17 Nov. 2006
SETI League
PriUPS Project


Follows-Up II

It's been a couple of months since I reduced the stack of correspondence and comments.

Congrats to Bill, my apostrophe hero, who either figured out QVMF, or who thinks like I do.

Fun seeing some of the comments.
The only thing that pops into my mind for unobvious two letters of the
license plate is "<REDACTED>". Did you see something cleverer?


You're the first person to come up with the same guess, which, as I point out, may be off base. But it is ours now. Bill also found a reference for my misplaced chemistry memory:

Google's book search finds one ad for "John H Winn", offering an
illustrated catalog in a sadly undated issue of The Popular Science
Monthly. This also confirms the West 23rd St address.

books.google.com is is a very handy search tool, leading to all sorts of
books you might never have considered. Even when the content is
restricted it can be useful - I have a comprehensive book on cables,
cable companies, and cableships, which has a reasonable but not
comprehensive index. Using Google's search of that book gives a list of
pages containing the search term, which tells me if I should pull the
book off the shelf or keep looking.

Some back-and-forth with Deb, the exquisite chocolatographer.

What a scream! Thanks for the laughs this morning. Great blog entry.

I can only guess the appearance of surprise on that bully's face.
Psychology of bullies: All it takes is a bullier bully to make the original
bully cower. Ironically, you don't have to bigger or stronger, just bullier.
My word, Richard, but you can co-opt it.

Just as there is no such thing as useless trivia (it can always be used to bore somebody), even the actions of a "bully" can be put to good use.  I'm long removed from bully days, I'm pleased to say. I try not to be one, and I'm rarely subject to anything more than polite disagreement with people whom I know in my heart are simply wrong.

Being 6'almost4" helps!

Sometimes I find myself in less than savory situations where I must think of
my inner 6'4" Deb and rise above.

Additional Deb, regarding my New York Times story and subsequent radio interview

Nice piece in the Times. I'll be sure to link to it from my blog.
What will you do with your fame? :)

As I pointed out here, my opinion along with 50 cents and shipping will get me a fine UPS on eBay.  It's very likely that with my newly-found fame, all I will need is half a dollar (plus, of course, shipping).

Oh, slightly separate topic now. Since the reporter compared your
PriUPS to the lunar landing, what do you say to conspiracy theorists
who think that the lunar landing was a hoax?

I don't recall having met any, so I've never said anything. If I did, I would probably have a memorable phrase to emit, such as "EAT VACUUM, unreconstructable Bozo" while I cycle the airlock and enthusiastically apply my spaceboot.

Congrats on the CBS FM interview. I'm really getting tired of people calling
you a mad scientist, but I did like the tag line, "more power to him."
John and I had a chat about your lack of madness. We both agree, you're not
mad. So, there it is. :)

A lot of people agreed that the earth was flat!

Mike regarding the USDUC interview about the hybrid tax rebate

Too true to be surreal. The whole rebate business should be based on
gas mileage regardless of technology--either get 50 MpG of diesel or
gasoline or go to hell.

Please quote me on that.

I can go along with the notion of helping American car manufacturers
who are on the ropes, but not helping everybody make gas guzzlers,
which the Lexus and the majority of hybrids are shaping up to be, just
slightly less so. The counter argument is that something like 3/4's of
the cars sold in the US are pick-ups and SUV's and every little bit

OK, I've quoted you on that!

From Peter, about my comments on Anousheh Ansari's return from orbit

Saw this on foxnews.com this morning.
While the main topic of the story is interesting (if rather pointless), the
part that caught my eye was the next to the last sentence. How many math
books have you seen that would round pi to 3.141?

None, of course. But a tiny rounding error is less tragic than putting someone in orbit at 500mph!  Isn't it a comfort to know that the subject of the story was a "mental health counselor." Or that we seem to "equations defining the universe."

At the risk of once again violating my mother's long-past yet still apt
admonition "don't bother trying to make sense out of nonsense", perhaps the
500mph velocity is the post-ballistic re-entry speed, after frictional
slowing, and before retro-rocket firing?

I'll endorse your mom on this one. The retro rockets are fired before re-entry or they get to stay up there.

(This is the "this" Peter was referring to)

Nothing Says 'Someone Needs a New Hobby' Like '3.1415926535897932...'

TOKYO (AP) - A Japanese mental health counselor recited pi to 100,000 decimal places from memory on Wednesday, setting what he claims to be a new world record.

Akira Haraguchi, 60, needed more than 16 hours to recite the number to 100,000 decimal places, breaking his personal best of 83,431 digits set in 1995, his office said Wednesday. He made the attempt at a public hall in Kisarazu, just east of Tokyo.

Pi is a physical constant defined as the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.

It is usually written out to a maximum of three decimal places, as 3.141, in math textbooks. But the number, which has fascinated scientists for centuries, has no theoretical limit to the number of decimal places it can be written to. It is a constant that appears in the proofs of many equations defining the universe.

"What I am aiming at is not just memorizing figures, I am thrilled by seeking a story in pi," Haraguchi said.

From Tony and John, brothers talking among themselves.  I somehow obtained a copy.

Tony: I mentioned your blog to Jeff and we couldn't help but wonder if you've
invented the talking blog?

John: This incredible!!!! Can we get him to do some Pynchon. Y'know,
"Gravity's Rainbow?"

A couple of thoughts.

Richard sounds like the dude on test tapes. You know, the guys that
says, "1k at reference fluxivity 250 nano webers. He's totally that

Second thought. He actually has missed his calling. He's a
voiceover stud.

Third thought. I've referred to Richard as a stud. I now have to go
and blow my brains out.

Please tell him to be careful. I don't want to be responsible for that, but if I am, and if he does, PLEASE don't get any on the tape - it will change the fluxivity.

Tom, in response to my plea for info on the Russian dude

So, challenged by you, I cut С. А. ВАУПШАСОВ and pasted it into Google's Advanced Search page in the "find an exact match" box. I asked it to search in English only.
I got two matches: Your blog, and another hit that is decidedly not
in English

Hopefully that will be enough to keep you out of the big house and let you do a few months in home detention or, worse, force you to work for a government agency somewhere. The Russians made a STAMP out of this guy, right next to Philby. He must be somebody!

Bill again,  Regarding fromagic inhomogeneity

I imagine poor Martha just couldn't deal with the advanced science
behind cheese-making. According to food/science expert Harold McGee,
most of the flavor is introduced in the ripening stage, when the
bacteria get down to some serious work (most of them are penicillin,
Amazing what we'll eat when someone we don't even know tells us it's food!

(Right here would be the referenced long article about cheese science, if it were here.)

Very interesting! Esp. the part about the ammonia. Occasionally one of the Saga brie wheels will be noticeably ammoniacal.

And on Photo Driving Licenses

As an expert on photo licenses, having had one for almost my entire
driving career in New York, I can offer some consolation.
While the photo may look just like you at the moment, this will change;
at first slowly, then faster and faster, and by the time you come to
renew your license it will not resemble you at all.
I hope this makes you feel better.

Not much. I stay the same, and the photo improves every year.

Bill: You need to keep your license in the attic.

Tracy, a self-proclaimed expert on bananafication:

I did not know you had a bun! How cute and cuddly!! And how sweet are
you to feed the bun a 'nana. However, you peeled your 'nana from the
wrong end. If you peel it from the other end, you have a handle with
which to hold the nana. much cleaner.

I have a bun! And before she went defective, two buns. The one in the picture is Raleigh, a big bun indeed. The second, BooBoo, was smaller and even cuter.  Thanks for the bananatip. I shall try it and report, probably publicly, on my experience.  [If anyone is at this point having premonitions of a forthcoming photoessay, you have been paying attention.  So far my survey is evenly divided on which end to start from.  I don't know that consensus is necessary on this issue.]

Marc (whose name I may have misspelled to protect him)

I'm obviously slightly behind in my reading.kudos to your Prius hack in
months ago.

Thanks. Getting a little behind is usually a good thing.

I'm proud of you for doing it the "proper" way to avoid any chance of screw

That's the sort of thing that can only be minimized, never eliminated.

I also realized I had a genny on wheels, but I just painted all the breakers
to turn off red (including the main of course), and put in a Prius breaker
to turn on after plugging in the car. Any slip up and I'm toast, and when I
sell my house I must destroy all the evidence, but hey, it was cheap quick
and dirty and life is a gamble anyway!

Even more toasty is the poor utility company guy working on the lines whom you've just electrocuted. As I'm forever pointing out, BE CAREFUL.  BTW, [this] blog considers the subject of electrocution.

Deb and Bill, separately yet together, with regard to the Problem of the PLUCO

Deb:  ...In order to avoid forgetting to take the fish from her fridge when I
leave for home, I put my car keys on top of the bag in her freezer.
It's worked for me for years. Perhaps it might work with your pluco

Bill, the next day:

Simplest solution, works every time: put your car keys on top of the
PLUCO before placing it into temporary storage.

Deb accepted my response, which was this: "MUCH TOO SIMPLE!  Harumph."  Bill, on the other hand, was more contentious and responded to my "Who wants to put freezing car keys in his pocket, eh?" with:

Put them in the ignition instead!

That'll teach me to argue with my apostrophe hero!

Richard Factor

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