Archive for March, 2012

Mega Millions

Friday, March 30th, 2012

I’ve been trying to figure the odds of nobody winning tonight’s Mega Millions. It is on the order of 5%. I read that about 500 million tickets will be sold this time. This is a guesstimate. It was confirmed that 400 million were sold in the last 48 hours. That would indicate that at least 500 million tickets will be sold, and most likely more.

The odds of winning with one ticket are: 175,711,536

The odds of not winning are 175,711,535/175,711,536

The odds of 500,000,000 people not winning is (175,711,536/175,711,536)^500,000,000 which, according to my windows calculator, is 0.058 or a little better than 5%. So figure about 94.2% chance of at least one person winning. This is almost certainly.

I would suggest that you not put off buying a ticket. The jackpot will not reach this high very soon.

County Web Site Hacked

Friday, March 30th, 2012

A few minutes ago, the county website was hacked. Nobody knows how it happened.

Security is a joke!

Your box owned by Mr.XHat

Greets To: All Underground Hackers & Mafia Bands

Political Haggling – I am on furlow.

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Because of politics, I am out of job, at least for a few weeks. My contract has been held up and I am told that I can’t come into the office without a contract.

Much of the work here is done by consultants and contractors like me, so I don’t think this will last too long, but politics is strange. These people have little regard for actually running Westchester county.

Here is the local newspaper’s view. It does not go into the deep political divide that caused these problems.

One interesting thing is that I wrote the programs that facilitate the retrieval of the Acquisitions and Contracts Board documents and information, and I designed the workflow systems that makes the contract system work. I am hoisted on my own petard.

This could not have come at a better time, though. I have to finish the chicken shed and install the bees in the next two weeks.

Dems sue Astorino over contract board.

Today we visit the tractor factory

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

My brother Ward is vacationing in Russia. He is following the steps my father took during WWII. Dad was stationed in Volgograd. From Ward’s description the place is grim.

From Ward:

Volgograd is a very historic city for Russia and an industrial dynamo. The city is still recovering from the ravages of Germany’s attempt at conquering it. Fields still littered with land mines and hundreds of bodies are excavated each Summer. There are thousands of artifacts that litter the fields also, helmets shell and bullet casings. One estimate puts the number of rounds fired during the battle at over 106 million combined on both sides. Today we visit the tractor factory.

Void in New York

Monday, March 26th, 2012

I used to get Mother Earth News and loved it, but I haven’t thought about them for years. I guess they are still around. I’d like to see if there still is a magazine to subscribe to.

Anyway they are holding a neat contest, but it is void in NY.

I want to win these things, although I don’t really need a Heifer in the back yard. The rest, especially the Bee kit and the log splitter are things that I would like.

If you know anybody who would be willing to enter for me who does not live in Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, New York, Rhode Island or Puerto Rico, please urge them to enter in my name using their address.

Holy Cow! Homesteading Sweepstakes.

The prizes are:

  1. Registered Highland Heifer from American Highland Cattle Association ($3,400.00)
  2. HFE-21 Homesteader Sawmill from Hud-son Forest Equipment ($2,495.00)
  3. Dual-Action Log Splitter from DR Power Equipment ($1,348.00)
  4. Bee Keeping Kit from Brushy Mountain ($1,583.90)
  5. Incubator from Brinsea Products ($537.00)
  6. Winscombe Chicken Coop from Brinsea Products ($890.00)
  7. Nutrena® Poultry Feed from Nutrena® ($500.00)
  8. NutreBeef® products from Nutrena® ($500.00)

Happy Birthday William Shatner

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

81 years young today.

William Shatner – Common People – YouTube.

First Sting of the Year

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Here is a bee video I took this weekend. The jerkiness at the end was from when one of the girls hit me with her stinger on my hand.

Romney’s Favorite Novel

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

L. Ron Hubbard was a hack SF writer in the 40s and 50s. He wrote typical imaginative adventure based SF without much depth or characterization. He would be forgotten today if he hadn’t invented Dianetics. I read the original Dianetics in Astounding Science Fiction, and I was not impressed. Somehow this pseudo scientific alternative to psychoanalysis has turned into a religion, which I know very little about. I do know enough to be very frightened of a man that might be President, who thinks Battlefield Earth is a good book.

KWAME AMOH, would you like to purchase a chicken?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

I get hundreds of thousands of spam comments on my blogs. Most are blocked by my own invention that validates user credentials against a good spam database. Sometimes one slips through.

A website from Poland started hitting all of my sites hard (now it is blocked) but before it did, I got several spam comments posted with the phrase:

KWAME AMOH, would you like to purchase a chicken?

Who is this person and why is he asking me if I want to buy a chicken? If this is spam, what is the point? I understand that he is just trying to register so he can leave more spam, but how is this message going to improve his odds?


Google Sky Map

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Justine sent me a free Android phone that she got in a trade in deal. I have it set as a pay as you go.

I don’t have it set for data as I don’t believe in spending $50 a month to read my email on the bus. The phone is quite nice except for the tendency to run out the battery even when it is turned off.

I downloaded, at my friend Don’s suggestion, Google Sky Map and I must say it is the neatest app that I have ever heard of. You hold up the phone and it shows a sky map in the direction you are pointing. Tonight Venus and Jupiter were in the sky, but you can never be sure what you are looking at. The app showed clearly which star was Jupiter and which was Venus.

When I first loaded it, it was all screwed up. It showed everything 90 degrees out of whack. I fixed it by going into settings/apps/all/Google Sky Map, stopped the app and cleared the cache and all data. When I restarted the app it worked just fine.



Monday, March 12th, 2012

My story If Wishes… will appear in a SamsDot publication sooner or later. I don’t know if it will be April or later this year. Evidently, they liked it a lot and the editor wanted it in the next issue of Shelter of Daylight magazine, but the magazine may have already gone to the printers. It may be used in any of the upcoming magazines at SamsDot. I have not heard, but it is good that it has found a home, even if I don’t know where. (update: change of publisher/editors – story lost – never used).

Mizuki, because of its strong language, had a tougher time, but I sent it to Shaun Lawton, who liked it and it will appear in Shaun’s zine along with a John Shirley (one of my favorite writers) story in April. Shaun took about 20 seconds to buy it, which is a good sign.

I am officially out of stories. I have to finish a few that I’ve started, but my boss is keeping me too busy to sneak in some writing between projects. Things usually slow down in the summer around here and I will get some time then.

Magic Carpet

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Magic Carpet – YouTube.

Rudy Rucker to read in NYC

Friday, March 9th, 2012

I am a fan of Rudy Rucker (in spite of the fact the he hated the story I submitted to his zine).

I wish there was an easy way to go to this show next Tuesday night. I keep going over ways to make it there.

I can drive, I guess, leaving work at 4:30, I could possibly make there and find parking in time. Two hours to go about 15 miles might be enough time to make it through city traffic. Soho is not an easy location to get to by car. I’d have to go down to Canal Street, park and then walk (through very iffy neighborhoods). Tolls would be $10, parking about $30 and I’d have to eat down there about $20. Then $7 to get in. Total $67 to see a half hour talk.

The train is out because the bus stops around midnight and I don’t know when I’d get back. Also the train and the bus combo will kill two hours in and of themselves, and I’d still have to get to Penn Station on the subway by 11pm.

The New York Review of Science Fiction Readings
Rudy Rucker
Brendan Carney Byrne

Tuesday, March 13th
Doors open 6:30 PM
$7 suggested donation
The SoHo Gallery for Digital Art

Rudy Rucker is a writer, a mathematician, and a former computer science professor. He received Philip K. Dick awards for his cyberpunk novels Software and Wetware, now available in the Ware Tetralogy. His fantasy California novel of the afterlife, Jim and the Flims, appeared in 2011, as did his autobiography, Nested Scrolls, which received the Emperor Norton Award. Rudy recently finished writing a 1950s alien invasion novel called The Turing Chronicles, featuring a love affair between Alan Turing and William Burroughs. Rucker edits a speculative fiction webzine called Flurb, He took up painting in 2000, and he’s had three shows of his pop-surreal works in San Francisco. For ongoing updates, see Rudy’s Blog at

Our Universe by Francis P. Wilkin

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Geekier than Big Bang Theory – good stuff.

Our Universe by Francis P. Wilkin – YouTube.