Sam and I took on Anna, Gracen and Anna’s friend Gretchen in basketball last night. Anna gave me two black eyes.

# Nerd

## Light Log Stardate 92351.67 (Supplemental)

Last week we had 5 major lighting technologies represented in our house: incandescent, florescent, halogen, compact florescent and fire. Today I’m proud to announce the addition of LED lighting.

I tricked Lauren into doing most of the shopping on Sunday by standing in front of the light bulb display and pretending to carefully read labels. As a result, roughly half of our grocery bill was for light bulbs. I’m sure I could have bought them online for cheaper, but I wanted to buy them somewhere where I could take them back and indignantly demand my money back when they don’t last as long as they said they would.

Since this is a serious science program, we will be using two different types of bulbs. The “cheap” $7.94 (11 watts 800 lumens) Wal*mart brand Soft White General Purpose LED (non dimmable) bulb with the 3 year warranty and the $12.94 (11 watts 800 lumens) G.E. Soft White Dimmable* bulb with the 10 year warranty. **AND**, now that I take a closer look at the packaging and receipt, also the G.E. $9.94 (10.5 Watts, 800 lumens) Soft White Dimmable* bulb with the 5 year warranty.

To ensure that this a fair test of the bulb’s ability to fail exactly one day after their respective warranties expire, I will be mixing the bulbs in our (convenient for testing) 3 bulb lights.

Lauren has written the purchased date on each of the bulbs (a step that has no doubt voided their warranty already) and the plan is to use a combination of cell phone, manila folder and blog post to try to save the receipt for when the bulbs break.

As Wal*mart requires the original package for a return, we will be saving those as well. G.E. graciously only requires the Proof of Purchase (and the bulb). Wish us luck as we boldly light where no man has lit before. Was I trying too hard to tie everything back into that star date reference in the title? It felt like I was trying too hard. I’m just going to leave it.

*Dimming performance may vary. Go to: gelighting.com/dimming for more information.

## Republicanning

I was going to go home to change my shirt before going to the fair, but I ran out of time. I spent 12 hours at school yesterday and didn’t get much of anything done. The one project I was trying to do kicked me in the face at every turn. On the bright side, at the end of classes this year our phones will play the *Close Encounters of the Third Kind* alien calling notes.

So anyway, I get to the fair and there’s this booth with no one in it, so I just went around the table and started to hand things out to people as they went by. It was a lot of fun. I highly recommend it.

## It’s not white… it’s pearl!

14 years of waiting is finally over. I bought a used Prius yesterday. I also bought Lauren a tablecloth. 13 years ago I was deciding between buying a $24,000 Prius and a $14,000 Civic. The Honda won and has served in good stead for well over a decade. We purchased it the weekend after 9/11 because otherwise the terrorists would have won.

I only have one, well, make that two regrets. The first is that I didn’t make it to 300,000 miles. How many times in your life are you going to have a chance to put all 300,000 miles on a vehicle? The second is that we just sunk a fair amount of money into the Honda. Oh well. Anyone want a 13 year old vehicle with 296,000 miles on it?

I’m not exactly sure what is going on in this picture.

## Yet more wiring

When Sam was considering coming to teach in Seward about 15 months ago, I told him that all the wiring would be done when he got here. It turns out that I am not a very reliable source of information.

We were going to get to work at 7:00am yesterday. Instead we started at 10:00. We would have gotten bogged down in figuring out the best way to do things, and we knew that would happen, so we had one hard rule for yesterday’s wiring:

No thinking

Whenever one of us would attempt to think things through, we promptly put a stop to it and just kept wiring. We got 7 rooms done that way.

Lauren took all of the pictures. She will maintain that she didn’t do much to help, but we probably wouldn’t have gotten half as much done if she wasn’t there.

## Sort of a mystery

Some of you know that we have a Sommerer Family Website. Recently I posted some pages from a notebook that my Grandpa used from 1937 to about 1945. It’s where he kept notes about farm stuff. I find it fascinating in general, but I was especially intrigued by what appeared to be random ciphering on some of the pages…

First, a quick summary:

- 77 + 51 = (not finished)
- 4356 x 23 = 100188 (scribbled out)
- 4356 x 7.7 = 33541,2 + 100188 = 43560.00
- 4356 x 51 = 222156
- 43560 x 51 = 2221560 + 3357120 = 5575680
- 43560 x 51 = 2221560
- 43560 x 77 = 3354120
- 43560 x 51 = 2221560 + 3354120 = 5575680
- 77 + 51 = 128
- 43560 x 128 = 5575680

So, we see from 5, 8 & 10 that figuring out the correct answer to 128 x 43560 is important enough that Grandpa did it 3 times in 3 different ways. But why would that be so important? And although that’s what the over half of the ciphering is about, what is the importance of 2, 3 & 4 which appear only somewhat related.

I spent a fair amount of time looking at the numbers 77, 51, 23, 128 and 4356 thinking that that was the key to the problem. In hind-sight that was obviously the wrong take. I was thrown off by the 4356 and didn’t really notice the 43560.

Twenty years ago I was really familiar with the number 43560. Twenty years ago a routine part of my summer was figuring out what the average number of corn plants was per acre in a corn field. 43560 is the number of square feet in an acre.

So it seems pretty obvious now that Grandpa had a good reason to figure out that square feet in a field of 128 acres or maybe the total square feet in fields of 77 and 51 acres.

But those are really big fields for Mid Missouri in the 30s and 40s. So maybe they were fields of 7.7 and 5.1 acres respectively? Cipher #3 seems to point in that direction. Maybe Grandpa just figured he would drop the decimal point and just lop-off a zero at the end (was grandpa good at math?).

So then the only odd calculation is #2. Where does that 23 come in? Is there a field of 23 acres (or 2.3 acres) somewhere? Why doesn’t it enter into the calculations at the end like the others do.

But then a really odd number jumped out at me. The calculation for #3 uses the answer to #2. And the answer to #3 is our old friend 43560, the number of square feet in an acre. Did Grandpa just derive the number of square feet in an acre? It seems like a really strange coincidence for that particular number to come up in this context otherwise.

And if that’s what he did, how did he do it? I can never remember the number of square feet in an acre either, but I do remember that there are 5280 feet in a mile and that a square mile is 640 acres, so it’s easy to get square feet in an acre from that. But what about those other numbers? How does (4356 x 23) + (4356 x 7.7) give you the number of square feet in an acre?

And, of course, why did Grandpa need to know the number of square feet in those particular fields?