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I’ve done a cardboard mock up of a center console for my classic mini, Mr. Ed. As anyone who owns a classic mini knows. The interior lighting sucks, no console, no cup holders, no auxillary power. So I plan on fixing that. I’m going to build a center console with 2 illuminated power plugs, a cup holder, a change holder, a hanger for my ipod, and whatever else I can stuff in it.

Here’s the first mock up I’ve done.

As you can see, some different splices of cardboard with the all important duct tape holding it together.

Here it is from the passenger side. It looks rough, but it’s a mock up what can you expect?

And finally and MOST importantly. The coffee cup test.

Yep. It’s true. And anyone who knows me probably already knows this. So, does this mean I should be treated as a Traitor? That’s the opinion of blow hearted Robert Kennedy. Hmmm… Poor little deprived Robert Kennedy and his fascist ideas towards the ecology. So, I work hard, support my family, try to be a productive part of society, and yet, I’m a traitor because I am skeptical about Global Warming.

I like this one also.

When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.   George Monbiot

Put my name on your list you crazy fool.

I like how the media biases everything to be the end of the world. Like this from the BBC. With whom I’ve lost all respect, and for multiple justifiable reasons.

Notice, no data, just a pretty hockey stick graph.
Global Temperature Change

Wow! Look at that SPIKE in global temperature. We’re all definitely in for it now!. We’re all going to die if we don’t do something quick! Fire up those Carbon Credit bills and tax the crap out of energy.

Uhm, but wait a minute. What about this graph showing the temperature of the troposphere? This data only goes back 30 years because it uses satellite acquired data. Actually 3 different sets of data. This should show the biggest temperature spike on the graph above.
Tropical Temperature
Figure 1. Tropic (20S-20N) temperatures in [anomaly] deg C. All data shown to March 2008. Script for calculations is given in #19 below. Reference periods for original data converted to reference period 1979-1997 here.

(Full article can be found here. )

Uh oh. What happened to the spike in temperature? Hmmm. If you’re a devout believer in the Church of Global Warming, then this chart was created by a heretic and should be ignored as a lie created by the devil himself! Sinner! What ever you do DON’T QUESTION your betters in the Government and Media. They have nothing but you’re best interest at heart.

Can you feel my cynicism? I’m so sick and tired of hearing about Carbon Credits and how the world is going to end from the media that I’m going to be physically ill. You should hear some of the crap they spew on the television and radio around here. It’s nauseating.

Good thing we worry so much about that instead of starvation, poverty, cancer, aids, or any of those other PROVEN problems in the world.

It’s interesting to think about what a person has dreamed about in the past and to relate that to what’s happened through life.

At one point in my life I wanted to play with supercomputers. I thought that this would be the ultimate job ever. To have the power of the fastest computers in the world at my fingertips. To have some of the biggest brains come to me asking questions. Now, well, I that’s pretty much what I do, and yet, it’s not enough. It’s still fun sometimes, most days though, it’s just a job. I work on the fastest computer in the UK and the second fastest in all of Europe. Big woop. It’s just a sad bunch of small pieces that have been put together to make a big thing.

I always wanted to live in Alaska, what an adventure that would be! 3 1/2 years outside of Fairbanks Alaska, and yes, it was one hell of an adventure. You can’t describe the Northern Lights properly. It’s just not possible. I liked it there, but it didn’t live up to the hype in my mind. After less than 4 years we decided to head off and try somewhere new.

Europe. How cool would it be to live there. What an adventure for the family to live in a place just dripping with history. Well, in reality, it pretty much sucks. It’s not bad mind you, it’s just not the adventure I though it might be. I still fight bills, crappy medical, daily crud, etc. It’s fun to go check out the occasional ruin, true. But the crappy pay, absolutely shitty health system, societal bent to master and servant mentality, etc. Well, it leaves much to desire.

What made me think of this? Well, I was just sitting here at my laptop watching an interview with Freeman Dyson, yes I’m a nerd, and thinking how cool it would be to get a small office at some university and be able to do in depth research into some esoteric subject. To work at a lab like Oak Ridge and write papers on quantum computing, underwater basket weaving, memes, quantum black holes, or whatever. How absolutely cool would that be. Go back to school, get my doctorate, and then let the mind wander into new territories. How absolutely fun that would be. How fulfilling a life like that might be.

Be careful of what you wish for. That small office would come with a small paycheck, politics, grant writing, infighting, etc. It wouldn’t be the perfect world imagined. Success isn’t measured in tangible things. It’s measured in happiness. In satisfaction with oneself. I always thought I would be satisfied doing what I’m doing right now, and yet, here I am dreaming about what it would be like to do something else. How funny life can be. Where does this drive for the next thing over the hill end?

One of my hero’s in life was my Uncle Bill. William Wenzloff. If you Googled his name you wouldn’t get a single hit. He dropped out of school in the 9th grade. He never made a fortune. Didn’t write a single paper for publish. Spent most of his life turning a wrench to make ends meet. He died quietly of cancer without making a huge impact on anyones life outside of a tight group of people. And yet, I look to him for inspiration. There was just something about him and his life that people could look to with admiration. At least I do.

Well, we finally got some good news today. We don’t have to move. Sounds like the sale of the house we’re in has fallen through. Good for us, bad for the home owners. Moving again so soon would have really sucked. One less thing to stress about.

So, we’re good for now at least.

Today we had a photographer from the University of Edinburgh out here at the Advanced Computing Center to take some video and pictures. Yes, yours truly is now a film star, ya, not! However I am in the new videos. Anyhow, we were chatting about some of the things he’s taken pictures of and somehow the conversation ended up about how he had taken pictures of Peter Higgs, who had a Yucca tree in his office and that how when it reached the ceiling he would retire.

Momentary pause for consideration. Uhm. Peter Higgs the theoretical physicist? You know, like the one the God Particle is named after? Higg’s boson, Higg’s field. That Peter Higgs? Yep. Sure as sin. It seems that Peter Higgs is an Emeritis Professor at the University of Edinburgh. He lives here in New Town. I just watched a youtube video about him where he talks about walking past the home where James Clerk Maxwell was born while on his daily strolls. This is another place I am going to need to go check out, just to say I’ve been there. Nerd Nirvana.

I know, if you’re not a geek you have no idea of what I’m talking about. That’s okay. I do. Put it this way. The $6,000,000,000 CERN Large Hadron Collider is being used to try and find proof of this particle. Yep, a $6 Billion dollar machine.  

Minor note. There are some questions about whether or not the LHC is going to destroy the Earth. Something about Small Black Holes and Stranglets. Nothing to worry about. If you hear a great big sucking sound from Eastern Europe, well, then it might be a bigger problem. (-:

Anyhow. Needless to say, I’m impressed by this fellow Peter Higgs. It would be fascinating to meet this guy and just have a cup of coffee and chat.

Roberta has started a blog, An American mom in Scotland. Check it out at . I also have it linked on the side by Crabby’s blog.


What’s it like living in a 2nd world country like the UK? Well, you get the pleasure of owning a $6000 paperweight. A 4 month old Paradigm 722 insulin pump with the continuous glucose monitoring option.

Paradigm 722 Insulin Pump

Looks like I get to go back on shots. So much for the great UK health system. What a crock.

Welcome to the UK.

From the annals of “That’s too crazy not to be true” and the “You can’t make crap this crazy up.”

The UK government has outlawed names of products and drinks like a “tequila Slammer” “Whisky shooter”, etc. Yep, you read right. It’s against the law to call them that.  So don’t even think about trying to order a kamakazi.

You can find the whole drunken idiocy here.

Alcoholic drinks that are marketed to be “downed-in-one” – including slammers and shooters – are to be banned under new rules published this morning.

Downing drinks is potentially damaging because it can cause people quickly to get drunk.  David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group “Uhm, ya think genius? That might be the point”

“The Panel could rule against drinks calling themselves shooters and slammers if they decide such names urge rapid drinking. To avoid that happening, we recommend that producers of these drinks re-brand them before the new rule comes into effect next year.”

Welcome to life in the UK.

The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.

“The deepest sin of the human mind is to believe things without evidence”

“Zeal without knowledge is fire without light”

Thomas Henry Huxley

P.S. Agnosticism simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that for which he has no grounds for professing to believe.

I’m currently reading an interesting book by contraversial author Richard Dawkins called “The Selfish Gene.”

The Selfish Gene

It was written back in 1976 and is still very interesting today. I guess the best description I’ve found for it is “A Gene centered view of Evolution.”

One of the comments in the book that I found very fascinating was a reference to the human brain in regards to the number of neurons. “The human brain contains thousands of millions of neurons while only a few hundred transisters could fit within a skull.” Remember, this was written in the mid 70’s. Current integrated circuits have around 100,000,000 transisters per square centimeter. So, the thousands of millions of neurons is now equivelant to about 10 or so square centimeters of integrated circuit. Kind of makes one stop and think. (A current Opteron Processor has about 54.3 million transistors).

Only about half way through the book so far, but it’s definitely been worth the read to this point.

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April 2008
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