Trying to decipher line noise?

Try the Regex Coach — this looks like a way cool way to figure out the comic-book cusswords that Perl, Awk and their friends use for regular expression matching (finding strings in longer strings).

I particularly like the tool’s ability to translate what a regular expression means into human-readable language:

Check it out!

-the Centaur

Ad Ares

Good news, everyone. I’m going to Mars!

Or, more accurately, the Mars Desert Research Station sponsored by the Mars Society.

I will be the Crew and Computer Engineer for Crew 35, which will serve from February 19th to March 6th. More news in a bit as soon as the final crew complement has stabilized …

Ad ares!

-the Centaur


Yea verily, she be frozen in the ice. Arr.

No-one in Atlanta was going much of anywhere

on Saturday … it was locked down from pretty

much morning to evening under a drizzle of

freezing rain.

So why was it much easier to get work done on

my class outlines on Sunday, when I was free to

indulge in distractions such as going out to

dinner with friends? I’d say I easily got

twice as much done on Sunday than I did on

Saturday, when it was just me, a stack of AI

textbooks, and my word processor.

Perhaps my brain needed more incubating. Or

maybe I work better under pressure. Or maybe,

just maybe, I need a fricking studio instead

of my kitchen table.


The Worst Possible Good News

I had my doctor’s appointment and the results were good though discouraging.

My bone is healing perfectly, but slowly. Clinically my arm is healing perfectly

— scar closed, swelling gone, good range of motion and promising strength —

but on the x-ray you can clearly see that the bone isn’t healed at the site of the

original break. My doc told me that while I could “return to the activities of

daily living”, it could be up to two to three months before the bone is healed

to take the weight of handstand or a nengi (taido’s spinning floor kick).

The super good news, thank God, is that my arm looks like it will completely

heal, so I don’t want to screw that up! I’ve done some research on my own,

and the doc’s projections are right on the money for what other physicians

project for a forearm break. According to my initial surveys if I was on

schedule for a break then around 10 weeks I’d be starting range of motion

therapy and at 12 weeks back to limited strengh training. I’m past 8 weeks,

so if anything I’m progressing ahead of schedule.

While I may talk to my doc about doing an early followup appointment,

realistically I’m not going to be able to go full out for at least a

couple of months. SO … while I’m having a lot of fun at taido with

nengi and handstands and such, especially with the new ideas for the

upcoming tournament, it looks like I’m going to either have to miss

the tournament entirely or have my slot switched to do a less

intensive technique than throwing my head at the floor, missing,

and catching myself on my hands.

This sucks, but my arm looks like it’s going to heal almost

perfectly — and I plan to Do The Right Thing and keep it that way!


Classnotes forthcoming

For all the students in my Introdution to Artificial Intelligence

course … never fear, the coursenotes are coming. Check out the

classes link to see where the notes will be…

right now this is a placeholder, but I’ve got more content built up

now and will get it up, hopefully, by the end of the day Monday.


Excellent Anatomic Reduction…

Since some have asked … “excellent anatomic reduction” just means “your bone is set well.” 😉

Actually, what it *really* means is that the doctor was able to match the bone ends together and return the bone to its original anatomical shape:

Reduction, Alignment, and Fixation

Now, anatomic reduction is what the doctor achieved while I was on the operating table, even before the plate was screwed in. What the doctor hoped (and got) to see was that the good reduction they achieved in surgery (where all the pieces fit together the way they were originally anatomically aligned) remained in place over the intervening two weeks thanks to the plate-and-screw fixation.

And it did. Yay! No news on when my ACME springloaded metal spike attachment will arrive, though.

-the Centaur

A Promising Range of Motion

At two weeks, I went back for my follow-up visit. The cast came off, the staples came out, and after an X-Ray, the doctor pronounced that the bone had achieved “excellent anatomic reduction”:

Even before I went in, my friends were all commenting that my fingers seemed to be moving better in the cast/sling thing they had me in, as did the physician’s assistant when I arrived; however, once the cast came off the doctor positively cooed over the flex in my fingers and the range of rotation. “Look at that rotation right out of the box. Are your nerves OK? Flex your fingers. Ok. That’s great. You’ll get full function back in that arm.” A promising range of motion indeed.

I’ll be carrying this charming little comb of metal around in my arm for a while — and likely carrying a card to get myself through airport security for a while — but darn, modern medicine is grand.

-the Centaur

Living the Low-Torque Lifestyle

Among the many things made difficult by having one’s right arm in a sling are a few surprises — like the inability to apply torque.

I’ve injured my right wrist before, so I expected it would be difficult to type one handed (especially for a programmer who extensively uses shortcut keys — try Ctrl-Alt-Shift-O one handed!), or to write one handed (especially bills and checks; they move when you can’t hold them down), or to drive one handed (fumble for your right pocket keys, then the ignition, then the seat belt, then the gear shift — thank God for automatics!) I’ve had to reduce the number of books I carry to lunch (to my benefit) and obviously heavy lifting is right out.

But it wasn’t obvious at all — perhaps because my previous injury was not so severe — that I wouldn’t be able to *twist* things. When the arm was still

unset for the first three days, even the slightest applied torque was intensely painful. And so I counted it a great victory when, after the bone plate was installed, I was finally able to rip open a pack of Sweet’NLow using something other than my teeth.

However, the problem persists. Opening jars one might expect to be a problem. But being unable to squeeze ice out of ice trays? Unable to fold pants? The problem is worse because I recruit my less deft left hand for everything else … and thus more frequently drop things, causing my right hand to jerk after whatever I’ve dropped in an attempt to catch it … resulting in another painful twinge.

But, it is feeling better — itchy rather than twingy — so I’m going to

hope and pray for the best at my doctor’s appointment tomorrow!

I, Taurborg

Thanks to the charming folks over at Resurgens Othopaedics and Saint Joseph’s Hospital, who graciously squeezed me into the schedule way early Saturday morning, I now have a prototype bionic arm. Well, an adamantium skeleton, anyway. Ok, so it’s just a bone plate. But it is still cool:

At this juncture they think I have a stong chance to regain more or less full function. w00+! But it is my typing hand, and typing with the other hand is getting tiring, so I’m going to go ice it, elevate it and get back to the full story in a couple of days.