Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday: I hate falling asleep while reading my rss feeds

Mostly because I usually have my hand resting on the N-P-space keys to navigate.  Then, when I fall asleep, I tend to push the N key repeatedly until I reach the end of the list of updates.

I have nothing else unposted, so here's Pikachu.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday: Why do I always come up with complicated things?

At some point during the day today, I saw a link to a plot of "Corporate Profits after Tax" from FRED, and that made me start wondering.  That's a pile of profits (after tax).  How does it compare with the federal deficit? 
CP is tabulated quarterly, and I've inverted FYFSD and converted into equivalent billions of dollars.
Huh.  That's kind of fucking crazy.  Let's make a thought experiment, and say that we magically went back in time to 1970 and added a 10% additional tax on corporate profits.  What does that plot look like?
I'm summing CP annually, and dividing by 10 to get this "experimental tax"
Next up, let's look at the cumulative debt that is built up over the time range (the debt in 1970 was something like $371e9, so that's ignored here).
Ok, so we're stable until the 80s (thanks Reagan), the bump is the rate increase in 1986, then magically things turn around in the 90s (thanks Microsoft), which pushes us up into surplus territory until the looting excesses of the Bush years finally crush the economy in such a way that the only way to keep people from starving is for an increase in government spending.  Still, this hypothetical 10% tax would have put the US on a far firmer economic structure.

Makes you wonder what the benefit of letting GE not pay any taxes ever must be to outweigh this scenario.

And that's how I spent my evening.
With pinkies out.
"Hey little girl.  We are two tiny lost bears, who only wish to return home to the forest. Perchance would you be willing to spare some change to help unfortunates such as us?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday: Ok, let's be honest here

Yesterday's blog post spiraled out of control.  It started in one place, zoomed off the wrong way down the highway, stopped for a bit in the Viridian Forest, and then crashed off a cliff.

It was fun though.

In any case, today is a simpler post.

Part 1: A Bear
"Wait, this isn't the right way to do this. Fuck."
 Part 2: Philosophy
 Part 3: The Unexpected Nature of Life
 Part 4: Shy dog
Part 5: The Links

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday: Grumpy contrarianism

Part 1: Thermodynamics is better than chemistry.

I've tried piles of different cleaning supplies, and have never been that happy with them.  There are three main examples of this:

  1. Toothpaste in the sink.  How do other people not have this problem?  Do you all just rinse the sink until it's clean right away?  In any case, I believe I've proven that toothpaste residue is impervious to all chemicals known.
  2. Bathtub...soap...ring...thing?  Basically that grey bar in my tub where the minerals in my water and the soap suds combine to form another substance that laughs at chemicals.
  3. The floor in front of my stove.  Because of the way my apartment ventilates, grease from cooking fumes condenses down next to the wall.  Swiffer glides over this, shrugs it's shoulders, and silently mocks me for believing it could clean a damn thing.  The problem is that the vinyl flooring is textured, and the only way I've discovered to clean this is to scrub with a toothbrush.  Therefore, as you can expect, this doesn't happen often.
Sure, there are probably harsher chemicals, but my apartment building is reasonably old, so dumping concentrated aqua regia down the drains isn't a good idea.  Plus, my apartment isn't quite ventilated as well as a fume hood.  Therefore, let's take the strategy that if heating aqua regia is a default chemistry step, super heating regular water is basically the same concept: admitting that chemistry has failed you, and you need to start adding heat, due to the fundamental principle of the universe: Chemistry sucks, and Thermodynamics is by definition, way cooler.  And hotter.  It does both.

Yeah, sure, Mr. XKCD, whatever.  Stat Mech is almost entirely math anyway, so adding that large gap to be funny isn't that accurate.

Enter the McCulloch MC1235 1300-Watt Handheld Steam Cleaner.  Not the most powerful device around, but I'm willing to throw $40 on a new toy that might help me clean things.  I tried it against the three things listed above, as well as just about everything that wasn't covered in books (since books + steam = wrinkly pages, and that's never good).  Let's rank it!
  • Ease of use: 6.  You kind of have to get close to the surface to ensure the hottest steamiest steam steams the surface clean. With steam.
  • Noxious smells: 2.  You can get that "angry clothes iron" smell occasionally.  Since, honestly, they are the same devices with different outer shells.
  • Cleantissitude: 5(9).  Decent enough, steaming things up, wiping them down with a paper towel, noticing it's better.  Yeah, ok.  Then you change to the scrubby nozzle.  Shoot steam into a forest of hard plastic scrubby brush.  This immediately solved all of the "I have Grime X on this surface. Woe is me" kind of issues.  Toothpaste? Gone.  Grey bar of nastiness? Gone.  Oven grease on uneven vinyl? Shiny clean.
  • Practicality: 4.  The effective working area is roughly an inch in diameter.  This isn't really practical for cleaning an entire floor.  Cleaning the bad spots on the floor isn't really that bad, but a full room would be hard.
  • Cool "rooty-tooty-point-and-shooty" stylings: 10.
So, adding up the numbers, this earns a 31.  That's a prime number.

I will therefore be cleaning random things that can be steamed this weekend.  I guess it does shirts too?  Like a regular non-shooty iron?  I'll find my wrinkliest shirt, and see if I can make that work too.  Of course, 95% of the time, I'm wearing shirts that need ironing after cramming them into a suitcase and flying them across the world before pulling them out in a wadded mess.

Part 2: I'm going to complain about Pokemon Genders

I saw this pop up in my RSS feed today:
My initial thought: "they have different tails for male and female pikachu?"  So first step was off to the internets to learn about that.  Serebii has sprite pictures:
Which further research notes were first introduced in Gen 4.  

This led me to remembering a previous episode "Pikachu's Goodbye," where Team Twerp runs into a pile of wild pikachu, Team Rocket/blasts away, Ash thinks he should leave Pikachu with the wild ones, flashbacks, Pikachu returns.  Turns out that episode (like all of everything) is available online now.  So I grabbed some screen shots:
Pika-kiss?  Does that suggest that the "fringed tail" seen on the left pokemon is a girl?

Straight tails seem to dominate, but there's another fringe tail.

Same here.  Similar statistics. 6 straight to 1 fringe.
Composite of those two frames.  Note the ghost face and the double face.  Still, not bad. :)
Pikachu shows up, with initial distrust.
Mostly straight tails as they approach.
Cute tail shake.
Rescue from a rive with a chain of fringe tail pikachu.  Lazy animation or bizarre gender roles in pikachu society?  "Men: surround strangers! Women: form living chains to rescue swimmers!"

Team Rocket captures everyone.
Ok, assume a spherical net.  I estimate a chord across that bottom right edge as having length  C = 353.9pxl with height H = 48.8pxl.  This leads to the sphere radius of R = (h/2) + (c^2)/(8 h) = 66.37 ft^3, using the relation that 1 pikachu = 182.8pxl = 1.33 ft.  Assuming a volume of a pikachu is Vpika = 1.33 * (pi * (1.33 / 2)^2) = 1.8478 ft^3, so this net holds about 35.919, say 36 pikachu.  Yeah.  I can see that based on the pictures.
Flashback time:
First meeting.
First running in terror from swarms of pissed off pokemon.
Then the wild pikachu offer up a pikachu salute as everyone leaves, and it's a happy ending.

This picture is from a different episode, but I had to include it. Due to the derp.

What was I talking about again?  Oh yeah, cosplayers not being totally accurate with a retcon that showed up to add another dimension to the collect them all game.  And then people bitching about it, largely in what seems to be a "you fail, nerd girl" kind of attitude.  And then I decided I wanted to look at pikachu, and now it's officially an hour later than I thought it was.  Fuck.

Wait, did I just accidentally come up with something close to a definitive study of the tails of pikachu?

TL;DR: if you want to dress like Pikachu, you have every right to do so, and no one should tell you you're wrong.  Unless you're dressing up as an eldritch evil demon disguised as Pikachu.  That's not cool.

Part 3: But...that's not my Monte Cristo

I saw this on the Whole Ox twitter feed today:
Mortadella is not both ham and turkey.  Gruyere is not both swiss and cheddar.

I still want to eat one.

Also, to Instagram: I can still download those photos.  Why not just give me a link so I don't have to jump through hoops.

Part 4: Links. Do I have any of those left?

  • Grant Morrison is a hack.  People who are secure in what they do and know that they write good, original things don't tend to lash out at people who say bad things about them.  And in case he reads it: You are like 80% of the reason that I stopped reading comics.  Your bullshit with Batman, your bullshit with the Fifth World stuff, your bullshit story-and-sense-free Final Crisis.  I don't want to read you masturbating to the comics you read as a kid.  I want to read interesting stories about characters that I actually give a damn about.
  • I hope this isn't the final end to Baman Piderman.  Drawn crudely, minimal dialogue, and characters I actually give a damn about having interesting adventures.  Huh.  Seems like I now know why I like this show even more.
  • No good third link, so here's weather cat. "Fuck you, Eduardo."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday: Adventure Time! With Mondays and Telecons!

Totally the worst kind of adventure time alternate universe ever.  Meetings, seminar, meetings, new tasks pushing old tasks into the "need to get finished like right now" pile.  Why can't every day be day two of a four day weekend?

I almost bought the new AT game today, and the associated new 3DS required to make the game play (it apparently runs a low grade BMO emulation, making it incompatible with my standard BMO equipment).  However, I decided to impulse buy some tshirts instead, and look at reviews before throwing $200 at something.  The internet word seems to be "fun" and "super fun," with lots of "like Zelda 2, which wasn't that bad of a game, people" and a bit of "it might be a bit short."  It's the last one that concerns me.  I liked Zelda 2, which was the only game on my gamecube zelda disk that I actually played (other than a quick "I can beat Zelda 1 in an afternoon powered only by chips/dips/coke").

I think that if the game is going to be possibly shorter than I would like, then I probably should buy it just before I start travelling this December.  That way I can spread the game play out among the thousand plane trips.  That'll also give me a chance to play that Castlevania game I bought on launch day only to discover that my DS had died.  I never got around to replacing it, as it didn't seem like the best use of money at the time.

Plus, today's new AT episode had a squirrel in it:

"Ok! Activate your squirrel flaps!" "Flaps? No, I just have regular squirrel arms!"
This may just end up being one of my default blog commentary images.

  • Strawberry bowls filled with chocolate.  It's ideas like this that make you feel dumb that you didn't come up with them first.
  • Farm subsidies are bad at all their stated goals, and make just about everything they touch work worse.
  • One more AT note.  "Hey guys, it's your old pal Ice King! Doesn't anyone want a picture with the Ice King? Ice King pictures? Free for anyone! No? Ok, I'll just stand here in the back.  Kind of out of the way.  Ice King doesn't need to give hugs to be in a picture.  He can just let the picture happen naturally."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday: I have successfully defeated a four day weekend

It required only the finest slices of "not doing a damn thing," but I have not done those things at a championship level.  I did get my car washed, so I guess that counts as doing something.  Plus I'm doing laundry now, and am actually going to make my lunch for tomorrow tonight, so I don't have to rush to make it tomorrow.  I could probably claim the "made a ham" as a thing done this weekend as well.  I guess that brings me up to four things done in four days.

Now for the standard December crunch to get everything done before end of year vacations and early January conferences.  That'll be fun.  At least I'm doing a talk this year, and have a mandated limit of five minutes to talk.  I can make up six slides to fill five minutes without any trouble.

I don't think they even let tour guides climb up to the top of the pyramids anymore.  
"So you told Larry that there's a secret button on the side of bear's jaw that will 'turn it off'?" "Yeah." "That's not true, you know." "YOU ARE GOING DOWN MY MOUTH, TINY USELESS HUMAN!"

"Nom. Nom. Nomnomnomnomnomnomnomnom."

  • I really think that should be some sort of test.  If you can't make money for a company that sells snack foods that everyone likes, then it's clear that you're fundamentally useless at your job and should simply stop.
  • Chef John had really good ideas that I wish he'd brought up before Thanksgiving.  The roasted garlic/blue cheese green beans sound really good.
  • Pika!
  • "I see you, cat. Note however, that you are on the ground, scavenging on the detritus of this office.  I sit kingly upon the Gym Shorts Leg Throne.  You have been cast out, cat.  House Sciuridae rules this land now."
  • I haven't read this yet, but the skim suggests it has the same kind of points that I've read elsewhere.  A) current high unemployment is not a symptom of workers untrained in useful skills.  Rather it's largely the case that a lack of job activities (building things, selling things, etc.) means that the current production/service level can be largely solved with the current level of the workforce.  If you want to improve employment, you need to force the system to broadly "do more stuff."  If I make and sell 10 widgets a day with X workers, then if I suddenly start having contracts calling for 30 widgets a day, I either need fantastic productivity increases, or I need to hire more people and have them make the extras I now need.  War does this nicely if it's large enough, but generally any large transfer programs from the government (which we're assuming here can borrow as much money as they can imagine) to businesses should flow out and solve the unemployment problems.  B) if a business can't hire a widgeteer at $10/hr, it may be able to at $20/hr.  This is especially true if the skills to be a licensed widgeteer require some sort of debt-incurring education.  The pay of the widgeteer is indirectly a function of the average debt incurred.  Otherwise, there are two cases; case 1: no widgeteers exist because no one will take out that debt without assurance that the pay of a widgeteer will cover it.  case 2: many widgeteers exist because the average pay adequately covers the debt incurred.  Therefore, a business that requires a skill set that applicants need to have beforehand will need to pay sufficiently to support the very existance of widgeteers.  C) if the public education system is fundamentally not educating students for the skills that businesses want, why do the businesses not push for higher funding of education?  Imagine a fictional company town where the only non-governmental job is to work at the widgetplex.  If the education in this town is not supplying graduates with the knowledge of Widget Appreciation and Widgetometry that are required to work at the widgetplex, then that suggests those should have a larger emphasis.  Maybe more classes in these subjects, requiring targeted new hires.  This increases the funding costs of the education system, but without this kind of infrastructure improvement in the future workers, the widgetplex is going to have the productivity limited by their own production.  Assuming increasing production also increases the profit of the widgetplex, any cost required to ensure that increase in production that does not exceed the expected profit should be paid to get that slice.  This kind of obviously leads to the conclusion that some sort of business tax to support education would be beneficial to pretty much everyone.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday: I looked right at the paper towels and then didn't buy any

I did get fruit punch.  Not as good as I was hoping.  I guess some things don't always live up to expectations.

This sandwich was also in the "not as good as I hoped":
My plan was to try to make something similar to Zingerman's "Randolph’s Grand D├ębut," which is basically a ham and swiss sandwich with extra cheese melted on the outside.  Logistically it's a bit tricky, plus I think I had the heat a bit too high.  I wanted the inside to be a bit more melty and the outside a bit less over toasted.  I'm wondering if they don't just make a regular sandwich first, and then add the outside cheese.  Maybe it would work better under a broiler instead?  In any case, it wasn't the greatest sandwich ever, but it was better than most.

What are you doing, cloud? You don't belong inside!
I almost bought Ho-Hos at the store today too.  Then I saw that they were $7 a box, and the Little Debbie version were $3.50.  Then I didn't buy either, because that's still more than I really wanted to spend.

"Damn it, can't a bear take a bath without the damn paparazzi?"

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday: Grumble grumble blogger images grumble grumble

I'm still annoyed by this picasa crap, but it seems that resizing images allows me to upload them.  Still totally a pile of shit that this is required.  In any case, I now have a script that does this resizing semi-automatically:

#! /usr/bin/perl -w                                                                                                    

foreach $image (@ARGV) {
    $out_image = $image;
    $out_image =~ s/\.jpg/_resize\.jpg/;
    unless (-e $out_image) {
        system("convert -resize 50% $image $out_image");

Ok, here are yesterday's food pictures.  First up, the ham.  Spiral sliced and fully cooked before I got it.  Yes, that's super lazy.  Still, lazy was kind of the theme for this year.  I made a "rack" out of apples, and added the required water.  Unfortunately, the apples weren't really usable after this, but the ham came out nicely.  I've had this kind of ham before, and they can be super salty.  This one wasn't though, instead having a nice sweet hammy taste.

SS hams are nearly impossible to move after they've been cooked.
Plate picture.  I really like cooking things in ramekins.  Sticking with the lazy concept, I mixed everything directly in storage containers, and just cooked single servings for my meal.  This also saved a lot of time since I didn't have to wait for the casserole and pudding to fully cook.
I kind of wish I had more twice baked potatoes, though.
One problem with cooking this giant ham is that I have like 5 pounds of leftovers.  I have the impression I'm going to be eating ham sandwiches a lot this week.  This leads to the problem that right now I'm kind of hungry, but not for ham.  I'm also thinking that I'll use some of the larger unsliced chunks in a soup soon.  My thought is some sort of potato-ham-cheese soup of some sort.  There seem to be a good variety of recipes to choose from.

This is a 1.8 liter puppy.

I was going to post this yesterday, but had the image problem.  My question: what is up with the Atom?

  • Brad DeLong vs. My Favorite Orange.
  • More comic book complaints: WTF is Lady Shiva thinking?  Who braids their hair around knives?  How does that not just cut her own ass up everytime she moves?
  • Angry Birds: Star Wars: Fighter Pods: Jenga: Death Star. OMGWTFBBQ?  They've been advertising this all day on CN, and it seems like it has at least two too many brands associated with it.
  • Lamb anti-theft boxes.  Which leads to this story from my trip to Belfast: I was waiting for a bus tour to begin, so I looked around to try to find someplace to get something to drink.  I saw this place named "Iceland" which seemed to be a grocery store.  I went inside, only to find that half the lights were turned off.  I found the cold drink case, grabbed a coke, and paid.  It was at that point that I noticed that everyone else was buying nothing but frozen food.  It was immediately the most depressing place I've ever shopped.  Upon returning, my British coworker said something to the effect of "Iceland is an absolute mockery of grocery stores that only stays in business because it sells everything so cheaply."  So yeah.  Anti-theft boxes for lamb.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

That doesn't make a damn bit of sense

After playing with various google products, it looks like it's entirely possible I have exceeded the tiny 1GB blogger/picasa image storage limit.  However, here's something that doesn't make any sense to me.

  1. I upload a picture via blogger, which saves the image to picasa.
  2. Blogger then resizes the image to a maximum edge of 1600pixels.
  3. Picasa stores the original image, which if it is larger than 2048pixels on an edge, counts against the limit.
Since I'm uploading through blogger, and blogger sets a size limit on what it can use, why does it save the original larger image to picasa, when saving the resized version only would prevent a blogger user from ever exceeding the picasa storage limit?

Another question: if picasa has this bizarre edge based storage threshold, why isn't there a "make all my images compliant" button I can press?

I really wish google would put a little bit of thought into their older products.  I don't want to use google+ for everything, because it's useless for just about everything.  If I want to talk to one person, I have google chat.  If I want to talk to 2-10 people, I'll email them, because that's what we've been using email for since 1924.  If I want to talk to more than 10 people, it's better to just use a webpage, because then anyone who wants to look can see it.  

Thanksgiving: It is always too hot in the tropics


I woke up earlyish, and decided to half watch the Macy's parade while I dozed in and out.  I also had my DVR record it, largely so I could make things like this:
Gratuitous animated gif of Pikachu. With deflated ears.
This is the point where I'd post pictures of my Thanksgiving meal, but blogger is claiming I've filled up my picasa storage blah blah blah.  Since I had that problem last night, deleted a 400 image directory, did the same today, and still have the problem, I'm assuming blogger/picasa is broken.  This forum link tends to suggest the same thing.  You'd think that they wouldn't break blog photos on Thanksgiving, since everyone is going to post food pictures.

In any case, I had a spiral sliced ham:
Picture of ham.

which I discovered is impossible to move after it's been cooked, because the slices make regular tongs and spatulas useless.

Picture of my full plate.

That's the full meal.  Ham (obviously), twice baked potatoes (with cayenne and cheese and extra deliciousness), corn pudding (needed more garlic, and a bit less sage), green bean casserole, and Hawaiian bread (because I'm lazy).  I decided against the mac and cheese, because it was already super hot in my kitchen, and I didn't want to stand over the stove making a bechemel.

I haven't had dessert yet, but since that's just going to be ice cream, it's not a big deal.  I keep thinking I should have made pie, but it was already too hot in my apartment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving: Guest Post from Julie

"It's Thanksgiving and it's a day that is loaded, both in food and origin.  I enjoy the day because I like cooking elaborate meals and watching football and having a four day weekend.  I am extremely cautious about proclaiming that it is the greatest holiday because of the genocide of indigenous people that cannot be disentangled from the day.  While I understand that other people see it as a day of thanks, I don't think that there's anything particularly thankful about small pox blankets. While it seems that I am an ungrateful person, it's quite the opposite, really.  I am grateful; I'm grateful for Colby.  I'm grateful for Ramona and the fact that she really made Colby and me into a family.  I'm grateful for Kimchi and for kimchi, for that matter.  I'm grateful that Colby's brothers live in Austin and help us out with Ramona so I can continue my education.  I'm grateful that I have an education.  I'm grateful for so many things, but I'm grateful for them every day, not just once a year.  And if someone needs a singular day every year in which to express his or her gratitude, I would argue that that person is not very thankful.

"I am also very grateful for friends who let me guest post so as to not inundate all 3 of my blog readers with my angry thoughts on Thanksgiving."

Kimchi is just grateful that it's not Halloween.

Wednesday: Let's see if I can post images again

I deleted a giant directory of automatically uploaded images from picasa.  I don't think I used those for any blog posts, but I'm too lazy to search the archive to make sure I don't have broken images.  My quick check of one image shows that I had it in that directory and in the blogger directory, so I think I'm ok.  It's not like pictures of sushi from a year ago are really an essential part of things.

You are not a lion, cat. You are a cat.

  • Dave Cote is a fucking asshole.  "Address Medicare and Medicaid" is basically just not-so-secret code for "poor people should die of preventable disease because I hate paying taxes."
  • Pikachu.  Well, not really.
  • That's...just fucking terrible, really.
  • This is kind of a cool airplane tracking thing. Now I'll be able to identify planes that fly past my lanai.
  • I think this is going to be my second veggie for tomorrow.  I wanted to do a second to balance the two starches, and this looks pretty tasty.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday: Part 2. I did have stuff to write today.

Is this going to work?  Can people see this image?
1) I picked up nutty bars today, and saw that at the end, Twinkies were selling at $7 a box here.  It's blurry, but trust me, it says $7.
2) I just discovered that blogger image upload uses picasa to store photos, and that I only have a 1GB limit there.  A limit that I've filled.  However, google+ has infinite storage, so maybe I can use that?  This is going to make blogging significantly more difficult if I can't just upload crap and make funny comments.  I guess maybe that's why people are switching to tumblr now-a-days? In any case, I'm somewhat disappointed that my last image to fit under the cap was the squid riding a donkey past the pyramids.

Tuesday: like that

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday: I've defeated the last bug

So now I can finally move on to different work stuff tomorrow.  Finally.  Now on to turtles.
Turtle on a lion.
Turtle chef.
Not turtles. Bears. You should know that by now.
  • Wait, you can put bacon and sausage on a burger?  That's a wonderful idea.
  • People who organize books by color are wrong.  There is no excuse.  Simply wrong.
  • WTF, Slashdot?  Someone makes good music without the major label crap, makes it easily available on the internet, and then when she asks for information about who is listening, she's suddenly some sort of privacy pirate out to steal your precious bodily fluids location information?  Nice job pointing out that she's female in like half the comments. I'm sure that's relevant.  You know what is relevant? Somebody has five mod points for the most offensive jerks I could find.