A Patron Saint of Cats

StGertrudeOfNivellesFriday the 13th four days ago was particularly symbolic because of the three cats running around the house two of them are black cats.   I suppose that either means we aren’t superstitious or perhaps it means we are I don’t know.  Either way it was ironic to be sure.

Today, St. Patricks Day, I discovered that there is another commemoration that is not so widely known.   That is the commemoration of St. Gertrude of Nivelles ( AD 600s ).   Among other things this St. Gertrude is the Patron Saint of Cats.

A Killdeer Strategy

A moment later — perhaps because she couldn’t stop staring at him — he seemed to take pity on her. “We cannot afford allies,” he explained. “It is the essence of the King’s policy to appear weak. Confused in his priorities. Unable to achieve decisions. Careless of his kingdom. And it would be impossible to create that appearance if his intentions were not kept secret. If Queen Madin knew the truth, would she turn her back on her husband in his time of gravest peril ? If the Tor knew the truth, how well would he play the part of the forlorn and hectoring friend ? If Castellan Lebbick knew the truth — No,it would be disasterous. He has no subterfuge in him. And no one would believe that King Joyse had lost his will or his wits, while Lebbick remained confident.

A Man Rides Through, p. 82
Mordants Need Volume II
Stephen R. Donaldson



dawn_ceresTomorrow Dawn will insert into orbit around Ceres.   Besides whatever it finds there, and found when it was at Vega, the cool part for me is the ion drive.   Dawn will become the first probe to orbit two planetoids.   Previously if you inserted into orbit you stayed there.   The ion drive, as I understand it, made it possible to orbit more than one body.

The waste and the loss

I cried a lot when my mother died.  It wasn’t because I was sad and missed her.  It was because of the waste.  She had her good parts, but the bad parts kept me from having a relationship with her.  My dad and I never talked about it.  But I really regret the waste of what could have been.

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, p. 554

Nature Boy

There was a boy
A very strange, enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea

A little shy
And sad of eye
But very wise
Was he

And then one day
The magic day he passed my way
And while we spoke of many things
Fools and kings
This he said to me

“The greatest thing
You’ll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return. “

We’ll Fight As Long As We Live

Fiery mountain beneath the moon
The words unspoken, we’ll be there soon
For home a song that echoes on
And all who find us will know the tune

Some folk we never forget
Some kind we never forgive
Haven’t seen the back of us yet
We’ll fight as long as we live
All eyes on the hidden door
To the Lonely Mountain borne
We’ll ride in the gathering storm
Until we get our long-forgotten gold

Miles To Go Before I Sleep

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost
Stopping By Woods on Snowy Evening

The Trouble With Warp Speed

If you grew up watching Star Trek you can recall “Warp factor two Sulu,” Scottie starting to sweat about things if Warp 6 was run for any length of time, and going absolutely worried at Warp 7 and above.   But at the same time when warp drive was engaged stars would go flying by the craft like gnats.

Several months ago I was sitting around instead of doing what I was supposed to at home and it dawned on me that the warp speeds in Star Trek, compared to interstellar distances, posed a real problem.   See the table below ( Stellar distances from http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/constellations/extra/nearest.html ):

Common Name Scientific Name Distance (light years) Years to Reach @ Warp 2 Years to Reach @ Warp 6
Proxima Centauri V645 Cen 4.2        2.10           0.70
Rigil Kentaurus Alpha Cen A 4.3        2.15           0.72
Alpha Cen B 4.3        2.15           0.72
Barnard’s Star 6        3.00           1.00
Wolf 359 CN Leo 7.7        3.85           1.28
BD +36 2147 8.2        4.10           1.37
Luyten 726-8A UV Cet A 8.4        4.20           1.40
Luyten 726-8B UV Cet B 8.4        4.20           1.40
Sirius A Alpha CMa A 8.6        4.30           1.43
Sirius B Alpha CMa B 8.6        4.30           1.43
Ross 154 9.4        4.70           1.57
Ross 248 10.4        5.20           1.73
Epsilon Eri 10.8        5.40           1.80
Ross 128 10.9        5.45           1.82
61 Cyg A (V1803 Cyg) 11.1        5.55           1.85
61 Cyg B 11.1        5.55           1.85
Epsilon Ind 11.2        5.60           1.87
BD +43 44 A 11.2        5.60           1.87
BD +43 44 B 11.2        5.60           1.87
Luyten 789-6 11.2        5.60           1.87
Procyon A Alpha CMi A 11.4        5.70           1.90
Procyon B Alpha CMi B 11.4        5.70           1.90
BD +59 1915 A 11.6        5.80           1.93
BD +59 1915 B 11.6        5.80           1.93
CoD -36 15693 11.7        5.85           1.95

At cruising speed it would take the Enterprise 2.1 years to reach our closest star and at max safe speed it would take 8.4 months.  For a kid who learned his Starfleet Technical Manual, yes I owned a copy, this has really rocked my world :)

You would think later versions of Star Trek, what with all the technical advances in the new starships, would go faster, it doesn’t seem to be the case.  The NCC1701D in The Next Generation only has a top speed of Warp 9.9.   That cuts the time to Alpha Centauri to a mere four months instead of 8, and still takes a full year to reach the 12th closest star to earth.

Live Long and Prosper.