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David Kramer’s high-entropy blog

The Best Financial Jokes Of 2009 So Far

I found this trolling various blogs on wordpress.com.  You know, the way we geezers used to surf the internet before Google indexed everything?  Anyway, here is the National Post‘s round-up of The Best Financial Jokes Of 2009 So far.  In this case, the nation is Canada and the section is Financial.

Here are some of my favorites from the list:

  • Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has adjusted its investment portfolio: 50% cash and 50% canned goods
  • The courts allowed the bankruptcy proceedings for Chrysler to go forward. The bankruptcy was approved after the judge told Chrysler to sit in a room for a few minutes while the judge went to talk to his manager.
  • How many stockbrokers does it take to change a light bulb?
    Two. One to take out the bulb and drop it, and the other to try and sell it before it crashes (knowing that it’s already burned out).

Read on…

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A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages

Honestly, I lost where I got this link from.  Maybe Slashdot.  But it’s brilliant in its snarkiness and honesty at the same time.  From James Iry’s blog, One Div Zero, I bring you A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages.

A few of my favorite entries on his list to tempt you:

  • 1842 – Ada Lovelace writes the first program. She is hampered in her efforts by the minor inconvenience that she doesn’t have any actual computers to run her code. Enterprise architects will later relearn her techniques in order to program in UML.
  • 1970 – Niklaus Wirth creates Pascal, a procedural language. Critics immediately denounce Pascal because it uses “x := x + y” syntax instead of the more familiar C-like “x = x + y”. This criticism happens in spite of the fact that C has not yet been invented.
  • 1972 – Dennis Ritchie invents a powerful gun that shoots both forward and backward simultaneously. Not satisfied with the number of deaths and permanent maimings from that invention he invents C and Unix.

If you’re more interested in actual facts (that’s crazy talk!), there’s The Programming Languages Genealogy Project, and The History Of Programming Languages.

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20 Most Bizarre Mugshots ever

Compliments of Oddie, “A blog on the oddities of our world”, I bring you this post.

You will never see a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.  Enjoy.

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Silly Geeky Math Of The Day

It all started very innocently with a review at ZDNet of OpenSolaris, called OpenSolaris: What Ubuntu wants to be when it grows up. As the article extolled the virtues of ZFS, I follow the link to Wikipedia’s page on ZFS. I found this section:

Project leader [Jeff] Bonwick said, “Populating 128-bit file systems would exceed the quantum limits of earth-based storage. You couldn’t fill a 128-bit storage pool without boiling the oceans.”[2] Later he clarified:

Although we’d all like Moore’s Law to continue forever, quantum mechanics imposes some fundamental limits on the computation rate and information capacity of any physical device. In particular, it has been shown that 1 kilogram of matter confined to 1 litre of space can perform at most 1051 operations per second on at most 1031 bits of information.[10] A fully populated 128-bit storage pool would contain 2128 blocks = 2137 bytes = 2140 bits; therefore the minimum mass required to hold the bits would be (2140 bits) / (1031 bits/kg) = 136 billion kg. To operate at the 1031 bits/kg limit, however, the entire mass of the computer must be in the form of pure energy. By E=mc², the rest energy of 136 billion kg is 1.2×1028 J. The mass of the oceans is about 1.4×1021 kg. It takes about 4,000 J to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water by 1 degree Celsius, and thus about 400,000 J to heat 1 kg of water from freezing to boiling. The latent heat of vaporization adds another 2 million J/kg. Thus the energy required to boil the oceans is about 2.4×106 J/kg * 1.4×1021 kg = 3.4×1027 J. Thus, fully populating a 128-bit storage pool would, literally, require more energy than boiling the oceans.[11]

This kind of this just shouts “There are too many people on the planet with waaaaay too much free time”.  Why is this man not spending his time writing wonderful software, organizing a food drive for the starving kids in Europe, or helping the writers of Lost wrap up some of their loose ends?

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