Dunce cap and a dope slap for R. J. Ellory.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Tossed off, almost as an aside, in an AP bit about Florida (Florida!) being overruled by the liberal activist United States Supreme Court:
... and gay marriages are occurring in about three dozen states.
My heterosexual bachelorhood is being soooo threatened by these people.
Monday, November 24, 2014
"Good News on Energy," that is. Read it and congratulate yourself for all the little steps you've been taking.
... total energy use in the United States peaked in 2007 and has trended downward since. ... economic growth decisively outpaced any increases in energy use over recent decades ... Improvements in energy efficiency over the last 40 years have done more to meet growth in America’s energy needs than the combined contributions of oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear power. ... Since 2000, growth in electricity use has dropped well below growth in the population ... Moreover, oil consumption by vehicles, homes and businesses is down more than 12 percent from its 2005 peak ... More than one-eighth of our electricity supply is now in the “renewable” category, which is growing faster than any other.
Keep up the good work. We've got a ways to go yet.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Fortunately, it was early in the morning when I voted, so I just went with another coffee and cigarette
Fellow in-stater Thers pretty much nailed it last fortnight, though:
For governor I have Andy Cuomo running against some nondescript GOP meathead. "Slab Angioplasty," I think he's called. Or "Buck Fistorino." Something like that. Time was, and it was not so long ago, the NY GOP could have run a similar meathead to the populist left of Cuomo and made this a race, but these are simpler, shittier times. Nobody likes Andy Cuomo, probably even his immediate family; he has all the personal charm of someone who would rather hard-sell you a timeshare than just fucking pass you the salt. Talk of Andy Cuomo aspiring to higher office is absurd; he's not quite as much of a prissy ass as Giuliani was, but he's not really a different person, unless you squint hard. Fuck him. For the House I get to choose between Richard Hanna and nobody. I vote gin.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
The essay's other distinguishing feature is a higher-than-usual count of intentional jokes, most of which sound like P.J. O'Rourke failing a competency hearing.
-- Roy Edroso
Yeah. Kinda mean. Until you realize it's about Jonah Goldberg.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Friday, November 07, 2014
From a summary of yet another gambling operation that, shockingly, has failed to deliver on its sellers' hype, a brilliant bit of just-the-facts from Jesse McKinley and Charles Bagli, and props to whoever did the layout, too:
The reality has been far less rosy. Seven years after opening, the Mount Airy Casino Resort has fewer than half of the hotel rooms envisioned by developers, and a third of the slot machines promised in news releases. It has generated about half of the slot revenue forecast by Pennsylvania officials, and little economic spillover has occurred outside the resort. Expansion plans have long since been shelved. The much-heralded charitable foundation has raised a grand total of $1, federal filings show.
Those funds have not been distributed.
Not to worry, though! The next four casinos are sure to fix all the things!
P.S. Aside to Gov. Cuomo: Your father was once courageous enough to call legalized gambling -- lotteries, in his case -- a cowardly attempt by politicians to balance the budget on the backs of poor people.
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
Just noticed this string that appeared in the Gmail search window after I clicked on one of the thumbnails in the "Recent photos" sidebar while looking at a new message from ... let's say firstname.lastname@example.org. It looks like a handy way to find that picture that person sent you that one time.
from:email@example.com filename:(jpg OR jpeg OR png)
Works whether the pictures are attached or embedded in the body of the message, despite what it says here.
You might want to add gif and other extensions, of course.
Note the parentheses, the colons and the absence of a space after them, and the capital ORs. Not positive, but I think those might all be requirements.
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
The lede didn't grab me ...
WHEN was the last time you saw an anti-smoking ad?
... because my immediate and then also considered answer was "the last thousand times I watched any baseball or basketball game for at least fifteen consecutive minutes."
But apparently, my evident non-membership in the article's target audience notwithstanding, there are all kinds of shenanigans associated with that lawsuit thing a few years ago, against Big Tobacco. I am too tired, right now, to really get what's being described in the article, but superficially, it appears to be: billions of dollars won, then lost, and it's probably only going to get uglier.
As in, way uglier.
Let's hope a night's sleep and then some coffee will make it at least a little better. But I'm betting on nightmares.
[Added] Sadly, related.
Friday, October 03, 2014
... wow, just when you thought Peak Wingnut was almost nearly maybe in sight (sorry, JC), it apparently became time to come out of the fort built from couch cushions to bellow about that noted liberal spearhead of political correctness run amok, the NFL brass.
And also, "... because corporate America is, itself, liberal ..."
Bless you and your cast-iron stomach once again, Roy Edroso.
... or reflection, I guess ...
... that catch by Nori Aoki might be the greatest catch I have ever seen.
The GIF here will remind you, if you, too, were lucky enough to see it live, but it doesn't come close to doing it justice. I've seen a couple hundred more prodigious feats of sheer athleticism, but I've never seen one outfielder back up another that close to the wall. In any league. And certainly never to that good effect.
If memory serves, none of the three fine commentators even knew who, if anybody, had the ball, until a certain grinning rightfielder was halfway back to the dugout and, off-handedly?, turned his glove the other way.
Not even an ice cream cone. In the web, all the way.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Bottom of the fifth, two out. You've been pitching your usual well, but you're down one. Tying run on third didn't get driven in when it was one out. Now you're up to bat. You're leading the division, but your magic number is irritatingly still in existence, and you're playing your contender.
Triple, all the way to the wall, right-center gap.
DAMN YOU, KERSHAW.
[Later] Also, that Yasiel Puig can muthafuckin' throw, can't he?
Friday, September 19, 2014
Hard not to blockquote every last word of Masters of Earth, Alone in the Universe, but here's a taste:
Human beings are not wicked by nature. We have enough intelligence, goodwill, generosity and enterprise to turn Earth into a paradise both for ourselves and for the biosphere that gave us birth. We can plausibly accomplish that goal, at least be well on the way, by the end of the present century. The problem holding everything up thus far is that Homo sapiens is an innately dysfunctional species.
Chances are, if you visit this blog regularly, that you will find yourself saying, "Yes, I know that" many times during your reading. Read it anyway. He says what you know succinctly and well. And maybe, just maybe, you'll think of someone to pass it on to, who may not yet get the big picture Wilson paints.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
What say you about the multiverse?
It’s hard enough to have a theory for one universe.
-- Peter Higgs
We (if I may be so presumptuous as to include myself with a hero's hero) are being flippant, of course. It's a good article, though. Overbye is worth more than whatever they're paying him, as I hope you already know.
In which it is argued that we should consider adding lithium to drinking water, because, among other things, it might decrease suicide, homicide, and rape (at least among Texans, so who can say?), a fun fact that I had never heard:
Lithium drinks were in huge demand for their reputed health-giving properties, so much so that the element was added to commercial drinks. 7-Up was originally called Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda and contained lithium citrate right up until 1950. In fact, it’s been suggested that the 7 in 7-Up refers to the atomic mass of the lithium. (Maybe the “Up” referred to mood?)
Not as sexy as marching powder in Coca Cola, but still, better living through chemistry, amirite?
Monday, September 15, 2014
Seen on Ars:
Engineers from Stanford and Berkeley Universities have figured out how to make radios the size of an ant, which have been created specifically to serve as controllers and sensors in the Internet of Things.
The radios are fitted onto tiny silicon chips, and cost only pennies to make thanks to their diminutive size. They are designed to compute, execute, and relay demands, and they are very energy efficient to the point of being self-sufficient. This is due to the fact that they can harvest power from the incoming electromagnetic signal so they do not require batteries, meaning there is no particular lifetime associated with the devices.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Is it me, or is the Overton Window getting as narrow as it was pre-Iraq invasion?
[Added] Next thing (via @edroso) that I saw after clicking publish. Don't know whether to be comforted that I'm not the only one thinking these things, or distraught that I'm not the only one thinking these things.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The latest spam comment on this blog just got blocked. From this post.
Does rickrolling seems really long ago to you?
A larger mystery: why spam comments appear on posts from five years ago, and not on the latest ones. (This is usual, and regular if not particularly frequent.) Do the spammers think they'll have a better chance with the old posts of sneaking in unnoticed? But if so, why would they think anyone would ever see them?
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Or, you know, not:
“Over the next decade,” Mr. Meinrath said, “U.S. consumers may overpay by over a quarter of a trillion dollars for worse levels of service than customers in other countries receive.”
USA! USA! USA!
Over the course of my work I have come to the realization that it is very difficult to endanger or kill large numbers of people except with a claim to virtue.
-- Robert Jay Lipton
The piece from which I swiped that is ... I dunno. Either meh, or too much of a 101-level course when I'm looking for 102. It's about shifting attitudes regarding climate change, if you're interested.
But I did like that line.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Monday, August 18, 2014
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Not really, obvs, but cheese and rice, sometimes a blurb will make your knee jerk.
Salmon, once nearly extinct on part of the Columbia River, are recovering, to the delight of birds. As a result, those charged with protecting the fish have a new plan: shoot the birds.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
... I started hanging out at a local pigeon supply store.
Also, is a “pigeon mumbler” like a horse whisperer?
Also, too, would you consider this gentrification? And if so, with all the negativity that that connotes?
John Gotti’s old Mafia headquarters became a pet-grooming center.
Sometimes, throwaway lines make you (me) think. Here's one, from the start (about 4:50) of a Google Talks interview thing with an erstwhile Tibetan monk who seems now to be in the business of ... talking to small crowds of people like the Googlers, which is not a bad thing, something he says one of his teachers told him:
... unless you can improve on silence, it's better not to say anything at all.
I can hear everyone I work with nodding with cocked eyebrows, of course, but that's not the important part.
Thursday, August 07, 2014
This isn't for everybody, but I hugely enjoyed it, and I think some of you will, too:
I remember having a discussion with several other bright undergrads, our TA, and one of the physics profs about the sprinkler problem (we were all reading Feynman at the time), and we came to ... no conclusion. (I managed to end the discussion by speculating that the sprinkler would move chaotically, which, while incorrect, at least had the advantage of being a proposal no one else had made.)
I also remember the feeling I had at about the same time -- a few weeks into my Intro to Modern Physics course -- that the message of the course was everything you have previously learned about physics is wrong.
As with most things, it turned out to be not quite that simple.
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
I thought this fifteen-minute TED talk was great. I especially liked the bit about the earliest of the language scolds.
I agree with McWhorter's general argument, and have since reading Lewis Thomas (e.g.), but he made a number of points I hadn't thought of, and I liked the little tastes of professional linguistic discussion he added.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Saturday, July 19, 2014
“I didn’t know there were that many lesbians in San Francisco,” said Tracey Kaplan, 26, a vendor manager for Google Enterprises who was in attendance.
In the same story, how's this for a name for someone representing the progressive side of the issue?
“We’re starting some good conversations,” said Ms. Neaderthal ...
Thursday, July 10, 2014
During a bank robbery ...
Once inside, the robbers cracked one of the two vaults and stole the $290k. The other vault, the Post reported, contained more money.
That'd be the Post's "unnamed source," which I'd wager was from the police. Or the bank.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Monday, June 16, 2014
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Monday, June 09, 2014
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
A couple of passages from a great and horrifying book I just finished, Patrick McGuinness's The Last Hundred Days, a novel set in Romania at the end of the Ceaușescu regime.
... I grew to hate, and it energised me. But I couldn’t make a life out of it, or not a life that was my own. So I discovered forgiveness, and the secret malice of it: people forgive not out of grandeur of spirit but as a way of freeing themselves. The forgiver always floats free, the forgiven slides a little further down the soft shute to hell. Maybe that’s why so many religions use forgiveness as a secret weapon.
‘Ah, Monsieur Midwinter? Gilbert, isn’t it?’ Ozeray loomed up between us and closed his fingers around Wintersmith’s hand.
‘Er… Wintersmith, Giles.’ The Belgian had him in a diplomatic half-nelson.
‘Ah yes, quite so. I could not help overhearing your wise analysis. I remember when I was just beginning my diplomatic career.’ Ozeray paused and closed his eyes, inviting us to join him in a prehistory where diplomats and dinosaurs roamed the same mirrored banqueting halls, ‘my mentor, Baron Henri Nivarlais, – a great diplomat – oversaw fifty years of the most radical change the world has known without batting an eyelid – the Baron, he said to me: “Young man, in diplomacy there are two kinds of problem: small ones and large ones. The small ones will go away by themselves, and the large ones you will not be able to do anything about. The biggest challenges in your career will come from the temptation to act. The test of your mettle will be how nobly you surmount it.” Very fine advice, Mr Midwinter, do you agree?’
Monday, May 26, 2014
... spend a few moments reflecting on Doghouse Riley.
I've never come close to being able to write a proper send-off (see Roy (and pretty much all of his commenters) for something I endorse), so I can only offer a quick search around this place for a few of the things that struck me, over the years.
Mr. Riley had some words about Memorial Day, from time to time, if you'd rather start there.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Saturday, April 05, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
But he talks, a lot. It is a wind concerto played entirely on dog whistles ...
-- Adam Weinstein, describing Michael Hill, in "Inside the
American Id: Chilling With the South’s New Secessionists"
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Got a fairly gushing compliment from a customer today.
On the ... uniformity, I think she meant ... of my "salt and pepper hair."
Might have hurt a little less had she been, say, fifteen years younger than me.
Ah, no. Probably not that, either.
Bill Donohue, the president and probably sole member of the Catholic League, ...
That was from Dok Zoom's Weekly Derp Roundup. Item seven. Although how anyone will make it that far after first finding our how outraged we need to be at Honey Maid graham crackers, I have no idea.
[Added] Follow-up on the horror, the horror, that the PaPSM narrowly avoided.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Still, I guess this ["hunger=dignity speech"] is a further nail in the coffin of [Paul] Ryan’s reputation as Serious, Honest Conservative. But I am of course a shrill bad guy, because I was guilty of premature anti-Ryanism — you weren’t supposed to figure out that he was a con man until 2011 or 2012.
-- Paul Krugman
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
If we are going to decide big issues, like eating genetically modified food, fracking for natural gas, responding to the prospect of drastic climate change, exploring space or engaging in ambitious science research, we are going to have to start from some common experience.
As Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the longtime senator from New York, once said, everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. So where are we going to get them?
In science, as in other areas of our culture, there is no dearth of voices, but are we paying attention? In the new New Age, it’s all about which cable channels you watch or whom you follow on Twitter.
We could use a national conversation that is not about scandal or sports. If everybody watches the new “Cosmos,” we can talk about it the way we once argued about “The Sopranos” every Monday morning.
And perhaps that will happen. The early reviews of the series are glowing, and an adoring profile of Dr. Tyson recently appeared in The New Yorker. And we are not talking about tweedy PBS here; the show will be on Fox, home of “24” and “American Idol.”
It’s hard to imagine a better man to reboot the cosmos than Neil deGrasse Tyson.
-- Dennis Overbye
Sunday, March 02, 2014
A caption from an (otherwise) enjoyable report from someplace in spring training:
The Rockies’ LaTroy Hawkins, left, is the longest-tenured player, debuting in April 1995.
Come on. That's like, what, nine years ago?
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Or, typo of the day.
Jason Collins' jersey skyrockets to No. 1 on sales list
Happy headline! But then, an opening sentence. A lede, if you will.
Jason Collins' signing with the Brooklyn Nets as the fist openly gay professional athlete has been described as ...
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
A Goldman spokesman, after being told that @GSElevator had been unmasked, said in a statement, “We are pleased to report that the official ban on talking in elevators will be lifted effective immediately.”
Who knew a PR flack for a firm like that could make a joke in public?
Saturday, February 22, 2014
The flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) does not actually fly — it glides. When a squirrel leaps from its perch in a tall tree, it spreads its limbs, stretching out its two patagia (thick, furred membranes that extend from its wrists to its ankles). In this way, a squirrel less than 10 inches long (including a tail almost half that length) can, in a single bound, cover 150 feet or more, gliding through the treetops effortlessly.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Monday, February 17, 2014
Apparently, there is a gas cloud that about to be sucked into the black hole at the center of our galaxy. (Well, it happened 26,000 years ago, but we're just about to see what ... will have happened?) This gas cloud is expected to form (to have formed) a halo around the black hole.
Deviations from the predicted shape of the halo would indicate that Einstein’s theory of gravity needs revision.
That would seriously be something.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Never fails to amaze me how pedestrian are the concerns of people who see themselves as
among The Chosen of a deity they claim is so powerful he transcends time and space.
I mean, loaves and fishes, anybody? And that wasn't even the real Messiah!
Monday, February 03, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Check out the big standard on Steve!
The question is, Are we prepared to say as lawyers that a man who is no longer considered moral enough to be a journalist is moral enough to be a lawyer?
In fairness, Steve is described as "Stephen Gillers, a law professor of legal ethics at New York University." So maybe, you know, ivory tower, and so forth.
Friday, January 24, 2014
And sure, it's easy to agree that primaries for Congressional seats tend to be dominated by small groups of activists, and that this can lead to outcomes like Senator Ted Cruz. This is the dark side of that Margaret Mead line.
But if your best supporting example is that in a state without a "sore loser" law, Joe Lieberman was nonetheless able to get reelected after losing in the primary . . .
Well, I will just say that your argument is unpersuasive, Mickey Edwards, and so here is a cat riding a Roomba, wearing a shark costume, chasing a duck.
The problem is not extremists getting elected, because of the primary process. The problem is Republican extremists getting elected, and that is something the GOP is going to have to figure out for itself. Meanwhile, as you do point out, you can hold up Christine O'Donnell as a counterexample to Ted Cruz -- come the general election, democracy sometimes works.
Also, points to you, sir, for this:
For one thing, the political “center” is not always the right place to be (it certainly wasn’t in the pursuit of civil rights and women’s rights, or on issues like slavery and child labor). Compassion toward candidates who find their political prospects cut short is also of little interest to me.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Shortly after posting this ...
... I happened across Dok Zoom's latest "Sundays with the Christianists." In a change of pace, this week he has published some emails from readers who were "educated" with the sorts of textbooks he usually reviews in that space. Definitely worth a read, if only to lament how many children don't recover from the early brainwashing.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
And after some moments of examination of the embedded pic, don't fail to click it for a bigger version.
(This is far from the first very fine photo appearing on that blog, by the way. But for whatever reason, this one really spoke to me.)
Friday, January 17, 2014
(Update at bottom of post.)
TC sent along an article about a free service called Nomorobo that claims to block robocalls. He wondered how it worked: "If you're not bundled with everything together, how is your computer going to answer your phone when it rings? There's no connection between the two as far as I can see."
So I looked into it a bit, and I figured I'd post (a mildly edited version of) my reply to him, since it seems like potentially useful information.
Thursday, January 09, 2014
I turned 66 last week and started worrying that maybe I really was getting older, but whenever that sort of thing happens I hold my head erect and whistle a happy tune.
Just messing with you.
What I did, actually, was walk into my bathroom and take the Wadler Sure Fire Accurate Aging Test, which I hope to be marketing soon. It goes like this: You count up the number of hair products you own, then you count up the number of digestive aids, and if the hair products are in the lead, you are still young. (I understand this test may not work as well for men; I’m open to suggestions.)
I do not actually own any digestive aids (I buy bourbon and cognac for other reasons, although admittedly they do tend to settle the stomach), so I guess I'm still infinitely young, amirite, Joyce Wadler?
Also, I call men get to count razors and shaving cream as hair care products, especially if they're opting to Be Like Mike.
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Dhananjay had posted his problem on StackOverflow and promptly got an answer that wasn’t really solving or explaining the issue, but at least linked to W3Schools to make matters worse ...
-- Christian Heilmann
Monday, January 06, 2014
Saturday, January 04, 2014
I've had this same thought myself:
Some compare the hostility to G.M.O.s to the rejection of climate-change science, except with liberal opponents instead of conservative ones.
And I've shared this despair:
Popular opinion masqueraded convincingly as science, and the science itself was hard to grasp. People who spoke as experts lacked credentials, and G.M.O. critics discounted those with credentials as being pawns of biotechnology companies.
A longish article, which I have not yet finished, but which I do wish to share based on the opening paragraphs: "A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops."
Related: if you're still not persuaded to be a bit more open-minded about GMO food, how do you feel about modifying a plant so that it produces more low-carbon biofuel?