Monthly recap — April 2022

From a sculpture gallery in Los Cabos

Major updates

  • Trip to Los Cabos
    • Family pool time
    • Saw a bunch of whales
    • Lots of good food

Minor updates

  • Catching up with people after a long time, over lunch
  • Some family board game time
  • Some “science experiments”
  • Not doing well on sleep …

Watched/read/explored

  • Finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (took a while …)
  • Watched Moonfall (wtf was the last half hour …)
  • Watched the Dropout (how many more cases like this exist, un-caught?!)
  • Watched the “new generation” my little pony (not a fan …)
  • Finished reading Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (resisted for a while, but …)
  • Watched more Scooby Doo

Monthly Curations – April 2022

The airship U.S.S. Macon under construction, about a hundred years ago …

Note: as mentioned last time, this is now based on the “Curated” category in my micro.blog

Monthly recap- March 2022

A cardboard cutout castle we made together

Major updates

  • Weekend trip near Santa Cruz

Minor updates

  • Doing regular trips to SF again, some commute experiments
  • Got Tara her first “real” dictionary
  • Family time at the park nearby
  • Family board game time (a junior version of “Ticket to ride” is the current favorite)
  • Finally re-did a portion of our living room, replaced a TV from 11 years ago with a new one
  • Replaced a car we’d bought 10 years ago with a new one (!)
  • Catching up with friends and acquaintances over lunch
  • Bummer: spent time on tax stuff

Watched/read/explored

  • Played with Wolfram Mathematica a bit, always fun and relaxing
  • Watched “Dropout” on Netflix (can’t believe this really happened)
  • Watched Death on the Nile (meh)
  • Watched Turning Red with Tara
  • Bunch of Scooby Doo episodes and movies with Tara
  • Watched Drive my car (excellent)
  • Re-watched Midnight in Paris

Monthly Curations: Mar 2022

A million-light-years wide radio ring
  • Interesting find that pushed back the Homo Sapien “culture timeline” quite a bit.

  • The Richat Structure: Nearly perfect concentric circles, nearly 30 miles wide! (yes, I had to go look it up on Google Maps, it’s very real)

  • “25 years of SmallTalk”, from 20 years ago

  • Found this a good overview of the trends and limitations of computing hardware over the decades.

  • Fascinating account of someone’s “life story of programming languages”; Inspiring, I should write my own some day 🙂

  • An account of the now-forgotten “Buran” fully automated space shuttle, and the “Energia” heavy-lift rocket.

  • On how “the perfect system, the perfect app” is a mirage

  • Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship is found

“For scientific discovery give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.” – Sir Raymond Priestly, Antarctic Explorer and Geologist.

World War I had no good guys, no winners, just mediocre, small-minded politicians unable to step back from the brink

Monthly Curations- Feb 2022

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The JET reactor
  • On the dream of nuclear fusion
  • The Star Wars sequels as “the anti-trilogy”
  • Things (apps, services, products) to look forward to in 2023
  • On “Residential programming”
  • On the world’s longest immersed tunnel
  • A bunch of old hypertext papers
  • Thoughts on markdown
  • Writing a children’s book for programming, in 1991: “Professor Fortran

    AT: We hoped to make some money. But the fees came only a year after the book was published – under the terms of the contract. If we were paid immediately, we could buy a car. But there was a monetary reform and the fee was enough only to drink coffee.

  • The biggest galaxy
  • Came across yet-another-meditation-app, but this time slightly better, from the Monroe Institute
  • A story about body-shopping
  • A planet was found near Proxima Centauri. But more interesting than that is how it was found:

    This ‘wobble’ technique look for changes in the star’s motion along the line of sight from Earth; ESPRESSO can detect variations of just 10 centimetres per second. The total effect of the planet’s orbit, which takes only 5 days, is about 40 centimetres per second, says Faria, who is at the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences of the University of Porto in Portugal. “I knew that ESPRESSO could do this, but I was still surprised to see it showing up.” .

Monthly Recap- February 2022

Stone spiral seen while hiking in Mori Point

Major update

  • Weekend trip to Carmel
    • Hiking in Garapatta
    • Walking along the beach
    • Lotsa eating out!

Minor updates

  • Some website administrivia
  • Playing around with an Urbit planet
  • Family visit to Barnes & Noble after many months
  • Hiking at Mori Point

Watched/read/explored/made

  • “The woman in the house across the street from the girl in the window”
    • Very meh, but we got the wine-opener
  • Begun reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with Tara (had paused last year)
  • Finished reading Against the Day, after many years (deserves its own post)
  • Read Nemo by Alan Moore

Monthly recap (Jan 2022)

The Google "hub" at home repeatedly showed me this photo by one Peter Norvig. I'm going to take it as a sign.
The Google “hub” at home repeatedly showed me this photo by one Peter Norvig. I’m going to take it as a sign.

Minor updates

  • “Family hike” in Arastradero Reserve
  • Played some Wordle and Chess
  • Back to school
    • “Virtual bingo night”, a fun bunch
  • Lots of Magnatiles
  • Router misadventures
    • Replacing an aging Google Wifi router with a new Nest Wifi router turned out to be painful

Watched/read/played/made

  • Tara watched a bunch of Bluey, My Little Pony (back after a two-year hiatus?), and Captain Underpants
    • Listening to the My Little Pony movie as an audiobook
  • Some of the SF 49ers & LA Rams game
  • The woman in the house across the street from the girl in the window … yeah
  • Shaun the Sheep (spinoff from Wallace and Gromit !)
  • Note: there’s a huge amount of Youtube that I watch all the time, though no practical way to list it all over here!
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Interesting links: January 2022

Interesting links: December 2021

Old step-well in India

(Apology: I usually structure these into sections, but didn’t have time to do that this month)

(focussing on Sublime Text and BBEdit)

The consideration should be efficiency and not a nebulous quality like “Mac-like design.”

I have to revert to what I wrote in the last article:

“The best text editor is the one you know how to use.”

If you are happy with the text editor you are using, keep typing. Spare me the assertions about what is “Mac-like design” and what isn’t.

  • On “Roam books” and “Roam newsletters”
  • On telling apart different forms of “note-taking systems”
  • In support of “ubiquitous linking
    • We affirm that the ability to copy a link to a resource is as important for cognitive productivity as the ability to copy other types of information. This applies to all persistent digital information.
    • To help people benefit from the information they process with software, we advocate ubiquitous support for linking of information resources. This would help realize the potential of hypermedia that was envisioned by information technology pioneers such as Ted Nelson and Douglas Englebart.
    • Some discussion here
  • In defense of Socrates and the Great Books
    • Many academics attack the very idea of a Western canon as chauvinistic, while the general public increasingly doubts the value of the humanities. In Rescuing Socrates, Dominican-born American academic Roosevelt Montás tells the story of how a liberal education transformed his life, and offers an intimate account of the relevance of the Great Books today, especially to members of historically marginalized communities.
  • Squid Game, the Mr. Beast version
    • The viral success of MrBeast’s “$456,000 Squid Game in Real Life!” video means that many viewers, like some of my students, have come to associate Squid Games through MrBeast’s version rather than through its original series, thereby removing its original context and meaning. As NBC tech journalist Kat Tenbarge succinctly tweeted: “Now what if — bear with me here — the stakes of this game were life and death, painting a grim portrait of capitalism.”
    • By celebrating the creation of new content devoid of original meaning and context, we’re praising a system of ahistorical, non-relational entertainment over substance and critique. Or, as Stan Cross sarcastically responds to the fan account: “in the future creator economy, there will be so few gatekeepers, MrBeast will be able to operate at such speed he’ll rack up millions of views parodying shows before they’ve even been conceived, and then they won’t need to be made. A win for all of culture.”
  • Bizarre, but somebody’s using this, GreaterWrong, “a way to browse LessWrong”
  • Case study: implementing a log-based relational database in Common Lisp
  • Exploring distributed consensus in Wolfram Mathematica
  • The “Tao of Programming
    • This is a book about what goes on in the minds of programmers. Most programming books are about the mechanics of programming. These are essential, yet they can leave novices confused and bored. Tao Te Programming tries to get at the spirit of programming, to expose the ways of thinking that make programming challenging and fulfilling rather than too hard and grinding.
    • Good programming is often about effective compromise. You can go too far in a good direction. That is why many chapters have opponents — an indication of forces you need to try to balance. Chapters can also have allies that point in a similar direction.
  • Remembering an old smart-watch
  • Terry Eagleton on Richard Dawkins: https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v28/n20/terry-eagleton/lunging-flailing-mispunching
  • Was playing “Poop Bingo”, and noticed that Wombat poop is cubic, and turns out the reason for that was just discovered this year! Wombats Poop Cubes, and Scientists Finally Got to the Bottom of It
  • James Robertson on the basics of Pharo | by Richard Kenneth Eng | Medium(https://richardeng.medium.com/james-robertson-on-the-basics-of-pharo-2bccec77c743)

from a long-time Smalltalker who passed away seven years ago

  • Modern concrete construction might last 100 years with maintenance, but some Roman structures have survived for 1,000 years or more essentially unassisted
  • “You can’t see it as a tourist, but the reason the Colosseum is still standing is because of its incredibly robust concrete foundation,” said Jackson. That concrete foundation is packed with dense, heavy lava rock aggregate and is a full 12m thick, she added. Without such a strong, long-lasting material at its foundation, the Colosseum would have been reduced entirely to rubble by the region’s earthquakes.
  • Inside the Pantheon’s rotunda, the distance from the floor to the very top of the dome is virtually identical to the dome’s 43m diameter, inviting anyone inside to imagine the huge, perfect sphere that could be housed within its interior. When trying to appreciate the Pantheon’s dome, “unreinforced” is really the key word.

Monthly recap (Dec 2021)

Hiking at Point Lobos

Major update

  • Trip to San Diego got cancelled, bummer
  • Made a short weekend trip to Santa Cruz/Aptos/Carmel instead
  • Did a bunch of hikes!

Minor update

  • A foosball table at home 🙂
  • Family games and fun
  • Got my booster shot

Watched/read/played/made

  • Sing 2, in the theater. Great experience. Best part for me, as in the original, was the soundtrack!
  • Wallace and Gromit (claymation was great …)
  • Tara started watching Captain Underpants