Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Googol

Searching for the word "google" on Google did not give me the definition that I was looking for. It turns out the word I wanted was "googol". I assumed that they mean the same thing, but they do not.  

Sunday, August 26, 2018

"You is"

When I changed some text from "He is" to "you are", I found myself wondering why the verb had to change?  (I might have known this back in High School, but that's been a pretty long time ago.)   Of course, we live in an age where you can find the answer to just about anything in ten seconds or less.  Imagine you were growing up in 1978, or even 1988, and you wanted to know the answer to this question?  First you would ask your parents, who might respond with that this is just how it is, and then you would ask a couple of your teachers until you got a definite answer.

One thing about me is that I will see things that might be rather trivial, but then I will get curious and want to know the answer.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Classic songs

Ever have a song stick with you for most of your life? My parents liked listening to older styles of music.  They had a record with "The Last Farewell" which I listened to many times growing up, so the song has stuck with me:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKdRpDpIR70 



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Success Isn't about Fancy Titles. Focus on This Instead.

Re: Columbus Kentucky

Steve Salo wrote the following:

I have never been there but I am quite familiar with Columbus Kentucky. It was made famous in the civil war because of it's location within Kentucky and also lying on the Mississippi river (just a little south of the confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers). Rivers were the main "interstate" means of travel back in that day, and also provided natural barriers for defense. Early in the war, Kentucky declared neutrality and prohibited any northern or southern troops to invade their state. Kentucky being a border state could easily have tipped the scales in the southern favor if they had succeeded. Lincoln's famous quote was "I would like God on our side, but we need Kentucky".

About six months after the war started. Leonidas Polk (a southern general) violated Kentucky's neutrality and set up a fort at Columbus to guard traffic on the river. His goal was to prevent union traffic from penetrating the deep south via the MS river. Since the south was first to violate neutrality, Ulysses Grant used the opportunity to fight a battle there (actually directly across the river in Belmont) and "liberate" Kentucky. The battle was a minor win, but was given much publicity in the press because the north needed a win after losing badly at Bull Run. The battle was successful, and from a political standpoint it was very successful to gain Kentucky's loyalty. It was Grant's first battle, and the important lesson he learned form it was that "the enemy is often as afraid of you, as you are of him". Throughout the remainder of the war Grant applied this principal and fought with a vigorous offense. 

Eventually the fort at Columbus fell, and Grant also captured two more confederate river forts (Henry and Donnelson) which opened up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. At fort Donnelson he captured nearly 13,000 confederate soldiers. Donnelson was an amazing victory in so many ways. That left the upper Mississippi in the hands of the Union and later Grant would seize the entire river down through New Orleans by eliminate a nearly impregnable fort at Vicksburg, MS. And fort Henry and Donnelson opened up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers allowing union access to all of Tennessee, Northern Alabama, and Northern Mississippi. The battles in the Eastern theatre still to this day get the most publicity, however the Civil war was truly won in the western theatre.

Grant is considered by military historians to be among the top generals in world history, right up there with Alexander the Great, Napoleon, etc. Unfortunately, his subsequent presidency was not as spectacular, although not terrible either. Grant had to oversee reconstruction and integrating millions of black slave into a free society - with factions from both the north and south who fought any improvement in the civil rights of the former slaves. As a result of a difficult presidency, his military honors have not always been fully realized in this century.

Steve Salo

Columbus Kentucky

I was looking at a map and I just happened to see that there is a town called Columbus in Kentucky. It is microscopic, and not near anything except the the Mississippi river. Downtown consists of a very small post office and a restaurant or bar called "Jen's Place", and that's it. Next to the river is a park and a Civil War Museum.

Sometimes, I wonder why a few towns exist at all. This is even true for some places I have lived in, like Little York, Indiana.

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The Poison of Nostalgia

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Roundabouts

The first roundabout I ever saw was in my neighborhood of Sugarhouse in Salt Lake City. It was fairly small, and replaced a 4 way intersection. As you approached it there was a sign that said "Traffic Circle" which created some confusion in my mind as to whether it should be called a roundabout or a traffic circle.

It turns out the two terms are not for the same thing. Traffic Circles are larger and do no require you to yield before entering. Roundabouts are smaller, and you must yield before you enter. The traffic is slower on roundabouts than traffic circles, making them safer.

In the last decade we have seen an explosion of roundabouts and I like them. They are safer and faster than normal intersections.

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Erudite

I pronounced "Erudite" with a long "U" sound, but I watched about five videos on how to pronounce the word, and all seem to be a short U.  In fact, most sounded like a short "A" sound which makes little sense to me.


In this regard, I notice that many of the short vowel sounds pronounced in English don't seem that distinct from each other, at least in the United States.  Maybe this is why so many speakers from the British Empire use long vowel sounds, just the opposite of American speakers.  For example, "Evolution" with a long E sound.

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Universe (Copy of Facebook Post.)

When I think of the Universe, I think of space. Lots and lots of space. There are around 100 billion galaxies, although I have heard that there might be more, and most galaxies contain at least 100 billion stars. Our Milky Way galaxy alone has between 100 and 400 billion stars and is a hundred thousand light years across. Our galaxy is so big that its gravitational attraction is strong enough to have smaller galaxies orbit it the way the moon orbits the earth.

But what the universe is made of is energy. Enormous amounts of it. Even empty space has energy. Most of the mass of elementary particles comes from the huge amount of energy inside those particles. Energy created the universe and energy causes it to expand at an ever accelerating rate. Energy created space itself.

Empty space is not empty, but full of fields that have energy in them. Everywhere there are fields that correspond to each elementary particle that makes up the universe, and a field for every force that defines how those particles interact. We can't see the fields, but we can observe the results of those fields. The universe is like a boiling pot of water full of energy, and we only observe what is on the surface.

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