Saturday, September 11, 2004


The smell of smoke, especially that from burning plastics, will forever give me nightmares.
Microscopic analysis of WTC dust by Nicholas Petraco, BS, MS, DABC, FAAFS, FNYMS at The New York Microscopic Society lecture held at AMNH 28 May 2003

45.1% Fiberglass, rock wool (insulation, fireproofing)

31.8% Plaster (gypsum), concrete products (calcium sulfate, selenite, muscodite)
7.1% Charred wood and debris
2.1% Paper fibers
2.1% Mica flakes
2.0% Ceiling tiles (fiberglass component)
2.0% Synthetic fibers
1.4% Glass fragments
1.3% Human remains
1.4% Natural fibers
Trace Asbestos (it became illegal to use during the construction of the WTC)

Other trace elements: aluminum, paint pigments, blood, hair, glass wool with resin, and prescription drugs were found.

NOTES: Particles found were 1-4 micrometers in size. (In general, particles that are 5-8 microns are irritants, and those that are 104 microns are small enough to be airborne and ingested into the lungs.)

Fiberglass particles are smaller than asbestos and lodge deeper into lungs creating more serious long-term health hazards than asbestos like white lung disease which will become more evident 5, 10, 20 years from 11 Sep 2001.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Slide Rules

Anyone who can't use a slide rule is a cultural illiterate,
and should not be allowed to vote.
—Robert A. Heinlein
Well, I used to know how to use a sliderule. I still can do some basic calculations on it and have a book on how to use a slipstick that I hope to get to this summer. Just to show that these "obsolete" devices can still be used, I present The International Slide Rule Group, The International Slide Rule Museum and The Slide Rule Universe!

Thursday, January 1, 2004

We Do The Scary Math So YOU Can Blow Things Up!

Or so it says on the box. Yep, I have my copy of Attack Vector from Ad Astra Games, though the universe has conspired against me since the box arrived and I haven't had much time to delve into it.I'm pretty darned impressed with what I have seen. Nice artwork, lots of text to fool around with (in terms of background—a bunch of ships, plus details on the major worlds), and what appears to be a clearly written rulebook. Heck, there's even an index, for crying out load. I don't know how many games I've owned that have needed to include a comprehensive table of contents and an index. This game has both. Ten points! Score! And then there's the components. A whole pile of nifty plastic pieces to let you do things like change the attitude and altitude of your ships. Little "holo cube" ships (some assembly required) with some excellent artwork. I'll probably splurge (when economics allows) for the felt game board (available separately) as well as additional pieces so that I can get a really big game going. And this is just the beginning. Hopefully sometime this summer we'll see High Trader, based on the game Rocket Flight (completely upgraded). Then there's the rest of the Attack Vector series: Fleets (lots of ships) and Operations (grand strategy, I'm guessing). Oh, but it doesn't end there, boys and girls. A roleplaying game is in the works. And, for the raving fanboys of the Honor Harrington space opera (David Weber), the best is yet to come. Oh yes, I suppose I should mention the really nifty t-shirts that they sell. Express your inner geekiness! I'll post a more extensive review once I read the contents of the box. In the meantime, anybody interested in a game? Addendum: A few links that may be of interest (various downloads). The table of contents and some samples from the rules. The Tactical Demo Flyer. Some stunning wallpaper for your computer. The so-called "tube map" showing the overall region of the Ten Worlds (the setting). And there's more!