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December 14, 2019

A 2010 visit to the Computer History Museum with Steve Wozniak — and a blast from the past (2005) from the Woz himself

From YouTube:

In this video we get a first peek at the 25,000-square-foot "Revolutions" exhibit at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley.

Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder, and curator Chris Garcia give us a tour across 2,000 years of computing history.

FunFact: In an April 4, 2005 post I remarked that Woz wasn't much of an athlete.

My exact words: "... he was the world's least athletic, biggest nerd when he was younger."

The next day — April 5, 2005 — Woz posted a comment on boj setting the record straight.

My response — a post on April 6, 2005 — follows.

We get email: from Steve Wozniak — yes, the Woz


I am humbled, dumbstruck, gobsmacked, any superlative that describes being shocked + awed, reading Steve Wozniak's comment on bookofjoe.

I may close up shop today because I can now die happy.

The Woz (above) is one of my heroes and the fact that pixels from bookofjoe contacted his retinas via light-speed photonic transmission early yesterday morning (his comment came in at 2 a.m. Eastern) is still reverberating within my skull.

I am so stoked.

Woz set the record straight re: my having assumed — and written — in my post of this past Monday morning that "he was the world's least athletic, biggest nerd when he was younger."



The Woz wrote in his comment on my post:

"I am an aggressive competitive player because I always was. I won golf trophies when young, was the best player on my little league teams some years (best pitcher, best shortstop, best hitter, best runner), made the little league all-stars, lettered in swimming in Jr. High School, lettered in pole vaulting in high school, won tennis trophies, played football aggressively with friends, always ran well and was in marathon running shape 15 years ago."

What makes my egregious error even worse is that just two weeks ago, I ordered and received from Amazon this book:


I read it with delight.

It's one of a series, "Unlocking the Secrets of Science."

The publisher writes, "In selecting those persons to be profiled in this series, we first attempted to identify the most notable accomplishments of the 20th century in science, medicine and technology."

The Woz is in fast company: Edwin Hubble, Linus Pauling, Francis Crick and James Watson, Albert Einstein, Wilhelm Roentgen and Alexander Fleming are among the other greats in the series. But I digress.

Chapter 3 of the biography is titled "High School and College Years."

It talked about Steve's wizardry in electronics, science, and math, as well as his developing reputation as a prankster, "one that has followed him down to the present day."

Just now I reread the chapter, word-for-word, and there's not a word about his athletic achievements.

Steve's website biography also omits his athletic accomplishments.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Lesson learned, say I: if you don't know, don't assume.

I'll say this, in finishing on this subject: pole vaulting is perhaps the most complex and difficult single event in track and field, requiring speed, strength, coordination, balance, aggressiveness and fearlessness.

The fact that the Woz lettered in the sport in high school indicates major physical skills and athleticism.


The Woz asked me not to set the record straight but since he did so in his email, I don't feel all that bad about disregarding his wish and doing so anyhow.

Sorry, Steve, but I can't stand inaccurate or unsubstantiated writing by myself in bookofjoe or anywhere else.

Although, truth be told, there's not a whole lot being written these days by moi outside the confines of this blog.

My errors kill me.

A misspelling ruins my whole day, sometimes.

I mean, to goof up regarding Donald Trump or some such doofus is one thing, but one of my heroes?


I am so much an Apple person that just using a PC makes me physically ill.

Here's Steve Wozniak's email, just as it came in and appears to the right in the "Comments" section:


Love my Hummer but also transport 4 Segways plus 2 passengers, or 3 Segways plus 3 passengers, or 1 Segway and 5 passengers, all Segways fully assembled, in my 2004 or 2005 Prius's.

I am an aggressive competitive player because I always was. I won golf trophies when young, was the best player on my little league teams some years (best pitcher, best shortstop, best hitter, best runner), made the little league all-stars, lettered in swimming in Jr. High School, lettered in pole vaulting in high school, won tennis trophies, played football aggressively with friends, always ran well and was in marathon running shape 15 years ago.

I don't play aggressively because I can afford Segways. In fact I let others use my Segways. One guy crashed the Segway, destroying the handlebar and light ($1000 for both) and later swung a mallet into my light (another $500) and I paid it all. I have not damaged a Segway playing polo. I play within the limits of the laws (of physics) and our rules, and press them just barely over the line.

Still, the image of playing aggressively because I can afford to wreck my Segway is a compelling one that enhances my strange image so please don't tell people the truth. It's like an article in Wired Magazine once which stated that I was moving to where my cell phone would work. It was based on some other comment by myself or a friend but it sounds just strange enough to enhance my 'creative person' image so I'm glad for it.

December 14, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Color Terminology for Dummies

Color terminology

Finally, a concise and understandable explanation of what the frequently used words mean.

[via Happy Hues, where you'll find much more on the subject]

December 14, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What it looks like when an asteroid gets destroyed

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From the New York Times, whose November 26, 2019 story by Robin George Andrews features a video of the asteroid destruction (one frame from which appears above):

The asteroid belt, hanging out between Mars and Jupiter, is not like the cluttered debris field in "The Empire Strikes Back."

It may contain millions of rocky and metal objects, but the distances separating them are vast, and collisions are rare.

That is what makes P/2016 G1 such an exciting object.

Spotted zipping through the asteroid belt in early 2016, this object had a strange orbit and a tail of dust that resembled a comet.

Through a careful analysis of telescopic imagery, scientists identified multiple showers of debris shooting up from its surface, the sort that could have only been produced by an impact.

What they had stumbled across was not a comet, but the immediate aftermath of an asteroid’s assassination.

On or around March 6, 2016, an asteroid at least 1,300 feet in diameter was minding its own business when another space rock, weighing around 2.2 pounds and perhaps a foot long or so, slammed into the larger asteroid at roughly 11,000 miles per hour.

That's about five times as fast as a bullet fired from a sniper rifle.

The projectile was obliterated upon impact; the target then broke up in stages over the coming months before becoming impossible to see.

Without this collision, these two small objects would have remained forever anonymous.

Instead scientists gained a serendipitous insight into the destructibility of asteroids, which could help defend Earth against future asteroid hazards.

After all, "the best way to see how hard something is, is to break it," said Olivier Hainaut, an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory and lead author of the study published earlier this year in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Astronomers first discovered P/2016 G1 with the Pan-Starrs1 telescope in Hawaii in April 2016.

Backtracking through archived images, astronomers realized that it had first been visible the previous month as a centralized collection of rocky clumps: the fractured, rubbly remnants of the asteroid, surrounded by a fine dust cloud, most likely the immediate debris jettisoned by the impact.

Over the ensuing weeks, an expanding ring of debris could also be seen emerging from the object.

Computer simulations revealed this to be the beginning of a cone of uplifted rubble, a signature feature of an impact event.

After the initial debris cloud was created, the cratering process lost energy and subsequent streams of debris were more slowly excavated from the asteroid’s new scar.

On Earth, this ring of debris would land around the crater.

But on a tiny asteroid with little gravity, this debris ring simply flew into space, expanding as it went.

There is no clear date when the asteroid disappeared.

Documenting the vanishing of P/2016 G1 was like tracking a drop of milk in your coffee, Dr. Hainaut said: Parts spread out and faded away individually.

In any case, as of December 2018, the asteroid could no longer be seen.

While the asteroid may be gone, the collected data could be helpful in the future.

With sufficient warning time, an asteroid heading toward Earth would ideally be deflected away by ramming a spacecraft into it at remarkable speeds.

But an overzealous impact could break an asteroid into fragments that could still disastrously crash into Earth.

Knowing what types of impacts cause deflections and disruption is key to Earth’s protection from errant asteroids.

That makes the demise of P/2016 G1 a vital source of information, said Megan Bruck Syal, a planetary defense researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who was not involved with the study.

This spectacularly documented event may not be such a rarity for much longer.

Increasingly comprehensive sky-scanning surveys, including the upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in Chile, will catch many more of these impacts on camera, giving planetary defense researchers more data to play with in cutting-edge simulations.

"An asteroid cannot misbehave anymore" without us seeing it, Dr. Hainaut said.

December 14, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

A shadow of my former self


Above, a cropped iPhone screenshot* I took last Tuesday night at 7:51:12 p.m. in the parking lot of Firefly, as I walked from my just parked car into the arena for the weekly "Geeks Who Drink" trivia contest.

Full disclosure: my team — "Our Doubts Are Traitors," pictured below —

Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 3.47.30 PM

finished tied for sixth place among 19 teams.


Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 3.48.06 PM

the official results.


Zz copy

the unedited parking lot photo, a screenshot taken while livestreaming via Periscope to Twitter.

December 14, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

bookofjoe's Favorite Thing: Docket Gold Heavy Duty Legal Pads


I've been using yellow legal pads for making lists forever.

Turns out there are yellow legal pads and then there are yellow legal pads.

Docket Gold makes a version with very thick, rigid, sturdy cardboard backing that's a real pleasure to use.


The paper's thicker as well.

They cost way more than standard versions — $26.55 vs. $9.77 for a dozen — but to me it's worth paying extra for this simple daily pleasure.

December 14, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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