Today someoneĀ on campus asked me for directions:

Her: Can you tell me where the library is?
Me: Which one?
Her: The big main one.
Me: …that doesn’t necessarily help.
Her: soofalo or whatever.

I gave her directions to the Suzallo Library.


I went sailing today. We (Andrew Cheung and I) took out the I-14. The I-14 is a fairly high performance dinghy (read: go fast). It’s a little trickier to sail than most of the other boats the yacht club has, so we capsized it a few times. At some point we capsized near the 520 bridge and someone driving by on the bridge decided to call the Seattle harbor patrol and report some poor drowning sailors.

So Andrew and I are halfway back to the Waterfront Activites Center when we see the Harbor patrol with lights on speeding in the opposite direction, where we’d been earlier. Then we start seeing aid cars and fire trucks show up at the Waterfront Activities Center. The Harbor Patrol boat finally came back up behind us and asked if we’d been “tipped over” by the bridge earlier. Anyway, as we got closer to the dock all the people on shore realized that we didn’t need rescuing and got back in their trucks and left.

So yes, one boat, two aid cars, and one firetruck. Other members we ribbing us because they’d only had a single aid car and a firetruck show up when they capsized near the bridge.

Anyway, so that was my adventure for the day. In other news, I’m still peeling from not wearing sunscreen weekend before last. Melanoma, here I come! Also, my submersible marine VHF radio appears to be truly submersible (I hear they aren’t always).

Sabbath Mode

I discovered an article on engaging “Sabbath Mode” on an oven today while trying to find a user’s guide online. What is Sabbath Mode? Well:

Quote below from:

If you have a relatively new oven, you may not know that it has a built-in safety feature that automatically shuts off the oven after 12 hours or so. This is sensible, but it has been problematic for Jews keeping kosher on the Sabbath and on Jewish holidays because they’re forbidden to turn ovens (or any electrical appliances) on during that time. However, it is permissible to use electrical appliances that are already on. Hence the need for a Sabbath mode that keeps an oven on at a specified temperature for as long as it’s required. The cook can whip up a meal prior to the Sabbath or holiday and then leave it in the always-warm oven until it is ready to be eaten.

This innovation first appeared in KitchenAid ovens back in 1994.


There must be no barriers for freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any asssertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.
—J. Robert Oppenheimer

In some sort of crude sense, which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.
—J. Robert Oppenheimer

No man should escape our universities without knowing how little he knows.
—J. Robert Oppenheimer

Someone call Wikipedia

Below is a great quote from a lecture by Michael Crichton at the California Institute of Technology in January ’03 (thanks to Matt Jones for leaving a link lying around his blog). If you’ve spent any time on Wikipedia reading the “talk” pages or the guidelines for posting articles you run into this “consensus” stuff a lot. It can get silly…although I don’t really know of a better way to do it. In any case, this is something to keep in mind when reading Wikipedia, or anything really.

This is also interesting because I’m currently taking a class (History 312) that covers the scientific revolution–we’ve gone from ~1500 and are just now getting to the mid-1700s when people were actually starting to do science as we know it today. There have been some interesting ideas that had consensus (they were still teaching on the four basic elements, earth , fire, air, and water in Universities up through about 1750). And who wants to talk about phlogiston anymore? That was a step in the right direction at least. Anyway, here’s the quote:

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA
January 17, 2003


I don’t know if I’ve posted this quote before, but I recently ran across it again:

“But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our
pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His
megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
—C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain


Me: So we have this Unix guru at work….
Cliff: Is he from the old days? Is he a mighty power from the ancient times—filled with arcane knowledge from the forgotten days?