Nature vs. Nurture

Woman: Actually, my psychologist sister told me prematurely grey hair is not genetic, it is a trauma response.
Man, triumphantly: Oh yeah? Then why does everyone in my family have prematurely grey hair?

PV Technology

So, after hating on technology for a good part of my life, we got photovoltaic panels on the roof and I really like everything about them so far. Even though it is winter they still generate a little power, even on a foggy day. Not much power (on a foggy winter day) but you could power a few lightbulbs or something like that. The system comes with an app, you log in to the website and apparently the system is telling the website how much power it is making etc because there is a neat little graphic that tells you how much you are producing, using, how much is going into the battery (and its level of charge) and how much is going into or coming out of the power grid. It’s very calming to watch.
The battery is nice because, if there is ever a black out we’ll have power for a few hours while society collapses around us.
Another impressive thing about the panels are roof avalanches (Dachlawinen in German). When it snows, like yesterday (doesn’t produce much power when covered in snow) the snow just sits there (if it’s wet snow, like yesterday) until the weather warms up to a little over freezing and then whammo it all slides off onto the sidewalk all at once.
We never had roof avalanches before today, because we have a tile roof that has a rough texture and that holds the snow more, that higher coefficient of friction. Wet glass, on the other hand… I went outside and saw the pile of snow on our sidewalk and was very relieved not to see little kid or old lady feet sticking out of it. We put up warning signs, and took them back down after all the snow had slid off the roof or melted.
Winter is going to be a bigger problem with our PV system than we thought.
(But it’s really cool.)


I feel like such an idiot.
For days I’ve been thinking about the Leonids and when the best time will be to watch them.
And the best place.
Lying in my hammock staring skyward.
And it’s the PERSEIDS!
The Leonids aren’t until NOVEMBER!
Plus the Leonids make me think of Brezhnev.

Scientists decipher cave painting

Here is the text:

Man wife car air conditioner broke. Wife go dealer fix. Mechanic quote. Wife say, Wow! Expensive!

Wife by nother car instead.

Man say how two people drive three car?

Wife say it good deal. Only little bit more than compressor.

Man say so why we need big car broke air conditioner then?

Wife say, for big IKEA stuff.

Wife say, that remind me…

Man say, look, many fat mammoth! I hunt now!

The Law of Conservation of Cats

The law of conservation of cats, also known as the principle of cat/feline conservation, states that the number of cats in an isolated system (closed to all further adoption or other forms of acquisition of new cats) will remain constant over time. This principle is equivalent to the conservation of energy, in the sense when energy or cats are enclosed in a system and none is/are allowed in or out, its/their quantity cannot otherwise change (hence, its quantity is “conserved”). The number of cats in an isolated system cannot be changed as a result of processes acting inside the system. The law implies that the number of cats in an isolated system cannot be altered, although it may be rearranged in space and changed into different cats; such that every time a cat “owner” lets one gray cat out of the house, a second gray cat will come back into the house, and for every red cat that exits the house, another red cat will enter, and especially if a red cat and a gray cat both leave the house at the same time, another red cat and gray cat will stumble all over each other rushing back into the house before the door can close, no matter if it is four in the afternoon or three in the morning, even if they have been let out and in fifteen times in the past hour, becauseĀ  the number and color of cats going out of the house must be equal to those coming back in.

That mushroom/fungus thing I was mentioning

You know, the alternate life form thing post, there is apparently a whole theory of that, you can read about it here. The shadow biosphere, kewl.

That really ticks me off, when other scientists beat me to the punch like that.

Weekend of scientific research

Research conclusion: garden clippers go way more easily through the tip of your left ring finger than they do through rose canes.

On a related note, got less cello practice in this weekend than I’d planned for. So I fired up the theremin instead, as my wife was out of town. Turns out when I run it through my distortion pedal, I get Russian short wave radio. Even when the theremin is turned off. The pedal itself, with all the other cords, cables and wiring, appears to suffice.