Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Easy as PI, wait make that pie.

March 14, 2014

Easy as PI, wait make that pie.

Today is PI Day. This is my take on it

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Understanding Daylight Savings Time

March 9, 2014

earthEarly this morning (2:00AM local time), we “sprang forward” and advanced our clocks one hour.  What was 2:00 in the morning suddenly became 3:00.  Daylight Savings Time is nothing more than a cleaver shift of daylight hours to better conform to when most people are up and about.  It does not create more time of light; it simply is a better use of it for most of us.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the first proponents of such a shift in time.  Back in his day, there were very practical reasons for such thinking, even if he did write somewhat satirically about it[1].  Today, its impact is debatable but does arguably make better use of the day.

Understanding just what really takes place requires a little background.  The earth has 24 time zones.  Think about it for a moment, it also explains a day being 24 hours.  Now I know a day is not exactly 24 hours but we are not trying to set an atomic clock here, gallon chemistry will do.  Humans tend to be creatures of the day, or diurnal.  If the whole of the planet used a single time zone, in London, the sunrise could be 6:00AM on a given day but sunrise would be 11:00AM in New Your City and 2:00PM in Los Angeles on that same day. For centuries, locations around the world used a local time based on the rising and setting of the sun.  As we became world travelers, thank you Ferdinand Magellan, the need to standardize time from one place to another became increasing important. 

Now for a little bit of geometry, and you told your 8th grade teacher you would never use it!  If you think of the planet as a globe, its diameter is a circle with 360°.  When people started to think about time in relation to available daylight, they figured why not make a time zone for each hour of the day.  You do that by dividing 360° by 24 hours.  This gives each time zone 15°.  Think about it this way, when the earth rotates 15° one hour has passed.  Our time zones follow lines of meridian and bisect the North and South poles.  The middle meridian of a time zone is called a standard meridian.  The boundaries of each time zone are plus and minus 7.5° from its standard meridian.  For example, New York City has a central longitude of approximately 74° West.  That puts it 5 time zones away from Greenwich, England, which is the zero reference point.   The standard meridian is 75° West.  The -5 time zone runs from 67.5° West to 82.5° West.  That puts New York City pretty close to the middle of the time zone.  When it is midnight in New York City, it is 5:00AM in London.

That is more than enough of the nerdy stuff.  The thing to remember is each time is one hour different from the time zone next to it.  When we move clocks forward, or spring ahead as they say, we are simply saying we now set our clock to -4 time zones away from Greenwich instead of -5. This has the effect of making the sunrise and set one hour later.  When we wish to end Daylight Saving Time, we simply fall back, or return to our actual time zone of -5.

If we did not take advantage of Daylight Saving Time, during the summer months, as the length of daylight increases, the sun would rise very early, like 4:00AM early. That is not much use to most of us. Daylight Savings Time is not some big conspiracy or governmental mind control trick. It simply is a way to better use available daylight. 

 


[1] Franklin, Benjamin, and Nathan G. Goodman. “Letter to the Editor of the Journal of Paris, 1784.” The Ingenious Dr. Franklin: Selected Scientific Letters. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Pr., 1931. 17-22. Print.

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On why I pay attention to what so-called “nuts” have to say

January 5, 2014

CopernicSystem[1]Just because we believe something true, does not  make it so.  Even a deeply held belief can  be found to be false.  Copernicus, Keller and Galileo (among others) dared to question the truth of the earth being the center of the universe.  They did not change what was true, they simply uncovered it.   Keep this in mind when you so quickly dismiss questions from some nut about what you “know” to be true.

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Walking Sammy on a Rainy Day

February 3, 2013

This is Sammy, for those of you that have read my blog you will remember Sammy’s run-in with the goose last year. (Here is a link to read it: http://wp.me/pmSGR-ie ) On days when the weather does not warrent a walk, Sammy uses his treadmill. Funny as it sounds, he really seems to like it. He goes right to it, jumps on and is ready to run!

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2012 in review

December 31, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 16,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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I need a topic for Saturdays

April 21, 2012

Ok, I need your help.  I have been racking my brain for a good Saturday topic to blog about.  The rest of the week is pretty much covered.  There is Poetry Sunday, Political Monday, Geographic Tuesday, Civics Wednesday (I know I did not make a post for it yet, it is in the works), Thursday’s Heroes and Freelance Friday, but nothing for Saturday. 

I’ve thought about cooking, I like to cook, but do I need a day for it?   

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Where in the world is China?

April 7, 2012

The World According to Mike

OK, it is a poor take-off on the Where in the world is Waldo books!  I accept that, but I really did not know how else to phrase it.  I was looking at the nice world map WordPress provides of the countries that visit a site.  Readers from most every country have visited my blog with one big exception – China!!

Does anyone know someone in China that can resolve this glaring blank spot on my world map?  Yes, I see much of Africa is blank too but the reason there is something different all together, Let’s resolve China first, then work on the other missing countries.    Am I “black-listed” or something?  It’s not that I have anything earth shattering to share with our Chinese brethren, no it is more I worry if they can’t even find little ol’ me, everything else are they missing out on.  Is the the effect of companies like Google knuckling under to governmental pressure?  Well, at least it is something for me to look into, I will get back to you on that.  Until then keep your head up China, you are not forgotten.

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