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Jun 212017

A wonderful manga.  Gorgeous, kickass, touching, & heartbreaking.  Then kickass again, then all the other things again.  The premise sounds ridiculous, but it’s understated and well-done.  Spoiler that’s not-a-real-spoiler: the aliens appear only on a few pages in the first issue, never to return.  What follows is a nuanced story of good versus evil, with an unconventional hero.

Inuyashiki (Crunchyroll)

Recommended listening for this is Keaton Henson (see below).  And Meat Loaf.  FYI, I know this is unintuitive, but Meat Loaf goes well with tons of manga.

Opting-out of junk mail and phone calls

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May 192016

FYI there are a few excellent websites where you can vastly reduce the amount of unsolicited junk mail and phone calls you receive.  You can read more about them at this FTC site:


Do Not Call Registry:

  • This is the simplest, most essential thing everyone should do: removes your phone number from almost all telemarketer and robocall lists.  There are some exceptions like surveys (after all, no politician’s going to let you opt-out of polling).

Direct Marketing Association’s MPS:

  • Another biggie: DMA’s Mail Preference Service can greatly reduce mail circulars, etc for 5 years.  You can also opt-out of a lot of spam email here.

Insurance and credit-card offers:

  • Does what it says: most of this stuff comes to you courtesy of data sold by the big credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, etc).  Opt-out 5 years via web form, or permanently if you mail something in.

The Linguistics of Writing an Email Like a Boss

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Sep 222015

Insidious and awesome. Statistical analysis of 500,000 emails focusing on how subordinates talk to their supervisors and vice-versa. Makes me wonder if you can improve your chances of becoming a boss by talking like a boss.
Gilbert, Eric. Phrases That Signal Workplace Hierarchy. CSCW’12, February 11–15, 2012.
From this reddit thread

The Safety’s in Your Head

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Aug 042015

Gun Gripes is a series of short videos about firearm types, operation, safety, and miscellanea. It’s like Andy Rooney if he worked in a gun shop (and wasn’t lame). Lots of good information too.

Favorite quote (concerning the Glock 19):

“This gun has no manual safety. You don’t need a safety on a gun anyway because the safety’s in your head.”

That might sound simplistic in a hillbilly gun-nut sort of way – it’s not. Experienced Gun People don’t think of safety in terms of buttons and switches to protect novices from themselves. Right Thinking is focused on habit.

The Glock has no “external” safety switch – if there’s a bullet in the chamber and the trigger is pulled, it fires. But if you’re using it properly, there are multiple redundant safeties, each of which multiplicatively reduces the chances of injury until it’s astronomically low. Unintentional firing his unlikely because you keep your finger outside the trigger guard. If you do accidentally pull the trigger, you had it pointed downrange anyway, or else at the ground. Even then it’s probably unloaded, because when it was handed to you the first thing you did was eject the magazine and rack the chamber back, locked, to ensure it was empty.

You might be thinking, what if someone wasn’t that careful? Well in that case, a safety switch wasn’t going to help anyway, and they had no business handling a firearm. It’s got nothing to do with natural skill or aptitude, just attitude. If you have respect for what you’re handling and what it can do, you’ll practice discipline, and habit will eventually take-over. And when that one-in-a-thousand moment happens where you’re not paying proper attention, habit will save your ass. It’s no different from driving a car: if you check your blind-spot every time no matter what, then with practice you’ll wind-up checking your blind-spot every time no matter what. This is Right Thinking.

Sweet Science Karma: Mayweather-Ortiz headbutt and KO

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Jul 182015

The link starts at 6:54, about 10 seconds before things get real interesting. After a vicious headbutt from Ortiz the referee has them touch gloves, and then at the exact instant at which it’s legal and fair to start fighting again, Mayweather unloads on him and catches him completely off-guard. Ortiz comes-off like an undisciplined thug, and Mayweather a professional. And the difference between professionals and amateurs, regardless of the field, is that professionals are always ready.

Adidas GSG9 shoes

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Jul 042015

William Gibson’s Spook Country features a young Cuban exile named Tito, family-trained in Russian Systema and KGB tradecraft, who incidentally picked-up Parkour and an esoteric mix of Carribean Voodoo spiritualism. He’s pretty-much the most competent street agent imaginable, a “snake on ice”.

For one of his jobs, he’s given a pair of GSG9 Adidas running shoes, which is apparently a thing. GSG-9 is Germany’s premier counter-terrorism and special operations unit, the kind of people you send to retake a commercial airliner held hostage on the tarmac. And apparently they commissioned custom footwear, which you, the consumer, can now enjoy.

Incidentally, I just watched Avengers: Age of Ultron (watchable in a popcorn way), and in a scene where Hawkeye is gearing-up, I was amused to notice that after he carefully selects various high-tech arrowheads, he reaches for a pair of Adidas sneakers. Clearly he has good taste.
Update: They’re surprisingly comfortable, and the tread must be seen to be believed.

Get Your War On

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May 202010

This is an angry, angry, internet comic that your dumb and/or neo-conservative friends won’t like. It was started by David Rees in the wake of the 9-11 attacks; he ended the strip in 2009.

“GYWO” provides a commentary on America’s government and society that is intelligent, well-informed, cynical, and expletive-laden. The strip has since been collected in book form, a portion of the proceeds from which go to support landmine-removal teams in Afghanistan.