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Diary
By DesiredUsername (Fri May 05, 2006 at 05:59:39 AM EST) (all tags)
Also, a poll question on what the Internet needs. Plus: Science!


  • For the last N weeks I've been working on a conceptually-simple, implementationally-vdifficult project. (Basic idea: You see geo objects in the sky at certain longitudes [and lats, but that's less vital] at certain times. If they are close enough together in lon, they are a "cluster", but when they move apart or disapparate or a new object moves in, you need to terminate the cluster and maybe start a new one. Draw a box around every non-overlapping cluster you can find in the last 11 years worth of data.)

    For our most recent release, I had a kind of half-arsed version of the above that took a starting point we thought was good and tried to coast along maintaining it. We found some bugs in that, though, so I tried to fix them...and realized that coasting along is not really feasible. So I've basically redesigned the entire thing from scratch based on a new concept. I've been ready to check it in all week "just as soon as I finish this test". But the test is to succeed in making it through all 11 years worth of data, which takes forevar.

    Yesterday I really thought I had it. I'd rewritten part of it to be smarter about what it was doing so it would take a lot less time. It ran farther than ever--about 1/6 of the way through the 11 years. This morning I fixed those bugs and started it again--I'm really hoping it makes it at least until I leave today, so I can pretend to myself that it is running all weekend and will be done when I get in on Monday morning and I can check this stupid thing in and be free FREE AT LAST plus I will have a magical pony and we will fly around solving crimes.

    So the betting pool is: How many hours will DU's process run before dying? (It's already run about 1.5)

  • Number One is still Mr Astronomy. He asked last night if we could ever go star-gazing. Well...yes....but it'll have to be on a weekend or during summer vacation, because the sun doesn't go down until after bedtime. But his question prompted me to get out the tripod-mounted binoculars I invented during the winter. OK, there's the Moon. I guess that's Saturn, but I can't really tell it from a blurry dot. And this is Jupi....HOLY CRAP I"M LOOKING AT THE MOONS OF JUPITER MRS U COME OUT HERE AND LOOK AT THIS!!!1

    Needless to say, I'm now back on the periodic astronomy kick.

  • Update [2006-5-5 11:20:31 by DesiredUsername]: LATE BREAKING BULLET POINT: What's the deal with community gardens? Number Two is interested in plants and growing stuff (not to mention digging in the dirt) and Mrs U happened to see that the next town over has a community garden. Oh well, that looks pretty coo$400 PER MONTH??? This is an aberration, right? RIGHT?
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Are you using Fortran? by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:05:08 AM EST
Because Fortran is optimized for those sorts of tasks.


I always wondered when I should use Fortran by lm (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:10:50 AM EST
And now I know, Fortran is optimized for making jobs run all day long.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
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Pfff (nt) by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:18:05 AM EST


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well, writing your code so that it's pipelinable by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:27:29 AM EST
and the arrays just scream through the parallel processors is a little hard, but I'm sure you can figure it out.


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Seriously, though by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:31:53 AM EST
We had a version that only took a couple minutes, but it used the whole DB at once so it could do efficient queries to get everything it needed up front. Mine is going to have to work as new entries come in, so it has to go one by one. Doing 11 million of anything one by one is going to take some time.

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I suspect by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:20:50 AM EST
He's using TCL or some such cutting edge technology from the 50's.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

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You should make a telescope by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:08:56 AM EST
I'm surprised a fellow with your imagination hasn't thought of that before. Heck, you can use your foundry to bake the parts so the whole thing will be homemade.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

you can't make a telescope out of sand by garlic (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:11:59 AM EST
Can you?


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If you get the sand hot enough by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:14:17 AM EST
it becomes glass.


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ok by garlic (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:15:41 AM EST
but I don't think you can make a telescope out of glass either.


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clear glass for the lenses by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:19:12 AM EST
and then darkened glass for the body.


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damnit. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:21:22 AM EST
I've been foiled. Can't my lame joke just stand on it's own!?


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You can use clear or darkened glass by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #14 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:26:12 AM EST
for the stand.


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And if you use mirrors by Vulch (2.00 / 0) #17 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:30:03 AM EST

You can use clear or dark glass for them too.

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IKTIATB by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:17:37 AM EST
I have a book right here next to me called "Build Your Own Telescope". It's actually a pretty easy thing to do (I've researched this before). All you need is a couple mirrors (or lenses), an eye piece and something that will hold them the right distance apart.

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I believe by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #13 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:24:59 AM EST
a certain other user here has some experience with home-made telescopes..

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Missed this, kthx by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #19 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:32:53 AM EST


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comics readers ? by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:24:30 AM EST
baby blues pick May 4th (yesterdays). Buggers can't let you direct-link to the page and/or image for the comic..

$400/month for a community garden plot ? How big ? Should be more like $12-20/month for ~100-250 sq foot plot.

IAWTBabyBlues by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #16 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:29:48 AM EST
I actually don't know how their system works, but I'll tell you what I know: 1) It's organic. 2) You can volunteer N hours/week (so presumably it really is a community garden, not just a separate plot for each member.) 3) They deliver the goods to people's homes.

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Ahh by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:41:56 AM EST
so is it more of a CSA -- community sponsored agriculture ?

We've got something like that -- organic farm that you buy a share for ~$400 (which is still pricey, we did it last year, but passed this year), and they deliver the veggies. You can, if you want, work in the fields as well. It was neat, but pricey, and the  variety of veggies wasn't what we expected (not very diverse).

(Our area doesn't have the plots, but where I grew up did -- you just rented a 12x12 plot, and ran it yourself)

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Where does all that money go? by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:44:45 AM EST
According to my...third hand knowledge, even if you "volunteer" time you have pay about that much, so it isn't a matter of 3 gardeners trying to support 10,000 subscribers.

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Ahh, I see by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:51:40 AM EST
if volunteer is mandatory, that's a different story.

Here, it was $400/season (mid-late May through October). The money all went to the farmer -- the volunteering was entirely voluntary ;) Farmer did all the planting/harvesting/delivery stuff (to a neighborhood drop off, you had to pick up from there). So it may not be a CSA deal..

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Like I said by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:59:33 AM EST
What I know comes from a short conversation I had with a person who read a small newspaper article about it, but what I heard was $400/month. That just can't be right.

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It's $400/'year' by DesiredUsername (4.00 / 1) #29 Fri May 05, 2006 at 02:09:49 PM EST
Where "year" means "from June to October". And it is a CSA. Still hell of expensive, though.

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Allotments by Phage (2.00 / 0) #20 Fri May 05, 2006 at 06:34:35 AM EST
We have one - and we often get to eat stuff. Last year it was beans, spuds, corn, herbs etc.
Rental ? GBP20 p.a.

WIPO: more cowbell by lm (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri May 05, 2006 at 07:02:17 AM EST
Also: wrt the garden, isn't there some empty lot close by where you can squat to build a garden? Depending on the laws where you live, if you do such you might be able to eventually file a claim to take over the land.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Well, there's our yard.... by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri May 05, 2006 at 07:16:08 AM EST
The idea behind participating in something larger is that we could slack off, doing less than our fair share, and still reap the rewards.

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In the true New Hampshire spirit. by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #28 Fri May 05, 2006 at 07:51:09 AM EST
$400 per month?? by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #27 Fri May 05, 2006 at 07:48:21 AM EST
Crikey, you can get a good cell phone for that.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

Whoever put their money on 5.5 hours wins by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #30 Fri May 05, 2006 at 02:10:43 PM EST
It died at 3:01, 45 minutes before I usually leave for home. Then again 15 minutes later, plus 10 minutes after that. Then I left.

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gardening by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #31 Sun May 07, 2006 at 07:22:34 AM EST
teach the kid to container garden, if you dont have a yard you want to dig up.
Send me to Austria!
It's not the yard, it's the bugs/birds by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #32 Sun May 07, 2006 at 08:06:52 AM EST
I should really build a greenhouse, but....urg.

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