Miscellany 22

I see by the clock on the clubhouse wall that I haven’t posted in a month. Sorry.

Then again, nobody’s been complaining … about that, anyway.

Be that as it may, I’m going to clean out some tabs and saved links.

Back around 1985, my boss brought in a summer intern and told me to get some use out of him. Four days later, we sent him back to his professor – I’d spent about 10 hours over those four days explaining to him in detail how to write a program that would have taken me somewhere around an hour to write. The problem was that he had only written Pascal programs on VAX hardware, and had no conception of how a program could actually deal with the underlying hardware itself. I was reminded of that when I ran across Real Programmers Don’t Use Pascal. I remember that from when it first appeared – I didn’t get Datamation, but I had coworkers who did. Don’t skip the linked “Story of Mel,” which also is pretty good.

I have a hand-cranked radio, but this is something else: a wind-up AA battery.

This article on medical school acceptance rates by race is pretty horrifying. It reminds me of an article I read some time ago that made the case that affirmative action was reducing the number of minority (specifically, black) attorneys. The mechanism proposed was that blacks would be admitted to law schools that their scores wouldn’t get them into if they were white, which made it harder to keep up with the rest of the student body, so they’d drop out. It is likely they’d have been able to graduate from a less-prestigious (and less difficult) school, so affirmative action had the exact opposite of the purported effect.

This is cool – do-it-yourself eye exams on a smartphone.

This is also cool – electric currents passing through the brain can induce a state more conducive to learning. Be careful if you do it yourself, though. More here.

I wish this had been available when I broke my ankle last year.

Some kids are smart. Ten-year-old Clara Lazen is going to have plenty of geek cred for coming up with a previously-unknown molecule that’s likely to be explosive.

A one-stroke penalty if a bomb goes off during your swing? That seems harsh.

This is one of those articles that’s worth it just for the headline. So is this one.

I’m amazed that someone could call the first score of the Super Bowl correctly.

To solve a problem, you need to define it correctly. Even without committing a category error, it could be that you are solving the wrong problem.

This is another of those computer toys that let you get an idea of the scale of the universe. I wish things like this had been available when I was a child. We had to make do with the movie “Powers of Ten.” Of course, I was in high school when that came out, so it’s still not a childhood memory, per se.

Speaking of films, I’ve seen two of these. I suspect my daughter has seen more of them than I have. If not, she probably will after checking out the list.

Several years ago, my doctor told me to start taking a daily aspirin. I had to give it up a few months later, because I was getting frequent nosebleeds. If only I had known the healing power of bacon! I fear my cats may have caused problems, though.

Slightly related to that, there’s good news about eating fried foods. It doesn’t match up with Satchel Paige’s advice not to eat fried food because “it angrifies the blood,” but I suspect the food he was familiar with was fried in different oils.

Attractions, flotation devices, or airbags. I’m glad her breasts helped, but I consider her misshapen. I remember the news stories when she acquired the infection that caused her to get reduction surgery – she’d had to go to Brazil because doctors in the US wouldn’t expand her breasts any more.

Speaking of breasts, I’ve seen a few protests here and there, but I’ve yet to witness one like this. (NSFW, unless topless women are allowed by your office dress code.)

How to distract your enemy. I particularly enjoy the third panel.

Lots of older periodicals available here.

Speaking of reading, I’m going to be waiting for this e-book app to become available. I just hope that it doesn’t require a new proprietary DRM’d format.

Some nice music here. I listened to several of the young lady’s other videos, and they were nice. A bit too similar for listening to in a block, but they’d be very nice in a shuffle.

If your taste runs to psychedelic music, try this. I have the Nuggets LP in a box in my garage. If I’m remembering correctly, I’ve got the 1976 release, not the earlier one.

Here’s an interesting music game.

Besides seeming a bit tacky, is a Titanic Memorial Cruise a good idea? Some people don’t think so. Having been on one cruise myself (which I quite enjoyed, actually), I’ll admit to some misgivings. It makes me wonder how I ever managed when I was in the Navy.

I do fairly well with English grammar. Many of the things I read would irk me less if their authors took this advice to heart.

I could add more to this post, but I think I’ll finish with this tweet that expresses an awe that I’ve experienced when reading code.

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