<= 2001.01.25

2001.01.27 =>

leads, john, i need the leads

Woke up this morning with sore legs and thought, "Oh shit, pain in the legs is the first sign of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob syndrome." Then I remembered I went running yesterday. A nice guy called this morning and tried to sell me DSL, which momentarily tempted me because it was 9 a.m. and I was bleary and in my underwear. But after about 45 seconds I decided I was too poor. Then I felt bad because it seemed like I'd been leading the poor telemarketer on; he sounded older and I pictured him as the Shelly character in Glengarry Glen Ross, played by William H. Macy, sad and isolated and sexually unfulfilled and about to do something desperate.

It also snowed again last night. And it was just getting to the point where I could walk to my car without having to worry about slipping on the ice and cracking my occipital bone.

The Useless Trivia Dept. presents this wonderful online dictionary of obscure units of measurement. I had no idea there was terminology in place for most of this stuff. Examples:

degree Quevenne (°Q): a unit measuring the density of milk. 1 °Quevenne represents a difference in specific gravity of 0.001, so, for example, 20 °Q milk has specific density 1.020.

shannon (Sh): a unit of information content used in information and communications theory. The definition is based on the idea that less-likely messages are more informative than more-likely ones (for example, if a volcano rarely erupts, then a message that it is erupting is more informative than a message it is not erupting). If a message has probability p of being received, then its information content is -log2 p shannons. For example, if the message consists of 10 letters, and all strings of 10 letters are equally likely, then the probablity of a particular message is 1/2610 and the information content of the message is 10(log2 26) = 47.004 shannons. This unit was originally called the bit, because when the message is a bit string and all strings are equally likely, then the information content turns out to equal the number of bits. One shannon equals log10 2 = 0.301030 hartley. The unit is named for the American mathematician Claude Shannon (b. 1916), the founder of information theory.

mease: a unit of quantity formerly used by fishermen. The mease equals the number of herring in a basket, roughly 620.

NASA presents pictures of Earth's magnetic field.


<= 2001.01.25

2001.01.27 =>

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