Misc, isn't it?


"Abstainer, n.: A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure."

-Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"



Geekzus Freak would be a great name for a tech website. Or a band. Whatever.


Prius Math

So, as many of you know, I drive a 2004 Prius a good bit. One thing that has bothered me about achieving the best fuel mileage is this: people normally tell you to accelerate fairly slowly to save gas. But I wonder, when accelerating onto the highway is it better to use full throttle or less? My thinking is that, even though during the moments of acceleration you use more fuel, the less time you spend accelerating the less power (and therefore less gas) you would need. Obviously, in city driving this is more of a moot point, since you don't have long periods of time at speed, but otherwise it is a difficult question.

To try and find an answer, I made some calculations. At a zero to sixty time of around 30 seconds, probably the slowest reasonable acceleration one could put up with, the car averages about 25mpg according to the onboard computer. At 10 seconds, about the fastest the car can go, it averages about 5mpg. To maintain speed, I assume the car is running at 50mpg (this is actually probably too low, given my experience, but it is most important that the remaining distance's MPG be constant for this problem). The biggest assumptions here are the veracity of those two numbers, my assumption of a linear relationship between MPG and 0-60 time, and that the final MPG will be a relative constant, even though the battery's state will be different depending on acceleration. If I have a chance, I'll have to try and fill in better data later. But for now, with rudimentary physics formulas and rudimentary python, I can present you with this data:

MPG Scale over 1/2 mile, Prius Acceleration:

0-60: 35 ; Total time: 65.0 s; MPG: 41.9230769231
0-60: 30 ; Total time: 60.0 s; MPG: 40.0
0-60: 25 ; Total time: 55.0 s; MPG: 38.6363636364
0-60: 20 ; Total time: 50.0 s; MPG: 38.0
0-60: 15 ; Total time: 45.0 s; MPG: 38.3333333333
0-60: 10 ; Total time: 40.0 s; MPG: 40.0

So it would seem, interestingly, that hard acceleration is as effective, for highway merging, as Grandma acceleration. Again, take this data with a grain of salt, but I do think that the numbers are so close as to negate the importance of your acceleration run. If I get a chance, I'd like to run the same tests for city driving, as well as get better data, but for now, enjoy your highway merges. It seems like you can without much incident.

By the way, someone should probably check my math as well as my methodology, so I'm attaching the simple Python script as well. Advice is always welcome.


le futur

"Nous sommes en effet entrés dans un temps où la légitimité institutionnelle classique - une procédure législative embrayant sur des textes d'application - ne suffit plus, bien souvent, à rendre acceptables des projets ou des actes émanant des Etats. Il ne s'agit pas de concurrencer la représentation élue des citoyens, qui doit garder le dernier mot dans ses champs de compétence. Il s'agit de la nécessité où l'on est aujourd'hui de passer par de nouvelles formes de démocratie, dites "de proximité". L'environnement en est un champ important et il n'y aura pas de développement durable sans participation organisée des citoyens. Le "Grenelle" doit donc proposer des réformes de nos institutions qui reconnaissent ces démarches, et qui les ordonnent."

-Robert Lion



"NASA must complete the ISS so it can be dropped into the ocean on schedule in finished form."
—Robert L. Park



A conversation on reddit:

fairykarma 2 points 11 hours ago

If only daily life was like free software. sigh...

"id10t 35 points 11 hours ago

What? A 'do it yourself' mechanism with no documentation, incomprehensible interface, zero support and no way to contact the creator? Don't even get me started on the user groups organized to help sort it all out!

Dude, I think life's bang-on like free software.


Phil Rizzuto

If you were not aware, Phil Rizzuto passed away last night. Holy cow, what a loss for all of us.

Here was my Father's reaction:

'Two Thoughts

"I heard the doctors revived a man after being dead for four-and-a-half minutes. When they asked what it was like being dead, he said it was like listening to New York Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto during a rain delay." - Late Night host David Letterman

"My best pitch is anything the batter grounds, lines, or pops in the direction of (Phil) Rizzuto." - Pitcher Vic Raschi '

May he rest in peace. Though he had been ill for a long time, and though it was easy to disagree with his style from time to time, he will be sorely missed.



"Trust me, you want to spend as little time as possible with your psychiatrist."

-Dr. Aniel Shirke, PhD, MD, Psychiatrist



"See that ship over there? They're re-broadcasting Major League Baseball with implied oral consent, not express written consent--or so the legend goes."
-Homer Simpson


...that is Forever Mankind

"Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: The search for truth and understanding. They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared to send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind."

-William Safire's speach written for Richard Nixon to read if tragedy struck on Apollo XI.