Neil's News

Cycling at Mach 1

27 July 2007

As previously mentioned, I cycle to work once a week. This week I duct-taped a webcam to my handlebars, disabled sleep mode on my laptop, and rigged it to take a photo every three seconds. The result is a three minute movie showing what it's like to cycle from San Francisco to Mountain View at exactly Mach 1.

One problem was that it was very foggy in the area of Daly City. The elevation is relatively high and the ground intersected the cloud layer. At times I could only see about 20m in front of me.

Another problem was that my (cheap) webcam has two settings: day and night. Clearly I was a few minutes late in switching from one mode to the other. But with the laptop in my backpack, it was impossible to tell exactly when to stop and reconfigure it.

Special thanks to Lao for stomping the video and the music ('Kitten On The Keys', by Zez Confrey 1921) into one file.

At work we recently got a luxurious new leather couch. My boss stroked the leather and proudly remarked "four cows died in the production of this couch". I thought about it for a moment and suggested he rephrase it to "four cows made this couch their life's work". Upon which I was advised that I ought to work in Bush's PR department.

Oh great. The Saturn V schematics I have on my walls are now illegal under ITAR. You can't make this stuff up:

"We kept telling him some were purchased at the Visitor Center Gift Shop, but he did not care. He ended up coming around with an armed security cop until we took them down and shredded them."
Source at KSC.

All information related to launch vehicles past or present is now controlled. Guess they ought to change their national anthem, since stating "the rockets red glare" provides key information regarding the type of propellant used. I currently happen to be reading Fahrenheit 451, and the line between reality and fiction is getting blurry.

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