Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting the real information

One thing about historical information, is that if you can get the real thing, from actual observation, that would be unbelievably good. To really do the job, you need to be knowledgeable about the subject prior to doing any real data collection. After all, in "real life", there are no labels on ships, armies, or men, telling who or what they are. If you know what you need to know, beyond what is already known, then you have real power. You might also want to confirm that what you think is true, really is true.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Our obsession with historical research

If we could, we would be spending all of our time doing historical research, analysis, and writing. Sadly, that is not possible, so we do as much as we can, although in spurts. We have been fortunate enough to occasionally binge on research and analysis. Those times have historically been our most productive times, as you can imagine. The hunt for information and understanding is what drives us. Admittedly this is an abnormal condition. "Normal people" have real lives other than their obsession.

Friday, September 21, 2007


There is no understanding stupidity. I was driving along a well-traveled city street, a main thoroughfare, when I looked over and saw three guys in a disreputable looking vehicle that was very well-worn. They lacked working air conditioning, obviously, as they had all the windows down. Stupidity knows no bounds, even in the mid-21st Century, when they should have known better. They drove up next to an SUV and threw several water balloons at the vehicle. Yes, SUV's are the modern equivalent of the late 1940's "woody" station wagon. Auto makers just lost their way in the 1950's and starting producing automobile-like station wagons. When the SUV appeared, it was the original station wagon reborn. The stupidest thing is that they should have known that even if their vehicle ID systems were disabled, they would have been captured on video, along with their license plate. They were "busted" as our daughter would say.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Walking mechanisms

A walking scooter for disabled persons was one of the first applications of walking mechanisms. The walking scooter could walk over curbs and up and down stairs. This was a great advance, because a great many more places became accessible to disabled people. Eventually, the technology was applied to automobiles, so that by the mid-21st Century, cars could walk over and set themselves down in a small parking place. They could get out into the street the same way. A more extreme version, that is frowned upon by the authorities, allows a car to get up on long legs and step out of traffic jam and walk over the grass on the side of the highway to the access road. Talk about modern conveniences, yes?

Friday, September 14, 2007

My sidearm

Sometimes, I think that carrying a 10mm automatic pistol as my sidearm is excessive, but that is what I like. Using a pistol of this caliber is only feasible due to the recoil reduction mechanism that is part of this particular weapon. The whole concept seems like a device invented by the mythical engineer named Goldberg. I like the 10mm caliber, as it is a "good stopper". This was the same rationale for the American Colt .45 M1917. For trench warfare, they needed a weapon that would drop an opponent. A smaller caliber might not do the job reliably.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Broadband connections

Everyone's fiber connection to the home is one of the greatest advances of the first half of the 21st Century. Having that much bandwidth is what allows us to access most media and information via the net. I can "watch television" on my computer or I can switch the video to "the wall". I also have the choice of a lower-resolution holographic display or a higher quality physical display, although relatively large in size. There is no longer any purpose to having separate phone, cable, and internet lines. We just have one pipe connecting our homes to the world. We then have the infrastructure with sufficient bandwidth so that we literally are connected to the rest of the world.

Monday, September 10, 2007


When you are keeping a running 3D model of the world and recording video for posterity, busting a speeding Dallas county school bus is like shooting fish in a barrel. Here is an driving south in my super car, obeying the ridiculously low speed limit, when a yellow-orange school bus passes me going 10 miles an hour over the seed limit. Busting the driver is a piece of cake. I grab the video and the rest is history.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Webcam city

When the "thought police" were operation, they went crazy at the idea that young girls were exposing themselves with webcams over the net. How dare they make "prohibited material" available to men! Since the "thought police" were serious about suppressing any hint of tender young skin in pictures and video, they would "go after" anyone accessing what was broadcast. "Chat rooms" were notorious for having been reduced to a mechanism where men looking for young girls could connect up with policemen, instead. Seeing and possessing "prohibited material" was considered a serious crime. It didn't matter if this was a "victimless crime", afterall, "it was prohibited material, wasn't it?"

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Spy pics, an irritation

They violate people's privacy, but everyone is equipped with spycams that aim where you look. You can snap pictures of pretty women and girls, just by looking and snapping. In many ways it is a hazard, but in our permissive world, we allow it. They may well end up on the net, but that's the breaks. What are we going to do? Have an oppressive society, early 21st Century style, where they gave big fines for small traffic offenses and threw men in jail for having "prohibited materials" in their possession, not for having caused any harm. Once you circumvented the Constitution and defined a class of "prohibited materials", the possession of which was a serious offense, it was all downhill to an authoritarian police state.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Collision avoidance

Given that cars in the mid-21st Century maintain a 3D model of their surroundings, as they move, collision avoidance systems are almost demanded. They can be annoying, because automobile are in communication with each other and they are constantly computing possible dangers. If pressed, they will collectively act and take control of the cars to prevent a collision. You might think that you are going to be driving down the road when suddenly, your car will slow. I have sworn at my car for taking control away from me, many times.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The running video recorder in my car

One of the gadgets that is in my car that I like the best is the video recorder. The recording is aimed by what I am looking at and has a similar field of vision. The recording is going constantly, in a loop. At any time, I can permanently record from the loop. This is a handy way to "get the goods" on traffic offenders. I look at their license plate and they are nailed. Part of the recording is not just video but a running 3D model of my surroundings. That takes care of catching speeders. They are nailed.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Other notable events of 1652 and 1653

There are a few notable events from the First Anglo-Dutch War, in 1652 and 1653, that would be interesting to see and to record with video. Of course, the incident at Dover that started the war is top on our list. As I have mentioned, the events of 22 July 1652 and the ships and captains involved are something we want to see. Another major event was the storm in the Shetlands (or "Hitland", as the Dutch called it) in early August 1652. At least six warships were sunk in the storm and many more were damaged. The event caused the Dutch enough damage that on 8 October 1652, they were outclassed by the English off the Kentish Knock. Before that, we would like to know about the fight between Sir George Ayscue's fleet and Michiel De Ruyter's fleet off Plymouth. Of course, video of the Battle of Dungeness would be priceless, including a recording of the fight for Tromp's flagship Brederode, when it was attacked by the English Garland and Anthony Bonaventure.

Monday, September 03, 2007

One issue that we want to resolve

One priority issue that we want to resolve by data collection with the Grid is the incident (the Dutch called it a disaster) on 22 July 1652, when the fifteen ship fishery protection squadron was attacked off the coast of Scotland. Many of the ships were captured or sunk by the English fleet. Some Dutch sources suggest that an 84 gun ship was part of the fleet, which would have been the 1st Rate Resolution. We have a published list of ships, but that list clearly contains errors. We want to grab 3D models of the ships, information concerning their identity and the captains, and some idea about how events transpired on 22 July.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The holographic computer display

I cannot imagine what using a computer would have been like prior to having a holographic display. How could you possibly have worked with a single, small display? You need to able to spread open pages out where you can see many at a time. How else could you work? I would find working with a single display crippling. I have heard that more upscale computer users started adding one or two additional displays. They were the more affluent users, as large displays still cost a great deal. The obvious solution was to bust loose from the physical display.

Amazon Context Links