David Byrne’s American Utopia

Super-enjoyed seeing David Byrne’s “American Utopia” tour at The Fox last night – minimalist but energetic. A dozen musicians on stage in gray suits, barefoot. No drum stand. No amps. No wires. Nothing but empty space for them to move in. Mostly quirky choreography, but some of it free-form. Body patterns, shadow dances, energy and sweat. Byrne still a force of nature, traces of the Stop Making Sense film. Have to confess I don’t love all of the new material, but half a dozen or so older Talking Heads tracks woven in – I Zimbra, Naive Melody, The Great Curve, Once In A Lifetime, Born Under Punches, Burning Down the House (ecstatic!). And resurrection of the protest song (there aren’t enough of these anymore, what happened?). Great night out.

Photo credit: Phoenix New Times

Crappy Mobile Photo Uploads to Facebook is the Default

Just discovered that if you upload a photo to Facebook from your phone, then upload the exact same image to the same post from desktop, the quality difference is huge. FB compresses the crap out of phone uploads.

Here’s proof — I uploaded these images from phone, didn’t give it much thought. Then later that day viewed the post on desktop/web and realized they looked like crap. My normal workflow is to do all posting from desktop, so I don’t typically see this effect, but this time, it was dramatic. I then added the same images to the post from desktop and arranged them side-by-side for easy comparison. FB doesn’t just compress a little from the phone, they compress like crazy.

Enough to get a feller running back to Flickr… but then I thought this must be an option or a setting. Went digging and sure enough… On the phone, go into Settings | Videos and Photos | Upload HD  to force the mobile app to upload your actual photos rather than compressed versions.

 

PG&E Home Energy Stats

Our energy provider is PG&E, though we opt-in to the MCE Deep Green program to ensure that 100% of the energy we use is sourced from wind and solar (it’s like having solar panels without having to own your own inverters). Went looking on PG&E’s web site last night to see how owning an EV has changed our electricity consumption over the past 1.5 years and was blown away by the quality of the data access and visualizations they provide. You can download billing and consumption data in CSV or XML for any date range, for import into spreadsheets or so you can build your own web app. But why bother? They offer a huge range of ways to view your usage data over time, to compare your usage to similar homes, to view electric, gas, or combined. They overlay weather data and plot-lines to help explain usage spikes. Super well done. You can fine-tune your home’s characteristics for better reporting accuracy.

The answer to my original question? Pretty much zero. Driving an EV has had negligible impact on our electricity consumption, which means I’m basically driving for free (though granted I sometimes take advantage of the charger in the work parking garage). Shown: How our natural gas usage increases in the winter months.

Truth, Fiction, Analysis, Dogma, Opinion, Stupidity

I have a relative whose mind has been twisted and warped, seemingly beyond the point of return, by the toxic excrement of Infowars and Breitbart. I get why tech companies are so reluctant to make the sometimes-hard judgment call on what constitutes hate speech or is in violation of ToS, and to just let the public sort it out, but it’s painfully clear that much of the public can’t sort out truth from fiction, analysis from dogma, opinion from idiocy. As primary information conduits of modern civ, YouTube and others have a moral responsibility to draw the line somewhere and start removing this arsenic from the soup we’re all swimming in.

Apple, Facebook and other tech companies delete content from Alex Jones

Apple, Facebook and other tech companies delete content from Alex Jones

Major technology companies including Apple, Facebook and YouTube deleted years of content from conservative conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars platforms over allegations of hate speech.

Source: www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-apple-alex-jones-20180806-story.html

Electric Light Orchestra 2018

Had a blast with Miles last night at Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra – his first stadium show, and it was a good one! A dozen musicians on stage, including two cellos and violin. Impeccable craftsmanship, no slippage in quality with the accumulated years – they hit every mark. Stellar acoustics, and possibly the best light show I’ve ever seen (an orchestra of electric light?) Lynne seems never to age. I mean seriously – check out pictures of him from 1971 and today! Highlights for me: Telephone Line, Evil Woman (“Medieval Woman?”), Turn to Stone, Mr. Blue Sky (can’t miss), 10538 Overture. Byzantine art-rock, baby. Sorely disappointed we didn’t get to hear my personal favorite, “Jungle” – gots to have that vibraslap!

Interrobang

Whazzup‽ When “the interrobang” was introduced in 1962, virtually no typewriters or printing presses supported new glyphs, so it didn’t get traction. These days, almost everything you read supports a huge amount of glyph flexibility thanks to Unicode (emoji, right?).

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to type an interrobang – unless you’re a super-nerd, you have to copy/paste them into your text. Same with a ton of other crazy glyphs that are probably supported by the font you’re using right now but not by the keyboard you’re typing on. IOTW we can see a lot more characters than we can type. You’re stuck (though fortunately you have easy access to the #octothorpe). Excellent episode of 99% Invisible:

Interrobang – 99% Invisible

Interrobang – 99% Invisible

In the beginning was the word, and the word was … well, actually, there was just one word … one long, endless word. For thousands of years, in some written languages, there was no space between words. People were expected figure out sentences and clauses while reading aloud. Scriptio continua was the dominant form of

Source: 99percentinvisible.org/episode/interrobang/

The Fireplace Delusion

Very good analogy. TLDR; When you go up against things that bring people comfort, no matter how reasonable or factual your arguments may be, be prepared to meet The Clenched Fists of Entrenchment.

The Fireplace Delusion | Sam Harris

The Fireplace Delusion | Sam Harris

It seems to me that many nonbelievers have forgotten—or never knew—what it is like to suffer an unhappy collision with scientific rationality. We are open to good evidence and sound argument as a matter of principle, and are generally willing to follow wherever they may lead. Certain of us have made careers out of bemoaning … Continued

Source: samharris.org/the-fireplace-delusion/

 

 

 

Tardigrade Non-Invincibility

Tardigrades, aka Waterbears, aka “Moss Piglets” (I just learned that third term while traveling in Iceland) are usually referred to as basically immortal, since they are pretty much resistant to heat, freezing, radiation, and the vacuum of space. Incredible creature, and cute too, but there’s a perception problem:

Virtually every article you read or video you see about them plays up their indestructibility without recognizing that they’re totally destructible! They’re endoskeletal but with a soft shell, which means they’re basically resistant to everything except the things that would actually kill them. In the real world, tardigrades are eaten by the millions by crabs, shrimps, slugs, snails, mites, spiders, insects, and other waterbears.

The moss piglet species strategy seems to be “Who cares about the short-term survival of most of us, as long as some of us can stick around through WWIII or the next catastrophic asteroid impact?”

Thanks TierZoo (and Milezinator for bringing this to my attention):

Who Is America?

Mind reeling watching Sacha Baron-Cohen’s “Who Is America?” The things Americans and their politicians are willing to say and do on camera when they feel like they’re talking to someone sympathetic to their cause…. Dick Cheney signing a waterboard. A woman from The Bachelor claiming to have saved 6,000 lives in Sierra-Leone by “just being nice” to a warlord. Congresscritters actively promoting the “Kinderguardian” program to arm toddlers in American schools, or to scream the N-word and push a bare butt up against people in burkhas to “make the terrorists homosexual.”

It goes on and on, until you’re dumbfounded. Amazing how one “victim” after another tries to defend themselves by claiming they were “duped” … as in duped into saying what they really think. The depths of American idiocy and evil Cohen is uprooting here is equal parts brilliant and horrific.