Nick, looking unnecessarily stern, as generated by OpenAI

Hi, I'm Nick. This is where I write about things.

It's been a very long time — way more than a decade I think — since I had a personal website that actually got maintained with any sort of regularity.

This means I am really out of practice.

In the intervening years, I've posted a few times at these places:

... but having my own site sounds fun for the first time in a long time. So here I am.

A Hot Shower

Recently, and rather unexpectedly, I purchased a new hot water heater. I discovered I was about to make this purchase in the shower, as I suspect is the usual way.

After the hot water heater was installed, I took the opportunity to adjust the temperature of the new hot water heater to hotter than “default,” but not all the way to “your skin will melt off.” My hope was that the upstairs shower — which had always gotten “hot enough” but only when the dial was rotated all the way to the left — would now have a “too hot” setting that could be “rotated to the right.”

Happily, the plan worked, but a new problem emerged.

Let’s say the minimum temperature of my shower is Tmin and the maximum temperature of the shower is Tmax. If the shower dial can be rotated 180°, then each degree of shower dial rotation corresponds 1/180th of the range of temperatures:

T max - T min = Range of possible temperatures

When I increased Tmax at the hot water heater, that range of possible temperatures got wider — and as such, every degree of shower dial rotation now means a corresponding larger change in temperature.

Plugging in some real numbers, if the old hot water heater was set to 120°F (Tmax), and the minimum temperature that came out of the wall was 50°F:

T max = 120°F T min = 50°F

… then previously every degree of rotation of the shower dial provided:

120°F - 50°F 180° rotation = 0.39°F of temperature change per degree rotated

If the new hot water heater is set at the higher 140°F, then every degree of dial rotation now corresponds to:

140°F - 50°F 180° rotation = 0.50°F of temperature change per degree rotated

While it doesn’t seem that an additional 0.11°F per 1° of rotation (0.50°F - 0.39°F) could possibly make much difference, I assure you it is now much more challenging to find a comfortable shower temperature.

Clearly I’ve been thinking about this, while fiddling with the dial in the shower, quite a bit since my purchase.

Today, in a moment of serendipity, I bumped into a manifesto on shower temperature control from Ben Holmen. In it he discovers, and laments, that of all the possible positions on the shower dial only around 10% result in comfortable shower temperatures. He has the graphs to back it up too.

It seems that $500 solutions to this problem exist, because of course they do, but at that price a little extra adjusting of the dial doesn’t seem quite so bad.

Kona Sunset

It’s currently -9°F where I am. Wouldn’t mind being here again instead.

Kona Sunset

Cistercian Numerals: More fun with numbers, this time with unique symbols up to 10,000

Kaktovik Numerals: A base-20 number system that visually simplifies arithmatic (a little)

The James Web Space Telescope is finding too many early galaxies

Goosenecks Before the Storm

Goosenecks Before The Storm

The Unexpected Heaviosity of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Steve Almond’s (very very late) review of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

The sequence lasts barely a minute. It is an astonishing piece of physical humor, an emotional ballet worthy of Chaplin. Hell, it’s one of the best pieces of acting I’ve ever seen, period. Because it’s not just funny, it’s heartbreaking. We are watching a kid utterly crippled by his own conflicted impulses, torn between outrage and obedience.

This to That: How to (literally) glue things together

Don't Be Precious

Right. One post up and I’ve already started the cycle of being overly cautious about what gets posted here.

Or maybe not. This went up instead of nothing.

Cory Doctorow: Social Quitting