### Snow Shovels

 The SC18PSSPWESH inall it's ergonomic glory
It snowed last night here in Cambridge, MA. It snowed quite a bit. I mean, in a relative sense it snowed infinitely compared to a typical Pasadena, CA snow day, so I might be overreacting a bit. But, wow, there's about a metric shload of snow out there right now.

Thanks to Erin's forethought, we were prepared with two snow shovels, and a scraper for our car windows. We also have a nice metal garden shovel and an old broom. We used all of these implements to ensure compliance with the city's Snow and Ice Removal Ordinance.

On a related note, my back is as old as I am, making my back a 36-year-old back. That's a pretty old back. You know what else? My 36-year-old back hurts quite a bit after shoveling snow all morning. So did Erin's 3N-year-old back (where N is an integer between 0 and 9).

These simple facts inspired us to look into snow-shoveling ergonomics. It turns out that there are, in fact, ergonomic snow shovels, much like the one our neighbor was using this morning. We just purchased a Suncast SC3250 18-inch Poly Snow Shovel Pusher With Ergonomic S-Handle (hereafter the SC18PSSPWESH, for brevity). We'll see how well it works the next time it snows. We also have to wait until it is delivered, which I'm not 100% certain will happen with the roads as they are right now, so here's to better weather in the next 5-7 business days.

Also, I hope that the handle of our SC18PSSPWESH isn't defective like it was for this poor fellow:

I don't know if Carlito "Babushka" Brigante is serious or joking. I don't really think it matters.

Amy P said…
It snows in Sierra Leone?
Julie said…
Oh, well, over in Somerville, they gave us some super sweet videos for how to stretch before shoveling.

http://www.somervillema.gov/snow-emergency-procedures/important-shoveling-information

:)

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…