palo alto trees
the four universal graphs
the unseen apollo 11
german WWI grave designs
This is my 2002 journal.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Also available: 2003 2001 2000 1990s 1980s
Everything on this page:
Copyright 1985-2002 by Thane Plambeck, except where obviously not.
30 October 2002
Photo taken by Jim Hsu
I'm working on a clue in The Game, near midnight, at our house in Yosemite.
For an earlier game: see my August 2000 journal entry.
29 October 2002
The Huckabuck Family and How They Raised Popcorn in Nebraska and Quit and Came Back, by Carl Sandburg.
I can't believe I had never heard of this book, which is on a recommended list in Mortimer Adler's "Junior Great Books" program.
Taken in its entirety from Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories, this delightful tale introduces the resilient Huckabuck family: Nebraska farmer Jonas Jonas Huckabuck, his wife Mama Mama Huckabuck, and daughter Pony Pony Huckabuck. Small's detailed watercolors portray the proud family through their ups, downs, and eventual return to the farm. The story was published in 1923, but Small sets his visual interpretation during the Depression, as indicated by a 1935 wall calendar. As the family moves from town to town and job to job, Papa Huckabuck continues to smile, putting his best face on things. The farm animals are even more expressive than the Huckabucks, sometimes alarmed, occasionally disgruntled, and often indignant.
21 October 2002
From Arrowsmith, by Sinclair Lewis (1925)
Martin realized that he was likely to be the next Director of the Department. Pickerbaugh had told him, "Your work is very satisfactory. There's only one thing you lack, my boy: enthusiasm for getting together with folks and giving a long pull and a strong pull, all together. But perhaps that'll come to you when you have more responsibility."
17 October 2002
ASTEROID BELT FIRST
This classified ad appeared in today's Palo Alto Daily News.
Here's an article on a big hole in an asteroid.
16 October 2002
Not so dense
I just read this news fragment:
Star in galactic heart confirms central black holeThis started me thinking. I wonder how many solar-sized "balls" will fit, roughly speaking, if you cram them in, side by side, in the disk defined by the orbit of Mercury? How about between the Sun and the Earth? Or within Saturn's orbit? In the entire solar system?
Here's what one web site had to say:
One way to help visualize the relative sizes in the solar system is to imagine a model in which it is reduced in size by a factor of a billion (1e9). Then the Earth is about 1.3 cm in diameter (the size of a grape). The Moon orbits about a foot away. The Sun is 1.5 meters in diameter (about the height of a man) and 150 meters (about a city block) from the Earth. Jupiter is 15 cm in diameter (the size of a large grapefruit) and 5 blocks away from the Sun. Saturn (the size of an orange) is 10 blocks away; Uranus and Neptune (lemons) are 20 and 30 blocks away. A human on this scale is the size of an atom; the nearest star would be over 40000 km away.Using this information, I obtained an estimate that 25 million suns would comfortably fit in side by side in the disk defined by the orbit of Neptune. That's assuming that the CNN "solar system" is interpreted to be a 2 dimensional volume. If it is instead (more naturally) interpreted as a sphere, tack on another dimension and millions of additional suns.
In other words, cramming in CNN's 3.7 million suns is no problem at all, even within one solar system, and even if it is interpreted as a disk.
So much for staggering density.
16 October 2002
"Jurassic-Park"-like Winged Creature Sighted Several Times in Alaska
I sent a pointer to this obscure news story to Matt Drudge yesterday morning.
He used it on his Drudge Report web site today.
A link to it still there now, on his web site, one day later.
It's probably adding quite a bit of traffic to the "Knox Studio" web site.
----- Original Message ----- From: Thane Plambeck To: email@example.com Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 8:29 AM Subject: Super sized alaskan bird http://www.knoxstudio.com/shns/story.cfm?pk=BIGBIRD-10-15-02&cat=AN Thane Plambeck 650 321 4884 office 650 323 4928 fax http://www.plambeck.org.com/home.htm ----- Original Message -----[Note added 19 October 2002]
Now even David Letterman is talking about this.
DO NOT LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN!
IT IS THE KNITWEAR SPECIALIST!
16 October 2002
Owen stayed home from preschool today.
We photographed his animal toys.
14 October 2002
The great geniuses of the past still rule over us from their graves; they still stalk or scurry about in the present, tripping up the living, mysteriously congesting the traffic, confusing values in art and manners, a brilliant cohort of mortals determined not to die, in possession of the land.Wyndam Lewis (1915), in quotation in "The Artist as Prophet and Jester," by Jacques Barzun, The American Scholar, Winter 2000, pg 20.
10 October 2002
All those individuals who have secured a hasty wealth by the chances of speculation; all children of fortune; all victims of inheritance; all social sponges; all satellites of the court; all beggards of the market-placeall these are living and unlying witness to the unalterable retributions of parasitism.
7 October 2002
800-Mile-Wide "Object" Found in Solar System
What a stupid name. Clearly it should be PLANET X.
6 October 2002
Cole found a toy this morning at a park in Menlo Park but then left it on the ground.
Owen thought it was worth bringing home.
3 October 2002
Beethoven or Mozart?
I was listening to a piano concerto on the radio yesterday without knowing what it was, except that I had heard it before, and I knew it was either Beethoven or Mozart.
How to decide which?
I thought, if Mozart, then Beethoven didn't really add anything to Mozart, everything in Beethoven is already present, here, in this music.
But Beethoven did (must have) added something to Mozart, right?
So it must be Beethoven.
It was Piano Concerto #4 (Beethoven).
To put it another way, what I thought was
"If this is Mozart, then there is really no point in buying or listening to Beethoven, because Mozart subsumes even Beethoven."
But that is absurd, surely.
So this must be Beethoven.
2 October 2002
The Faculty Emeriti
This current list of Faculty Emeriti at the University of Nebraska at Kearney contains many names familiar to me from my childhood (including my father!).
They were my parents' friends and acquaintances when I was growing up.
1 October 2002
Man vs Machine, Part II: Deep Fritz 7 vs Vladmir Kramnik
I found this interview with the current World Chess Champion, Vladmir Kramnik, on a web site called "Brains in Bahrain." Kramnik has just arrived in Bahrain to play the World Computer Chess Champion Deep Fritz7 in a match that begins 4 October 2002:
CHESSBASE: Kramnik vs Fritz in Bahrain is seen as the revenge match of Kasparov vs [the IBM supercomputer] Deep Blue. Are you avenging the defeat of Kasparov in 1997?
1 October 2002
I've made some progress toward identifying the oak tree across the street from our house in Palo Alto.
See also my 22 August 2002 journal entry.