Sunday, December 19, 2021

Mystery Reprint of the Year

 Blogger Kate organizes a poll each year, and here is the poll for 2021. I think Carr's Till Death Do Us Part is the worthy and certain winner. I also voted for Sleep With Slander, which I read this summer.

PS, an older post of some reprinted heist and noir-boiled books 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

The WSWS reports on a 1619 debate

 The WSWS has been very good on this. A defender of the 1619 project abandons his central claim. Here.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Piano Comparison

 A 15 minute video comparing a Bösendorfer, a Steinway, and a Yamaha. Here.

I have always preferred the Bösendorfer, especially for contrapuntal music, as it is clearer to my ear. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Their mother

 My aunt (and her husband) adopted a young boy when he was orphaned. A few years later she adopted seven more children from one family when they were orphaned.

She was their mother.



Monday, May 17, 2021

Traffic Interchanges Compared

 How innovative designs for crossing streams of traffic can improve the flow. Different patterns for different volumes. 6 minutes. Fascinating. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Boat lifts

 We saw the marine railway in Ontario, which looks a bit like the Russian lift in this thread.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Pedro Domingos


Invisible hand: things that are done for private benefit but turn out to be for the public good. Invisible foot: things that are done for the public good but turn out to be for private benefit.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

McWhorter on cops

 There are problems with American cops killing people, but they are not essentially racial. Here.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Ginning up riots

 You need to click on the photo to see what CBS cropped out.  There is no innocent explanation for this, CBS is ginning up riots. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

DuckDuckGo vs Google


I use DDG — which is really an anonymizer wrapped around Bing — as my default. I find it works better than Google most of the time. Really obscure stuff is better with Google. 

There are better browsers than Chrome too. On iOS I like Perfect and Brave. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Quackometer on sex

 An excellent article on the confusion of sex and gender. Plus butterflies.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

False Witness

 Not all lies are the same. What we used to call bearing false witness is worse than lying about how many watched your inauguration. Biden doubles down.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Visualizing General Relativity

 A brilliant video discussing how to use graphics to illustrate General Relativity. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

QPQ Micro reviews, a bump

An old post I occasionally update, reviews of mysteries by Patrick Quentin aka Q. Patrick aka Jonathan Stagge. Updated today. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021


 I learned a good neologism, disinterpretation, deliberate and hostile misinterpretation to score points. Here is a nice disassembly of a disinterpretation.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Cartan's Exterior Derivative d, motivated

 A key idea in differential geometry and topology is the exterior derivative d. Most presentations of d do a poor job motivating the definition. This video does an excellent job, in a discussion restricted to R^3. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Biden and cultural norms

 I am trying to avoid Biden, because we need some time to see what he actually does, and he deserves a breaking in period. But this is pretty bad. I think I take this differently than most. I think the ‘cultural norm’ bit is referring to *Biden*. Here is my interpretation: “I explained to Xi that I would have to criticize some things he does but that’s just because it’s expected of an American president. It’s not something for him to take seriously. He gets that.” 

Friday, February 12, 2021

A Blind Spot on Darwin's Birthday

 I see this a lot, mostly from psychologists actually “ Darwin is the greatest scientist to have ever lived.”

That’s insularity. Darwin might be the most relevant in their discipline, but not only is Darwin not the greatest scientist, he is rather obviously not even the greatest British scientist, or in fact even the greatest British scientist of the 19th century, since both Faraday and Maxwell fall in that category. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Covid Cranks

 An excellent article in Quillette.  I argue with this type, invariably Trumpkins, a lot on another blog. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

An important insight

Why did the Robinhood shitshow happen now? Because GameStop is important to people. That’s part of why this is an import shift in American politics. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

250 Years in A Sentence

Trust Europeans to make everything worse. — Bruno Maçães.  

He was discussing vaccine, but some things generalize!

Monday, January 25, 2021

Dynaflex: 50 Years

In 1971 RCA, to cut costs, introduced the thinner Dynaflex LP. 

It was very thin and floppy. It was so thin that when playing the quiet passages on one side you could hear, faintly, the music from the grooves on the other side.

This shows that LP sides are a spectrum not a binary. 


Sunday, January 24, 2021

The big news

 It's easy to miss the important stories, but I think this is one of them. Self watering soil

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Rereading: Kahawa by Westlake

Kahawa is an adventure-cum-heist novel set in Idi Amin's Uganda. A crew of thieves steal a train loaded with coffee (not rob, steal). 

I read this in the 80s and liked it, but remembered almost nothing about it. How does it hold up? Reasonably well. It’s grimmer and more serious than Westlake usually is, but the story has many good things. The real problem is it’s too long, almost 500 pages. There are also some irritating short snatches of crude pornography. The main character isn’t nearly as interesting as the many secondary ones. Overall, B. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Reprise: Koehne

 I have posted this before, but it’s time for a reprise. Graeme Koehne The Persistence of Memory 9 minutes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Charter Schools and Democrats

 A long but good piece by Jonathan Chait. The answer to his closing question is, they don’t. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Spectrum Binary

 A deeply enjoyable essay on “cis-gender.” Once you realize ‘cis’ is code for ‘lumpen’ it becomes much clearer.