A while ago a neighbor complained that the fan in our bathroom was too loud, so the landlord put in a new, quieter fan. Unfortunately, it the new fan seems to get it's silence by not working. In other words, it doesn't suck.

When I asked about a new fan, I was told that a more powerful one would be $150, which was too expensive. I'm thinking that they could have just left the old one and it would have been free. It was noisy, but it worked. Instead I have one that still makes noise, but doesn't work.

Yesterday I did a test to see just how non-sucky the fan is. I ran the shower with hot water for 10 minutes, then closed the door and checked to see how long it would take the fan to air out the room. After 2 hours, the mirror was as defogged as the old fan had it immediately after a shower. After 3 hours and 45 minutes the mirror was defogged but the room was still very steamy. After 7 hours the room was still steamy and I gave up. I was checking every 10 to 15 minutes (using my eggtimer), and I suspect that all the defogging happened from opening the door to check on the steam, not because of the fan.

According to the California rental code, any room with a toilet or shower is required to be ventilated, and ours is not. This definitely leads to dangerous conditions, especially after I've eaten Mexican food.

So I might ask again for a new fan. They'll have to put one in for the next tenant anyway, because this one literally doesn't work. If they're going to put in a new one eventually, I might as well get the benefit of it too.

Since Time Immemorial

Time immemorial is time extending beyond the reach of memory, record, or tradition. The implication is that the subject referred to is, or can be regarded as, indefinitely ancient.

The term has been formally defined for some purposes.

  • In English law, time immemorial means 'a time before legal history, and beyond legal memory.' In 1276, this time was fixed by statute as the year 1189, the beginning of the reign of King Richard I. Proof of unbroken possession or use of any right since that date made it unnecessary to establish the original grant. In 1832, the plan of dating legal memory from a fixed time was abandoned; instead, it was held that rights which had been enjoyed for twenty years (or as against the crown thirty years) should not be impeached merely by proving that they had not been enjoyed before. Source: The public domain Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
  • The Court of Chivalry is said to have defined the period before 1066 as 'time immemorial' for the purposes of heraldry.
  • Movies

    We've seen some good old movies at the theater down the street.

    • Strangers on a Train -- Parts of it seem a little dated, but it was still a fun and suspenseful movie. It's a pretty interesting plot, but much of the movie wouldn't happen if the protagonist wasn't so stupid. On the other hand, the things he does probably seemed normal at the time, when audiences weren't jaded by years of such movies.

    • Rebecca -- This was billed as a romance, so I was pretty suspicious, but Mrs. Turtle seemed like she really wanted to see it, so we stayed after Strangers on a Train (it was a double feature). It turned out to be more of a suspense/mystery, and was a really excellent film, one of the best I've seen in years. Laurence Olivier is great in his role.

    • Notorious -- This was a strange film. I normally love Hitchcock, so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a disappointment. It was interesting enough, and I'm glad I saw it, but not much actually happens during the film. There is a romance that seemed to me to be completely unmotivated, and plot that is wrapped up as a kind of afterthought at the last minute. Finally, I felt bad for the bad guy at the end of the movie, but I don't think I was supposed to.

    • Casablanca -- This film is so overhyped and overquoted that I had very low expectations going in. I was completely blown away. It's witty, intelligent, suspenseful, surprising, interesting... This is one of the greatest movies of all time.

      Best of all, there were plot twists that caught me by surprise several times. That's extremely rare in modern movies, even more so in old movies. It's especially impressive given that I kind of knew how the movie ended.

      Finally, those quotes that people throw around actually: they really are great quotes in the film, although people usually quote them incorrectly.

    You know you want one

    You'll always be a planet to me

    Pluto is no longer a planet. It is now a "dwarf planet", which isn't bad, but not as good as an "elf planet" which gets +2 to its dexterity. At least it's not a "gnome planet". - Housing Slump Proves Painful For Some Owners and Builders

    A house in Virginia that put on the market at 1.1 million eventually sold for $530,000. Looks like bad news for the housing market.

    How to throw a large room party at a science fiction convention

    Here's a lot of good information on how to throw a successful party, almost none of it directly related to science fiction conventions.

    Farecast: Airfare Predictions, Find Cheap Airline Tickets

    Farecast shows predictions about whether ticket prices from specific cities on specific days will likely rise or fall. Here is a review, which complains that it doesn't include Southwest Airlines (which beat the fares it found), and here is another, who thinks that sites like this will shift the balance of power between suppliers and consumers.

    Charmmy Kitty

    Charmmy Kitty is Hello Kitty's pet cat. Doesn't it seem wrong for a cat to have a pet cat?


    This Tiger Swallowtail is a Gynandromorph, left side male, right side female. The link has more information about this phenomena and pictures of other Gynandromorphs.

    Icon Wars

    A cute yet violent animation of desktop icons fighting with each other.

    Bánh Mì-bonics

    From The Porkchop Express: A quick-reference card for ordering Vietnamese sandwiches.

    New Planets

    An excellent discussion of the new definition of a planet and related issues. He answers all my questions that the news hasn't even mentioned.

    The peculiar genius of Thomas L. Friedman

    One of the best book reviews ever. He's pretty harsh, but from the Freidman columns I've read and interviews I've seen, he deserves it.

    Mr. Turtle Is Not Invited

    Enjoy Online : Feldenkrais(R) with Jean Elvin
    Improve strength, flexibility, and dynamic posture -- from seated turning to working out... You will use gentile exercises and awareness to decrease habitual tension that restricts movement or causes pain.
    Mr. Turtle wants to show up with a Torah and stage a sit-in!

    The Daily Show

    One of the Daily Show's best segments ever.

    Article on Fighting Terrorism

    This is a great article (well, a long post) on what's wrong with the way we're fighting terrorism and what we should be doing. It uses the recently-foiled plot as an example. You must read it! Mr. Turtle commands it!

    More Terrorism

    Well it seems to be settled. We've stopped several large-scale terrorist plots with police-type work, while the war in Iraq has done nothing. I hope the Republicans (and especially this administration) realize that the way to fight terrorists is through intelligence-gathering and police operations rather than through invading unrelated countries.

    Invasion is a useful tool to have, but it will only work under specific circumstances. In Afghanistan, the terrorists located in a relatively small area and were being helped by the local government. It appears that the new generation of terrorists have neither of these characteristics. On the other hand, from what I've read, many of the terrorists are in camps in our ally Pakistan, if anyone's looking for another country to invade.

    And hopefully now we won't have to listen any more to "generate terrorists there so we don't have to fight them here".

    How to make the simplest electric motor

    This is really cool!

    Heh heh. He said homopolar.

    Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

    A few weeks ago, driving back from Napa, my car overheated. I pulled off the freeway in Pleasanton and managed to limp to a parking spot in the shade behind a strip mall. That day it was 111 degrees, but it had dropped to 110 by the time I got there. AAA never came, so after 4 hours and a bit of sunstroke, I added a couple of liters of water to the radiator and limped home, going 35 mph on the freeway with my blinkers on. The blinkers didn't stop the semis from changing lanes so late that I had to pull partway into the shoulder to avoid getting rammed.

    The next day I wanted to go to the gym, but when I changed gears on my bike both sheaths holding the gear cables shattered into white clouds of plastic.

    My car and bike were in the shop, but I had one more option. I got my old bike out, oiled the chain, and pumped the tires. As I was pumping the tires, my handheld pump broke.

    Mrs. Turtle thought it was all a sign telling me not to workout, but like Conan, I make my own destiny. I made it to the gym the old fashioned way: on foot.


    I got a letter a couple of months ago saying that my dentist was dead. He was pretty young, maybe in his 50s, so I was surprised. A month later I got a letter introducing a new dentist that the staff had found to take over the practice, and mentioning that my dentist was killed in a biking accident. I also noticed that one of the receptionists has the same last name as my dentist. Very sad. I had only gone to him one time, but he was my favorite dentist.

    What is it good for?

    An interesting take on the security council cease-fire resolution:
    So for two weeks Arab governments and Iran demanded an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon. Now, France and the United States draft a security council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire, and both the Arab League and Iran reject it.

    ... the Arab League and Iran wanted an immediate cease-fire when the facts on the ground would have meant a clear Israeli defeat... Now that that is no longer the case, they reject a cease-fire. In fact, ending the war now might give anti-Hizbullah forces some propaganda value: all you've brought us is more Israeli occupation.

    All of this is in keeping with traditional diplomacy. But spare us the wailing from Arab governments about civilian casualties. Suddenly, all those people who were demanding an immediate end to fighting because of civilian casualties seem a lot less interested in them. European governments have also been very quiet about the Franco-American draft: when forced to choose between undermining Israel or saving civilians, they'll sacrifice the civilians any day."

    Baby Llama

    For some reason, I can't look at this baby llama without smiling.

    What a Cute Duckie!!!


    Turtle Bro (He was the one three three eggs to the left of me, I think) writes:
    I vote absentee, even if I actually go to the polling location to drop off my completed ballot.

    What I find strange is the idea of not knowing how you'll vote until you get to the poll. I always go through my sample ballot to figure out how I'll vote and mark my choices in there sometime earlier.
    Which reminds me of a pet peeve of mine, which is voter turnout drives. I don't see how it helps democracy if uninformed people vote. The ideal would be for everyone to inform themselves and then vote, but I think that uninformed voters do a lot of harm. I will let you draw your own conclusions about how this relates to the last two elections.

    Lyrebird II

    If you had trouble watching the Lyrebird video, the Wikipedia page on the Lyrebird has links to several versions of Savid Attenborough's video. This one should play in Windows Media Player.


    The Best & Worst Seafood Choices from an environmental perspective, with notations for which are healthy and unhealthy. I'll do fine as long as anchovies are ok to eat.