Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Links!

From Steve West, and this is a fascinating read: The Day the Music Burned.

From Ryan Brandt, and this is in response to the mowing post: The Lawn Care Nut.

From C. Lee, and this is terrific: George Orwell's 1984: Why it still matters. This is unbelievable: “WHAT HAPPENED????” How a remote tech writing gig proved to be an old-school scam. This is excellent: A tale of lost WW2 uranium cubes shows why Germany’s nuclear program failed. Fascinating: The slippery genius of the Cinderella story. A terrific read: By night Oakland's pothole vigilanties repair damaged streets. Thought-provoking: Improbable research: why random selection of MPs may be best.

From Wally, and this is very technical (but interesting), it's How Allied Planes Got Their D-Day Invasion Stripes and other “Retro-High Tech” Secrets of the Normandy Invasion. I might leave Chrome over this: Chrome-derived browsers threaten to fork from Google, refuse to eliminate ad-blocker features. GoT wonks, rejoice: The Army of the Living’s Battle Plan Wasn’t So Bad. This was excellent: The unique culture of Japanese convenience stores.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Zen Paradox

We were watching the NBA Finals.

"Andrew Bogut just got called for a blocking foul," I said.

"So what?" Eli 17.10 asked.

"You can only get called for a blocking fall when you're moving, like when you're trying to draw a charge and don't quite get set," I said.

"Okay," Eli said.

"Andrew Bogut is a stationary object," I said. "How can he be called for a blocking foul?"

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

To Mow Or Not To Mow

I mow the yard on a pass-fail basis. 

I do not receive a letter grade. I do not do extra homework to raise my grade. I only show up for class when I have to. 

This is fine, because the grass in my yard has survived for decades, and it will continue to survive, no matter how poorly I care for it. Long after I'm gone, that grass will continue to do its thing. 

My next door neighbor, though, is in Honors College. 

He's a great neighbor. Couldn't ask for a nicer guy, or a better family. Super cute kids. Just good people. 

When it comes to his yard, though, we sit in different classrooms. 

He has a leaf blower that could clear a football field. He carries around the fuel in a giant backpack. He's so dedicated to his yard that in the event of the apocalypse, he would siphon fuel from his car to be able to keep his yard spotless. 

He edges at the 1/16 inch level. It might be 1/32 inch, but I can't see to that level of detail. He edges beyond the visible spectrum. 

When he's done, his yard looks like a feature in Southern Living. It's majestic, really. It almost makes you want to take up arms against the North, because the Civil War wasn't about slavery, it was about lawn care. 

He mowed twice in four days this spring. He mows in the rain (which is a thing in this area, believe me). He mows, mows, mows.

His lawn is a masterpiece. My lawn is the inferior painting that the artist painted over because he couldn't afford a new canvas. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

He Didn't Say Anything About Burger King, Which Is Probably Already On Fire

"Uber Eats is going to deliver McDonald's," Eli 17.10 said.

"Oh, that's a terrible idea," I said.

"Why?" Eli asked. "I think it's pretty cool."

"Because McDonald's has to be eaten at a champion's pace or it tastes like Styrofoam," I said. "Every McDonald's order should come with a countdown timer that starts as soon as you open the bag. After three minutes, the bag incinerates, along with the food. That's the only way to be protected."

"Fair point," Eli said.

Monday, June 10, 2019

We're Looking Into Advanced Statistics to Resolve This

Eli 17.10 and I are big fans of rotisserie chicken.

We had chicken and pasta Sunday night. We asked for rotisserie chicken, but were denied. Gloria wanted to cook chicken in an original way.


"I have a question for you," I said.

"Go ahead," Eli said.

"If rotisserie chicken was an NBA player, which player would it be?" I asked. "I mean, it's not Michael Jordan or LeBron, but clearly, it plays the game at the highest level."

Eli thought for a few seconds. "Kevin Durant," he said.


"Because everyone wants Kevin Durant to play, but he's not available," he said. I burst out  laughing. From the kitchen, Gloria shot laser beams out of her eyes.

I didn't actually see her do it, but I felt the heat.

"I think it's Tim Duncan," I said. "His nickname was 'The Big Fundamental,' and that's rotisserie chicken. Fundamentally sound. Not the flashiest. Shows up night after night and contributes. Always gets its numbers."

Friday, June 07, 2019

Friday Links!

Really stumbling into the weekend after being at parent orientation, but let's have a go, shall we?

Leading off, from David Gloier, and what an incredible story: My Grandfather’s Secret D-Day Journal.

Excellent links from C. Lee, as always. First, it's The Glossary of Happiness. This is an excellent read: The Great British Tea Heist. This is amazing: Civil War Plant Remedies Actually Fought Off Infections, Study Finds. This is remarkably innovative: This Ink Is Made From Air Pollution. Now these are some handbags: Planetario: a Series of Leather Bags that Mimic the Surface of the Moon. This is useful: The five universal laws of human stupidity.

From Wally, and these are spectacular images: These Aren’t Your Ordinary Data Centers. This is an interesting read: Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used to Be. A fascinating story: Edgar Rice Burroughs Hunted the Apache Kid.

From Geoff Engelstein, and who knew? When Bees Go Rogue, Call the NYPD.

From Steven Davis, and this is both amazing and alarming: AI Researchers Created an Uncanny Video of the Mona Lisa Talking.

From author Doug Walsh, and boy, is it dumb: Oh, deer: Documents reveal FBI once tested hair an Oregon man thought was from Bigfoot.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Parent Orientation

I heard two excellent things during parent orientation.

Thing #1: "Nothing brings a community together more than complaining about that community."

Thing #2: "In high school, achieving is about what you can do by yourself. In college, it's about what you can do in collaboration with others."

#2 was said to me by a student, and it's one of the smartest things I've ever heard.

Also, the Honors College is pretty fantastic.

The Room, and a Disturbing Discovery

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Ranking Systems May Vary

"You know my ranking for a bed and breakfast is entirely based on how much it resembles a hotel," I said."A high similarity score is preferred."

"I don't understand that, but okay," Gloria said.

Our room featured a remote control for the air conditioner that had eleven buttons and a screen. "I'm not sure I turned the air conditioning on, but I may have accidentally activated the nuclear launch codes," I said. "And why do bed and breakfasts always smell like your grandma lived here for years?"

I don't know why anyone would prefer it, really, but if you'd rather deal with a vaguely hobbit-like innkeeper instead of a hotel clerk, I know a place.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

I Respect the Commitment to Yoga

This is one of my all-time favorite headlines:

CVS. They're all in.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Battle Brothers: Lone Wolf

As it turns out, Lone Wolf mode in Battle Brothers is not what it sounds.

You start out as a single character, yes, and if that character dies, you lose, but you're still expected to add members to your company.

Unless you're really, really stubborn.

If you are, you eventually wind up with a level 15 dealer of death via both sword and hammer, cleaving and smashing three enemies at a time.

You also run away. A lot. You're basically Sir Robin with a giant sword.

The game really isn't designed to plunge along in this manner, so nothing is scaled to a one-person company. Fortunately, the retreat function is one of the best-implemented features in the game, because it very intelligently gets you out of the battlefield.

Archers? Run away. Ghosts? Run away. Big toad-like creatures? Run away.

That probably doesn't sound very satisfying, but in a role-playing sense, it gets weirdly interesting, because you REALLY have to role-play. So I escorted caravans (one skull missions), because then I had a few people to fight with me. Or I delivered packages, where I could make money while still running away from an ambush if needed.

One of the best things I learned was to head out of town right behind another company, which often consist of a dozen men. Bad guys/creatures tend to stay off the roads when those guys are coming through, and I'd run right behind them.

In a strange, slightly janky way, it was an entirely pure role-playing experience, and it was incredibly satisfying when I won a battle. Not for everyone, because it can be frustrating, but it's an interesting way to try to play the game.

I do have an archer now. I broke down and added one guy. There goes the peace and quiet.

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