## Monday, April 3, 2023

### How to fly a plane forever without landing

The radius of the earth is around 3,969 miles1. Most storm clouds top out around 75,000 feet, or 14.2 miles2. So, to stay above the clouds, you'd need to be flying around 3,983.2 miles from the center of the earth. Let's round that to 4,000 miles. Given a circle with a radius of 4,000 miles, that gives you a circumference of 25,132.74 miles (recall that circumference is calculated by "C = 2 ⋅ π ⋅ r"). We're calculating this circumference in order for a solar powered plane to stay above the clouds (since we want it to fly forever).

Now, the sun "moves across" a point on the earth in roughly 24 hours (really, the point on the earth rotates in about 24 hours to return to face the sun, but from the point's perspective, or the earth's perspective, the sun is racing across the ground (from East to West) to return to that point). For that circumference, you're looking at a speed of around 1,047 miles per hour (25,132 miles / 24 hours ≈ 1,047 miles/hour). Note that speed is greater than the speed of sound, which is roughly 767 mph3, but a good bit under mach 2.

So, send your solar plane up (while the sun is up, of course; preferably while it's fairly directly overhead), get up to around 1,050 mph (rounding here), and fly due West. You should never have to land that plane, ever, as you'll stay "under the sun" perpetually. Hooray! Just be sure to wear sunscreen and shades if you're actually piloting that plane (since you'll be always in the sun); I'd recommend just sending up a drone solar powered plane instead and let it radio you once per day as it flies overhead. Oh, and be sure to get this approved from the FAA before you start, and maybe every other nation's equivalent, too. And alert the Pentagon so they don't shoot down your "spy craft."4

## Saturday, April 1, 2023

### The Grandfarter

I asked AI to write a story based off the following tagline:

This is the story of a man, whose children had children, who initially succumbed to his flatulence, but ultimately came to embrace it. He is… the Grandfarter.

Here is the story:

The Grandfarter was a man of many talents. He was a skilled woodworker, a talented musician, and a loving husband and father. But there was one thing that The Grandfarter was most known for: his flatulence.

The Grandfarter's gas was legendary. It was loud, it was smelly, and it was frequent. His family and friends would often joke about his flatulence, but The Grandfarter himself never seemed to mind. In fact, he seemed to take pride in it.

One day, The Grandfarter's children came to him with a proposition. They had decided to start a family band, and they wanted The Grandfarter to be their drummer. The Grandfarter was hesitant at first, but his children eventually convinced him to give it a try.

The Grandfarter's drumming was a hit with the band's fans. His loud, booming farts added a unique sound to the band's music, and the fans loved it. The band quickly became one of the most popular bands in the country, and The Grandfarter was known as the "Grandfarter" all over the world.

The Grandfarter was happy with his new life. He loved being a musician, and he loved making people laugh with his flatulence. He was finally able to embrace his unique talent, and he was proud of who he was.

One day, The Grandfarter was playing a show in a small town. After the show, a young boy came up to him and said, "Mr. Grandfarter, I want to be just like you when I grow up."

The Grandfarter smiled and said, "You can be anything you want to be, son. Just believe in yourself."

The young boy smiled back and said, "I will, Mr. Grandfarter. I promise."

The Grandfarter was touched by the young boy's words. He knew that he had made a difference in the boy's life, and that was all that mattered to him.

The Grandfarter continued to play music and make people laugh for many years. He was a true inspiration to everyone who knew him, and he will be remembered for his unique talent and his kind heart.

## Sunday, March 6, 2022

### Visa has picked the wrong way to "support" Ukraine

Visa (and Mastercard) are suspending operations in Russia. Specifically, as regards Visa, cards issued inside Russia will not work outside of Russia, and cards issued outside Russia will not work inside Russia. Who does this hurt? Not the Russian government, which is responsible for the invasion into Ukraine. It hurts Russian citizens traveling outside Russia and non-Russian citizens traveling inside Russia (generalizing here to citizens having his Visa cards issued from their country of citizenship). Say you're doing business, vacation, mission work, or other general travel, and suddenly you are unable to pay for your hotel, buy food, or pay for travel, you're stuck in a foreign land with your payment means unavailable (assuming you didn't convert a bunch of cash to local currency upon arrival). Not sure that move by Visa (and Mastercard) is in the best interest of their customers, or that it will have much impact on pressuring the Russian government to end its invasion. (Not saying we shouldn't be doing things, just that we shouldn't be doing the wrong things and instead we should be doing the right things. Maybe Visa and Mastercard could, instead of stranding their customers, donate the profits from the fees on the use of their cards, Russian outside Russia and non-Russian inside Russia, to defense or humanitarian relief in Ukraine.)

## Saturday, January 1, 2022

### Welcome to 2022!

Happy new year! I left off my blog posts mid-May of 21, and there's no guarantee that 22 will be any more regular than 21, but we'll see. At least 21 ended much less eventfully (and less expensively) than 2020. Since the last post in May, my wife has taken the position of preschool director at our church's preschool, and what a first half year it's been for her! She's often at work well before 7 am and not home till after 6 pm, and I've taken up a lot of cooking (I do like to eat, so it was of necessity, at least at first). I've found I actually enjoy it much of the time, and many (but not all) of the meals have been pretty good. Maybe I'll share some recipes with you sometime (the oddest things I've cooked so far: squid bodies in a Brazilian black rice recipe and Szechuan peppercorns in Mapo Tofu). And maybe I'll get back to blogging. And maybe the next post will be more entertaining. Until then, though, happy new year, and a topato! Oh, and here's a picture of some turkeys: