• Camus

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

~ Albert Camus

“It’s all part of the 10 year plan.”

So part of the plan, along with learning sewing and canvas work, sailing, diesel repair…and many other things, I decided to get my amateur radio certifications to improve my communications options on the boat.

Amateur Radio (ham radio) is a popular hobby and service that brings people, electronics and communication together. People use ham radio to talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the Internet or cell phones. It’s fun, social, educational, and can be a lifeline during times of need.

ARRL – The national association for amateur radio.

Amateur Radio is a fun hobby. Something for everyone. I’ve been digging into some of the great research around weak signal communications. The WSJT application is a great way to explore the air-waves and reach folks even during bad radio conditions.

If you are curious, I choose my vanity call sign, W4MTP, because I wanted something Ten Year Plan related (My Ten year Plan -> MTP), and the W4 because it’s easier to say phonetically…and also creates the phrase in my head:

Whiskey 4 My Ten year Plan

How does gravity work?

Oh the dreaded scale! We’ve all heard the story about Newton and an apple. Anyone who’s been ice skating knows with personal clarity the importance of treating gravity with respect.

So how does it work? Any two objects in the universe with mass are attracted to each other. But it’s not just a factor of attraction of mass, gravity is a force affecting space as well.

Is the space around newton’s apple bending toward the apple drawing apples in? Well…yes and no. Yes, because the theory applies to small objects, but gravity is a large scale force. It’s the force on the scale of planets and suns, of rotating galaxies and black holes. It’s not the force attracting bits of apple to other bits of apple (small nuclear force) and it’s not magnetism (the force between electric currents.)

But what is gravity? Forces are generally attributed to particles:

• Gluons
• Photons
• Bosons
• Gravitons.

Yep, those last ones…the gravitons.

If another massive particle encounters this field, it experiences a force that can be described in quantum terms as an exchange of virtual gravitons by the two masses. On the other hand, if a massive particle is accelerated, its gravitational field is ‘shaken’ to produce a gravitational wave that spreads out through spacetime from the particle.

We’re not talking about a pitcher and a catcher tossing a baseball. (My first and last sports metaphor.)

Does gravity change naturally?

Yes. We have recently observed gravitational waves in binary neutron star systems. NASA has a great video simulating the collapse of a binary star system. The LISA project should give us more detailed information.

From what we have seen or speculated, gravity does vary under certain circumstances. We talk about a ‘gravitational constant’. In fact, put gravitational constant in google, and you get:

But what we use as a constant, is really an estimation based on observation and assumption. Granted, it is a very, very precise estimation, but it’s not a fixed value.

The Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) sets the value for the gravitational constant. Bet that’s a fun job.

The recent Gravity Probe B NASA experiment helped to reenforce Einstein’s spacetime concepts.

As I understand it (very basically), they created some insanely accurate gyros, set them spinning in space pointed at a distant star, then observed the gyro drift off of the target. The experiments report uses great nerdy words like ‘frame-dragging drift rate,’ and ‘geodeticeffect.’

So, if mass does directly effect spacetime, can gravity be artificially effected?

Can gravity be changed artificially?

Who knows. We still haven’t ‘seen’ the particles that cause gravity. So,what would be the options?

• Use a nearly infinite amount of energy to create huge amounts of mass-> gravity
• If gravitons exist, and aren’t just mathematical anomalies, then perhaps they can be artificially generated, or focused like light.Align enough photons along a common line and they will burn a hole in a brick. So maybe the future is a ‘graviton-laser’ of some sort.

Interesting. What would a gravity laser do to a brick? Would it cause it to collapse on itself?

It took awhile for us to get to this point, but we are learning more and more about our world and our universe. Who knows what we’ll learn tomorrow or the next.

I got through the whole thing without making any dumb attraction jokes involving either Nathan Fillion or Megan Fox. Yeah!

• Day of the Dead Party Costume Plans

My plan is a dark vest with a themed lining, long sleeve shirt, and dark pants. To tie it all together, I found these great masks on ebay.

The first one is fairly traditional, well made and very comfortable. Thanks seller ktn.cybermart for offering these. The second is just too fabulous! I haven’t decided which to wear yet 🙂

Thanks to Joann.com I found some nice fabrics to work with.

Enjoy!

• The Sublime Regex

Summary: Sublime Text is a really wonderful text editor. It’s flexible and extensible enough to cover just about any need, but still simple and clean to use. This post is not a long discussion about either text editors or regular expressions, but a simple post about a problem I needed to tackle and the simple solution.

Sublime Text is a really wonderful text editor. It’s flexible and extensible enough to cover just about any need, but still simple and clean to use. This post is not a long discussion about either text editors or regular expressions, but a simple post about a problem I needed to tackle and the simple solution.

I pulled a bunch of data from our issue tracking software, and I needed to create a simple list of all the issues resolved and the person assigned the issue. Simple. I grabbed the text I needed from the csv file created, then used a simple find/replace in Sublime Text to put the text in the format I ultimately wanted.

The change is simple. I have a long list of issue summaries followed by a comma and the persons name. All I want to do is find the last comma in each line and replace the comma with a colon and a space.

The sample starts like this:

``````Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,sed do eiusmod tempor
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,sed do eiusmod tempor
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,sed do eiusmod tempor
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,sed do eiusmod tempor
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,sed do eiusmod tempor
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,sed do eiusmod tempor
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,sed do eiusmod tempor
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,sed do eiusmod tempor
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,sed do eiusmod tempor
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,sed do eiusmod tempor
``````

The regex is fairly straight forward. Think of it this way, “I want to find the comma that isn’t followed by another comma.” That will guide us to a negative lookahead instead of trying to decipher “the last comma.”

``````,(?!.*,)
``````

Regular Expressions can be very confusing, and incredibly frustrating. Patience, and plenty of google juice are required. In Sublime Text, open the Find / Replace panel, and select the Regular Expression option.

Our regular expression basically says, “find any comma that is not followed by another comma.” Sublime Text, if the option is enabled, shows which items match our find criteria, so it is just a matter of adding the Replace with text and clicking Replace All.

Enjoy!