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Showing posts from November, 2004

Define "Upbeat"

A friend of mine recently announced that he was going to coordinate a mix-CD swap. If I wanted to participate, I'd have to pick a bunch of songs I liked that matched the theme, burn a couple CD's of them, and mail them to addresses I'd be provided. In return I'd get a couple CD's of songs picked by other quasi-random people. So I decided to participate. Theme: upbeat. Now... there are at least three definitions I can think of for "upbeat." Things that are up-tempo, things that inspire, or things that cheer one up. So... it wound up being a little bit of a mix. Up-tempo songs and instrumentals, songs with inspiring lyrics, and songs that were just plain funny or silly to make people laugh. Here are the songs I chose. If you recognize  every  group named here, let me know immediately - that would indicate that you're me, and something is wrong with the fabric of reality. 1.  Greetings  by Star People. 2.  Starman  by Star People. 3. 

Time of Useful Consciousness

Time of Useful Consciousness (TUC) is the sort of number none of us ever want to have to deal with in everyday life. Simply put, for any given altitude above sea level, TUC is how long you have before you black out - and probably never come to. Wonderful, eh? For example, at 35,000 feet - a nice, normal cruising altitude for a jet airliner - the TUC is about 30 seconds. So when the nice cabin crew tell you "in the unlikely event of a sudden change in cabin pressure, a mask compartment above your seat will open automatically," they leave out the that by the way, you've got 30 seconds to get it on and get that oxygen flowing. Anyway, as you go lower, the TUC gradually gets longer, and at 15,000 feet or less, it's presumed to be "indefinite." This doesn't necessarily mean that everyone can hang around at 15,000 feet for as long as they want without blacking out, but some people might manage it, so there's not a handy little number. Of