronomers have discovered that light rays coming to the earth from the most distant nebulae actually show what is called the “red shift,” which means the light from these nebulae is shifted a little toward the red end of the spectrum. What may be happening is that each tiny bit of each light ray may lose a small fraction of its substance as it moves through space.

As pointed out on the Modern Mechanix web page, the concept of stars moving away from Earth, thereby causing red-shift, was known and used as early as 1868 for measuring the velocity of stars movement away from us. So who knows why these people used this article, as it could already be shown as nonsense at the time.

[tags]Modern Mechanix, Light gets tired, doppler effect, red-shift[/tags]

A fuel consumption and efficiency study in way too much detail

(via MAKEzine blog)

Matthew Vea owns a 2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.  With the horrendous cost of gas we all suffer under now, he decided to learn a bit more about his Jeep’s fuel consumption, where the sweet spot for driving is, how much gearing, cruise-control or manual speed control, air condition usage, and more affected fuel consumption, and all the other dirty details someone who would even take on this project can find out.

Starting with hooking up an OBD-II tool (a computer for performance monitoring) to his Jeep’s computer, he tracked pretty much everything he could to see how it all ties together.  The end result is a huge, detailed write-up to all the data he gathered.  For me, on a 1024×768 screen, the final document is about 40 screens worth of text and images.  When I say it’s way too much detail, I mean that for the average reader, it’s more than one will likely read through.  But if you take time to read even a few sections of the article, you can learn a lot about how to test your vehicle, as well as getting a few ideas that will probably help you improve your fuel efficiency.

Also, the end of the article has almost 100 links to articles the Matthew links as back-up to what he writes.  This is a rich resource for anyone interested in studying or improving fuel consumption and vehicle performance.

I own a 2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. This vehicle is actually an upgrade from my previous 2004 Jeep Wrangler Sport. My first Jeep did not have any air conditioning or a cruise control. After spending a year in the desert heat of Iraq, I vowed to myself that if it were in my control, then never again would I go without air conditioning. So, I figured if I was going to burn gas up in my 4×4, I may as well burn it up a little more comfortably.

. . .

For saving gas, there are three courses of action. First, driving style affects fuel efficiency. Many people cite “rules of thumb,” but most cannot back these claims up with evidence. To learn the truth about driving style, I conducted road tests with a computer interface hooked into my engine. The second way to improve fuel efficiency is to modify the way an engine performs. Modifications take many forms so I browsed the Internet to find the most common and analyzed the fact and fiction behind their performance. Lastly, the very fuel that goes into an engine plays a role in efficiency. With all the talk of alternative fuels these days, I wanted to know what they are, whether they work in my engine and how they compare to regular gasoline. Ultimately, I take all the cards relating to fuel efficiency and lay them on the table for scrutiny.

Continue reading A fuel consumption and efficiency study in way too much detail

Sony warns of greater gaming division losses

The writeup at ArsTechnica has all the gory details.  Sony has announced that the cost of some components for the PlayStation 3 have gone up.  After a US$231 loss for the division last quarter, Sony is warning of a greater loss than originally expected around the PlayStation 3 launch.

According to Merrill Lynch Japan, such a move could result in a second-year loss for Sony of US$730 million, and another loss of US$457 million in its third year. This would be in stark contrast to the PS2, which was profitable in its second year, to the tune of US$757 million.

. . .

So if the game console business is getting so expensive, why do companies like Sony and Microsoft continue to chase it? Each company is looking at the long term benefits of having the dominant game console market share, and each company has additional reasons to promote its own console. Sony, on one hand, is clearly anxious to push the Blu-ray format in order to create a market for the high-definition movie standard they are promoting. Microsoft, on the other hand, likes the idea of the Xbox serving as an entertainment hub that links seamlessly to computers running the Media Center Edition of Windows.

Then there’s Nintendo, who have consistently turned a profit with their gaming hardware and never seemed to jump on the bandwagon of losing money selling high-powered units below cost in order to make it back with game sales and third-party license fees.

The rest of this year and early next will be interesting in the console business, I suppose.  I want Sony to do well with the PlayStation 3, but more and more it sounds like a troubled console, or at least a troubled launch.

[tags]Sony, PlayStation 3[/tags]

City of Heroes lore

This one is completely, totally, and unashamedly for City of Heroes players only. If you don’t play City of Heroes, please go to the next post, as this will mean nothing to you.

Now, for the three of you that get to this section, if you want to know more of the lore of City of Heroes, hit this forum thread for all kinds of details and wondrous information.

  • Nowaki:
    Did you know that the last contact you get in the Outbreak tutorial, Coyote is a tribute to the first member of the City of Heroes pre-beta community.His forum handle was Kiyotee, his real name was Matt Bragg. He was an active contributing member of the pre-beta community for 2 years, one of the nicest guys around, but died tragically around the time the game was released.

    The tutorial character Coyote, bear’s Matt’s name and character’s identity.

  • IanTheM1:
    I’m guessing Kings Row was left without a trainer for a while because…Back in Beta, Galaxy City didn’t exist!

    That’s right, back in Beta you went straight to Atlas after being forced to do the tutorial. Kings Row appropriately had retired police officer Michael Knight AKA Back Alley Brawler serving as the trainer of Kings Row.

    Since Beta had become so crowded, there was a call for a second starting zone, thus Galaxy City was born, and Brawler moved there.

    Since Galaxy didn’t exist at the time, Kings Row connected to Perez Park! You can still see the spot where the old gate was. It’s in the northeast part of High Park. You can’t miss the lookout posts and the fenced in section.

  • Bad_Luck:
    Break-frees were originally Disciplines, which didn’t negate holds, they only added defense against them. For a while you could trade in bounty in SC and get them instead of break-frees.Unyielding used to root you to one spot.

There’s around 50 pages of posts there now. Some of the information is getting off the CoH lore/backstory and into the CoH history and what-used-to-be, but it’s still interesting to folks that play the game, I think.

[tags]City of Heroes lore[/tags]

Which is better

In an effort to determine the best thing ever, the creator of webcomic xkcd has started the site BestThing.info.  The format is pretty simple – you are asked which is better and given two buttons with choices on them.  Click one to vote which is better.  As an example, here are a few of the choices I’ve had:

Which is better?

  • Clavicles or The top of a thong above low rise jeans
  • Secret compartments or Sexing up a hot girl
  • When stupid people shut up or Getting extra nuggets at Chick-Fil-A

I went ahead and crossed out the wrong answers there for you, too, so you know how to vote if you get the same choices (which you won’t).

If you don’t like the things you see, you can also add your own things to go into the voting pool.  I passed on this, but I’m sure some folks out there will have some good ideas to add.

[tags]Which is better?, BestThing.info[/tags]

The Star Trek future comes ever closer

(via Engadget)

This new gadget might sound totally fake, but it is a real product (or soon will be). Prepare in the future to have your bones repaired via ultrasonic bone stimulation from the EXOGEN 4000+ Bone Healing System!

Smith & Nephew’s (NYSE: SNN, LSE: SN) Orthopaedic Trauma & Clinical Therapies division today announced FDA exogen.jpgapproval for its EXOGEN 4000+* Bone Healing System.

The EXOGEN 4000+ Bone Healing System is a low-intensity pulsed ultrasound device that is externally applied 20 minutes a day over the site of a broken bone. It is the ONLY bone stimulator:

  • using ultrasound technology approved to treat fractures that that have failed to heal;
  • approved to heal specific fresh fractures faster

The EXOGEN 4000+ is medically proven to promote the body’s natural healing process, speeding the repair of a broken bone. The system is also clinically proven to speed up the healing of certain new fractures by 38 percent and effectively healing 86 percent of hard-to-heal bone fractures.

The system will launch in domestic and International markets in the fall of 2006, and will replace the EXOGEN 2000+*.

There you have it – bone healing from a handheld sonic device. Soon, we’ll be repairing tumors, stopping bleeding, healing phaser knife wounds, and more. This is an exciting time to be seriously injured, isn’t it?

[tags]Exogen 4000+, Ultrasonic bone repair, Star Trek future[/tags]

Server move recovery status

I am close to having all the images back in place.  While going back and restoring images to old posts, I’ve cleaned up some old errors in posts, some dating back to February.  So if you are visiting via a feedreader (Bloglines, My Yahoo!, or any other), you may see a lot of old posts showing up again because of edits.  Please bear with me over the next few days as I recover from this downtime and server move.

By the way, I finally received a response from my previous webhost’s 24×7 support staff, 44 hours after I filed a support ticket for my unreachable web site.  The answer was I had some sleeping SQL processes that were taking up an unusually high percentage of available CPU time, or something like that.  Since the only abnormal thing I had done that day was a complete database dump via php_myadmin, I have to assume something in the database dump caused the problem.  I really have no idea what it was, though – maybe someone out there brighter than I am can tell me?

So, with a large portion of the cleanup from the move behind me, we’ll celebrate with a picture of a rabbit with a pancake on its headrabbit_pancake.jpg.  Thanks for stopping by.  Now I have to start my work to gain visitors again – after hitting 200+ unique visits a day for the past couple of weeks, after the crash I’m down to under 100 unique visits today, and only 16 yesterday.  Hopefully some of that is DNS propagation, but I fear some of it is lost regular visitors.  Now that I’m mostly recovered, though, I’ll work on getting more articles up and start trying to get visitors again.  Hugs all around.