Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday: Super productive day

One interesting thing was that I saw this image online:

My first thought was: "holy crap, this is so fucking stupid that it has to be fake."  However, that mission does exist, so it's possible it's not fake.  I decided to see if google had any idea about it, and it gave me this set of results:

Ok, so let's give Huckabee the reasonable doubt that someone hacked his facebook and posted that post (which now seems taken down?).  That's kind of a lame thing to post on a hacked facebook page, as usually such attacks go for the more obvious paths.

That kind of leaves the possibility that Huckabee saw a news story that he thought was a great way to post the lyrics to his favorite Benny Goodman song, his bat-shit followers went predictably bat-shit to slam NASA, the government, and godless heathens, and Huckabee then pulled it down out of shame.  These are your people, Mike Huckabee.  Own their bat-shit insanity.

"Oooh! Burn!"

Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday: Some people should not be allowed to drive

Case in point: old guy at the doctor's office parking garage this morning.  First problem, he was about 90 years old, and was therefore something like four feet tall.  Second problem, he was driving a brand new F-150, which are apparently 98 feet tall.  Third problem: despite the parking garage having a simple "spiral up, then spiral back down" design, he got lost.  Everywhere.  Come to a corner you have to turn around to do that "spiral" thing?  Stop.  Look all the ways for twenty seconds.  Come to the point at the top of the spiral where there's a tiny set of spaces to the left, but you have to turn right to go anywhere?  Stop.  Look both ways for thirty seconds, or, until I honk at you and gesture in the only damn way that isn't "off the fucking roof".  Come to the place where there's a sign clearly indicating "exit ->"? Stop.  Read the sign.  Have a tiny nap, or something, because fuck everyone who has things to do today.  Come to the place where you have to pay and turn in your parking ticket thing?  Stop, put on your turn signal, and drive into the lane marked "express pass only."  You know, for the people that work there?  Then, realize that you've driven away from the only person who can take your stupid ticket, and roll down your window and ask him why he's so far away.

Just stop, old man.  You're too old to drive, and you probably shouldn't have bought a new giant-ass truck, you dumbass.

In better news, I saw this guy in the hall at work today:
I don't think he was dead, but he was very convinced that he shouldn't move.

  • Reasons this guy is wrong:
    • Pandas are cute, and we should support that.
    • Lots of species have been driven to extinction.  Maybe it's worth not doing that for once.
    • Who cares if it costs money, as zoos probably have done the analysis and discovered that having a panda ensures more people visit, making up for those costs.
    • If we're unable to ever reintroduce them to the wild, then we're really just talking about how long it'll be before they're domesticated enough to be pets.
    • If you don't want a pet panda, you're a horrible person.
  • Last line.
  • Seven miles.  Then again, I used the cheat that I remembered that Damascus is basically at the same latitude as the boundary between Israel and Lebanon.  Second step: name two bodies of water in Israel. a) Dead Sea, b) Sea of Galilee.  Look at the map, remember that Lebanon has fuck-all in terms of lakes, so that top-most one must be Sea of Galilee.  So that's Israel still, and you still need to fit Lebanon and Syria before you get to Turkey.  That means the border can't be too much more north of that.  Next, cities aren't deserts.  So, that smudge to the East must be Damascus.  See, simple, and it only takes a pile of random geographic facts that you can cobble together into a functional picture of the world.
  • This is kind of cool.
  • Good job, Texas.  Nice to see you've discovered that dumb actions have expensive consequences.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dear Tomorrow Me,

Hey, Present-Day Me here.  Just wanted to remind you not to forget that this algorithm:

@box = ();
$prior = NAN;
$v = -100;
for ($i = 0; $i <= $#data; $i++) {
    if ($i <= 40) {
        push @box, $data[$i];
    else {
        $min = 0;
        $max = $#box + 1;
        do {
            $j = int(($max + $min) /2);
            if ($box[$j] < $prior) {
                $min = $j;
            elsif ($box[$j] > $prior) {
                $max = $j;
        } while ($box[$j] != $prior);
        $box[$j] = $data[$i];

    @box = sort {$a <=> $b} @box;
    $v = $box[int($#box / 2)];

    $prior = $data[$i];

Is a way more efficient way to do the running medians.  The idea being: fill the box up to full size.  Next, we sort the box.  That gives this median.  On the next cycle, do a binary search through the sorted box for the point we want to remove.  I've fucked it up here, as I really need to set it to $prior = $data[$i - $boxsize] or something.  In any case, once you find that point, pull it out, and insert the new point into that position.  The rest of the array stays sorted, so the sort operation really only needs to push this new point into the correct location.  

1377855882 start
1377855882 end read
1377855900 end direct
1377855906 end optimal

So, the direct method takes 18 seconds for 1e6 samples, and this optimal method takes 6, so like a factor of three speedup.

I'm unclear if this can be similarly extended to the MAD calculation, as that's going to require backing out the old median and pushing in the new one in addition to the replacement.  Probably not a deal breaker, but you'll have to sort that out yourself, ok?

Present-Day Me

PS: Here's a sleepy bear:

Thursday: wenk

No real reason, I was just thinking about Gunter.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday: Fewer things

Did anyone else know that Stouffer's used to have restaurants?

This is dumb.  Quick horizontal pass, quick vertical pass, quick regular diagonals, DONE.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday: So many things

Thing 1: Batman

I saw this post yesterday, but my Batman was at the office:
I specifically requested Batman looking through a telescope.
Thing 2: Fucking passwords

Maybe other people don't have this problem, but I have passwords on my work computer, and I have passwords on my laptop, and I can never remember which password is the correct one for any given webpage.  So, I decided today to just fucking punch remembering passwords in the face:

alias i_forgot 'cp ~/.config/google-chrome/Default/Login\ Data /tmp && echo "select origin_url,username_value,password_value from logins;" | sqlite3 /tmp/Login\ Data'

No new lines obviously.  This copies your chrome password database to /tmp (necessary because an active chrome process puts a lock on the database).  Then, it pulls the url, username, and password for all saved passwords out of the database so you can figure out what it is.

"Oh, that's horribly insecure."  Yep.  But if they're saved in plaintext, there's not much you can do.  I think older versions had them in base64 encoding, but that's effectively plaintext.  In any case, I don't care, and now I can get them with just a quick grep.

Thing 3: Complicated problems

 I sat down to work on a problem at work, and after checking that it's not an issue with the statistic we're using being badly calculated, and checking that it's not an issue with bad quantization, I think I've come to the conclusion that the reason X != A - b is that at no place in the code do we actually subtract b from A.  This led to the creation of a directory named "wtf_really", because that was pretty much my only possible reaction.

Thing 4: I have some other pictures, but I'm going to ration them since I always run out

Dog seance.

Thing 5: links

  • Next Miyazaki film.
  • The other side of this NSA thing that everyone forgets about:  people are basically lazy and incompetent dumbasses.  Case in point: this whole NSA thing.  We have people who are more interested in finding out what their ex-es are doing than tracking down that you bought Marx from amazon.  Everyone thinks it's some grand conspiracy pulling the strings.  Imagine the people you work with.  Now imagine them trying to construct a grand conspiracy.  Are you afraid of that?
  • LOL.
  • I wish this had a transcript, but it sounds like another reason Assange is a dick.
  • This tweet, then this tweet, then this response that has the solution I came up with as well.

Thing 6: Thoughts on labels

I think I need a "stupid math" as well as a "math is hard".  The first would be for things like today, and the second for actual interesting math.  Similarly, a "useful shell crap" that I just dump into "technology".  This is probably an extension of me splitting "my real work notebook" out of "crayon theater", since it's not in crayon.  Then again, I routinely dump generic comic book stuff into "Batman".

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday: Things often seem more obvious in hindsight

Case for today: for a given range of wavelength, there are three closely spaced lines.  If the spectrograph resolution is insufficient to cleanly resolve these lines, they blur together into a single mass.  However, they must be comprised of symmetric Gaussians (or near-Gaussian) profiles.  Therefore, for each observed "mass," construct a symmetry calculation that is simply the sum of values to the left minus those to the right of the highest peak.  If this symmetry value (technically the absolute value of that for obvious reasons) is above a certain threshold (which I need to investigate more), declare this mass "woefully blended."  Next, use the presumably unblended portion (the one that has the less weight in the symmetry value), and subtract that off the mass.  Repeat.

Using this method, you should be able to strip off realizations of the inputs to the blend, which you can then fit more properly later.  As stated above, it relies on components being symmetric, and at least half clean.  Adding an analytic aspect to the subtracted model could fix this, although that starts to add a lot of extra complexity.  Still, it's a nice little algorithm that should be fairly easy to implement.

And then later in the day I drew a tiny picture of BMO in my notebook.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday: Actually productive

Mostly in the "cleaning shit up" category.  Laundry, trash, vacuuming, plus I determined that yes, the scrubby brush thingy that I bought last week does make cleaning up the volcanic dust build up on my kitchen floor far easier than the swiffer does.

I also sat down to think about how difficult it would be to write something to generate character relationship maps from text excerpts.  The issue being that a lot of these Lovecraft stories I'm reading over have references to other characters in other stories, but manually graphing those relationships would take a long time.  One frustration with this is that Lovecraft tends to capitalize words excessively, so the simple method of identifying names by grouping strings of capitalized words isn't super effective.  I'm also running into the stop word problem, so I think I need some stronger algorithms.  My first thought is to use some sort of tree grouping, such that "H. P. Lovecraft", "Howard Phillips Lovecraft", "H. Phillips Lovecraft", and "Howard P. Lovecraft" would all be branches from the tree "Lovecraft".  This would clean up stop words, as they'd end up as trees with no branches.  The downfall is that names like "Cthulhu" would also be in that list, so it's possible I need to do something statistical.  The thought here is that names like "Cthulhu" are only ever found capitalized.  Initial words in sentences also show up as lower case forms, so "He was eaten by the Cthulhu he summoned." would have a uniqueness of 1.0 for "Cthulhu", but only 0.5 for "He".

Guess what finally showed up in Hawaii?
Sriracha flavor too, but who cares about that.
I looked all over for these special chips when they had the contest, but they never were available.  I can't tell if this is a special "sorry for forgetting you, Hawaii" edition or not, since this doesn't have the "vote" badge that the google image search suggests is common.  I haven't opened them yet, since I have two other bags of chips already open for lunches, and didn't think a third one was a good idea.

  • I mean, this is dated from fricking May.
  • You know what I took away from this article?  Sgt. Glenn French is afraid all the time when he's on the job.  Perhaps that means he shouldn't be doing that job.  I'm pretty sure one tiny sage sage would agree.
  • This has been my long-time counter to any "China's taking over the world" fear mongering.
  • Remember how we did Libya?  That should be the goal here.  If people want someone to intervene, that someone needs to be a large coalition.  And a proper coalition, not that bullshit Bush tried to pull.  It's not our job to police the world, especially when other large countries are overtly supporting the other side.  If they can't be shamed into doing something humanitarian, why not suggest sanctions?
  • I am a big fan of repurposing cards for a specific event for a competely different one.  If you doubt that, ask the people who have gotten "Happy Hanukkah" cards, despite not being at all Jewish.
  • I bought one of these.  Not bad.  I'm not sure they've really introduced too much variation in the Braeburn source, but it was on the sweet side of the apple spectrum.  I'm also not sure what the point of their apple lady.  Is she supposed to be Eve?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday: I figured it was worth a second attempt

Two weeks ago, I went to the wing place near work.

Today I tried it again, to see what their tenders were like.

I upgraded to the "hot" buffalo sauce, and paired them with the fries and another root beer.  An important thing that would have been nice to know on the last visit is that they do have blue cheese dressing, you just have to ask.  The tenders were significantly less greasy than the wings, probably due to the fact that there's basically no fat inside them to render.  This also complicates the saucing, as they don't generate a nice drippy coating.  I also wasn't totally sure about the hot sauce, as it was kind of lacking in flavor.  Hot for hot's sake isn't really the goal.

So, I'm kind of unsure at this point.  It's not the best, but it's pretty much the only place that does wings here.  They do make decent fries, so that helps.

Also, I saw this dog and took a few pictures.  He was trying to lay down with his face in the water dish, but it kept tipping, so he had to give up on that dream. :(

Then I plotted it up:
Conclusions that can be drawn from this:
  1. Everything is still a powerlaw.
  2. States with more science and engineering employment tend to contribute more to the government than they get back.
  3. An alternate expression of (2) is that if you want to be a state that gets lots of free money, you don't need to bother having lots of science.
  4. The District of Columbia was excluded from the calculation because basically everything is funded at the federal level, and so it doesn't represent the standard case.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday: Too much discussion about comics, then some reality, then a nice story about art.

It's sanity quenching!

  • The comic stuff.
  • Reality.
    • "Blarg blarg! Poor people like to be on welfare because they get more money from that! Maybe more money than you! Go beat up a poor person!"
    • "a) That's really inaccurate. b) Fuck you. c) You realize most of these poor people are fucking kids, right?  Way to be a dick. d) You know what would help this?  All those other policies you hate so much. e) No, really, fuck you."
  • Go read this.  It's a nice story, although I would have thought that someone working at the museum would have suggested this long before now.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday: A computer caught fire today

It was a work computer, and it's on a different island, so I didn't get to see it.  Still, there was a fire, and now that computer doesn't work anymore.  It also screwed up a lot of work calculations, which sucks.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday: My internet is sucky tonight

Due to "degraded high speed internet and home phone service in town on and surrounding Pensa Cola St. & Wilder Ave."

Things I looked into doing, but ended up not doing:

  • Not falling asleep on the couch randomly for an hour.
  • Scaling various google map images to be the same physical scale to compare different cities so I would have an idea of how far things are in cities I've never been to.
  • Interesting probabilistic analysis of crime and effective police deployment based on some simple models, based on an NPR story I heard this morning about the stop and frisk crap.
Things I did do, since the math was easy:
  • Later, in the links, there's an economic story that talks about productivity, etc.  If you click through to the story, you can see their 2000/2012 data values for productivity and income.  If you simply multiply the numbers together, you see that if wages increased as productivity (i.e., there's no rent seeking class that are extracting wealth from people who actually work), everyone would be making 118.39% what they do now.  I'm unclear if inflation is included in those numbers, but as they supply inflation indexes, you can factor those numbers in too.  157.85%.  Imagine what you could do if you had almost 60% more money each month.
Because I spent a large chunk of the day sorting out travel crap, I've been thinking about maps all day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday: I hate planning travel

I'm increasingly unhappy with doing travel as well, largely because it requires dealing with a lot of people in a very tiny place.  In any case, I sat down to start organizing the Taiwan trip, with potential Tokyo three day layover.  I think once I know how much that's going to cost, then I'll sort out my mainland vacation.  Even though I know pretty accurately how much that's going to cost.  $1000.  Largely doesn't depend on what dates I choose, either.  :-/

Apparently this is the image I have to go with today.

  • Board games.
  • This looks like it has a 3-4-2 arrangement for the seats.  Compare that to the 3-4-3 arrangement now.  Plus, there are 8 rows in that section that's now economy plus (check the windows).  This looks like it'd have a seat pitch of at least 34".
  • Look, a squirrel.
  • So there's this article, and then there's the "oh, we made a mistake" rebuttal that I'm not linking here because sane people don't make you "complete a security check" to read a fucking press release.
  • This story makes me think of the Elgin Marbles (which I apparently never made a blog post for when I was in London), and wonder about what's best.  Is it better to have a colonial or pseudo colonial power remove antiquities to a place where they're likely to be preserved indefinitely (due to the wonderful incumbent power of post-colonial powers), or is it better to leave them where they are?  Would there be sufficient cultural significance in the antiquities being left that a preservationist nationalism would take hold?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday: grumpy day

Paper proofs came back today, although I had to write a response that largely insisted that when we put in \lambda, we actually meant that, and that "Greek character lower-case lambda" is not equivalent to "Latin alphabet lower-case l".  I'm guessing it was just a mistake in the typesetting/editing/I have no clue what departments exist department.  At least they caught that "table 7" was actually table 6, and that the caption of table 5 was also claiming to be table 7.  Everyone wants to be table 7, I guess.

Then I spent a large chunk of the day trying to un-hard-code someone else's code.  Which sucks.  I'm also somewhat unsure that calling updatedb to generate a locate database is actually any faster than just doing a find, especially if that locate database is only ever used in a call to "locate -d database .", as that simply dumps the filenames of all the files in the database.  You know, kind of like what find would give you.

Finally, I proved that due to what I can only guess is absolute insanity, an ancient bit of work code successfully takes positive integers less than 6553.5, and packs them into a 16 bit datatype.  "Wait, but" yes, I know.  Don't think about it too hard.  I proved that it did that, and in no way suggest that it makes a damn bit of sense to do it like that.

  • My options here.  a) This page is a parody, like the onion.  b) Assange is now officially a mockery of his own fictional character.  c) Bat shit insanity.
  • Hopefully this will be entertaining.  I've added it to RSS so I don't need to actually try to read it.
  • Pikachu.
  • Bunnies, because today needs bunnies.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday: reputable pancakery

Part 1: Chocolate Chip Pancakes

After those pancakes showed up in the links yesterday, I decided I wanted my own.  So I went to Eggs N Things.
Eggs N Things.
 I went with a egg combo thing, as that appeared to be cheaper than ala carting my way to chocolate chip pancakes.  My hope was that I could do something like Julie's sausage potato scramble thing, since that's generally the only egg dish that I like.  Therefore, I got scrambled eggs, potatoes, and Portuguese sausage in the hope that that would add the spice for the missing sriracha.
All that stuff, plus the wonderful chocolate chip pancakes.  Also a glass of POG.
It didn't really work, but it was tasty anyway.  The sausage was good, and they do a very nice job on the potatoes.  They're puffy and light inside, with a crispy crust that splits to release the soft inner flesh.  Imagine tiny knishes.
The aftermath.
It was a bit more than I could finish.

Part 2: Geography of "At the Mountains of Madness"

 Even though I've fallen behind on my tl;dr Lovecraft posts, I've continued to read my collected works.  I've finished book 1, and am now working through book 2, which starts with the aforementioned short novel.  Lovecraft is rather detailed in the path taken by the Miskatonic expedition, so much so that I wanted to see what it looked like.  The great circle mapper can do both airport codes and latitude/longitude pairs, so this wasn't that hard.  Copying the final table it constructed:
From   To   Initial
8 segment path: 16234 mi
    BOS (42°21'47"N 71°00'23"W) PAC (8°58'24"N 79°33'20"W) 195.2°  (S) 2357 mi
    PAC (8°58'24"N 79°33'20"W) PPG (14°19'54"S 170°42'41"W) 256.1°  (W) 6453 mi
    PPG (14°19'54"S 170°42'41"W) HBA (42°50'10"S 147°30'37"E) 223.2°  (SW) 3159 mi
    HBA (42°50'10"S 147°30'37"E) 62°00'00"S 175°00'00"E 149.2°  (SE) 1736 mi
    62°00'00"S 175°00'00"E 67°00'00"S 175°00'00"E 180.0°  (S) 346 mi
    67°00'00"S 175°00'00"E 77°09'00"S 175°00'00"E 180.0°  (S) 704 mi
    77°09'00"S 175°00'00"E 86°07'00"S 174°23'00"E 180.3°  (S) 622 mi
    86°07'00"S 174°23'00"E 76°15'00"S 113°10'00"E 283.1°  (W) 857 mi
82°00'00"S 60°00'00"E 70°00'00"S 115°00'00"E 77.2°  (E) 1158 mi
Total: 17392 mi

And then the plot:

And a recentered look at Antarctica.  The red path is the expediation, with the second to last point being the "southern basecamp," and the final point being the location of Lake's westward base.  The Arkham is presumably along that second to last path at the location where the ice floes stop.  The blue path represents the location of the Mountains, which obviously do not correspond to any real mountains.

So you, important stuff.

Part 3: Restaurant neologisms

It struck me that not all restaurants have their own genre specific names.  Pizzeria and taqueria exist, and I've extended cupcakery to pancakery, but that's kind of it.  I guess "pastaria" is real.  Delicatessen probably counts too.  Am I missing anything obivous?  "Chip shop" could work, but overusing the construction "X shop" would be lame.  I'm a fan of soupery and "clambulance," but I'm obviously biased.

Part 4: Links

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday: I spent a large part of the day cleaning stuff and being grown up

I even finally got around to fixing the broken turn signal light on my car.  This was made possible by me ignoring what the manual states, and looking up videos on youtube that describe things much better.  I was searching all over for the plastic rivets the manual had placed deep in the wheel well.  It turns out that they're actually around the rim, and hold a plastic thing in place.

It also turns out that they're stupidly brittle, and so I broke both of the ones I had to remove.  They're not formally necessary, as the plastic thing holds itself in place reasonably well.  In any case, amazon has a 15-pack for like $6, so I've added that to my cart.

Blah blah sushi.

  • Sørvágsvatn.
  • This seems like it should be obvious to them.
  • Then again, they like those assholes, going with the wonderful strategy of cherry-picking viewpoints.
  • Incompetence may finally get the Republicans.
  • Yet another guy who's an asshole.  You know who I've heard of, asshole author Paul Carr?  Neil Gaiman.  Do you know why I've heard of him?  He writes things that are interesting, and beyond that, is pretty much a wonderfully nice guy.
  • I like old advertisements.
  • Also: chocolate chip pancakes.  I think that my mission (should I choose to accept it), is to wake up tomorrow morning, go to a reputable pancakery, and request that they construct their finest batch of the chocolate chippiest pancakes they can.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday: I do not appreciate having people show up unexpectedly at my lanai

Largely due to the fact that my lanai is like 100 feet in the air.  However, the painters are redoing the building, and they needed me to close my kitchen windows so they could get their scaffolding up.  I'll be glad when they're done, and I can go back to assuming my lanai will only be visited by Spider-Man.  Batman would work too.

Then I went and had dinner at the Mexican place:
I took the top mosaic of the place being empty, then a later mosaic of my food.  I tentatively joined them, and I kind of like the way the ghost table fades into the floor due to the change in perspective.
Enchiladas sounded good, partially due to the fact that they keep advertising that smothered burrito on tv.  This was actually made with real food, though, so that's a good thing.

In addition, I've been repeatedly attempting to update my work webpage, but can't because the rsync keeps failing because the webpage host has a bad NFS mount.  This after the email was down all day long.  Had I known it was going to be like this, I wouldn't have spent an hour last night getting thing organized for the update.  Also: I will freely admit that without any other guide, I tend to put things into itemized lists.

And now, an itemized list of today's links.

  • Paul Kokoski is a douchebag.  There's little point refuting someone who's bigoted due to religion.
  • Grant Morrison is also a douchebag, but since he only writes shitty comics, he's somewhat less offensive.  Although suggesting that Batman would break one of his fundamental rules is kind of offensive.
  • Team Rocket: basically the best people in the show.
  • Art deco.
  • Many years ago, I came up with the theory that having a stalker would be kind of useful, because if your car broke down or something, they'd be there to help you out.  Of course, everyone has cell phones now, so that's less useful.  In any case, here's a similar concept, but starring the NSA.
  • That's a bad idea.  I do most of my best work on my 20%.  Or, my "whatever percent that's nearly zero, but isn't quite."
  • Here's a thought: this story and many similar ones point out that a purely meritocratic admissions process creates a college population that doesn't match the demographics of the state.  Why not do both?  For half of the incoming class, use a purely meritocratic system.  For the other half, accept to match the demographics.  Part of my logic here is that you want to have a meritocratic system, but you also don't want to prevent people from attending who might have failed at that criterion due to socioeconomic reasons (which I would think would be the most likely reason for the meritocratic system to not match demographics).
  • Paragraph two is slightly inaccurate, but I had the joke figured out by paragraph three.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thursday: Effective Friday

It's a day that is nominally a Thursday, but has all the feelings and effects of a Friday.  I think it's probably better than just about any other effective day.  Effective Saturdays are good (when Monday is a holiday, so Sunday is a Saturday), but that always seems like you're tacking the vacation onto the end of a normal weekend.  This way, the vacation comes first, then you get a regular weekend.  It seems more bonus-y in my head.  Like 25% more.

I guess this is the best picture for today.  No, I do not know the original context, but it makes me want to watch my Superfriends DVDs.
"Yes, Hal Jordan! Now I, Brainiac, am also a member of the Green Lantern Corps!"

  • Lunch time.
  • I don't have one of those shower caddy things, but I know someone who does.  Someone who should totally do this thing, because that fucking thing always slides down when I visit, and it's annoying.
  • Not as cute as a red panda, but that's mathematically impossible.
  • Pikachu.
  • Blah blah census, blah blah demographics.  The surprising thing was how little diversity there is in my neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday: I kind of wish I was taking tomorrow off as a vacation day.

Since friday is a holiday, it'd give me a nice four day weekend.  I guess I could take monday off instead.  In any case, I probably need to take more than zero vacation this year.  Sorry, just calculated.  It looks like I've taken 4 days?  At this rate, I'll have something like 21 days saved up at the end of the year.  So, setting aside the two standard weeks at the end of the year, I need to take at least one more vacation day this year (as I can only carry 10 days from one year to the next).  I should actually try to plan a vacation sometime.

Squirrels are their own pokeball.

  • This sounds really tasty.
  • I've had similar debates before.  Clearly, if regular chips and salsa is good, doritos and salsa must be better.  It's just math.
  • "Boy size turkey."
  • That table of command line redirection I perpetually need to find again.
  • I can't read this article at home, but I could at work.  Basically, it says "don't talk about which papers you were referee for."  I'm 99% sure it doesn't forbid playing the fun game of, "let's guess the referee who's commenting on the paper we just submitted."  Unfortunately, it sounds like we have to wait fifty years to find out the results.
  • This link isn't so much about the article as it is about the page design.  What is it with sites now thinking that they need to have their masthead and shit as a floating element that stays on the screen no matter how much you scroll?  That's a) stupid b) ugly c) stupid again.  Plus, there's d) I can't use the spacebar to scroll the page, as that dumb floating shit masks a part of the article I didn't read yet.
  • I'm not entirely sure that this article doesn't simply describe the sanity mechanic from the Call of Cthulhu game.  You can only have a maximum number of sanity points equal to (99 - Cthulhu Mythos skill).  This means that as you learn more about the world, your maximum sanity decreases (you can lose points for other things too, but this defines the maximum).  Wait, did I just realize that the real world may simply be a game of Call of Cthulhu?  Shit, that's probably like a 1d4 loss.  Damn you, reality!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday: It's actually reasonably easy to write a user guide

How useful it will be to other people who haven't spent years working with the thing it's a guide to is a different question, but at least I have the majority of the important things done.

I've finally figured out what this thing is:
It's above the exterior doors at work.
It's a device to ensure that the left door is always closed before the right door.  The right door has a lip on it that prevents the lock from being damaged, but would prevent the left door from closing if the right closed first.  However, due to "the device," if you open both doors at the same time, the little wheeled bar falls down, as the metal plate on the left door is not there to keep the pawl on the device has nothing to keep it up.  The bar then prevents the right door from closing fully, so the left door should be able to slip in under the lip.  I don't think the leverage is sufficient for the left door to then force the right door back open enough for the wheeled bar to be free, but it's still kind of neat.

And to think it only took me like four years to sort out what it does, other than make a "clank-clank" sound when you open the door.

Squirrel spy.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday: I felt artistic today

Monday is always terrible because it's full of meetings.  During the part of meeting 2 that was a duplicate of part of meeting 1, I became suddenly bored.  So I drew a tiny house.  The boredom continued, so I put a tiny tree next to the tiny house.  This unbalanced the framing, so I decided to draw a sun in the sky. Instead of my standard "straight line" rays, I went with the more cartoonish "triangle fringe" rays.  This made the sun look a bit like a lion, so I completed the picture by drawing in two eyes and a sideways "3" kitty mouth.

Then, later in the day, I saw this news story in my twitter feed, with the title "Big Isle tries to deal with threatening trees."  This was what immediately popped into my head:
I added the extra "rar!" because I decided that the threatening tree wasn't scary enough, even with its weapons, spooky teeth, and demands for undeserved financial compensation.

  • I guess all other radios can go away now.  This one is the best looking one ever, and it's eighty years old.
  • Lightning pizza.
  • Breaking news: R. GLENN HUBBARD and TIM KANE are fucking shitbags.  And that's only because I'm too tired to come up with more inventive insults.  Seriously, if you can read this, and not want to punch them in the face for being lying assholes, you're a better person than me.  Balanced budget amendment my ass.
  • This is why I don't understand the wikileaks people's obsession with "we have to go to places outside the reach of the evil US government!"  Your new poster boy fled to Russia, which is brazenly announcing that they're planning on maybe arresting people who visit for the Olympics, just because they don't realize we live in the 21st century.  On top of that, the Olympics committee is basically saying, "don't make any waves, or we'll kick you out of our little sports party" if you point out how fucking shitty that is, most likely because the corporate sponsors who fund everything don't want to have bad publicity.  So, legally codified human rights violations and a bunch of corporate sponsors who just want to make some money are way better than the US, right?  You can claim all you want that you just want to expose secrets and show people "the truth," but if you're doing that not only without a concept of justice, but with the backing of actual injustice, you've lost all credibility. Plus, get a look at how those stupid fucks in the first picture in the first link give a thumbs up.  That's not up, jackass.  You want to be on the same team as people who don't know a simple gesture?
  • Here are 100 bunnies, because after that rant, I needed to look at bunnies, so maybe you need to do so now too.
  • Dear the Mythbusters, if you say "we used sulfuric acid plus another secret chemical, and it was super effective, but we're not going to tell you what the secret chemical is because SAFETY," you might want to remember that we have the internet now, and it's pretty easy to figure things out.  Even when you're not that kind of scientist, and didn't even like chemistry when you took it.
  • While we're talking about deadly things, here's a review of an episode of ST:TNG that I remember thinking was incredibly stupid because everyone has to leave the Enterprise because of a "baryon sweep."  Where they shoot baryons at the ship. Baryons.  It's not like those are common (not these).

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday: That's what was missing

I had the feeling yesterday after eating those wings that something else was missing.  It took me until today to figure out what that was:  you can't properly have wings without blue cheese dressing.  That led me to trying to resolve this issue by getting a burger with blue cheese on it:
With truffle fries.
Yet another reason I probably won't be going back to that wing place anytime soon.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday: Let's just say that I was disappointed

After playing a standard game of "what do I want for dinner," I came to the conclusion that I should try out Wings and Things by Serg.  It's close to work, and I tend to get pizza next door every week or so.  The yelp page is full of people talking about "how big the wings are."  This is a mistake, and nearly a lie.

First, let's review the anatomy of a chicken.  Turn to page 2, review the skeletal structure, and then skip to page 6, and go over the musculature.  Fundamentally, a chicken wing is composed of three regions:  the "drumette," corresponding to the upper arm on a person; the "flat," matching the forearm; and the "wing tip," analogous to a hand.  The skeletal names are the same as in people too: humerus in the drumette; radius and ulna in the flat; metacarpals in the tip.

Now, the proper way to cook wings is to sever these three parts with a knife prior to cooking.  The wing tip is discarded, as it contains basically zero meat.  The drumette and flats are then fried and tossed in sauce, and then eaten.  This provides two hand-sized portions per anatomical wing, both of which are easy to eat.  The drumette is eaten by holding the small ("elbow") end, and biting off the meat.  The flat is actually easier to eat, as you simply hold both ends, twist in opposite directions, and feel the two bones separate.  In the ideal case, you can remove the ulna, and then simply suck the meat off the radius.

As you can see from the picture below, the entire wing has been fried and sauced here.  This is incredibly difficult to handle at the table.  The joints have a number of tendons, which makes them difficult to separate, even after frying.  This is why you cut them in the kitchen.  The superfluous wing tips serve little purpose here, other than to inflate the apparent serving size.  The final reason this is not the way to do things is that when you sauce the separated wings, there is more surface area, so the wings retain more sauce.

"Six" wings = 6 drumette + 6 flats + 6 useless tips.  Fries are a mix of curly, straight and waffle.  Root beer.
So, ignoring the fact that the wings were prepared incorrectly, how were things?  The sauce was a bit light, again an issue with the connected wings.  I went with medium Buffalo, which was a bit milder than I was hoping for.  When I could separate the parts, it was tasty, but there was a lot of extra work involved.  This was more difficult than it should have been, as the wings were still hot from the oil.  The fries were very good, cooked to a perfect crisp.

I wasn't that impressed with the wings, partially due to the serious amount of work needed to enjoy them.  It might be better to get the tenders next time instead of wings, as that would allow a better judge of flavor without the complicating factor of "doing it wrong."

"Hey! Get in! I left my license at home, so you'll have to drive!"

  • Bee and Puppycat.  Seriously.  Go watch it.
  • A quick summary of how insurance works, why retirement is effectively insurance, and why it's best run in a centralized manner.
  • Pikachu.
  • It's nice to see that absolute fucking morons can try to be politicians in other countries, too.
  • BMO.
  • I saw this article, and it again reinforced why I put in these commands in my LaTeX documents when I'm writing papers.  The idea being that all editorial comments that aren't the final text show up in colors.  That makes it nearly impossible that you accidentally leave something inappropriate in the document text.
    • \newcommand{\draft}[1]{\textcolor{red}{#1}}
    • \newcommand{\replace}[2]{\sout{\textcolor{red}{#1}}~\textcolor{blue}{#2}}
    • \newcommand{\question}[1]{\textbf{DISCUSS! }\textcolor{green}{#1}}

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday: because I still have 600 RSS things to read

So there's just a bear today.

"Yeah, sure.  Put gloves on the bear so he doesn't rip my face off.  You're a coward, little man.  A pitiful little coward."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thursday: because that's just how it is sometimes.

  • Huh.  That looks delicious.
  • "Dead, too."
  • Fooling babies is always funny.
  • Bee and Puppycat should be watched by everyone.
  • I hate that plot they're using.  By arbitrarily choosing 2002 as the zero point, it removes the fact that a mean or median would be a better way to look at changes.  Using that method, pain relievers and hallucinogens are pretty much statistically flat.  The other thing is that meth and heroin are basically in phase until 2007, suggesting hidden variables at play.  After that, it looks like meth and heroin are basically trading places.  Finally, cocaine is what you do if you didn't OD and die in the 80s.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wednesday: Let's pretend I didn't spend a large chunk of the day working on a user guide

Especially since it seems that very few of the people who have actually tried to use the program seem to have had trouble with it.  Compiling issues, sure; data format errors, yes; but no one's actually not been able to use it.

I'm not saying it's fool-proof, but I did try my best to make it such that you have to actively lie to it to get incorrect results.

How did the back wheel deflate?

  • I just now discovered that Ian Jones-Quartey is the same guy who made a webcomic I used to read years ago.  Now he works on real cartoons, and I've been enjoying them for about a year now.  Huh.
  • Evil cat.
  • Math is hard.
  • Another thing to read later that I won't end up reading later.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesday: So that's an hour gone, and now you're going to have to live with the consequences.

In my RSS feeds, I have a tumblr that posts pictures of games with bears.  This showed up today.  All I could think was, "holy shit, I fucking loved that game when I was like six."  Also, I just decided it's totally ok to swear in this review of a kids game, because kids today would never play it, so it doesn't fucking matter.

I then spent a long time trying different combinations of the words [bear,basket,catch,coins], until finally scanning the list of Apple2 games on gamefaqs.  Then one title jumped out at me, and I immediately knew it was the right game.

Stickybear Basket Bounce.
After finding the name of the game, it turns out it's kind of trivially easy to find copies that can be played on a modern computer via emulation.  The emulation was kind of broken, as a single tap on the arrow keys make Mr. Stickybear dash across the screen.  I thought you had to hold the key to move in the original, which would make it significantly easier.

Here's Stickybear in level 1.  Balls fall from the machine in the ceiling, and you have to catch them in the basket.

But if the ball hits Stickybear first, he gets knocked on his ass.  Hit detection is a bit odd, as you can catch with the bottom of the basket.

Level 2.  Same principle, but this time you have to catch coins.  Or rings.  Plates?  Whatever, matchine drops them again, etc.

Level 3: Stickybear in space.  The rocket-mushroom in the center shoots out stars that you need to catch.  This level also has a tiny worm creature that you have to jump over.  I didn't get a picture of that.

In all levels, once you lose all your baskets, this guy in the bulldozer shows up and pushes you off the screen.

That's pretty much it.  The levels loop after that, and I think they get faster and standard 1983 video game tricks.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday: twenty-fucking-six

Either I screwed up the timezones, or everyone in existence was trying to snipe arXiv on Friday.  Maybe my clock is just off?  Whatever.  It'll probably be awhile before I have the chance to do it again.

Basically this.