Thursday, November 15, 2012

Big Iron

Sometimes this blogging everyday in November process seems almost endless. Maybe this photo graphically captures that feeling. It's the track that carries the Empire Builder to Chicago and points in between.

It was a beautiful day in Minnesota. Almost too beautiful.  It was bright, sunny and made it to 54ยบ here in the saintly city. I had a couple of longish walks, mostly on non-essential errands, but they were a pretty nice way to spend some daylight hours. In the late morning, I hiked to Penzey's Spice store on Grand near Dale to buy some spices. They have a fine array of cinnamon from Indonesia, Viet Nam, China, and probably a couple of other countries. I bought 2.2 ounces of Korintje cinnamon from Indonesia, along with .3 ounces of dill weed from California, and .7 ounces of French Sweet Basil.  Korintje is the smooth cinnamon typically used in baking.  I use quite a lot of it.

After lunch I hiked the long way to Trader Joe's, carrying my camera and looking for bloggable content.  As usual there is something along the way that piques my curiosity and I often can use it in this blog.  Joe's was crowded today, but I was there on a non-critical mission, so I enjoyed the trip and the casual banter with the check-out person as I left the store.  She was from Chippewa Falls and,  noticing the logo on my cap, asked me about my relationship to Cray, Inc.  I confessed that I had spent many long, dark hours in Chippewa Falls trying to get my buggy software to run on test hardware in the labs.  She opined that Chippewa Falls is better known for Leinenkugel's Beer than for Cray computers.  I agreed and told her of the Cray practice in the old days of including a case of Leinie's with every supercomputer delivery.

Here's a photo that may or may not supply confidence in human ingenuity. Or perhaps wonder whether this is the best solution for a fairly evident problem by the electricity royalty.  This fix for rotted pole wood is found near the tracks on Ben Hill near here.  Pretty honderamic, no?

The Cray XK7 became the world's fastest computer lately with delivery of the Titan system to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Cray has been at the top before.  This system executes 17.59 petaflops of performance - that's 17.59 quadrillions of instruction per second.  It replaces an IBM machine called Sequoia at Lawrence Livermore Labs.  There is actually a list that enumerates the 500 fasted computer systems, sometimes known as Big Iron, in the world.

 It's almost time for Thursday night tennis, and I'm getting ready for some hard-core competition.


Santini said...

Oooh. Nice way to tie it all together. Big iron -- computers and railroads. Nice writing.

JB had just passed on to me the information about Cray having the fastest computer in the world (again) as I read your blog. So that info spread at the speed of petaflops.

This whole honderamic term may need to be explained.

Nice dissertation on cinnamon.

Gino said...

From a purely track construction perspective that doesn't look like what I remember the main line passenger line looking like. Is that near the station?

Jimi said...

Honderamic? I looked it up on google and it isn't defined anywhere. I think it means super or something like that. Mr Moohoo or one of his buddies made it up, I think.

Gino: The track is by Men Hill and Victoria, pretty close to 35E. The reason I know that it goes to Chicago is that when PP and I went to Holland about three years ago on the Empire Builder train, I recognized the neighborhood when we went by.

Emily Miller said...

Excellent shot of the tracks. I've taken the train to Chicago twice now and it's nice to see the route from a new perspective.

Mrs. Smith said...

I'd like to take that train to Chicago. Anyone?

Emily Miller said...

Mrs. Smith: I highly recommend it. I'd be up for it sometime next summer, perhaps?