Friday, May 31, 2019

Friday Links!

I'm leading off this week with a link from David Gloier because it is the ultimate time-waster. A People Map of the U.S. that tags city names with the most Googled person associated with that city. In may case (Portland, Texas), it's country singer Don Johnson, who I didn't even know existed. There's also a brief description of the person, so you can easily wander around the map without having to leave to look anything up.

From C. Lee, and this is a fascinating read: How greed and corruption blew up South Korea’s nuclear industry  A sad, sad story: 30 Years After Tiananmen, a Chinese Military Insider Warns: Never Forget. This is fantastic: Why the World’s Best Mathematicians Are Hoarding Chalk. This is tremendously odd: Rats can't resist wiring in newer cars: Here's why. This is very clever: What Ridley Scott's Alien Can Teach Us About Office Life. This is thought-provoking: You Don’t Want a Child Prodigy.

From Wally, and this is very interesting: Why Do Employers Lowball Creatives? A New Study Has Answers.

This is an excellent read: The Fascinating Reason Why NASCAR Engines Run So Hot.

Thursday, May 30, 2019


When I wrote about Rebel Galaxy Outlaw a few weeks ago, I got a few emails from people who said they wouldn't purchase the game because it was a limited time exclusive on the Epic Games Store.

I understand that, on principle. Epic has been buying up exclusives, which are never good for anyone, and the last thing we need is an exclusives war. Epic claims to be better for the consumer, and for developers, but as a consumer, I don't feel like they're helping me at all.

Plus, the cut is not the problem.

Yes, 88% of the revenue (Epic) is considerably more than 70% (Steam). That looks great on paper. The real problem, though, is that so many quality games from ultra-small studios sell only a few hundred copies. That extra 18%? It doesn't mean anything when you're talking about 500 copies.

Low-quality, low-priced games have flooded the market, and consumers don't seem to care that much about quality. Mobile games, in particular, have created a different price structure for games, and that price structure is forcing more and more studios out of business.

Small studios (and I think this would include Double Damage Games, because Travis runs on a shoestring) essentially bet the company on each game they release. If a game goes wrong, that's probably the end of the company (Clockwork Empires, anyone?).

That's an enormous amount of risk, not to mention the emotional burden.

So if Epic Games goes to an indie developer and offers to pay for a timed exclusive, and that payment is enough to ensure that the developer can fund his next game, no matter what happens with this one, that's a deal that very few would turn down.

I wouldn't turn it down. Hold my nose, maybe, but it would be stupid to turn it down.

So I get your point, about Epic, but please consider the developer, too. Those exclusives are a lifeline in a very treacherous environment.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Problem, Perhaps

I was watching the end of the Bucks-Raptors game last week, and the last two minutes of the game took twenty-one minutes in real time.

That seems unwieldy.

On top of the many, many timeouts called by coaches, now there are endless video replays. Every single call gets reviewed, seemingly. It should be the most dramatic moments of the game, but instead, it's complete tedium.

Basketball has too many commercial timeouts and delays already. Which is too bad, because the game itself is fast (usually) and it really flows. When the best teams play, I think it's more fun to watch than at any time in my life (which covers a lot of ground). But watching a game live is impossible.

A Fine Fellow

Speaking at baccalaureate.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

That Class

Remember when I said Eli 17.9 was taking the capstone class for Spanish majors at a local university? Almost all college seniors in the class, except for him.

He got his grade today for the semester. A-.

I should stop being surprised.

Noah, or Something

It's rained 31 out of the last 35 days.

This is impenetrably bad. Added bonus: almost no sun.

We've still played a ton of golf, turning into amateur meteorologists and weather radar experts. Find that two-hour window where it's not raining and head for the course.

The strange thing is that it doesn't seem like this pattern is going to stop anytime soon.

This many rainy days in a row creates a weird kind of physical dread. I practically flinch when I feel rain for the first time in the day now. Ugh.

Monday, May 27, 2019


We were going to Outback.

I was driving, so I went out first while rain jackets were procured. Eli 17.9 was next, and he opened up the passenger door and got in. "Hey, that's my seat!" Gloria said.

A kerfuffle ensued. In a kerfuffle, though, there is opportunity.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to announce that I will be selling a PSL for the passenger seat," I said. "Please note that this is not a seat, but the right of first refusal to purchase a seat. Also, the PSL will be resellable, so it can be considered it a sound investment, as riding in my car will undoubtedly become more valuable over time."

Friday, May 24, 2019

Friday Links!

Sorry, we're light this week because Eli 17.9 is graduating tonight!

Leading off this week, and what a story, it's The Bitter Life Of A Shattered Jockey: A Mostly True Story.

From John Harwood, and it's epic: This Plane Accidentally Flew Around the World.

From C. Lee, and this is excellent: Required gamer viewing: The history of M2’s Japanese retro-port empire. A terrific read: Separating Truth From Myth in the So-Called ‘Golden Age’ of the Detroit Auto Industry. This is incredible: This Ingenious System Brings Water to the Chinese Desert. This is alarming: Revealed: new evidence of China's mission to raze the mosques of Xinjiang. A brilliant fellow: I.M. Pei, Master Architect Whose Buildings Dazzled the World, Dies at 102. Cat-tertainment: Thrill Your Cat With These Videos of Songbirds and Squirrels.

From Wally, and fasten your seat belts: Watch the Game of Thrones theme shredded to bits by Nuno Bettencourt, Tom Morello, Scott Ian and Brad Paisley

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Please Enjoy This Sweet Old Dog With Her Bone


By my reckoning, these muffins should cost no more than $1.33.

Spring in Grand Rapids (a handy guide)

1. It's snowing.
2. If it isn't snowing, it's raining.
3. If it isn't raining, the wind is blowing 30 MPH.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


"How far do you think John Wilkes booth jumped?" I asked.

"What?" Gloria laughed.

"See that balcony to the right of the stage?" I asked. "I think that's about the distance that he jumped down to the stage."

"What on earth made you think of that?" she asked.

"I'm going to look that up," I said. "Now it's bothering me."

"Only you," she said.

"Look, I know it's baccalaureate," I said, "but we're talking about the assassination of our most revered President."

I looked at my phone.

"Twelve feet," I said. "He jumped twelve feet. Do you think that's twelve feet? I think it's more like fifteen."

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Battle Brothers

I've rage-uninstalled Battle Brothers three times, I think.

The thing is, it's hard. Hard as balls, even on the easiest difficulty. [This phrase raises some interesting questions about how hard those balls are, and what kind of balls, exactly, but those questions will not be answered today.] If you are incredibly persistent (masochistic, practically), you can reach a point with your company where you break the difficulty curve, but it's very tough.

The starting positions in battles are often brutally unfair. The random number generation will make you drop f-bombs like leaves in fall.

And yet, it's great, when it's not being terrible. It's deep and incredibly interesting, and the emergent stories are fantastic. It's incredibly involving when you're not thinking about throwing a rock through your monitor.

So, knowing I would regret it and yet unable to stop myself, I reinstalled yesterday. Bought two new DLC packages, too. It's unbelievably busy this week, but at the same time, I needed to lose myself in something other than endless graduation activities.

There's a new mode called "Lone Wolf" where you start with no one in your company (in the regular game, I think you start out with four, including yourself). This seemed interesting, because it reminded me of how long I played Ultima IV with one character because I didn't realize anyone would join my party (oops).

The new mode is, of course, brutally unfair. It's not even meant to be played solo, but damn it, I'm trying.

Battle Brothers is very civil in that when you die in battle, you can reload an auto-save that will put you back at the beginning of the battle, and will also randomly generate an even more unfair starting position.

I'll just be sitting here, screaming in frustration. Good times.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Graduation Party

Eli 17.9  had his graduation party yesterday.

There was an awards ceremony at school on Friday, and he won a $500 scholarship named after a former student (Chip Ridenour) who was loved by everyone. Here's the description: annual memorial scholarship to honor those values and qualities which were central to Chip’s personality – the speed and ease with which he made, retained and nurtured friends; the obvious genuine regard for the dignity of each individual; and the ability to bring cohesion into even the most potentially divisive situation. His friendly conversation wasn’t just a gesture—it was sustained by a very real care and concern for all of his friends.

It made me very happy that Eli was considered, because the description reminds me very much of the person he's always been, even when he was young.

The graduation party was with his two best friends, one of whom lives across the street, and it was at their house, so big win. They'd already hosted two parties in previous years for their daughters, so the process had assembly line efficiency.

I'm so introverted that big gatherings are really, really difficult for me, but I stayed for all three hours and even had a good time for most of it.

The weather was lousy, like it always is (most popular phrase of lifers to people who are recent arrivals: "It's not usually this bad."), but in the last thirty minutes, the clouds parted and the sun started peeking through the trees. Eli was sitting next to me on a porch, and the sun was in front of us, and we just sat there for a while.

"I remember when we drove up here three years ago and I was scared to death," I said. "Not that I would have ever admitted that to you." He laughed. "And I know that some things didn't work out quite the way we hoped, but overall, this turned out pretty great."

He smiled. "It did, didn't it?" he said.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday Links!

We're light this week, but there are some excellent long reads.

Leading off this week, from Rogar Robar, and it's a great read: Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild.

From Joshua Buergel, and this is an incredibly moving story: My Cousin Was My Hero. Until the Day He Tried to Kill Me. This is also tremendous: Lather. Rinse. Relapse Our hero gives his level best, then fails. Then tries again. This could be very useful: The Best Frozen Foods To Cook In Your Air Fryer, And How To Cook Them.

This is an incredible story about one of my favorite writers: The Night The Lights Went Out.

From C. Lee, and this is terrific, it's The 1968 sci-fi that spookily predicted today. No surprise: Yes, the internet is destroying our collective attention span. This is interesting: And the least feminist nation in the world is... Denmark?

From Eric Higgins-Freese, and these are amazing: Underground Photos From New York’s Seediest Years.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Walkthrough

DQ Fitness Advisor Doug Walsh has released another book, but this one isn't fiction. It's The Walkthrough: Insider Tales from a Life in Strategy Guides, and if you didn't know, Doug might have written more strategy guides than anyone alive. Here's a description:
The Walkthrough offers a rare peek behind the curtain of the secretive video game industry from an unlikely perspective, that of a career strategy guide writer. For eighteen years, Doug Walsh was one of the most prolific authors of officially licensed video game strategy guides.

One part memoir and one part industry tell-all, The Walkthrough takes players on an entertaining march through gaming’s recent history, from the dawn of the PlayStation to the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Switch. Follow along as Walsh retraces his career and reveals how the books were made, what it was like writing guides to some of the industry’s most celebrated — and derided — titles, and why the biggest publishers of guidebooks are no longer around.

Walsh devotes entire chapters to many of gaming’s most popular franchises, including Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Gears of War, and Diablo, among others. From inauspicious beginnings with Daikatana to authoring the books for the entire Bioshock trilogy, with plenty of highs, lows, and Warp Pipes along the way, Walsh delivers a rare treat to twenty-first century gamers. The Walkthrough is sure to satisfy the curiosity of anyone who grew up with the works of BradyGames and Prima Games sprawled across their laps.

With over one hundred books to his credit, and countless weeks spent at many of the most famous studios in North America, he is uniquely qualified to give an insider’s perspective of a little-known niche within the multi-billion-dollar industry.

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw (part two)

It's a classic beginning: a ship that's one step above a garbage scow, mysterious circumstances, a nemesis, an old friend who offers to help if you'll do him a favor.

Nah, to hell with all that.

I'll play through the story when the game is released. Instead, I wanted to find out what the game was like if I ignored the story. Could I just make a living as a mercenary? Would it be fun?

Yes, on both counts.

Here's the basic gameplay loop if you want to freelance. Every space station has a mission terminal, like a help wanted board, and it offers various missions. They're rated for difficulty, so it helps you avoid certain death (most of the time), but the riskier missions offer much bigger paydays.

You might ferry cargo, or clear a minefield, or patrol, or escort, or defend a freighter under attack, or spy on an outpost. That's only a sampling of the mission types, and they're quite varied. You can also get a mining laser and go space mining on your own.

That sounds pretty contained, right? A defined set of mission types. Flying from system to system. Making money.

Well, yes and no.

Shit can go sideways in a hurry. Maybe you spot a distress beacon on your way to a mission and decide to help out. Maybe hostiles intercept you on the way to the mission. Maybe you spot a bounty along the way and decide to have a go. Maybe you arrive at a mission, feel like you're in control, and then an unexpected wave of hostile craft arrive.

Even better, you can feel like you're in control and it can turn in seconds. Situations can get very, very hot, and I mean that in the best way. You've got shields on three sides depleting, you're trying to track a target and deliver the killing blow, your systems A.I. is methodically reciting all the things that are breaking on your ship, you've got someone calling for help over the comms system...

It gets wild.

That's one of the great things about this game: it's not controllable. You don't control situations--you manage them. That's the difference in a passably interesting game and a great one.

There are times when you need to hit the afterburners and just get the hell out. Your ability to assess a situation is every bit as important (maybe more so) than your joystick jockey skills. That's as it should be, because you're a private contractor, not Luke Skywalker.

Maybe the story makes you more heroic, but I like it this way. I like being a space jamoke who's just trying to get along and pay the bills.

There's entertainment, too. There's a terrific assortment of radio stations, and lots of entertainment at the station bars, including video games and pool (pool is so much fun).

You're just living your life in space, man.

Oh, and the explosions. This game has my favorite explosions of all time (surpassing even the Just Cause series). Ships exploding nearby give you teeth-rattling force feedback that is perfectly matched to the visuals in front of you. It is unbelievably impressive. 

It's all unbelievably impressive, really. It's a tour de force of both game design and implementation, and it's incredibly fun.

I'll let you know if I hear anything about the release date, but I don't think it's that far away. Within six months certainly, and maybe within three. It's very polished already.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to see a man about a ship. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw

You saw the screenshots yesterday, and I'm sure your first thought was, "No way the game can be as amazing as the screenshots."

Well, good news: it's absolutely just as amazing as the screenshots.

This is Travis Baldree's new game. He's been one of my favorite developers for more than a decade. His games are imaginative, well-paced, and always fun.

And they work. He releases fully-featured, fully-working games.

All right, enough intro. This game reminds me of two others: Super Wing Commander (3DO version) and Wing Commander: Privateer. The battles remind me of SWC. The ability to role-play reminds me of Privateer. 

There's a significant difference between RG:O and those two iconic games, though. RG:O is being released by arguably a better developer (Travis's track record is impeccable), and those games were both released at least a quarter of a century ago.

With the benefit of those twenty-five years, this game takes place in an incredibly dynamic world, and much of it is streamlined (if you so choose). Boring bits removed, exciting bits increased. It sounds simple, but no one else has been able to do it, at least not like this.

It's also huge. I've played for 30+ hours and only been in four planetary systems. Four! And there are thirty-nine in the game.

Wait, I should probably add a qualifier to that. I'm not following the story. I've been role-playing as a mercenary, just exploring on my own, and if you play this way, it's easily a 200+ hour game, or even longer.

Plus, this game is eccentric, and I mean that as a huge compliment. There's a very full-featured pool simulation, and almost every station has an opponent available who will play you for money. Slots. Video games. Dice poker.

There's no necessary reason for all that to be in the game, but it is, and it's all fun.

My thoughts appear to be genuinely disordered at this point, so let me pause until tomorrow and I'll try to organize my notes (which are fairly extensive) into something coherent.

I'll end on this, though. This game is going to be big. Very, very big.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

We'll Be Discussing These Screenshots Tomorrow

In the meantime, enjoy.

Yes, it's in-game footage, and no, it hasn't been released yet. I'm playing a beta, though, and it's just fantastic.

Like I said, discussion tomorrow (including what game it is).

Monday, May 13, 2019

Just Wait Until He's In A Water Hazard

We're on the putting green.

Since Eli 17.9 has started to really enjoy golf (he shot an 84 last week), we're playing quite a bit. We play together at least three days a week, and he plays another two or three days with friends.

For an ancient, I've started playing pretty well. In the very old days, I played to a five handicap, but then Eli was born and golf stopped for over a decade, really for sixteen years. I can still hit the ball, but my short game has been pretty poor.

Then I had an idea, and today, we're trying it out.

"How long is this hole?" I ask.

Eli consults the Bethpage Black scorecard. "Four hundred and twenty yards," he says. "Par four."

I consult a sheet of written instructions, currently sealed in a Ziploc bag. "Twenty-five feet plus seventeen feet for hole distance," I say. "That's a forty-two foot putt."

We find our place on the green and tee off.

"How far away were you?" I ask.

"Six feet," Eli says.

I consult the sheet. "Ooh, you're in the rough."

"What?" he asks, laughing.

"If you're more than five feet away on the drive, you're in the rough," I say. "That terrain type doubles the miss on your approach putt, so you need to be close on this one. Your drive distance was two-forty, so you have one eighty to the pin.  That's fifteen feet plus eighteen feet for distance, so you have a thirty-three foot putt for the approach shot."

"Let me see that sheet," Eli says. I hand it to him. "Oh my god," he says. "It's all formulas. Wait, is this written in code?"

"Mostly," I say.

"Here, take it back," he says, laughing. He lines up his putt and strokes it within two feet of the hole.

"Looks like someone has a fifteen-foot birdie putt coming up," I say. He laughs.

"This is actually really fun," he says.

"Just wait until you have to hit a bunker shot," I say.

We played for about forty-five minutes, working through the front nine at Bethpage Black. I went -2, Eli went -3, and we had a great time.

I've been thinking for a while about the short game and how to practice it in a way that I'm fully engaged. I don't want to just line up balls and hit the same putt over and over. This is a problem for everyone, because the short game is important, but practicing it is real drudgery.

I had an idea yesterday: what if we could pretend to be playing on a course, where the outcome of every putt is important? That's when I started making rules and creating formulas.

Basically, you use a putt to represent every shot on the course, and your accuracy determines the distance and terrain of your next shot. If your approach putt is inaccurate enough,  it's even possible to wind up in a real bunker, or need to chip from off the green.

Once you hit your approach shot, you just play out the rest of the hole like you normally would. Then you putt the score for the hole on your scorecard and move on.

It's complicated enough that you have to think your way through, so you're never just banging putts. And it makes practice have real stakes, because you're competing against each other and putting scores on a real scorecard. It makes everything more intense and so much more interesting.

I'm going to keep working on this, as a side project, because it has potential. Especially as an app, with a career mode, where you could play on a tour with different courses and work your way through the amateur tours to the pros and...

Yes, I get carried away. It's in my nature.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, an incredible story: My Childhood in a Cult.

From Dave Schroeder, and this is a brief but riveting: My search for a boyhood friend led to a dark discovery.

A load of links from C. Lee, and excellent as always. First, and this is intriguing, it's To Make Sense of the Present, Brains May Predict the Future. Next, and this just won't work, it's To Cope With a Wartime Banana Ban, British Home Cooks Made ‘Mock Bananas’. This is brutal: The Doorbell Company That’s Selling Fear. An excellent video series: Then This Happened.

From Ken Piper, and if you ever wondered: The Origin of the Term "Gamer". This is intriguing: A Video Game Developed To Detect Alzheimer’s Disease Seems To Be Working. Next, and this is bizarre, it's Seeing the quantum. This is absolutely amazing: A robot that can copy your handwriting. This is fantastic: New Xbox Controller With Haptic Braille Output Patented by Microsoft. This is concerning: Sunscreen chemicals soak all the way into your bloodstream.

From Scott Gould, and it's thought-provoking: Bullets and bills: The cost of getting shot in America.

The Ultimate (part two)

I told Eli 17.9 about the Apple guy, and he didn't understand why it was so funny. I hadn't even thought about "why," because it was instinctively funny to me, but now I actually understand.

What made that hipster the ultimate Apple guy was not the particular choice of items he wore, or the beard, or anything in isolation. It was that every single thing he chose to wear (or grow) was clearly cultivated for attention. It was precisely put together for maximum attention.

That's exactly what Apple does. Apple products aren't about anything functional, because you can always find a similar product from someone else that's faster and cheaper. What an Apple product is about is cultivating attention. Every single aspect of design is to cultivate that attention.

That's what was so funny.

Where, Pray Hither, Are the Boxer Shorts?

I went to Macy's to buy underwear. Macy's is basically J.C. Penny's + at this point, so it's no longer to fancy for me.

I walked up to an intersection in the store and looked at the sign above me. There were arrows pointing to everything in the store.


Half the arrows were directing people, from every direction, to the women's clothing section. Curiously, however, none were pointing to men's clothing.

An aberration, I thought, so I went thirty yards to the next sign.

Same thing.

I eventually checked every sign on the floor. Some pointed upstairs to women's clothing. Some pointed to the same floor I was on. No arrows, though, pointed to men's clothing.

Why this curious state of affairs, sir or madam? I represent consumer underwear demand!

I did eventually find the men's clothing section. It required three secret passwords and an electronic key to enter.

The Ultimate

After an entirely disinterested non-search, I've stumbled onto the ultimate Apple hipster.

I was walking past the Apple store at the local mall when I saw him, standing in the soft glow of the Apple's proprietary rightness.

It killed me--KILLED ME--to not take a picture, but we'll have to make do with a description.

I believe he was an employee, by the way, which makes it even better.

5'6". Slender. Appropriate length hipster beard. Square black glasses. Flower pattern leggings. Deck shoes.

It was overwhelming. Never have I seen a greater display of Apple-ness in my entire life.

I didn't bother looking to see if he was wearing an Apple watch. I already knew the answer.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019


In our last episode, Eli 17.9 was crushed because his application had been rejected to Dartmouth, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Brown.

He did make the waitlist at Cal.

However, he had already been accepted to Michigan in the early application period, and then they invited him to apply to the Honors College.

The Honors College is a prestigious sub-section inside Michigan, and they only admit 500 kids each year (60,000 kids applied to Michigan this year, which is incredible).

We were on the putting green a few days ago, and Eli said, "Oh, I forgot to tell you, but I got into the Honors College."

"Wait, what?" I said, laughing, giving him a big hug. "I just assumed this would be another disappointing tryout with no feedback!"

"I know, right?" he said, laughing. "But I actually got in."

There are lots of perks to being in the Honors College beyond academic rigor. They stay in a separate dorm with bigger rooms, and they have a cafeteria with better food (as far as I can tell, this is the equivalent of the Jock Dorm, but for nerds). On the academic side, there are special classes, an academic advisor with far fewer students, and a higher level of attention in general.

The effect on Eli has been pretty significant. Michigan's size (30,000 students) was intimidating, and not the college experience he'd been hoping for, but now he's going to get a version of the small school experience, and he's very happy about it.

Me, too. Thanks, Michigan.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Day Away

Really sorry, but it's been very busy today, and now I'm beat, so no writing. I'll have an update on Eli 17.9s school situation tomorrow, though.

Monday, May 06, 2019

7-10 Split

We were watching a professional bowling something or other. One of the bowlers was nicknamed "Squirrel."

"There are two people in squirrel suits," I said.

"I saw them," Eli 17. 9 said. "What's up with that?"

"What are the odds that two women in a small city in Maine happen to have squirrel suits?"

"Basically zero," Eli said.

"So that means the PBA has two squirrel suits in a trunk that they haul from event to event," I said.

"Pretty crazy either way," Eli said. "This crowd is pretty wild, really."

"Bowling fans or paid crisis actors?" I asked.

"Is there a difference?" Eli asked.

Then they showed this (please note squirrel costumes upper left):

"Wait, isn't that just best two out of three?" I asked. "Do we need a points system for this?"

Apparently, the "roll-off" may involve dark magic. You can't be too careful.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, and it's a riveting read: The Many Human Errors That Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max.

This is ugly, but it's an important read: A Former Alt-Right Member's Message: "Get Out While You Can".

From Meg McReynolds, and it's an amazing article about women in the Iditarod: What does it take to mush 1,000 miles through the Alaskan wilderness?

From DQ Fitness Advisor Doug Walsh, the story of Seattle's NHL champions: Meet the Metropolitans: Seattle’s First World Champions.

From C. Lee, and it's an interesting tech video: Macs are slower than PCs. Here’s why. Certainly the cutest and friendliest spy ever: Norway finds 'Russian spy whale' off Arctic coast. Concerning: People buy millions of unsafe products every year. Here’s why recalls are harder than they should be. Not that surprising: “Natural” bottled water has natural arsenic contamination, testing finds. This is fascinating: Icefish Study Adds Another Color to the Story of Blood. This seems unwise: Before the Easy-Bake Oven, Toy Stoves Were Beautiful and Deadly. This is a terrific idea: Microsoft is making VR better for those with vision problems.

From Jonathon Wood, and it's stunning: John Coltrane Draws a Picture Illustrating the Mathematics of Music.


From Ken Piper, and this is very cool: Listen up: We’ve detected our first marsquake. A car museum for geeks: Check out Batman’s and Marty McFly’s rides at the Petersen Museum.

From Steven Davis, and it's horrifying: Georgia’s Separate and Unequal Special-Education System.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Remember This

Twenty years from now, we'll all be doing three things: riding around in driverless cars, getting high, and eating lab-grown hamburgers.

Please note that those things can and will be done simultaneously.

Gracie, A Very Good Cat

Much like dogs, cats can be very good, too:

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Oh, No

I picked up a prescription at the pharmacy.

The lady at the counter looked to be 65+. I made polite talk during the transaction, and she mentioned that she was having one of her knees replaced next week. "Do you have any experience with that?" she said.

Oh, damn it to hell.

Now I'm in an entirely new category, apparently. Other questions I'll be asked soon:
"I started using adult diapers recently. Do you have any experience with that?"
"I have to use my walker around the house now. Do you have any experience with that?"
"Prunes. I buy them in five pound bags. Do you have any experience with that?"

This is all happening too soon.

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