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The Thursday Newsletter - Issue #9

Dan Hugo
Dan Hugo
Guess what? It’s hot outside.

Heat Wave Shmeat Wave
It always prompts an eye roll, when the heat of the summer returns to the Southwestern US and the temperatures shoot up into triple digits, everyone declares while clutching virtual pearls that it’s outrageously hot outside. Even those who have relocated into a desert climate from elsewhere just ahead of the heat, whenever it appears, surely they have read or heard of such climactic shocks about to be unleashed upon them. No?
There are two observations and I’ll leave this for next year:
  1. If you find yourself in the Las Vegas area, the Phoenix area, around Bullhead City, in Tucson parts of Utah and New Mexico, and elsewhere, rest assured, they survive in such extreme temperatures with technology like heat pumps, evaporative coolers, chillers, water misters, fans, and so on. If you somehow do not have access to cooled air in your home or hotel room, something has gone horribly wrong.
  2. The really challenging time comes with the so-called monsoons, in July-September or so depending on where you are, where the humidity increases and doesn’t really move until it departs. After some time, the “but it’s a dry heat” humor will actually ring true, because your sweaty body will cool with evaporation when it’s 118F with 4% humidity, while 85F and 80% humidity is an entirely different challenge. I will always take the former, especially given #1 above.
Stay cool, drink water, this too shall pass.
Hackathon: The Martian and Apollo 13
I just finished reading The Martian, and if you’re reading this you’ve probably seen the movie version of that book and perhaps you’ve also seen the Apollo 13 movie. In the former our hero needs to make everything work for much longer and under less-than-ideal circumstances, in the latter the engineers on the ground need to make air handling filters and power sequences work in real time to save the crew in their damaged Apollo command module.
There are a few tales along these lines floating around out there, and certainly you’ve seen an episode or two of MacGyver (obviously Richard Dean Anderson in the titular role)… creative engineering under pressure is something that most engineers and maybe some normal people might ponder now and then, as they should. I know over the years that I have declared, that I would very much like to work with the team of techs who made the CO2 scrubber machinations work in the Apollo 13 scenario. Some day.
Anyway, I’m wondering aloud here. Hackathons are already a thing, we know that. So why not hackathons that present either real world, or fictional world recreations of challenges to overcome with limited resources and limited time. What might come of such adventure?
Here’s something that might lead to somewhere interesting along these lines, in newsletter form (this is a domain associated with a Substack newsletter at fitosci.substack.com):
FiToSci
MIT used to have their box of parts competitions, of which there appears to be little in the way of visual evidence. I saw them in segments on 60 Minutes on CBS when I was very young, but today if you ask even the biggest Maker nerds at MIT past and present, they will tilt their heads and question your sanity. The voice of experience, but I would like to find some historical documents about these competitions, which may actually have been called something else entirely. I think this modern take with real or fictional (but plausible) scenarios could be a thing.
To be continued…
Birthday Reflections
The next Substack newsletter you receive from me will be on or about my next birthday. Are you not entertained? But seriously, another trip around the sun is about to be completed, and begun. What a day!
I mentioned some birthday things in my Quoggling Sand podcast for this week. check out the show notes (the story is not in the notes, it’s in the podcast… but a link to the podcast is in the notes!):
or you can just head over to the podcast episode on Anchor.fm if you’re interested:
I moved to Las Vegas shortly after a birthday (actually about a month after) just about 8 years ago. This is not a part of the Quoggling Sand story in this week’s episode but I will say here, I have very mixed feelings about the reasons for moving to Vegas from Sunnyvale, California following a house fire and failed housing search back in 2013, and about sticking around into the future. It’s an interesting place sometimes, but is it the best place for solo entrepreneurialism? I suppose I’ll find out when CES 2022 rolls around, since locality to trade shows and conventions and whatnot is one of the upsides for those of us in the tech sector.
Of course, now that the pandemic is over (sort of?) and we can look back at 2020 as the year we all lost in one way or others, it’s a great time to look forward to even more interesting times. So reflections moving forward will likely take the form of stories and recollections here and there (I try to include a story about my tech history in the Quoggling Sand podcast, there are travel stories, relocation stories, drama stories, and many more… the first half has been interesting, to me at least).
Thanks!
The newsletter experiments have been interesting. No, I do not as yet have millions of subscribers, but the longest journeys begin with a single blog post, and that is essentially what these newsletters are built from. I’ve been reducing my engagement on the modern notion of social media and I’ve found the return to a scheduled blogging effort (several, actually) has been good not only to turn attention away from Facebook, but to recall the muscle memory of typing (and in the case of podcasts, talking) for myself without checking for Likes and Follows and whatnot.
That does not mean I won’t be happy to see new subscribers to this newsletter (or the Substack edition on Mondays, see my BMaC profile link below), listeners/subscribers to podcasts, and other interaction with actual people. This is something I think is lacking on The Platforms where the numbers mean more than the conversations. My opinion.
All that said, I have been using a Buy Me a Coffee profile page as a home base for links to newsletters, podcasts, and other projects as they come online (I should spend more time on the projects than the typing, yeah?), which also enables those interested in doing so to literally add to the caffeine supply that fuels these endeavors. There is no obligation, it’s a 2-for-1 deal (easy one-pager with links and the basic rundown, and a tip jar of sorts if you’re so inclined).
If you would like to check out the list, and re-visit this profile page now and then for updates, and whatever else you’d like to take part in from there:
Again, no obligation, this is at least a convenient hub of references to other efforts, and at most a way to garner support for the basics. As a software engineer, my focus is on revenue from software projects, but a coffee or two now and then does help the process.
So thanks for your support in whatever form you share it!
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Dan Hugo
Dan Hugo @DanHugo

Various topics of the day, whichever day, from home or abroad, about this and that and the other thing.
Engineer in Las Vegas, working on a variety of cool projects; Maker of Friends, Friend of Makers. Answers to most pronouns, you can call me Al.

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Las Vegas, NV 89101