Posted by: bkivey | 18 March 2011

Tools on the Web

A list of web sites I’ve found useful.

City Distance Tool

If you want to know the distance between two cities, this is a useful site.

The Inflation Calculator

This is about the simplest inflation calculator for U.S. currency I’ve found. It covers dates from 1800 to 2009 and uses historical statistical abstracts for data.

The World Clock – Time Zone Converter

If you want to know what time it is, this simple calculator will tell you for just about any place on Earth.

Cost of Living Comparison

Enter two cities and this calculator will show the relative cost of living between them in a variety of categories. Prices are given in relative (percentage) and absolute (numerical) terms. Data is contributed by people living and visiting in various cities.

Yahoo! Babel Fish

One of the most useful sites I’ve ever found. You can translate blocks of text into and from a variety of languages. You can also translate web pages by entering the URL.

English to Latin Translator

This site is more versatile than the name implies. While you can indeed translate English to Latin, you can also translate a number of other languages to Latin or vice-versa. Like Babel Fish, the site also allows the translation of web pages.


If you’ve ever wanted to know what the blast effects of a nuclear weapon would be on your town, this is the place to find out. Enter an address or geographical location (lat. and long.), the explosive yield, and the simulator superimposes concentric rings of blast pressure on a map. A chart gives the expected effects for each level of pressure.

Earth Impact Effects Program

If nuking your town isn’t interesting enough, this simulator allows you to drop a giant rock on it. You enter the distance from impact and impact parameters and the program gives the expected effects at your location. There are helpful tips on entering realistic values. The output is entirely text, but covers a number of results, including air blast, thermal effects, ground shaking, ejecta fallout, and crater dimensions. There is a snazzier version of the program here, but the information given is the same. The paper giving the methodology behind the simulator is here, and well worth reading.


A simple currency converter. Depending on where you live, may not be for the faint of heart.

The Engineering Toolbox

A whole lot of tables and converters for just about any engineering problem you may have. Usually faster than looking up information in the CRC Manual or other reference works, and you can translate the information into a variety of languages.

IP – Whois – Lookup

A simple way to find out where your website visitors are from.

St. Patrick’s Day Menu

Based on a conversation with my neighbor I decided to do something a little different for St. Patrick’s Day. She mentioned that she makes cabbage rolls, and although I’ve never made that particular dish, I decided to give it a go.  I found a recipe and used that as a starting point, although I made a few changes.

The recipe calls for sauteing diced cabbage, onions, and celery for the filling. I don’t own a blender, but I’d recommend one both for texture and speed. My vegetables could have been chopped a little finer. The recipe also calls for using canned (!) corned beef hash in the filling. I don’t do ‘canned’. I considered making some hash but used corned beef I’d cooked ahead of time, diced it up, and threw it in with the veggies.

I boiled a dozen cabbage leaves in salted water and discover that one must pay close attention to cooking time. A couple of leaves got overcooked and  couldn’t be used. Two or three minutes is all they need.

The recipe calls for a prepared spaghetti sauce, but making a sauce is no big deal so I made some of my standard recipe sauce. Throw a little in with the filling for a binder. I found that rolling the filler in the leaves was easier than I thought it would be, and while the rolls weren’t perfect cylinders, the were acceptable. Cover the rolls with sauce and pop them in a 350F degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Prior to serving I covered the rolls with a little more sauce and diced up some fresh parsley to sprinkle over them. Add a bottle of Guinness and serve. They turned out pretty well and tasted good.

Vernal Equinox

Yesterday the day and night were very nearly the same length, so our local vernal equinox preceded the official one by a few days. Looking forward to increasing daylight and temperatures, although the rain will be with us for a couple of months.









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