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SatRadioGuide (a SiriusXM channel guide) now available for Windows 10! [Nov. 24th, 2015|08:47 pm]
[Tags|, , , ]
[Current Mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

SatRadioGuide is now available for Windows 10! New in this version is the ability to look at seasonal channels, which is available with an in-app purchase.

Download from Windows Store
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friday linked list: westboro baptist church conversion, red mercury [Nov. 20th, 2015|05:08 pm]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

- Unfollow: How a prized daughter of the Westboro Baptist Church came to question its beliefs - wow, a very interesting and mostly uplifting story!

- The Doomsday Scam - long article about "red mercury", which is supposedly a chemical that can produce a nuclear-like explosion, and a bunch of other outlandish things. But terrorists to this day believe in it! (the article is mostly about ISIS's attempts to acquire red mercury)

- History Is Made As Virginia Becomes The First State To Eliminate Veteran Homelessness - neat, good for them! (thanks Emily!)

- Our New Sid Meier's Civilization Inspired Budget - neat! We have a somewhat similar setup that tries to correct for one-time expenses, known monthly expenses, etc.

- The Islands Where Guns Proliferated—but Not Gun Crime - Hawaii has a fairly high rate of gun ownership, but a low rate of gun homicide and suicide. The theory is that this is the case because Hawaii has fairly strict gun laws and it's hard for illegal guns to get there, because, you know, it's really far away from other states. Interesting article, but if that's the case it's not exactly a model we could follow in other states...

- Go go gadget cruise ship - a video of cutting a cruise ship in half to insert a piece and make a bigger cruise ship! Crazy!

- What Lies Beneath - did Israel steal a bunch of uranium from Pennsylvania in the 1960's? The answer is a resounding maybe.
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friday linked list: transgender rights in Houston, coming out on Facebook, Clinton over Sanders [Nov. 13th, 2015|03:05 pm]
[Current Mood |tiredtired]

- In Houston, Hate Trumped Fairness - transgender rights are maybe 20 or 30 years behind gay rights? But like the article says, it's a matter of when, not if. (thanks David!)

- America's Coming Out on Facebook - the number of people coming out on Facebook is going up over the last year, but there was a huge spike the day the Supreme Court ruled on gay marriage! (This year I came out as bisexual on National Coming Out Day, although not in a Facebook-detectable way)

- Not About Gender - obviously the gender stuff doesn't apply to me, but this is more or less why I like Clinton over Sanders. I appreciate that Bernie has some good ideas, but I just don't think he's electable. (how much of this is a result of my supporting Howard Dean in 2004 and then being crushed when he lost? Probably more than none!)

- Can Airlines Make Money? - the answer is a resounding maybe!

- E.P.A. Finds More VW Cheating Software, Including in a Porsche - uh-oh, more trouble for Volkswagen. Interestingly related: Volkswagen, Offering Amnesty, Asks Workers to Come Forward on Emissions Cheating. My first thought was, hmm, maybe it really was a "rogue employee" or whatever. My second thought was, wow, that's a clever way of making it look like a rogue employee did it!

- The Most Popular Passages in Books, According to Kindle Data

- Myanmar Election Panel Says Aung San Suu Kyi’s Party Won Majority - Myanmar was under military rule from 1962-2011, then there was an "election" in 2011 which the military won, and now the opposition party won a majority of seats in Parliament. So, if everything goes well, maybe they're a real democracy now!

- The Ethics of Unpaid Labor and the OSS Community - this makes me think twice about looking at OSS contributions when looking at resumes.

- The Most Common* Job In Each State 1978-2014 - neat little visualization, although looking at only the #1 job in the state is probably amplifying the effect of smaller shifts. Also: Software Developer is the #1 job in a surprising number of states! What's going on in Colorado?

- HEB Grocery Chain to Give Stock to 55,000 Employees - hey, that's my grocery store!

- Conversations with North Koreans - I find conversations with people from closed societies (like North Korea) fascinating!
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Halloween linked list: nuclear almost-mishap, the House Science Committee, unrealistic tax plans [Oct. 31st, 2015|04:09 pm]
[Current Mood |spooky]

These aren't Halloween-themed, but I'll do my best :-)

- Here's a spooky tale from history: during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a US missile launch site in Okinawa was ordered to launch 32 missiles with nuclear warheads! Thank goodness for the human factor, I guess, but wow...

- Court by Court, Lawyers Fight Policies That Fall Heavily on the Poor - good for the lawyers fighting these, because these policies sound terrible!

- Criminals Should Get Same Leniency as Corporations, Judge Says - this sounds pretty reasonable and a good way to reduce the prison population.

- Why daylight saving time could be even more awesome than you think - wow, daylight saving time reduces crime!

- A spooky thought from Congress - the House science committee is worse than the Benghazi committee! Yuck yuck yuck.

- Can the GOP's Radically Simplified Tax Plans Actually Work? - spoiler alert: no! If you're going to propose a plan that drastically cuts revenue, you should explain what spending you're going to cut or admit that the deficit will increase. Especially pernicious: claiming that your plan will increase GDP so much that it will pay for itself. (this will not happen)

- Streaks Like Daniel Murphy’s Aren’t Necessarily Random - so now there's some evidence that athletes _can_ go on hot streaks, maybe. (this has been previously dismissed after looking at statistical evidence)

- What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong? - seems hard to argue with these results!

- In Defense of Gentrification - there's not as much displacement as people thought, and low income people living in a higher income area tend to do better.

- Google just started this re:Work site that has some guides for making work a better place for employees. Why did they do that? Not really sure! But there are some interesting case studies.

- You should not kill Baby Hitler. Try this instead. - weird and funny (thanks Emily!)
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friday linked list: welfare is not corrupting, employer paternalism, "texas" == "crazy" [Oct. 23rd, 2015|02:06 pm]
[Current Mood |overwhelmed]

- The Myth of Welfare’s Corrupting Influence on the Poor - another article about how cash transfers are a more effective way of fighting poverty than food stamps, etc. Apparently I will post one of these articles every week until the US changes our welfare programs :-)

- Employer Paternalism: Making It Easy for the Risk-Averse to Say ‘Yes’ to a Job - The National Review(!) kind of sweeps aside the abuses of the "company town", but if you can get past the gratuitous swipes at liberals there are some good ideas here. (thanks Emily!) I think this is a great idea:
The way we do things now, we essentially say: “Okay, buddy, here’s your $460 check. You have 25 weeks left, so you’d better get a job.” We could instead say: “Okay, buddy, here’s your $460 check. Your maximum remaining benefit is $11,540. If you get a job this week rather than collecting unemployment for the full 26-week period, we’ll give you 70 percent of what’s left, which is about $8,000.” For a significant number of lower-income households, that $8,000 would mean paying off all credit-card debt or owning their car free and clear. For most of them, it would more than cover the cost of relocating to a new place to take a new job.

- What Could Raising Taxes on the 1% Do? Surprising Amounts - when you say "the top 1%" it sounds like raising taxes on them wouldn't help, but when wealth inequality is as high as it is, the top 1% have a lot of money...

- Y’all, Norwegians Use The Word “Texas” As Slang To Mean “Crazy” - wow, it's true!

- Meet Composer Caroline Shaw, Kanye West’s New Pulitzer Prize-Winning Collaborator - winning a Pulitzer was one thing, but now I know someone who has recorded with Kanye! ("Say You Will" is a great song - have a listen!)

- Adele Says 'Hello' In First Video From Her New Album '25' - gorgeous song! I'm pretty sure I would like Adele singing from the phone book, though, her voice is just so rich...

- These researchers have discovered the perfect password that’s also easy to remember - oh man, now I want all my passwords to be rhyming poems! Dibs on
And British fiction engineer
Travolta captured bombardier

- ‘Back to the Future’ Writer: Biff Tannen Is Based on Donald Trump - having just watched the movie again, this is not exactly subtle...
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All 30 MLB team names, logos, mascots ranked! [Oct. 15th, 2015|03:01 pm]
[Tags|, ]
[Current Mood |sicksick]

I put together a list of ratings of Major League Baseball team names, logos, and mascots. I've been working on this on and off for a while, and it was fun to do, but a surprising amount of work. Perhaps you'll enjoy it?
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wednesday linked list: Microsoft's carbon tax, give poor people cash, the HP iPod [Oct. 14th, 2015|03:47 pm]
[Current Mood |sicksick]

- Microsoft Leads Movement to Offset Emissions With Internal Carbon Tax - cool, good for them! Apparently Disney and Shell(!) are doing this as well. On the other side: Exxon’s Climate Concealment

- Why Are Republicans the Only Climate-Science-Denying Party in the World? - sigh

- Give Poor People Cash - it's generally better for people to just give cash instead of food stamps, subsidized housing, etc., etc. (see also: GiveDirectly)

- The Anti-Governance Party - guess which one! See also: Archconservatives' Real Enemy Is Democracy

- How Steve Jobs Fleeced Carly Fiorina - I think it's a little unfair to say if you were out-businessed by Steve Jobs you don't deserve to be president (although there are other reasons she was a bad CEO), but I found this story about what the deal was with the HP iPod pretty interesting.

- Do We Value Low-Skilled Work? - it's easy to call something "low-skilled" when you're not the one doing it. (thanks David!)

- How to explain the KGB’s amazing success identifying CIA agents in the field? - clever stuff

- Programming Sucks - a little ranty but funny!

- Clinton Emails Became the New Focus of Benghazi Inquiry - I didn't realize the Benghazi committee started all of this. This is starting to sound a bit like Whitewater...

- It’s sleazy, it’s totally illegal, and yet it could become the future of retirement - tontines - not just a sitcom plot anymore, I guess!

- The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy

- Sitting for long periods doesn’t make death more imminent, study suggests - well, dang it, which is it?

- Wondermark: A Truly Incredible Time - hah! (thanks Emily!)

- Weird Simpsons VHS - pretty much what it says on the box. A little disturbing...
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Baseball Odds now available for Windows 10! [Sep. 26th, 2015|08:53 pm]
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

The baseball playoffs are almost upon us, and now Baseball Odds can help you keep track of how likely your team is to win on your Windows 10 device!

Download from Windows Store

More improvements are coming, but I'm happy to have published my first Windows 10 app!
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why baseball's current wild card system is not crazy [Sep. 25th, 2015|03:30 pm]
[Tags|, ]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

Background: From 1994-2011 each league has had 3 divisions, and each division winner would make the playoffs. Since 3 is not a convenient number of teams to have in a playoff, they also added one wild-card slot for the team with the best record in each league that wasn't a division winner. This meant of the 15 teams in each league, 4 would make the playoffs.

In 2012 they added another wild-card slot, and the first "round" of the playoffs is one game between the two wild-card teams. Whichever team wins moves on, and now they're down to 4 teams again.


When I first heard about this (i.e. when I started following baseball again after the Astros stopped losing 100 games in a season) I thought this was pretty stupid. Baseball is a sport played over many games - their regular season of 162 games is the longest of any major sport by far - so having a one-game playoff to determine who advances seems unsporting and random. However, after a bit more thought:

- Yeah, a one-game playoff is fairly arbitrary. But it is exciting! And for one of the teams, they wouldn't have made the playoffs at all, so they're clearly in a better position.

- I like baseball's emphasis on the regular season (as opposed to basketball, where more than half of the teams make the playoffs), but this change actually makes winning your division even more desirable.

- Having 5 out of 15 teams make the playoffs instead of 4 out of 15 isn't that big a change, and 5 out of 15 feels reasonable to me.

So, on the whole, yay baseball!

P.S. This has nothing to do with the fact that the Astros are currently in the second-place wild-card spot :-)
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friday linked list: boo Volkswagen, yay Kickstarter, writing emails like a boss [Sep. 25th, 2015|02:11 pm]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

- Feds allege widespread Volkswagen cheating on clean-air rules - it boggles the mind that Volkswagen thought they could get away with this!

- A Toxic Work World - here's a representative quote:
To support care just as we support competition, we will need some combination of the following: high-quality and affordable child care and elder care; paid family and medical leave for women and men; a right to request part-time or flexible work; investment in early education comparable to our investment in elementary and secondary education; comprehensive job protection for pregnant workers; higher wages and training for paid caregivers; community support structures to allow elders to live at home longer; and reform of elementary and secondary school schedules to meet the needs of a digital rather than an agricultural economy.

- Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750, Overnight - some of the price increases in the article were later reversed (1, 2), but in a larger sense this is a fundamental problem with capitalism in the medical industry.

- Kickstarter Focuses Its Mission on Altruism Over Profit - neat, Kickstarter is reincorporating as a public benefit corporation!

- The Linguistics of Writing an Email Like a Boss - interesting analysis of Enron emails. Apparently "have you been" is the number one phrase used in emails from boss to subordinates. (but not the other way around)

- Why I Still Think Fiorina Was a Terrible CEO - she seems quick to launch personal attacks...

- The Dad Who Wrote a Check Using “Common Core” Math Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About - I really haven't followed the Common Core math debate very well, but it is strange parents get angry when kids learn things a different way than they did. (thanks Paulina!)

- The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead - surprising! (to me) Although we still buy plenty of paper books as well as e-books.

- New Neuroscience Reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy - a little linkbaity, but this has been a fairly stressful week for me and this was somewhat helpful.
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