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Today I Learned

These short daily posts are fun. They provide, in a simple way, a timeline of my everyday life, through all its ups and downs and dull mundanities.


Pixsy is a cool company, they help you find and fight image theft.


There are a lot of "screenshots as a service" companies. Urlbox is one of them.


Facebook has special ad categories. If your ad falls into one of these categories, it severely limits the available set of audience selection tools. For example, you can't target based on age or gender.


The Mom Test is a set of rules for asking questions that your mom can't lie to you about. Here are the three rules:

  1. Talk about their life instead of your idea
  2. Ask about specifics in the past instead of generics or opinions about the future
  3. Talk less and listen more

4.25.2021 tells you which McDonalds have broken ice cream machines. Amazing.

I found out about this website from this article, which was an entertaining read. The TLDR is that McDonald's ice cream machines are very complicated and easy to break.


"Nekonomics" refers to the positive economic impact of having a cat mascot. Tama the cat, who served as station master of Kishi Station, is a popular example of this phenomenon.


MailTracker is a simple and free email tracker for Gmail. The most annoying thing about it is that there's no dashboard, so you have to manually check each email to see if it was opened.

I also tried Mailtrack. Its free plan is much worse because it adds a very consipicuous signature to the emails you track. Also, I sent Katherine an email and it said she opened it while she was still sleeping... so doesn't seem that trustworthy.

Hunter, the same company behind MailTracker, also provides a good email finder tool.


I watched a bit of Blackfish yesterday. Even though orcas are called "killer whales," there have been no fatal recorded attacks on humans in the wild. However, captive killer whales (e.g. killer whales in SeaWorld) have killed four people as of 2019. If you watch the documentary, it makes some sense. The conditions the whales were kept in were terrible. For example, at Sealand, they would put multiple whales into a small metal box at night, so small the whales could barely move. And they would get them in there by starving them and then luring them into the box with food. Further, some of the whales would get bullied, and would emerge from the box with fresh cuts. All in all, I can't really blame the whales for being }}mad.


Lightning is a lot of electrons moving very quickly from one spot to another.

From Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software. Not really the type of thing I expected to learn from this book.


You shouldn't use target="_blank" unless you have a good reason.

If you do use it, make sure to also specify rel="noopener" to avoid vulnerabilities.


Morse code is a binary tree, where nodes represent English characters (except the root node) and edges represent either a dot or a dash. More commonly used letters are placed at earlier levels, meaning it takes less dots and dashes to form them. The binary tree also gives us a convenient way to map Morse code to English characters—just follow the tree and see where you end up. This is much faster than using a table that maps English characters to dots and dashes.



Don't use JPEGs and PNGs, use WebPs! WebP is an image format that has really good losslesss and lossy compression. If you use WebP, your images will be smaller and load faster. next/image utilizes WebP by automatically serving images in WebP when the browser supports (it has pretty wide support).

One other small thing. I don't know the specifics behind this, but it seems like loading a big GIF does not effect TTI or FCP. On, we use a GIF for the background image. I changed it to be a big GIF, around ~25mb, and it only delayed the loading of the GIF. E.g. first the page loaded without the GIF background, and then the GIF background loaded a while later.

One more small thing—if you're building a website, don't use TTF fonts! If you download a font from Google Fonts, you'll get TTF files. However, if you use their CSS API:

@import url('');

your browser will load woff2 fonts (not sure how it picks what font format to use, maybe it depends on the browser). woff2 fonts are much smaller than TTF fonts since they're compressed, which will reduce loading times for your website.


The Greenland shark has the longest known lifespan of all vertebrates, estimated to be between 300 and 500 years!

Check out this New Yorker article for more info.


You have to watch out when using vh for mobile browsers. In short, on mobile, vh includes the height of the URL bar (on desktop, vh does not include the height of the URL bar). The rationale is that on mobile, the URL bar can shrink and expand (unlike on desktop). So by always including it, vh units stay consistent.

URL Bar Resizing explains this in more detail.

Lengths defined in viewport units (i.e. vh) will not resize in response to the URL bar being shown or hidden. Instead, vh units will be sized to the viewport height as if the URL bar is always hidden. That is, vh units will be sized to the "largest possible viewport". This means 100vh will be larger than the visible height when the URL bar is shown.

The Initial Containing Block (ICB) is the root containing block used when sizing elements relative to their parents. For example, giving the <html> element a style of width: 100%; height: 100% will make it the same size as the ICB. With this change, the ICB will not resize when the URL bar is hidden. Instead, it will remain the same height, as if the URL bar were always showing ("smallest possible viewport"). This means an Element sized to the ICB height will not completely fill the visible height while the URL bar is hidden.

Let's interpret that! Here are the main points.

  1. vh units are sized to the "largest possible viewport" (URL bar hidden)
  2. The ICB is sized to the "smallest possible viewport" (URL bar shown)
  3. This means height: 100% and height: 100vh behave differently

Here are some specific problems I've run into because of this.

  • I size my element to height: 100vh, expecting it to take up the whole browser window. However, on mobile, this will cause the page to be scrollable because the URL bar will be shown.
  • I set margin-top: 50vh and transform: translateY(-50%), expecting this to center the element vertically. However, on mobile, the element will be pushed down past the center, because 50vh includes the height of the URL bar.

Also see this Stack Overflow post for more info.


An email pixel is a 1 x 1 image that you put into an email. You can do this with HTML, i.e. use the img tag. So, what’s interesting about that? Well, if an email has some code like <img src="" />, when someone opens the email the browser is going to make a network request to fetch the image. The server hosting the image can track those requests, and thus know how many people opened the email. Since HTTP headers have additional information (like the User-Agent header), the server can also track information like what operating systems are opening the email. Further, since network requests contain the source IP address (at the Internet layer), the server can track location data based on IP addresses. Check out this Verge article for more info.

A Facebook pixel is some code you put into your website that lets you optimize your Facebook ads. Here's how it works.

  1. Create a Facebook pixel.
  2. Put some JavaScript code into your website. This gives you access to the global fbq function.
  3. Call fbq('track', 'PageView', extraData) in your JavaScript code. This code will log the PageView event (you can see the network request being sent in Chrome's inspector). You can go to Facebook Events Manager to see the data. You can also track other events, e.g. maybe track a custom event after someone clicks a certain button. Note: may have to disable Ad Blocker for this to work.
  4. Use the pixel ID when you're creating an ad campaign in Facebook Ads Manager. I haven't done this yet, so not super sure how it works. The general idea is that if you have a Facebook pixel on your site, Facebook can tell what kind of users your ad is converting. For example, here's how the flow might look (not sure if this is exactly correct):
  • You click on an ad.
  • You go to
  • The page loads and fbq('track', 'PageView') is called. This send a network request to Facebook's servers that includes your browser's cookies. Facebook should know who you are based on those cookies (kinda creepy). And Facebook should know you came from the ad based on the URL param.
  • Now, Facebook knows what kind of users are most likely to actually go to your landing page after seeing the ad.

Facebook can use the pixel information to either:

  • Bring back website visitors by creating a custom audience. E.g. you can create a custom audience of website visitors who previously added items to their cart.
  • Find new leads or customers by creating a lookalike audience. This audience should resemble people who you've already converted, e.g. people who have signed up for your waitlist. Facebook can do this by picking people who are around the same age, have similar interests, etc.

Check out Facebook's website for more info.


For the Folio landing page, we use images of design mocks. Initially, the images were quite blurry when I scaled them down. Adding this code fixed the issue:

image-rendering: -moz-crisp-edges;         /* Firefox */
image-rendering:   -o-crisp-edges;         /* Opera */
image-rendering: -webkit-optimize-contrast;/* Webkit (non-standard naming) */
image-rendering: crisp-edges;
-ms-interpolation-mode: nearest-neighbor;  /* IE (non-standard property) */

According to MDN, this is typically used for pixel art. However, it also works much better for design mocks that contain text. Otherwise the text gets quite blurry. I think the default auto value is meant more for photography.


Why are Joshua trees called Joshua trees? Let's consult Wikipedia:

The name "Joshua tree" is commonly said to have been given by a group of Mormon settlers crossing the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century: The tree's role in guiding them through the desert combined with its unique shape reminded them of a biblical story in which Joshua keeps his hands reached out for an extended period of time to guide the Israelites in their conquest of Canaan (Joshua 8:18–26). Further, the shaggy leaves may have provided the appearance of a beard. However, no direct or contemporary attestation of this origin exists, and the name Joshua tree is not recorded until after Mormon contact; moreover, the physical appearance of the Joshua tree more closely resembles a similar story told of Moses.


Yesterday I learned about masonry layouts, A.K.A. Pinterest layouts. A masonry layout looks something like this.

|   |___|   |   |
|___|   |   |___|
|   |   |___|   |
|   |___|   |___|
|___|   |___|   |
|   |   |   |   |

Let's pretend each "item" is an image. Then, each image has the same width, but the heights may differ. Ideally, items are loaded row-by-row as opposed to column-by-column. If they're loaded column-by-column and you have pagination, it will be a weird experience.

MDN's definition is also worth a read:

Masonry layout is a layout method where one axis uses a typical strict grid layout, of most often columns, and the other a masonry layout. On the masonry axis, rather than sticking to a strict grid with gaps being left after shorter items, the items in the following row rise up to completely fill the gaps.

It's actually pretty tricky to implement this with pure CSS. There's an unreleased masonry value for grid-template-columns and grid-template-rows that will make things easier in the future. CSS Tricks talks about some options too. Currently, I'm using react-masonry-css, which makes things pretty easy.


June's Pizza is great. If you want to get it, make sure you call right at 1pm. We had to call ~15 times in order to reserve a couple pies, and by the time we got through at least one time slot was already reserved.

Their special (squid, fennel, and tomato sauce) was the second best pizza I've ever had. The best is the vodka sauce pizza at Rubirosa.


I learned the other day that React batches state updates if setState is called in an event handler.

The order of state updates is always respected, but batching is more performant and prevents you from seeing an "intermediate" state (a state where not every update has happened yet).

In React 17, more state updates will be batched by default.


Yesterday, Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc. was decided in favor of Google. It's pretty interesting to read about computer science written about in such a lawyer-y way.

Now let us consider the example that the District Court used to explain the precise technology here. Id., at 980–981. A programmer wishes, as part of her program, to determine which of two integers is the larger. To do so in the Java language, she will first write java.lang. Those words (which we have put in bold type) refer to the “package” (or by analogy to the file cabinet). She will then write Math. That word refers to the “class” (or by analogy to the drawer). She will then write max. That word refers to the “method” (or by analogy to the recipe). She will then make two parentheses ( ). And, in between the parentheses she will put two integers, say 4 and 6, that she wishes to compare. The whole expression—the method call—will look like this: “java.lang.Math.max(4, 6).” The use of this expression will, by means of the API, call up a task-implementing program that will determine the higher number.


I refactored Harken to not use getServerSideProps in order to make navigation faster.

The Next.js documentation talks about when getServerSideProps should be used:

You should use getServerSideProps only if you need to pre-render a page whose data must be fetched at request time. Time to first byte (TTFB) will be slower than getStaticProps because the server must compute the result on every request, and the result cannot be cached by a CDN without extra configuration.

I was using getServerSideProps to fetch the current viewer, but it was totally unnecessary. By moving that fetch to client-side code, each page load no longer hits Vercel's servers. is also a relevant discussion.


I removed ReCAPTCHA from Harken's landing page yesterday after reading You (probably) don’t need ReCAPTCHA.

Doing the email submission in JavaScript (as opposed to having a form action) already makes it much harder to spam. Also, I added rate limiting just in case.

I also found this amazing GitHub issue from the blog post.


TIL that Fried Coke is a thing. People really can fry just about anything.


Here's how to send emails from the command line on a Linux machine.

First, install ssmtp and mailutils:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install ssmtp
sudo apt install mailutils

Next, modify /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf. Mine looks something like this:

One tricky part is that AuthPass should be an App Password, not the password you use to sign in.

After this setup, you can simply run a command like this to send emails:

echo "Here add your email body" | mail -s "Here specify your email subject"


The cron service is used to schedule recurring commands. You can specify what command to run, and when to run it, by using crontab to edit a cron table.

For example, if you put this into a cron table with crontab -e:

0 20 1-31/2 * * ls

it means ls will run at 20:00 on every odd-numbered day.


When you log into a 3rd party app with Facebook, Facebook will show you what permissions it is requesting.

The permissions that can be requested are listed here. Here's how to request permissions with the JavaScript SDK.


[react-native-webview] is cool, but has some problems. Specifically, only the first request made in the WebView will have custom headers. AFAICT, there's no way to send POST requests with custom headers in a WebView.


I just started using CSS variables in one of my projects, and they're pretty awesome. They're really simple to use, you just do something like this:

:root {
  --main-color: #06c;

#foo h1 {
  color: var(--main-color);


Two cool things:

  1. Notion supports LaTeX now!
  2. The [CSS Stacking Context inspector] Chrome extension can help you debug z-index probs.


The TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991) restricts telephone solicitations (i.e., telemarketing) and the use of automated telephone equipment.

You can sue for up to $500 for each violation of TCPA.


murmuration : noun : a flock of starlings


I learned about Detroit-style pizza a while ago while watching this episode of The Pizza Show, but only learned how to make it a month or two ago.

I use Adam Ragusea's dough recipe and Ethan Chlebowski's recipe for everything else. The recipe is pretty flexible—basically, you put the dough into a square pan and top it with stuff (the sauce should be put on last). The corner slices are amazing (the edges are crispy and cheesy), and it's much easier to make than NY-style pizza (don't need to shape the dough or slide it onto the steel). Overall, this is one of my favorite foods to make nowadays.


I recently found out about, which is a neat file sharing website. Reminds me of using back in college.


I tried, a no-code platform for building web apps. So far, it's pretty awesome. is a good primer about no-code/low-code.


A tangelo is a cross between a tangerine and a pomelo. I found out about them because Imperfect Foods offers them.


One of the hardest parts of speaking Chinese is getting the tones right. The canonical example of this is "ma", which can mean 4 different things depending on how you say it:

  • mā means mother
  • má means hemp
  • mǎ means horse
  • mà means scold

So if you don't want to call your mother a horse, get the tone right!


There are two main types of oats: rolled and steel-cut.

Rolled oats are... rolled. There are three types of rolled oats. I list them in order from least processed to most processed.

  • Old-fashioned: the oats are steamed, flattened, and then cut.
  • Quick-cooking oats: the oats are rolled thinner than old-fashioned oats so they cook faster.
  • Instant oats: the oats are cut smaller than quick-cooking oats so they cook EVEN FASTER.

Steel-cut oats are cut... by steel. Makes sense. AFAICT they're not pre-cooked. The main reason they take so much longer to cook is the shape (they're not very flat).

Rolled oats and steel-cut oats are basically equivalent in terms of nutrition. So, just eat whichever one you like the most.

Also, I learned that steel-cut oats aren't great for microwaving. I learned this after 2 bowls overflowed in our microwave and made a huge mess.


Turns out when you drop a device (like your phone) in water, you shouldn't put it in rice to dry it out. I totally thought that worked until Katherine dropped her phone in the toilet and I put it in rice, only to take it out when Katherine googled it later.


What's the difference between a URI and a URL? Well, it's all in the name.

URI stands for Uniform Resource Identifier, and identifies a logical or physical resource. For example, an ISBN is a URI, since it identifies a book.

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A URL identifies a web resource and tells you its location (i.e. how to access it). For example, is a URL, since it both identifies and locates a web resource.

Note that all URLs are URIs, but not all URIs are URLs.

For more info, you can read about the difference here.


There are some oddly specific CSS color names. The full list is here. Here are some of my favorites:

  • BlanchedAlmond
  • BurlyWood
  • Cornsilk. Apparently this is an actual thing.
  • MistyRose
  • PapayaWhip
  • PeachPuff
  • RebeccaPurple

Here's a cool blog post about how all these color names came to be.


As a follow-up to yesterday: what's the difference between hyperthymesia, eidetic memory, and photographic memory? The Wikipedia article for eidetic memory sums it up pretty well:

Eidetic memory (more commonly called photographic memory) is the ability to recall an image from memory with high precision for a brief period after seeing it only once, and without using a mnemonic device. Although the terms eidetic memory and photographic memory are popularly used interchangeably, they are also distinguished, with eidetic memory referring to the ability to see an object for a few minutes after it is no longer present and photographic memory referring to the ability to recall pages of text or numbers, or similar, in great detail. When the concepts are distinguished, eidetic memory is reported to occur in a small number of children and generally not found in adults, while true photographic memory has never been demonstrated to exist.

To summarize:

  • Eidetic memory: the ability to recall an image from memory with high precision for a brief period after seeing it only once. It's rare, but it exists.
  • Photographic memory: the definition seems to vary depending where you look. In general, it's similar to eidetic memory, but applies to text and numbers, and the memories are more long-term. Its existence is debated.
  • Hyperthymesia: described below! Hyperthymesia is longer-term than eidetic memory, and specifically about life experiences. It exists!


Hyperthymesia is crazy. Here's the description from Wikipedia.

Hyperthymesia is a condition that leads people to be able to remember an abnormally large number of their life experiences in vivid detail. It is extraordinarily rare, with only about 60 people in the world having been diagnosed with the condition as of 2021. There are generally two types, people that also remember the exact dates and times that each life event happened, and those that only remember every single life event in perfect detail without the exact dates and times.


The beginning of "A More Perfect Union" by Titus Andronicus starts like this:

From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some transatlantic giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe and Asia could not, by force, take a drink from the Ohio River or set a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we will live forever, or die by suicide.

This is adapted from Abraham Lincoln's Lyceum address:

Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.

Man, that's an awesome quote.


Yoshi's full name is T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas. That's amazing.

Some other fun Nintendo facts can be found here.


Here are two interesting papers about overlearning.

Here's a definition of overlearning from the first paper.

The immediate continuation of practice beyond the criterion of one perfect instance is defined as overlearning. Thus, if criterion is reached but further study is delayed until a subsequent session, the postcriterion practice is not an instance of overlearning.

The first study tested the effects of overlearning on memorizing geography facts (city-country pairs) and word definitions. Let's just consider the geography fact experiment for simplicity. 130 college students were divided into six groups: (Lo, 1 week), (Lo, 3 weeks), (Lo, 9 weeks), (Hi, 1 week), (Hi, 3 weeks), (Hi, 9 weeks). Lo = not overlearning, Hi = overlearning. The time indicates when the students were tested on their knowledge. The study found that overlearning helped retention at the one-week mark, but not for the later dates.

The second study tested overlearning and distributed practice for solving math problems, but let's focus on the former. For the overlearning experiment, 100 college students were divided into four groups: (Lo, 1 week), (Lo, 4 weeks), (Hi, 1 week), (Hi, 4 weeks). Again, Lo = not overlearning, Hi = overlearning. The study found that overlearning had no significant affect on test scores at either the one-week or four-weeks marks.

3.06.2021 is a really interesting article about spaced repetition. It references a ridiculous number of research papers. One of the more interesting ones is Massed and Spaced Learning in Honeybees: The Role of CS, US, the Intertrial Interval, and the Test Interval. Here's the abstract:

Conditioning the proboscis extension reflex of harnessed honeybees (Apis mellifera) is used to study the effect temporal spacing between successive conditioning trials has on memory. Retention is monitored at two long-term intervals corresponding to early (1 and 2 d after conditioning) and late long-term memory (3 and 4 d). The acquisition level is varied by using different conditioned stimuli (odors, mechanical stimulation, and temperature increase at the antenna), varying strengths of the unconditioned stimulus (sucrose), and various numbers of conditioning trials. How learning trials are spaced is the dominant factor both for acquisition and retention, and although longer intertrial intervals lead to better acquisition and higher retention, the level of acquisition per se does not determine the spacing effect on retention. Rather, spaced conditioning leads to higher memory consolidation both during acquisition and later, between the early and long-term memory phases. These consolidation processes can be selectively inhibited by blocking protein synthesis during acquisition.

Basically, they tested whether spaced repetition works for bees... and it does!


The CAN-SPAM act is a law that establishes requirements for commercial emails. Here's some Q&A about it.

Q: When does it apply?
A: It applies to commercial emails, i.e. emails with commercial content. There are three types of content an email can have. Commercial content advertises or promotes a commercial product. Transactional content "facilitates an already agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer about an ongoing transaction." Other content is neither commercial nor transactional. See here for more details.

Q: What requirements does it impose?
A: The main requirement is that commercial emails must provide a way to opt-out of future messages. They also need to tell recipients where the sender is located. This is why emails sent with MailChimp, ConvertKit, SendGrid, etc., have an unsubscribe button and the sender's address at the bottom.

Q: What happens if you violate it?
A: Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $43,792.

Q: What does it stand for?
A: It stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing. The acronym is a play on words—the act is supposed to "can", or put an end, to spam.

Q: Is it effective?
A: Not really. In 2004, some surveys found that only 1-10% of spam email complied with the act. Further, the law does not require senders to get permission before they send commercial messages. Lastly, it overrides anti-spam laws enacted at the State level. Putting all this together, the law does not prevent people from initially sending spam (it just requires they provide a way to opt-out), and most spam emails don't comply with it.



I found out about the National Do Not Call Registry while reading about this stuff. Maybe I'll write about that later.


With github1s, you can browse any GitHub repository with VS Code. All you need to do is append "1s" to a GitHub link, like

2.25.2021, because I never remember the arguments to scp. Here's a cool example:

software/pencil-flip $ curl

Linux Permissions String:	rwxr-xr-x
Linux Permissions Number:	0755

Special		Owner		Group		Public

Setuid     [ ]	Read    [X]	Read    [X]	Read    [X]
Setgid     [ ]	Write   [X]	Write   [ ]	Write   [ ]
Sticky bit [ ]	Execute [X]	Execute [X]	Execute [X]


I recently learned about a note taking strategy called Zettelkasten. More about it here.

Here's an interesting quote from that article:

[Lots of] studies suggest that nearly all non-linear note-taking strategies (e.g. with an outline or a matrix framework) benefit learning outcomes more than does the linear recording of information, with graphs and concept maps especially fostering the selection and organization of information. As a consequence, the remembering of information is most effective with non-linear strategies.



I spent a large chunk of this weekend improving the performance of Porta Penguin on Android. It already performed well on desktop (not surprising) and iOS (my iPhone is newer than my test Android device, maybe that's why?). However, on Android, there were some pretty glaring performance issues which really annoyed me. I hid a few of them by adding scene transitions, but there was still visible lag, and the transitions weren't completely smooth. The main things I did to improve performance are:

  • Disable as many collision bodies as possible. Before, I did some optimizations to disable off-screen collision bodies. However, I realized that things could only collide on the left side of the screen, so I optimized this even more aggresively. This makes it so that the game performs much better when there are more nodes on the screen.
  • Change scenes manually. This is super important, and makes it so that stuff is only a bit slow the first time. For example, after I exit the Main scene, I save the node instead of deleting it. Then, when the player navigates back to that scene, I just add that node back to the scene tree instead of instancing an entirely new node (which is quite expensive). Doing this made my scene transitions much smoother.
  • Reset scenes manually. This is similar to the above. Instead of calling get_tree().reload_current_scene() to restart the Main scene, which is expensive, I manually reset the state myself. One big saving here is that the object pools don't have to get re-instanced, which means all their resources don't have to be loaded and all their objects don't have to be added to the scene tree.

Before, laggy on first jump...

Too lazy to record a video of the after now, but you can just download the game here and see for yourself.

Also, it's great how easy it is to do screen recordings on Android using adb. I followed these instructions.


int& getRef();
auto a = getRef();

a will just be a regular ol' int. Gotta do auto& a = getRef().

The rules for this are basically the same as the rules for template type deduction. Effective Modern C++ Item 1 has a good description of these rules.


I watched this video about microcontrollers, or MCUs, today. I'm not sure how accurate it is (probably simplified a lot of stuff), but the main takeaway is basically that an MCU is just like a regular computer (e.g. a PC) but a lot smaller and a lot more specialized. E.g. an MCU has a CPU, it has memory, it has a system clock, and it has peripherals. However, it's a lot more resource constrained, and will usually be used for some specialized application. Fore example, MCUs are used in key fobs, in traffic lights, remote controllers, ATMs, etc.

Also, apparently women's tennis shorts/skirts with pockets are not very popular. They usually just stick the balls between their legs and a tight pair of spandex. Did not know that.


Google Domains is so much better than Go Daddy, why didn't I know this before today? Go Daddy has a confusing UI, a subpar UX, and quite a few dark patterns. For example, it's so darn hard to simply check how much you're paying per year for all your domains. Granted, I haven't tried to do this yet with Google Domains, but the rest of the process was so much better I'm just assuming this will be too.

I used Google Domains to get, which has a link to a Godot game I exported for the web. While I was doing this, I found out that threads don't work for these exports! This confused me for a while, because I was doing some background loading. So that's one thing I learned today.

Another thing, is good for generating privacy policies that are legal and no one will understand. They host them for you too, so you can link them when uploading apps to app stores and stuff.

Lastly... the native software on macOS is so bad for editing video properties like frame rate and resolution. Terrible. Just gotta use instead.


Now that I'm doing these again, I'm starting to realize that the variety of things I learn on a daily basis is much less varied than it was during college. Which, I guess, makes total sense.

One interesting thing that's been going on lately are the presidential primaries. I'm not very educated about politics, so I've been watching some YouTube videos in my spare time. Here's are two videos I found interesting:

  • The Trouble with the Electoral College
    • Apparently you can become president with only 22% of the popular vote. This is partially (entirely?) because each state gets 3 votes by default, even though some states should only get one by proportion.
    • In 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016, the president who lost the popular vote won the presidency. Might not seem like much, but that's a "failure" rate of >5%. Yikes.
  • The weird rule that broke American politics
    • This video is about filibusters. Apparently almost every big bill is filibustered now.
    • The Senate used to not have filibusters. Here's the rough timeline:
      • Originally, debate -> majority to stop debating -> vote
      • VP Aaron Burr changes things, debate (unlimited) -> vote
      • 1917, Woodrow Wilson wants to enter WW1, Senate filibusters. Now it's debate -> 2/3 vote to stop debating -> vote
      • 1950s, Southern Senators start filibustering a ton. Mike Mansfield is tired of long pointless speeches, let's get rid of the debate part. Now it's vote to stop debating -> vote
      • 1970s threshold is changed, now it's like 60% vote to stop debating -> vote
      • 2013, filibuster no longer applies to certain confirmation votes (vote to stop debating just needs 51%)

That ended up being kinda complicated. I'm definitely going to forget the history of filibusters. It's pretty interesting though.


Wow, it's been three years. A lot has happened. Let's think back:

  • I graduated.
  • I started working at Facebook.
  • I started dating Katherine.

Ok, done. There's some health/job/friend/travel/etc. stuff stuck between the cracks there, but who has time to write about all that. Let's get to the important part: what did I learn today?

Well, the other day, I learned that Let Me Alone by Moow heavily samples These Days by Nico. Both songs are great by the way. I found out about the former song first, but the latter song seems much more famous.

Now that I'm working, there's probably going to be a lot of software stuff in these, assuming I actually keep writing them. Sorry to anyone who actually reads these (sorry future me). One cool thing I discovered at work the other day is that you can do stuff like this in C++:

enum class Handle : std::uint32_t { Invalid = 0 };
Handle h { 42 }; // Ok as of C++17

Yea, you can construct an enum with a value that isn't in the enumeration if you use list initialization! Kinda crazy right. You can read more about this here.



I was listening to this mixtape today when I heard a familiar melody. Turns out Mac Demarco's "Chamber of Reflection" samples Shigeo Sekito's "The Word II." Cool stuff. On a sidenote, I've been trying to sample this Vince Guaraldi song, but I've been getting a bit stuck. Maybe you can do better.


In order to procrastinate writing my essay, I'm finally updating this thing. A tenso is a style of troubador song in which two (or maybe more) poets debate about something. A tenso is usually written by two different poets, but sometimes the second poet is imaginary. Here's an example by Maria de Ventadorn. I can't find it online so I'll just copy it.

Gui d'Ussel, because of you I'm quite distraught, for you've given up your song, and since I wish you'd take it up again, and since you know about such things, I'll ask you this: when a lady freely loves a man, should she do as much for him as he for her, according to the rules of courtly love?

Lady Maria, tensons and all manner of song I thought I'd given up, but when you summon, how can I refuse to sing? My reply is that the lady ought to do exactly for her lover as he does for her, without regard to rank; for between two friends neither one should rule.

Gui, the lover humbly ought to ask for everything his heart desires, and the lady should comply with his request within the bounds of common sense; and the lover ought to do her bidding as toward a friend and lady equally, and she should honor him the way she would a friend, but never as a lord.

Lady, here the people say that when a lady wants to love she owes her lover equal honor since they're equally in love. And if it happens that she loves him more, her words and deeds should make it show; but if she's fickle or untrue she ought to hide it with a pretty face.

Gui d'Ussel, suitors when they're new are not at all like that, for when they seek a lady's grace they get down on their knees, hands joined, and say: "Grant that I may freely serve you, lady, as your man," and she receives them; thus to me it's nothing short of treason if a man says he's her equal and her servant.

Lady, it's embarrassing to argue that a lady should be higher than the man with whom she's made one heart of two. Either you'll say (and this won't flatter you) that the man should love the lady more, or else you'll say that they're the same, because the lover doesn't owe her anything that doesn't bear love's name.


So if you do ghc-mod check test.hs, it's going to look at your 'user pkg db' (i.e. what results from ghc-pkg list). This means that, if a Haskell file imports a package that is not included in base (e.g. Data.List.Split), you need to install that package with cabal install (the only way a standalone ghc will find that package). stack install doesn't work because stack doesn't touch the global database... remember, it's just a project manager. This is probably very obvious if you understand how all these things work already, but it took me a bit to wrap my head around it all.


Algebraic datatypes are labeled "algebraic" because we can describe the patterns of argument structures using two basic operations: sum and product. For example,

data Example = First Integer String | Second

This is a product type because the first data constructor, called "First," takes two arguments. It is a sum type because of the pipe, which means there are multiple data constructors (the type is a "sum" of these possibilities).


This is the best tab for Lost Woods (LoZ song) that I found. I tried a few so you can trust me.

Oh also, my friend matt alerted me of blue-sky thinking today. Basically means open-minded thinking. Nice little termerino for ya.


Clearly I have blog commitment issues. It's also finals week so I'll cut myself a break. I'm finding it hard to think of something to write here. Either finals aren't teaching me anything, or I've forget everything already, or it's all too dull to remember. Maybe a combination of the three. Oh, I remember what I was going to post a few days ago. It's an excerpt about the aesthetic of murder, or more generally about the connection between beauty and horror (which happens to be what I wrote my 10 page essay on). It appears on a handout from my Gothic fiction class.

I am for morality, and always shall be, and for virtue, and all that; and I do affirm... that murder is an improper line of conduct, highly improper... But what then? Everything in this world has two handles. Murder, for instance, may be laid hold of by its moral handle,... or it may also be treated aesthetically,... that is, in relation to good taste... When a murder is in the [future] tense - not done, not even being done, but only going to be done - and a rumor of it comes to our ears, by all means let us treat it morally. But suppose it over and done...; suppose the poor murdered man to be out of his pain, and the rascal that did it off like a shot, nobody knows wither; suppose, lastly, that we have done our best, by putting out our legs, to trip up the fellow in his flight, but all to no purpose - why, then, I say, what's the use of any more virtue? Enough has been given to morality; now comes the turn of Taste and the Fine Arts. A sad thing it was, no doubt, very sad; but we can't mend it. Therefore let us make the best of a bad matter; and, as it is impossible to hammer anything out of it for moral purposes, let us treat it aesthetically... Something more goes to the composition of a fine murder than two blockheads to kill and be killed - a knife - a purse - and a dark lane. Design, grouping, light and shade, poetry, sentiment, are now deemed indispensable. Thomas De Quincey: "a fine murder" ("On Murder, Considered as One of the Fine Arts," 1827).

Two notes. First: every time I read the word aesthetic, I think about vaporwave. Second: did my professor type up all these himself? There's like three pages of this stuff, and they have a bunch of ellipses. Maybe he got his secretary to do it.


So much for updating daily. Now I'll start doing that.

There's a difference between a mutex and a semphore! The main technical difference revolves around "possession." More specifically, consider two threads running currently: TA and TB. If TA locks a mutex, only TA can unlock. Thus, mutexes always look like:

-critical section-

Binary semaphores can also be used like this (i.e. a binary semaphore can function like a mutex). However, with binary semaphores, there is no concept of possession: if TA locks the semaphore, TB can unlock it. Thus, it can be used for ordering, as follows:

TA                           TB
-*do something before TB-    sem.lock()
sem.unlock()                 -do something after *-

Also, on a related note, The Little Book of Semaphores is great. Doesn't explicitly talk about this difference though.


I had a cold last week, which is my excuse for not posting for a while. Also, sometimes I just get lazy. It's not very rational, but certain days I'd rather watch five more minutes of youtube than update this stuff. I'm going to try to get back to daily updates in March. I like the idea of recording something every day. It's fun to look back on, and putting stuff in writing can solidify its place in my mind (perhaps I'll forget in a week instead of a day). Anyways, enough rambling to myself. Here's a weird word that I think I read in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

autochthonous : adj. : (of an inhabitant of a place) indigenous rather than descended from migrants or colonists. (of a deposit or formation) formed in its present position.

Also, just a random note about Murakami that I'll put here. I read Sputnik Sweetheart while I was sick, and now I'm reading Hard-Boiled. I've read Norweigan Wood, Kafka on the Shore, and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle before. I definitely noticed some similarities between those books. However, with these past two (or one-and-a-half) the similarities are really starting to hit. Here's what I typed out in a message, with an edit in square brackets:

after reading all these murakami novels they are starting to get pretty predicable. kinda average dude with normal [but specific] habits who somehow attracts females but doesn't really try. then there's a girl who he seeks after. then someone goes missing. there's probly a cat, important telephone calls, maybe a well (or at least a reference to one). some sexually explicit parts.

For example, I was reading Sputnik Sweetheart. The plot, of course, involves a missing women. The narrator is thinking of where she might be when he comes up with a brilliant idea: she's in a well! Well, that sure came out of nowhere. Turns out there are no wells on the island she disappeared from. I guess it was worth a shot. And then SPOILERS there's the ending. I don't remember the ending to Norweigan Wood that well but in my mind it's exactly the same. Now, onto Hard-Boiled. The narrator is walking around a forest when he comes across a house. What's in the backyard? You guess it - a well. Or maybe the narrator just said "hmm a well would really fit in well with this exterior landscape." I don't remember. But still... what's with all the wells? Did Murakami have some scarring well incident as a child? Does he just really like Batman? I don't know.


There's an entire subreddit dedicated eating to oranges in showers. I've never tried it but the original post makes it sound quite nice (or, to quote, the "most carnal, ferocious, liberating thing a man can do").

Blue Angels refers to the US Navy's flight demonstration squad. It can also describe the act of lighting a fart. Also, the term intracolonic explosion refers to an explosion inside a person's colon resulting from the ignition of methane (and maybe other explosive gases). So basically, it refers to internal/potential farts being lit on fire. It has resulted in death.


Technically speaking, Converse sneakers are slippers (or at least they're taxed the same). This is because >= 50% of the sole is covered in felt. As a result, the tariff is reduced from 37.5% to 3%. Jeff Steck, who is some dude mentioned in the linked article, calls this "tariff engineering." Kinda makes me wonder if there are any other weird classifications like this. If you coat an orange in rubber, is it now a bouncy ball? If you put a hood on a cardigan, is it now a hoodie? (thanks kath for alerting me of this existential crisis)


Cucking stool haha.


hagiography : noun : the writing of the lives of saints.

Example: I read hagiographies in my english class. Example: Saint Mary of Egypt and Saint Alexis have interesting hagiographies.


I thought I had this, but I guess not.

roman à clef : noun: a novel in which real people or events appear with invented names.

For example, some people thought Proust's In Search of Lost Time was a roman à clef (from How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton, who is great btw).


The Signal-Man is a supernatural short story by Charles Dickens. It tells the story of a seemingly crazy signal-man who keeps seeing ghosts on the job. The narrator, who randomly visits the signal-man while he is down near the tracks, is skeptical. However, the signal-man dies under very eerie circumstances, leaving the ending ambiguous as to whether something abnormal was going on.


2003 Boeing 727-223 disappearance. Stole this from /r/todayilearned.

Also read some stuff today about Christina of Markyate and sexual chastity (The Sexuality of Chastity by Karras). That book gives a pretty good description of Christina's life, which I've copied below:

Christina of Markyate, a twelfth-century Englishwoman, had vowed her virginity to Christ. Her aristocratic parents, who wanted her to marry for political reasons, went so far as to encourage her fiance to rape her. She managed to convert him on their wedding night to a chaste marriage.

Christina eventually ended up living as a holy recluse, maintaining her virginity for her entire life, although the monk who wrote her biography seems to have downplayed the spiritual significance of the state. In the process she entered into passionate friendship with several men, including a hermit named Roger and the St. Albans monastery. She lived for some time with an unnamed cleric, and they were inflamed with desire for each other; only her prayers brought her relif. Christina had not made a monastic profession at that point, although she later did so. (page 55)


Too lazy to look stuff up so I'm just going off what Kath said. Figma is an online design tool. It's got good collaboration tools, is free, and works in any browser. It's mainly for UI design, which isn't usually super vector heavy, so it shouldn't be slow.


Corn smut is a fungus that grows on corn. It "transforms each corn kernel into a bulbous, bulging bluish-grey gall." There are a lot of people who hate the stuff. However, there are also people who try to grow it; in Mexico, where they call it huitlacoche, it's viewed as a delicacy.


Victor is bros with the beard dude at Red Door. He even gave him one of our beaver division shirts. He told me that the Red Door guy told him that Joy Division (the band) is named after a Nazi concentration camp where soldiers would go to rape the occupants. Doing some quick googling, it appears that these camps acted as incentives for non-Jewish concentration camp slave laborers.

House of Dolls, a 1955 novella, coined this term. From Wikipedia:

The novella describes "Joy Divisions", which were groups of Jewish women in the concentration camps during World War II who were kept for the sexual pleasure of Nazi soldiers.


My bro kshit is at a big Indian wedding right now. He's keeping us updated with a lot of interesting/funny/strange (to me) wedding traditions. One of them is called Joota chupai. Here's what Wikipedia says about it:

It literally means 'hiding the shoes'. The bride’s sisters indulge in stealing of shoes. It is a fun tradition, in which the girls charge a fee for agreeing to return the shoes. They demand Kalecharis of gold for the bride's sisters and of silver for her cousins.

So basically, the bride's sisters steal the grooms shoes and make him pay for them (Wikipedia says gold and silver, but it's usually just cash nowadays). Apparently, for the weddig kshit is at, this thing ended at 4 (I'm assuming AM) and the dude paid 5100 rupees (~75 USD) because everyone was too tired to negotiate.


"The tendency to like (or dislike) everything about a person - including things you have not observed - is known as the halo effect" (Thinking, Fast and Slow, 82).

A couple of examples:

  • My new iPhone is amazing! -> Apple is amazing!

  • That girl was really nice (and quite attractive), and we had a great ten-minute conversation. -> She is definitely marriage material.


There's this game called Wild Animal Racing. If you play it, your IQ might drop by 15-25%. Here's a sample review:

this game actually cured my depression and id love to thank the devs. thank you. my life has meaning again and ill continue to gift this to an insane amount of my friends in the future.

Why haven't you bought it yet?


Rihanna sampled Tame Impala and it's awesome.


I should do something about Margaret Cavendish (super cool lady), but I'm a bit too tired to synthesize information right now. So instead I'll just post something about volplaning, which is a super cool sounding word.

volplane : verb : to glide in or as if in an airplane.


The backends of Chordify and Detexify are written in Haskell.


bathetic : adj. : producing an unintentional effect of anticlimax. Or, characterized by bathos, which is "the sudden appearance of a silly idea or event in a book, movie, etc., that is serious in tone."


I read The Castle of Otranto today. It's a pretty interesting book that fails the Bechdel test quite nicely. In the introduction it says this:

Accordingly, the Goths laid the foundations of culture - particularly of literary culture. While Temple agreed that the Goths invented rhyme, he placed this innovation within the powerful cultural context of literacy. The Goths, it was imagined, wrote in a Runic alphabet comparable in the development of written language to the Hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt. (xx)

I can't verify it on the internet (Wikipedia has contrasting information) but I guess it's still slightly interesting.


The top DJs in the world make order of $10 million a year. On a related note, here's an interesting article about Skrillex.


anhedonia : noun : inability to feel pleasure.

Dr. Saavedra had diagnosed a case of anhedonia, a disease defined by the British Medical Association as a reaction remarkably close to mountain sickness resulting from the sudden terror brought on by the threat of happiness. It was a common disease among tourists in this region of Spain, faced in these idyllic surroundings with the sudden realization that earthly happiness might be within their grasp, and prey therefore to a violent physiological reaction designed to counteract such a daunting possibility. (On Love, pg. 123)


The lecturer for my "Logic Model Checking for Formal Software Verification" class created Spin, a tool used to formally verify multi-threaded software applications.


metonymy : noun : the substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant, for example suit for business executive, or the track for horse racing.

"Is it really her I love," I thought as I looked again at Chloe reading on the sofa across the room, "or simply an idea that collects itself around her mouth, her eyes, her face?" In using her face as a guide to my soul, was I not perhaps guilty of mistaken metonymy, whereby an attribute of an entity is substituted for the entity itself (the crown for the monarchy, the wheel for the car, the White House for the U.S. government, Chloe's angelic expression for Chloe...)? (On Love, pg. 86)


"Nudibranchs are a group of soft-bodied, marine gastropod molluscs which shed their shells after their larval stage. They are noted for their often extraordinary colours and striking forms. Currently, about 2,300 valid species of nudibranchs are known.

Nudibranchs are often casually called sea slugs, but many sea slugs belong to several taxonomic groups which are not closely related to nudibranchs."

Alternatively, a fancy way of describing slimy things in the sea.


Virginia Woolf wrote "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."


KitKats have three parts: the outside chocolate, the wafers, and the stuff between the layers. I always assumed that the stuff between the layers was just chocolate, although I guess I never thought about it too much. Turns out that part is made up of smashed-up KitKats. Woah.


Some Lana Del Rey facts:

  • She was sent to Kent (private prep school) when she was 15 to deal with her "rampant alcohol abuse" (Wikipedia)

  • She majored in philosophy at Fordham University

  • Lana on feminism: "For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept. I'm more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what's going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities. Whenever people bring up feminism, I'm like, god. I'm just not really that interested" (FADER)


Found out about Jungian archetypes yesterday. Don't really understand them that much so I'll just leave this Wikipedia link right here. I can say that they're related to the collective unconscious.


I found this out a while ago but I guess I forgot to use it. In Ableton, if you drag an clip into a midi track which has an instrument, it will convert the audio to midi (if no instrument is loaded, the midi track turns into an audio track and no conversion happens). Three options are given for the conversion: harmony, melody, and drums. Harmony supports polyphony, while melody is a monophonic conversion. The last option tries to pick up the percussive elements of the audio; if the instrument loaded into the track is a drum rack, this type of conversion will be used automatically. You can also right-click the audio clip to access these conversions. Right-clicking also gives you the option to "Slice to New Midi Track," which converts slices of the audio into samples for a drum rack (these slices can be set either automatically or with warp markers). All this info is available in the Ableton Reference Manual.


douce : adj. : sober, gentle, and sedate. Also French for sweet.


TIL there's a diamond certification for records, which requires the sale of 10 million copies. For comparison, platinum is 1 million for an album, and 2 million for a single. Diamond doesn't have the album/single distinction; the 10 million applies to any "single title".


Cool facebook open source project: PathPicker.


Gucci Mane made over $1,300,000 from prison. Also, Swizz Beatz is married to Alicia Keys. Crazy!


Opinion: Green Apple books is better than City Lights and Alley Cat. I think it's bigger (I spent ~ an hour just wandering around the fiction & music annex until I realized that the main store was an entirely different thing) and it's got more personality (semicircular shelves are fun, cool staircases, music and records and dvds!, lots of used books, cool intercom system directing staff around, etc.). Fact (according to the Google description): there are more than 60,000 new & 100,000 used books at Green Apple books.


I bought a music box in Monterey yesterday. I'm too lazy to explain how it works, but it's very cool. They're different from gramophones if that's what you were thinking. The woman in the store told me they were invented in 1750, but it appears they were actually invented in 1796 by Antoine Favre (at least that's when the "key advancement" was made, there were similar things before).


The beat for the Beastie Boys song "Paul Revere" was made by reversing the beat made by an 8O8 drum machine.


I was watching this Buzzfeed video and I learned that the first Korean astronaut (Yi So-Yeon) brought kimchi to space.


Grand Moff Tarkin's first name is Wilhuff. I didn't even know that was a name.


VST stands for virtual studio technology. A VST is basically just a software synth. It gets its name because it simulates "recording studio hardware" in software.


Lil Yachty doesn't smoke or drink. He's straightedge. He's the role model our kids need.


These are some good cookie recipes that my mom uses. I would describe the cookies as thin yet chewy, and crispy at the edges. Either the "4 dozen" on the newspaper cutout is inaccurate or I don't know what 1.5 inches is.


So Katz's Deli is super good. Everyone knows that. But does everyone know that kids love cinnamon toast crunch? Yes, everyone also knows that. But does everyone know that Katz's Deli has a super modern website and ships their product nationwide??? Probably not. Check it. You can get sliced pastrami by the pound shipped from NY to your doorstep. You can get matzoh ball soup shipped from NY to your doorstep. What a time to be alive.


I feel like I learned some things while driving today, but I also feel like I forgot all those things. I bought a Midori brand notebook the other day at a stationary store in Highland Park (the store was quite nice, it had cool marine life posters). The notebook also seems pretty nice. I haven't used it yet, but it's cheaper than similarly sized Moleskines and looks like it's of comparable quality. It doesn't have the accordian pocket at the back though, which is a bummer. Maybe I'll update this post after I use it for a bit.


This article about sleep mentions gelastic seizures, which are more interesting than the actual article.

A gelastic seizure, also known as "gelastic epilepsy" is a rare type of seizure that involves a sudden burst of energy, usually in the form of laughing or crying. This syndrome usually occurs for no obvious reason and is uncontrollable. It is slightly more common in males than females. The term Gelastic originates from the Greek word "Gelos" which means laughter. (Wikipedia)


I was reading this article on about whether or not J. Cole is good (his album came out today) and there was an interesting thing about the Barnum effect. Shea Serrano wrote about it pretty well and I'm pretty lazy so I'll just copy his words here. It's a bit profane cause that's just the thug life so the censors are mine:

Serrano: Do you know what the Barnum effect is? I learned, like, maybe five things in college that stuck with me after I graduated. The Barnum effect is one of them. The general definition of it is: "The observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them but are, in fact, vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people." It’s the reason that things like horoscopes work. You read the horoscope, and it’s like, "Don’t ever cross a Gemini because it’s very hard to earn a Gemini’s trust back once you’ve broken it," and all the people who are Geminis are like, "Yup. That’s exactly right. That’s so me." It feels specific, but it’s mostly applicable to anyone. That is exactly what J. Cole is, and what he does. Take the J. Cole song "January 28th" as an example. He says: "If you ain’t aim too high / Then you aim too low." When you hear it while he’s rapping it, you’re like, "OK." But then you think about it for, like, five seconds, and it’s like, "Wait … what the eff?" I don’t think he’s actually relatable. I think he’s a familiar version of relatable, which people confuse with the real thing. 5/20. ("You the shiz only ’cause I digested you nignogs" — J. Cole, "See It to Believe It")


There is no official/correct way to pronounce Moleskine.


My friend kshit explained the surprise exam paradox yesterday, which is summarized as the unexpected hanging paradox on Wikipedia. I'll try to explain it here.

So you're taking high school chemistry, and your teacher tells you that you have a surprise test next week. She tells you that it will either be on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. However, you realize that none of these days can be a surprise. If the test is on Friday, then by Thursday night, you know the test will be on Friday. So the test cannot be on Friday. Similarly, if the test is on Wednesday, then by Tuesday night, you know the test will be on Wednesday, since it did not happen on Monday and cannot happen on Friday. The same logic applies to Monday. So you stride confidently into the week, knowing that there can be no suprise test. The test then happens on Monday and takes you by total surprise.

One (perhaps naive) explanation is that this is a second order surprise. The teacher surprises you, the student, by defying your expectations. For example, you assume that the teacher will not have the test on Friday, because then it would not be a surprise. But then, in order to surprise you, the teacher can put it on Friday. In that case, you wouldn't be surprised that the test happened, but surprised that the test happened to happen (on Friday). Hopefully that makes some amount of sense. If not go ask kshit to explain it to you.


I saw a TIL on Reddit today titled "TIL Stephen Colbert once took over a public access cable show in Michigan to interview Eminem on the air." So basically, it was someone posting a cool interview under the pretext of a TIL. I've decided to do the same thing here because the video is just that phenomenal - not just the Eminem part, but the entire thing.


Grandmaster Flash invented the thing where you move the vinyl with your hand. You know, to fastforward or rewind or loop a part over and over when you're DJing. Before people would just move the tonearm, which was really imprecise. But then Grandmaster Flash was just like... I'm gonna touch the vinyl, even though it was taboo at the time. Got this tidbit from the Nextflix original Hip-Hop Evolution ep. 1, which is hosted by Shad(!).


It's finals week so these might get kind of boring, if that changes anything. Modest Mouse has a song called "Sleepwalking" aka "Sleekwalkin'" aka "Sleepwalking (Couples Only Dance Prom Night)" which appears on their Interstate 8 EP and their Building Nothing Out of Something compilation album. I never thought about it before now, but that latter album name makes a lot of sense. Anyways, the intro is a "cover" or adaptation of the similarly named "Sleepwalk" by Santo & Johnny, a song from the 1950s that gets its memorable melody from a steel guitar. More specifically, the sad little melody at the beginning of "Sleepwalking" is basically exactly the same as the introductory steel guitar part in "Sleepwalk." The loop that gets played through "Sleepwalking" also sounds kinda similar to the bassline in "Sleepwalk," but it's not exactly the same.


Donald Glover's third studio album, "Awaken, My Love!", came out today. Apparently he does all the vocals, which is pretty impressive considering the variation. I'm not entirely sure how to check this; he doesn't list any collaborators, but I'm pretty sure (aka not really sure) you can just sample some random vocal track, or get a random friend to do some vocals and not credit them on the album.


An interesting bit from Susan Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others:

Something becomes real - to those who are elsewhere, following it as "news" - by being photographed. But a catastrophe that is experienced will often seem eerily like its representation. The attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, was described as "unreal," "surreal," "like a movie," in many of the first accounts of those who escaped from the towers or watched from nearby. (After four decades of big-budget Hollywood disaster films, "It felt like a movie" seems to have displaced the way survivors of a catastrophe used to express the short-term unassimilability of what they had gone through: "It felt like a dream.") (22 - 23)


If you don't properly heat shirts after screening them, the whole design might come off in the wash as one big layer of paint. Like, the whole thing will just peel off like an orange or something. Jim the art teacher informed us of this after we turned down the heat conveyer belt because it was slightly burning our shirts. He told us to just make it faster. He also said something about the heat making the paint bond with the shirt instead of just laying on top of it (which is why it would peel off).


plangent : adj. : of a sound - loud, deep, and often sad.


Yellow Magic Orchestra was the first band to use the TR-808. They were also one of the earliest, if not the earliest, to use it in a live performance when they performed their song "1000 Knives.". This is an electro-cover of Ryuichi Sakamoto's piano song called "Thousand Knives."


This article about men not liking funny women is is pretty interesting. The three main points I got from it are:

  • Men try harder to be funny (make more jokes) which makes them be perceived as funnier.
  • "Women want men who will tell jokes; men want women who will laugh at theirs."
  • Men can be turned off by a funny female. The experiment for this sounds kind of weird though, so I'm not extremely sold on the evidence. Indifference would make more sense to me.


Found my copy of Reading the OED at home so now I can do this.

fleeten : adj. : having the color of skim milk.

It's somewhere in some edition of the OED.


Fluxx is a game. It's hard to explain how to play, so you should just play it. Just to give a little sense of how little sense it makes, it works a little like this. The game starts with one basic rule: draw one card, play one card. Everyone starts with a hand of three, and on their turn they follow the basic rule. As the game progresses, new rules (type of card) and goals (type of card) will be played, changing how the game is played and won. For example, a rule might be "Play 3 cards each turn", or "Draw 3 cards each turn," and a goal might be "You win if you have a sandwich and a friend." Stuff like that.

A few more details - the game is supposed to take 5-30 minutes to play, and is supposed to to be played with 2-6 players. It usually takes longer the more players are involved; the goals change more frequently against each player, the keepers (good for winning, you'll get it if you play) are distributed more widely, and there are just more turns to be played out. That being said, there's not really a strategy to this game. It's so random and chaotic that any plans you may have often get destroyed as soon as you start making them. That's what makes it fun! Also, if you play with 7 players, it might take forever and annoy everyone (depending on who everyone is). Perhaps this game actually was playtested.


Slow day.

imbroglio : noun : a complex dispute or argument. Or, an intriciate or complicated situation (as in a drama or novel).


BIC pens are called BIC because the company was founded (in 1945) by a guy called Baron Marcel Bich. So BIC is Bich minus the h.


Set the Game is a thing. I had totally forgotten this existed. It's a card game where you look for patterns. You can also play online. The same company makes Quiddler which is also pretty fun. But anyways, I'll briefly explain Set. The game is played by laying 12 cards out in a 3 x 4 grid. There are 3 different shapes, 3 different colors, 3 different shading patterns, and 3 different numbers (for a total of 81 cards, meaning each card is unique). For example, one card consists of a single-green-solid-squiggly (number-color-shading-shape). The goal is to look for triples where each characteristic is completely the same or completely different. For example, three cards that are all green but have three different shapes might be a valid triple. Whoever has the most cards at the ends wins. I played this game at kath's house and lost very closely (out of practice).


TIL of a lap steel guitar. It's really cool. I'm too tired to write about it but now you know it exists.


A profile of Leo Tolstoy that I copied from my copy of War and Peace (Penguin, Anthony Briggs):

Leo Tolstoy was born in central Russia in 1828. He studied Oriental languages and law (though failed to earn a degree in the latter) at the University of Kazan, and after a dissolute youth eventually joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1852. He took part in the Crimean War, and the Sebastopol Sketches that emerged from it established his reputation. After living for some time in St Petersburg and abroad, he married Sofya Behrs in 1862 and they had thirteen children. The happiness this brought gave him the creative impulse for his two greatest novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). Later in life his views became increasingly radical as he gave up his possessions in order to live a simple peasant life. After a quarrel with his wife he fled home secretly one night to seek refuge in a monastery. He became ill during this dramatic flight and died at the small railway station of Astapovo in 1910.


Plumtree was a Halifax all-girl band. One day, Bryan Lee O'Malley woke up to his morning alarm (a college radio station from the University of Western Ontario) and heard one of their songs playing. He got really into them; he liked their "funny and violent and moody and dark" lyrics, and found it cool that they were only a bit older than him (still in high school at the time). He went to their concert, and even got to hang out with the band a bit beforehand. Unfortunately, his sister and her friend were only ~16, so they had to leave early. He apparently still remembers the "searing guitar from the song 'Scott Pilgrim' blasting out the door" as they left. And that's the song that inspired the graphic novels.


Michael Voltaggio is an American chef who currently lives in LA. He's semi-famous because he won the sixth season of Top Chef. The head judge of Top Chef has said: "Out of all the cooks that have come through the show, Michael is the most talented - both from a sensibility and technical standpoint. He has the chops to pull of what he's trying to do." MV has a two restaurants: ink.sack, which makes small, cheap, "artisanal" (unusual) sandwiches, and ink, which is a fancier "modern Los Angeles" restaurant right next to ink (like two doors down). Here's the current menu for ink, which changes frequently. image Note that they also have dessert, which is really good. I guess the dessert menu is secret, because it's not listed on their website. The service at ink is great. The food came quickly, and the server always prefaced the dish with a quick description that went over our heads but sounded good and fancy. We were probably served by around 5 different people throughout the dinner. They recommended sharing and ordering all the dishes at once; I forget what the reason was but I'm sure it's easier for them. There might be something about them ordering the dishes in a certain way, although if you order a lot this probably goes out the window. Anyways, we ordered 5 appetizers (1), 2 entrees (2), 5 sides (+), and 4 desserts (all of them). The delineation between appetizers and entrees is kind of nonexistent. To get a complete meal, you need stuff from both (1) and (2). (2) is more accurately classified as meatstuffs. Anyways, one more interesting thing: apparently the hundreds (clothing company) did a collaboration with voltaggio on a tee called the "sack adam."


A theophany is the appearance of a deity to a human. A famous example would be God appearing to Moses as a burning bush. Another good example (not sure how famous this is) pops up in the poem Andreas, in which God disguises himself as a sailor. Under this guise, he captains a boat for Andrew, and asks him a bunch of questions about Christianity and God and things of that nature.


TIL of water spouting. It was made famous by this guy called Hadji Ali in his "human flamethrower" act. For this act, he would drink a bunch of water followed by a bunch of kerosene. He would then forcefully regurgitate the kerosene ("spout" it) to incite large flames. Finally, he would put the flames out by spouting the water. David Blaine learned this trick from a guy in Africa, and now uses it in some of his acts (see the video linked above). Here's an amazing gif that may or may not demonstrate the trick (it might just be sleight of hand or something). It also has Steph Curry, Drake, and Dave Chappelle in it which is cool.


Some vi/vim things:

  • vi is pronounced vee-I but no one actually pronounces it like that.
  • vi was created by Bill Joy, who (of lesser importance) co-founded Sun Microsystems.
  • vi was originally written as the visual mode for a line editor called ex.
  • vi gets its name by abbreviating visual. Put into slightly more confusing but more technically correct language, it gets its name from "the shortest unambiguous abbreviation for the ex command visual, which switches the ex line editor to visual mode." ex is the line editor mentioned above.
  • vim = vi improved.

The Wikipedia page for vi, from which I stole basically all this information, is very interesting. You should read it. And then vim it. Don't geddit. Get it? Haha. I stole that joke from victor if he ever reads this.


Apparently Mike Will Made-It made the beat for Black Beatles in 10 minutes. Not sure how true this is, but Forbes says it.

Also, since that source is pretty unreliable, here's something that's actually a thing. Bibliotherapy is, according to the Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science,

The use of books selected on the basis of content in a planned reading program designed to facilitate the recovery of patients suffering from mental illness or emotional disturbance. Ideally, the process occurs in three phases: personal identification of the reader with a particular character in the recommended work, resulting in psychological catharsis, which leads to rational insight concerning the relevance of the solution suggested in the text to the reader's own experience. Assistance of a trained psychotherapist is advised.

In a more basic sense, bibliotherapy is the use of books to help someone solve their personal issues. The term was coined in 1916 by Samuel Crothers in an Atlantic Monthly article, but the practice/idea has been around for much longer. The oldest known library motto in the world is "the house of healing for the soul", and Marcus Aurelius's physician maintained a medicical library in the first century A.D. Was informed of this term by Kath (thanks ).


helpmeet : noun : helpmate. A helpful companion or partner, especially one's husband or wife.


Boss Monster is a cool dungeon building card game. The goal of the game is to build up a strong dungeon that attracts and kills heroes (so a bit of a paradigm shift from the classic RPG). Each turn, you draw a "room" card which can be used to add to your dungeon. Then, a few heros are drawn. Heros are distributed to dungeons based on certain characteristics of the dungeons. If your dungeon kills a hero, you get a point (first to 10 wins). Otherwise, you get wounded (5 wounds and you lose). There are a bunch of other intricacies involving spell cards and room types/effects and whatnot; suffice it to say that the game gets suprisingly (but not overly) strategic as the dungeons start to grow. Lastly, can't forget the awesome card designs - classic 8bit RPG goodness. Learned about this game from Simon the Hag, and got it from Matt (thanks ~).


You can get awesome hand-crafted metal posters from They're super easy to hang because they come with an adhesive magnet. You can stick the magnet to the wall, and then attach the poster to the magnet, which allows for easy-repositioning of the poster. Apparently they have over 1,000 artists and 40,000 designs. They also plant 10 trees for each purchased Displate. We have about six in our house now since my friend vic just bought us a bunch (thanks dude ~).


There's a pretty decent collection of Gimp plugins that adds a bunch of Instagram filters to Gimp. Here's how to install them. Basically you just download the python scripts, make sure they're executable, move them to some directory on your computer, and then restart Gimp.


Sometimes I can't think of anything interesting.

blackamoor : noun : a dark-skinned person; especially : black

I found this word in a Tintin book. I think Captain Haddock used it as an insult (in a possibly racially offensive context). Not recommended for real-world usage.


The title of the African novel Things Fall Apart is taken from the opening lines of W.B. Yeat's poem "The Second Coming":

Turning and turning in the widening gyre > The falcon cannot hear the falconer; > Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; > Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world...

Tangentially, here's a passage I liked from the novel. It's prefaced by Uchendu putting Okonkwo's problems into context by telling him of even greater problems, some of them personal. He ends his schpeal by asking if Okonkwo has heard "the song they sing when a woman dies", which goes like this:

For whom is it well, for whom is it well? > There is no one for whom it is well.

This stuff is on page 135 (in my version).


Gustave Flaubert worked on a few books before the famous Madame Bovary. Included amongst these was the first version of The Temptation of Saint Anthony. He read the novel out loud to two friends over four days, and told them to keep down any interruptions or opinions during that time. At the end of the reading, his friends told him to throw the manuscript in the fire, and suggested that he write about day-to-day life instead of more fantastical subjects.


Caffeine toxicity is a thing. Overdosing on caffeine ("ingesting in excessive amounts for extended periods") can result in headaches, agitation, seizures, chest pain, nausea, and more.


You should read some books faster than you think (Kant). You should read some books slower than you think (Hume, Things Fall Apart).


bluestocking : noun (derogatory) : an intellectual or literary woman.

Found in War and Peace.


On a mac, option-shift-(volume up/down) to adjust the volume by quarter increments.


Cotton swabs were invented in the 1920s by this guy named Leo Gerstenzang. He got inspiration from watching his wife apply cotton wads to toothpicks in order to clean specific areas. He named his product Baby Gays. He later changed this to Q-Tips Baby Gays (Q for quality), which then got shortened again to just Q-Tips.


Ok, this tip is actually legit. I think I learned this a while ago and I forgot, which I shouldn't have, because it's really important. You know those window blinds, the ones made of a bunch of thin rectangles strung together than can be rotated to block/not-block light? And then you can also just raise the whole thing with a pull string? If you want to get the blinds to actually stay up, you pull the string, and then when you release it, make sure the string is perfectly straight. That is, make sure your hand, or whatever you're pulling it with, is directly below where the string starts. If you want it to come down, just pull the string and then give it slack when it's diagonal, or sideways, or something like that.


On mac, type option-shift-k and get . Google search this and whaddya know, is the first result. That's kinda cool.


Youtube keyboard shortcuts for ya. Some notable ones:

k/spacebar - play/pause left arrow - rewind 5 seconds right arrow - fast forward 5 seconds j - rewind 10 seconds l - fast forward 10 seconds 0 - restart video f - toggle full screen

10.26.16 sells cheap clothes stuff "for the sole purpose of resale". Here's their official schpeal:

TSC is a distributor of blank apparel and accessories. We only sell to licensed screen printers, embroiderers, decorators, and members of the promotional products industry for the sole purpose of resale.

Here are some t-shirt models/prices that Caltech uses for silkscreening:

Gildan 5000 Heavyweight Tees
  0274GL    $5.00
Gildan 64000 / SoftStyle Adult T-Shirt
  0202gl    $7.00
Gildan 5V00L / Ladies V-Neck
  0288gl    $7.00
Gildan 64V00 / SoftStyle Adult V-Neck T-Shirt -Unisex
  0206gl    $7.00
Gildan Tanktops 2200
  0409GL    $8.00
American Apparel unisex
  0202AM    $9.00
American Apparel women’s Junior Fit 2102 cap sleeve
  0213AM    $9.00
American Apparel Ladies’ Fine Jersey Tee
  2102AM    $9.00


In the original Old Testament (I think), Cain's sacrifice was put forward with less good will than Abel's: "Abel, a generous shepherd, offered the fattest of his sheep as an oblation to God. But Cain, a miserly farmer, offered only a bunch of grass and some worthless seeds to him" (Wikipedia). However, in the Old Testament Narratives (Old English Poems which I'm actually reading for class), this detail is omitted. The entire recounting is quite sparse; if I didn't know it was so important, I wouldn't think it was so important.


Sic transit gloria mundi - thus passes the glory of the world. Another interpretation: worldly things are fleeting. It appears many times in pop culture (see Wikipedia), and used to be used in the ritual of "papal coronation ceremonies" (crowning the pope). The phrase can also be used in reference to the stafflike instrument used in such ceremonies.

There's also a really nice Emily Dickinson poem which takes its name from this phrase.

"Sic transit gloria mundi," "How doth the busy bee," "Dum vivimus vivamus," I stay mine enemy!


Chronic nosebleeds can be treated in a variety of ways. Cauterization seems to be a common one, in which a stick of silver nitrate is stuck up the nose and used to "burn the ends of all the blood vessels". Nasal packing, or the "application of sterile tampons to the nasal chambers", is another method. Finally, if neither of these methods succeed, surgery may be necessary. The patient is examined under general anesthesia and some type of surgical work on the nose's blood vessels is performed to stem the bleeding.


plash : noun : splash.

Found in War and Peace.


Etymology of nausea (comes from the Greek work naus for ship).

early 15c., vomiting, from Latin nausea "seasickness," from Ionic Greek nausia (Attic nautia) "seasickness, nausea, disgust," literally "ship-sickness," from naus "ship" (see naval). Despite its etymology, the word in English seems never to have been restricted to seasickness.


Two kinda interesting things this morning. First, Post-it TM notes are bad for books (so are similar brands of sticky notes). They leave behind a residue which attracts dirt, makes pages stick together, or smears text, even if notes are immediately removed. This isn't just anecdotal evidence: the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) conducted a study on this stuff. Further, some notes are made of poor quality paper, which can cause damage over time. Even further, some notes (not THE Post-it TM note) use poor quality adhesive (butyrate) that discolors paper over time. Basically, this is actually kind of complicaed, and simply put, sticky notes are bad for books.

Also this stackoverflow post about how to check if a directory exists and create it if necessary? is quite good. It's a very simple question and then stuff starts to hit the fan when blanket-catching OSErrors as a workaround to a race condition doesn't work, etc. etc.

Note: I think the poor quality paper thing is probably lignin paper. Apparently lignin reacts with light and causes coloration.


There are white guavas and pink guavas. Pink guavas get their color from an organic pigment called carotenoid. The white guava I ate tasted kind of like a kiwi, but less sweet. This assessment may or may not be completely non-representative of the average white-guava-eating-experience.


Lobsters aren't immortal, they just have negligible senescence. Basically, when they die, it's not by gradual processes. Think I posted about senescence some time ago.


There are const functions in C++. Only member methods should be labeled as const, since they are used to make the function (implicitly) take a const "this" pointer. In other words, a const function cannot modify the object it's called on. Note that

  • const functions can always be called

  • non-const functions can only be called by non-const objects


Etmyologically, the words "niggard" and "nigg^%" are unrelated. However, there have been so many controversies about the word "niggard" that there is a Wikipedia page about these controversies. One of these issues has led to a "national debate in the U.S." over whether the word should be avoided.


TIL you can make milk out of oats #postmilkgeneration. SO SO Stockholm, CA.


Elementary row operations do not change the row space of a matrix. This means that, given matrix A, rowspace(A) == rowspace(rref(A)). Another trick for finding the row space of a matrix is to find the column space of the transpose of A.


The Psychomachia is a poem by Prudentius written in the fifth century AD. It's said to be the first and most influential "pure" medieval allegory. The plot is pretty simple. There are some personified virtues (e.g. Hope, Sobriety, Faith, etc.), and some personified vices (Pride, Anger, Avarice, etc.). All the personifications are women, due to Latin word genders. The virtues and vices duke it out one-on-one, with the virtues ultimately succeeding. Along the way there are some Mortal Combat style fatalities, monologues about stuff, etc. Psychomachia can also be used as a regular word to mean "conflict within the soul", although it appears this is rare.


Some good stuff on Unicode, specifically related to its use in software:

Now, since I'm to lazy to regurgitate any of that information, I'll instead steal from this great askreddit thread about pleasant and uplifting facts. Maurice Sendak, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, once replied to a child's letter with a letter and a sketch. The child's mom wrote back to Maurice and told him her son loved the letter so much that he ate it. Did you know there are more public libraries than McDonalds in the US? This is actually mindblowing: the voice actor of Spongebob is married to the voice actor of Plankton's computer wife.


Too lazy to write about the Canada Commando/Kanada Kommando/Kanadakommando so I'll just do this.

sangfroid : noun : the ability to stay calm in difficult or dangerous situations.

He played that game where you stab a sharp thing between your fingers with remarkable sangfroid.


Ben Saltzman (currently a "Weisman Postdoctoral Instructor in Medieval British Literature" at Caltech) pointed out this specific passage to our English class:

The world rings its regular changes, its elements reconciled held in balance in their battle by its immutable laws. Phoebus comes on with rosy dawns in his flying golden car, and Phoebe brings the silver moon, fulfilling Hesperus' promise. The churning sea is confined to its bed and the land keeps to its bounds, for each is subject to a greater power the other helps to enforce. What governs earth and sea and sky is nothing less than love, whose tight rein if it ever slackened would leave creation in chaos of civil war's utter ruin. Love binds people too, in matrimony's sacred bonds where chaste lovers are met, and friends cement their trust and friendship. How happy is mankind, if the love that orders the stars above rules, too, in your hearts. (57-58, Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy)

Good to read at weddings and casual dinner parties and stuff.


Found this interesting interview of Bon Iver. Some notes:

  • For Emma, Forever Ago was recorded at Justin's "little bungalow house in Eau Claire, Wisconsin." However, he didn't go there for the purpose of recording an album. According to him, he went there "out of necessity." Some background: during the summer of 2006, he was dealing with mono and pneumonia. During this time, he also broke up with his band, and subsequently broke up with his girlfriend. After he broke up with his girlfriend, he continued to live with her while he worked on a record for The Rosebuds (after he finished working on one of her records, for her band Nola). He also had a bad liver infection. After he was done with The Rosebuds record, he toook off.

  • When he had everything all mixed, he thought the songs were just demos. But after showing them to friends and getting good reactions, everything took off.

  • About the process, he says: "I still, to a certain degree, will be insecure always, but I think that I’ll continue to make records like this. I’m not going to hire engineers; I’m not going to hire producers. I’m fully capable of doing all that stuff, and I’m just going to keep it within myself, under my control and surveillance."


The column rank of a matrix A is the maximal number of linearly independent columns, which is equivalent to the dimension of the column space of A (space spanned by the columns). The row rank of a matrix A is the maximal number of linearly independent rows, which is equivalent to the dimension of the row space of A. For any matrix A, the column rank and row rank are always equal.


Bon hiver is a French phrase meaning "good winter", from which the band Bon Iver derives its namesake.


Conditional probability, Kolmogorov definition: P(A|B) = P(A ∩ B) / P(B) Bayes' theorem: P(A|B) = P(B|A) P(A) / P(B) I didn't actually learn this stuff today/yesterday but it was relevant b/c grading.


It's a trap!

Truffle oil is controversial as a flavoring ingredient, as most truffle oil is artificially produced and may lack the flavors or complexities of fresh truffles. (Wikipedia)


A super beginner's guide to silk painting:

  • Stretch silk onto some kind of apparatus. One kind of apparatus involves rubber-banding a bunch of three-pronged forks around a wooden frame. The forks then pierce the silk, and are used to suspend the silk in the center of the frame. The shiny side should be facing upwards (this is the side you paint on).

  • Apply gutta, which is a "resist." Basically, it's a gluelike substance that prevents dye from reaching the silk, and can be used to guide the dye into cool patterns.

  • Let the gutta dry.

  • Wet the entire shebang (with water). You can use a spray bottle, or run it under a shower, or otherwise cover the fabric with water.

  • Get some paint brushes and dyes, and start painting. If you're using strong dyes, you might want to dilute them with water.

  • Steam the thing. This binds the dye and the fabric together. I think you can repeat the entire process with the dried fabric, but I haven't actually tried it. Don't see a reason why you couldn't.

I think you can also wet it and then apply the gutta. It's not recommended but it might do something cool (not sure, didn't try). You can also just skip the gutta step entirely and just paint on some wet silk.


Found this cool reddit thread the other day, which shows how Disney reuses animation when they're stretched for time. In other words, a lot of their older movies have scenes that use the exact same movements, albeit with different characters. The movie linked in the link shows it much better than I can explain it.


The Double ShackBurger at Shake Shack (cheeseburger with lettuce, tomatoes, Shack sauce) costs $8.09 at the West Hollywood location at the time this is being written. Compare this to a Double-Double at In-N-Out, which currently costs $3.60. Author's note: the ShackBurger is delicious.


The coupon collector's problem goes as follows. There is a jar with N unique coupons. You are a collector. Each turn, you draw one coupon from the jar; after you draw it, you put it back. Each coupon is equally likely to be drawn. What is the probability that more than T turns are needed to collect all N coupons? Upon analysis, it can be found that the expected number of turns T is O(n logn). For example, if there are N = 50 coupons, it takes, on average, 225 turns to collect all the coupons.


"Demosthenes, I know you by the pebble in your golden mouth!" - page 167 of War and Peace. Demosthenes was a Greek orator who, according to legend, practiced speaking with stones in his mouth. He also recited verses while running and strengthened his voice by speaking on the seashore over the roar of the waves, according to Wikipedia.


PAC stands for probably approximately correct, e.g. Hoeffding's inequality gives us a PAC equality. PAC learning is a framework for mathematical analysis of machine learning.


Boysenberry = European raspberry x European blackberry x American dewberry x Loganberry

Random fact from Wikipedia: New Zealand is the "largest marketer of boysenberries worldwide."


Christo and Jeanne-Claude were a married pair of artists who made environmental art. For example, they put a bunch of umbrellas on hills, wrapped a bridge, put a bunch of gates in Central Park, etc. Originally, credit was only given to Christo (and even when I heard about Christo the other day, the name of his wife never came up). It was only in 1994 that their works were retroactively credited to "Christo and Jeanne-Claude." A cool thing: Christo and Jeanne-Claude were born on the same day!


The Unicode consortium is a "non-profit corporation devoted to developing, maintaining, and promoting software internationalization standards and data, particularly the Unicode Standard, which specifies the representation of text in all modern software products and standards." In its technical report on Unicode Emoji (UTR 51), it proposes the following definitions.

emoji - A colorful pictograph that can be used inline in text. Internally the representation is either (a) an image or (b) an encoded character. The term emoji character can be used for (b) where not clear from context.

emoticon - (1) A series of text characters (typically punctuation or symbols) that is meant to represent a facial expression or gesture such as ;-) (2) a broader sense, also including emoji for facial expressions and gestures.

emoji character - A character that is recommended for use as emoji.


Screen printing and silkscreen printing are different terms for what is basically the same technique. Screen printing is a printing technique that uses a mesh to transfer ink onto a substrate. The shape is made by a blocking stencil. The "silk" in silkscreen refers to the material of the mesh. However, polyester mesh has become more common in recent times.


"Bowed guitar" is a method where you use a bow to play guitar. It sounds pretty noisy from my one live experience with it (Sigur Rós). The method is typically associated with Jimmy Page and Sigur Rós. As a bonus, Sigur Rós is named after Jónsi's (lead singer) sister, Sigurrós Elín.


Taken from the footnotes of War and Peace cause I'm lazy right now:

The Cossacks were free peasants living in southern Russia, renowned for their wild behaviour. The countess is virtually (and affectionately) calling her a little savage.


According to this New Yorker article, "according to a recent CNBC report, seventy per cent of American online-porn access occurs during the nine-to-five workday." I have the first "according" because I didn't actually check the source. That's a very high number. Makes you wonder when you go to use the bathroom at work, makes you wonder.


Birkenstock resoling at Orinda Shoe Service is $65, or about half the original cost (I have the soft footbed ones). They have the actual Birkenstock sole material, they do it really nicely, and it only took a day, so it was pretty worth. It's more expensive than birkenstock express, not including shipping, but in the same price range.


ctrl-r for reverse incremental search in terminal. In layman's term, this command searches for previously used commands.


Two possible causes of Riso printer jams: layers with a lot of ink and layers with objects close to the top of the page.


A bike roller is a contraption used for indoor biking. It's composed of three steel "rollers", or cylinders, which are stuck between a frame to make something that looks like this:

| |    |

Imagine those vertical lines being sandwiched by two horizontal lines and you get the idea. Anyways, you can put your bike on this thing and ride in place; the back wheel goes on the sister cylinders and the front wheel goes on the solo cylinder. It doesn't seem extremely difficult, although keep in mind that my point of reference is a few drunk college cyclers. The main challenge is staying straight.


Python objects and being hashable:

All of Python’s immutable built-in objects are hashable, while no mutable containers (such as lists or dictionaries) are. Objects which are instances of user-defined classes are hashable by default; they all compare unequal (except with themselves), and their hash value is derived from their id().


reflect("java.util.UUID", "randomUUID")

to generate unique ids in hive.


wc -l < filename.txt

to get number of lines of filename.txt.


In Python

a = b,

makes a a tuple, and makes me waste two hours of my life.


The Olympics have an interesting false start policy. It makes sense that "actual" false starts get disqualified - that is, starts that occur before the gun. However, Olympics people also do calculations to ensure that no one is gaming the gun; that is, they make sure that each person's reaction time is in the realm of possibility, and that no one is anticipating the gun (and timing it just right so that they start after it goes but "triggered" themselves beforehand).


The world record time for the 10,000m run (men) is 26:17.53 minutes. This amounts to running 6.213712 miles in 26:17.53 minutes, which amounts to running more than 6 miles at a pace of ~4:13 minutes per mile, which amounts to someone being really ridiculously fast. In other news, Mo Farah won the 10k at the Olympics again today.


Figs and wasps have a co-dependent relationship. A wasp mother will bury into a fig and lay its eggs. However, due to the fig's booby-trapped entranced, the mother's wings get trapped, it cannot escape, and it dies in the fig. This results in some interesting sentences in the Defect Levels Handbook:

Fig Paste: Contains 13 or more insect heads per 100 grams of fig paste in each of 2 or more subsamples Figs: Average of 10% or more by count are insect-infested and/or moldy and/or dirty fruit or pieces of fruit


cmd-e to split clips in Ableton Live.


There's this music game series called Pop'n Music. The many iterations can be played on various consoles and in arcades. The characters are quite aesthetic, and there are a lot to choose from. In pop'n music 14 FEVER!, there's a song called FEVER HERO ED. It's probably available in other versions too, but the point is, the song is flat out amazing. You can wildly mash buttons to this song at the Gameworks in downtown Seattle, amongst other locations around the world of which I am unaware.


La petite mort, literally translated as "the little death," is an expression originally associated with the meaning of "fainting fit." Over time, it has taken on a sexual meaning, referring to "the brief loss or weakening of consciousness" post orgasm. Basically, it's a way of describing the transcendent or melancholy state one may feel after sex.


PHP is server side.


In artic wolf packs, alpha males and females have a shared distinct feature of raising one hind leg when they urinate. This "raised-leg urination" bonds the two together in a sexual tie.


Captain America is a secret Hydra member?? I learned this a couple days ago but it's still pretty mindblowing.


"Ut pictura poesis", a Latin phrase, translates literally to "as is painting so is poetry." It occurs most famously in Horaces Ars Poetica, where he talks about how poetry should be interpreted just as carefully as painting.


12 + 1 = 11 + 2

twelve plus one & eleven plus two are anagrams


Traditionally, haikus contain:

  • Some aspect of "cutting" (juxtaposition of two ideas).

  • 17 on. An on is kinda like the Japanese version of a syllable, but a bit different. For example, haibun contains 4 on: the elongated vowel gets two and the "n" at the end of a syllable gets another.

  • Some involvement of nature.

Typically, Americans butcher all or most of these properties. I guess we've adopted our own kind of haiku, where we talk about random crap and our lives and stuff (you're also not supposed to use "I" in haikus, but that's also gone out the window).


An exotic option has pricing features more complicated than typical vanilla options (e.g. European options, American options). For example, Asian options are exotic. Ooh.


John Cage's Roaratorio. An amalgamation of sounds and voice. More specifically,:

  • Take every sound/location from Finnegan's Wake.

  • Record every sound at its noted location.

  • Lay the sounds out in sequence.

  • Read passages of the book over them (some type of acrostic, still unclear about this).

Brought to my attention by Ciaran Carson.


Symbolism is a literary movement/current, as well as that thing in books where something stands for something else (that light in Gatsby). There are also a lot of other literary movements.


copywriter : n : a person who writes the text of advertisements or publicity material.

Lil Dicky was a copywriter before becoming a professional rapper.


I present to you mindblowing anecdotes about twins.

One pair of twins both suffered crippling migraines, owned dogs that they had named Toy, married women named Linda, and had sons named James Allan (although one spelled the middle name with a single “l”). Another pair—one brought up Jewish, in Trinidad, and the other Catholic, in Nazi Germany, where he joined the Hitler Youth—wore blue shirts with epaulets and four pockets, and shared peculiar obsessive behaviors, such as flushing the toilet before using it. Both had invented fake sneezes to diffuse tense moments. Two sisters—separated long before the development of language—had invented the same word to describe the way they scrunched up their noses: “squidging.” Another pair confessed that they had been haunted by nightmares of being suffocated by various metallic objects—doorknobs, fishhooks, and the like.

- Source is here


When you die your muscles spontaneously relax and you pee and poop.

I did not think of my body at needle point. Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone. Suicides have already betrayed the body.

- Anne Sexton, "Wanting to Die".


Steph Curry is the NBA's first unanimous league MVP. Go dubs.


Reddit used to be called ("what's new?"). The changed the name to because (for some reason) they couldn't keep that name. Reddit's logo, the alien, is named Snoo, a designation of symbolic rememberance.


If they survive the summer melt they are referred to as firn, German ‘of last year’. Firn are the building blocks of glaciers...


senescence : noun : the condition or process of deterioration with age.


Sylvia Plath's family nickname (she signed her letters home with it) was Sivvy.


Sylvia Plath sounds like an 80 year old english lady. It's a bit scary. Most dreams happen in REM sleep. Ice cream places in Pasadena close at 10pm.


Anne Sexton was a confessional poet, a bit like Sylvia Plath both as a person (perhaps a generalization, but note that they bonded over their shared madness) and as a poet. Similarly to Plath, Anne battled depression and committed suicide at an early age. There was a part of her that always wanted more: more awards and accolades and affirmation. For a short period of her life, she performed in her very own band called Anne Sexton & Her Kind. They experimented with a variety of musical styles - bebop and jazz and country and folk - with Anne Sexton providing the vocals. None of the songs are sung. Instead, they're rhythmically read, in a way that differs from what one would expect from a typical poetry reading. If you do want to hear Anne sing, her voice is barely audible in the chorus of this old live recording. Check out this great piece for more info on Anne's band.


The stable marriage problem is interesting. It should only take O(n^2) time for everyone to get engaged. I can always fall back on the scaling factor as an excuse.


I had previously thought Grimes studied neuroscience in McGill before dropping out. It appears that she was actually in an Electroacoustics program, where she studied how the brain interacts with music. In her words, this gave her a "basic understanding of engineering." Here's the source.


To overexpress a gene (have more of the corresponding protein be made), we can put in plasmids with a bunch of that gene (and its promoter), or modify the promoter to make it "stronger."


history to see list of past bash commands, !x to execute command past command x.


Ska stum: mute down, unmute up. Let's word that differently (better? maybe): mute the downstroke, play the upstroke.


The origin of nuclear transfer... cloning... Briggs and King... sleep.


"Brutalist" is a type of architecture. That is, Brutalist architecture is characterized by its "ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy" (Wikipedia).


To pasteurize something (milk, cheese, some other food) is simply to expose said something to high temperatures for enough time to kill harmful microorganisms without destroying the quality/taste of the something.


Two-for-one. First: a collective of squirrels is a scurry. Second: in the days when segmented sleep was common (sleep, wake up and do stuff, sleep again) the in-between period of wakefulness was called dorveille by the French. This roughly translates to "wakesleep". The English called this patch of time "the watch."


Today is Record Store Day (RSD), a day where record stores stock exclusive releases (chavurches remixes on vinyl, for example) and possibly have live performances and/or signings.


There's this really cool word,


a wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action.

But to avoid making this a dictionary, here's something else that might be of slight interest. Devil tumors are transmissible tumors. They were first observed on Tasmanian devils - researchers noticed tumors on these suffering creatures were genetically identical, and realized that the cancer was jumping from one devil to another. In simple terms, these animals transmitted the cancer by biting each other on the face (a fairly regular behavior for them), an area which could contain cancerous tumors. As Tasmanian devils tend to inbreed, leading to relatively low genetic diversity, the tumors spread via this mechanism (as opposed to being killed when transferred to a foreign host).


Heard this from Jim Barnett while watching the Warriors win their 73rd regular season game today. One of the Bull's 10 losses in their 72 win season came against the Charlotte Hornets, the team for which Dell Curry played. That game came down to the wire - specifically, Charlotte hit 2 free throws at the very end to win the game. Those free throws were sunk by none other than Dell Curry. In other words, Dell Curry gave Steph the chance to set this record!


Another lazy day, another definition.

ampipathic : adj. : hydrophilic + hydrophobic (molecule)

My professor's first stab at pronouncing this: ampifapic.


cutaneous : adj. : of, relating to, or affecting the skin.


Pandan cake is a spongy green cake. It's spongy in texture (also kinda moist and chewy, it's nice) and also kinda looks like a green sponge. It's of Indonesian and Malaysian origins, and is flavoured with the juice of Pandanus amaryllifolius leaves.


There's this drink called bai. It's 5 calories, got antioxidants, and tastes pretty good. It's sweetened with stevia, which has some interesting history behind it (banned at one point for being carcinogenic, used as a sweetener by the Incan civilization, etc). I recommend the mango. The carbonated ones aren't as good.


I'm tired and it's late, so let's just copy & paste some cool stuff that I found today.

An aphorism (from Greek ἀφορισμός aphorismos, "delimitation") is a terse saying, expressing a general truth, principle, or astute observation, and spoken or written in a laconic and memorable form


The Cornell box is a test aimed at determining the accuracy of rendering software by comparing the rendered scene with an actual photograph of the same scene, and has become a commonly used 3D test model.

For more information, I refer you to Google.


According to Alfred Hershey (of the Hershey-Chase experiments) heaven is: "To find one really good experiment and keep doing it over and over."


Concert tickets have the open-door time; the venue's Twitter has the set times (usually).


LP = long playing, EP = extended play (extended relative to a single).


Philip K. Dick thinks we're all living in 50 A.D..


FILD, which stands for Finger Induced Lucid Dreaming, is a technique that utilizes finger movement in an attempt to induce lucid dreams. The overall idea is as follows. Go to sleep. Wake up ~6hrs later (should probably be in the middle of REM?). As you're going back to sleep, which should be very easy, perform an up-down motion with the index and middle fingers of one hand. That is, alternatively press the index finger down (with the middle finger up), and then the middle finger down (lifting the index finger up), mimicking the motion used to repeatedly play two notes on a piano. Do this motion lightly, and focus on it while going to sleep. The author of the thread says to perform a reality check ~20 seconds after starting the finger movements; specifically, to pinch the nose and try breathing in. I haven't yet tried this for fear of suffocating but perhaps it is effective.


Copying large portions of these words from my friend Katherine because I am lazy, ... There are two major ways of looking at the meaning of words. The first is the referentialist method, and the second is the internalist. According to referentialists, words directly reference real objects. For example, if someone is talking about a desk, a referentialist would say they are "referencing" an actual desk in real life. On the other hand, according to internalists, words refer to internal concepts. With this interpretation, the concept of a desk may vary between different people.

Referentialists run into a problem when talking about fantastical characters like Santa Claus. The sentence "Santa Claus treats his reindeers rather poorly" makes sense, but from a referentialist standpoint, Santa Claus should be referring to an actual, existing thing. In order to fix this problem, referentialists say that Santa Claus does exist, but as an abstract object (as opposed to a concrete one).

And so on...


The max number of photos a single Facebook album can contain is 1000. Still quite nice that, in general, Facebook can endlessly consume any amount of photos you throw at it.


The etymology of "poem" traces back to the Greek word "poema" which can be literally translated as "thing made or created".


Facebook uses Haskell for spam filtering, according to Mr. Mike Vanier.


In-N-Out closes on Easter Sunday. At least, the Kettleman one does.


Freud wrote a bunch of stuff about dreams (see The Interpretation of Dreams, On Dreams). This work was focused towards helping his patients. That is, his goal was to use dream analysis to uncover repressed thoughts in his patients, which he supposed would help them out (emotionally, I guess). Although some people view his work through a philsophical lens, to him the matter was mainly clinical.


DFW mentions (in a short story) that the average American household watches 6 hours of television a day. Not sure where he got that stat, but the current per-person number seems to be closer to 2 hours and 50 minutes. See for more info.


Merino is a type of sheep that was probably first bred in North Africa, and whose wool is nice and soft. Hence, "merino wool."


The speedometers in cars have km/h as well as mph. Useful to avoid constantly multiplying numbers by .62. I feel like this is something I have known, but not consciously.


Turkish deligh is "a family of confections baesd on a gel of starch and sugar." The most legit flavor is rose, which I have never tried. Usually you see more fruity flavors (e.g. mango, strawberry, etc.) but people also make more savory/non-fruity flavors, such as chocolate, almond, or coffee.


The Space Needle is 605 feet, or about 185 meters. Creepy game: pick a person and follow them (with your eyes) for as long as you can. Weird observation: someone might be watching you at this very moment...


Portlanders sometimes refer to Portland (usually in text) as pdx. This abbreviation also refers to Portland's airport. It's analagous to calling Los Angeles lax, or San Francisco sfo. I saw this used in various books, zines, and bumper stickers, and confirmed its usage with my airbnb host, Heidi.


According to the "Zinester's Guide to Portland (5th Ed.)" and Wikipedia, Powell's City of Books is the largest independent bookstore in the world. They sure do have a lot of Sylvia Plath books.


The FDA "alcohol line" stands at 0.5%. That is, any beverage whose alcoholic contents exceed that percentage are marked as booze.


Amsterdam is known for its tulips, amongst other things.


Steph Curry's birthday is Pi day. Steph Curry's birthday is today. Today is Pi day. Sadly, I ate no pie.


Was busy spending quality time with Pintos today so I kind of cheated and just found this while browsing the front page of Reddit: There are more doughnut shops per capita in Canada than anywhere else on the planet.


The income tax was first thought of in 1812 (war with England), adopted in 1861 (Civil War), adopted again in 1894 (Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act), and finalized with the 16th amendment.


"Google recommends LuminPDF as its third-party provider for seamless PDF editing." Basically, you can open PDFs stored in Google Drive in the LuminPDF app, and then mark them up (highlight, underline, strikethrough, insert text, etc.). I couldn't actually figure out how to save the edited PDF back to drive, but I'm sure it's possible.


In C, a static variable inside a function is locally scoped, but is changed on a "global" level. For example, say we have the function

void foo(void) {
    static int x = 0;
    printf("x = %d\n", x);

int main(void) {
    foo(); // prints 'x = 1'
    foo(); // prints 'x = 2'
    foo(); // prints 'x = 3'
    foo(); // prints 'x = 4'
    foo(); // prints 'x = 5'

This is neat. Note that static variables aren't stored on the stack or heap, but instead are kept somewhere on the data segment or BSS segment (depending whether the data is initialized).


AlphaGo (AI developed by Google's DeepMind team) beat the legendary Go player Lee Se-dol, a seemingly big step forward for the field. Compare this to Facebook's darkforest...


The hard problem of consciousness can be phrased in the following way: "why do qualia exist?" In other words, what accounts for the unique sensation of color that people experience upon viewing the same night sky? This problem stands in contrast to easy problems, which can be explained via mechanisms.


The supremum is the least upper bound. Maybe if I type this down I'll actually remember it.


A zine containing Wikipedia lists (and lists of lists, and lists of lists of lists, etc.) informed me of Sweden's Donald Duck Party - a joke party that has been receiving joke/protests votes for years. At its peak, it was the 9th most popular party.


Boba was invented in Taiwan. I feel like I might have known this already?


The psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott invented the concepts of "True Self" and "False Self". "True Self" is the sense of self that comes from "authentic experience", and a feeling of being alive. "False Self" is a facade - the sense of self that arises when one, perhaps, is not completely comfortable and puts on an overthought front.


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas managed to go ten years without speaking during "oral arguments." He broke the streak by asking a question. This led to the fantastic headline, Justice Clarence Thomas breaks 10-year streak, asks question in court.


Otto Plath was a really interesting guy. He "detested stock responses", and used to skin, cook, and eat a rat during his college classes. The so-called "Bee-King", he used to follow bees to their nesting place and suck the honey from the hive with a long straw. He had a seemingly mystical power over bees; they never stung him when he caught them, and he once caught a bee in his fist and held it to his young daughter's ear.


Kafka never finished The Castle.


Did you know that nose whistles exist?


"I Wandered Lonley as a Cloud" is a happy poem by William Woodsworth (thanks Katherine).


The McDonald's theory of war, which isn't actually true, posits that countries with McDonald's don't go to war with each other.


HeLa is immortal! It also came about from a bunch of random factors (not all cancer cells grow in culture). Bioethics is interesting.


My old math prof, Matilde Marcolli, does art. I didn't see it, but my roommmate described it as "watercolor over math notes" - he saw her work on display at Century books. I heard there are some matrix rotations in there.


People in Romania say "house of stone" when people get married. Roughly, it means "good luck and strong marriage."


Emily Dickinson wrote about 1500 poems. Of these, around 10 were published during her lifetime.


My CS144 set had a variant of the pirate game on it, which is a cool game-theory type brain teaser.


A study was done that found drunk people are more likely to push the fat man (or route the trolley).


Ben & Jerry's is 5-10 times more expensive as some other ice creams (Lucerne, Dreyer's, those other cheap ones). Per-X prices are handy.


After iterating through three Keegan facts, here's what popped out: Kanye West and Kanye North are parliamentary constituents of Botswana.


Pointer arithmetic on a void * is illegal in C and C++, but GCC allows it (increments/decrements happen in byte size chunks).


Apparently, you can bike from Manhattan Beach to Manhattan Beach in about a month.


There's a synthesizer called Synplant where you plant seeds that grow into synth patches; kind of like an organic, less numerical approach to sound. Found out about it in this Grimes interview.


I feel like it would be better if the information intake in my life were a little more evenly distributed. It turns out that gravitational waves exist. Thanks LIGO & Caltech & smart people. Also, 99% of all households purchase milk (source: my friend Matt: source: random milk facts website).


Adolf Eichmann dabbled massively in the logistics of killing Jews. Another one from Kafka.


A bildungsroman is "a novel dealing with one person's formative years or spiritual education." I came across this term in Kafka on the Shore, a book (quite good and weird so far) which uses it fairly frequently.


The Linux kernel switches schedulers a lot. The default scheduler right now is the Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS). There's also a scheduler, created as an alternative to the CFS, called the Brain F Scheduler (BFS). I feel like profane names prophecy the inevitable non-mainstreamity of the namee, although I guess the name could always be changed.


Indigo children supposedly possess special powers like talking to dead people and/or God. They're named after the blue aura which supposedly surrounds them. I suppose they could supposedly exist.


You can use Pyenv to switch between Python versions!


Victor, one of my housemates, got sick today. It might be norovirus, which is apparently highly contagious and can be transferred by eating someone's stool.


All good things must come to an end.

The origin of this optimism? Troilus and Criseyde, a rollicking romance set during the Siege of Troy. I Wikipedia'd the story today for no particular reason (I read it last term for En121). Also, Criseyde is prounounced Chris-Aye-Duh. Or at least that's the way it sounds nice to my ears.


Whilst writing a political science paper for some fun school stuff, I happened across the following lines:

At the discretion of the commander, soldiers were authorized one pint per day [of beer] in garrison, and two pints per day in the field. Fresh ingredients in the beer were thought to offset the likelihood of scurvy.

Images of melted-down Ben & Jerry's pints (with alcohol replacing swirled dairy) come to mind. This stuff was found in Redcoat Resupply! by Major Tokar.


I (re)learned about a famous study that found guys are more likely to call an attractive woman if they're scared of dying (fatal attraction?). They called it "Some Evidence for Heightened Sexual Attraction Under Conditions of High Anxiety." I read about it in Aziz's book. I also found out you can set conditional breakpoints in GDB; kinda wish I had known that a bit earlier.


After a few mishearings (Pareto? frontal? prandial?), my friend Bogdan (with his Romanian accent) conveyed to me the existence of the Prandtl number. It's not very exciting.


I was informed about "the most infamous rhyme" in Middle English, which appears in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

As clerkes ben ful subtile and ful queynte; And prively he caughte hire by the queynte,

My friend Sid, courtesy of Jennifer Jahner (a Caltech prof), told me this chivalrous tidbit.


My friend Sihui sent me a picture of congee, which is rice porridge. I'd only known it as jook before. Turns out congee is the more general term for the dish.