Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ARTCAR Delaware license on Art Car in Southeastern PA

While driving south on Rt 202 from Rt1 into Delaware we saw this Art Car with an ARTCAR Delaware license.

The driver smiled when we took a picture of the side of the car and him at a stop light. I expect he wants the attention.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Guerilla Drive In on Saturday Night in West Chester

As I posted last night we got the chance to see "Back to the Future" at the Guerilla Drive in in West Chester. The Guerilla Drive in isn't a place, it is a guy with a movie projector in the side car of his motorcycle and he arranges secret locations to show movies on 16mm. To get on the list you have to find the MacGuffin, which we did when it was at the hot dog place last year (it has since moved, follow the clues), but haven't gone to one of these movie occasions until now while we sorted out vacations before the baby and the baby after the baby.

The motorcycle, side car, projector and banner.

As part of the "Back to the Future" them he arranged for the DeLorean Mid-Atlantic Club to bring their prized DeLerean's to the show on top of the Biecentennial Garage in West Chester. Having never even seen a DeLorean in person, this was probably the most DeLoreans I will ever see together in one place in my lifetime, there were six, including one tricked out like the famous time travelling DeLorean of "Back to the Future".

Two Deloreans

Four more Deloreans

"Back to the Future" DeLorean drive side.

"Back to the Future" DeLorean passenger side with Flux capacitor.

There was a costume contest, the guy who won is the one on the yellow tyvek above with a very authentic box to carry his plutonium in. There was a girl with an exact copy of the dress that Loraine wore in the movie to the Enchanted under the sea ball, there was a George McFly, and several Doc Browns. One four week old baby had a "Save the Clock Tower" onesie on, who did not win the contest because us spectator judges are heartless , I guess.

The organizer, John Young, picked this garage so that we could see the clock tower in the middle of West Chester while we watched the movie.

Here is my view, with clock tower on the screen and in the background. The West Chester clock tower was NOT hit by lightning at 10:04 PM. He also figured out a way to dim the garage lights around the screen on the top level by using LED lights stuck on the light sensors of the tower lights, clever.

We had a blast and met some nice people, and got our Guerilla Drive In merit badge. We can't wait to do something like this again. How cool and nice is it that guys like John Young do this kind of thing.

More on the Back to the Future West Chester Guerilla Drive In event at John Young's blog.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

MCFLY license on a De Lorean

Getting ready to see Back to the Future at the Guerrila Drive In in West Chester. This license is appropriately on one of the six DeLoreans that the organizers arranged to be here for the movie. More pictures later.

The location is a secret because you have to find the MacGuffin.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Poison Ivy ineffectively hides among the pachysandra

Every year I think that I have gotten the last of the poison ivy (toxicodendron radicans, or Rhus toxicodenron) out of the garden beds and then some more appears. These vines were ineffectively hiding among the pachysandra and were clearly visible and removed doggy doo style with gloves and a plastic bag and right into the trash. I always act excessively paranoid around the stuff because I hate getting it.

Although I am sure there is still more down there, I have won another round.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Highest Shellpot Creek levels in 2009 - video

As promised here is video of Shellpot Creek just after the torrential downpours Saturday. The creek was easily the highest it has been in 2009. The USGS agrees, as seen on the following graph. The red circle shows Saturday's peak. It is almost double the peak from May 16th (Note the log scale, click for larger.)

The first video is of the creek just downstream and up to the waterfall at the corner of my house. You can barely see the waterfall because the water is almost level going over it.

The second video is upstream of the waterfall, and also shows how the temporary streams formed by some drainage swales I have in the yard won't drain into a creek that is higher than they are. Gravity still works here.

It was very dramatic and very loud.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Powerful downpours swell Shellpot Creek to highest 2009 level

This picture doesn't do justice to the raging torrent that Shellpot Creek has become after two very strong downpours around 5pm today. Video is coming.

Prince Vultan of the Hawkman and King Leonidas - separated at birth

I was watching Flash Gordon today and I was struck by Brian Blessed's the over the top portrayal of Prince Vultan of the Hawkmen and it's similarity to Sean McGuire's over the top portrayal of King Leonidas in the 300 spoof, Meet the Spartans.

Brian Blessed as Prince Vultan of the Hawkmen.

Sean McGuire as King Leonidas

Sean McGuire as King Leonidas, but intense.

Separated at birth? Related? Is it just the beard and the shirt free outfit?

Friday, June 19, 2009

New iPod Touch - woo hoo!

My Father's Day gift this year was an iPod Touch for myself. Conveniently my iPod Nano click wheel had failed so I felt it was time for an upgrade. Apple gave me 10% off of the new iPod for recycling my old one, which was worth it since I won that one in a raffle a few yeays ago anyway.

The iPod Touch is still very new to me, but the first thing I did was try to load MLB at Bat 2009, and I got a notice that it needed the 3.0 software. How gutsy is it that I paid all of this money for the iPod and then to get the particular funtionality I needed I had to pay another $9.99 to upgrade to 3.0? Once I loaded MLB at Bat 2009 after the upggrade I was able to watch live streaming of the Detroit Tigers vs. St. Louis, how cool is that. The picture had nice resolution and the built in speaker was adequate, but it was even better with headphones. MLB at Bat 2009 also has all the scores, play-by-play, pitch-by-pitch, and audio both home and away for every game, but it was the video that drew me in. However it does cleverly figure out where you are so that it can obey blackout restrictions (cleverly is intended sarcastically, still can't watch what I want, when I want, where I want, on what I want). There will be two games a day.

I am sure that I have much more fun to go with this new IPod Touch. Streaming video was my favorite so far, but I also like that I can put all of those pictures of Linus on there to show people, since who prints out pictures anymore, its all digital now.

What are you favorite apps? Suggestions?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rain all night swollen creek by day

Here is yet another picture of the swollen Shellpot Creek after a night of rain. This has been an unusually wet Spring it seems. I expect that this creek will rise even higher before this rain has passed.

Were you ever driving in a downpour and put your windshield wipers up to the highest setting and then wished for a click or two higher? Today was one of those days. Sprinkles broken up by downpours.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy 4th Anniversary Honest Hypocrite - more statistics on page loads

There are still more fun statistics to be digested as part of the 4th Anniversary celebration of the Honest Hypocrite. As I mentioned earlier, I use StatCounter to visitors and page views to this blog. Using the page load statistics from StatCounter we can look at all 150,000 or so page loads and see a histogram of the fraction of days with a given number of page loads.

I have expanded the longer tail region so that the 3800 page load and the 2000 page load days are visible. Still this blog has received on average of about 150 page loads a day.

Interestingly it might be better to look at the page loads for the past year as a function of the day of the week. I have chosen the past year because the page load rate has been fairly steady and the results won't be confounded by the page load growth year over year.

I have shifted each week's curve up by 20 in order to make the trends easier to see. There are 52 instances of each day in the past year tabulated on the chart (click the chart above for bigger). Monday is by far the most popular day with Saturday being the least. I suspect that this represents the regular ebb and flow of Internet usage.

Statcounter keeps the last 500 page loads and statistics such as where a user came from or search terms used. Using a view of StatCounter's past 500 for this blog from today, only 45 out of 476 page loads are from users with no referring link, they came to this blog without being directed by link or search. 390 out of that 476 came from a google search, either the US or the various country variants and of those 133 came from an image search. These results are probably the most pure seasonally unaffected results, since we are not near any holidays (Groundhog's Day is a favorite), or sporting events (March Madness, Football playoffs). Thus the searches are the regular ones.

Dog Vomit Slime Mold

The title should have clued you in that this is not a biscuit sprinkled with confectioner's sugar but is actually a slime mold called dog vomit slime for obvious reasons. It is not just the flowers that are blooming, rain plus wet mulch yields good conditions for this slime mold. There are interesting in their own right if not as conventionally attractive as flowers.

This one is about four inches across. I have seen them bigger.

Update: More information from some earlier sitings.

Day lily season has arrived in bunches

This picture represents a small fraction of the day lilies blooming all over our landscape. We have so many that we are giving them away. As the saying goes, "Friends don't let friends buy day lilies". Thus the few bunches we dug up were split and given to others. You could also say the same about hostas. We gace those away last year.

Given how expensive these can be to buy sometimes giving away something you can always grow more of or is not diminished in its use makes sense (digitally recorded music or video comes to mind as well).

Asian Lilies bloomingly in bloom

I wonder if these lilies started as someone's Easter gift and then planted. These flowers are on stalks about four feet tall and there are tons of them.

This purple is a cool color so in spite of there abruptness and how they stand out where they are, I like them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Happy 4th Anniversary Honest Hypocrite - statistics on posts and comments

Today is the 4th Anniversary of the Honest Hypocrite. Please help me celebrate! I don't normally have meta-posts on this blog, posts about posting are less interesting than posts about anything else. I will allow myself the luxury of a meta-post today to celebrate both four years of the blog and over 150,000 page loads. I am sure that my high school English teacher would be delighted by my essay output and I am glad that you all are reading, and from the comments that some of you are enjoying it.

This anniversary wouldn't be complete without graphical and statistical analysis.

A plot of the posts vs. the date of posting shows that I have maintained more than a post every two days but less than a post a day over the four years. 1052 posts in four years yields an average of 0.72 posts/day.

A plot of the rate of posting shows that on occasion I have been able to keep the monthly posting average at almost two posts/day. Those rates are unsustainable and usually mean something interesting is happening or I am on vacation.

For true understanding of the data I think that histograms tell a fuller story than averages.

A histogram (click above for larger) showing the fraction of days with a given number of posts reveals that 46% of the days I have a posted on this blog (The breaks in the plot indicate a change of scale). The outlier day (6/20/2007) with 14 posts is from posts from my phone while I was at a baseball game.

My kind readers are also interested enough to comment on this blog. A histogram (click above for larger) showing the fraction of posts with a given number of comments shows almost 31% of posts have comments, some with many (The breaks in the plot indicate a change of scale). Interested or aggravated readers are commenting readers. Pointing out the uselessness of collected pull tabs for Ronald McDonald house and suggesting some high value alternatives generated 39 comments. Disparaging Ted Neely of Jesus Christ Superstar fame generated 34 comments. A post on how the cosmic background radiation might contain a message from the creator of the universe based on an article in arXiv that I also suggested to BoingBoing generated 22 comments and thousands of visitors, it was the first big hit on this blog. A post about the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina generated 14 comments and a mini flame war on self-sufficiency, prejudice, federalism and common courtesy.

All of these posts have generated more than 150,000 page loads since July 20, 2009 when I started tracking the page loads using Statcounter.

The plot above (definitely click for bigger) shows a histogram of the fraction of days in a half year for with a given number of page loads binned for easier viewing. I have offset the histograms by 10% each half year to separate them and make them easier to read. The y-axis which shifts up should make reading that axis a little easier. The trend in these plots is upward as the bulk of the curve shifts from 0 to 50 page loads a day in the first year or so to 90 in year 2 to 3 and finally to 150 page loads a day in year 4. There is evidence that as I have cut down the number of posts/day in the last 6 months that page loads have suffered a little.

The highest day on this blog was 3838 page loads on December 15, 2005 when that post about the microwave background radiation was picked up by BoingBoing. These days it is consistently 150 page loads a day, which tells me that at least someone is reading. In the future we will review some more stats and some favorite posts.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Not a new cloud type - it's just a gravity wave

Yahoo has a news story about a picture of clouds taken by an Iowan woman that is inspiring meteorologists to define a new cloud type. By the way, there is a Cloud Appreciation Society and they are pushing for it.

(Picture from Yahoo and AP)

This looks very much like the gravity wave clouds I saw in Delaware in October, and to many other pictures of undulating clouds which I thought were just called gravity waves.

Thus I thought these clouds had names already.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time Travel and love

This Saturday Morning Breakfast cereal comic reminded me of the classic time travel novel The Man who Folded Himself by David Gerrold. If you haven't read it go read it now(Amazon) to avoid the spoilers below.

In the comic above the man crassly uses his time machine to go to a time when the girl is in the mood, not realizing that if he in the present has a time machine and has this idea, he in the future might do the same thing and thus a crowd of eager men converge on the one time his love interest was in the mood. Extra humor comes from the fact that it appears to be only a single day from the evidence of all the guys at every age who appear.

David Gerrold's novel follows the life of a man whose mysterious uncle leaves him a time machine which he then uses to travel through history altering it to suit himself even as the newly created history becomes more and more bizarre. He even meets up with himself. David Gerrold is unafraid of exploring all of the implications of this and the man even has sex with himself. In the novel there is a never ending party at a house outside of time where various versions of himself are always there. In several incidents in the novel older versions of the man keep propositioning younger versions of the man for sex, much as in the story in the comic above.

The time travel device has ended up creating many alternate versions of history and thus create many different versions of himself. At one point he even meets an opposite sex version of himself.

Gerrold's novel is complex and bizarre and very interesting. I invite you to read the novel and count how many characters are in it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SIZZZRS license plate in Delaware

I am guessing that this SIZZRS license plate in Delaware belongs to a tailor (get it? Scissors). I was thinking "sizers" but then realized the short "i" way of saying it. On the other hand tailors let clothes out and take them in so maybe "sizers" is the correct interpretation.

COUNTER license plate

I am guessing that this person claiming the title of COUNTER on their license plate is an accountant. That or they are a variable in a loop in a computer program.

What other professions can you think of that might cause someone to get this license plate?

Now if I could only get that guy with "bean" on his license to park next to this one...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Wesley Snipes fan in Delaware

Could this person be such a fan of Wesley Snipes that they have a BLADE II license plate to commemorate their favorite movie? Is there a companion BLADE license on another car somewhere?

Were those movies that good?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Overturned Truck on Rt141 in Delaware this morning

I saw this overturned truck at Rt141 Spur and West Park Drive on my ride in this morning. Fortunately I was going straight so I merely had to wait for the policeman to let us through. Only the truck was there when I went through but the News Journal says it was a multi-car accident.

This might be the first published picture of the scene. Because the truck was at Rt 141 and the on ramps to 202 and this is a popular left turn for the A I DuPont hospital, that means the next intersection to go that way at Rt 141 and Children's Drive the left turn was very backed up because people couldn't turn earlier. I think about how an accident has other ripple effects. The next turn was backed up for five times as many cars as usual, which is just asking for a rear end collision from an inattentive driver.

On the way further south on Rt141 I also saw a DNREC emergency response truck going the opposite direction to the scene (I am assuming). This was on the Tyler McConnell bridge and I had to pull to the right on the bridge, where there really isn't any room, to let him go past me as he was coming towards me on the left. I suspect that means there was a spill of something. Perhaps in the cargo, though the article says a fuel spill was reported.

I hope everyone is alright. The window on the truck cab was broken out, but it wasn't clear if that happened in the accident or as part of getting the drive out. Police, Fire and ambulance were on the scene.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

Blue Heron on Shellpot Creek - Video

After complaining of the difficulty of taking pictures of the Blue Heron that frequents Shellpot Creek behind my house, I was able to get it hunting fish on video.

In the video above watch it dive after a fish and ruffle its wings.

Here is a brief moment of flight that I mostly missed.

Someday I will get a better camera with a sharper telephoto lens and a blue heron blind and I will be set.