Man Recites First 100,000 Digits of Pi. At some point, the limiting factor will be the
person's speaking rate and the number of hours he can stay awake. If you can clearly recite
three digits per second, that would yield about 10,000 digits per hour, including time off
for rest periods.
in magnetic north pole affects... Tampa airport. Runways at a Florida airport are to be given
brand new numbers, but not for cosmetic reasons — the changes are thanks to movement in the Earth's
magnetic field. Changes in our planet's core are causing the north magnetic pole to speed towards Russia
at nearly 40 miles a year. But the affects of the magnetic shift are being felt over 3,500 miles
south of the Arctic — at Tampa International Airport.
One of my many interests is the Republic of Nauru, the third smallest country in the
world. An oval-shaped island lying near the
is the smallest republic in the world. Here is The
Nauru Flag. According to the World Almanac, the people of Nauru own no television
receivers. Apparently there are no TV sets anywhere on the island. (What a remarkably advanced
The Constitution of the Republic of Nauru
is fairly straightforward and easy to understand. In
the very first sentence of their constitution,
the people of Nauru "acknowledge God as the almighty and everlasting
Lord and the giver of all good things."
Nauru came to my attention one day in a ham radio store where I saw
a QSL card (a ham operator's customized postcard confirming reception or conversation) from
station C21AA in Nauru. Tiny countries and sparsely populated islands
are of interest to ham radio fanatics because contact with those countries is usually
quite a rare and difficult feat.
Lots of information is available at Nauru Online,
however you will soon discover that there's not a lot of internet bandwidth available
from Nauru. The connection is rather slow, possibly due to satellite hops. (Don't
they have underwater fiber-optic lines?)
Far Side Of Paradise. Nauru
needs all the friends it can get. There isn't enough arable land to feed its own tiny
population, and the rusty desalination plant can't be counted on to produce enough water. The
nation is nearly bankrupt. Its telephone link with the outside world was down for two months
earlier this year, and Nauru's one and only airplane is at risk of being repossessed. Food and
other basic goods imported by ship are down to a trickle because of unpaid debts.
photo shows "Topside" which is a strip-mined wasteland covering much of the island.
Another island that's interesting is Navassa, which is an uninhabited U.S. territory,
administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. Take a look at the
Navassa Island photo tour.
Coming soon (maybe): Information about other small islands, such as Palmyra Atoll,
Heard Island and the McDonald Islands, Jan Mayen, Jarvis Island, Johnston Island,
The Marshall Islands, Norfolk Island, The Ashmore and Cartier Islands,
Wallis and Futana Islands, and many others. If I somehow had the opportunity to visit
one of these places, I'd probably be ready to leave after about an hour. But from
this distance they seem really interesting.
Remember the words of your Driver's Ed teacher -- the horn is not a toy.
Unless the horn is a toy. No, not just car horns and wimpy little sirens, this is about
ship horns and air raid sirens, and the people who like to make very loud noises just for fun. This is
the same reason people buy firecrackers. Blowing an enormous horn -- like the kind you'd find on an
ocean liner -- seems like a great way to ring in the new year.
When I was young, there were two places on the east side of Abilene that sounded steam whistles
at 8:00 a.m., noon, and 5:00 p.m. On a calm day, they were clearly audible for
miles around. And of course, nothing sounded better (to a little kid like me) on a hot summer night
than a locomotive horn as it got farther and farther away. Unless it was the sound of an old
DC-3 getting farther and farther away. But I digress.
Kids these days are only familiar with those giant
outdoor speaker systems, used
instead of ordinary sirens.
The manufacturers provide rather
warning messages, but it just doesn't get the message across, in my opinion,
like a siren does, and it's only a matter of time before some cash-starved city begins
to play commercials through the city-wide PA system.
For some reason I really like "urban exploration", which usually means going places where people are
generally not supposed to go. It's a real treat when I get a tour of a factory or some other
building. Back in 1972 I worked at a radio station that was in the "Penthouse" on the top floor of
an old hotel building. The crawl spaces, basement and stairwells were fun to explore. That kind
of thing could get a person arrested these days. (So don't do it.) Once in a
while I still get invited to go to interesting places like
the 72nd Floor.
Mount Weather: Primed for Martial
Law. Few Americans — indeed, few Congressional representatives — are
aware of the existence of Mount Weather, a mysterious underground military base carved deep inside a
mountain near the sleepy rural town of Bluemont, Virginia, near the border with West Virginia,
just 46 miles from Washington DC. Mount Weather — also known as the
Western Virginia Office of Controlled Conflict Operations — is buried not just
in hard granite, but in secrecy as well.
Even If Not Secret: Underground bunkers, many of which were built to withstand
nuclear attack during the Cold War, are scattered in the mountains and foothills outside
the nation's capital, including in Virginia. Over the decades, the subterranean
shelters have attained a sort of mythic status, and the events of 9/11 refocused attention
on their existence.
RFC's are reference documents for internet users. For example... Choosing a Name for Your Computer -- suggestions that could also be
used to name video servers or other machines in high-tech facilities. Connecting to the Internet — What
Connecting Institutions Should Anticipate. How to Use Anonymous FTP (from the command line). Don't Spew: A Set of Guidelines for Mass Unsolicited
Mailings and Postings. Constitutionally protected freedom of speech does not guarantee the right to seize
the private property of others in order to broadcast your speech.
2004 Emergency Response Guidebook.
This is an online version of the 2004 ERG (Emergency Response Guidebook) which is produced by the USDOT for
first responders during the initial phase of a Dangerous goods/Hazardous Materials incident. Have you
ever wondered what those four digit numbers on the placards on the side of trucks and rail cars mean?
The Editor says...
I got behind a rare truckload of 1963 on the freeway a few weeks ago, but it's not uncommon to
see trucks carrying 1977.
New... BigDog: The Most
Advanced Quadruped Robot on Earth.
in the World: Located in the Terascale Simulation Facility at Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory, BlueGene/L is used by scientists at Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia National Laboratories.
The 360-teraFLOPS machine handles many challenging scientific simulations, including ab initio molecular
dynamics; three-dimensional (3D) dislocation dynamics; and turbulence, shock, and instability phenomena
in hydrodynamics. [It has 131072 processors and 32 terabytes of "Main
Glossary: Definitions for numerous terms and acronyms -- everything from 38999 to Zirconium Arc.
Breaking up: diagnosing a dropped phone.
An accidental drop provides an opportunity to examine the engineering inside a 2.4-GHz cordless phone, revealing
a clean modern design and careful attention to RF and EMI issues.
Lake levels in Texas -- reported in real time:
TV weather reports rarely mention lake levels (or anything else) unless there is bad news to report.
and/or suppressed news are covered elsewhere.) If you have
an interest in lake levels, it is easy to bypass the television and get the numbers any time.
Speaking of lake levels, I noticed that on July 3, the North Texas Municipal Water District
finally ended mandatory watering restrictions, conceding that the drought is finally over. But this
announcement was made only after all the lakes and rivers were overflowing. Once again,
you can bypass the news media and get information about precipitation and drought straight
from the source: NOAA Precipitation Analysis Page Drought Monitor: Current Conditions
METAR Translator Converts
weather shorthand to plain English. RBD METAR is probably the
one I'm most interested in. At the moment, it says...
SPECI KDAL 021607Z 36015G21KT 10SM BKN024 OVC090 M09/M14 A3062 RMK AO2
...which -- if you can crack the code -- is more information than you would get from a TV weatherman in ten minutes of rambling.
When was the last car manufactured in this
country with a six-volt system? Based upon personal experience, I'm guessing
I find this very hard to believe. 50 million birds
die each year in tower collisions. The issue arose in August 2003, when the FCC began an inquiry
on the issue. Last week's notice seeks comment on the extent of the effects of communications towers on
migratory birds, as well as various legal, substantive and procedural issues related to adopting measures to
diminish migratory bird collisions with communications towers.
Do-it-yourself power generation, transmission and storage:
The Editor is thinking out loud:
One of these days I hope to build an alternator, just to see if I can really do it. Since I would
only use such a thing to charge batteries or power an inverter, I would take the AC power from the alternator
and immediately feed it into a full-wave rectifier to make more-or-less unregulated DC. But instead of
building a three-phase alternator, as most people do, I'd probably build a five- or seven-phase alternator,
to minimize the ripple on the output of the rectifier. So far, I'm only dreaming, and I'm still years
away from construction.
The book mentioned immediately above has a section about Anderson Powerpole®
Connectors, which are apparently becoming the de facto standard for interchangeable DC power connections
used by RACES groups.
They are also used by model airplane hobbyists
and in large battery-powered toys.
Critical Operations Power Systems (COPS) are generally installed in vital infrastructure
facilities that, if destroyed or incapacitated, would disrupt national security, the
economy, public health or safety; and where enhanced electrical infrastructure for
continuity of operation has been deemed necessary by governmental authority.