Monthly Archives: July 2002

From the armpit of America…

So Slashdot this morning reported on a story about the 100th anniversary of air conditioning. What a load of crap. If you want a good book on the history of air conditioning (and much more), check out ABSOLUTE ZERO instead which documents air conditioning technologies back to the Cornelius van Drebbel cooling the (damn big) Westminster Abbey in 1620.

You may remember Drebbel from the recent TLC (or maybe it was Discovery) special on him and his submarine (note: that link contains a number of factual errors regarding the air supply in the submarine), built and demonstrated the year after he did his air conditioning experiments. It's interesting that he doesn't get credit for the fact that he isolated oxygen a century and a half before the credited Joseph Priestly either, but he's only got himself to blame — he left very little in the way of notes (which was the case for far too many scientists through earlier history).

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is never underestimate the age of an invention, or underestimate the ingenuity of humans that came before us. Most modern technologies have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years more than the average person assumes. Hell, Drebbel wasn't even close to the first person to use refrigeration technology (he just did the most impressive demonstrations). Many alchemists, Giambattista della Porta being a good example, experimented with with saltpeter and other substances to induce extreme cold… Well, I could go on and on, but seriously, pick up that book if you find this interesting.


My tool that builds dictionaries (well, word lists) is complete with almost 135,000 words… I'm using the iSpell American dictionary as a base for now, but the way that it's set up it'll be very easy to implement other language support. I've also pasted in all the bodmod words from the glossary.

Version one of the spell checker is just going to be a spell checker, and then shortly after I'll implement a “sounds like” recommendation system which hopefully will be quite functional. If it's not obvious, I'm not just plugging in someone else's spellcheck library — I'm actually writing this damn thing from scratch.

Anyway, here's the output of the build process, now I'm off to start testing lookups:

  C:\bme2\engine\iam\spell>buildc  .................................  Wrote 83,942 roots, plus 53,807 new words.  ...........................(134,842)  Sorted word table, removed 2,907 doubles.  Word length analysis:  02:    162  03:  1,246 *  04:  4,011 *****  05:  7,779 ***********  06: 13,497 ********************  07: 17,599 **************************  08: 19,357 ****************************  09: 18,856 ***************************  10: 15,734 ***********************  11: 12,474 ******************  12:  9,064 *************  13:  6,110 *********  14:  3,863 *****  15:  2,379 ***  16:  1,292 *  17:    737 *  18:    314  19:    207  20:     80  21:     44  22:     26  23:      5  24:      3  25:      1  27:      1  28:      1


Yay for the postal service — they've refused to take part in TIPS. But I do have a scary link as well — Bush's new “No Child Left Behind” law requires schools to hand over the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all students so they can be registered for the draft. Schools that don't support the war effort will have their funding pulled.

Anyway, I'll let you do your own freaking out over that… I'm fiddling with implementing some spell checking technology right now.

More pictures

This entry is in part intended to test the bulk of an upload that can be handled — the images attached to this diary entry are all 1024×768 at as large as 250K. Anyway, these pictures are all from the potential BME homestead, a beautiful 175 acre parcel of land made up of fields (currently being hayed, as you can see), forests, and 50 – 75 acres of wetlands (which hopefully can be farmed — marsh grasses are actually really useful).

And yes, it really is that green. Oh, I almost forgot the best thing — this land is only about an hour and change outside of Toronto, so it's an incredibly convenient (and desirable) location. You'll also notice that it has power lines running to it, which means a far smaller initial outlay financially, since we can buy the solar over time.


You know, I was going to write all about the TIPS 1984 police state, tell you how Bush is eroding your rights even more. Then I was going to talk about how FEMA is prepping for mass destruction by building temporary cities to house millions but had no plans to help the homeless, and then maybe finish up talking about the new life sentences for hackers. I thought I might talk a little about the invasion of Iraq, but then I came upon a better plan.

There's a new page in Get Your War On, and I figured that I would upload a photo of what I hope will soon become the “BME Homestead”. Warning: this photo is quite large (256K) and is blindingly green… Oh, so green…