The Watering Hole: November 4 – King Tut

On 4 November 1922, Howard Carter’s water carrier came upon the steps leading to the tomb of Tutankhamen (1341 BC – 1323 BC) an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty who ruled from c.1333 BC – 1323 BC during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom. Tutankhamen who has been immortalized as ‘King Tut’ became pharaoh at the ripe old age of nine and died at 19 from what appears to have been from a leg injury(sepsis?) and malaria.

The burial mask of Tuthankamen

In subsequent years a curse associated with the find has became part of modern folklore. Carter died on 2 March 1939 at the age of 64 which would indicate that he, who had actually opened the tomb, was seemingly unaffected by the curse as based on actuarial tables of the 1930s.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.
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The Watering Hole: October 28 – The Teabag Constitution (As bought by corporations)

I was wondering about what the United States Constitution would look like if was written to represent in the current political environment. It comes up a bit brief but not too sweet.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.
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The Watering Hole: October 22 – A Message for Conservatives, Don’t Vote!

Republicans (and Tea Baggers) –

Are you pissed at the way the current Congress has performed?

  • Are you upset at the way your taxes have been reduced and government spending has gone down?
  • Does affordable health insurance without the threat of previous conditions make your blood boil?
  • Are you upset that your young children can have health insurance and that those between the ages of 21 and 26 receive health insurance under your plan as they begin their careers?
  • Are you really upset that our veterins continue to receive government provided health care?
  • Does the continued health of Social Security and Medicare really stick in your craw?
  • Does ceasing the outsourcing of American jobs to foreign nationals make you seeth?
  • And to top it all off are you disturbed that the rate of illegal immigration is at its lowest level in three years and that more illegal immigrants are being deported this year than at anytime since 1998?

Is that is what is disturbing you? Then you must make your voice unheard when election day comes on November 2nd! Show your true feelings by not voting at all! That will show the Republican and Tea Bagger partys that they must work harder than ever in order to address your concerns!

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

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The Watering Hole: October 19 – Old Bread

Archeologists have discovered that bread has been part of the human diet for at least 30,000 years. I wonder how that would compare to this 12 year old (as of 2008) McDonald’s hamburger bun (the one on the left):

Actually, no examples of 30,000 year old bread exist today (Unless a McDonald’s bun that old can be located).

Another issue that comes up is that bread has been around since 24,000 years before the Heavens and the Earth.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: October 15 – My Hunting Career

Voters in Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee go to the polls to cast their ballots on Nov 2, they will be asked if they support making hunting and fishing constitutional rights.

Let me tell you about my sole hunting experience:

Just after getting a job at a computer company in NY, one of my office mates offered (We were packed with 4 engineers in a 12′ x 12′ cubicle.) an opportunity to go hunting for deer in Sullivan County. Before I get any further, I’ll let you know that 90-95% of the hunters that eventually arrived there were from NYC and their only experience with a rifle was garnered from Civil War movies and/or Field and Stream or like publications.

We arrived at the hunting site about 6AM and set up a blind. Until about 9AM, everything was uneventful and we had only seen a few does and mature fawns go by. At that point, the city folks arrived and we were in a virtual combat zone, it was sheer mayhem – bullets were flying everywhere! By then we also had bucks flying by us at top speed, but we were flat on the ground. One of the city folk seemed to confuse our blind with a 14 pointer hiding in a tree and emptied his rifle into it. That was the first and last time that I ever went hunting.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: October 12 – Salem Witch Trials End

Today in 1692, Christine O’Donnell could breath a sigh of relief. The Salem Witch Trials came to an end.

No longer did Christine need to worry about being outed as a witch. As everybody should know, in these trials, the innocent died while the guilty survived, hence she had nothing worry about as long as she survived the Bar-B-Que at the post (Which would be a snap for a real witch.)

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: October 5 – Vote!

There are 4 weeks to go!

It is getting down to the wire. We worked hard in 2008, now it is time to carry the work forward in the current election cycle. While things did not always happen the way we wanted, it is not time to give up the struggle!

Without enthusiasm in the progressive base, this nation will lose everything gained since 2006.

Two years of retreat is the last thing that our people need. The Republican Pledge to America is empty on promise, but replete with hypocrisy.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: October 1 – Louisiana Territories

On this day in 1801, Spain ceded its territories in the Mississippi River basin to France. This included much of what we now call the Southern United States. In 1803, Napoleon, in need of funds, agreed to sell this territory, including all other French territory in North America not already claimed by Britain after the Seven Years War to the United States.

Napoleon must have known what he was doing! The southern portion of this region has caused more grief to the United States than any other except the Carolinas. I’d toss Minnesota in with those two, except it has given us Al Franken.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: September 28 – Me and my Segway

Jimi Heselden, the owner of Segway drove one off a cliff and into a river. He did not survive. Not wanting to make light of this tragedy, it still brings to mind this video clip of a former president on a similar device:

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: September 24th – Lemonade from Lemons

Some times when you create a problem, it can be redefined to create a profit. Here is a case in point:

Above, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, is a remnant of Renaissance architecture and poor rendition. The tower began leaning to the southeast soon after the onset of construction in 1173 due to a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that has allowed the foundation to shift direction. The maximum tilt, before realignment was performed from 1990 through 2001 was 5.5 °. Its tilt was the basis of rabid tourism for the city of Pisa (Lemonade from lemons).

This was partially “corrected” to a tilt of about 4 °. Why was the tower not rendered to a perfect vertical? Think about it – Pisa would have been left with a lemon.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: September 22 – Decimal Addition in a Binary World

Computers in general are best at adding binary values. Logic designers have relied on the hexadecimal numbering system in order to keep the task to an understandable notation. One limitation introduced by this solution is that a simple hexadecimal add of two decimal values in the range of 0-9 can result in solutions that have no valid decimal value. Let’s look at decimal addition in the hexadecimal system:

A Hexadecimal Addition Table Restricted to Addend Values 0 Through 9

Now one of the things that you may notice about this table are the result values of A, B, C, D, E and F. These representations are used in want of any other in order to represent the binary numbers from 1010 – 1111. Alphabetic values were chosen because they appear in the Roman Alphabet which was familiar to the scientists at the forefront of digital computer design. I shutter to think what would have happened if Israel had been there first, I may well have taken up a different career path. You might also notice that the results of 10, 11 and 12 are actually not correct for a decimal add.

This leaves the problem of how to create a set of solutions compatible with decimal users like accountants and politicians. Conversion tables could be used to convert each result to its true decimal value. The results reading 10, 11 and 12 are short of their true decimal values of 16, 17 and 18 respectively.  Sometime in an obscure past, someone observed that each of these values fell short of their decimal values by a numeric value of 6 via a hexadecimal add yielded the correct decimal target value. A hexadecimal add of 6 to A through F, yields the correct decimal targets of 10-15 as well, thus a rule was born – if two decimal numbers are added and the result of that add exceeds A, then add 6 to that result and set a carry for the next higher-order digit. This is called excess 6 arithmetic, the basis of early decimal addition in digital computers.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: September 21 – The ASCII System

A usable numbering notation system arose out of necessity during the early computer age.  Using binary was out of question and the choice of octal was dictated by economy of design. Two problems arising from this practice were  that only upper case letters could be defined and that that the numerals from 0 to 9 were assigned the symbolic base 8 values from 60 to 71 – or respectively 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 70 and 71.

While logic circuitry did not care about such representations, it blew the minds of early logic developers working towards base 10 arithmatic. This led to a code point set where the lowest digit was base 16 (hexadecimal) and the high order digit was represented as a base 4 number, thus the numeric values could be represented as 30, 31, 32, 33,34, 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39 in 6 bit code. The number of code points limited the characters that could be represented without resorting to up shifts and down shifts. Earlier 5 bit codes relied on numeric shifts as well. There was a slew of 5 bit code sets that arose out of the confusion but the Baudot and Murray sets came to the top by the early 1900′s. It is from the Baudot code set that we get the term ‘baud’.

This limitation led to the adaptation of ASCII code points. This is a modern ASCII translation table:

This simplified the job of the designers because numerics were in a form more compatible with human experience.  Life would have been even easier if  the Arabs had originally come forth with a hexadecimal numbering system instead of base ten. The only problem there was the representation of the numbers four and two in hexadecimal – in a four finger system, they would be represented by _|__ and __|_ respectively.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: September 16 – Duodecimal Number Systems

A duodecimal multiplication table
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B 10
2 4 6 8 A 10 12 14 16 18 1A 20
3 6 9 10 13 16 19 20 23 26 29 30
4 8 10 14 18 20 24 28 30 34 38 40
5 A 13 18 21 26 2B 34 39 42 47 50
6 10 16 20 26 30 36 40 46 50 56 60
7 12 19 24 2B 36 41 48 53 5A 65 70
8 14 20 28 34 40 48 54 60 68 74 80
9 16 23 30 39 46 53 60 69 76 83 90
A 18 26 34 42 50 5A 68 76 84 92 A0
B 1A 29 38 47 56 65 74 83 92 A1 B0
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 A0 B0 100

Duodecimal numbering systems arose for a reason. First, the duodecimal numbering system has four common denominators (2, 3, 4 and 6) while a decimal system, which seems more natural, has only 2 (2 and 5,) both primes. This made the subdivision of goods more efficient. We know that this became a popular system because Germanic languages carry the vestiges of this numbering system because of the existence of of verbal values for the numbers 11 and 12 (in decimal terms.) Also we still carry the concept of this system in the measurements for a dozen, the gross (12 dozen dozen) and the great gross (12 dozen gross.) We also have 12 months in the year and 12 signs of the Zodiac.

Base 12 numbers are also a basis in the measurement of time during the day.

If you are into self-punishment and want to know more on this subject and other number systems, you can start here

I hope that this all shows up correctly. This is the first time that I tried out what I tried to present something using material from the blurb on tables.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole – September 15 – Selection and De-Selection in Ancient Greece

Ostraca (pieces of broken pottery as voting tokens) bearing the names of Pericles, Cimon, and Aristides (top to bottom). Ancient Agora Museum in Athens.


In ancient Greece, politics was far different from the current election system in the United States. It would be really nice if we could ostracize the likes of Limbaugh, Boehner and Palin.

Who would you pick for Ostracism? This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole- September 7 – HTML Tables of Contents

The following HTML code:
<!– Start the anchor paragraph.–>
<!– Please note that if you have black menu bar,
the return will seem to be a bit off.–>
<p>
<!– This an anchor for return jumps.–>
<a name=”TOP”>Table of Contents</a>
<!– End the anchor paragraph.–>
</p>

<!– Start the Table of Contents paragraph.–>
<p>
<!– This is the link to the Chapter 1.–>
<a href=”#CHAP1″>Chapter 1.</a><br>
<!– This is the link to the Chapter 2.–>
<a href=”#CHAP2″>Chapter 2.</a><br>
<!– This is the link to the Chapter 3.–>
<a href=”#CHAP3″>Chapter 3.</a><br>
<!– End the Table of Contents paragraph.–>
</p>

<!– This is a named anchor called “CHAP1″.–>
<a name=”CHAP1″></a>
<h2>Chapter 1.</h2>
<!– And some text.–>
<p>Chapter 1 text…</p>

<!– This is a link back to the top of the page–>
<p>
<a href=”#TOP”>Back</a>
</p>

<a name=”CHAP2″></A>
<h2>Chapter 2.</h2>
<p>Chapter 2 text…</p>

<p>
<a href=”#TOP”>Back</a>
</p>

<a name=”CHAP3″></A>
<h2>Chapter 3.</h2>
<p>Chapter 3 text…</p>

<p>
<a href=”#TOP”>Back</a>
</p>

Yields this:

Chapter 1.
Chapter 2.
Chapter 3.


Chapter 1.

Chapter 1 text…


(Back)

Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 text…

(Back)

Chapter 3.

Chapter 3 text…

(Back)

Please note that statements like:

<!– Comment.–>

provide comments that appear in the source, but not the code.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic. The Zoo has run open threads pretty constantly since January, 2009, Very few missed weekends or holidays since we started ‘The Watering Hole.’ On those occasions, it was always due to illness or hospitalization within the Critter ranks.

The Watering Hole: August 24 – HTML Tables

I’m back!

This HTML code sequence:

<table border=2>
<caption align=center >Table Name</caption>
<tr align=center>
<th> Column Header 1</th>
<th> Column Header 2</th>
<th> Column Header 3</th>
</tr>
< tr align=center >
<td> Data row 1, column 1</td>
<td> Data row 1, column 2</td>
<td> Data row 1, column 3</td>
</tr>
< tr align=center >
<td> Data row 2, column 1</td>
<td> Data row 2, column 2</td>
<td> Data row 2, column 3</td>
</tr>
</table>

Yields:

Table Name
Column Header 1 Column Header 2 Column Header 3
Data row 1, column 1 Data row 1, column 2 Data row 1, column 3
Data row 2, column 1 Data row 2, column 2 Data row 2, column 3

Now, let’s try to break this apart:

The first tag pair is <table></table>. The <table> tag starts the table and the </table>tag ends it. Notice that these two tags enclose the entire table. <table>can take the align, border, cellpadding, and width attributes. We will get into attributes After the tags are described, some common attributes will be discussed.

The next tag pair is <caption></caption>. The <caption> tag starts the caption and the </caption>tag ends it. <caption>takes only the align attribute.

The next tag pair is <tr></tr>. <tr>tag starts a table row and the </tr> tag ends it. <tr>takes only the align and valign attributes.

The next tag pair is <th></th>. <th>fills a table row and </th> ends it. <th>takes only the align and valign attributes. The <th> tag is the same as the <td> tag, except that the data for the cells are presented in bold type and centered by default.

The next tag pair are <td></td>. <td>fills a table row and the </td> ends it. <td>takes only the align and valign attributes.

Attributes:

    align=[left, center or right} – Aligns data within a cell, a caption or the table itself on a page.
    border=[numeric} – Establishes a border around the table with the border width of [numeric] pixels.
    cellpadding={numeric] – Enlarges the cells in a table with padding around each cell’s data of [numeric] pixels.
    Valign=[top, middle or bottom] – Vertically aligns cell data within a cell.

There are other attributes, but I leave it to the reader to pursue this if interested. I rarely use attributes outside these 4.

Those really interested in delving into more than table basics can explore this site. It contains just about everything that you wanted to know about HTML tables and more.

Note: If you save the examples as type ‘html’, you can examine the result of your work. The WP processes do not support the full richness of the HTML language in comments and posts.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole: August 10 – HTML Un-Ordered Lists

The simplest expression of an un-ordered or bulleted list is:

<ul>
<li>Item 1</li>
<li>Item 2</li>
<li>Item 3</li>
</ul>

Which yields:

  • Item 1
  • Item 2
  • Item 3

The advantage of lists are that they allow one to present information points in a structured fashion that grab the eye. WP does not provide support for all list options. For more information, go here.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic. You can also hone your list skills in the comments section.

The Watering Hole: August 3 – HTML Fractions

HTML fractions are available. They take on the format &#code; where code matches the extended ascii code.

The fractions I know are:

  • &#188; = ¼
  • &#189; = ½
  • &#190; = ¾
  • &#8531; = ⅓
  • &#8532; = ⅔
  • &#8533; = ⅕
  • &#8534; = ⅖
  • &#8535; = ⅗
  • &#8536; = ⅘
  • &#8537; = ⅙
  • &#8538; = ⅚
  • &#8539; = ⅛
  • &#8540; = ⅜
  • &#8541; = ⅝
  • &#8542; = ⅞


This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic. You can also practice your HTML in the comments.

The Watering Hole: July 27 – A Short Course in HTML

In order to enter certain functions in your comments on TheZoo, you must use HTML functions. These are not particularly difficult. The basic format of HTML codes is:

<code> where the code is of the form:

action – Start action or

/action – Stop action.

The most common actions are

  • b or strong = bold
  • em = italic
  • u = underline
  • strike = strike through
  • blockquote = blockquote
  • sub = subscript
  • sup = superscript

Thus “<b>bold</b>” would yield “bold“.

These tags came be combined so “<strong><em>bold italic</strong> italic</em>” would yield “bold italic italic“. Notice the “b” and “strong” are interchangeable HTML tags and that tags can be turned on or off in a stream of tags. You must note that “b” and “strong” are not interchangeable within a single command string. Thus “/b” cannot be used to turn off “strong” and “/strong” will not turn off  “b”. This particular stream turns on bold, turns on  italic, turns off bold and finally turns off italic within a stream of three words.

Some basics in formating HTML text are available here. We at the Zoo are sorry that we do not provide tools to make formating comments easy, but we operate on a limited budget. You can explore the document in the link and actually learn HTML 4.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic. I also set up a post where you can practice formating your comments in order to hone your skills in HTML. It will be hidden after tomorrow in the evening.

The Watering Hole: July 14 – Lacrosse

The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse team is being barred from participating for what’s considered the Olympics of the sport because the U.S. government won’t allow them to re-enter their nation without United States passports.

An Indian Nation Stranded in in the United States

The Iroquois invented Lacrosse! Is this justice?

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.