Sunday, June 25, 2006


An Inconvenient Truth

Do you like scary movies? You've gotta see this one. Even if you don't like scary movies, see it.

I didn't expect the movie to be as "entertaining" (in a weird way) as it was. It's essentially a 90-minute PowerPoint presentation, with lots of charts and graphs, but it's thoroughly engrossing. It is filled with gloom and doom, but its message is an optimistic one. Go see it—you'll like it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Hotter Than Angelina Jolie

Some time ago, another guy mentioned that he didn't think Angelina Jolie was very attractive. He asked me whether I thought she was. I replied that she looked okay, but she wouldn't make my Top 20 list.

Every time I see a story about Angelina, I remember that conversation and think about writing up that Top 20 list. Here it is:

  1. Famke Janssen
  2. Kari Byron
  3. Jessica Alba
  4. Sela Ward
  5. Mariska Hargitay
  6. Tina Fey
  7. Maria Bello
  8. Julianne Moore
  9. Robin Wright Penn
  10. Heather Graham
  11. Tyra Banks
  12. Ziyi Zhang
  13. Uma Thurman
  14. Shania Twain
  15. Vivica Fox
  16. Halle Berry
  17. Felicity Huffman
  18. Julie Bowen
  19. Michelle Yeoh
  20. Angie Harmon

I think I could put down at least 20 more names before I got to Angelina. This is a list of women who are hotter than Angelina; I watch a lot of old movies and TV shows, so I think I'll also make a list of women who were more attractive.

By the way, this list is restricted to celebrities. If you are a woman I know, and you wonder why you aren't on the list, trust me: you belong right at the top.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Big Yellow "X"

Today I decided to fly to Centre Municipal Airport (C22), in Centre, Alabama. It met my destination criteria: it was greater than 50 NM away, so it would count as a cross-country flight, but was less than 100 NM away, so I could make a round trip in the 2 hours and 30 minutes for which I'd reserved the plane. It's also near a big lake, so I was hoping it would be pretty.

Other than waiting half an hour to get fuel in the plane, the flight was uneventful until I had C22 in sight. It's in the middle of nowhere, which made it easy to pick out in the summer haze. I didn't see any hangers or other buildings near the runway, but I knew from the Airport/Facility Directory that the field was unattended, and the runway didn't even have centerline markings, so I figured it was just a rarely-used runway in the middle of nowhere.

As I got close enough to read the number at the end of the runway, I expected to see "27". However, there was no number there.

There was a big yellow "X" at each end of the runway.

A big yellow "X" means that the runway is closed. So I stopped descending, and started circling. I thought maybe I'd run across an old runway, and the real Centre Municipal Airport runway would be nearby. I didn't see any other runways, and my VOR/DME readings indicated I was in the right spot.

So I turned around and went home. Number of landings for today: 1.

After getting back on the ground, I checked NOTAMs to see if there was any mention of the runway being closed, but the only NOTAM for C22 was one about an unlighted tower in the vicinity. I got my weather briefing from the DUATS system this morning—I wonder if I would have known about the closure if I'd called an FSS briefer instead.

It's a little embarrassing to fly somewhere and find out there is no place to land. I guess I've learned a lesson about flight planning.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


OCaml and Sudoku

I've been spending my evenings learning about OCaml. As a first toy program, I wrote a sudoku solver in OCaml similar to the Ruby sudoku solver I did a few months ago.

I was pretty proud of my program, which solved sudokus in a fraction of a second. Then I ran across a 19-line OCaml sudoku solver on the Internet. Mine is 187 lines (including comments and blank lines).

I don't understand the 19-line version. It makes me feel stupid.

I take some solace from the facts that I'm a beginner, that I wrote my code for clarity rather than conciseness, and that I wrote a functional-style program, whereas the 19-line version uses some imperative features. But still, I am very concerned that I just do not understand the 19-line version, and it doesn't look that tricky.

Maybe I need to stick with C++. I guess I've become an old dog.

[UPDATE: After getting some sleep, the 19-line code made sense to me. I had to have a fresh brain to make sense of all those tightly-packed m's, n's, x's, y's and i's.]

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