More Junkmail from Bob!
Monday, January 22, 2001
I'm still wandering around in the Old World, which means there are lots of pictures below, which means you may want to go here to read today's Junkmail:
I've been claiming that wind chill factors are exaggerated for several years now. In fact, a few times I've even donated $7 or so to become the sponsor of the wind SPEED on the local NPR station. I was particularly griped when they'd give the wind chill without giving the temperature or wind speed. I'm not alone. Michael Hering sent me this:
I did a search on this article at USAToday.com, and I was surprised that they have printed it two or three times, December 20, August 19, and maybe February 11.
The Ultimate Pause Button
Some people think they've stopped light, and held it for a while, and then released it. If this is true, it might be a way to make really fast computers in 10 or 20 years.
The NEAR spacecraft has been orbiting the asteroid Eros for a few months now. February 12, it's going to get closer than ever. It's going to crash land on the surface of the asteroid. The spacecraft probably won't survive the landing, but there should be some really good pictures on the way down.
Here's one of the latest photos, showing some kind of different material down at the crater bottom. The crater is about 1000 meters or .207123730745778 leagues in diameter.
This year, U.S. Congress and several other governments are expected to pass laws restricting internet use. Some may be a good idea, some not. For example, I think it's a bad idea to have an international internet regulation agency with Ralph Nader at the helm. It might be a good idea to restrict "unsolicited commercial email," or spam. Since I can't get anybody to pay me for Junkmail, it doesn't qualify for commercial stuff. I wonder if they'll restrict people who email the masses to spout their political viewpoints. I generally don't like regulating things that are regulating, but I'd like to see kids stop getting porno email.
One of the world's biggest spammers got a taste of their own medicine recently. Pipex of the U.K. got hit with so many spam messages that they were essentially shut down for a few days. I thought that was really funny. They're the world's biggest spamming host, with the possible exception of Upperspace.net. Pipex is owned by Uunet, who is trying to distance themselves from the spamming operations of Pipex.
The Dinosaur Age
Back in the computer Mesozoic era of 1960's and early 1970's, RAM was usually magnetic "core" instead of semiconductor. This consisted of two crossed wires with a magnetic donut circling them for each bit. It was big, slow, and expensive compared to semiconductor memory. The first space shuttles used core memory. Even though semiconductor memory was available, it was too flaky at the time to handle the radiation (particles, gamma rays, etc.) in space.
Since then, the world has gone to dynamic RAM. Now we're headed back to magnetic ram, if things work out. New MRAM is magnetic ram that may replace DRAM in a few years. Finally we may not have to spend so much time waiting on computers to boot, because they'll be able to retain their memory after they're turned off. MRAM is like the static ram in compact flash cards used in digital cameras, except it will have the size and performance required for PC RAM.
Concord Flies Again
I thought it wouldn't happen, but it looks like they'll start flying the Concords in a few months. Both Britain and France are making changes so that a piece of metal on the runway won't crash the planes. In fact, I think Air France is already doing some test flights.
Need a computer or an office chair? Go to a dotcom bankruptcy option. They're getting more and more common:
Pictures of Today
I'm in Brussels, Belgium, trying to figure out how to get N1421Z back across the Ocean. I think we go west. Here are a bunch of pictures, in case anyone is interested, in a rock and some Barbarians. Since these are considered travel photos, they are optional material. You will not be tested over these.
Here's a crazy guy in Spain fighting a windmill with a broom.
Hitting the trail in Austria:
The blue Danube, in Linz, Austria, complete with a neat bridge:
Here is the obligatory "big church" picture, this one from Seville, Spain. It came complete with a bell tower:
I would like to mention that I did win the race to the top of the tower.
A big rock:
Gibraltar is owned by the U.K. It is connected to Spain by a peninsula. There is a 6000' RAF airstrip on the peninsula, intersecting the road to Gibraltar. We parked there but didn't see any planes.
A man and a dog, southern tip of Gibraltar:
These are old artillery placements. There are old places for cannons, machine guns, and probably bows and arrows scattered all over Gibraltar. They're not preserved or anything, they're just left over from some wars of the past. I think every time Britain or Spain or France took over, they added some new ones.
Here is a real barbarian.
It's a Barbary Ape. They live on Gibraltar because every time they were removed, someone took Gibraltar back from the British. One of them climbed in our car window and stole a bag of food, while Mike and Marie-Laure were in the car. Well, Marie-Laure left before the monkey did. It was fast, but she was faster. Here they are dividing their spoils:
Morocco in the distance:
Boats and birds:
Another place for a big gun. I suspect we weren't supposed to drive here.
Yet another place for a big gun, complete with the gun! I climbed to the top of the rock and found this. I suspect I wasn't supposed to be here either, but the British are U.S. allies, right? Surely they wouldn't mind...
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