Becoming Batman

Well, I suppose it was inevitable but they've done it. Someone has finally made a TV show about my mission. Yup...

...OK so it's on YouTube not TV.

...OK so it's not about me but it is about someone becoming Batman... Just like me.
And it does mirror my life exactly.

...OK maybe not exactly... maybe...

Just watch it, already!

Goddamn Batman



I've have a new goal:
One September 19th I'll run a triathlon to demonstrate to myself that this summer's physical training should be considered a success.
I always thought triathlons were longer but I'll be
Swimming 500 m
Cycling 26 km
Running 5 km

This makes it a "sprint"-triathlon. I'd rather try an "olympic"-triathlon of
Swimming 1.5 km
Cycling 40 km
Running 10 km
but this Triathlon doesn't have that as an option.
Batman running


A blog after my own heart

Superman Beats BatmanNow that's what I'm talking about! Remember when I used to do superhero-related Fermi Problems? Well check out this out: there's this blog called Polite Dissent and last month he asked a Fermi problem: Could Superman cure cance?
I loved the post and I'm sure you will too.
Supergirl vs Batgirl


Oh bother

This weekend I went buildering for the first time. What a disaster.

I shimmied-up a couple of floors between two buildings with a narrow alley between them and made it to the roof. But not without some trouble, mind you. The problem? My shoes for sure. I decided that the best footwear would be my old wrestling shoes. I thought that my wall climbing shoes wouldn't be good because I couldn't walk to the site I choice for my virgin climb. Plus in climbing shoes I couldn't run off or jump down if I needed to. So I chose my wrestling shoes as the next best thing since they are close-fitting like climbing shoes. Not a good choice.

The soles are all wrong. Climbing shoes are smooth but rubbery. Wrestling shoes are smooth but nearly as soft. Any time I took pressure off my hands, my feet would slip. Not fun. With all that slipping you'd better believe that I wasn't silent as a ninja. Not a chance.

I think even runners would have been a better choice. If you have any ideas about better footwear leave a comment because I don't have a clue.
Calvin and Hobbes as Batman and Robin



TV BatgirlIf there is one thing that is often missing from the commonly shown contents of Batman's utility belt:

A simple police scanner!

Now I suppose in the high-techie sort of portrail of Batman there is probably a nano-scanner or some such thing built in his mantel. And of course, he is often shown with a high-tech communications system for communicating with his allies.

But a low scale, independent Batman doesn't need those things. What he needs is a handheld scanner radio. In fact, there's a pretty good argument why Batman would go low-tech for this kind of thing: If it's just a reciever and not an emitter no one should be able to track him. Scanners are completely passive.

So what is a scanner radio? A scanner is a radio receiver that scans multiple frequencies looking for transmitions.

The idea is simple but some of the details can get confusing unless they are explained chronologically rather than as they come up. Back in the 1930s people like the police would broadcast through AM radio stations so that anyone with a radio could hear. In order to have their own channel, they would change to a less public frequency. Of course, then and now anybody could just follow them and keep listening as long as they could tune into that channel. Each channel required a specific quartz-crystal which so that your radio could tune in. So the crystal almost acted like a key.

It wasn't until the 1970s that programmable scanner radios allowed you to type in any frequency (in the scanner's range) and listen in.

It turned out that some channels tended to get way more traffic than others. Just imagine say an taxi company. Each of the cars maybe has its own car-to-car channel with every other car. Most of the time these aren't being used. But imagine being the dispatcher. Every car is calling the dispatcher all the time! The dispatcher's channel is busy!

So to alleviate this all the frequencies are pooled together and a “site controller” gives each channel to a frequency. Then after a while he rotates them. The scanner radios then automatically follow because hidden in the transmittion you are currently listening to is the next frequency that the channel will be using. This is all called trunking. A trunk tracker scanner radio can follow this automatically.

Of course, today even radio communication of this sort is heavily digital but we won't go there.

For more information you need to check out:
Police Scanner Info
HAM Universe
Radio Scanner Guide