HINT: it is not a particular kind of wine receptacle.


Flo, you’re such an oxymoron

At Longhorn's in Dublin, OH, the lunch menu says:

Flo's Filet™ - Go with the Flo! Fresh, aged tenderloin, hand-cut in-house every day. Our most popular steak. 7 oz $11.59

Now, that is a neat trick! Both fresh, and aged!



HINT: It is not just some antics.

Thanks to John Biernacki for suggesting this word.



Bugs in Microsoft Windows CE

I have a Compaq iPAQ pocket pc with the PCMCIA sleeve and an IBM 340 MB Compact Flash+ microdrive with PCMCIA adaptor.

  • After a network adaptor is added, its configuration cannot be removed, resulting in the inability to correct errors.
  • Media Player won't play songs stored in a secondary storage device. You have to copy the song to main memory to play it.



This week's word is brought to you by the State of Florida.



This week's word is brought to you by the forthcoming second printing of the CVS Pocket Reference.

NOTE: Link is to the 2nd Edition, since the first edition (second printing) is, well, out of print.



No Alarm?

In the Crown Room of the Delta terminal (#3) at O'Hare airport of Chicago, the men's restroom has a sign as you enter that says:

No smoking
alarm will sound

Without punctuation, of course, this means that if you smoke, you can be sure that the only way you'll be caught is if a person reports you.

vanity scan

A "vanity scan" is a search for things that refer to oneself. In the case of the author of a book, a vanity scan might entail seeking out that book on the shelves of a book store.




From the Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary:

bou*stro*phe*don (boo'stre-fed'n, -fe'don') n. [Gk. boustrophedon, turning like an ox while plowing: bous, ox + strephein, to turn.] An ancient writing method in which the lines were inscribed alternately from right to left and from left to right. -- bou*stroph'e*don'ic (-strofidon'ik) adj.


  • Searching for a parking space in a very full parking lot. Question: At what fullness is this a good strategy vs. driving down a side looking to see an empty one (depends upon dimensions of lot, spacing of rows and spaces, etc.).
  • Searching for a word in a array of letters.
  • Browse-based shopping in a grocery store.
  • Any time a path must be continuous through a lattice doing work as much as possible.
  • Old line printers, like the Apple Imagewriter. Question: Do laser printers scan this way internally?


  • Televisions. They only do `work' in the left-to-right direction, returning right-to-left without modifying the image. This could be called semiboustrophedonic, since useful work is done on half the traversals.
  • Any time the penalty for not doing return work is low. Two-dimensional computer array scans are easy to express semiboustrophedonically. For example (in C):
    for(i = 0; i < N; i++) {
       for(j = 0; j < M; j++) {



HINT: The definition is not: "The manner in which a man composes himself when proposing marriage."




Purdy Huguenot Connection

Posted to the RootsWeb PURDY-L list.

I just received some new family history information from my Grandmother, and one part makes this statement:

... the Purdys are Huguenots as were the Lyons and Guions. They all came from LaRochelle in France and founded New Rochelle, N.Y. and a great many of these families still live in that area.

There are excerpts from a couple of encyclopedias about the Huguenots included with the papers. I see a Britannica article [2005-12-05: Fixed link] online.

I'd never heard of this connection before. Have any of you?

BTW, I did find a reference to Huguenot Park in Westchester County New York (40 55' 22" N x 73 47' 41" W, supposedly according to the USGS). I wonder if there is anything there to tie this park to the family...


-- Gregor

/                                                                     \
    Gregor N. Purdy                        gregor@focusresearch.com
    Focus Research, Inc.              http://www.focusresearch.com/
    6216 Eddington Drive                           513-755-3570 vox
    Liberty Township, OH 45044                     513-755-6647 fax



HINT: It is not the answer to the question "what was the deluge?".


Perl Poem: love.pl

# From this message posted to perl5-porters@perl.org 2000-03-22:
# Tom --
# Tom Christiansen wrote:
# > One *cannot* in English produce a phrase such as "for each my".
# > It's illegal.
# Just for fun (and clearly contrived and with lots of poetic license):
#  ___________________ love.pl ___________________
# /                                               \

our $life = \$love and $togetherness;
and: foreach my $sweet (@first) {
    little: until ($we . $met) { last 'and' }
if ($now . $we) {  goto marry; $we . $shall }
bless our $life, More;

# \_______________________________________________/
# Oh, and that's dedicated to my wife, not you :-)
# Regards,
# -- Gregor



HINT: The definition is not "throwing out random things".


This Question Needs Answered

the lawn needs mowed / the lawn needs mowing / the lawn needs to be mowed

I'm assuming there is a name for this construction, but I have been unable to find one.

The leftmost version sounds very odd to me, although since noticing its use by others, I've caught myself using it once or twice.

I asked Larry Wall about this on 2000-10-13 after his talk at the Atlanta Linux Showcase, hoping that with his background in linguistics he could give me the name for this grammatical error (or unusual grammatical form). He couldn't think of a name for it.

There was some discussion on the newsgroup alt.english.usage about this, which can be found by searching deja for "needs mowed".

I have The New Fowler's Modern English Usage (1996 edition, ISBN 0-19-869126-2). The entry for "need" on page 516 reads:

3 need + pa.pple. The type these clippers need mended is a worrying newcomer in semi-educated speech in BrE and AmE. Examples: I walked round the cottage to see what needed done--C. Burns, 1989 (UK); When you see one [sc. a dog] drag its butt on the ground like that, it needs wormed, Otis--T. McGuane, 1989 (US). The standard alternatives are shown in 2.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000 (At the heading "REGIONAL NOTE" here):

When need is used as the main verb, it can be followed by a present participle, as in The car needs washing, or by to be plus a past participle, as in The car needs to be washed. However, in some areas of the United States, especially western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, many speakers omit to be and use just the past participle form, as in The car needs washed. This use of need with past participles is slightly more common in the British Isles, being particularly prevalent in Scotland.

["The lawn needs mowed" appears in my notes for the first time on 1999-08-04]



one-dimensional energy

"one-dimensional energy" refers to a drink with either caffeine or sugar, but not both.


XML Pocket Reference

XML Pocket Reference
Eckstein, Robert
O'Reilly, 1999-10 (first edition)
ISBN 1-56592-709-5

NOTE: Link is to the 2nd Edition, which was published subsequent to this review.



A "parsel" is (by conflation of "parse" and "parcel") a small bit of parsed text.


The Physical Theory of Domains

Note: This is an extremely rough idea. It is the beginning of an attempt to deal with my longstanding discomfort with (a) the descriptions of black holes I've seen, and (b) treating the universe as if its fundamental structure is compatible with the continuum models usually used in reference to time and space.

Continuum Models of Space

Most physical theories are based on underlying continuum models of space. Domain Theory is not.

The traditional conceptualization of a black hole is that it exists in space as an infinitessimal point body (a singularity), the gravity field (alternatively the space-time curvature) around which creates a region of space in which the escape velocity is equal to or greater than the speed of light. The surface at which the escape velocity is equal to the speed of light is called the event horizon (alternatively the Schwartzchild radius).

The Domain Theoretic perspective is that a black hole is not such a region of mostly empty space between an event horizon and a point center of divergent density. It just simply does not have an interior.

The Planck Length and Spatial Transitivity

The Planck Length is the minimum distance at which it makes sense to talk about distance. It is on the order of 1 x 10-33 cm (the Planck Time is about 1 x 10-43 sec, and the speed of light is the constant by which they relate, 1 x 1010 cm/sec).

Assuming an underlying continuum as is the practice today reveals a paradoxical effect. Consider three points along a line, A, B, and C. Arrange the points so that from left to right they occur in the order just given, and so that the distance from A to B is p (the Planck Length) minus some infinitesimally small distance i (iota). Arrange C so that the distance from A to B is equal to the distance from B to C. Now, the distance from A to C is 2p - 2i, which is greater than p. So, A and B are so close as to be indistinguishable (and therefore considering only A and B there is only one point); and B and C are indistinguishable. However, A and C are far enough apart that they are distinguishable, and therefore distinct. Here we have a demonstration of the loss of transitivity in the model of space: A = B, B = C, but A != C!


The Principle of Mutuality: Matter affects space, and space affects matter. The presence of matter alters space, and the local characteristics of space alter the behavior of matter.

The Principle of Homogeneity (tenuous):There is nothing but domains and their interactions. Empty space, photons, quarks, and black holes are all various manifestations of one thing: domains.

Suppose that as more mass/energy is concentrated into a region of space, the local Planck length increases relative to the surroundings. Consider this to be an alternative view to the Einsteinian view of curvature of space-time. In this view, the Planck length gradient is identified with the Einsteinian curvature.

Food For Thought: If length is relative, what does it really mean to talk about the Planck length varying? How is it measured?

Suppose that as more and more mass/energy is concentrated into a volume of space, eventually the Planck length reaches a point at which it is comparable in size to the particles, and the particles cease to exist as distinct entities, and become part of a growing energetic singular domain.

This domain has no interior since it is for all practical purposes a macroscopic point. The term "singularity" applies very well here, since it is precisely a single (large) domain. Note that in this view, the Schwartzchild radius is identified not with some boundary between reachable and unreachable continuum space, but rather the characteristic Planck length in the region, or the size of the pathological domain. The black hole behaves like a single point in space, although it has an extent relative to us. The "singularity" is not somewhere "inside". It is the black hole.

Consequences of Equivalence

Through the equivalence of gravitic and accellerating frames, standing near the singularity feeling its gravity should be identical with accelerating away from the hole's position if the hole weren't there in otherwise empty space.

Imagine placing an object in the vicinity of the black hole, initially at rest with respect to the hole. There is a gradient of increasing Planck length along the line between the two bodies (from each pointing at the other), most contributed by the black hole, and a miniscule amount contributed by the object. All massive objects climb Planck gradients, and so there will be an attraction.

Creating an increase of Planck length near an object will cause it to accelerate through that increase. An object whose surroundings are isotropic will not be accellerated. Why does an object put into motion continue to move? Without a force acting on it, it has no reason to change its behavior. As an object is accellerated, the domains on its leading edge expand, and those on its trailing edge contract. When the force causing accelleration is removed, the object is "riding" a spatial wave the leading edge of which is the expanded domains.


An object carries with it its local Planck length increase due to its mass. If it is isolated and at rest, then the total local Planck length increase is due to its mass alone. Now, if we consider the same object, but moving at a particular velocity, there will be an additional Planck length increase corresponding to the velocity. As long as the object is riding the peak of the wave, it will continue along at the same velocity. This is inertia. However, if we want to accellerate it some more, we have to create an increased Planck length on the leading edge. But, the current peak is greater than the peak at rest, so it will require more input energy to achieve the same net gain in velocity for the inertial system. This is why as you approach the speed of light, it takes increasingly more energy to achieve a unit gain in velocity.

Food For Thought: As the object goes faster, the local Planck length increases, too. A massive enough object travelling fast enough could (perhaps) become a black hole by increasing its planck level sufficiently that it becomes macroscopic.

The larger the Planck length, the larger the Planck time has to be to keep the local speed of light constant.

An inertial frame is the shape of the domain size gradient surrounding an object. A moving object has an inertial frame with a leading edge and a trailing edge. The directions orthogonal to the direction of motion don't have this distinction.


Consider the possibility that a photon might be a single energetic domain that moves about, or alternatively an affect that transfers from domain to domain. Given the relationship between the Planck length, the Planck time, and the speed of light, a photon then moves at one domain per Planck time. Assuming that no skipping of domains is possible, this would be the fastest speed available.

Since it has no extent, a photon doesn't interact in the same way as particles that do have extents.

When a photon is created, it has a particular energy (which determines its wavelength). As it travels, it may encounter regions of different Planck length. It may also climb up or down a gradient in its path (for instance if it is emitted by an object that is in motion. Travelling up the trailing edge or down the leading edge of an inertial frame causes a blue shift, and traveling down the trailing edge or up the leading edge causes a red shift. So, if two bodies are moving at the same speed in the same direction, and their masses are the same, there won't be any shift in photons traveling between them because the effects will cancel. If, however, the objects are of different masses, then the effects won't cancel precisely, since the gradients will be asymmetric. This may be testable.

When a photon encounters a black hole, it is absorbed.

The Domain Field

Think of space like a multidimensional field of domains of varying relative sizes. Somewhat like a mass of soap bubbles.

Some dimensions (such as the the three traditional dimensions of space) are simply connected in an approximation to a lattice. Other dimensions might be curled in upon themselves and be the source of varying qualities. For example, a single closed "curled-up" dimension could account for electromagnetic waves. There would be a periodicity produced by cycling around the dimension. As a photon moved through the spacial dimensions, encountering new territory, it would be simultaneously cycling around the other dimension one direction or the other (which would account for polarity). Photons move one domain per unit time, and time is dependant upon domain size. In this way, time relative to the curled-up dimension might in some way be partially disconnected from time relative to the "normal" dimensions, so that the energy of the photon is encoded in the size of the domain, part of which extends into this other dimension.

Dimensional Analysis

[NOTE: This section is just some very rough notes that eventually need to be sorted out.]

Thanks to Denny Dahl for enlightening discussions.

Three fundamental constants (all calculations here use cgs units):

  • Speed of light: c cm / s
  • Gravitic constant: G cm3 / g s2
  • Planck's constant: h g cm2 / s

The Planck length can be expressed in terms of these as: Lp = sqrt(h G / c3)

Energy has units of g*cm2 / s2.

Energy density (epsilon) is g / cm*s2. In terms of the constants above, its is: Kd * c7 / G * h2.

lp(e) = Lp(1 + Kd * (e h G2 / c7 ).

Lp4 = h2 G2 / c6.

Lp4 / h c = h G2 / c7.

so, lp(e) = Lp (1 + Kd ( e Lp4 / h c ) ).


conf-lag-ration: Troubles caused by configuration file inconsistancies. In particular, those caused by changing a configuration file and not restarting the daemon that uses it (i.e. a "lag"), and thus not having the changes reflected in the program's operation.


Bug in Microsoft Office 97

The text "Cross-checked" is acceptable to the spell-checker, but not to the proofer, while the text "Crosschecked" is acceptable to the proofer, but not thespell-checker.