Self Wright

Tag: monthly Page 1 of 16

Monthly recap (Aug 2021)

An evening sunset

Major updates

  • Trip to Aptos
    • Started out as a Santa Cruz day trip, expanded in scope to the weekend 😀
  • Tara started school (in-person! first grade!)
    • Sadly, many of her former friends’ families relocated in the last year’s Covid churn

Minor updates

  • Some dental adventures I won’t go into 😞
  • A team dinner (sounds boring but I hadn’t done one of these in a long time !)
  • Family “game time” with Labyrinth and Ticket to ride
  • Two birthdays, two-three social meetups
  • Tara’s first sleepover

Watched/read/played/made

  • Watched Harry Potter #3: Prisoner of Azkaban with Tara. One and a half times.
  • Watched the new season of Money Heist
  • A new “reading mode” where I just keep a bunch of books open.

 

Generally interesting links — Aug 2021

Plate XIX from the first volume of Pettigrew’s Design in Nature (1908), illustrating the resemblance between spiral shell formations and bony portions of the inner ear

Science

  • Bio-luminiscent oceans

  • Startling cuttlefish memory: https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/08/cuttlefish-remember-the-what-when-and-where-of-meals-even-into-old-age/

“Cuttlefish can remember what they ate, where, and when, and use this to guide their feeding decisions in the future,” said co-author Alexandra Schnell of the University of Cambridge, who conducted the experiments at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. “What’s surprising is that they don’t lose this ability with age, despite showing other signs of aging like loss of muscle function and appetite.”

  • the “spiralist“, perhaps the most fascinating historical-scientific-insightful thing I’ve read this year

Pettigrew confessed himself totally spellbound by the mystery of Nature’s most ubiquitous, liquid, and quixotic form — the spiral.
Pettigrew’s newspaper model showed that the heart’s double helical structure — now known as the helical ventricular myocardial band (HVMB) — was essentially a triple-twisted Möbius strip.
In both arenas of animal physiology, Pettigrew found a spectacular resonance: movement at once precedes and follows structure, the direction of movement in living things being in every instance determined by the composition and configuration of kinetic spiral parts. This resonance seemed to reach right down to the atomic level. Unlike the closed system of the heart, the spiraling lines of atoms and molecules were arranged so that matter could be added in any amount, in unlimited directions. An open flow of energy and form was the basis for growth and progression in all creatures.

Tools

World events

People

Doctors are baffled by the rare disease and have concluded that he is the only person in the US to have the suction capability.
Not only is he able to stick objects to his skin, but his wounds heal faster, he gets sick less and ages slower than the average person.

27 feet tall. 77 tons. Lead, steel, and glass armor almost two feet thick. A 500 horsepower supercharger engine. Able to withstand 3,000 times more radiation than a human. Mighty claws able to tear, rend, and shred steel with 85,000 pounds of force…yet nimble enough to balance an egg on a spoon.

Computing

One of the questions often asked about the IBM PC is why we chose the Ctrl-Alt-Del reset sequence. We proposed Ctrl-Alt-Del as a warm-boot sequence to provide some of the capability of a reset switch. It is difficult to activate by mistake, since the keys are widely separated. By storing a special character in a particular memory location, the warm boot would bypass the memory-test portion of the power-on self test (POST), taking less time than turning the machine off and back on.

 

Monthly recap (Jul 2021)

A butterfly in the backyard

Major updates

  • Week-long trip to Gualala
    • Airbnb
    • included a Foosball table that we used a lot
    • time at the beach
    • an old record player that … only briefly worked
  • 1-night stay to Asilomar
    • Visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Bunch of other “visits after a long time” (Covid milestones)
    • Visited the “mini Legoland” in Milpitas
    • A first movie-in-the-theater experience (after perhaps two years?)
    • Visited the library

Minor updates

  • Completed a bunch of patio work — and we now have a hammock
  • A butterfly (“painted lady”) hatched from a cocoon that Tara brought back from school
  • Got a HomePod Mini (quite satisfied so far)
  • Discovered new restaurant downtown Mountain View: Kakaroto
  • Another birthday went by 😐
  • Bit of “appliance hiccup” when the dishwasher and the fridge stopped working on the same day
  • Bunch of camps for Tara

Watched/read/played/made

  • A lot of Harry Potter
    • Watched Chamber of Secrets with Tara
    • Listened to the audiobook of Soceror’s Stone with Tara
  • Listened to the audiobook of Idea of the World (Bernardo Kastrup)

Generally interesting links – Jul 2021

History

  • Stone age art “in a new light”

    Torches work best on the move, as their flames need motion to stay lit and produce a lot of smoke. Though torches cast a wide glow, they burn for an average of just 41 minutes, the team found. That suggests several torches would have been needed to travel through caves. Concave stone lamps filled with animal fat, on the other hand, are smokeless and can offer more than an hour of focused, candlelike light. That would have made it easy to stay in one spot for a while. And while fireplaces produce a lot of light, they can also produce a lot of smoke. That type of light source is best suited for large spaces that get plenty of airflow, the researchers say.

Science

  • “What Termites and cells have in common”

    … created a life-like proto-cell energized by chemical potential, which is capable of translating external signals into shape changes in dependence on its own self-organized morphology. With this, the team has revealed how the collective dynamics of nanometer-sized macromolecules self-organize into micrometer patterns that affect the cellular perception of shape-changing extracellular cues in our own cells.

Tech

  • Gartner looking back on their predictions for past hype cycles
    • ‌The most hyped technology in 1995 was Intelligent Agents
    • ‌I think of the Gartner Hype Cycle as a Hero’s Journey for technologies. And just like the hero’s journey, the Hype Cycle is a compelling narrative structure.
    • Missed big trends like “x86 virtualization” and “Open Source” (!!) and NoSQL

Tools

Commentary

  • Andrew Sullivan on the “turn against liberalism” (as an old Obama fan, I find myself agreeing … and as someone who also lived in New York around the same time (the Bloomberg era), I find myself agreeing with this take on Eric Adams)
  • Looking back at an old pessemistic study
  • Slavoj Zizek on how we’re in a pre-WW1 time

Software engineering

  • The “IDE divide
    • language features vs tool features
    • Another view (had to track this down, since it was a broken link that wasn’t captured by archive.org either)
    • Further digression, into a meta-view:

      “There are two kinds of people in the world, those who believe there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don’t”.

    • Anyway, like all such divides, the final answer to “which one” is “both”
  • A look ahead at computing performance by Brendan Gregg
  • On “Portable and stable software”

Computing

Generally interesting links – Jun 2021

An early hyper-text from the 90s

Science(-Fiction)

Japanese scientists have induced the jellyfish to repeat this transformation at least 10 times in a row—allowing a polyp to grow into a tentacled adult medusa, before subjecting it to stress (for example, a needle prick), and watching the process begin all over again. In this way, a single jellyfish—hypothetically at least—might be induced to live forever, cycling endlessly from young to old and back again.

The immortal jellyfish has something that humans have sought for centuries: the answer to eternal life. But to them, it is nothing. Workaday. Simple creatures, they may not even know they have this prize. Certainly, what with their rejuvenation coming during periods of pain or suffocation, they will not enjoy it. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: “One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.” I’m sure that jellyfish would, if they could, agree.

Hypertext

Society

History

Tech

Monthly recap (Jun 2021)

Within Muir Woods

Major updates

  • A trip to Muir Woods

Minor updates

  • Got a covid test (negative!)
  • Dealing with some ants and cockroaches at home
  • Patio work at home (tiling)
  • Got some cards for Father’s Day 🙂

Watched/read/played/made

  • Rango (for the third time)
  • First (An unexpected journey) and second (The desolation of Smaug) Hobbit movies with Tara
  • Watched several episodes of Teen Titans Go with Tara (yes, odd)
  • Season 3 of The Kominsky Method
  • Beowulf (the 2008 movie)

Monthly recap (May 2021)

Clay modeling “face” made around a spiky round seed ball that fell from a tree

Major updates

  • Not a lot, this month just flew by!

Minor updates

  • Some gardening attempts at home
  • A “terrarium activity” at work; got a hardy plant in the bowl to show for it
  • Weekend
  • Random play time: clay modeling, lego

Watched/read/played/made

  • Tools: spending more time in Doom Emacs
  • Tools: Found Roam too slow for my “life-log”, tried Tinderbox for a while, but settled back with DevonThink
  • Watched: The Last Days on Netflix

Generally interesting links – Apr 2021

“Shipton’s Arch”

Science

Watchables

  • I like watching all the “Beauty of …” videos, this is one on BladeRunner 49

The world

Readables

Computing

Monthly recap (Apr 2021)

Some flowers I saw while walking

Major updates

  • Trip to Mendocino for a week
    • Lots of eating and hiking

Minor updates

  • Tara began “full days” at school
  • Got the first Moderna dose at CVS
  • Experimenting with a new Tinderbox/Devonthink flow to replace Roam for a while
  • Playing with modeling clay instead of Play-doh (good riddance)
  • Sleep patterns not that great 😐

Watched/read/played/made

  • (Didn’t keep track ☹️)
  • Picked up Economix
  • Most of the way through “The Hobbit” with Tara
  • Completely weaned myself off The New York Times
  • Reading a lot more Substack, and a bunch of newer long-form content
  • Found a few dozen books to give away

Monthly recap (Feb 2021)

Major updates

  • Hiking at Long ridge trail

Minor updates

  • Uneven sleep, gotta fix that
  • Tara had a “zoom lego camp” for a week, which was … not bad

Watched/read/played/made

  • Reading w/ Tara:
    • Nightmare before Christmas (the “movie-as-graphic-novel” genre is quite nice)
    • Madeleine collection (
  • Playing with modeling clay (upgrade from Play-doh, lol)
  • Watched on Netflix:
    • Planet Earth
    • The Dig
    • episodes of Blown Away (we started watching a baking show last year, and this is similar but different)
  • Finished a 1000-piece puzzle I’d been working on
  • “Fairy garden” (picture above)

(For some reason I forgot to hit ‘publish’ on this a couple month sago ….)

Page 1 of 16

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén