Cavalcade of Mammals

Links for November 2020

This weird fruit is native to North America and an ‘ecological anachronism’ by Tracy Hadden Loh
Maclura pomifera / Osage orange / hedge apple
5 Common Edible Summertime Berries in the Chesapeake
Soul-Warming Fruit: Hard to find and tricky to eat, the persimmon is deeply connected to rustic holiday food traditions. Head for fields and woodlands—and look up! by Tracey Crehan Gerlach

Squiggles and Squares Kids activity sheets–follow the overlapping lines
Harbor Freight parody at Cool Tools

Links for October 2020

The 8th wonder of the world by Josh Dzieza
Big Business and its Bottomless Bootlickers by Nathan J. Robinson and Rob Larson.
Review of Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero by Tyler Cowen. TL;DR, he’s a gormless hack.

Liberals Are Losing the Journalism Wars: As major media outlets erect paywalls, conservative publishers are flooding the country with free right-wing propaganda paid for by Republicans. by Alex Pareene

Rallies Are the Core of Trump’s Campaign, and a Font of Lies and Misinformation: A recent rally in Wisconsin was typical. In 90 minutes, President Trump made 131 false or inaccurate statements. by Linda Qiu and Michael D. Shear

Links for September 2020

The Alt-Right Playbook: The Death of a Euphemism

Raspberry Pi MPEG-2 license key
Patch for MPEG-2, VC-1 license

Eee PC 1008HA (Seashell) drivers

How to cheat a coin flip

Reason and Persuasion: Three Dialogues By Plato: Euthyphro, Meno, Republic Book, 4th edition by John Holbo (Author), Plato (Author), Belle Waring (Translator).
Three complete Plato dialogues – Euthyphro, Meno, Republic Book I – in a fresh English translation, with extensive commentary and original illustrations. “Reason and Persuasion” is suitable as an introductory textbook or for more advanced students of Plato and philosophy.

How to Unlock Android Phone If Forgot Password, Pattern Lock, or Broken Screen

Prohibition worked better than you think

‘At Least During the Internment …’ Are Words I Thought I’d Never Utter: I was sent to a camp at just 5 years old — but even then, they didn’t separate children from families. by George Takei

Don’t Believe What They Tell You About The Left. Try reading our books and talking to us instead of listening to what YouTube loudmouths say we think… by Nathan J. Robinson

Punchcutting at the Atelier Press & Letterfoundry

It’s Coming From Inside the House by David Austin Walsh

Conservatives are desperate to absolve the 1 percent.
by Ryan Cooper

The Last of Its Kind: The biologist David Sischo has a tragic assignment: keeping vigil over a species’ sole survivor, then marking its extinction in real time. by Ed Yong

I’m an American who’s lived in Europe for 10 years — and I don’t miss these 5 aspects of American culture at all. by Jessica Stillman

Have we all underrated the humble pencil? by Tim Harford
Thoreau’s family made its money by manufacturing high-quality pencils.

The boy was dying. Zebrafish helped save his life. by Sharon Begley
Precision medicine–ARAF tested in zebrafish to confim function.

Pro DSLRs Compared

“Who Rises to the Top? Early Indicators”, pdf
A follow-up of subjects scoring above 180 IQ in Terman’s genetic studies of genius
“Although there are numerous studies of gifted students, there have been no studies following up the very high IQ students into adulthood. Using the Terman files, 26 subjects with scores above 180 IQ were compared with 26 randomly selected subjects from Terman’s sample. Findings were generally that the extra IQ points made little difference and that extremely high IQ does not seem to indicate “genius” in the commonly understood sense of the word.”

Books You Should Read: Exact Constraint: Machine Design Using Kinematic Principles
Exact Constraint: Machine Design Using Kinematic Principles” by Douglass L. Blandin

Dinosaur necklace $20
Dino ring $20

Dan Gelbart shop video series: High precision air bearing CNC lathe and grinder (vid)

Forty-three new women came forward to describe assault and harassment by Trump. Newspapers ignored them.

Quantum computing for the very curious. by Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen

Andre Norton Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction

Mens Messenger Bag 15.6 Inch Waterproof Vintage Genuine Leather Waxed Canvas, $50

Everything you wanted to know about money-laundering but were afraid to ask
Foundations of the #MoneyLaundry – A Twitter Seminar thread by CZEdwards
A case study in a vertically integrated #MoneyLaundry by CZEdwards
REITs: Who has cash? Money Laundries.
by CZEdwards

Gunnerkrigg Court webcomic

A Complete List of Important Natural Language Processing Frameworks you should Know (NLP Infographic)

How To Pretend That You Are Smart: There is a difference between assertion and argument, but a lot of highly credentialed people do not notice when they’re just stating their prejudices rather than proving anything. by Nathan J. Robinson

Tiny MS DOS program called “Memories”. This program has a size of 256 bytes and won the “PC 256 byte” competition of the demoscene event “Revision” in 2020

NASA is offering Space Program ‘Artifacts’ and ‘Special Items’ for use or display in your science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) themed program. Free / nominal cost for schools.

The Corn of the Future Is Hundreds of Years Old and Makes Its Own Mucus.
Nitrogen fixing, endophytes.

How a Portuguese-to-English Phrasebook Became a Cult Comedy Sensation: Meet 1883’s most absurd language guide. by Tucker Leighty-Phillips
About English as She Is Spoke by Pedro Carolino

Spurious Correlations

The men behind QAnon: Experts and researchers said the key to “Q” is hiding in plain sight. by Chris Francescani
They figured out the guys behind Qanon, a couple of white supremacists: James Arthur Watkins, his son, Ronald Watkins.

Sediments settle much faster in an angled container
Boycott Effect, discovered by Arthur Edwin Boycott in 1920.

Links for August 2020

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Lies, damned lies, and GWAS by Nathaniel Comfort
Review of Blueprint by Robert Plomin

Kentucky Council Against Health Fraud

Our Cube Pro Total Conversion: A step-by-step guide on how we converted this printer into a more open and functional machine

What if Satanists Want to Pray in Public Schools? 7 Questions for Joseph P. Laycock

MAKE magazine project, 2018: Rainbow Lightbox
ESPxx tutorials
Pololu: A4988 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier

A4988 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier

facebookresearch / fastText. A library for efficient learning of word representations and sentence classification

Nobel for Immuno-Oncology: James Allison (for CTLA4) and Tasuku Honjo (PD-1)

Nakamura penguin design
video: Penguin Bomb Designed by Haruki Nakamura
video: Amazing Paper Craft by Japanese Artist Haruki Nakamura
video: Amazing Japanese Paper Toys With A Surprise
Kirigami paper toy by designer Haruki Nakamura
Papercraft Penguin Bomb!
Paper Craft
The Amazing Pop-Up Penguin Bomb And How To Make It

Dead Right by John Holbo. Holbo’s thoughts after reading David Frum’s Dead Right (1994)

Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos / Dragaera fanttasy series. Compares to Zelany’s Chronicles of Amber. First novel, Jhereg.

Tilt Five: Holographic Tabletop Gaming AR glasses show content on a retroreflective surface

Compliments of Chicagohoodz: Chicago Street Gang Art by James “Jinx” O’Connor (Author), Damen “Mr. C” Corrad

Snapmaker 2.0, Modular 3-in-1 3D Printers

Dichroic prism. A dichroic prism is a prism that splits light into two beams of differing wavelength. A trichroic prism assembly combines two dichroic prisms to split an image into 3 colours, typically as red, green and blue of the RGB colour model.

Mellow Chicago Bike Map, link

Here’s the difference between what I saw with my own two eyes and what I see online and on TV. by Jacob Grier

How to Organize Your Friends and Family on Thanksgiving. by Jane McAlevey

Links for July 2020

How to Remove and Replace a Drill Press Spindle
Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Every Trump Administration Official Accused of Using Personal Email for Work

Bad Thinkers: Why do some people believe conspiracy theories? It’s not just who or what they know. It’s a matter of intellectual character. by Quassim Cassam

Python 3 Module of the Week

Is Consciousness an Illusion? Philosopher Daniel Dennett holds a distinctive and openly paradoxical position on the question of consciousness. by Thomas Nagel
Review of From Bacteria to Bach and Back by Daniel Dennett

Did they even hang bears? by Tom Shippey
Review of The Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings 
by Neil Price.

CCD in a Roche 454 GS FLX+ DNA sequencer: Spectral Instruments 800 Series 16Mpixel Cooled CCD camera Part 2

Bi-directional diagnostic code reader, Innova 5610 or Launch Tech X431 V
PLX Kiwi 3 or 4 dongle ($50-$130) and OBDFusion ($4.99 + vehicle add-on)
ScanTool + vehicle specific package $200

A Collusion Reading Diary: What Did the Senate Intelligence Committee Find? by Todd Carney, Samantha Fry, Quinta Jurecic, Jacob Schulz, Tia Sewell, Margaret Taylor, Benjamin Wittes
Summary of the fifth and final volume of the Select Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Police Are Pretty Sure They’re Going to Get Away With It:
In Portsmouth, Virginia, cops have been systematically using their state power to tyrannize political enemies.
by Alex Pareene

1912 Harrods catalog, scanned and OCRed

Nontransitive dice

Cellphone Data Shows How Las Vegas Is “Gambling With Lives” Across the Country

Vegas casinos are spreading COVID-19 across the country. Sturgis Rally had the same effect.

Howard Rheingold, quotes, wiki.

Bill Higgins blog

Was COVID-19 human made?

Regarding ‘engineered COVID-19’, people putting the idea forward are speculating based the expectations of people raised on movie science. I do have training and experience in this area and have read the technical discussion of the nature and origin of COVID-19.

There is no existing capacity in the world to create a bepsoke virus, made to have particular properties. I could design a research program to do so, and it would require a moonshot level effort–years, talent, many dollars. Along the way it would require hundreds of small scale human trials. Biology is a tinker’s science, it isn’t physics, the closest thing is materials science.

The understanding of human immunity, of viral stability and transmission, of cell biology, of every aspect of the what makes a virus a disease, and the particulars of a disease are all poorly understood. Biologists can’t cure asthma, can’t prevent organ rejection, don’t have a full understanding of any viral disease, even the ones that have been studied for a hundred years.

What I’m saying is, biologists can’t do the easy things yet. Nearly every tool of molecular biology is something biologists found in the wild and took home, tweaked a bit, cut the thorns off. Every one of the millions of animals, microbes, viruses is a miniature clockwork, a computer chip. Biologists have created or designed basically nothing themselves, only a few paper airplanes, a crappy happy meal windup toy or two.

The nanotech equivalent is diamond. Nanotech is a suite of tools to build and make things on the scale of atoms and molecules. If this tech has developed to point where practical applications are at hand, diamond will become common and inexpensive. Diamond is a particular crystalline arrangement of carbon atoms, it would be a pretty easy application of a nanotech toolkit. I’ve read many news stories about nanotech, predictions that it will soon mature enough to reshape the world. But no cheap diamonds, so nanotech is no where near that point today.

Zach Bush plays the COVID-19 health fraud game

Listened to a Zach Bush on the “Live Healthy Be Well” podcast. Zach Bush clearly has some training in sci and med, he uses a technical terms, but he uses them all wrong, and the result is gibberish. “Viruses integrate into the human genome and let us adapt”? Complete nonsense, and Zack cribbed the plot from “Darwin’s Radio” by Greg Bear* (1999).

The idea this happens all the time–that viral diseases go away because people integrate the viral DNA into their genome and adapt, and this is why SARS and MERS didn’t turn into pandemics–complete nonsense. Zach Bush says he is participating in a “New York clinical trial fund” on human adaption to COVID-19–a fabrication, there is no such clinical trial,
and Zach will never publish the results because it isn’t happening. And a clinical trial is a trial of a medical treatment, and he seems to be saying he’s going to study people w
ho recovered from COVID-19, so a clinical study, not a clinical trial. But it’s all made up, so the details aren’t important.

And then he talks about an idea he has that COVID-19 is deadly for some people because it sticks to smog particles and clumps up, so instead of benignly integrating into human DNA, it is toxic. And then the smog carrying it into the lungs turns into cyanide, a poison. This is nuts. Zach has no evidence for this, he just made it up.

Zach Bush goes on the link susceptibility of COVID-19 to microbiome disruptions due to the fertilizer glyphosate, which ‘stresses’ people and somehow makes them want to absorb virus to trigger adaption to stress. Again, this is complete nonsense. Zach specializes in natural food as a healh lifestyle, and demonizing the fertilizer glyphosate is a long time obsession of his.

The microbiome is great pseudoscience / health fraud nexus. The microbiome is a term for the collection of different microbes living in the human gut, or on the skin. At this point there is good evidence that the microbes living in the gut interact with the body in complex ways and may affect the immune system, food tolerance, maybe other things. But almost nothing concrete is known making it a great source of woo nonsense. It can explain almost anything, and while there is no good reason to hold the belief, it can’t be proven wrong, like perpetual motion machines or that the moon landing was faked or crystal healing.

Zach Bush sells an ION* line of products of magic dirt that are meant to “support microbiome balance”. Is there evidence that it works? No evidence. He also pushes the idea that clean, natural food and water is all that is needed to prevent all disease. This is a lie, but in his mind, he must think his time in medical school was a waste.

Zach is also anti-vaccine, and after going through his crazy COVID-19 story, he drops a bunch of nutty anti-vac nonsense. Vaccines can cause infertility, no worse, contagious infertility! In his view, a COVID-19 vaccine would be bad, because COVID-19 is mostly harmless, and vaccines are harmful. Dangerous nonsense, all fake

It is kind of sad, some people start down the path of medical or scientific training, pick up some of the lingo, maybe finish medical school, and decide that medicine and science are too hard, too much work, and they decide to just make stuff up. Their audience can’t tell the difference between real treatments and the crap they make up, and health fraud is so much easier than developing something new that works. But no so much sad as dishonest, that these people prey on the ignorant and the sick.

*Update: “Darwin’s Radio” (1999) by Greg Bear has human evolution by reactivated endogenous viruses. “Blood Music” (1985) has internal nanobots engineering better humans.

Links for July 2020

Before face masks, Americans went to war against seat belts. by Daniel Ackerman. And the pro-smoking movement.

Exposing Jordan Peterson’s Barrage of Revisionist Falsehoods About Hitler and Nazism by Mikael Nilsson
“Jordan Peterson, YouTube psychology guru and right-wing cult figure, talks a lot about Hitler, WWII and Nazism – in lectures riddled with alarming errors, spurious analogies and a strange reluctance to use the word ‘Holocaust.’ This is why his constant misinformation matters.”

Twibright Optar
A codec for encoding data on paper or free software 2D barcode in other words. Optar fits 200kB on an A4 page.

Missed Payment Rate Hits New High of 32 Percent in July

22 Strange Animals
Meteor Impact Leaves Giant Crater in Africa, Creates Ejecta Blast Zone

Conservative victimhood complex has made America impossible to govern. by Ryan Cooper

CERN’s obsolete particle detectors

Ways To Stay Motivated In This Shit-Shellacked Era Of Epic Stupid by Chuck Wendig

Railroad Grade lever set pocket watches
Modern Calendar Watches by Humbert (Bernard)
“For half a century one of the most widely used text and reference book on how to service, adjust and repair the calendar mechanisms in 20th century watches has been “Modern Calendar Watches” by B. Humbert. This book was published in 1954 in English as part of a trilogy by Scriptar, then publisher of the “Journal Suisse d’Horlogerie” but has been out of print for over 25 years. It is the companion volume to “The Chronograph – Its Mechanism and Repair” (ca.1955, republished 1990) and to “Swiss Self-Winding Watches” (1956, now out of print), all by the same author.”

Hi-rez images of John James Audubon’s Birds of America

Silverpoint and metalpoint drawing

Home automation / security controller, open source: Home Assistant

John Oliver on COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

Cassina or yaupon tea, Atlas Obscura

Behind the Accidentally Resilient Design of Athens Apartments: Athens polikatoikias — concrete apartments with tiered balconies — were built quickly to create affordable housing, but their design has stood the test of time. by Feargus O’Sullivan

Talk to your kids about Wikipedia before their teachers do.

Talking to kids, when I find they don’t know something I ask them to google it or to check out Wikipedia. And they all say, “Wikipedia is unreliable, I would never read it!”. Somehow the rule in schools that Wikipedia is not an authoritative source to reference for a paper has turned in a strongly held belief the site should be avoided entirely. Teachers, you done f*cked up!

And really, the school rule not to cite Wikipedia exists because Wikipedia makes assignments too easy–it would be one citation for most kids if allowed, and the teachers want to students to dig deeper, find two or three other sources, maybe crack a book. Which is a fine educational goal, but in implementation it has given kids the completely wrong idea. Wikipedia is a great place to start for most questions, almost always accurate. Entries tend to be short, shorter than Encyclopedia Britannica, but it provides a good starting point–enough info to remind you of an forgotten fact–“When was the War of 1812?”, and enough to give you details to guide a google search for more information.