Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

extend Kubuntu desktop to second screen

Update, 2010-06-19:  I use a different approach than the one described in this post since I upgraded to Ubuntu 10.04.

I successfully extended my Kubuntu desktop to a second monitor.  I’m running Kubuntu 8.04 (updated on 2009-07-03 for 9.04) on a ZaReason BigLap, with an Intel video card and a Dell external monitor (connected via VGA cable – the BigLap doesn’t have a DVI interface).

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freedom earned, freedom shared

Captain (as of May 2015, Major) David Moses, you understand freedom with a depth that most of us will never know.

Captain David Moses, US Army

Major David Moses, US Army

Thank you for honoring Leonard Cowherd and his parents in your speech at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial this past Memorial Day.  Thank you and your fellow soldiers for helping to extract Leonard’s injured buddies on the day he was killed.  Thank you for your two tours of service in Iraq.  And thank you for being such an inspiration to your generation of Americans.

Narrowed Karbala location

Yesterday, I received information I trust that allows me to further narrow the location of the Mukhayem Mosque where Leonard was killed.  This location falls within the rough area I had surmised earlier this summer.

I couldn’t make this stuff up…

… I’m not creative enough.

On the drive into school this morning, I was giving my two youngest sons a fairly standard pep talk:  Keep your grades up, study hard, don’t make the teacher’s job harder than it already is, don’t believe everything they teach you, smile and regurgitate what they want to hear when necessary (concerning global warming, for instance)…

My 4th grade son piped up and said yeah, my teacher teaches us that global warming stuff because she has to.  She says they make her teach it so she can get paid.

Remember the bad old days of New Math?  I think it’s fair to say that this qualifies as New Science.

connecting generations

The highlight of my weekend was a morning of skeet and trap shooting with my uncle, first cousin, and oldest son.  My cousin brought his boyhood .410 so my son could learn to shoot.  He also brought his Beretta over-and-under 12 gauge, which was a joy to shoot.

My uncle didn’t shoot much, except to prove to us young guys that there was nothing wrong with the .410 except operator error.  He went 2 for 2 at a longer distance than the rest of us struggled greatly from (even though my cousin’s a good shot).  So my uncle’s earlier claims of not being the shot that he once was turned out to be somewhat modest.  Thanks, Henry & George!  I feel a new hobby coming on…

Huntsville time warp

Our local bike store (Bicycles Etc.) moved close to Five Points recently.  There service area behind the shop feels like a step back in time – it’s a very cool space.

Prometheus on Saturn’s horizon

Saturn put on another dazzling show (raw image here) for Cassini back on August 9th, 2008.  The brightest object in this image is Prometheus, just over Saturn’s horizon.  The visual distortion of the rings at the Saturn horizon (presumably caused by Saturn’s atmosphere) originally drew me to this image.

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Federalist #2 – a most important question

The admonition of Federalist #2 ought to be carefully heeded in today’s political climate, although we face a different threat today.  Federalist #2 warned of the dangers of decentralization to the point of weakness.  This was a real risk at the time, because of Americans’ intense skepticism of centralized control by a king.

The pressure today (from both parties) comes from the other end of the spectrum than too little power at the Federal level.  We’re sleepwalking perilously close to the centralized control against which our Founding Fathers risked everything to escape.  Consider these excerpts of Federalist #2 as they apply to America today:

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Falcon 1, Flight 3

Thanks to Elon Musk and his team at SpaceX for all their hard work on Falcon 1, Flight 3.  Ian O’Neill has a good writeup over on Universe Today.  While frustrating, I’m sure these early Falcon 1 flights each provide a wealth of information to a new generation of rocket engineers.  Instead of condolences, I’d like to send congratulations to the SpaceX team:  you’re one step closer to your eventual success.

scientific method redux

Full disclosure:  I am not a scientist.  I passed the minimum science classes required to slog through engineering school.  But back in those dark ages, a cursory understanding of the scientific method was well within the realm of expected science 101 knowledge.

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