Archive for July, 2011

Blog Milestone/Schedule Shift

20:51 31 Jul 2011. Updated: 21:44 01 Aug 2011

Today marks five years of posting to this blog at least five days per week (it was every day for the first year). Well over a thousand posts, on an eclectic variety of topics. When I started, in August 2006, my intent was to blog every day for a month. I did that, then kept on going, but after a year recognized that I needed some breaks in a week.

I’m quite proud of having posted that regularly for so long. That being said, it’s time for a change. The new schedule is a minimum of one post per week, posted Sundays (or earlier, but that effectively means Sundays).

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Beauty in the Machine

23:49 29 Jul 2011. Updated: 02:20 30 Jul 2011

Dead End Thrills is a site collecting beautiful scenes from video games, mostly but not exclusively first-person shooters. They’ve had the HUDs stripped, so that nothing but the game world is visible; some of them have been viewed with custom textures or other modifications also—but, to my understanding, they’re not photoshopped or otherwise treated after being captured.

Some of my favorites:

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Mirror, Mirror

23:49 28 Jul 2011. Updated: 01:11 29 Jul 2011

I fear my occasional mirror dialogues may have a similar emotional arc to this video:

Cinema’s Greatest Mirror Pep Talk from FilmDrunkDotCom on Vimeo.
Created by Oliver Noble for FilmDrunk.com. For more information, including full list of movies, see http://filmdrunk.uproxx.com/2011/07/new-supercut-cinemas-greatest-mirror-pep-talks.

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Embassytown Review

23:01 26 Jul 2011

I just finished China Miéville’s Embassytown, and was quite impressed with it. I think it’s more like “straight sci-fi” than his previous works, while at the same time being ambitious and different in the Miéville way and achieving the strangeness present in most of his work.

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jQuery Plugin: Chosen

21:13 25 Jul 2011

I often come across unwieldy select elements, and it’d be awesome if every site used Chosen to make them more usable. In fact, I should probably look into using GreaseMonkey to make Chosen ubiquitous for me.

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July Downtime

22:00 24 Jul 2011

Observant readers may have noticed that tadhg.com was unavailable for much of last week, from Sunday 17 July to yesterday, 23 July. This affected my email as well as my blog, so if you sent me email in that period, it’s entirely possible that I didn’t get it (and, therefore, you should send it to me again if you haven’t heard from me).

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Friday Flash Game: Untris

23:57 22 Jul 2011. Updated: 08:31 24 Jul 2011

Via waxy.org, Untris is like Tetris in reverse.

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22:07 21 Jul 2011. Updated: 17:41 23 Jul 2011

Because to smile is to spit in the teeth of mortality.

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Always Have Good Backups

19:47 19 Jul 2011. Updated: 17:39 23 Jul 2011

At time of writing, the server hosting my blog and email is down, and the possibility data recovery is uncertain. This makes me feel a little dumb, as I don’t have everything backed up. Not good, especially since I’m highly aware of the need for backups. But this server is where I generally back things up to, and having backups of it is something I was once better at but have lost the habit of. So if the data isn’t recoverable, I’m missing quite a lot, and it would be, at the least, a significant headache to get it back.

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Phantom Post

19:58 18 Jul 2011. Updated: 17:38 23 Jul 2011

As I write this, tadhg.com is down, and there’s no chance of it coming back before tomorrow. So I have a post to write, but in the knowledge that once I write it, I can’t put it on my blog for at least a day.

That makes writing it feel quite different, and makes explicit the extent to which I regard my posts specifically as blog posts. That might seem obvious, but there’s no real reason why my posts couldn’t be considered pieces of text that merely end up on a blog, pieces that could be reposted or repurposed elsewhere, rather than being categorized so strictly.

In writing this one, however, I feel acutely the sense of a lack of an audience; this is despite the fact that I know it’ll be read once the site is up and running again. If I regarded it more as an essay or story, that wouldn’t be the case, but intrinsically it is its own form, a blog post, and in this instance would make little sense as anything else.

Hopefully its phantom half-life will be brief.

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Amsterdam and Bicycles

23:59 17 Jul 2011. Updated: 17:35 23 Jul 2011

I didn’t get to cycle in Amsterdam, but in three days of wandering around I got a reasonably good sense of the city from a transport standpoint.

That sense tells me that despite lots of pedestrians, cars, trains, ferries, trams, and scooters/motorbikes, the dominant mode of transportation in Amsterdam is the bicycle.

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All the News Fit for The Simpsons

16:00 15 Jul 2011

Newspaper headlines from The Simpsons:

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Another Dose of Perspective

18:36 14 Jul 2011

I know I wrote unspeakably vast before, but even so, I’m awestruck by this comparison:

As a reminder, our own galaxy supposedly has 100–400 billion stars; Wikipedia claims that IC 1101 has 100 trillion stars, making it between 250 and 1000 times larger by star count.

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Awkward, Definitely Awkward

07:41 12 Jul 2011
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Header Images: Root

07:35 11 Jul 2011

Those of you who visit this site (as opposed to reading it via various proxies like Google Reader) will have noticed that the image in the site header changes. I’ve set it up to randomly select from several images, and this post contains brief commentary about those images.

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Derek Jeter Passes 3000 Hits

09:05 10 Jul 2011. Updated: 17:13 10 Jul 2011

I wasn’t going to write about this milestone, but the manner in which Jeter achieved it left me little choice.

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Dante’s Concession Stand

08:07 08 Jul 2011
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Safety Nets are for Losers

17:31 07 Jul 2011

Would it have been better if McCain had been elected?. The best argument that Obama is better than McCain would have been is that McCain might have started a war with Iran (instead of Libya); then again, he might not have. McCain would also have pushed for Social Security and Medicare cuts, but Democratic resistance would have been significant—now, with the push coming from a Democratic president, it’s highly likely that the Democrats will cave in.

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Some Bribery Statistics

11:40 05 Jul 2011

Using data culled from secret police records, John McMillan and Pablo Zoldo examined bribes made (by the secret police) to various figures in Peru during the 1990s: legislators, judges, and… the media. It was the television stations that commanded the most in bribes, about ten times as much per month as the other groups combined. The article explores why the media were worth more than the politicians and judges, and has some interesting hypotheses on how the incentives worked.

Also, it has data tables about bribes, something you don’t come across too often.

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Out to Get Him After All

19:38 04 Jul 2011

I find this really sad and infuriating.

Being kept under surveillance would itself be deeply disturbing, but perhaps most sad about it is its contribution to Hemingway’s feeling that he can’t trust his friends because they might be spying on him for the government; if the FBI is actually spying on you, is that really a paranoid view?

Incidentally, what appears to be the website for the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation has the Hoover line “Justice is incidental to law and order” on its front page, and I can’t figure out whether it’s earnest and really scary or just a phenomenally good parody.

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Djokovic Wins Wimbledon

14:24 03 Jul 2011. Updated: 11:35 04 Jul 2011

The men’s final was the dream matchup, the players ranked number one and two in the world, defending champion Nadal against a Wimbledon final newcomer, Novak Djokovic. Unfortunately, while not a bad match, it didn’t quite live up to that billing.

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Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together?

23:43 01 Jul 2011

Maybe it’s shooting fish in a barrel, but I thought this was well done:

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