For a few years, Heidi and I have been looking for a new house. We recently saw a property near some water and thought, "I wonder if it floods." When an architect friend informed me that Town Hall should have FEMA flood maps, my first thought was to try to save a trip to Town Hall and look for the FEMA data on the internet.
To compute flood lines, FEMA estimates the BFE around each body of water. That stands for "Base Flood Elevation" - it is the estimated high water mark that occurs with 1% probability in a year. If the stream near your house is normally at 115 feet, it might have a BFE of 122 feet. If your house is below that elevation, you should not be surprised when you find yourself underwater before your mortgage is up.
Google Earth gives nice elevation data superimposed on satellite images, so you can see how high your house is. I wonder how accurate it is.
"Are you there? Can you hear me? This is Anthony. Over and out."
"Yes I can. This is Daddy. Over."
My son Anthony, mister Python guess-my-number programmer, stormed into my office last Thursday afternoon asking "hey Dad, can we program a website?" Apparently he has been telling all his schoolbus mates about his grand plans for a website where all the members of his "apfund" club can communicate with each other....Continue reading "Walkie Talkie Web"
The lights in my house are always burned out. Even though I buy a whole pile of bulbs every time I go to hardware store, I guess I don't get enough. I am always out.
Last week, the floodlight above my desk went out, and I decided it was time to try something different....Continue reading "A Geek Tries the Enlux"
Remember to vote today if you are in the U.S.
Usually we vote at the fire station near my house; but that's closed for construction today. So Pennsylvania voter services tells me that the location has been moved to a local retirement community building.
For other states, start at Vote 411 to find your polling location.
Don't know who is running? Project Vote-Smart has candidate lists and bios for every district. Unfortunately, the site seems overloaded today, and I needed to try several times before getting it to answer my query...
Here in Pennsylvania we have the pleasure of participating in the Santorum-Casey Senate race: Very close, very pivotal. Remember that Santorum was the PA Senator who raised his reelection money on TV at Terry Shiavo's bedside. Every time I drive around here I am assaulted by frontyard campaign signs "Santorum Santorum Santorum," reminding me that I shouldn't forget to vote.
Hm, who do you think I voted for?
Heidi and I are considering a move to the Boston area because of a job offer she has at MGH. We visited last weekend to try to get a feel for life in the area.
According to Mark Twain, in New York they ask, "How much is he worth;" in Philadelphia, "Who were his parents;" and in Boston, "How much does he know?" After spending a few days back in Boston, I can see why knowledge is so important in that city. You can't get anywhere without an advanced degree....Continue reading "Boston IQ"
Discussions for a rematch are already underway.
While in the U.S. we have Electoral College gerrymandering, Supreme Court stuffing, and pay-to-play fundraising, there are different ways to stuff the ballot box in Lebanon. More direct. More brutal.
The Syrians naturally want to shut down the current Lebanese administration, before the UN-mandated Hariri assasination tribunal gets going (previous investigations implicated Syrian leadership in the killing). But there are only six pro-Syrian ministers who have been willing to resign. Nine must step down in order to break the quorum and force the government out of power.
A classic political problem: how to go from the six they have to the nine they need?
A few days ago, Samir Geaga anticipated the next political maneuver by the Syrians, and it turns out he was right. All the Syrians need is to eliminate three votes. Why bother with backroom lobbying and election year muckraking? That sort of sneakiness is so Western, so imperialist.
In the Middle East, you can be more direct. So today, Pierre Gemayel, Lebanon's Minister of Industry, was killed.
Only two more to go.
When you are just beginning to learn to program, you discover that it is not easy to start from scratch. The easier way to program is to copy somebody else's program and then modify it.
But as you get further along, you quickly learn that the copy-and-paste technique is verboten in programming...
On this black Friday, NTDOY continues its climb beyond 28....
But William Sharpe, investment professor and Nobel-winning inventor of the theory of efficient capital markets countered, "attempts to beat the market carry the seeds of their own destruction."
Who is right?Continue reading "A RoShamBo Walk"