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More fun than it ought to be.... [Jan. 10th, 2017|06:27 pm]
John
So, I was thinking of the misery of thinking of going out for yogurt and pro-biotics pills, and maybe a bit of this and that.

And then a thought came to me. Yes I work for "Amazon Web Services" but we're not called that because we provide web space to Diana Prince[1]! Gee, if only someone had used the wondrous cloud based tools to make an online shopping store that had overnight, and sometimes even same day delivery... oh, right! They had!

(That's kind of how AWS started. "Look at all these cool toys we built. I bet other people would like to use them. Well... let's find out!")

Prime Now had some grocery options - I got some Coke 0 and yogurt (and eggs). Well, the Coke comes off the shelf, but the refrigerated groceries were packed with dry ice.

Damn shame I have to wait, like, an hour to let the soda get cold... wait.

Fill the sink with cold water.
CAREFULLY break up the dry ice with a hammer. Put the dry ice in, and then the soda. The water mass is too large to get below 0 C but tap water is 50-60 degrees (ETA: 50-60 Fahrenheit - about 10C) right now; that alone is a quick way to partially chill the soda.

An added benefit I hadn't considered: the bubbling of the dry ice caused some agitation. In a sink full of water, and 6 cans of room temperature soda, I doubt agitation matters too much - but it does help ensure that there's circulation, so the warmer water near the cans is moved away.

Plus you get that whole "witch's (sink-)cauldron" effect.

The water in my sink is now about 3C - colder than my refrigerator, and water sucks heat out far better than air. This barely counts as "science!" but it's still fun.

[1] aka Wonder Woman - an Amazon, you see. Yes, terrible allusion-pun.
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PSA - recognize cellulitis... [Jan. 10th, 2017|12:05 pm]
John
So: Friday night, I thought I had a tiny zit on my nose. This happens with a CPAP, nothing to worry about.

Saturday, it felt like the infection was spreading - it looked like it had grown a bit, and it was redder.

Sunday, it had definitely spread, I could see it climbing up and across my nose and I felt a tad feverish (I wasn't, though). And I could see the skin that was definitely infected starting to ooze a bit, like a broken blister.

I went to urgent care, and it was definitely the right call - I had cellulitis, which can spread quickly and can quickly become life-threatening. I got a shot of antibiotics and more to take (and I was warned to go straight to the drug store, and immediately fill my prescription, and start taking them immediately), so I did.

I called out sick from work on Monday. Today, I'm out sick again, and I'm still wiped out, and all from an infection that was about the size of a quarter, or maybe just a bit bigger.

The good news is that it seems like we nipped the infection in the bud. It's definitely shrinking and looking like a skin area recovering from infection. That doesn't mean I'm completely out of the woods, but it's a good sign.

I hope I don't have to tell any readers to always finish any course of antibiotics - it's especially vital with something like this that can be fast spreading, and that might already be mildly resistant to the antibiotics you're taking.

Next step: yogurt and other pro-biotics. A ten day course can wreck havoc on one's helpful bacteria.
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Can we do this? [Jan. 5th, 2017|09:31 am]
John
Time Traveler: "I expected horrors... but I didn't expect The Donald presidency!"

(record scratch sound)

"NOBODY expects The Donald Presidency! Its chief weapon is deception! Deception and bigotry, bigotry and deception... its TWO main weapons are deception and bigotry... and bullshit. Its THREE main weapons are deception, bigotry, bullshit, and a fanatical devotion to incompetence and outdated social theories....

It's four... no, AMONGST its weaponry are such diverse elements as deception, bigotry, bullshit, and a fanatical devotion to incompetence!"

(The record scratch comes from the album version I heard most often. However, if you're completely confused: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WJXHY2OXGE - Monty Python link.)
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Cute tidbit... [Jan. 4th, 2017|09:34 pm]
John
I found this on Benford's law:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benford's_law

I reckon you could find low initial digits in some scientific data, and you might think it's really amazing... but the point of the law is that when reporting things, the first digit is the most significant, and a lot of times, people want a measurement that tends to make that important at 1. So if a Watt is a decently meaningful amount of power, then it's no surprise if you find that 1, or 10, or 100 Watts will be more likely to be meaningful than 5, or 50. If 5 Watts was a common, useful quantity, then the measurement probably would have been divided by 5 to make 1 (new) Watt a useful quantity.

Now: it would be kinda curious if it turned out that the number of miles (exactly) between the center of the sun and the center of other stars followed Benford's law for miles, or even for light years (since the 365 days of light's travel is arbitrary - I mean, forced by the length of a year, but "a year" on another planet could be vastly different.)

Heh. Though this reminds me of a story idea I had that I never did anything with. An earth scientist, shortly after the earth joins the league of planets comes with stunning news - delivered humbly, or perhaps boastfully depending on the story - about how the earth is actually the perfect center of the known universe. And everyone laughs... because there's always some measurement for any planet that joins the league that puts them in the perfect center, and a new planet's scientists always "disccover" it shortly aftter they get their map of inhabited systems.
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Life update... [Dec. 31st, 2016|01:08 pm]
John
New entries in LongHairedWeirdo. I feel like I'm tightening up the writing on some of the last ones - feel free to let me know if you agree (or not).

I've learned the joys of some casual gaming, like the Candy Crush series. I've also learned the joys of portable power packs for your phone. See, these games can drain the heck out of your battery. Too many charge/discharge cycles weakens your battery's ability to hold a charge. Ah, but if you charge a portable power pack, and plug your phone into that, you're not using your phone's (possibly non-replaceable) battery - you're using a cheap, easily replaced one.

This July, I moved from Microsoft SQL Server support, to AWS Database Services support. I knew it was the right move for me at the time, but there was an additional synchronicity: my hip has been recovering faster and doing better than ever.

If you ever have a tilted pelvis that un-tilts, let me tell you: It's a long slog. And you might feel like your leg is twisted in three or four different directions - and it probably is, there are probably multiple muscles attaching to your femur, hip, or lower back, each of which is shortened or tight, causing that twisty feeling. It's slow, but it can be fixed.

Carrie Fisher died - one of the saddest things that struck me about heroes is she mentioned once during an interview (I think she was actually *giving* the interview!) that it was hard for her to find relationships that weren't based around a guy wanting to have sex with Princess Leia - one of those things I'd never thought of, and, one thing that struck me was how hard it would be to avoid that kind of thing. Even a guy who loves the whole woman might still find his brain going there.

I hope she found freedom from that, and peace, and joy. She was a hell of a woman.

I'm scared for the future of America - I won't deny it. When George W was the President, and could ignore multiple parts of the law, engage in (and normalize) torture, and be cheered for starting a pointless war, I felt that he wasn't like Hitler - he was going to have his one war, and he intended to stop right there.

But I realized he was paving the way. See, the Republicans fell in line and supported his violations of the law for spying on Americans, defended, and praised, his torture, and still seem to feel the war was no biggie.

I don't know that Donald Trump is Hitler-dangerous... but there are no more steps. It's not like, George W Bush paved the way for Trump, who paves the way for the next step in the progression. A Hitler-wannabe could have run Trumps campaign - that he won, and that his political party is supporting him and his win, in spite of the spying by Russia, misuse of law enforcement, and quality of their candidate, really worries me.

(I'm not expecting them to turn down a win they got handed - but I am horrified they're not even paying lip service to concern about these issues.)

This isn't right, it isn't normal, and it's not what America can be, or should be.

I know that the Republicans will mess up. Trump isn't competent, and neither is the Republican Party when they let themselves be driven by their worst elements. I just hope that that when they do, it's readily apparent, and not too awful. I keep having nightmares that our President elect will get tired of waiting and demand a nuclear strike on Daesh (for example).

Anyway: that's my life on the last day of a year that's been *way* too much in the bad-news realm.
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Blog is started... [Dec. 24th, 2016|11:24 am]
John
http://longhairedweirdo.dreamwidth.org is up.

One warning: back when I was young and stupid - by which I mean, "in my 30s and still thinking that we had time" - I was hoping for a warm, friendly loving set of ideas to help knit things back together.

But we don't have time. And love, while powerful, isn't very fast. You can love your enemy, and still realize that the best end to a particular incident is a solid jab to the nose, to stop the fight, and then, you can try to figure out what's most loving.

(I was using a boxing metaphor in another discussion yesterday, and "jab" is, in fact, precisely the right term. A jab is a defensive sort of punch - fast, hard-enough, and often intended to stop a rush, or break up an attack.)

I do have some limits: While I'll speculate, I won't slander. While I'll poke at every weak spot, I'm not a dirty fighter. (Dan Vitter is known to have visited prostitutes. I don't mind pointing out the massive hypocrisy of his being in the party that claims "family values". But I won't mention *why* it's suggested he visited prostitutes. One's kinks are one's own business, and exploration of kink is a *fine* reason to visit pros, if you can't play with your spouse.)

And I am trying to maintain a friendly manner to many of the people. I'm not angry that people voted for Trump. I do think many of them made a mistake - a perfectly reasonable mistake. And sure, many of them have been told I'm an evil bastard because I voted for Hillary Clinton... but I'm not going to blame them for what they've been told, nor even for believing it. In a sick society, where truth isn't valued, people will believe things that are wrong.

Side note: Yes, Trump was widely supported by white supremecists. Those people are nasty, but I'm not angry that they voted for Trump - I'm angry that they're such evil people. There are a lot of ugly myths out there that I'm also angry about - but I'm not angry at people who've been given an ugly, hateful mythology from which to work; does that makes sense? Also: I'm not criticizing you - whoever you are - if you are angry at every single Trump voter. I'd like to here why, and I might well disagree. But I'm not talking about *you* here - I'm talking only about me, and how I'm choosing to write in a particular blog.

My goal is to hit real, living, meaningful issues. I don't want to talk about how a Trump SCOTUS pick might impact Roe v. Wade - but I will talk about the importance of birth control and abortion access. And I might point out how GOP picks tend to say "it's okay if a company rips you off whenever and however they like, so long as it's always just below the threshold of making it worthwhile to go into the mandated arbitration, where you couldn't prove they cheated you, so you lose anyway."
I'd love advice on:

Presentation: how can I kick up my posting a bit, include some graphics or other text-wall breakers? (Side note: I've seen some *horrible* animated gifs that are jerky and fast moving and so distracting I can't read the surrounding post. None of that! But a few simple animations won't scare me off, if they don't detract from text.

Writing style: are my jokes really old or too far out to be understood? Is one of the shots I took excessively cheap? Am I being too wordy or rambling too long? Am I being my overpedantic self, and getting too deep into explicit and careful meanings, repeatedly pointing out things that are technical, and of little use? How about redundancy, and repetition? Any of that? Is the passive voice being avoided?

Links: Any good links? I don't read a lot of blogs. I'm looking for generally honest, lefty blogs.

Setting up a not-totally-super-boring blog-like page. Links on the side board, both to important posts (rules for commenting, for example); user pics - me, or something where something else is dominant (see my catrider default!)?

When it comes to setting up the page, or helping "kick up" my presentation - in some cases, these are professional services, and I'm more than willing to pay for them. If you think you can help, let me know your rates and estimates on hours.)
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So, follow up to "smarter than the average bear".... [Dec. 11th, 2016|01:03 pm]
John
I put this into a response, but since it reminded me of another old legend (that I believe I first heard about in alt.callahans) I figured I'd share the response as well.

(in response to the bumper sticker taking three days to figure out)

Three days isn't too bad - it took me weeks, seeing it every day. I'm not sure why I was sure it meant something, but I was... but I kept thinking in the wrong direction. "Your mind is greater than an imaginary bear? But why sum of n bear-times-i divided by n?" "A brain is greater than (n+1)/2 bears?"

(See, if it was the sum of bear, times the counting number, from 1 to n (one bear, two more bears, 3 more bears...), well the sum from 1 to n of the counting numbers is n(n+1)/2. Divide by n, it becomes (n+1)/2.)

I wish I could remember how and when I suddenly thought "it's an AVERAGE of bears!" at which point, it hit me.

It's fun, though, and a lot better than a legend I heard of a riddle on a radio show.

They asked "What's the first thing you know?"

Well, technically, they asked "What's 'the first thing you know'" - the inner quotes are *essential*, as you'll see.

People phone in guess after guess for three solid days, from the philosophical to the comical, pun-inspired and not. No one (so the legend goes) was ready for the real answer.

(I promise you: this is not a rickroll and is work safe.)
https://youtu.be/NwzaxUF0k18?t=16

The legend continues, quite reasonably for a legend, that a police escort was required to get the DJs out of the radio station.

If you're not keen on clicking on random links (good for you, BTW!), I'll include the answer in the comments.
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Still not dead (or king) - interlude [Dec. 7th, 2016|12:09 pm]
John
I'm still thinking of how a person with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can fight back against the GOP, in hopes of making them sane again. Blogging is all I can think of. I'm not sure if I should try to blog elsewhere, or just say what I have to say here (or seeing if LongHairedWeirdo - my nom du blog - is available on LJ/DW). Any thoughts?

Interlude: At work, there are a collection of clever and cute bumper stickers. One bothered me for a long time... I finally figured it out recently, though.

It shows a picture of a brain, and a > (greater than) sign. On the right hand side, it had sigma (sum of) i = 1 to n, of (a picture of a bear)/n.

So:

brain picture > (sum from 1 to n) of (bearpicture)-sub-i, divided by n

Can you figure it out?
spoiler/hintCollapse )
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A danger to democracy... [Nov. 25th, 2016|12:11 pm]
John
One of the most underplayed stories in the election was the strong belief by US intelligence that Russia was screwing with the election. That, combined with this XKCD comic, should be pretty scary:
ttps://xkcd.com/1019/

cut for politicsCollapse )
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"Values?" [Nov. 19th, 2016|10:33 am]
John
One thing you'd think you could trust the GOP to believe is that it's horrible to demand "safe spaces", and that asking for protection is political correctness run amok.

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2016/11/safe-spaces.html

Oops. (Sorry Rick Perry, you don't get to trademark that - besides, your trademarked use is your inability to remember your own "I swear this is important to me!" policy positions.)
cut for politicsCollapse )
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