Same Procedure as Every Autumn: New Data for the Heat Pump System

October - time for updating documentation of the heat pump system again! Consolidated data are available in this PDF document. In the last season there were no special experiments - like last year's Ice Storage Challenge or using the wood stove. Winter was rather mild, so we needed only ~16.700kWh for space heating plus hot … Continue reading Same Procedure as Every Autumn: New Data for the Heat Pump System

Self-Sufficiency Poetry

Our self-sufficiency quota for electrical energy is 30%, but what about the garden? Since I haven't smart metered every edible wildflower consumed, I resort to Search Term Poetry and random images. This is a summer blog post, lacking the usual number crunching and investigative tech journalism. Search terms are from WordPress statistics and Google Tools. … Continue reading Self-Sufficiency Poetry

Everything as a Service

Three years ago I found a research paper that proposed a combination of distributed computing and heating as a service: A cloud provider company like Google or Amazon would install computers in users' homes - as black-boxes providing heat to the users and computing power to their cloud. In the meantime I have encountered announcements … Continue reading Everything as a Service

Anniversary 4 (4 Me): “Life Ends Despite Increasing Energy”

I published my first post on this blog on March 24, 2012. Back then its title and tagline were: Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything Physics versus engineering off-the-wall geek humor versus existential questions IT versus the real thing corporate world’s strangeness versus small business entrepreneur’s microcosmos knowledge worker’s connectedness versus striving … Continue reading Anniversary 4 (4 Me): “Life Ends Despite Increasing Energy”

Random Things I Have Learned from My Web Development Project

It's nearly done (previous episode here). I have copied all the content from my personal websites, painstakingly disentangling snippets of different 'posts' that were physically contained in the same 'web page', re-assigning existing images to them, adding tags, consolidating information that was stored in different places. Raking the Virtual Zen Garden - again. (Voice from … Continue reading Random Things I Have Learned from My Web Development Project

Interrupting Regularly Scheduled Programming …

(... for programming.) Playing with websites has been a hobby of mine since nearly two decades. What has intrigued me was the combination of different tasks, appealing to different moods - or modes: Designing the user interface and organizing content. Writing the actual content, and toggling between creative and research mode. Developing the backend: database … Continue reading Interrupting Regularly Scheduled Programming …

Travelling Like Spam Poetry

We have an anniversary. In the summer of 2005, the Chief Engineer and I set out to visit every Austrian village whose names started with the letter Z. It was a straight-forward idea given that we lived in a z-village. Our universe of websites contains the virtual equivalent - z-village.net, a German website chronicling the … Continue reading Travelling Like Spam Poetry

Update on Edible ‘Weed’

After two physics articles with too much links I owe you an image-only link-free post. This is an update to my catalogue of edible wildflowers in our lawn meadow. I amended the original list with one amazing wild vegetable: Meadow Goatsbeard. In past years I tried to eradicate it, now I don't scythe certain patches … Continue reading Update on Edible ‘Weed’

Social Debt (Tech Professional’s Anecdotes)

I have enjoyed Ben Horowitz' book The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Farnamstreet's review is perfect so I will not attempt at writing one. I will focus on one idea I found most intriguing. I read Horowitz' book as an account of dealing with hard decisions in general, about having to decide alone, about personal accountability, … Continue reading Social Debt (Tech Professional’s Anecdotes)

Anatomy of a Decision (1)

Four years ago I tried something new - I took a decision and started communicating it (some half-baked version of it) without having worked out a detailed plan. One year later I started this blog, reflecting on the journey and this decision. So I celebrate the 4 years anniversary with shameless, self-indulgent nostalgia - reblogging … Continue reading Anatomy of a Decision (1)

About 14,5 Random Thoughts on Blogging and Social Media

I have been blogging on WordPress.com since nearly three years, and I noted the following: Blogs have a half life. Many decay after 2 years. Blogs I had followed had been deleted, or bloggers had suddenly stopped publishing without notice. There are tons of single-post-blogs. A user-friendly editor motivates people to get started. But blogging does … Continue reading About 14,5 Random Thoughts on Blogging and Social Media

On Resisting the Bait

I don't mean click-bait. I mean write-bait. That article that wants you to launch your 2.000 words rhetoric missile, and click the red button: Publish. I am pondering about one of the most successful genres clicked and shared on social media: a blend of popular psychology, life hacking, and business wisdom, perhaps enriched by trusted … Continue reading On Resisting the Bait

Being Creative with What Is Available

This is a quote from Simon Dale's website who has built several eco-friendly 'Hobbit' houses. It reminded me of the cave house built into lava bubbles by Lanzarote's most famous artist César Manrique: Being creative with what is available has an appeal beyond economical necessities. As a teenage hobby astronomer I built a mounting for … Continue reading Being Creative with What Is Available

A 1970s Pioneer in Self-Sufficient Living

Living in southern France, Jean Pain developed a self-sustaining ecosystem in the 1970s that supplied his home with 100% of the energy needed. He built a 50 tons compost mound from chipped wood - brushwood that had to be cleaned out to lower the risk of forest fires. Heat exchanger pipes were buried in the heap while it was built. … Continue reading A 1970s Pioneer in Self-Sufficient Living

The More Content You Have Created

... the more time you need for curating. My first ever attempt at tweeting an aphorism. But it is true for me, and it defines the way I use online spaces. As a contributor of online content, I am operating in different modes: Creator, with emphasis on creating something original - including unintended re-invention of … Continue reading The More Content You Have Created

We Should Get Lost Sometimes – Nicholas Carr on Automation and Us

The Glass Cage is about automation’s human consequences. It is not intended to be your typical book about robots taking our jobs for better or for worse. Carr gives an intriguing account of the history of automation and robotics nonetheless - from Luddites to Google's self-driving cars. What we have known intuitively is backed up … Continue reading We Should Get Lost Sometimes – Nicholas Carr on Automation and Us

Looking Foward to ‘The Glass Cage’ – Random Ambiguous Thoughts

On September 29, Nicholas Carr's book The Glass Cage - Automation and Us will be released. I have quoted Carr's writings often on this blog, and his essay All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines might anticipate some of the ideas he is going to explore in … Continue reading Looking Foward to ‘The Glass Cage’ – Random Ambiguous Thoughts

On Learning

Some years ago I was busy with projects that required a lot of travelling but I also needed to stay up-to-date with latest product features and technologies. When a new operating system was released a colleague asked how I could do that - without having time for attending trainings. Without giving that too much thought, and having my … Continue reading On Learning

When I Did Social Engineering without Recognizing It

I planned to read something about history this summer. Then I picked the history of hacking. My favorite was Kevin Mitnick's autobiography - the very definition of a page-turner. The book is free of hardcore technical jargon and written for geeks and lay audience alike. Readers are introduced to the spirit of a hacker in … Continue reading When I Did Social Engineering without Recognizing It

I Picked the Right Blogging Platform! (Book Review: The Year without Pants)

Before starting this blog I compared blogging tools in 2011. These two facts about WordPress and Automattic did win me over: Every new employee has to do three weeks of end-user support, regardless of position. They have a developer who calls himself the Quantum Bug Creator and has a PhD in Quantum Cryptography. Now I … Continue reading I Picked the Right Blogging Platform! (Book Review: The Year without Pants)

Career Advice – Borrowing Wise Words from a Sailing Hacker

On researching SSL-related hacks, I have stumbled upon the website of notable security researcher Moxie Marlinspike. Marlinspike is also a sailor and working on diverse projects, such as Audio Anarchy - a project for transcribing anarchist books into audio format. On his About page he says: I like computer security and software development, particularly in the … Continue reading Career Advice – Borrowing Wise Words from a Sailing Hacker

I Am Too Googleable!

What a letdown. I wanted to report on near completion of The Website Resurrection Project - but I had a mind-altering experience. On the upside, I am not afraid of identity theft or surveillance anymore. My dentist had to cancel an appointment the day before. I showed up some minutes before the appointed time. The … Continue reading I Am Too Googleable!

Blog Cleanup – Raking the Virtual Zen Garden Again

I am proud owner of a full season of Monk on DVD, and as a child nobody ever had to tell me to tidy up my room. I indulged not only in cleaning my Lego(*) world with a fine paint brush but I rather re-organized all my belongings in Feng-Shui-meets-OCD-style quite often. (*) Lego is … Continue reading Blog Cleanup – Raking the Virtual Zen Garden Again

Gödel, Escher, Bach, and Strange Loops: Nostalgia and Random Thoughts

I am curious - who read the book, too? Did you like it? I read it nearly 30 years ago and I would also tag it one of the most influential books I read as a teenager. [This might grow into a meandering and lengthy post with different (meta-)levels - given the subject of the post I … Continue reading Gödel, Escher, Bach, and Strange Loops: Nostalgia and Random Thoughts

Hacking the Biological Clock

I need to rant before I will borrow one hour of my life to some technocrats tomorrow - that will give it back to me in October. So the subtitle is: I hate Daylight Savings Time! Daylight Savings Time was inspired by a whimsical essay by Benjamin Franklin (probably not the first time that politics fell for something … Continue reading Hacking the Biological Clock

Carl Sagan’s Glorious Dawn: The Promise of Cosmos

This is a reblogged post:
https://samirchopra.com/2014/03/24/carl-sagans-glorious-dawn-the-promise-of-cosmos/

Trying to catch up I am wading through social media streams and notifications. I am delighted to discover a post that echoes EXACTLY what I feel / have once felt as a teenager and high school student who had just decided to become a physicist. In his reflections Carl Sagan’s Cosmos Samir Chopra said it better than I would have been able to do. Quote: “I react the way I do to “A Glorious Dawn” because when I watch it I am reminded of a kind of naiveté, one that infected a part of life with a very distinct sense of possibility; I am reminded indeed, of an older personality, an older way of looking at the world. You could call this simple nostalgia for childhood; I think you’d be partially right. This nostalgia has many components, of course. Then, science, its methods and its knowledge, seemed sacrosanct; its history the most glorious record of human achievement, rising above its sordid record in other domains. It seemed to document a long struggle against many forms of intellectual and political tyranny. Because I was a student of science then–if only in school–I felt myself tapping into a long and glorious tradition, becoming part of a distinguished stream of humans possessed of epistemic and moral rectitude. And because I felt myself to be have just barely begun my studies, I sensed a long, colorful, adventure–perhaps as dramatic as those that I had seen depicted in Cosmos‘ many episodes–lay ahead of me.”

Samir Chopra

The YouTube video titled “A Glorious Dawn” starring Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking (their voices run through Auto-Tune ), and snippets from Sagan’s epic  Cosmos , has now racked up almost nine million views and twenty-seven thousand comments since it was first put up sometime back in 2009. (Mysteriously, in addition to its seventy-seven thousand ‘Likes’ it has also attracted over a thousand thumbs-downs. There’s no pleasing some people.)

To that count of nine million views I have made several dozen contributions. And cheesily enough, on each occasion, I have detected a swelling, a lump in my throat, and sometimes even, most embarrassingly, a slight moistening of the eyes. I am a grown man, supposedly well above such trite sentimentality. What gives?

Like many of those that write those glowing comments on YouTube, I too watched Cosmos as a youngster. I learned a great deal of astronomy and the history…

View original post 391 more words

The Web As I Want to Remember It

This title might be due to unknowingly plagiarizing dejavu.org - The web as we remember it. I haven't visited dejavu.org in years, but I did now as I felt I need to wax nostalgic. This might be due to my recent tinkering with my websites' layouts. As a child I crafted 200-faced paper polyhedra whose … Continue reading The Web As I Want to Remember It

Intelligent Life-Forms in the Blogosphere – Again!

This post might baffle readers that come here for: science / physics / book reviews / corporate world dark satire / search term poetry / navel-gazing / self-destruction ... and the other genres I have forgotten. However, I'd argue that this post covers all of those - in a subtle way. My blog has a … Continue reading Intelligent Life-Forms in the Blogosphere – Again!

Generation X. (I Resist Adding a More Zeitgeisty Header.)

Yes, this is really about Douglas Coupland's landmark book. Generation X comprises people born between early 1960s and early 1980s. Thus I am perfectly average Gen X, and I re-read this book once in a while. As for the content I cannot do better than the blurb: Andy, Dag and Claire have been handed a … Continue reading Generation X. (I Resist Adding a More Zeitgeisty Header.)