Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A lesson with keeping clothes

A month or so ago, I replaced some partially torn winter pyjamas which I had worn with this tear for over a year after missing the window of opportunity to replace them in 2013.

Whilst I am aware that store-clothes must be washed before use, and have had a number of frightening experiences with non-colourfast clothes being placed in a warm or hot washing machine and destroying perfectly good whites, what I have experienced this morning is far worse than I feared.

Normally, I wash my sheets – two of my pairs being white and two a light blue – about every eight days, though my recent laxity and obsessiveness with statistics has lessened this. I planned last night to wash today the white 500 thread count Pima cotton sheets I bought in Northland during the autumn, and told my mother this in the morning. When I put them out, I saw that the part of the sheets upon which I lie – generally face down on my stomach – had dyed a light blue similar to my two blue pairs!

I was well aware my new striped royal blue pyjamas – made in Cambodia – were not colourfast from washing them in a hand-basin a number of times. I had noticed dye get into my fingernails on several previous wear of the pyjamas, but this really shocked me to the point of alarm!

When I actually washed the pyjamas, I was revealed my mistake very clearly. The pyjama bottoms, when washed with a quantity of OMO normal for a full laundry, turned so deep a blue in the wash basin that I felt it was almost worth a picture though I have no usable camera. Yet, the top part, when placed in water of the same temperature, remained relatively colourless until I added a smaller quantity of OMO, when they gradually turned as blue as the bottoms had! This made it clear to me that part of the problem of blue dye spreading was the result of my repeatedly using a quantity of laundry detergent designed for a full wash on one piece of sleepwear! It became obvious to me that in recent wears the pyjamas had large residues of OMO and LUX – residues which were helping the naturally non-colourfast dye to leak even when the pyjamas were dry, especially given that heat and sweat from my body over four or five nights would have provided moisture to dissolve the dye. The finding alarmed me, and I realised i would have to rinse the pyjamas until they were completely free of soap residues, and to use a fraction the quantity of laundry detergent needed for a full laundry! More than that I feel I should not wash pyjamas in the hand basin of the bathroom, since that basin is so cramped that the detergent is extremely inefficient at actually removing faeces and other stains from the pyjamas (I could see faeces in the pyjamas when I was washing).

Remembering to use only a pinch of detergent – or for the first few times to simply rinse until zero soap residue is attained – is a major job for me now and one I lack confidence about.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

ZIP codes of the form RRRRD

In my previous post I did US ZIP codes of the forms Rw and DRw, finding that relative to the possible number they were much more common than usual, though recent work shows only one true repdigit ZIP code still in use for Newtown Falls, Ohio, as USPS has merged the two others and several other near-repdigit ZIP codes.

This post will see me do ZIP codes of the form RwD. Compared to previous repdigit and near-repdigit ZIP codes, this list is extremely easy because if any ZIP codes with the same first four digits exist, they will be in similar localities, as seen with the one extant and two recently merged repdigit ZIP codes.
ZIP Code City State Notes
22225ArlingtonVirginiain vincinity of Pentagon
22226ArlingtonVirginiabounded by Washington Boulevard, North Monroe Street and North Fairfax drive
Includes George Mason University
22227ArlingtonVirginiabetween 23rd and 26th Street South and bounded by Crystal Drive and South Clark Street
Includes DeVry University
22228Unassigned22229 formerly assigned to Arlington
33330Fort LauderdaleFloridabetween Sheridan Street, Southwest 26th Street, South Hiatus Road and southwest 148th Avenue
33331Fort LauderdaleFloridawest of 142nd Avenue and 148th Avenue to 185th Way
33332Fort LauderdaleFloridasouthwest of Weston Hills Country Club
33334Fort LauderdaleFloridaOakland Park region between Northeast 18th Avenue and North Andrews Avenue
33335Fort LauderdaleFloridaPO Boxes only
33337Fort LauderdaleFloridaPO Boxes only
33338Fort LauderdaleFlorida
33339Fort LauderdaleFlorida
44440Mineral RidgeOhioin Mahoning and Truble Counties, part of Youngstown metropolitan area
44441NegleyOhiobirthplace of eccentric anarchist and pacifist Ammon Hennacy
in Columbiana County on Pennsylvania border
44442New MiddletownOhioin Mahoning County on Pennsylvania border; part of Youngstown metropolitan area
44443New SpringfieldOhioin Mahoning County
44445New WaterfordOhioin Columbiana County southwest of Turnpike
44446NilesOhioin Trumbull County; part of Youngstown metropolitan area
44449North BentonOhiorural area of Mahoning County south of Berlin Lake and Route 62, due east of Akron.
55550Young AmericaMinnesotaPO Boxes only
55551Young AmericaMinnesota
55552Young AmericaMinnesota
55553Young AmericaMinnesota
55554Young AmericaMinnesota
55556Young AmericaMinnesota
55557Young AmericaMinnesota
55558Young AmericaMinnesota‘Young America Corporation’ only
55559Young AmericaMinnesotaPO Boxes only
66667TopekaKansasPO Boxes only
88880UnassignedNo extant ZIP codes begin with “888”
99990UnassignedHighest ZIP code is 99950 for Ketchikan, Alaska
This result shows that 27 of 90 RwD ZIP codes are in use, or exactly thirty percent. This, in fact, does suggest that the US Postal Service avoids repdigits to some extent in a manner the DRw ZIP codes from the previous post did not.

RwD ZIP codes in use are only found in five of the possible nine regions (there are no ZIP codes from ‘00000’ to ‘00499) and for street addresses in only three – mainly in Arlington, Virginia and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The number in use could easily fall as PO Boxes are used less, too.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

ZIP codes of the form DRRRR and RRRRR (repdigit)

In a previous post I recalled a project I tried to do at zipinfo and zipdecode a list of prime near-repdigit ZIP codes. In 2004, I had noticed how, looking only at the prime subset, few ZIP codes of the form DRRRR or RRRRD seemed to exist, and originally planned to examine this.

However, a clearer look shows that in fact near-repdigit ZIP codes are more common that I imagined when I first re-did my work on zipdecode a couple of weeks ago. Thus, I have felt that to list them I will have to subdivide near-repdigit ZIP codes according to the form of the number.

This first installment will look at DRRRR-type near-repdigit ZIP codes, and in the process I will also look at true repdigit ZIP codes. When I first realised not all possible ZIP codes were in use – and the number actually in use for contiguous US addresses covered in zipdecode is fewer than even the 42,000 or so currently in use – I found these numbers interesting because of the coverage of palindromic prime ZIP codes by The Prime Pages and I wanted to look at other unusual codes – as well as prime postcodes here in Australia. I did a bit of work now deleted from the Prime Pages back in 2004, but for some reason felt I should re-do this.

ZIP Code City State Notes
12222AlbanyNew Yorkbetween Washington and Western Avenues
Includes State University of New York campus
13333East SpringfieldNew YorkNortheast of Osego Lake
15555QuecreekPennsylvaniaShared with ZIP code 15561
16666Osceola MillsPennsylvaniaWest of Phillsburg and State Game Reserve 33
17777WatsontownPennsylvaniaon Susquehanna River north of Harrisburg
21111MonktonMarylandnorth of Baltimore on I-83
22222Unassigned (22222 was previously assigned to part of Arlington, Virginia)
25555PrichardWest Virginiaon Kentucky border on Big Sandy River – a tributary of the Ohio River
32222JacksonvilleFloridasouth of 103rd Street, east of Cecil Commerce Center and north of Argyle Forest Boulevard.
35555FayetteAlabamanorthwest of Tuscaloosa on Route 43 in county of same name
37777LouisvilleTennesseeon Tennessee River south of Knoxville
43333LewistownOhioin Logan County 5 kilometres from Indian Lake
44444Newton FallsOhioon the Mahoning River southeast of Warren in Trumbull County
48888StantonMichiganin rural Montcalm County on state 66
51111Sioux CityIowaMostly Sioux City Gateway Airport, but north to Missouri River (where borders on South Sioux City, Nebraska) and east to I-29
52222Deep RiverIowain Poweshiek County,about 75 kilometres (45 miles) from Iowa City.
54444KempsterWisconsinin rural Langland County in north of state
55555Unassignedformerly assigned to Young America, Carver County, Minnesota
56666PonemahMinnesotain remote Beltrah County on Red Lake Indian Reservation
57777Red OwlSouth Dakotain Meade County east of Rapid City
61111Loves ParkIllinoisin Winnebago County in northernmost part of state; part of Rockford statistical area
62222BellevilleIllinoison Missouri border in St. Clair County; most populous city south of Springfield in downstate Illinois
63333BellflowerMissouriin Montgomery County on lower Missouri River
64444EdgertonMissouriin rural Platte County on border with Kansas
part of Kansas City metropolitan area
65555RaymondvilleMissouriin Texas County in southern Ozarks
71111Bossier CityLouisianain Bossier Parish, part of Shreveport metropolitan area where second largest city
72222Little RockArkansascity downtown directly south of Arkansas River
74444MoodysOklahomain Cherokee County in east of state
75555BivinsTexasin Cass County on border with Arkansas and Louisiana
76666MertensTexasin Hill County in the north central part of the state
79999El PasoTexasPO Boxes only
82222Lance CreekWyomingin Niobrara County in east of state
83333HaileyIdahoin central mountains of state, seat of Blaine County
famous as current home of 1980s tennis star Mats Wilander and birthplace of poet Ezra Pound
92222BardCaliforniain Imperial county on Arizona and Mexico border
95555OrickCaliforniaon North Coast in Humboldt County
96666FPOUnited States Navyall ZIP codes from 96200 to 96699 are Pacific military
Overall, thirty-three of ninety possible ZIP codes of the forms Rw and DRw are in use, which is only marginally lower a proportion than for all possible US ZIPs and does not suggest near-repdigit ZIP codes are avoided – my mother said today they would be much easier to remember and that people would say them “one double one double one” for the (unassigned) repunit ZIP code. Only codes with repeated zeroes seem to be avoided, perhaps because most state capitals in the US are relatively small towns with a public service orientation much more pronounced than Canberra – for example Frankfort, Kentucky has only 25,000 of about 4,400,000 people in the state.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Why the Enriched World needs hunting reserves and not conservation parks

Calls for the abandonment of meat and acceptance of a vegetarian diet have come from ecologists and environmentalists for a very long time. The argument is that crops which feed one cow could feed fourteen people, and that if meat were abandoned then the amount of land needed to feed the human population would be dramatically reduced, as would the amount of water. The argument has been known to me for a long time but even in my much more naïve adolescent days I did not take it completely, in part because I was too unsure that real-world human history agreed with the notion that a vegetarian diet could work perfectly under most conditions.

My suspicion of these arguments, even as I witness major ecological catastrophes at my front door increasing severely with the East-West tollway (for which Australia ought to pay much more in global greenhouse costs than the cost of the road!) has grown with my knowledge of human history, most especially the poor nourishment of essentially vegetarian gatherers and farmers in the Tropical and Unenriched Worlds documented by every anthropologist you can name. The few potential exceptions come from soils (e.g. in Mexico) too rich in such elements as zinc, nitrogen iodine (and consequently some essential vitamins) to be viable comparisons with most early farming communities. These problems are seem most clearly in children, whose poor health can affect them for life.

Another thing (apart from my own enjoyment of and skill in cooking meat) that has shied me away from advocating vegetarianism is its unmentioned correlation with rigidly hierarchical societies, especially in Tropical Asia (see WALS Chapter 45) and also in the more nutrient-rich parts of Latin America. I have tended to see this rigid hierarchy – whether paradoxical or not – a cause of the inability of Monsoon Asia to avoid lowest-low fertility since industrialisation, because there becomes little opportunity for the lower classes to advance under the caste system of Hinduism or the rigid class system of feudal Japan, nor for adaptations to the radically different conditions of industrial society.

Thus, calls for modification of human diets like that of Time in ‘The Triple Whopper: Environmental Impact of Global Meat Production’ are something that, like the stories in Elizabeth Gould Davis’ The First Sex, I take with caution. Shifting to vegetarian or vegan diets may be practical and save much energy and water used in hot, arid regions which are naturally exceedingly low in protein – and where both religiously-based and practical vegetarianism is almost exclusively concentrated – but suspicion is not lost. In Australia, vegan diets are, even with fertilisers, less able to provide protein that they are on better soils, so that rigid veganism could produce even severer dietary deficiencies now than when only relatively rich soils could be farmed. Whilst Aborigines were very largely plant eaters (except on the north coast no more than 20 percent of calories were from animal foods) and there existed severe taboos against consumption of many animal foods to protect against their extinction, there were no customs for veganism in the pre-agricultural age even in this most nutrient-poor continent.

As I have outlined, developments in fertilisers and soil science have made the extremely rich soils of the Enriched World inherently uneconomic for agriculture due to high land prices from the competing demands of urban housing. The concentration of capital- and skill-intensive sectors in the Enriched World as it has less comparative disadvantage there than in primary sectors serves to further increase this comparative disadvantage: comparative disadvantage in primary production is proportional to the amount of capital a region possesses.

It is virtually certain, however, that the Enriched World cannot sustain forever the conflict between economic competition for skill-intensive industries on the one hand and intense class struggle on the other for very long – the end result we already see is a totally elitist Enriched World that offers jobs and housing only to the very rich, who desire a quality of life that leads to land and economic regulations that serve to make admittance require greater and greater skill.

The question is whether there is an alternative to either of two severe problems:
  1. globally nutrient-deficient diets with associated social problems or
  2. the virtual elimination of many ecosystems and the drying up of almost every dryland river system to make protein
which would result if food production were confined to the Unenriched and the less fertile parts of the Tropical World as the free market dictates? I am not tempted to believe that the Unenriched World and the flatter, nutritionally poorer parts of the Tropical World can ever produce by themselves the high-quality diet that has improved living standards in poor nations. It is simply improbable that in any industrialising nation there will not be demand for more nutritious diets, both because people can afford them more and because religious restraints thereupon inevitably weaken.

In my view, there is at least a partial answer, and it relates to the fact that the Enriched World’s high secondary productivity means a large proportion of most animal species can be killed each year without effect on populations. This is, as Frank Miniter notes in his The Politically Incorrect Guide to Hunting and which I can sympathise with (re the Enriched World) more than any other book in that now-defunct series, that strictly protected national parks and nature reserves in the Enriched World should give way to game reserves where hunting is permitted (possibly with some restraints). As Miniter points out, hunters actually pay the costs of conservation when other visitors generally do not, at least in reserves lacking entry fees, and these would be adequate for the limited conservation regulation needed in the Enriched World. Most critically, conversion of strict reserves to game reserves would allow the Enriched World to use its main natural resource – animal protein – more effectively on land unsuitable for farming and with less risk of overexploitation than its fisheries. It also may be more compatible with the “natural egalitarianism” of the Enriched World – seen clearly in the low incidence of cooperation amongst its native species – than trying to prop up agriculture that never evolved there. I do not believe there will be no problems – overhunting is not impossible and acceptance of different protein sources may be tough – but something more efficient and less costly for the Enriched World’s governments and the Unenriched World’s soils and water is urgently needed to prevent multiple disasters.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Near-repdigit prime ZIP codes

Around a decade ago when I was rekindling interest in prime numbers, I studied US ZIP codes because they were noted on the site. I recall from ZIPinfo:
“ZIP code 69577 is not currently assigned by the US Postal Service to any city. Only about 43,000 of the 100,000 possible 5-digit ZIP codes are currently in use.”
and similar sayings for ZIP codes 23333, 86453, 11113, 54342 and no doubt others that I cannot recall. My brother showed me the more user-friendly zipdecode where one could see why the ZIP code 69577 (the number of runs conceded by record-breaking Kent spin bowler “Tich” Freeman in his career) does not exist – if it did it would be in the remote Nebraska Panhandle. In fact no ZIP codes from 69400 to 69999 exist, probably owing to the economic decline of the Plains.

Back in 2004, I looked for near-repdigit prime ZIP codes of the forms RwD and DRw on zipdecode and was struck by how few there actually were relative to the possible ones. I did not count how many possible ZIP codes were but the number I found in use was no more than a handful.

This night, I decided to have a another look and publish my results. Even counting other forms of near-repdigit five-digit prime (RDRw, RRDRR, RwDR) I could find only the following twelve when I found 22229 was no longer used:
ZIP Code City State Notes
10111 New York City New York
11411 Cambria Heights New York a middle-class New York City neighbourhood
16111 Atlantic Pennsylvania in rural western Pennsylvania northeast of Youngstown, Ohio
33331 Fort Lauderdale Florida west of 142nd Avenue and 148th Avenue to 185th Way
38333 Eva Tennessee rural area of Benton County west of Nashville and on Kentucky Lake
44449 North Benton Ohio rural area of Mahoning County south of Berlin Lake and Route 62, due east of Akron.
77377 Tomball Texas Houston exurb in northwest of metropolitan area
77477 Stafford Texas Houston exurb near Sugar Land
77977 Placedo Texas
small village between Victoria and San Antonio Bay
79999 El Paso Texas post office boxes only
94999 Petaluma California southern Napa Valley north of San Pablo Bay. Rural area of Sonoma County and major wine-growing area.
99929 Wrangel Alaska superhumid southeast Alaska not far from Ketchikan
A recent calculation showed thirty-five possible near-repdigit prime ZIP codes without leading zero, which means 34.28 percent of possible near-repdigit prime ZIP codes are in use. Given that the US Postal Service and most others do not need to use every possible code, it is natural that extremely repetitious codes like “two-three-three-three-three” or “two quadruple three” would be avoided, for the obvious reason that they are tough to memorise! Thus, it is not surprising that of the twelve, four are “palindromic wing primes” (out of six possible) and only three have four consecutive copies of one digit. The proportion actually used is certainly larger than I had thought, because it is tough to be really thorough from the prime table I have been using.