Sunday, January 21, 2018

Programming Poetry

Recording here for posterity:

CPU performance, the app did suck it.
The programmer apparently said #@$% it.
A hash should be fast,
But this one, alas,
Put everything into one bucket.


Pointers, he'd seen quite a few.
Some const or with references to.
Yet in a flash
The program did crash.
He'd forgotten to properly new.

State of the 'Blog 2017

Well, you can't say 2017 wasn't an interesting year. For me personally, it was a reasonably poor one for a variety of reasons I won't go into here. This has lead to a turning inward that inevitably happens when I am stressed.

As for the old 'blog, it continues to limp onward with a general dearth of content. The post count was down to nearly the level of 2012, the year I was commuting three hours a day. I am not going to predict that things will improve this year, as social media continues to compete with classical blogging for ease of use and garners much more attention. Still, I'm not dead yet, and 2017 did have some interesting things to write about. I don't know how much content will show up for the newly introduced eye in pyramid category, but the assent of President Trump has opened the gates into the backwater of conspiracy theories in ways I have not seen in my lifetime. And of course, as the world (and the Internet particularly) tilts more and more toward a William Gibson-esque reality, weird is more commonplace than it used to be. And so onward we go into the new year, and everything old is new again.

And in parting, music from Space Battleship Yamato, because old obsessions don't die, they just become part of the fabric of you.

Bookworming: The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride, William Goldman, ****
A lovely, sly, witty book that is so well known I don't really feel I have much to add to the existing reviews. That said, if you have seen the movie and are interested in reading the book, the tone is slightly different while the story offers you little new. Thus this is a rare case where I recommend the movie over the book.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Stuff I Enjoyed This Year

As the end of the year approaches, I thought I would pass on some things that I enjoyed.

The Allusionist, a podcast about words. Always interesting, relatively short, and highly recommended for anyone who likes words, history, and/or learning about why such things are.

PBS Space Time. Space Time is a lovely, astoundingly accessible intro into current concepts and goings on in astrophysics. The concepts are advanced, including relativity and quantum field theory, but you don't need a deep math background to understand the vidoes. And that makes me jealous of the writing and presentation skills on display. Recommended for anyone with an interest in space or space physics who can handle some advanced topics.

For those looking for a physics fix that is a bit lighter and much broader, Physics Girl has you covered. This one is especially suited to a younger audience.

Keeping on the science theme, geophysicist Mika McKinnon posts interesting science and plush companions. And she is a great gateway into the land of science twitter.

If going onto twitter feels like feeding the darkness in your soul this year, don't worry, Black Metal Cats will confirm your worst fears while contributing to your internet required daily allowance of obeisance to the furred ones.

The Etcetra Kid creates music live on stream with heavy interaction from the chat. The backing drum beats are generated from chat usernames, selections of instrument sets are by request, the titles are submitted and selected by the chat (with some curation). The result is a unique kind of show, and an impressive display of skill.

According to the bookworming scores, Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology was my favorite of the books I read this year.

Happy holidays to those celebrating, feel free to pass on stuff you liked this year.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Spoiler-Free Star Wars: The Last Jedi Capsule Review

I am one of those people who has some issues with "The Last Jedi." I think it has crippling writing flaws, several missed opportunities, and some Abrams-legacy issues. (Plus a bit of tech that completely breaks the universe.) I also thought it had several of the best scenes in any Star Wars movie ever, the best baddie since Vader, and also the most spectacular piece of spaceship art I've ever seen on film. You'll know that one when you see it.

I may write more on this one after some time has passed.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Bookworming: 2017 Summary

Only 15 for the year. Not a record low, but on the lower end. We'll see if I manage to do better next year.

My rating scale:
* I didn't care for it.
** Meh
*** Good for those who like that sort of thing.
**** Just plain good, likely to be read again some time.
***** Destined to be a personal favorite, likely to be read over and over again.


Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 1, Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, Jeph Loeb
Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman
Star Wars Darth Vader Vol. 1 Vader, Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca, Adi Granov

The Foxfire Book, Eliot Wigginton
Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files Vol. 2, Wagner et al
Jupiter, Ben Bova
The Laughing Corpse, Laurell K. Hamilton
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1 No Normal, G. Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Sara Pichelli
Star Wars Vol. 1 Skywalker Strikes,  Jason Aaron, John Cassaday, Laura Martin
Thor Vol. 1, J. Michael Straczynski

Vision of the Future, Timothy Zhan
Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
Eon, Greg Bear
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01, John Wagner et. al.
Outer Banks Mysteries & Seaside Stories, Charles Harry Whedbee


Bookworming: Jupiter

Jupiter, Ben Bova, ***
There is quite a bit going on in the background of this planetary exploration novel. Unfortunately, being in the background, very little of it has anything to do with the plot. Much of the sci-fi technology on hand seems somewhat unnecessary as well. However, it is a decent enough story once it gets rolling and the background goings on give the world a bit more weight than it would have otherwise had. Fans of "hard" sci-fi may find something enjoyable here, but it is probably a bit slow and a bit light on character building for general audiences.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Steam Powered Rocket Funded by Flat Earthers

The Washington Post shows admirable restraint in this story about a California man whose hobby is building homemade rockets. He had some trouble securing funding for his latest endeavor, but joining the flat earth community and presenting his plans as a way to prove Earth is a disk garnered some cash. His pitch hits the normal conspiracy notes. Government controlled by Freemasons. Astronauts are actors and also Freemasons (although he references CGI rather than sound-stages as a backdrop).

Sadly, I suspect there is only one way the escalating series of launches will end for him, should he continue to find a way to pay for them. And proving the Earth is flat isn't it.