Std Dev X * Std Dev P >= h / 2

Today, in Gregory Benford’s book The Berlin Project, I came across the first quantum mechanical dirty joke I’ve ever seen (it’s no doubt an oldie, but, hey, I never actually studied quantum mechanics).

It’s attributed to Enrico Fermi:

Poor Werner Heisenberg! When he finds the right position, he loses his momentum. And when he has the energy, he doesn’t have the time.

I find it a grand commentary on the human condition that one of the most profound and subtle products of the human mind — quantum mechanics — can be the basis of dirty jokes :).

Sacramento, Here I Come!

This is admittedly a shameless piece of self-promotion. OTOH… it’s way cool, and I’m both excited and proud to have been chosen for this role (thanx, Congresswoman Speier!). I only wish my vote would have been part of electing the first woman President of these United States.

Electoral College Daily Post

Follow-up Daily Post Article

Are They Trying to Torture Us?

Okay, I confess up front this is a bit of a rant. And I’m sure there are logical explanations for what we ran into today…but they sure escape me at the moment.

Yesterday we bought a house that we’re going to remodel and make our primary residence. We’d been working for about a week with a mortgage specialist at a large, well-known bank on funding it. We thought we were pretty much done with arranging the financing.

Boy were we wrong!

Continue reading »

An Historic Election

All Presidential elections are at least potentially historic. But I’ve been looking forward to the 2012 election for many, many years. If you’re curious as to why, read on.

Continue reading »

I Finally Understand Money!

That probably sounds like an odd comment from someone who spent his life in finance, but bear with me.

Being of a scientific bent, and having worked in a number of small companies and start-ups, I’ve found the process of wealth creation to be more than a little odd. Think about it for a second: a bunch of folks have an idea, they get together with some other folks who have a credit surplus (i.e., arbitrary markers on file at a bank), an abstract entity (money) that is more of a promise than a real thing is exchanged, and, voila, work is performed and wealth is generated! It always struck me as akin to the old physics cartoon showing an Einstein-like character at a blackboard. In the midst of a long series of equations are the words “…and then a miracle occurs” :).

Continue reading »

That’s My Boy!

Well, actually, he’s a young man of 19 years, and would have every right to be annoyed at being referred to as a juvenile. But hopefully he’ll cut me some slack on this, since “That’s My Young Man!” just doesn’t have quite the right ring to it… 🙂

Our son and a bunch of his mates decided they’d rather hike than snowboard over the MLK weekend up in Washington State. So they hightailed it out to Orcas Island via ferry for a little backpacking excursion.

In the rain.

And the cold.

But — and this is the important part — they had a marvelous time. Plus, they managed to avoid getting eaten by bears, which is always a good thing on a backpacking trip.

I would never in a million years volunteer to go hike and sleep in the rain. Which is why I’m proud of him for doing it. I’m glad at least one of the men in this family isn’t put off by little things like wet clothes, a wet tent and a wet sleeping bag!

No Impediment to Enjoyment

We saw The King’s Speech last night, and boy was it a wonderful movie! I didn’t know that George VI had a lifelong stuttering problem, which he fought to overcome when he unexpectedly became king.

The screenplay was excellent and the performances were marvelous, Colin Firth’s in particular.

There’s a particularly funny scene where the Archbishop of Canterbury realizes His Majesty is being treated by <gasp> a commoner. Only to find out to his horror that the situation is in fact much, much worse, because the person is not just a commoner, but an Australian commoner.

Apparently Aussies were not held in high regard in Merry Old back then. Maybe not now, either, for all I know :).

Almost There!

About a year ago I started a new exercise regime which is based on using an elliptical machine as many days a week as I can tolerate (currently I do three on, one off). Shortly afterwards, I set myself a goal of burning 1,000 calories in 40 minutes.

Why 40 minutes? Because my gym limits machine time to 20 minutes “when all the machines are busy”…and I figured 40 minutes was about as far as I could push the limit :). The 1,000 calorie goal was set very scientifically: it’s a Big Round Number. Besides, when I started out it was pretty far away from what I was doing.

Today I managed to do 990 calories in 40 minutes. Couldn’t quite hit the goal, despite a big effort. But the “end” is clearly in sight, and it’ll come one of these days.

And that’s today’s narcissistic update :).