Forgot your password?
User Journal

Journal: Morgan Freeman on Mars

Journal by mcgrew

As I was going through Google News this morning I ran across an item about actor Morgan Freeman talking to a couple of astronauts on the ISS at a round table discussion at JPL before an audience of what looked like two or three hundred people, all of whom were JPL employees.

He was there with the producer of his show on the Science Channel Through the Wormhole and with its writer, a physicist.

There was no link from the newspaper article, but Google found it here on YouTube. Those of you who think we should go to Mars instead of "wasting time and money" on the ISS should watch it; it will be an eye opener for you.

Everyone else is likely to enjoy the presentation as much as I did. All sorts of science is discussed, and there's a fascinating part about testing parachutes for Mars landings. There's also a clip from Through the Wormhole and it looks to be as good as Cosmos, although I haven't watched any full episodes.

I was surprised to find that Mr. Freeman is a fan of science fiction. When he asked for a show of hands, asking who was alive to see the moon landing, maybe a half dozen raised their hands, although most of the audience was interns.

For those of you, like me, who don't have cable or your provider doesn't offer that channel, more googling found that all the episodes are online here.

User Journal

Journal: Chronicle: New girl on the block oddity. 4

Journal by Chacham

My apartment's building is one of many around a circle. That is, the circle is surrounded by a square of lots, with apartment buildings on all four sides. As it so happens, i am now in my third apartment there, and on a third side.

Well before my arrival on the scene, the center of the circle was a pool and pool house, The pool has since been filled in and is mostly grass now. The pool house was at first the apartment office, which has moved to one of the apartments, and now is used for storage and also for housing the washing machine and dryer electric card machine refiller. It's a nice area and a few kids play there. The same kids usually, the ones that live in the circle.

Aside from the toddlers, most of the kids are black girls. I don't know if this is due to the population or just those are the ones more likely to play there, but that is irrelevant. It just makes others stand out. Until recently, there were three white girls playing outside, of which i know the two Jewish ones who are, iirc, 9 and 10 years old. I know them mostly because they play with my upstairs neighbor's kids when they (the upstairs kids) come on the weekends. The other girl has said hello to me once or twice in passing, but her family left to some other state. As it so happens, her father is black and her mother, white.

On Thursday i saw a new girl across the circle riding a bike. I thought her new because she was white, making it remarkable even at a distance. By her dress i could tell she was not Jewish (at least not Orthodox) and wondered if someone else had moved into the complex. The fact that it wasn't the beginning of the month didn't seem to bother me. Late afternoon on Friday, as i was going to a program, this girl saw me, and, looking scared, ran in between two parked cars so i could not see her. That was odd. A moment later, the black girl she had been playing with turned to me and said hello, which got my shy response. Since she was around at least one of the Jewish girls (who seem to be popular amongst the circle's kids), i asked them the following day what had happened.

Samantha has a white father and black mother. Her mother's sister lives in the circle and she visits her cousin (the girl that said hello to me on Friday) once in a while. She is Indian (this part makes no sense to me), flatulates when she gets nervous (these were not her exact words), and Xian. I am amazed at a girl's ability to learn so much in such a short time.

When Samantha saw me, she noted i was Jewish and thought i was going to curse her. (Really?!) She also doesn't like me because i don't accept her god. I asked the two girls if she played with them. Apparently, Samantha stipulated that they would have to accept her god, at least for the day, in order for her to play with them. IIUC, the older girl did not play with her, the younger one kind of ignored the topic and played with her. I did not get that last part so clearly. Though, their parents seemed to weigh in on the matter at some point.

And here i thought fundamentalist Xians tended to dress more conservatively. This girl had short shorts and a loose top. That's just plain odd. On a related note, i used to think that couples where one was black and the other white were rare, and ones where the woman was black rarer still. Yet, i see more often now.

User Journal

Journal: Funniest /. article in a while 2

Journal by smitty_one_each
As my wife is German and my in-laws are visiting, we had a good laugh about it.
Formerly East Germans have a less than stellar reputation.
My wife also wished that the research had included a question of religious affiliation, as Germany is split between Protestant and Catholic regions, and she felt that there might be a similar statistical significance along those lines.
I don't care to offend either group by revealing her suspicion. As a Baptist, I only support the Pope when he's rightly dividing the Word of Truth, but don't recognize him enough to feel there is anything to Protest against.
User Journal

Journal: Looking for Galen's De Temperamentis in English (4) 2

Journal by Chacham

Continuing the search for Galen's De Temperamentis in English, i saw that Cambridge University Press published the first book in the Cambridge Galen Translations series, Volume 1, in April, 2014. Indeed, Amazon has it listed as being published on April 7, 2014.

Amazon has it at $134 and free shipping. Cambridge Press has the list price is $140 and $6.50 shipping, but their Academic Alerts offers 20% off the first online purchase. 140 * .8 = 112, which is also the price of the eBook. Add shipping, 112 + 6.5 = 118.5, and it comes in less than Amazon's price. Good thing i checked.

The question is, does this include De Temperamentis? Whereas the listing includes the Table of Contents, De Temperamentis is the Latin title, not the Greek one. So, i emailed the press [Note: only excerpts of the actual email are quotes here.]:

ISBN: 9780521765176
Galen: Psychological Writings

Does this book contain a translation of De Temperamentis?

The reply cam pretty quickly:

Thank you for your enquiry. Unfortunately ISBN: 9780521765176 Galen: Psychological Writings does not include a translation of De Temperamentis (the table of contents is below). I have checked our catalogue and none of our other Galen books include a translation of De Temperamentis so I'm afraid you will need to look elsewhere.

Luckily, i responded (and somehow refrained from referring to the original Klingon):

It seem that "Galen: Psychological Writings" is part of the "Cambridge Galen Translations" series, of which it currently is the only book. Is De Temperamentis (or its source in Greek) scheduled to be translated as part of this series?

To which her reply was the disappointing:

We have another book due to be published in this series but it doesn't contain De Temperamentis either. I'm not aware that De Temperamentis is due to be translated as part of the series.

I thought my search was over, but, in the background, someone else asked a couple others, including Professor Philip van der Eijk

Is this work represented by the Mixtures work included in Vol. 1? If not, is it due to be included in a later volume?

To which the professor responded:

Mixtures will be included in volume 2, "Works on Human Nature", which we hope to finalise for publication this autumn.

It is quite exciting that he responded (though he never responded to my email on Sept 9, 2013) I was sent the message along with the following:

Apologies; it appears that this text will be available in "Works on Human Nature" (as explained below). Please note that when Dr van der Eijk says that they are "due to finalise for publication" the volume this autumn, he means that it will be submitted to the Press this autumn. Actual publication will only take place around 9 months after submission.

So, it looks like it will be done, but i'll have to wait about another year for it.

User Journal

Journal: I'll bet the book is better

Journal by Bill Dog

So they're advertising a new movie coming out, starring then presidential candidate BHO's penpal, that explores the fascinating idea of given that we use only about 10% of our brains, what would it be like if we were to use 100% of them.

And apparently the answer involves lots of guns (and some knives), kung fu, car crashes, 'splosions, and gravity-defying flying across the room brought on by blunt force trauma, that curiously, for the amount of force that would be occuring, does not instead have a disintegrating or hole-punching result.

User Journal

Journal: Nobots Chapter Thirty Three 2

Journal by mcgrew

        An alarm woke me up at quarter after six. What the hell? Fire in P117? I put on a robe, and as I trudged down there Tammy was running into the commons. I wondered what was going on.
        I got to Passenger quarters 117 and it was a damned drill, the light wasn't flashing and I didn't smell any smoke. I really didn't expect to, because except for Tammy's quarters none of the rest of the passenger section was occupied and wall panels blowing up is pretty rare. Most fires are caused by old maids and on this trip, stupid passengers. I don't know why they have those things cleaning empty quarters.
        I passed Tammy on the way back. "I missed Rilla," she said. "I forgot she got up early to eat."
        As I passed the commons on the way home I saw the obese blonde German woman leaning back in a chair, an eyedropper on the floor next to her. I'm glad I read Tammy's book, she was going to want a dildo in a minute or two and I sure didn't want it to be me. I hurried back to my quarters and started coffee, since it was too late to go back to sleep, and headed to the head to pee.
        Zero G football was in the semifinals and I caught the last quarter of the game. Belgium beat Brazil two to one. I told the robot to make scrambled eggs, toast, and hash browns and went to shit and shower.
        God DAMN that Mexican food, my asshole was on fire! It felt like I was shitting flames. Why do I keep forgetting what spicy food does to my asshole? Fuck!
        When I got out of the shower Destiny was at the table wearing a robe and drinking coffee. "G'mornin' sunshine," she said. "You're sure up early."
        "Yeah, I had an alarm. Just a drill, though. What time is it?"
        "I don't know."
        "Computer, what damned... no, back up. What time is it onboard the ship?"
        "The present time is seven twelve."
        I decided to set up a holographic map of EMF in my living room, even though it would be a while before we saw any pirates. I didn't know it then but they would show up early. Way too early.
        Destiny had the news on the video. Some scandal in the capitol but I wasn't paying attention; I still hadn't had enough coffee.
        At five 'til eight I went to the pilot room. Everything checked out, so before I started my inspection I set another holographic map up in there as well.
        The maps marked spacemarks and radio transmissions and used what engineers called a "passive radar system" to mark objects but I really don't know what that means. I thought "I'm taking some classes when I reach Mars."
        The passenger section was, as usual, fine. The commons, however â" it was empty and I smelled smoke. It was one of the waiters. I pulled out my fone. "Computer, shut R47 down and send a repair robot."
        I went outside and called the computer again, instructing it to seal the commons and depressurize it until R47 was powered down and taken in for repairs. I'd have to finish inspecting the commons when I was done with the rest of the inspection.
        The German woman walked up looking angry. "Hey, Joe," she said with her heavy accent, "I'm hungry, why is the restaurant closed?"
        The passenger section had quarters like apartments with their own cooking and serving and coffee robots, but cargo quarters are single rooms with a sink and toilet, although of course there's also furniture in them. People flying in the cargo section have to eat in the commons, or have robots bring it from there.
        "One of the robots is smoking so there's no air in there right now. It won't be long before you can eat."
        "But I'm starved!"
        Tammy walked up. "Hi, John, what's going on?"
        "Smoking robot," I said. "Shouldn't take more than ten minutes."
        "Ten minutes!" the blonde said. "I'll die of starvation!"
        Tammy said "I'll take care of it, John." Right then a robot wheeled up and the commons door opened. Tammy and the fat girl went inside and I went to the sick bay as the robot dragged the other robot out.
        Sick bay was fine, so it was time for the stairs. Damned stairs.
        The working generator was okay, as were the engines, except seventeen. I started number sixty three back up and noted it in the log. Even twenty four checked out so I restarted it as well. No robot today, so I started it back up. Seventeen was good, too, so I started it back up as well.
        The broken generator was still broken, of course. But everything else was in great shape for once. I trudged back up the stairs.
        The only one in the commons was Lek, the one who could talk okay. She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and sipping coffee. A dropper with coffee? According to Tammy's book that shouldn't happen. I called Tammy and gave her the news.
        "Wow," she said. "I'll be right there."
        Lek said "Hello, Captain."
        I said hello and finished my inspection as Tammy came in carrying a pot of coffee and sat down with Lek. "Here, Lek," she said, "I brought some good coffee. But should you be drinking coffee at all?"
        "Animals no drink coffee," Lek said, "and I no want be animal. I not remember what coffee supposed to taste like."
        I left her to Tammy, she was the expert, after all, and I went home.
        "You're later than usual," Destiny said.
        "Busy morning. Smoking robot, hungry fat girl, started a couple of engines..."
        "Okay, okay," she said laughing. "Lets have lunch. T-bone and mashed potatoes and slaw okay?"
        "Sure." I had the robot bring me a glass of shike.
        We took a short walk then watched some old two dimensional movie about the American Civil War, even though the actual war part only took a couple of minutes. I think it was called "Lincoln". By the time it was over it was supper time. We watched one of the movies Destiny called a "spaghetti western", listened to some Chartov for a while and went to bed.

User Journal

Journal: July 20, 1969 4

Journal by mcgrew

In 1969 I was a seventeen year old nerd in high school, using my slide rule to cheat in math class. I was probably the only one in the school who even had a clue how a slide rule worked, let alone owned one.

Most of my teenaged friends were amateur musicians, and I'd fix their broken amplifiers for them. Guitar fuzzboxes were relatively new, and they were expensive, costing well over a hundred dollars in an age where a gallon of milk or gasoline cost not much more than a quarter and a high-end TV set, including oak cabinet, was around $500. I'd take ten dollar transistor radios, usually used and often broken, and hack cheap fuzzboxes out of them and sell them to my noisy friends for chump change.

I also worked at a drive-in theater, and the nights that I had to work in the ticket booth were boring nights, once people stopped coming in and the movie started. I couldn't keep enough library books checked out to keep me occupied, and Cahokia didn't have a very good library, anyway. So I bought a little twelve inch black and white Panasonic TV for the ticket booth. It also came in handy on the nights I didn't work, because we only had one TV in the house (the norm back then) and my younger sister and I would argue about what to watch, and our parents would wind up shutting it off. So now I had my own TV.

The whole world was anticipating Aldrin, Griffin, and Armstrong's trip to the moon. I don't remember what night of the week it was on, but I did have to work. In the summer the drive-in was always busy unless it was raining, which it wasn't.

My boss' name was George, and he and his his brother owned a string of theaters and restaurants. George was a good guy, a short, fat, second generation Greek with a great sense of bawdy humor. But he hated TV - TV was the theater's enemy, the competition that in his mind kept food out of his overerprivileged childrens' mouths. Despite this, tonight I was taking my TV to work and not to the ticket booth; Jim was selling tickets that night.

I pulled up and parked my mothers' car by the concession stand and walked in with my little television.

"WTF do you think you're doing with that thing? George demanded.

"I'm watching Niel Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the moon."

"No, you're not. We're going to be busy tonight and I'm not having a TV set in my concession stand."

"Sorry, George," I told him, "but the first moon landing is only going to happen once. We're incredibly privileged to be alive right now. You can fire me and I'll go home, or I can watch it here. But I'm watching it!" Bill the projectionist came in, cursing himself for not bringing a television, and he saw mine. "Allright!" he exclaimed. George gave him a hard time, and they argued about it for a while. I was ready to go home.

George relented, and he was wrong about being a busy night, as we only had one carload of people; everyone else was at home watching the moon landing. George was one of the few people I knew that didn't care about it. My grandmother was sure that the moon landing was going to end in disaster, as God would surely not let us leave the planet and go to heaven to land on the moon. Everyone knew how dangerous it was, and how after tonight the world would be a completely different planet than it was the day before. Human beings were going to step onto the surface of another world and walk around.

I doubt those born afterwards can imagine what it was like. This was one time history was being made, everybody knew it, and everybody was going to watch it happen on live TV.

Except George.

"Where in the hell is everybody?" George kept demanding, worrying and fretting.

Bill said "They're all at home watching history being made, you dumbfuck," before going into the projection booth do do his nightly maintenance, which included splicing films where they were broken, firing up the arc lights inside the projectors, and getting the projectors synced. Each movie came on six to eight reels of film, and there was a mark at the top right of the screen that flashed momentarily to tell the projectionist to switch projectors. To the viewer, it was seamless if the projectionist was competent. You can still see the reel change marks on old movies you see on DVD if you know where to look.

The way a drive-in worked, there were short steel poles at every parking spot, with two speakers hanging on them. You would park your car, and take the speaker, which had a wire going into the pole, and hang it from your car's window by its hook.

There was a reel to reel tape in the projection booth that played the same tape every single night over those speakers. The sun started setting, and that Godawful song from the movie M*A*S*H that I had to listen to every night I worked the concession stand played. "And suicide is painless, it brings on many changes..." What a stupid song, I thought to my self for the seemingly millionth time. I wished they'd get a new tape.

George was cursing the government for sending men to the moon. "What a fucking waste of tax money!" Of course, what had him really pissed was the business it was costing him.

The sun set and the movie started. I don't even remember what movie was playing that night. I watched TV most of the time, and there was only one show on - the moon show, on every channel, except of course every channel had a different moon show, up to the point where they were starting the landing. Bill almost missed one of the reel changes because he was out there watching with me.

As the lander was touching down, all of us were watching in awe, even George. The lone carload's occupants came in to the concession stand. "Is there a TV in here anywhere?"

We all watched the moon landing; me, George, Bill, the other kids who worked there, and our lone carload of customers, on my little twelve inch black and white TV set. That's one small step for Neil, one giant leap for a young nerd watching it on TV at work.

First posted at Slashdot on July 20, 2009. Reprinted to commemorate the forty fifth anniversary of the first landing on the moon.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Two

Journal by mcgrew

        The CEO's fone buzzed; it was time to look over the papers from engineering staff, then meet them in the engineering department. He pulled them up on his tablet.
        Most of the answers to his queries were interesting and original. He noted that every single one of his engineers rated Robertson as the worst engineer in the shop, regardless of their own engineering specialty, and the one they least wanted to be chief.
        He decided to promote Ron Kowalski to chief engineer; his Masters degree was in engineering, of course, but his minor as an undergrad had been psychology, and he was well liked by the rest of the staff. For the chief, this was even more important than his expertise at engineering, since he would be good at communicating with the other departments as well.
        He called him to his office and told him once he got there "Mister Kowalski, you're the new department head, congratulations."
        Kowalski looked startled. "Me? Sir, I'm no good at all at bureaucrat stuff."
        "That makes you perfect for the job," Green replied. "This organization has way too much bureaucracy as it is, a bureaucrat would add even more. Bad for productivity. That was one of Mister Robertson's worse traits, he was a born bureaucrat, paying too much attention to the book but not able to pay much attention to people at all.
        "It's important that your programmers are programming in an area they know and like."
        "Yes, sir," Kowalski replied, "that was our biggest complaint; Mister Robertson always seemed to give us the jobs we hated and were worst at. I couldn't believe he had Mohamed Aziz program the pork chef; he's Muslim and they consider eating pork sinful, and what's worse the man hates to cook."
        "Well, your first job is to assign someone who loves cooking pork and is proud of his cooking skills to write a pork program."
        "That would be Dave Wilson, he really wanted that assignment and complained so noisily when he didn't get it that Richardson threatened to fire him."
        "Excellent, we'll need a barbecue program as well. Does Mister Wilson like barbecue?"
        Kowalski grinned. "He probably knows more about barbecue than any of us other engineers or programmers. Mister Richardson has him programming robots to make coffee since you talked to him."
        "He does drink coffee, doesn't he?"
        "He practically lives on it, but he won't touch the coffee the robots are making now."
        "Will it take him long?"
        "No, Dave hacks out code faster than anybody else here. Sometimes it's a little bloated but programs can be trimmed down later, and every coffee drinker here, which is most of us, is sick of wasting their time making coffee when the robots should be able to. Knowing Dave he'll have it done today or tomorrow."
        "I want you to do some reassignments. If anybody hates what they're designing or programming, give them something they like and are good at. Are any of your people less than competent?"
        Kowalski grinned. "Not since you fired Mister Richardson."
        "Well, Mister Kowalski, it looks like you're getting off to a very good start. Your biggest headache is going to be financial. Everyone in that department thinks their MBAs and accounting degrees make them able to boss other departments around. If they give you any trouble, don't hesitate to shoot me an email."
        "Yes sir. Thank you."
        "Do you like pork, Mister Kowalski?"
        "Not really. It's way too expensive, anyway."
        "Well, if you did like it you could afford it once in a while now. Your new title comes with a new salary. Okay, now lets go meet your staff."
        "They're all waiting in conference room twenty three," Kowalski said. "That's where I was when you called me, we were waiting for your visit.
        After they entered the big conference room, the CEO said "Ladies and gentlemen, I have some good news for you all. I have appointed Mister Kowalski as your department head..."
        The room burst into cheers and applause, making Green wait a minute to finish.
        "I have some even better news than that. How many of you are working on projects Mister Richardson gave you that you hate? Those who are, please raise your hand."
        A majority of them raised their hands.
        "Well, Mister Kowalski is going to fix that. We're no longer going to have Hindus program robots to cook beef and Muslims to program pork chefs. When the meeting is over, see Mister Kowalski for assignment changes, let him know what you would like to be working on.
        "Are there any questions?"

User Journal

Journal: Phrase: It is interesting to note 4

Journal by Chacham

I love checking google for definitions, word comparisons, and phraseology. Just now, i was reviewing my own unfinished essay when i came up to the term "It is interesting to note". So, i searched google for the phrase and sure enough, the firs link was "It is interesting to note that ..." there is a bee in the editorial bonnet. It is a short and perhaps amusing read.

One paragraph says it best, and reminds me of Strunk and White's Elements of Style (PDF):

The words "It is interesting to note that" are to all intents and purposes banned from JIPLP since they generally add nothing but length. If the text which follows those words is interesting, they are redundant; if it is not interesting, it shouldn't be there in the first place. And if your reader is reading what you've written, he's going to note it whether you tell him that it is interesting to do so or not.

Wow! (Also, note he used if and a comma without then .)

But, i'm still wondering if i should keep the phrase.

The essay analyses a work in an attempt to show that it is talking about an idea later stated as a theory. This includes many quotes shown to be akin to this point or that. By one particular point there is clearly no proof, but it works really well. So, after explaining how it obviously is not a proof, "nonetheless, it is interesting to note that he." The phrase is meant to concede that there is no proof, per se, but that it is still notable, and therefore the rest of the paragraph will continue along the theory. I think the phrase should stay, though perhaps changed to "Nonetheless, it is noteworthy", much like the author in the blog offered to change his submission, also for a reason.

I'm too close to my own material to decide, so it's in for now. But, i feel i ought to garner opinions from others.


Is an unproven statement said to be in a state of nonproofiness?

User Journal

Journal: Chronicle/Verbiage: Firefox 3

Journal by Chacham

I installed Firefox some time ago, before i fully appreciated it. Eventually, i realized what it and the addons were, and started having a wonderful experience. I can hardly imagine browsing without NoScript, Cookie Monster, or AddBlock (Edge). Not to mention Lazarus (?), Mouseless Browsing, and a bunch of other useful tools.

When FF3 came out, it was okay, except that ridiculous Awesome Bar which was remedied with Old Location Bar. FF4, removed the status bar, remedied by Status-4-Evar. FF5 or 6, was just too much for me. They didn't fix their changes, they added auto updates (which could not be turned off), removed the menubar (in some version), and started spamming versions for no good reason. Major-number.Minor-Number.Revision no longer meant anything, but Chrome had to be copied. So, i reverted to FF3 and was back to my erstwhile bliss.

Eventually, HTML5 became a problem for me. FF3 did not support it. As more sites used it, functionality was diminished. But, FF decided to allow us to turn off auto-updates, and i upgraded. Issues with the url bar and tabs moving to copy Chrome were fixed with about:mozilla options or by rearranging the bars, and i even upgraded now and then. For the menubar, i had switched to the Mac which forces applications to have a normal menubar. At some point i realized that the menu bar can be shown, so i use it on Windows as well. I am not sure if that option was always there or if it was added at a later date.

FF29 brought the epithet ChromeFox to the fore, as the UI copies Chrome. To assuage users that preferred the old UI, they recommended an addon. I am suspicious, though. If it really was (and is intended to be) optional, why not make the new UI an addon? OK, they want it to be the default. So leave both in the browser. I wonder if the design group uses Chrome as their main browser.

Today, i wondered again why escape doesn't stop anything until i found out they removed that functionality in FF20. Until now i just expect FF not to work as intended, and search for fixes when things bother me enough. Well, today i found SuperStop which implements the classic stop functionality under [shift]-[esc].

I ask myself why i stay with FF at all. The answer is the plugins. NewsFox is my favorite RSS reader, looking similar to Agent which was my newsreader of choice back when i actually followed some. I eventually got used to ForecastFox Weather (hesitating because it reminded me of some other spammy program), and like nifty little thigns like Show Anchors 2 which helps when pasting a URL somewhere. There are others, and then there's Greasemonkey which itself includes others. Addons are what make FireFox good.

I must give Mozilla a pat on the back. Besides saving passwords from early on, which ranks high in awesomeness, FireFox Sync is a close second. I now use FF at different locations and don't have to reinstall plugins or passwords again. Kudos to them for a job well done.

Regardless, i often feel that i have had it with Firefox and wish there was a fork maintained by different people. That is, people who focus on backward compatibility, standard version numbers, and want FF to be FF, not just whatever happens to be popular right now.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty One

Journal by mcgrew

        I was almost late for my eight o'clock visit to the pilot room, and only had time to grab a robe. I didn't even have time to grab coffee, let alone a shower and breakfast. We shouldn't have watched that last movie, I guess. Well, inspections would be a little late today. I grimaced, and ordered a cup of coffee from the computer. Those robots must use instant coffee rather than perking it, because it tastes nasty but they get a cup to you in no time, even though it seems like forever when you really need a cup of it. It takes five or ten minutes for my pot to make coffee.
        It was nasty, but it was coffee, or an almost reasonable substitute for coffee. At least it would make me more alert. With all those damned drug addicts on board I need to be alert!
        It looked like today wasn't going to be nearly as easy as yesterday. There was a course correction and engine sixty three had a minor undervoltage. I shut it down from the pilot room as Destiny came in with a cup of good coffee that robots can't make; she must have gotten up right after I did.
        "Thanks," I said. "How late were we up last night? I almost didn't make it here on time."
        She laughed. "I don't know, that last movie seemed like it was pretty long, and we cuddled longer than usual after it was over, too. Want some breakfast?"
        "Sure," I said. She ordered the robot to make scrambled eggs and bacon and had a little fun with the computer, asking for pork bacon, and toast, and drank coffee with me as I finished up in the pilot room.
        I got dressed and we ate a quick breakfast. My morning shower would have to wait today. Engine inspections were first. The robot plugged into sixty four had repaired it, so I unplugged the robot from it and restarted it and plugged the robot into number sixty three.
        Robots were still working on engines seventeen and twenty three. Twenty three had two different kinds of robots working on it, so I logged that. The port generator was still broke, of course, but other than being broke and completely useless it was fine. The starboard generator was in good shape, too.
        Despite having a nasty first cup of coffee and almost being late to work I was in a pretty good mood. I decided to let the girls who were confined out as long as they promised to be good... hah, like that promise meant anything. But like Tammy had said, these girls couldn't help themselves any more than a house cat can help clawing your furniture.
        Billie was actually civil, and what was even more amazing was that Lek was actually clothed! I complimented her on the dress. "Thank you," she said, "I ashamed. I no want act like animal although I am one."
        That was a pretty good sign, according to Tammy's book. I was in an even better mood.
        There were three girls whose names I couldn't remember, the German blonde and the skinny redhead and a more normal sized woman with green hair in the commons. Why her hair was green I had no idea; weird hair colors were a fad a few hundred years ago but were way out of style these days. Might as well have tattoos, those things were popular a few hundred years ago too but nobody had them these days. Maybe the weird hair color fad was coming back? What's next, nose rings? Those people back in the twenty first century were crazy.
        The redhead and the German were eating, and the woman with the green hair was drinking something pink.
        I inspected sick bay, and finally could take a shower. Destiny had the robots make hoagies and potato splitters for lunch while I took my shower and put on clean clothes. The noisy maid was cleaning as we ate our sandwiches.
        We took glasses of shike to the living room and watched an episode of Rawhide. When it was finished Destiny said "I think I'll take a walk, want to come along?"
        "Sure," I replied. "Cabin fever?"
        "Yeah, a little."
        Tammy was in the commons by herself with a tablet and stylus as we went past, so we decided to have another shike. "Working?" destiny asked.
        Tammy looked around furtively, making sure there were no droppers, and said "Yeah. I'm writing a paper on the effects of low gravity on droppers, I'm really learning a lot on this trip. We only had a very little bit of data on that aspect of their addiction, so this is some important research. What are you guys up to?"
        "Just going for a walk," Destiny said. "I haven't been getting enough exercise lately and I seem to be tired all the time. I might even walk down a few flights of stairs."
        "I'm not," I said. "I get enough damned stairs every day. Tammy, Lek was actually wearing clothes this morning!"
        "Really? Which one?"
        "The one that talks English okay, the only Thai on board that does. I think she's the one that knocked me out."
        "That's great!" she exclaimed, beaming. "I'll have a gurney examine her, maybe I can get that kind of progress from all of them, or at least more of them."
        "Well, I don't know," I said, "she said she's ashamed that she's an animal."
        "Excellent!" she said, and furiously scribbled something in her tablet with its stylus.
        We went back to our walk, passing a few naked droppers as we went. By the time we got to the stairwell Destiny said she changed her mind about climbing stairs, so we went back to my quarters and watched some ancient movie called "Dumbo" that had no actors, just colored moving drawings.
        A century ago all movies were like that, except the drawings were done inside a computer and looked like they were real people and buildings and stuff... or almost. Now days only low budget B movies are made inside computers, they've gone back to using actors and sets and props again.
        We had some kind of Mexican dish for dinner. I don't know what it was called, but I didn't care too much for it, it was way too spicy.
        We watched a short movie about four college professors and their dumb blonde neighbor who wants to be an actor, then a beautiful old fantasy called "Lord of the Rings," or at least the first part -- it had been taken from an old book that was written in three long parts.
        The we cuddled to some classical music and went to bed. And no, it's still none of your damned business.

User Journal

Journal: $fans-- 3

Journal by damn_registrars
At least, I'm pretty sure that is the relationship I am being told of:

Relationship Change
sent by Slashdot Message System on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @12:05AM

Arker (91948) has ceased their relationship with you.

I'm guessing this is relating to the discussion that started here, where I dared to point out that Ron Paul is a cult leader of a movement that oppresses the common man.

User Journal

Journal: And now for something completely different 3

Journal by Marxist Hacker 42

The Catholic Church considers the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics to fit with our theology. But it also occurs to me that it fits with the problems I've run into converting analog to digital measurement. And THAT points to the theological idea that many people worship not the Creator of the Universe, but an image of God that is a model of the actual God.

User Journal

Journal: Silliness: Chainsaw Mick

Journal by Chacham

The Spring 2014 issue of the Knight Letter arrived just as i was finishing Collected Works Book 11, and so got right to it.

There's a lot of light humor in the magazine, but one thing in particular made me laugh (links mine):

A chainsaw carving of a hookah-smoking caterpillar has been beheaded by vandals in Ripon, England. The statue had been commissioned by the local council to commemorate Lewis Carrol's visits to the down during his father's residency at Ripon Cathedral. Chainsaw artist Mick Burns (known localy as "Chainsaw Mick") was philosophical about the vandalism. "It's not the first time it's happened with my sculptures, it comes with the territory," he said.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty

Journal by mcgrew

        He'd only read a little more of the report when he laid the tablet down and grabbed the fone and called his secretary. "Book a flight to Mars as soon as you can get me there," he said.
        He composed a letter to his daughter. "Dear Destiny," it said, "I wish you'd stay in touch. I'm in the middle of reading your fiancee's report and I see you're getting married. Please wait until I get there, I want to give my daughter away :)
        "Love, Dad"
        After he sent the mail a message from the company president came in.
        "Dewey, I just now fired that idiot Richardson. That moron must have had a devout Jewish Rabbi to program the robots to cook pork, because I just had barbecued pork steaks on this ship and they were worse than the coffee.
        "The ship's captain is excellent, from what I can tell as a random traveler. You know I went under an assumed name. Well, no sooner had the robot brought me coffee when the captain himself brought a pot of excellent coffee in and apologized for the robot coffee. He said he made coffee for all his passengers, even when he was flying cargo class passengers. At least some of our people are doing a good job, even above and beyond. Captain Muñoz said that all the first class captains were doing it, and even most cargo captains, and that there was one guy named 'Tex' that made barbecued pork for his passengers. Steaks, ribs, chops, Muñoz said that Texas is famous for barbecue. I understand that the Australians are pretty crazy about barbecue, too.
        "Anyway, I wish you'd talk to Engineering and promote someone as chief. See you when I get back to Earth."
        He composed a memo to all engineering staff.

        TO: Engineering
        FROM: Dewey Green, CEO
        SUBJECT: New Chief
        Staff, your chief has tendered his resignation immediately and I am looking for his replacement. I want my engineers to be productive, and you're more productive when you enjoy your assignments. I want my engineers to be happy.
        Please reply with answers to the following questions, and let none of the answers be your own name.
        1. Who do you consider to be our best engineer, and why?
        2. Who would you most want to be chief engineer, and why?
        3. Who would you consider to be our worst engineer, and why?
        4, Who would you want least to be our chief engineer, and why?
        5. Which or our engineers has the best people skills?
        I expect a reply in one hour and will expect all of you to be in conference room three in two hours.

        He poured a cup of coffee and continued reading.

Are you having fun yet?