kengr: (Default)
since the great disaster.

Nobody ever figured out what caused the runaway chain reaction in the waste dump on Lunar Farside. But it drove the Moon out of orbit.

Here on Earth the quakes and tidal changes had people's attention.

But now that we've recovered, we have to wonder at the fate of the people on Moonbase alpa.

Read more... )
kengr: (Default)
I had to repair Windoze on one of my machines because several things weren't working right.

I used a key finder to get the product key because I didn't want to pull the box out from its cubbyhole on the desk. But when all was said and done, I got a "windows needs to be activated" message.

I knew it probably wouldn't work, but I tried the online activation. No surprise, it didn't work (hasn't worked for many years, I forget how long). So I went to choice 2, calling the toll free number.

I had to read the 9 groups of 6-digit numbers to the automated system, and thankfully it was mostly ok with my voice. Then it told me my copy couldn't be activated.

So I shut things down, moved a bunch of stuff and pulled out the computer the read the product key sticker. Sure enough, it was different. Which meant that the number the key finder had given me was an OEM "volume" key which had likely been compromised at some time.

I wrote it down and put everything back. Then when I got back to the activation screen, I did something it said noty to do unless asked to do by a tech. I clicked on the "change product key" button. I figured it was worth trying rather than taking an hour or more to do another "repair" installation.

It gave me a different set of 9 6-digit numbers. I wasn't so lucky with the voice recognition this tiome. When it offered the "if you have a smart phone" option, I decided top try it even though I don't have one. I was hoping that the text message it would send me would let me reply with the string of numbers. No such luck. But it did give me a link to "click" on. since I *don't* have a smart phone, I couldn't click on it. But since I had another system that was working just fine. I carefully copied all those numbers, and switched to that system.

then I typed in the link. It got me a usable screen and I entered the numbers. It gave me an activation code, which I dutifully wrote down. Switching back to the system that needed activation, I entered them. They were accepted. *Yay*.

I hope this "trick" will be useful to other folks who have a phone that can get text messages and have a second computer near the one that needs to be activated

Fun comics

Jul. 15th, 2017 06:51 pm
kengr: (Default)
I read a lot of webcomics. And I've slowly been working my way thru a backlog of comics folks have recommended to me.

I recently caught up on one, and was quickly able to catch up on several others. In order

Spinnerette A different take on "getting spider powers. Very silly at times

Grrl Power Words fail. But I pointed Fay at it last night and she was reading and giggling for the rest of the time she was here.

Magical Girl Neil an interesting subversion of the Magical Girl trope

And I'm currently working my way thru Magical Transvestite Cherry So far a rather *different* subversion of the Magical Girl trope

Check my feeds for most of the comics I'm following. I also follow a bunch that don't have RSS feeds, but I'll get to those some other day


May. 30th, 2017 06:59 am
kengr: (Default)
Turns out there's an official Unicode "page" for runes

This is my SCA name (and origin of the name I use here and several other places)

ᛇᚱᛁᚲᚱ ᛁᚾᚾ ᚲᛖᛜᚱ
Eirikr inn kengr

(that's a byname, btw)

English is Erik the bent (or the kinked) and yes, the double meaning was chosen with malice aforethought. :-)
kengr: (Default)
There are quite a few measurements that are (or at least stat out) based on the human body.

Best known is probably the foot. Do I have to explain that one? :-)

Lets start working up from smallest to largest

finger - the width of a finger, now mostly seen in measuring whisky

hand - the width of a hand from top to bottom with all fingers together. Now defined as 4 inches and used to measure horses.

span - The distance between the tip of the little finger and the tip of the thumb with fingers spread. Roughly 6 inches

cubit - distance from fingertips to elbow - now "defined" as 18 inches

yard - distance from fingertips to nose (think measuring cloth that way) Now defined as 3 feet.

ell - distance from fingertips to opposite shoulder (again used for measuring cloth)

fathom - distance between hands with arms outstretched (think of measuring rope that way). Now defined as 6 feet

stride - one step (ie distance between where left is when right foot lands)
pace - two steps (ie distance between to left or two right footprints)

mile - one thousand paces (from the Latin mille pacem). Now defined as 5280 feet.

league - 3 miles

I've probably missed a few.

These can be useful when reading old stuff, or when you need to rough measure something.

Also useful for alternate history of fantasy.
kengr: (Brain)
If you are being *really* traditional (ie going by the position of the sun) Beltane won't be until 07:28 GMT on May 5th.

kengr: (Default)
Friday's Brester Rockit comic ( ) got me thinking.

How many moons can *you* name?
I got 13.
Read more... )
And how many asteroids?
I only got 4.
Read more... )

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.
kengr: (Default)
Friday's Brewster Rockit comic ( ) got me thinking.

How many moons can *you* name?
I got 13.
Read more... )
And how many asteroids?
I only got 4.
Read more... )
kengr: (hyperdice)
I was reading something and hit a passage where a character said that it was the *billionth* time they'd thought something.

I knew that was wrong, but wanted to check just how wrong. so I worked out how long a billion seconds would be.

That led to this...

1 second = 1 sec
1 kilosecond = 1000 sec = 1e3 sec = 16 min 40 sec
1 megasecond = 1,000,00 sec = 1e6 sec = ~11.6 days
1 gigasecond = 1,000,000,000 sec = 1e9 sec = ~ 31.7 years
1 terasecond = 1e12 sec = ~31,688.7 years
1 petasecond = 1e15 sec = ~ 32 million years = ~ 32 megayears
1 exasecond = 1e18 sec = ~ 32 billion years = ~32 gigayears = ~ twice the current age of the universe!
1 zettasecond = 1e21 sec = ~ 32 trillion years = ~ 32 terayears
1 yottasecond = 1e24 sec = ~ 32 quadrillion years = ~ 32 petayears
kengr: (Default)
I have a "trick" when I'm making hot tea or instant cider. I don't fill the cup all the way, then I can add a couple of ice cubes to get it to drinking temp more quickly.

I normal boil water in a kettle on the stove for this sort of thing, but I got a new, microwave safe mug the other day, so I used that.

Filled up to what I judged was the right depth, pour in the packet of instant cider, and put it in the microwave on "sensor reheat".

When it finally dinged, it was smelling yummy. so I sat the mug on top of the microwave, grabbed the ice tray, and dropped in a cube.

Much to my surprise, the water boiled violently (as in it was mounded up over an inch in the middle of the mug!!)

My best guess is that I'd accidentally achieved that "superheated water" trick with the microwave. I suspect that if I'd dropped in anything else the result would have been far less pleasant. The cold of the ice probably reduced the steam release by quite a bit.

Maybe I'll let the mug sit for a minute or three before I take it out of the microwave in the future.

ps After 4 ice cubes and several minuites it's still more than 150F. a bit too hot to drink yet.
kengr: (he is us)
44 years ago...
Dec 14, 1972. At 2:54 pm PST, the last humans departed from the lunar surface.

And the only folks who look likely to try again soon are the Chinese.
kengr: (Default)
The ancients weren't as wrong as we think.

Consider their "four elements": Earth, Water, Air, and Fire

They actually match up fairly well with the 4 states of matter: Solid, Liquid, Gas & Plasma.

Old TV

Jun. 27th, 2016 01:30 am
kengr: (Default)
Been watching some TV from my childhood.

An episode of Beany & Cecil (which had ads for the fall TV schedule). Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, and Voyage to the Bottom of the PlotSea

I am *appalled* at the writers. We have a US Navy ship firing on an unidentified aircraft with no attempt to contact it.

We have several planes crashing into the ocean, and no attempt to recover the wreckage (or the flight recorders). Heck, one of them gets raised from the bottom to rescue the crew and there's *still* no attempt to examine it to determine why it crashed.

A blast on the surface of the Arctic ice cap, and a subn at *600* feet being hit by chunks of ice *sinking* and battering at it.

I could go on. But yeesh, I thought current shows were bad.

Then again, we *are* talking about Irwin Allen, and Gerry Anderson.
kengr: (hyperdice)
Been going over some old British TV lately. Which led to a number of strange ideas.

Has UNIT or SHADO ever had to call on International Rescue for assistance?

Has either organization ever needed the aid of John Steed and his various companions?

What does SHADO think of the Doctor?

Is Lt. Harrington at SHADO's moonbase an ancestor of duchess Harrington?
(I really hope I someday get a chance to ask David Weber that one. :-)

And scariest of all...

Has the Doctor ever encountered Sapphire & Steel?
kengr: (Default)
I re-encountered this strip today.

While silly, it makes an important point. For magickal uses, you *don't* go by clock time, nor by the calendar. You go by the sun, the moon and the stars.

If something is supposed to be done at midnight, that means the point halfway between sunrise and sunset *not* midnight by the clock. Note that the difference depends on your longitude (time zone times are only "correct" for a particular line of longitude somewhere in (or near) the zone) and the time of year..

Likewise "noon" is the local solar noon (point when the sun is highest in the sky. This too varies from "noon" by the clock depending on longitude and time of year.

Phases of the moon are more obvious, and hopefully, if your calendar lists moon phases, it gets them right. Still it pays to check as the exact time may place it a day ahead or behind the calendar due to your location.

Yes, the full moon is at the same "time" (UTC) for the entire Earth. But which day that is depends on where you are. There are a number of websites that list the phase of the moon over quite a period.

The equinoxes and solstices are "fixed" (they are when the earth hits particular points in its orbit), but they aren't always the same date on the calendar (that's because the year is not exactly 365 days long, but 365.242... days long). The cross quarter days are the points halfway between them. All 8 are easy to determine with something as simple as a set of sticks or stones placed to line up with sunrise (or sunset) on those particular days. You only need 5 markers because the markers for equinoxes and the cross-quarter days on either side of them get used twice each year.

The actual dates for the cross quarter days tend to be several days off from the dates many pagans celebrate them. has a nice display of them. Note that all dates are for the *next* occurrence.

Note that (for example) Samhain is actually on N0vember 7th (GMT) this year, *not* Oct 31st!

Some grimoires specify things by the rising, setting or meridian crossing of specific stars. Always double check to make sure that the star mentioned has been properly translated. There are some star names that apply to *multiple* stars at quite different places in the sky.

For writers, this means that details aren't what you'd assume. Also, it offers lots of room for "fluffy bunny" pagans to make major mistakes in rituals. :-)

Another pitfall for writers is that the calendar has changed a number of times over the centuries. First when Julius Caesar fixed the months and set the "leap year every 4th year" rule (Julian calendar), and then later when the current leap year rules were setup by Pope Gregory (Gregorian calendar). There have been other changes, but those are the biggy for the calendar we are most familiar with.

Note that due to the Reformation not everyone accepted the Gregorian calendar at the same time. since part of the switchover involved subtracting 11 days (to get the solstices and equinoxes back on the "right" date, this meant that crossing a border could change the date by 10 days!

That was in 1600. in 1700 it became 11 days. In 1800 it became 12 days. And in 1900 it became 13 days.

And some nations did really weird stuff when they changed over. Check the Calendar FAQ for *some* of the gory details.

Britain and its possessions changed over in 1752.   2 Sep 1752 was followed by 14 Sep 1752. And I'll just let you check the FAQ for the really convoluted way *they* changed back and forth. I'll just mention that February 30th 1712 was a real date there.

Be very aware of this and other things if you are using astronomical data for the past. It'll be in *Gregorian* calendar form. And sometimes have things like year 0 and negative year numbers (note that -1 is *not* 1 BC)

Oh yeah, the year didn't always change on Jan 1. For example in England it used to change on March 25th. So March 21 would be in one year, but a week later on Mar 28, it'd be the "next" year.

Some of this can be ignored, some can be used for local color.

And since I went into sun & moon based stuff above, one last note. The phase of the moon is due to the angle between the sun and the moon. New moon has the sun and moon at the same angle as observed from Earth. That's why we have solar eclipses then (we don't have one every new moon because the moons orbit i9s tilted.

Half moon has the moon 90 degrees ahead or behind the sun. And full moon is when the moon is 180 degrees from the sun.

Why is this important? Because it dictates what we see from Earth. I've seen cases where a well known author had a full moon high in the sky at sunset. Which is impossible. If the moon is full, it's on the opposite side of the Earth. so as the sun sets, it'd be rising (and vice versa). And the half moon will be highest in the sky at sunrise or sunset.

This stuff will *really* jar a reader if you get it wrong.
kengr: (Default)
For years I've been gritching about the pains of moving files between directories in Windoze.

Highlight the files, drag them to the right folder on the explorer bar and hope that the bar's display doesn't shift and cause you to drop them in the wrong folder. Or that Windoze doesn't decide to open that folder and cause you to drop them in a sub-folder.Or any of a number of other annoyances.

so I was thinking the other day "There ought to be a different way. Select the files, tell windows you are done selecting click on the destination and tell windows to move/copy the files there."

This was the first time I'd actually put that much thought into *how* a "better way might work.... and doing so made something click in my head. "It couldn't be that easy, could it?"

Well, it was. For other "slow learners out there...

Select files.
Right click and select "cut" (for moving them) or "copy" (for copying them)
right click on destination folder and select paste

Then go beat your head on a wall for having missed this for so long
kengr: (Default)
I knew about Star Trek: Phase II (formerly Star Trek: New Voyages) and about Star Trek Continues. But while playing something else on YouTube, I noticed a Star Trek Horizon video.

Now, hours later, I'm working on the *sixth* set of fan produced videos. and I'm finding that the long list on Wikipedia (jusyt list of the *groups*/series/films isn't remotely complete.

This is gonna take a while.
kengr: (antenna girl)
This is mostly for [ profile] fayanora, but others may find it useful.

Most societies in temperate climates had eight sun-related festivals. We don't have a name for them as a group anymore. But one of the older names is "the wheel of the year".

These are based on the position of the sun (actually on the earth's position in its orbit).

There are three main ways you can track the sun's position over the course of the year.

First, you can (if you have a clear enough horizon) set up a spot and when the sun rises each morning have an assistant at the end of a long rope place a stick in the ground. Do this every day and you'll get an arc of sticks. You want the long rope so that the sticks are far enough apart.

If you prefer, you can do the same sort of thing at sunset.

The final way is to have a pole stuck in the ground, and every day mark the point at which its shadow is longest.
Read more... )

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