- We're planning to attend a charity dinner and dance tonight, and because it's within a week of Halloween, it's billed as a "Masquerade Ball." This is not our cup of tea, but we'll put up with it for the chance to do some ballroom dancing. But we won't be going completely unprepared. To wit:
Pretty awesome, huh?
- If you're wondering if the front-facing camera on the iPhone serves any useful purpose, I think the preceding provides a definitive answer.
- I've refrained from saying anything about the Texas Rangers and outcome of the World Series. Now that I've calmed down a bit, I feel confident in saying that I've seen more polished performances from preschool t-ball teams than the Rangers exhibited in Game 6, and this Series is going to haunt them in the off-season worse than losing in five games last year. I thought I'd be content if they won three games - a huge improvement over last year - but to lose it like they did is almost unbearable. Good thing I'm not a baseball fan.
- At least until next summer.
- I'm in the process of simplifying my computer setup, now that I no longer rely on it for my work. I'm getting rid of an external DVD burner and a couple of external hard drives that I used for backup. I decided to erase the HDs using Apple's Disk Utility application, and one of the options is a secure erase using something called a 7 Pass Erase. This essentially writes over the drive seven times and exceeds the US Department of Defense's specifications for secure erasure of media. It's also been working for seven hours and is only 2/3rds finished. This is for just a 160gb drive; I can't envision having the patience to do this for a 2 terabyte drive. (And I declined the option to do a 35-pass overwrite.)
- This does seem like a lot of trouble to go to just to keep people from discovering I have an online account with a temporary tattoo supplier.
October 2011 Archives
Items not drawn exactly to scale
- White vehicles cannot be washed. Don't whine. You know good and well you picked out that boring white car for the sole reason that it doesn't show dirt and dust like darker colors. So, own it, and live with it.
- Black vehicles cannot be washed. You knew what you were getting into when you picked out that bad boy. Own it, and live with it.
- Clean vehicles cannot be washed. And by clean, I mean if you can tell the true color of the vehicle by looking at it, it's not dirty enough to require washing.
Two months ago, I couldn't spell "cartographer," and now I am [on my way to becoming] one. As a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist, my duties include generating and editing maps, and I've found the learning curve to be challenging.
There are actually two different challenges. One involves learning the systems we use for mapping. Most of our engineering and geological analysis tools (for those in the know, we use Petra and GeoGraphix) include mapping modules, as do many of our online sources of production and industry activity data. Our company has a proprietary mapping application, and I'm also learning to use ArcGIS, one of the most powerful standalone GIS programs in existence. So, thus far I've used about six different programs, none of which I'd ever seen before August 22nd. Fortunately, they all employ similar conventions and processes, so the transition from one to another isn't that tricky. But like so many things in life, they're easy to learn and difficult to master.
Not one of mine.
The process of converting a three dimensional representation of the earth onto a two dimensional surface is called "projection," and humans have been experimenting with different kinds of projections for more than 2,000 years, trying to come up with the "best" way of locating geographical points of interest. The thing that all projections have in common is that they don't tell the truth...that is, none of them are completely accurate 3D-to-2D translations. They all distort one or more of the following characteristics: direction, distance, shape, or area. (For a nifty comparison of the more common map projections and their uses, advantages, and drawbacks, refer to this USGS resource.)
This is not just an academic or theoretical issue. The accuracy of maps has real and often significant implications. Maps can also be manipulated to achieve specific goals or serve specific agendas.
I'm reading a book entitled How to Lie With Maps by Mark Monmonier. I recommend it both as an easy-to-read reference for basic cartography, and as a primer on how maps are used to exert social, cultural, and/or political influence in ways that aren't necessarily ethical.
Anyway, while my specific job duties don't necessarily require that I understand some of the more esoteric cartographic principles, my natural curiosity about such things has led me to delve into a wide variety of resources, and if nothing else, I've learned how much I don't know. I've delved into the world of Great Circles, rhumb lines, sinusoidal projections, graticules, and azimuths.
That seems to be the story of my life. I keep telling myself that that's a good thing; it will keep my brain young. Someday, perhaps I'll even convince myself of that.
- Fifty-six years is too young for anyone to die, and it's a reminder that cancer sucks.
- His net worth was estimated to be in excess of six billion dollars. Only in science fiction stories can money buy more life. Keep that in mind when setting your priorities.
- Jobs was respected for his creativity, drive, and vision. But I never heard anyone talk about how much they loved him, or even liked him. He had a wife and kids, and I'm sure many people liked and loved him, but he'll be remembered for his achievements, not his character. I wonder if that's a legacy he'd be comfortable with.
Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun.