Sunday, December 30, 2007


I broke the power connector on the subnotebook, so I replaced it with a Lego connector. This preempts my tutorial on how to get it functioning in terms of software, but provides a good basis for disassembling the notebook for repairs. Hopefully it will help out other PCG-C1VR owners out there; documentation on these seems to be slowly becoming unmaintained. PCG-C1VR disassembly.

Friday, December 21, 2007

New Stuff!

Given my currently less than outstanding habit of writing papers in one draft, I'm considering proofing some of my school papers and posting them here. My main concerns about that are that someone will plagiarize my papers for a class, and that the papers themselves are of a very limited scope, and thus not particularly interesting.

However, even if I decide not to start posting papers, I do plan on writing more here again, and retuning to the prior format of poor fiction and news, rather than the current use of just talking about myself.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Pretentious Bookcase

My bookcase has become extraordinary pretentious of late. I blame it mostly on taking European Intellectual History, which required most of the classic authors from the Victorian era on. It used to be mostly fiction, and good ole scifi/fantasy fiction at that. Now I have a significant number of history books, and even some intellectuals and notable playwrights. Such are the trials of the history student. I keep selling these things, but they keep appearing. But now I have a mostly full bookcase, which makes me happy. Any book that I have I have read, unless it was for a class (most of those have used stickers on them). Any author I have more than one book of I enjoy and would recommend, more than 3 I think they are super cool, 7 is an addiction and 12 or more indicates they are A. a series author, and B. I really like them. Here is the breakdown, by number of books per author. (for those of you keeping track at home, I've read all of these, and at least one is lent out right now.)

Anne McCaffrey: 18
Simon R. Green: 12
Neal Stephenson: 7
Arthur C. Clark: 3
Robert Ballard: 3
Ayn Rand: 3


Books about the Titanic: 4
Pure Reference: 9
Number of authors that I have only one book of but would like to have more: 5
Total Books: 132

Total Books (digital):75
That I've Read Entirely (digital):18

The adoption of digital media has really cut my costs in the book department, and makes trying random new authors easier. If you can hack sitting and reading off an LCD I recommend it; your eyes will bleed, but you will save a good deal of money. But paper books are much easier to use and read: used bookstores and bargain bins are your friends. My book for this week is*: Bookleggers amd Smuthounds: The Trade in Erotica 1920-1940 by Jay A. Gertzman. 1900's to the 1950's is my favorite period in U.S. history, so this book fits comfortably within that range, and is actually pretty interesting. Also was found in the campus bookstore bargain bin for cheap. If you enjoy history, you might like this book. If not, it will not be high on your list.

*Like Oprah's "Book of the Month" nonsense, except with a better time frame, no following, entourage, or literary analysis. Also, I don't read things I think you'll like/will change your life.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thats the last of them

Finished a 14 page paper in under twelve hours, including doing all the research. Why would I do such a thing? Monday a 6 page paper was due, Tuesday two 2-3 page papers were due, which left Wednesday to do the 12 pager due Thursday. So, I'm now both tired, frustrated, and happy. The paper ordeal is finally over, but i still have one more 7 page paper and two finals. The week before was no cake walk either, but most of that was my own fault; I was doing research for my own papers.

The 12 page really disappoints me. Even though I went a page or two over, I still didn't address everything I wanted to. In addition being dog tired made it slightly less cohesive than I'd prefer. It just gets to me, that I could write a much more thorough paper if I had more time and pages. Last year this bothered me when I did the same assignment on a different book, and it gets to me more this year because I should have learned from last year. Oh well. Assuming I don't fail hardcore, I'll be in a different class with the same teacher next quarter, odds are the term paper will be the same assignment. Perhaps I will finally do it right, and get a good tight paper that just drills into the subject without being too broad or too specific.

In other news, I plan on being a terrible person over the holiday, and avoid taking a break. I have so many prospective papers that I need to get written, I want to research the current craft movement, traditional building techniques, re-write my economics paper from 150B and post it here, revisit the Egyptian economy with sources this time, write on steampunk. I also want to get back into shape, and whack my technology into some semblance of functionality. If only I could make a career out of investigating random things in the current era and history I'd be set, and I could leave this school thing. If anyone has an opening for a freelance smart guy, let me know.

The picture is of my desk while I was writing the term paper last year. It wasn't so bad this year.
Robert Alverson


Monday, December 3, 2007

Keynes' Pyramids

Did the ancient Egyptians have a problem with overproduction? The Great Depression was a dramatic example of the havoc overproduction can cause in an economy. In that case the increased production from industry plus the collapse of export markets, created a situation where supply out-stripped demand. Many of my colleagues argue that we have to maintain money sinks to remove excess production as needed, so that the economy has a release valve. The military is a key example of this, as the products it needs are both expensive and useless for further production. An investment in the military removes capital from circulation, and itself does not produce anything. Another good resource sink is education. Thought it will result in a higher level of production over time, there is ample opportunity to invest heavily without directly increasing production. The building of gargantuan monuments may have server a similar purpose in ancient Egypt. The reasoning behind this is fairly straightforward. The Egyptians were an advanced civilization, and were clearly producing more than they required for their domestic needs. Much of this was exported. However, would a decrease in the availability of the export markets result in a depression as levels of surplus increased? If it would have then it would make sense for the Egyptians to pursue large projects to keep demand above production. The one flaw here is this was not a free economy. It was an economy dominated by the ruling class. They were in fact perfectly capable of simply hording wealth, and since they could control production either by law or force it is somewhat fanciful to think they would use economic manipulation. As cool as it would be to find Keynesian economics at work in the ancient world, I don't think the pyramids are examples of either deficit spending or production management.

Robert Alverson


*Edited on 12/5/2007 to correct formating errors

Almost Worth It

Given that I will have crippling sleep problems later in life, the thing that makes staying up until dawn worth it is the sunrise. That, and the fact that my fingers start feeling weird and my perception of time distorts radically. We had some really cool clouds the other morning; I snapped this one from my skylight. There are more at my Flickr, but I really liked this one. I really need to go and title my Flickr photos, but given that so many of them are similar, I really can't get enthused about it. Using a date based system would be good, but that data is already there. If anyone has a good naming scheme I'd be glad to hear about it. Until then, the master counter numbers are good enough. Its pretty neat that in the 11 months I've had this camera, I've taken over 1265 photos. Thats more than 100 pictures a month. Digital cameras are an excellent investment, thats roughly 1300 photos for less than $250. Good Times.

The Trick

"The trick is to act like you don't care. The more you care, the more likely you are to over think it."

"But I enjoy caring."

"Heh, thats what you think."

"It is what I think! Its not the end result, its the passion of the chase, the thrill of the unatain..."

"And to do that you have to care, to have a script and a plan?"

"No...But they help.  Why can't I care?"

"Why should you?"

"That doesn't answer my question.  Don't dance around it, why can't I care?"

"Because, once you decide, once you have your plan, you close down everything else.  You forget that there are no straight lines, and that what is normal to you is cold, distant and inhuman to most other people.  Thats why."

Robert Alverson