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qwerty snake

Inspired by tweets from the Bronx Zoo's escaped cobra.

To say how many people live in Lone Pine requires a definition of "in Lone Pine". With no city government and no city limits, the most official definition of Lone Pine is as a census-designated place, for which the US Census Bureau has assigned a polygonal boundary and an internal point. You can hope that the internal point marks the centroid but you cannot count on it:
For many geographic entities, the internal point is at or near the geographic center of the entity. For some irregularly shaped entities (such as those shaped like a crescent), the calculated geographic center may be located outside the boundaries of the entity. In such instances, the internal point is identified as a point inside the entity boundaries nearest to the calculated geographic center and, if possible, within a land polygon.
Lone Pine's internal point, not guaranteed to be the centroid but nonetheless specified to about one centimeter accuracy, (36.5744471,‑118.0806101), is not very far from my house. Were I living there and blissfully unemployed as I was two years ago, I would go mark it with a flag or a rock or something.

By the 2010 census, 2035 people live within the the Lone Pine CDP, which has an area of 49,766,108 square meters (about 19.2 square miles). Manhattan's street grid is 200 years old. City commissioners
... could not but bear in mind that a city is to be composed principally of the habitations of men, and that straight-sided and right-angled houses are the most cheap to build and the most convenient to live in. The effect of these plain and simple reflections was decisive.
Manhattan has become synonymous with rectilinearity; printed circuit and IC design often refers to Manhattan distance between points to be connected.

Devotees of geodesic dome houses cite their low ratio of surface area to enclosed volume--but a dome-shaped volume is hard to use, and dome houses pose nontrivial construction problems.

The overwhelming preponderance of boxy buildings makes the occasional exceptions all the more endearing. Most everyone in New York likes the Flatiron Building. As promised, more words from Seymour Cray.
From a 1982 interview in Datamation magazine:

Datamation: What has surprised you most in how your products are used? What are you learning about the use of your products?
Cray: I just design these things for myself. I'm always surprised when other people use them. I don't know what all this supercomputer talk is about. They certainly aren't supercomputers; they are kind of simple, dumb things.
Datamation: But they run fast and apparently that is making a big impression.
Cray: Apparently that is important.
Datamation: What has surprised you most about your competitors?
Cray: You mean there are some of those? There probably are--I just haven't looked.
Datamation: When you take a look at the industry today ...
Cray: I never look back and I never look sideways.
Datamation: Do you ever worry or think ...
Cray: Never, never!
Datamation: What has surprised you most about your market?
Cray: I certainly have been surprised by the market. We keep selling computers to the same old people and they are getting old at the same rate that I am. We don't even need introductions when we come out with a new computer because we already know the people. It's just the same market for us over and over again. We sell a machine a month. We've always sold a machine a month. Pretty soon those people are going to start dying off--then what's going to happen?
From yesterday's travels back to Colorado:
after IYK->LAX
Is it a good thing or a bad thing when the pilot starts looking the landing gear over?
Curta calculator Today's topic is computers in cylindrical packages. I offer two examples, both of which were not only attractively cylindrical but also performed well and were highly coveted machines of their respective ilks.

The first example is the Curta calculator. I had a chance to use one around 35 years ago and can report that it works and sounds every bit as cool as you'd expect it would from how it looks. It's satisfying to use in the way a fine mechanical camera is. If I hadn't lost a lot of the desire to have things just to have them, I'd want to buy one right now.

The second example is the Cray-1. Some subsequent Cray machines were also cylindrical, but the Cray-1 is the original iconic item. Seymour Cray said the aesthetics added about 10% to its cost but that it paid off. (I can't say that Cray was the only one to ever recognize that people will pay for cool-looking computers, but I think he had better taste than Steve Jobs.)

From a Cray-1 brochure:
The aesthetics of the machine have not been neglected.
I'll post more words from Seymour Cray some time. He was a curious character.

Curta photo by Larry McElhiney; used by permission