Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Clearly, not Irish

The Goodreads Quote of the Day ...

The nicest thing about feeling happy is that you think you'll never be unhappy again.
    -- Manuel Puig


    ... ?

         ... ???

Well, let's just note that he's Argentinian. My people? When we're happy, it's always tinged with the thought that (a) we don't deserve it, and (b) (and maybe probably therefore) something bad 'bout to happen.


Friday, December 11, 2015

How to get rid of the unwanted Avast ad in your outgoing email

A recent upgrade to Avast's antivirus software (to version 11.1.2245) evidently included a highly undesirable feature: automatic injection of an advertisement for Avast as my email signature. The ad became visible to me only after I clicked the Send button. Below is a screenshot (with some personal details obscured) and the steps I took to shut this off.

Why did I even click that link?

The problem for the G.O.P. is that it’s centered where national security and immigration intersect ...

Actually, Ross, the problem is that you still think the Republican Party is "centered." On anything.

[Added] Also, that picture makes me think of one thing: "preznit give me turkee."

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

And speaking of civil engineering ...

... Jon Timmer offers some interesting details in answering the question I know you've wondered about as often as I have: "How DO they sort all those recyclable materials, anyway?"

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Deep thought

We've come up with mailman letter carrier, waitress server, fireman firefighter, policeman police officer, stewardess flight attendant, manned crewed missions, and many other perfectly tolerable gender-neutral terms, but I still haven't heard a good replacement for manhole.

Nor has Google, either, apparently. See page 11 of a checklist that may appeal to your inner civil engineer.

(h/t: Jon Brodkin)

You submit one cheek swab and this is the kind of email you get

A message from haplogroup Administrator, Mike Walsh:

People in any R1b subclade from R-M269 on down should consider going to 111 Y STRs or 67 at a minimum.

And oh yeah, there's a "Buy Now" button.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Deep thought

In certain corners of my house, when the micowave is running, the WiFi signal is interrupted.

Should I be concerned about this?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Worth watching

And not just because he calls Teh Donald a “clown made of mummified foreskin and cotton candy.”

John Oliver on this thing I never heard of that helps women go to college?

So sad he's not on basic cable.

(h/t: TBogg)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Not good. Not good.

Without a trace of embarrassment, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Nationalist Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, admitted that the first minister’s science adviser had not been consulted because the decision “wasn’t based on scientific evidence.”

The scientific community is facing a new European reality. Last November, the European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, chose not to reappoint Prof. Anne Glover as his science adviser after lobbying by Greenpeace and other environmental groups.

“We hope that you as the incoming Commission president will decide not to nominate a chief scientific adviser,” they wrote.

Never mind that Professor Glover’s advice on G.M.O. safety reflected the scientific consensus. Mr. Juncker, hoping to make his political life easier, complied with their demand. Europe now has no chief scientific adviser.

Yep, GMO foods. And again, I find myself in the awkward position. I'm not a fierce advocate, and I have my own occasional worries about possible unforeseen environmental consequences, but I hate when My Side is acting like wingnuts.

[Added] From the links at the bottom of the piece (last link above): An Ecomodernist Manifesto and "Is eco-modernism the third way on climate change? seem like good further reading.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Your moment of unsurprising news

And you thought eBay was no fun anymore.

Sports Business Daily found that over the first half of this year’s Major League Baseball season, 91 percent of player profits in daily fantasy sports were won by just 1.3 percent of the players. In fact, the top 11 players on average paid $2 million in entry fees and made $135,000 in profit while accounting for 17 percent of all entry fees.

Many of the professionals use automated processes that let them change hundreds, if not thousands, of lineups in seconds, a decided advantage when last-minute changes are made in the lineups of real football, basketball or baseball teams.

I never have understood why American English has not embraced the term punters. Denial, I suspect.

Anyway, the FBI has expressed interest, and I gotta say, I'm snickering, just a bit.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Deep thought

How do you pluralize iPhone 6s?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Only a politician could say this

Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), speaking about the soon to be ex-Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Ohio):

... John’s decades of service have helped move our country forward ...

And here I thought gridlock meant being stuck, motionless.

Well, I suppose he did advance some interests, from time to time ...

(h/t: KK)

It's a bit runny. I LIKE runny. Oh, it's VERY runny.

When you chew on a Camembert rind, you’re eating a solid mat of mold.
    -- Carl Zimmer

(title: cf.)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Deep thought

Most of my coworkers are younger than Photoshop.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Deep thought

Q: When are you both decreasing and increasing?

A: When you're ironing?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Line of the Day: 2015-08-27

Altruism and compassion toward the feelings of others represent the best of human impulses. And it is good to continually challenge rigid categories and entrenched beliefs. But that comes at a sacrifice when the subjective is elevated over the assumption that lurking out there is some kind of real world.
    -- George Johnson

(h/t: @drninashapiro via @SamHarrisOrg's RT)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sometimes there are no words

During a discussion about a recent hubbub:

Maybe the work-all-the-time — and work-at-all-costs — culture that the article explored at Amazon wasn’t a tech-specific issue.

The world’s most successful consulting firms, law firms, banks and hedge funds accept that this is the cost of excellence. Rather than deny that the grind exists, employees and managers at elite companies in these fields see it as part of what makes them better. It took a Bank of America intern dying for other leading banks like Goldman Sachs to cap the number of hours that an intern can work at 17 hours a day.

Emphs added, internal links not copied. See the original article.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Saturday, August 08, 2015

"She was called a fussy, stubborn, unreasonable bureaucrat."

By Big Pharma, of course.

I did not know until just now that it wasn't so much the FDA who saved the US from the horrors of thalidomide. It turns out it was just one woman.

Belated thanks, Frances Oldham Kelsey. You took your job when I was about a month from appearing on this planet, and my sisters were not far behind.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Funny and cool

From today's Versioning email newsletter:

Finally, here’s an amazing image showing the world from space, partially occluded by the moon. Or, to put it in language millenials would understand: “the moon photobombed our big space selfie” [nasa].


A report says:

More than 3,840 firefighters are deployed across the uneven landscape of several counties, including Yolo, Colusa and Lake. They are cutting back underbrush to make fire-blocking tracts, and dropping gallons of water and flame retardant from nearly two dozen aircraft that fly through the smoky sky. But the fire is still only 20 percent contained, according to fire officials, and the flames are surging with unusual speed.

Sheesh. Drought's worse than I thought.

(Emph. added)

Monday, August 03, 2015

Deep thought

Obvious Cat is obvious, yes.

But also, Vague General Ality is vague.


Sorry. Just read one too many blog posts by one of those tech VC guys.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

They'll likely be crushed under some jackboot or another, but still, ...

... in the meantime, this to me is a gleam of hope.

Recently, in Silver Spring, Maryland, drivers at a busy intersection witnessed a spectacle you don’t see much these days, outside of the “Hunger Games” franchise: two children, aged ten and six, walking alone. An onlooker alerted the police. The cops scooped up the kids, drove them home in a patrol car, and reprimanded their father, Alexander Meitiv, a physicist at the National Institutes of Health. Within an hour, five squad cars had arrived.

Meitiv insisted that he was not guilty of negligence. He’d dropped off the children at a nearby park, with the idea that they would walk home. He and his wife are devotees of Free-Range Kids, a movement committed to rolling back the excesses of the helicopter-parent era. (From the group’s Web site: “Fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, failure, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers and/or the perils of a non-organic grape.”)

[Link added to the blockquote]

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shots fired

... many liberals have changed their views in response to new evidence. It’s an interesting experience; conservatives should try it some time.
    -- PK

Friday, July 17, 2015

Phrase of the Day

From an older post, but so spot-on:

... Opus Dei strokebook First Things featuring the Douthats of Tomorrow.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Now THAT's something to ponder

Very roughly speaking, action is what you get from entropy when you allow time to become an imaginary number.

From a very fun read, "How Physics Will Change—and Change the World—in 100 Years," by Frank Wilczek.

(h/t: RC deWinter)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Line of the Day: 2015-06-28

I wage civilization, motherfucker.
    -- Thers

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Usually, cosmic rays are the scapegoat of last resort, aren't they?

Let the image rehabilitation begin!

Eight days of silence followed until, as engineers expected, a high-speed charged particle zipping through space fortuitously scrambled part of the computer’s memory and caused the computer to restart.

Emphasis added.

Also, unfurled selfies!

Glad we got that cleared up

Global airlines announced on Tuesday a new guideline that recommends even smaller carry-on bags … The guideline, which is not binding … While details of how the guideline will be put into effect are murky, and would vary from airline to airline …  … The trade group says the new guideline will not necessarily replace each airline’s rules on bag size, but gives them a uniform measurement that “will help iron out inconsistencies.”

It's hard to love airlines. They have so much baggage.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Pretty funny caption on Deadspin, beginning:

Michelle Rhee attempts thought leadership ...

Main point of the story surprised me: I did not know that there's all this hate for Kevin Johnson. (I also did not know the two were married.)

In conclusion, charter schools still seem terrible every time reality intrudes.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Line of the Day: 2015-06-05

Never have I been so grateful to have been so wrong.

... and ...

We are witnessing the emergence of a post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy.

From an op-ed of considered hope, by one of my heroes, Edward J. Snowden.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Feel-good story

How can you not like this?

The stars of the “The Big Bang Theory” will be putting their very big paychecks to good use. Actors on the sitcom, as well as members of the crew and the CBS show’s co-creator Chuck Lorre, have created a scholarship at the Univerity of California, Los Angeles, for science students seeking financial aid.

The Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment has already raised more than $4 million, including gifts from the stars Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Johnny Galecki, and Mayim Bialik. Scholarships will be awarded to 20 low-income science students this fall, and five students per year going forward.

And I know you'll like this, from the same show, some time ago.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Deep thought

Are pathetic and antipathetic antonyms?

Monday, May 25, 2015

So, maybe one takeaway would be ...

... to vote for members of Congress who will fund space watch programs?

This level of ocean evaporation is commensurate with atmospheric temperatures rising to over 500 degrees Celsius for a few weeks after the impact, and remaining above 100 degrees Celsius for over a year. That’s what models have predicted would occur for collisions with asteroids 50 to 100 kilometers across.

In fairness, this happened three and change billion years ago, and as we are all frequently told, the Earth is only 6000 years old, so ... not to worry.

Reminder: 100°C is the boiling point of water. 212°F if you're keeping score in Fahrenheit.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

As I've long said, ...

... we humans aren't "killing the planet." The Earth will shrug off any- and everything we throw at it. What we are doing, and what we should be concerned about, is fouling our own nest.

“Everything on earth is biodegradable on a geological time scale,” Mr. Wilson said. “It’s not biodegradable in a meaningful time frame.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The perfect dog for cat lovers

Judd nodded. “I had a dog that was half coyote,” she said. “I lived in New Mexico.” She continued, “That dog could climb over anything. It was the only dog I ever had to tell to get off the refrigerator.”


Thursday, May 07, 2015

Line of the Day: 2015-05-07

The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it's to post the wrong answer.
    -- attributed to Ward Cunningham

Monday, May 04, 2015

Line of the Day: 2015-05-04

Maybe, just maybe, that was a sustainable argument four decades ago, but at this point it should be obvious that middle-class values only flourish in an economy that offers middle-class jobs.
    -- Paul Krugman

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Line of the day: 2015-05-03

Time and complexity are the best friends of a determined distorter of events.
    -- Neil Lewis, via TBogg

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Closing line


Other notable sites that were dropped include: Privacy.gov, Technology.gov, Space.gov, Govworks.gov, Results.gov, and ExpectMore.gov.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Sure, you know perigee and perihelion. But what about peribothron?

If I were a cynical man, I might worry that this would become the new biz buzzword for opportunistically gaining proximity to the Big Boss.

Fortunately, I am only about the science.

(h/t: Phil Plait, vaguely. Weird to see a site give access to the news and charge for the blogs. Smells like TimesSelect to me, but what do I know?)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Line of the Day: 2015-03-30

I don’t make much of a distinction between genius design and engineering and athletic performance and great works of art—it’s all the human nervous system seen from the inside out.
    -- Michael Mann

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Your moment of incongruity

In the parking lot, man with a Lord and Taylor shopping bag says to his wife, "Do you want to go to the Dollar Store?"

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Definition of the Day

... progressives (the term of choice for high-maintenance liberals) ...     -- TBogg

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Not that we actually expect Congress to DO anything ...

... but, just sayin:

The group that Pew finds most underrepresented on the Hill is those without a religious affiliation -- comprising 20 percent of the public and 0.2 percent of Congress.

Eh, what's two orders of magnitude of under-representation among friends? Have some pie.

(h/t: ProPublica, via Cyrus Farivar RT)

Not THE Dooley Womack!

I think Bouton's angst may finally have been beaten:

Alexey Shved, who had some good, subtle advanced statistics, was promptly traded for [blah, blah] and the rights to a Ukrainian playing in Spain.