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{ Category Archives } brain flotsam


Avatar: visually very nice. It’s good to see that we’re past the Uncanny Valley. The story wasn’t anything special, but this film should be remembered for its innovations in CGI if for nothing else. I did wonder, though: where did Sigourney Weaver find a Stanford t-shirt sized for a creature ten feet tall? Speaking of [...]

Ideal Language and the Possibility of Deceit

Should an ideal human language allow deception? I say yes. What’s the point of language? To allow a speaker to induce a mental state in a listener. At its most basic level, this allows communication of basic concepts, plans, and facts. At more advanced levels, it can be used to induce emotions or to persuade. [...]

Airport Impressions

Civilian Commercial: Seoul Incheon: not actually very remarkable. It’s a big modern airport very much like many other big modern airports. It’s not ideally designed: it requires walking maybe 1500 meters from one end to the other, for military arrivals at least. Still, its linear design means it is at least simple. Also, free internet [...]

Transcontinental Song

The Army’s in Korea to support our great allies. My comp’ny’s role is simple: drop some troopers from the skies, And as a junior pilot I just keep the rotors high, SO let’s all fly to Asia for the Army. I’m wearing now the wings that took two years for me to rate. A couple [...]

formation flight

It turns out to be surprisingly difficult to properly fly in formation. The big challenge is altitude control: you need to stay within about +- 10 feet of the altitude of the person ahead of you. If you go too low, you run into their downwash and get to deal with problems ranging from turbulence [...]


I keep putting off going to sleep. I think the idea is that this is the last hour of the last day of my vacation, and tomorrow I have to get up to an alarm and go to work and resume the daily grind. As it happens, I like my job; the daily grind really [...]

in the news

I see a headline: “Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Threatens to Quit Government.” Instantly, I mentally fill in some context: “I’ve got the mouse right over the X in the corner, and I’m not afraid to click! You think you’re ready for anarchy? Of course not! And don’t think about sending troops; I’ve got a deadman switch [...]

named references to a decade

Sometime in the late nineties I came across an article wondering what phrase we would use to refer to the upcoming decade. Everyone was familiar with the nineties, eighties, and so forth, but the trend didn’t easily work for years whose second to last digit is zero. Historical precedent suggested that we call these years [...]

topic jujitsu

The road in front of Fort Rucker’s Enterprise gate performs an S curve down a fairly steep hill. The average speed for drivers at the top of the hill is around 65 mph; everyone knows that at the bottom of the hill, their speed will be zero to have their IDs checked at the gate. [...]


How can you tell it’s fall in New Hampshire? The treetops blaze in pyrotechnic glory, and the air becomes crisp and cool in anticipation of winter. How can you tell it’s fall in Alabama? Air conditioning isn’t necessary until after sunrise.