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Paul's blog

PostHeaderIcon A new face

I moved this blog to a new domain at a new hosting company.

Especially for that one reader who uses RSS to receive notification of my bi-yearly post: the new home address of my blog is claessen.com/blog, the RSS feed for posts is at claessen.com/blog/?feed=rss2 and for comments at claessen.com/blog/?feed=comments-rss2.

I also changed the layout, using a theme that is freely available from my new hosting company www.040hosting.eu (I only customized the header picture, which shows part of our lanai)

PostHeaderIcon farcebook

Maybe it’s facebook that should update their software!

PostHeaderIcon Subwoofer

Someone, somewhere, turned on a subwoofer.

My wife and I looked at each other and we both said “WOW”.

All windows in our house were rattling. Not just a little in the direction of the noise, but ALL windows around the house were vibrating at a low frequency.

It was 4:38 AM!

And the subwoofer was located some 40+ miles away from us.

That is, when it was turned on.

By the time our windows started to tremble, the subwoofer was already some 10 miles up in the air: one of the last Delta 2 rockets, blasted into orbit with the help of NINE solid rocket boosters, 6 of which were ignited on the ground, the other 3 during the ascent.

We were watching its launch form our backyard, and it was a true spectacle. We could clearly see the ignition of the 3 remaining boosters and the jettison of the burned-out ones.

Anyway, we now have a brand new GPS satellite in orbit. And it will also test the new L5 signaling for future, more accurate and more powerful GPS with extra provisions for aviation.

The Delta 2’s are being phased out and replaced by Delta 4 and Atlas 5 rockets.

Interested in one of the oldies? The Air Force has 5 of them for sale!

See: Delta 2’s for sale


(The picture is of an actual subwoofer: a 60 inch one! See Link)

PostHeaderIcon Not EVERYONE is giving up their horses

PostHeaderIcon Announcement

My long anticipated class “dealing with disappointments” has been canceled.

PostHeaderIcon Quote

All my faults are stress related

— Plate Tectonics, 2009



PostHeaderIcon A Spousal Conversation (3)

Saturday morning; my wife and her daughter are leaving the house to hit the stores.

She (in Schwarzenegger/Terminator voice): “I’ll be back.”

Me (standard response): “Then I’ll be Beethoven.”

Me (Nosy): “Where are you going?”

She: “To Sam’s and Dillards.”

Me: *The Look*

She: “We’re NOT gonna buy anything! We’re just gonna look. BYE”

1 minute later. She’s back.

She: “I forgot something.”

Me (nosy): “What did you forget?”

She: “My wallet.”

Me (insufferable smarty pants): “You don’t need a wallet if you’re not gonna buy anything!”

She (lovingly dealing with smarty-pant-ism): *smack*

PostHeaderIcon Thermometer quiz

Here’s another quiz: I can’t call it counter-intuitive because it doesn’t have much to do with intuition. More with simple knowledge.

Read the four statements below. Only ONE is correct. Which one is it? Answer is in the first comment to this post.

a. Fahrenheit defined the human body temperature (his!) on his newly invented temperature scale as 100. This got later revised to 98.6 degrees.

b. Celsius invented a temperature scale where 0 degrees would indicate the temperature of boiling water, and 100 degrees that of melting ice.

c. ‘Absolute zero’ on Kelvin’s temperature scale equals -273 Celsius.

d. Nowadays the Réamur temperature scale is only used to measure the temperature of milk in the making of pizza dough.

PostHeaderIcon A man, a plan, a canal: Panama

No, this title does not indicate this is a post about palindromes (even though it is one).

Rather, it’s the first post in a new category: “Counter Intuitive”.

I had a long list of counter intuitive answers, situations, solutions, information and phenomena. A list of questions that you are absolutely certain to know the right answer to. The ones you would bet a LOT of money on. And then you would lose that money!

Unfortunately, I can’t find that list anymore, but I remember the following question from that list, one that tests geographic knowledge:

Suppose you’re on a boat on the Atlantic ocean. You’re on your way to the Pacific ocean, which you will reach by traversing the Panama canal.

When you enter the Panama canal, you mark your position on a map and call it A. When you exit the canal, you again mark your position on a map and call it B.

The question now is:

B is:

1. West of A


2. East of A

If you don’t know where the Panama canal is, you’ll probably just have to guess, look up the answer, and learn something new today.

But most people know where the Panama canal is and thus they also know that going from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean through the Panama canal takes you on an east to west journey! (The Panama canal will take you from the Caribbean Sea to the Gulf of Panama)

So the answer is simple!

Mesdames et Monsieurs: Faites vos jeux!

(For those of you who visit Vegas more that Monte Carlo: “Ladies and Gentlemen: Place your bets”)

This is a ‘self grading’ test: After having answered the question and placed your bet, you look up a map of Panama and verify your answer: if you were wrong you mail me a check for the amount of your bet. If you were correct, you get to keep that money and may pat yourself on the shoulder for being such a smarty pants.

PostHeaderIcon High Ethical Standards

“Clients know that Bernard Madoff has a personal interest in maintaining the unblemished record of value, fair-dealing, and high ethical standards that has always been the firm’s hallmark.”

— Text on the now modified website of investment firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. owned by former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange Bernard Madoff.

If his business dealings indeed were of High Ethical Standards, I’d HATE to see business being done based on LOW Ethical Standards!

(Bernard Madoff was arrested last Thursday and charged with a single count of securities fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission immediately filed separate civil charges against Madoff. The fraud is possibly one of the biggest in history. The alleged loss of investors’ money is estimated at 50 billion dollar! Yes, boys and girls, that’s FIFTY THOUSAND MILLION DOLLARS! All removed from their owners by ‘fair-dealing’ while observing the Highest Ethical Standards!)