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Topics - CodeTRUCKER [ switch to compact view ]

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Been awhile since I have been in the coding environment.  Due to my vision getting worse I am interested in taking my hobby of flight simulation from the GUI to the Command Line.

The program will involve physics, time and an internal 3D "space."  Essentially, the screen would present a list of information, the "pilot" would make a selection then process the choices and present the new information back on the screen.  While this would probably not serve inexperienced sim flyers, it would be usable for experienced pilots both real and simulated.  With the addition of text-to-speech and speech-to-text, I can see someone who knows aviation might enjoy "flying" while driving over a long distance.  I know I would.  Obviously, this might allow sight-challenged people to enjoy some aspects of flight simulation.

Frankly, this is going to be lots of work to start with and will only become more involved as more realism, features and (hopefully) interactive Air Traffic Control.  This is why I would be very appreciative of any comments for the coding language.  Questions are most welcome.


I have created a number of checklists for flight simulator.  But, having another Notepad window open to read the text line (checklist item) is quite distracting and the white background of the window makes things difficult to see for night flights.

In a perfect world, it would have the ability to show red, white, etc. text anywhere I moved it over the flight simulator window with an "Always-on-Top" capability.  It would have the ability to shrink to show only one line at a time and possibly with the ability to program a joystick button to move the cursor down one line at a time.

Okay, so this isn't a perfect world, so I will settle for a menu-less, border-less text editor with the capability to make the background black and the text white or green (sort of like Q10).  It would have the ability to shrink it vertically to only see one line at a time.

Another possibility would be an app that can display text one line at a time.  Kind of like the way a spread sheet can hold text.  Feel free to ask for any clarification or better explanation.  I just want to see one line of text at a time and only the text with or without a border.

Any suggestions?

Thanks for your time.

Developer's Corner / XML If-Els
« on: August 21, 2015, 09:32 PM »

I have been working on this problem in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 for a couple of days and decided I should probably seek some help.

In the below code I am testing if the TOTAL WEIGHT > 136000 and TOTAL WEIGHT < 140001 then if both statements are true I want to assign the value 139 to the variable "v1."  The problem is the output is "0."  So, what is wrong with the below syntax?  I can't see the problem, but I am not all that good at XML.

<!-- Sets V1 for Flaps 15  -->
               if{ (A:TOTAL WEIGHT,pounds) 136000 &gt;
                  1   if{ (A:TOTAL WEIGHT,pounds) 140001 &lt;
                        1   139 (&gt;L:v1,knots)

Hi Folks,

It's been awhile since I have added anything to the discussions, so I thought I might stir the pot with this tidbit...

"If one considers a flight simulation in terms of cybernetics, the experience migrates from the virtual (non-real) world to the realm of the real, albeit a miniature model. The fact is within the real RAM of the computer a real atmosphere is modeled above a real modeled world. On this world is modeled replicas of almost every entity on the planet. The aforementioned, 'atmosphere' has real properties. Gravity, inertia, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure and density are just a few of the real physical attributes of this model. Within this real model are vehicles. Cars, airport tugs, buses, firetrucks, boats, ships, planes and jets are driven and piloted by invisible real robots commonly called, "A.I."  Lastly, we as real model pilots operate our Pipers, Cessnas, Airbuses, Lockheeds, etc. within this real, modeled world. Like the real-life world, we as pilots of these modeled aircraft are constrained to operate our aerial vehicles according to the properties of the modeled real world; otherwise we will suffer the real modeled consequences. So, the next time you "fly," try to picture the tiny real aircraft that is being propelled through the tiny modeled world within the reality inside your computer."
 ~ CJW

So, is it live or is it Memorex?  

Seriously, does this perception have merit?

General Software Discussion / Loss-Proof Text Editor
« on: June 13, 2014, 03:04 AM »
In the last 5-6 years I have read the "Note-Taking Roundup" twice from beginning to end twice.  Unfortunately, my memory won't let me recall those trips and my reading now is a challenge.  I'm not lazy, but with short-term memory loss it becomes quite a chore.  Anyway, I can use some help.

I am looking for a freeware/payware note-taker/text editor that will keep every keystroke regardless if the is a power failure or a BSOD (I'm using an old Vista 64 Toshiba laptop).  I have had numerous instances of temporary freeze which can last up to a minute or so.  This is very detrimental to writing creativity and flow as well as keeping my thoughts straight.  If anyone has a candidate, it would be greatly appreciated.

I was using Evernote which performed well as far as keeping my work safe.  Unfortunately, it has begun to freeze more and more and for longer periods.  I'd be happy with Notepad if it could auto-save every keystroke.


Living Room / Survivorship Insidious Enemy
« on: March 01, 2014, 09:19 AM »

I recently was asked to read an article on "Survivorship Bias."  It is fairly long and it may take some people a bit to wrap their brains around the concept, but it is provocative and sound.  If one considers how pervasive this paradigm really is at every echelon of human existence, one has to wonder why thinking people have allowed Survivorship Bias to go so long unchecked and unchallenged?  While a search of the Internet would lead one to think Survivorship Bias is confined to the financial realm of investing, the author of the article allows us to see it painted with a broader swash.  This is good, IMO.

WARNING: Not to be too melodramatic, it is not so much the concept which will give you brain strain, but the inevitable and involuntary response to apply it will create quite a mental tussle (at least it has for me).  Assimilating the concept will require nothing less than a paradigm-shift in your thinking.  Personally, it has been almost eight weeks since I was challenged to read the article.  I have been trying to digest the ramifications from the first day and I still get a headache if I try to think it through to its logical end (haven't made it yet).  Further, in imagining what a world would look like if Survivorship Bias had been identified and precluded from society, I am led down a corridor which becomes quite complex.

At the end of the day... my two-month long mental sparring with Survivorship Bias leaves me with some questions which continually provoke me...
  • Has there ever been a human society which was able to rise above the trap of Survivorship Bias?
  • What would that culture have looked like?
  • How would have technology advanced if it had been born and nurtured in an environment free of Survivorship Bias?
  • How did Survivorship Bias become so globally accepted given the effects are so harmful?
  • Is it even possible to completely un-learn Survivorship Bias?

Again, the read itself is long (you may want to print it out).  Anyway, here is what I suggest...
<> Find yourself a good hour(s) of uninterrupted time to read the article and absorb its contents. 
<> Grab yourself a friendly cup of hot tea or other familiar (favorite) beverage. 
<> Take your laptop, iPad, etc. to your comfy spot and get ready for your mind to be bent in a way never before conceived. 
<> Please report back when you've had a chance to let it sift through your considerations and have mentally applied it to your everyday life.  I am very curious to learn if my experience of the effects are common or unique.

One final thought.  After one reads the article please come back here and consider the following... 
DC is a community of coders,, who have had to struggle through a variety of challenges of unruly design and syntax (read: failures).  In consideration of Survivorship Bias, one has to wonder how many unrealized "successes" never saw the light of day because the programmers were led away from the opportunity by the Pied Piper's notes?

Fair winds.

[Disclaimer - It is obvious I am zealous on the subject, so it behooves me to advise the reader I have no relationship with the author and I receive no compensation.]

General Software Discussion / Are Tables Required Or Not?
« on: February 26, 2014, 09:26 AM »
After reading SuperBoyAC's excellent treatise on "information collectors" I thought I would examine if I was using the most efficient tool for my purposes (nothing special).  In my examination of one of the products I found a complete lack of support of tables unless I copy/pasted.  Given the developer is a most gracious person and quite competent in coding, I decided to remove myself from the exalted throne and ask myself *if* my long-held persuasion that tables were/are indispensable for collecting/organizing/presenting/storing data.

My question is... if tables are not used how does one handle the data normally contained in tables?  

FWIW - The software I am considering has everything else I need except tables.  This is the only caveat I have to overcome.

My primary purpose for using tables is to arrange data in numerous grids of related and structured information in order to evaluate different related entities.  I do this so various items can be compared as to determine the "best" choice.  Once I have made a decision the table serves as a referential repository.  It is not uncommon for me to edit the tables numerous times a month.  You might call my grids, "Living Tables."  I hardly ever store data in any other form.  As an example, I use a table to create characters for my fiction.  Each row is a character with the columns being criteria of the character's person (eye color, hair color, build, temperament, etc).  This allows for great checking and cross-referencing of the necessary conflicting attitudes and temperaments which allows those wonderful dramatic tensions.

Don't read the following unless you're bored.]

Not sure how my mental sojourn went from NANY considerations to this, but I guess have fun with it.  :)

I love to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with tater chips.  Naturally, this cuisine *must* be complimented with a glass of ice cold milk!  Although I like strawberry jelly, IMO, peach preserves (preferably homemade).  I should point out I can enjoy the crunchy peanut butter, but the luxurious elegance of the silky smooth butters can't be beat!

So, what constitutes your favorite food groups when you want to chill out and enjoy a delicious treat?

I have a very slow laptop and installing s/w is a major ordeal.  It literally takes a whole day sometimes.  I cannot afford any upgrades at this time.  Therefore I am looking for a folder size monitor that will graphically display the size of a folder which will have a user-definable update interval and can be switched to be kept on top of other windows, if necessary.

Can this be coded in AHK (I might try to build it myself *if* it is simple)?

Are there already s/w (hopefully freeware) that will do what I want?  I tried doing a search, but was overwhelmed and got really confused and frustrated (happens more often lately).

Thanks in advance.

Quite by accident I stumbled across a feature in using CHS years(?) ago that would allow me to select an item from the CHS list and would paste it after a time delay.  Unfortunately, I have forgotten how and where in the software where I can restore this functionality.  I have scoured the CHS options over the weekend and have had no success in finding the "switch."  Can someone please point me to the place where I can turn this back on ? 

I'll admit that I am an aviation buff that can spend hours just sitting in my car at the airport with my aviation radio scanner.  I love airplanes and have as far as my memory will allow.  A few years ago the same company that produced "Visitorville" created "3d Mailbox" some years ago and added a "Level 2 - LAX Airport" that models Los Angeles International airport with activity .  I have read every review I could find, but not one review ever gave me the impression it was actually being used by the reviewer.  I felt like the positive "reviews" were written by those pro-product bloggers I call, "blogworms."  Also, AFAICT this client has never been a topic on DonationCoder.  A search of the forums returned zero results.

While I am sure any cerebral-endowed power user will have no lack of disdain for the attempt of modeling an email client with a video game motif, I ask you to humor me.  I am really just trying to discern if the whole thing is a reality or not.

I am curious if anyone uses, has used or knows someone personally who has used 3D Mailbox?

Thank you.

General Software Discussion / Auto-Ping?
« on: March 08, 2012, 03:10 PM »
My search did not yield any useful result, so I apologize if I missed something.  I am not sure if "Auto-Ping" is the right name, but what I am looking for is a way to monitor whether a web site is "up" or "down."

If there is nothing available I will post a request in "Coding Snacks."  Thanks.

Living Room /
« on: December 20, 2011, 07:13 PM »
I recently discovered Tubetorial

I did a check on DC with a search and not a single hit, so I thought I would give you the heads-up.  I haven't used it, but the idea looks promising for getting folks started with Internet commerce AFAICT. 

Living Room / A Friend of Mine Needs Help
« on: December 20, 2011, 06:49 PM »

A friend of mine on another forum is having some problems with his Win7 and Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Below are two posts he made and a third of what I offered.  If you can give me somewhere to go to help this fellow, I would really appreciate it and you can build your ARK (Act of Random Kindness) too!  :-*

His First Post
At a point in the not-too-distant past, I loaded FSX and the FSE client onto my windows 7 PC. I tested whether they would both load and if I was able to find the client in FSX. They did.

Then I realized that my yoke had gone south and I shut the FSX/FSE down and haven't used it since.

Yesterday I received a replacement yoke from an exceptionally cool FSE member, free of charge. (He even paid the shipping which I wanted to pay) Life should be perfect. !!

NOT! When I brought up FSX it had none of the pre-sets I had put in when I installed it. When I brought up FSE client it failed. I suspected corruption and deleted it to re-install. The re-install failed because it cannot find Simconnect of some version.

Now I am not crazy or stupid. Well maybe a little of each but all the way in either one. What I don't understand is how something that tested working two or three months ago could just plain not be there anymore. So if any of you are extremely clever, and I suspect you are, or if any of you have experienced this yourself please offer advice. First, where do I get Simconnect it was obviously there before.

His Second Post
So what the heck is Global Assembly Cache?? That's where its telling me to install the Microsoft.FlightSimulator.SimConnect version (big version number)

I was able to find the DLL but have no idea about loading in the GAC.

I just re-installed FSX completely and still get this error. I know you guys are smart, which one knows this??

Maybe I just have to delete it again and let it install in the x86 program files where it wants to. Then it should be able to find this file.

My Response
One of the tips I read in some off-topic comment some years ago stated that *every* change in FS9/FSX *should* be immediately followed by a reboot of the computer. When you bring Windows back up, the very first thing is to open the flightsim and the first flight should be in the default aircraft at the default airport (Meigs or Seattle International, respectively). You don't have to fly a whole flight, just get it started down the runway. Hit the "Esc" button and go do what you wanted to do with the airplane you wanted. AFAICT this only has to be done once for each add-on install.

The gist of the post was FS9 and more so with FSX, was so integrated with the OS that numerous low-level settings needed to be "set," or something like that. The problem was other Windows software did it too and if FS9/FSX wasn't run first the other software would "set" those switches(?) not allowing the flightsims to run optimally and could produce some anomalies.

I have no idea whether this is the real reason or if it has anything to do with your weirdness, Sarge. I can say that when I remember to follow this procedure, I have never had an issue. As a rule now, if I add anything to Windows, I reboot. Fortunately, I have not had any problem if I load something beside FS9/FSX after a non-MSFS install, but I always use the reboot-then-fly-the-defaults method whenever I change something in FS9/FSX.

Thanks for any help!

Living Room / Stage Play
« on: December 01, 2011, 03:09 PM »
In lieu of doing a NANY app this year, I am writing a stage play ("A Sweet Christmas Tragedy") which will be performed Dec. 24th.  Nothing big (script is only about 150-180 pages), just an offering to the retirement community where my Mom lives.  A good many of them have nowhere else to go on Christmas, so we thought we would bring something to them.  If anyone is interested in reading the script, PM me and I will send a link when it is completed.  I am using CELTX to write the scripts, storyboards, etc.

Anyone else a playwright?

Living Room / PHP... is the name self-realizing?
« on: July 22, 2011, 03:18 PM »
PHP, which stands for "PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor"

I recently read these words and it struck me odd.  If the "P" in "PHP" stands for "PHP" what does the "P," "H" and "P" stand for in the first "P" in "PHP?"

Reminds me of an ontological paradox, like the iconic "watch" in the movie, "Somewhere in Time."  

Just musing...

Living Room / AWOL
« on: July 22, 2011, 02:16 PM »
Dear Friends,

Except for some brief participation in the fund drive,  I've been gone a long time.  I didn't even know that NANY 2012 has already started!  I missed DC and the folks that added so much to my Internet experience.  It is said you never really value something until you lose it.  While I always knew DC was valuable, I never knew how valuable until I came back.  I want to say "Thank you!" to Mouser and company for making DonationCoder such a nice place to be and come back to.  :)

One very special member I would like to thank is timns for his Auspex text-replacer app.  My typing ability has never been good and now misfires are much more common.  With Auspex I don't have to worry about my typing because I can get timns' program to fix them as I type!  :Thmbsup:

For my friends who want to know where I've been, I wrote an open letter.  Keep in mind this is only for my friends.  If you don't know who I am or don't care, don't waste your time reading it since you will be bored to tears.

It's good to be back,

Hello DCers,

I would like to create a virtual aviation business environment using a flight simulator, like Flightgear, X-Plane, FSX, FS9, etc. Most likely it will be the FS9/FSX route.

For the purpose of this discussion, Ill use the following abbreviations...

-- N009BH = The callsign of a specific aircraft.
-- FSApp = Flight Simulator Application
-- FCA = Stands for "FS Control Application which is the client software the pilot will interface with.
-- FSUIPC = Flight Simulator User Interface Personal Computer - A module by Pete Dowson integrated with flight simulator variables which allow for reading and writing of those variables.
-- AFL = Aircraft Fuel Level
-- TEH = Total Engine Hours

What I would *like* to do is...

@ Pilot manually opens the FSApp, loads the aircraft and the FCA.
@ Pilot enters or selects from a drop-down, an aircraft, such as "N009BH" into the "Aircraft" field and presses the "Get Aircraft Data" button on the FCA.
@ The FCA connects to a specific URL where a table of data is stored.
@ The "N009BH" row is located on the table and the "AFL" and "TEH" fields are located and retrieved to the FCA.
@ FCA disconnects from the URL
@ FCA seeds the FSApp with new values via the FSUIPC.
@ Pilot flies......
@ At end of the flight, the pilot clicks the "Send Aircraft Data" button on the FCA.
@ The FCA reads the FSApp values from the FSUIPC and connects back to the URL.
@ The "N009BH" row is located on the table again and the new "AFL" and "TEH" values are overwritten.
@ FCA disconnects from the URL.

Actually there is a lot more values I need to work with, i.e., "Battery_Level," "Engine_Component_Failure_Coefficient, etc. for the aircraft and various fields for the Pilot Logbook. If I can get just the simple(?) AFL and TEH above working correctly, I'm sure I can make the rest hum.

I realize there must be some steps I missed, but I just wanted to give a reasonable idea of what was happening.


How would you suggest I go about doing this project? To my mind's eye it seems fairly simple, but the four things I don't know are...

1. How to have the client get to the URL?
2. How to make the table (or should I just parse a text file)?
3. How to access table values and read/write?
4. How to make it reasonably secure (UID and PWD)?

I'm doing some experimenting with the Joomla CMS, but I don't think I can automate locating the URL with the FCA. Also, I realize that FCA, FSApp, FSUIPC, etc. abbreviations may drive you bats, but since I am anticipating this project (and this thread) may take some time, I thought having some shorthand would be good.


Living Room / Flight Simulation... Do You Partake?
« on: April 16, 2011, 03:28 AM »
Any of you coders involved in flight simulation?  If so, your skills might earn you a cool $10,000 (virtual ) per project.  If you want to check it out, go to the FSEconomy website.  Registration is required, but there is no cost for the forum or the "fun!"   

From the FSEconomy forum...

The Board of FSE is always in need of coding support.

The coding languages currently in use are:
Java Server Pages (JSP)

Visual Studio (C++, C#)

We also need db management skills to help find superior ways to manage the large tables FSE uses and keep site resources low enough so as not to hamper others' enjoyment of FSE.

If you have coding skills and would like to make v$10,000 and up per project, send a PM to Chuck229 with a brief summary of your coding experience including languages used.

If you have ever been interested in virtual aviation, but were afraid to jump in, this could be a great start!  I have been a virtual pilot since 1984 and I wish there had been something like FSEconomy back then!  Since this may be a new subject, I'll be glad to field any Q & A.  I don't know everything, but I have been involved for a quarter of a century.  That ought to count for something, eh?  :mrgreen:

FYI - My handle at the FSE forum is "Bullhide009"

I am using Microsoft Speech Recognition in a specific application, but for whatever reason, weird things have occurred.  I am sure it is because MSR is reading my speech as some kind of command.

Does anyone know how to "turn off" the keyboard command part of MSR?

~ CT

Living Room / What would Cody's music sound like?
« on: February 05, 2011, 11:13 AM »
Ever noticed when you visit someone oftentimes they will have music playing in the background.  This morning I was playing around and came up with a strain that just made me feel like I was walking through the beaded arched doorway of Cody's pad.  The experience was complete with some lava lamps, black light posters and the hint of ginseng incense in the air.

FYI - I am not the musicians.

Click the link to hear the music...

Living Room / "Battleship" Music Machine (Chord Sound Grid )
« on: February 02, 2011, 11:02 PM »
I am asking assistance in locating something my own searches have failed to find.   For lack of a better description I call it a "Battleship" Music Machine or a chord grid thingamajiggy.   

If you remember the old Battleship Game played on a 10 x10 grid (A-J and 1-10).  I am looking for something sort of designed like that. 

Essentially I am hoping to find an electronic device or software which is a grid of buttons(?).  Each row would be a pitch (C, C#, D, Eb, E, etc.) and each column would be a chord voicing (Major,  Minor, Maj7th, Min7th, etc.).  The idea is press a button where the "coordinates"  converge and "hear" what the chord sounds like to identify how the chords "work" for composing.  Something like an electronic "autoharp," if you know what that is?

I never learned how to play a piano, so I have to have something that will let me tryout a chord progression before I commit it to my score.

I will be glad to clarify, if necessary, but I hope I have given a decent picture of what I am after.  I have hundreds of songs in my head and they locked in there because I can't play well enough to get them out nor can I sing clear enough to get across to someone what I'm thinking.  An exercise in frustration, for sure.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Living Room / Why does the Mayan calendar end on....?
« on: January 31, 2011, 09:25 AM »
Today, I spent roughly five hours with my wife and children discussing the hype and potential accuracy of the Mayan calendar as a harbinger to the end of future existence.  I/we have done no exhaustive research on the Mayans, their calendar or the congruency of 12-21-2012, but we haven't been living in a cave either.

My primary and salient bullet of our discussion's agenda was not so much concerned about whether 2012 will be the last year of the Gregorian calendar nor was it concerned about the harmony of the respective calendars.  No, my interest was in "why" the Mayan calendar ended?   Given, AFAIK there are no Mayans left today that can offer an authoritative explanation on this conundrum, we are left to our own devices.  As I pondered and we discussed this, three possibilities emerged.  The Mayan author(s) of their calendar...
  • ...chose an arbitrary date, say 5,000 "years" and set it at the end of the calendar, perhaps just for the aesthetics of symmetry. Who knows?
  • ...created some arbitrary and inconceivable date "out there" and then set all the particulars at various intervals to fit within that framework.
  • ...really *knew* something of a cause-and-effect sequence of events now lost to obscurity.

Since the first two bullets are arbitrary, seemingly unconcerned with the cessation of existence, we can focus on the final point.  Maybe the present and highly publicized time chart for the Maya was not their first calendar?  Perhaps the Maya have had numerous calendars over the millenia and it will be time to make the next one commencing on the now infamous date?  Occam's Razor would certainly support this supposition, but let's go to the playground of our minds and examine other possibilities.  Shall we?

Assuming the Gregorian reference of December 21st of Two-Thousand-Twelve does; indeed, equate to the last day of the Mayan calendar, was there a concrete requirement to end their calendar?  Was it motivated by the Maya institutions of religion, science or just their commerce?  Considering the Maya existed in latitudes significantly south of the known world of scientific authority in Europe and the UK, is it possible Mayan astronomers knew something the "white men" did not?  

Let's consider these items... the elevation of Mayan "observatories," clear mountain air and the lack of industrialism would have offered the pre-historic and mid-historic indian stargazers a view of the heavens Spaniards, Portuguese, Europeans, Brits, Scots and Irish astronomers would have coveted, if known.  Now couple the advantages of Mayan vistas with the permanence of their culture.  Add to this the fact the Maya had written records and you have a potent mix for assimilating and dispensing cumulative astronomical,, knowledge for thousands upon thousands of generations.  Is it possible the Maya calendar-makers were given the "heads-up" by these early astronomers?

At this point, I would like to offer this... technological advancement does not necessarily equate to intelligence.  Just because the Maya may not have had the "benefits" of industrial technological "progress" does not mean they were morons.  To the contrary, their culture did have technological "progress," but not the same as those aforementioned.

Given the previous commentary, I would like to offer a "possibility" for discussion.  Actually, this is only one scenario.  I suppose there are countless other possibilities, but I will prime the pump with this particular sequence which does not violate any of the above facts and suppositions.  For lack of a better moniker, let's call it the "Dark Planet."

Since almost all of scientific "advancement" was ensconced in the northern hemisphere, observations of the night sky was biased north of the celestial equator.  Simply put, not many eyes observed the Crux or any other southern constellation except inhabitants in the southern latitudes.  It should also be noted that even over the course of the year the telescopes in the north would never have witnessed southern occurrences.  What if the Mayan astronomers witnessed the rapid passing of the "Dark Planet" only in the night sky on a certain date at a certain time of the year, say every 327 years (yes, this is arbitrary, but stay with me).  Further, what if the Mayan architects and engineers interpolated certain triangulations and realized that in every cycle of passing the "Dark Planet" was getting closer and closer to a collision with our own Terra Firma?  Could it be the Mayan calendar ends because it coincides with the last day of the last 327 year cycle of the "Dark Planet's" orbit?  

If this was/is true, no astronomer in the north would have witnessed the singular night's apparition swiftly emerging and then disappearing into unknown realms of blackness.  If this was the last cycle (for the sake of argument), it was the last appearance and would have occurred on Saturday, December 21, 1685.   Aside from some early and crude telescopes, there was no technology in the seventeenth century that would have been capable of disclosing this "Dark Planet" to the scrutiny of "modern" scientists.  Given, these telescopes would have been in the north, the chance of discovery was basically null.

I admit this is somewhat whimsical (fun) and a touch macabre, but can anyone disprove my "theory" of the "Dark Planet?"  No, no one can or could.  If I was to offer this hypothesis to the readers of American Scientific it could not be discounted or disproved.  They might attack the "messenger" to discredit the author and discount the report, but it would be impossible to attack the "message."  That's the funny thing about reality... you can only prove what you do, in fact, know.  You can never disprove what you don't know.   You can make some reasonably educated guesses about the unknown based on the known, but you will never be able to invalidate any scenario embedded in the unknown.

In closing, the above made for a lively debate in our home and I saw a lot of "light bulbs" turn on above some wee heads.  In truth, I do not know if the "Dark Planet" is relentlessly pursuing its malevolent errand.  What I do know from scientific report is the Mayan calendar ends and there is a reason!  What I don't know is "why?"  

Any thoughts?


Living Room / "Betelgeuse" Email Doins'
« on: January 31, 2011, 07:04 AM »
I was checking out an alternate meaning of a word on and discovered this little tidbit...

Apparently, some pseudo-scientific gossip is circulating online claiming that Betelgeuse will explode in 2012, causing damaging neutrino release and gamma radiation. There will be two bright, sun-like bodies in our earthling sky, the sun and a super bright type II supernova.


Since Betelgeuse is 520 light-years away from us, here is a dual set of copper(?) rail-splitter type presidential mintage for your consideration...

  • If "B" already went into supernova anytime in the last five centuries, it's already coming and we won't know anything until it happens which could be between now and ~518 years into the future.  Since neutrinos and all other EMR travels at the speed of light, its effects, if any, will be seen and felt at the same time. Even the Hubble Space Telescope wouldn't see it sooner.
  • If "B" does go supernova on 12/21/2012, we still won't know about it for 520 years.

So, what's the moral of this story... Don't worry, "B" happy!   :P


<Edit> Corrected date.  Thanks SJ! </Edit>

Living Room / Any Good & Safe Free Movie Sites Beside StageVu?
« on: January 27, 2011, 01:23 PM »

Notice:  While I have no direct experience, I have been advised  StageVU is a pirated movie site. 
FWIW, most if not all, are not real good quality, so that may be why they are not shut down.  This is not a defense or endorsement, but a personal observation.

I would appreciate any links to other gratis-oriented sites or links to previous DC threads.  Registration is Ok as long as it is legitimate and isn't just harvesting email addresses.

I have used as a resource for locating movies.  I have discovered some real flops there, but also some real gems too!  :)


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