February 28, 2009

Delta T

Yesterday had a high of 56°F. Today's forecast is for a high of 25°F.

Never fails. It's a weekend, so the lovely weather goes away.

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February 27, 2009

Alarms and Excursions

So I'm sleeping the sleep of the not-as-just-as-they-should-be, when I am awakened by an alarm. A beeping alarm. Except it's not my alarm clock, and it's not loud enough to be a fire alarm. I look at my clock- which is dark. Hmm. That explained it: the beeping was my computer's Uninterruptible Power Supply, a battery that keeps my computer from crashing immediatly when the power goes out. The power had clearly done just that.

My computer was in sleep mode for the night, but the UPS was not only beeping audibly, it'd sent a distress signal to the computer it was connected to. So the computer had to wake itself up to shut itself down fully. (Sleep state draws a small ammount of power; when it rolled onto the battery backup, my PC is set to go to hibernation mode, which uses no power at all.)

There was some light coming through the window, so I wondered what time it was. I couldn't find my watch, and was too sleep-mazed to find my glasses to look for the watch. Finally I found my cell phone, and discovered it was 6 AM, an hour before I was intending to get up. So I silenced the UPS alarm, set my cell phone's alarm clock function, and went back to bed.

When the phone woke me, it was colder, as my apartment has forced-air heating. The heat comes from natural gas, but the blower needs power. Grumblingly, I took a flashlight with me into the bathroom, showered, shaved, and dressed. I had a quiz first thing that morning, and I'd been thinking of brewing some tea before I left. But I had no way of lighting the gas stove. I wrote "matches" on the grocery list, grabbed my backpack, and headed for the bus stop.

The apartment complex's community building was well-lit, with a backup generator humming on a pad outside. I suspect the backup is necessary because if power stays out too long, all the apartments get unlivably cold, in which case we'll all pack into the community building.

Anyway, I had to get off to class. First thing: a statistics quiz. I finished in twenty minutes, then rechecked my answers, feeling very suspicious. I've been straggling on previous quizzes, so what was I doing being first one done this time? I'm glad I rechecked, because I found one error that I corrected.

In my history recitiation I got my US History II test back, with the comment on it that I had the highest graded essay in the (200-person) class. *blush*

Then there was a boring lecture. I dutifully took notes.

When I got home in the afternoon, the power was back on. Why did it go out? I doubt I'll ever know.

And now, I've got to complete my weekly homework for my internet-only class.

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February 26, 2009

Stats Quote

My stats professor put this up on a lecture slide:

The Mishna states: If a fledgling bird is found within fifty cubits of a dovecote, it belongs to the owner of the dovecote. If it is found outside the limit of fifty cubits, it belongs to the person who finds it.

Rabbi Jeremiah asked: If one foot of the fledgling is within fifty cubits and one foot is outside, what is the law? It was for this question that Rabbi Jeremiah was thrown out of the House of Study.

—Baba Batra 23b

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February 25, 2009

Weather Is Delightful

It's a lovely day in Buffalo today. The sky is blue, the birds are chirping. Starbucks has people sitting at the outside tables. I know about the weather, because I got to see it, briefly, between classes. *sigh*

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February 21, 2009


My Dad's chosen to take early retirement, effective March 31st. He's been thinking about it for a while, and the deciding factor is apparently his health. He's not the kind of man that can leave a problem un-solved, so he's back at his old habits of taking work home and working at his home computer until midnight. He needs more rest to fully recover his health. So, now he's going to get all the rest he needs!

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February 20, 2009

Strange Pricing

I'd like a way to take hot tea with me to class in the morning. So I've been shopping for a vacuum thermos bottle.

Amazon sells several, but I noticed something interesting. These are all metal vacuum bottles made by Thermos Nissan:

  • 16 oz: $30.00
  • 26 oz: $28.93
  • 34 oz: $27.99

Shipping is free for all of them, so they're not hiding the cost. The pricing model they are using confuses me.

Also, I'd rather use a smaller one, but it is cheaper to buy the big one. I could just leave it mostly empty all the time. But I don't want to fill my backpack with a huge, mostly-empty bottle every day.

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February 18, 2009

From My Pen, Ink Flows Like a Mighty River

I had a good test today. No, a great test. Many of my former comrades would believe such a thing could not exist. But! I knew the material. I liked the material. It was fun to share what I knew with someone else, even if only a TA grading essays. (It was a history test on the Gilded Age.)

The other reason I'm happy is that it's the last exam I'll have to take until early April, if I have read my syllabi correctly.

As a side note, my stats prof is not trying to make any friends– our midterm is during the first class session following Spring Break.

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February 16, 2009

CounterStrike Mansion

The first-person-shooter Counterstrike has a level designer, so you can make your own maps to play. The following video is a run-through of the best map I can recall seeing. That is, I suspect it would be no fun to play competitivly. But the effort and precision with which it was made amazes me.

(Found via the Lileks Bleat.)

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Omnia mors perimit et nulli miseretur

("Death destroys everything and takes pity on no one.")

Most of you will have seen the news of a commuter plane crash near Buffalo. Turns out I knew one of the victims; I'd worked with him when he was a FSA manager at UB and I was a student manager.

Personal stats: my current total of people I knew, that have died via:

  • Car Wrecks: 2
  • Plane Crashes: 3
  • Gunfire: 1
  • Cancer: 2
  • Drug Overdose: 1
  • Old Age: 2

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I mentioned that I was given two new ties last week. Well, what good's a tie that you don't wear? So Friday morning, I put on a button-down shirt with one of the new ties. It looked good. But as long as I was wearing a tie, I put on a pair of nice slacks. With nice slacks, I wore some dress shoes. Having put on all the rest of it, I tossed on a sport coat and went to class.

When I was younger, I regarded "dressing up" as an outrageous imposition. But you know what? I look good. The major downside was that my friends kept asking about the interview I had that day, as none could imagine any other reason to dress formally on a regular school day.

I also had to do a little teaching, after one of the guys quietly informed me that I'd forgotten the bottom button of the coat. He was rather sceptical that leaving the bottom button unfastened is, in fact, the traditional way to wear such clothing. I think he really believed that I was pulling his leg about the button tradition.

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