Saturday, February 28, 2004

Happy Leap Year day! It's been four years since the last one (2000 had a February 29):
The leap year is a contrivance so that the calendar year (usually 365 days) doesn't get too far away from the solar (astronomical) year. You say: huh? Well, the astronomical year - the time it takes the earth to go exactly once around the sun - is not precisely 365 days. The ancients estimated it as 365* days. That wasn't bad as calculations go; it's actually 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds.
To prevent this drift between the calendar year and the astronomical (seasonal) year, we add one extra day every four years. Thus, over the four year period, we have 1461 days, not 1460, for an average of 365.25 days per year.
Does that do it? Sadly, no. There are still those extra seconds - the astronomical year is 365.2422 days. So every 400 years, we DON'T NOT add the extra day (double negative intended). So 1700, 1800, 1900 were NOT leap years, but 2000 was.
If you've followed the math, that gets us very close. Over a 400 year period the calendar will contain an average of 365.2425 days per year.
Every 4,000 years (the first will be the year 4000, then 8000, etc.) we make the century years NOT leap years again. And that gives us an average of 365.24225 days per year over a 4.000 year period. Still not exact, but the calendar year won't vary by more than a day from its current place in the seasonal (astronomical) year in two hundred centuries - close enough for practical purposes

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

17 year old learns his mom abducted him:
Authorities arrested the mother of a 17-year-old boy after her son saw his picture on a missing children's Web site and discovered that she was accused of abducting him from his father 14 years ago
(from Associated Press, via Yahoo News).

Monday, February 16, 2004

Riots in Sydney:
Rioters set fire to a train station and pelted police with gasoline bombs in an Aboriginal ghetto in Sydney on Monday during a nine-hour street battle that began after a teenager died, allegedly while being chased by officers.
The overnight rioting in the Redfern neighborhood, an Aboriginal ghetto of Australia's most populous city, left 40 officers injured and highlighted continuing tensions between authorities and the nation's original inhabitants
(from Associated Press, via Yahoo News).

Sunday, February 15, 2004

That's a big diamond:
If anyone's ever promised you the sun, the moon and the stars, tell 'em you'll settle for BPM 37093.
The heart of that burned-out star with the no-nonsense name is a sparkling diamond that weighs a staggering 10 billion trillion trillion carats. That's one followed by 34 zeros
(from The Sacramento Bee).
Kerry could be in trouble:
Alex Polier, the twenty-four year old journalist who could end Senator John Kerry's hopes of becoming the next president of the United States is alleged to have had a two-year affair with the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Last night the rumours were in danger of becoming a full-blown scandal
(from The Telegraph).

Thursday, February 12, 2004

An interesting perspective:
If the 111th FIS and Lt. Bush did not go to Vietnam, blame President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, not lowly Lt. Bush.
But isn't the concern over whether or not Bush personally recieved special treatment, not over his whole unit's duties?
If you check the 111th FIS records of 1970-72 and any other ANG squadron, you will find other pilots excused for career obligations and conflicts. The Bush excusal in 1972 was further facilitated by a change in the unit's mission, from an operational fighter squadron to a training squadron with a new airplane, the F-101, which required that more pilots be available for full-time instructor duty rather than part-time traditional reservists with outside employment
(from The Washington Times: Letters to the Editor - Editorials/OP-ED). If that's true, then Bush did not recieve any special treament and fufilled his duties.
If this is true, it reminds me of someone...: "General Wesley Clark plainly stated: 'Kerry will implode over an intern issue'", (from Drudge Report)

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 11 - Intel scientists say that they have made silicon chips that can switch light like electricity, blurring the line between computing and communications and presenting a vision of the digital future that will allow computers themselves to span cities or even the entire globe.
(from The New York Times).

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I guess they really don't want you to speed:
HELSINKI, Finland - Police gave a record $216,900 speeding ticket to a millionaire under a system in which traffic fines are linked to an offender's income
(from Associated Press, via, Yahoo News).

Friday, February 6, 2004

U.S. Shuns Calls to Boost Falling Dollar

U.S. Shuns Calls to Boost Falling Dollar:

While the greenback's drop to record lows against the euro, the common currency of 12 European countries, is causing economic heartburn among European executives faced with increased competition from now cheaper-priced American goods, it is bringing hope of an export revival to beleaguered American manufacturers

(from Associated Press, via Yahoo News).

Monday, February 2, 2004

You can post to a blog from any wap enabled device (like a cell phone). This post was made with ubique's wapblogger ("a WAP interface to popular weblog tools Blogger,

LiveJournal and any other weblog-style tool supporting the XML-RPC Blogger API").

Sunday, February 1, 2004

The sound of the wardrobe department losing their jobs:
The tearing of Janet Jackson's costume [during the Super Bowl half time show] was unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional and was inconsistent with assurances we had about the content of the performance.
MTV regrets this incident occurred and we apologize to anyone who was offended by it
(from PR Newswire, via Yahoo Finance).