Mike Beversluis

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Coolagraphy 27



Yesterday was a a rather nice day for Portland, Oregon - how often do you think Mt Hood is this clearly viewed? (not very)  You could even see Mt. St. Hellens, although it's a bit less photogenic.  Five minutes later:

And that kept up for the next few hours and left a decent 4 inches on the ground.  As the map below indicates, this is a low probability event.  And for me, this year, it is the second such snowmaggedon in a row thanks to the record-breaking snow dump in Alexandria last week.


  1. P(Snow in Alexandria around Christmas) ~ 0.10
  2. P(Snow in Portland around Christmas) < 0.05
Given that these two areas are ~2400 miles apart, I'm going to claim statistical independence.  Furthermore, last year the same thing happened.

Clearly, I can cause it to snow in record amounts.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Let's go on with our story

Swords for hire, 3rd part

Saturday, December 26, 2009

In Which Things Didn't Quite Work Out

McSweeney's: A Former Investment Banker Analyst Falls Back On Plan B.

1. Explain why you want to attend law school.

I want to attend law school because I want to make a difference in the world. My desire to attend law school has nothing to do with the fact that I was recently fired from my job as an analyst at an investment bank, where I worked in the mergers and acquisitions group. Since January, I've worked on approximately one merger, zero acquisitions, have played Spider Solitaire 434 times and updated my Facebook status, on average, five times a day. My 401K is down 45 percent. All three of my roommates — Teddy, Whit, and Dan (The Man) McGregor — have lost their jobs and are moving back home with their parents. (I feel most sorry for Whit, who's from Cleveland.) I have $350 in savings, which may seem strange because I've been making, with bonus, at least $100,000 a year since graduating from college four years ago (in "Boston." OK ... Harvard.). But New York is expensive. Drinks cost $15. My Hamptons summer share (which was a valuable networking tool) put me back $15,000 last year. This is a long way of saying that law is a tool to promote equality, and to help create a just society. These have always been my goals in life.

Tangentially related, The $700 billion man.  And no, it's not Lee Majors.  Or that chick from the short-lived reboot.  Here's the lead:

     It all began as it ended, abruptly. Kashkari was a 35-year-old business school graduate from a suburb of Akron, Ohio, who had gone to Washington in 2006 to learn how government worked. Then came the recession, and through a freakish set of circumstances, mixing pluck, cataclysm and luck, he was appointed by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson as the federal bailout chief.
     Suddenly, he was in charge of $700 billion.
     Congress savaged him. Wall Street Journal editorials doubted him. His home-town buddies urged him to use the money to buy the Cleveland Browns and fire the coaches. His wife spoke to him so rarely, she described them as "dead to each other." He lost sleep, gained weight and saw a close adviser, Don Hammond, suffer a heart attack at his Treasury desk. On May 1, after serving seven months under Presidents Bush and Obama, he resigned.
     Within a week, Kashkari and his wife put their belongings into "indefinite storage." They moved to a cabin near the Truckee River in Northern California. "Off the map," he told his friends. He threw away his business cards, and made a list of the things he wanted to do:
   1. build shed
   2. chop wood
   3. lose 20 pounds
   4. help with Hank's book
He called his four-step program "Washington detox."


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pew Pew

The Physics of Space Battles

Pedantic note:  He says "In space, laser light will travel almost forever without dissipating from diffraction," which is not true at all.  Diffraction works just fine in a vacuum and a diffraction-limited beam (ie, one that is not limited by any engineering compromises in the optics, but only limited by the fundamental effect of light's wave-like propagation) will spread by an angle roughly equal to the beam diameter divided by the wavelength.  A green (lambda=0.5um) 5 cm diameter diffraction limited laser beam will have an angular spread of about 1/10000 radians, so at 10km it will be about a meter wide.  Ish.  Whether the beam is traveling in vacuum or air or glass doesn't really affect diffraction at all.

There would be less scattering and absorption by random particles and clouds and less refraction by turbulence cells and inversion-layers, etc, ie, things that really do bother current atmospheric propagation of high-intensity laser beams (and stars, that's why they twinkle).  That might be what he meant, but that's not what he said.

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Coolography 26

Guess which one's cooler.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nuclear Reactors

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Random Baseball Thoughts

Ah, the off-season. The perennial best time of the year for the also-rans. That caveat aside, the one the Mariner's have been having is phenomenal, what with giving some loose change and a paper-clip to get Cliff Lee for a year, not to mention a very reasonable contract for Chone Figgins (who has a Wicked Awesome name to go along with his wicked awesome WOBA) and offloading one terrible contract (Carlos Silva) for another that at least has some on-field upside (Milton Bradley). All told, a solid A+, and they still have $10M to spend or to save for a rainy day (which happens frequently, as it turns out, in Seattle).

My thoughts run towards signing up Gutti and Felix long-term, as they are also totally awesome, but they still need to add a few pieces to lock down their status as the new Division-leading contender, specifically a big bat to plug in at first base (looking more and more like Branyan will resign) and another starter and some left-handed bullpen help. Hmmm. Now, follow me here, but consider that since we have also engaged another year the Griffey magical mystery farewell tour, we should do the same for Randy Johnson.

Mr. Johnson's about to hang them up and is also a dead-lock Hall of Famer. Now, while he broke through as an M, its hard to disagree that his best years didn't come winning World Series's down in Arizona and that's probably how he'll come in. It'd be nice if his last year was spent as an M - for just the same reason's that it's nice that Griffey says goodbye as a Mariner (he has to go in as an M, right?). Johnson's age means that you aren't going to get 200 innings out of him, but what if he was to pull a Dennis Eckersley like transition to the Bullpen?  I have no idea if that's palatable to the parties involved themselves, but I really like the idea of Johnson getting to relive one of his best Mariners moments when he came out of the bullpen to nail the Yankees in a come-back series win.

His current status is iffy due to a torn rotator cuff last year, so sign him to an incentive-laden contract and let the 1995 M's farewell reunion tour begin!


Homer Simpson's Christmas Wish List


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow in Old Town

The DC area, along with much of the East Coast, got blanketed by a goodly amount of snow today, and I went out with my new Canon S90 camera and took a few photos.  FWIW, this is the best camera I have ever owned, including my old Nikon SLR and its bagful of prime lenses.  The S90's optics and sensor are superb (well, for a point and shoot.  Actually, for a lot of DSLR's too.), but what sets it apart is its wonderful controls.  It's even better than my old-school Yashica T4 Super, and for those in the know, that should be enough said. Go and get one before they stop making it, because it's a classic.  But don't just take my word for it...

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Raw Power

Craig Breedlove's Dragster from The Jalopy Journal on Vimeo.


Snow snow snow snow

8-12 inches is due in DC [via]

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

...but I know what I like


No more garage rock bands

The odd, yet somehow predictable, story of the inclusion of a DMCA notice in a garage opener manual.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's elementary


Monday, December 14, 2009

Into the mouth of madness


Prema sells some very, very prem-o wooden boats.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Oh my

This one goes to eleven.  And twelve.  And ten thousand.  (videos of car stereos playing so loudly that they shake the cars to pieces.) (i.e, this XKCD has been checked-off)

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Versailles was ultimately pointless too

Here's a fascinating article, or perhaps more accurately, taxonomy about the byzantine intrigues & rococo machinations of the Clinton white house.  Oddly, it makes Bill more likable (less unlikeable?) that he ignored so much of it, even if he seems entirely hollow at the core except for ambition, as the quote goes. Either way, much sound and fury, signifying what?

Design's tricky

How restaurant menus work. Nota Bene, the magazine's doing the exact same thing - how much design goes into their layout and topic choice?  Is it fair to say that New York is the Balthazar of magazines? (yes it is)


Friday, December 11, 2009

Coolography 25

Via Hey Skipper, some amazing model making. All the controls actually work. Very cool.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

awesome indeed

As Adam Savage puts it, that second stage really is a hell of a thing. (pedantic note - no, he's seen things that go that fast before - he hasn't seen things accelerate that fast before)


Saturday, December 05, 2009

˙ɯɐ ı ǝɹǝɥ ʇǝʎ 'sƃuıɥʇ ʇuɐʇɹodɯı ǝɹoɯ ƃuıop ǝq pןnoɥs ʎןןɐǝɹ ı

Message sent by tapping on the plumbing of my cell. The screws will never catch on.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Today: Slog Slog Slog

I could use a beer.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Excuse me while I go buy a lotto ticket or three

The timing should just work out...


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Coolography 24