Content-Type: text/shitpost


Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-14T13:51:01
Newsgroup: misc.jobs.20191113
Message-ID: <91bcaf255d11d043@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
  • Frank Lautenberg, longest-serving senator in New Jersey history, was a very early partner in the (now enormous) payroll-processing company ADP.

  • Cloris Leachman was “Miss Chicago 1946”, and so competed in that year's Miss America pageant.

And in sentences I wasnt expecting to read yesterday:

He's one of rock's biggest stars, but Sir Rod Stewart has finally revealed the fruits of his other great passion — model railways.

Original BBC reporting


Subject: Best part of the Fiona Hill testimony so far
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!qwerty​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-11T21:06:01
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.fiona-hill
Message-ID: <90325f25a95410b9@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

We had one candidate for election in one country that I won't state who showed up at the ██████ State Fair and worked the rope line to get a picture with the President and then put it up on the website of his campaign, claiming that he'd had a personal meeting with the President. Well, you know, it was against a backdrop, so you couldn't see the cows in the background or, you know, the farm entity, but we all thought it was quite hysterical that they go to those lengths to work the rope line ██████ to get a picture.

Deposition of Fiona Hill, page 66.


Subject: Stuff I'm glad I don't have to worry about
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!glados​!the-matrix​!mechanical-turk​!scattered-needles​!neuromancer​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-11T20:42:42
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.ayodhya-dispute
Message-ID: <cdee80ef94c39fed@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Ayodhya dispute:

The issues revolve around the control of a site traditionally regarded among Hindus to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity Rama, the history and location of the Babri Masjid at the site, and whether a previous Hindu temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque.


Subject: Do merpeople urinate?
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!hardees​!brain-in-a-vat​!am​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-11T18:40:19
Newsgroup: sci.math.merpeople
Message-ID: <dbe09dadd4fe280b@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

(Fish don't.)


Subject: Anachronistic trash truck
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!hardees​!triffid​!mechanical-turk​!berserker​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-09T15:58:44
Newsgroup: misc.jobs.trash-truck
Message-ID: <cdf433ca88ba7256@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

The side of a blue trash
truck, proclaiming “MUNICIPAL WASTE”, “RUBBISH REMOVAL”, and
“RECYCLING SERVICE”.  The truck is also emblazoned with three-arrow
recycling symbols, a waving U.S. flag, and a portrait of a
cheerful-looking Oscar the Grouch emerging from his trash can.

The 48-star flag and Oscar the Grouch are anachronistic. The flag gained its 49th and 50th stars in 1959 when Alaska and Hawai‘i were admitted as states; Oscar the Grouch first appeared on Sesame Street in the summer of 1969.

(Also, the truck says “Quality Service for Over 30 Years”. While it's possible that the truck or its owners were in service before the admission of Alaska, this implication is that it wasn't.)

I conclude that this trash truck was designed by time travellers, who failed to do adequate research.


Subject: Puns
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!gormenghast​!qwerty​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-08T17:50:24
Newsgroup: talk.bizarre.pun
Message-ID: <72020124ecce4771@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I was reading over an older blog post, and I noticed an inadvertent pun. I opened up the file so that I could insert a comment at that point that said <!-- no pun intended -->.

But there was already a comment that said <!-- that was a pun -->.


Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!uunet​!asr33​!skynet​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-07T19:20:03
Newsgroup: alt.mjd.20191107
Message-ID: <abb025653ad3596b@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
  • The “hedr-” in “polyhedron” is the Greek cognate of Latin “sede-” (“seat”), with the H becoming an S similar to the way Greek “hexa” becomes Latin “sex” and Greek “hemi” becomes Latin “semi”. I thought it meant “face”, but no, it means “seat”.


Subject: Bad line breaks
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-07T15:03:54
Newsgroup: rec.food.bad-line-breaks
Message-ID: <49bcc2949920e7ae@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

This one is from CNN this morning.

The next word was “generals”.


Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-06T17:27:12
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.20191106
Message-ID: <7fb3f398243fc6fd@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
  • In Russian, the hairy ball theorem is known as the hedgehog combing theorem.


Subject: Not quite all fifty states
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!uunet​!asr33​!hardees​!m5​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-06T17:26:36
Newsgroup: misc.misc.time-zones
Message-ID: <fa43212bb4ecfc0c@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Sort of in the same category as visiting all fifty states: a few years back I visited all four continental U.S. time zones in the space of 24 hours. I was flying from Philadelphia (Eastern) to Salt Lake City (Mountain) via Dallas (Central). There was a huge storm and I was trapped overnight in Dallas. The next morning, the airline routed me to Salt Lake via Seattle (Pacific).

Despite spending the night in an airport (and in Dallas) I was in a good mood, and I was pleased that I had accomplished this minor feat.

Also I took advantage of the unterrupted quiet time in Dallas to solve a rather tricky math problem.


Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!skordokott​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-05T19:44:19
Newsgroup: alt.mjd.20191105
Message-ID: <720a9334c60ccb7c@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
  • Orson Bean was the father-in-law of Andrew Breitbart.

  • According to this Stack Exchange post:

    In 1969, D. J. Lewis wrote a paper about Diophantine equations, in which he wrote that the equation !!x^3+5=117y^3!! is known to have at most 18 solutions, but the exact number is not known. Two other mathematicians studied the equation and, in 1971, they published a short but difficult proof that there are no solutions. Finally, in 1973, another mathematician published a surprisingly short proof that there are no solutions. The proof is:

    The quantity !!x^3+5!! is never a multiple of 9, but the quantity !!117y^3!! is always a multiple of 9, so there are no solutions

  • Roman Polanski asserted that Bruce Lee's eyeglasses were found at the scene of the Sharon Tate murder.


Subject: My visits to the fifty states
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!twirlip​!wescac​!skynet​!m5​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-01T18:15:54
Newsgroup: sci.math.states
Message-ID: <9624c88fe72033d8@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I have not yet hit all fifty, but I am working on it. The rules are, visits that only pass through the airport on the way to somewhere else do not count, but if I were to get away from the airport even for a couple of hours, that would count. And driving through in a car does count, even if I didn't stop. I'm not sure I've had to actually apply either of these rules, but it's good to know what the parameters are.

I'm pretty sure I've been through the Minneapolis airport, I remember looking out the plane window and saying “wow, they really do have a lot of lakes”. Whatever, it doesn't count.

Visited

Alaska (twice!), Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawai‘i (three times! truly, I am blessed), Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia.

The most recent ones checked off the list were Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Lorrie and the girls were away at some Harry Potter con, so I took an awesome road trip westward to Indianapolis, then south to Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, and back via West Virginia, crossing three states off the list and also seeing Mammoth Cave, which has been on my bucket list for at least forty years. I have an unfinished blog post about this and someday you might hear about it.

Not yet

Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia were the last low-hanging fruit. None of the states I haven't been to yet are convenient driving distance from Philadelphia, and many of them are large and far apart:

Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

The prospect is a bit daunting but Katara and Toph are getting older and in a few years will be able to take care of themselves, which will leave more time for driving tours of the Great Plains.

Future plans

Map of
the U.S. with states I have visited colored purple, states not yet
visited are pink.  The pink states are in a large connected area
covering most of the Great Plains and upper Midwest, down to Oklahoma,
and then east across the deep South, minus Georgia.  Plus Maine.

Maine and South Carolina are closest to where I live. I need to start planning more carefully. One road trip I've always wanted to take is to circumnavigate Lake Michigan. I might start in Chicago, drive up through Wisconsin, stopping in Neenah (does the foundry give tours? I can look at the outside, at least) and in Plover (because of the name). Then into the Upper Peninsula, over the Straits of Mackinac, down through Michigan, and back to Chicago via Indiana. This was a bit more attractive when it checked off three states instead of only two, but that's the way it goes. And I didn't get as much time as I wanted to look around Indianapolis.

Miscellaneous

I have not yet visited American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, or Guam. But I have been to the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

To make that map, I said “Gee, I wish there was a web site where I could click on a map of the U.S. to change the colors of the states, and then download a PNG of the result. And then I typed make map of u.s. into Google, and the top hit was https://mapchart.net/usa.html , which was precisely what I had wanted. Truly, we live in an age of marvels.

Also

Barry Stiefel set it as a goal to visit all fifty states in the course of a one-week vacation (both weekends included) and actually acomplished this literal tour de force.

His web site has disappeared, but here is an archived copy of his description of how he accomplished this feat.


Subject: An anecdote about French
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!kremvax​!hal9000​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-11-01T17:15:19
Newsgroup: misc.misc.french
Message-ID: <ed41d87f96db0d9f@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I do not speak French, but as long-time readers of my blog are aware, I can put together a quarter-assed attempt at many things, and in speaking French I can mash together stock phrases, scraps of other people's discarded French, some high school Latin, and some knowledge of Indo-European etymology to make a garbage omelet that is not French but can, in very limited quantity, be used in place of French.

In Switzerland, this worked. I would address a waiter and say “Un plat petit pour mademoiselle, c'il vous plait” and the waiter would promptly set a small plate before Katara, then age 14 months.

In Paris, when I tried the same thing, it did not work at all. The Parisians produced no plates. The waiter would look at me blankly, and instead of a plate they would produce a honking noise from their nose. In Paris, I spoke English or nothing.

Another thing that worked in Switzerland but not in Paris: my Parisian host asked what I would particularly like to do while I was in Paris. I said I would particularly like to visit a restaurant that served horse meat. He said he believed people no longer ate horse meat and that it would be nearly impossible to find a restaurant that served it. In Lausanne I found horse meat on the menu without even making an effort.

Conspiracy theorists of the Internet: How are these related?

Horse meat is pretty good. Or at least, it is in Switzerland. But maybe the French hoard all the best horse meat for themselves.


Subject: Above average in every way
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-31T20:52:10
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.above-average
Message-ID: <864d082bedbeb0eb@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Every once in a while I go to a restaurant that is excellent, not in any particular way, but only overall. The food isn't excellent, but it is very good and served hot. The prices aren't unusually low, but they are reasonable. The service isn't flashy, but it is prompt and efficient. The interior space isn't beautiful or magnificent but it is pleasant and attractive.

We have a phrase in English, “to damn with faint praise”, and that might sound like what I'm doing here. But I'm trying to do the opposite of that. To do everything adequately is hard. To do everything a little better than adequately is damn near impossible. It requires a global attention to process control, and a flawlessness of execution, that is extremely difficult to achieve. To be consistently above average is itself a domain of excellence. But I don't know any handy vocabulary for it, so it seems difficult to talk about.

And I don't think our culture gives this kind of excellence as much credit as it deserves. I'm not trying to rag on the Olympics, but the Olympics is the opposite of this: people train their whole lives, sacrifice everything, to produce a single perfect ten-second performance. There is no Olympic medal for being better-than-average in every way.

(Possible counterpoint: Professional baseball does reward consistency and overall above-averageness.)


Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!ihnp4​!hal9000​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-31T20:08:49
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.20191031
Message-ID: <1499975c697fd39e@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost


Subject: Cartoons
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!hardees​!triffid​!grey-area​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-30T20:24:16
Newsgroup: sci.math.cartoons
Message-ID: <d4b9ce7d59c645e2@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Wouldn't it have been great if there had been a Saturday morning cartoon about Andy Warhol solving mysteries? And then there might have been Andy Warhol action figures.

Alternatively, what if Buckeroo Banzai were removed from his movie, and replaced with Warhol? Big improvement, I think. Except the title would make even less sense.


Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!twirlip​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-30T16:29:15
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.20191030
Message-ID: <09d611908afc1b7b@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
  • [Unisys is still in business](https://www.inquirer.com/news/unisys- earnings-third-quarter-government-contractor-20191030.html). But why?


Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-29T18:41:18
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.20191029
Message-ID: <052a6980f9caf633@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
  • Rod Stewart recorded a cover of “Moon River”.


Subject: Pink Moon
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!gormenghast​!hal9000​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-29T16:41:49
Newsgroup: misc.misc.pink-moon
Message-ID: <06b8808583b6e3c0@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I would kinda like to hear a death metal version of Nick Drake's “Pink Moon”.


Subject: Composition of dictionaries
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!uunet​!asr33​!skynet​!m5​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-29T16:40:27
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.transitive-dictionary
Message-ID: <68c574477f63a1c7@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Suppose you had an English-Spanish dictionary (computer-readable) and an English-Russian dictionary. Could you compose them algorithmically to generate a Spanish-Russian dictionary? And if you could, would it be any good? What techniques might you use to make it better?


Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!glados​!the-matrix​!mechanical-turk​!brain-in-a-vat​!berserker​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-28T21:20:29
Newsgroup: rec.food.20191028
Message-ID: <f3638b98a3efb6ea@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
  • You can't combine git-log's -3 flag with -p to get -3p. You have to speciy them separately.

  • rsync --inplace doesn't always mix well with -a. Suppose you're rsyncing a file with read-only permissions. The first time, this works. But if the file content changes, the second rsync will fail, because it will try to open the target file for in-place updating, and the permissions prohibit that. 


Subject: Hungarian ő
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!skordokott​!berserker​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-28T17:50:39
Newsgroup: alt.sex.long-o
Message-ID: <b1da6ca89b1d3a0c@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

A while back I assigned a compose-key sequence to the Hungarian long-O character ‘ő’, because every so often I need to type “Erdős” and I don't want to have to stop and copy it from somewhere. Or, God forbid, misspell it. (Note that ő is not the same as ö, which already had a key sequence. Hungarian has ö also, and it is a different letter.)

I had never used the ő for anything other than Erdős — until today, when I sent a co-worker a message in which I mentioned the Hungarian Pengő repeatedly. Yaaay!


Subject: Mirror Universe
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!uunet​!asr33​!gormenghast​!hal9000​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-28T17:37:03
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.mirror-universe
Message-ID: <1d90d09ee8e6ba46@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I wonder what the Star Trek Mirror Universe version of me is like? Presumably he wears a goatee.


Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-26T02:30:31
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.20191025
Message-ID: <fd9ef9663cd72b3b@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
  • Venezuelan Spanish has a term, pitiyanqui, which is entirely analogous to “weeaboo”.

  • I spelled “Kreutzfeldt-Jakob” perfectly, go me! Except no, it starts with a C and not with a K. FAIL.

  • Pasta alla Puttanesca doesn't seem to be known before around 1961, at least not under that name.


Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!ihnp4​!hal9000​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-24T17:24:02
Newsgroup: alt.sex.20191024
Message-ID: <897e0bf3397ebe67@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
  • The Andromeda galaxy is much larger than the Milky Way. The Andromeda has a diameter of 220 million light years, the milky Way only 105.7.

  • In the 2019 U.S. federal budget, around 1.4 trillion dollars of revenue is expected to come from individual income taxes and another 1.1 trillion fromm social security receipts. Only around 0.22 trillion is from corporate income taxes.