The Science of Back to the Future

How far did the Earth move?
How far did the Earth move?

Here’s a pretty cool assessment of the science of Back to the Future:


“Watthew Mrather” writes: The DeLorean can’t go anywhere in space, except in the conventional driving/flying sense.  Your [sic] always in the same place you left, but in a different time.


Well, for starters, that’s not a question, “Mr. Mrather,” but I’ll go along with it anyway.  Remember, though: without proper punctuation and grammar, we are no better than the animals.

In fact, in order to pull off the kind of time travel we see in the Back To The Future trilogy–the kind where the traveler is transposed in time, but remains stationary in the same relative position to where he/she left–the DeLorean would have to be an outstanding space ship, in addition to its already laudable work as a time-ship.  A major issue of freely traveling within time while limiting one’s self to a local reference frame–say, a California mall parking lot–is that the reference frame itself isn’t stationary.  As an illustration, let’s figure out how far the DeLorean would have to travel in order to stay in sync with the Earth over a relatively small time-jump.  We’ll look at the simplest example (and the first one, diagetically speaking) of the whole BTTF trilogy.  You all remember the scene, right?  (Spoiler alert: Professor Plum and Alex P. Keaton send a dog one minute into the future.)


Posts about disabling ‘wptexturize()’ & ‘wpautop’ for Plain Text WordPress

Here’s a post about how to tweak WordPress to stop it from modifying your posts after entering ‘<!--PLAIN_TEXT-->'

Easy Plain Text WordPress (Look Ma! No curly quotes!)

So, after Googling extensively and searching far and wide through the WordPress forums, here is what I came up with to put a clean and simple leash on WordPress and make it do the following:

  1. Stop parsing my example codes.
  2. Stop fancifying my plain quotes and double quotes into those damnable fancy curly quotes.And above all…
  3. Stop pooping all over my raw HTML code, sweeping it aside and then formatting everything into its tunnel vision idea of paragraphing and creating line breaks.

In other words, display my blog post using the exact HTML I entered on the ‘Write Post’ screen.

Here’s what I did to accomplish this:

  1. First of all, I disabled the WYSIWYG editor. To do this, you have to go to Users >> Your Profile and simply clear the checkbox beside “Use the visual editor when writing”. Then click on ‘Update Profile’ to apply the changes.Done and done.Next…
  2. I installed Jason Litka’s Disable Texturizer plugin. This will prevent WordPress from fancifying a lot of your input like turning plain double quotes “…” into curly double quotes “…” and the like. This great little plugin is only 3 lines of code. All it does is disable the wptexturize filter for your posts, excerpts and comments. Very simple, very clean. Easy to install.And finally..
  3. I hacked into the WordPress formatting.php file just a wee bit. To do this, go to the wp-includes subfolder in the folder where your WordPress blog is installed, open the formatting.php file in a plain text editor and do a search for “function wpautop” which will bring you to this line of code:function wpautop($pee, $br = 1) {Directly after that type in (or copy and paste) these two lines of code: // Disable WP auto-paragraphing on call
    if ( preg_match('/<!--PLAIN_TEXT-->/', $pee) ) return $pee;

    The rest of the wpautop function should remain as is.


    function wpautop($pee, $br = 1) {

    // Disable WP auto-paragraphing on call
    if ( preg_match(‘/<!–PLAIN_TEXT–>/’, $pee) ) return $pee;

    $pee = $pee . “n”; // just to make things a little easier, pad the end
    $pee = preg_replace(‘<br />s*<br />|’, “nn”, $pee);
    // Space things out a little

    The rest of the code follows…

    Save the file and you’re done.

    Now, whenever you want to have WordPress treat your blog post as plain text and parse your HTML exactly how you coded it, all you have to do is begin your blog post with this HTML comment line (no spaces and don’t forget the underscore ( _ ) between PLAIN and TEXT:


    And boom. Bob’s yer uncle. No more wrestling with WordPress trying to get it to behave.

Code Snippet 2.0 + Disable wptexturize = Code in my blog

From the post:

The solutions: Code Snippet 2.0 for syntax highlighting and “Disable wptexturize” to… well… disable that particular “feature.” Code Snippet is built on top of Geshi, an excellent language syntax highlighter: JavaScript, PHP, and HTML, to name a few of the more important ones. The “Disable wptexturize” plugin is three lines from heaven, removing the texturize filter from the primary content of all blog entries.

With this combo of plugins, I can now do this in my blog…

// javascript:
var helloWorld = {
talk: function() {
alert(‘Hello, world!’);

… and this …

/* php: */
class HelloWorld {
public function talk() {
echo ‘Hello, world!’;

Subversion Cheat Sheet

Subversion Cheat Sheet

Graphic showing SVN hierarchy

This Subversion cheat sheet was created during the initial setup of Subversion on Apache 2.0 on Windows and Mac OS X. A detailed tutorial covering most of the features of Subversion can be found in the online Subversion book. However, to make Subversion more useful for me, I created this Readers’ Digest version.

Checking Out a Project – svn checkout

To start using the version control features check out a project into your local working directory. This is done with the following command:


svn checkout file:///repository_name/project/trunk project


svn checkout file:///d:/repository_name/project/trunk project


svn checkout http://host_name/svn_dir/repository_name/project/trunk project

Reviewing Changes – svn status

To see what files you have changed or added to your checked out work, use the update command:


svn status

svn status -u

This command will give you a listing of new files, files that have been changed, and files that have been deleted. New files or deleted files must be added or removed using the add and delete commands (see more below.)

Committing Changes – svn commit

Once you have added, deleted, or changed files or directories, you can then commit those changes to the repository. This command is pretty straightforward:


svn commit -m "Saving recent changes" http://localhost/svn_dir/repository/project_dir

Updating Your Local Files – svn update

If you have a set of files checked out and would like to update them to the most recent version of files in the repository, use the update command.


svn update

If there are newer files in the repository, they will overwrite any files you have locally. Before using this command, you may want to use the svn diff command to find out what the differences are between your local files and the repository.

Tagging Projects or Creating Project Specific Versions

Subversion does not track the version numbers for individual projects automatically. Instead, it tracks each update to the repository and tracks the versions of these updates. To create interim project releases, you must create “Tags” which identify a specify version of a project. This is done by making a virtual copy of a project in the tags directory. For example:

svn copy http://host_name/repos/project/trunk http://host_name/repos/project/tags/0.1.0 -m "Tagging the 0.1.0 release of the project"

This creates a sort of bookmark or snapshot which records the current state of the project. Then, you can checkout the project in this state at any time by simply referring to that release number.

To get a list of the releases for a project.

svn list