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October 31, 2006

Pumpkin carvings

I stole the smiley face concept from my fellow Team Purpler Jan, who did a better job carving the right parenthesis in his version. Cole suggested that the colon should have been a semicolon—he was right—but I had already put away the carving knife.


Putting the snarling cat behind a lit pumpkin always startles a few people:


Posted by tplambeck at 10:06 PM

October 30, 2006

Tube Nightmare

Stay out of the Underground!

Posted by tplambeck at 03:45 PM

Either be your own hypervisor or have one chosen for you

From an ACM bulletin summary "Anti-virus software is ineffective":
* * *
Hardware virtualization, in [Joanna Rutkowska's] opinion, "has been introduced a little bit too early; before the major operating system venders were able to redesign their systems so that they could make a conscious use of this technology, hopefully preventing its abuse." Blue Pill operates by creating a hardware virtual machine and moves the native operating system to this virtual machine, becoming a "hypervisor" itself. The native system doesn't even realize it's been moved to a virtual machine. Rutkowska explains that operating systems need to be aware of such virtualization and have their own hypervisor.

[eWeek article]

Posted by tplambeck at 03:01 PM

October 29, 2006

diavolo, prisons

I went to see the Diavolo Dance Company at Stanford, racing from a 1pm showing of the documentary America's Brutal Prisons at Cubberley, nearby. Cole met his friend Varun there, and after the performance Varun asked the artistic director Jacques Heim a question I'd thought of myself—how do the dancers avoid getting crushed by that big rolling thing? "There's a lot of communication," one dancer answered, not entirely satisfying me or Varun, I think. They also complimented Varun on his excellent pronunciation of Trajectoire, but the boy speaks French, after all.

In attending these events, I missed Owen's baseball and soccer game. They won one, and lost one. Gloria and he both told me that he had a nice hit up the middle, but the shortstop was out of position near second base, fielded it, and threw him out.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:22 PM

October 27, 2006

Guess Your Hands

From the 23 Oct 2006 New Yorker (pg 44), "Thieves are Everywhere," by Jason Roeder:

* * *

This holiday season, millions of Americans will go on vacation, a gamble that plays right into the twitchy hands of the pickpocket and double-jointed brain of the con artist. [...] Keep in mind what the criminals have in store for you:


GUESS YOUR HANDS: You give a buck to the operator of the Guess Your Hands booth, and he says, "O.K., go ahead." Then you say, "Me? I thought you were going to guess my hands." Then he says, "Nope. The sign reads 'Guess Your Hands.'" Then you say, "But why did I just pay you? And what does it mean to guess someone's hands, anyway?" Then he says, "I figured you knew." Then you say, "Well, I don't want to guess your hands." Then he says, "You sure came to the wrong place, pal. Read the sign." At some point during this exchange, the booth operator's sidekick sneaks up and steals your wallet.
Posted by tplambeck at 09:54 PM

Rat Rampant

Posted by tplambeck at 02:55 PM

Laughing Vine

That last animated fractal? Well, it kind of sucked. This one is better, I think.

Here's a static image (and its CDFG code).

Posted by tplambeck at 12:38 PM

October 26, 2006

Context free movie making

Animation of a context free fractal drawing

Need to think of a title for this one.

Posted by tplambeck at 08:14 PM



Posted by tplambeck at 07:47 PM

binomial myopia

binomial myopia

Posted by tplambeck at 07:44 PM

inflationary hypothesis

inflationary hypothesis
Originally uploaded by thane.
I've been playing with context free, a fractal drawing system—I guess that's what it is—and giving the resulting images the most pretentious names I can think of.
Posted by tplambeck at 07:31 PM

Early results of Google AdSense experiment

One week ago, I inserted Google advertisements at the bottom of my company name generator page.

The bottom line—I've earned roughly $1/day on average, and $7.76 total, so far.

Google won't send me a check until the total reaches $100, though.

Date Page impressions Clicks Page CTR Page eCPM Earnings
10/20/2006 115 0 0.00% 0 0
10/21/2006 422 15 3.55% 8.85 3.73
10/22/2006 361 9 2.49% 2.84 1.02
10/23/2006 559 15 2.68% 1.67 0.93
10/24/2006 723 12 1.66% 1.46 1.05
10/25/2006 473 3 0.63% 0.6 0.29
10/26/2006 333 10 3.00% 2.18 0.73
Totals 2986 64 2.14% 2.6 $7.76
Posted by tplambeck at 02:59 PM

From a newspaper article I never finished reading

Once some popchick in a slutty outfit, Madonna yesterday emerged as one of the most potent critics of the hegemony of the industrial-media complex.
Posted by tplambeck at 02:33 PM

The retrial of Roy Garcia

I went down to San Jose this morning to witness the closing arguments in the first-degree murder retrial of Roy Garcia. He's accused (and previously convicted, in 2000) of murdering Deborah A. Gregg following a property-line dispute. It happened on rural property, just inside the southern border of Santa Clara county, where I live. I was a juror in the first trial.

[previously blogged, "it's a long story" links].

I was interested to meet the victim's mother, who travelled from Connecticut to see this retrial. We had a nice conversation this morning in the courthouse for a few minutes after the closing arguments.

Thanks to Pamela Jones for suggesting this meeting!

Posted by tplambeck at 01:03 AM

October 23, 2006

Termite termination

So there are lots of ways to kill a drywood termite. Our neighbor told us they've used the microwave method. We're probably going to tent the entire house, but only because that's what was recommended.

The chemical used in fumigation is called Vikane. It's a colorless, odorless, highly toxic neurotoxin. They mix it in with teargas so that anyone who gets close to it knows they've got a problem. The tenting will keep us out of the house for three days.

On the bright side, I had a clean bill of health at the dentist: "Your orthodontist did an excellent job," she said.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:55 PM

There are zero people named Thane Plambeck in the USA

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Good to know for future reference.

Posted by tplambeck at 03:11 PM

The Drywood Termite Zone

Originally uploaded by thane.
Sounds a little like an amusement park ride.


Posted by tplambeck at 02:01 PM


Originally uploaded by thane.
We've got drywood termites.
Posted by tplambeck at 01:59 PM

October 22, 2006

Police on Stanford campus

Photoshopping at random, I took a previously blogged photo of Santa Clara county police in the service of the Great Leader on the Stanford campus, flipped it to B/W and raised the contrast.


It captures the spirit of the event pretty well, I think.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:52 PM

Contractors buried in our neighbor's front yard


Their project was taking too long, and something had to be done.

It makes a nice Halloween decoration.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:16 PM

October 21, 2006

plambeck.org earns $0.53

My mostly silly company name generator is ranked #3 at Google (check its ranking now).

Since the similar pages out there are mostly inferior to my already lame effort, and they have ads, I decided put Google ads on the page to see what I might be earn.

Earnings after one day: $0.53.

More than I expected!

Posted by tplambeck at 08:58 PM

October 18, 2006

My son Owen and my father, Vern Plambeck

Originally uploaded by thane.
Taken in Kearney, Nebraska, last month. My father has been a football referee for over 52 years.
Posted by tplambeck at 08:01 PM

Number 2, The Byrds, and JFK: a men's fashion visionary is vindicated

My brother-in-law used to run men's clothing stores. About three years ago we were talking about suits, and I mentioned that I thought suits looked bad for the most part and what was needed was a big return to the classic look of the 1960s.


DAVID: What, like The Byrds?

THANE: Maybe. I mean, you know, just a suit and tie exactly like John F Kennedy used to wear. Why can't I buy that? I looked for it, even at Brooks Brothers, but they didn't help me much because I was wearing what I am now, crummy jeans and a T-shirt...

DAVID: Well, yes, that would be hard to find....

So—yesterday he sent me a clipping from the Sept 2006 Esquire magazine with this note:

Thane, I found this article in Esquire while working out at the gym on the elliptical. Who knew you had such forward fashion sense?

The clipping says (in part)

STYLISH OBSESSION OF THE MONTH: The Brooks Brothers "Fitzgerald": In tune with the evolution of the current dressed-up, fitted mood in American's men's suits, Brooks Brothers has created an updated replica of the "Number 2" suit it introduced for a leaner, fitter generation of men in 1961. The suit encapsulated the polished look espoused by John F Kennedy, a look that prompted The New York Times to describe how Kennedy, after a day in the Senate, "walked to the floor, a model of Brooks Brothers perfection"...


Posted by tplambeck at 10:14 AM

October 17, 2006

Mantis scare

This photo required me to lean in close to the mantis's face. Then there was a creaking noise in a tree over my head. I almost jumped out of my skin.


"Don't worry, that's just the gigantic mantis right behind you," Gloria helpfully suggested.

Posted by tplambeck at 02:36 PM

October 16, 2006

University of Iceland logo & flag

They are very nice designs, I think:



Posted by tplambeck at 01:32 PM

October 15, 2006


I had to leave this SLSQ concert at intermission in order to go to NJB kid's basketball evaluations at Palo Alto High School. So I missed the Shostokovich 7th SQ in F Sharp Minor, which I'm listening to now (Fitzwilliam SQ).

There—I managed to use the abbreviation "SQ" three times in one paragraph.

At Gloria's 20th year college reunion, I met Buzz Aldrin, who said he doesn't have a Stanford affiliation (his wife does). I blogged it already, but it's surely worth mentioning twice. Somewhere I've got a bunch of Apollo 11 photos on this web site. OK—I found them. And here's one of Buzz, on his way to the moon.

Now playing—the Lento of the 7th, another one of those scary S. movements. I'm sorry to have missed that in person. In the video Richter, the Enigma, one gets the sense that Richter pretty much had everyone's number, except Shostokovich's. "Tchaikovsky himself might as well have walked into the room," he says at one point.

Now the end of the 7th, a simple chord. It's like S. didn't mean it at all.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:10 PM

October 12, 2006

With Buzz Aldrin

With Buzz Aldrin

THANE: In Kearney, Nebraska, as an 8 year old, I watched you walk on the moon!

BUZZ: Nebraska? I've heard of Kearny, New Jersey, not Nebraska. There's a Kearney in Nebraska?

THANE: It's right in the middle of Nebraska, on Interstate 80. You know what, you might not believe this, but in my office I have a copy of your Ph.D. thesis.

BUZZ: Really?

THANE: Right, MIT, 1963. I wonder if you can tell me what the dedication says in that thesis?

BUZZ: Something about "I hope I can join the astronauts, or I wish I could join them."

THANE: Right!!

BUZZ (to Gloria): What's that blinking thing?

GLORIA: It's a Stanford Engineering button light they gave me. Here, you can have it.

BUZZ: (Takes light) How does it work? Neat. (Puts it on).

Posted by tplambeck at 10:35 PM

Curse of the Rosin Eating Zombies from Outer Space

Multimedia message
Originally uploaded by thane.
COLE: How do you play that, with the x'ed out stuff?

DENISE: It's an awful noise. No---I don't want you to play that!
Posted by tplambeck at 11:08 AM

Spicy Indian Ringalos

spicy indian ringalos
Originally uploaded by henshin_yo.
A new Halloween horror---the Turbanned Pumpkin.

I guess it's not a pumpkin (what is a "Ringalo?"), but it's hard for me not to see it that way.

Maybe I'll try wrapping a towel around the top of a big pumpkin and setting out in front of the house on the big night.
Posted by tplambeck at 10:06 AM

Toaster with "cancel", crossword clue, sixteen half domes

(1) Our toaster stopped working. The new one has a "Cancel" button. If you push it, the toast pops up. "All the new toasters have Cancel buttons," Gloria said.

(2) Clue in yesterday's NYT puzzle:

It may do your bidding (4): answer.

(3) Sixteen Half Domes.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:33 AM

October 09, 2006

Ian at the brink of a fissure

Ian at the brink of a fissure
Originally uploaded by thane.

Posted by tplambeck at 02:17 PM

Colin and Chris survey El Capitan

Originally uploaded by thane.

Posted by tplambeck at 02:15 PM

Rock in fissure

Originally uploaded by thane.
I didn't have the courage to get any closer to this thing.
Posted by tplambeck at 02:13 PM

Sign pointing the way to Yosemite fissures

Originally uploaded by thane.
Calling something 1500+ feet deep a "fissure" doesn't quite work for me. But I can't think of a better word.
Posted by tplambeck at 02:12 PM

October 05, 2006

Line Rider

Addictive game. I see from videos like this one that loop-the-loops are indeed possible.

make your own

Posted by tplambeck at 10:17 AM

October 03, 2006

Minivan full of dead or merely annoying tech stuff

Minivan full of dead tech stuff
Originally uploaded by thane.
This photo doesn't give a good idea of all the dead technology stuff I took to green citizen for proper disposal this afternoon. Together, it was easily 150 lbs of stuff.

Three dead routers. One dubious flat panel. One of those cube Mac things (worst computer I've ever bought). A couple linux rack-mountable boxes from Signio days. Lots of dead telephones and cell phones. Two digital cameras. Ethernet cables. Telephone cable. In the front left foreground, a color laser printer that was quite the cats meow in its day, but smelled horrible when it ran. That thing alone weighed 83lbs. An HP scanner. An HP fax/scanner combo. An HP Bluetooth-enabled printer.

Poof—All gone!

I'm sure the green citizen people will give this stuff a proper burial.
Posted by tplambeck at 06:19 PM

Monday fish wrap

1) Finally got my copy of the "Games Issue" of The Believer in the mail.


How is that the (BitchPhD guest-blogger) Orange knew about this weeks before I received my copy? I'm clearly not one of those "in the know."

2) Gave Lenny a ride to and from Stanford for his quantum mechanics lecture tonight. People were asking him to sign copies of his book(s) after the lecture. Lenny knows how to say "Gerard 't Hooft" just like he was born in Holland, and in his lecture, he described him as "the greatest theoretical physicist of the last part of the 20th century." I'm always mystified by the pronunciation of Dutch names—I think, "well, if that Dutch name were German, I'd butcher it like this. But, then again, it's not German, it's Dutch. So WTF?"

3) Played tennis with Cole and helped him start making his planned Motorola Razr Halloween costume. Last year he was a iPod, and that was a big hit.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:06 AM

October 02, 2006

burnt computer with melted telephone on top

Backup Backup Backup - And Test Restores
Originally uploaded by Topato.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:33 AM


$20 software rebate form

$35 parking ticket

I'd feel better about it if I was up $15, instead.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:01 AM

October 01, 2006

The Phi values of various games

Aaron Siegel and I have finished a preprint of our work on misere games over the last year. It just appeared on the arXiv—The Phi-values of various games.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:10 PM

« September 2006 | October 2006 | November 2006 »