Wednesday, June 24, 2009

सुम्मेर स्प्रिंग

One spring or summer years ago as a teenager, I wanted to experience vertigo and see what the fuss was about. Having read somewhere that divers must always follow their air bubbles to the surface when completely confused and in danger of drowning, I decided to experiment...

Went to the backyard (*) and jumped into the swimming pool. After spending a minute or two taking deep breaths and expanding my lungs went to the bottom of the deep end and exhaled some air and then followed the bubbles to the surface. Simple enough. Just follow the air bubbles to the surface.

Took some more deep breaths and went back under. Did about 5-10 quick front flips, released air, and followed bubbles to the surface. Too easy. Definitely not confused so did it again with the same disappointing results.

Then I tried it a final time. Did about 15-20 front flips. Released air except that the bubbles went the wrong way. What I thought was down was where the bubbles were traveling to. Regardless, FOLLOW THE BUBBLES. Feeling panic, didn't think I was gonna make it to the surface. I did. Strange and frightening sensation. Down was up and Up was down.

Just typing this is making my head hurt.


(*) streetview

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cookie Fortune - Most Recent

Your self-confidence shines and makes a great impression on others.

Learn Chinese:

Doctor - Yi Sheng

Lucky Numbers:

43, 40, 41, 5, 44, 22

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On This Date in History

Wednesday, June 17th
The 168th day of 2009.
There are 197 days left in the year.

Today's Highlights in History

On June 17, 1928, Amelia Earhart embarked on the first trans-Atlantic flight by a woman. She flew from Newfoundland to Wales in about 21 hours.

On June 17, 1882, Igor Stravinsky, the Russian composer, was born.

On this date in:

1775 - The Battle of Bunker Hill took place near Boston during the Revolutionary War.

1789 - The Third Estate in France declared itself a national assembly and undertook to frame a constitution.

1856 - The Republican Party opened its first convention, in Philadelphia.

1885 - The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City aboard the French ship Isere.

1940 - France asked Germany for terms of surrender in World War II.

1944 - The republic of Iceland was established.

1961 - Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West while his troupe was in Paris.

1963 - The Supreme Court struck down rules requiring the recitation of the Lord's Prayer or the reading of Biblical verses in public schools.

1972 - President Richard Nixon's downfall began with the arrest of five burglars inside Democratic national headquarters in Washington's Watergate complex.

1994 - After leading police on a chase through Southern California, O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged with murder in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole, and Ronald Goldman.

2005 - Former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski and a second executive, Mark H. Swartz, were convicted of looting their company of more than $600 million. (Each was later sentenced to 8-1/3 to 25 years in prison.)

2008 - Hundreds of same-sex couples got married across California on the first full day that gay marriage became legal by order of the state's highest court. (However, California voters passed Proposition 8 in November, once again banning gay marriage.)

Monday, June 15, 2009


Letters to the Editor

Yo, Philly, it's time to dress up

Walking down Chestnut Street recently, I was struck by how shabbily the pedestrians were dressed.

What an image we present to visitors and to each other. Apparently, we are nearly all slobs who care nothing about how we dress. From dirty T-shirts and wrinkled shorts, to teens with all manner of hardware stabbing their bodies, to ugly tattoos marring limbs and even necks - it was no wonder I began to feel ill.

When you come downtown, put on a clean, pressed shirt or blouse. Color coordinate what you are wearing. Wear pants that fit over your hips, with a belt, and hem or cuff the legs. You might try wearing a hat or shirt that doesn't say anything on it or advertise some so-called designer.

We may not be New York, but that's no reason to look as though we live in a dump. And while you're at it, stop cursing in public, yelling on your cell phone, and riding bicycles through pedestrians, and show some brotherly love.

Saul Davis



Start reporting and stop spreading rumors

I think that The Inquirer should be embarrassed for its role in the Raul Ibanez performance-enhancing-drug scandal ("A cheap shot at Ibanez," Tuesday).
I am confident that it is not news to report, without any apparent corroboration of the underlying facts, that some blogger reported that a Philadelphia athlete is taking PEDs. Yet it would appear that is exactly what The Inquirer did relative to this story.

If The Inquirer has any credible evidence that PEDs are involved in Ibanez's great start to this season, you should cite that evidence and report it on the front of the sports pages. On the other hand, as it appears that in this situation you have no evidence, it seems to me that you owe both Ibanez and your reading public an apology and a promise to not report such nonstories in the future.

Chuck DeLone


Amorous grandparents grumble: The kids barge in

Dear Abby: After my wife had our sixth child, our love life fizzled out. But at age 80, we have suddenly discovered that we aren’t THAT old!

How do we tactfully deflect kids and grandkids who enter without ringing the bell? I realize that lots of people would love to have this problem, but it’s a problem all the same. – Back in the Saddle Again

Dear Back in the Saddle Again: Your letter made me smile. I’m pleased to hear there’s still plenty of “hi-ho” in the old Silver.

If you haven’t told your children and grandchildren that you would prefer they not enter your home without ringing the bell, my first suggestion is to speak up now. If you have, and your request is being ignored, then I have two more suggestions.

The first is to put a chain or double lock on the doors to your house; the second is to hang a “Please Do Not Disturb, the Old Folks Are Napping” sign on your doors when you’re feeling amorous. I’ll bet you $20 that because of entrenched misconceptions about sexuality in the over-70 generation, none of your children or grandchildren will question it.


Letters to the Editor published Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Letter to Dear Abby

published by The Philadelphia Daily News

Post entry is "verbatim" cut & paste.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Chicken Bog With Middlins Risotto

For the Chicken:

1 pound (about 3 medium) tomatoes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 chicken legs, skin removed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pound andouille sausage, diced

1 cup diced onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

Half of a red pepper, diced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 cup red wine

2 cups chicken broth or water

4 tablespoons butter

For the Risotto:

3 1/2 cups chicken broth or water

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup diced leeks

1 cup Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice Grits or arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup Parmesan

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cut a small X in the bottom of each tomato. Boil for 1 minute, then transfer to an ice-water bath to cool. Peel, seed and dice the tomatoes, setting aside 1 cup.

2. In a heavy saucepan fitted with a lid, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and brown on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove from the pan. Add the sausage, onion and garlic and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the red pepper, tomatoes, thyme and bay leaves. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce until the pan is nearly dry. Add the chicken broth or water and bring to a boil. Tuck the chicken into the liquid and simmer, covered, until the chicken is tender and pulls easily from the bone, about 40 minutes.

3. Set the chicken aside to cool and discard the bay leaves. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat from the bone and return it to the pot. Reduce the broth until slightly thickened. Whisk in the butter and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

4. Prepare the risotto: in a small pot, heat the chicken broth or water until warmed through. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. When it starts to foam, add the leeks and stir until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes to toast the grains. Stir in the wine and cook until absorbed. Begin adding the warmed broth, about a half-cup at a time, and cook at a faint simmer, adding more broth as it is absorbed, stirring all the while. Cook until the rice grits are softened through and creamy. Stir in the Parmesan and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt.

Serves 4. Recipe By Christine Muhlke, Adapted from Chuck Ramsey of Five & Ten Restaurant in Athens, Ga.

Published: June 7, 2009

The New York Times Magazine
page 44

Related NY Times Article by Christine Muhlke:

Field Report: American Pastoral

A couple trade the suburbs for a grass-fed menagerie.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Conceptis Sudoku

Complete the grid so that every row, column, and 3x3 box contains every digit from 1 to 9. Solving a Sudoku puzzle involves pure logic. There is no math involved.

Mathematics of Sudoku

The general problem of solving Sudoku puzzles on n2 x n2 boards of n x n blocks is known to be NP-complete [8]. This gives some indication of why Sudoku is difficult to solve, although on boards of finite size the problem is finite and can be solved by a deterministic finite automaton that knows the entire game tree.

Solving Sudoku puzzles (as well as any other NP-hard problem) can be expressed as a graph colouring problem. The aim of the puzzle in its standard form is to construct a proper 9-colouring of a particular graph, given a partial 9-colouring. The graph in question has 81 vertices, one vertex for each cell of the grid. The vertices can be labelled with the ordered pairs (x,\, y), where x and y are integers between 1 and 9. In this case, two distinct vertices labelled by (x,\, y) and (x',\, y') are joined by an edge if and only if:

* x = x'\, or,
* y = y'\, or,
* \lceil x/3 \rceil = \lceil x'/3 \rceil and \lceil y/3 \rceil = \lceil y'/3 \rceil

The puzzle is then completed by assigning an integer between 1 and 9 to each vertex, in such a way that vertices that are joined by an edge do not have the same integer assigned to them.

A valid Sudoku solution grid is also a Latin square. There are significantly fewer valid Sudoku solution grids than Latin squares because Sudoku imposes the additional regional constraint. Nonetheless, the number of valid Sudoku solution grids for the standard 9×9 grid was calculated by Bertram Felgenhauer in 2005 to be 6,670,903,752,021,072,936,960 [9] (sequence A107739 in OEIS). This number is equal to 9! × 722 × 27 × 27,704,267,971, the last factor of which is prime. The result was derived through logic and brute force computation. The derivation of this result was considerably simplified by analysis provided by Frazer Jarvis and the figure has been confirmed independently by Ed Russell. Russell and Jarvis also showed that when symmetries were taken into account, there were 5,472,730,538 solutions [10] (sequence A109741 in OEIS). The number of valid Sudoku solution grids for the 16×16 derivation is not known.

The maximum number of givens that can be provided while still not rendering the solution unique is four short of a full grid; if two instances of two numbers each are missing and the cells they are to occupy form the corners of an orthogonal rectangle, and exactly two of these cells are within one region, there are two ways the numbers can be assigned. Since this applies to Latin squares in general, most variants of Sudoku have the same maximum. The inverse problem—the fewest givens that render a solution unique—is unsolved, although the lowest number yet found for the standard variation without a symmetry constraint is 17, a number of which have been found by Japanese puzzle enthusiasts [11] [12], and 18 with the givens in rotationally symmetric cells.



A Pencil-and-Paper Algorithm for Solving Sudoku Puzzles

click here for nine-page theory & foolproof system by American computer scientist James F. Crook.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Random - Found Photos

JPEG's of Unknown Persons left on computer terminal at the Port Richmond Branch Library

JPEG's of Unknown Persons left on computer terminal at the Fishtown Branch Library

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bobby Fischer's Idiosyncrasies May Well Have Been In His DNA

In a 2006 documentary about Bobby Fischer, Gudmundur Thorarinsson, former President of the Icelandic Chess Federation, evokes Fischer with a quote from Shakespeare:

"I could be bound in a nutshell," declares Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, "and count myself king of infinite space."

Few people have been more self-defined than the late American chess genius, who insisted on finding his own way in most everything, especially chess.

Working at his craft in modest apartments or single rooms, his concept of chess soared beyond the usual narrow confines. It was so advanced for his time that it sometimes seemed born of another universe.

Perhaps it was all about DNA. Fischer's biological father, Paul Nemenyi, a physicist who seemed to have unusual powers of visualization, was also a person of his own self-creation.

An animal-rights activist who would not wear wool, Nemenyi appeared publicly with pajamas protruding from under his clothing. He also carried soap in his pockets and washed his hands after touching door knobs.

Curiously, father and son looked remarkably alike. Migrating to the U.S. from Germany in the '30s after his dismissal from a university position because of his Jewishness, Fischer's father was not able to recoup his career. It is not known whether Bobby and Paul ever met.

It is ironic that the Holocaust victim fathered a son who was both an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier.

written by SHELBY LYMAN

via: Susan Polgar Chess Daily News

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Department Of Self-Awareness

From the Portola (Calif.) Reporter

In Quincy, a caller requested to be taken to jail. He said that he was "drunk and being an ass." He said that he was being verbally abusive and couldn't stop. No arrest was reported.


The New Yorker
June 1, 2009
pg. 50