Saturday, December 05, 2009

Virginia Tech

This morning's paper contains an article revealing the latest amendments to the official report on the Virginia Tech campus shootings in 2007.

Exact time frames are hard to establish from the article, but it seems an hour and a twenty minutes elapsed between first notification to families of staff of the two earliest shootings in the dorm and the general campus wide lock down order.

Yup. You read that right.

The lock down order came only after the policy committee had deliberated what to do it would appear. It's also interesting that campus trash collections were suspended 21 minutes before faculty and students were notified of the danger. Meanwhile, a member of the policy group "emailed a colleague in Richmond about 8:45 am that a gunman was on the loose, but warned the colleague to make sure the information didn't get out because it was not yet 'releasable'." Two families of the administration's policy group were notified at 8:05 am. The massacre in the classroom building began at 9:40 am.

Governor Tim Kaine now says administration actions were "inexcusable."

"If university officials thought it was important enough to notify their own families, they should have let everyone know," said Kaine.

One voice of moderate temperament was heard amid the uproar.

On campus Friday, Student Government Association President Brandon Carroll said he does not think the revised report damages the administration.

"Hindsight is 20/20," Carroll said. "It really upsets me that they're trying to bring back something bad that really hurt our community." [Wahhhhh.]

Only after victims' families met with university officials in the fall of 2008 were the volumes of e-mails, reports, and other data released which shed further light on the administration's behavior. Governor Kaine had resisted re-opening the probe.

Nothing to see...just keep moving. Move along, now. Our policy group is on the case.


It seems the administration policy group is loaded with slow learners.


(click to enlarge)

The shooter.

Let's revisit the official security actions in place to protect the campus populace from that fellow. From the current policy statement above: Any such individual who is reported or discovered to possess a firearm or weapon on university property will be asked to remove it immediately. Failure to comply may result in student judicial referral and/or arrest, or an employee disciplinary action and/or arrest.

Simply draconian.


My son had a close friend who may have been on campus that day. We've lost contact with him. An army vet. He introduced Ben to the joys of traveling lightly in the back country. They have a name for it that escapes me at the moment, something like "ultra-light backpacking." I'm sure Kevin and his army buddies had a different name for it. Kevin made him leave behind his roll of toilet paper. He survived, and became a better man for the experience. He now chews nails and spits rust.



Tuesday, December 01, 2009

...don't tell me I've nothing to do

Eric Heatherly - Flowers On The Wall

Rockers' will like this better than Stadler Bros version.

Ya gotta love the bass and drums!


Yesterday's posts were the spin off of a cross-word puzzle that had been nagging at me for a day or so.

Clue: Carina
Four letters
Answer: KEEL
Reaction: WTF?


Carina was also a Liberty Ship, if my memory is working. When I went to check the daily rate of ship production, I stubbed my toe on whether one of the years between '42 and '45 was a leap year, hence the trivia regarding the Ko Ran.


Leap Year is also affected by Al Gore's myth, another argument for the importance of refining AGW models to more accurately predict "climate change":

From wiki:

...However, there is little point in planning a calendar so far ahead because over a timescale of tens of thousands of years the number of days in a year will change for a number of reasons, most notably:

1. Precession of the equinoxes moves the position of the vernal equinox with respect to perihelion and so changes the length of the vernal equinoctial year.
2. Tidal acceleration from the sun and moon slows the rotation of the earth, making the day longer.

In particular, the second component of change depends on such things as post-glacial rebound and sea level rise due to climate change. We can't predict these changes accurately enough to be able to make a calendar that will be accurate to a day in tens of thousands of years

I suggest the ability to forecast the impact of tidal acceleration on the calculation of leap day will rank among the highest benefits derived from current climate research. Some will disagree.


For old western fans:

Randolph Scott's Ride Lonesome Capture Location

Looks a lot like the Dragoons in the Cochise Stronghold neck-o'-the-woods, about an hour SE of Tucson and several miles off I-10.

Nice country for old men, a bit more hospitable than West Texas. Popular among Snowbirds, judging by the license plates. You want to watch out for nighttime hikers coming up from Ol' Mexico, though. Border lands are just a bit to the south. A couple of troops of Boy Scouts, a few 4H Clubs, and some adult supervision by the local ranchers could'a had that fuckin' fence built by the 4th of July of 2006, if Bush hadn't got in the way. The A-10's out of Davis-Monthan could keep the no-go zone cleared with a napalm pass every week or so. Border Patrol could handle the rest.




The simplified equations of motion have been occupying my time recently. I had a devil of a time remembering that

x(t) = 1/2at^2 + v(o)t + x(o).

Trying to figure if the red flashing light went off and an airplane hit the tower in the dark, would the debris land on mom's house? Or not? Requisite assumptions are fairly easy to arrive at. Probability is vanishingly small. I think. We're not on the flight path for approach/departure from Rogers Airport. Helicopters do zoom around occasionally. The tower lights did go out one stormy night a few years ago. The attempt to report the problem to the authorities was interesting. No number was available for local FAA or airport flight control, there's no tower. The Po-leece Dispatcher was confused. The problem didn't seem to fit her job description. I think I finally told her I'd just keep an eye on it and call 911 when an aircraft went down. It was a while back, and my memory is hazy. There's probably about as much chance of that accident as there would be for a Northwest airliner to miss Minneapolis by a couple of hundred miles...

Here's another math problem from my student days:

The outcome:

2:11 PM 12/1/2009


Gene Therapy


Gene Krupa

Havin' a good time!


Gene Kelly

I'm singing in the rain...

At 3:00--3:40 of this one reminds me of walking with my boy.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Liberty Ships

Not long after my folks were married my dad put in an application for a crane operator's job in the Panama Canal Zone. The Kaiser shipyard in Long Beach squashed his application, declaring him critical to the Liberty Ship program.

Dad got mad and enlisted in the SeaBees at age 39, coming out a chief sometime after VJ Day. His battalion followed MacArthur from Australia through New Guinea and the Philippines. I was about two and a half years old when he first met me in Omaha. The story goes that I was then seated on the bar and proceeded to eat all their Maraschino cherries.


Liberty Ships

A listing of the original and completion names shows 2710 Liberty ships built between September 27, 1941 and September 2, 1945 [Gobal Security says 2751, the difference may be in the technical designation of hull type. ed.]. That averages just under 2-1/2 ships per day over the period for the entire program which included eighteen shipyards on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts.

Henry J. Kaiser ... became a master of mass-production. He had previously completed construction of Hoover, Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams ahead of schedule, but had never before built a ship.


Kaiser's theories on mass-production created some mirth among conventional shipbuilders, but he continually reduced delivery times. His 75th ship, the JOSEPH N. TEAL, was completed in 10 days after the keel laying


Dad's absence from Kaiser doesn't seem to have affected them much.

Reflecting on my own career, I've since decided that acorns don't fall far from the tree.

More regarding the Religion of Peace

Why do the goat fucking, honor killing, sanctified liars pick a fight over every little slight, real or imagined?

More regarding the Religion of Peace:

...That is the straight usage, so do not wrong yourselves therein, and fight those who go astray collectively as they fight against you collectively. But know that Allah is with those who are pious.

Full passage:

...In the Islamic calendar, leap days are not used. The Qur'an says:

The number of months with Allah has been twelve months by Allah's ordinance since the day He created the heavens and the earth. Of these four are known as sacred; That is the straight usage, so do not wrong yourselves therein, and fight those who go astray collectively as they fight against you collectively. But know that Allah is with those who are pious.

Verily the transposing (of a prohibited month) is an addition to Unbelief: The Unbelievers are led to wrong thereby: for they make it lawful one year, and forbidden another year, of months forbidden by Allah and make such forbidden ones lawful. The evil of their course seems pleasing to them. But Allah guideth not those who reject Faith
. (Qur'an 9:36-37)


What does the koran say about Ground Hog Day, I wonder?