Content-Type: text/shitpost

Subject: Small world
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!uunet​!asr33​!hardees​!m5​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-02-27T21:01:02
Newsgroup: talk.bizarre.jeb-stuart
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Today I learned that the screenplay of Die Hard was written by Jeb Stuart, also noted for his distinguished generalship at the Battle of Chancellorville.

Subject: Out-of-context quote
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!hardees​!m5​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-02-25T13:21:50
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.oocq
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

If we do that, then 1% of all emojis are beans!

Subject: Potamus
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-02-06T15:02:33
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

There is no word in the Big Dictionary that ends in “-potamus” other than “hippopotamus”. What a missed opportunity.

Subject: A close call
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!uunet​!asr33​!glados​!extro​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-02-06T15:00:22
Newsgroup: alt.mjd.lucky
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Two letters in the Greek alphabet are omicron (Ο, ο) and omega (Ω, ω). The names of these letters mean respectively “small ‘o’” and “large ‘o’”. The “micron” is from Greek “μικρός”, “small”, same as in “microscope”. The “mega” is from Greek “μέγας”, “great”, same as in “megaphone”.

The Greek word for “large”, properly opposite to “μικρός”, is “μακρός” (“makros”) as in “macroeconomics” or “macro lens”. Had things gone a little differently, the omega could have been called the “omacron”.

This would have significantly impeded the progress of Western civilization.

Subject: The rediscovery of Bukka White
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-02-05T16:39:59
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

[John] Fahey decided to track down blues legend Bukka White by sending a postcard to Aberdeen, Mississippi; White had sung that Aberdeen was his hometown, and Mississippi John Hurt had been rediscovered using a similar method.


Subject: Caching
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-01-28T17:10:28
Newsgroup: comp.protocols.tcp-ip.caching
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

A programmer had a problem.
She said "I'll just solve it with caching."
Then she had two A programmer.

Subject: Noun phrases in English
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!hardees​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-01-27T21:14:38
Newsgroup: sci.math.noun-phrases
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I've wanted for years to write an article about the wonderful way that noun phrases work in English. For example, rock band, high school band, brass band, or (different band this time) rubber band, hat band, driving band. And I know I've mentioned before that you can't understand “nose job” by analogy with “hand job”. Someday, but not today though.

I did run into a nice example last week. “Body-painting protects against bloodsucking insects” says:

[Scientists] then covered the three models with a layer of insect glue.

You can't understand “insect glue” by analogy with “fish glue”.

Subject: Mork from Ork
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-01-27T19:58:30
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.mork
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I would like to see a reboot of Mork and Mindy, with Kristen Schaal as the alien.

I'm not sure who would be good as Mindy. My first thought was Jason Bateman, who I think is clearly too old. Rik Signes suggested William Jackson Harper.

Subject: Hiccups
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-01-01T14:14:06
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.hiccups
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Say you hiccup. Then you hiccup again. Is that a new hiccup, or is it the same hiccup, come back to be hiccuped again?

Subject: Software Archaeology
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!twirlip​!glados​!extro​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-12-09T18:30:27
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

In a previous article I described how I discovered that the utility I needed was already available in my bin, because I had written in twelve years previously, but then forgotten.

Another episode in this series: I save screen and monitor configurations in files under ~/.screenlayout; each is a shell script which, when run, resets the display to use its particular layout. So for example is for the two-monitor setup I use at home and is for the two-monitor setup I use at work, where the second monitor is vertically oriented and the primary monitor is farther from my eyes.

Yesterday I wanted a home setup where both monitors had the same resolution and the same display. I opened arandr and set it up the way I wanted, and then prepared to save it to .screenlayout/

Except that file already existed, and guess what was in it?

Subject: I AM SO SMRT!!1!
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!gormenghast​!extro​!forbin​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-12-04T18:23:04
Newsgroup: talk.bizarre.smrt
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
  • When my program works I get to feel smart and accomplished.

  • And if it doesn't work, then when I fix it, I can feel smart and accomplished for fixing it!

  • And if it doesn't work and I can't fix it, I can feel smart and accomplished for my cleverness in constructing such a difficult bug!

(I finally figured out this one from Friday. It was entirely my fault. Do I feel bad for making the mistake in the first place? No, I feel awesomely clever for successfully cleaning up the complex mess I made.)

Subject: Necklaces and bracelets
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-12-03T01:24:56
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.necklaces-and-bracelets
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Here's an alternative mnemonic: a bracelet symmetry is modulo the dihedral group !!D_n!!, and “bracelet” begins with a “D”, whereas a necklace symmetry is modulo the cyclic group !!Z_n!!, and “necklace” begins with a “Z”.

Subject: Ante
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!hardees​!m5​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-23T03:56:54
Newsgroup: misc.test.ante
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

The antelope, so called because of its propensity for jumping in front of people. (“Lope” is akin to “leap”.) And the anteater, an insectivore that consumes its prey from the front, whereas the postater always approaches them from the back.

Subject: And in other men-and-toilets-related news…
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!gormenghast​!extro​!forbin​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-19T17:22:42
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Jeff Boes points out this piece of uncannily apropos news: Dems demand info on acting attorney general’s “masculine toilet” scam.

Subject: Today is International Mens’ Day
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-19T17:18:42
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

And it's also World Toilet Day.


Subject: The imperative mood
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-15T15:45:04
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.imperative-mood
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost


Subject: Harris’ tertiary colors
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!gormenghast​!qwerty​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-15T05:19:25
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.tertiary-colors
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Incidentally, Harris’ The Natural System of Colours has more than one plate. In addition to the one depicting the “prismatic” colors, starting from the primaries red, yellow, and blue, and showing how they mix to form the secondaries orange, green, and purple, he has a second plate that starts with the secondaries and mixes them to form tertiaries.

Harris names the tertiaries “olave” (orange-green), “slate” (green-purple), and “bronn” (purple-orange). I think “olave” and “bronn” are just alternate spellings of “olive” and “brown” but it is after midnight and I do not want to go downstairs to get out the Big Dictionary.

Wikipedia asserts that the terms “citron”, “slate”, and “russet” have since become common, and attributes them to George Field's Chromatography (1835). Field actually calls them “citrine”, “olive”, and “russet”.

Subject: w.LEY?
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-15T05:04:09
Newsgroup: rec.pets.wLEY
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Here is a page from Moses Harris’ extremely influential book The Natural System of Colours, published around 1760. This image is widely reproduced and you may have seen it before:

(This particular image is from a copy of the second edition of 1811, and as you can see it has suffered significant damage.)

I have wondered about this for decades now: Why is the label for yellow written backwards?

Subject: Octahedral paths
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!colossus​!kremvax​!grey-area​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-15T03:55:07
Newsgroup: misc.octahedral-paths
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

More progress on counting paths on octahedra! Suppose you want to know how many paths of length !!n!! there are between two opposite vertices of an octahedron.

It turns out that it is the same as the number of ways to take !!n!! terms, each of which is either !!\pm1!! or !!\pm2!!, and add them up to get an odd multiple of 3. (Order matters.)

For example, there are 8 paths of length 3, which correspond to !!1+1+1, -1+2+2, 2-1+2, 2+2-1,!! and their negatives.

That actually seems like an improvement because it seems like counting those sequences will be a straightforward application of generating functions.

Subject: Octahedron path group
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-14T20:24:16
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.octahedron-path-group
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Note to self: On the octahedron, we don't have !!xy=yx!!, but we do have !!xyx=yxy!!.

This is a consequence of !!x^2=1!! and !!(xy)^3=1!!.

Subject: Some ideas for counting paths on a dodecahedron
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!skordokott​!mechanical-turk​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-14T15:11:28
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.dodecahedron-ideas
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Your original idea labeled the endpoints of the edges instead of the edges themselves. Putting the same label at each endpoint means that !!x^2=1!! for all !!x!!. Maybe you don't need this. Or what if we go partway in this direction and label the endpoints !!x!! and !!x^{-1}!!?

Your original idea was to think of the dodecahedron as a Cayley graph, but then you didn't really follow this up. Go back and think about Cayley graphs more carefully.

In the tetrahedron, each face is a product !!abc!! in some order, so at every starting point !!xyz=1!! whenever !!x,y,!! and !!z!! are all different. In the cube the corresponding property for faces is !!xyxy=1!!. The coloring of the dodecahedron that you're using has no such good property. Can you find one that does? This would probably require that you use five labels.

The fact that you found a labeling of the tetrahedron and cube where label order didn't matter is an expression of some fact about the symmetry of the polyhedron itself that you aren't looking at directly. What's really going on there?

It's obvious why this labeling exists for the cube (and for the !!n!!-cube generally). But why does it exist for the tetrahedron? What's going on there?

Subject: Sortition
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-13T19:10:46
Newsgroup: alt.mjd.sortition
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states legally decide the outcome of tied legislative elections by drawing straws or flipping coins.

(“Mississippi state election settled by 'drawing straws'”)

Subject: John Lennon
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-13T18:28:32
Newsgroup: misc.john-lennon
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

The 1978 film All You Need is Cash:

John Lennon loved the film and refused to return the videotape and soundtrack he was given for approval.

Subject: Fortified
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!hardees​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-13T18:25:49
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Alcohol was strictly forbidden during rehearsals and recording, so the cast fortified themselves with milk. The milk in turn was fortified with brandy.

(The Goon Show)

Subject: Git typo of the week
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!uunet​!asr33​!skynet​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-11-12T22:00:31
Newsgroup: sci.math.git-typo-of-the-week
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Everyone types git vommit at some point, it's not worth mentioning.

But just now I asked it to git re-arse master.