Stuff I Looked Up

So Many Words

So…two main things today. And surprisingly, no pictures of kids, food, or beer.

I discovered after I had kids that my quality of life is significantly affected by my ability to consume stories — TV, movies, or books. After Chilkat was born, the time when I could do this simply disappeared, which was miserable. After some time (I think after Chilkoot was born), I discovered Kindle (on my phone), and could suddenly start reading when I was sitting with a cranky child in the dark. And suddenly my life was better. Prior to this discovery, sitting in the dark with a screaming child was a grueling, tiresome chore. After this discovery, it was bearable — because I can read books on my phone in the dark!

Anyway, since that time, I’ve been reading consistently. Not as much as I used to, but so much more than the grim (in terms of story consumption) period after Chilkat was born. It’s nice.

Recently, I finished reading the entirety of HP Lovecraft‘s writings. I spend less time reading in the dark with my screaming children now, but still most of my reading is on a phone. I found many of the stories OK, a few bad, and a few very good. One of my standard frustrations with old (pre-40s) fiction is the collection of uninformed notions about health and science (yes, it’s because things were simply not known, not because the author or particular individuals were especially uninformed). One of the things I especially enjoyed about this was the vast collection of unfamiliar and/or archaic words or references — below, if you find yourself so inclined.

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Posted by snaotheus in Stuff I Looked Up, 1 comment

Hello again

Once again, I’m not posting for any particular reason. I also haven’t taken the time to prepare more pictures for your viewing pleasure. I’ll give you some options, though.

(1) Fremont Oktoberfest
(2) Jenga (we bought and played Jenga — it was fun!)
(3) GirlAndi and her daughter LaRyantrelle (I only have one picture)
(4) Pictures from Dad and Peggy visiting (this was a while ago, but we’ve been busy, you know?)

I’ve also been thinking about posting about things I think instead of things we did or saw. This would be a big change for me, sharing my thoughts and opinions openly is a pretty foreign idea. Anything you want to hear about? Politics? Religion? American culture? Education? Or I could just make stuff up, which I’ve kinda wanted to do for a while. Or I could think back and write about some of the things I remember about my past, which are sadly spotty unless something triggers a memory.

I’ve read a lot of books and watched a lot of movies since the last time I wrote anything to put under the “Reviews” section. I don’t even have the interest to go back and list each of them, so I’ll just start picking it up again as I watch or read more stuff. I read a short story, The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth by Roger Zelazny, which I enjoyed. This is at the recommendation of a 65 year old PhD I work with — it turns out we have a lot of books in common. There’s several other good short stories in there, and a couple duds. But they’re short, so you don’t lose much. I’m currently reading another book at his recommendation (Downward to the Earth) which I’m enjoying more than I thought I would.

I also started reading Shibumi at Wilmbo’s recommendation, which wavers between ridiculous fantasy and creepy believability (more time on the ridiculous fantasy), but it’s a good read so far.

Last night, Mr. & Mrs. Pope and we went to listen to Neil Gaiman read from his new kids’ book, The Graveyard Book, about a kid who is raised by the dead after his parents are assassinated. The reading was fun, it was neat to see him, and it was good to eat Thai and play Scrabble with the Popes.

KrisDi and I have begun our pre-Cana classes, which have been good so far. KrisDi’s doing a good job of vilifying me, so I’m proud of her for that.

Now we’re watching baseball and sitting around, which is good. I like sitting around. I haven’t gotten to do much of that for a while. White Sox are in the post season (although they’re only a loss away from not being in the post season anymore — we’ll find out tomorrow). I’m running out of beer, but I’ll get more soon. LagunitasImperial Red Ale is supposed to be out again now — I love that one.

I was looking up stats on North Dakota population today because I’m a nerd. Wikipedia’s “Population Density” stat of 9.3 people/square mile for the state is wrong — 639,715 people over 70,762 square miles = 9.040374777 people/square mile. Fargo’s “metropolitan” area contains 174,367 people, 27.26% of the state’s population. I figured out that without Fargo (not metro, just Fargo the city), the state’s population density drops to 7.76 people/square mile (yes, I was dorky enough to remove not only the people, but the area of Fargo). 14.16% of North Dakota’s population reportedly lives within Fargo proper, which is 0.05% of the state’s area.

Posted by snaotheus, 6 comments

Looking up stuff again

Words: Lucubration, imbroglio, obloquy, galvanometer, argal, ineffable, garret, klystron, scrofula, bucolic, vitiate, quidnunc, fusillade, stationary or standing waves, ersatz, internecine, lixiviate, flocculate, aesthete, spancel

Stuff: What is pasteurization? What is windchill for -60F at 600 miles per hour (formula works out to -172F)? What is DEWline? Who was that WWII Russian general whose name I forgot, the one who was touted in one of my history classes as the best Russian tactician of his time? General Zhukov. The story I got in my class was that in wargames, Zhukov was assigned the German side, and the rest of the Russian generals were assigned the Russian side, and Zhukov won. So they switched sides, and Zhukov beat all the Russian brass from the other side as well. What is the highest number of safeties in a professional football game? Three, in 1984, Rams vs Giants. How is slugging percentage calculated?

Unanswered: When did public view of alcohol consumption go negative? It seems to me that alcohol at one time was enthusiastically and publicly enjoyed by pillars of the community. When and why? Is their a relationship between wavelength and particulate diameter concerning the propagation or absorption of electromagnetic frequencies through a polluted medium? I discovered I’m very bad at searching through scholarly papers. Why don’t FM stations interfere with each other? Couldn’t find a clear answer on why there’s very little crossover with FM compared with AM, although I have my own ideas based on intuition. What were Edwin Howard Armstrong’s technical contributions to the military WWII, that were classified in the ’50s and ’60s, but might not be classified any longer? In his biography, the fact that he worked on classified projects is mentioned, but at the time of the publication it was apparently still classified, so I wondered if any of it had been declassified since then. It also appears that any information I might find on this subject is easily drowned out by his contributions to FM. Can I find Armstrong’s article A Tribute to Tesla, on page 378 of the April 1943 issue of Scientific Monthly? Apparently not. All I can really find is references to it and the occasional quote from it. I was interested because in both Armstrong’s and Tesla’s biographies, the other is mentioned in passing but I can’t recall any correspondence or any time they actually met, so I wondered if it was purely professional regard that led to Armstrong acting as pallbearer for Tesla.

Posted by snaotheus in Stuff I Looked Up, 4 comments

More stuff I looked up

Stuff: Which Steeler did I see in the elevator? What sort of miter saw blade should I use for cutting through extruded aluminum? What is St. Vitus’s dance? What are the standard dimensions of a curling sheet? How do I remove a butter stain because I’m a sloppy eater? What are the effects of menthol? What do you call someone who carries and spreads a disease without suffering from the disease?

Words: gaiters, hussar, chapbook, which prompted chapmen

Unanswered: How does General Mills apply the “soft nutty coating” to the raisins in Raisin Nut Bran? What are the official MLB rules concerning switch hitters — are they allowed to switch from right- to left-handed batting in one at-bat against the same pitcher? Also, what are the official MLB rules about pitching to batters. Can you switch pitchers in the middle of an at-bat, barring injury?

More coolness: I looked up caffeine in Wikipedia because I thought I remembered a doctor or something telling me at one point that caffeine helped open the bronchial tubes and ease breathing, so coffee or Coke might help when asthma bothered me. I found no direct reference to this, but I discovered that spiders on caffeine can’t build a web worth shit, according to a study done by NASA in 1995.

Posted by snaotheus in Stuff I Looked Up, 6 comments