Good morning all:

Quote Of The Week:

“BLOGGING—Never Before Have So Many People with So Little To Say Said So Much to So Few.” — 2009 Demotivators calendar

Gone is my big comfortable leather chair. Actually it’s downstairs where it’s always been. It is just that I am enjoying my morning coffee here in my newly created home office and my Herman Miller chair. Thank you Marcia, it really is a very comfortable retreat. Maybe this morning’s post created in the quiet of my new ‘think tank’ will be special. Then again, maybe not, sometimes a place is just too quiet, maybe I’ll head downstairs for a refill.

A couple of years ago brother Pieter introduced me to composer Mark Isham. Isham is especially noted for his movie soundtracks and is no slouch on the jazz trumpet. A couple of weeks ago he started an on-line radio station. Click here to get connected to his Forward Musik Radio. So, I guess it’s not that quiet in my new office since I am listening to some very special sounds while ‘hunting and pecking’ away on this morning post.

Mr. Gore, maybe this is a bit of an “inconvenient truth”, but for many of us this has been the coldest week for well over a decade. When the ‘Nati air gets the real-feel temperature at double digits below zero – then – mama, its cold outside. Across the Atlantic, in the Netherlands, for the first time in 12 years the canals froze over and the “elfstedentocht” (eleven city speed skating tour) was held – finally for the Dutch a return to their identity. I suspect that right about now Mr. Gore is coming back from some warm place to attend next week’s inauguration. It’s almost guaranteed that he’s doing so on a private charter plane. But, for all of you concerned about the effect of his travel style on his climate change theories, not to worry, I am certain that the appropriate ‘indulgences’ will be paid. Whoops, so sorry, “indulgences” were what the Catholic Church started selling during the Renaissance period. Now we call them “carbon offsets”.

Basically I like cold, I can do cold, and I normally continue to walk a couple of miles during those cold evenings.

Cold – Heat – French Wine: what brings them together?

Here’s what: for years now I have enjoyed listening to various podcasts during my walks. The coldest and blusteriest evening this week found me listening to one of my favorites, a program produced by the UK’s BBC called In Our Time. This specific program – leave it to the Brits – was a discussion by three professors of thermo dynamics and atmospheric sciences. And of course, I should have guessed their topic for this week—Heat; a historical look at the understanding of the properties of heat. Heat being the prime driver for all sorts of stuff, including brewing vats, the steam engine (fire machine as it was originally called); and understanding the properties of heat helped make our modern world of manufacturing, engineering, and technology.

At this point Marcia will note that I am beginning to lose my tiny readership so let me tell you what fascinated me about the discussion. Please remember that I thrive on trivia. During the 17th century people were commonly using 15 different kinds of thermometers including Fahrenheit and Celsius. Each normally has 2 fixed points, most often the freezing point and boiling point of water. As an aside, that original Celsius scale just happened to be in reverse of the way the modern Celsius thermometer is read, it had freezing at 100 and boiling at 0.

Here are a couple of the better ones. How about one scale where the fixed point was the melting point of butter? But the one I wish would be in use today fixed on the constant temperature of deep caves – caves which just happened to be the wine storage area under the science institute in Paris. Thanks for joining me on my cold walk, connecting a hot lecture, and thoughts of a perfectly aged glass of wine.

Wahoo—Marcia and I were among the last to get the HDTV conversion box coupons. Yep, the two of us are dinosaurs, but proud of it. Watching the whole conversion process I kept commenting to Marcia just how idiotically the whole event is being conducted. Then this week a headline on Gizmodo summed it all up: The Analog TV Shutdown Is a Flustercuck of Corporate Money. No One Cares About Consumers. More about this next week when I’ll report on my effort to try to to redeem our coupon and install the box.

Tonight is our neighborhood’s annual Progressive Dinner. Cold or no cold, rain or shine, around 75 of us will barge through four homes as we have appetizers in two, dinner (soups and chili) in another, and desert at the last. A year ago I made it home around 2 AM fueled by a final couple of shots of authentic Kentucky Moonshine. It was a record for me! And a good enough time was had so that I’ll try and break my record this year.

Make it a great week. Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger, senior pilot of US Airways flight 1549, did just that this past week. Congratulations captain.

Cheers,

Dirk

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