atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#1119: Record cold in Crete

As I was driving to the bank this afternoon, I saw that the sign at the Village Hall was reporting the correct time and A temperature:

-196°F.

No wonder I didn't need the air conditioning on today.

* * *

The nearest weather station to my home frequently reports high temperatures, and I haven't seen its data on Weather Underground for a few days, now. I mean, when the stations around it were reporting temps in the 70s, this thing was saying it was almost 90°. Look at the 24-hour plot and you'd see the temperature take a sudden sharp upswing around 6 or 7 AM--just when, I was pretty sure, the sun would be striking the thermometer. As long as the sun wasn't up, the temps agreed with the surrounding stations, but with the sun in the sky, they were 10-15 degrees higher than anyone else.

Apparently this got noticed because, as I said, I haven't seen that data for a few days.

* * *

Thanks to Steven I've been fiddling around with Microsoft Worldwide Telescope. It's pretty cool, particularly the way you can run the clock fast or slow, reverse or forward.

And it actually works, unlike that horrible thing I downloaded--whatever it was, whenever it was--that was supposed to be an amateur astronomer's best friend and didn't even know that Alpha Centauri is a freaking binary, and crashed the GDI when I tried to do something.

Yes, I'm sure the pay version was "much better". No, I would never have bought it based on that crappy demo version, not even if I were an amateur astronomer desperate for some kind of astronomy software. Not with major factual errors and program bugs. (How hard is it to write a program that doesn't make the GDI cough up dicks? I mean, in that persistent "time to reboot" way?)

* * *

Today was a great day to cut the grass, though, with the high temperature of 72°F and all. I got up, had breakfast, and then fired up the tractor. I got the grass cut, then had a shower--and took Mom to get the shopping done.

I discovered, tardily, that the tractor has "reverse operating mode", which allows you to cut grass while backing up.

The manufacturer obviously is worried about lawsuits because there are placards and warnings all over the place about where kids should be while you're cutting grass with this thing. It even goes so far as to show a kid being run over and having his foot cut off--you know, in that generic "international no" sign way--to make the point.

Because of this, I was under the impression that there was no way to leave the blades engaged while you were in reverse--if you start the thing normally and let go of the key once it's running, and try to engage reverse while the blades are going, the engine shuts off. I thought that was annoying, stupid, and excessively nanny-ish.

But the key switch has "Off", "ROS", "RUN" and "START" positions, and it was that "ROS" one which caught my attention: wait, what's that for? And then I realized that the manufacturer had realized how inconvenient it is for you to have to shut off the blades every time you want to back up--so instead of making it impossible, they just made it so that you had to actively choose to be able to do it.

And so I tried it out today, and was pleased that I could, after all, back up without disengaging blades, shifting to reverse, maneuvering, shifting to forward, re-engaging blades--all I had to do was stop, pop in reverse, and back up. Great!

...once again demonstrating that it never hurts to read the freaking manual. *sigh*
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