I interrupt my lack of posting to point out that Mass Effect Legendary is out, people. My copy arrives today and I will be busy until, probably, late June.

Carry on.

These should be more widely known

The Ukranian’s military band is fire.

The Egyptian military band is on fire.

Under Construction

The best page on the internet.


Valve counts to three

Oh man. I need some gear.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I, too, enjoy watching two big rubbery monsters slugging it out over the 4th amendment.

NASA knows what’s up

We’re practicing deflecting asteroids. That’s very cool.

Every day we stray further from God’s light

Science has gone too far. I also freely admit I would love to be able to from another room tell the microwave to stop beeping, I’ll get my food when I’m ready.

Thanks Poles


Stuff I watched this week

372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back

This one’s a life-changer

The Cube Rule theory of food categorization.

Wh0 cArES, i HAve N0ThiNg tO hiDe

Yeah, this is why the government spying on you, contra the 4th amendment, is a big deal. Also, the 4th amendment, per se.

MFW Beethoven invented ragtime

Since google/youtube are being lame about a lot of things lately, you can follow the link here if you need to.

It goes both ways

I’m not a fan of the 70s-80s guitar/keyboard solos, so the winner is clear, but still very well done to both bands.


Too Far

Dear Boston Dynamics,

STOP GIVING THEM POWERS. Thank you for your time.

We as a civilization just have to admit this happened and try to learn from our mistakes


I can’t believe the Higgs Boson was already 5 years ago.

Unmade Podcast, episode 24.


Aw yiss.

Stuff to see



It’s easy to forget how new the technological revolution is. The inventor of the handheld calculator, Jerry Merryman, has died.

“It was late 1965 and Jack Kilby, my boss, presented the idea of a calculator. He called some people in his office. He says, we’d like to have some sort of computing device, perhaps to replace the slide ruler. It would be nice if it were as small as this little book that I have in my hand.”

Texas Instruments: the solution to so many problems.

No lie.

Videos this week

It’s funny cause it’s true

372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back, episode 33.


A paper on why grapes explode in the microwave has been published. Rad.

Rad videos

RIP Opportunity

I’m genuinely sad Opportunity is gone. RIP in peace, little rover that could.

A well-deserved fisking by James Lileks.

This week in stuff



Media stuff

I like how he says mune.

Like Trees Walking podcast, episode 407.

Weezer’s Teal Album. Seriously every time the next song came on it made me happy again.


Stuff I watched


  • Robert Alter’s English Translation of the Old Testament is out and these people are talking about it. The unironic use of “crepuscular plangency” is especially fun.

because classics.


I was wondering

Why there wasn’t a push to extend copyrights again.

Stuff I watched/listened

Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, William Shatner.

Numberphile podcast



372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back, episode 26

Media for the week

The History of Clarus the Dogcow [article]

Like Trees Walking, episode 403 [podcast]

372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back, episode 25 [podcast]

This week’s media consumption

Rifftrax on Twitch

Tadashi Tokieda [article]

Renovare episode 145 [podcast]

yeet. I made it to 1:29

It’s interesting to watch Peterson argue so carefully. And by interesting I mean it’s unusual to see and refreshing because of that.

Media consumed and enjoyed, ironically and not ironically, this week

I may or may not have finished watching all these…

Like Trees Walking episodes 314 and 315.

372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back episode 24.


True confessions

I love /r/historymemes. Yes, repetitious and reductive. Also, funny. And I came across this today. When you have the US and USSR going against Israel and Canada, you should check if you’re in a parallel universe.


“When I began, I didn’t know what the hell I had. I thought it might be a short story; it was just this chapter, where they find these direwolf pups.”

There’s no way the series ends well for Martin; expectations are too high and too low at the same time. It’s the Half Life 3 of books. At least Valve doesn’t tease us by releasing any games anymore.

The best unboxing yet

Well, now I’m disappointed my car didn’t come in a box.

Also I want eight people standing around watching having to be absolutely silent.

These people get it

Satire is the least fake news. I think most people overestimate the power the federal government has in their lives and have no chill, but feelings are reality, facts be damned, so I guess we roll with it.

An American Icon

Dorcas Reilly, inventor of the Green Bean Casserole, has died.

Personally, I only like the crunchy onions on top, but that casserole is deeply important to the American experience.



Why won’t they leave us alone

A bunch of countries that should know better got together to discuss back-doors in digital devices. And this is a nice sentiment:

“Privacy laws must prevent arbitrary or unlawful interference, but privacy is not absolute,” the statement reads. “It is an established principle that appropriate government authorities should be able to seek access to otherwise private information when a court or independent authority has authorized such access based on established legal standards. The same principles have long permitted government authorities to search homes, vehicles, and personal effects with valid legal authority.”

If it weren’t for the War on Drugs for eroding the 4th amendment to a shell of it’s former self over the last 40 years,  I might not be so skeptical of their good intentions.

And of course it’s for the children, because every rights grab is:

…the governmental group discuss the need for online spaces to be safe, and are “gravely concerned” about illegal online content, “particularly the online sexual exploitation of children.”

Also, I suspect black-hats of being far more capable of exploiting back-doors than white-hats are of securing them.

I’m just leaving this here

WE’VE DESCENDED INTO SOME SORT OF BIZARRE HELL-WORLD IN WHICH PIERS MORGAN IS A VOICE OF SANITY: There’s only one winner in Taylor Swift and Scott Kelly’s gutless surrender to the howling Twitter mob — President Trump.

via Instapundit


Science is serious business.

 The display was initially discovered by a group of citizen scientists who took pictures of the unusual lights and playfully named them “Steve.” ….

A citizen science project called Aurorasaurus, funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, wants your help gathering photos so they can learn more about this mysterious phenomenon.


The best video in the world

Ah, net neutrality

Comcast decides you’re going to have to pay extra for HD video.

RIP Harlan Ellison

He wrote some great scifi TV.

Aw geez

Here comes the robot apocalypse. Thanks, Boston Dynamics with your totally not scary name.

I hope it’s true

The Gulf Wars are really about controlling Stargates. This is the best thing I’ve read this week.


There’s a thin line between awesome and super-villian and Elon Musk is teetering back and forth on it.

Seventy. Five. Degrees.

The record-setting temperatures that killed a man in the London Marathon. I can’t even.

Maybe just point out their idiots and ignore them

It’s nice to see that the threat of censorship is being applied to both sides of the political spectrum, but I don’t think that we should have a threat of censorship at all. So if everyone could back off and let people yammer themselves into irrelevance, that’d be great.

Because it’s there.

RIP Stephen Hawking

For future reference

The law of the conservation of mathematical difficulty

The Onion nails it

FBI Warns Republican Memo Could Undermine Faith In Massive, Unaccountable Government Secret Agencies

I’m genuinely shocked

The Consumer Protection Bureau realized it had enough money in the bank for the next quarter and, get this, didn’t ask for more! I know!

The internet is the best thing in the world. Because stuff like this exists and is brought to me in my home.

Soon to be a major Netflix motion picture, I hope

The story of how the DEA was stymied by the Obama Justice and State departments when the DEA wanted to shut down the Hezbollah drug running and crime syndicate but Justice and State wanted to keep Iran happy.

They’re not at all defensive

This little dialogue about Netflix’s Christmas Prince tweet has a couple amusing moments. Which is all we can hope for from the internet, really. Lindsay in particular amuses me.


I don’t care if they’re just recycling Top Gear ideas.

Finally the lies are exposed

Carmelizing onions takes longer than 10 minutes.

Cooking times are always inaccurate!

Baking times tend to be reasonable.

RIP 4th Amendment

Apple wins much kudos for their stance on privacy. Google, on the other hand, is evil.

I say this as someone who is super-annoyed at Apple because if I upgrade my iphone from the 6s I can’t have a headphone jack which I really want and other things being equal would switch to android to keep my headphone jack. But I like unbreakable encryption a lot. Whatdo.

All while the government is unwilling to protect us from internet monopolies and price gouging. Which is one of the few things government should interfere with the market for.

Welcome, oppressors

A world without hate speech.

Advocates of hate speech bans should not be surprised to find that governments, when given the immense power to punish intolerance, have used this weapon against their critics. Investigative journalists, controversial politicians, political activists — these are the most frequent targets of hate speech laws. Even nongovernmental actors, such as Facebook, are inclined to use their hate speech policies to censor marginalized users.

Finally the grudge match we’ve been waiting for

Two giant robots slug it out in Japan. They’re streaming on Twitch October 17th.

From the shadows of pettiness

Numbers don’t lie

Or something like that. A shockingly reasonable look at gun control in the Washington Post. Turns out that, statistically, guns are just a tool.

Finally, maybe

The vice-president says we’re going to go back into space with humans, probably. It’s behind a paywall. Not that the bots haven’t been doing a great job, but we’ve been faffing around in orbit long enough. We only have five billion years until the sun goes red giant. We should make plans.

Like the Energizer bunny out there

FYI, Opportunity is still doing science on Mars.

Bonus: Timekeeping on Mars.

Blockchain is the new plastics

A very nice introduction to blockchain. Between this and the quantum computers, we’re looking at the future.

It’s there when you don’t look at it

Microsoft unveiled a quantum computing language and the article is a good overview of the state of quantum computing in general.

What? – dog, probably

These people who work endlessly to master an instrument, watched by those that barely understand, are totally upstaged. Most of them probably can’t see the dog and don’t even know why the audience is laughing.

*Dog lays down*
*Wild applause*
First violin thinks, “I hate you all”.

I can barely see the sun at all

There’d probably be really cool auroras if it were possible to see the sky tonight since the Sun is spitting out solar flares and coronal mass ejections all over the place. Naturally, it is impossible to see anything cool in the sky over Idaho. Thanks, Canada, Montana, Oregon and Washington.


Happy Independence Day!

Nice looking open source books

Now you don’t have to pay Amazon and B&N  $1.99 for decent looking classics. Standard Ebooks is there for you.

You don’t say

People are starting to notice the rise of leftist extremism.  As an example, I follow this guy on tumblr  because he used to post cool video game stuff, but now it’s all about supporting antifa/communist violence. Tumblr is, of course, an echo-chamber of 2edgy4me teens, or in this case 20-somethings, but it’s still sad.

Because they made me lol twice in one day


There’s a Mister Roger’s Neighborhood marathon on twitch. It’s still in black and white and a little bit early-episode weirdness going on right now.

You know, launch a rocket, land a rocket, whatever

Elon Musk still might be a super-villian, but it’s totally worth it even if he takes over the world from his secret underwater volcanic lair.

Dear Diary


The best candy invention since the chocolate and peanut butter one



Looks pretty bad

I haven’t paid attention to the war in Syria, so this was super-helpful as it explains the major players and what’s been happening for the last 3 years.


I’m a fan of the acoustic guitar sound in this song.

Do eet

Cards Against Humanity creator says he will buy ISP information about every congressman who voted for that stupid FCC repeal. Nice.

*I realize they just made it opt-out instead of opt-in, but it still sucks and is a blow to privacy.

Who knew?

The technology hasn’t arrived yet for solar roadways, despite a valiant attempt in Idaho. The idea probably has merit, but the hardware has to improve first and, now, when the hardware does become capable of such a thing everyone is going to point at this and not bother.

Oh you have a job now, good

I’d like to know how a trade protectionist plans to make things affordable for the 350-odd million Americans that won’t be able to afford as much when protectionist policies jack prices up.

Oh there it is

Why they made that ridiculous-seeming ban on laptops on airplanes. Not that I don’t suspect there are always credible plans they can pull out to justify any power-grab they want…

More information than you require

If the FCC’s ISP privacy rules were so cumbersome and burdensome they should have been simplified, not just repealed.

Related: I’ve had no issues with Private Internet Access VPN.

I’m not a huge fan of the space shuttle (only because I don’t think it’s ambitious enough, if it had been developed alongside Mars exploration I would have no issue with it) but this video has some amazing film and commentary that shows the feats of engineering the shuttle launches are.

CAFE standards

The CAFE standard rollback and why it’s dumb that it’s still around. I feel Top Gear solved the problem when they suggested that car companies buy bicycle companies.

I just want to be able to buy a normal-sized pickup, not a giant behemoth that current gas mileage standards require.


Not this:

I realize it’s too much to ask for, but I’m a dreamer.

So deliberate Borderlands tie-in or convergent evolution?

Vaults? In my Mass Effect? It’s more likely than you think.


Last year in the U.S. market alone Chevrolet collected 4,220 terabytes of data from customer’s cars.

The article is about how car-makers are better at making cars than technology companies, but this stuck out. How do you even store that volume of information?

I think it’s called projection?

Where the actual normalizing of violence is coming from. Hint: it’s not the conservatives.

Dawning self-awareness

Rahm Emmanuel tells fellow democrats to stop worrying about the moral victory and do what the Tea Party did because it works.

As he did last month at an event in Washington, D.C., the mayor expanded on what he believes is the road map back to power for his party — putting moderate candidates such as veterans, football players, sheriffs and business people up in Republican districts, picking battles with Republicans, exploiting wedges within the GOP and fighting attempts to redistrict Congress on partisan grounds.

Related: Scott Adams is upset with UC Berkeley.

See also: Fight the Right.  You want to teach self-defense, great. You want to teach one political party how to punch the other political party, bad.



How it ought to work

An excellent essay on liberalism.

Once again, minimal viable politics does not necessarily point to reducing laws to their minimum number, but rather the principle that what laws we have ought to be general, impersonal, and stable so that they are removed from the scope of political chicanery.


Americans confused, frightened by politician keeping his campaign promises

The executive branch overreach that’s been a problem for, like, 20 years has come home to roost as Trump uses it to do what he said  he would.

That’s not how any of this works

The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, told reporters that the proceeds would be used to pay for the border wall, estimated to cost as much as $20 billion.

Surely all these college-educated politicians took Economics 101 and know that the price of the tariff will be borne in part by the consumers. Which is the opposite of “making Mexico pay for it”. It means Americans get to pay for the wall, and watch the price of all goods made in Mexico go up. Yay. Because I hate being able to afford things.

Also, I’m not convinced driving Mexican business out of business is going to help the illegal immigration pressures. And by not convinced, I mean, “Are you stupid? We should be supporting Mexican business so they can employ Mexicans.”


Useful information about Mass Effect: Andromeda. It’s not really grabbing me yet. I’m going to buy it on the 21st, of course, but it looks like more of the same. Which isn’t bad.

What the world needs now

Is less government. If an election can change your life so much, maybe the government has too much control over your life.

Aw, little Pluto

It has cool 500m ice towers similar to ones that are formed on earth.

I know how

A whale dissection article is just an excuse to replay this video.

Oh snap

Wendy’s has a brilliant social media team. It’s not easy to tread the link between oh, snap and mean. FWIW, I think their food is meh. Frostys are fantastic though.


This will be interesting

Finland is doing a trial of basic income. Given that welfare is more expensive than just handing over money, it’ll be interesting to see how this works.

“Some people might stay on their couches, and some might go to work,” she says. “We don’t know yet.”

I suspect this is exactly what will happen. I was going to say it will set the minimum wage, but why would it, if it really is basic income, you’d get it no matter what. And maybe some people wouldn’t get off the couch unless they get more than the government is giving them, but picking up a part-time, minimum wage job would just be more money in their pocket so why not take that job.

Blind and toothless

How to do protests right. It’s the principle of the thing that matters. Tit for tat is seldom a good idea.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Now roses are, too.

Grammar nazi

Can we talk about this substitution of the word “and” for “to” that is endemic on the internet? Example: “I’m going to try and make this cake.”  No, you’re going to try to make this cake. I don’t know when it started. I do know that’s how we tend to say it, but that’s not how it’s written, people. Let’s clean this up some, okay? Thanks.

Not cool, IRS

I realize all the cool kids are doing the massive data grabs with ill-defined warrants, but that doesn’t make it right. If all the other federal agencies jumped off a bridge would you?

For instance, I have a coinbase account and have not knowingly evaded my taxes. You have no legal right to access my information.

And if I am accidentally evading taxes, I’m doing a terrible job at it cause that’s a boatload of money the government gets from me every year.


So close


RIP Leonard Cohen

As always, a little dark for my tastes.

Seccession and federalism

If the federal executive branch was less powerful maybe every election the losers wouldn’t have to draw comedy maps.

Election Mix Tape

Times are always desperate

In the 1970s I was lamenting the state of the nation over some crisis du jour when my father said, with irritation, “Quit worrying. Times are always desperate.”

I looked at him in consternation. He continued, “The First World War was terrible on a scale previously unimagined, and a few years later came the Great Depression (in which he grew up, being born in 1920). Then came World War II; the Korean War;  the Cold War;  the Vietnam War; recessions; race and anti-war riots; a president (Nixon) resigned; and runaway inflation.

“Stop worrying,” he said. “Times are always desperate, and there will always be problems. But we survive.”

It’s true.

He may underestimate Trump and Clinton

The most important election evar.

It certainly goes for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, neither of whom possess the requisite talent, vision, or charisma needed to destroy this country in a mere four years.

I do wish Americans, and the legislative branch, would remember that Congress has a ton of power should they choose to wield it. The executive branch has stolen their thunder. It shouldn’t be Obamacare, it should be [insert congressman/senator name]-care. Congress should have plans for the economy. Congress should have plans to deal with adversarial countries (they’re supposed to declare wars, remember?). Unfortunately, instead, Congress has plans for reelection and reelection funds based on corporate sponsorship. This has veered a bit off-topic.

Tie goes to the runner

Here we see the embryo of WWIII

Personally, I’d like to see Europe man up and deal with Putin themselves. They can’t, because they don’t spend enough on their militaries (some can’t, some won’t) and they don’t want their gas pipeline cut off,  so it’s hard for them to bluff, but it’d be nice if they tried.

In my scenario, America gets to play the hero that swoops in when all hope is lost, of course. Maybe a couple years into the war. After China makes some aggressive moves in the Pacific to distract our attention. It would do wonders for our manufacturing sector.

It’s never over

A plausible scenario for January. Both parties need someone principled enough to capture the bases’ loyalties, but charismatic enough to talk them into the compromises politics relies on. I’m not holding my breath.