Archive for May, 2008

Outside the box?

Thinking “outside the box”.

My kids know this phrase. They know what people mean when they use it – usually that people are not letting arbitrary boundaries set limits to their problem solving.

But they had no idea (when asked), where the phrase originated and why. Do you?

The term as I used to know it was “outside the dots”. This refers to a simple puzzle used by pop psychology management consultants to make clients feel inferior (or so says Wiki, and certainly when I was at IBM it was used in this way): Here it is.
You have 9 dots:

The challenge is to connect the dots by drawing four straight, continuous lines, never lifting the pencil from the paper.

The solution, of course, is simple, but you must, of course, “think outside the box”

That, of course, is all the hint you should need….. well, it’s more than the management consultants give you, anyway!

BUT… if you’re stumped, then…..
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Heartbreaking yet inspiring

I’ve linked before to the excellent blog Elden writes with humour about his experiences as a MTB rider – you don’t have to be one to enjoy it. But lately, Elden’s life has taken a sad turn, with his wife Susan diagnosed with what is most likely a terminal cancer that has spread to her brain.

Elden is documenting Susan’s progress on the blog and it’s heartwrenching stuff. Susan is brave to let him do it. But it’s not all bad. Elden is using his blog to help support and fund Susan’s fight to live. He’s selling cycling gear and even having a raffle and sausage BBQ.

Elden and Susan are strangers to me, but their story deserves some extra publicity.

Read the blog, send Susan a message of support… buy a shirt.

I can’t believe I heard that right. #1

Local radio advertisement for an energy company – signoff.


“We make gas as easy as you do.”

Flasher – May entry

Below the fold, my entry for the May issue of The Flasher. This month, a flash story of under 1000 words incorporating some song lyrics. It’s a bit dark – you’ve been warned.

Continue reading ‘Flasher – May entry’

Eastlink 65km Cycling Challenge. 15th June 2008

Updated June 17th

A refund of all but the cancer council donation is available if you didn’t get what you paid for in the 65km challenge. See my later post here for details

Updated just after the ride

Well, I was right…. the organization just wasn’t up to handling the sheer volume of riders. Nevertheless I had fun.

See my ride report here.

Updated 12:13pm 12th June

Well, the organization train wreck that is this ride continues. Apparently I’m one of 1500 people who are going to have to pick up their rider numbers and transponders at the start because they weren’t able to send out the second 1500 transponders in time. Riders 3000+ (and there are 6000 riders!) got their rider numbers in the mail

A queue of 1500 people at 7.00am for an 8am start…..!

There was supposed to be an incentive to order early – a transponder and a start in rider number order. My guess is we riders 1501-3000 will be wayyyyyyy back in the pack by the time we pick up our numbers.

Updated 12:13pm 12th June

One business day left before the ride and still no rider pack in the post today…. I entered on the 25th May. Hmmmmm…. not good.

UPDATED 4pm, 15th May

Register for the Bicycle Victoria free events: here

Register for the 65km Challenge (not Road Race) @$39: here

Enter the 65km Road race (CSV licence), @$50: here

UPDATE 4pm 14/May:

I just got a phone call from John Trevorrow at Cycling Events Down Under. They will manage the 65km ride and take their fee from the entry fee.

Revised web pages (Event and registration) will be put up tomorrow. They acknowledge that they jumped the gun in putting info up unpolished, and you will see some changes, apparently. (hopefully)

There will be “separate” 65km rides. The first riders to leave will be the racers (license required), followed by “the rest”.

The cost is $39.


    Cycling Events DownUnder commission/running costs
    Timing system
    Cancer Council donation

The Cancer Council donation component is estimated at $15-$25 depending on the level of subscription and other variable costs.

The Eastlink tollway folks are having an open day on the 15th June 2008 featuring cycling and walking on the road prior to the official opening to cars.

Who invented the modern hang glider?

Was any one person the “Inventor of the modern Hang Glider”?   Well, that’s debatable, but nevertheless, claims that the honour belongs to John Dickenson, an Australian engineer whose design in 1963 was certainly the catalyst that sparked the explosion of a formerly fringe activity into the mainstream.

Originally intending to build a “bat wing” design ski kite, John was instead inspired by a photo of an experimental gliding recovery parachute for Gemini space capsules designed by Francis Rogallo to design a more practical, safer and controllable machine using the combination of a wing with conical sails – like the parachute – but braced by spars, a cable braced “A” frame control frame construction and a pendulum harness system.

These days, of course, the wing that John used is long obsolete thanks to the development of higher performing designs with far superior safety characteristics. If you define “Modern” as “Contemporary”, the modern hang glider has come a long way since 1963 thanks to the contributions of many people – with performance in some cases, up to 6 times greater than the primitive wings of the early 1970’s.

Soaring flight, by Orville Wright, Kitty Hawk, NC

Hang gliding in various forms, of course, had been around for many years, (see this Wiki entry) with the first arguably successful machines appearing in the 1800’s, but the aircraft were usually not simple, safe, cheap or adequately controllable, so it had never become a sport for the masses. Even the Wright Brothers flew their prototype machines as hang gliders, even soaring them on the Kitty Hawk dunes, before attempting to add power.

Continue reading ‘Who invented the modern hang glider?’

Time to hand back my Geek badge

Name That Robot

Only sixty three percent though? That’s pathetic.

Click on the picture or here to take the test….