Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").

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January 2015


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
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welcome to the collapse
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Peak Oil

got that wrong

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Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
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Love's Laughing Locksmith

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(nobody does!)

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   marijuana and Wikipedia
Saturday, January 24 2015
There were two or three inches of snow on the ground this morning, which made it a great one for sitting around drinking coffee. It just happened to be our one day a week given to that purpose, and would be my first consumption of caffeine since Monday. Frankly, I expected the coffee buzz to be a bit better than it ended up being. After I'd drunk a bit more than my fair share of a french press, I went on to have a cup of black Red Rose tea, but after that I stopped my caffeine consumption and moved on to alcohol, since I had earned myself a day for that. By that point, the caffeine was actually more unpleasant in my system (particularly in my gut) than it was a welcomed addition.
At some point I turned to the task of solving a rather complicated web development puzzle using the Angular framework to launch a modal window. But I kept having difficulties getting data to get from my controller to the modal window produced. Nothing made sense, since the data worked if it was presented in static form, but only if given in certain places that should have (to my understanding) been irrelevant. After some hours, I managed to get it to work using a bit of a hack, which was good enough for me after that amount of struggle. Sometimes the solution you have to go with is the ugly provisional one.
Meanwhile, Gretchen had made hand-rolled manicotti. Originally the plan was for us to eat it with Susan & David, but the weather was initially too shitty for that, so we ended up just eating it ourselves for lupper; I don't think Michæl got to have any when he came by in the late afternoon to pick up Penny the Dog.

Late tonight, I was finding my drunk just a little bit boring, so I sparked up a brass bowl and smoked some pot and then proceeded to read a chain of Wikipedia articles initiated by the reading of an article in Slate about satellite internet access for the Third World (Slate has a terrible search engine so I could barely find it). First I read about satellite communication in general, then was interested in the details of the first satellite, Sputnik 1, launched by the Soviets in late 1957. What I hadn't known was that Sputnik contained within its sphere an atmosphere of nitrogen gas at one atmosphere and that sensors monitored this atmosphere, sending back information about its pressure and temperature by making changes to the duration of the "beeps" transmitted by the onboard radio. (Such analog telemetry-sending methods were probably common in those days, but I'd never before read a concise description of how such a system would work.)
Eventually my Wikipedia reading landed on the article about the U2 spy plane, which is long and full of all sorts of tidbits I'd never considered before. The U2 was special in that it could fly above the range of Soviet interceptor jets, which buzzed around beneath it ineffectually, as if trapped beneath a layer of glass. (Indeed, during the incident where the Soviets managed to shoot down the U2 piloted by Gary Powers using a surface-to-air missile, they also accidentally shot down one of their own interceptor jets.) What a crazy world it was, when the United States thought it could just fly over the Soviet Union with impunity, but the fact of the matter was that they more or less could. There's even a historical surprise embedded in the U2 article. Initially it was assumed that the U2 would fly above the range of Soviet radar, though it never could. Indeed, the Soviets apparently had an intelligence source within the U2 program that might have been none other than Lee Harvey Oswald. Yes, that Lee Harvey Oswald.

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