This page will look much nicer in a browser that supports CSS, or with CSS turned on.

Uncertain Principles

Physics, Politics, Pop Culture

Saturday, November 20, 2004


On the off chance that anybody is still looking for WMD's, here's a picture of the doomsday device (135K JPEG) in my lab, and another shot showing it connected to other infernal devices (171K JPEG). And here's the laser that powers it (170K JPEG). The pen in that picture is, um, eighty feet long, because it's a massively destructive laser. Yeah, that's the ticket...

OK, fine. It's not a doomsday weapon, it just looks like one. It's the custom vacuum chamber that will serve as the trap region for the experiments I'm setting up in my lab. Here's a picture of the whole vacuum apparatus (143K JPEG). From left to right: the big grey chamber is part of the atomic beam source (with a big turbopump on top), the long copper coil is a tapered electromagnet that's used to help slow the beam of atoms, and the shiny chamber at the end will contain the magneto-optical trap itself. The laser system is on the table behind the chamber at the right, with the diode laser hidden under the white box (which is made of foam packing material taped to a cardboard box-- we're all about high tech construction). Six laser beams (three pairs) will intersect at the center of the sphere, one pair passing through the center window and the one opposite it, and the other two pairs through the diagonal axes perpendicular to it.

If you'd like a better idea of the scale, here's a picture of my thesis student (139K JPEG) next to the apparatus, and again, from a different angle (220K JPEG). I took all of these with his digital camera, so the slight blurring of some of the images is entirely my fault.

The pictures are intended to illustrate the talk I'll be giving at a workshop in Canada in a few weeks, but the WMD-looking chamber is so cool that I needed to post pictures here.

Posted at 2:17 PM | link | follow-ups | 15 comments

No Escape

In bad times, politically, it's always nice to have a refuge. You need somewhere you can turn to find diversion, that won't be tainted by the larger problems of society. For me, that has often been sports fandom-- I long ago stopped watching Headline News in the mornings in favor of the SportsCenter re-runs, in order to ease into the day with less aggravation.

Sadly, this is no longer a safe refuge, as the world of sports has gone batshit along with the rest of the country. First, there's the fact that the morality brigade has gotten their collective panties in a knot over a two-minute promo ABC used for their Monday Night Football game, showing the star of one of their shows pretending to seduce a fully clothed (in pads, no less) Terrell Owens. A five-second shot of her naked back is apparently as big a threat to the American family as all those gay people getting married.

Actually, I agree with that: this is exactly as big a threat as gay marriage, which is to say no threat at all. Or, in the immortal words of Michael Binkley, "Pop, you think pantyhose commercials are a threat to the American family."

Look, you couldn't pay me to watch "Desperate Housewives," and Terrell Owens is the third most annoying person in the entire sports world (trailing Dick Vitale and Stephen A. Smith), but this whole thing is a farce. Have any of the people bitching about this seen the commercials they run during football games? Every third ad is for a drug that causes four-hour erections, and in between those, we have endless promos for shows like "Wife Swap," which better be the absolute bottom of the "reality" barrel, because I don't want to think what comes after that. While "Wife Swap" is on the air (and I have to say, the people in the commercials don't look like Blue State coastal elites) I don't want to hear any complaints about the NFL. Terrell Owens could sodomize a horse at midfield during the Super Bowl, and it would be less damaging to the American family than this "reality" crap.

Michael Wilbon unloads on these people in today's Post, and while I don't agree with everything he says, I'm glad to see him say it.

And then, we have last night's fracas in Detroit. After a hard foul, Ben Wallace shoved the always-combustible Ron Artest, igniting an on-court brawl. While Artest was theatrically lounging on the scorer's table, a fan hit him with a thrown drink, and Artest charged into the stands, igniting another brawl, and chaos throughout.

Sadly, Ray Ratto has this one nailed in an ESPN column:

The fact is, every person involved in the horrendous brawl at The Palace at Auburn Hills is secretly proud of himself for not taking any stuff ? from Ron Artest clocking the one fan in a Pistons jersey, to the louts who drenched Jermaine O'Neal on his way off the floor with every liquid item from the concession stands.

They're all telling their friends what great people they are, and how many valuable lessons they imparted to all those other stupid people, whoever they might be. They all think this was a rite of passage, a test of manhood, and they all think they passed with flying colors.

And the worst part is, that's the line the ESPN analysts were taking on SportsCenter this morning-- the fans were out of line, and the players were just defending themselves. Several times, they said words to the effect of "Any player in the league would've done the same thing."

Again, sadly, I believe that. And that's the whole problem. It's not like this wasn't something you could predict-- sports in general, and the NBA in particular have been getting progressively more thugged-up over the years. On-court brawls are now relatively common, as every hard foul is taken as a personal attack, a "test of manhood." And fan behavior has degraded right along with it, so it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

And raise your hand if you're surprised to hear that Ron Artest is in the middle of this mess. If you've got your hand in the air, slap yourself upside the head for being ignorant.

The suspensions meted out to players involved should start at "come back next year," and end at "spend more time with your family." If that leaves the Pacers without enough players to play their games, or without enough good players to win games, well, that's a damn shame. The fans and players involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible, and the Pistons organization should be fined roughly the entire take for last night's game.

(But then I've long been a proponent of the "Powers of Two" system for fighting penalties: the first guy in a season to get in a fight sits for two games. The next guy gets four (regardless of what team he's on), the one after that eight, and everybody learns a valuable lesson about geometric series.)

Happily, I'm not a fan of the NBA, so it's not like I'll be inconvenienced by refusing to watch any more of their games. What bothers me most about this is that it's going to taint the entire game of basketball, and obscure the fact that there were exciting games played last night (along with some enjoyable routs) where the focus was on the game, not the deplorable behavior of highly-paid sociopaths.

Posted at 9:51 AM | link | follow-ups | 4 comments

Theory of Everything

Done. Now how about a hard problem?

Posted at 9:35 AM | link | follow-ups | no comments

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Real Problem with Web Ads

A recent Making Light thread has included a bit of discussion of the efficacy of Web ads (starting with this post) on blogs and other site. A very small fraction of the people who click through an ad will actually buy something, and the fraction of people who see a web ad and end up buying the product in question is ridiculously small.

Opinions are divided as to whether this is really a problem or not, and if so, how big a problem it is. It's not the biggest problem with web ads, though, as I was reminded when I made my morning visit to the Washington Post site. For the third time this week, I was unable to read an article (in this case, any of their movie reviews) because of the ads. Their site is configured so that the ads have to download completely before any of the article text shows up, and the ad server was hung up for some reason. After two or three minutes of failing to load, I closed the window, and read something else instead.

Now, granted, I am extremely unlikely to buy anything sold via any of those ads in the first place, so on the strict sales level, the effect is minimal (I usually surf using Opera with images off, particularly for ad-heavy sites like the Post, so even had the server coughed them up, I probably wouldn't've seen the full ads). But I am also unlikely to ever read those reviews, now, and if this problem continues to crop up (it's been particularly bad this week), I am unlikely to continue reading the Post, period.

This isn't a big deal for the Post, but the same holds for bloggers. On several occasions, I've followed links to sites that had a similar ad problem, and when that happens, I generally don't go back. They could be the most brilliant writers the world has ever seen, but if BlogAds prevents me from seeing their brilliant writing, well, I've got better things to do with my day than try to figure out a way around the problem.

I'm not sure how big a problem this really is-- I accept that my rules regarding web browsing are Kozlowskian in their arbitrary rigidity (I generally won't read registration-required sites, either. Yes, I know about bugmenot, but even that is more effort than most online articles are worth.). But if you're a blogger running ads on your site, it's probably worth thinking about-- it's the second reason why you're not going to see any ads on Steelypips in the near future (the first being that we don't actually need the money...).

Posted at 8:03 AM | link | follow-ups | 4 comments

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Journal Club 5 (Superluminal Brazil Nuts)

This week's Journal Club features the new leader for the coveted "Best PRL Title Ever" prize, "Are Brazil Nuts Attractive?" This narrowly edges out the previous best title, "Black Holes Have No Short Hair."

The title sounds absolutely ridiculous, but is actually a serious paper, dealing with the mechanics of smallish numbers of large particles mixed in with a much larger number of smaller particles. Under certain conditions, agitation of this sort of sample will cause the big particles to rise to the top, a phenomenon known as the "Brazil Nut Effect" (BNE) after the tendency of Brazil nuts to rise to the top of cans of mixed nuts. There's apparently also a "Reverse Brazil Nut Effect," under different conditions, which causes the big objects to sink to the bottom.

The question in the title is asked regarding the tendency of big things to end up clumping together in the BNE. The question is: does this happen because there's some effective force that pulls them together, or because all the big things are pushed to the same place regardless of what's happening to the others. The answer is apparently "yes"-- they claim to find an effective "force" pulling nearby Brazil nuts together.

So, now you know: Brazil nuts are attractive. And knowing is half the battle.

On a more relevant note, there's "Direct Measurement of Superluminal Group Velocity and Signal Velocity in an Optical Fiber," which deserves a prize for being the most misleading title in this week's journals. They've measured superluminal group velocities for pulses sent along an optical fiver, and they're also measured the signal velocity of pulses sent down a fiber, but the signal velocity is not superluminal, contrary to the impression created by the title.

The basic experiment here is in the general class of superluminal pulse experiments, in which a pulse of light is sent into some medium, and a pulse comes out the other end in less time than it would take to cover that distance at the speed of light. This would seem to be forbidden by Einsteinian relativity, but there actually isn't any problem. In a typical set-up, the output pulse generally corresponds to the leading edge of the original pulse, the bulk of which is absorbed in the medium. The center of the narrow leading edge bit that sneaks through arrives before the center of the original wide pulse would've gotten there, but at more or less the time you'd expect for the leading edge of the original pulse. More sophisticated schemes rely on the difference between phase velocity, group velocity, and signal velocity, but no scheme has been demonstrated in which information is transmitted faster than the speed of light (much to the disappointment of kooks everywhere). This particular paper is interesting because the materials used are really very simple: a length of optical fiber, two high-quality polarizing beamsplitter cubes, and a diode laser at one of the major telecommunication wavelengths. The fiber is sandwiched between the two polarizing beamsplitters, and by adjusting the angle between the two, they can produce both superluminal pulses, and also "slow light" pulses, for which the apparent velocity is less than the speed of light.

The theoretical section of the paper is kind of hairy, and I haven't read it closely enough to really follow what they're doing, but the experimental system is appealingly simple. The equipment they used is well within the resources of our department, and I may look into whether a variation on this would work for an upper-level lab experiment. That would be pretty cool, and might also fit in with some things a colleague and I are proposing to do with the EE department.

And that's about it for this week.

Posted at 9:29 PM | link | follow-ups | 6 comments

Don't I Know You?

Via yhlee, I see that the New York Times has an article on the physics of football. Articles on "The Science of {Noun}" are depressingly common, so I wasn't expecting all that much when I clicked though. It was kind of a kick to find out that it's really an article about someone I know. Well, OK, I mostly know him as "That DAMOP guy who sort of looks like Bill Phillips but isn't," but it's not that often that I recognize people appearing in the Times

The article itself is fairly typical of the genre-- there are some pretty strained parallels to three-body collision physics (I suspect you'd be pretty safe ignoring the effect of the football when a wide receiver and a safety are colliding)-- and you get "Lookit the egghead!" sentences like: "At Dr. Gay's perch a dozen rows back on the 35-yard line, Isaac Newton is cited as often as Vince Lombardi, and the X's and O's of the game are enhanced by delta-V's and delta-T's."

But any connection at all between football and physics, two pursuits that are seen as pretty much diametrically opposed in American culture, is probably interesting enough to justify a book, and an article in the Times.

(Of course, this just shows that I need to work on writing the definitive book on the physics of basketball, so I can get my fifteen minutes of fame...)

Posted at 9:09 AM | link | follow-ups | 5 comments

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Cabinet Shake-Up Explained

End of discussion.

Posted at 10:33 AM | link | follow-ups | 1 comment

Shuffle Play Whiplash

A little pop-culture, to offset the cranky politicking. John Scalzi is kickin' it LiveJournal style, as the hopelessly uncool kids say, and doing the shuffle-play thing. I'll copy the idea, to celebrate the fact that I've finally finished ripping my CD collection (6199 songs, at the moment. I'll probably delete some of the tracks that are on there, which is the only reason I didn't immediately go to the iTunes store to buy one more song...).

The first ten songs to come up on the "Party Shuffle" of my entire library:

We Only Come Out at Night-- Smashing Pumpkins
On and On (About You)-- Bowling for Soup
That Feel-- Tom Waits
God on My Side-- World Party
Hands Away-- Interpol
Mad Dog 2020-- Teenage Fanclub
Don't Stop Me Now-- Queen
Black Girls-- Violent Femmes
Dark Dark Heart-- John Wesley Harding
Ice Cream Man-- Tom Waits

I'm not providing song-by-song commentary on these because, to be honest, I couldn't tell you anything about five of those ten based on the title and artist alone. I mean, I know I've heard them at least once, but they're normally buried deep in my collection. That's the beauty of the shuffle-play thing.

The next ten are also pretty weird:

O Death-- Ralph Stanley
Until I Fall Away-- Gin Blossoms
Spanish Bombs-- The Clash
Baby in Two-- The Pernice Brothers
South Australia-- The Pogues
Perfect Country Song-- David Allan Coe
Come On Home-- Franz Ferdinand
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl-- Jonny Lang
The New Face of Zero and One-- New Pornographers
I'm the Ocean-- Neil Young (with Pearl Jam)

That's a little better. The Franz Ferdinand is the only one of those where I can't immediately call to mind at least a little snippet of the tune. And I haven't had that record for all that long. I suspect that the transition to that from the David Allan Coe ("I was drunk, the day my mom got out of prison...") could be a little rough, but we'll find out...

Posted at 7:16 AM | link | follow-ups | 7 comments

Monday, November 15, 2004

Start at the Bottom

In the wake of the electoral defeat, the usual suspects are all abuzz with suggestions of what, exactly, the Democrats need to do to win the next national election. These are generally statements of the form "The Democrats need to spend a lot more time talking about things I just happen to be interested in" (see Matt Yglesias for a great example, and Josh Marshall for another. Amy Sullivan at Calpundit Monthly has posted a bunch of things calling for more God talk, as well), though there are occasional calls to blow the whole party up and start over (see, for example, the exchange between Timothy Burke and Russell Arben Fox). And, of course, they're all wrong.

Not because the Democrats really need to be talking about atomic physics (they don't), but because they all focus on dramatic changes in policy, or changes in candidates (nominating religious Southern governors, for example). These things all miss the point: the policies and candidates aren't the problem, the organization is the problem.

The Democrats don't need new policies-- a majority voters prefer the Democratic position on virtually every domestic issue that I've seen polled. They don't even need a more ideologically coherent set of policies-- if you can find a more incoherent mess of contradictory policy proposals than the Republican platform, well, you're probably studying Italian politics. What they need is a story about those policies, and a concerted and disciplined effort to put it across.

Similarly, they don't need a more active candidate-- again, it's hard to find a more passive candidate than Bush, who did nothing but give rote speeches to hand-picked crowds. Bush didn't launch endless attacks on Kerry, Bush surrogates launched endless attacks on Kerry. Bush pretended to be above it all, while the real mud-slinging came from people at much lower levels in the organization.

The thing that the Republicans have that the Democrats need is a veritable army of political hacks who are ready to go on talking-head shows and mechanically recite whatever the talking points are for the week. It's kind of creepy, and The Daily Show has a field day with it, but you know what? It works. Pick a policy question, come up with a punchy one-sentence description, and have two dozen people fan out and repeat it a million times. It gets through, in a way that nuanced and individual statements do not.

Kerry didn't need to attack Bush more vigorously, he needed other people to vigorously attack Bush for him, in a consistent way. Kerry didn't need to push different policies, he needed other people to push his policies for him, in a strong and consistent way. But the Democrats don't have people who do that, and the few people they do have don't have any message discipline, so what you got was Kerry trying to do the whole thing himself, and coming up short. Could he have pulled it off if he had more charisma? Sure. But he shouldn't have needed to.

The problem with this line is, it's not glamorous. It doesn't provide a grand platform for think-tank wonks, unless they're willing to parrot a consistent line. And it requires more hard work than finding a charismatic Southerner to put at the top of the ticket. But no platform change will save the day if the new platform is pushed in the same half-assed scattershot manner as the old one.

Doesn't this involve further degradation of American political discourse? Yes, it does. But I'd rather see the Democrats keep their good policies and win through debased politics, than trade good policies for bad ones and keep losing.

Of the blogeratti posting on this topic, I think Kevin Drum comes closest to what's really needed: not so much a policy shift, as a better elevator pitch. But I think Sean Carroll has the best summation of the current conversation:

Liberals have a lot to learn from these folks. John Kerry gets the second-largest popular vote total of any Presidential candidate ever, and people want to turn the Democratic party inside out in an effort to cobble together two more percentage points. Alan Keyes stumbles to a defeat of historic proportions, and his supporters declare victory.

This was not a Goldwater '64 kind of defeat, not unless the Democrats let it become one. It was a narrow loss to a wartime incumbent with a huge organizational advantage-- not in a get-out-the-vote sense, but in a get-out-the-message one. The answer is not to blow up the Democratic party, but to actually get down and do the grunt work of putting together the kind of disciplined media machine that the Republicans are using to win.

Posted at 2:03 PM | link | follow-ups | 5 comments

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Star B By Any Other Name

While I self-identify as a physicist, I'm a faculty member in a Department of Physics and Astronomy, which means that many of our students are really astronomers in training. One of our recent graduates came back to visit on Friday, and gave a talk on the work she's doing toward her Ph.D. in Astronomy.

I didn't quite follow all of the talk, but the basic gist was that she was working on measuring the distance to a fairly odd cluster of stars something on the high side of ten kiloparsecs away (1 kpc = 3.09 1019, or 3,262 light-years. A long way for normal people, not all that far for astonomers.). In particular, she talked about measuring the distances to two stars in the cluster, Star 10 and Star B.

So, I exercised my faculty prerogative to ask stupid questions, and asked "What's the significance of the '10' and the 'B'?"

Now, I come at this as someone with a degree in Chemical Physics, which means that I've had to learn a few things about molecular physics, which boasts an astonishing profusion of alphanumeric codes for things. The energy states of diatomic molecules get labelled with a letter code (s=0, p=1, d=2, etc.) to indicate the total anglular momentum of the state, and the letter can be either Roman or Greek (s becomes σ or Σ), depending on exactly what sort of state it is. Except some of the states just get labeled with numbers (as in the famous "0g-" state in diatomic sodium), if it's just the right sort of state. They also usually get a number to indicate spin degeneracy (2s+1, where s is the total spin angular momentum of the state), and two other labels (a subscript "g" or "u" and a superscript "+" or "-", depending on the symmetry of the state under inversion or reflection in the plane of the molecule). Thus, a 1Σg+ state indicates a spin-zero state with zero angular momentum, that is symmetric ("gerade" in German) with respect to both exchange of the two atoms and reflection through the plane of the molecular axis. Simple, right?

As if that's not enough, the states are also often labeled with extra letters to indicate where they are in the hierarchy. The lowest energy state is "X," with higher energy states being labeled "A," "B," "C," and so on, except that they also alternate lowercase and capital letters to indicate the parity of the state (I think-- I know there's a difference between "A" and "a," but I'm not entirely sure what it is). And the really fun part is that multiple schemes can apply to different states of the same molecule, so you can have a molecule excited from the 0g- state to a 3Πu-, or some such.

So you can understand why I might be inclined to expect there to be some significance to the different labels...

Of course, molecular physics is hardly alone in having complicated and fairly opaque naming schemes. Particle physics was famously compared to botany for having so many named particles, and biological nomenclature (via Making Light's sidebar) is a rich subject all to itself, with all sorts of silly Latin puns and hidden insults. And the names assigned to bits of various genomes seem to indicate that grad students in gene sequencing labs get awfully punchy at times. Chemistry, too, has its share of polysyllabic gibberish, with its poly-di-ethyl-methyl-hydro-whatsis compound names, which seem designed to make German look simple. And don't even think about naming in biochemisty, which is sort of the worst of both worlds, from what I can tell.

And, or course, astronomy is riddled with weird alphanumeric designations for things-- M31, NGC 1256, etc.-- that make sense to people in the field, but are mostly nonsense to me. There's also a pattern to naming stars in constellations, involving Greek letters (hence "Alpha Centauri"). The very cluster our former student was talking about had an alphanumeric designation (Cl 1806-20), and some of the stars in it are odd enough to have their own names (LBV 1806-20 and SGR 1806-20).

What I'm saying is that I had every reason to expect that there was some significance to the "10" and the "B." Scientists are forever naming things with weird little codes that contain a lot of information, if you know how to decipher them.

But, no. The first survey of the cluster picked out a handful of objects that seemed interesting, and gave them letters (ABCDE), and the follow-up survey identified a number of other interesting objects, which they assigned numbers (1 to 15 or so). There's no particular logic to it, though apparently radio astronomers tend to prefer letters, while optical astronomers prefer numbers.

So what's in a name? Not much.

Posted at 8:49 PM | link | follow-ups | 3 comments

It's About Time...

College basketball is back for both Syracuse and Maryland. OK, fine, those are stories about pre-season games, but the regular season starts next week, and not a moment too soon. I need something to watch on tv, and ESPN needs something other than poker to show on weeknights. (Which is not to say that poker on tv isn't weirdly hypnotic, but I've seen all the episodes now, and I'm starting to recognize specific hands...). At this point, I'd almost be happy to see hockey return, but it's good to get real sports instead...

Ridiculously homer-ish coverage of my teams can be found here (SU) and here (UMD). There's also the Post's ACC preview (I'd link to their Big East preview, but they're Georgetown homers, so here's another Maryland article instead).

Now, start the games, already...

Posted at 10:16 AM | link | follow-ups | no comments

The Zen of Spam

Two consecutive Subject: headers in last night's flood of spam:

Someone you know is
Pampered and soluble

That sounds like the beginning of a dreadfully pretentious poem. Potential title: "Love is the Solvent."

Or not.

Posted at 10:01 AM | link | follow-ups | 5 comments

ΔxΔp ≥ h / 4 π

My stuff
What's with the name?
Who is this clown?
Does he know what he's talking about?
Archived Posts
Index of Physics Posts
RSS, version 0.91
The Library of Babel
Japan Stories

Δ E Δ t ≥ h / 4 π

Other People's Stuff

AKMA's Random Thoughts
Arcane Gazebo
Arts and Letters Daily
Boing Boing
Chronicles of Dr. Crazy
Confessions of a Community College Dean
Cosmic Variance
Crooked Timber
Brad DeLong
Diary de la Vex
Drink at Work
Easily Distracted
Electron Blue
John Fleck
Grim Amusements
David Harris's Science and Literature Hellblazer
In the Pipeline
Invisible Adjunct
Izzle Pfaff
Knowing and Doing
The Last Nail
Learning Curves
The Little Professor
Making Light
Malice Aforethought
Chris C. Mooney
Musical Perceptions
My Heart's in Accra
Michael Nielsen
Not Even Wrong
Notional Slurry
Off the Kuff
One Man's Opinion
Orange Quark
The Panda's Thumb
Perverse Access Memory
Political Animal
The Poor Man
Preposterous Universe
Pub Sociology
Quantum Pontiff
Real Climate
The Reality-Based Community
SciTech Daily
Sensei and Sensibility
Talking Points Memo
Through the Looking Glass
Unmistakable Marks
Unqualified Offerings
View From the Corner of the Room
What's New
Whiskey Bar
Wolverine Tom
Word Munger
Yes, YelloCello
Matthew Yglesias

Book Stuff

Book Slut
Neil Gaiman
The Humblest Blog on the Net
Pam Korda
Outside of a Dog
Reading Notes
Seven Things Lately
The Tufted Shoot
Virtual Marginalia
Weasel Words
Woodge's Book Report


ACC Hoops
College Basketball (2.0)
Dave Sez
Hoop Time 3.0
The Mid-Majority
Set Shot
Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Δ N Δ Φ ≥ 1 / 2


75 or Less Album Reviews
Rotten Tomatoes
The Onion A.V. Club

Geek Stuff

Annals of Improbable Research
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Britney Spears's Guide to Semiconductor Physics
The Comic Book Periodic Table
MC Hawking's Crib
The Museum of Unworkable Devices
Myths and Mysteries of Science
The Onion
Physics 2000
Sluggy Freelance
Web Elements
Physics Central (APS)
This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics

Useful Stuff

Web Design Group

While it is my fervent hope that my employers agree with me about the laws of physics, all opinions expressed here are mine, and mine alone. Don't hold my politics against them.

Weblog posts are copyright 2003 by Chad Orzel, but may be copied and distributed (and linked to) freely, with the correct attribution. But you knew that already.

If you use Internet Explorer, and the text to the right cuts off abruptly at the end of this column, hit "F11" twice, and you should get the rest of it. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Powered by Blogger Pro and BlogKomm.

Steelypips main page.