Friday, May 13, 2005

Fighting the Future, One Square Root at a time

Find the square root for Y
Stage One:
1. Determine the largest squared whole number less than Y.
2. Use the square root of the largest squared whole number to be the first part of the answer. Place this number to the left of the decimal place within the answer.
3. Find the difference of Y and the squared whole number.

Stage Two:
1. Multiple the difference by 100, designated as A.
2. Multiple the answer so far by 2 (without the decimal point), designated as B.
3. Multiple B by 10.
4. Give C one of the following values: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9
5. Find D where (B+C)*C equals the greatest value less than A.
6. C becomes the next digit right of the decimal in the answer.
7. Find the difference between of A and D.
8. Repeat Stage Two until the answer reaches the desired number of digits after the decimal.


PDF File: Example to find the square root of 3

(Sorry, I had to make it a PDF file because html isn't good at showing math equations and I didn't want to scan in my chicken scratch writing. Free Acrobat Reader is a must, but if you don't already have it, go here to get it:

Now, is anyone ever going to use this? Hey, if anyone has seen this method in print, please let me know.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Preface to Square Root

Back when I was in high school, I learned something that isn’t known by very many people. I learned the method to manually find a square root in a way that is similar to long division. This method allows you to find each decimal place with certainty. You can solve to as many places after the decimal point as you want.
I've never found this long method in print anywhere. I’ve found other simpler methods to finding a square root, but they usually involve closing in on the square root by continuously rerunning the same method. You are never left with a perfect answer because you can never be sure if the successive decimal places are correct. I’m also not sure which method is used by calculators (on which we all depend for square roots these days, which is the beginning of Asimov’s vision for our world coming true, but that’s a future blog entry).
I have no clue why this long method works. But, in a very small effort to fight the future, I’m going to show the method here, soon.

UPDATE: Here's the link to the long method of finding square roots:

Saturday, May 07, 2005

We're returning to where we were.

More than a few years ago, I noticed something weird about how I speak. I realized that I use the word them as a nongender singular objective pronoun instead of him/her (which over specifies gender, when gender either didn't matter or wasn't known to me. Even more weird, I actually often use the contraction 'em to differentiate it from the common plural use of the word them.
At first I thought I was a bit weird. Then I noticed other people use the word them in this way. It's not overly common, but it's out there. Like, "if a stranger comes up next to you in a car, don't get in the car with them no matter what." An english major might tell you that statement is mixing up the subject, but it really is an attempt to apply them in the singular form.
The nice thing about the word 'em is that it is much quicker and easier to say than the artificial sounding P.C. term him/her. I also use themself as the nongender version of him/herself.
Since my realization about this word 'em, I use it intentional instead of him/her except in formal documents. Another thing I've noticed is that I do not use any replacement of he/she. Maybe it's be sounds ignorant to say "They is walking this way." :)
Ok, so is there any takers on helping me start the revolution to get rid of the word him/her? :)

Ok, so thinking about this got me thinking about the complexity of the English language. When I was younger, I used to think that French was strange, with it's unpronounced letters and odd contractions. Of course, English gets many of its habits from French, but it took me a long time to put two and two together. Then one day, I realized that English has just as strange unpronounced letters and even more weird contractions. I'm mean, trying telling a nonenglish speaker that thorough is pronounced "thir-o". Or worse, the same letters that are silence in thorough make the F sound in rough. What the hell? LOL
Along this thought, a phrase popped into my head that I thought would be particularly hard for nonenglish speakers, both in spelling and pronunciation. "We're returning to where we were." We're, where and were. They look pretty much the same, and sound pretty similar, but still distinct. Imagine a french speaker trying to say that three times fast. I think we're, where and were is worse than they're, their and there because at least these have the same pronunciation.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Crenelatory Critique

I’ve noticed that fantasy movies tend to have crenellations with way too many merlons and embrasures. In fact, I’ve seen merlons placed at the tip of a king’s donjon! Now how are a king's men supposed handle that? This display of diminutive crenels has got to stop! If this continues, I just know we’ll soon see exposed penetralias, and draughty keeps in the open streets! And then where will we be?

crenellation, merlon, embrasure, donjon, penetralia, draughty, & keep

Friday, April 29, 2005

I was this close to a bear cub

Where's momma bear?On one of my visits to Kings Canyon, I ran into this bear cub hanging out along side the road. I was riding with a friend when we noticed it. Told her to go slow so we could get some shots. She drove slow enough four us to get for shots, but she was all scared that momma bear was around. I was like, "We are in a moving car. The momma bear isn't going to get us." Secretly, I was hoping the momma bear would show up! Now that woulda been an exciting story. Ich, I'll settle for this quaint story with a nice picture.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Comments about recent movies

Three movies I’ve seen recently are Sahara, The Interpreter and via DVD All I Want Is To Be Loved.
Sahara was a film following in the footsteps of the Indiana Jones type of movie. It falls well short of the Indiana Jones standard with too many ah-ha moments carrying the plot. An ah-ha moment is a point in the story where the story can’t proceed without some accidental amazing discovery or insight. Even still, the movie is fun to watch with fairly cleaver action. It’s not going to make it into my DVD collection though.
The Interpreter is a good political thriller film. I especially appreciated Nicole Kidman’s acting. You could see what she was thinking and feel what she was feeling, even without dialogue; all without over acting. I feel that the film’s story isn’t as grandiose as films like Clear and Present Danger. This story and plot were more dialogue driven. This makes Nicole’s and Sean Penn’s great acting essential for turning an ok story into a good movie. There is a change this DVD will make it into my collection.
All I Want Is to Be Loved sucked. I got the movie to see Nev Campbell naked. She’s not naked in any erotic or sex scenes, but hey, she’s naked! lol Well, I understand the movie’s title. The title serves as a clue for the final show down at the movie’s end. But, the whole story is so improbable, it isn’t enjoyable. The movie was less than 1hr and 20min. It would’ve have been a much better story if it was cut down to about 35 minutes. The entire first 45 minutes of the film serve no purpose, though they are meant to develop the story’s characters. Here’s a hint to future film writers: Don’t develop a character without telling the overall story for longer than a couple minutes. Simply having a character do a bunch of stuff just so show personality traits for 45 minutes is extremely poor writing, no matter how cleaver or witty the dialogue or on-screen activity. Ok, in case you saw this movie and missed the point of the title: The old Duke is lying, but not about the money. Nev never said he was lying about the money. He promised to satisfy Nev’s character, but obviously wasn’t up to the task. If you haven’t seen the film, don’t bother finding out what I’m talking about, unless you real goal is to see Nev naked. :)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Lying Liars face

There's one clue that someone is lying, which can be picked out on very close observation. Because the clue can be so slight, it may require reviewing a video tape of the liar's face in order to see the facial nuances that reveal the lie. Given a long enough interview process, a liar will always reveal their lie by making a quick motion their mouth and/or eyebrows in an ugly manner. When seen on freeze frame, it looks like they are making an ugly face on purpose. In fact, it is subconscious, and often so quick, even the trained observer can miss it in person. It's easy to catch when reviewing video tape though. Since I discovered this, I've been able to identity lies (and truths too) on news programs, interviews, politicians, White House staff, etc.
One of the poor liars in the White House is Condalizza Rice. You can see a complete facial shift between almost any other topic and when she's was talking about "facts" that were used to justify the Iraqi War.
Another liar in his interviews was Scott Peterson. He was pretty good at controlling his facial motions, but he wasn't good enough.
The most recent case I've seen is that lady that found the finger in her food. As I watched her interview, I couldn't see any ugly faces (beyond expected disgust when talking about chewing a finger). Then I re-watched the interview, and there it was, plan as day near the beginning of the interview. She compressed and dropped her lips for a split second right after finishing her response to a question. Caught! :)
How do you tell the difference between normal face twitches and a liar's face? Several ways. Most important is the type of movement, particularly with the lips. Often, one or both corners are pulled down, or the upper lip is pulled up in the middle. The pulling up of the upper lip isn't a great sign because several thangs cause this. However, the pulling down of the corners of the mouth is a sure sign because there really is not other reason for a mouth to be doing that. A second factor is the timing of the ugly face movement. A liar's face usually shows up right before answering a question or immediately following the answer.
Want practice identifying liars' faces? Seriously, watch pundants on Fox News and CNN.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Between the lines

The trouble with getting a new toy for guys is that we want to play with it all the time. Girlfriends get jealous of an inanimate object, you start to drift off at work cuz you aren't getting enough sleep, etc etc. That's kinda were I'm at right now. I think the bags have reformed under my eyes. I'm even a bit more ornery right now. :)

Friday, April 15, 2005

Support for the anti-gay marriage ban

Constitutional Amendment to establish marriage as only applying to a union between a man and a woman is a joke. Well, it’s not intended to be a joke. The topic of same-sex marriage is a point that agitates the Conservative and neocon base of the Republican Party. What makes the associated proposed Constitutional Amendment a joke is that it is very poorly worded. It cannot be passed in its current form because of sloppy language that can easily be abused to legalize heinous behavior. It is not intended to actually be passed, and thus the joke.

''Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor State or Federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.''

What is a man and a woman?

It says that marriage can only occur between a man and woman. There are several problems with that statement.

  • I’ve said this before; hermaphrodites are both a man and a woman at the same time. Although rare, they create a valid issue. Are we going to tell hermaphrodites who they can and cannot marry simply because nature didn’t make up its mind? You can argue whether gays are born gay. You cannot argue whether a hermaphrodite was born a hermaphrodite.
  • The amendment federalizes marriage. No other national law governs who can marry directly. In the absence of clear instruction, “man and woman” is inherently inclusive of incestuous marriage. The old legal rule is that if the Constitution doesn’t specifically make exclusion, it is interpreted as being allowed.
  • No Federal law, not even the Constitution itself, can act retroactively. Massachusetts has already legalized same-sex marriage. Those same-sex couples already married under Massachusetts law cannot be unmarried by the federal government. Even if the Amendment passes, it could never apply to those couples. This would create a legal mess as States adjust to this one-time only hyper-minority group. In effect, it would provide status of privilege for these individuals which would not be conferred on any other citizen. By extension, such a position of privilege would require equal rights be applied to everyone. Basically, the existence of this group creates a catch-22 that invalidates (one way or another) any limitation placed on same-sex marriage by the Constitution or any federal law.

Domestic Mess

Now I’ll consider the rest of the wording of that proposed Amendment. The first part of the second sentence of the proposed Amendment basically says that States cannot contradict the Amendment. This is redundant, since no law is allowed to contradict any part of the Constitution. However, the next part of the sentence uses sloppy and obscure language to prevent States from giving rights to nonmarried couples. It is a fairly bizarre phrase. It limits rights of individuals within a relationship to just being friends in the legal sense, regardless of the true nature of the relationship. Just stupid. What about common-law? What about shared property? What about the couple’s children? There’s a million “What abouts…” here!

According to the second sentence, no rights of marriage can be given to nonmarried couples, but it makes no provisions for the nature of those relationships. People in nonmarried couples aren’t entitled to seek child support? Nonmarried couples that brake up aren’t allowed to split property as is done with divorce? That second sentence would create a domestic legal mess across the country.

Constitution cannot contradict itself

My third point here is that no law, not even the Constitution itself, is allowed to contract the Constitution. There’s a specific clause in the Constitution that actual says the Constitution cannot contradict itself. The inherent nature of the Constitution makes it unlawful to establish any law that creates a special class of citizen that cannot have the rights granted to other citizens, expect as a means of punishment for crime. This is part of the power behind the 14th Amendment, though not explicitly stated. Any other Amendment that limits the rights of one class of citizen would also have to specially repeal the 14th Amendment in order to be valid itself. The proposed Amendment does not repeal the 14th Amendment, so it is unconstitutional because of its de facto creation of a second class of citizen that does not have the same rights as others.

What a mess!

The proposed Amendment is horribly written. It creates one-time only hyper-minority that have special privileges. It is caught up in a catch-22 that is self defeating and invalidating. It contradicts the 14th Amendment, but does not repeal it, making it unconstitutional. Who wants this thing passed? If the civil rights battle can serve as an indicator, this proposed Amendment (if passed) would ultimately create such a legal mess, it could take half a century to sort out the details, whether enforced, repealed, or found unconstitutional in the courts. The logically conclusion is that it is not intended to pass. It is only used as a tool to rally the Conservative and neocon base of the Republican Party, to sucker more people to giving more support and more money to do more of nothing about the issue. It’s a joke on the true believers and party loyalists. The Amendment is a joke on America.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I'll be joining the 21st century on Thursday

Two days from now, I get Cable broadband...officially marking the moment that I join the 21st century. :) I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


The first car I had was a hand-me-down from a grandfather, 1977 Dodge Aspen. The Aspen was a pretty much a Dodge Dart in the later years of the model's existence. It was a forest green and had some battle scarring from its long life. It had a tired but still fairly powerful 318 V8 engine. Sometimes people in their new Civics would pull up along side me and jokingly want a race. When I obliged, I kicked their butt. lol That car died from a valiant on-road battle with a similar later model Ford (this is another story all its own). Even though the entire passenger side was caved in, that old Aspen still run as if nufin was wrong. It just keep going. I used to park it out front of my job at the time with the mangled side visible. It was sort of a protest for how little I was making there. I had it about seven years from when I was sixteen. I declared the car a "he" cuz he put up with all my rough treatment without a complaint. In the end, I had to Ol'yeller his ass because of his injuries.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Happy Camper

I’m a happy camper. After exactly 3 years, I completely paid off my car and am now in possession of the title. Yippie!!! My current car is the first one I’ve not owned outright. I’ve never had an auto loan before, and I hated it. But now, the car is mine!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Unidentified Sign in the middle of nowhere

What does this sign mean?I first saw this sign in the mid-80's. I took this photo in the mid-90's. This sign appears in the middle of nowhere on the road to Kings Canyon National Park.
The first time I saw it, I had to wonder about what the hell it means. It shows a white and hilly road leading into a mountain through a forest. The strange thang is that it is not posted at the beginning of such a road. It's posted in the middle of nowhere, long after you are on such a road. The sign is too pretty and too faded to serve as any warning unless the message is, "Warning, you are already on a scenic road in which you may be in danger of enjoying." I took this photo the next time I saw this sign because it's hard to really describe how pointless it is unless I can show it. As far as I know, the sign is still standing where I last saw it. Anyone else ever see sumfin like this?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Big 2001 Vacation: Part 12: 11/18/01 and Epilogue

I woke up and went about the business of getting ready for the flight back to the mainland.

My trip to Hawaii served as a turning point for me. Before the trip, I had poor job satisfaction and reduced motivation. I think I was still grieving too. Living my life had become a chore. I didn't admit it to myself at the time. There are many reasons for these issues. I'm not going into them now. However, after the trip I was able to focus and self-motivate again. Over time, subsequent events and changes grew to be even more drastic, allowing me to free myself from the shackles of my past. My grieving ended. I finally opened my eyes to religious truths which, ironically enough, allowed me to have no need for religion in my life. I had a progressively better outlook on life. What does this have to do with the trip to Hawaii? As far as I can tell, nothing. Yet, there it stands at my crossroads, like a strange figure giving me a wink and a nod as he watches me walk past and continue towards the horizon along my path.

Final Entry
I'm going to end this series with a brief annotate from Hawaii that wasn't included in my written journal. I made it my mission to try authentic Polynesian Hawaiian food. I spent a lot of time tracking down a place. I quickly found that no Hawaiian restaurants exist in Waikiki. Finally, on day three, some locals pointed me in the right direction. I found this little-hole-in-the-wall called Ono's. I told the owner that I had been trying to find a Hawaiian restaurant for days. He seated me and then walked me through the menu. I remember having a large meal of many different Hawaiian dishes and sides. I don't remember the names of the food, but I remember my experience was enjoyable. One dish I remember is poi. It was a Polynesian staple for thousands of years. I didn't like it. It tasted like flavorless applesauce. For the main course, I had pork steamed in leaves. I really enjoyed that item. Overall, the meal had way too much salt. It tasted good, but I think all that salt it through my body outta wack for months. Next time I have a Hawaiian meal, I'm going to remember one word, moderation.

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