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Driving distance vs. time Sat, Feb 29, 2020
A recent AskReddit post asked something like, "Non-Americans, what's a weird things Americans do?"  And one of the answers was, "Describing driving distance in units of time." 

Normally I agree that Americans are weird.  But the answer to the question "How far is that drive?" is more practical to measure in time.  Actually, "How far is that drive?" is asking the wrong question.  No one cares how far apart two points are.  The right question is, "How long is that drive?"  People want to know how much of their lives will be spent traveling that distance, and that depends on distance as well as speed.  If two points are 50 miles apart, that doesn't really tell you much.  That distance would take an hour if driven at 50 mph, or two hours if driven at 25 mph, or like 3 days by foot.  And if you live in a populated area, it depends what time of day you drive it.  And there might be more than one route to take.  And one route might have construction delays.  There might be traffic lights, or a school zone, or a quarry with big trucks, or a tricky left turn. 

The point is, I would much rather know how long it will take me to get somewhere than how far away that thing is. #travel

Stability vs. agility Mon, Feb 24, 2020
The concepts of stability and agility keep coming up in my life for whatever reason.  In the world of aerospace engineering, you can design a really stable passenger airplane by giving it nice big wings and balancing the weight properly so it adapts to changes in the air in a predictable, linear manner.  Or you can design an agile fighter jet by balancing the weight almost improperly and giving it the ability to turn quickly (and fail spectacularly if anything goes wrong).  Stability and agility are on opposite ends of a spectrum.  You can design something to fall somewhere in the middle of the line depending on your needs, but you can't have a strong combination of both aspects.

Painting takes months Fri, Feb 21, 2020
I painted my bedroom last winter.  It literally took months to accomplish.  For starters, I don't like painting.  It's very tedious and time-consuming.  The end results are good (usually), but the process is unenjoyable.  And it's because the process isn't just painting.  It's taping the floor and walls so I can paint the trim, then taping the walls and windows so I can paint the window trim, then taping the upper wall to paint the ceiling, then taping the trim and ceiling before finally actually painting the walls.  Oh, and painting a door, both sides, two coats each.  All this coupled with the fact that (a) I already have a full-time job, (b) other activities occasionally take up my weekends, and (c) I really don't feel like doing it. 

Yes, I could hire someone to do it for me, but as I've mentioned in the past, I have a hard time convincing people to take my money in exchange for a simple service, i.e. contractors suck. 

And yes, the timing of this post (10 months after the fact) is ironic. #lifestyle

Neil Armstrong and compressible flow Thu, Feb 20, 2020
From a speech delivered by Neil Armstrong to the National Press Club in 2000
I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer. Born under the Second Law of Thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow.
Love it.

Coronavirus warning Mon, Feb 03, 2020
I got an email at work concerning the coronavirus with some tips about avoiding the spread of contagious diseases.  But this line at the end sounds weird and makes me feel gross:  "Avoid unprotected contact with undomesticated animals".  Like, I get what it's saying, but it sounds like it's saying something else.