Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tesla Motors Regenerative Braking

I just read an interesting overview of regenerative braking in electric cars.  When you step on the throttle, torque is applied to driving the motor and this consumes battery power, but when the car is rolling and you step off the throttle, reverse torque is applied to the engine and it immediately becomes a generator, not a consumer, of electrical power. 

I was always curious how this worked, and if you are too, and want more details, read the article.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Minute Physics' Letter to the Universe

Awesome, as seen at

MS Access SQL IN Clause

I use the MS Access SQL 'IN' clause infrequently enough that I routinely forget the syntax, so this post encapsulates that information in an easy place for you and me to find.  Here's the most basic example...

SELECT * FROM tblTable IN 'C:\Folder\File.mdb'

You can get lots more details here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Simplified: Authenticity

Authenticity matters to people, relationships and groups.  Authenticity is the state of being such that there is no difference between what a thing is, and what it appears to be.  This implies a lack of deception, and suggests an absence of misdirection.  When people are being authentic, it's like slaking your thirst on a hot day with a long cool drink.

Authenticity dispels illusion between people and allows them to gain traction in communication with each other, which is essential in order to resolve differences, which is in turn an essential component of intimacy.  Given that the world is a chaotic place where the difference between awesomeness and fuckwittery is only very slight, therefore being able to distinguish reality is not trivial, and distinguishing the reality of who a person is and where that person stands makes a difference.

Honesty differs from authenticity because I can be both honest and pretentious at the same time.  Honesty is a measure of the veracity of the information I communicate, and that is then a subset of authenticity.  Authenticity is not just honesty, but it's also a statement of the fact of who I am in respect to that honesty, so authenticity communicates in multiple dimensions.  Honesty is boolean.

Authenticity dispels confusion.  If you are left feeling confused in a relationship, family, or group, then you might be participating in an interpersonal confusopoly, which profits from promoting uncertainty and insecurity.  Interactions in these arenas are almost certainly not authentic, because authenticity confronts those problems.  Authenticity is OK to not know the answer, and to be wrong, and to be confused, and so the exercise of authenticity encourages processes that always have the net effect of reducing confusion and disorientation.

Authenticity employs and is exercised via acknowledgement.  If authenticity could walk, acknowledgement would be its legs.  Acknowledgement is an action you take after you see, understand, perceive, hear, or in some other way receive a communication from someone, having the effect of producing a sense of validation in that person. Acknowledgement produces validation, which assures the other of the realness or accuracy of his or her perception, so acknowledgement promotes clarity and understanding, and dispels illusions and confusion.

Acknowledgement is not always pretty.  Acknowledgement applies to failures and successes, bads and goods, critiques and compliments.  If in relationship I can't raise a complaint, have my complaint validated, and begin a process of deconstructing the problem in which the other will acknowledge participation, then I am oppressed.  If I am oppressed, then I will not be free, and I will be tempted to profit from misdirection in hidden efforts to undermine the oppressor, and authenticity dies.  In this sense the death of authenticity, or it's vital presence, is ultimately the responsibility of the whole group.

In a group that is mired in illusion, you should be authentic, but if your authenticity doesn't make a difference, you should quit that group.

Authenticity is the state of being such that there is no difference between what a thing is, and what it appears to be.  Be authentic.  Demand it from others.  Demand that others demand it from you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

On the Difference Between Awesomeness and Fuckwittery

An observation I have about the world is that the difference between stunning awesomeness and incalculable fuckwittery is only a fraction of one percent, and I expect this principle is built into the universe.

The universe, for instance, is expanding at the perfect rate for it be really hard to determine if it will expand forever, or eventually contract in a 'big crunch.' It's a legendary urban myth that if gravity was slightly stronger, the fusion reaction in stars would burn too fast and there wouldn't be time for life to evolve. And by the same authority, if gravity was slightly weaker, stars wouldn't form. Their fusion reactions would never start up, and we'd never get elements more sophisticated than hydrogen and helium.

I think history, or at least how we look at history exacerbates this misunderstanding. We look back in time and paint Hitler in black and white as a completely unredeemable fuckwit, and a whole procession of Catholic saints as unmitigatedly awesome. But nobody confronted Hitler.  He wasn't always powerful, and as a young man learning to be a painter in Austria, do we know for certain that he was unkind to cats and, say, other lousy painters? Maybe he smiled at the baker when he was buying bread, and maybe he took his lunch by the river and greeted passers-by with cheerfulness. And the saints, could they always, all of them, be clearly seen to stand head and moral shoulders above everyone else, with visible halos abounding and good works created and distributed by the dozen? By the oxen-cart load? No, the saints were dicks to people too, and had lousy days, and might have been cruel to cats.

For myself I'm never quite sure if I did the right thing. I make a call, do a decision, usually by the seat of my pants, and then I pray and cross my fingers and hope for the best. Maybe you had this feeling: you're at the outdoor rink in the park and you shoot a puck at the boards and it's a little high and it bounces up and into someone's back yard and hits the brick just an inch away from a window. Holy shit that was close, and how different might things have gone if you'd applied a force a fraction of one degree to the left?

And that time in traffic you accelerated at that yellow light?  You were in a hurry...

And Rob Scuderi, if he'd been prepared for the hit, which he should have been? It's a game of inches, all of life, from beginning to end.

Dear internet, people who think they know something with some kind of absolute certainty, they frighten me, because the difference between remarkable awesomeness and stunning fuckwittery is, in fact, very subtle.