I just ordered a prescription refill by talking to a Robocop. Perhaps not as quick as a quick-witted human, it still managed to get through the whole transaction without having to restart, repeat, backtrack, or even wander off into some useless byways. The cherry-on-top was that the prescription I needed was first on their list, which meant I didn't have to wait for it to go through it's spiel for all the ones I didn't need. How did it know? Did it look at the last time it was renewed and use some logic to decide which one to start with it? Or did it default to whatever internal order their database has them listed in, and it was just blind luck that they got the right one first?
Of course, the speech recognition is the hard part from the standpoint of computer programming, but once you have it working, you can make all the copies you need. The logical flow of the interview is relatively simple, but some people still have a hard time with it, even people like programmer's, who should be able to reduce a logical equation to its simplest form.
Saturday, December 31, 2016
|Our Heroes: Jeremy, Richard and James modeling their be-logoed jumpers.|
|Ford GT-40 #5, the third car to cross the finish line, behind Ford GT-40's #1 & #2, at Le Mans in 1966.|
Wikipedia has a version of the GT-40 story.
Post/pic of the new Ford GT.
Ice from Russia TAPE FIVE
More electro-swing. I think the vocals sound like the guys from the Rat Pack back in the 50's, definitely not like anything you get over the radio these days. The lyrics don't make much sense unless you consider that the bar claims to get the ice for their drinks from Russia, and why not? When you are on a tropical island everything is imported.
Friday, December 30, 2016
Moose Creek 2015
Marc likes to fly to obscure, out of the way places, and you can't get much more obscure or out of the way than Moose Creek, being as it is smack in the middle of the Bitterroot Mountains.
Idaho Aviation Association has a map. Starting with their coordinates I made my own.
|Moose Creek Airstrip|
What looks like a wrecked aircraft is not, it is just sitting in the shadow of the trees.
Computers don't care, one floating point number is as good as any other, but due to people wanting to use the decimal system and computers using binary, translating a perfectly good decimal number to binary and then asking the computer to display it can result in values that have a dozen digit after the decimal point, and most of them are just noise.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Desert noon in a Bedouin village in Southern Palestine. Jalila is hosting an awkward celebration - the marriage of her husband to a second, much younger wife - while trying to conceal the insult that boils inside her. Her daughter Layla is preoccupied with a different matter. Her secret, strictly forbidden, love affair with Anuar was just unveiled by her mother. Jalila believes that the world is harsh and cruel, and the only way to win - is to keep your mouth shut, your head as high as possible without raising too much attention, and struggle from inside the limits of the traditional world surrounding you. Layla believes that there are no limits to the world surrounding her. Everything can be hers if she only wished hard enough. But, as the story unfolds, they each fail in her individual battle. Their whole family falls apart and everything they believe in shatters. Now, the two women are forced to understand that, if they wish to survive, they will have to start seeing the world from... Written by Elite ZexerPretty good movie. We kept waiting to see what was going to happen and before we knew it, the movie was over.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
|Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) and Rose Maxson (Viola Davis)|
One point of contention in this movie is professional sports. Troy had some success, but never cracked the big leagues. His son wants to play football but Troy wants him to work. Professional sports, like most other commercialized forms of entertainment, will make some people celebrities, and it will make some people rich, but you can't count on either one of those happening. If you want to play sports, do it for fun. If you achieve some success, that's all well and good, but don't be disappointed if you don't. It's really a matter of luck.
Monday, December 26, 2016
AAST FRC 1287 Aluminum Assault Straight Ballin
Watching the Trailblazers playing basketball, I got to wondering if any one had bothered to build a robot to shoot basketballs. Shooting a ball is straight forward engineering problem. Given the distance to the basket, it should be a simple matter to calculate the velocity and the angle of elevation that should be given the ball. If you do that correctly, the ball should go in. The problem is simple enough that maybe no one thought it worth actually building a machine to try it. Theory is one thing, practice is another. You might think it is a simple problem, but until you demonstrate your machine, you won't know.
From the video above you can see that other people also wanted to know. This one has several embellishments. It can 'see' the basketballs and the net, or at least the target painted on the backboard, it can navigate the court and it can pick up loose balls. I don't like its throwing technique, but seems to be popular with the engineering crowd. This was four years ago and things have changed a bit.
Standford is running a small scale competition among undergraduates using ping pong balls instead of real basketballs, and Arizona State is working on a robot with arms to throw the ball. They aren't use a real ball or court, but they aren't using ping pong balls either.
Watching an episode of Grand Tour, the automotive comedy show featuring our goof-ball trio from Top Gear, and they pay a visit to the Atlas Film Studios in Ouarzazate, Morocco, where Richard Hammond destroys a priceless historical relic.
|Atlas Film Studios, Ouarzazate, Morocco|
A bunch of ideas are milling around in my head. The haven't quite gelled into a coherent package, but I thought making some notes might help.
|Yin and Yang|
|The original Limousine Bolshevik: Lenin with his wife in their Rolls-Royce, Gorki Leninskiye, 1923|
|Law and Order|
Once upon a time I was reading something about Communism and there was an illustrated story about a Capitalist and the water tank. It was perfectly logical, but somehow it didn't add up. I couldn't figure out exactly what was wrong with it, but I knew instinctively that is was total bullshit. It was likely the Parable of the Water Tank by Edward Bellamy.
Braveheart -- "Freedom" Clip | EPIX
William Wallace (Mel Gibson in Braveheart) was all about Freedom. Of course we all know what that got him. If you don't, you should find out.
|Real Disney Propaganda? Or someone's spoof?|
The Great Capitalist Ship is becoming ever more sleek and powerful. It is charging towards the future, a future that is glorious and golden for all those who are aboard, but with every improvement, old, cumbersome pieces are being sloughed off along with all the people who inhabit those pieces.
|Truth, Knowledge and Belief|
Saturday, December 24, 2016
|Railway Bridge over the River Semois in Belgium|
The town named in the show is not the same as the town where it was filmed, which is not near the river. The show is set in Heiderfeld, Belgium, it was shot in Sainte-Ode and the bridge is between Herbeumont and Conques. They are not too far apart and all three are about 80 miles southeast of Brussels.
Poking around I found a couple of web sites that seemed to know something, so I sent an inquiry. I do that occasionally and every once in a while I eventually get a useful response. I sent off three inquiries this morning, and this afternoon I got two responses. I am telling the family about this, asking what kind of people have time to answer email inquiries on Christmas Eve? And they all gave me knowing looks. Oh. People like me. Hey! My kind of people! Ooo-Rah!
The owner of the first photo, Steven House of Green River Canoes, gave me a clue, and a little more searching turned up some other photos. I didn't find out anything more about the bridge other than it was built 1910 and is 500 feet long. Here's some photos. Click on the captions to visit the site.
Fenced walkway on the Viaduct van Conques over the River Semois in Belgium
Our detective climbs over this fence during the course of his investigation.
|Viaduct Conques on the Semois between Herbeumont and Conques|
|Viaduct Conques 1910. I am pretty sure this is under construction.|
And here's a map:
Using Google Earth to look at places with hills is a real treat. Click on the 3D button (just above the zoom controls), then by holding down the control key and moving the mouse, you can pan and tilt your view. It's really quite spectacular. You can get a great sense of the landscape by doing this.
Here's the railroad map:
|Viaduct Conques Railroad|
While I am fooling with maps, I am having a hard time locating a spot found on a Google Map on Google Maps (wait, what? Trust me, if doesn't matter). The upshot is all these places with their winding roads and winding rivers and funny furrin name all begin to look alike, so I copied the lat and long from one url to another, and since I was doing it by hand (sometimes you just get tired of trying to slide the mouse over one more pixel so it will pick up the last letter in a phrase), I didn't type the whole number. I figured three decimal places should be sufficient, after all one degree is 69 miles, so one-one-thousandth of a degree should be (um, 70*5000 is 350,000, divided by a thousand gives 350) about 350 feet. And switching between the two maps causes the bridge to jump about half of an inch, which is about 100 scale feet, which is roughly half of 350, so good enough.
Update January 2017: Ms. Catherine from Infrabel, the Belgian railway people, points me to the French Wikipedia has an article about this rail line. Google's translated version can be found here. Near as I can make out it played a critical part in WWI, and maybe in WW2.
|Google Steet View Recorder|
|The Columbia River System|
Friday, December 23, 2016
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Crazy Chinese smiths. Forge a large flange on the street
Best example of hammer and tongs I have seen. Not familiar with that expression? The Free Dictionary explains:
go at it hammer and tongs
To do something or perform some task with tremendous fervor, determination, energy, or forcefulness. An allusion to the force with which a blacksmith strikes metal using his or her hammer and tongs. What started as a minor disagreement has escalated into a heated argument, and the two have been going at it hammer and tongs ever since.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Tire Rack Tire Test - Winter/Snow vs. All-Season vs. Summer Tires on Ice
Too bad they didn't compare studded tires, then we would have some real information. Oh wait, they did:
Tire Rack Tire Testing - Ice Traction: Studded vs. Studless
Okay, that was a surprise. How about some high speed tests? Car & Driver goes to Finland where they test winter tires all year round.
Monday, December 19, 2016
|Rose (Johanne Louise Schmidt), Assad (Fares Fares) & Carl Mørck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas)|
Sunday, December 18, 2016
|Kirkland Traditional Fruitcake|
Jezebel has an entertaining story about fruitcake. So does Catholic Vote (wait, what? Catholics vote for fruitcake?)
|Lucky Iron Fish|
Now I'm wondering if Cambodia has always been short of iron, or whether this is a recent development. Or could it be that the problem was always there, it's just been aggravated by the enormous population growth. And if it's always been a problem, have the Cambodians developed an affinity for iron, much like the Irish?
Now I'm going to walk out on a limb and wonder if this might have something to do with the Khmer Rouge coming to power back in the 1970's.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
|North Portland Railroad Map|
For one thing, the land slopes gently down toward the north and east, so by the time Lombard meets up with the railroad (a couple miles east of the above map), their elevation is about 50 feet, only about 25 feet higher than Swan Island. The railroad has about 5 miles to to make that climb, which is only about one foot of rise in a thousand feet of run, which should be easy enough for any train.
So that part of the puzzle is filled in. But while I am looking into this I discover a train tunnel running under North Portland. I had no idea. The tunnel was built a hundred years ago and is still in daily use. It is the pale orange line running vertically in the map above, about a half an inch from the right hand border. The railroads first project to cut across North Portland involved making a cut (basically a big ditch). That's the thick orange line running diagonally across the map. People were so upset about their town being cut in half by this ditch that when the railroad proposed making another cut, they were forced to back off and dig a tunnel instead.
Brief history of the tunnel here.
Discussion on Reddit here.
Railroad maps here.
Topographic maps here.
Friday, December 16, 2016
4 SEASONS IN HAVANA - Teaser Trailer
We started watching this series this evening. It's pretty great, though part of that greatness might be because it was shot in Havana, and when's the last time we saw anything come out of Havana? It's not like your regular 45 minute cop show, each episode is like an hour and a half long, so each one is more like a movie.
|Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules at Edinburgh air base in Adelaide, South Australia (17/9/1979) |
35M SLIDE SCANED WITH A EPSON V700 PERFECT FLATBED SCANER AT 6400 DPI. - DAN TANNER
|Geese walk along the snow covered waterfront park through heavy snowfall as the first winter storm of the season hits the area in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)|
Wednesday afternoon it starts snowing. In parts of the country where snow is a regular seasonal occurrence, that might not be such a big deal, but here in Portland it only snows when it will most inconvenience ME. Evening rush hour is a disaster. What would normally be a 30 minute commute turns into two hours.
Thursday schools are closed. Roads are covered with ice and snow. If you are careful, you can go places. Traffic on the roads is light because most people have enough sense to stay home.
We're expecting the new passport to arrive via FedEx, but it doesn't. Come dinner time dutiful daughter is in full panic mode. Tracking the package reveals that the delivery was aborted, no other explanation given. She finally resorts to pushing the zero button on the phone repeatedly until she gets connected to a real person, and after a few minutes of gentle persuasion they reveal that the package is at the Swan Island shipping center. It is 7:15 PM. They close at 8. Google Maps estimate travel time to be 25 minutes. (Really? With all the ice and snow?) We decide to go, maybe we'll be lucky.
Once we have gotten to well traveled places, the roads are pretty well clear of ice and snow. We see a couple of cars in the ditch, one has turned turtle. Oddly, the section of Highway 26 near the intersection of 217 has the most snow and ice. That's weird because that is usually where the traffic is heaviest.
It's a little nerve wracking driving at moderate freeway speeds on roads with dubious traction, but we don't have any trouble, not even going down Going Street towards Swan Island, or coming back up, even though it appears to be covered with ice. I suppose the sand trucks have been there.
Now all we have to do is get to the airport.
Part 1 here.
High Res Wifi Signal Mapping
RF is an often used abbreviation for Radio Frequency, that part of the electromagnetic spectrum where all kinds of radio signals are found.
I've been having trouble with the WiFi reception on my Chromebook. It varies from one moment to the next. I was trying to watch a video about the upcoming solar eclipse a few minutes ago and my WiFi connection is so bad that the video is unwatchable, so I go looking for an explanation. tom's HARDWARE has one:
While huge drops in wireless speed are not "normal" they are very common and can happen for a number of reasons, the most common being interference from other 2.4GHz sources, including other nearby networks, wireless phones, speakers, baby monitors, microwave ovens, etc.Then on reddit I find a link to above video. Now, of course, my wireless connection is perfect. I'm going back to wires, well, as soon as I get my Linux box working again. There is no Ethernet jack on my Chromebook.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
|Il Duomo di Firenze|
How an Amateur Built the World's Biggest Dome
All this happens in the 1400's, which seems to be lost in time, but when Cosimo visits Rome, he is entranced by the Pantheon, which was built over a thousand years before that. At this time, the Florence Cathedral is unfinished, it lacks its dome. Cosimo commissions Brunelleschi to finish it. The techniques used to finish the dome are amazing, especially since the math that modern engineers would use to guide them in their design did not yet exist. James Gillick has an interesting story On the Economics of a Cathedral.
Some things are a little unsettling, like riding horses on the polished interior marble floors of buildings, but why not? Marble floors are easy to clean, the doors are big enough, and why should I have to walk outside to get my horse?
We also have all the standard elements of a good drama: love, hate, intrigue, betrayal, conflict, disaster and successes. We also have some words of wisdom that are truly at odds with our modern, secular, the individual-is-king philosophy. Reminds me of the old saw about how the poor save for Saturday night, the rich save for four generations.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Are We Running Out of Vanilla? — Speaking of Chemistry
My mom was always a stickler for using real vanilla. I am not surprised that vanilla is in a bit of a crisis, that seems to be how our whole economy works: by lurching from one crisis to another. Occasionally someone will organize a small part of the economy and that segment will stabilize, usually just in time for it to become obsolete. Food, though, is an ongoing deal, but we still don't have a good handle on it. Production is at an all time high, profits are at an all time low, and we are only a couple of months away from starving if this year's crops fail. That's not likely, but did anyone forecast the vanilla crop failing?
|Screen shot of Radio Garden|
Monday, December 12, 2016
Looks like we are finally applying a little intelligence in our search for intelligent life. From a story on Nautilus:
Put simply, we may well have received a message from intelligent beings and neglected it because it didn’t conform to our expectations for what a signal should look like. And this might be why we have yet to detect any interstellar communications in 50 years of searching. - Laurance R. DoyleHe's applying information theory to non-human communications to rate their complexity. Humpback whales pass, the Vela Pulsar (above) doesn't. More from the story:
We are currently analyzing microwave data obtained at the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array, which consists of 42 individual telescopes observing in the frequency band from 1 to 10 gigahertz.Which, along with the stuff I've been reading about radiation recently, makes me wonder if maybe advanced civilizations are using gamma rays for communication. You would be able to pack a lot more information in a gamma ray signal, much more than you can get in any kind of radio signal. Gamma rays are to the light we use in our fiber optics much like that light is to radio waves. Admittedly, gamma rays are a little hard to control, and fatal if you catch too many of them, but maybe that's the test of an advance civilization: the ability to control gamma rays.
Via Detroit Steve.
Pictures of the Allen Telescope Array:
|Hat Creek Radio Observatory by The Flicks|
|UC Hat Creek Radio Observatory (HRCO). Image credit: Gary Crabbe|
Sunday, December 11, 2016
|Treasure Island in the foreground,|
Mainland Cuba in the background.
It seems that if you are going to Cuba, you need to have two, full, blank pages in your passport. Daring daughter has used the stuffing out of her passport and if you combined all the blank spots that are left you might get two pages, but that won't cut it. So she needs a new passport.
She might be able to get one if she drives up to Seattle and pleads her case. And then we might have to drive back a second time to pick it up. No telling. Plus, you need an appointment. Would she even be able to get an appointment? Once again, no idea.
There is an outfit that claims to be able to get your passport renewed in one day, but they charge $300, and that is on top of whatever the government wants, which is somewhere north of $100. I hate being put over a barrel like this, but it might be the best solution. I'm wondering how they are able to do this, and then I realized that the appointment might be the gating factor. If they book an appointment every day then they can be sure of getting in. So their business model is basically paying for one person to hang around passport central all the time. Or maybe they split their take with the secretary of passport control and he sees that their clients get taken care of. Who knows? In any case, it's a stink load of money for something we shouldn't have to pay for at all, but like I said, this new rule has got us over a barrel.
On the other side, if you count the missed time from work and the time and effort to drive to Seattle (possibly twice), the $300 begins to look almost reasonable.
P.S. No glasses in your passport photos anymore. Another new rule. I'm thinking we need a subscription service to tell us whenever they make a new rule, which seems to be every couple of months ever since Homeland Security took over.
|We have been assimilated|
First of all, Jesus H. Chist, I'm continually amazed at the lengths people will go and the sheer brainpower employed in malware and hacking generally. I've gotten to the point where I go to hang a towel over the mirror in the bathroom because I'm worried someone has hacked the mirror and then figure, fuck it, they probably also hacked the towel.I don't think anyone is close to being able to pull images off of a towel, but NASA just put up some satellites that can tell how powerful a hurricane is by looking at the GPS signals being reflected off the of waves underneath the clouds, so, hell, yes, maybe they have hacked the towel. Our commenter continues:
Secondly, is this level of malware sophistication evidence that there's economic stagnation?I don't know about this, but then again, maybe I do. I like to think I am fairly talented in the computer programming department, but I seem to have a hard time finding a job. One part of it is the unholy crap-infested barriers that the human resource departments put up. I don't know what it is, maybe they are looking for obedient drones, people who will jump through any number of hoops just to have a the slightest chance of landing a 'good' job. Or maybe it's the ridiculous job requirements they post. It's like they write down all the qualifications of the last guy to hold that job and they want someone to replace him, someone who has exactly the same set of qualification. Problem is, that person was the only person on the planet with those qualifications. You aren't going to find another one. If you are that persnickety, you should just go hire that guy back and not bother the rest of us. Of course, HR, doesn't work like that, they are only trying to minimize their own workload, or make themselves look busy or something. They are not really looking for talent. No surprise there, they wouldn't recognize it if it hit them over the head.
I'm assuming this is software designed to create botnets or measly bank account info or whatnot and the author(s) make some money but not griping about the lack of space for their megayacht next season at Monaco kinds of money.
Is the fact that people do this kind of really clever shit for more or less ordinary income, is it proof that the economy is in some way broken? I would think that people this smart, in a functional economy, would be in real demand to do productive economy kinds of things.
So we a have struggle between obedience and freedom. Some people just can't abide living with the bullshit that comes with a 'good' job, they would rather be broke but free. But this world runs on money, and if you are not going to be a good corporate drone, you need to find some other way to get money. Perhaps this is where malware comes from, people who have not been assimilated by the great democratic hive mind.
Best fight scene Haywire
The subject of this morning's Teleword puzzle is Michael Fassbender. Teleword is a word finding puzzle that shows up in the Sunday paper. It is very similar to Wonderword which shows up in the daily. It's not too difficult, perfect wake-up exercise for me on Sunday morning.
The solution to this morning's puzzle was Haywire, which sounds vaguely familiar. Asking Google turns up the above video clip. Man, that is one tough chick. How tough is she? Here's a quote from the movie that might give you some idea (Paul is Fassbender's character):
Paul: I've never done a woman before.Turns out I did see this movie four years ago, and Gina Carano made an impression on me then. Haven't seen any of her other films. I have seen a few of Michael's films, like Slow West and Inglorious Basterds.
Kenneth: Oh, you shouldn't think of her as being a woman. No, that would be a mistake.
IFC has good, short story about this fight scene.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
“Admiral Kuznetsov” In Western Mediterranean Sea. Su-33 & Mig-29 Take-off.
The Russians have lost a couple of jet aircraft off of their aircraft carrier that is operating in the Mediterranean Sea. They only have the one carrier. A sister ship to this one went to China, and the last of the previous class went to India. So we have three countries in Asia that their own aircraft carriers. Given the recent mishaps, they are still learning how to operate them.
The two planes that were lost off the Russian carrier were lost when the arresting cable snapped on landing. The cable snapped and the plane rolled off the flight deck. Americans don't have this problem because as soon as the aircraft touches down, the pilot gives the engines full throttle, so if the tailhook doesn't catch the cable, or the cable breaks, the aircraft can take off again. Okay, there is something funny going on here. Catching the arresting wire with the tailhook is an iffy proposition, it doesn't happen every time a plane lands. So unless the Russians have figured out a way to insure that every time an airplane touches down it will catch a wire, they need to be prepared to take off so they can go around and try again. So having a wire break should not lead to the aircraft rolling off the flight deck.
I'm thinking the loss of these aircraft is just part of the learning curve for bringing the crews up to snuff. Running an aircraft carrier successfully doesn't leave a lot of room for error, so you need to continuously practice, and practice costs money. If these other countries don't know how expensive it is to operate an aircraft carrier, they are going to find out. (It's about a million dollars a day.)
Update January 2017 replaced missing video.
Friday, December 9, 2016
Theeb - Official UK trailer. Winner BAFTA British debut, and nominated for Foreign Language Oscar.
WWI and we've got an Englishman riding a camel in the dessert. Sounds like Lawrence of Arabia, but it's not. Lot's of desolate dessert scenery. It's pretty great. The whole thing looks a whole lot like Star Wars except no spaceships. Watching camels walk reminds me of nothing so much as the AT-AT walkers on Hoth. On Netflix.
One thing that bothered me about this movie was the deliberate contamination of wells by the bad guys. With water being so critical to survival and being in short supply in the dessert, you'd think that wells would be treated as somewhat sacred. Dumping a dead body in a well seems to not only be extremely rude, but short-sighted as well. What if you can't get back to your own well, and are forced to come back this way? But then war warps peoples minds, so maybe cutting off your water supply is okay as long as you are cutting off the other guy's. We may die of the thirst, but you guys will die too.
Thursday, December 8, 2016
|TVA Wilson Dam, Muscle Shoals, Alabama|
|Air View of Nitrate Plant No. 2 at Muscle Shoals, AL|
Wilson Dam can be seen in the background.
I was reminded of this by the similarity to the Norsk Hydro plant in The Heavy Water War - hydro power being used to generate electricity which in turn is used to make fertilizer.
The Heavy Water War Teaser
We started watching this series on Netflix last night. It's pretty good. Back during WW2, the USA wasn't the only country trying to build an atomic bomb, Nazi Germany was working on the idea as well. 'Working' might be exaggerating their effort a bit, flailing might be a more apt description. But we didn't know how inept their efforts were, I mean the Germans are obviously very talented technically. Maybe they will succeed, and we sure don't want that, so we need to stop them if we can. Failing that we need to slow them down as much as possible, hence the raids on Norsk Hydro.
We started watching this and I'm wondering how it is that Norway has this monopoly on heavy water? Do they have some mystical spring where they get an abundance of the stuff? It took a little digging, but what I eventually figured out was that they were electrolysing water to get hydrogen so they could make fertilizer. They had built a power plant and factories, in fact a whole town, all to produce mass quantities of fertilizer.
All water contains a very small amount of heavy water, something like 0.03%. Electrolysis tends to preferentially break down light (normal) water, so after you have been running your electrolysis for a while, the water you are left with has a higher concentration of heavy water. Since heavy water is such a small percentage of natural water, in order to get useful amount of heavy water, you need to be electrolysing tons of water, which is what they were doing to Norsk Hydro.
|Norsk Hydro Power Plant. The pipes running down the side of hill supply water to the turbines that drive the generators that make the electricity that is used to electrolysis the water.|
A Look Inside Russia’s Creepy, Innovative Internet (Hello World: Episode 9) Bloomberg
We, and by that I mean everyone, have no idea of the extent of what computer systems are doing.
Note about this video series title: "Hello, world!" is the standard first programming problem for students. It is a test to see if you can master the basic concepts of editing a source file, getting the syntax right, and invoking the compiler. If you do all that correctly, then you can invoke your program and it will spit out "Hello, world!" on your display.
Via Detroit Steve.
Serge Gainsbourg - Chez Les Ye-Ye
1963 French pop song. Serge pulls out a switchblade a little awkwardly about halfway through. Translated lyrics here.
Retrolectro Swingtoon LIIb (Palm Dance with Boogalox aka Minimatic - Chez Les Yeye)
Here's an Electro-Swing version of the same tune. I ran across it listening to Electro Swing | Jazz House Mixwolf Session 2016 #1. Louis Armstrong makes a brief appearance here at the 1:56 mark.
I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You - Louis Armstrong
Here's the whole tune. Louis recorded this in 1932.
Jamie Berry-Sweet Rascal
Here's the Electro-swing version with Mistique burning up a square meter of carpet.
People get excited, then they get upset and out come the knives. Peace, love and understanding are all very well, but how's a girl supposed to know whether a guy can defend her or not? Well, you might want to see how well he handles a knife. Love and hate are like two sides of the same, human, coin.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
|A Mass at Sea, 1793, by Louis Duveau, first exhibited in 1864.|
My parents were atheists. One of my mother's homilies was that religion was the root cause of all wars and was therefore bad and very possibly evil. Reading today about the War in the Vendée I am reminded that the religious don't have a monopoly on murder and mayhem, atheists in the French revolution and Communists the world over have trumped the religious wars of the past. Of course, you could say that revolutionary zealots have their own religion, they are 'true believers' after all.
|Combat de Quiberon en 1795, by Jean Sorieul|
Sombreuil and a handful of royalist fighters (left) are trying to push back the Republican forces and protect the flight of non-combatants trying to take refuge on English ships.
|War in the Vendée|
Monday, December 5, 2016
|Doge2048 Low Score Success|
I have a technique that allows me to make rapid progress but if followed diligently it inevitably leads to failure. The technique is basically to repeatedly press the down arrow until no more moves are available in that direction and then press the left arrow once. Repeat until you die, no more moves are available or you sense impending doom.
The idea is to keep your highest value piece in the lower left corner. It doesn't actually matter what corner you choose, any corner will work, you just need to stick with it.
Following these instructions will often bring you to a situation where neither the down arrow nor the left arrow keys will have any effect. My next step in these cases is to press the right arrow. If the bottom row is NOT full, then the next key press should be the left key. In most cases this will put your high value piece back in the lower left corner.
If there the bottom row is full, and pressing the right arrow does not open any spaces, go back to the original sequence of down-until-stopped and then one-move-left.
The advantage of this technique is you can make rapid progress without having to do any thinking. The disadvantage is that you will eventually get into a bind. The trick is to recognize when things are about to get sticky and then stopping your automatic play to apply a little critical thinking to the problem. If you have enough room left (3 empty squares might be enough), you should be able to make a few moves that will cause enough pieces to collapse that you have enough room that you can resume automatic play for a bit.
A problem I often encounter is that pieces will often collapse unexpectedly, and if you are not watching carefully this can lead to a hole in the bottom left corner that gets filled in with a low value piece, and that just screws up my whole plan for world domination.
Since my technique involves charging ahead without too much regard for consequences, when I do succeed I often end up with a score well over 20,100. I don't know what the minimum score for successful completion is, but this is lowest I have gotten, and it was just a fluke. On occasion I have tried going on and once I got up to something like 76,000. I have not repeated that feat. My head was like totally in tune with the game, but after that I kind of lost interest.
Post about similar game.
|Elephant's Foot, Chernobyl Reactor|