From The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Few people realize this, but cutting down the trees is one of the things that keeps us Malawians poor. Without the trees, the rains turn to floods and wash away the soil and all its minerals. The soil — along with loads of garbage — runs into the Shire River, clogging up the dams with silt and trash and shutting down the turbine. Then the power plant has to stop all operations and dredge the river, which in turn causes power cuts. And because this process is so expensive, the power company has to charge extra for electricity, making it even more difficult to afford. So with no crops to sell because of drought and floods, and with no electricity because of clogged rivers and high prices, many people feed their families by cutting down trees for firewood or selling it for charcoal. It’s like that.

Equations between WordPress, Open Office and LaTeX

Equations in WordPress

These are the steps to create LaTeX equations on blogs.

  1. Install and activate Jetpack.
  2. Connect your self-hosted WordPress blog with your account by going to “Settings” of the Jetpack plugin.
  3. I prefer to use Open Office Writer to type equations. To turn these formulas into LaTeX format, I downloaded and installed Writer 2 Latex. (To install the plugin, I double-clicked two different .oxt files: writer2latex.oxt and writer4latex.oxt. I’m not sure what the difference is, but it seems to work.)
  4. Once you have Writer 2 Latex installed, a “LaTeX” menu item should appear. You can click that and a LaTeX document will appear in the same directory as the OOWriter document you’re working in.
  5. You can then open the .tex file with, as I do, Notepad++ or another text editor.
  6. Alternatively, you can go to a site like this one.

Continue reading Equations between WordPress, Open Office and LaTeX

HJC CL-15 Helmet Screws

I recently had a screw break off while I was tightening it.

After digging around a bit for a replacement, I discovered that a pan head M6 X 1.00 X 5MM screw will work.

As you can see in the photo, 5MM refers to the length of the screw. I think the 1.00 refers to the head, which is very close to 1cm in diameter.

Initially, I replaced the broken screw with a steel screw from Lowe’s. Despite the fact that the Lowe’s screw was 1cm in length, it still worked. However, I reasoned that HJC uses short, plastic screws, possibly, because they are less likely to penetrate your skull if you’re ever in an accident.

I was forced to order the nylon screws in bulk. So, I have 99 of them left at the moment. If you need one, send me note. I will send you a few for cheap.

How do they calculate what your monthly auto loan payment will be?

So, I recently bought a new vehicle and was wondering how my monthly payments were figured out. After digging around a bit, I found this site where a high school teacher has posted the formula as an exercise for her students.

Well, I thought I would share this gem in case anybody else is interested.


You can go to this site and the Almighty Internet will give you the same answer.

Alternatively, you can download this document I made in Open Office Calc (free) and see, with your own eyes, what’s going on.

I would love to know, if anyone ever reads this, how the initial finance charge is decided. I thought about it, fruitlessly, until my brain hurt.

Here is the problem:
You have a principal amount of $4049.00. Your finance charge is calculated to be $538.12. Your interest rate is 8.29%. What formula was used to arrive at the value $538.12?

Labour Day

For this Labour Day, I just want to say how wonderful it is that our country can honor great Americans like birther leader Octomom (Alfred Molina). We should all praise her and anyone else who has willingly and patriotically forgone collective bargaining rights in favor of great deals on mattresses (40-50% off) at JCPenney.

Many of my “friends” won’t re-post this because they died in the Bill Pullman strike of 1894. Cowards.