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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Footnotes and formatting

When it comes to extraneous information, people do the stupidest things, and I swear, this sort of idiocy knows no bounds. Even on History IB/SL Internal Assessments, you’ll get parentheses intermixed with em dashes and [brackets] partitioning off some irrelevant information about Joseph Stalin’s economic policy1. You may scoff in wonder at my use of footnotes on RogerHub, but let me give you the full story before you dismiss them as a pretentious show of unnecessary formality. Often times, there’s information that’s not pertinent to a narrative or argument, but I want to include it for some reason, be it self-justification, disclaimer, literary citation, or further reading. Conventionally, I would wrap keywords in a hyperlink, or I would set aside an explanatory paragraph enclosed in brackets and italics. But in the spirit of a semantic web2, that just doesn’t feel… more →

On the origin of broken calculators

On the way home, I saw a blue graphing calculator on the ground on La Puente Rd. The cover was lying directly over the line of broken white lane dividers, safe, so long as cars maintained reasonably within their own lanes. The detached circuit board, whose protective cover was missing, having been ripped off by the massive shearing force of car tires, wasn’t as fortunate: it was slightly to the left of the outer lane, where tires were frequent to step over it. Even at a distance, one could hear the circuit board collecting tire tracks as an occasional car happened to position it’s tire correctly. Seeing the defeated state of the calculator, you could almost say that drivers were aiming for it1. I mean, I lose things all the time, but who2 would have imagined that their calculator was currently… more →

(Foo)d (bar)

It always surprises me that there are people on television who are paid to talk about good food. There’s a middle-aged chinese lady who could pass for your neighbor’s real estate agent, in a crowded restaurant at a table for 4, talking to her similarly-dressed companion about how onions stir-fried rapidly over high heat are more appropriate for certain dishes, something like that. Whether it’s out of insight or ignorance, I don’t understand how there could be so much room for discussion. In America, where extreme poverty is lacking a refrigerator in your home, I need look no further than the salted peanut and pickled cabbage appetizer at a local chinese restaurant for the best taste I could ask for. Most food already hits this imaginary ceiling of maximum tastefulness, and there’s nothing1 appreciably better, in my perspective. Maybe it… more →

The problem of bounded rationality

Actually, the market place, in aggregate, has a long a glorious history of celebrating really mediocre crap technology that is an unfortunate compromise between cheap and “good enough”. In short, encouraging and then trusting people to “spend their money on better things” is a sure fire recipe to be subjected to crappy technology. [On the ubiquity of social networking in inappropriate places.] Imagine you’re the chief of staff on the Infrastructural and Technological Development team in your post-apocalyptic group of refugee zombie-survivors. Before you can start building anything, there’s a few things you need to decide upon. Let’s say you’ve still got a reasonable tool to measure the different quantities of both the metric and imperial system of measurements. Also, you’ve retained massive libraries of knowledge, from the details of the RoHS directive, to alternative economic theory, to RFC specifications for… more →

The only reason I’m excited for Pottermore

I never thought to try this until now. I will leave this running overnight: #!/bin/bash while [ `curl www.pottermore.com | grep “registration is now closed” | wc -w` \ -ne “0” ]; do echo [`date`] Checked pottermore.com: Registration is still closed. sleep 20 done echo [`date`] Message has changed. Check status at [http://pottermore.com/]. mplayer “$HOME/Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – Prologue.mp3” \ > /dev/null 2> /dev/null Yeah? yeah? And this. chmod +x ./pottermore.sh;./pottermore.sh Alright. Let’s do this.