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Chris King Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Chris King" journal:

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April 28th, 2009
01:41 pm


An Analogy
I'd like to make an analogy. Let's say work, or difficulty, is analogous to money. (Not too much of a stretch.)

Let's see what comes of that.

In the current economy, it has become difficult to keep one's job. In fact, those many people who have lost their job must exert a lot of work in order to find a new one. Having a job is worth a lot.

What do smart investors do when their investment is worth a lot? Well, they cash out.

Now, you can't really "cash out" on your job. Unless you're getting an early retirement bonus. That work needs to be reinvested somewhere.

In the current economy, vacations are at an all-time low. No-one is investing themselves in taking a vacation. They are cheaper than usual.

What do smart investors do with cheap goods? They buy, buy, buy.

This can't last forever, of course. With enough investors cashing out of a high market and buying into a low market, supply and demand dictates that those two markets are bound to trade roles. Eventually jobs will be easy to find and vacations will be expensive: what a roaring economy!

Now I'm not saying quit your job and take a vacation. Maybe that's not for you right now. A lot of us have bills to pay, families to support. (In fact this is where the analogy breaks down: although a job acts as a capital from which one can derive income, it itself can't be used as money. That's why we have savings.)

But for some people, it might just be a great idea.

Jump on it.

Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Follow You Into The Dark

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February 23rd, 2009
11:50 pm


So after my old bike lock seized up, I went out and bought a brandy-new Kryptolok Combo today. Followed the instructions to change the default combo (0005) to my own (1234 (let's pretend)).

After closing the lock, I went to test it. The rightmost two cylinders were hard to turn, but some wiggling got them loose, so I thought nothing of it. Turned them back to 1234... nothing! It seems something got messed up in the setting process.

OK I thought, maybe I didn't disengage the setting mechanism fully, so it got half-set. Tried a bunch of small-edit-distance combos... 0034, 1233, 2235, etc. Nothing worked. So short of going through the hassle of calling the factory, yadda yadda, I was left with one choice:

Pick my own lock.

Which I really didn't want to do. Because if I, totally unskilled in locksmithing (except on weekends when I'm a 7th level gnomish rogue), were able to pick my brandy-new Kryptolok Combo, I wouldn't really feel like using it after. But if I didn't, well, I wouldn't be able to use my lock anyhow.

Being ever the tinkerer, I chose to try picking it. I tried the obvious method of starting with the left- or right-most cylinder and turning it until the lock button moved a bit, but this didn't get me anywhere. Some Googling turned up a random comment by some guy named Strider (10th level human ranger?) mentioning the "push in method". These three words were enough for me to go on.

I closed my eyes, and starting turning the rightmost cylinder notch by notch, pushing in at each stop. Most stops were pretty firm, though some were squishier than others. I stopped on the one that felt the most squishy. (Pretty subjective, eh?) OK, onto the next cylinder. These were harder to tell apart, so I picked one that felt pretty squishy... I'm not gonna get this on the first try anyway, so I'll go with it. Two cylinders left.

Hunh, this one's pretty hard to turn past a certain point. Guess I'll leave it there.

And this next one won't even turn at all... CLICK!

I opened my eyes. 0569... how the heck did that combination get set? And how did I get it on the first try?

I reset the combo to 1234, for real this time. Checked it... yup, it works. And if I ever forget it, well...

I can always pick it.

Current Music: Jonas Dream - In My Pieces

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December 14th, 2008
09:17 pm


Ocarina mathematics
Pendant ocarinas are cool. They were invented by a certain John Taylor (a British mathematician) in 1964. They're even more cool because they're based on Hemholtz resonance. Unlike say, a flute, where the frequency is directly proportional to the length of the chamber, the frequency in a Hemholtz resonator is proportional to the square root of the open area in the chamber.

In other words, bigger holes give higher pitches. So do more holes. That's why in a pendant ocarina, you uncover combinations of holes.

So what if I were John Taylor. How would I go about designing such an instrument?

First let's start with a table of ratios of musical frequencies. Just the major scale:

C 1
D 1.12
E 1.26
F 1.33
G 1.50
A 1.68
B 1.89
C 2

OK good. But we're dealing with areas, and frequency is proportional to the square root of the area. So let's look at the squares:

C 1
D 1.26
E 1.59
F 1.78
G 2.25
A 2.83
B 3.56
C 4

Cool! Now the whistle-y part of the ocarina has to exist and has some area. We'll use that as our base note, so subtract it off of the ratios:

C 0
D 0.26
E 0.59
F 0.78
G 1.25
A 1.83
B 2.56
C 3

OK good good. But we're thinking about adding things together to make these. Let's check out the differences between them:

C-D 0.26
D-E 0.33
E-F 0.19
F-G 0.47
G-A 0.58
A-B 0.73
B-C 0.44

OK now. It looks like a hole of size ~0.23 might be good, to go from C to D and E to F. And if we make a dedicated hole for E of size 0.59, that's good for going from G to A also. So now we've got C, D, E, and F covered (pun intended!), and if we can figure out G we'll also have A. We also need our last two holes to sum to 3-0.59-0.23 = 2.18 to reach the octave.

We could give G its own hole of size 1.25, but the remaining hole of size 0.93 wouldn't be very useful in getting us that B. So let's combine G with another hole. We don't want to use our E hole, since we need that for getting our A. How about combining G with D, using a hole of size 1.25-0.23 = 1.02? Nope, same problem. We're left over with a useless hole of size 1.16.

Well, we've reached a dead end. Our first four notes were spot-on what our friend John Taylor came up with. But we got stuck at higher notes. In particular, Mr. Taylor re-used the 0.23 hole to go from B-C. Which is odd! But I think he took something else into account which I did not. More next week...

Current Music: C scale

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November 3rd, 2008
08:31 am


Excessive Food Product of the week!
This week's prize goes to...

Precooked Belgian Waffles... imported from Belgium

Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed
Current Music: Weezer - Say It Ain't So

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July 12th, 2008
09:42 am


Somewhere in my nine hours of sleep I had a dream about the ranks and positions of various Star Trek characters. Wha..............???

Current Location: Loudonville
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Weird Al - White & Nerdy

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July 11th, 2008
08:24 am


Weird dreams last night.
First it was about Lego robots (gee I wonder why!). Then I dreamt I was eating a Slim Jim. And I was appaled that I was eating it, but I kept eating it anyway thinking "oh well it's just once". Then I noticed it was a vegetarian Slim Jim so I felt better about it.

(But why I would even want to eat a veg Slim Jim is beyond me...)

Current Location: Loudonville, NY
Current Music: Weird Al - White & Nerdy

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June 4th, 2008
02:43 pm


Water water everywhere!

Originally uploaded by squirrel314
I was all set to go out to run some errands this rainy day and found... my car surrounded by a 3-inch deep puddle! (Not to mention a squirrel taking refuge from the rain underneath the tire well!) So I wait until the rain clears a bit methinks :)

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April 22nd, 2008
09:09 pm


One last installment...
barring funny drawings on the finals. Let's go out with a bang:

klaku klaku!Collapse )

And thus endeth the final installment of "things students draw that make me happy". I hope you have all enjoyed it as much as I have. 'Til next year!

Current Location: A21
Current Music: Belle & Sebastian - If She Wants Me

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April 21st, 2008
04:55 pm


It's that time of the week...
cliquez-vous ici!Collapse )

Current Location: A25
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: Guster - Center of Attention

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April 11th, 2008
07:12 pm


More grading goodness...
clicky!Collapse )

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