Posted by lex, on May 6, 2006
He’s taking a mid-term.
“Engineering Risk Benefit Analysis.” Decision trees, probs and stats. Binomial, exponential, Poisson and normal distributions. Random number generations, excel spreadsheets and simulations. Graphs.
And he’s not half stressing over it.
Back To The Index
Posted by lex, on September 21, 2005
Severally, in combination.
I’m in the mood for a right good screed tonight, the stars having combined in their splendid variety. And anyways, I’ll share a secret with just the two of you: I like the screeds that Lileks puts out the best, and go there looking every day or so as a guilty pleasure. Not because there’s not enough of that in the world (heaven forbid) but because nobody does it better. If asperity had a copyright, you’d be begging him for permissions.
Posted by lex, on Fri – February 18, 2005 at 06:13 PM
Bottled water, just now. It’s still early, and anyway I had a beer (Guinness, if you must know – for strength * !) with lunch today.
How and why that came to be will be yours to discover once you have clicked “read more” below.
There is a long and circular tale about Monday that I want to share, only I am not quite sure just how to tell it. Hmm.
(Caution: If you can’t abide stories about men lashing the turf in search of little white balls to scrape around [golf, in other words], skip ahead a few lines, brother.)
Well anyway, the surface forces were having their annual golf classic at the air station where I work. Being the team player that I am, and believing it’s all for the best to share of oneself, I signed up a team from our organization. We were a pretty diverse bunch, if you can call four white naval officers between the age of 36 and 50 (I was not the oldest!) diverse. Which I know wouldn’t pass muster at the kinds of places where ethnicity is parsed with purséd lips and diversity is carefully sifted, weighed and assessed, but as I was saying, and to get back on the tale itself, we were diverse, for us: One aviator, one surface warfare officer (for form’s sake, and anyway he’s the best golfer on the staff), one submariner and an admin guy.
If you compile a list of modern-day computer pioneers, Dennis Ritchie would be on any short list. About the time I was at school, fascinated in the early hours (midnight to 4AM) of playing 3 dimensional tic-tac-toe with my printer (no terminals or screens!) on a now ancient HP3000, Ritchie was working at Bell Labs devising a language – called “C”, that he would with 1-2 others use to devise a portable operating system called Unix.
Which, with its derivative Linux – today powers virtually every server on the Internet. And “C” is in many of the applications you use that access the Internet. From the driver that talks to your disk drive or SSD to the apps.
Yesterday, for lunch I decided to take the less than 10 mile drive to have a hot dog at the Dinky Diner. Both the short drive and the destination is relaxing – usually. Although I live in Sacramento, the short drive down the river and the Sacramento Delta is a world apart.
Laid back is the term I would use.
Just another 15 miles or so is the town of Locke – the only town in America built by the Chinese for the Chinese. And if you are there, you have to try Al the Wops.
Lake Louise in an October Afternoon
A few days ago at Lake Louise, Banff National Park, we rented a canoe to explore the placid (and cold) waters. The mornings would be cold – usually 22 degrees F, and you could see the water starting to crystallize into ice. By afternoon the outside temp was around freezing.
The water is turquoise from the glacier-fed waters – with the pulverized rock – as the glacier slowly made its way to the water.
Having been there over the decades twice – but in the summer – I believe October is the best time to visit.
The summer hordes are gone, the air is crisp, and the hotels start their off season rates. By winter temps can drop to -40F.
The picture that was above the bar at the Park Distillery, Banff, Alberta, Canada.
While I was at lake Louise, our wedding party headed 40 miles east on the Trans Canada Highway and had a dinner at Banff. The Park Distillery is a bit different from the trend these days. Instead of yet another beer microbrewery/restaurant, they make gin. And they are pretty famous for it apparently.
The restaurant – on the same site – isn’t bad either.
After our group finished dinner and we were on the way out ready to leave on our bus, someone on the staff casually mentioned about the fellow in the picture overlooking the bar.
I had a friend with an interesting commute. He worked in San Jose for a now defunct disk drive manufacturer, Maxtor (bought by Seagate I believe). He used to write the system code for the drives.
He lived in Reno, Nevada and every Sunday night would start his long commute to San Jose. I would say that he drove almost 300 miles, down the Sierras, through the Valley, then into the Bay Area. This could be through rain, snow, traffic.
Every Friday evening, he would drive back to Reno. I can only imagine trying to navigate the Bay Area traffic gridlock on the way back to Reno after a week’s work – then, what has become common, Sacramento area gridlock.
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.
With a long time friend of mine, a computer programmer of the first rate, we have had this discussion several times over the years. He started programming in the late 70s as did I.
We’ve seen industries come and go – both in hardware and software. Billions of dollars made…and then with the next technological wave, gone. It’s really been an amazing thing to witness.