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Truck with Happy Driver

Truck with Happy Driver

    My first trig. exam is tomorrow, which seems funny considering the class started only 5 classes ago.  I like this winterim class deal—nothing else to be distracting.  No fluf, no time to be off-topic, just right to the essentials.  
Caleb silhouette

Caleb silhouette

    In trig. today, we learned about graphing trigonometric functions.  It's amusing to me, because I've been doing this for years, but never had the math background to understand fully what was going on.  I recall my first experience with a trig function.  It was the summer of 1996, when I first discovered functions to rotate a point in 3d space.  The function use sine and cosine lookup tables with fixed-point math.  I recall going through the motions to recalculate the tables.  I comprehended that a full sine lookup table was 2 pi, but I didn't know why.  My roommate Andy tried to explain the unit circle to me, but it wasn't for several years until I understood it.  A guy I worked with, Russ, explained the unit circle in a way that finally made sense.  So for many years I've understood several the principals of sine and cosine, and now, I'm getting the remaining details. 
    This learning kind of reinforces my position that I'm glad I am now going to school with 16 years of programming experience and 9 years of real-world work.  I have seen first hand the applications for this math.  I've done it.  And to an extent, I already understand a good deal about the fundamentals.  Now, I'm filling in the gaps, and I have a great deal of appreciation for what otherwise might seem a tedious learning exercise.  I'm really looking forward to calculus and physics, were I know my knowledge is very limited but am certain that what I learn is going to be very useful.  It's an exciting time for me :)

January 08, 2007

Openoffice math



    For my trigonometry class, I'm able to create a page of notes for the exam.  This is a good thing, since I'm teirble at remembering specifics about algorithms.  I decided to type up my notes in, and played a little more with the formula functions.  It took a bit of searching to find everything I wanted.  The big one was the use of braces (i.e. { } ) as invisible means to group areas of the function.  And I didn't get "alingc" to work right away; although latter it seemed work just like I had expected.  None the less, I now have a nice trig. cheat-sheet :)

January 06, 2007

The Loft

Talon at work

Talon at work

    Today, Talon and I set out on a pretty big building project—the Garage Loft.  When Kristy moved in, she asked to have the bunk beds restored so she'd have a place to sleep.  I ended up building a platform for a futon mattress with a little extra landing off to one side.  All of this was elevated about 6 1/2 feet.  When the u-rock crowd started coming around for LAN parties, the bunk became a hot spot.  We could put a TV on the landing, and several people could sit on the bunk and play games.  But the bunk was a simple 2x4 project, designed to hold the weight of one person.  Although it was taking the weight of up to 4+ adults and a heavy TV, signs that it wasn't happy were obvious. 
    The idea of creating a loft has been something I've considered for quite awhile.  But with the advent of gaming and extended use of the bunk, the loft idea started to materialize. 
    This wasn't my standard get-a-bunch-of-2x4s-and-build projects.  The span was almost 12 feet, and I wanted no center supports.  I wanted something that would support the weight of several people and any gear (like TVs) with ease.  This project called for some research. 
    I basically had to design a floor.  But I had several questions: how large would the floor joists need to be to handle the weight over this span?  And how much weight did this structure need to support?  To answer the second question, I figured I'd use a standard structure of similar function—a deck.  These structures must be designed to handle the weight of several people and are built several feet above the ground.  Whatever loads a deck could handle would be sufficient for my loft.  It turns out that the load requirement for a standard deck is 40 pounds per square foot  Next, I had calculate floor joist side and spacing.  It's a bit tricky to find if you don't know what you're looking for, but I came across a chart for maximum floor joist spans.  Turns out there is one more variable: wood type.  Looking at the ad for my local building supply store, the wood varied.  So, I used the numbers for the weakest, which turn out only to effect the result by inches anyway.
    The conclusion: the loft would use 2x8" floor joists with a little over 12" spacing.  The area covered is ruffly 7x11'8" with 5/8" OSB flooring.  According to the carts, this exceeds the requirements for 40 lbs/sq.ft.
    I started preparing around 9:00am, taking down the old bunk, removing shelfs and clearing the loft area.  I went for supplies around noon.  Talon arrived around 1:00pm and we worked until 9:00pm—and the loft was complete.  It's very solid and much nicer then the bunk setup.  No center supports to interfere down below and there is no longer the weight problem.  Now cleanup begins!
   Thankx Talon for your help!

January 04, 2007

More on 'creation'



"What about the Dates?"
    This is a small section just over 2 pages, which attempts to address why radiocarbon dating is wrong. It presents what looks to be like a series of controversies around radiocarbon dating that discredit it as an accurate method of dating more then 4,000 years. Oddly enough, no one outside the book in any source on carbon dating seems to have taken notice-- the entire scientific community apparently still doesn't know.

"For example, radiocarbon "clock." This method of radiocarbon dating was developed over a period of two decades by scientists all over the world. It was widely acclaimed for accurate dating of artifacts from man's ancient history. But then a conference of the world's experts, including radiochemists, archaeologists and geologists, was held in Uppsala, Sweden, to compare notes. The report of their conference showed that the fundamental assumptions on which the measurements were based had been found untrustworthy to a greater or less degree. For example, it found that the rate of radioactive carbon formation in the atmosphere has not been consistent in the past and that this method is not reliable in dating object from 2,000 B.C.E or before."

    The first question should be: did that really happen?  Did a bunch of scientists get together and punch holes in carbon dating?  To find out, examine the history of radiocarbon dating.  This article mentions the meeting in Uppsala, Sweden and mentions the “failure of Radiocarbon Dating".  But this "failure" wasn't whole-sale—it had to do with a calibration factor that needed to be taken into account.  The presentation in the book is only partly correct.  The "not reliable in dating objects from 2,000 B.C.E. of before" isn't entirely true.  As you can observe in this Radiocarbon calibration chart, the uncalibrated carbon date deviates more and more from the calibrated date the further back in time one goes.  Around 2,000 B.C.E, it's about 250 year off and at 5,000 B.C.E, about 1,000 years off.  The wording suggests that 2,000 B.C.E. is some sort of cut-off date which is useful if your trying to argue that man has only been around for 6,000 years.  The book fails to mention the radiocarbon calibration charts, which by it's publication in the 1980ies would have been wildly known.  Today, carbon dating is credited with being accurate to between 58,000 and 62,000 years ago; older samples have too little 14C to distinguished it from the background radiation. 
    The book fails to mention other dating methods at all.  Dendrochronology (tree ting dating) goes back as more then 10,000 years.  Ice cores go back 800,000 years.  Lichenometry (using lichens on rock to predict age) is useful up to 10,000 years.  Paleomagnetism (Earth's magnetic field), Varves (rock layers), Speleothem (cave deposits), not to mention other forms of radiometric dating all enforce carbon dating, not disprove it.
    Core to the book's argument is the claim that people have only been around for 6,000 years.  This date falls just before what is known as the Bronze Age.  Apparently, the stone age, dating back 2 million years, didn't actually happen.  Cave paintings date back to 40,000 years ago and evidence of the controlled use of fire date to over 790,000 years ago.  Modern humans have existed, more or less as we are today, for about 130,000 years—some 124,000 more years then creationists claim.
    Some of this information about dating I knew already.  Carbon dating I've read a fair deal on before, and I learned about dendrochronology in my archeology class.  Others I learned about quickly with cursory reading.  When I started researching some of the dates and evidence on pre/proto humans, I became fascinated.  This subject is so interesting I'm going to have to devote more time into learning more.  This fact of finding out so much neat information might make reading this inaccurate book worthwhile.
Craig and Crystal

Craig and Crystal

   Craig fixed my truck!  As with many vehicles, rust is destroying my trusty mode of transportation.  Some time ago, the frame around the back of the bed in my truck rusted to the point the bed was no longer attached.  However, now, thanks to Craig, the bed is again securely connected to the rest of the truck.  Thankx Craig!

January 01, 2007

Happy New Yeat!



So 2006 is closed out, and let's see how did for traffic:
Traffic: 1,771,749 hits from 115,218 visitors
Data: 54.93 gigabytes from 1,448,698 files
Average traffic: 154 megabytes/day, 435 visitors/day

Pictured is Vinny celebrating the New Year :)