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2014-08-18      Loon Funders   

The sources of funding for right wing nuttery seems infinite. Much of this cash is aimed at organizations that are primarily or at least overtly religious. Not just religious, but crazy religious. By that, I mean religion of the "Science is the work of the Devil!" variety. Yet those providing these funds seem to be mostly secularists. In fact, the key aim of these people appears to be just to convince the rubes to support the sorts of policies used to shackle the same rubes. Is it evil to use racism and intelligible-only-to-morons-who-don't-understand-the-tenets-of-the-religion-to-which-they-claim-to-adhere religious arguments to convince the downtrodden to support their own downtreading, as long as some other group bears a more severe downtreading?

Probably.

2014-08-16      Keeping the Cogs Greased   

Conservative thinking:

"Unless the occasional [member of out-group] gets [killed, raped] without consequence to the [real victim], how will those people be forced to remember their place?"

2014-08-15      Randians   

When I was in college, I often heard the call of business majors:

Business Major: "Hey, [some bar] has a live band! Let's check it out."

Me: "I have a test tomorrow."

BM: "So do I. So what? Let's go!"

I eventually managed to get a degree in physics. That means I will never make the sort of money my partying college comrades can expect. According to Ayn Rand's "Greedy Asshole" Fan Fic, the brilliant inventor should get rich on the fruits of his labor. I know engineers working for top companies like Lockheed and Boeing. The reality is that, while these often brilliant engineers and scientists make a pretty good living, they are not pulling in "businessman" income. Okay, maybe I chose the companies poorly, as Lockheed and Boeing have a disproportionately high number of engineers in their top tier of earners. But the fact is that the brilliant guys that make the magic happen will never enter the executive ranks. So those who actually provide the genius behind most innovations are rarely rewarded on a significant scale when compared to executive compensation. That's a large part of the reason Rand is so patently absurd. Unless he or she owns the company, the top mind behind any new invention or discovery will almost certainly receive little or no financial compensation. Ayn Rand's followers and their belief that magical inventions ill enrich their inventors live in a fantasy world. A fantasy world population entirely by assholes.

2014-08-14      Mindnumbing   

Steering clear of politics for a moment, as well as retreating from the exchange of "your mama" jokes on Twitter, I'll talk about what has been haunting my dreams lately:

Science.

Tomorrow is my day off. Yet I so wish to go in to work. I have been working all week on revising a piece of software I wrote some 6 or 8 years ago. I have been treading water just keeping up with my ever=growing workload, but find myself caught up for the first time in several years. This entire week has been spent taking a hammer to my cobbled-together piece of functional software. Using a far superior algorithm I developed for very low ballistic coefficient debris propagation, I began to completely replace the viscera of the program.

A problem with working on old software is that you often forget what the hell you had been thinking. I found that my code commenting skills 6 or 8 years ago were far better than 10 or 12 years ago. Much confusion was avoided by simple notes to myself clearly explaining what might otherwise appear to be gibberish. That was good. But I wasn't perfect. In one case, I discovered what seemed to be a pronounced mathematical error in matrix multiplication. It took several hours before I found that I had simply melded several processes together, while trimming away portions that became unnecessary in order to maximize efficiency. I essentially repeated an optimization I did long ago.

Concentrated work on a single such activity swamps the mind. Except for a couple of bouts of rigorous exercise on Tuesday and today, I've been headlong in this project.

This afternoon, the worst possible thing happened: I finished.

Well, that is a bit of an overstatement. I finished freehand plugging in hundreds of lines of code that needed to be changed. Then the hard part started. Put in the data, press the button, and then...

Far too early in the debugging process, it was time to go. Tomorrow is my day off, making for a three day weekend.

The worst thing in the world for people like me is an interruption in the process.

I am all but certain I will awaken multiple times over the course of the weekend contemplating potential reasons for the issues I found. I expect to be a basket case until I get this software out for beta testing.

2014-08-13      Governor Nixon   

I, for one, like that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) has "done a lot of praying the last few days". It shows the intensity with which a modern politician deals with crises: actively doing literally nothing, and getting credit for it.

2014-08-12      Changed My Mind   

I wrote a bunch of stuff I decided not to post. In place of the absent brain droppings (George Carlin's phrase), I will just say this one thing:

Lauren Bacall followed only Audrey Hepburn on my list of the all-time most beautiful women.

She retained her charm well into her silver years.

2014-08-11      What I Wanted to be   

When Mork & Mindy was on the air, I wanted to grown up to be a comedian, like Robin Williams. In an interview, Mr. Williams once said he ignored the instructions for model airplanes and made his own creations. I tried that and was terrible at it. I also tried to emulate his sort of manic persona at school. That is frowned upon, apparently.

As he once said to an egg:

"Fly! Be free!" -Mork from Ork

2014-08-09      If You Believe   

If you believe that:

... 9/11 was an inside job
... Obama was not born in Hawaii, despite a birth announcement in the Honolulu Star Bulletin
... the 2nd Amendment was written to ensure that poorly endowed men could carry assault weapons around children
... the 1st Amendment means you can't get fired for calling your boss an asshole
... science is a conspiracy (i.e. global warming, mass extinctions, evolution, vaccination, etc. are liberal conspiracies)
... the Nazi Party was "Left Wing" because its name contained the word "Socialist" (fun fact: the official names for several Warsaw Pact nations, China, and North Korea all contained the word "Democratic")
... you, personally, will survive a destruction of society (ala, you are a "Doomsday Prepper")

then your attachment to reality is too tenuous for you to engage me in a discussion on politics or science. Please do not ever broach either subject to me.

Thank you.

2014-04-15      Bundy Ranch   

Swarthy folks that fail to pay rent - freeloaders.

White guys with cowboy hats who fail to pay rent - patriots.

The ridiculously low grazing fees for public lands were so fixed in order to suck up to ranchers. Even a pittance is too much for the ever-oppressed rich white asshole whose entire net worth is inherited.

2014-03-28      Optimization of Propagation at Terminal Velocity   

In modeling and simulation, a problem that has often occurred for me is the problem of low ballistic coefficient particles through the atmosphere. The oddness here is that the least energetic of debris is the most difficult to model. The debris which is considered below the kinetic energy threshold for injury is the worst of all. There is a very good reason for this.

Bounce.

When we model an object propagating through the atmosphere, the particle's path is modeled as undergoing the influence of the following acceleration components:

1) geocentric gravity
2) centripetal acceleration coaxial with Earth's rotation
3) Coriolis acceleration due to Earth's rotation
4) aerodynamic drag
5) aerodynamic lift
6) thrust

Any control can, of course, be modeled simply applying drag and lift to a body of known moment of inertia in three vehicle axes in a 6 degree-of-freedom (6DOF) simulation. Most, however, can be modeled more simply in a three degree-of-freedom (3DOF) simulation.

Let's assume no commanded directional or thrust. We will also consider lift similar to how we consider drag. Then our model should be that the acceleration due to drag (per Prandtl's interpretation of Bernoulli) is the atmospheric density divided by twice the ballistic coefficient. Here, ballistic coefficient is defined as the mass divided by the empirically derived drag coefficient multiplied by the presented area. The drag coefficient at high velocities will be a function of the velocity, of course, but may be averaged over a trajectory to find a mean Cd.

Anyway, this ballistic coefficient or beta can be used in aerodynamic analysis.

The topic is optimization of propagation of particles at terminal velocity. What we do here is to find terminal velocity as a function of the atmospheric density. We iterate using a fourth order Runge-Kutta algorithm based on the Prantdl model of aerodynamic drag, the Coriolis model of acceleration in a rotating frame of reference, and the Newtonian model of acceleration due to gravity along with Galilean relativity and the Newtonian laws of motion.

With these things in mind, we can find the terminal velocity of an item as the square root of the velocity whose downward component is is such that the deceleration due to drag in the up direction (that is to say, the descent rate) exactly counterbalances the acceleration due to gravity. This is simply done within the propagation routine.

Next, we find the point at which the item achieves terminal velocity. This is when we change the algorithm. Now, what I suggest, is to alter the model.

From the terminal velocity time on, we simply calculate the amount of time it will take a particle of a given ballistic coefficient to transverse an atmospheric layer. We consider that the particle now takes the wind velocity over the entire altitude layer and calculate the time it will take such a particle to make the distance. In this way, the only real difficulty is in accurately modeling the fall time of the particle. I will see how this works next week.

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