Category Archives: Paul

Taking A Wild Leap

It’s February 29th, which doesn’t happen that often, so I figured I might comment in my unique and inimitable style. But first, what did I have to say about this unusual date four years ago? Oddly, pretty much NOTHING AT ALL about the date, but a bunch of really nice pictures of Clay Lacy’s DC-3.

It’s no doubt an amazing aircraft, but… Leap Day? Nothing?

Okay, so let’s make up for that a bit. Acknowledging that it’s a day that only comes once every four years and even then not in years evenly divided by 100 unless it’s also a year evenly divisible by 400 (a good summary here), the random synapse firing that occurred to my somewhat sleep deprived brain was along the lines of, “That’s messy. I don’t like it. Why don’t we fix it?”

And by “fix it” of course, I’m not talking about coming up with some weird and unique calendar that somehow does away with that quarter of a day (“ish”) that’s extra. I’m talking about moving the planet’s orbit so that it’s a precisely even number of days long.

Go big or go home!

Since the Earth’s orbit takes it around the Sun in 365.25 days, the easiest way to get to an even integer would be to get rid of the 0.25 days. Moving the Earth closer to the Sun would make it orbit faster, so it would be easier to go to 365 days than to 366.

But…

If we go to a precise 365 day orbit, all of those folks born on February 29th would never, ever again have a birthday. Plus, of course, by moving the Earth closer to the Sun when we’re already destroying it with climate change would mean that we’ll fry and die that much sooner, so maybe that would be a second negative on that plan.

Plus, with a 365 day year, we still have that somewhat annoying “extra” day in there that means that if this year your birthday is on a Monday, next year it will be on a Tuesday, and the year after that a Wednesday, and so on. Still messy.

So let’s move the Earth even closer to the Sun and give it a 364-day orbit! This solves the calendar problem completely! Thirteen months of 28 days each! Uniformity! Standardization! Easy to remember!

Oh, right, it’s also boring. We would also fry and die a LOT faster, which most days I would consider to be bad thing, but frying and dying fast while being bored is so, so much worse.

Instead, I think we’ll have to move the Earth’s orbit out, away from the sun. This gives us a slightly longer year while simultaneously helping to cool the planet so that we can continue sans guilt to burn fossil fuels like they’re going out of style.

Moving out to a precise 366-day orbit doesn’t give us a fantastic, evenly divisible calendar. We would have to go out to a 372-day orbit to do that, and that might be far enough away from the Sun that we would freeze to death slowly instead of frying and dying quickly, so let’s table that idea.

No, the 366-day orbit gets my vote. It makes permanent leap years, which we’re already used to. We’ve all seen tons of February 29ths – now we would just see them every year.

We would also still have an annual variance in respect to which dates fall on which days of the week. The 366-day calendar gives us 52 weeks plus two days, but since there are seven days in a week, the match of days of the week to dates on the calendars would repeat every seven years. In other words, if your birthday was on Monday this year it would be on Wednesday in 2021, on Friday in 2022, on Sunday in 2023, on Tuesday in 2024, on Thursday in 2025, on Saturday in 2026, and again on Monday in 2027.

A little bit regular, but not boring!

(And saving the world in good measure!)

I hope that someone gets right on this.

Image result for make it so meme gif

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The Other Lesson From Marathons

At my level, it’s not about “winning.” The Kenyans are not trembling in their running shoes.

You’re only “racing” against yourself.

Do the absolute best you can, and finish if you can with the best result you can.

And try again next time with the resolve to do better.

The deadline is almost here, for better or for worse.

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Sexual Harassment Training

It’s bad that it’s so long – California law requires managers to take recurring training of at least two hours every two years.

It’s really bad that the voice acting is so truly horrendous – were there no high school drama classes that needed the work?

It’s really, REALLY bad that the “story line” was so incredibly lame – this shit makes Hallmark Christmas movies look like Shakespeare by comparison.

It’s beyond really, REALLY bad that the “quiz questions” that you periodically take with a “big quiz” at the end were so obvious and common sense and just plain freaking STOOPID that I’m quite confident that I could have skipped the entire thing and simply taken the quizzes, been done with it all in five minutes, and STILL have gotten about a 98% correct score.

But the worst part?

There are soooooooooooooooooooooooooo many snarky remarks, come backs, snappy answers to stupid questions, and absolutely hilarious jokes that could be made – and every one of them would be a violation of the sexual harassment policies being taught.

Wait – the worst worst part is that I’ve got to kill two hours doing this again in two years.

Does it actually cut down on sexual harassment?

Sucker bet.

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Not Super Back To Reality Tuesday

Back to that place where the traffic sucks, I’m short on sleep, the office is busy and hectic, the winds are blowing, it’s cold, and if I can’t be a the Chiefs’ victory parade tomorrow in KC then I want to be on a beach someplace warm and just sleep and watch movies and read books for about six months.

Which also isn’t going to happen.

And then you turn on the news…

So you try to escape into a classic, favorite, 1960’s comedy that was one of your Dad’s favorites and you realize just how awful and dated and sort of disgusting it is, and not in a really good Mel Brooks sort of way.

One foot in front of the other, I guess.

The only way out is through…

I hope your Wednesday doesn’t suck.

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That Feeling When – January 30th

That feeling when FaceBook pops up with a notice that it’s the birthday of a high school friend – and you remember that he died this year.

And it’s the second or third time that’s happened in the last month or so.

It sort of sucks.

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Chinese Proverb

Apropos to everything, but in particular on my mind tonight, is a Chinese proverb (is it really? I always see it referenced as an “old Chinese proverb,” but is that Western, modern, bullshit?) that says:

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

I hope I can keep that in mind.

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Creative License

Work, work, work, work, work…

As background noise, bright shiny distraction, something to keep me awake while reconciling aircraft ride accounts into the fourth hour at 23:45 after a ten hour day at work to start with and a couple hours of commuting to spice it all up, I’ve been watching the Australian Open. It’s not football or baseball or hockey, but I do like tennis. I sort of miss playing it, played in college and didn’t completely suck.

Anyway…

There’s an ad running, possibly local, where the gist of it is showing a whole slew of guys on a construction site all dancing and grimacing with legs crossed, in agony, and then showing the guy with the Porta Potties whose truck has broken down.

That’s bullshit.

I’ve been on many a construction site between my last couple of previous jobs and I can GUARANTEE that construction dudes wouldn’t be in agony trying to hold it in if there aren’t any portable facilities for them to use. Even if there ARE facilities available, it’s still not unusual to see them just unzipping and letting loose instead of walking all the way over to the outhouse.

But what if there are ladies on site?

Yeah, right. As for the guys, having women on site wouldn’t change anything I’ve said above. As for the women – ditto.

It’s Madison Avenue at its finest, but it’s about as accurate as the science in “Ad Astra.”

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Everyone Have A Great Week

I’ve been hunkered down all weekend (when I wasn’t watching amazing FOOTBALL!! and rocket launches!! and today’s ISS EVA!!) on deadlines that seem to be coming at me at 0.99c and they’re growing like the heads on the Hydra as I get things checked off and done, so I just want to say that I hope everyone in the US had a pleasant long weekend and will have a great (short) week ahead. I’m still here.

Yeah! Short week! Which means I need to get six days of work done in four instead of five…

No good deed goes unpunished, as they say.

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REAL Space Camp For Adults

Something got me going the other night (God knows what it was, but then again, who knows what it ever is – some random piece of BS and my brain is off to the races with my mouth in tow, sometimes the other way around) and I started wondering why adults can’t go to Space CampĀ®.

I know that there’s an adult version of the famous camp for kids, and it sounds okay. A week away from “the real world” isn’t a bad start to any adventure, and building model rockets, robots, riding a zip line, spinning around until you puke, and going SCUBA diving in an NBL-like (Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory) tank would all be fun.

I don’t want fun. I want to be a couple of steps closer to actually riding the elevator up the gantry next to a few million gallons of supercooled high explosives.

So, what if I don’t want to just spin in the six-axis trainer – but take a flight (or two) in the zero-G training jet? (Otherwise known as the “Vomit Comet.”)

What if I don’t want to sit in a flight simulator in a hanger – but take a flight (or two) in a real, live, supersonic T-38?

What if I don’t want to ride on a glorified merry-go-round – but take a spin up to 6G or 8G in a real centrifuge?

What if I don’t want to SCUBA dive in a pool they’ve put together – but get into a real training space suit and go floating next to the full-sized ISS mock-up in the real NBL?

Expensive? You bet, and it should be worth every penny.

Impossible? At least two of those things are available just about any time if you’ve got the cash, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that you could get the third. That puts us in the ballpark…

How much would a week doing that cost? $10,000? $25,000? More?

Doesn’t matter. I still want it. Of course, I really REALLY want to go all the way and go through some real-life training and then get to ride up that gantry with the next stop being Low Earth Orbit – but in the meantime, I would take this as a substitute.

Why is no one offering this package for idiots like me?

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The Night Returns

It’s always a melancholy night when the Christmas lights come down. The tens of thousands of festive lights, marking and celebrating the weeks surrounding the Winter Solstice, driving back the long nights – they’re all gone and the the night returns.

Tonight the moon, a couple of days past full, is helping to keep the darkest of the dark at bay. It’s always a pleasure to see it rising beyond the trees and the lights of Los Angeles.

Up near the zenith, winter’s guardian, bold Orion is bright – but not as bright as normal. (One of these days we need to talk about Betelgeuse. What’s up with that?)

The cycle will go around again. Spring is coming, the days will get long, we’ll roast through the summer, then the days will start to shorten again and next Thanksgiving we’ll decorate and light up the night.

Until then…

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