Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Well, I’m glad to see some solid research in this area…

Filed under: — stan @ 1:35 pm

Margo Lillie, a doctor of zoology at the University of British Columbia, and her student Tracy Boechler have conducted a study on the physics of cow-tipping.,,2-1858246,00.html


Candy and telescopes

Filed under: — stan @ 9:33 pm

So it’s Halloween night. Lucinda and Mommy and Aunt Maggi got dressed up in their costumes and went out with some of the neighborhood kids. They had a good haul. Aunt Maggi even had to come back th the house to get some bigger bags so they could carry all the candy.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I did my usual thing. I set up my telescope in the driveway and handed out candy. This year was good, since Mars is well-placed in the evening right now. I’ve been doing the ‘have some candy and look through the telescope’ thing since 1998, and it’s taken on a life of its own. A lot of the kids and their parents remember me and make a point to stop by our house so they can look.

It was a fun evening for all of us.


Food Pr0n

Filed under: — stan @ 12:51 pm

Just saw this on Susie Bright today:

And just to make it complete, have a look at:

I gotta go eat now…


More image search funnies

Filed under: — stan @ 1:12 pm

image search results
I noticed today that I had close to a thousand hits on this one blog picture from last year. So I had a look at the server logs to see how it was being referenced.

Turns out that a Google Image Search for “parallel parking” returns my picture as the #14 result, right on the first page. I’m always glad to make it on to the first page of any search. Besides, I was extremely pleased with the parking job I did that day.



Filed under: — stan @ 12:52 pm

I get lots of spam. That was perhaps the best thing about my domain being broken. It cut down the flow of spam for a bit. But now my domain is fixed, and the spam is back in force.

This is something funny. Here is a guy who took a bunch of those ‘This Stock is About to EXPLODE!!!” spams and set up something to track the stocks:

I don’t think I need to say that they’ve pretty much all lost…

In other news, I got two new pages for my dead dot-coms gallery today. That brings the total collection up to 385.


Have I mentioned lately how much I like my job?

Filed under: — stan @ 8:42 pm

Last night one of my computers fell over dead. It was a very definite dead-kind of falling over. Sadly, it was the main earthquake detection system for Southern California. Not the sort of thing we want to remain dead for long.

We switched over to the backup system, but I still wanted to get the main machine back up. So I hatched a plan. The problem was the big external RAID disk that died. I managed to ‘borrow’ another one from another machine. So I went in to the office this afternoon.

The old RAID was beeping and had red lights on it. I hooked up the borrowed one and did the setup. Then I started restoring stuff from backups.

When it was all said and done, I’d spent a good part of today working on this. But it’s all right. I like my job. It’s fun. And the occasional crazy day after an earthquake or a computer failure is just an occupational hazard. Although I have to say that a busy day after an earthquake is more exciting. With that there’s more of a sense of something big is happening, whereas a computer failure is more of just a pain. But mostly, I just like the feeling that my job is something that is Useful to Society and also is part of the Advancement of Science.


My domain is broken…

Filed under: — stan @ 1:52 pm

We’ve had the ‘’ domain for our home mail server for over six years now, and it stopped working yesterday. It turns out that the delegated manager for ‘’ went out of business some years ago. This is why I wasn’t able to contact them last year when I moved our web site to So apparently Neustar decided to take back ‘’, since the former manager of the domain was defunct. And in the process they lost my subdomain. I contacted them and they said I have to fill out some paperwork, get it notarized, and mail it to them with a copy of my driver’s license. And then maybe I can have my domain back.

In the meantime, our email is broken. Mail to us just bounces with a ‘no such domain’ error.



Filed under: — stan @ 1:43 pm

I’ve not had anything to say about hurricane Katrina, but this came across my desk today and it’s interesting. I don’t talk about work here usually, but I work in the earthquake business. Today a message came through about how we had lost the data feed from one of the LIGO seismic stations in Louisiana. Then there was some more talk about this and a pointer here:

It’s interesting to see that the seismic instruments could pick up the approaching storm, and looking at the graphs pretty much answered our question about why the data feed stopped.


Note to self…

Filed under: — stan @ 1:38 pm

Loading the sound drivers in FreeBSD:

kldload sound
kldload snd_driver

The computer then has a petit mal seizure for about 10 seconds while it loads the sound drivers. After that the sound system is ready to use.


More Google Maps geekery

Filed under: — stan @ 12:47 pm

I’ve been playing some more with Google Maps. I made up a little script to create the xml file for listing the photos on a bike ride. So I tested it out with the pictures from the ride to Encino from a few weeks ago.

Here are the pictures

I guess the next step would be to plot the route on the map…

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