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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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Labor and Work

"The prudent, penniless beginner in the world, labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land, for himself; then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This, say its advocates, is free labor---the just and generous, and prosperous system, which opens the way for all---gives hope to all, and energy, and progress, and improvement of condition to all." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), pp. 478-479. 

"No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), p. 479. 

"Labor is the true standard of value." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania" (February 15, 1861), p. 212. 

"The world is agreed that labor is the source from which human wants are mainly supplied. There is no dispute upon this point." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), p. 477. 

"I am always for the man who wishes to work." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, "Recommendation For Unidentified Man" (August 15, 1864), p. 495. 

"If at any time all labour should cease, and all existing provisions be equally divided among the people, at the end of a single year there could scarcely be one human being left alive---all would have perished by want of subsistence." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion" (December 1, 1847), p. 415. 

"Labor is the great source from which nearly all, if not all, human comforts and necessities are drawn." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Speech at Cincinnati, Ohio" (September 17, 1859), p. 459. 

"Wanting to work is so rare a merit, that it should be encouraged." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Letter to George D. Ramsay" (October 17, 1861), p. 556. 

"Beavers build houses; but they build them in nowise differently, or better now, than they did, five thousand years ago. Ants, and honey-bees, provide food for winter; but just in the same way they did, when Solomon referred the sluggard to them as patterns of prudence. Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "First Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions" (April 6, 1858), p. 437. 

"Property is the fruit of labor...property is desirable...is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, "Reply to New York Workingmen's Democratic Republican Association" (March 21, 1864), pp. 259-260. 

"Every man is proud of what he does well; and no man is proud of what he does not do well. With the former, his heart is in his work; and he will do twice as much of it with less fatigue. The latter performs a little imperfectly, looks at it in disgust, turns from it, and imagines himself exceedingly tired. The little he has done, comes to nothing, for want of finishing." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), p. 475. 

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." Lincoln's First Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861. 

"Upon this subject, the habits of our whole species fall into three great classes---useful labour, useless labour and idleness. Of these the first only is meritorious; and to it all the products of labour rightfully belong; but the two latter, while they exist, are heavy pensioners upon the first, robbing it of a large portion of it's just rights. The only remedy for this is to, as far as possible, drive useless labour and idleness out of existence." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion" (December 1, 1847), p. 412. 

"Work, work, work, is the main thing." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Letter To John M. Brockman" (September 25, 1860), p. 121. 

"And I am glad to know that there is a system of labor -> where the laborer can strike if he wants to! I would to God that such a system prevailed all over the world. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech at Hartford, Connecticut" (March 5, 1860), p. 7. 

"If you intend to go to work there is no better place than right where you are; if you do not intend to go to work, you can not get along anywhere." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "Letter To John D. Johnston" (November 4, 1851), p. 111. 

"I don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech at New Haven, Connecticut" (March 6, 1860), p. 24. 

"...half finished work generally proves to be labor lost." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Communication to the People of Sangamon County" (March 9, 1832), p. 5. 

"And, inasmuch [as] most good things are produced by labour, it follows that [all] such things of right belong to those whose labour has produced them. But it has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have laboured, and others have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To [secure] to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion" (December 1, 1847), p. 412. 

"...the working men are the basis of all governments, for the plain reason that they are the most numerous..." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech to Germans at Cincinnati, Ohio" (February 12, 1861), p. 202.

http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln97.html



Best wishes,

John Coffey

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Solving Traffic

Got into some serious traffic problems in Greenwood today, including passing an accident that slowed traffic to a crawl.

There is a Diverging Diamond Interchange in Greenwood close to where I live.  I like it, and and I like Traffic Circles (roundabouts) because they are more efficient.


I saw Ramp Meters in Salt Lake City and Chicago, and I always hated them because they make you wait to get on the highway, but perhaps they help traffic.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Leap PQ-9907

Somebody at the Columbus Chess Club has this little chess clock, and said that they only paid $18 for it.  For $18, I think that it is pretty terrific.



Wholesale chess has their own version of this clock which costs more:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHgneZ-7GY8 

The clock has a low profile, which means that it is not as tall as most chess clocks.  It is also a little smaller than average.  For me, with a bad, and recently often painful shoulder, it took a little extra effort to hit the button.  I had to reach ever so slightly further, but my shoulder noticed the difference.  I don't think that it is noticeable for anybody else.

The clock has options for both increment and delay, but according to the manual you cannot use both at the same time, which is no big deal.  It also has a count up mode. 

The clock is really easy to set.    I thought it was easier to learn how to set the clock by just experimenting with it, than it was to read the slightly confusing English/Chinese manual.  The clock only remembers the last time control you set.  This is not as a big of deal as it sounds, because it is pretty easy to change the time control.  You reset the clock by turning it off and on.

The clock only supports one time control.  If you had more than one time control with the same level of increment or delay, then maybe you could use the count up mode, or for something like 40/2 d5 followed by G/60 d5 you could set the time to 3 hours.

At this price it was for me a no brainer to order one.  The clock appears to be well made made enough, although a little on the cheap side, naturally.  However, even if it wears out in a year, I still will have gotten my money's worth.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Stargate Atlantis Season 3 Episode 4 (and Star Wars 40th anniversary.)

Stargate Atlantis Season 3 Episode 4:  What a fantastic episode!

Stargate Atlantis seems to be the most fun of all the Stargate series, but I thought that Season 2 was a little slow.  Season 3 seems has gotten off to a great start.

This is actually my third time through the series, but it has been a few years, so I don't remember all the details.  When you have a series this entertaining, it is worth seeing again.

Star Wars is approaching its 40th anniversary next month.  What other movie has such a serious social impact 40 years after its release?

How many times have I seen the original Star Wars?    My guess is 18 times.  Maybe five times in the first couple of years.  How did I arrive at the number 18?   I don't know.  I have been sort of keeping a running count, but maybe I have overestimated.  Maybe not.

Star Wars helped give rise the video game industry.  In the years after its release, there were an explosion of "space" video games.  In the late 70's, I was playing a space game called "Tail Gunner", which has to be the first 3D shoot-em-up.  For its time, it was amazing.

If Star Wars helped shape the video game industry, then the video game industry helped shape me.  I was already interested in computers in the 1970's, but because of my interest in video games, I was writing and selling games by the mid 80's.  Eventually, I was employed at a major video game development company working on all sorts of games.

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