Intel's Ronler Acres Plant


Silicon Forest
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Friday, April 16, 2021

Down Time

0h h1

When I am done trying to get things done, or I just need a break, I'll fire up YouTube, unleash it on My Mix, and open a game of solitaire on a new tab. I have three games I play regularly, sometimes a fourth if the situation warrants. I play these games in order. It usually eats up about 30 minutes. It may go to an hour. First I'll play Netwalk at the Expert level. It takes about a minute. I don't have a strategy that I know of, I just start rotating pieces until everything is connected. It usually takes me about twice as many steps as the posted goal value. On occasion I have solved it in the same number of steps as the goal. If I am feeling fuzzy headed, it might take me four or five times as many steps as the goal.

Next I'll move on to 0h h1 (shown above).  It usually takes about three or four minutes. There are like three levels of play here. The object of the game is to fill in all of the squares, but you may not have more than two blocks of the same color next to each other. The first level is to fill in the obvious places. In places where you have two pieces of the same color next to each other, you know that on either end you must have pieces of the opposite color. Any place where you have two pieces of the same color separated by an empty space, that space needs to filled with a piece of the opposite color. Now if you are lucky, you may have some rows (or columns) that are almost entirely filled. Each row and column needs to be half of one color and half of the other. A count of the current pieces may reveal the color required in the the remaining places.

Now we need to think a bit. Look at a row and where all the current pieces are placed. Mentally try placing pieces in that row (or columns). It may be that there is pair of spaces that require one piece of each color, but then one space is left over, and a count of place pieces should reveal the color required for that last place. You may have several places like that, or you might have a situation where you need to place blue pieces in several places, but you end up with one extra spot, so that spot must be red.

Every once in a while, these basic techniques will be enough to solve the puzzle. More often, you will end up with several pairs of spaces that each require one piece of each color and the only way to determine which one is which is to compare the lines with the other completed lines in the puzzle and find one that matches all of the pieces placed so far. Then the solution is to reverse the colors of the two pieces that correspond to the empty slots. This is most annoying part of the game, and depending on my attitude I may not attempt it, but just use the game's 'eyeball' to identify the matching line. In those cases I count it a 'win' if I haven't overlooked any thing that I should have found using the basic techniques.

The third game is Spider Solitaire with two suits. This game usually takes about five to seven minutes and successful solutions are sporadic. So playing the first two games and then three hands of solitaire will take about half an hour.

I am writing this because I just got done shuffling some pdf files over to the City of Portland Building Department. It wasn't difficult or complicated, but good lord how I hated it. It's an obligation and man oh man, I did not want to do it and I don't really understand why I am so resistant. There are multiple reasons why I should resent this, but none of them have any real standing in this situation. Come on dude, suck it up and get it done. Jeez.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Good Morning

What They Don't Want You To See. Boston Dynamics and AI.
Digital Engine

Our new robot overlords are coming. We can hope they will be benevolent, but as long as they are controlled by people, some will not be. 

Meanwhile 'there is a shortage of workers' but we've got zillions of people out of work. This does not compute. There is something very wrong here. I have all kinds of ideas about what could be the problem, but if I think about it, none of them make much sense. I see homeless encampments short distances away from places offering employment. Could it be that once people become adults their trajectory becomes very hard to change, and if the job they had disappears they just can't adapt to a new one?

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Nord Stream 2

Nord Stream 2 pipelay vessel near the German island of Rügen. Photo: Axel Schmidt/NordStream2

Nord Stream 2 is a pipeline for transporting natural gas from Russia to Germany. It's been under construction for a while. The US is opposed to it for some reason. I read a story the other day that said this pipeline was the reason the US was pushing Ukraine to confront Russia. Note US warships in the Black Sea. RT has a story that explains what is going on. Yes, I know, RT used to be Russia Today and is almost certainly Putin's mouthpiece, but they seem to be fairly balanced unlike the stories that come from US press, which seem to be stuffed with inflammatory hyperbole.

Does Not Compute

The REAL Answer To The Viral Chinese Math Problem "How Old Is The Captain?"

Presh Talwalkar emphasizes clarity in his speaking voice over smoothness which means listening to him is not as pleasant as it could be, but then there shouldn't be any confusion over what he is saying, which is kind of important when you are dealing with something as persnickety as math.

He must have a zillion videos up on YouTube. Most of them are straight up math problems. This is the first one I have encountered that veers off into psychology. The math problems that he posts range from trivial to esoteric. I like the mid-range ones, though I am sometimes mistaken in my initial impression and find after working on it for a few minutes that I am not going to be able to solve it without digging up some obscure mathematical knowledge.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Head Banging Aliens

Eiffel 65 - Blue (Da Ba Dee) [Gabry Ponte Ice Pop Mix] (Original Video with subtitles)
Bliss Corporation

Just because everybody needs a little head banging. From 1999.

Gun Rights Cake

Handwaving Freakoutery has posted the Gun Rights Cake cartoon. I tried to steal it and post it here, but Blogger can't handle long images and I am too lazy to cut it up an post it in pieces. You can see the cartoon all by its lonesome here. It's pretty great. You can read his post as well, but it doesn't really contain anything new. And it doesn't matter anyway, because the battle is not being fought over ideas, but with emotions. The other side doesn't really care if they win or not as long as they can get their faces on the news along with stupid little sound bites about how they are for gun control and abhor violence. It's a stupid fight and it is going to continue as long as emotional people are easily manipulated, which means forever. Great. Another Forever War. I for one will welcome our new robot overlords, if they ever bother to show up.

A little digging reveals that LawDog authored Gun Rights Cake:

I hear a lot about "compromise" from your camp ... except, it's not compromise.

Let's say I have this cake. It is a very nice cake, with "GUN RIGHTS" written across the top in lovely floral icing. Along you come and say, "Give me that cake."

I say, "No, it's my cake."

You say, "Let's compromise. Give me half." I respond by asking what I get out of this compromise, and you reply that I get to keep half of my cake.

Okay, we compromise. Let us call this compromise The National Firearms Act of 1934.

There I am with my half of the cake, and you walk back up and say, "Give me that cake."

I say, "No, it's my cake."

You say, "Let's compromise." What do I get out of this compromise? Why, I get to keep half of what's left of the cake I already own.

So, we have your compromise -- let us call this one the Gun Control Act of 1968 -- and I'm left holding what is now just a quarter of my cake.

And I'm sitting in the corner with my quarter piece of cake, and here you come again. You want my cake. Again.

This time you take several bites -- we'll call this compromise the Clinton Executive Orders -- and I'm left with about a tenth of what has always been MY DAMN CAKE and you've got nine-tenths of it.

Then we compromised with the Lautenberg Act (nibble, nibble), the HUD/Smith and Wesson agreement (nibble, nibble), the Brady Law (NOM NOM NOM), the School Safety and Law Enforcement Improvement Act (sweet tap-dancing Freyja, my finger!)

I'm left holding crumbs of what was once a large and satisfying cake, and you're standing there with most of MY CAKE, making anime eyes and whining about being "reasonable", and wondering "why we won't compromise".

I'm done with being reasonable, and I'm done with compromise. Nothing about gun control in this country has ever been "reasonable" nor a genuine "compromise".


Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Young adult, near future, science fiction. I picked it up at my son's house because I wanted something to read, this one was lying right there in front of me and I had previously read The Windup Girl by the same author and I remembered that one being pretty good.

The world has changed, the seas have risen, New Orleans is underwater, but a city of a sort has grown up on what's still sticking above the water. Plus it's still a port, all the scrap metal from the shipbreaking business gets sent there on a train.

Shipbreaking (the business of taking apart old, worn out cargo ships and turning them into scrap metal) is now being done on the Gulf Coast by a savage crew of desperately poor people. Nailer, our hero, is a boy working on a light crew. These are the guys who go in and strip out all the light weight stuff, like wiring, before the heavy crew gets to work taking apart the hull.

It's a young adult novel so it's fairly simple-minded. A quick, easy and enjoyable read. There are a few science fiction-y bits. We have half-men walking around which are some kind of genetic hybrid of man and animal predators, used by those in charge for enforcement and protection.

Then there are the sailing yachts that the rich and powerful use to get around the world. These boats are overgrown versions of the racing sailboats we have today: carbon fiber hulls, hydrofoils and special sails. The sails are a bit of a trick. They use cannons to launch parasails into the stratosphere where they pick up the jet stream and drag the boats at impossible speeds. Being as the jet stream is several miles above the surface, you would need a pretty big gun to get to that height. But maybe they shoot rockets. We have guns that do that now. And you would need some super-strong lines to be able to reliably reach that far without having to carry reels that would sink your boat. That seems like it might be doable in the not too distant future.