Critical Section

social distancing

Sunday,  03/29/20  11:05 PM

social distancingAnd so now we are all "sheltering in place" and "social distancing" from each other.  Wow, what a month, what a time!

It's been quite a week for my company Teladoc (InTouch Health) too; the busiest time ever, as physicians and patients shift to telehealth to keep their own distance.  So while we're all working from home, we're all working 24x7 too.  So be it.

I *was* able to escape for a couple of bike rides this weekend, yay, around Lake Arrowhead and Lake Isabella.  You have to escape your four walls sometime...

And while most everyone is shut down, many things are happening...

Corona virus will change the world permanently ... but how?From Politico: Coronavirus will change the world permanently.  Thirty-four big thinkers predict how...  some seem almost too obvious, and some seem completely wrong, but it's a thought-provoking list.

As regards the title thesis, sure, the world will change, but perhaps not as much as we might think.  I remember thinking the same thing after 9/11.

Global warming in a few charts.  I can't do them justice here, please click through, but the punchline is ... nope, not much global warming is actually happening.  "Unfortunately for the alarmists, enough time has now gone by that we can say, definitively, that the models are wrong."

Quantum Frontiers: the ground space of babel.  Any blog post that begins "Librarians are committing suicide" is going to get your attention, but this one is going to hold it, too.  I'm still not sure the Quantum Computer emperor is wearing any clothes, but it sure makes for some weird math.

Martian moon protection (from us)NASA: Planetary protection and the moons of Mars.  We are sending a spacecraft to return samples from Phobos and Deimos, and we must make sure we don't contaminate them in the process.

the social complexity factorFrom the always thought-provoking Razib Kahn: The general social complexity factor is a thing.  Well then.  Another great mind expansion in which I understand about 10% but sense there is something here I want to understand better.

exponential domino chain reactionKottke: the exponential domino chain reaction.  Just think, one simple blog post could be that little domino...



welcome to the club

Sunday,  03/29/20  11:01 PM


welcome to the club ... of superheros

love this




Saturday,  03/21/20  11:27 PM

keep calm and stay groundedHi blog public, how y'all doing?  Staying home and safe, I hope ... and so is this a weird time or what?

Seems like only a week ago I was posting "seems like the whole world has shut down", and indeed it has.  About the only thing that hasn't is telemedicine; my company Teladoc (InTouch Health) has had by far its busiest week ever, with a flood of new orders and session and server traffic through the ceiling.  Exciting and scary to be living at the tip of the spear, so to speak.  And I think this is the new normal; even after the pandemic crisis abates, telehealth adoption will have permanently inflected.

And so today I escaped for a bike ride, and read a bit, and ... blogged!

By far the best thing about the CoronavirusThe way ordinary people have responded.  Everyone is nicer, more patient, more understating, more willing to help.  It's a pleasure to be a human being right now, as we unite against this horrible pandemic.

What's been your best experience so far?  Focus on it, blog about it, post to your Twitter or Facebook.  It's so nice to read about other people being nice.

For example: some people are putting their holiday lights back up to bring joy and hope.

By far the worst thing about the crisisThe US mainstream media response.  Most seem absolutely determined to hit us over the head with their negative opinion of President Trump, regardless of the relevance.  Whether you like him or hate him, you cannot condone this unprofessional behavior.

Sadly for them and fortunately, most Americans see through this and approve of our President's actions.

For example: Google debunks false claims that it is not developing a national website to track coronavirus
Apropos: We're paying the price for the death of journalism.

From Lab Soft News: Some Details about an Emerging Healthcare Service - Hospital-at-Home.  Enabled by telehealth technology!

Wahoo for ZwiftNews I can use: the best smart bikes for Zwift.  I'm going to get one ... just haven't decided yet which one.  And by the way, Peleton is all very exciting, but they have a closed network; you can only ride Peleton courses and take Peleton classes and only on a Peleton bike.  Zwift is wide open, and it's where all the pros are riding to keep in shape.

First place right now: the Wahoo, because it tilts with the terrain.

kayak through icebergsMore news for me: Tour 5 National parks from home.  Honestly put on your headphones, maximize your browser (F11), and enjoy.  WOW.  Kayak through icebergs!

Congratulations to Powerline on their 1 billionth pageview.  Quite a few of those are mine...  Onward!

SpaceX-ing out: successful deployment of 60 [more] Starlink satellites confirmed.  When we're all working from home, we're all going to need high bandwidth and low latency.

21st century headlines: NASA fixes Mars lander by telling it to hit itself with a shovel.  I love it.

all objects in our solar system, mappedVisual Capitalist: Mapped: every object in our Solar System.  Awesome! - click to enbiggen amazingly.  (Does not include all the Starlink satellites ... yet!)

So there's a new iPad Pro, and if you want you can see it on your own desk.  I tried it and poof there it was.  I love the way it figures out where the surface is, that's much more impressive than the actual VR somehow.  Try it!

Waiting for Mandalorian Season 2 and finished rewatching Season 1?  Okay then, here you can watch a combination trailer for Season 2 and making-of for Season 1.

I have to confess, I did rewatch Season 1 already, and it was better the second time.  Just great, spare storytelling.

Well that's all folks... stay safe everyone.


Iditarod: Nome run

Saturday,  03/21/20  11:09 PM

2020 Iditarod Champion Thomas Waerner and team in the Nome stretch to the finishWell the 2020 Iditarod is history ... or is it?  It certainly has made history.  Let's review.

First, congratulations to Thomas Waerner of Norway, who rode a flawless Iditarod to win going away.  He finished late Wednesday night, putting 5 1/2 hours into multi-time champion Mitch Seavey, who finished second.  Jessie Royer was third, 7 hours behind, the veteran musher's best finish to date; she made a great run.  2020 Yukon Quest champion Brent Sass was fourth, 8 hours back, and Aaron Burmeister rounded out the top five finishing 9 hours back. 

Right: Thomas and team in the Nome stretch 

2020 Iditarod top dogs, K2 and Bark, with their musherThe key moment was on Saturday night, when Waerner decided to make a single long run from Kaltag to Unalakleet.  Everyone else stopped halfway through the run at "old woman cabin", but he chugged on through the night, getting into Kaltag early Sunday.  He took a six hour rest, and then took off right before the first of his pursuers (Wade Marrs) reached Kaltag.  From that point on the race was his to lose, and he played it conservatively, staying just far enough ahead to crush hope.

Left: K2 and Bark, top dogs in this year's Iditarod, with their musher

It's interesting how the psychology of Thomas' move played out.  He was in a big pack of contenders, he made his move, and that left everyone else running for second.

And then the weather turned crummy.  From fear of snow and fear of moose, the remaining mushers shifted to fear of icy water and high winds as a big storm moved in.  After the top 18 finished, it was a long time before #19, and then a long time before #20-23.  And so far, that's it!

Mitch Seavey's team runs down Front Street into second placeAs this is typed there are still 11 mushers out there running, but they won't finish until midday tomorrow.  So there will be a gap of 3 days!  I don't think that's ever happened before.  A whole bunch of mushers scratched trying to brave the conditions, including poor old Nic Petit, who you will remember nearly won in each of the last two years.  This time he made it cleanly across Norton Sound but couldn't get from Elim to White Mountain.  He and three other teams had to be rescued in the middle of the storm.

Right: Mitch Seavey's team looking good while running into second down Front Street

And so ends another year - a wild year, with checkpoints isolated due to the coronavirus pandemic, crowds restricted at the finish, and mushers running along in the Alaska backwoods while the world shut down around them.

Rookie Kaci Murringer crosses the finish line to claim the Red Lantern [Update: 3/22/20 at 12:27 AKDT, all of the Elim 11 have finished!  Rookie Kaci Murringer (shown at left) made it safely to Nome, and "wins" the Red Lantern award for the last musher to finish.  Great for them.  And what a race!  'Till next year...]

The Elim 11 - will they make it?

The Elim 11 - at one point after two days in Elim I was sure the race would shut down and give them all the red lantern.  But they waited out the storm, have all made it to White Mountain, and now we just wait to see if and when they finish.

Jessie Royer and team crossing frozen Golovin Bay; they finished third

Jessie Royer and team cross frozen Golovin Bay on their way to third place

Brent Sass and team

Brent Sass and team in the Nome stretch

Rookie of the Year Mille Porsild and her leader

Rookie of the year Mille Porsild with her leader


A future top dog waves to the finishers :)

Flow Tracker on Sat 3/21/20 at 23:00

Here's the "final" Flow Tracker graph (please click to enbiggen)
Note the big gaps - including the vast gap between #23 - so far the last to finish - and the 11 mushers still on the trail in White Mountain.




pandemic pass

Saturday,  03/14/20  11:51 PM

history of pandemicsAfter a long day of driving and thinking, we make ... a filter pass ...

Wow, so it seems like the whole world has shut down!  Incredible.  Better safe than sorry, I suppose, although it does seem like an extreme reaction given the numbers.  Just about everything is cancelled, everyone is working from home, and we're all waiting it out.  Time will tell...

The infographic at right is from the indispensable Visual Capitalist...

I don't blog about it much, but my company Teladoc Health is at the forefront of telemedicine, which has suddenly been thrust into the spotlight by the virus pandemic.  Telehealth is a great thing anyway, but now that physicians want to treat patients remotely, the volumes are off the charts.

Interesting: A promising hub for Digital Health: Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile: Congress quietly repeals more of Obamacare:

"If nothing else, this episode is a reminder of how Washington works:  First, Congress passes a law setting up an expensive new program along with (if we're lucky) a system to pay for it.  Years later, amid a bipartisan spending binge, those taxes are repealed while the rest of the program remains on the books.  The public barely notices, and the lawmakers involved shrug and move on.  The result is legislation that is fiscally ruinous, but also more popular than it would be if taxpayers were actually made to foot the bill.

Dragon captured by robotic arm of ISSAwesome: SpaceX Dragon spacecraft caught by robotic space station arm for the last time.  "Crew Dragon’s next launch – also its astronaut launch debut – could lift off as early as May 2020, just two months from now."  fXf!

BTW: We simply won't go to Mars without digital health.  Well of course not.  What if there was a virus outbreak en route?

xkcd: Throw Calculator.  Ever wonder how far George Washington could throw a microwave oven?  How about how far Thor could throw Pikachu?  Now you know :)

Nancy Wilson and Eric Tessmer cover Depeche Mode's Policy of TruthCheck this out: Heart's Nancy Wilson and guitarist Eric Tessmer's cover of Depeche Mode's Policy of Truth.  Quite nice :)



Iditarod: halfway Nome

Saturday,  03/14/20  11:37 PM

Jessie Royer and teamHi Iditarodians – I’m sure you’ve all been closely following the Iditarod sled dog race, right? (With everything cancelled, there’s nothing else to watch)

The leaders have been mushing along the Yukon River and have now left the last Yukon checkpoint of Kaltag, making the long run to Unalakleet on the coast of the Bering Sea. The weather has warmed up and with all the snow that’s fallen recently, it’s made for heavy going. This is not going to be a record year.

Thomas Waerner and teamRight now surprise contender Thomas Waerner is leading by about 8 miles over longtime competitor Aaron Burmeister, with another veteran Jesse Royer a mile behind him.

That’s Thomas and his team at left – sporting the spiffy orange jackets - and Jesse and her team above right.

Brent Sass and teamBrent Sass is fourth, still in Kaltag, waiting out his mandatory 8 hour rest*, as is fifth-placed Peter Kaiser, the defending champion. But sixth place Wade Marrs is also there and has already completed his 8, so he’ll likely leave first and then be running fourth.

* each team is required to take a 24 hour rest somewhere along the trail, an 8 hour rest on the Yukon River, and an 8 hour rest in the penultimate checkpoint at White Mountain

Right: Brent Sass and his team mushing along the frozen Yukon River

Nic Petit and team2018 champion Joar-Leifseth Ulsom is “only” in 8th, three-time champion Mitch Seavey is back in 10th, and four-time champion Lance Mackey is 15th. The snowy slow conditions have definitely altered the race.

You may remember the last two years Nic Petit was leading coming out onto Norton Sound, and both years his team had issues and self-destructed. This year he’s back in 21st, taking it easier.

Left: Nic Petit and his team coming into Nulato checkpoint

So how about our favorite Jim Lanier? Well sadly, he was the first team to scratch, after having serious problems in Rainy Pass crossing the Alaska Range. Since then I’ve been rooting for Jesse… Cheers and please stay tuned for more!

Richie Diehl mushes into Ruby

Richie Diehl and team

Joar-Leifseth Ulsom and Thomas Waener talk strategy in Ruby checkpoint

Joar-Leifseth Ulsom and Thomas Waerner

Best in show: Kristovan, Aaron Burmeister’s leader, during a break Iditarod

Kristovan, Aaron Burmeister's lead dog

GPS tracker view of the entire route. Still about 400 miles remaining: the long trek down to the coast, then up and across the ice of Norton Sound, and then the wild and windy trek along the shore into Nome.

GPS tracker as of 3/14/20 at 23:55PM PST



Sunday,  03/08/20  09:28 PM

A filter pass after a longish quietish weekend ... for once it seems it is *not* all happening (but some things are anyway...)

Iditarod: Quince Mountain prestart rideDid you watch the Iditarod start?  How about the restart?  (The "real" start?)  Well they're off, into heavy snow, and good luck to them.  Everyone is predicting a snowy, sloggy, and slow race.  For a taste of what it's like, check out this cool video of rookie Quince Mountain's prerace ride.

And for those of you who are interested, the Iditaflow tracker is up and running...

SpaceX 50th booster landing!Congrats to SpaceX for their 50th landing of a first stage booster.  Wow.  I can remember the first one and I do believe I've watched them all.  Onward!

Lightmatter - a new game in which the shadows will kill youThis looks super cool: In the ingenious game Lightmatter, lights do matter...because the shadows will kill you.  Sounds like a great premise.  I must admit, I try these games and they hold my interest for like 15 minutes and then poof! I'm on to the next thing.  But I will try it and YMMV.

Another awesome infographic from Visual Capitalist: the World's Highest Mountains and what their names mean.  Speaking of the Iditarod, the highest mountain in North America is Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley), and Denali means ... "high mountain" in Athabaskan :)

Dilbert: MVPsYeah, MVPs are hard.  "We're so biased it's scary."

Coronavirus update: we now have 109K cases, and 3.8K people have died.  I think in the near future the rate of new cases will increase because a lot of people are now being tested.  But at the same time, the mortality will decrease because of many mild undiagnosed cases.

Peter Thiel: The new Atomic Age we need.  "The single most important action we can take is thawing a nuclear energy policy that keeps our technology frozen in time. If we are serious about replacing fossil fuels, we are going to need nuclear power, so the choice is stark: We can keep on merely talking about a carbon-free world, or we can go ahead and create one."  I wish all those who worry about climate change would embrace nuclear energy as the way out.

Did you know?  U.S. led all countries in reducing CO2 emissions in 2019.  Ah, the things *they* don't tell us...


Friday,  03/06/20  06:23 PM

So ... good week?  Was for me.  Busy busy busy.  And it's all happening...

Tulsi GabbardCan you believe they're not going to let Tulsa Gabbard debate?  Do they even know how bad this looks?  She's cute, smart, young, female, Hindi, Samoan, a vet, and not crazy, setting herself apart from Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders on all counts.  At worst you could say she'd be a good Veep and since both Biden and Sanders could easily die in office, that's important.  Not clear how the Dems managed to end up with two white guys older and weirder than Trump, but they did it.  Impressive.

Coronavirus Map from NY TimesOf course the big news is Covid-19 aka "the coronavirus" which is causing people to cancel public events and stop traveling all over the world.  Elon says the corona virus panic is dumb.  Is he right?  We'll see.

I've been watching this map from the NY Times which shows actual confirmed cases.  Right now about 100K with about 3.5K people having died.  That's 3.5%, but officials seem to feel the ratio is not that bad, more like 2% (which is still bad; almost 20X "the flu").

Cancellations which have affected me: HIMSS, a big medical IT conference where President Trump was scheduled to speak, and Strade Bianche, a pro bike race I love in Ciena, Italy.

From Guy Kawasaki, news you can use: How to be a remarkable speaker.  Rule one is "have something interesting to say" :)

SETI@home - ending after 20 yearsWow, at long last SETI@home to shut down (after 20 years).  No aliens found, but sure was fun.  Man I can remember installing that on as many servers as I could, back in the day...

David Byrne on SNL: Once in a LifetimeExcellent!  David Byrne performed Once in a Lifetime on SNL last week and it was excellent.  One of my all-time most quoted songs ... how did I get here?

Same as it ever was...

all the minerals in the world, visualizedI could pretty much link every post from the Visual Capitalist, but I won't (and you should subscribe to them); here's a great one: all of the world's metals and minerals in one infographic.  So cool...  we are living in a material world ...

Onward ... and best of luck to SpaceX on their launch tonight!  "The first orbital spacecraft designed and built by SpaceX is set to smash a reusability record on its 20th and final International Space Station (ISS) resupply launch, hopefully ending an exceptional career with yet another noteworthy achievement."  fXf


Iditarod: are you ready for some sled dog racing?

Friday,  03/06/20  06:06 PM

Jim Lanier and his all white teamOne important worldwide event *not* affected by Covid-19 is the 2020 Iditarod, which … starts tomorrow!

The annual sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome is 1,000 miles through frozen wilderness, and it kicks off tomorrow with 57 teams competing.

About ten years ago my company Aperio invited musher DeeDee Jonrowe to speak at our annual sales meeting.  She’s a cancer survivor and veteran Iditarod racer, and a wonderful speaker.  I learned about mushing and the Iditarod, and became a fan.  DeeDee retired a couple of years ago after 36 races, finishing in the top ten 16 times and 2nd twice.  This year I'm rooting for Jim Lanier, a 79-year old former pathologist for Providence Health who has run the race 20 times.  He’s known for having white dogs in his team; that’s them above right.  Go Jim!

{Another thing about Jim, he wrote a book about mushing called Beyond Ophir which I highly recommend}

Iditarod - the Northern RouteEach musher starts with 14 dogs (yes you read that right, the rules have been changed, it used to be 16) and alternatively runs and rests for about nine days until they reach Nome, passing through 22 checkpoints along the way.  The race alternates with slightly different routes in even and odd years; this year the race is taking the “Northern Route”, which is considered easier.  Heh.

Most of the checkpoints are tiny native villages.  Like the last two years there’s plenty of snow, in fact maybe too much; there is talk of snow drifts and banks and hidden trails.  And many moose, who tend to like following the musher’s tracks and who can attack teams at any moment.  Not to mention cold cold weather.

Like many endurance events, the Iditarod requires a lot of team strategy.  Do you run fast and rest a lot, or run slow and steady?  Do you run in the heat of the day (the dogs can overheat), or in the cool of the night, risking losing the trail or encountering moose?  Do you stop in the checkpoints or camp in the wilderness?  Feed lots of snacks often, or bigger meals at longer intervals?  And do you go out fast and build a lead, or conserve strength and prevail in the end?  It’s a lot of fun to watch it all play out.

Peter Kaiser, 2019 Iditarod champion with his lead dogsLast year we had a great two-up finish; after nine days the two leaders were just over a mile apart!  Pete Kaiser ended up winning; that’s him with his lead dogs at right, having narrowly edged out defending champion Joar-Leifseth Ulsom.  They're both back this year along with four other ex-champions.

The big story last year was Nic Petit; for the second year in a row he was leading the race coming out of Shaktoolik onto the ice of Norton sound, and for the second year in a row his team freaked out on the ice.  After 12 hours of camping and trying to settle his team, he scratched.  He’s back again too and it will be most interesting to see how he does out there.

I'll try to resist giving hourly updates, although in early March I do find myself checking the status of the race pretty often.  I will keep you posted.

Cheers, and Go Jim!


I'm back

Sunday,  03/01/20  11:03 PM

Ole, sailingYay, I'm back!  Yes, it was a great trip* - thank you for asking - and no, I am not that thrilled to be back yet.  They say a good vacation is one which you're glad when you're gone and also glad when you're back, so perhaps this one wasn't long enough :)  Already planning the next one ...

* many pictures on FB

Meanwhile, it's all happening...

Economist: American NightmareSo, do you think the Economist editors like Trump?  No, they do not.  But also they are committed libertarians and they do not like Bernie Sanders.  A Trump/Sanders election would be a nightmare for them.  Kind of like Boris Johnson running against Jeremy Corbyn...  But somehow they have to rationalize their dislike of Trump (and Johnson) with their popularity (and results).

Wired: A tribute to Wikipedia, "one of the few remaining places that retain the faintly utopian glow of the early World Wide Web".  Wikipedia is the best, a beautiful thing based on user-generated content which somehow evolved to keep itself from being corrupted by its users.

the Forth Railway Bridge, 1890This is great: Construction of the Forth Railway Bridge.  "Spanning 541 meters over the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh's Forth Railway Bridge became the longest cantilever bridge in the world when the future King Edward VII drove its final 'golden' rivet on March 4, 1890."  Yes, there are pictures, and yes, you must click through to see them.  Isn't it amazing what people were able to do before computers?

Solar Orbiter visits the sunCan we say this is cool?  Solar Orbiter heads to the sun in mission to unravel its mysteries.  "The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Solar Orbiter spacecraft is traveling through the cosmos. Its destination: the inner solar system. The 3,900-lb. (1,800-kg) spacecraft will work in tandem with NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to unravel solar mysteries that have puzzled scientists for decades."  Excellent.

whatever happened to flying boats?Yeah, so whatever happened to flying boats?  At first it seems obvious that airplanes should land on land, but then, when you think about it, maybe landing on water is more logical ... nothing to build, water all over the place, and easy emergency landings on long flights.

the true size of AfricaSo this is amazing ... the true size of Africa.  It's ginormous!  I knew Mercator projections distorted relative sizes, but this is pretty dramatic.  {I have to say, the Visual Capitalist is one of my favorite new sites, so much great stuff...}

Brain Salad Surgery :: Karn Evil 9OMG: ELP's classic Karn Evil 9 to be made into a movie.  Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends, we're so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside!

And I'll leave you with this MUST READ think piece from Peter Thiel: Back to the Future.  Of all the people I've ever worked with, I find Peter to be consistently the most thought-provoking.  So great...


gone sailin'

Tuesday,  02/18/20  08:08 PM

BVIsHi all I'm gone sailin', back in March...

In the meantime look for me on Facebook, I'll try to post some pictures :)




Saturday,  02/15/20  12:03 PM

200K!Hi all ... my Tesla Model S just passed 200K, after 7 years!

Max charge used to be 270 and daily (90%) was 245. Now is 245 and 220, so a loss of about 11%.

  • Biggest regret is that they've become so popular :)
  • Biggest unexpected benefit is the supercharger network, unknown when I bought the car.
  • Biggest maintenance issue is tires; I get about 20K per set, so am on about my 10th set.
  • Biggest nice thing is not stopping for gas all the time.  And 200K is about 10K gallons or about $30K.
  • [Update: another big nice thing is being able to take any and I mean any car off the line.  I didn't even list this at first because I've come to take it for granted, but in the early days it was so much fun accelerating onto the freeway next to a Corvette or BMW or Porsche :)]
  • Biggest too-bad-ness is not being able to use diamond lanes anymore.  That was nice for a long time.
  • Biggest thing I didn't know when I bought the car – how nice it would be to have such a big trunk.  And roof rack.  I do regret that I'm not allowed to tow things but understand there’s a nice aftermarket solution to this now and might explore it.

Many new features via software updates; biggest include voice command, creep, GPS enhancements (traffic!), audio enhancements (spotify!), geofencing for garage door and air shock leveling, enabling WiFi, trip predictor, and valet mode.  And fireplace!

Tesla original skeuomorphic UIWorst change is getting rid of the skeuomorphic UI (shown at left) and giving in to Windows 8 look.  Although full screen GPS in 10.x is good.  And browser has become so slow as to be unusable, not sure why (overall memory consumption?)

Ongoing engineer-ness in the UI: using Wh/mi as a unit.  C'mon like anyone knows what that means.  Ave mph would be okay.

Cheers and onward!



cool stuff

Thursday,  02/13/20  10:19 PM

star eat starI've been traveling and reading and have some cool stuff to share...

This is a *real* picture of a red giant star "swallowing" another star.  How cool is that?

quadratic equation solverThis professor's amazing trick makes quadratic equations easier.  Cool!  In addition to being easier, this method makes more sense, so that you can remember it or even re-derive it when necessary.

Economist: Britain after Brexit.  After not having supported Brexit nor having understood why the majority of British people voted to leave the EU, the Economist editors double down by hoping Boris Johnson will follow Liberalism as his lodestar.  This is *not* the Onion, but you could be forgiven for thinking so.

More Economist: Who will be Donald Trump's most forceful foe?  Before you click through, ask yourself who do you think is the answer to this?  And then read their answer: Joe Biden (!?).  Um ... no.  I believe the editors have lost the thread entirely.

Apropos: In Dem primary field, the idea of a moderate is a myth.  Obama was the second most liberal person in the Senate (behind John Kerry), and literally all of the current Democrat candidates are to the left of him.  Including [former Republican] Michael Bloomberg.

the rock - a new huge diamond is discovered, and disrupts the industryFrom the New Yorker: The Rock.  In which a huge new diamond is found, and disrupts the industry.  I always like reading about diamonds as the classic case of marketing to create demand ... did you know that diamonds are not rare?  (And are in fact more common than many gemstones which are less valuable?)  Anyway, cool.

solar flare!Good news: A new spacecraft will examine the sun close up.  "On February 10th a rocket blasted off from Florida carrying Solar Orbiter, a European space probe designed to solve some of them. This craft will spend the next two years performing fly-bys of Venus and Earth, using the gravity of both planets to kick itself into an unusual orbit that will take it well above the ecliptic, the plane in which all of the sun’s planets orbit."  Yay.

Founders at work: Steve Wozniak.  Linked via Paul Graham who comments "lots to learn from in this".  No kidding.  A great overview of what makes great engineers, and great products.  I love the emphasis on elegance; I believe Woz would agree with W=UH :)


Black Sabbath : Black Sabbath - 50 years ago!Did you know?  It's the 50th anniversary of Black Sabbath's eponymous debut album.  "What is this that stands before me?"

Ladysmith Black Mambazo : The Lion Sleeps TonightFinally this: The Lion Sleeps Tonight.  Bummed to hear of the passing of Joseph Shabalala, founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.  One of the best concerts I've seen from a band I didn't know at all when I saw them was LBM.  They were at the Greek Theater - it was filled - and just about everyone in the audience sang along.


Adventures in Perception

Thursday,  02/06/20  11:29 PM

M.C.Escher at workIn 1971 Dutch filmmaker Han Van Gelder captured the artistic incredible process of M.C.Escher in the 20 minute documentary entitled "Adventures in Perception".  Sooo cool.

I think "adventures in perception" would be a great tagline for my blog :)

quantum entanglement for babiesHeh; this book actually exists - apparently it's a good overview of "quantum action at a distance".  I love the picture, either the kid or the Dad could be me :)

So... does quantum entanglement really exist?  Or is it a phenomenon which is "only" perceptual?

Shelly Palmer: How do you see the Future?  "It’s not a game. It’s a test. And your answers are your future."  A great framework for understanding what you believe.

Waaay back in April 2016 - before Trump was elected, or taken seriously as a Presidential candidate - Bernie Sanders suggested that low voter turnout among poor people hurt our democracy.  He was right about differential voting rates between economic classes, but is that good or bad?  Maybe from his perspective as an ardent Socialist, it's bad.  But from my perspective, I think wealthier people are more intelligent (causation actually runs the other way), and hence more likely to understand candidates and issues and make good decisions for everyone.  What do you believe?

3D-printed prosthetic legBertie Mesko: The finest examples of brilliant healthcare design.  "It’s unbelievable how positively simple and thoughtful healthcare design can impact patients’ healing process!"

Of course I have to note - though Bertie did not - that telehealth is a great experience for patients and often does help their healing process.

da Vinci's Viola organista is brought to lifeAleteia: After 500 years, Leonardo da Vinci's music machine is brought to life.  "His marvelous Viola organista sounds like a chamber orchestra due to its design."  Please click through to the video, it's well worth a listen...



two fuse puzzle

Wednesday,  02/05/20  11:24 PM

Unrelated to three dog night :)

you are a wizard...The other day I asked: "Imagine that you're making a magic potion. You're a wizard with a long beard. But - the potion only works if you wait exactly 45 minutes before you stir it. If you stir it before or after the potion's totally ruined. You don't have a smartphone. You don't have a watch. You don't have any kind of time measuring device. What you have is two fuses of irregular consistency. The one thing you know for a fact is that it takes an hour for each of these fuses to burn from one end to the other. How do you use these to measure exactly 45 minutes?"

  • Ignore that you're a wizard with a long beard.
  • Take the first fuse, and light both ends.  At the same time light one end of the second fuse.
  • After exactly 30 minutes, the flames from the two ends of the first fuse will meet and the fuse will go out.
  • At that moment, light the other end of the second fuse.
  • After exactly 15 more minutes, the flames from the two ends of the second fuse will meet and the fuse will go out.
  • Poof!  Time to stir the potion.



Fairly recent posts:

03/29/20 11:05 PM -

social distancing

03/29/20 11:01 PM -

welcome to the club

03/21/20 11:27 PM -


03/21/20 11:09 PM -

Iditarod: Nome run

03/14/20 11:51 PM -

pandemic pass

03/14/20 11:37 PM -

Iditarod: halfway Nome

03/08/20 09:28 PM -

Sunday,  03/08/20  09:28 PM

03/06/20 06:23 PM -

Friday,  03/06/20  06:23 PM

03/06/20 06:06 PM -

Iditarod: are you ready for some sled dog racing?

03/01/20 11:03 PM -

I'm back

02/18/20 08:08 PM -

gone sailin'

02/15/20 12:03 PM -


02/13/20 10:19 PM -

cool stuff

02/06/20 11:29 PM -

Adventures in Perception

02/05/20 11:24 PM -

two fuse puzzle

02/05/20 10:18 PM -


02/02/20 08:46 PM -

0202 2020

02/01/20 07:51 PM -

Superbowl Eve

02/01/20 07:38 PM -

the floating piers

01/31/20 10:24 PM -


01/30/20 10:53 PM -

Thursday,  01/30/20  10:53 PM

01/30/20 10:33 PM -

iPad turns 10

01/26/20 08:43 PM -

Sunday,  01/26/20  08:43 PM

01/26/20 06:33 PM -

fish vs fishing

01/25/20 09:22 PM -

Saturday,  01/25/20  09:22 PM

01/23/20 07:23 PM -

already gone

01/22/20 11:30 PM -

head food

01/22/20 11:21 PM -

solar system changes

01/21/20 11:29 PM -

yellow week

01/21/20 10:15 PM -

writers' conundrum

For older posts please visit the archive.


this date in:
About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji The Nest Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
progress ratches