Tab Sweep

How did the mutation that prevents lactose intolerance become so widespread so quickly?

Joss Whedon endorses Mitt Romney.

Camile Paglia endorses Jill Stein. And Revenge of the Sith. Really.

Additional evidence for the grandmother longevity hypothesis.

A recent conference asks if programmers can be artists. If so, they should start with processing.

Learn Git with the Git Immersion guided tour.

Tweak Unity with unsettings 0.08 and get rid of those pesky web results!

A new version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein (co-op edition) has been released.

On the other hand, if you’re fighting the headwinds of history, here’s a guide to installing Windows 8 with just an upgrade license. (Microsoft is fighting the headwinds too, and won’t let you easily make a clean install.)

Google Ngrams are now even awesomer.

In twenty years the number of planets outside our solar system has gone from zero to almost a thousand. But now there’s an exoplanet next door:

It turns out there’s more than one way to smash the earth and build the moon.

Concerned about Genetically modified organisms? Worried about all the land mines scattered all over the world during the past century? Maybe you can pick which one worries you more: a GM mouse has been created to detect land mines. (Apropos the above, consider this piece on GMOs and pesticide use.)

Tab Sweep

Charles Murray talking to Reason Magazine about his book Coming Apart. (My link is to a point 20 minutes in that I found compelling.)

The Institute for Justice asks if you should need the government’s permission to work?

A dozen extremely disappointing facts about popular music.

There’s a vulgar expression about pulling one’s head out of someplace else. But the anatomy doesn’t really work. In fact, the brain began to grow 2.5M years ago, when our ancestors started walking upright. Scientists now think that we solved the problem with our flexible skulls.

Appropos the previous item, in The Lost World, Michael Crichton once likened humans to marsupials. What do you think?

This USGS illustration shows how much water there is on earth. (“How deep is it?” “Deep enough to drown in.”)

Brief Internet Outage

There’s no such thing as a brief internet outage! What did people do with their time 20 years ago?

Ours lasted from sometime last night until late this evening, and it was caused by the stupid way our ISP does tech support. They aren’t bad, they just won’t be reasonable, unless you know the secret word. Which I do–it’s “shibboleet“–but I wasn’t home all day.

Anyway, it turns out the problem was that the “modem” reset itself to factory defaults and quit working, because the factory defaults are incompatible with the network. Very clever of the ISP to design their firmware that way, don’t you think?

Google Docs on Mobile Devices

This is cool: you can now edit your Google docs on your mobile devices.

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I’ve become quite the fan of Google Docs. That whole cloud thing beats emailing a spreadsheet back and forth between me, the church secretary, and the clerk of session. To say nothing of automated offsite backups, and (now) mobile access. Also, the price is right.

Chuck Music

New music is one of the unexpected benefits of having suddenly discovered the awesomeness that is the TV show Chuck.

I hardly listen to the radio, and the radio stations up in the high desert are why. We don’t even get AM radio up here. There’s not much on the FM side either: a handful of religious stations, only one of which has any music to speak of; a country-and-western station, which I don’t listen to; and a classic rock station down in Palm Springs, whose music I’ve known about these last 25-30 years. That leaves KCDZ 107, the only truly local station up here. And, sadly, I don’t care for the music it plays. At all. (Sorry.)

But Chuck has all kinds of music, and I’ve only heard some of it. So, for example: “Now We Can See,” by the Thermals? Great song, and an awesome choice for the scene in “Chuck vs. The Ring” where Chuck and Casey tell Emmett they’ve quit.

Or “Bye, Bye, Bye,” by Plants and Animals? Again, an excellent song, and a perfect for the Parisian ending of “Chuck vs. The Other Guy.” (In part because it foreshadows the following episode.)

Or, from “Chuck vs. the Tooth,” how about — content advisory! — “Right Round,” by Flo Rida? (That link is probably NSFW, by the way.) There were a whole bunch of versions on Amazon (including about a dozen Karaoke treatments) so I got the one that wasn’t marked “explicit lyrics.” Well. It makes me wonder what they could do to make the lyrics any more explicit. It’s a good tune, though.

But there are also gems like “Mr. Roboto.” Kidding. I never liked the version by Styx, to be honest. But this cover version by Jeffster is awesome.

This Blog Used to Be Somewhere Else

This blog used to be at messofpottage.com. But this is my hobby/personal blog, and that domain is where I keep my professional stuff–like my professional blog (“mess of pottage”). So this one had to come here.

I know. It’s incredibly rude to move a blog. It basically tells the entire world, “Don’t link me because my links vanish.” But since I didn’t have any readers before, what are the odds that they created any links to my content that has now been moved out from under them? And now, I’ve alienated anyone who might have been thinking about doing it in the future. Problem solved!

However, since I was destroying all my permalinks anyway, I took the opportunity to change them to a more readable format, et viola.

One less Linksys WRT-54G in the world

Well, actually, no. We still have it. But it’s unplugged. At the next garage sale, we’ll get rid of the carcass.

I replaced my Linksys WRT-54G wireless router with an ASUS WL-520GU. Out of box, the ASUS is a better deal with far superior features. These include using static IPs, so I can permit individual machines rather than allowing all my neighbors to crack my WPA key at their leisure. Another useful feature is meaningful logging. The Linksys and my Westel DSL modem don’t work well together; I have to reboot the pair of them about 2-3 times a week. If the Linksys had logs, I could tell whether the problem was in it or in the Westel modem. Now I can find out.

But that’s the out-of-box firmware. The ASUS router also works with Tomato, an aftermarket firmware upgrade, that provides a slew of additional features. There are similar projects for Linksys routers, but all the Linksys routers I’ve ever found are cost-reduced emasculated versions too lacking in RAM or Flash memory to work with any of the replacement firmware.

So. I’m a happy ASUS customer for three reasons: better out of box features, the potential for even more features when or if I get around to upgrading the firmware, and (best of all) I get to retire a blue Linksys router. What’s not to like?