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JS surprise

I was looking at my 'programming' tag posts and found a bunch of 3 years ago, complaining about odd features of JavaScript. I kind of remember them now, but if you'd asked me yesterday if I'd ever taught myself JavaScript I would have said 'no', not remembering doing so.

I was prompted by an interviewer having looked at this blog. I wonder what he thought about my saying I hadn't taught myself JS... See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/564767.html#comments

NYC subway costs

2017 article on why subway construction in NYC costs as much as 7x elsewhere. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/nyregion/new-york-subway-construction-costs.html

$3.5 billion/track miles vs. $450 million in Paris.

'The workers were laid off, Mr. Horodniceanu said, but no one figured out how long they had been employed. “All we knew is they were each being paid about $1,000 every day.”'

'Trade unions, which have closely aligned themselves with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other politicians, have secured deals requiring underground construction work to be staffed by as many as four times more laborers than elsewhere in the world, documents show.'

'In Paris, which has famously powerful unions, the review found the lower costs were the result of efficient staffing, fierce vendor competition and scant use of consultants.'

25 people employed for an 8 person boring machine.

'Generators and elevators must have their own operators, even though they are automatic.'

Quadruple overtime on weekends, more than $400/hour.

'One part of Local 147’s deal entitles the union to $450,000 for each tunnel-boring machine used. That is to make up for job losses from “technological advancement,” even though the equipment has been standard for decades.' See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/564527.html#comments


Mask use in my neighborhood is like 80%. That's on the sidewalks, in the supermarkets is nigh 100%.

California cases haven't gotten better, but several states have now become worse than us.

Hawaii is still relatively low in total and daily cases, but daily cases have gone up 10x since I started paying attention a couple weeks ago.

I kind of wonder if I somehow got an asymptomatic case, or if I'm just that out of shape from age and sitting around a lot.

I finally ordered Sichuan peppers from Amazon. One Chinese, one Japanese -- related but a bit different. Ground, not whole corns. They seem less intense than the "Chinese pepper" I bought in Osaka but it's hard to say... I wonder what happened to that; did I exhaust it, or leave it somewhere? Oh well.

Also got Ito En mugicha from Amazon, the same sort of big liter bags that I bought in Japantown and had discovered in Osaka. Amazon doesn't seem to have an equivalent for hojicha, though. I'm not inclined to risk riding the Gold Line to check the store again.

Almost done re-watching A:tLA:Earth.

Been re-reading a lot of Cherryh. All the Chanur books and most of the core Alliance/Union books. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/564441.html#comments


roast onion

I tried this today, didn't work so well. It did become soft and sweet, enough so that I ate the whole onion straight. But it didn't become anything like the spreadable caramelized form of roast garlic. I don't know if it can't, or I didn't roast it enough. I gave it a lot of time; was afraid of too high heat and making the onion peel smoke. Doesn't help that my oven has no temperature indicators, just a dial unlabeled apart from off.

OTOH I foresee eating a lot more garlic than I ever did. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/563965.html#comments


roast garlic

I had it once or twice before, probably at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. I made it for the first time today. Whee! It's like candy! You can squirt clove after clove into your mouth!

Tomorrow: roast onion. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/563632.html#comments


the magic air conditioner

A bit over a year ago I went to Japan. Ah, how I miss it, and the world in which travel was trivial, or at least not life-threatening.

In honor of that, and the central air hear breaking tonight, let me extol again the Best Air Conditioner: ductless mini-split.

Quieter than central air!

Just as personally controllable as a window unit!

Can be put anywhere with a bit of drilling, so more flexible than window units that really want a particular kind of window!

Plus many models come with a reversible heat cycle, so you can use them for heating. Resistive heat would be expensive compare to natural gas heat, but I think a heat pump is comparable -- and if you're lucky enough to have green electricity, better for the environment.

Disadvantages: expensive, and if you're renting an apartment you can't just slip it in.

But still, awesome, and ubiquitous in Japan, and common in Australia. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/562466.html#comments

shower smells

I still find it weird how you and your clothes can be a bit whiffy, then you shower, and afterwards those same clothes now seem very whiffy. "I'll put this T-shirt back on after I shower." *shower* *sniff* "Oh gods, no." See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/562276.html#comments



I've long wondered, if alcohol consumption is so widespread, how the 18th Amendment ever passed -- 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of states. On reading https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volstead_Act it seems one aspect might be people expecting that liquor would be banned, gin and whisky and such, rather than all drinks; the Volstead Act limiting alcohol content to 0.5% was reportedly a big surprise.

OTOH Congress still had to write and pass that law, by a big enough margin to override a presidential veto, so there's still some mystery. Were 2/3 of Congress teetotalers? See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/561983.html#comments

AO3 invitations?

Anyone want an invitation? I have some.

If so, reply or PM an email address. [Edit: or, apparently I can generate a link and PM it to you.]

Not that the open queue seems packed: waiting list of 3144, 5000 invitations a day. https://archiveofourown.org/invite_requests See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/560479.html#comments
when the fics have stats like this:

F/M (4782)
Gen (3796)
M/M (1506)
F/F (899)

That's A:tLA fics on AO3, excluding fics also categorized as Korra.

For comparison Star Trek is

M/M (35089)
F/M (17365)
Gen (15774)
F/F (4157)

Harry Potter is

M/M (118917)
F/M (78012)
Gen (48653)
F/F (15103) See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/560309.html#comments


Heh. A vegan friend on Facebook complained about how her husband insists MEAT, but also deep fries his meat and drowns it in sauce, to the point where it might as well have been arbitrary protein chunks.

I don't Identify As Carnivore to his degree -- I think he's Texan -- OTOH the meat I usually do eat tends to be a lot harder to imitate! Pan-fried chops and drumsticks, salmon in various incarnations, shrimp and clams. Also sausage, which can be easier though isn't always pulled off well, and ground beef, except I go for the 20% fat grinds where your imitation target isn't ground protein (easy) but a ton of beef fat. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/559920.html#comments


writing and outlines

Out of my many fanfic ideas, today I wrote one down, 1900 words in 80 minutes, for a 2 chapter manga where I may have already written more words than exist in the source. Having cycled it through my imagination for the past few days, and being mostly dialogue, it flowed out pretty well -- and yet I find that even a tiny outline, say of the intended 'beats', might have helped, since I ended up combining two topics back to back when I'd meant for them to be separated by another episode. So that's interesting. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/558384.html#comments


random bits

In shape, Westeros is basically Britain + upside down Ireland. https://i.imgur.com/1PBDC69.jpg

Somene had an amusing tale of playing a Jesus-inspired cleric in a D&D game. Sadly it cuts off at a cliffhanger.

The Spanish word 'hueco' means "hollow". I first learned of the word from the anime Bleach, where Hueco Mundo is the Hollow World (world of Hollows, not a hollow world). Makes it easy to remember! Ironically I stopped watching Bleach before the end of the Soul Society Arc, so everything I know about Hollows is secondhand.

I take one overarching lesson from the History of Middle-earth: authors, if you scribble lots of notes about your work, *date them*.

Interesting essay on the wife of Feanor and fandom's fascination with her scant clues. http://www.silmarillionwritersguild.org/reference/references/pf/nerdanel.php

Things I learn from yuri manga:
* Japanese eat noodles with chopsticks but pasta with forks. A character asked why.
* A bright green mineral from an asteroid exists. It is not called kryptonite. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moldavite
* What those little kid backpacks are called. Also they cost a lot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randoseru

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/557937.html#comments

virtual filk

Virus has led to a golden age of online filk circles! I attended Massfilc for the first time in over a year, then a bigger circle hosted by someone in Toronto, and then there's some concert streaming on Youtube now...

I wonder if Asimov's Solarians presage the future. I'm missing a plantation of robots to provide food, though.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/557775.html#comments


garden of scallions 2

Growth continues, and I've discovered microclimates. I'd put some bunches by the window for sun, and others a food inward for lack of room. Given that the heavily cut inward bunch has almost caught up to the lightly cut window bunch, I'm thinking that being close to a 13 C window at night was the dominant (and negative) growth effect. Currently all are inward, with the formerly window ones on the inside of the formation, to see if they even out.

It is mysterious why some individual plants spurt forth vigorously and others, in the same bunch, just wilt.

Roots are also growing, the glasses are getting crowded. I wonder if I should trim them, or if that would traumatize them.

This definitely seems a way to at least double the amount of scallion you get for your money. Webpages said you could get 3 or 4 growths before they give up.

I changed their water today, in case mineral depletion is an issue.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/557471.html#comments

garden of scallions

Sunday I dared a grocery run and came back with 5 bunch of scallions in my haul. I cut up 3 to freeze, leaving some green above the roots, then put all five in glasses of water. I think they''ve grown an inch or so since. The cut bunches are pretty obvious: I had cut them cleanly with scissors, but now there's new growth coming from inside the stalks, like a pipe within a pipe. The other two bunches are less clear, no sleeve action like that, but some stalks are longer than others despite my cutting for fresh scallion use. It's possible I missed some though.

CO2 and H20 have obvious sources, but where are the minerals for new growth coming from? I assume mostly cannibalizing the roots, but Los Angeles water is pretty 'hard'. Hmm, there's an idea for a science experiment, compare growth in tap vs. distilled water...

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/557192.html#comments


"Critics were divided on the scene where Arwen tells Frodo the history of the rings while naked in the bath, but audiences gave it the highest ratings of the 2023 season..."

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/556829.html#comments


wtf Python

I was writing some code, in a file called 'code.py'. I tried adding doctests and running them; this would hang, or complain about circular imports. It seems that 'import doctest' will run a file in the directory called 'code.py' -- e.g. make a 'code.py' file like

while True:

start python, import doctest, and watch it hang.

This seems poor, and undocumented. Probably I should file a bug later.

I guess I have a new candidate for interview questions about problem solving.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/556771.html#comments

hot and sour egg drop wonton soup

Why choose?

Chili-lime instant ramen with vinegar, an egg, and gyoza. Also black pepper, garlic powder, ginger power, really firm tofu, and some corn chips.

I'm not sure I can actually taste the egg but hey more protein and calories.

I would have really liked green onion but for some reason I'm short on non-frozen vegetables.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/556330.html#comments


Noldor Monte Carlo: CORRECTION

If you dive deep into Tolkien fandom, a recurring question is "How many elves were there at any time?" Now, Tolkien cared a lot about languages and moon phases, but his attitude toward demographics or non-human food production would be an insult to good handwaving, so this is hard to answer well. The one hard number is that Turgon brought 10,000 troops to the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. We also have a couple of proportions, and then a whole mass of "the greater part".

Also, in the older Fall of Gondolin, 12 named companies muster to the defense of Gondolin; a company of around 800 people would give 9600 defenders. Under the circumstances you'd think *everyone* who could fight would be...

In the past I've just made a range of estimates of how 10,000 relates to the population of Gondolin and applied averages to the rest, but I thought I would try estimating all the ranges. At which point a Monte Carlo simulation is more useful than just multiplying minima and maxima. Since I wanted the answer ASAP I did it in straight Python, not R or Octave or some library. Being lazy, I used uniform distribution for the ranges.

Kind of my first non-class Monte Carlo? Apart from some old C programs that were simply simulating dice outcomes like 3d6 and "4d6, top 3" and such.

Edit: whoops! I found a bad error in my original code. If I'm trying to go from 10,000 Noldor+Sindar soldiers to a "Noldor in Valinor" population, I need to *multiply* by the fraction of Noldor in Gondolin, not divide!

Instead of pasting code I'll just link: https://mindstalk.net/noldor.py

The first thing I learned is that when you're doing 9 divisions, the small-divisor outliers meant that I needed lot more bins than I thought at first.

95% likely over 50,000, 95% likely under 1 million; 90% likely over 70,000, 90% likely under 680,000. 90% confidence interval is 50,000-1 million, 80% confidence is 70,000-680,000.

Possible range is 8000 -- definitely too small -- to almost 9 million.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/556135.html#comments


Damien Sullivan

Latest Month

December 2020



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  • 17 Aug 2019, 04:45
    I use Yardley's English Lavender soap, and a bar lasts a good long while.
  • 19 Sep 2018, 20:20
    The block south of me is the 400s, whereas mine has addresses like 17-11.

    Ah, gobbled up in the rift, no doubt.
  • 10 Sep 2018, 20:14
    The most systematic way I have is working through a tutorial for the language.

    A couple years ago I'd been working on what I called Language Reference Suites, which were big blobs of code doing…
  • 10 Sep 2018, 20:10
    No, but my roommates had a cat that would stalk and attack me.
  • 10 Sep 2018, 15:26
    Do you have some systematic way of learning a new coding language, or characterizing it for reference as you learn it?
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