Monday, June 16, 2014

To The Memory of Trim

An ode to a cat, by Matthew Flinders.
To the memory of Trim, the best and most illustrious of his Race,—the most affectionate of friends,—faithful of servants, and best of creatures.
He made the Tour of the Globe, and a voyage to Australia, which he circumnavigated; and was ever the delight and pleasure of his fellow voyagers. Returning to Europe in 1803, he was shipwrecked in the Great Equinoxial Ocean; This danger escaped, he sought refuge and assistance at the Isle of France, where he was made prisoner, contrary to the laws of Justice, of Humanity, and of French National Faith; and where, alas! he terminated his useful career by an untimely death, being devoured by the Catophagi of that island. Many a time have I beheld his little merriments with delight, and his superior intelligence with surprise: Never will his like be seen again!
Trim was born in the Southern Indian Ocean, in the year 1799, and perished as above at the Isle of France in 1804.
Peace be to his shade, and Honour to his memory.
 How lovely. RIP Trim.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Hark! There are not enough women in the sciences! Did you know? Well take it that there aren’t and that’s a problem. Listening to the usual suspects, it’s not just a problem, it’s a big problem.

I’m in science. I was in actual science more when I was in college studying electrical engineering. Now I’m just a systems administrator whose life is a storm-tossed sailboat on the large and angry Microsoft sea, but bear with me. I’m in science.

Once upon a time, your humble correspondent was good enough to be indoctrinated in the engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi (hi guys!) At the risk of boring you—and it is mighty boring; except that one time when I threatened to kill a fellow “Tau Bate”. That was exciting—let me tell you how I got conferred this high honor: I busted my ass. I became an automaton. For every hour in class (with such scintillating titles as Control Systems 1), I was in the library studying, editing, highlighting, cramming, for 3 sometimes 4 hours. Finals saw me neglecting personal hygiene entirely.

In most of my classes with an average of 25 students, about 10 per cent were female. I’ll just say it’s a sight to behold a half-woman and leave it at that. I am no psychologist, just a patient, but I’ll tell you this: there are very few women who revel in neglecting personal hygiene for hours on end. It’s damned hard work and leaves the worker fried and friendless.

So what do you do to attract the female into such an exciting field as EE?

I read an article some time back that hinted that one perhaps subconscious reason some girls don’t want to enroll in these areas of study is the dearth of … how can I say this without hurting some of my former classmates’ feelings … real men. I cast my aching mind back and look around the classroom. Most of these guys were frumpy, desiccated specimens of manhood. Emaciated and pasty (even the black guys) from staying out of direct sunlight for weeks on end. If that wasn’t enough to deter the average female, the odious lack of hygiene often did the trick. Essentially, they (not me though) were brains dragged around in weak bodies. Not much prospect for a boyfriend much less a husband in that lot. That is, if the girl would like to be defended from actual physical harm anyway.

No sir, the girls were in the Social Sciences, where the Football demigods strutted their stuff. So there you have it, a course of study that didn’t involve killing off whatever social life she deems important (she is a girl) and the prospect of meeting and interacting with hawt boiz. What woman wants a halfling Asperger candidate capable of solving advanced difference calculus when healthy young, good-looking Adonises with all the right words roam the halls of PoliSci?

Game, set and match

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Flight Tests–A Review


A review I posted to Amazon.

I knew I was about to read something most definitely not run-of-the-mill when I read the cover that showed the book was endorsed by an organization known as the Live Cowards Club. Since this is a club for which I will handily pass any and all entrance tests, it tickled the old laugh muscles.

Make no assumptions though, this is a very serious book, just written in a humorous manner: that of showing oneself capable of being a good and safe pilot to an examiner. It is mainly written from a South African point of view (so expect to stumble into words spelled weird like ‘manoeuvre’ ;) ) although the laws of physics holds no matter where you fly. As Davis says, this little book “takes you through each flying exercise and tells you what [the examiner] expects of you.”

Each part of the check ride is examined, from pre-flight inspection to steep turns, to cross-country flying. Each section is filled with tips and the strong voice of a very experienced pilot. In essence, this book will help you get mentally prepared for the test. Here's one from near the front of the book:

“Try to do everything smoothly. Imagine that you have your 90-year-old granny in the back, and its[sic] her first flight ever. Do everything smoothly, even small things like applying carb-heat, changing power settings or selecting flap. Passengers should not be able to notice changes of power and speed and attitude.”

With equal parts mindset framing, expounding on the philosophy of good airmanship and practical flying technique information, this is a book that punches above its weight class. Five highly recommended stars.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

To anyone who’s still reading this blog, bless you and a merry Christmas! I will be writing a lot more in the new year so stay tuned, will you?

To anyone who’s just passing, merry Christmas.