I made it into Mazatlán on Monday. My Uber driver showed up in just a few minutes after I had summoned him, even though this was 3 am in the morning! (to make my frightfully early departure out of Seattle airport at 5 am).
I arrived in Mazatlán on a national holiday, Benito Juarez’s Birthday. Juárez was a national hero and president of Mexico (1858-1872).
Top: Alaska Airlines, at the gate at LAX after our arrival at 7.30 am. Bottom: Shortly after our arrival at Mazatlan airport. The airport is really small – only one other jet was there at our arrival. There may be only as many as 4 or 5 jets on the gates at the airport at any one time.
My bags are packed .. for a trip to Mazatlan, Mexico, to visit my friends Bryan and Dale there. I will take Alaska Air: two 2 ½ -hr flights, with a stop at LAX. I’ve been to Puerto Vallarta, to Nogales (border city south of Tucson, Arizona), and to Cancun, but not to Mazatlan.
Happy St Patrick’s Day! Here in Seattle we had the annual 1K and 5K St Patrick’s Day Dash, ending at the Seattle Center. My mission for Saturday was to dash down to the Seattle Public Library’s Book Sale which was right there, as well.
I did pick up a few books at the huge book sale ($1 and $2 a book! Yay!) : a thick Archie Comics cartoon book; travel guides for Washington DC and Switzerland, and a few others.
Washington State Dept of Traffic recently tweeted a picture of State Route 20 at the Early Winter Spires. The road is closed for winter, but they will evaluate next week what needs to be done to start clearing the road. I compared their picture with mine, which I took on a road trip last year.
The nationwide toy store franchise Toys-R-Us is in trouble and is said to be closing or selling all of its stores soon. (Aw. I like Toys-R-Us). The company just has too much debt, and this dates back to before competition from Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart all took their toll.
So I made a run to the store here in the area today, and bought a giant box of special Only-at-Toys-R-Us Lego bricks, for myself, of course.(‘Age 5-99’ said the box, and I fall in that age range, see?).
March 14 is Pi* Day, celebrated by math geeks. But Michael Hartl says we should celebrate ‘Tau Day’ instead, in his Tau manifesto. Tau is an alternative circle constant referred to by the Greek letter τ that equals 2π, or approximately 6.28. (So Tau Day would be June 28).
*Pi is the Greek letter used in math for the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. No matter the size of the circle, this is always the same value (approx. 3.14): a mathematical constant.
One big thing that Tau fixes, is radian angles (see diagram). It also makes sine and cosine functions simpler, and higher math like integrals in polar coordinates, the Fourier transform, and Cauchy’s integral, simpler.
Postscript: I found this great cartoon tribute to theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking that had passed away on Mar 14.
He once said ‘The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge’.
Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is out, fired via Trump tweet. (Tillerson got a heads-up on Friday that ‘something is up’, from Chief of Staff Kelley). Trump and Tillerson never got along, and Tillerson was fired almost immediately after contradicting the official White House line on the murder of a Russian double agent in London, though. Coincidence, or the last straw? (Tillerson called Trump an ‘f** moron’ last July).
Also: Trump’s personal aide (‘body man’) Johnny McEntee is also out over ‘serious financial crimes’ and security issues, escorted out of the White House today, not allowed to retrieve even his jacket or any personal stuff.
Finally: It looks like the Democrat will win the Special Election for House Representative in Pennsylvania’s 18th district, held today. This is a district that Trump carried by 20%. Trump, Don Trump Jr and VP Mike Pence were all there to campaign for the Republican. So the loss is not a good sign for the Republicans for the mid-term elections* in November this year.
*Representatives of the House have two-year terms, and Senators have six-year terms.
My 1975 South African ten rand note that I had bought on Ebay, arrived in the mail today. I wanted one – correction: had to have one – for my bank note collection. I have fond memories of the note. When I was very young, I saw it as a lot of money, almost a fortune. I still remember my mom pulling out two of these green notes from her wallet, to pay for a semi-automatic knitting machine that she had bought at a store. Whoah! How cool, I thought.
It was a beautiful sunny, blue-sky day (61° F/ 16°C), and I hopped onto the Bremerton ferry, to go check out the marina there, and the Navy Museum. Bremerton is home to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Bremerton Annex of Naval Base Kitsap.
I walked by a new condo development here on Capitol Hill this afternoon, and wondered what was there before. It turns out there was a stately 1901 home there with triangles and bay windows – which will now become boxes and rectangles.
The State Dept stated just this morning that talks between the US and North Korea were ‘a long way off’. This evening, a delegation of South Korean envoys announced on the White House driveway that President Trump and Kim Jong-un will meet before the end of May. This will be the first time ever that a US President meet with North Korea since the Korean War Armistice of 1953. (Oh, and never mind that annual US-South Korea military exercises are to take place in April – and that U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun resigned just two weeks ago).
Why did the South Koreans announce the talks (and not the White House)?
Can Kim Jong-un be trusted?
What is even on the table?
Update Fri 3/9: By Friday night Press Secretary Sanders had walked back Trump’s commitment to meet with Kim Jong-un. (‘No meeting without concrete steps and action’). And then her walk-back was walked back by the White House – sort of.
Brett Stephens writes in the NYT that we do not know if Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn quit ‘out of horror of the president’s protectionist turn, or merely out of the pique of losing a policy argument’ (over the trade tariffs). What is certain, is that the Trump Administration is looking increasingly unstable and unable to retain key personnel.
The Republicans are finally getting worried that Trump’s economic and trade policies might make trouble. (They were not too worried about the tax cuts massively increasing the deficit). The House sent a letter today, signed by 107 representatives, asking Trump to refrain from implementing broad-based tariff measures that could trigger trade wars with Europe, China, and even Canada.
Will we be OK? It’s been 10 years since 2008’s global financial crisis. During a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ last week, Bill Gates was asked if, in the near future, the U.S. will have another crisis similar to 2008. ‘Yes’, he said, admitting that the question would be better directed at Warren Buffet. ‘It is hard to say when, but this is a certainty’.
I read a description today of an ‘Eero Saarinen tulip base dining table with white marble top’ in an article about decorating. Well. Let’s find out what this table looks like, I thought. (Redeem myself a little from the cheap Ikea furniture I still have, by improving my designer furniture knowledge).
Saarinen (1910-1961) was a Finnish American architect and industrial designer, noted for his neo-futuristic style. I also learned that Saarinen was the architect of the Gateway Arch in St Louis.
The 50th Mersenne prime* was discovered in December, by Jonathan Pace in Tennessee. Yay! The gargantuan number is 277,232,917-1 (multiply together 77,232,917 twos and subtract one). The number has more than 23 million digits, and is also written as M77232917.
Alright – as of now, there is no real use for these monster numbers, but modestly large primes are put to good use in computer encryption.
The Great Internet Prime Search foundation will award $150,000 for the discovery of the first prime number with 100 million digits, and $250,000 for the first prime with at least a billion digits. The search is on!
*Prime numbers are whole numbers that can be divided only by themselves, and by 1. The number 1 is not considered a prime, but then the primes are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11 and so on. Mersenne primes are named for the French monk that studied them some 350 years ago. They are written in the form 2n -1. (So 3 is the first Mersenne prime, since it can be expressed as 22 -1). Euclid’s proof shows that there are infinitely many regular primes. We do not know if that is the case for Mersenne primes.
The Wall Street Journal had a little report about Oscar enthusiasts that watch all 59 movies before the big night, driving many miles to art theatres for the foreign films or documentaries. (That’s not me!).
I still want to go see Darkest Hour with Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Winston Churchill in WW2, though, and also on my list: The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name and animated film winner Coco.
Nice to see Bladerunner 2049 winning in Visual Effects as well as Cinematography.
Someone noted on Twitter that none of the movies directed by women, won any Oscars: a disappointment.
Harvey Weinstein, and several other men in the Hollywood industry accused of sexual harassment, now persona non grata, were nowhere to be seen.
Black Panther is ‘a movie about what it means to be black in both America and Africa—and, more broadly, in the world’ says Jamil Smith in TIME magazine. Of course, it does not hurt that it is also a great action flick, full of beautiful people and gorgeous scenes of the utopian world of Wakanda.
The movie is not not devoid of racism – in more than one scene, a white character finds out what it’s like to be in a world in which black people have wealth, technology and military might. (A world where white people are not allowed, in fact!). Overall, the movie has a great message, though: in the real world full of different nations and ethnicities, we are all our brother’s keeper.
It was another week of Trump chaos. (‘Never have we seen such chaos and corruption‘, opines Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post). As Alec Baldwin’s tweet says: we are hanging in there until we have the impeachment hearings, the resignation speech, and the farewell helicopter ride to Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s long-time Communications Director (Hope Hicks) announced she is resigning, after admitting she tells ‘white lies’ for the President.
It’s been more than a year since Trump himself gave a press conference.
It now looks as if son-in-law Jared Kushner punished Qatar last April, by supporting a blockade against them, just weeks after they refused to invest in his private firm. Do these people do anything at all for American citizens, for the country? Kushner never, ever says anything on the record, and does not speak to the press, or in public.
On Thursday, Trump announced* trade tariffs of 25% and 10% on steel and aluminum imports, out of the blue, defying the advice of economic advisor Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. ‘Trump starts trade war’, said all the major European and Asian newspapers this morning. Economists universally agree: trade wars are bad. *Still to be signed into law, some time next week.
As many observers note:
1. It’s unsettling to have a President with no impulse control.
2. These crises are all of Trump’s making. What will he do when a real one hits?
I saw ‘Black Panther’ (more about it later) in the IMAX theater here in the Pacific Science Center today.
The Pacific Science Center was designed by Minoru Yamasaki for the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, and housed the United States Science Pavilion. It is located right by the city’s iconic Space Needle.
Yamasaki was born in Seattle in 1912, a second-generation immigrant. He graduated from the University of Washington in 1934, and became a very successful architect with his own firm in Seattle.
He was the architect of two prominent buildings in downtown Seattle: the IBM Building (1963) and Rainier Bank Tower (1977). His firm won the contract to design the St. Louis’ Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project in 1953, but the project ended in disaster. It was a big setback for his firm and for his reputation.
Well, that was February. 2018 is moving along!
I say: it’s going to be a fascinating year.
Will son-in-law Jared Kushner still be in the White House by December? No. His security clearance has finally been revoked, and there is a fresh scandal in the news of him mixing business and White House access. Will Trump still be in the White House? Maybe, as a lame-duck President. Oh – he announced his 2020 campaign manager this week. What a joke. Will new Fed chairman Powell have raised interest rates 3 times, or 4? I say 3, maybe only 2. Nobody knows yet if inflation is going to pick up significantly, or why wages are so slow to increase with almost full employment. Will we finally have new gun control laws on the books, now that Walmart, Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods no longer sell the AR-15 assault weapon? Who knows. Trump staged a classic con-man ‘listening and discuss’ session at the White House today, reminiscent of his immigration discussion session (that was just for show). He offered that people that are deemed threats, should have their guns taken away immediately, and then afterwards have their due process in the court if they wanted them back. I cannot imagine the uproar from Republicans if Obama mentioned such a thing.
It belonged to a Columbian mammoth. These were the largest of the mammoths that roamed around in North America during the last Ice Age – as recently as 11,000years ago. They reached 13 ft/ 4m in height at the shoulders, and weighed up to 22,000 lbs/ 10 tonnes.