Friday, December 25, 2020

Do And Die, not Do or Die - common misquote

The poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson called The Charge of the Light Brigade is often misquoted.  Lines 14 and 15 are commonly verbalize as "Ours is not to ask why, but to do or die", or something similar.  The key here is that a choice is present; "do or die".  In other words, we follow our orders or be will held accountable.  Or perhaps, do or die trying.

However, within the actual poem (below), such a choice never is present.  The lines are actually "Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die".  The soldiers of the poem never question their order, even though the order is clearly erroneous.  For these soldiers, these six hundred brigaders, a choice is never even in their thoughts.  They would ride headlong into cannon fire, being cut to pieces, while knowing there was no hope of success nor life afterwards.  

When one applies this poem to one's own situation, the phrase "do and die" is far more powerful, potent and critical.  No choice is available, even though the required action surely leads to failure.  In this regard, one might be unintentionally critiquing their orders as folly.

Of course, the poem is poetic. Though the poem does mention some survivors, it romanticizes the sacrifice of the brigade on the whole.  In reality, many of the soldiers survived.  Further, history has characterised the order to charge as a misunderstanding or miscommunication.  However, the order being a mistake of some sort is not undermined by the fact that some brigaders survived.  The Light Brigade was decimated in their charge of the cannons, and that decimation was obviously inevitable. 

The Charge of the Light Brigade

                    I
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

                    II
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
   Someone had blundered.
   Theirs not to make reply,
   Theirs not to reason why,
   Theirs but to do and die.
   Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

                  III
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
   Rode the six hundred.

                   IV
Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
   All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
   Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
   Not the six hundred.

                    V
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
   Left of six hundred.

                   VI
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
   All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
   Noble six hundred!

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Just saw yet another shooting star

In a strange coincidence, I've seen another shooting start last night as I walked out to my backyard. I looked up, and there it was.  This one was different than the previous sighting a couple of weeks ago.  The sky was perfectly clear.  This shooting star was just a point of light that streaked across the sky, but with no tail.  I noticed it just as it lit up.  It got brighter as it moved Westward until it dimmed a second or so later.  Similar to the previous shooting star, it moved East in a Westerly direction.

The Geminid meteor showers will happen in a week or so.  Maybe these early shooting stars are their vanguard.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Lunch today


There was an attempt to get In-N-Out Burger on a whim at the new location in Aurora. 2.5hr wait from this spot. A spontaneous decision to see if we could get In-N-Out today turned into a long discussion about if we should. In-N-Out is good, but we're too hungry. Another day. 

 
So, we ended up at La Sandia in Stapleton for a delicious lunch of Mexican cuisine. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Weird math - 10in plus 6mm equals 26cm



 

Today I just heard the phase "every mushroom cloud has a silver lining" twice from difference sources

Today I just heard the phase "every mushroom cloud has a silver lining" twice from two difference channels on Youtube in different contexts, though both referring to atmospheric nuclear explosions.  One source (11/23/20) was ranting about the ill effects of religious extremism, while the other was talking about how wine vintages from before 1945 cannot be faked today due to worldwide radiation contamination from all the nuclear explosions from WWII and the Cold War (11/22/20). It's a strange phrase to heard twice in one day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Slower Than Usual Shooting Star

Slow Shooting Star - © 2020 Matthew Lorono
I just happened to see a shooting star as I walked out to my backyard while taking the dogs outside.  At first, I caught a glimpse of a light in the sky above me and thought it was a plane.  I quickly realized it was a shooting star as I looked up to see the streak across the sky.  The shooting star had a burst-head that was followed by a long white line which momentarily marked the night sky just above where Mars appears.  

The streak was much longer than usual and started in the East and weirdly headed almost perfectly West.  This shooting star was also a bit slower and more long lasting that other shooting stars I've seen, though it still dissipated very quickly.  I was also surprized that the shooting star was so visible, given the wisps of clouds and the suburban light pollution.  

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Things that aren't happening right now

COVID-19
There's a lot of things not happening right now due to covid-time. For me, I've not seen family in a year.  However, it seems there's many who are actually planning gatherings for Thanksgiving.  I hope many reconsider, especially in light of the recent surge in both COVID-SARS-2 cases and related hospitalizations.

Allie and I were lucky to be able to visit Sydney, Australia late last year.  Even still, the Australian fires, which kicked off this crappy year in late 2019 and early 2020, were already starting to consume large regions.  The fires got much worse after we returned home from our vacation.

Allie did get a chance to visit family in Asia in February.  She was very lucky to get back home before things got covid-crazy.  Since then, we've been keeping mostly to ourselves.  Multiple plans to spend time with friends and family were cancelled.  We have no plan to meet other people until covid-time is over.  

That's not to say we've been hiding indoors as shut-ins.  Face masks and copious amounts of the appropriate hand sanitizer are always ready for our visits to the store and other necessary locations.  I've also been working from home almost 100% of the time, only going into the office (after site approval) a couple of times to access specific stuff on my work desktop computer or paperwork at my desk.

I am weary of the need to keep vigilant against the nasty virus.  However, out of love for my neighbor (and of course, family members), my resolve is not weakened.  


Month Event
January Australia fires
February Africa locust plague begins
March COVID-SARS-2 explodes
April Relatively minor events
May George Floyd's horrific murder
June Worldwide protests about George Floyd's murder
July Multiple natural disasters in Asia
AugustBeirut explosion
September Western US fires
October Terror attacks in France
November Massive COVID-SARS-2 resurgence
December Arecibo Observatory collapse
January 2021 Riot on Capitol Hill

Friday, November 13, 2020

Moment of Zen, watering a tiny lawn


 

You get a bad Irish accent! And you! What's that? You are Irish? You get a bad Irish accent too!

Irish are a hard group to actually offend.  Someone said "hold my beer" and this abomination was birth straight from the bowels of ifreann.  First, the reaction:


I love Emily Blunt and Christopher Walken, or at least I used to.  See what I mean here:


No, this isn't an SNL spoof.  My insides hurt.  My ears hurt.  My head hurts.  My eyes hurt.  Every one of my distal phalanxes hurt.  

Dublin Airport tweeted "Is there such a thing as accent police? If so, somebody better call ‘em. On the upside, Ireland looks nice."  Leave it to an Irish airport to find something positive in light of such painful accents.  Yes, it's so bad that even the Dublin Airport has something to say about it.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Journalization of life

When I started this blog 18.5 years ago, it was used as a true log or journal of my life.  I slowly transitioned away from this for various reasons.  The biggest reason is that a publically available record of your life can reveal things which may be useful to use against you in one way or another, by both people you know and people you don't know.  Beyond that, the world is different today than it was in the early aughties.  Another reason is that Facebook took over many of the duties of life-record without all the work of building my own content from scratch every time I wanted to post something.  Facebook is still not good for long-form or detailed accounts of events.  For that, blog remains the superior platform for recording my view of events in writing.

Even still, there is value in providing an online journal of one's life.  For me, and most humans, memories fade.  Specific memories are still noodling around in our heads, but they are buried underneath millions of other noodles. I didn't realize the importance of this until recently, when I going over my blog's history.

Reading the past posts reminded me of events, and even just average days from my past.  In fact, I ran across a couple of posts that describe things that I don't remember at all now, similar to how no-one remembers most of the first two years their life but there's those embarrassing baby photos that your parents pull out from time to time.  


Posting about my life doesn't generate traffic like my posts about life in our Universe or beeper codes, but that's not the real point of this blog anyway. I'll still post about things I find interesting in the same manner as before.  However, I'll try to post a bit more about my daily life too (more than just Instagram photos).  I've actually started doing this since September this year.  I hope to do it even more often.


Thursday, October 08, 2020

The Three Theys of Interstellar

Interstellar movie
I'm not going to explain everything about Interstellar. I'm just going to jump right into the discussion.  Please watch the movie Interstellar, if you haven't.  Or, if you haven't seen the movie in awhile, watch it again.  Here's my "film theory" about Interstellar's supposed Bootstrap Paradox, "The Three Theys of Interstellar".

The third "they"

The movie Interstellar runs deep with current known science and also notions of time (in a manner that is not well-enough understood by science).  In the movie, there are several discussions that refer to "they" as the architects (my word) of the events within the movie.  "They" is used to refer to the creators of the wormhole, the same wormhole that brings humans to a distance galaxy to find habitable worlds.  "They" is also used to describe the creators of the tesseract within Gargantua Black Hole into which Cooper falls.  There's actually a third "they" used by Brand (daughter of Professor Brand) where she unknowingly shakes Cooper's hand while she's in the wormhole and while the tesseract collapses around Cooper.  She mistakenly refers to Cooper as "them".

The second "they"


While in the tesseract, Cooper hypothesizes (or guesses) that "they" are future descents of humans.  When viewing the movie's narrative superficially, "they" are the ones who set everything up to allow colonization of distance worlds, and also to allow Cooper to survive within the Black Hole long enough to send back the necessary data  to solve Professor Brand's equations. The movie does not provide any further explanation, but does hint that Cooper's guess is not 100% accurate.  This hint comes when he becomes third "they" during the aforementioned handshake with Brand.  Also, Tars specifically calls the creators of the tesseract by the moniker "Bulk Beings".  

Cooper's explanation for "they" is flawed.  If "they" are our descents and also the creators of the wormhole, this forms a "Bootstrap Paradox". If the wormhole didn't exist, we'd have no ability to save humanity in order to have our descents create the wormhole.

Getting stuck on this Bootstrap Paradox assumes this movie presents the final and accurate explanation for "they" or the "Bulk Beings'.  However, if the creators of the wormhole are different from the Bulk Beings (creators of the tesseract), the paradox evaporates.

The first "they"

Cooper was right in his guess that we were solving our own problems.  We got our selves to the wormhole.  We investigated several habitable worlds on the other side.  Cooper himself fell into the Black Hole and interacted with Murph.  However, what's the moment that prevents the paradox and allows Bulk Beings to exist?  This moment is when Brand colonizes Edmond's Planet.  Her colony saved the human species, but not humans on Earth.  Her colony's eventual descents (the Bulk Beings) had to finish the job.  They had to enable the survival of humans on Earth.  They did so by creating the tesseract for Cooper inside of Gargantua.

So, who are the creators of the wormhole that kicked off human survival?  Who are the first "they" of Interstellar?  My best guess is that "they" are simply an interested party who provided us with a way to save ourselves, if we are ready to be saved.  The first "they" of Interstellar are different non-human related beings who were possibly even more advanced than the Bulk Beings.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Dream - Terrorist Plot Device

Most dreams that I recall involve me as first-person, from which I interact with and experience the goings-on within the dream universe. Once in awhile I break from the first-person perspective into second-ish or more typically third-person, but this change in perspective is typically only for a brief time.  

Last night, I had a more theatrical dream.  I experienced the dream from a first-person, and third-person, but from a multiple of perspectives for several on-going but related events.  I would take on the first-person perspective for one set of events.  Then, by a semi-conscientious decision, I would move to another perspective in another set of events from a different character's point of view.  I had some control of the characters I took on, but the story unfolded around me in ways that aren't common.  Normally, my awareness within dreams gives me the ability to make minor adjustments where I kind of know what's going to happen, or passively direct the story.  However, I never directly take over and rewrite the story.  This time, I had zero control of the events.  I was experiencing the story as it unfolded.  I was responding to the story as my character would. I was watching a movie from within the movie.

In this story, there are multiple seemingly simultaneous events.  Much of the story takes place in a large hangar that has been converted to offices and manufacturing.  Terrorists have taken over the building, but lost control of the employees at some point.  I don't remember too much from this part of the dream, but I know several plot points were set up.  The terrorist assault was a cover to steal actual printed bearer bonds.  I don't remember if the bonds were paid to them or if they staged the assault to find them.  I would jump between several employees of that company, all trying to avoid the terrorist.  Many of us were moving from room to room to avoid the terrorist.  In fact, by this point in the dream, I never saw the terrorists.  The character I become just seemed to always know where the terrorists were in order to avoid them.  Sometimes I was a nondescript male scurrying about with a larger group, other times I'd switch to another group and was a 30s to 40s Kit Harington.  

One room was a break room with some office and kitchen furniture, such as filing cabinets and kitchen sink.  On the concrete wall that was adjacent to the door, there was an spot where an execution happened earlier, blood staining the wall.  I remembered seeing that execution happen as a character within the dream, but I don't remember the execution happening as the dreamer. (It happened during a part of the dream that I don't remember, but I know happened.)

At some point, I decided that portion of the story progressed enough and it was time to see other events.  I was on a plane in the air.  The plane was also taken over by terrorist.  I was another nondescript man.  We, the passengers, fought subversively against terrorist without direct conflict.  At some point, the pilot was shot.  It seems that the co-pilot was somehow killed or removed from the plane during a part of the dream I don't remember.  After the pilot died, we (the passengers) were able to take over the plane and negate the terrorists, though I'm not clear as to how.  The looming threat of landing the plane without a pilot now become the tension of the story.

Switching back to the hangar, another man, blond of similar age, and I (as Kit Harington) discovered the plot of the terrorists and somehow knew where the bonds were hidden.  We broke away form the group and ran to the office where the bonds where kept.  We started grabbing the bonds and split them up.  At this point, the perspective switched from first-person to third-person. I watched as Kit Harington and the other man split up the bonds, roughly in half.  However, my thoughts were still internal to the Kit Harington character.  As I watch myself (as Kit Harington) and the other man, we agreed to meet at a predetermined location to somehow cash the bonds in and evenly split the proceeds.  However, my character was thinking that I'd just keep what I grabbed and cash that in on my own.  Not really betraying the other man, but feigning to cooperate in order to get what I can and get out of there without dispute.  

The story then switched back to another person on the plane.  I was briefly a person that took over the controls of the plane in order to land it.  That was a very brief swap, I guess to show that the plane would somehow land.  I immediately switched to be another man who was with a young boy that I met on the plane. The boy was scared.  I comforted him as best I could.  The plane crash-landed at the start of the runaway of an airport. Most people seemed to survive, but the plane was on fire.  I helped the boy out of the plane, but instead of smoke and screaming-running people, the boy and I calmly exited the plane into a cool mist.  I walked with the boy, continuing to make conversation with him to keep him as calm and distracted as possible.  I tell him he can have whatever he wants when he returns home.  As I walk with him, he's naming a bunch of things he wants. I tell him to keep walking.  He walks out of mist as I stay behind and retreat.  He turns around playfully and says "...and I want Lucky Charms".  The boy then nonchalantly walks over to where a crowd has gathered at the outskirts of the airport.  As I'm walking back through the mist, an airport employee on the tarmac notices me through a brief clearing in the mist and happily yells at me, "Hey, it's Lucky!"  And other employee looks up to see me before I disappear and leave behind a single rainbow marshmallow from the Lucky Charms cereal.  

From a third-person perspective again, I watch the boy (that I rescued) grab the hand of another boy who is with a family (father, mother, young son, older son, young sister and older sister) in the crowd . The boy turns around to watch a fire at the airport with his family. I then watch the boy age before my eyes in a time-jump to become the same age as the boy he is standing next to. He and the other boy are twins. The fire he's watching isn't the plane.  The fire is from the conclusion of the terrorist assault on the hangar at that same airport; two or third years later. The boy originally died in the plane crash at that same airport.

As the dreamer, I was thoroughly surprized by this ending. I believe this is the first time I remember seeing a superimposed time-jump.  It was an interesting effect to see within a dream.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Recent purchase of old games on Steam...and labor required to actually get them running

I recently purchased a game package that consists of Railroad Tycoon II Platinum, Railroad Tycoon 3 and Sid Meier's Railroads! on Steam.  Two of these games needed a human (me) to get into the game files to fix them so the games can be run on Windows 10 (or even on Vista or 8).

Railroad Tycoon 3's issue is that it crashes on startup.  The fix is to turn on an option called "Disable Hardware T&L" in the Settings dialog.  The problem is that you cannot turn this option on in-game if you cannot get the game started.


For this, the solution is to replace the engine.cfg file which is found in the game's Steam folder (example: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Railroad Tycoon 3\Data\Configuration).  The source of the replacement engine.cfg file is here: 105_106_RT3_Vista_Fix.zip.  More information about this fix can be found on Hawk & Badger Railroad (backup link).  This video also covers more information about patching RT3:


Sid Meier's Railroads!'s issue is that it crashes constantly, like in minutes.  The fix is to directly edit the game's executable file with a hexeditor to change a specific bit.  You never know when you'll need a hexeditor, so I always install one on one every desktop PC I've owned.  Even still, I've literally not used a hexeditor on game files in over 2 decades.  Anyway, the bug fix description is too involve for me to repeat in this article, so I'll just point to the source article on Steam: Fix Crashing/LAA manual fix (backup link). 


The Steam article employs a particular hexeditor, so if you aren't experienced hexediting files, you may wish to use the recommended app.  Despite the lengthy article, the actual fix is very quick once you find the bit you need change. So far, I've not had a crash since implementing this fix.

Epilogue

When Steam gaming platform first came out, I was not a fan.  I tried to avoid it like the plague, but eventually, AAA games that I wished to play were only available on Steam, so I had to commit.  The game that finally snared me was Civilization 5.

One cool thing about Steam is that they have a ton of old games from as far back as the early 90's (maybe even earlier).  The old games are typically porteddosboxed or patched to run on modern systems.  Although you have to rebuy old games that you wish to play (for rather small prices), it is typically worth the cost to avoid the trouble of working out how to configure a modern PC to run those games.

The problem with Steam is that their updates are often half-hearted efforts.  For example, no efforts are taken to maintain aspect ratios of the original games.  This makes many of the old games appear uglier than the originals.  However, this is typically OK, as you play old games for their game mechanics and functional design more than their outdated graphical design.  A bigger issue is demonstrated earlier in this article.  Some games are so badly adopted by Steam, you, the user, have to manually configure the game files in order for the game to even run (or at least run without a ton of crashes).  

Not all games are fixable.  An example of this is Independence War (a game I loved).  Both Steam editions (original and sequel) appear to have unfixed game-breaking bugs with no community solutions.  These games are only $6, but it's $6 too much for a game that cannot be finished.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Pontiac G8 Wiper Blades, super low-key custom equipment

The Pontiac G8 is a fun and enjoyable car, though a little rough around the edges for some details.  The G8 model never had time to be polished because it and the whole Pontiac brand where cancelled as a result of the GM bankruptcy from the Financial crisis of 2007–2008. So, there are just somethings where the owner needs to consider their options when replacing worn-out parts.  One consideration: the two windshield wiper blades.

The original sizes for the wiper blades didn't do a good job of clearing the window in front of the driver.  The stock wiper blades don't swipe enough of the upper middle area of the windshield to help the driver clearly see through portions of the window.  Another problem with the original blades is/was that some owners (including myself) reported chatter or incomplete clearing of the window during each swipe.  

Funny enough, it's not easy to find the sizes of the original wiper blades.  You can still buy them, supposedly, but the sizes aren't published in their descriptions. I think they were something like 24" length for the driver's side and 14" for the passenger side.  Whatever the sizes, the original blades left rather large of areas of the window unswiped during rain, not just at the top, but also the bottom of the window between swiped areas.


I didn't wait long to replace the original blades. Either late 2009 or 2010, I found some good quality replacement blades of the sizes 26" and 15".  (At the time, it wasn't easy to figure out replacements of alternate sizes.)  Believe it or not, my replacement blades performed well for 10 years.  Sometimes you get lucky.  Unfortunately, when it came time to replace them this year, I lost track of what I purchased before.

That didn't end up mattering, though.  In 2020, the secret has long since been out.  It's actually more common to find 26"/15" sizes than what might've been stock sizes.  On multiple sites, I found that the main size recommendations are 26"/15".  So, it is really down to quality (since price stopped being a factor since I'm no longer looking at stock blades).

After seeing recommendations on multiple websites (including forums) and reading many reviews, I settled on Trico brand blades:  Trico 25-260 Force Beam Wiper Blade 26" and Trico 25-150 Force Beam Wiper Blade 15".


Many modern blades try to support as many car models as possible, so they come with adapters.  I remember my first replacement blades being very simple to install.  This doesn't seem to be the case anymore.  The Trico's aren't hard to install, but it is a ~10 step process which includes removing their default adapter, adding the included secondary adapter, then removing a piece of that adapter to specifically fit the G8.  Again, not hard, but not intuitive either.  

I like the Tricos because they cover even more area of my windshield than my first replacements.  It amazes me just how much of the window they clear with each swipe. So far, the Tricos work well.  We'll see how they perform as the season changes.  

Friday, September 11, 2020

Baseball obscure stat

Baseball obscure stat:  In modern era of Major League Baseball, no game has ever had an unassisted triple play in either the 3rd or 8th innings.



So, I did it...I saw a movie in Covid-time [TENET]

Yup, it's true.  I went to see a first-run movie during covid-time.  Though, I'm not even considering movie theaters right now.  That's not going to happen until COVID-19 vaccination is widely available.  In the meantime, how should someone see a new movie?  Well, there's streaming services.  But, for some reason, paying $30 to watch a movie on my own device at home seems alien.  So, let's go to the movie drive-in!

Holiday Twin Drive-in

Yup, it's true.  I went to see a first-run movie at the drive-in.  Social distancing is super easy with two tons of steel and glass (and an additional 10 feet of parking distance) between you and others in outside world.  

I saw TENET.  It's an enjoyable, yet complex film that will take multiple viewings to completely understand.  

So, here's the problem.  Seeing a movie at the drive-in is an inferior experience, particularly for big films designed for modern theater screens.  It's an acceptable experience, but not high quality.  The main problem is that your own car fights against the experience, at least many modern cars do.  Even just turning your car on to ACC for the radio (to hear the movie's sound on the drive-in's FM station) will start up all sorts of interior lights, including the status screen that is present many cars.  Yeah, you can turn them down or cover them up, but that's just annoying.  

Then, condensation forms on the windows in certain conditions. You'll have to open the windows from time to time.  In most cars these days, power windows require the car to be on in the pre-start position. Guess what that does!  Yup, it turns on even more interior lights!

Then, there's the weather.  Fog, rain, and even dust or remnants of ash from fires in the nearby mountains can all detract from your experience.  This weekend, I experienced rain, blown dust and fire ash.

The biggest problem of all?  Most movie drive-ins do not play first-run movies.  I literally had to drive 1 hour to see TENET on opening weekend.  

Even still, seeing a movie on a big screen is better than not.  Drive-in may be inferior, but it is preferable to the alternative: sitting for 3 hours in an enclosed space with a bunch of strangers around breathing the same air and touching the same surfaces, or queueing up to close at the snackbar or just walking too closely when exiting the theater.  

Friday, August 28, 2020

Charities suck and you suck for supporting them?

Presentations that provide misinformation or misrepresentations regarding charities are common.  Awhile back I ran into this seemingly well-meaning Youtube video  (below)  that attempts to expose the dirty underbelly of charities.  Normally, I don't promote content I see as wildly or widely off-base.  However, in this case, I feel it's important to see the earnest and confidence of the presentation and still be able to peer through the facade to come face-to-face with the video's deep flaws.

I've worked with funding of charities in the past.  After viewing this video, something just feels off about its presentation.  It's as though Thought2 (pronounce "42") is trying to promote an agenda of lowkey fearmongering rather than provide accurate information.  

Yes, administrative costs exist and are typically a large amount of where the donations are used in a well-run organization.  However, this video makes it sound like there are dozens if not hundreds of people on charity payrolls.  The truth is that most locally managed charities are scraping by with just a few people, who are often volunteers, in makeshift or hand-me-down office spaces.  

Yes, some charities are short-sighted in their march to achieve artificially important goals.  However, the video's example of water pumps drastically misses the point: most communities that were helped do have working water pumps, even if many do not.  

The video's example regarding clothes and electronic donations is also far off the mark.  As stated by another Youtube commenter (Tripe): 

"Blaming the entire collapse of the Kenyan textile market on imports isn't reality. He does state "domestic market" at one point, but that isn't the data he presents.  He blames charity for the loss of 500000 jobs, but those people were serving the entire industry, not only the domestic market. The same issues that lead to the collapse of exports were still affecting the domestic market as well.  They've had loads of problems including tariffs, labor prices, port prices, high energy costs, stiff competition from Asian countries, corruption, outdated machinery, credit problems, trade reforms and more. I think it would be more accurate to say imports are one of the factors that lead to the downfall of the domestic textile market and are currently retarding the resurgence of the domestic textile market in Kenya, (if they have the leadership for such a resurgence),  not the main cause of the collapse and the loss of 500000 jobs."

Also, I found the video's focus on Africa-support charities produces a dramatically skewed story.  IRL, many charities are for local benefit, so don't have same economic effects about which this video speaks.   Thoughty2 seems to be heavily focused on big-picture and grand-gesture charities.  The charity rating services that are mentioned in the video are heavily focused on these types of charities too.  This video makes no mention of rape crisis centers, suicide hotlines, or local food banks.

Oh, United Way also locally audits the charities that they support using similar criteria as the organization that this video promotes.  United Way audits charities within each community separately.  This means that even national organizations are audited at a local level to justify their funding in that area.  The problem with organizations that publish charities ratings is that the numbers are often misleading, with too much emphasis placed on making "administrative costs" out to be a bad thing.  Due to the nature of some charities and the location of the people they help, costs are naturally higher for some charities over others. United Way funds charities without making the mistake of assuming administrative costs are somehow bad just because.

I'm not sure if this video is well-intended, or if it intentionally misleads.  Either way, in my opinion, this video is completely unreliable for the topic of charities and should not be used as a reference in discussions regarding charities.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A missed call in a Baseball game that didn't matter (but might've if things where different)

Some missed calls in Major League Baseball will live in infamy forever.  Other missed calls are nearly forgotten.  I recently ran into a video by SB Nation where a nearly forgotten missed call is discussed.  Pivetta is the pitcher and Barnes is the batter.

Instead of me retyping the discussion, just watch the video here.




It's hard to judge the accuracy of the statement about the play without seeing the play.  So, check out the play here.



After watching the replay, it's clear the Home Plate Umpire did call the runner out as a result of the fielding of the ball, and not due to any action by the runner himself.  This means the Umpire stopped play while the ball should've technically remained in play.  Does it really matter?

Though the fielding of the ball was incorrectly ruled a catch by the Home Ump, it's the pitcher who fielded the ball.  The pitcher's next action would've been to throw the runner out at First, which should've been the real end of the play.  Now, there's a slight chance the throw to First would've been screwed up, so that is why the play shouldn't have been stopped.  However, most probably the result of letting the play continue vs ending the play with a catch call wouldn't have changed the outcome of the play in this case.  The runner would still be out and the inning would still have be ended.  Now, if other base runners where present, then this missed call would've been more consequential because this bad call would've stopped base running and ended the inning.  At that point, maybe this bad call would've been more memorable.  But even in this case, it's the last out of the inning.  The batter would've still likely have been thrown out at First.  The end of the inning would've still happened right then and there.  Austin Barnes wasn't robbed a base hit by the bad call.

There is one chance of Barnes getting on base in this scenario if it weren't for the bad call.  Had the Ump not ruled the catch and ended play, the pitcher may have thought he had a proper catch and failed to throw the ball to First, giving Barnes a chance to make it safely to First.  However, it can be argued that this would've been an Error by Pivette, still not a base hit for Barnes.


Friday, May 15, 2020

Of Wolves and Rocks (Part 4)


Even with the current world crisis, and the lack of things to do regardless of where you might go, it was great being able to stay in the Colorado Springs area to see the wolves at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.  It was also great to explore the Garden of the Gods for an afternoon.  That said, our original plans included a bit more.  There are still places to explore.  We'll be back.


Places we missed this time due to covid-time, that we'll try to do next time we are in the area:

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Of Wolves and Rocks (Part 2)

Originally, Allie and I's trip to Colorado Springs was meant to include an extra evening from the day before our adventure at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.  With the world crisis underway, however, we just decided to drive down a bit later on Thursday.  Our time at the Center was scheduled for Friday morning.  This left Friday afternoon for exploring other local attractions.

We explored the Garden of the Gods. The drive around the park was fairly straightforward.  We stopped of at the Kissing Camels, Siamese Twins and Balanced Rock.

Kissing Camels
Siamese Twins
Balanced Rock
Afterwards we found a good Mexican restaurant that was on the way back to Colorado Springs, called Crystal Park Cantina.  We ordered by phone and then went to pick up our takeout order.  We were pleasantly surprized by our dishes when we ate them after we got back to our hotel.  We might return to this location next time we are in the area.