# Content-Type: text/shitpost

Subject: Spelling gloating
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2021-03-14T14:39:07
Newsgroup: misc.spelling
Message-ID: <084f698653d28728@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Pretty pleased with myself today for spelling “Aung San Suu Kyi” without having to look it up.

Date: 2021-03-14T14:33:12
Newsgroup: rec.pets.worst-nobel-peace-prize-recipient
Message-ID: <ed374d5d910fe79e@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Since then, Aung San Suu Kyi has been looking like a good choice.

Also, since they apparently gave Obama the prize for not being George Bush, they should give Joe Biden two prizes for not being Donald Trump.

Subject:
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!ihnp4​!hal9000​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2021-03-14T14:15:51
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.ugh
Message-ID: <d0e8133181e8e74c@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Subject: A formal language puzzle
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!central-scrutinizer​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2021-03-14T14:09:10
Message-ID: <d72be256bce765f7@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Suppose !!\mathcal L!! is a regular language and there is some string !!t!! that is a substring of every element of !!\mathcal L!!.

Is it necessarily the case that there must exist regular languages !!A!! and !!B!! such that $$\mathcal L = A t B?$$

Subject: Variation
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!skordokott​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2021-03-06T00:49:08
Newsgroup: talk.bizarre.rsl
Message-ID: <6e315d10192ecea2@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Fuck, Marry, Kill, except it's Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash.

Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!uunet​!asr33​!skynet​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2021-01-07T10:55:05
Newsgroup: misc.jobs.20210107
Message-ID: <989e2ecf32dcf7a8@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
• The first musical instrument [Roy] Clark ever played was a four-string cigar box with a ukulele neck attached to it.

Subject: Happy New Year!
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2021-01-01T18:33:51
Newsgroup: rec.pets.happy-new-year
Message-ID: <3c8599ce87b32fee@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

It's 2021! Is Groupon dead yet?

Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2021-01-01T10:59:38
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.graphviz-usa
Message-ID: <d7030fff0b8a5b4d@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Graphiviz is useful graph- and network-layout software. You give it a description of a graph, as on the left:

    graph "example" {
A -- B -- C
B -- D, F [style="dotted"]
D -- F -- E -- C
}


and it produces a drawing of a graph as on the right. The first line says that node A is connected to B, which is connected to C. The second line says that B is also connected to D and F, but the edges should be dotted. The third line says that D is also connected to F, which is connected to E, which is connected to C.

Graphviz has several layout engines, which try to optimize layouts for different kinds of properties. The example above uses the neato layout engine, which tries for a generally compact layout. The example below gives the same input to the dot engine, which is intended more for directed graphs and which tries to emphasize hierarchies or flows among the nodes.

I built a Graphiviz configuration file for the graph of U.S. state boundaries and put it in to see what would come out. The graph is naturally planar, and it will be interesting to see if the layout algorithms can detect that.

Here's what the U.S. actually looks like. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

This is the output of Graphviz's default layout engine, neato, which has done a great job of inferring the actual shape of the United States!

(Nodes here are labeled with their standard postal abbreviations. When you hover your pointer over a state name or other gegraphical designations in this article, the corresponding abbreviation will pop up. For example, New York should pop up a box with “NY”.)

The Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic and Pacific coasts are clearly visible, Florida is dangling off the bottom, as it does. It's pretty amazing. The fact that the map is oriented correctly is a bonus. There are a few oddities: New England is where it should be, but Vermont should be switched with Connecticut and Rhode Island. South Carolina is sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean.

There is only one planarity failure, resulting from the inadvertent flipping of New England. The apparent crossing edge between Minnesota and Michigan is illusory; the edge could have been curved around Wisconsin with no trouble. (The real border between Minnesota and Michigan is a bit of an oddity, occurring in Lake Superior, and it really does leap over the head of Wisconsin that way.)

Here's fdp, which uses a similar approach to neato: a “spring” model where it imagines the nodes are connected by springs and tries to minimize the energy. It produces a very similar result:

It has New England flipped over like neato does. I wonder why that happened? And Washington is embedded in Northern California for some reason.

The sfdp engine is a variation on fdp which “uses a multi-scale approach to produce layouts of large graphs in a reasonably short time”. The map it produces has south at the top and east on the left, but otherwise looks pretty much like the fdp one. I'm pretty sure that by graphviz standards this is not a “large” graph:

Now we move on to the odd ones. The dot engine I mentioned before tries to maintain the hierarchy, to the extent that there is one.

The geography is still correct here, more or less, with South at the top and East on the left. That puts Florida in the upper left and Washington in the lower right. But in between it's unexpectedly tangled. The central column states, ND-SD-NE-KS-OK-TX are all over the place.

So many questions here. What the heck is going on with Ohio and Michigan? And Illinois and

[ Note: this is where I lost interest and stopped writing. ]

Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!gormenghast​!hal9000​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-12-23T16:57:08
Newsgroup: misc.20201223
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Subject: Today I learned…
Date: 2020-12-17T21:13:27
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.20201217
Message-ID: <ce67b2165f577566@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
• Dr. Spock ran for president in 1972 against Richard Nixon and George McGovern. He received around 0.1% of the vote.

• McGovern, the losing major-party candidate, was utterly flattened by Nixon, who won over 60% of the popular vote and 520/538 electoral votes. Nixon, of course, resigned in disgrace in August 1974.

Subject: Tautology
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-12-17T09:22:00
Newsgroup: alt.sex.tautology
Message-ID: <88de023b87e9fedb@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

All children are capable of reaching their fullest potential

This reminds me a little of the time I had to explain to someone on Math Stack Exchange why every function is onto its range.

Subject: And by Michigan…
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-12-15T16:26:32
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.and-by-michigan
Message-ID: <d33b505ae14c9cfa@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

And by “the Michigan Supreme Court” I meant “the Wisconsin Supreme Court”.

Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!skordokott​!berserker​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-12-14T09:44:33
Newsgroup: sci.math.20201214
Message-ID: <4ab625bdbcdfe5eb@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
• Six of the seven justices of the Michigan Supreme Court are women.

Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!uunet​!asr33​!skynet​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-12-06T14:45:56
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.pictures.20201206
Message-ID: <aa72b4e8e38d7fc9@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost
• Catalonian nativity scenes traditionally include El Caganer, a figure of a guy pooping with his pants down.

• Another Catalonian Christmas tradition is Tió de Nadal, the Christmast Log. This is a small log with a happy face and a red hat, propped up on legs. In the run-up to Christmas, the kids feed the log daily, and then on Christmas Day it magically poops out nougats, hazelnuts, or other plausible log poop objects such as dried figs.

• To make Tió de Nadal defecate, one puts its end into the fireplace, or, if no fireplace is available, beats it with sticks.

• Tió (“trunk”) should not be confused with tío (“uncle”).

Subject: A riddle
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!central-scrutinizer​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-10-25T16:51:23
Newsgroup: rec.pets.riddle
Message-ID: <8c62b275bd57a9e5@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Q: What do you call a centipede after you've stepped on it?

A: A nillipede.

Subject: A Visit to Valley Forge
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!twirlip​!wescac​!skynet​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-10-18T17:56:10
Newsgroup: alt.sex.hq
Message-ID: <026e2f1cb2faf217@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Ms. 16 drove me to Valley Forge today. Perhaps you have heard that Washington was grievously injured at Valley Forge. He was struck by a small cannon ball, and his skull was fractured in three places.

Subject: Classic mistakes
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!ihnp4​!hal9000​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-10-09T08:33:30
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.classic-mistakes
Message-ID: <01a8357c14a79e9f@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Implementing your own authentication system is like getting involved in a land war in Asia.

Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-09-12T00:52:27
Newsgroup: sci.math.flat-earth
Content-Type: text/shitpost

The losers who moderate Reddit's r/math forum have deleted this brilliant post, Petition to create new flat-earther groups.

Check it out.

Subject: Dear Dr. Freud… ?
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!grey-area​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-09-08T11:16:37
Newsgroup: comp.protocols.tcp-ip.dream
Message-ID: <1bd36f8078b44c5b@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

On Saturday when I woke up Lorrie said I had awakened her in the night, and asked me what I had been saying. It had woken me up too, and I remembered.

I had been dreaming that I was at some sort of a conference, and at the start of a conference session, everyone in the audience stood up, put their hands on their hearts, and sand The Star-Spangled Banner.

In the dream, I sang also, and when the song ended, I shouted “PLAY BALL!”

Subject: How not to name variables
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!central-scrutinizer​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-08-29T13:38:35
Newsgroup: alt.sex.how-not-to-name-variables
Message-ID: <91c373bbae9e6fe4@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Python code I wrote today:

    # This is not the most elegant line of code I have ever written
return [ item for item in data if item["item"]["id"] == item_id ]


Larry Wall says that a successful program is one that does its job before your boss fires you. Somehow I don't imagine Guido being as lenient.

Subject: Today I learned…
Date: 2020-08-21T09:29:04
Newsgroup: rec.food.20200821
Content-Type: text/shitpost
• Brian Ritchie, bassist for the Violent Femmes, is also proficient at playing the Shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and has released two albums of Shakuhahi music.

• In 1996 the Femmes and the Red Hot Chili Peppers played a promotional concert at the magnetic north pole.

Subject: Necromancy question
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!hardees​!triffid​!gormenghast​!hal9000​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-08-20T13:02:49
Newsgroup: news.groups.zombies
Message-ID: <317df405d69e24d7@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Suppose you have available an evil necromantic spell that turns humans into mindless zombies. (Whether the humans are required to be dead or alive is not important for this inquiry.)

What happens if you cast this spell on starfish instead, turning them into mindless zombie starfish?

Subject: Sandwich of the day
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!the-matrix​!mechanical-turk​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-08-20T12:27:38
Newsgroup: comp.protocols.tcp-ip.Sandwich
Message-ID: <703052b7c8feb7d4@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Today I had a cream cheese and cashew nut sandwich. It was pretty good.

It was inspired by the “nutted cheese” sandwich found at Chock full o'Nuts lunch counters long ago. (Theirs had walnuts, not cashews, and was served on dark raisin bread. When I have the ingredients handy I sometimes make the walnut and raisin bread version, which I recommend.)

These days Chock full o'Nuts exists primarily as a supermarket coffee brand. I'm so old I can remember actually eating a chicken salad sandwich at one of the lunch counters.

Subject: Three Musketeers
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!central-scrutinizer​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-08-14T12:57:12
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.three-musketeers
Message-ID: <bbb7046059db506a@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Thinking on this a little more, I think you have to make Ringo d'Artagnan, and play up his country-bumpkin-ness.

Then George is Aramis (obviously) and Paul is Athos, so that makes John Porthos.

Subject: Three Musketeers
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!central-scrutinizer​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2020-08-14T12:54:54
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.three-musketeers
Message-ID: <527a45069c0b11e9@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

[The Three Musketeers] was originally proposed in the 1960s as a vehicle for The Beatles, whom Lester had directed in two other films.

I am having a lot of trouble picturing this. Which Beatle is which Musketeer? There is no Porthos in the Beatles. There is no Ringo in the Musketeers.

The script was written by George MacDonald Fraser, creator of Harry Flashman.

I would watch a Flashman movie. The likelihood of there being a Flashman movie for me to watch, in the next twenty or thirty years, seems close to zero.

Aha, but there is already a Flashman movie, directed by the same Richard Lester who directed The Three Musketeers. Malcolm McDowell plays Flashy. And Oliver Reed, who played Porthos, returns in Royal Flash as Otto von Bismarck. How about that?