Dream journal

Jul. 26th, 2017 06:39 am
hudebnik: (Default)
[personal profile] hudebnik
I read in the newspaper that one of the high-tech entrepreneurs (like Elon Musk) was planning a humanned mission to Callisto, within four years. I thought this was quite ambitious, and wondered why specifically Callisto and what possible business model they had in mind to make the project pay for itself. A subsequent newspaper article indicated significant competition among high-tech entrepreneurs to get to Callisto first. Yet another newspaper article informed me that they had actually gotten there, with a four-person crew, and found native life that looked remarkably like humans, right down to the clothing.

a signage mystery

Jul. 25th, 2017 03:00 pm
cellio: (sleepy-cat)
[personal profile] cellio

I-376, like many other highways, has those overhead digital signs that somebody updates with topical messages like "accident, right lane closed 1 mi" or "stadium parking exit 72A" or, when they've got nothing better to say, "buckle up -- it's the law". There are two of these signs on my commute that, in their default states, say "distance to downtown: N mi, M min". Which, while usually not especially helpful to me (I live five miles from downtown), is still more useful to me than seatbelt nags. (I always use seatbelts.)

This morning, while stopped in traffic near Oakland, I saw one of those signs update from "4 mi, 5 min" to "4 mi, 6 min". That was less inaccurate, but far from accurate -- I reached downtown about 25 minutes later. (This is all very unusual; two of three lanes were closed due to a bad accident. My commute is sometimes slow, but I don't remember the last time I was in stopped morning traffic.)

It got me wondering -- do the indicators on those signs update automatically based on sensor data or are they human-controlled? The fact that an update happened but didn't jump to a more-appropriate number makes me think that we're dealing with an automated system that only bumps one unit at a time. (I would hope that a human would have updated it to warn about the accident.)

Why would it be designed to only increment in single units? Or is it a bug? What are the inputs to these signs, anyway?

Dream journal

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:59 pm
hudebnik: (Default)
[personal profile] hudebnik
I was grocery shopping with somebody -- either [profile] marchforth2 or [personal profile] shalmestere. The grocery store had recently renovated, changing what had been the in-and-out door to out-only and adding a separate in door that also provided a convenient default configuration file for those who came in that way. We got everything we needed, paid at the checkout counter, and headed for the car. I looked at the receipt to make sure we'd been charged for the right things, and there were things on the receipt that I didn't see in the grocery bag. So while my companion went to the car, I went back into the store to get the missing items. I had some difficulty matching up the receipt with the stuff in the shopping bag, but eventually concluded that we DID have the right number of boxes of tomato puree, and were just short a package of olives (and for some reason we had a bag of olives which was already open). Then I noticed some really bizarre things on the receipt, for which we didn't seem to have actually been charged: tens of thousands of photographs, "2 AFRICAN SLAVES" itemized at $100,000 but not actually affecting the total, etc. I concluded that the programmers had decided to throw in some random stuff to see whether anybody was actually reading their receipts, but I thought the bit about African slaves was in poor taste and would probably get them sued.

Wow. I'm liable for LJ hacking?

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:59 am
cvirtue: CV in front of museum (Default)
[personal profile] cvirtue
"Agree to this user agreement in Russian or you can't use LiveJournal." Great.
Google Translate says the agreement essentially says if someone hacks your account, any damage they do with your credentials is your fault. Not going to sign that.

The user is responsible for the safety (resistance to the selection of the attacks) they selected authentication data and their privacy.
You are responsible for all acts performed by using authentication data users. All actions performed after login using authentication information the user is considered produced by the User, except in cases when the user in the manner prescribed by the Agreement by notifying the Administration of the possibility of unauthorized access and / or of any breach (suspected violations) confidentiality of the authentication data .
The user is responsible for any loss or corruption of data, as well as other consequences of any nature that may occur due to the violations of the provisions of the User Agreement.


Jul. 20th, 2017 10:44 am
cvirtue: CV in front of museum (Default)
[personal profile] cvirtue
Trying this again...
I made a neckroll for reading for my spouse; it's the Librarian, who is sick, poor thing. VERY LARGE IMAGE, sorry:
Read more... )
From The Fifth Continent, by Terry Pratchett.

"The Librarian was very, very ill.
There was a heap of blankets in front of the roaring fire. Occasionally it shuddered a bit. The wizards watched it with concern.
The Lecturer in Recent Runes was feverishly turning over the pages of a book.
'I mean, how do we know if it's old age or not?' he said. 'What's old age for an orang-utan? And he's a wizard. And he spends all his time in the Library. All that magic radiation the whole time. Somehow the flu is attacking his morphic field, but it could be caused by anything.'
The Librarian sneezed.
And changed shape.
The wizards looked sadly at what appeared very much like a comfortable armchair which someone had, for some reason, upholstered in red fur.
'What can we do for him?' said Ponder Stibbons, the Faculty's youngest member.
'He might feel happier with some cushions,' said Ridcully.
'Slightly bad taste, Archchancellor, I feel.'
'What? Everyone likes some comfy cushions when they're feeling a little under the weather, don't they?' said the man to whom sickness was a mystery.
'He was a table this morning. Mahogany, I believe. He seems to be able to retain his colour, at least.' The Lecturer in Recent Runes closed the book with a sigh. 'He's certainly lost control of his morphic function,' he said. 'It's not surprising, I suppose. Once it's been changed, it'll change again much more easily, I'm afraid. A well known fact.' He looked at the Archchancellor's frozen grin and sighed. Mustrum Ridcully was notorious for not trying to understand things if there was anyone around to do it for him. "

daf bit: Sanhedrin 2

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:55 am
cellio: (talmud)
[personal profile] cellio

We begin a new tractate, Sanhedrin, which discusses court cases. Unlike in many secular court systems, the judges are active participants (they're the ones who question witnesses) and the ultimate decisors; there are no lawyers or juries.

A court is made up of some number of judges, depending on the type of case (at least 3, sometimes 23 or 71 or occasionally other numbers). Here are some of the cases listed in the first mishna of the tractate (this is not a complete list):

  • Various types of monetary damages are judged by three.

  • Rape, seduction, and libel require three according to R' Meir, but the sages say libel requires 23 because it could involve a capital charge. (A note suggests this comes up with adultery but doesn't connect the dots. Also, rape and seduction can involve capital charges too, so I don't know why they only call out libel. Perhaps it's addressed later in the g'mara.)

  • Capital cases, as implied in the previous bullet, require 23.

  • Cases for which the punishment is flogging require three, but according to R' Yishmael, 23.

  • Calendar decisions (witnessing the new moon, adding a leap month) are judged by three, though R' Shimon b. Gamaliel describes a more complicated scheme.

  • A tribe charged with idolatry, a false prophet, and a high priest can be tried only by a court of 71.

  • The following require 71: authorizing wars of free choice, adding to the temple courtyards, establishing small sanhedrins (of 23) for the tribes, condemning a city, condemning frontier towns.

Why is a great sanhedrin 71? Because Moshe was commanded to gather 70 (other) men. And why is a small sanhedrin 23? It's complicated. (I don't completely follow their math, sorry.)

This is all from 2a. The mishna continues onto 2b before the g'mara starts there.

(Today's daf is 4.)

dsrtao: dsr as a LEGO minifig (Default)
[personal profile] dsrtao
There's a certain kind of technically-inclined person who says that they want to take their smartphone out of their pocket, plug it into their monitor and keyboard, and use it as their desktop.

I don't think they've thought this through very well.

What I think that they mean by this is that they want seamless integration of state shared between environments. That is, they want to have access to all the same information, applications and capabilities regardless of the device that they are currently using.

That is approximately what Google is trying to do with the Google Apps system: stop using your calendar on your phone, start using it on your desktop, just with a bigger screen and better keyboard. It might not be that hard to build a secure state-sharing system to make every phone application migrate to your desktop when it's in range.

The phone itself, though, has the affordances of an always-carried pocket device. Every time you stand up to go consult with a colleague, use the bathroom or stretch your legs, you expect the phone to be with you. Even if you only need to unplug one cable, that's still a significant inconvenience, and a major strain on the connector. Short range wireless connections might be enough in the future, but can't possiblly be as performant as a direct cable.


almost helpful

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:52 pm
cellio: (house)
[personal profile] cellio

My (Android) phone alerts me when traffic is bad near me. This can be handy at the end of the day because I work downtown. Except... it's telling me about traffic on roads I don't use to get home. Sure, there's spillover so it's not unhelpful, but it'd be great if I could tell it -- maybe by gesturing on a map -- what paths I care about, so it could tell me about those ones.

Does anybody reading this know of an app that does that, or a way to get Google Maps to do it? It needs to be fire and forget; I don't want to have to open the map app to look for red lines on it.

It feels like all the information is already there, if only my phone were making use of it.

(This would also let me know before I leave in the morning if traffic is still bad at the other end. At that time I don't really need extra information about traffic near my house; I need it 3-5 miles away.)

embedded geek

Jul. 13th, 2017 09:58 pm
cellio: (B5)
[personal profile] cellio

A friend shared this with me earlier today and I literally laughed out loud:


The second-last column is about a famous Zulu leader. The last one is about walled cities under fire.

"Shaka, when the walls fell" is a key phrase in a rather unusual episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, named "Darmok". The famous universal translator doesn't work when the Enterprise encounters these particular aliens, because their language doesn't work at the word level. They speak in what the crew calls metaphor. I've seen discussions of this over the years ("could that really work?" "improbable, because..."). The post about the Jeopardy episode links to this Atlantic article about the episode that argues that we're looking at it all wrong. I found it an interesting read.

Also, Atlantic does in-depth articles about episodes of SF shows? Who knew?

(I don't have a Trek icon. Here, have one from one of my favorite shows instead.)

daf bit: Bava Batra 172

Jul. 13th, 2017 08:56 am
cellio: (talmud)
[personal profile] cellio

The mishna teaches: if there are two men in the same town and both are named Yosef ben Shimon, neither may produce a bond of indebtedness against the other. Further, nobody else may produce a bond of indebtedness against either of them. And if a man finds among his possessions a quittance showing that the bond of Yosef ben Shimon was discharged, it applies to both of them. So how should they proceed, since we want Yosef to be able to borrow money? When writing the documents (both bond and quittance) they should write the names to the third generation (e.g. Yosef ben Shimon ben Reuven). If their names are the same to the third generation, then they should add a description (e.g. Yosef ben Shimon ben Reuven, the tall one). And if those are like too but one is a kohein or levi and the other not, they should indicate that. (I can't tell if they keep the description in this last case.) (172a)

Neither the mishna nor the g'mara here addresses the case where Yosef ben Shimon was unique and then another one moved into town.

I assume we're talking about small towns here, where it's not implausible for names to be unique and for people to know that. I'm a little surprised that a description (which could be subjective or mutable) has higher precedence than kohein/levi status (which is neither).

When I shared this at minyan this morning, somebody told me that one of her family members has a last name that means "limp" (as in "has a", not as in "floppy"), which seemed peculiar to her. She said she was going to go teach him this mishna.

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