April 1st, 2008

The Rubulo (3-color vector graphics)

April 1

April 1 is never really April Fools Day, for me, but rather it is the birthday of my grandpa Abe, the person I most liked to have pick me up and hold me when I was a little boy. He died of cigarette smoking in 1972, but today is the 99th anniversary of his and his monozygotic twin’s births, in the Bronx to fairly recent Jewish immigrants from western Russian Empire unpleasantness.

The family trade was printing, so he did stuff of the layout and printing variety in his occupational endeavors.

He painted as a hobby, and liked Tchaikovsky and, judging by his record collection, Beethoven, though I only remember Tchaikovsky. For breakfast he always had light toast, with orange marmalade, and I think cream cheese, though I don’t remember for sure. I don’t remember what he had to drink.
Apollo 4 on column of fire

Things one didn’t know

A week or two ago I read up on nuclear weapons, in the Wikipedia. It was thus that I learned something I hadn’t known: thermonuclear weapons are, like conventional nuclear weapons, still primarily fission bombs. The nuclear fusion is used to squeeze together a supercritical mass of plutonium or uranium with more oomph.

Actually ‘conventional’ nuclear weapons these days can include some fusion of that sort. An actual thermonuclear weapon is actually a two-stage device, in which the explosion of the first fusion-fission stage sets off a second stage with even more oomph. Three stage devices have been created and exploded but I guess they don’t really make people any happier than two-stage devices, particularly, if you are a Soviet leader, if the two-stage devices are MIRVed.
Apollo 4 on column of fire

Okay, I’ve decided I do have a motto

I’ve decided to make the one spoken by ‘God’ on Futurama my own, and seriously so:

When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.

Does anyone know of an earlier source than Futurama?

I think that, within limits, it is right. If it were right more generally, then Reggie Jackson was doing the wrong thing by whacking three straight pitches over the fence in 1977 Game Six. :) But, if you think to the Karate Kid movie, and how Pat Morita trained whatshisface, that’s more like it, not just in how he trained the hands and feet, but also attitude and personal grace—the kid wasn’t completely aware that this was happening.

(I point to a popular movie rather than real life, because I need a simple and familiar example.)