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 September 2002
Always look on the bright side
From today's New York Times, "Stock Market Ends Its Worst Quarter Since the '87 Crash", by Jonathan Fuerbringer:
The Nasdaq was down 19.9 percent for the quarter, the eighth-worst decline since the index began in 1971. The one positive was that last quarter's fall was far less than the 30.7 percent plunge in the third quarter of last year, the 32.7 percent drop in the fourth quarter of 2000 and even the 20.7 percent fall in the second quarter of this year...
30 September 2002
From the Ground Up (Email with Gary Sinclair)
Is all that model rocketry equipment yours? Or do you belong to a club, the Cambridge Wernher von Braun Memorial Society perhaps?
It looks like there are three heavy duty launch pads, plus something that looks like a Minuteman mobile launcher in the far distance, on the road? It's got to be 50 feet tall.
It's good to know the skies over Great Britain are secure in these troubled times.
How high would a rocket like that fly?
27 September 2002
Electronic Journal of Combinatorial Number Theory
Integers. They have a new Combinatorial Games section.
(I should send my "Misère Multiples" paper there, should I actually write it...)
27 September 2002
The Top 10 Trees of Palo Alto
1. Magnolia (4359)
2. Liquid Amber (3231)
3. Sycamore (3158)
4. Modesto Ash (1651)
5. Camphor (1317)
6. Chinese Pistache (957)
7. Coast Redwood (943)
8. Chinese Elm (939)
9. Coast Live Oak (859)
10. Holly Oak (823)
A Quarterly Publication of the City of Palo Alto, California
September 2002, page 3.
I wonder who did the counting?
[Note added 28 September 2002] I've started a page on Palo Alto trees.
24 September 2002
Email exchange with Jim Hsu
"Composers do not cry. Composers are made of fire." Beethoven
22 September 2002
German Political Parties
Gerhard Schröder wird vier weitere Jahre an der Spitze der
Bundesregierung stehen. Dank des guten Abschneidens der
Grünen, der herben Niederlage von FDP und PDS und mehreren
Überhangmandaten kann sich die rot-grüne Koalition auch im
nächsten Bundestag auf eine Mehrheit stützen. (www.cnn.de)
Schroeder wins second term
BERLIN, Germany (CNN)Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has secured one of the narrowest victory margins in German election history.
Schroeder declared victory in front of cheering supporters at the Social Democratic Party headquarters in Berlin on Sunday night at the end of a day of polling in the general election.
Schroeder, appearing with Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer of the Greens party, the partner in his governing coalition, said: "We have hard times in front of us and we're going to make it together."
The full result will not be final until they are certified on October 9.
But his conservative rival, the Christian Democrat leader Edmund Stoiber, predicted the chancellor's new mandate would not last a year.
Stoiber, who had earlier prematurely declared victory after early returns, told his supporters: "Should the result not allow us to form a government, then I predict before you that this Schroeder government will rule for only a very short time.
"Perhaps there is a piece of universal justice there that Mr. Schroeder will be able to live through the results of what he has brought upon us. Just give him a few months to go through that."
He added: "We will continue to state: This (Social Democratic-Greens) coalition will not heal our country's economy and further there will be no release from the isolation from Europe and the United States."
It was estimated that about 80 percent of Germany's 61 million voters turned out to cast their votes -- one for a local candidate and one for a party.
Some reports said the final difference between the Schroeder and Stoiber results may be less than 9,000 votes.
Official results showed the ruling Social Democrat-Green coalition parties squeezed through with a combined 47.1 percent of the vote, giving them 306 seats in the new 603-seat parliament.
The Christian Democrats and Free Democrats polled 45.9 percent of the vote, giving them 295 seats.
Schroeder's victory was so slim that he stopped short of making a definitive winner's speech and Stoiber never formally conceded.
Schroeder and Fischer said they would start coalition talks soon.
"We will lead the coalition negotiations," said Fischer.
"This will be a cooperation built on a common foundation. It will be fair," Schroeder said.
Schroeder has drawn criticism from the U.S. administration for opposing a possible U.S.-led war against Iraq, although the stance gained him support among German voters during the campaign.
Content below taken from:
Facts about Germany.
Published by the German Federal Press and Information Bureau.
Societätsverlag, Frankfurt/M. 2000, page 171-177:
Since the first general elections to be held in the whole of Germany in 1990, there have been six parties in the Bundestag:the Christian Democratic Union (CDU),The CDU has no party association in the Free State of Bavaria, while the CSU puts up candidates for election in Bavaria only. In the Bundestag, however, CDU and CSU have a joint parliamentary party.
22 September 2002
That certain look
17 October 1448: Murad II defeats the Hungarians at the second Battle of Kosovo.
3 February 1451: Dies in Edirne (age 47)
20 September 2002
Eek, AKan Alaskan town [Photo] [Map].
[ Output from my Place Name Generator ]
15 September 2002
From Littlewood's Miscellany (1953)
From the chapter entitled "Cross-Purposes, Unconscious Assumptions, Howlers, Misprints, Etc:"
I once objected to an apparently obscure use of the phrase, "Let us assume for simplicity." It should mean that the writer could do the unsimplified thing, but wishes to let the reader off; it turned out that my pupil meant that he had to simplify before he could do it.And from the Chapter entitled "People", a note on a meeting between Bertrand Russell and G E Moore:
Moore and Russell (c.1896?) were having a philosophical discussion in Hall. Russell suddenly said: "You don't like me, Moore, do you?" Moore replied, "No." This point disposed of, the discussion proceeded as before.
15 September 2002
An identity theft resource, courtesy Uncle Sam
Let's say you want to confirm that you've got the right Social Security Number and birthdate for a male victim (born after 1 January 1960) before attempting an identity theft.
The United States Selective Service System provides this convenient web resource and helpful explanatory text:
The United States Selective Service System would provide manpower to the US military by conducting a draft using a list of young men's names gathered through the Selective Service registration process. Virtually all menages 18 through 25must register. Only if there is high compliance with this law, will a future draft be fair and equitable. The obligation of a man to register is imposed by the Military Selective Service Act, which establishes and governs the operations of the Selective Service System...
9 September 2002
1. Castle Rising is an English village in Norfolk [Map]
2. There's a castle there. Its location, including both the castle itself and all its surrounding lands, is Castle Rising Castle [Photo]
3. The castle is elevated from the surrounding lands. An aerial photo shows the topography pretty clearly. This bump in the land is the Castle Rising Castle Rising.
4. If you make your way onto that bump in the land, you might as well visit the castle itself. In order to distinguish the building from the elevated lawn around it, the preferred term is Castle Rising Castle Rising Castle. Here is a smallish photo of the building taken from the gatehouse.
5. Once inside the building, you'll want to go to the top. The stairs inside, the Castle Rising Castle Rising Castle Rising, will take you to the top.
6. Although the stairs are spectacular, don't forget the big picture. After all, those stairs belong to Castle Rising Castle Rising Castle Rising Castle.
Thanks for visiting!
9 September 2002
From the Encyclopedia Britannica:
Junker (German: “country squire”), member of the landowning aristocracy of Prussia and eastern Germany, which, under the German Empire (1871–1918) and the Weimar Republic (1919–33), exercised substantial political power. Otto von Bismarck himself, the imperial chancellor during 1871–90, was of Junker stock and at first was regarded as representing its interests. Politically, Junkers stood for extreme conservatism, support of the monarchy and military tradition, and protectionist policies for agriculture. The German Conservative Party in the Reichstag, or Imperial Assembly, and the extraparliamentary Agrarian League (q.v.) represented Junker interests throughout the imperial era. Because the Junkers staffed the Prussian army, which had brought about Germany's unification, they were accorded great influence, particularly in Prussia, where a highly illiberal constitution remained in force (1850–1918). During the Weimar period, Junkers were continuously hostile to the republic, the collapse of which contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler.
8 September 2002
Queen Mary I ("Bloody Mary") 1553-1558
A metaphor is an alternation of a woorde from the proper and naturall meanynge, to that which is not proper, and yet agreeth thereunto, by some lykenes that appeareth to be in it.
6 September 2002
Think of the beginning of a simple narrative sentence (4-7 words). Put them in quotation marks. Let Google tell you the rest of the story.
In my first experiment, I chose the phrase:
"I was amazed to discover..."
...that there were some who did not absolutely LOVE the idea of a circus."Two more examples:
"It was so long that I..."
...had to move the tape 3 times to measure the whole string.""The explosion threw..."
...a nearby manhole cover about 20 feet in the air."
6 September 2002
The Gold Coin
Cole was willing to forgo all other gifts for his 7th birthday, including from the kids invited to his birthday party next week, if only he could have a real gold coin.
So this afternoon he and I went to Mish International, Inc., a Menlo Park coin dealer. We decided to buy a 2002 American Eagle. I wrote a check for $368.05 for it. I decided to think of it not as a father spoiling a son, but rather as a strategic asset transfer from cash to bullion.
When we got home, Cole's friend Haley took a picture of us using my digital camera.
Because Cole wasn't holding the coin straight up in the first picture, we decided to take another picture. It came out better, except perhaps for my slightly maniacal expression.
But immediately after the second picture was taken, the coin slipped out of Cole's hand and bounced around on the bricks of our sidewalk.
So the coin has a little dent on the edge, close to Lady Liberty's foot.
5 September 2002
A Book Recommended by my Father
The Specialist, by Chic Sale (1929)
From a web site:
Charles "Chic" Sale was a forty-five year old stage actor and comedian when he wrote a book entitled "The Specialist" in 1929. This book of fewer than 3,000 words was inspired by the antics of a local carpenter named Lem Putt from Charles' hometown of Urbana, Illinois, who specialized in the building of outhouses...Chic Sale died in 1936.
I just bought a copy at Alibris.
1 September 2002
Murky Days at Fidelity Investments
Did you realize that if you have a Fidelity 401(k), 403(b), or other Work Savings Plan, 529 College Savings Plan, or annuity assets, you may be able to combine those accounts to form a household relationship, for commission and service level considerations?I didn't.
1 September 2002
Understanding Your Misbehaving Sphere
The text below is taken from the paper [PDF]:
Non-amenable finitely presented torsion-by-cyclic groups
A.Yu. Olshanskii and M.V. Sapir
Posted to http://xxx.lanl.gov on 30 Aug 2002