zen.org Communal Weblog

May 31, 2007

Nine Digit Prime Numbers

Filed under: — Sven @ 20:20 GMT

Have you even been sitting at work and start wondering how many nine digit prime numbers are there and who are the lucky people who have those Social Security numbers? No? Me neither.

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May 25, 2007

Bigger, and bigger, and bigger

Filed under: — brendan @ 14:32 GMT

Sometimes they both sleep through the night, and then the smaller follows it with long naps during the day. And blink they’re bigger.
The boys on the couch
Patrick would walk around carrying his brother forever if he was given the chance.

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Ireland TV station reachable only via London?

Filed under: — brendan @ 13:40 GMT

Election results are flying around in Ireland from yesterday’s election. I figure I’ll look at the RTE pages about the results … and it’s a bit slow. Why? Eircom’s sending RTE’s traffic over thru London?!? And whois says tiscali.net is an Italian company.

traceroute to www.rte.ie (89.207.56.94), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
1 dsl.network.home (192.168.20.1) 0.362 ms 0.586 ms 0.505 ms
2 b-ras1.bbh.dublin.eircom.net (159.134.155.19) 134.579 ms 136.391 ms 135.432 ms
3 pos10-0.coreb.cwm.dublin.eircom.net (83.71.112.77) 44.852 ms 46.362 ms 40.098 ms
4 pos0-0.corea.thn.london.eircom.net (83.71.113.102) 55.073 ms 56.998 ms 56.655 ms
5 sl-gw22-lon-2-3.sprintlink.net (213.206.156.209) 55.808 ms 57.405 ms 55.701 ms
6 sl-bb22-lon-9-0.sprintlink.net (213.206.128.104) 55.889 ms 57.106 ms 58.087 ms
7 sl-bb21-lon-3-0.sprintlink.net (213.206.129.152) 60.690 ms 59.539 ms 57.905 ms
8 sl-gw11-lon-15-0.sprintlink.net (213.206.128.59) 51.129 ms 53.126 ms 53.428 ms
9 sle-tisca-3-0.sprintlink.net (213.206.159.98) 51.896 ms 50.280 ms 50.700 ms

10 so-0-0-0.dub10.ip.tiscali.net (213.200.82.74) 62.665 ms 62.589 ms 61.977 ms
11 rte-dub1.ip.tiscali.net (213.200.67.50) 63.408 ms 64.028 ms 61.799 ms
12 89.207.56.94 (89.207.56.94)(H!) 66.711 ms (H!) 69.544 ms (H!) 70.821 ms

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May 24, 2007

Delaware Rag

Filed under: — Sven @ 21:16 GMT

Last Sunday, on 余艾蕾’s whim, my nuclear family went to Newtown Welcome Day. Apart from getting Zoë, my nearly three year old, a bag of kettlecorn we got nothing. Well, almost nothing. We checked out some art work, none of it was quite right for both of us. We where on our way out, but Zoë wanted to relax and eat her kettlecorn. We sat down at a stages near the exit, and up came the Delaware Rag. Even before they started playing I was admiring John Corrigan’s handle bar mustache. When they started playing I was admiring Mr. Corrigan’s kazoo playing (if you got rhythm you can’t play the kazoo bad, can you?).

Primary instruments include Mr. Corrigan on the mandolin, Paul Kupfer on the guitar, Patrick Mahalland on the bass (not the fish), and Casey Neal an the banjo. Mr. Neal also had a guitar but Zoë wanted leave before it got used. Primary critic, Zoë, liked them until she filled up with kettlecorn; this is actually saying a lot as the only CDs she seem to like are The Beatles and a Berlitz Spanish language CD that tries to teach you how to pick up girls in Spanish (I got it to help me understand Fútbol matches on Spanish television (really!)). On the way out I picked up there CD, The Rag for $10.

Apart from not being rag time, it is a worthwhile CD. Though it may be a strange relation, it’s oddly similar to the Grateful Dead. Maybe it’s because I live walking distance to the Delaware Canal but I think the best song on this album, I fear to call country music (blueglass?), is Toe the Line. Well worth the ¢99 I suspect iTunes is selling it for.

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May 20, 2007

How Not to Boil an Egg

Filed under: — Sven @ 01:36 GMT

A few days ago I was hacking, I had these nice eggs from a local farm and I wanted them boiled. For some reason M. F. K. Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf popped in my mind, I went to the attic and found the book I had not seen in years. In the chapter How Not to Boil an Egg I found the recipe:

…cover the egg with cold water in a little pan. Heat it briskly, and as soon as it begins to bubble, the egg is done. It will be tenderer then when started in hot water, which of course makes the part nearest the shell cook immediately, instead of heating the whole thing gently.

I actually boiled five eggs, so I let in go until it started boiling. The eggs where perfect. That book is going to stay in the kitchen.

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May 16, 2007

Death of the anal spelling cult

Filed under: — brendan @ 12:10 GMT

If you were really anal about the correct spelling of words (but then again who isn’t, right? right?!?), you’d die in a fire because you’d never find the way out:

Emergency sign misspelling

At least the sign’s on a bar that’s now closed. And for the joy of completion, at the bottom and the address should say County Dublin instead of just Dublin and the fax number is missing its 01 prefix.

See? Isn’t it better now?

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May 8, 2007

Casual Means Cool

Filed under: — Sven @ 13:52 GMT

Still wearing a tie to work? Grist reports that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says dressing more casual to work will help slow down climate change by reducing the need for air conditioning.

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May 7, 2007

A French and a French Canadian Walk Into a Bar…

Filed under: — Sven @ 11:44 GMT

Does anybody else apart from me think of The Kids in the Hall‘s Kevin McDonald when they see France’s president elect Nicolas Sarkozy?

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May 6, 2007

Accepting your child has lost his own mind

Filed under: — brendan @ 20:43 GMT

We’re up early, just the guys. A squirmy four month-old Eoin is in my arms, protesting the fact that his dad’s just not made to breast feed him. Since his mom will be up shortly, I won’t grab any from the freezer. On the TV I’m watching Jon Stewart.

Patrick, age five, comes downstairs in his new Spiderman robe and plants himself down on the couch. “Can I watch something?”

“This is almost done.” I hear a sigh of resignation, the muttering of this is so boring hidden by closed lips. After Jon’s Moment of Zen, I make the MythTV box go to the set of children’s shows it’s been recording.

Seeing the first appearing on the list, I ask, “How about Bob the Builder?”

His answer surprises me: “I don’t like Bob any more.”

“What?! Why?”

“Bob’s stupid. He’s only for babies.”

“Why do you say that?” I ask with genuine curiosity. I already know the answer, but still, you have to ask.

“My friend at school says it too.”

No surprise. A short list of names quickly takes form in my head. “Which friend?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well I still like Bob,” I inform him, and press the button on the remote to make it start to play. I’m sitting in the chair still trying to hold on to fuss-monster Eoin. A few minutes pass, and out of the corner of my eye I can see Patrick watching the TV with me.

As the show continues, Eoin adds his own baby-speak commentary to the current episode of Bob. “Eoin, please, I’m trying to watch Bob the Builder.” By admonishing his little brother I seem to have given Patrick some sort of signal to share his opinion.

“Actually, I do like Bob,” he admits suddenly. Then he carefully qualifies that statement when I look over at him, a look of surprise appearing on my face. “But only a little bit.”

Small victories like this are all I can hope to get. We’re entering a new phase in our parenting: we now have to roll with the punches as these darling classmates attempt to change Patrick’s own mind.

Sure, he’ll be unconsciously fighting this sort of thing for the rest of his life. How to help strengthen his inner confidence when he likes certain music, believes something is wrong, or disagrees with what someone said? I don’t want him to care what people think of his clothes. I want him to try lots of books, music, sports, activities, food, everything. Then he can decide what’s good from his own experience, not what everyone else is telling him.

Accomplishing this is so incredibly difficult that most of us only succeed in small steps. It’s always going to be hard to keep your own thoughts, even as you’re still finding them and developing them. The reality that he’d be going through this so soon is the single biggest shock to me. He’ll grow from these experiences, of course, and I know he’s strong in his heart and will—and mind. All we can do is show him disagreement with others is okay.

The boy watching Bob the Builder across from me has smiles playing on the corners of his mouth. He is back to himself again, if only for a moment. And he knows I agree with him.

It’s apparently still safe to like Bob the Builder—a little bit.

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May 3, 2007

Eircom's hidden scandal, secret shame

Filed under: — brendan @ 06:19 GMT

Hidden on the upper floor of the Blackrock Shopping Centre, it blends so perfectly you might never notice. An innocent kiosk, as plain and ordinary as any other. Not many people seem to use these Internet-on-wheels setups, but still they’re dropped into public shopping areas and airports. There’s an unknown truth in this box in Blackrock. You’d be so distracted by the shoes you need to buy that you wouldn’t think it odd. You just need to look at the Eircom broadband kiosk, look in its heart…

eircom broadband kiosk running suse linux

Across town in the basement of a church…
The team of Dell systems finished their turn. It was time.

“Hi, my name is Eircom.” Take a deep breath, he thought. He continued, his gaze looking down at the tiles on the floor. “And I’m a free Linux user.”

Many voices responded with compassion: “Hi, Eircom.” He looked up and glanced over at the Unison.ie Web server, who offered a kind smile.

Nervously, he gulped some coffee from his paper cup and began with barely a whisper. “This is the first time I’ve come to a Windows Anonymous meeting…”

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