Sep
22
2008
7

Blood Mountain Cove Trail

The weekend we scouted out a trail as a possible troop (or failing that family) backpacking trip. Blood mountain cove has been intriguing me since I saw it on georgia hikes. But there is very little written about it. So since I’m the adult contact for organizing a troop trip in November, it was a good excuse for a day hike (as if I need one). The trail is beautiful with waterfallswaterfall on the trail and many shady vistas view on the trial

There’s also a fair amount of bear “sign” – more than I saw in all of Philmont as well as very few signs of human activity (at least after you left the rather trashy area near the parking area). It’s along Dicks creek which is supposed to be good trout fishing. There is day use parking (I’ll have to call the ranger for overnight).

The bear sign is significant enough that it is probably important to use proper bear camping procedures – either bear bags or canisters – and no food/food trash/dirty dishes /deodorant /toothpaste in camp. It is also wild enough that good leave no trace procedures are important. trail map
The trail map shows our exploration – we didn’t go all the way up to the high area campsites. You’ll note that the GPS track does not agree with the map, but it is where the main trail goes. We left the road trying to follow the map and bush-whacked through dense brush for about 1/4 mile, ate lunch, and then followed the GPS uphill until we found the real trail. There is a car campsite where the trail leaves the road, but it is rather trashy – might be OK for a Friday night arrival, but I wouldn’t want to stay there.

postscript:  This is a popular hunting area, Georgia deer hunting starts October 19 and ends sometime in January – so in the end we’ll have to wait for another time.

Written by Rob in: backpacking,outdoors,scouting,trail map |
Sep
15
2008
1

Using the Meta refresh tag

Just a short note on a neat spam technique.  This blog gets 100-200 spam posts a day, which doesn’t bother me because they are a good resource for teaching security.  About 1/2 are in Russian which is always a surprise because this is a US based site and it’s hard to imagine why they would expect Cyrillic text to get through the spam filter (most of the rest are porno links).  Anyway every now and then something legitimate comes along and prior to approval I check it out.

One looked like it was a legit. blog, but when I checked it the page refreshed to “hoodia world” or something equally useless.  They had clearly written a meta refresh tag into their blog page.  Neat trick!

Written by Rob in: security |
Sep
11
2008
0

Tuning, belatedly.

Well, it looks like we didn’t do overly well at Casp – well still in the middle of the pack for most predictions.  Not surprising, as we get better so does the competition.  However – despite the lowish ranking there isn’t a group that we didn’t beat at least once – so we don’t produce rubbish models.   IMHO there isn’t a big difference between decent servers for structures with 40% or higher sequence identity.

There is an interesting idea for modeling potentials that comes from the Skolnick group.  Basically take the hydrogen bond function from dssp and use it with Van derWaals terms to describe the long range interactions.  Neat and simple – so of course I’ve implemented it.

My preliminary results are sort of interesting.  First, it is not a folding potential – even though it looks formally like converting a continuum problem into an Ising problem.  When I run molecular dynamics with it, it can easily find very non-native folds that are much lower in energy than the native fold.  However, it is a good refinement potential – it tightens up the  structure and results in better secondary structure and slightly lower RMS deviations as well as better fractions of the structure superimposed  at 1A and 4A cutoffs.   It probably would have moved the performance of my server up a notch.

Written by Rob in: engineering,laboratory practice |
Sep
09
2008
0

Supercat to the rescue

I had a chance to field test my latest exploration of alcohol stoves at the last weekend of powderhorn training.  Since turning gram-weenie, I’ve been trying to minimize weight and stove/cooking is one of the big areas where improvement is possible.  There are a number of designs at websites like zen backpacking stoves and they are often quite easy to make.  In fact, my son’s troop had the venture patrol make one design (a modified penny stove) in an evening of fun and flames.

While they have done OK in driveway testing, I’ve always been a little leary of trying them out for real.  (even the commercial example from antigravity gear tended to be a bit touchy)   So I finally took the plunge and brought a supercat along.

IT WORKED!

The supercat I made used a cat food can with two rows of holes (determined experimentally) – a row of about 12 holes 1/4 inch wide centered about 3/8 inch from the rim and a row of about 8 holes (also 1/4 inch wide) about 3/8 inch (on center) below that.  Pour about 1 ounce of denatured ethanol (my request for everclear was not approved ;->), light and boil away.

This is an efficient and light system when combined with a thermix insulation pouch and freezer bag cooking.

Written by Rob in: backpacking,engineering,outdoors,scouting |
Sep
08
2008
2

Not so superfeet after all

Just trying out a pair of superfeet (green) insoles after wearing out the insoles in my boots. (Philmont and practicing for it sort of do that) They are supposed to be really good. Really painful – if you have flat feet – is more like it. Just gentle walking for a day was enough to make me limp and I don’t normally have sensitive feet. Anyway, I’ve been fitting them by rasping the bottoms to lower and shift the arch support and may have managed to make them tolerable. It takes removing a good few millimeters to make them work. (I’ll post a picture if it really works) Don’t believe the advertising copy – these are not for everyone.

Update:  Especially not for me.  After returning to the pads with rested feet – all my efforts were in vain.  I found some flat pads and now my shoes are great again.  The problem seems to be with the hard plastic support in the superfeet (each version from the orange to the black  has a hard underpiece with a pronounced hard support).  I think they have one size – and then trim the rest of the pad to fit the shoe.  Therefore if you have size 8-10 feet (us sizes) then it fits, but if you have 13′s (moi) it doesn’t.   Either that or their anatomist has a very small heel.

Written by Rob in: backpacking,outdoors |
Sep
04
2008
0

A Pyramid Scheme by Any Measure

Watching Mythbusters last night with my kids, I noticed a commercial about a easy cash scheme.  Of course, anything like that gets my security blood running.  So I went and looked them up.  Apparently there is some sort of novel version of the pyramid called “cash gifting”.  Apparently you send “gifts” of cash around a chain of friends.  How this makes you rich is a bit of a question – where does the money come from? ( I know where it goes – right into the organizer’s pockets).  So either it is a barely disguised pyramid or Ponzi scheme or it is a tax fraud.  (write off your gifts from your income and then don’t declare those you recieve).

O Tempora, O Mores.  (or prehaps O Tempura, O Morays)

Written by Rob in: security |
Sep
02
2008
0

47th again!

The same people who have been stressing “learning objectives” (formalism instead of quality) have struck again.  Georgia maintains its position near the bottom of the SAT world, and this time by focusing on “learning processes” in high school math rather than “learning mathematics” in high school math.  Oh well – such is the way of the professional educator.

Written by Rob in: pedagogy |
Sep
02
2008
5

Efficiency Doesn’t Always Have to Be Boring.

We recently had to retire an old boat due to a rotten transom. Bit of a pity because it was a neat design and fast, but when a 40-year old hull rots – it’s time for a trip to the dump (our favorite marine shop in Centre- Spring Creek Marine – stripped the engine and found a good use for it). So we replaced it with a small riverhawk 15 foot “canoe-oid” boat from boating atlanta. boat by the dockIt is powered by a 5-HP Briggs and Stratton (yes they make boat engines as well as lawn mower engines). It isn’t quite as fast as the old boat, but it is a blast and easily gets up to 15-20 MPH range. You can paddle it – sort of like a canoe – but it doesn’t handle with a paddle as well as a “real” canoe. It gets phenomenal mileage (knotage?). The old boat with a 70HP engine easily used 5-10 gallons of fuel in a few hours of running around the lake. We can now go a whole weekend on less than 3 gallons – not bad. It is a bit more sensitive to heavy weather than the old boat (it does have a much lower freeboard – so this isn’t surprising), but has easily handled everything we’ve been willing to go out in (and I’m no fair-weather sailor – doesn’t “small boat advisory” mean good sailing ;-) ? (not really)). It is fast enough to tube with – if we can engineer a good rope attachment point (I have an idea but more on that latter).

Written by Rob in: engineering,outdoors |
Sep
02
2008
1

So Many Comments – So Little Meaning.

From the comments (url and email deleted):

Dave |

Hey, would you like to submit comments and backlinks to millions of blogs automatically? Blog Comment Poster will do it for you. Blog Comment Poster will increase your traffic, backlinks and earnings dramatically! Sounds cool? Yes, it is cool! It’s the best automated comments posting tool on the Internet with many advanced features. Check it out!

Hmmn, I wish he’d at least select my post about this.

Written by Rob in: security |

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