Monday, May 31, 2021

Expand Into What?

 The simplest, most concise non-technical explanation I've ever heard for the statement "the universe is expanding."  It addresses frequently asked questions in an understandable manner, without the all too common handwaving.  Here, go watch, it's only ten minutes.

Whenever a scientist, in any field, makes an honest effort to understand and answer questions that genuinely baffle people, science advances.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Wrong, and Yet Not Wrong

 From today's SMBC:

Be sure to visit the original (link at top, but hell, here it is again) for the mouse-over and big-red-button text.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Journey to the St. Marks Light

What to say, it's a historic lighthouse.  You can read about its history here, and you can read about the story it inspired here.  Nice weather, and quite a few people out on their road bikes.  Despite the narrowness of the road, traffic is generally slow and well under control.  Also, several interesting hiking trails run through there, including a section of the Florida Trail and a short out-and-back to the ruins of Port Leon.  Might get over there again before too long.  Here, have some pics:

As always, click to embiggen.  Well, so much for the lighthouse, too bad we couldn't locate the tower.  At least we didn't run into any moaning, shape-shifting horrors.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

And Here We Go...


Yeesh.  Already.  Yeah, it's far, far away and headed away even farther.  Even so.

Friday, May 21, 2021

New from Buffett: Songs You Don't Know by Heart

Hey wait, I do know these by heart.  But I get the title, it applies to most folks.  Anyway, it's a largely acoustic re-recorded collection of various favorites that he selected from fan requests.  It all started as a "well, we can't tour this year, got to fill the time with something" project during mid-2020.  Maybe two Buffet albums is the best thing that can be said of that horrible year (here's the review of last spring's Life on the Flipside).  Released in October 2020, no wonder I missed it -- had a few things going on at the time, including Hurricane Zeta among several other inconveniences.

Back to the music, it's good and if you dig Buffett at all you should get it.  If Flipside was big and lush, this is back porch with a beer and a couple of friends.  You can hear Buffett precisely, methodically picking through some songs that his younger self would just blaze across.  It's been years, decades even, since he's performed some of these, and his style has, if not exactly changed, it has evolved.  I'm glad to have both versions, and in fact I plan to go back through my collection to put together the same tracks from the original studio albums.  It'll be an interesting contrast, all packed on one mp3 disc.

Re the song selections, it's 15 tracks so there's plenty of room.  While not downbeat at all, these are some of his quieter tracks: Twelve Volt Man, Love in the Library, The Night I painted the Sky, Chanson Pour les Petits Enfants, things in that vein.  I was glad to see a particular favorite, The Captain and the Kid, included.  Nothing downbeat, just not a rock-out Cheeseburger in Paradise-type song list.

Good liner notes too, and pics of Buffett in the same pose at maybe 27 and currently on the front and flip of the cover.  It's not over-done, but it is well done.  It fits the vibe, it fits the time in which it was recorded.

OK, there's your shopping list for the weekend.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Today's Reading: Social Media, The Tragedy of the Commons, and Your Brain

The Social Media Catastrophe at Handwaving Freakoutery.  RTWT, it's short, maybe 10 minutes.

TLDR version: The total daily time the public spends gawking at social/news media is a fixed common resource.  The current outrage epidemic is a classic "tragedy of the the commons" scenario.  The author has no general societal solution, but presents a few ideas which might blunt the worst of the effects at the individual level.

Next up, something happy: a new Jimmy Buffett album, and it's acoustic.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Today's Adventure: St. Marks Rail Trail

It's been a while since I've ridden this one, not since 1990.  Eh, it's back on the at-least-twice-a-year rotation now.  Be sure to check the trail's official site and download the map.  Now on to some pics!

Some of the original rail bridge's foundations, dating back to the 1830s.  Hard to believe the sky was that blue today.  Now let's zoom to the other side of the river...

Yes, that's a Florida Trail marker.  The recommended procedure seems to be to flag a passing boat and ask for a lift across.  Maybe find out next fall.  Finally, today's history lesson...

History lesson, with road bike.  I'd forgotten how fast that thing can be.

OK, all for today.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Buffett talks about new album, 2020, life, etc.

Article at Billboard.  He's resuming touring... today.

Good interview, but yeesh, that Billboard site, it's like 1995 with all the pop-up-pop-down-blink-blink-blink.  Don't try to read the article while drinking espresso, take it from someone who just tried.

Anyway, album ordered ("Songs You Don't Know By Heart"), on the way.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Return of Last Radio Playing

6115 kHz, 7pm EDT Wednesdays.  One show a week.  Download a sched and keep track, these things tend to shift around from month to month.

The return of the original shortwave blues show!  Maybe life really is getting back to normal.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Problem with Publishing

Here's a thorough examination of academic publishing over at The Atlantic:

Scientific Publishing is a Joke: An XKCD comic – and its many remixes – perfectly captures the absurdity of academic research.

I won't belabor the points, just go read the article.  Also, here's the cartoon in question: <permalink>

OK, got all that?  Personally I'm glad to have this opportunity to step off the grant-and-paper-go-round.  At least for the moment.  Who knows what the future holds?  Not sure I want to find out ahead of time.

That reminds me, I've got to track down the status of those last three papers today.  Got to keep the CV fed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Catch-Up Reading

Look, if you don't know the term Shiri's Scissor, you're about to get run the hell over.  In fact, you may well already have been, because these two links are from 2018.  (2020 was a doozy, wasn't it?)  The first is a purely fictional short story, the second is an analysis of the concepts in the light of recent history.

Get going, there's time yet to get out of the way.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

New FCC RF Exposure Requirements

TLDR version: Starting 3 May (next Monday!), the FCC is requiring all ham operators to make a halfway credible attempt at measuring or estimating radio wave exposure near their antennas, and then ensure that people are generally kept out of the problem areas.  In their usual way, both the FCC and ARRL have published reams of instructions on how to do this.  The broad exemptions formerly in effect for sub-100 watt equipment will no longer apply.  There is a 2 year extension from this date for existing stations, but change anything and you're right back to next Monday.

Well, you can go read all that if you wish.  For most hams though, this online calculator works fine.  Run the calculations, print them out, stuff the results into your station notebook, move on with life.  Easy, yeah.  It'll take you 15 minutes and head off trouble down the line.

If you wish to read more, here are articles at KB6NU's place and the QRPer.

For the record, the calculations have been done and W4ZNG seems well within the FCC's limits.