Sticky post

Distance Learning — an Unexpected Life Skill

The Babylon Bee finds a pearl in the oyster of distance learning: Public Schools Now Preparing Kids for a Lifetime of Soul-Crushing Zoom Meetings. Update: Damn it, Bee! You’re supposed to be doing satire, not straight reporting! Continue reading Distance Learning — an Unexpected Life Skill

Sticky post

Oh, and in my spare time, I invented TeX

Writing in Quanta, Susan D’Agostino has a fascinating interview with the computing-est of all computer scientists, Donald Knuth.  Who continues his Everest-like trek up his monumental Art of Computer Programming.  This (intrinsically) never-to-be-completed opus to the mathematics and techniques of algorithms was, for many of us, the first introduction to formal analysis of algorithms and Dr. Knuth.  But woven into the creation of ACP was the invention of TeX, the world’s most marvelous computer typesetting system. TeX was only supposed to be for my secretary and myself. Phyllis [Astrid Benson Winkler] was a wonderful secretary. She could read my handwriting … Continue reading Oh, and in my spare time, I invented TeX

Sticky post

Private Charity? No way!

Michael Tanner, writing for National Review online, attempts to answer the question “Why Is There So Much Government Hostility to Private Charity?”  The answer is simple, once you understand this guy’s fundamental message “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” Tip from Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm. Update:  Writing in the Claremont Review of Books, Angelo M. Codevilla describes the rise and fall of Mussolini, and how progressives adopted his ideology while tossing the name–facism–into the trash and then recycling it as an epithet for conservatives.  No surprise there, proggies are big into Denialism and … Continue reading Private Charity? No way!

Sticky post

The Cool Just Keeps on Comin’

Remember this guy? Turns out he’s got competition from this guy. Tip from American Digest. Update:  And here’s a Texan who spent 10 years getting the US Constitution amended; that’s cool the hard way. Update:  Let’s not forget this old fart who broke the sound barrier gimmicking the controls of his Bell X-1 with a piece of broomstick. Continue reading The Cool Just Keeps on Comin’

Good news for windmill operators

Good news from a long-term experiment in Norway: painting a single blade of a power-generating windmill may reduce fatal birdstrikes by as much as 70%. This is certainly an experiment that bears replication, especially at facilities that (1) keep careful records of birdstrikes and (2) care enough to make the effort. It’s pretty sad that the Norwegians spent 7 years on this, and few other researchers got on board with it. If this were clinical research for a debilitating disease, mobs would be clamoring for more trials.  Bird conservationists should be outraged at the pace. Of course, they’re not even … Continue reading Good news for windmill operators

A Riverwalk Outing

I’d seen some news photos and heard rumors that the Stay at Home Directive in San Antonio had an unexpected side effect:  the San Antonio River is clearing up!  My wife and I took a a quick trip downtown to See the Elephant, and behold! It ain’t crystal clear, but you can certainly see the junk on the bottom, and how shallow the river is (SA safety tip:  If you fall in the San Antonio River and can’t swim, just stand up.  Then go take a long hot shower.) The Riverwalk is pretty much deserted and closed for business, with … Continue reading A Riverwalk Outing

Old Software Never Dies…

…it just keeps byte-ing.  All of a sudden, with payroll and government financial systems being stressed, large institutions are desperate to find COBOL programmers.  Foolishly, they pensioned off all those crusty old codgers, instead of keeping a few on staff to tinker and optimize and untangle all the old code running payroll and inventory and scheduling and… I made Captain at SAC HQ wrangling a room filled with COBOL programmers back in the late 70’s.  Every n00b was given a stack of horribly-written report generators and tasked with (a) making the code beautiful and comprehensible and (b) making it modular … Continue reading Old Software Never Dies…