Monday, September 28, 2009

Find the Joke

At work I've been writing a proposal for a new coordinate system (related to mapping of the company's facilities). I wrote a proposal just like this sixteen years ago and just to see if anyone actually read it, I embedded a joke in the "Glossary of Terms".

No one evvverrrr found it.

So now that the time has come time to polish that old gem, I've decided to test it again. Since y'all are much sharper than my company's management, let's just see if you can spot it. (I've spared you having to read the entire twelve-page proposal and just excerpted the section of the glossary that contains the quip.)


Eccentricity – eccentricity of an ellipsoid, œ = arccos(1 – f ), where f is the ellipsoidal flattening. (See “Flattening”.)

Ellipsoid – a flattened sphere, mathematically defined by the equation: [(x2 + y2)/a2] + z2/b2 = 1; where “a” is the semimajor axis and “b” is the semiminor axis. The two ellipsoids mentioned in this proposal are: the Clarke Spheroid of 1866 (used by NAD27) and the defined ellipsoid for the World Geodetic System of 1984 (WGS84).

Flattening – ellipsoidal flattening, f (the “flattening” of an ellipsoid defined by [(x2 + y2)/a2] + z2/b2 = 1) is defined as f = (a - b)/a = 1- cos(œ), where œ is the eccentricity of the ellipsoid. The referenced ellipsoid of GRS84 uses the inverse of the flattening (the reciprocal of f ) as a defining parameter.

Geodetic Coordinates – latitude and longitude referenced to a datum.

Geographic Information System (GIS) – computer software system designed to collect, manage, manipulate, analyze, and display spatially referenced data.

Latitude – geodetic latitude: the angle (φ) between the equatorial plane and a line that is normal to the reference ellipsoid. By convention points in the northern hemisphere are assigned positive values (0º ≤ φ ≤ 90º) and those in the southern hemisphere are assigned negative values (0º > φ ≥ -90º).

Longitude – the angle (λ), measured east or west of the Prime Meridian to the meridian passing through another position on the Earth’s surface. By convention points in the eastern hemisphere are assigned positive values (0º ≤ λ ≤ 180º) and those in the western hemisphere are assigned negative values (0º > λ > -180º).

Map Projection – mathematical mapping of points on the surface of the Earth to unique points on a plane, or ascribing to a map feelings which one denies of self.

North American Datum of 1927 (NAD27) – horizontal control datum for the United States, which was defined by a location and azimuth on the Clarke spheroid of 1866, with origin at the survey station “Meades Ranch”, Kansas.

North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83) – horizontal control datum for the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America, based on a geocentric origin and the Geodetic Reference System 1980 (GRS80). NAD83 was based on the adjustment of 250,000 points including 600 satellite Doppler stations. For land survey purposes, NAD83 is essentially synonymous with WGS84 (differing only in its definition for the “inverse of the flattening”: 298.257222101 [for NAD83] versus 298.257223563 [for WGS84] – a difference that affects long-term orbital computations, but has no practical effect when computing terrestrial positions). ...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Racism Quiz

Do you think:
1. The U.S. Federal government has overstepped its Constitutional limits?

2. The U.S. Federal government should not run up huge deficits and then have the Federal Reserve bank "buy" that debt with dollars it creates out of thin air?

3. The U.S. Federal government should never take over bail out any private business?

4. The U.S. Federal government should not nationalize the mortgage investment industry?

5. The U.S. Federal government should not nationalize the health care industry?

6. The U.S. President's job description does not include bowing to foreign potentates or apologizing to America's sworn enemies?

7. The U.S. President should not appoint unconfirmed czars who act as the puppet masters of his official Cabinet?

8. The U.S. President should not demonize his opposition and deride them for "clinging to their guns and religion"?

9. The U.S. President should not betray America's allies in Poland and the Czech Republic?

10. The U.S. President should not give Iranian mullahs the comfort of knowing that the U.S. actively opposes Israel's right to defend itself against nuclear attack from Iran.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are definitely a racist!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Conversation with K

Every Tuesday morning at work I attend a recurring project meeting. This project ("Project F", which deals with network design) is a touchy one since it's being sponsored by our company's holding company and the holding company is also the owner of other company's that pose a serious data security threat to us. Thus, my role is primarily an obstructive one: to keep the holding company from building a network that compromises our isolation from the other companies and thus exposes our company's management to civil liability. Today that standing meeting didn't happen. The project manager (whom I refer to as "K" below) didn't bother to send out a meeting cancellation -- there was just no meeting. So to document the non-event, I sent this email to my boss.

From: Bob
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 10:53 AM
To: R
Subject: Conversation with K

There was no "Project F" meeting today. So after checking the usual meeting room, I dropped by K's office. While there I pointed out to him that I still haven't gotten a reply to the email I sent him last Thursday (the one J
[a senior manager in our company] asked me to send, and which you, M and D reviewed). He called up my email and verbally updated me on changes to the three proposed options. {For both business and literary reasons I've deleted the explanation I reported in my original note.}

At the conclusion of that explanation, I again asked K to reply to my email and pointed out that we need something in writing so we can either confirm to our management that there have been no significant changes since our last update three weeks ago, or report the changes that affect us. K then explained that he met with J recently, and that J had no issues with either option 2 or 3.

I thanked him for the update about J, and then I again explained that we need an email reply either confirming that nothing significant has changed or else detailing the changes that affect us. Two more rounds of K's explanation and my asking for a written reply followed. My last words as I left were, "Please reply to my email." K just smiled. (And my wife wonders why I talk to the radio.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jimmah Cahtah's Deep Insight

You know, I was thinking about what Jimmy Carter said about us who oppose Barack Obama. And (after some intense soul-searching) I realized he was right. I'd be in favor of being taxed to death, having Federal bureaucrats decide who and who doesn't get medical care, dismantling our military, apologizing to America's enemies every chance you get, printing money by the trillions to cover Washington's out-of-control spending ... if only Barack Obama just didn't have such dark skin.

Boy, I can't stand people with really good tans. That's why I absolutely refuse to watch any George Hamilton movies.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Longer ... Larger ...

So on a blog called "The Lost Fart of Blogging" what were you expecting?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years In

Today I should have done what so many others have done and posted some words of tribute to those who died on that ghastly day eight years ago. I really intended to ... but the words still don't flow. I do have something to say, but little that hasn't been said better by so many others.

Nonetheless, please bear with me as I clumsily try to make just one point: As we remember those who died on 9-11, let's keep in mind, there's a difference between a life taken and a life given. A life taken is a cause for righteous anger (a burning wrath that won't be quenched until justice has been done). A life given is a cause for humble tribute. Those who died as victims are to be remembered and avenged, but those who have since died protecting us are to be remembered and honored.

So as we remember the fallen, let's not give honor to mere victims. But more importantly, let's never give pity to those who have earned our eternal gratitude.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why I Like Where I Work

The other day Ricky (a colleague in a different department) and I were both sent an email asking us for some statistics about the company. On one particular stat, I replied with a technically correct answer -- but not the officially correct answer that Ricky provided (that is to say, my answer was not the same as the answer the company has reported to governmental agencies in the past). Now, that's not to say that the company has reported incorrectly in the past, just that the question is somewhat ambiguous and either answer can be defended, depending on one's interpretation. In my email I explained that Ricky's official answer is also a good one -- but the context of the question has to dictate which answer is best.

Ricky's boss (Irene, who's group is responsible for reporting such statistics) was also copied on our responses and she immediately added her email, recommending that we go with the official answer. I took that as the verdict on how we should interpret the question, but Ricky (in an apparent attempt to stir trouble between Irene and me) sent a separate email addressed to both of us: "If a man speaks and a woman is not present to hear him, is he still wrong?"

I of course answered Ricky (with a copy to Irene): "Let's discuss this when Irene isn't listening."

Irene contributed her email reply (to both Ricky and me): "...too late. Oh, by the way you are both wrong about whatever you may have been thinking about."

And thus began this flurry of emails (among the three of us):

Bob: You mean to say you ladies can hear our thoughts? This is not good.

Ricky: It could be that we sometimes mumble aloud while cogitating...

Bob: Yeah, I talk to myself a lot. (Believe it or not, I'm actually pretty charming when no one's around.)

Ricky: Me too. I'm practically a legend in my own mind!

Bob: Yes, I sensed there was a swashbuckler deep in the recesses of your psyche. ...mine too.

Ricky: Here's the photo to prove it!!!

Bob: Wow! I need me a pair of goggles like that. (I already have the Errol Flynn WWII leather flight helmet.)

Ricky: They are cool, aren't they? It's amazing how much attention they draw when I wear them in public. This past Saturday morning as I approached the checkout line at Home Depot, after donning the goggles, people recognized my swashbuckler style and moved out of the way to allow me to go to the head of the line!!!

Irene: Let's video this, it would be a great YouTube hit ... in addition to a cape ... what about super-hero tights?

Ricky: I have leopard Speedos I can wear over my neoprene slacks if you wish! Bob -- whata you have?

Bob: I have some Sansabelt slacks that'll do. Can I carry a sword?

Irene: Sure! Just don't hurt yourself.

Bob: Yeah, you're right. I could get such a chafing. Forget the Sansabelt slacks ... way too tight.

Irene: Vaseline and baby powder.

At this point in the exchange, we mutually agreed our game of free association had gone far enough and we really needed to get back to work. Well, that and I was actually stumped (and maybe a bit worried) about what we might find to do with Irene's Vaseline and baby powder.

So that's why I like my job -- it sure is great working with people who are almost as crazy as I am.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I Get No Respect

Joyce has been making fun of me again, telling stories that (though technically true) really verge on violating her marital vow. Sweetheart, that was: "Love, Honor and Obey."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Audit Findings

The company I work for has hired an audit firm to audit its employee benefits program. What exactly can that mean? one might ask. It means my employer figures it stands to gain enough in avoiding insurance fraud to offset the cost of paying the auditors. Given the state of ethics in America today, I won't argue the prudence of that policy. But judging from the portion of the workforce I know (and respect), I have to believe any "savings" will be disappointing -- to both the company and the independent auditors. There just isn't that much gold to be mined from finding insurance fraud among tithing Baptists in the buckle of the Bible belt.

In fact, this audit will undoubtedly be a net loss for the company when you figure in the costs of lost productivity as all the employees have to take time out from their already crowded schedules to prove that they aren't a pack of liars. I probably spent an hour of company time (and half that of my own time) reading all the material I was sent and then faxing back the proof that Joyce is actually my "dependent". Enough about the folly of my employer -- the real point of all this is to report that it's now official: Joyce and I are actually married. I have the finding of a high-priced independent audit firm verifying our marital status.

I'm sure our three sons will be relieved.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Facebook ... What's It Good For?

Having recently discovered Facebook, I've also found this Onion News Network report very helpful.

Facebook, Twitter Revolutionizing How Parents Stalk Their College-Aged Kids