stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
There is a lineage of salamanders characterized by the following.
1) They're all female.
2) To produce offspring, each female must mate with (male) salamanders of three different species and incorporate some of each male's genes into their eggs.

Here's the scoop.

Haldane scores again.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Just one token of the greatness of that admittedly cheesy series:

The Villains of Batman

Look at that list of actors, and bow down.


Jun. 4th, 2017 07:31 pm
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
The paper I've been working on, "Towards a Taxonomy of Polygons I: Form Classes and Triangles", is just about done. Truth to tell, I've been stalling, going over it again and again.

"That could be worded better."
"I can't use that concept yet; it isn't defined until the next subsection!"
"Do I really need to mention that in this paper?"

... yeah, stalling.

I've begun thinking about the structure of the second paper in the sequence, "TaToP II: Isolated Classes". I've known what's going to be in it for quite some time, but the details of its organization need fleshing out. That's where the next problem arises. TaToP I introduces a lot of machinery that I'll be using throughout this series of papers, and the later papers will have to, at least, recap the machinery. Thinking about it, I've realized that the recap will be a lot easier (and more comprehensible) if I change the notation I've been using. To be honest, it's not very good notation. Good notation should make it easier to think, and it certainly shouldn't be confusing - and the notation I've been using fails on both counts.

I've worked out how to clean that up. Doing so (and making another change that goes along with it) will require me to completely rewrite one section of TaToP I, and then change the notation in the rest of the paper to fit. Gaah... but it will make it a slightly better paper.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
The San Diego Padres, who boast the second-worst record in the major leagues, just completed a three-game sweep of the defending world champion Chicago Cubs. They did this largely on the strength of outstanding performances by rookies Dinelson Lamet, Hunter Renfroe, and Franchy Cordero and second-year man Luis Perdomo.

The 2017 Padres are a bad team. The 2018 Padres will almost certainly be a bad team. But the kids are coming, and the kids are all right. Watch out for 2019.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I need to buy some new bedsheets.

According to various websites, the narrowest of the standard mattress sizes is 39", for the Twin and Twin XL.

My mattress is 36" wide. I also have two beds in the guest room, neither of which is as much as 39" wide.

I guess I'll have to go without a fitted sheet, instead going with two of the - would you call them topsheets? - sheets that go on top of the fitted sheet.

How recent is the current standardization? I bought my bed and its mattresses twenty-five or thirty years ago....


May. 30th, 2017 01:39 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
The following passage from Polybius somehow strikes me funny. "He" is King Philip of Macedonia.

"[H]e came before daybreak to Meliteia, and placing scaling ladders against the walls, attempted to take the town by escalade. The suddenness and unexpectedness of the attack so dismayed the people of Meliteia, that he would easily have taken the town; but he was baffled by the fact of the ladders proving to be far too short."

(Polybius spends the next section pointing out how stupid this was.)


May. 28th, 2017 05:03 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Last week, for one reason or another, I went with frozen dinners. Today, though, I decided to cook again, and made a pot of Thai Peanut Chicken. It's a pretty easy dish - only a few ingredients, with easy prep. (Chicken, peanut sauce, carrots, green onions, rice, peanuts, cilantro, red bell pepper - and I left out the last two.) The only halfway exotic ingredient was the peanut sauce, but if you can find it at the Edwardsville Shop'n'Save, you can probably find it just about anywhere. Slow-cooker, of course.

It's definitely on the picante side, but the first helping was very tasty. Things usually improve the second or third time around, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

:pats belly:


May. 28th, 2017 04:46 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Something odd has been happening on my desktop computer.

At intervals (it appears to be once an hour, at about the :45 mark), a small, empty, and transparent frame appears on the (primary) monitor; it grows rapidly, to perhaps 20% of the screen, then vanishes. The event takes less than a second, so I haven't been able to catch what process is involved.

Should I be worried?

ETA: I now find that, for that split-second, it also grabs focus.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Get ready for pack-hunting snakes.

And wait until you read about their bat-catching techniques....

:hides under covers:
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Every so often I forget how much I hate the hiccups.

I always get reminded.

stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
In the justly beloved movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, there is a scene in which the naive new senator is entrapped by a group of cynical reporters, who dupe him into being photographed in easily-misinterpreted poses. When he learns of the deception, he races through the streets of Washington, tracking down and assaulting each of the reporters. The audience is clearly intended to understand, or even approve of, his actions - though, to be fair, he does wind up learning that he fell into a rookie's trap, and resolves to become a better senator.

Last night, Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte, on being asked a question he did not want to answer, apparently assaulted a reporter, body-slamming him to the ground and then ordering him out of the room. (Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault.) Response from the left blogosphere has been furious; from the right has come tepid condemnation, or in some cases approval. Anecdotes are coming in that at least some Republican voters, entering the polling places for today's special election, still intend to vote for Gianforte despite last night's incident.

I find the attitude of these voters repellent, but, with Mr. Smith in mind, I guess I can understand it.
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
Apparently Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was very pleased by the fact that there were no protesters - "not one bad placard" - during their visit to Saudi Arabia. The fact that this might be because Saudi Arabia does not allow protests does not seem to concern him.

Well, at least he's not the Secretary of State.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Every so often, while reading one of the classics of antiquity, I get suddenly clubbed by the radical differences in attitude between now and then. In Arrian's book on Alexander, it was the repetition of "We came to a village, and asked them to give us all their gold. They refused, so we killed them all and took the gold anyway." (Not that that attitude isn't present today, but most people wouldn't say it so bluntly.)

I'm reading Polybius' history - just getting to the point where the various ongoing wars more or less coalesced - and ran across a reference to "the first necessaries of existence, cattle and slaves"....
stoutfellow: (Three)
When I got up this morning, it was raining, as expected. I checked Dark Sky, and it forecast "Heavy Rain" for the next several hours. To make my appointment, I would have to leave at 7:30, and at 7:30 it was, indeed, raining heavily. I called the groomer to cancel, leaving a message on their answering machine.

By 8:00, it had stopped raining, and Dark Sky now says we'll have a couple of hours of "Light Rain" starting at 9:00, followed by three hours without rain.


(In fairness, Buster and I would have gotten very wet on the trip over, but by the time the groomer picked up the message, my claim that "this weather is just impossible" must have seemed laughable.)
stoutfellow: (Three)
Yesterday, I took Gracie to the groomer. It was a nice sunny day - a bit on the hot side, but not too bad. She seems much happier now; her fur had gotten long enough to interfere with her vision, and she'd been rather skittish as a result.

Tomorrow morning, it's Buster's turn. The forecast is for rain. (Not "light rain", not "heavy rain", just "rain".) I don't have a stroller that Buster would fit in, and it's a bit less than a mile walk. I am going to arrive at the groomer with a very shaggy, very wet dog.... I think I've figured out how to get there with a large dry towel, but it won't be enough. I hope they'll be good-humored about it.
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
I'm currently reading Mandeville's Travels. Lots of bizarre stuff - dog-headed men, pygmies who war with the birds, headless men with eyes in their chests - which is pretty much as I expected. But I just ran across something which surprised me a bit.

There was a tradition of Biblical interpretation which identified Ham, Shem, and Japheth as the ancestors of the peoples of, respectively, Africa, Asia, and Europe. This, combined with the story of the drunkenness of Noah and Ham's reaction, was used to justify race-based slavery. Mandeville, however, assorts them differently; for him, Ham (or Cham) is the ancestor of Asia, and Shem that of Africa. He refers to the same story to identify Cham as a violent and selfish man, and hence the ancestor of those men of power known as the Chams - that being a common variant on the title "Khan". (He goes on to tell a distorted but recognizable version of the life of Genghis, together with brief accounts of some of his successors.)

Mandeville is interesting. The first part of the book describes the Middle East, and at least tries to approximate reality, but once he gets as far as "the isles of Ind", he goes off the rails. He is aware that the world is round, and gives the common estimate of its size - which he rejects as probably too small, and his estimate does seem to be closer to the correct value.

33 to 45

May. 18th, 2017 09:45 am
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
My father hated Harry Truman - absolutely despised him for his handling of the MacArthur affair during the Korean War. (I once heard him refer to HST as "Hairy Ass Truman".) He and I had more than one loud argument over the matter, but no minds were ever changed.

I've been thinking about Truman a fair bit lately, and especially about two of his most famous aphorisms (the first of which my father occasionally used, despite his opinion of the man):

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

"The buck stops here."

Can't imagine why those keep coming to mind.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
Robert Mueller, eh? Most of my sources seem to think he's a good choice - and he was involved, along with Comey, in the resistance to warrantless wiretapping during Bush the Younger's presidency. He seems to have been given a pretty broad remit, too.

Let's see what happens.


May. 17th, 2017 11:20 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I have not had coffee in something like two and a half months. I ran out of beans in mid-March, and between the weather and my teaching schedule, I haven't had a chance to get over to Goshen since then. I've been getting my caffeine fix from tea.

Until today. With the semester over and spring (hah! more like summer) weather having arrived, I was finally able to take the trip over. (It was actually nice enough to walk, but I bought a monthly bus pass for May and haven't gotten my money's worth yet.) I bought one bag each of my usual Ethiopian and Sumatran single-source, and one bag each of the two Secret Stashes - one from Java, one from Ethiopia (a different blend).

I am now sipping a very nice cup of Sumatran coffee. Bliss....
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I am, generally speaking, not a creative cook. I follow recipes to the best of my ability, and I am willing to try new things; I occasionally improvise, when one or another ingredient is unavailable, but that's as far as I go.

This week, I made a batch of arroz con queso. As the name suggests, it's a rice and cheese dish, with tomatoes, black beans, onions and garlic. This was the second or third time I've made it. Unfortunately, when I went out for ingredients, I forgot to get cottage cheese. The recipe calls for a cup of that, and also a cup of shredded Monterey Jack. I decided to go with two cups of the latter as a substitute. The result is edible, but rather dry, probably as a result of the substitution. I'll know not to do that next time.

(Gracie has been begging for scraps, but with the onion and garlic in the dish, she's doomed to disappointment.)

It did occur to me that the dish could use a bit more texture. I'm thinking that next time I make it I might throw in some peanuts. (Cashews? No, that would be too rich, I think.) Maybe improv substitution isn't my limit, after all. We shall see.


stoutfellow: Joker (Default)

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