Thursday, November 21, 2019

Lolita

I watched the movie Lolita a while back. And I was surprised at the plot.

**Spoiler Alert**

In the movie I watched (the 1962 version directed by Stanley Kubrick; there's a 1997 version that apparently has the same plot), a middle-aged professor becomes infatuated with the 14-year-old daughter of his landlady. That I knew going in.

What surprised me is what happened. The professor (named Humbert Humbert) marries the landlady (presumably to be near Lolita) but then the landlady sends Lolita off to summer camp and says after that she's going to boarding school. Humbert plots to kill the landlady, but then she is killed in an accident or suicide when she is hit by a car.  Humbert goes to the summer camp to pick up Lolita and on the way back, they are forced to spend a night in a hotel room together, even though he has a cot. But in the morning, they apparently have sex. The rest of the movie is about how their relationship deteriorates as she's a silly little girl who cheats on him with another older man. Then she disappears and he doesn't see her for years. I won't spoil the whole movie by tell where he finds her (and in what condition).

Which wasn't the movie I thought it would be at all. I thought it would go more like this:  Humbert Humbert is a successful professor, married, and somehow meets Lolita. He become obsessed with her, and tries to be with her. This destroys both his marriage and career. But he doesn't care because he is so focused on Lolita. Finally, he manages to have a relationship with her, that might not include sex, and he finds out that she is a silly, shallow little girl (as 14  year olds tend to be).

I was so upset by the actual plot of the movie (which I assume follows the plot of the book because the movie was written by Vladimir Nabokov, who wrote the book) that I am seriously considering writing a novel with the plot I imagined. But that's not the kind of novel I write. Plus, what would I name the girl? I couldn't call her "Lolita."

I guess I'll think about it more.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

This Week in the Pac-12

The University of Washington Huskies had a bye this week, so there is nothing new to report there.

But there were games played in the Pac-12 including some interesting upsets.

The WSU Cougars demolished the Stanford Cardinal 22-49. This improves the Cougar's record to 2-5 in conference, 5-5 overall. They are still at the bottom of the Pac-12 North. They need to win one more game to be bowl eligible. So if they don't beat the OSU Beavers next week, it'll come down to the Apple Cup cross-state rivalry game against UW.

Stanford is now in fourth place in the Pac-12 North, moving the Huskies to third place.

The Oregon State Beavers (who have been improving all season), squeaked by Arizona State 34-35. That keeps the Beavers in second place in the Pac-12 North (after the Oregon Ducks).

In a no-surprise game, Utah beat UCLA 49 to 3. UCLA is actually still in third place in the Pac-12 South and, of course, Utah is on top of the Pac-12 South.

Oregon beat Arizona 34-6. Oregon is still on top of the Pac-12 North and Arizona is at the bottom of the Pac-12 South.

And USC beat Cal 41-17. USC is in second place in the Pac-12 South and Cal is tied for last place in the Pac-12 North.

So, other than the Cougars beating the Cardinal, not a lot of surprises this week. Remember when Stanford beat Washington?

There's just two weeks left in the College Football regular season. Teams with 6-6 or better records are "bowl eligible." Right now in the Pac-12 that's Oregon, Washington, Utah and USC. Oregon State, California, Washington State, and Arizona State are all one game away.

Next Saturday, the Huskies travel to Boulder Colorado to take on the Buffs. No time or station has been announced yet. Wouldn't surprise me if it were on the Pac-12 channel.

UPDATE: The Colorado game is on ESPN at the awful hour of 7:00 PM.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Get Rid of the Penny

A while back I explained how to measure the tread depth on your tires with a penny.

(Technically, in the U.S., it is the "one cent coin" but everyone calls it a "penny.")

But, basically, measuring tread depth is all the penny is good for. Pennies are pretty much useless and I wish the U.S. would get rid of them. Canada already did. Pennies basically exist to A) pay sales tax and B) keep the zinc lobby happy (pennies are made of zinc, these days). But it costs more than a penny to make a penny. They are so worthless I've seen people literally throw them on the ground. I'm, personally, too cheap to do that.

We've gotten rid of coins before. In 1857 we stopped making/using the half-cent coin. But here's the kicker: the half-cent coin in 1857 was worth more than the dime is now. So we could get rid of the penny and the nickle.

What they do in Canada, according to my Canadian friend, is round up to the nearest nickle unless you're paying by credit card. We could do this in the U.S. It would save money and hassle and time. Besides, eventually cash will be as obsolete as an Apple II computer.

So, get rid of the penny, please.

Agree? Disagree? Think I'm nuts? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Huskies are 6-4

The University of Washington Huskies played the Oregon State Beavers Friday night in Corvallis. Going into this game, Washington was #4 in the Pac-12 North and the Beavers were #2. Which, was amazing for the Beavers who have been the doormat of the conference for decades.

While the game wasn't brilliant, the Huskies dominated from the beginning. The only Beaver touchdown (and only score) was a pick six interception in the third quarter. Which brings us to Husky quarterback Jacob Eason. Eason has been amazing in other games, even ones the Huskies have lost. But last night he was 50% on his throws, and toss off two interceptions, including the pick six. No wonder the Huskies depended on Salvon Ahmed and Richard Newton to move the ball on the ground. Ahmed ran for 174 yards and Newton for 54.

It was a defensive game. The Husky defense held the Beavers to zero first downs in the second half. And the Huskies could move the ball, just not fast or far very often.

The final score was 19-7. The score would have been higher, but kicker Payton Henry, who had never missed this year before, missed two field goals.

The Huskies are in third place in the Pac-12 North at 3-4 in conference and 6-4 overall. That makes the Huskies one of the few teams in the Pac-12 that are bowl eligible.

Upcoming Games

Next week the Huskies have a bye. Then on November 23rd, they go to Boulder to play the Pac-12 South last-place Colorado Buffaloes. The time and station for that game isn't set (it wouldn't surprise me if it's on the Pac-12 Network).

On the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), November 29th, the Huskies host the Washington State Cougars for the Apple Cup cross-state rivalry game. The Cougars are in last place in the Pac-12 North. But it's the Apple Cup. Anything can happen.

If they Huskies win both those games, they'll be 8-4 on the season (5-4 in conference). That's not an awful season. It's just not the 11-1 they were in 2016.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Four teams had byes again this week, including Oregon and  Utah (who are probably going to play
each other in the Pac-12 Championship game). So there were only four games.

In a surprise, Colorado beat Stanford.  But Colorado is still in last place in the Pac-12 South with a 2-5 in conference record and 4-6 overall. But that drops Stanford to 3-4 in conference and 4-5 overall. It's a little surprising that this late in the season, Stanford isn't bowl eligible.

And California beat WSU. That makes the Cougars 1-5 in conference and 4-5 overall and still in last place in the Pac-12 North. California is in 5th place, still.

And in the other game, USC beat ASU. That makes USC bowl eligible.

The only teams that are currently bowl eligible are Oregon, Utah, USC, and Washington.

The College Football Playoffs

The last time a Pac-12 team was in the CFP was 2016 and that was the Huskies. If the Oregon Ducks win all their remaining games and win  the Pac-12 championship, they will have won ten in-conference games. According to an announcer, no team has ever done that before. That might get them in the CFP. Might. This CFP got interesting yesterday when #2 LSU beat #3 Alabama.

But, if Oregon is in the CFP, I'll still root against them, always.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Why Tire Pressure Drops in the Fall.

The other day I saw something click-baity on Facebook (I think) that said "The science behind why tire pressure drops in the fall." And I said "That's easy: PV=nRT."

If you're saying "huh?" you never took freshman chemistry.

The equation PV=nRT is the "ideal gas law." An ideal gas is one that follow this formula exactly. A lot of gases come close and for those who don't, there's fudge factor called "fugacity." But we'll sick with the ideal gas law because air operates pretty closely to it (its fugacity almost equals 1).

But what does PV=nRT mean?

P = pressure. This is measured in psi (pounds per square inch) for tires but pascals in freshman chemistry class. Those are the "SI" units of pressure

V = volume, measured in liters in freshman chemistry class/SI units.

n = the amount of gas measure in moles. What's a mole? A mole is  6.0221409e+23 atoms or molecules. Technically, it should be written like this:

but that's difficult in a blog post.  6.0221409e+23 is the computer way to write scientific notation.

(That's 60221409 followed by 15 zeros or approximately 60 sextillion atoms. See below.) One mole of an element will weigh it's "atomic mass" in grams. If you look on a periodic table, Hydrogen's atomic mass is very close to 1. So one mole of hydrogen equals about one gram of hydrogen.

R= is Boyle's Constant and is equal to 8.314 joules/mole. Don't worry about that.

And T = temperature.

So, again, for our purposes, V is a constant (the volume inside the tire stays the same). "n" is a constant (you're not adding or taking out any air). And R is always a constant. So a little algebra and you get P=Tk (where "k" is a constant).

So if T (temperature) goes down, what happens to P (pressure)? The pressure has to go down proportional to k.

And what happens in the Fall? Ambient temperatures drop.

But wait! The math says that the pressure drops when the temperature drops. But why does that happen? The math is a model of the real world, not the real world. (See below for a math joke.)

What is temperature? It is a measurement of the vibration of atoms and molecules. The higher the temperature, the more they vibrate. At lower temperatures, they vibrate less. At absolute zero, all vibration stops (this is a concept, the energy to reach absolute zero is thought to be infinite).

As we all know (I hope), molecules are atoms that are connected together. Most of your air is a molecule with two nitrogen atoms.

So think of a balloon (tires are sort of like balloons). You blow air into it and it expands. Why? Because the atoms and (more likely) molecules of air are banging against the inside wall of the balloon more than the atoms and molecules are banging against the outside of the balloon. This is because of pressure, not temperature. You blew air into it, increasing the pressure of the air inside the balloon.

Now, if the balloon gets hotter, the molecules and atoms vibrate faster and hit the rubber of the balloon harder, causing it to expand. If the balloon cools off, the molecules and atoms hit it less hard and the balloon shrinks.

Same thing happens in your tires, except the volume stays pretty much the same (unless the pressure really drops) so when the temperature drops, the pressure drops. In the spring, the opposite happens. It warms up, and the tire pressure goes up.

This (and the fact tires tend to lose air over time, especially Goodyear tires) is why I strongly recommend checking tire pressure at least once per month. Buy a good tire pressure gauge and check that pressure. If it's too low, you'll need to add air. Your tire pressure gauge doesn't need to be fancy, but I'd stay away from the stick kind.

So there you have it, the science behind why tire pressure drops in the fall.

(That number of atoms in a mole is 60,221,409,000,000,000,000,000.)

Math Joke
Physicists think the real world approximates the math
Engineers think the math approximates the real world.
Mathematicians never make the connection.


Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Huskies are 5-4

I started doing these little game recaps in 2016. You remember 2016? That was the year the University of Washington Huskies went 12-2, were Pac-12 champions, and played in the College Football Playoff against Alabama. (Yes, they lost.)

But 2018 is looking a lot more like 2015. In fact, nine games into the season, the Huskies have the same record this year as they did in 2015: 5-4.

Yesterday the Huskies played the University of Utah Utes. And like two weeks ago against Oregon, they played well, until the third quarter. Then they ran out of steam.

One problem the Huskies have is their very young defensive group. And after a bye week, I was hoping they'd be more healed up. But they weren't. A lot of running backs were out of the game, putting all the running duties almost exclusively on Salvon Ahmed. It was, pretty much, a repeat of the Oregon game. The final score was 33-28.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

There were only four games this week as four teams had byes. In a big upset, the Oregon State
Beavers demolished the Arizona Wildcats, 56-38. UCLA beat Colorado. And Oregon beat USC. That's good for the Utah Utes because it puts them on top of the Pac-12 South all by themselves.

In the Pac-12 Standing, Oregon is on top of the Pac-12 South. Amazingly, Oregon State is #2. The Huskies are #4 (after #3 Stanford).

Right now it looks like Utah and Oregon will play for the Pac-12 championship. No one is going to catch Oregon with their 8-1 record. And Utah is 8-1, also.

The Rest of the Season for the Huskies

The Huskies have three games left. This Friday they play Colorado in Boulder. They better win it. Then they have a bye again. Then on November 23rd they play Oregon State in Corvallis. They better win it. Finally on the day after Thanksgiving, they play at home in the Apple Cup against cross-state rival Washington State. That's always a tough game. And they better win it.

If the Huskies win all three of those games, they will be 8-4 on the season. Which isn't a horrible season. Just, after 2016, it's a pretty lackluster season.

And we need to win at least one more game to be "bowl eligible." We'd better win at least one more game.

The Polls

Who cares? Oregon and Utah will probably go up or at least stay the same. They are currently at #7 and #9.

The CFP (College Football Playoff Rankings) comes out Tuesday (election day). Again, who cares?


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween

Today is Halloween. Some people call it "Samhain." I have no idea why.

When I was a kid, Halloween was great, of course. Used to come home with a large paper grocery bag full of candy. And then get sick eating it. It was glorious.

These days, even adults get into the spirit of Halloween with parties and other excuses to drink alcohol. I don't drink alcohol much, so I stay home and hand out the candy. One sad thing (to me) is there are fewer kids coming to the door and exploring neighborhoods. This is likely because places like malls and stores and even schools will have trick or treating inside. For parents, this is great. It's well-lit, it's safer (no kids running into the street). But for those of us at home, it's sad. I always enjoy the interaction with the kids.

But people worry about poisoned candy or razor blades in apples. Even though that has almost never happened.

When I was a kid living in Idaho (at 4,500 feet above sea level), it usually snowed on or about Halloween. Then the snow didn't leave until late April. I remember thinking one October 31st: "It's snowing, it must be Halloween."

Well, I hope you all have a happy Halloween, or Samhain. I'll be waiting to give candy to the kids.