If every damn full moon is a supermoon, then there are no supermoons. Therefore, shut up.


Don’t be a luddy-duddy! Don’t be a mooncalf! Don’t be a jabbernowl! You’re not those, are you?

W.C. Fields in “The Bank Dick” (1940)


This year, for the first time ever, there’s early voting in Massachusetts. Not many seem to know about it – two people I’ve mentioned it to did, but four others had no idea. Perhaps those not in the know get their news from Dingleface, I dunno. Similarly, around half the drivers on the road don’t seem to know about a state law that came into force early last year requiring that you turn on your headlights whenever windshield wipers are in use.

The clerk of my fairly small town told me that 180 voted today, the second of eleven days of early voting, and there was still an hour to go. There was no queue and on the ballot were just a handful of offices and four questions, so I was on my way home, three blocks away, in about six minutes. Free sticker, too.


Instant metaphor

Earlier today, the Clay County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office and emergency services safely extricated this beautiful bald eagle, who’s now resting comfortably at the B.E.A.K.S. Wildlife Sanctuary on Big Talbot Island.




Going to be okay

Details, details

The first Mars flight could take place in 2022, according to SpaceX’s timeline for Mars colonisation.”

So Musk is going to solve those pesky radiation, bone density loss, and optic nerve problems, amongst several others, in just 72 months, eh? Impressive if true.*

Buy why is there no mention of these forthcoming almost miraculous developments in that BBC article? Perhaps it’s simply a rewrite of a press release that didn’t mention them due to their peskiness.


“Yes, I have a follow-up question, please: Huh?”


*Headline used in some Civil War era newspapers, often above bogus stories: “Important If True”

The end of projectors

I recently bought a 17″ Dell laptop and didn’t find out until yesterday about a little feature it has – and most recent PCs and laptops have – called Miracast. The 50″ 4K SUHD Samsung TV I bought in an irresistible deal last week also supports it, as do most new Smart TVs. To use it in Windows 10, you simply click the Connect button in the Notification Center, then on the TV that shows up on the network listing – that’s it. Miracast is essentially HDMI-over-WiFi projecting (Intel’s version is called WiDi), and it’s so good that I’d advise selling any projector manufacturer stock you own. To wit:


Click for a larger version

My Samsung phone also supports screen mirroring, so I can display its screen live on the new TV as well.

For fixed setting projection needs, I don’t see why anyone should ever again shell out US$700 or $800 for a projector – that was the price last time my company bought one six years ago – when one can spend the same amount and get a 50″ TV with 3840 x 2160 resolution, triple that of a typical projector, or spend a hundred or two more for a 60″ version. The quality is several tons better than projecting on a white screen, the speed is fine on 802.11n wireless, and you don’t even have to turn the lights off.

Compare and contrast

Compare this article: Why Millennials Can’t Grow Up

To this story from SBS 2 Australia:

I don’t think that Japan is fundamentally different. In fact, the segment brought to mind my own childhood, during which I was on my own or with pals most of the day – no parents in sight 90% of the time from the age of six.

I think the chief difference is an overarching paranoia in the West that has developed over the last thirty to forty years, where now, most people are convinced that child abduction by strangers is a lot rifer than, for instance, the 110 or so actual occurrences per year in the US. A recent episode of 99% Invisible – one of several podcasts I consider essential – explored how the milk carton missing kids of the 1980s contributed to that paranoia in this country.

Each morning on the drive to work, I shudder a little when I see parents waiting at school bus stops with their children. Why? Because I can easily imagine the abject shame and embarrassment kids would have felt had parents hovered like that just a handful of decades ago. “No, that is not my mother! I don’t know who it is! Gawd!

Invisibilia, another good podcast, recently examined a 1970s study Roger Hart did at a rural town in Vermont to discover where kids spent their time and what sort of secrets they kept from their parents. Returning to that town in 2004 revealed astonishing contrasts in attitudes – from the very kids in the original study, now adults. This Atlantic article goes into more depth on Hart’s return to the town thirty years on.


Afterthought: While ruminating on these ideas, it occurred to me that endless selfies may have their roots in the overprotective, overpraising, “You are the most special and precious snowflake in the world and nothing untoward must ever happen to you” style of parenting. If you grow up believing you’re that special, you might actually feel it imperative to take pictures of yourself several times a day, if only to provide documentation for future historians and biographers.

Selfie absorbed