The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2001

… I woke in a tub of ice and had two kidneys missing!

No one would have made the connection between his job and his death, had it not been for a doctor who specifically asked if he had been in a warehouse or exposed to dried rat or mouse droppings at any time. They said there is a virus (much like the Hanta virus) that lives in dried rat and mouse droppings. Once dried, these droppings are like dust and can easily be breathed in or ingested if a person does not wear protective gear or fails to wash face and hands thoroughly. An autopsy was performed on the clerk to verify the doctor's suspicions.

Never underestimate the magnitude of human ignorance. America seems to be about ensuring that the stupidest survive, and in the case of the hot McDonalds coffee on the lap lawsuit, the dumbest often get awarded millions of dollars. How did it ever come to this.

Snippits of two (2) email messages I received today.

Sigh.

I'm on this mailing list and occasionally (okay, rather frequently) items such as these are forwarded as gospel; as truth that we shall hold dear to ourselves. They're nice people, don't get me wrong. But the whole lot of them use Windows email clients and think nothing of forwarding the silliest little thing to the list (including 39MB atachments) and then get all defensive if called to the carpet on such silliness.

I sent replies to the list about both of these, sending in links to debunk the email, and what do I get back? “Yadda‥yadda‥ I just forward 'em, I don't research 'em. My view is, better safe than sorry.” and “Mr. Wellspring of knowledge, If only you could use your powers for good.”

You might ask me why I'm still on such a list. Good question. I think I like rattling their cages from time to time. Like now.


Talk about astronomical chances …

It seems that Taco Bell is going to give everyone in the US a free taco if the Mir hits a 40'x40' (40 feet by 40 feet, or 12 meters by 12 meters for the Imperially challenged) target in the South Pacific. I even heard a rumor that they took out insurance just in case they have to pay out.

So what are the odds of Mir (or any piece thereof) hitting a 40'x40' area? Well, the area of a sphere is 4πr²—to make things easier let's just say it's 12r² and use 4,000 miles (6,437 km) as r. That's 12*(4*103 * 4*103) which is 19.2*107, normalize it to 1.9*108 and oh, let's say 2*108 or 20 million square miles (you gotta love exponents—makes the math easier to work with). The target is 1,600 square feet (1.6*103) and there are 5,280 feet per mile, so that makes some 28 million square feet per mile (2.8*107). So multiply 2*108 by 2.8*107 and you end up with a surface area of 5.6*1015 square feet for the Earth. Divide that by the target area and you get 3.5*1012 which means if my math is sound, one chance in 3.5 trillion.

Well, actually, not quite. That's the entire Earth and since most objects orbit around the equator, the likelyhood of the Mir crashing in any arbitrary location, say, the South Pole, is not likely. So let's restrict ourselves to an area between 30° North to 30° South. To make it easy (again) we can treat this as a cylinder, so the surface area is 2πrh, and plugging the numbers in and rounding 2π to 6, we end up with an area that is approximately 10 million square miles, which increases the oods to one in 1.75 trillion.

I don't think Taco Bell has much to worry about.


Guess I was wrong …

Last month I heard a rumor that it was possible to find out the resolution of a browser window and I found no proof of it. Well, I was wrong.

I wasn't entirely wrong, but via SlashDot, a report on Earthlink's browser that does include that information. I checked my own log files and yup, there it is:

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::000041100400030003e201f6000000000501000900000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::000041100400030003e201f6000000000501000900000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::000041100400030003e201f6000000000501000900000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::00004110028001e002740103000000000502000800000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::00004110028001e002740103000000000502000800000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::00004110028001e002740103000000000502000800000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::00004110028001e002740103000000000502000800000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::0000411003200258029a015b000000000503002a00000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::0000411003200258029a015b000000000503002a00000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::0000411003200258029a015b000000000503002a00000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::0000411003200258029a015b000000000503002a00000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::0000411003200258029a015b000000000503002a00000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::0000411003200258029a015b000000000503002a00000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::0000411003200258029a015b000000000503002a00000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::0000411003200258029a015b000000000503002a00000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::0000411003200258029a015b000000000503002a00000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::0000411003200258029a015b000000000503002a00000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::000081100400030000000000000000000503002a00000000
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98)
::ELNSB50::000081100400030000000000000000000503002a00000000

Also from the logs, it looks like they started using this on or about April of 2000, so it's been going on for some time now.

Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site: http://boston.conman.org/, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

http://boston.conman.org/2000/08/01

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2021 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.