Category Archives: Other Stuff

Viewing The World As Richard Feynman

Richard Phillips Feynman was an American theoretical physicist, known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as his work in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model. For contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 jointly with Julian Schwinger and Shin’ichirō Tomonaga.

Feynman developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions describing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World, he was ranked the seventh-greatest physicist of all time.

A few days ago, one of the Lexicans posted this to the Facebook Group:

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Re-alignment

Posted by lex, on February 24, 2008

During the Cold War, India was the largest of the so-called “non-aligned” states that took no open position in the ideological clash of the epoch. Despite their neutrality, India’s government remained military clients of the Soviet Union. In gratitude for their custom, the USSR showered India with capable but low cost ships, aircraft and air defense systems.

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Nos amis les Sauds

Posted by lex, on February 14, 2008

Justice in the 21st Century Kingdom:

Human Rights Watch has appealed to Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of a woman convicted of witchcraft.

In a letter to King Abdullah, the rights group described the trial and conviction of Fawza Falih as a miscarriage of justice.

The illiterate woman was detained by religious police in 2005 and allegedly beaten and forced to fingerprint a confession that she could not read.

Among her accusers was a man who alleged she made him impotent.

Of course, an alternative theory might be that it was his unreasoning superstition that unmanned him.

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George Floyd and the MPD

I’ve had some questions about this from the beginning. The video seen around the world is really damning towards the 4 officers who, having Floyd under restraint and control, suffocated him.

Or to put it more accurately, one who suffocated him while the other 3 did nothing.

The question that I have had from the beginning is what – or who – protected Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck that killed him?

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Seeing Where Satan Lived

In the 70s and 80s, Sacramento had some notorious serial killers. I suppose by definition if you are not a run-of-the-mill murderer and kill multiple times seemingly randomly then you are notorious. We had a little old lady, Dorothea Puente, who owned an old Victorian house on F Street and rented out rooms. There’s a lot of Victorian homes at what we call “Midtown”, most with the front door leading up some steps about 8-10′ or so.

Until the levees were built on the Sacramento River, Sacramento would flood on a regular basis. The Sierra snows would melt in the spring, and where the river goes to the San Francisco Bay through the Carquinez Straits, like a funnel there is only so much water that can get through in a given time frame.

It had to go somewhere, and in the Sacramento Valley, that which didn’t immediately go through the Straits went…out into the Sacramento Valley. Sometimes for miles, which gave the Valley some of the richest agricultural land in the world.

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2 Disparate But Essential Skills

In the 1880s, as the world was getting ready for electricity, there was a tremendous technological battle going on. Should direct current be used as a standard, or alternating current?

Just saw a good movie detailing this battle, called The Current War. With hindsight, it seems obvious who the winner should have been, and it was the eventual winner – alternating current (for reasons brought out in the movie).

But the movie highlights the battle between direct current’s proponent, Thomas Edison, and alternating current, championed by both George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla.

From what I know of the rivalry it was factual so what I didn’t know I will assume to be factual.

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Software Testing

Ever since I got an iPhone 5S, I have been enamored with Apple products. The fit and finish, and ergonomics seems to be well thought out.

Heard about the new iOS 13 and I “upgraded” it for my SE the first hours it was available.

Now my reminder app, which I relied upon so heavily, is in shambles.

Over the years it has amazed me at how little so much software seems to have been tested before public release.  And in many instances, that which has been sufficiently tested was not used in the “real world” by the people actually needing it, but some programmer’s idea of how things should be.

Heck, look at the mess involving the 737 Max. Not much thought was put into the “what if’s”.

I think we can all relate to software like that.

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What Killed Off the Dinosaurs

What occasionally amazes me is how little we know about many things in the world’s past.

When I was in Egypt years ago, every guide had a different story as to how the pyramids were built.

My late father had to me a rather profound observation years ago: “Other than electricity we’ve been been pretty much the same since the ancient times.”

Think about every modern conveyance that requires electricity. Just about everything.

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Lucille Ball and Star Trek

In addition to being a comedienne whose work is still appreciated over 60 years later, Lucy had quite an influence in television. It could be said that I Love Lucy, started in 1951 with the dawn of television, became the template for the modern sitcom.

I had heard it said years ago that this show pioneered the 3 Camera Approach in filming. But others are saying not so fast – it was invented 4 years earlier, in 1947. Perhaps because the show was so groundbreaking and popular – it is still in syndication today – it got the credit.

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Check Engine Light

CheckEngineLight

This condition activated the Check Engine Light while driving down the mountain from Sequoia.

It seems that I have one more thing to milk tell about my recent 3 day trip, and this may help you in the near – or distant – future.

Despite taking obvious preventative measures, when you have a car that is 23 years old….things can happen. That is, unless one is willing to replace every electronic or moving component in the car. Even then, brand new cars have been known to break down on the road. Because while the engineers know what MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) each component may have, there are statistical deviations between the norm.

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