⊃ Chile 2015

Chile! Went to Santiago, Puerto Montt, Torres del Paine, La Calera and Talcahuano!

⊃ recipes

things I’ve made in the past, and things I’d like to make someday..

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⊃ red mercury

Entertaining NYT piece on “red mercury”, a fabled substance sought after by many. Some say it’s cached in sewing machines with butterfly logos.. Others that it’s repelled by garlic and attracted to gold. Other variants (green, silver, etc) are for medicinal purposes or act as sexual stimulants. But handle the hot, red variety incorrectly, and “a radius of eight kilometers around you will be destroyed!” Bad luck if you’re colorblind I guess.

⊃ concerts

shows that I recall.. 2015 Here We Go Magic in November at the Independent in SF – they disappointed, honestly, but Big Thief was great. a really nice guitarist at a wedding in Chicago Buddy Guy in downtown SF – that guy’s hilarious Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Downs at the Swedish American Music Hall in SF – was really excited about this but I had to leave to catch the train before Thao came on..

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⊃ beaglebone black wifi

To get my little USB-WiFi adapter working on the beaglebone black, I followed a few tutorials: this one from Make, this article from Adafruit and these notes on the BBB wiki. I’m using this wifi dongle and a 2A supply for the board. The gist of it is: ssh in over ethernet check the kernel version with uname -a do an upgrade (this brought me to 3.8.13-bone79): cd /opt/scripts/tools git

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⊃ vaporized foil actuator welding

Saw this press release and video on a new kind of welding – VFAW. Dissimilar metal pairs are joined by being rammed together at very high speeds. This is often done with explosives, but in VFAW they pass something like 8kJ through a piece of aluminum foil, subliming the foil and propelling one metal into another. Pretty cool! Jump to 5:10 in that video above to see them press go, as it were.

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⊃ legal justification of the bin Laden raid

The NYT has an article about the legal justification for the May 2011 Abbottabad raid that resulted in the death of bin Laden. Four federal lawyers wrote several memos that explained the legal basis for the raid itself, the killing of bin Laden and his burial at sea. The CIA’s general counsel, Stephen Preston, noted that it was important to have the memos before the raid took place “particularly if the operation goes terribly badly.” Pakistan had previously assisted on other US govt raids, but this was such an important target, and there were concerns that elements of the Pakistani military were harboring bin Laden, so one memo had to justify violating Pakistani sovereignty and conducting the raid without permission.

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⊃ library of babel

I’m reading about the fascinating Library of Babel: a site created to realize the excellent Borges short story of the same name. The books in the library have 410 pages each, each page containing 3200 chars. All the books in the library have every possible page of 29 chars. So for perspective: the Library of Congress contains 37M (~10^7.57) books. The Library of Babel would have 10^4685 books by my calculation.

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⊃ alexander coward

I’m reading his open letter, Blowing the Whistle on the UCB Mathematics. Coward is widely praised by students for his skill as a lecturer, yet he is being fired others in the dept have asked him to “align more with our standards” wrt to teaching – Coward asserts this is the dept’s way of asking him to stop making them look bad he writes about formative assessment which is the practice of using assessments to improve students’ learning and abilities – think of qualitative feedback on an exam rather than merely receiving a score.

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⊃ landmark cases

I’m listening to Stephen Breyer on City Arts and Lectures (what a great show, btw, wish I could get older mp3s..). He’s a great speaker, and I love listening to the “insider baseball” of the SC, as Breyer calls it. His discussion of cases also reveals many interesting historical tidbits.. He has written some books that might be worth looking at. PBS has a series on landmark cases that looks interesting.

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