Thursday, March 30, 2023

Friday Links!

This is one of the deepest dives I've ever seen on a game-related subject: My quest to re-create Street Fighter’s long-lost pneumatic controls.

This is a highly unexpected (to me, anyway) use for cultivated meat: Meatball from long-extinct mammoth created by food firm.

From Wally, and it's a deep and interesting dive into American Cheese: What Is American Cheese, Anyway? Surprisingly, biblioburros existed in the U.S., too, in slightly altered form: Pack Horse Library Project. This is absolutely foul: How Cigna Saves Millions by Having Its Doctors Reject Claims Without Reading Them. For Trekkies: William Shatner Explains How He Landed ‘Star Trek’ Role as Captain Kirk. This is very cool: Batmobiles, Bugs Bunny and James Dean’s jeans: a day inside the Warner Bros top-secret archive

From C. Lee, and this is terrific: Quitters. We have a system where asses are the one driving everything, unfortunately: The Incredible Tantrum Venture Capitalists Threw Over Silicon Valley Bank. This is a brutl (and deserved) takedown: Pluralistic: The "small nonprofit school" saved in the SVB bailout charges more than Harvard. An interesting read on a complex issue: Geothermal Power, Cheap and Clean, Could Help Run Japan. So Why Doesn’t It? This is fascinating: Ichigaya Letterpress Factory: Tokyo Museum Showcases Challenges of Printing Japanese Before the Computer Age. I had no idea: Why Chinese Rockets Spew Toxic Bright Red Gas Clouds On Launch. Also fascinating: DNA From Beethoven’s Hair Reveals Clues About His Death. This is absolutely hilarious, and Afroman has and always will rule: Cops Sue Afroman for 'Emotional Distress' After He Made Music Videos of Botched Raid. "Groom of the Stool" would make a fabulous t-shirt: The Toilet Duty Dukes and Duchesses of England.

Technology and Beethoven

There are so many things I could write about today, but you can read about these things in many other places. 

Instead, let's talk about Beethoven and his hearing loss. 

Beethoven started losing his hearing in his late twenties. By his mid-forties, he was functionally deaf.
Can you imagine being a great composer and losing your ability to hear, and along with it, your ability to compose? 

Nothing could be done. Back then, anyway. 

Today, though, something could be done. Theoretically, anyway. Beethoven could have used a technological form of synesthesia to translate his existing works into color patterns. So watching his existing piano works played back, for example, he would see complex combinations of colors. 

Over time, he could learn to compose by playing on keyboards and watching the color patterns interact. 

Easy? Hell, no. Possible? Yes, seemingly. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The Drop

In the Midwest, everyone says "How are you?" or "How's it going?" to strangers. It's a peppy, mandatory interchange. 

There's an oldster at the local grocery store who refuses to follow the convention. He's a checker, and he has this perpetual look of disgruntlement. 

Even looking disgruntled is frowned up on in west Michigan, so this is a serious violation of protocol. 

I've used the standard greetings often during the last year with this guy, and he just grunts or doesn't even respond. When he does respond, it's in a low, muffled voice, always looking away. 

I decided to try a variation of the standard greeting. 

Instead of going up on "doing?," I tried going down instead. Way down. 

Eeyore down. 

The first time I did it, he looked at me and answered in the same pitch. Now, every time I go into the store and see him, I drop into Eeyore and he answers every time. Sometimes, he speaks first. 

Tribe identification successful. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Don't Forget the Glitter


In the picture, technically, it's "this," but it's part of a "these."

These are $190 shoes that cost me $60, because I waited for the end of the model year and Adidas was blowing out all the '22 inventory. 

I can't imagine why they didn't sell. 

They feel great—they really do—but I can't shake the feeling that I'm a side character in a My Little Pony episode. 

Sure, three little girls ran up and tried to put stars and stickers on them, but it's a minor inconveniences.

Monday, March 27, 2023

A Passionate Defense of Hypnosis

I couldn't get Eli 21.7 to send me his W-2. 

He promised three times, but didn't follow through. He got sidetracked. I never hold this against him, because I know who he got it from (raises hand).

Creativity often works where persistence doesn't, though. 

I texted him this morning:
Listen to the sound of my voice...
you are getting very sleepy...
when you hear a bell, you will...
send me your W-2 immediately...

An hour later:
Sent W-2 by email!

My response:
When I snap my fingers you
will feel completely normal
and have no memory of 
what just happened. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, and it's no surprise, but just watch the contortions people will go through to deny it: Here’s the full analysis of newly uncovered genetic data on COVID’s origins

This is a sad, surreal story: My mother, the troll: ‘I think she lost sight of the McCanns’ humanity’.

This is a terrific article about (believe it or not) feral hogs: Feral hogs are the invasive menace you’ve never thought about

This is a C. Lee link (more from him later), but it's so terrific I'm putting it up here: Biblioburro: The amazing donkey libraries of Columbia.

From Meg McReynolds, and if nothing else, ChatGPT generates a ton of discussion: The AI Weirdness hack.

From Wally, and this dispute has been going on for years: At Hearing, Judge Appears Skeptical of Internet Archive’s Scanning and Lending Program. A bit of history, and not the pleasant kind, either: Defiant Russia: Ukraine at War. This is long but quite interesting: A Coffee Kickstarter Cautionary Tale. This is disturbing on so many levels: What happens when your AI chatbot stops loving you back?

From C. Lee, and it's only the beginning: Great, Dating Apps Are Getting More Hellish Thanks to AI Chatbots. This is both true and discouraging: The truth is there's little the government can do about lies on cable. This is alarming: Brazilian researchers find 'terrifying' plastic rocks on remote island. Who knew? It’s True: Gasoline Has an Expiration Date. This is a terrific read: Scheele’s Green, the Color of Fake Foliage and Death

On Music

I was driving to an appointment and heard something that resonated with me on the public radio station. It was the "Rustic Wedding Symphony" by Karl Goldmark. For some reason, I sank into deep concentration while I was listening, and at a stoplight, all kinds of thoughts flooded in at once. 

What I mostly thought about was the staggering range of music. Classical music, for the  most part, was limited to the wealthy, and opera as well. Everyone else, though, was listening to an entirely different kind of music, often in "public houses" (inns, taverns, etc.). Bard with lutes or harps in much rowdier settings, with much different subject matter. 

That's a huge oversimplification, of course, because classical music could be performed in smaller settings, too (just not with symphonies, obviously). Religious music was a third category, and it was hugely important. Still, though, classical music had a much-limited reach, both in income and in range. Rural dwellers just weren't going to hear anything like it. 

I wonder how listening to classical music performed by symphonies affected your perception of the world versus someone who experienced music through bards and small bands of performers, and how that translated into how you raised your children and interacted with the world in general. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

It's a Craft

Eli 21.7 prepares better than anyone I've ever seen. 

It's one of his most useful qualities, and he applies it comprehensively to his life. I have the quality of preparedness, too, but I apply it, um, much more erratically. 

However, when you're working twelve hours a day on your thesis, and you're taking an easy class pass/fail, exceptions are made. 

"I totally forgot what a rush it is to take a test without studying," he said. 

"Which test?"

"The pass/fail. I half-watched the lectures online, didn't prepare at all, and then I sat down for the exam and had to figure it all out in real-time." 

I started laughing. "How long has it been since you did that?"

"Oh, sophomore year in high school, at least."

"I totally forgot you were ever like that," I said. 

"It creates a totally different expectation for your grade. If you study, you're disappointed by every point you lose. If you don't study, though, you're elated by every point you get."

"What did you make on the test?" I asked. 

"Eighty-eight," he said, laughing. 

"Eighty-eight points of pure grit," I said. 

"I forgot that surviving without studying is really an art."

"No," I said. "It's a craft."

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A Thought

Watching the NCAA Tournament last weekend, I was reminded of how much coaches are ruining the entertainment value of college basketball. 

They get five timeouts a half. FIVE. And they use these timeouts to engage in a staggering level of micro-management, which is the absolute opposite of fun. 

If it was legal for a coach to be on the court as long as he wasn't touching the court, I guarantee you most of the D1 coaches would force a player to carry them piggyback for the entire game so they could constantly yell instructions in their ear. 

This weekend, though, I had a wonderful idea. Let coaches have as many timeouts as they want. They can call ten timeouts a half, if they want to. 

Each timeout costs them two points. 

What I enjoy most about this is how it would put coaches into this infinite loop of min-maxing that would paralyze most of them. The mental calculus would be staggering. 

It would be delicious. 

What I've Learned Living in Canada

We had another 5" of snow on Saturday, which takes us to 106.5" for the winter, the third snowiest winter in Grand Rapids history. 

It hasn't felt like a bad winter, though, and yesterday I realized why. It doesn't matter how much it snows. 

It only matters how much it melts. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Kicking the Can and Other Things

When you're editing your own book, you will occasionally engage in can-kicking. 

There's a paragraph, and it just doesn't flow right. You'll look at it during a draft, and you'll be stuck. Eventually, you move on, because you can always fix it later. 

Third draft. Fourth draft. Tenth draft. 

That paragraph is still there, though. No matter how many times you rewrite it, it doesn't work. As the text around it gets smoother and more polished, it just gets grittier and louder and uglier.

There were probably twenty of those paragraphs in The Man You Trust, all the way to the last draft. I'd revised all of them at least a dozen times, and none of them worked. It was like trying to push a rowboat off a sandbar when the sand is so wet it becomes glue. 

Eventually, I finished all of those paragraphs. It was brutal. 

I mention this because I'm helping Eli 21.7 edit his honors thesis, which he turns in on Friday, and there is no kicking the can down the road. Every inconsistency or roughness has to be identified and resolved. There's no deferral. It's almost half as long as my book, and we're editing it in six days. 

It will be an interesting week. 

Thanks to all of you who purchased the e-book (and the paperback). Three of Fredrik's images have been added now, and they look beautiful, of course. I had to use a pre-defined template—which has space set aside for text—so there's a bit of white space in there, but I'm still really pleased. 

Friday, March 17, 2023

The Man You Trust E-book is Live

Here you go: The Man You Trust. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free. 

By the end of the day, the product page should be much improved (I hope).

Thank you for considering a purchase.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Friday Links!

This is fantastic: The Deep Sea. I had absolutely no idea: Mona Lisa v ‘the monstrous’: the grotesque, shocking side of Leonardo da Vinci.

From C. Lee, and it's a terrific read: Explainer: Number Representations in Computer Hardware. A frightening trend: Revealed: the US is averaging one chemical accident every two days. This is incredibly concerning: Artificial turf potentially linked to cancer deaths of six Phillies ball players – report. Bizarre: Medieval medicine: the return to maggots and leeches to treat ailments. "Move fast and make crap" it should say: Your stuff is actually worse now. This is a fantastic Twitter thread: Escaping Into or Through Science Fiction. Yes: Excuseflation

From Wally, and don't ask where I am: The 4 (actually 5) levels of tool organization. An interesting read on writing: Words that don’t belong. This is long but quite funny: This. was. CHAOS. - AMD $5,000 Ultimate Tech Upgrade

Universal Basic Income (your email)

Jim R. sent me such a thoughtful email that I'm publishing it without a single edit. 

We are currently dragging our heels as hard as possible to avoid automation. People won't use self-checkout lanes at the grocery store because it puts people out of a job. That's dumb. And misguided, if well intentioned. We should not be trying to figure out how to make sure as many people are paid shitty wages for jobs they hate just so they have a job and a chance to maybe make rent or eat. Not both, but one of those.

UBI gives people the option to fail, and that would be the most incredible gift we could give to the world. Imagine if you could start a business without worrying that you wouldn't have insurance or food on the table if it fails. Imagine how much art and music would be created. Imagine how many people would be free to explore research or learning to advance human knowledge.

There are debates about whether great people arise because of moments in history that give them an opportunity to rise and stand out, or if those people would rise regardless. I believe in the former. And I believe a HUGE number of those people are low income minorities working in dead end shitastic conditions to live in a house with eight other people, five of whom work the same type of jobs and the fear that any one of them failing will lead to disaster for everyone. The Renaissance artists and inventors benefited from a patronage system. There are crowdfunded attempts to do the same these days (Patreon, for example), but how many people can't take the chance to make art that would be noticed, when flipping those burgers or scanning those items are critical to the bottom three rungs of Mazlow's pyramid? 

It's absolutely true that if true AI becomes a reality, it will change mankind forever, however, the increasingly sophisticated expert systems and NLPs like ChatGPT give us a chance to have that new explosion of art, science, and invention by automating so much of the busywork we force ourselves to cling to.

This dovetails with something I read earlier this week, which described taking economic risk as a game of darts. Wealthy young adults have the ability to throw as many darts as they want. If one misses the bullseye, it's inconsequential. They just pick up another dart and keep throwing. Eventually, when they hit the bullseye (with enormous financial rewards), they think they were 100% responsible. 

Middle-class people might be able to throw one dart, or two, because the cost of failure is significant. A few will hit the bullseye, though, and this will be lauded as proof that everything about our economic system is fine. What is ignored (and this is true of athletic success stories as well) is how rarely this happens when you can only throw one or two darts. 

Lower-class people almost never get to throw darts at all. Even one dart is far too risky, and the price of failure far too high.

Letting more people fail would substantially change the composition of this country for the better.

Help Me Fix Myself (if only I had a dollar every time I asked)

I've submitted everything for the ebook version of The Man You Trust to Amazon, and it should be able by end of day Friday. 

My product description does a nice job of encompassing the world, but it's also very short:
Inspired in equal parts by the works of Haruki Murakami, George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury, The Man You Trust is a haunting story of finding your place in the world and what it means to be human. 

Inspector Paul Newman is a dedicated public servant, striving to restore order to a disordered world. His actions will determine the future of the people he is bound to protect. 

Like I said, it's correct, but there's just much there. If you've read the book and have any suggestions, please email me. 

The one idea I do have is adding a paragraph that starts off talking about Fredrik, because his art is so beautiful. I really wanted to add images from the book to the product page, but Amazon won't let me, unfortunately. [Update: Actually, that's not correct. I can add images to the product page, but only after the book is published. Odd, but still good news.]

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


There seems to be an interesting mismatch going on with ChatGPT.

OpenAI and Microsoft (already using it in Bing chat) are hyping it to the moon. The media are writing breathless articles about its brilliance (it can pass the bar exam!). What's being represented, though, is that it has an advanced capacity to assess information, not just spit it back. 

I wrote months ago that what AI was going to do, eventually, was to replace middle managers. I still believe that, too, and its affects will be seismic, but I also think how these tools are being represented in their current state is very misleading. There are too many reports of individual people (professors, notably) who correctly point out that ChatGPT is great at presenting information, but it's often wrong information (here's an example). It's not mimicking thinking in any effective way.

There's only one explanation for the mismatch: there is a gigantic financial incentive to promote the product, and lots and lots of companies are going to make enormous amounts of money. Otherwise, no one would care, and no one would misrepresent its capabilities. 

Always follow the money. 

Let's go into the future, though. At some point, ChatGPT or something like it will be able to represent thinking in a way where we can't easily spot the difference. It will allow corporations to replace (cumulatively) millions of employees. 

Automation took away a large number of low-end jobs. Now, AI will take away a large number of jobs in the middle. 

What are these people supposed to do?

Will Americans still look down on unemployment as a moral failing, or does this change as more and more people are affected? We're famous for not thinking anything is a problem until it's a problem for us, but  in this case, "us" is getting larger and larger. Is this going to lead to some form of Universal Basic Income? If you don't fund social services, and people can't work, how are they supposed to survive?

The never-ending quest for extracting every penny of corporate profit in this country, in conjunction with these same companies vehemently fighting any regulation, has always been a bomb with a fuse. The only question is how much of the fuse is left.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


I just finished proofing the digital version of The Man You Trust, and I can't find any errors. I'm calling it done, and I'll be working on the Amazon page to get it published as quickly as possible. 

Oh, and Fredrik's art looks glorious! I'm so happy to have a version where it's in full color. 


I read this and it's completely blown my mind: Bees learn to dance and to solve puzzles from their peers.

A few excerpts before we discuss:
For the bees, the Chittka lab designed puzzle boxes that could be opened by rotating a clear lid, either by pushing clockwise on a red tab or counter-clockwise on a blue tab. This would let the bees collect a tasty reward of 50 percent sucrose solution...

A demonstrator bee was trained to perform one of the two solution behaviors and then added to a group of untrained bees. All bees were allowed to forage freely among the puzzle boxes, and their behavior was monitored to see if the demonstrator bee repeatedly "solving" the puzzle box resulted in that behavior spreading through the rest of the group. There were also control groups with no demonstrator bees...

Foraging bees in colonies that had demonstrator bees opened far more puzzle boxes than the control bees, and they used the solution they had been "taught" 98 percent of the time, suggesting they had learned the behavior socially.

So bees (bees!) have the ability to learn problem solving socially. Bumblebees, in this case. And social learning is a distinguishing characteristic of culture. 

Remember when we thought animals were stupid? Then it turned out we were so, so wrong about many of them. Then we thought insects were stupid. Wrong again. 

Also, there were a few bees who found the solution in colonies with no demonstrator bee. These bold souls were called "spontaneous learners," and if a single bee can be a badass, I feel like spontaneous learner bees should qualify. 

It's already been determined that one of the behaviors bees engage in is play. This also shocked me when I first read about it, but it led to more questions, as this new article does. What I want to know is does the behavior of bees change according to their age? Honeybees only live 30-60 days, and bumblebees only make it four weeks (they only sign up for 24-hour subscriptions on Bumble, and I'll show myself out, thanks). 

Do bees continue to learn even as they enter the last third of their life? Do they still engage in play? And how do those averages contrast with how we handle the last third of our lives?

There's no reason I'm asking these questions, of course. None at all. 

The Academy Awards

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On was robbed. That is all. 

Monday, March 13, 2023

The Future Firms Up

It's all been a bit of a daze since Thursday. 

Note: for the same reason I designated Liberia "Country X", I'm designating the University I'll be mentioning as "O." You know where I'm talking about. 

I was talking on the phone to Eli 21.7 in the late morning. We hadn't talked in few days. 

"So are you avoiding me because you didn't get the Gaither and don't want to tell me?" I asked. 

Eli laughed. "That's an entirely logical chain of thought, but no," he said. 

We talked about a random assortment of stupid, silly things, which we do quite often. Then there was a brief silence and he said, "Hold on. I just got an email."

I waited. 

"Holy shit, I just got into O," he said.

"What? Are you serious?" I asked. It was the only graduate school he applied to, and if he didn't get in, he was applying to others (along with O again) next year and hopefully doing the Gaither or the Fulbright as a gap year.

He started laughing. "And they're paying £17,000 of my tuition each year! This is crazy."

I don't even remember what we talked about for the next minute or so. It was a blur. "Oh, wait, I got it wrong," he said. 

Oh, well, I thought. Just getting in is a huge deal, even if we're paying for all of it. It's still unbelievable. One of the happiest days of my life.

He started laughing again. "They're paying ALL my tuition and giving me a £17,000 a year stipend for living expenses! What is happening?"

I felt like the luckiest person on Earth to be on the phone with him while he found all of this out. 

Later, he called me with more information. If he stays to do his doctorate, the offer is extended for three more years. 

I drove down to Ann Arbor and we had breakfast yesterday.

"I'm having a bit of difficulty processing reality right now," I said.

"You and me both," he said.  

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, a story about Pete Maravich (and video of a game where he scored 64 points against Kentucky long before the three-point line existed): 'Pistol' Pete Maravich: College basketball stats, best moments, quotes.

This is an astonishing video: In 1991, with the Soviet Union and communist rule close to collapse, METALLICA played at its first ever open air rock concert in Moscow. Over 1.6 million people attended.

From C. Lee, and it's very, very bad: Leaked audio reveals US rail workers were told to skip inspections as Ohio crash prompts scrutiny to industry. A fascinating read: How Loneliness Reshapes the Brain. Unsurprising: Exercise Can Build Up Your Brain. Air Pollution May Negate Those Benefits. I really didn't want to know this: Not a breath of fresh air: study finds sewage bacteria in ocean spray. This is excellent: The Little Known History of Champagne. Come on, Lucky Charms, I expected more of you: FRUITY PEBBLES AND LUCKY CHARMS THREATEN TO BLOCK “HEALTHY” FOOD LABELING GUIDELINES IN COURT. This will turn into a huge controversy: ‘Disrespectful to the Craft:’ Actors Say They’re Being Asked to Sign Away Their Voice to AI. This will become widespread very quickly, I bet: How I Broke Into a Bank Account With an AI-Generated Voice. This is alarming: Two security flaws in the TPM 2.0 specs put cryptographic keys at risk

From David Gloier, and it's amazing: Archaeologists Discover Wooden Spikes Described by Julius Caesar.

From Wally, and I had no idea these even existed (some cursing, so maybe not NSFW): Amazing Blue Jet Over Texas !!! Make this into a game and I'd totally preorder it: If Godzilla was in Star Wars. It was a wild ride: Airbnb was wild, disruptive and cheap: we loved it. But it wasn’t a love strong enough to last. This is a Linus Tech Tips video that's both informative and funny: Amazon... more like SCAMazon. A lengthy and interesting read: Discord, or the Death of Lore

Upside Town (Walkabout Mini Golf)

One of the biggest disappointments of VR, at least to me, is that it's generally lacked imagination. The vast majority of games in VR are just copies of existing genres. It's such an opportunity to do things you couldn't do in real life, but no one seems to have the imagination. 

Boy, did I find the exception.

Walkabout Mini Golf released a new course today called Upside Town. It's basically what would happen if M.C. Escher designed a mini-golf course. It's a fabulously detailed downtown of a city that bends reality in every imaginable way. You put off walls, and ceilings, and through gravity warps, and it stretches your brain in all kinds of remarkable ways. 

It's absolutely spectacular, and it's an experience you could never have in real life, because much of what it does is impossible. It's not impossible in VR, though, and I don't think I've ever been so amazed by a game. The level of imagination is uniformly incredible. 

This course should also be coming out for PC and PS5 VR, so if you have a headset, it's a mind-blowing experience. 

Soon, But Not Now

It's been an absolutely huge day. Life-altering, really. I'm exhausted, though, so I'm going to wait to write about it until Monday. 

It's all good, though. 

Wednesday, March 08, 2023


I had dinner this week with my friend across the street (the mom of Eli 21.7s best friend, and our closest friends in Grand Rapids). She was doodling on eggs for her class of very small persons the next day, and while we were talking she did this:

It hits a little close to home, particularly the eyebrows (which always happens when I need a haircut).

We don't have much sun in winter (often, none), but a full moon was actually visible last week:

The new house next door is so grotesquely large its nickname is "The Wizard's Tower."

This was taken in downtown Grand Rapids yesterday, near sunset, and it's sunny again:

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

This Again


I've been a fan of Texas Tech for almost 40 years, because one of my best friends went to school there and successfully converted me into a fan. 

There's only one problem: for the last 20 years, all the basketball coaches we hire are psychopaths.

I don't know if that's a box to check during the interview, or if it's just been an unhappy accident. It keeps happening, though. 

And now this: Mark Adams Has Some Top-Notch Excuses For Saying Racist Stuff And Spitting On One Of His Players.

Please, enjoy: 
Adams was suspended indefinitely by the school after using a Bible verse about "workers, teachers, parents, and slaves serving their masters" during a private conversation with one of his players.

Telling a black kid that slaves need to serve their masters? For that matter, telling a white kid, either. What a novel way to motivate someone--if they're insane.

In the old days, there would be a accusations and recriminations everywhere, and after an "investigation," the school would announce they're standing behind their coach. They'd stand behind him because pleasing the fan base was the only thing that mattered. Players had to sit out a year if they transferred, and most wouldn't want to do that. They had no options.

End of story. 

Except now, there's a better story. Players can transfer once and play immediately. This means the transfer portal is going to be stuffed with Texas Tech players unless the university forces the coach to resign or fires him. 

That's how a market should work. Coaches can't be dicks so easily, because if the players don't want to play for them, they leave. This is exactly as it should be, and how nice that old white guys (and others) have to actually be accountable for their behavior. 

What a novel idea.

Monday, March 06, 2023

The Man You Trust (ebook)

I received the newly formatted, e-book version of The Man You Trust today. 

The image formatting problem is gone. There are some other, minor things to clean up, but I'm reasonably confident the digital version will be out within two weeks. Which makes me happy, because people will be able to see Fredrik's beautiful art in full color. 

I'm still stunned by how complicated it can be to take a book from a Word file into the epub format and have everything work properly. You'd think it would be easy, but it's absolutely not. Sometimes the simplest things become unreasonably complicated. 

Like life, I guess. 

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Friday Links!

Leading off this week is a link from C. Lee, and everything about this story is brilliant: Students unravel ninja technology in device used for eavesdropping.

This is a terrific video: Tim Henson's interview shows why he's one of the best guitarists of his era.

From Michael Higgins-Freese, and I think I speak for all of us when I say "ick": Shoes Carry Poop Bacteria Into NYC Buildings, Study Finds.

From C. Lee, and this is going to get very, very complicated: ChatGPT is overtly and covertly writing novels and short stories and the industry is freaking out. A fantastic read: Forget the Scenic Route, Take a Detour. Fascinating: The Enchanting (and sometimes macabre) World of Ex-Voto. A great bit of history, with a little still alive: America’s Last Juke Joints. An interesting list of where not to go (famous places that need a rest): Fodor’s No List 2023. This is another terrific Digital Antiquarian article: Sequels in Strategy Gaming, Part 3: Heroes of Might and Magic II. This is an amazing read: The Great Wall of China Chapter 29: The Virus.

A bit of sci-fi history from Wally: Adventures in Fiction: Andre Norton. A very satisfying read; What is it that makes Used Bookstores so Wonderful? This could become increasingly useful: Weird Weather: How to Tell a Williwaw from a Haboob

From Chris M., and it may not be fooling anyone now, but it will: AI-generated fiction is flooding literary magazines — but not fooling anyone

From David Gloier, and it's bizarre: Giant flying bug found at Arkansas Walmart turns out to be "super-rare" Jurassic-era insect

Men (who will always be boys, your email)

From Mike G.:
I have a similar thing with trash-can sports, but for me it's in one of the bathrooms at work.  There is a long countertop that has four sinks and three holes between the sinks.  Beneath each hole is a trash can.  Whenever I wash my hands and no one else is there, I'll use the right-most sink, wad up the paper towel, and try to throw a curveball that loops over the third sink and into the last can.

One of these days someone will walk in while I'm in the middle of my windup.

And when they do, they'll wad up a paper towel and take their own shot. It's man law.

Back at Home

Eli 21.7 landed in Detroit about thirty minutes ago. 

He'd been traveling for 26 straight hours, if I'm counting correctly. Monrovia-Brussels-Montreal-Detroit is quite the work commute. 

If he can stay up until eight or so, then sleep twelve hours, he might not even be terribly jet-lagged tomorrow. 

Those three weeks in Liberia felt like three months. To me, at least. I asked him and he said he was there for just the right length of time. 

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Men (who will always be boys, part two)

I totally forgot that Eli 21.7 and I have our own "basketball" ritual that we've been doing since he was about 8.0. Anytime either one of us "takes a shot" with trash, the other tries to block it. 

This isn't something that happens occasionally. It's literally every single time in the last thirteen years.

My secret goal is to play the long game and stop trying to block his shot for years, just to set up one absolute, overpowering, life-shattering block. Then show him this post.

Also, he's sitting in the Country X airport. His flight takes off in thirty minutes. 

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