Friday, July 08, 2005

Overheard at SeaTac

I'm in the airport at SeaTac (is that redundant?), reading Slate when I overheard the following sentence:

Woman:"Oh look y'all. There's *another* Starbucks right over there with no line! Or at leasta shorter one!"
Other Woman :"This place is amazing!"
Mark (to self): Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

I once said of Seattle, "the bathroom in the Starbucks in Bellevue... has it's own Starbucks!"

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The World's Shortest Peronality Test

You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.
Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.
You are also great at poking holes in arguments and common beliefs.

For you, comfort and calm are very important.
You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.
You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.

A Gift for Ben Aflick

I like this.

A Vital, Vibrant Democracy

From Volokh.

Color me surprised. Not.

Mr. Bendixen's poll found that 28 percent of Hispanics support the nomination, while 11 percent opposed it and 61 percent weren't aware of the nomination or didn't have an opinion.

He said that, based on listening to some of the poll interviews, it was clear many of those who supported Mr. Estrada were also confusing him with actor Erik Estrada, who was on the 1977-1983 television police drama "CHiPS" and is now a popular Spanish-language soap-opera star.

There is an old curse or truism, "People get the kind of government they want". Our people seem to want a governement that doesn't bother them too much with what's going on and makes for good TV. Democracy in the US has another 15-20 years before it's replaced with something else. What else is a good topic for speculation. The possibilities include:

Corporate Senate (25%)
Republic (20%)
Fuedalism (5%)
Facism (20%)
Oligarchy (20%)
Anarchy (1%)
New and unknown (6%)

Maybe I should start a TradeSports bet....

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Why Kirkland might not be so bad

We are staying at Yarrow Point, on the eastern shore of Lake Washington. I was told that the fireworks are "spectacular" from the hotel, a claim I met with mild boredom. I have made my own fireworks in years past and have a pretty high level of expectation for "spectacular". [Actually, I have a high standard for "terrific". My fireworks are only "spectacular" when something has gone ... amiss... and they are detonanting all at once/I'm being yelled at by the fire marshell (name of Kurt Bauer BTW)/seen from orbit]

It gets dark here at 10 pm-ish this time of year, so around then we stand outside looking west across the lake. To the north (right) there are the hill sof Kirkland, Bothell and surrounding communities. Due west is East Seattle, Seattle and a little piece of Mercer Island. To the south, left, Yarrow Point and (I am told) Bill Gates House.

Around 10:10, there is a little noise and the hills to the north start to have a couple of fireworks displays from the nearby towns. They are 7-10 miles away but bright and colorful. Very pretty. From here they look like little, colorful motor fire. Then there are 3. Then 6. Then 10. All going at once on the north hills. It;s getting darker and it looks, for all the world, like a battle. Explosions, colors, noise, there is always something going on. They are far enough away that the sound is totally disconnected from the blossoming circles of fire and the smoke starts to accumulate and trace the complicated winds. "Very cool", I think. I've never seen this many simultaneous displays before.

Then the Seattle districts light up. West, into the orange, pink and purple setting sun, bright displays of green, gold and blue start to erupt. Resonating booms track across the water and clash with the sounds from the north. It's a war on two fronts, each of which is determined to out do the others. Then Kirkland fires it's volleys. Half a mile down the beach and 300 yards into the water, the local city fireworks start and in the cities behind us to the east. Over the hills I can see the tops of red explosions while standing in the daylight bright greens and whites of nearby Kirkland. The North and West are still fighting their battle, brought to a frenzy as each town climaxes into finale. I lose count at 26 distinct displays, my eyes not fast enough to encompass all the towns, smoke-trails, glows and explosions.

Then Gates lights his sparklers. He has his own pyrotechnic display (although I doubt he made them himself). It's near, bright colorful and LOUD. For the next 45 minutes, the entire lakeshore is consumed in noise, smoke and color. Rings, fountains, whistlers, flowers, trees, smiley faces, hearts and just plain old loud explosions overwhelm the senses.

It was, actually, spectacular.

I might just get used to this place.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Doing real Science

Astronomy, like particle physics, can sometime be about releasing lots of energy by smashing things together.

With the flyby stage of the two-part spacecraft watching from a safe distance, an 820-pound, copper-core "impactor" craft smashed into the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 at 23,000 miles per hour, sending a huge, bright spray of debris into space.
"The impact was spectacular," said Dr. Michael A'Hearn of the University of Maryland, the projects principal scientist. "It was much brighter than I expected."
Culminating a six-month journey to a point 83 million miles from Earth, the impactor guided itself to a sunlit point near the bottom of the elongated comet where they collided with a force equal to 4.5 tons of dynamite at 1:52 a.m. Eastern time.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Where to live in Seattle?

5 minutes from the nearest Starbucks, but that doesn't narrow it down much.

We've been here for a few days now looking around and, well, it' snice enough. I still can't say where I think we'll end up, but Queen Anne, parts of Capitol Hill, Kirkland and Bellevue are all still likely candidates.