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29 September 2008

1st Day Issue / Postalo Vleeptron / GIMPS / Discovering the largest known Prime Numbers

Clicking image strongly urged.

First Day Issue
Postalo Vleeptron
"Discovering the largest known Prime Numbers"

What has this worldwide network of fast and powerful
(and not-so-fast, not-so-powerful) digital computers discovered?

Well ... they have discovered, after years of unimaginable computational efforts, Things which always, eternally existed.

They have discovered Things previously discovered perhaps millions of years ago, by other Sentients and their Great Machines elsewhere in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Vleeptron's bumper sticker promises Really Big Integers.

And Vleeptron delivers.

M45 and M46 -- the 45th and 46th, in increasing size, Mersenne Prime Numbers -- have just been discovered and verified, and are a bit on the Unique side.

A few years ago, the Electronic Frontier Foundation offered a prize of U$ 100,000 for the discovery of the first Prime Number which, in its full expansion, has more than 10,000,000 decimal digits.

10,000,000 is a completely arbitrary target. $100,000 is a completely arbitrary prize. Mathematically, a Prime with 10,000,000 decimal digits has nothing special which a Prime with 27,931,422 decimal digits, or one with 3882 digits, doesn't have.

But we Humans of Earth not only usually have ten fingers, but we are a Simple & Childlike Race, and this Prize Contest reflects the philosophy of KISS:


Everybody easily recognizes and grasps lots of Zeroes. Everybody easily grasps Money, and an amount of it with lots of Zeroes.

So the achievement which won the $100,000 check wasn't truly Special or Amazing.

But you can buy a Lexus or a Jaguar with the check anyway.

GIMPS, the brainchild of Mr. George Woltman (one of my heroes), is the world's first network of ordinary PCs, connected via the Internet, to connect enough unused or underused computing power to solve such computationally massive problems -- in this case, discovering and verifying the Largest Prime Number known on Earth.

I love to run GIMPS on my PC. After downloading the software, you never have to think about it again. Leave your PC powered up While-U-Sleep, and you can completely forget it, while it secretly and silently crunches big numbers, automatically Web-zapping intermediate results to Mother. Then Mother zaps another problem to my PC, while she does the same thing to hundreds of thousands of other ordinary PCs and mainframes all over the Planet.

Back at Mother Central, she stitches together all the Small Answers into the Final Big Answer. And year after year, GIMPS discovers the world's biggest known Prime Number. And moves on to find bigger ones.

There is a rich Human and Historical Romance to this Quest. Since the Ancient Greeks, since the Pythagorean Mystery Cult, the greatest mathematicians of every generation have been mesmerized by and seduced into learning the Secrets of the Primes, and squeezing the next record-breaking Prime from these secrets.

This is the Realm not just of Pythagoras, Plato, Eratosthenes and Euclid, but the Realm of Gauss, of Fermat, of Reimann, of Euler.

This is Number Theory. This is Die Mengenlehre.

And because there is an Infinity of Prime Numbers -- Euclid proved that around 300 BCE -- the Quest will never stop. Humans will never get a grip, humans will never grow so Wise or so Sensible that they can control themselves and stop looking for the next World's Biggest Prime.

And now I will shut up and share The Wonderful News, straight from GIMPS:


Titanic Primes Raced
to Win $100,000
Research Award

San Diego CA and Orlando FL, September 15, 2008 -– Researchers have discovered the two largest known prime numbers, a whopping 12,978,189 and 11,185,272 digits long, as part of a 12-year-old, world-wide volunteer computing project, the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search ("GIMPS").

The primes can be written shorthand as

(2^43,112,609) - 1


(2^37,156,667) - 1

The larger number qualifies for a U$100,000 research award, most of which GIMPS will donate to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and to charity.

In recognition of every GIMPS participant's contribution, credit for the qualifying prime goes to "Edson Smith, George Woltman, Scott Kurowski, et al", and the other to “Hans-Michael Elvenich, George Woltman, Scott Kurowski, et al".

A nearly decade-long competition for a $100,000 award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation ended closely when the larger prime surfaced on a UCLA computer managed by Edson Smith, just two weeks before the second prime was found by Hans-Michael Elvenich’s computer, in Langenfeld near Cologne, Germany.

Both are among the 100,000 computers in GIMPS PrimeNet, a "grass-roots supercomputer" as Science magazine describes it, which has been running continuously since 1996 and performs 29,000,000,000,000 calculations per second. Had Elvenich’s prime been discovered first, it would have qualified, instead.

“We're proud to be participants in GIMPS and grateful to the UCLA Mathematics Department for providing computational resources to the project,” said Edson Smith, Computing Manager. Hans-Michael Elvenich, a German electrical engineer and prime number enthusiast, adds, “After four years of searching for a prime on GIMPS, finally a great success!”

"These exciting discoveries are literally at the Internet’s ‘electronic frontier’," says PrimeNet inventor, Scott Kurowski, a software technologist in San Diego, California. “Developing technologies and methods to apply the incredibly vast power of cooperative research computing is why the Electronic Frontier Foundation set up their grand challenge awards. It’s serious research, but fun and educational, too.”

GIMPS founder George Woltman in Orlando, Florida said, "In addition to congratulating and gratefully acknowledging the vast contributions of our hundreds of thousands of participants over the years, we're committed to giving $25,000 to charity, $50,000 to UCLA for its part in the discovery, and most of what's left to other GIMPS prime discoverers." He adds, "Our research project will soon offer the chance to achieve the next challenge, the $150,000 award for an immensely more difficult 100-million-digit prime. All you need to participate is our free software download, and a lot of patience!”

- 30 -

25 September 2008

George Soros on the US bailout plan

from the Thursday 25 September edition of The Financial Times:

Paulson Cannot be Allowed to Have a Blank Check

By George Soros

Hank Paulson's $700bn [$700,000,000,000] rescue package has run into difficulty on Capitol Hill. Rightly so: it was ill-conceived. Congress would be abdicating its responsibility if it gave the Treasury secretary a blank cheque. The bill submitted to Congress even had language in it that would exempt the secretary's decisions from review by any court or administrative agency - the ultimate fulfillment of the Bush administration's dream of a unitary executive.

Mr Paulson's record does not inspire the confidence necessary to give him discretion over $700bn. His actions last week brought on the crisis that makes rescue necessary. On Monday he allowed Lehman Brothers to fail and refused to make government funds available to save AIG. By Tuesday he had to reverse himself and provide an $85bn loan to AIG on punitive terms.

The demise of Lehman disrupted the commercial paper market. A large money market fund "broke the buck" and investment banks that relied on the commercial paper market had difficulty financing their operations. By Thursday a run on money market funds was in full swing and we came as close to a meltdown as at any time since the 1930s. Mr Paulson reversed again and proposed a systemic rescue.

Mr Paulson had got a blank cheque from Congress once before. That was to deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. His solution landed the housing market in the worst of all worlds: their managements knew that if the blank cheques were filled out they would lose their jobs, so they retrenched and made mortgages more expensive and less available. Within a few weeks the market forced Mr Paulson's hand and he had to take them over.

Mr Paulson's proposal to purchase distressed mortgage-related securities poses a classic problem of asymmetric information. The securities are hard to value but the sellers know more about them than the buyer: in any auction process the Treasury would end up with the dregs. The proposal is also rife with latent conflict of interest issues. Unless the Treasury overpays for the securities, the scheme would not bring relief. But if the scheme is used to bail out insolvent banks, what will the taxpayers get in return?

Barack Obama has outlined four conditions that ought to be imposed: an upside for the taxpayers as well as a downside; a bipartisan board to oversee the process; help for the homeowners as well as the holders of the mortgages; and some limits on the compensation of those who benefit from taxpayers' money. These are the right principles. They could be applied more effectively by capitalising the institutions that are burdened by distressed securities directly rather than by relieving them of the distressed securities.

The injection of government funds would be much less problematic if it were applied to the equity rather than the balance sheet. $700bn in preferred stock with warrants may be sufficient to make up the hole created by the bursting of the housing bubble. By contrast, the addition of $700bn on the demand side of an $11,000 market may not be sufficient to arrest the decline of housing prices.

Something also needs to be done on the supply side. To prevent housing prices from overshooting on the downside, the number of foreclosures has to be kept to a minimum. The terms of mortgages need to be adjusted to the homeowners' ability to pay.

The rescue package leaves this task undone. Making the necessary modifications is a delicate task rendered more difficult by the fact that many mortgages have been sliced up and repackaged in the form of collateralised debt obligations. The holders of the various slices have conflicting interests. It would take too long to work out the conflicts to include a mortgage modification scheme in the rescue package. The package can, however, prepare the ground by modifying bankruptcy law as it relates to principal residences.

Now that the crisis has been unleashed a large-scale rescue package is probably indispensable to bring it under control. Rebuilding the depleted balance sheets of the banking system is the right way to go. Not every bank deserves to be saved, but the experts at the Federal Reserve, with proper supervision, can be counted on to make the right judgments. Managements that are reluctant to accept the consequences of past mistakes could be penalised by depriving them of the Fed's credit facilities. Making government funds available should also encourage the private sector to participate in recapitalising the banking sector and bringing the financial crisis to a close.
The writer is chairman of Soros Fund Management

24 September 2008

i'm excited! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

e-mail received today:


Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gramm, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

PizzaQ: What's this Stuff? What's cool about this Stuff?

Certainly consider clicking.

The upper right image is a painting, oil on canvas. I'll credit the artist when the Pizza is Won.

Everything else is photographs of some Stuff.

5 Slices, shallots, endives, shitake mushrooms:

What is the name of this Stuff?

What's famous/notorious about some of this Stuff?

20 September 2008


sure click



Just watched the news

According to local media the LHC in Geneva was turned off due to maintenance . all operations are suspended for at least 2 months. It had already been turned off on thursday due to power issues and was turned on again on Friday , but the problems remain

You heard it from me first, no need to wait till the news agencies bother to translate and release the news bulletin via ap or whoever ...


19 September 2008

aaaargh mateys! avast ye landlubbers! Today is INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!

Flag of the Dwingeloo Pirates,
Dread & Scourge of Space

around planets Vleeptron, Yobbo,
Hoon & Mollyringwald

Mesdames & Sirs


Friday 19 September 2008



aaaargh matey
shiver me timbers
yo ho ho
walk the plank

drink rum!

if you don't drink, uhhh ... well, do whatever non-drinking Pirates do or ingest.

but do all the other Pirate stuff:

* dress like a pirate
* talk like a pirate
* wear an eyepatch
* put a parrot on your shoulder
* put 1 gold ring thru 1 earlobe

* terrorize a coastal community
* or a ship of innocent travellers at sea

Ladies & Gentlemen
(and boys & girls)
can ALL be Pirates

& Pirate Captains

it's just one day a year

17 September 2008

the excellent game without any rules

certainly click

Camden Yards baseball stadium,
Baltimore, Maryland USA

professional baseball players stay in hotels while they are on the road, and the hotel lobbies are packed with baseball fans who just want to be near the players as the players come in and out of the lobby

as near as they can get. sometimes the fan gets very lucky and a couple of baseball players invite him or her to sit in on a game of tegwar, which everyone knows is the favorite card game of baseball players.

tegwar is an acronym for The Excellent Game Without Any Rules. the thrilled and honored fan sits down with the baseball players, and quickly tries to comprehend the new game, which is played for money, to make it more exciting.

"No, when we just played a hand without any jacks, then a six and a four beat four aces," explains an experienced tegwar player, and hoses in the pot with the fan's money. However many hands are played, and however well and quickly the fan learns the rules that have arisen so far, the flow of money always seems to be entirely from fan to baseball players.

the card game tegwar is described in a baseball novel, "Bang the Drum Slowly," by Mark Harris, who died last year. It was made into a very fine and funny movie with Michael Moriarty and Robert De Niro, very much worth seeing. i don't think you have to know much or anything about baseball to enjoy the film. i don't know much or anything about baseball, except how far it is from the pitcher's mound to first base, because my brother asked me.

Another very interesting novel -- I don't think anyone ever tried to make a movie of it -- is
"The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop." by Robert Coover. Guy rolls dice to play season after season of an imaginary baseball league with dozens of teams and hundreds of players in his head.

Everything Robert Coover writes is interesting. Coover is a professor at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island USA, and is still vertical, moving forward, and, I imagine, writing.

Oh, here is something else I know about baseball. You can take a train to Baltimore and see a game at Camden Yards, and have more fucking fun than you ever imagined it was possible to have at a baseball game. Camden Yards is an outdoor stadium made of red brick, a relatively new stadium designed in the style of the first baseball stadiums circa 1900. The Baltimore Orioles play at Camden Yards, and they play a very fine quality of baseball as far as I can tell. But mainly the entire experience is just totally pleasant and totally entertaining and fun.

After the game you can go to Inner Harbor and eat the world's finest seafood, crabs, oysters, clams, shrimp, prepared Chesapeake Bay style. And then you take a train home.

Camden Yards was designed by the HOK sports architecture firm.

14 September 2008

it's real

I think Deltona is in Florida, but maybe not. I will ask someone at Agence-Vleeptron Presse to check on it.

S.W.M.B.O. sent this to me, we both agree there's something wonderfully Elemental about it. It reminds me of a Punch and Judy Show, Commedia del Arte kinda primitive extended-family puppet violence. The Dad should plead not guilty and demand a jury trial of a juror of his peers, they never seat anybody younger than 55 on a criminal jury. After he's acquitted, the Dad and the jury will do a Group Hug Photo Op thing at Olive Garden. The jury's picking up the tab.

The Associated Press (US newsire)
Wednesday 12 September 2008 4:36 PM EDT

Dad chases nude boy from daughter's room with pipe

DELTONA, Fla. -- An angry Deltona father whacked his teenage daughter's boyfriend with a metal pipe after finding the boy naked in his daughter's room. Authorities say the father, 45, didn't even know his daughter had a boyfriend or that the youngster had been sneaking into the home for more than a year.

When he heard noises coming from his daughter's bedroom Thursday morning and saw a stranger standing naked on the girl's bed, he swung a metal pipe. He then chased the teen out the front door and called police.

The boy was taken to the hospital where doctors closed a head wound with staples.

The father was charged with aggravated battery on a child and bonded out on $10,000.

- 30 -

Non-Sustainable Conventional Battery Technology extincted abruptly, replaced by far superior kind of "forever" battery

e-mail received from my List of garage and basement enthusiasts of ionizing radiation and all the gizmos that detect it:

----- Original Message -----
From: C*** C********
Sent: 9/14/2008 1:04:40 PM
Subject: Depleted Uranium Powered Items

This link may have been posted before, if it has I apologize, but I found this very interesting:


Dr. Drizzlenick and Director General Tolstonogov have developed alternate versions of all of the items you see on this web page, which run on common depleted uranium.

Because Director General Tolstonogov has an abundance of depeleted uranium, and because there are parts of the world where telephone lines are scarce, he and Dr. Drizzlenick have found a way to power the common everyday items you see here like razors, flashlights, vacuum cleaners, and even vibrators, from depleted uranium. Major toy manufacturers in China have agreed to install these Depleted Uranium Power Cells in toys for the next Christmas season, so parents will never again have to worry about buying batteries for their children's Christmas toys.

Dr. Drizzlenick says "The half-life of Uranium 238, a component of the Depleted Uranium Power Cell, is 4.5 billion

[ 4,500,000,000 ]

years. Certainly longer than any current battery technology. It's unlikely that Chinese toys will last that long."

Director General Tolstonogov says "These items are engineered to be perfectly safe by Dr. Drizzlenick, and several other scientists with years of experience working at Chernobyl. Nobody else in the world has the Nuclear safety expertise that Dr. Drizzlenick and the other Chernobyl scientists have."

The technology behind Telco Powered Products™ is covered under US Patent No. 4773863, and other worldwide patents. Telco Powered Products™ are not FCC registered. Items may not be exactly as pictured. Prices subject to change without notice. There is no warranty expressed or implied on any of the Telco Powered Products™.These terms apply only to Telco Powered Products™, not to other telecommunications items sold by Mike Sandman Enterprises, Inc.

Please Note: Due to the volume of requests for information on these products, and the difficulty in sorting out these legitimate email requests from spam like penis enlargement ads, bulk email ads, toner cartridge ads, work at home ads, Viagra for women ads, anti-aging ads and weight loss ads, email response may be delayed for some time.

I am not so sure if I where a parent I would be happy if my child's radio controlled car suffered a meltdown!

C*** C********
Yukon, OK

13 September 2008

Preface and beginning of Chapter 1, "Charlotte Temple" (1791) by Mrs. Rowson -- the first English novel set in America

Watercolor miniature portrait
of Susanna Rowson (1762-1824)


[a novel by]



A Boarding School.

Domestic Concerns.

Unexpected Misfortunes.

Change of Fortune.

Such Things Are.

An Intriguing Teacher.

Natural Sense of Propriety Inherent in the
Female Bosom.

Domestic Pleasures Planned.

We Know Not What a Day May Bring Forth.

When We Have Excited Curiosity, It Is But an Act
of Good Nature to Gratify it.

Conflict of Love and Duty.

Nature's last, best gift:
Creature in whom excell'd, whatever could
To sight or thought be nam'd!
Holy, divine! good, amiable, and sweet!
How thou art falln'!--

Cruel Disappointment.

Maternal Sorrow.


Necessary Digression.

A Wedding.



A Mistake Discovered.

Virtue never appears so amiable as when reaching
forth her hand to raise a fallen sister.
Chapter of Accidents.

Teach me to feel another's woe,
To hide the fault I see,
That mercy I to others show
That mercy show to me. POPE.

Sorrows of the Heart.

A Man May Smile, and Smile, and Be a Villain.

Mystery Developed.

Reception of a Letter.

What Might Be Expected.

Pensive she mourn'd, and hung her languid head,
Like a fair lily overcharg'd with dew.

A Trifling Retrospect.

We Go Forward Again.

And what is friendship but a name,
A charm that lulls to sleep,
A shade that follows wealth and fame,
But leaves the wretch to weep.

Subject Continued.

Reasons Why and Wherefore.

Which People Void of Feeling Need Not Read.




FOR the perusal of the young and thoughtless of the fair sex, this Tale of Truth is designed; and I could wish my fair readers to consider it as not merely the effusion of Fancy, but as a reality. The circumstances on which I have founded this novel were related to me some little time since by an old lady who had personally known Charlotte, though she concealed the real names of the characters, and likewise the place where the unfortunate scenes were acted: yet as it was impossible to offer a relation to the public in such an imperfect state, I have thrown over the whole a slight veil of fiction, and substituted names and places according to my own fancy.

The principal characters in this little tale are now consigned to the silent tomb: it can therefore hurt the feelings of no one; and may, I flatter myself, be of service to some who are so unfortunate as to have neither friends to advise, or understanding to direct them, through the various and unexpected evils that attend a young and unprotected woman in her first entrance into life.

While the tear of compassion still trembled in my eye for the fate of the unhappy Charlotte, I may have children of my own, said I, to whom this recital may be of use, and if to your own children, said Benevolence, why not to the many daughters of Misfortune who, deprived of natural friends, or spoilt by a mistaken education, are thrown on an unfeeling world without the least power to defend themselves from the snares not only of the other sex, but from the more dangerous arts of the profligate of their own.

Sensible as I am that a novel writer, at a time when such a variety of works are ushered into the world under that name, stands but a poor chance for fame in the annals of literature, but conscious that I wrote with a mind anxious for the happiness of that sex whose morals and conduct have so powerful an influence on mankind in general; and convinced that I have not wrote a line that conveys a wrong idea to the head or a corrupt wish to the heart, I shall rest satisfied in the purity of my own intentions, and if I merit not applause, I feel that I dread not censure.

If the following tale should save one hapless fair one from the errors which ruined poor Charlotte, or rescue from impending misery the heart of one anxious parent, I shall feel a much higher gratification in reflecting on this trifling performance, than could possibly result from the applause which might attend the most elegant finished piece of literature whose tendency might deprave the heart or mislead the understanding.





"ARE you for a walk," said Montraville to his companion, as they arose from table; "are you for a walk? or shall we order the chaise and proceed to Portsmouth?" Belcour preferred the former; and they sauntered out to view the town, and to make remarks on the inhabitants, as they returned from church.

Montraville was a Lieutenant in the army: Belcour was his brother officer: they had been to take leave of their friends previous to their departure for America, and were now returning to Portsmouth, where the troops waited orders for embarkation. They had stopped at Chichester to dine; and knowing they had sufficient time to reach the place of destination before dark, and yet allow them a walk, had resolved, it being Sunday afternoon, to take a survey of the Chichester ladies as they returned from their devotions.

They had gratified their curiosity, and were preparing to return to the inn without honouring any of the belles with particular notice, when Madame Du Pont, at the head of her school, descended from the church. Such an assemblage of youth and innocence naturally attracted the young soldiers: they stopped; and, as the little cavalcade passed, almost involuntarily pulled off their hats.

A tall, elegant girl looked at Montraville and blushed: he instantly recollected the features of Charlotte Temple, whom he had once seen and danced with at a ball at Portsmouth. At that time he thought on her only as a very lovely child, she being then only thirteen; but the improvement two years had made in her person, and the blush of recollection which suffused her cheeks as she passed, awakened in his bosom new and pleasing ideas.

Vanity led him to think that pleasure at again beholding him might have occasioned the emotion he had witnessed, and the same vanity led him to wish to see her again.


again by request: Elmer Elevator the Monster Maine Coon, with a scale object / Benedict Spinoza Tabby Cat, the world-famous Cat Of The Day

Clickety click.

Okay, again by request, Elmer Elevator the Maine Coon Cat's linear dimensions and mass. (I picked him up and stood on the bathroom scale, then weighed myself, then subtracted.) He's a bit on the light side, but will probably put on extra fat during the winter; Elmer's typical weight has been 14 pounds / 6.35 kilograms.

When Heathkit/Heathbar asked for a scale object to show Elmer's monster size, S.W.M.B.O. pointed out that Elmer was posing on nice orderly linoleum rectangles. Heathkit/Heathbar spent a few evenings here and was impressed with Elmer's size and very sweet and gentle savageness. Elmer hunts full-grown rabbits (successfully, and always brings us the meatier, tastier rear half).

Also Benedict Spinoza the Tabby Cat, Elmer's Bestest Friend Forever (like Spongebob and Patrick the Starfish with 1 neuron). Benny was celebrated around Cyberspace last year as Cat Of The Day. S.W.M.B.O. wrote the text.

Our other cats are Priscilla, a very attractive little grey and white cat (originally named Mittens for her 4 white paws), who gets a bit paranoid and violent when anything pisses her off; and Scarlett-Charlotte the incessantly shrieking screaming howling Siamese. Scarlett is named for Scarlett O'Hara of "Gone with the Wind," and then I concatinated Charlotte, for "Charlotte Temple," a 1791 novel by Mrs. Rowson that some regard as the first American novel. Charlotte Temple was an innocent young English girl who was seduced and abandoned by a British army officer (they're all scoundrels and cads) who brought Charlotte to America as his mistress while he fought the Rebels during the Revolution.


May 11, 2007
Benny, the Cat of the Day
Three years old
Male Tabby
Florence, Massachusetts, USA

Benny lives with his best friend Elmer the Maine Coon, in Florence Massachusetts. We got Benny because Elmer was lonely after Wanda the cat died at 19. Benny, as you can see from the picture, is the most laid back cat we have ever had. He loves to roll on his back on the gravel in our driveway while I vigorously scratch his tummy!

Benny will also fetch his favorite toy, Mr. Mousie, when my husband throws it down our long narrow hall. I have had to replace Mr. Mousie's tail three times as Benny likes to carry him dangling by his tail in his mouth.

Benny and Elmer hunt together. This time of year I am kept busy watching what they bring in through the cat door.

Benny's full name is Benedict, which means blessing, and a cat never had a more apt name. He is the joy not only of our lives, but of Elmer's as well!

11 September 2008

by request: recent photograph of Elmer Elevator the Maine Coon Cat

Click on the Cat.

Steve Heathkit HeathBar
has requested a recent photo of Elmer Elevator the Maine Coon Cat. Elmer was S.W.M.B.O.'s and my wedding gift to one another, which makes Elmer nearly 9 years old. Steve has visited and made Elmer's acquaintance, and apparently found EE memorable.

He is pretty memorable. First of all, he's huge -- the Maine Coon wins or ties as the largest domestic cat breed, and it's pretty obvious he has much more bobcat in his genetic material than any other kind of domestic cat. He has on several occasions been mistaken for a bobcat by passersby. He attacks full-grown large male dogs passing by, and hunts full-grown rabbits (successfully). He used to lie in wait for the mailman, and rush out and attack the fellow's legs and feet, but clearly just as a daily sporting game.

Elmer is getting on in years and has pretty crappy health, so this is not Elmer at his visual spiffiest.

But we've got him all cranked up on all kinds of pillz, and he's got a pretty fine quality of life, especially with his Bestest Pal & Hunting Companion, Benedict Spinoza Cat.

If Elmer is looking particularly bedraggled here, it's his coat -- gorgeous for 5 minutes after a thorough grooming, but after that, it's the Coat From Filth Hell, it quickly takes on all the qualities of the inside of a vacuum cleaner bag. He prowls around and wallows in Filth, and quickly becomes Filth. And stays Filth until we get him some Professional Help, which sometimes makes him look like a silver poodle after the clippings.

He likes me to put him in my office swivel chair and spin him around as fast as I can. He's never jumped off because he doesn't want to spin anymore. My swivel chair is Elmer's idea of the Superman Roller Coaster at Six Flags Over New England. (The other 3 cats have utterly no interest in spinning in the swivel chair.)

He doesn't "meow," he makes trilling noises: bbbbbbRRRRIP!

His paws are the size of baseball catchers' mitts. Once he checked himself out of a long stay at the veterinarian, in the examining room he made it clear to the staff that he would murder the next person who poked or probed or prodded him, and the vet decided that was nature's way of saying he should go home.

an inexcusably tardy but nonetheless fervent Ramadan Kareem

Vleeptron has truly fallen asleep at the wheel this year. This is the latest we have ever wished Planet Earth

Ramadan Kareem

Okay, well, we've been on a long, complicated, exhausting trip. Through Islam-Lite regions. Not a lot of warnings that Ramadan was nearly upon us in Nova Scotia. Maybe if I'd paid closer attention in Montreal or Halifax, I might have gotten a clue. But I would have had to look pretty closely. Mostly I was looking at timetables and itineraries.

Anyway, tardy as we embarrassingly are, Ramadan Kareem to all. The wish is in no way less.

Here's an English-language site, posts from people all over the world about their local Ramadan observances, exchanging wishes, telling little stories.

This year, because Ramadan is triggered by the Moon, and where it can be seen, Ramadan seems to have begun in India. Wikipedia confidently says Ramadan 2008 / 1429 begins 2 September and ends 1 October. appears to delve more deeply into the complicated and multiple answer to the simple question.


Islamic Calendar 2008 - 2015

(We have made every effort to assure that the dates below are correct)

According to the Islamic Society of North America the first day of fasting for Ramadan 2008 is expected to be September 01st. (depending on where you live)


CURRENT MOON waxing gibbous
moon phases 83% of full
thu 11 sep 2008

Islamic Events 2008*

* Eid-al-Adha (10th Zul-Hijjah) December 20, 2007
* Israa'/Me'raj (Night Journey to Heavens) July 29, 2008
* Lailatul-Bara'at (Night of Salvation) August 15, 2008

* 1st Ramadan (Fasting Begins) September 01, 2008 *
* Lailatul-Qadr (Night of Power) September 26, 2008
* Eid-al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) October 01, 2008

* Yaum-al-Arafah (Day of Arafaat (Hajj)) December 07, 2008
* Eid-al-Adha (10th Zul-Hijjah) December 08, 2008

*Ramadan 2008: The first day of Ramadan (fasting) in North America according to sighting, is expected to be September 02. However, according to Saudi Ummul-Qura calendar, Fiqh Council of North America, and European Council for Fatwa and Research, the first day of Ramadan is on Monday, September 01, 2008.

According to a new Fatawa from Deoband, India, the first day of Ramadan in UK will be September 02, because the moon should be easily seen by naked eye from Australia to Morocco. In Pakistan also, sighting will be easy on September 01, and first day of Ramadan will also be September 02.

(source: [updated 08/25/2008]

Islamic Events 2009*

* Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year) December 29, 2008
* Israa'/Me'raj (Night Journey to Heavens) July 19, 2009
* Lailatul-Bara'at (Night of Salvation) August 05, 2009

* 1st Ramadan (Fasting Begins) August 22, 2009
* Lailatul-Qadr (Night of Power) September 16, 2009
* Eid-al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) September 20, 2009

* Eid-Al-Adha: November 27, 2009

10 September 2008

sunset on the Bay of Fundy / the itty-bitty digi-camera i have grudgingly agreed to strap to myself / Brantford, Ontario by night / CAT ferry

Oh PLEASE click!
See it in all its glory!

For a long time I wouldn't bring a camera with me when I travelled, even if I was going to the Pyramids or the Petronas Towers or Antarctica. Just as I was about to take the train from Toronto to Winnipeg to Hudson Bay (in polar bear season), a woman realized I had no camera, and went totally ballistic, and forced her camera on me. And that was cool, I got some snaps that were pretty damn spiffy.

But the deal is, I think almost all the time a camera is just a big clumsy complicated machine that weighs a lot and is awkward and cumbersome and gets in the way of what I'm trying to grok with just my eyeballs and my brain, so that I can hose in not so much The Thing Itself, but what The Thing Itself looked like and meant to me when I saw it. And the way I subsequently remember it.

Local postcards,
on the other hand -- now here's a guy or a woman who set up in front of the Cathedral for three days with a very expensive big camera and tripod and light meter and lenses and color filters.

This photographer captures the local soul, essence and meaning of The Taj Mahal or Angkor Wat, and the final tourist postcard emphasizes what the local folks want to ballyhoo to the world about the Scenic Wonder.

A local postcard is a Lure, a Seduction, to wind up in a mailbox in Topeka, Kansas USA, and suddenly smash the recipient in the brain with an Obsession to travel two-thirds of the way around the planet (he isn't a very experienced traveller) because now he must see the Thing ballyhooed on the haunting, evocative Postcard from Far Away.

I buy all the prettiest local tourist postcards. My favorite is the above postcard from a town in Ontario. You can put jokes in a postcard. I can't put many jokes in my travel photographs. In Stockholm I bought a 50-cent postcard of Kroninprinsess Viktoria and have been profoundly smitten by Her Royal Highness ever since. I told this to a Swedish guy, and he said, "Take a number."

(In most monarchies, getting lucky with so august a royal personage is considered High Treason, in England it used to get you drawn and quartered. Be careful whom you date.)

Well, anyway, I finally got Rational and agreed to wander through this world with a little digital camera strapped to my belt. At an electronics store in Willemstad, Curacau, a salesman superhighpressured me into buying the itty-bitty Konika PhD (Push Here, Dummy). It has everything. It does everything. Back home, the photos always turn out amazingly pretty and high-class. And it's about the size of a belt pager. It's got a quite powerful telescopic zoom.

Stores a gazillion photos (or takes a short movie). Communicates fairly easily and straightforwardly to the desktop computer through a cable.

When the Sunset over the Bay of Fundy began, a murmur ran through the CAT jet ferry passengers, and a little crowd formed at the starboard bow. Cameras began clicking. My efforts were immediately noticed because my flash kept flashing; another passenger politely approached and helped me turn off the Auto-Flash, because the flash would get me all-red snapshots of my flash reflecting off the glass window. There's a shitload of sophisticated features in the dingus' software, most of which I am wholly ignorant about.

On this crossing I've seen spouting whales, probably humpbacks. (cf. earlier post about Annapolis Royal Tidal Generating Plant's trapped whale Sluice.) The high-speed jet engine CAT ferry (built in Australia, I think) has a casino of about 50 slot machines. (The old big slow Yarmouth-Portland ferry had blackjack and roulette with a human dealer and croupiere; this casino is entirely self-serve, but an attendant wanders around to keep players happy.)

There are several kinds of seating -- comfy plush airline-style reclining seats, and cafeteria-style tables and chairs, with about 3 snack bars. Several television screens, three movie areas, one especially for children.

You can step outside at the stern -- great view of the long, white ship's wake -- but you can't access the outdoors at the bow. I carried Gravol with me, but didn't need it; a very smooth crossing.

I asked, but the CAT ferry offers no bridge tour. One fellow who'd seen the bridge says it's a bit spooky, the ship is steered by a joystick and the instrumentation resembles a high-tek video game. A few accidents a few years ago led to an agreement between the ferry operator and the US and Canadian coast guards calling for an extra bridge officer on duty for each sailing.


Builder: Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd.
Class Society: Det Norske Veritas
Clarification: DNV +1A1 HSLC R1 Car Ferry "B" EO

[I think they mean "Classification.]

Length Overall: 97.22m
Length Waterline: 92.00m
Beam overall: 26.60m
Beam of Hulls: 4.50m
Draft: 3.42m maximum
Speed: 36 knots @ 750 tonnes deadweight
... & 40 knots @ 375 tonnes deadweight

* Note – All speeds quoted at 100% MCR (4 x 7080kw @ 1030 rpm) and excluding T-foil.

Maximum Deadweight: 750 tonnes
Passenger Capacity: 900
Vehicle Capacity: 240
Construction: 4/2002

Design: Two slender, aluminum hulls connected by a bridging section with center bow structure at fwd end. Each hull is divided into nine vented, watertight compartments divided by transverse bulkheads. Two compartments in each hull prepared as short-range fuel tanks and one as a long-range fuel tank. Welded and glued aluminum construction using longitudinal stiffeners supported by transverse web frames and bulkheads.

Air Conditioning: Yes

Evacuation: Escape is via Four Marine Evacuation Stations, two port and two starboard, and two external stairs aft. The two forward MES serve a total of 200 persons each, the two mid MES serve a total of 200 persons each and one aft stair serving 100persons. A total of ten 100 persons rafts are fitted. 2 x SOLAS inflatable dinghy with 30 hp motor and approved launch/recovery method.

Main Engines: 4 x resiliently mounted Ruston 20RK270 or Cataerpillar 3618 marine diesel engines, each rates at 7080kw.

Water Jets: 4 x Lips 120E waterjets configured for steering and reverse.

Transmission: 4 x Reintjes gearboxes, approved by the engine manufacturer, with reduction ration suited for optimum jet shaft speed.

Hydraulics: Three hydraulic power packs, one forward and two aft, all alarmed for low level, high temperature and filter clog and low pressure. One pressure line filter an two return line filters fitted. An off-line filter/pump provided.
Ride Control: A "Maritime Dynamics" active ride control system is fitted to maximize passenger comfort. This system combines active trim tabs aft and optional fold-down T-foil located at aft end of center bow fitted with active fins. The structural abutment, electrical and hydraulic services to receive the forward T-foil will be fitted as standard to the vessel.

free Tom Tom Club concert in Norwalk CT USA 20 September 6 pm

Click, why not?

Greetings Friends,

The Norwalk [Connecticut USA] Redevelopment Agency is delighted to host a


on Saturday September 20th with the

Tom Tom Club
(starring Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth
- former members of the Talking Heads).

Washington Street in SoNo will be closed to traffic for the
afternoon/evening, so it should be a great time for shopping and outdoor dining.

Orleans native and very talented Renard Boissiere opens the show at 6pm with Tom Tom Club hitting the stage at about 8. Spread the word to your friends and families!

If you like to
travel by train, take the Metro North New Haven Line from Grand Central Station [NYC] to South Norwalk Station. If you're traveling by car there is $1.00 parking at the Maritime Center Parking Lot right around the corner from Washington Street. Come to the show and tell your friends!

09 September 2008

world's gonna end / or maybe it's not / Alpine Kat will tell ya why / her rap video's hot / tomorrow's the day they turn this sucker on

image filched from Sabine Hossenfelder and Stefan Scherer. Modified by the Vleeptron Ministry of Bright Shiny Colorful Objects (VMBSCO).

Sabine Hossenfelder is a theoretical physicist in Ontario studying physics beyond the Standard Model. People keep leaving comments on her blog about the Black Hole which the Large Hadron Collider will create. This is pissing her off a lot. She vents:


I've all said it repeatedly, but here is a summary for those of you with the really short attention span:

1. The LHC will not recreate the Big Bang. I repeat, the LHC will not recreate the Big Bang. No matter what you have read elsewhere. This statement is not only slightly inaccurate, it is simply plainly wrong by at least 19 orders of magnitude. For more details, please read Recreating the Big Bang?

2. The world will not end tomorrow. To produce a black hole at the LHC the world would need to have additional compactified dimensions, a so far completely unconfirmed speculation. Even in the unlikely event this would be the case, these black holes would decay almost immediately, long before they even reached the detector. There is no controversy about this in the community, no matter what you have read elsewhere. We do not know of any consistent theory according to which these black holes, once produced, would pose a risk. For more information, please read our posts The CERN Safety report, Black Holes at the LHC - again, Black Holes at the LHC - what can happen? and Micro Black Holes.

Please do me the favour and do not ask questions without having read the above mentioned posts, because I am really tired of repeating the same points over and over again. It is really not that hard to understand, just give it a try.

It is quite ironic that I spoke about these two examples in my talk yesterday to explain how difficult communication between scientists and the public can be.


Go HERE to see this charming rap video, which has apparently been viewed 3.885 x 10^209 times. But here are the lyrics. It was written, and the video produced, by CERN science writer Kate McAlpine, a.k.a. "Alpine Kat."

Large Hadron Rap

Twenty-seven kilometers of tunnel under ground
Designed with mind to send protons around
A circle that crosses through Switzerland and France

Sixty nations contribute to scientific advance

Two beams of protons swing round, through the ring they ride
‘Til in the hearts of the detectors, they’re made to collide
And all that energy packed in such a tiny bit of room
Becomes mass, particles created from the vacuum
And then…

LHCb sees where the antimatter’s gone
ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They’re looking for whatever new particles they can find.
The LHC accelerates the protons and the lead
And the things that it discovers will rock you in the head.

We see asteroids and planets, stars galore
We know a black hole resides at each galaxy’s core
But even all that matter cannot explain
What holds all these stars together – something else remains
This dark matter interacts only through gravity
And how do you catch a particle there’s no way to see
Take it back to the conservation of energy
And the particles appear, clear as can be

You see particles flying, in jets they spray
But you notice there ain’t nothin’, goin’ the other way
You say, “My law has just been violated – it don’t make sense!
There’s gotta be another particle to make this balance.”
And it might be dark matter, and for first
Time we catch a glimpse of what must fill most of the known ‘Verse.

LHCb sees where the antimatter’s gone
ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They’re looking for whatever new particles they can find.

Antimatter is sort of like matter’s evil twin
Because except for charge and handedness of spin
They’re the same for a particle and its anti-self
But you can’t store an antiparticle on any shelf
Cuz when it meets its normal twin, they both annihilate
Matter turns to energy and then it dissipates

When matter is created from energy
Which is exactly what they’ll do in the LHC
You get matter and antimatter in equal parts
And they try to take that back to when the universe starts

The Big Bang – back when the matter all exploded

But the amount of antimatter was somehow eroded
Because when we look around we see that matter abounds
But antimatter’s nowhere to be found.
That’s why…

LHCb sees where the antimatter’s gone
ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They’re looking for whatever new particles they can find.
The LHC accelerates the protons and the lead
And the things that it discovers will rock you in the head.

The Higgs Boson – that’s the one that everybody talks about.
And it’s the one sure thing that this machine will sort out
If the Higgs exists, they ought to see it right away
And if it doesn’t, then the scientists will finally say
“There is no Higgs! We need new physics to account for why
Things have mass. Something in our Standard Model went awry.”

But the Higgs – I still haven’t said just what it does
They suppose that particles have mass because
There is this Higgs field that extends through all space
And some particles slow down while other particles race
Straight through like the photon – it has no mass
But something heavy like the top quark, it’s draggin’ its ***
And the Higgs is a boson that carries a force
And makes particles take orders from the field that is its source.
They’ll detect it….

LHCb sees where the antimatter’s gone
ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They’re looking for whatever new particles they can find.

Now some of you may think that gravity is strong
Cuz when you fall off your bicycle it don’t take long
Until you hit the earth, and you say, “Dang, that hurt!”

But if you think that force is powerful, you’re wrong.
You see, gravity – it’s weaker than Weak
And the reason why is something many scientists seek

They think about dimensions – we just live in three
But maybe there are some others that are too small to see
It’s into these dimensions that gravity extends
Which makes it seem weaker, here on our end.

And these dimensions are “rolled up” – curled so tight
That they don’t affect you in your day to day life
But if you were as tiny as a graviton
You could enter these dimensions and go wandering on
And they'd find you...

When LHCb sees where the antimatter’s gone
ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They’re looking for whatever new particles they can find.
The LHC accelerates the protons and the lead
And the things that it discovers will rock you in the head.

Apostles atop Cathedral-Basilica of Mary, Queen of the World / Cathedral Marie-Reine-du-Monde / Montreal Quebec Canada

Clicking will do great things.

Oh, I forgot to say this was the view outside my window at the Hotel Queen Elizabeth / le Reine Elizabeth, which is built above the Montreal train station. They should have charged extra for the view, but I don't think they do. Great hotel, super-great train station, has very nice food court and everything a train traveller needs. And you can practice your French, which is very appreciated.

countdown to ecstacy / 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... 0 / cliquez ici to see large hadrons colliding

this just in

some physicists associated with the large hadron collider have received death threats as the Switch-On date approached, one UK physicist called the protesters "twats."

tempers are hot. assassination attempts and desperate acts are in the air. as well they should be if the End Of The World is at issue. opinions vary, but some say the LHC will create a black hole or strangelet, and maybe rupture the membrane between our universe and some totally different parallel universe, into which we would slide, or contrariwise, or both. that can't be good.

we should give serious consideration to seriously maxing out our credit cards for the next few weeks, just in case. I have always wanted to drive a lamborghini.

whoops, peter called it the LCH, it's the LHC. Don't ask me what a hadron is. another whomp-ass machine is

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC, pronounced like "rick", IPA: /ˈrɪk/) is a heavy-ion collider located at and operated by Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York.[2] By using RHIC to collide ions traveling at relativistic speeds, physicists study the primordial form of matter that existed in the universe shortly after the Big Bang,[3] and also the structure of protons.

At present, RHIC is the second most powerful heavy-ion collider in the world behind only the LHC, which is scheduled to begin experiments September 10, 2008. It is also distinctive in its capability to collide spin-polarized protons.


~ ~ ~

----- Original Message -----
Sent: 9/9/2008 2:30:08 AM
Subject: [GeigerCounterEnthusiasts] LCH to be producing collisions today 10. september 2008, Live webcast

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