Wed, 27 Apr 2005

Lincoln Tunnel

I took this photo while flying from Newark to Ottawa a few weeks ago. I was actually over Berry's Creek, west of Lyndhurst when I took this picture, but at that height, you see a few miles off your flight path even if you look "straight down". This picture shows Interchanges 16 & 18 of the Noo Joisey Turnpike. The rightmost edge of the picture barely shows one set of tollbooths, and the white line across the highway in the lower right is the other set. See the dotted white line going through that tollbooth, curving around to the right and then back to the left? That's the line of trucks heading for the Lincoln Tunnel. You can't even begin to see the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel. This is just the line heading towards it.

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Lady Liberty

I took this photo while flying from Newark to Ottawa a few weeks ago. I was actually over the New Jersey meadowlands when I took this picture, but at that height, you see a few miles off your flight path even if you look "straight down". You can see Governors Island, Ellis Island below it, and to the right is Liberty Island, home of the Statue of Liberty.

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Tue, 26 Apr 2005

Hike starting Tue Apr 26 13:22:25 2005

7.45 km 24456.07 feet 4.63 mi 9505.00 seconds 158.42 minutes 2.64 hours 1.75 mi/hr

Went looking for more of the Clifton Iron Mine Railroad. They only operated it for a few years, because the rails were made of wood. They later put iron straps on the top, but that didn't help much. It created its own hazard when the strap curled up and penetrated the car from below. It can be a bit of a challenge to follow, because they used many trestles. They had a more-or-less infinite supply of trees, and earthmoving equipment was primitive at best.

The railroad went on the north side of the river until slightly east of the "BM 975", at which point it crossed the river. It proceeded to cut across a bend in the river, went on a trestle past Twin Falls, and then turned up the creek. Almost immediately up on turning due south, it goes onto a trestle to go over the creek. There's a very short section where it crests the hill that is a railbed. I have a photo of four strips of mossy soil which could be nothing other than the remains of the ties. Southward from there, it goes through a wetland on a trestle. I walked through a mostly clearcut stand of (former) timber, and peeked across the wetland to see if there was any trace left. Nothing. I'll have to go looking for it south from there on another trip.

Have to find a way to get across the Grasse river at Stewart Rapids, because most of the hike was just getting to the railbed. Maybe I could put my electronics into a watertight package, and swim across. Later .... when it's warmer. By the way, the (reputed) tornado last summer must have touched down (at least) exactly where it says "Stewart Rapids" on the map. There was an incredible amount of blowdown at that point. I couldn't say if it was circular because of a tornado or linear because of a wind shear/microburst. The Adirondacks has a tradition of wind shears, but not much in the way of tornados.

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Ties up? Or Ties down?

When a railroad tie rots in place over a hundred or so years, does it leave a pit? Or does it leave a mound? Richard Palmer (the railroad author) and I are having a disagreement. He says that the Clifton Iron Company's railroad ties rotted away, leaving holes where the rails were. I say that the ties fed plants, which grew into and around the ties, preserving their shape. I was convinced that I was right, but then I looked at the picture I took (below) of a side view of a pair of ties, it could go either way. Same thing for the picture below it, which shows snow melted off the peaks and remaining in the valleys. I'll have to go back and look again.

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Thu, 21 Apr 2005

On Being Searched at Airports

I believe that it's a good thing to be searched at airports. I will often make little comments like "Well, the taxi driver took my bag out of the trunk" when they ask "has anybody else handled your bags". Or, I'll carry scary-looking electronics (all purchased at your friendly neighborhood Radio Shack). That's a guarantee that you will get the special treatment. You see, the more people who desire the special treatment, the fewer people they will search who don't want the special treatment. The incentives all line up, and when they do, you can't stand in their way.

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Wed, 20 Apr 2005

Open Source as a public good

A public good is something which is non-rivalrous and non-excludable. The first critera, non-rivalrous, implies that users of the good are not rivals. Your use of the good does not interfere with my use of the good. The second criteria, non-excludable, means that if the good is provided for one, it is provided for all. Radio stations are a public good. Your reception of the signal does not interfere with my reception of it, and if you get to receive it, so do I. Lighthouses are also a public good. We can all see the beacon, and if I'm able to see it, I can't stop you from seeing it. All information in digital form is a public good; whether in the form of music, movies, books, or software.

Public goods can be underproduced relative to other forms of goods because of the difficulty of deriving revenue from public goods. In order to prevent that from happening, creative works receive a monopoly for a limited amount of time. It used to be the case that a copyright had to be claimed and secured. Under the Berne Convention, however, all works are born copyrighted even if the author is anonymous and makes no effort to restrict distribution.

Buried in Innovation, Information Technology And The Culture Of Freedom: The Political Economy Of Open Source, I noticed the term "anti-rival[rous]". They make the excellent point that software is not merely non-rivalrous. It is anti-rivalrous. That is, your use of it not only does not compete with mine, your use of it helps mine. Thus, I have an interest in promoting the software that I have written. I also should promote software that I have not written, but instead merely use. If you use it too, the author will be compensated by more fame, and more people will contribute to the project. It will have greater vitality as more people use it.

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Tue, 19 Apr 2005

Ride starting Tue Apr 19 14:50:24 2005

9.97 km 32704.94 feet 6.19 mi 2460.00 seconds 41.00 minutes 0.68 hours 9.06 mi/hr

Went up to Clarkson to talk to Sazonov. Fought a fierce (20mph) headwind most of the way, with blowing sand in my face. Yuck. Still, a bike ride is a bike ride, so I can't complain.

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Ride starting Mon Apr 18 15:14:59 2005

18.41 km 60393.70 feet 11.44 mi 4043.00 seconds 67.38 minutes 1.12 hours 10.18 mi/hr

Just went down to Hannawa Falls, instead of waiting for the car's oil change. Rode for a little bit on the Red Sandstone Trail just north of Hannawa. Also rode back behind Clarkson to look at the northernmost remains of the Hannawa Falls railroad. I keep dreaming about restoring the trestle that carried the railroad across the Racquette River. It would be excellent to have a rail-trail which people could ride all the way from Potsdam to Hannawa Falls. I don't ever expect that to happen, but I can dream about it.

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Sun, 17 Apr 2005

West Mountain Ski Area

I took this photo while flying from Newark to Ottawa last week. I was actually slightly south of my mother-in-law's house in Glens Falls when I took this picture, but at that height, you see a few miles off your flight path even if you look "straight down". I was looking slightly south of west to get this picture of West Mountain Ski Area. You can see that even on April 9th, they still have snow, although it's a little patchy. Well, maybe a lot patchy, but in the east, you take your patchiness with your spring skiing.

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Sat, 16 Apr 2005

Saranac Lake

I took this photo while flying from Newark to Ottawa a week ago. I was just a little bit north of Lake Placid (the lake, not the town) when I took this picture, but at the height jets fly, you see a few miles off your flight path. I was looking almost exactly west to get this picture of Saranac Lake. In the forefront of the picture is McKenzie Pond. The cleared area to the left is the Olympic Village, where the athletes were housed during the 1980 Winter Olympics. Above that are various lakes. From left to right, you have Ossetah Lake, Kiwassa Lake, Lower Saranac Lake, and Colby Lake, all still iced over except for Ossetah Lake where it winds its way into the village. The village proper is directly above McKenzie Pond.

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Fri, 15 Apr 2005

Ride starting Fri Apr 15 16:44:31 2005

15.23 km 49966.91 feet 9.46 mi 2880.00 seconds 48.00 minutes 0.80 hours 11.83 mi/hr

Just a ride "around the block". That is to say, I went for the shortest possible ride taking every left turn. Yes, my "block" is almost ten miles in circumference.

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Wed, 13 Apr 2005

La Guardia

I took this photo while flying from Newark to Ottawa. I was actually slightly south of the Bronx Zoo when I took this picture, but at that height, you see a few miles off your flight path. I was looking almost exactly south to get this picture of La Guardia airport. The photo is centered on the main terminal building. In the upper left corner you can see Shea Stadium (home of The Mets, the best baseball team in the American League, of course). In the lower forefront, you can see Rikers Island. In the background is Queens. If you look very carefully, you can see an airplane in final approach to runway 31 (on the left).

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Tue, 12 Apr 2005

Ride starting Tue Apr 12 16:22:37 2005

21.55 km 70691.53 feet 13.39 mi 4380.00 seconds 73.00 minutes 1.22 hours 11.00 mi/hr

Most of the snow has melted, but I saw a little snowbank piled up in the shadows in some woods. Still no daffodil blossoms, but the crocuses are out.

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Sat, 09 Apr 2005

Ride starting Sat Apr 9 15:10:37 2005

35.02 km 114880.22 feet 21.76 mi 7278.00 seconds 121.30 minutes 2.02 hours 10.76 mi/hr

Not a cloud in the sky. Temperature in Massena given as 55, but the local thermometer (in the sun) says that it's 70. The temperature is actually somewhere between the two. Am having a bit of trouble with my left ankle. Might be that I'm holding my leg incorrectly as I pedal, or it might be that the new bicycle's cleats are mis-adjusted. I'll need more experience to tell for sure. One problem I have definitely corrected is my knee soreness. I used to get sore knees after about thirty miles of riding. Then Leslie corrected my posture, saying that I should keep my knees over my toes. I noticed that I pedalled with knock knees (pointing in). Since she told me that back in October, I've pedalled with knees aligned with toes and had no problems.

Longest ride of the season. Peepers are out. No buds on the trees yet. Daffodils are up, but no blossoms yet.

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Sun, 03 Apr 2005

Beetle Bailey

In today's (4/3/2005) strip, Mort Walker has one of the Beetle Bailey characters (Plato) go off on a libertarian rant. Hooray Plato (Mort, actually, of course)! Each paragraph is a separate panel in the strip:

Communism failed because it was against human nature. People want to be rewarded for their work. They want to own what they earn.

You can call it selfish if you want, but "self" is the center of the universe. Even giving voluntarily to others is "selfish" in a way because you "get" a good feeling in return.

Dictators take power promising to help the people but soon are only helping themselves. There's a bit of the dictator even among elected officials who use their powers for their own interests.

Maybe the best system is to keep turning our officials over before they turn on you. Too long in power allows too many opportunities for corruption.

People are more productive with fewer laws and restrictions. Even good laws have flaws and room should be left for exceptions, because everyone is different with individual needs.

My own feeling about his paragraph/panel 4 is that while the officials change, typically the staff members do not. Legislation is complicated and extensive enough that the staff members end up doing the research, writing the bills, making the decisions, and suggesting the vote. We don't vote for those people. No, I think the best solution is the one that the Constitution was designed for: a central state with a small set of enumerated powers, with all other decisions left to the states. If people can retain their citizenship, and simply move from state to state, those states which are poorly run will lose their citizens.

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Fri, 01 Apr 2005

Expanding the OSI board

We've added five new board members to the OSI board, and Eric Raymond has retired to become the President Emeritus. Danese has the full list.

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Daffodils are up

The daffodils of spring are poking above the soil. No yellow yet. The next sign to look for is peepers over in the wetland next door.

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