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The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time review [Aug. 26th, 2016|10:05 pm]
Greg
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[Current Mood |happyhappy]

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a TimeThe Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book was decent, although I found it to be a bit repetitive. The message is that sleep is important, and it makes you more effective in basically whatever you're doing. (there are some interesting studies done on athletes showing that consistently getting a good night's sleep can have massive effects on performance!) There are also some good tips on how to get better sleep. (avoid blue light before bed, etc.)

Maybe not the best book to read right before we have a kid, though... :-)

View all my reviews
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friday linked list: the Clinton Foundation, morality of drone warfare, WikiLeaks [Aug. 26th, 2016|02:27 pm]
Greg
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[Current Mood |nervousnervous]

- So I guess we have to talk about this Clinton Foundation stuff. The best two articles I've seen about this are Vox's The AP’s big exposé on Hillary meeting with Clinton Foundation donors is a mess and how media approaches the Clinton Foundation story through a politics lens. This is the kind of "scandal" that was extremely common under Bill Clinton - people investigate something, find nothing really wrong but then insinuate that there must be something wrong (because it's the Clintons!) if we just investigated more. Doesn't that fact that people did investigate and didn't find anything suggest that maybe nothing was really wrong? (see also: Travelgate, Whitewater, Hairgate, Vince Foster, etc., etc., etc.)

- Is Obama’s Drone War Moral? - an interesting look at the morality of drone warfare. I understand (per the article) that keeping things secret about why we choose particular targets makes it harder to judge whether it's right to target them, but I don't see a realistic way around this.

- WikiLeaks outs gay people in Saudi Arabia in ‘reckless’ mass data dump - harmful and pointless. Why publish data about ordinary citizens? This is how I felt when they published unredacted diplomatic cables (just to embarrass the US?), except this is obviously worse.

- Colombia and FARC Reach Deal to End the Americas’ Longest War - great news!

- Quick Charge and USB-C: Navigating the Next Generation of USB Charging - a great primer on how charging works. My phone has USB-C and it's great! (except for the part where all my old cables are now useless)

- Old Steel Mill Will Soon Be World's Largest Vertical Farm - cool!

- Went on a Weeklong Cruise For Conspiracy Theorists. It Ended Poorly. - starts off kinda funny, ends up sad and depressing. Also: grrrrr Andrew Wakefield!

- How Nextdoor reduced racist posts by 75% - neat!

- More of Kremlin’s Opponents Are Ending Up Dead - well, that's not good. Pretty creepy stuff.

- Every Joke from ‘Airplane!’ Ranked - pretty much what the title says. I had some quibbles here and there, but all in all it was a fun read! (some NSFW stills from the movie)

- How the KKK Scammed Its Members for Cash - apparently the KKK was more of a pyramid scheme in the 1920s than a hate group. Although there were definitely lynchings while they were active, the number of KKK members doesn't seem to correlate with the number of lynchings.
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clue solver redux! [Aug. 24th, 2016|09:24 pm]
Greg
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[Current Mood |happyhappy]

After revamping gregstoll.com to support SSL, I spent some time looking at all of my projects and making sure that they still worked with SSL. Turns out most of them didn't! (although the fixes were generally pretty quick)

That led me to revisit the Clue Solver, which seemed to have partially broken since I wrote it almost 10(!) years ago, probably because I used an ancient version of the Google Web Toolkit.

So I rewrote the UI from scratch using React, which I'm trying to get more experience in and is just generally a really nice Javascript framework. And now it's done! Here's the new version, and here's the original one.
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friday linked list: a war on climate change, the olympics, not too much about politics, I swear! [Aug. 19th, 2016|02:32 pm]
Greg
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[Current Mood |cheerfulcheerful]

- We Need to Literally Declare War on Climate Change - interesting idea. In the US I fear we don't have the political will to do this.

- How Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Differ on Taxes - Hillary wants to raise taxes for people making more than $1 million, and Trump wants to dramatically lower them. What a surprise!

- This Is Why There Are So Many Ties In Swimming - neat! Significant digits are fun.

- This is the best Usain Bolt picture that's ever been taken - hah, that's great! (this was a semifinal, not the final, so maybe that's why he's so relaxed?)

- The Soviet Doping Plan: Document Reveals Illicit Approach to ’84 Olympics - yikes, looks like the Soviets doped for a long time...

- Stealing bitcoins with badges: How Silk Road’s dirty cops got caught - Bitcoin is anonymous but very traceable.

- Learned Optimism - an interesting presentation about the difference between optimists and pessimists, and how you can train yourself to be more optimistic.

- The hottest new board games from Gen Con 2016 - some of these look pretty cool. Anyone played any of them?

- What does it take to be the organist for the Boston Red Sox? - man, that seems like a great job! (although I'm not hip enough to recognize most of the songs he plays in the clips in the article :-( )

- The Seven Ways To Become An Animation Powerhouse - apparently Laika makes good movies! I liked Coraline a lot, and they just came out with Kubo and the Two Strings which is getting great reviews. (although why use Rotten Tomatoes when Metacritic exists and is a better metric?)
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Using Let's Encrypt to make gregstoll.com support HTTPS! [Aug. 12th, 2016|09:18 pm]
Greg
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[Current Mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Since I have a few projects that require passwords (most notably LJBackup), I've wanted to set up HTTPS on my website. I had done this with my own self-signed certificate a while back, which works but gives you a pretty scary-looking warning in various browsers. I've blocked out the memory of what I had to do to get this to work, but it was very painful.

So when I read about Let's Encrypt again, I thought I'd give it a shot. They recommend using certbot to automatically enable HTTPS, and I was pretty skeptical but thought it was worth a shot.

And - wow! It totally works! It made a certificate and updated my Apache config that worked correctly out of the box. Now gregstoll.com has a pretty green lock when you visit it :-)
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friday linked list: authoritarianism and Donald Trump, Libya, Baltimore police [Aug. 12th, 2016|02:53 pm]
Greg
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[Current Mood |cheerfulcheerful]

- An American Authoritarian: The Republican presidential candidate is not a Fascist, but his campaign bears notable similarities to the reign of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini - this is scary stuff. I know it's hard to imagine because the US's democracy has been remarkably stable for the past 240 years (except for that whole Civil War thing...), but that's no guarantee it's going to continue. Democracies do rise and fall!

- The Legacy of Obama’s ‘Worst Mistake’ (ousting Qaddafi in Libya) - yeah, this sucks. It's hard looking at dictators around the world and knowing that we could easily depose them, but that doesn't mean it will make things better...

- Here Are Some Of The Most Shocking Parts Of DOJ’s Report On Baltimore Police - these are reprehensible. This is why many people don't trust the police. Hopefully some changes will happen.

- Hillary Clinton’s Moral Conflicts on Abortion - an interesting look at how Hillary, like many Americans, seems conflicted about abortion.

- The Code: A declassified and unbelievable hostage rescue story - not sure about "unbelievable", but it is a pretty good story, and catchy too!

- Trump quotes in Zapp Brannigan's voice - oh man, these are great!
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friday linked list: mostly politics [Aug. 5th, 2016|02:54 pm]
Greg
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[Current Mood |tiredtired]

Apologies for all the politics here - I try to get a good mix of links, but there are so many crazy things happy I couldn't keep a lid on it this time.

- The controversy over Donald Trump's ties to Russia, explained (after this article was posted, Trump said asking the Russians to find Hillary's emails was a joke, which is possible I guess?) For what it's worth, people who know about such things say that the evidence for the DNC email hack points pretty solidly to Russia. These are crazy times...

- I'm pro-life. And I'm voting for Hillary. Here's why. - very thoughtful article about how "pro-life" may not necessarily mean "vote for the person who wants to outlaw abortion". (thanks David!)

- Police and Me and Philando Castile - A very well-written article about why people have such different reactions to police shootings. (thanks David!)

- Is It Just Me, Or Is the World Going Crazy? - some unnecessary NSFW language, but a good read about how freedom means compromising and not always getting what you want.

- The Country’s Worst Anti-Voting Law Was Just Struck Down in North Carolina - so about voter ID laws: on their face they didn't sound unreasonable to me, but the fact that actual voter fraud is so incredibly rare is certainly suspicious. But man, read this article! After the pre-clearance from the Voting Rights Act was overturned by the Supreme Court, the North Carolina legislature asked for data about the racial breakdown of who voted when (early vs. not) and what ID they used, then passed a law that got rid of the things that African Americans used more than whites. (and didn't deal with absentee ballot fraud, which there are alleged cases of, but whites use more than African Americans) That is pretty despicable, and good for the court for striking the law down.

- How Does This Hedge-Fund Manager Make So Much Money? - ummmm this is so clearly some sort of fraud or Ponzi scheme it's not even funny. The fund has had three different auditors in the last four years, and the guy who runs it guarantees you will never lose money? Yowza!

- Feeling Guilty About Not Flossing? Maybe There’s No Need - whaaaaat?

- Harnessing the Immune System to Fight Cancer - exciting stuff!

- The Derelict - long fascinating article. Glad to see Damn Interesting is still writing good stuff!

- WATCH: Harlem Globetrotter makes baffling shot from 110-foot swing - the author is really down on this for some reason, but just watch the video - it's cool!
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friday linked list: register to vote!, Windows 10 upgrade, healthy foods [Jul. 22nd, 2016|10:23 am]
Greg
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[Current Mood |depresseddepressed]

- I'd like to believe we live in a country where Donald Trump couldn't get elected. (here's a fun list of "reasons Donald Trump is a fascist") But he won in the primaries and he's been climbing up in the polls (as of this moment FiveThirtyEight has him at a 40% chance to win, which is not much worse than a coin flip), and I just don't know anymore.

If you don't want to see him elected, be sure to register to vote! This honestly may be one of those moments where you'll want to look back on and say "I did everything I could to stop Trump". (which, because of our politics/electoral system, means voting for Hillary even if she isn't your first choice...just putting that out there)

- Related to "things you should do before you run out of time" (but way more cheerful!), there's only a week left to upgrade to Windows 10 for free - after that it costs $119 or something. (and once you do, check out those sweet gregstoll.com apps! :-) )

- Is Sushi ‘Healthy’? What About Granola? Where Americans and Nutritionists Disagree - nice view of the different beliefs between people who know (nutritionists) and the rest of us! (hint: granola bars aren't healthy :-( ) (thanks Emily!)

- How Uber secretly investigated its legal foes — and got caught - Uber is just a shady shady company.

- Malcolm Gladwell got us wrong: Our research was key to the 10,000-hour rule, but here’s what got oversimplified - it's not 10,000 hours for every field, and it takes deliberate practice. Also, it's a logarithmic curve, so spending just a few hundred hours can make you pretty darn good at something!

- How the Internet Saved Turkey’s Internet-Hating President - FaceTime was instrumental in showing that the president was still alive/free!

- The 50 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far - seems a little silly to pitch it this way where we're only 16% through the century, but there are a lot of good films on here. A lot of my favorites are in the top 10, although leaving off Howl's Moving Castle is a controversial choice in the Stoll-Jedlicka household :-)

- The 2016 “Board Game of the Year” nominees, reviewed - surprised that I've actually played three of these! (thanks Alejandro!)

- It’s No Accident: Advocates Want to Speak of Car ‘Crashes’ Instead
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friday linked list: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, corruption [Jul. 15th, 2016|10:53 am]
Greg
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[Current Mood |cheerfulcheerful]

- Understanding Hillary: Why the Clinton America sees isn’t the Clinton colleagues know - similar to some other ones that I've posted, but this takes a closer look at how she's good at listening (and why that may help her govern), and how her mistrust of the press leads her to make mistakes.

- Would Donald Trump Quit if He Wins the Election? He Doesn’t Rule It Out - well that's just great. Look, I get that people like how Trump "speaks his mind" and such, but this is just insulting. If he doesn't want to be president then he shouldn't have run. The position he's seeking is the leader of the free world and it deserves some respect.

- I'm a black ex-cop, and this is the real truth about race and policing - depressing!

- The Dallas Police Force Is Evidence That ‘De-escalation’ Policing Works - hopeful!

- The Driving Life And Death Of Philando Castile - Between July 2002 and his death, he was stopped by police 46 times. Only 6 of these were for things that a police officer could notice from outside a car. See also: The Senate's Only Black Republican Opens Up About Being Mistreated by Cops

- Is the Supreme Court Clueless About Corruption? Ask Jack Abramoff - yes, sigh.

- Elizabeth Warren’s Consolidation Speech Could Change the Election - ignore the clickbait headline, but the speech is very good and talks about how many industries are less competitive than they should be. (thanks David!)

- 107 Nobel laureates sign letter blasting Greenpeace over GMOs

- The Zero-Armed Bandit - wow, this sounds straight out of a movie, but it's true! If you like bombs, you'll like this article.

- When a Child Thinks Life Is Unfair, Use Game Theory - I like Random Dictator!

- Ranking the Most (and Least) Diverse Colleges in America - wow, Rice is #5!

- How Anti-Growth Sentiment, Reflected in Zoning Laws, Thwarts Equality

- Russia's Young Spies Just Wanna Have Fun - "Dozens of recent FSB graduates may have blown their cover when they filmed themselves driving expensive SUVs and posing for photographs with drinks." Hah!
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Universal Studios/Disneyland trip recap and pictures [Jul. 9th, 2016|11:38 pm]
Greg
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[Current Mood |happyhappy]

For our babymoon, David and I went to Universal Studios Hollywood (mostly to see the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter) and Disneyland!

<- click for full album
You can "View Slideshow" for a Facebook-like browsing experience!

more pictures behind the cut!Collapse )

Random observations from the trip:
Random observationsCollapse )
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