Friday, December 21, 2012

A well regulated Militia, being necessary

I spent 4 years in the US Navy. The last year 'in-country' attached to Staff Weather, Naval Support Activity Da Nang Republic of Vietnam. Before leaving the US I attended something called CI3 School (Counter Insurgency School). 

CI3 school was a three week course; one week classroom, one week weapons familiarization, and one week POW training. They were so busy my group got to skip the POW training (being let loose in some mountains of southern CA and being hunted down by the instructors). We did, however, get plenty of weapons training. Because we were all sailors and the only weapons we knew about were 5"/38 cal deck guns we were introduced to every single weapon we may run into while in Vietnam. 

I learned a few of things the week I spent taking apart, putting back together again, loading, unloading and shooting all those weapons. 

The most important was that guns are for one thing and one thing only, and that is: They are for killing people. 

Another thing I learned is that they are dangerous devices just to have around, never mind how dangerous they are to actually use. 

If you do a survey of all the folks in the United States who enjoy guns I bet you will find the vast minority of them ever had any training like I underwent. When I got out of the Navy I never, ever had the desire to obtain a gun for personal use. 

These devices (non hunting guns) are only for war. 

These devices (non hunting guns) are only owned by emotionally insecure and immature people who do not understand what they are and what they are actually for. 

I do not support new gun control laws I support the total ban of guns. These things are completely and totally useless in modern civilized society.

One more important point. The second amendment of the constitution of the United States of America is all about what it takes for "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State ..." to work properly. 

What this means is that if you feel the urge to '...bear arms...' then get yourself into the Armed Forces and do not bother me with your specious arguments about personal gun ownership! 

We have a group of very well regulated militias they are called, The United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

And finally ... Do not talk to me about interpretations of the US Constitution by Supreme Court... that most august body is now and has been since the founding of the Republic a political body that finds its interpretations according to its own feelings and the feelings of the times they find themselves serving in.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Card From Seretha


Here is a card from Seretha that Gwin brought and shared with Laviece and me.

I asked for the card so I could scann it and share it with the rest of my siblings.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Bread


We decided not to carve the big pumpkin we put on the front porch for halloween.  Robert carved the small one and we also put out the ceramic pumpkin.

From Pumpkin_Bread

The pumpkins remained on the front porch until yesterday; oh well, time flys when you are having a good time.  So yesterday the small pumpkin went to the compost bin.  The ceramic pumpkin went back in the cabinet and the big one to the kitchen.

The first thing I did was to cut the stem off as close as possible to the pumpkin.  Next I cut the pumpkin in half along the equator.  Then I scooped out the seeds and strings from the inside.

Cooking a pumpkin is easy; just put some tin foil on a baking sheet and place the pumpkin cut side down on the foil and bake until a knife goes right in with out resistance.  For this big pumpkin I set the timer on an hour and a half and it was ready.

Once cooked you can peel the skin right off pumpkin halves and what you are left with looks like a couple of bunt cakes.

I put the normal mixer blade in the big Kitchen-aid mixer and started feeding in the cooked pumpkin.  It actually filled up the mixer and I had to take some out to make room for the whole thing.  The result filled a large mixing bowl.  I also poured in the liquid that cooked out of the pumpkin halves.  This complets the preparation of the pumpkin.   What you now have is something sort of like what you would get if you purchased canned pumpkin fromt he store.

For the recipe I googled for it and found a "Quick Pumpkin Bread Recipe" at  

From Pumpkin_Bread
From Pumpkin_Bread

 The way the recipe reads is:

To make one 9"X5" Loaf of Pumpkin Bread Preheat Oven To 350F (coat the loaf pan with cooking spray or buter).


1/2 cup --- Unsalted Butter
1   cup --- White Sugar
2   eggs
2   cups -- Pumpkin Puree
1/2 teasp - Ground Cinnamon
1/8 teasp - Chinese Five Spice Powder
1/8 teasp - Allspice Powder
2   cups -- All Purpose Flour
1   teasp - Salt
1   teasp - Baking Powder
1   teasp - Baking Soda
3/4 cup   - Walnuts Chopped


  • Soften the butter and with a wooden spoon or spatula cream the butter in a bowl.  
  • Cream in the sugar into the creamed butter with the spoon until totally mixed.
  • Mix in the eggs (one at a time) until completely mixed into the butter and sugar.
  • Mix in the Pumpkin Puree until completely mixed.

  • In a separate bowl I whisked together the flower, spices, salt and backing powder and baking soda.
  • Next add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just barely mixed. 
  • Finally mix in the walnut pieces. And pour the batter into the greased loaf pan.
  • Place the loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for one hour.  To test for done insert a toot pick, if it comes out dry then the loaf is done.  If it comes out with bits of wet batter then cook for another five minutes.


Because I think my pumpkin puree was a bit wetter than normal I did cook the loves for about 15 extra minutes testing every five minutes after one hour.

Because I did not have any Chinese Five Spice powder I substituted pumpkin pie spice.

Because I had so much pumpkin puree I doubled the recipe and made two makings producing four loves.  And had enough for two more loves left over.

From Pumpkin_Bread

From Pumpkin_Bread

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saturday Morning And Sunday Morning Breakfast

We usually eat cereal for breakfast during the weekday and then on Saturday and Sunday we sometimes have a cooked breakfast.  Here are two breakfasts I like to prepare.

Buttermilk Walfles:

The recipe is from the original Joy of Cooking cook-book, my favorite cook-book.

From 11/17/12

I keep the sifted, liquid and whipped ingredients separate until just before cooking the first waffle.

From 11/17/12

Biscuits, grits, and Eggs:  With orange juice, tea, molasses, honey, butter/margarine.  The grits were a bit dry this morning because I did not carefully measure the water.

From 11/18/12

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

First Post Retirement Bike Ride

Yesterday was the two-week anniversary of the end of my full time working career.

Day before yesterday was a nice warm day so I did the 'Crabtree-Creek' ride up past the mall the end then back down to where House Creek Trail starts up.  This was the second time I've done the House Creek Trail and I really like it.  The way I do it is to ride all the way to the NC Museum of Art the get on Blue Ridge Road and take it back down the hill to the Mall where I rejoin the greenway and head back home.

Here are the stats:

24.01 ... KM ----- (A bit low by about 1km)
17.20 ... KPH ---- average
46.50 ... KPH ---- max (down the hill)
01:23 ... HH:MM -- nice ride!

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Grandmother - A Most Inspiring Teacher

Here is a link to the winning story for 'The Most Inspiring Teacher' from Our State Magazine. 

 This is a great story. Ms Boykin was a colleague of my sister-in-law Mary Vann Wilkins Eslinger. They both worked in the Social Studies part of the North Carolina State Department of Education.  

Also; Laviece Mae Gwin Chambliss Oliver was my Grandmother. 

In addition to teaching in Havelock NC she also taught Mathematics for many years at North Duplin High School in Duplin County NC. She also served as the assistant principal there. Her principal was Mr L.S. Guy. As a teenager I heard many, many stories from Grandmother Oliver about L.S. She had a great admiration for him as a teacher and as an administrator. 

When I finished up my degree in Mathematics and my practice teaching, I applied to teach high school in Duplin County back in 1975. I recall interviewing with Mr. L.S. Guy who was, by then, the superintendant of Duplin County Schools. I introduced myself and he immediately said, "You are Ms Laviece's grandson!" Right then I knew if they had a math teacher position the prospects were looking good for me. 

I did teach Mathematics and Physics for two years with the Duplin County Public Schools before going on the graduate school in Mathematics at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. 

When in undergraduate school and graduate school I recall many conversations about mathematics with my grandmother when I would visit Mount Olive where she lived with my parents in her retirement. 

Grandmother Oliver was just as bright and sharp as I ever knew her even when retired.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Four Minute Look Into The Face Of Infinity

Post MS150 Bike Rides

I finally did the brand new House Creek Greenway Ride and it was super...  From my house to Rex Wellness Center was exactly 11.5km ... Riding back to the house from Rex was only 8.0km if I take Blue Ridge Road (3.0km shorter)  Here are the stats of that ride:
01:11 - HH:MM
19.50 - KM
16.60 - KPH AVG (Some 'major-climbs' on this route)
50.20 - KPH MAX (Blue Ridge Rd a 'serious-downhill')

This picture is just after you turn onto the bike path at the McDonalds restaurant at Crabtree Valley Mall

From Random Graphic Images

This picture is of the tunnel under Lake Boon Trail.
From Random Graphic Images

A weekend or so AFTER the MS150 my sister Laviece and her husband Paul came down to Morehead City and we did the Two-Peninsular-Ride here are the stats: 
01:28 - HH:MM
26.69 - KM
18.20 - KPH AVG
31.60 - KPH MAX

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Water Year

The "Water Year" runs from October To October.  

I participate in CoCoRaHS "Community Cooperative Rain Hail and Snow Project" and here is the report for the '2011-2-12 Water Year".  All the reports are from the rain gage in our side yard.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Leap Frog Technology

When I read the story I realize that this this is wonderful concept. If it can be produced for less than 30USD per instance it will help revolutionize the global society.

This represents something called 'leap-frog-technology'.  This occurs when a country can adopt a technology without going through all the steps that lead up to that technology.

A good example is cell-phones.  Many countries that did NOT have a telephony infrastructure and went straight to cell-phone technology bypassing telephone poles and wires altogether.

The technology described in the article promises to leap-frog the power-grid infrastructure. 

Leap-frogging the power-grid combined with the telephony leap-frog (to wireless-telephony) promises to bring 'The-NET' to every corner of the globe. 

The resulting increase in literacy and education level will indeed help humanity to boot-strap itself into the 21st century.

A good thing.

Friday, September 14, 2012


This really is very cool.  Below is a screen shot of my solution to the non simply connected maze where your algorithm allows for no 'memory'.

You need a memory because just 'follow-the-left/right-hand-wall' will result in you getting 'stuck-in-the-loops'.

The Blockly demo does allow for a 'random-turn' and that was what saved the day.  On the downside; there is a non zero probability that it will take an arbitrary amount of time to solve a maze with loops using the algorithm I give.

And here is the link to the site ""


Monday, September 10, 2012

The 2012 MS150 Bike Tour

The 2012 Eastern North Carolina Multiple Sclerosis Society 
MS150 Cycling Tour
Rider Number 321 Returns

This year represented my fifteenth consecutive year participating in this event.

Here are the statistics for the Saturday and Sunday ride.

SAT 08 SEP 2012
SUN 09 SEP 2012

Saturday was a good ride.  We rode across the Neuse river and headed up toward Aurora NC then circled back and crossed the Neuse river upstream from New Bern and joined NC Route 55 and headed back into town.  Our route took us over to Glenburnie Drive and across US70 and US17 and back into town, 'the-back-way' around Tryon's Place to Union Point Park and the convention center the start/end of the ride.  Between US70 and NC17 we had a very brief but intense rain shower which was very welcome given it was so near the end of a long hot day.

Sunday dawned overcase and threatening. The folks in charge of the ride had a direct line to the National Weather Service and they assured us that we may not get any rain at all but only gray skies that day.  The forecast was right on target. And I only saw a short period of sunshine the entire ride.  Sunday's ride took us again over the Neuse River Bridge and straight out NC-55 almost all the way to Oriental NC.  We actually crossed NC 306 (the road between the Minnesott Beach and Aurora ferrys). We turned left off NC55 before reaching Oriental and rode north and stopped at the Harbor Club at River Dunes for lunch.  Then it was on through downtown Oriental NC.  From Oriental we biked over to Arapahoe.  From there it was back roads until we reached NC55 again just six miles from New Bern.  We crossed back over the NC55/US17 Neuse River Bridge then the Trent River Bridge which put us right back at our starting point in Union Point Park New Bern NC.

Here is a photo album of the ride:

The 2012 Eastern NC MS Society MS150 Cycling Tour

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Bike Rides (Labor Day Weekend)

SUNDAY - I did 50K!  Left Fisher Street and rode to 24th Street then headed over the AB Bridge and turned right.  I was spinning all the way to Indian Beach where I turned around and rode right back to Fort Macon.  Then back to the AB Bridge and straight to Fisher Street and home.  A very simple ride and the wind was almost nonexistent so I was able to spin right along.

SATURDAY - I did the ride I wanted: Down Bay Street to 20th. Out 20th to Blair Farms. Around Blair Farms to Country Club. On Country Club to the High School, and greenway. Back up the Greenway to the hospital. Cross Arendell onto the UNC Marine Sciences area then over to the Crystal Coast Tourist center boat launch and onto Evans Street. Evens Street to the Atlantic Beach Bridge. Cross the bridge, turn right and onto the NC Aquarium.
The NC Aquarium makes a nice turn around location because they have water fountains will cold good water to fill up water bottles.
Back out to NC58 toward Atlantic Beach. If I had continued on to Fort Macon and turned around I would have done 50K. But at the causeway I turned left and went back over the bridge. Onto Evans Street and down all the way to the Port Authority and then cross back over to Fisher Street and back home.

SAT 01 SEP 2012 46.77 02:14:40 20.8 50.5
SUN 02 SEP 2012 52.44 02:22:17 22.1 51.8

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bike Rides


Two rides, two days. Yesterday's ride (Saturday) was a greenway only ride where I went east on the greenway toward WakeMed. I found that just after the steep downhill about 3/4 of a mile from the end the trail was closed due to upgrade in the sewer system. The Raleigh greenways follow the sewer system extensively and I found today that even more of the system was being worked on.


Today's ride started on the greenway too. This time I headed west and when I got to the confluence of Crabtree Creek and Leadmine Creek I turned up Leadmine Creek toward Shelly Lake and followed the greenway all the way to Longstreet. Once at the end of the greenway I kept on up Longstreet to Sawmill Road and then onto Morning Dove and over to Falls of the Neuse. I took Falls of the Neuse to Honeycutt Road which goes all the way to Six Forks. Just a short way on Six Forks and you get to Norwood Road which ends at Six Forks. I took Norwood Road to its end at Leesville Road. Next a mile or sow down Leesville Road where Westgate Road ends. I took Westgate to Ebenezer Church Road. Ebenezer Church goes all the way to Duraleigh. Just a mile or so on Duraleigh at the Blue Ridge Road, Duraleigh Road intersection I turn east on Blue Ridge and travel down to the bottom of the hill and get back on the greenway behind Crabtree Valley Mall. The greenway takes me back the way I came, I 'close-the-loop' at the confluence of Leadmine and Crabtree Creeks.

Here are the details:

SAT 25 AUG 2012 26.69 01:31:23 17.5 45.5
SUN 26 AUG 2012 50.54 02:47:19 18.1 51.5

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Raspberry Pi

I recently received an email saying that I could go ahead and order the Raspberry Pi I signed up for months ago. 

The device arrived yesterday and it is everything it is hyped-up to be. 

I had an HDMI cable and a wireless mouse and keyboard and a 1000mA USB power supply that I used to charge my iPod Touch.  
I did not have a 'Micro-USB to USB' connector so I went to Radio Shack and purchased one. 

The next step was to back up to DVD ROM an 8gb SD card I was not using very much and then reformat it to FAT32.

Downloading the Weezy Distribution was straight forward and running the diskutil and dd function in a terminal window on my MacBook Pro was very easy. 

I hooked up the HDMI, the wireless mouse and kbd and plugged in the SD card. 

After applying power... I got NOTHING on the TV screen (the only device in the house that has an HDMI input port).

So I unplugged the composite video cable from the DVD player and used that. 

As soon as I plugged it in there was a configuration screen! I set the timezone and expanded the boot partition to take up the entire SD card and the system rebooted all the way to the graphic desktop! 

W00T! Here are some pictures:

From Random Graphic Images
The Raspberry Pi Computer ($35.00)

From Random Graphic Images

There is the configuration screen.

From Random Graphic Images
There is the graphic desktop.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Good TED Talk

This Ted Talk by Jonathan Haidt does a great job of describing the concept of the social animal and the socialization in general, not just among animals.

One of the things that bothers me greatly these days the the divisions between the ideas that people hold about how to move forward as a society.  The current political contest in America shows these differences clearly.

We have the political right in a heated battle with the political left.  Each side is absolutely and seemingly irrevocably committed to their beliefs that not only do they have it just right but the other side has it completely wrong.

This division into camps, tribes, parties, teams is shown to be a very natural occurrence by the Ted Talk.

The main take aways from this talk, I think is that our tendency to be tribal is 'baked-in' at a very, very fundamental level.

To get past the current and what I see as horrible divisions between our two tribal political parties is for both sides to, simultaneously, realize and embrace our fundamental nature and move forward from there.

I've written before about what a revelation it was to read Michael Schermer's book The Believing Brain. Shermer's book tells why our minds work the way they do.

The emergence of spoken and written language for humans is what allows us to develop and share between each other and between our groups, ideas and beliefs.  The emergence of civilization and on a more fundamental level, what we call intelligence is an attribute of language.

The technology we call 'The Internet' (and before that 'The Book') has allowed us to speak and communicate our ideas in a voice that carries across geographic boundaries at the speed of light.

This modern information technology has enabled our natural tendencies to form and cling to groups.  This has been characterized as the Balkanization of ideas.  Folks concentrating on getting their news about current events from certain cable news channels is an example this.

Realizing this and realizing how we evolved to be tribal and how we evolved to cling to our ideas so tenaciously the way we do is critical in understanding ourselves and then to moving beyond this evolutionary baggage that keeps us from forming a global tribe that moves us all forward. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Another Bike Ride (Father's Day)

Left the house at 9:30AM and rode the Crabtree Creek Trail from one end to the other.  Counting the distance down to the greenway and back that comes to about 40 km.  I got back to the house about 12:40pm

Distance ....... 40 km
Time ........... 2:10 h:mm
Average Speed .. 16 kph

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Here is the link to this weeks Car Talk Puzzler: "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat"

Here is what I have so far: 

(note: I got no where, which was not surprising.):

From Random Graphic Images

Here is the SHORT VERSION of the puzzle: You put your boat in and row up river for one mile.  Your hat flies off.  You continue rowing for 10 minutes then decide to go back for your hat.  You catch up to the hat at the same place you started rowing.  You row at the same pace going down river as you did going up river.

My cheat was to 'google-search-hat-floats-downstream' for how to do related-rates, (and a big hint for this particular one, hopefully) and apply it to this problem.  I wind up doing this about once a year and then because the mind tends to forget painful memories I forget how to do related rates until the next time I have to do one.

Of course since this is the 'Car Talk Puzzler' then there must be some nice way to conceptualize this puzzle that does not require a lot of algebra.

And there is and here it is: What It Means To "Understand" Something!. (This was one of the 'let-me-google-that-for-you' hits from above.  

The whole article is well worth reading, in its entirety, but for the purposes of this post the bit about the hat floating down stream is of most concern here.

A key to understanding this problem (as pointed out in the link above) is to not think about rowing against the current or rowing with the current but instead think of walking along one of those 'glide-ways' that they have in airports. 

You are walking along the glide way and you drop your hat and continue to walk for however long until you decide to turn around and walk back and pick up your hat.  It will take exactly the same amount of time to walk away from the hat as it will to walk back to the hat.  So if you decided to turn around after 15 seconds then it will take you 15 seconds to walk back for your hat. (another way to say this is to say that: THE HAT DID NOT GO ANYWHERE WITH RESPECT TO THE SURFACE OF THE GLIDE WAY YOU WALKED AWAY FROM IT (on the surface of the glide way) THEN WALKED BACK TO IT).

Notice, however one of three cases applies:

[CASE-A] If you pay attention to the art work on the walls then you will notice when you are walking the 'correct' way along the slide way if things go by faster than normal walking.

[CASE-B] Or you will notice that you are walking the 'wrong' way along the slide way if things go by slower than normal walking.

[CASE-C] Or if the slide way is stopped then you will notice that the art work on the walls changes as if you were not even ON the slide way, things will going by at normal walking speed.  

However, and this is the punch line, in all three cases it will take the SAME amount of time to go back and pickup your hat as you spent walking away from it, because the hat just lay there on the slide way. 

NOTE: This does assume if you are walking the 'wrong' way on a moving slide way that the hat does not arrive at the end before you get back to it.  If it does then you would catch up to it more quickly than otherwise. 

The reason the time to get back to your hat is the same in all three cases is that your motion with respect to the surface of the slide way is due ONLY to your walking motion.  

If you walk the 'correct' way then it is as if you are paddling 'downstream-with-the-current'.  

If you walk the 'wrong' way then it is as if you are paddling 'upstream-against-the-current'.  

If the glide way is stopped, or you are not walking on the glide way it is as if you are paddling 'in-a-zero-current-stream'. 

Still another way to say things is to say: You and your hat are NOT being carried along the glide way, the glide way itself is the thing that is moving and you and your hat are being carried along (or not) the 'bank' of the glide way.

So in terms of the original puzzle:  

How fast was the current if you notice; when you grab your hat out of the water, (which we now understand will take exactly 10 minutes to get to) you and the hat are right back where you started (the dock)? 

And you also notice this an interesting coincidence, that you grab your hat right at the dock, and probably think that this coincidence allows you to actually compute the current rate. Well, really, if you just grabbed your hat and noted where you were you were you would probably say, "Man, the current must be really fast for me to travel all this way in 10 minutes!" 

Now here is the math.

The rate of change of the distance between you and the 'DOCK' when traveling 'upstream' is r-c (where r is the rate you row, and c is the rate of the current).  This is because you are rowing against the current and it is slowing you down, relative to the bank.

The rate of change of the distance between you and the 'starting-point' when traveling 'downstream' in the current is r+c. Likewise this is because you are rowing with the current and it is speeding you up, relative to the bank.

Assume everything is miles per hour so (10 minutes is written as 1/6 of an hour).  

Also notice that when miles per hour is multiplied by time (hours) then distance results (in other words (m/h)*h = m. (And miles per hour means miles divided by hours). 

So now:  

If d = distance traveled along the bank in the 10 minutes after loosing your hat. 
then d = (r-c)/6.

And the total distance traveled from the starting point before turning around is 1+(r-c)/6. Because we traveled one mile from the dock before our hat flew off.

And also:

We have the case that it takes 10 minutes (1/6 hour) when traveling at r+c to travel all the way back to the starting point which is 1+(r-c)/6 miles away from where we turned around (as we figured out above). 

Also notice that when distance traveled (miles) is divided by time (hours) then miles per hour results: the formula is m/h.

So we now get the following formula for miles per hour down stream when we divide total distance paddled down stream by total time:

[1+(r-c)/6]/(1/6) = 6 + r-c 

That formula is the speed traveling downstream.

However:  From just thinking about traveling downstream we already know the speed is just the rowing rate plus the current rate.  The formula is r+c.

Setting these two formulas equal to each other we get:

6 + (r-c) = r+c
    6 - c = c
        6 = 2c
        3 = c

And the answer to the question of whether or not the speed of the current can be computed is: Yes! And the rate of the current is 3 miles per hour.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Next Great Adventure?

As I wander through blog posts on a Saturday Morning ...
So the question remains: Why are we afraid of, so concerned with death. The answer is connected to how the human mind emerged, from the perspective of natural selection.

Natural Selection is the 'law-of-evolution'.  That is if you can persist and pass along your gene sequences to coming generations then you (your gene sequences) are 'Selected In Favor'.  If you do not persist and thus do not pass along your gene sequences to coming generations then you (your gene sequences) are 'Selected Against'. Organisms evolve because they persist.

This seems very simplistic, and it is.  There is no grand design, other than the wonder we all feel when considering our surroundings whether immediate or cosmic.  That wonder is confined to the inside of our heads.  That wonder, by the extension of our ability to communicate with others, is also inside the heads of our fellow creatures.

It comes back to the mind, or consciousness the thing that seems to distinguish between motile and non motile organisms.  If an organism is motile at a level that is higher than chemical like a plant responding to nutrients in the soil or light from the sun or a virus or bacterium then there exist a sensory feedback mechanism that allows the motile organism to move around its environment.

This sensory feedback mechanism is what allows motile organisms to keep from falling off cliffs or banging into trees or even avoid being eaten prematurely by its predators.

The sensory feedback mechanism has evolved in organisms that do the most moving around to be the conscious mind.  This mind is at its very least a mechanism that takes in the sensory inputs of the organism and then does a short term prediction of the future in order to react to its environment.  The success of its ability to predict the future determines if it can persist.  If the mind makes a mistake then failure cause it to be 'Selected Against' since it does not persist.  This means that the avoidance of 'fatal-mistakes' is hard wired into the minds of motile organisms.

At least one motile organism, humans, have a mind that seems to be able to 'talk-to-itself' or 'think-about-itself' or 'model itself'.  And further, this ability has been 'Selected In Favor Of'.  This ability to contemplate itself combined with the emergence of very nuanced communication methods between humans resulted in the emergence of what humans call, intelligence.

Getting back to death:  The avoidance death which is necessarily hard wired into our minds combined with another very important attribute of the mind (the no-crash-attribute) explain why death is such a big deal for humans.

The no crash attribute of the mind of a motile organism is what keeps it from seizing up when confronted with two conflicting models of the future.  If an organism with a mind, in doing it's short term prediction of the future has a choice, "fight or flight" as an example must make the choice that has the highest probability of resulting in a 'false-negative'.

In other words if the organism senses a rustle in the grass and decides on flight and it turns out to be the wind then no problem, but if it decides to not flee and the rustle is not the wind and results in the organism being lunch for another then that is 'Selected Against'.

In either case the mind can not freeze up or sieze. It has to 'do-something'.  This feature of the mind is hard wired. This combined with the hard wired attribute to avoid death combines to make death one of the most complex, for a human mind, events that can be contemplated.

Such a concept, one with a built in paradox, still must be dealt with by the mind.  This hard wired ability to deal with paradox allows the human mind to come up with ideas that completely and totally fly in the face of the scientific method.  Such ideas, because they arise at such basic levels of the mind are clung to with a tenaciousness that defies reason.

The statement that an idea (or belief) defies reason is used as a pejorative.  If reason, or the scientific method itself is examined it is seen to be at least a deliberative process. A deliberative (slow) process violates the hard wired behavior of the mind that demands snap judgments based on bad data.

Another way to say this is that reason and the scientific method are luxuries that an organism can not enjoy unless it finds itself in a state of easy living.  Human civilization has provided just such an environment and allowed these mental processes to emerge.

These mental processes emerge because they work.  The one thing that organisms do at the expense of all others is engage in behaviors that, work!  Where, work, is synonymous with increase the ability to persist.

The emergence of such high level processes does not give an organism the ability to override, at will, the hard wired processes that evolved as basic artifacts of its mind.

For this reason the human mind: Invents religion, fears death, believes in Gods, and rejects out of hand scientific evidence for things it finds uncomfortable (or paradoxical), and generally clings to ideas and concepts that have nothing to do with reason and the scientific method.

That humans can do an analysis of their own minds is an accomplishment that is totally coupled with intelligence which is in turn totally coupled with the ability of one human to communicate with another.  This behavior is a very satisfying one whether or not it us used to contemplate itself or the universe as perceived by its senses.  This contemplation can be accomplished using the scientific method or any other belief system that emerges from the inner workings of the mind.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Second Ride of the Year

A really nice ride.  I left the house and rode down Yadkin drive to Crabtree Creek then along Allegheny to the Greenway.  Once on the Greenway I rode up to Shelly Lake then on north up Lead Mine Creek to Longstreet.  Longstreet comes out at Sawmill Road which turns into Morning Dove Drive when it crosses Six Forks Road.  Morning Dove winds around within a block or so of Falls of the Neuse Road.  I then rode down Falls of the Neuse to Sandy Forks which cuts across to Six Forks Road.  Then down Six Forks, Cranbrook, Manchester, Rampart then back on Yadkin.  Once on Yadkin I rode back to Allegheny and instead of turning right I turned left and rode up by the Golf Course and onto Lassister Mill Road.  The Greenway starts up again just after you cross Crabtree Creek and continues on down to cross Anderson, then on down the creek crossing Old Wake Forest, Atlantic, Capitol Blvd.  The Greenway continues almost to Wake Medical Center, dead-ending on Milburnie.  That is the turn around and then it is back to Yadkin and up the hill to Davidson Street.

Here are the stats:

43 Kilometers
17 Kilometers per hour
2.5 Hours

Here is a picture as you cross the 'Swamp-At-Raleigh-Road-And-Crabtree-Creek'

From Random Graphic Images

Here is a map of the ride:

From Random Graphic Images

Here is a link to the 'Map-My-Ride' map:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

First Ride of the Year

This morning when I collected my bike from the storage shed in the back yard I noticed that the pedels were missing!  Then I remembered, the last time I rode my bike was in October of 2011 about seven months ago.  And that ride was the 2011 Cycle North Carolina Bike Tour.  When you put your bike on the truck for the ride back to Raleigh you have to take the pedels off.

I decided to not only put the pedels back on but also to replace my new 'Moon-Saddle' with Evelyn's saddle that she used before she got her moon-saddle.  And I found that saddle very nice.  I'm not sure if I am going to try that moon saddle again.

Since this is my first bike ride in seven months I decided to just do a greenway ride.  The ride wound up going around 30 kilometers and took 1:45.  Here is a link to the ride if I had not had to turn around a ride back down the hill then up the hill to Ridge Road: "".  Here is a screen shot of the route:

From Random Graphic Images

I left the house and rode down to Crabtree Creek, along Yadkin Drive.  I then turned onto Allegheny and rode to the greenway.  Once on the greenway I rode to Lead Mine Creek and got on the Crabtree Creek Trail.  I followed the Crabtree Creek trail to the end and turned around and rode back to the McDonalds at the corner of Blue Ridge Road and Crabtree Blvd.  Then on to the new greenway that parallels the beltway up to Glen Eden Drive.

This new part is now being landscaped and is very nice.  Once at Glen Eden I rode across the beltway and looped down under Glen Eden on the new greenway.  I followed the new path and crossed under Lake Boon Trail.  The new greenway then parallels the street until you get to the road that climbs up to Martin Middle School and Ridge Road.  I crossed this street and kept on the new greenway until it ended very near the beltway bike bridge.  At that end point there are pilings that look like there will be a elevated part that spans a ravine just before you get to the bridge.  I turned around rode back to the road then up the hill to Ridge Road then on down past All Star Bike Shop at Ridge Road Shopping Center.  I then too the new greenway beside Wade Avenue to the bike bridge to the NC Art Museum.  Once at the Museum I got on Blue Ridge road and rode back down to Crabtree Creek, taking Edwards Mill Road that goes past the Crabtree Creek Tavern and it was then back on the greenway and back home.

It was a nice ride that probably took around 30k, my bicycle trip computer has a dead battery so I can not give the exact milage.

Here is a picture of the end of the greenway and the poles that will be the base of the bike trestle over the ravine:

From Random Graphic Images

Here is another picture of the bridge to the Art Museum. If standing where this picture is taken you look to your left you will see where the new greenway will come out.
From Random Graphic Images

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day 2012

Today is a good day to remember that we all have Only-One-Blue-Marble our Space-Ship-Earth and are an integral part of its Biosphere, where out decisions on how we get along with the Ecology of the Planet will determine whether we persist or self-extinguish as a species.

15 May 2013

It is official, on 15 May 2013 my plans are to stop work for any organized company on a full time basis.  I expect to start work on some of my own projects that have flown into my head over the years but have not had the attention or time devoted to them; because I work 8-10 hours a day for an organized company.

Starting 15 May 2013 I do intend to keep busy, here are some of my plans:
  • Last year I joined and now have renewed my Apple iOS and normal Apple Developer programs, sadly, because of my day to day work load have not had the amount of time I want to devote to these platforms.  I have a couple of iOS apps that I would like to launch.  If I can become as familiar with the OSX development platform as I am currently with the Windows development platform then I will be all completely happy with the outcome, I do not think this is impossible.
  • I also have some (well one for sure) Web based applications (Google Cloud) that I've not had the amount of time I need to complete. The first application is currently working as a combination html/pc-application that requires a fairly major GQ 'geek-quotient' to turn on for yourself, and is currently open source.  The example that I update every christmas is "".  Here is the open source project: ""
  • And this year I have discovered a truly beautiful and wonderful concept (it was featured in a recent 60 minutes episode) "" that I am sure will revolutionize the teaching of mathematics (and other subjects as well).  I hope to actually instantiate my ideas that I came up with when working with "" a couple of years ago (well 4 years ago actually), my idea is located at "". If I get it working then it can replace/augment the current method that you may use to work on the solution of a math problem. A java drawing app that has with no 'translation' capacity that could easily be parsed by an application.
  • Also this year there has been a development in on-line instruction that is championed by Stanford University, and others, that I am taking advantage of.  The development is that the course is offered for credit to registered Stanford students, and for free (and no credit) to the general public and consist of You-Tube like videos that you watch which even have embedded questions.  I am currently taking (for free!) three courses "Cryptography", "Game Theory", and "Automata".  Needless to say I do not have up to 30 hours a week to watch the videos so I download them to view at my liesure (15MAY2013? - oh well...).
  • I'll revisit this post and keep it updated on my progress, and other ideas as I remember them and as they come into my head.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Real Lottery

Five people go to lunch (Well, actually, five computer geeks go to lunch.)
The Mega Millions Lottery topic comes up in conversation. They decide to purchase a joint lottery ticket.  The rules for choosing numbers for this lottery are:
  1. Pick five numbers, without replacement,
    from the set {1,2,3, . . . 56}.
  2. Then pick one number
    from the set {1,2,3, . . . 46}.
A suggestion is made that all the choices be prime. Since there are sixteen prime numbers between 1 and 56 and thirteen primes between 1 and 46 then the following process is decided on:

Each person picks their favorite number from 1 to 16 and then the group picks a common favorite number from 1 to 13. Once the numbers are selected they are paired with the prime numbers and the set of numbers for the lottery ticket is generated.

The worksheet for picking lottery ticket numbers has room for five sets of numbers, and the price of a lottery ticket is $1.00. For this reason the group decides to collect $1.00 from each person instead of $0.20 and thus the group can fill out the entire worksheet.

This decision forces the group to either reuse the same five prime numbers or to come up with four more sets of numbers. Since the odds of winning will be increased if four more sets of numbers are generated then that is the route decided on. It is decided that some sort of transform of the original set of numbers should be applied to get the rest of the sets. Here is the algorithm chosen:
  1. Increment each number by one getting a new set of six even numbers.
  2. Select the first three primes and the last three even numbers to get the next set.
  3. Select the first three even numbers and the last three prime numbers to the the next set.
  4. Finally apply the Collatz Conjecture Algorithm to each of the original numbers noting the length of the resulting sequence (modulo 56 or 46) and use those lengths for the final set.

The five favorite numbers were: {9, 13, 11, 3, 16}, and the common favorite number was 7.

When you match up the first sixteen prime numbers with the group's favorite numbers you get the following:

( 01, 02 )
( 02 ,03 )
( 03, 05 ) A Favorite - Collatz Path Length = 05
( 04, 07 )
( 05, 11 )
( 06, 13 )
( 07, 17 ) A Favorite - Collatz Path Length = 16
( 08, 19 )
( 09, 23 ) A Favorite - Collatz Path Length = 15
( 10, 29 )
( 11, 31 ) A Favorite - Collatz Path Length = 50 = 106 MOD 56
( 12, 37 )
( 13, 41 ) A Favorite - Collatz Path Length = 53 = 109 MOD 56
( 14, 43 )
( 15, 47 )
( 16, 53 ) A Favorite - Collatz Path Length = 11

Here are the resulting five sets of numbers.
  • {05, 17, 23, 31, 41, 53} Original 
  • {06, 18, 24, 32, 42, 54} Even
  • {06, 18, 24, 31, 41, 53} Even Then Odd
  • {05, 17, 23, 32, 42, 54} Odd Then Even
  • {05, 12, 15, 50, 53, 11} Collatz Path Length

Here are some numbers:

It was estimated that $1,500,000,000.00 spent on the mega millions lottery.

If you choose without replacement and without regard of order five numbers from the set {1, 2, 3, . . . 56} the number of different choices comes out to be the binomial coefficient "56 choose 5" which is 3,819,816.

If you choose one number from the set {1, 2, 3, . . . 46} the number of choices comes out to be 46.

Taking both together the number of possible choices is
46 * binomial(56,5) = 175,711,536

What this means is that the five sets of numbers above have a five in one hundred seventy five million seven hundred eleven thousand five hundred thirty six chance of being chosen. Another way to say it is that the odds are: 1 in 35,122,306

So here are the expected results:

And Here are the Actual Results

As you can tell the expected results in all five instances do not match the actual results. And, you can also tell we messed up the Collatz path lengths for some of the numbers.  And, if we had done them correctly, we still would not have successfully predicted the numbers that were ultimately selected.

Here are some more numbers that fall into the 
category of "What If".  And really that is what the lottery is all about (what if).

An interesting 'bottom-line' question now becomes:

Just how fast do you think you could you 'burn-through' sixteen million one hundred and twelve thousand two hundred and fifty dollars?

30 Mar 2012 Mega Millions Total Prize
TotalPer Yr / 26 YrsLump Sum
$656,000,000.00 $25,230,769.23 $462,000,000.00

If one of our numbers had won then the total would have been split four ways.
TotalPer Yr / 26 YrsLump Sum
$164,000,000.00 $6,307,692.31 $115,500,000.00

Next each of us would have received one fifth of the one forth of the total.
TotalPer Yr / 26 YrsLump Sum
$32,800,000.00 $1,261,538.46 $23,100,000.00

Next the federal government gets a 25% cut (taxes) leaving each of us with 75% of of our 20% of our 25% of the total
TotalPer Yr / 26 YrsLump Sum
$24,600,000.00 $984,000.00 $17,325,000.00

Finally the state of North Carolina gets a 7% cut (taxes) leaving each of us with 93% of our 20% of our 25% of the total.
TotalPer Yr / 26 YrsLump Sum
$22,878,000.00 $879,923.08 $16,112,250.00