Adventures with Infrared

I have a thermal imaging camera made by FLIR Systems. These cameras are really interesting devices; they pick up long-wavelength infrared radiation (wavelengths of 8-12μm, versus 380-750nm for visible light). We’ve all seen objects heated until they’re hot enough to glow visibly, but it takes a lot less heat to glow in the infrared spectrum!


Why, you might ask, do I have a thermal camera? Because. That’s why. Actually, there is a reason.

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Do You Know Someone Named “Old Lady?”

So I’m waiting for a package to be delivered via FedEx SmartPost. SmartPost is designed to reduce costs associated with the “last mile” of delivery. Stuff travels via FedEx to the local post office, then the U.S. Postal Service handles the actual delivery.

My experience with SmartPost service has been terrible, but this was bad even by dealing-with-the-post-office standards.

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Site Update

I’ve run this website since 1996. I haven’t updated it frequently, in part because it’s never been really easy to do so. A few minutes ago, I noticed that the last major update to the landing page was made in 2002, over a decade ago.

So I’m going to attempt to promote the tools I’d used for a few blog postings (the last of which was, embarrassingly, in 2008) to be the primary content management mechanism for the website. I’m hopeful this will be an easy process—because technology upgrades are never more complicated than expected, right?

Weak Links

I’ve had a couple of opportunities this week to reflect on the reliability of complex systems. None of these thoughts are especially profound, but they’re nonetheless interesting.

Earlier in the week, a line of powerful thunderstorms rolled through the DC area. At one point, over 25% of the region was without power. Most of the outages were brief, though there are a few places that are still awaiting power restoration two days later.

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