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Mark Atwood
I'm normally known to be pretty chill about "newcomers" to Seattle, as they keep coming and coming and coming... I've only lived here 18 years myself. I moved here myself.


There is a class of newcomer that I too am losing my patience with.

They are recognizable by their shiny new luxury car, almost always a BMW, and their leathery tan skin and expensive non-northwest-style clothes, and they are DEFINED by their very aggressive speedy driving style, lots of zooming squealing, and their willingness to blare their horn whenever they see someone in front of them who is not as as aggressive or as speedy as them.

Every week more and more of them infest South Lake Union, and infest the rest of Seattle, and infest the surrounding exurbs. Zoom zoom screech screech honk honk.

Some of them have been overheard to complain about the overly yielding overly polite style of Seattle drivers. Something about 'if only everyone drove more aggressively, we could all get everywhere faster", and what I hear is "if we were all assholes, we could all be assholes together".

No, they are just assholes, and I'm getting tired of it, and tired of them. This is not SF, this is not LA, this is not NYC, this is not DC, and this is especially not Masshole Boston. People who want to bring their type-A personality "get the hell out of my way, I'm an important person on my way to important meetings" asshole driving culture with them, are not welcome here.

Unfortunately, I don't know what to do about them

This entry was originally posted at https://fallenpegasus.dreamwidth.org/857932.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Location: South Lake Union, Seattle, Washington

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When I was taking an Uber to the SEA airport last week, there was streaming music running on the stereo in the car. Not too loud, just low background music.

Toward the end of the ride, as the car turned off the exit to the airport, "Sabotage" came on.

I waited a bit, for the extended guitar riff in the middle, and then asked from the back seat, "Isn't that Classical Music?"

The driver waited a measure, and then right on cue, said "Yes, Doctor, it would seem to be."

He got 5 stars, AND a tip.

This entry was originally posted at https://fallenpegasus.dreamwidth.org/857646.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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The following parable narrative never stops being appropriate:

Me: I don't want to take away dog owners' rights. But we need to do something about Rottweilers.
You: So what do you propose?
Me: I just think that there should be some sort of training or restrictions on owning an attack dog.
You: Wait. What's an "attack dog?"
Me: You know what I mean. Like military dogs.
You: Huh? Rottweilers aren't military dogs. In fact "military dogs" isn't a thing. You mean like German Shepherds?
Me: Don't be ridiculous. Nobody's trying to take away your German Shepherds. But civilians shouldn't own fighting dogs.
You: I have no idea what dogs you're talking about now.
Me: You're being both picky and obtuse. You know I mean hounds.
You: What the fuck.
Me: OK, maybe not actually ::air quotes:: hounds ::air quotes::. Maybe I have the terminology wrong. I'm not obsessed with vicious dogs like you. But we can identify kinds of dogs that civilians just don't need to own.
You: Can we?

This entry was originally posted at https://fallenpegasus.dreamwidth.org/857583.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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On this day in 2009, I took a long walk barefoot ankle deep in the water of the Pacific Ocean on the beach at Waikiki just after sunset, my last day there for that trip. That trip marked the beginning of the end of The Crazy Time that had consumed most of the previous year.

This entry was originally posted at https://fallenpegasus.dreamwidth.org/857217.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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When I was in college, one of my Research Assistant jobs was to do clerical and basic number crunching work for base knowledge surveys. It takes scrupulous and expensive controls to prevent roughly a third of the surveys from being randomly answered for the lulz. Even with the most scrupulous controls and careful interview technique, there is still roughly 5% noise.

In other words, any newspaper headline of a newspaper article that is a restatement of the abstract of some random paper from some random academic journal based on some survey, especially if its a prepub paper or open access journal, that is of the form of "ONE THIRD OF LILPUTIANS ARE STUPID, ACCORDING TO SURVEY", is rank bullshit, and is anti-knowledge, as in anyone who reads it is less informed afterwards than before.

Show me the survey questions, the interview technique, the responder selection process, the population size, the population demographics, the pre-survey stats oversight board approval, the post-survey stats oversight board signoff, and the raw data, and THEN we will talk.

(My lead researcher when I was a RA sat on several of those Stats Oversight Approval Boards. I got well schooled in several of the ways that a researcher could lie to themselves, knowingly and unknowingly.)

This entry was originally posted at https://fallenpegasus.dreamwidth.org/857055.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Where I live, today the sun rose at 6:47am and will set at 7:20pm. So it's morning twilight as I'm going to work, the sun is up when I get to my building, and it's still light into the evening.

Next week, the 22nd, is the equinox. Around the equinox, the days are getting shorter and the nights longer at the fastest rate. Around here, about 15 minutes a day, or 2 hours a week. Over the next 2 weeks, the day will shrink and the night will expand by 4 hours.

About the same time, historically, a cloud cover will form over the city, and with only occasional rare exceptions, will stay in place until March.

Then all the newcomers will discover, and the longer term residents will be reminded of one of Seattle's best known signature features.

The Dark is coming.

This entry was originally posted at http://fallenpegasus.dreamwidth.org/856685.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Music: Sunset by Peter Katar

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E pur si muove

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What is the opposite of a "free range kid"?

A cage raised one.

I don't despair for the kids. Some of them will recover. I despair for the parents and enablers who built and enforce those cages. They will go to their graves smugly convinced they did the right thing, instead of wrecking so much of the future.

This entry was originally posted at http://fallenpegasus.dreamwidth.org/856244.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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In the latest news of overcontrolling busybody idiots who are terrified of imaginary threats, last Sunday the cops were called, and a mother arrested, for the crime for letting her 10yo son shop unsupervised in a Lego store.

I am curious, can any of my readers defend this sort of thing? (And "well, they were just following policy" is not a defense, it's an admission.)

This entry was originally posted at http://fallenpegasus.dreamwidth.org/855965.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Location: ada's technical books, seattle wa

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Some thoughts on composing laying out ebooks:
- DONT put a separate additional title page at the beginning. The user just saw the title in the renderer's UI when they selected the book. Separate title pages are archaic: an ebook will never be stripped or rebound.
- DONT put the copyright info, publication info, "printing" info, legal disclaimers, boilerplate, colophon, etc at the beginning. Put it at the end.
- The only exception is you MAY put the ToC at the beginning.
- if there is a ToC, each line of the ToC MUST include the name of the chapter or section, and SHOULD contain a short (3 lines or less) description
- if the book has a ToC or an Index, each entry MUST hyperlink internally to the part of the book they reference.
- DONT put footnotes or notes or citations at the "bottom" of the "page", or at the end of the chapter, or worst of all, at the end in a "Notes" section.
- DO put footnotes, notes, and citations inline, and hint them to the renderer, so it can fold them, to be expanded at the user's touch.
- Hint to the renderer, that the first time the book is displayed, it SHOULD open to either the introduction, or to the starting text of chapter one.
- DONT try to force the renderer to waste pixels on margins. Let a renderer running on a mobile, eink, or small tablet run the text right up the side of the display. Let a render running on a desktop or large tablet use it's own margins. It *always* knows better than your art and layout editor.
- Renders SHOULD ignore, subvert, and frustrate attempts by the publisher's art and layout editor to force margins. The render and the user know better, always.
- DONT render body text or header text as an image, unless it's a visual poem (for example, the poems in "Alice in Wonderland"), but even then, see if you can hint it to the renderer instead.
- DONT render a drop capital as an image.
- If the book contains images, the image data SHOULD be the highest resolution and color depth the renderer can display. If you don't know what the renderer will be, the image data SHOULD be at least 1024x768.
- Each image data rectangle MUST be one and only one image or photograph.
- DONT put margins in the image rectangle
- Each image SHOULD completely fill the ebook display when rendered. Renderers SHOULD heuristically clip margins and rotate images to completely fill the display surface.
- Comic books and graphic novels will have a different set of rules and requirements, which I will write up another day.

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