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You are visitor #82756!Sunday, August 14, 2022

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Message from the webmaster

OK, random thing happened. Someone wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily Universe (my school's newspaper) that irked me a funny sort of way. It went something like this (any grammatical errors and lack of punctuation here should be his):

Can you get it right?

I graduated from BYU last December. I now work for a law firm in Washington D.C. I love BYU, and I root for our Cougars all the way from the East Coast.

Let me tell you, though, that a few nights ago I a little embarrassed to be a BYU alumnus. On Jay Leno's Tonight Show, Leno ran a segment called "Jay Walking" where he interviewed random people on the street and asked them basic questions, this time about U.S. history.

I cringed when I saw that Leno's college-aged interviewee was wearing a BYU sweatshirt. He asked the young woman who discovered electricity. She thought for a while and responded, "Alexander Graham Bell."

I guess she couldn't hear me yelling, "Benjamin Franklin!!" at the TV.

Now, I realize that this girl was on the spot, and was probably a little nervous to be on TV but come on!

Doesn't everyone at BYU take American Heritage? Isn't BYU a few steps back from becoming the Harvard of the West? Let's let our light and common sense shine (especially on national TV).

Naturally I saw something wrong with this article, mainly that Benjamin Franklin didn't discover electricity in the first place. So I wrote a letter to the editor. And it got published in the Daily Universe the next week. Statistically, that basically means I'm psycho and have no concept of the real world, based on what I observe among about 80% of those who write in to the Daily Universe. Here is the letter they published from me:

It was the Greeks!

In a previous letter to the editor, a BYU Alum wrote that he cringed when a BYU-dressed interviewee on Jay Leno's "Jay Walk" said Alexander Graham Bell discovered electricity. According to him, anyone who took American Heritage should know who discovered electricity.

I didn't watch the show that night, but I'd be more embarrassed if I were on the Tonight Show staff and happened to ask who discovered electricity in the context of American History.

I learned about the roots of electricity in Physics 220, not in American Heritage. Although Benjamin Franklin was clever enough to identify lightning as electricity and invent the lightning rod, more than 2,000 years earlier, Thales of Miletus noted that small bits of straw would stick to amber that had been rubbed. The name "Electricity" comes from the Greeks, and "elektron" means "amber."

William Gilbert wrote about electricity and magnetism in 1600, Niccolo Cabeo discovered electrostatic repulsion in the early 1600s, Otto von Guericke successfully produced a powerful electric charge in 1672, Stephen Gray was experimenting with conductivity in 1729, duFay discovered that there were two kinds of electricity in 1733, and Franklin did his kite thing in 1752.

The next time you feel like yelling at your TV, yell, "The Greeks! It was the Greeks!"

Yep, that was me.

Competitive updates:

Tetris top 10:

1 ClinkMang 1107999996 18
2 The Pwner 1107999990 2
3 trevor 999999999 2
4 ClinkMang 385753294 53
5 ClinkMang 21569365 51
6 ClinkMang 2797400 368
7 Dave 2158800 627
8 Matthew on Nigel's slow computer 2158700 624
9 klk 859900 182
10 Greg Easton 855000 186

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View entire list

Breakout top 10:

1 chris telfer 582300 11
2 WOW im Good AT this CHRIS TELFER 526400 10
3 Mike 518000 10
4 chris telfer more then a name breakout more then a game 512100 11
5 Evelyn 508500 11
6 to be a telfer is to be a god o ya im great at this game 501300 11
7 Joshua 500600 10
8 Matthew 499900 10
9 tom telfer not its chris 497700 11
10 Sariah 488700 11

Play Breakout
View entire list
Quote/Misquote of the day
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"You look at someone's cat over there and they'll charge you 25 cents."
-Daniel Ray on Finnish economics

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Thursday, October 16, 2003And more than a year later and no website look and feel update for quite some time, and I figured I'd comment on changes I've made recently. For one thing, there are 6 new applets since last time I posted an update (I don't make them in the mass that I used to, because I program a lot of other things. However, they're as high-quality as ever). Among them is GIAWA, the weather applet I spent a good amount of time getting to work, in spite of system administrators who wanted me to fail. Also, Toxic Field Sweeper - a Minesweeper-like game with fun little animations. Then Kiaba, a totally graphically overhauled version of Breakout with some special features. Then there are 3 new versions of CS 142 labs - a more versitile Polygon drawing program, a Magic square generator that looks like the Matrix, and a Moon generator that generates a randomly rough 3-D moon with random craters, and surrounds it with stars. Enjoy!
Tuesday, June 25, 2002The page appears to be back up after some network reconfiguration that took out Perl for awhile... that screwed some things up for a couple days, so if you were here and you got something about an "Internal Server Error" (error 500), that's what was going on. It may appear that I've been ignoring this page for awhile, when in fact I've been hard at work on a whole new page layout that should be much more attractive. See the prototype here.
Tuesday, April 30, 2002The semester's over, and some stuff has happened since the last time I logged an update. For one, I'm getting married soon, and my wedding registry is up. So get me stuff!!! Anyways, beyond that, I added some cool features to the Complex fractals applet, and there may be some room for refinement yet. It will be interesting, and I think you'll like what's there now.
Thursday, April 11, 2002Haven't had a lot of time to update things or change things, most of the changes I've made recently have been small (like fixing a bug in the high scores lists). I decided to just upload my Complex Fractal applet and if I decide to change it later, so be it. I also played a game of Tetris on my friend, Nigel's P-133 and got 624 lines/2158700 points. I might take it off the list later, but I thought it was cool :-p
Tuesday, March 19, 2002Since the CS 142 guys are doing lab 10 now, I made some changes to my version of the lab (the shapes applet in the Applets section). It's interactive now, so if anyone feels like playing with it, go for it.
Monday, March 18, 2002I added an ascii table that I just coded up- you know your script is useful if the perl code is shorter than the html code it generates ;-) Feel free to view source on it, too, you'll notice that it's a humorous ascii table. I might add a translator to it soon, as well.
Saturday, March 9, 2002Bug fix on Breakout- you can no longer die after you finish the level.
Thursday, March 7, 2002I made some improvements on the site, mostly minor, you may notice the alternating colors on the high score lists like I did the message boards. I broke out the java, too, and made some changes and fixes on Tetris, see the tetris page for more information. Also, the high score lists allow sorting by lines/level as well as score now, so people could play for either if they want and be at the top of one list.
Wednesday, March 6, 2002I decided to tweak the colors a bit, went for more of a blue theme, and I figured out from a friend's webpage how to make it so the links aren't underlined until you move your mouse over them. Thought it was classy. Anyways, that was the reason for the color change, since it was confusing with white text and white links, I decided shades of blue links was better, and then the red stuck out, and well, you get the idea. A complete change was made.
Saturday, March 2, 2002I figured out today that there was a bug in my discussion boards. In all fairness, there were two. I think I restored all messages that were misdirected to the right place, though, and they should all be working fine now. The other bug was that it didn't allow carriage returns, I had accomodated that, but I didn't do it right, now it should really work :-)
Friday, March 1, 2002I made some improvements on random parts of the site, mostly not visible changes. I track hits on my applets, some don't get visited most days, others get 30-50 hits a day sometimes (like Tetris). I wrote a few new scripts, but they're mostly administrative (you may have noticed the "Administrative Login" at the bottom left), just to make my life easier as far as updates and changes. Feel free to post suggestions and bugs in the discussion boards.
Thursday, February 28, 2002I added a small message board (which may snowball into a large one some day, who knows), mainly for the purpose of reporting bugs and such. I can't ever seen to get all of them :-p I added a link to the index page to go to the discussion board in general, and several parts of the site have links to the bugs/suggestions part of it. I also found the bug in my script to add quotes to the random quote list, so that's up and running and in use. I also have a semi-functional hit tracker up, as you can see the hit count in the top left. I'll probably add one to a few more scripts, but I don't plan on displaying a hit count on those ones, just tracking hits for my own statistical data. I also fixed a few wrong links.
Wednesday, February 27, 2002I worked out the bugs in this script and added the quote of the day to it. I still have to get some evasive bug out of the script that will hopefully let people add quotes soon.
Tuesday, February 26, 2002I finally basically have my e-cards site finished, so I thought it would finally be time to put in an index page with links to everything and info on the most important stuff. Hopefully it will all be finished soon.

All applets and scripts were developed by Matthew Reeder. Please get my permission before using these applets on your own site.
(And trust me, it will be easier if I help you use them :-p)