Shared posts

15 Feb 09:47

The adorable love story behind Wikipedia’s “high five” photos

by Andy Baio

This interview is amazing, and includes a recreation of the original photos with their two young daughters.

don't miss the reenactment at the end #
14 Feb 10:52

The BBC publishes (and then deletes) a puff piece on a "self-made crypto-millionaire giving back" without mentioning his scam coin

Photograph of a man holding a laptop while standing in front of a Mercedes

The BBC featured an article on their homepage about Hanad Hassan, "a 20-year-old who made millions trading cryptocurrency [who] is set to open a food bank to give back to his community." They mentioned that "he and his friend ... set up a special cryptocurrency together, donating all the profits to charity." What the BBC failed to note was that the project, Orfano, was apparently a scam—after the project launched and received investments, the duo shut it down and took the money. The BBC took their article down without explanation shortly after publishing, though it is still accessible via the Internet Archive. The BBC had also originally announced that there would be a 30-minute feature on the man on their BBC One channel running later that day, but replaced it with a different segment.

14 Feb 09:51

mtgDAO gets a legal notice from Wizards of the Coast, writes that they are "unfairly discriminat[ing] against web3 tech and web3 communities"

The fledgling mtgDAO promised to deliver a "crypto NFT card economy" based around the Magic: The Gathering card game published by Wizards of the Coast. Needless to say, WotC sent them an email to inform them that their "intended use of Wizards' intellectual property, including its trademarks and copyrights, would be unlawful". This prompted mtgDAO to publish a 20-tweet-long thread about "why WotC is ngmi", where they accused WotC of "unfairly discriminat[ing] against web3 tech and web3 communities" by protecting their intellectual property. It's unclear where mtgDAO will go from here—they wrote in the thread that they hope to "help [WotC] see something like mtgDAO, and web3 in general, as an opportunity and not a threat", but I suspect they will not have much luck convincing WotC to let them infringe upon their intellectual property out of the goodness of their own hearts. On February 15 the project said what was already pretty clear: "I don't know shit about copyright law" and that "I'll tell you that mtgDAO NFTs being IP infringement is not intuitive to me."

04 Feb 12:05

The World Wildlife Fund announces their upcoming NFT project... for nature!


I know the quoted commenter and knowing how very British and mild-mannered he is, he's extremely upset about this.

World Wildlife Fund panda logo

The UK branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced their upcoming "Tokens For Nature" NFT project, which is meant to support endangered species. The WWF was quick to tout that its project would be eco-friendly because it uses the Polygon blockchain, though commenters were skeptical. One commenter wrote, "This is like if David Attenborough did a piece to camera about his environmental activism while politely snapping swans' necks throughout." Other commenters expressed that it was irresponsible of the WWF to engage with NFTs at all, given the overall environmental damage of the concept, and because it brings more people into a space full of predatory projects. The WWF ended up shuttering the project on February 4, after all the negative feedback.

This was not the WWF's first foray into NFTs—the German arm of the WWF released a "Non-Fungible Animals" NFT project in November 2021, which has enjoyed less than $10,000 in trading volume. It also did't appear to be the only project the WWF UK had planned—their NFT website advertised upcoming collaborations with CyberKongz (built on the Ethereum blockchain) and World of Women (also built on the Ethereum blockchain).

02 Feb 11:58

New York Times buys Wordle

by Andy Baio
Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard, Sony buys Bungie, and now the biggest game acquisition news of all #
02 Feb 10:04

HitPiece catches heat for selling song and album NFTs without seeking consent from the artists

Two listings for sale on the HitPiece website: "Tokyo DisneySea Theme Song" and a German-language Star Wars song, "Die Belagerung von Lothal - Teil 2 - Kapitel 6"

The industrial band Choke Chain tweeted, "Yo a bunch of industrial scene acts (including me) have NFTs for sale on the site I did not put it online and I assume you probably didn't either, fucked up". A look through the site shows that it is chock full of almost certainly unauthorized NFTs of music not just from industrial bands, but from contemporary pop music artists, k-pop groups, Disney, and many others. The group appears to be simply scraping Spotify and publishing everything as NFT auctions.

The project's website writes, "Each time an artist's NFT is purchased or sold, a royalty from each transaction is accounted to the rights holders account." They do not write about how this is supposed to work when the artists have had zero involvement in the NFT being created to begin with, or have no cryptocurrency wallets at all. The FAQ also includes a hilariously handwavy answer to the question most people learning about NFTs have: "What utility does owning an NFT give me?" HitPiece writes, "Artists provide NFT owners access and experiences."

01 Feb 12:07

Streamer Ice Poseidon admits to scamming his followers out of $500,000 with his "Cxcoin" made for streamers

Cxcoin logo, a happy shiba inu type dog with a purple bib

Paul Denino, also known as "Ice Poseidon", is a livestreamer, Internet personality, and cryptocurrency enthusiast. In July 2021 he launched Cxcoin, a forked project he said was intended specifically to allow streamers and other content creators to earn money. Denino had said in an earlier video that "the reason why I'm not going to start a cryptocoin is because someone is gonna get fucked, because dude if I see a million dollars, I'm selling, I don’t give a fuck. I'm not going to be like 'I'll hold for you guys', bro I see a million dollars in my portfolio, I'm out". He later claimed that he was just joking, though unfortunately this turned out to be exactly what he did (though with somewhat less than a million). Although Denino claimed he was "locked in" for five months, he started draining hundreds of thousands of dollars from the project only two weeks in, which served to tank the token price for remaining holders.

On January 31, 2022, a YouTuber named Coffeezilla released a video in which he confronted Denino about his actions and urged him to return the money to his fans who'd bought in on the project. Denino replied, "I could give the money back, it is within my power, but I am going to look out for myself and not do that." According to Coffeezilla, Denino took a total of $200,000 from the token's presale, $250,000 that was earmarked for marketing, and $300,000 from the liquidity pool. In the end, Denino pocketed around $300,000 and his developers took around $200,000. After realizing that Coffeezilla would be releasing the interview, Denino promised to "use the buyback function to put 155k into the liquidity"—which turned out to mean 155,000 BNB rather than dollars, roughly equivalent to around $40,000.

24 Jan 12:32

Twitter launches special hexagonal NFT profile pictures, so now you don't even have to check a username for ".eth" to know who to avoid

Screenshot of a popup announcing Twitter's NFT support, and showing off the hexagonal profile pictures

Although NFTs-as-profile-pictures on Twitter is nothing new, Twitter launched a new feature in which users can connect their crypto wallets to verify that an NFT belongs to them. Such verified NFTs will display with a hexagon shape, rather than the standard circle, presumably to differentiate these users from the right-clickers.

13 Jan 13:03

Absurdle, an adversarial version of Wordle

by Andy Baio
it changes the word based on the possibility space; see also: HATETRIS from the same creator #
12 Jan 10:42

Doodled Dragons takes at least $30,000 after tweeting "our charity will instead now be... my bank account"

A pink dragon blowing smoke out its nostrils, wearing a blue hoodie.

A SolSea-verified NFT project on the Solana blockchain, Doodled Dragons, touted that they would distribute all profits "straight to charities protecting animals on the brink of extinction". They announced on Twitter that they would be donating $30,000, "our first donation", to the World Wildlife Fund. Two hours later, they tweeted, "actually. fuck that. our charity will instead now be... my bank account. cya nerds." They deleted the Twitter account shortly after.

06 Jan 14:30

Wordle Is A Love Story

by Andy Baio
not just love for his partner, but the game shows a clear love of the web and respect for our time #
28 Dec 09:41

There Is No Holiday From Conditional Formatting

by Not Always Right

I sent the project manager a spreadsheet filled with edits and tracked defects.
Client: "Oh, look at all the nice red and greens. Such nice Christmas colors, very festive of you!"
Me: "Thanks, 'tis the season. But the red means there’s a problem, and the green are values that need to be filled in."

Read There Is No Holiday From Conditional Formatting

20 Dec 12:39

NFT collector who owns the NFT associated with the Bored Ape artwork used in this site header would like me to stop using "their" ape

Screenshot of a Twitter conversation: "Hello Molly Hope you are doing fine I believe you are using my ape on your website without my permission. Can you please prove you own this ape as I believe there is only one looking like this and it is mine"

The apparent owner of Bored Ape #5262, of which this site header is a derivative work, contacted me on Twitter to say "I believe you are using my ape on your website without my permission. Can you please prove you own this ape as I believe there is only one looking like this and it is mine" in an event that truly transcended parody. While this would be hilarious even if it was a prank, the Twitter account who DMed me does appear to belong to the person holding the NFT on OpenSea.

17 Dec 13:41

Humans (and Vaccines!) Vs the Microbes

by Jason Kottke

From Max Roser at Our World in Data: Our history is a battle against the microbes: we lost terribly before science, public health, and vaccines allowed us to protect ourselves.

Science is the foundation for our success. 150 years ago nobody knew where diseases came from. Or more precisely, people thought they knew, but they were wrong. The widely accepted idea at the time was the ‘Miasma’ theory of disease. Miasma, the theory held, was a form of “bad air” that causes disease. The word malaria is testament to the idea that ‘mal aria’ — ‘bad air’ in medieval Italian — is the cause of the disease.

Thanks to the work of a number of doctors and chemists in the second half of the 19th century humanity learned that not noxious air, but specific germs cause infectious diseases. The germ theory of disease was the breakthrough in the fight against the microbe. Scientists identified the pathogens that cause the different diseases and thereby laid the foundation for perhaps the most important technical innovation in our fight against them: vaccines.

Here’s what vaccines did for us, in three charts:

graphs showing marked reduction in cases and deaths for smallpox, polio, and measles

Even among those who accept and understand how good vaccines are at stopping disease, it’s difficult to truly appreciate just how incredible and transformative they have been. By one estimate, vaccines saved between 150 & 200 million lives from 1980 & 2018…and that’s just for smallpox. Covid-19 vaccines have saved hundreds of thousands of lives in Europe and the US in the first year of their availability. Truly a miraculous invention.

Tags: infoviz   Max Roser   science   USA   vaccines
16 Dec 14:07

CHUNGUS 2, a 1Hz Minecraft CPU

by Andy Baio
capable of running Tetris, Snake, and more in real-time with MCHPRS, a server that speeds up redstone computation by up to 180x #
14 Dec 15:27

Foreign Policy magazine: 'Bitcoin Failed in El Salvador.' Is the Answer More Bitcoin?

by EditorDavid
"Bitcoin mining is a process of competitively wasting electricity to guess a winning number every 10 minutes or so," writes author David Gerard in Foreign Policy magazine. And he's got an equally negative take on Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele's experiment in making Bitcoin an official national currency alongside the U.S. dollar. "When a con artist's grift starts to fall apart, he knows to move onto the next one fast..." More than 91 percent of Salvadorans want dollars, not bitcoins. The official Chivo payment system was unreliable at launch in September — the kiss of death for a new system. Users joined for the $30 signup bonus, spent it or cashed it out, then didn't use Chivo again. The system completely failed to check new users' photos, relying solely on their national identity card number and date of birth; massive identity fraud to steal signup bonuses ensued. Bitcoin's ridiculously volatile price was appreciated only by aspiring day traders. Large street protests against compulsory Bitcoin implementation continued through October. The government stopped promoting Chivo on radio, TV, and social media. Chivo buses and vans were seen with plastic taped over the company's logo. Bukele's financial problems remain. El Salvador can't print its own dollars, so Bukele urgently needs to fund his heavy deficit spending. The International Monetary Fund has not lent the country the $1 billion Bukele asked for, and has indicated its strong concerns about the Bitcoin scheme... At the Latin American Bitcoin and Blockchain Conference on Nov. 20, Bukele came onstage to an animation of beaming down from a flying saucer and outlined his plans for Bitcoin City: a new charter city to be built from scratch, centered on bitcoin mining — and powered by a volcano. Bitcoin City would be paid for with the issuance of $1 billion in "volcano bonds," starting in mid-2022. The 10-year volcano bonds would pay 6.5 percent annual interest. $500 million of the bond revenue would be used to buy bitcoins... Holding $100,000 in volcano bonds for five years would qualify investors for Salvadoran citizenship... Holders of El Salvador's existing sovereign debt were unimpressed. The volcano bonds would be a strictly worse investment than buying the country's existing bonds and hedging them with bitcoins. The existing bonds dropped from 75 cents on the dollar to a record low of 63.4 cents after the volcano bond announcement... [T]he volcano bonds are Bukele's way to get Bitcoin holders' money into the Salvadoran economy and count it as dollars. Bukele will brazen all of this out as long as he can, periodically throwing new plans on the table as a distraction. If he can maintain power, then the Bitcoin users will discover that he's taken their money. If he can't maintain power, then his successor will have no love for his failed Bitcoin schemes. Either scenario ends with a lot of disappointed Bitcoin users — because a national economy really can't run on a volatile and manipulated speculative commodity that's unusable as a currency. Both the Bitcoin users and Bukele seem to think the other is a sucker who they'll take for everything they've got. It's possible that both will lose. The article also points out that with El Salvador's high electricity rates, one of their power plant recently spent $4,672 in electricity to mine $269 in bitcoin.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

13 Dec 11:53

Dining at the worst Michelin-starred restaurant ever

by Andy Baio
at least they got a balloon and a story for their mere $150-225 per person #
06 Dec 14:39

Emoji to Scale

by Andy Baio
just missing the microbe and galaxy on either end of the spectrum #
06 Dec 13:22

Deadlines: Emphasis On “Dead”

by Clients From Hell

I’m a year and a half into the development of a new web application for managing complex data sets. Our boss has never been able to provide proper specifications for what he needs, just a flood of vague ideas with no real detail and constantly changing scope.

My job is to try and turn this into a comprehensible list of tasks that the dev team can actually follow. Each month, I have a planning session with the boss where we hash out the next period of work. Each session, I remind him that changing the scope means adding more time.

We agree and sign off the work to be delivered by the end of the month. So far, we’ve hit every deadline.

I thought we had a pretty good system in place until:

Boss: I can’t believe we’re so far behind and how poorly you’ve managed this project.

Me: What do you mean? Haven’t we met all the agreed deadlines throughout the project?

Boss: I’ve made a spreadsheet of all the dates I wanted each feature done by. So far, you’ve missed every single one of them.

Me: Excuse me? We’ve always delivered what’s been agreed on time. Where have these new dates come from?

Boss: This is how long I thought the work should take and I made up my own timeline.

Me: I’ve never seen these dates before, let alone agreed to them. At a glance, many of them seem extremely optimistic.

That’s business talk for “f****** mad”.

Me: We agreed at the start this would be at least a three-year project.

Boss: Well, I decided it should take less time and you’re late. I’m going to have to pull the plug on this project if you can’t have everything wrapped up within the next month.

I politely remind the boss that there was at least another year and a half of work left to complete the project. Needless to say, I’ll probably be looking for a new job shortly.

The post Deadlines: Emphasis On “Dead” appeared first on Clients From Hell.

30 Nov 10:47

The Omicron Variant

by Jason Kottke

Last week, a worrisome variant of SARS-CoV-2 burst into the public consciousness: the Omicron variant. The concern among scientists and the public at large is substantial, but it is unfortunately going to take a few weeks to figure out whether those concerns are warranted. For a measured take on what we know now and what we can expect, read these two posts by epidemiologist Dr. Katelyn Jetelina (as well as this one on vaccines).

B.1.1.529 has 32 mutations on the spike protein alone. This is an insane amount of change. As a comparison, Delta had 9 changes on the spike protein. We know that B.1.1.529 is not a “Delta plus” variant. The figure below shows a really long line, with no previous Delta ancestors. So this likely means it mutated over time in one, likely immunocompromised, individual.

Of these, some mutations have properties to escape antibody protection (i.e. outsmart our vaccines and vaccine-induced immunity). There are several mutations association with increased transmissibility. There is a mutation associated with increased infectivity.

That sounds bad but again, we presently do not have enough information to know for sure about any of this. As Jetelina concludes in one of the posts:

We still have more questions than answers. But we will get them soon. Do not take Omicron lightly, but don’t abandon hope either. Our immune systems are incredible.

None of this changes what you can to do right now: Ventilate spaces. Use masks. Test if you have symptoms. Isolate if positive. Get vaccinated. Get boosted.

This Science piece by Kai Kupferschmidt also provides a great overview about where we’re at with Omicron, without the sensationalism.

Whether or not Omicron turns out to be another pandemic gamechanger, the lesson we should take from it (but probably won’t) is that grave danger is lurking in that virus and we need to get *everyone* *everywhere* vaccinated, we need free and ubiquitous rapid testing *everywhere*, we need to focus on indoor ventilation, we need to continue to use measures like distancing and mask-wearing, and we need to keep doing all of the other things in the Swiss cheese model of pandemic defense. Anything else is just continuing our idiotic streak with this virus of fucking around and then finding out. (via jodi ettenberg & eric topol)

Tags: Covid-19   Kai Kupferschmidt   Katelyn Jetelina   medicine   science
29 Nov 10:08

Their Knowledge Is A Bit Floppy

by Luke Walker

Client: I do have the logo on a Mac Disk, will that help?

Me: Please email the logo.

Client: Trouble is we don’t have any Macs, and our PCs don’t even accept floppies. How about I mail it to you?

Me: Are you saying the logo is on a 3.5″ floppy disk?!

Client: I’ll have to double-check. 

A few minutes of waiting. 

Client: The floppy disk measures 3.5 inches, yes.

Yet more floppy knowledge, from the Clients From Hell archives.

The post Their Knowledge Is A Bit Floppy appeared first on Clients From Hell.

29 Nov 09:55

PHP 8.1 Is Released!

Over 120 people helped shape PHP 8.1! Here are some posters to celebrate our loud!
24 Nov 13:19

Epic Games Acquires Rock Band Dev Harmonix to Create Musical Gameplay for Fortnite

by Michael Cripe

Epic Games has acquired Rock Band and Fuser developer Harmonix. The developer says its talents creating rhythm-based video games will now be used to “bring our unique brand of musical gaming experiences to the Metaverse.” Harmonix says that it will now work with Epic Games to “create musical journeys and gameplay for Fortnite.”

It’s unclear how Epic Games and Harmonix will begin to incorporate more music in Fortnite, however, as the studio simply says to “stay tuned.” Games like Fuser as well as DLC for Rock Band will continue as planned, with the studio explaining that little is changing for current fans. All Harmonix games to date will remain purchasable on Steam and console platforms, and all still-running servers for the company’s games will remain online as well.

Since Fortnite took the world by storm a few years ago, Epic has continued forward, more than ever before, as a force to be reckoned with. Harmonix is part of the company’s move to grow, but other past acquisitions – such as Rocket League developer Psyonix and Fall Guys developer Mediatonic – have also helped further posture itself as an industry titan. The company has invested in its indie partners, with the most recent deal being with Eyes Out and Spry Fox. This is all in addition to advancements in Unreal Engine and other technology, with Epic recently even moving into filmmaking with Gilgamesh. Now, with Harmonix under its belt, the Fortnite creator’s future only holds more possibilities.

“Harmonix has always aspired to create the world’s most beloved interactive music experiences, and by joining Epic we will be able to do this at scale,” said Alex Rigopulos, Harmonix co-founder and chairman, in a separate announcement at the Epic Games website. “Together we will push the creative boundaries of what’s possible and invent new ways for our players to make, perform and share music.”

12 Nov 12:29

Richard ‘Lowtax’ Kyanka, Founder of Something Awful, Is Dead at 45

by Andy Baio
related: Motherboard's oral history of SA from 2017 #
27 Oct 09:59

Performance Tuning for Exabyte Queries

by Remy Porter

While NoSQL databases have definitely made their mark and have an important role in applications, there's also still a place for RDBMSes. The key advantage of an RDBMS is that, with a well normalized schema, any arbitrary query is possible, and instead of optimizing the query, you optimize the database itself to ensure you hit your performance goals- indexes, statistics, materialized views, etc..

The reality, of course, is wildly different. While the execution plan used by the database shouldn't be dependent upon how we write the query, it frequently is, managing statistics and indexes is surprisingly hard, and when performance problems crop up, without the right monitoring, it can be difficult to track down exactly which query is causing the problem.

Which brings us to this query, which TJ found while analyzing a performance problem.

select Min(the.moddate) "ModifiedDate" From T_91CDDC57 what , T_91CDDC57 the , T_91CDDC57 f where f.rdate > sysdate-1095;

First, let's just congratulate whoever named the table T_91CDDC57. I assume that's generated, and presumably so was this query. There's clearly a bug- there's no reason to have the same table in the FROM clause three times, when we just want to find the earliest moddate.

And that's the problem. T_91CDDC57 isn't a particularly large table. It's no pipsqueak- at 4.5M rows and 34M of data, it's certainly got some heft, but it's no giant, either. But that's 4.5M rows which have to be joined to 4.5M rows with no join condition, and then that gets joined to 4.5M rows again with no join condition.

Here's the explain plan of how this query executes:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 1 | 16 | 19P (1)| | 1 | SORT AGGREGATE | | 1 | 16 | | | 2 | MERGE JOIN CARTESIAN | | 18E| 15E| 19P (1)| | 3 | MERGE JOIN CARTESIAN | | 4328G| 31T| 5321M (1)| |* 4 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | T_91CDDC57 | 959K| 7499K| 18967 (2)| | 5 | BUFFER SORT | | 4509K| | 5321M (1)| | 6 | INDEX FAST FULL SCAN| T_91CDDC57_TYPE_INDEX | 4509K| | 5544 (1)| | 7 | BUFFER SORT | | 4509K| 34M| 19P (1)| | 8 | INDEX FAST FULL SCAN | T_91CDDC57_MODDATE_INDEX | 4509K| 34M| 4410 (1)| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A few notable entries here. Line 4 does a TABLE ACCESS FULL. This is the f iteration of our table, and you can see that it pulls in just 959K rows thanks to our where clause. On line 8, you can see that it scans the T_91CDDC57_MODDATE_INDEX- it's using that index to sort so we can find the Min(the.moddate). You can also see that it touches 4509K rows. Line 6, also for 4509K rows, is our what access in the query.

Once we've accessed our three piles of data, we have to connect them. Since there's no ON or WHERE clause that links the tables, this connects each row from each table with each row in each other table. And you can see on line 3, where we join the first pair of tables, we suddenly have 4.3T rows, and a total of 31 terabytes of data. And when we join the third table it on line 2, that bloats to 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 rows and 15 exabytes of data.

TJ says:

Processing over 15 exabytes of information probably may have something to do with the performance…

Yeah, probably.

[Advertisement] Otter - Provision your servers automatically without ever needing to log-in to a command prompt. Get started today!
25 Oct 12:08

What Part Of “Legal Liability” Did You Not Understand?

by Clients From Hell

I’m talking to a new client about documentation needs.

Client: I see you don’t have your last project in your portfolio. Why not?

Me: That’s because the information on it was proprietary, and I couldn’t take any copies as part of the conditions of my contract.

Client: Well, we’ll need to review it before we can hire you. Do you have backdoor access to the server so we could get it ourselves?

Me: No, because that would open me up to legal liability. Even if I did, I couldn’t share access with you without being sued and possibly prosecuted.

Client: Well, we can’t hire you unless we can view those documents, so send the backdoor access password as soon as you can.

Punchline: this was AFTER I had to sign a massive non-disclosure agreement just to get the interview, attesting that I’d never share or allow access to any of the client’s proprietary information under penalty of law.

What’s the shadiest thing a client has ever asked of you?

The post What Part Of “Legal Liability” Did You Not Understand? appeared first on Clients From Hell.

08 Oct 13:37

The Crane That Fell in Love With Her Human Keeper

by Jason Kottke

Walnut is a white-naped crane that lives in a Virginia endangered species breeding facility. She’s 23 years-old, was raised by humans, and developed a reputation for murdering potential mates. But Walnut eventually found a good match in bird keeper Chris Crowe, a 42 year-old human who she has bonded with. Crowe, as part of his duties at the zoo, has embraced his role as Walnut’s mate in order to inseminate her with semen from a male crane.

That summer, however, Crowe noticed that Walnut seemed interested in, well, him. When Crowe stopped by her yard, she would bow her head and raise her wings — motions that Crowe now recognizes as the first moves of a mating dance. “At first, I thought that she was just excited to see me,” Crowe says. “But then I’d see the other pairs doing the same things, and it kind of dawned on me.” Crowe accepted Walnut’s invitation to dance. Though he felt a little silly, he bobbed his head when Walnut bobbed hers, and raised and lowered his arms like wings. The two circled each other, and sometimes Walnut would make a loud, trumpeting call — the beginning of the white-naped crane love duet. If no one was around, Crowe would try to do the male part of the song — making a Homer Simpson-like “woo-hoo” — but Walnut never found his efforts satisfactory.

As the weather cooled, so did Walnut’s ardor. But in the spring, Walnut began greeting her keeper with bows again. This gave Crowe an idea: If Walnut thought he was her mate, maybe Crowe could make that year’s artificial insemination less stressful for both of them. “If we could get her able to do it without catching her, there’s no stress, no risk of injury,” Crowe says. “It’s much better for us and for the crane.” Lynch agreed. “As far as we knew, it had never been done before, but it seemed like a good thing to try,” he recalls.

Walnut no longer needs to be inseminated to help save her species but since cranes mate for life, her relationship with Crowe continues.

Like an old couple, Crowe and Walnut have fallen into a comfortable routine. After “mating” with Crowe, Walnut will often lay unfertilized eggs. Crowe replaces them with fake ones; the real ones would rot and get eaten by crows, which would prompt Walnut to lay more. The bird then spends long hours sitting on the dummy eggs, so Crowe helps her out whenever he gets the chance. “I go over and stand near the nest and I say, ‘You take a break.’ And she’ll wander off. She’ll go down into the creek and take a bath. Then she walks back after 15 or 20 minutes, and she’s ready to sit back on the nest again.”

Though he does his best to not be a deadbeat dad, Crowe knows he falls short of crane standards. These are creatures that, once paired up, rarely lose sight of their partner; Crowe, in contrast, disappears every weekend. But despite Crowe’s shortcomings, Walnut loves him unconditionally. In fact, this 12-pound bird’s capacity for boundless affection sets a standard that we all could learn from, Crowe says. “The ideal partner doesn’t exist. You have to accept certain things that people can’t change,” he explains. “I mean, she puts up with me even though I can’t dance or sing.”

Tags: Chris Crowe   video
06 Oct 12:05

What Would Life on a Flat Earth Be Like?

by Jason Kottke

So let’s say, for the sake of argument and against all scientific evidence to the contrary, the Earth was flat instead of being an oblate spheroid. What would life on a flat Earth be like? Well for one thing, gravity would present some challenges. From a 2018 piece by Doug Main at the Columbia Climate School:

People who believe in a flat Earth assume that gravity would pull straight down, but there’s no evidence to suggest it would work that way. What we know about gravity suggests it would pull toward the center of the disk. That means it would only pull straight down at one point on the center of the disk. As you got increasingly far from the center, gravity would tug more and more horizontally. This would have some strange impacts, like sucking all the water toward the center of the world, and making trees and plants grow diagonally, since they develop in the opposite direction of gravity’s pull.

And even more than that, gravity would tend to pull a flat disc shape back into a spheroid, so absent an intense spinning force (for which there is zero evidence) or some other completely unknown effect, a flat Earth couldn’t even exist:

For Earth to take the shape of a flat disk in the first place, gravity — as we know it — must be having no effect. If it did, it would soon pull the planet back into a spheroid.

A flat Earth would also likely not have a magnetic field (or at least one that is scientifically possible), meaning no atmosphere:

Deep below ground, the solid core of the Earth generates the planet’s magnetic field. But in a flat planet, that would have to be replaced by something else. Perhaps a flat sheet of liquid metal. That, however, wouldn’t rotate in a way that creates a magnetic field. Without a magnetic field, charged particles from the sun would fry the planet. They could strip away the atmosphere, as they did after Mars lost its magnetic field, and the air and oceans would escape into space.

Oh and no tectonic plates, volcanos, mountains, etc. Or GPS. Or weather. Or satellites. Or different night skies in, say, South Africa and Denmark. Or the Sun behaving the way it does in respect to the Earth. Or air travel. Or plant and animal life as it exists presently. To suppose a flat Earth also supposes that physics doesn’t explain our observable universe the way in which it reliably and comprehensively does. The simplest, best evidence for a round Earth is that we’re here living on it in the manner in which we are living on it.

A million people can call the mountains a fiction, yet it need not trouble you as you stand atop them.

See also What If the Earth Suddenly Turned Flat?, Flat Earthers and the Double-Edged Sword of American Magical Thinking, and Flat Earthers Listening to Daft Punk.

Tags: Earth   physics   science
05 Oct 12:39

Cloudflare explains how Facebook disappeared from the internet

by Andy Baio
interesting to see the immediate impact on other social networks #
22 Sep 11:53

Taxing Syntax

by Clients From Hell

This is adorable

Client: Hey, we just looked at our website and it’s down. I know it’s after five but I was wondering if you could fix it for us ASAP?

Me: Of course, I have to leave in thirty minutes, but if I can’t solve it by then, I’ll be back at 7 pm to see to finish debugging the issue.

Client: I had my secretary look it up and she said it looks like an easy fix, something about it’s just a syntax error? 

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