Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Morning Walk...

It was a gorgeous high desert morning this morning: 55°F, a light breeze, very dry, and desert scents filling the air.  The dogs all did their usual thing.  I walked on this moonless night with no flashlight – the stars and a bright Milky Way made just enough light for me to avoid any obstacles.  I could just barely make out Race as he zoomed around, happy, with his pine cone.  The three field spaniels were moving inkspots; couldn't see any details, but I could tell where they were.

Overhead, the sky was just glorious.  No moon, no planets – just stars.  The Milky Way arced high overhead, from just east of north to the southeast.  It was clear and bright enough that even with just a few minutes of accommodation I could see structure in it.  Beautiful, just plain beautiful...

As I walked and soaked in the night, I was thinking about the potential indirect consequences of Osama bin Laden's killing.  It occurred to me that if bin Laden had been living in that compound for years, there were probably interesting records there, and possibly even computers.  After coming back in and reading the news, I see that the Seals indeed captured a large amount of potential intelligence sources, including computers.  The consequences for al Qaeda may extend far beyond the death of their leader.  Let's hope that's so!


Euler's Identity...

For the geeks, a decoded crop circle:
After transcribing the binary digits, I translated each byte (8 bits) into its corresponding ASCII character with this handy online converter, starting from the direction of the windmill, and working clockwise around the circle and out from the centre. (If you're having trouble following this, see the animation linked at the bottom of the article).

The result was this:


It looked like some kind of equation, and when I looked it up, Google asked if I meant: e^(i)pi)1=0, for which the top result was Euler's identity: eiπ+1=0. This has been called "the most beautiful theorem in mathematics". No surprise that it should turn up in a crop circle then!