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Frank Dabek
Maker of Things
Maker of Things

Frank's posts

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+Matt Jones applies some high school physics to BallGhazi. TL;DR: inflating a ball at room temperature and bringing it outside could explain a 1 PSI drop.

I'm more interested in the question of why no journalist seems to have done this math. For all of the ink spilled on this issue, no one at the Globe or could walk across the river and buy someone in the Course 8 department a beer in return for some PV = nRT education?
As a Patriots' fan, I've been conflicted about whether it's still okay to root for them in the Super Bowl this weekend.

The best non-cheating potential explanation, seems to be that the weather (specifically temperature) affected the footballs.  So, here's a little bit more on that:

Draw your own conclusions, but mine are:
- Given the current evidence, it seems hard to conclude that they cheated. (Perhaps this will change when we get more accurate data.)
- Therefore, it seems morally fine to root for the Patriots this weekend.  
- 50 degrees isn't even that cold.  Presumably many, many winter NFL games have been played with under-inflated balls and no one has noticed.


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Is it me, or is the NYT getting its ass handed to it by the WP and the Guardian?

This article was really long and seemed particularly pointless: the NSA spies on other countries? Duh. That's their job. 

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If you've ever installed fenders, you know how much fiddling it can take to get everything lined up. For this bike, I decided to create permanent mounting points for the fenders to solve this problem once and for all. This one, on the brake bridge, replaces the L bracket and it's annoying tendency to slip to one side when tightened.

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I'm never really happy with my vacation pictures. I think the basic problem is that when you are hiking or biking you end up at photogenic spots in the middle of the day, in the summer. Unless you are willing to wait around for "magic hour" this guarantees crappy light. On my recent cycle tour, I was in no mood to wait for anything while climbing, so I took bad pictures and manipulated them to within an inch of their life: HDR (by repeatedly processing raws) and panorama stitching.

Maybe I like them even less now.

Having said all that, this is the valley below the south side of the Iseran pass. It deserves a better picture.

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This is an interesting question: is a rent-stabilized (or rent-controlled) lease an asset?

One hand, it's basically an annuity that effectively pays out monthly (in this case, $2K); certainly a "real" annuity is an asset. On the other hand, it can be thought of as public assistance (you wouldn't consider food stamps an asset).

If rent-control in NYC was done more based on means (and less on effectively winning a lottery [see Ephron, Nora]) it would be a harder question to answer. 

In this particular case, the widow's landlord bought her lease from the debt trustee for what she owed ($26K). I wonder if her best course of action in retrospect would have been to sell the lease to the landlord for substantially more (a 100 year, 2K a month annuity is worth .75M today which might approximate the present value of the lost rent to the landlord), pay off the debts outside of bankruptcy and have a nice chunk of savings. Of course, she'd have to move, but it looks like that might happen anyways.

Re-reading this, I wonder if +Daniel Peng is rubbing off on me... 

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Cyclists like to complain that Gate Hill Road (technically Willow Grove Road) is a killer, but this guy took it more literally...

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Foggy morning on col des Aravis.
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End of day 1: Valdeblore.

Sometime between picking up the oxy-acetylene torch and turning on the milling machine, I realized that this "simple" wheel change wasn't going as planned.

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Short piece on trusting computers or human drivers more. Other examples: the recent Air France crash where things were fine till the autopilot decided to hand the controls to people who promptly dropped the plane into the ocean and, on the positive side, the totally autonomous Curiosity lander which selected a landing site, hovered over it, and deployed a lander with zero human intervention.

Given all of this, I'm feeling better and better about computers taking over our driving/piloting duties. At the very least we can program them not to uselessly honk when stuck in traffic.
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