Our National Blind Spot

Want to save the planet?  How about starting by saving the birds.  Here’s a Pareto graph that gives a strong hint of where to start:


That’s right, get the cat population under control.  Eradicate feral cat colonies, and euthanize cat collections (oh, and institutionalize obsessive cat ladies).  The whole country needs to grow up and get that “cute little kitty” lie out of their heads, and replace it with something more realistic, like “bird murderer.”

Tip from Bird Note, by way of Sarah Hoyt at the Instapundit.

Update:  One Dallas suburb is infested with feral cats, protected by a well-connected cat lady.


The Old Emotional Support Animal Gag

In my more curmudgeonly moments, I complain that progressivism is turning us into a Nation of Grifters.  None more egregious than these

What a wonderful time it is for the scammer, the conniver, and the cheat: the underage drinkers who flash fake I.D.s, the able-bodied adults who drive cars with handicapped license plates, the parents who use a phony address so that their child can attend a more desirable public school, the customers with eleven items who stand in the express lane. The latest group to bend the law is pet owners.

Take a look around. See the St. Bernard slobbering over the shallots at Whole Foods? Isn’t that a Rottweiler sitting third row, mezzanine, at Carnegie Hall? As you will have observed, an increasing number of your neighbors have been keeping company with their pets in human-only establishments, cohabiting with them in animal-unfriendly apartment buildings and dormitories, and taking them (free!) onto airplanes—simply by claiming that the creatures are their licensed companion animals and are necessary to their mental well-being.

What about the mental well-being of everyone else? One person’s emotional support can be another person’s emotional trauma.

Later in the article, one Special Snowflake asks

Are you going to ruin it for all of us?” one of my dog-fancying friends asked, when I told her that I was writing this article.

Geez, I hope so.

Tip from Tom at the View from the Porch, via Ed Driscoll at the Instapundit.

Update:  You can never anticipate The Crazy: United Airlines stood tall and denied a woman the companionship of her emotional support peacock.



The Noble Lie loses its nobility

My workplace has a new President; based on his periodic pronouncements I’ve started calling him President Diversity. Notre Dame’s Professor Patrick Deneen calls this The Ignoble Lie:

Meritocratic ideology disguises the ruling class’s own role in perpetuating inequality from itself, and even fosters a broader social ecology in which those who are not among the ruling class suffer an array of social and economic pathologies that are increasingly the defining feature of ­America’s underclass. Facing up to reality would require hard questions about the agenda underlying commitments to “diversity and inclusion.” Our ­stated commitment to “critical thinking” demands no less, but such questions are likely to be put down—at times violently—on contemporary campuses.



Silicon Valley meets the Urban Chicken Movement…

and does it in style.


It’s not uncommon here to see chickens roaming in their owners’ homes or even roosting in bedrooms, often with diapers on, according to Leslie Citroen, 54, one of the Bay Area’s most sought after “chicken whisperers,” who does everything from selling upscale chickens and building coops to providing consultation to backyard bird owners. Her services cost $225 an hour. Want a coop and walk-in pen (known as a run)? You can expect to pay $4,000 to $5,000 for a standard setup.

Fools and their money.  But as Kid Creole and the Coconuts sang “Whatcha gonna do when the money’s all gone?”

Tip from the Instapundit, where not everyone is willing to just give in to the absurdity.


It’s about time…

…that somebody, Trout Unlimited in this case, called an auto manufacturer on those ceaseless TV ads of off-road vehicles crashing through forest, field, and stream, tearing up everything in sight.  After a week or so of seeing that crap on the tube, I’m surprised there’s an intact meadow, stream, or game trail left anywhere in North America.  Off-roading is a hobby that is incomprehensible to me.  Besides being an enormous money pit, it looks a lot like high-tech vandalism of nature.


Need a 3-Way?

One of my techno-nerdy students got me hip to the Logitech Anywhere2 wireless mouse.  It can be linked with a dedicated USB device AND paired with Bluetooth-capable devices.

It’s button #7 – switch devices!

So now my old Windows desktop computer, my Surface laptop, AND my old Surface tablet can be clicked with a single mouse.

Just like my desk, only less cluttered

How cool (and handy) is that?


KWIC, make me some hash!

IEEE Spectrum has a fascinating bio sketch of Hans Peter Luhn, inventor of the hashing and KWIC indexing algorithms.


This is Luhn’s legacy: He helped show that computers and computation weren’t just the province of mathematics, statistics, and logic but also of language, linguistics, and literature. In his day, this was a revolutionary way to think about machines.

Tip from the Geek Press.


Maybe NOT every job will be automated

Turns out there may be an upper limit to automating retail businesses.  When confronted with self-serve checkouts, many folks turn into thieves:

“There is NO MORAL ISSUE with stealing from a store that forces you to use self checkout, period. THEY ARE CHARGING YOU TO WORK AT THEIR STORE.”

It’s so pervasive that it’s not even called shoplifting any more; it’s “external shrinkage.”


This is going to continue until retailers wise up to the idea that it’s cheaper to have a flesh-and-blood cashier ringing up–and collecting payment for–purchases, than it is to have the stuff just walk out the door.

Tip from the Geek Press.


The Fourier Transform, explained beautifully

At the Better Explained blog, Kalid Azad hits another home run with An Interactive Guide to the Fourier Transform.

Here’s a plain-English metaphor:

  • What does the Fourier Transform do? Given a smoothie, it finds the recipe.
  • How? Run the smoothie through filters to extract each ingredient.
  • Why? Recipes are easier to analyze, compare, and modify than the smoothie itself.
  • How do we get the smoothie back? Blend the ingredients.

Here’s the “math English” version of the above:

  • The Fourier Transform takes a time-based pattern, measures every possible cycle, and returns the overall “cycle recipe” (the amplitude, offset, & rotation speed for every cycle that was found).


Tip from Kotke, who has a cool Fourier Transform video.