It seems clear that the heavy metal umlaut was first discovered by Blue Öyster Cult, although some claim, implausibly, that its invention by Mötorhead was an independent one. Blue Öyster Cult's album of that same title was released in 1972; Mötorhead was not convened until 1975.
But as far as I know nobody has suggested that both groups were anticipated by, and perhaps even inspired by, Häagen-Dazs, which dates to 1961.
I just wrote a program that didn't do anything when I ran it.
It's because the main loop had:
That 5 should have been a 7.
Now it has me thinking about what programming language designs would enable the programming system to notice that error and issue a warning “Hey, you wrote a test, but it can never return false”.
Maybe instead of some sort of briliant static analysis, what we need instead is an eaasy dynamic analysis: “Hey, here's a list of tests in your program that always had the same result.”
Has someone outfitted Eclipse or some other IDE to annotate your program after each run with pastel shades showing which parts were actually exercised and which were never run? That seems like it could be useful.
Yesterday I was going to do the grocery shopping and Katara said she wanted beef in cubes. So I bought a chunk of beef roast, cubed it, and fried it on the skillet. Katara often surprises me by rejecting what I think is lovely food, but so far she has never rejected straight fried meat with salt and pepper. Okay, whatever, at least it's easy.
We also had some yellow squashes in the refrigerator so I decided to cook those. I made Toph tell me whether to turn them into discs or spears (discs) and then I cooked them in oil in a cast-iron frying pan, with some salt. I thought I would probably add a little soy sauce or something to them a later on but while they were cooking I remembered that we had paneer in the freezer. Toph had asked for it a couple of weeks before but hadn't specified what she wanted done with it. I didn't want it to just sit there forever, and this seemed like as good a time as any to use it. So I cubed up the paneer and put it in with the squash, and then because it was paneer I put in some cumin and cardamom and turmeric powder.
I liked it, and the kids ate a lot of it, so I suppose that counts as a success.
This is a very typical example of how I cook. This style really suits me. I'm good at improvising and not good at planning. I buy things at the store that I think I might want to cook later, and then I forget about them. But then I look in the refrigerator for ingredients and hey, look, yellow squashes. Okay, we can have yellow squash, fine. Sometimes I feel like that guy in Memento, sending myself messages through time.
One drawback of this style of cooking: when you make something you like, you can't always make it a second time. How much turmeric did I put in? Uh, I'm not sure. A few shakes? I made an awesome turkey and potato stew in 1995 that I really wish I could duplicate. But I don't remember how I did it.
Another drawback: sometimes toward the end I realize what I should have done back at the beginning and then it's too late. For example, onions. If you want to put in onions you have to commit to them ahead of time because they take so long too cook. If I had known ahead of time that I was going to put cumin and paneer into the squash I would have cooked it in ghee instead of in vegetable oil. Oh well, maybe next time.
And sometimes I become indecisive at a crucial moment and ruin the food. But in the worst case, there is always peanut butter.
I didn't do it immediately, but I did get it in there!
Today I went to push some Git branch to a private Git repository, and I received the following reply:
Oh, crap, it must be some experimental hook I put into the remote repo. Unfinished from the looks of it. (Because of “0 commits”. A bug that obvious and unavoidable must mean that the work was half-baked.)
So I thought grumpily that I would to have to get into the remote machine and disable the hook…
And then I saw that the message ended with:
Oh, thanks! Useful!
And because of that, I realized that it was actually a local hook,
I forget stuff a lot, and putting in this sort of hint really helps me when I fall foul of my own incomplete work, months after I have forgotten it. It's like a gift from my past self, and getting them also motivates me to try to send more such gifts to my future selves.
A few weeks ago I had a clogged inkjet cartridge and the instructions online suggested soaking it in a diluted solution rubbing alcohol. But I couldn't find the rubbing alcohol because Toph had taken it for a project.
But for some reason my wife keeps a bottle of cheap vodka in the liquor cabinet. I don't drink vodka, and she doesn't drink at all, so it had just been sitting there uselessly. And hey, that's what vodka is, it's nothing but 40% ethanol solution. So I warmed some up in the microwave and soaked the cartridge in it, which cleaned it right up.
That reminds me I used to have a friend whose relatives in Tennessee would send him their homemade moonshine. He used it to clean the heads on his tape recorder.
How is it that mushrooms can appear so suddenly overnight or immediately after a rainstorm? It turns out that the fungus organism builds the mushroom structure ahead of time. All the cells are there, properly assembled, but very small, in a form called a primordium. When enough water is available, the fungus pumps it into the cells, inflating them like water balloons, and the mushroom pops up.
It's been very damp in Philadelphia of late.
While driving, I often remember things I wanted to write up for the blog, and I ask my phone to take a note, which it converts into email. Later I see the email and remember what I wanted to write up.
Sometimes speech-to-text produces interesting results. This time I asked it to remind me to write up the article about the prime mnemonic system that didn't work. But the email it sent said:
Tony Finch suggests that we could use ⸢square quotes⸣ as scare quotes. I will adopt this suggestion forthwith.
I wish that true quotation marks could be distinguished typographically from scare quotes.
In the two previous shitposts I referred to outside sources. In both cases quotations included corrections where the original authors had written “in” where they meant to have “it” or “is”.
As of 2017, after a 100-year delay, there is an upper-case version of ß.
More details: Ralf Herrmann, “The Capital Sharp S is now part of the official German orthography”.
Shunsuke Tsukamoto et al., “Development of an Automatic Electrical Stimulator for Mushroom Sawdust Bottle”. Proceedings of 2005 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference.
I gave Nat Torkington this advice about twenty years ago, and I think it's still good.
There's no restaurant in Philadelphia called “Hoagies and Pierogies”. I see a great need!
(There does seem to be one in West Columbia, SC. Where's our civic pride? Are we to be outdone by West Columbia, SC?)
Walt Mankowski wrote to me about some audiobook narrators he remembered, and this reminded me of the time I was excited to discover that there was an audio version of Neuromancer read by Gibson himself. I eagerly started listening, and gave up before the end of the first chapter. I didn't think he read well. And, thinking on it now, why should he? He is not an actor, but a writer. Not the same thing at all.
And also, I didn't like Gibson's voice. I had a reaction similar to that of the guys in this story:
I take it back, Project Xanadu is way older than the GNU Hurd.
At some point I will try to remember to blog about my brief experience working with Ted Nelson. It was interesting.
GNU Hurd, the only vaporware project even later than Perl 6, is apparently still a thing.
“Hey, at least we're better than 4chan!”
Yesterday's article about Haskell rabbit holes hit the front page of Hacker News (in fact, it hit #1 for approximately one minute, before it was rightly displaced by a much more important article) and from there it also hit Reddit, of which it is a subreddit with a different stylesheet. You know how people say “don't read the comments”? Reddit is all comments; chew on that for a minute.
Anyway several comments said something along these lines:
apparently without noticing that I did represent them backwards, with the constant term first. So, on the one hand, Reddit Person, obviously I agree with you, and on the other hand, you're a fucking blockhead.
But there was a bright side too. My article was also posted on
and I have no witty (or merely profane) comeback to that, because the shoe fits. My whole article was some sunbeams-from-cucumbers bullshit, that's for sure.
A different Reddit comment suggested that this was the wrong data structure and I should have used an integer-indexed Map. I had sadly come to this conclusion myself, earlier in the evening, when I realized that the structure I had made it very difficult to handle polynomials over more than one variable. With the Map I would just change the index type to a tuple. Oh well, lesson learned.
I'm reading Adam Bede by George Eliot, and this paragraph took my breath away: