The Coffee Spoon

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I once had tableware where the teaspoon and the tablespoon were almost the same size (in the same set!). I was annoyed, but it worked. Now I have tableware where the two spoon types are vastly different, with a huge gap in between. I like both of these sizes, but something seems to be missing. This leads me to propose a new, third type of table-ware-spoon: The coffee spoon.

Note: “tablespoon” in some countries or cultures is a serving spoon used for serving at the table, but in the US and I believe many other locations, “tablespoon” is a large spoon used for eating at the table. Meanwhile, don’t forget that as a unit of measure, tablespoon is 14.8 ml, aka, 0.50 US fluid ounces, but 0.51 Canadian/UK ounces in Canada. An Australian tablespoon as a measure is 20 ml, or 0.68 US fluid ounces. So be careful.

We will not be discussing sporks at this time.
Did you know that in the old says, in Europe, people carried their spoon around with them, like if they went to someone’s house for dinner? But the place setting concept was invented (ca 1700) and that led to the rise of the table-spoon, table-fork and table-knife, implying that these items would be there at the table when you went to sit there. Over that century, many other tableware items were added, including the mustard-spoon, salt-spoon, etc. Among these was the soup-spoon, which today, we may properly conflate with the tablespoon (and lose that annoying hyphen). Ultimately, bowl-bolting anything from soup to ice cream would require either the soupspoon/tablespoon size spoon, for soup, or the dessert spoon for the ice-cream.

To get back to my own personal first world problems: as noted, I now have a tableware set where the teaspoon is very small and the tablespoon is very large. I like the differentiation, but I think the in between zone could be served with a middle size spoon. I therefore think we should have three tableware spoons. Perhaps the large tablespoon, the diminutive teaspoon, and an in-between spoon should comprise the panoply of table spoons, with the new in between size set at the standard teaspoon size time 1.5.

What is the standard teaspoon size? Well, one third of a tablespoon is how I learnt it, but apparently it is more complicated. From wiki: “The size of teaspoons ranges from about 2.5 to 7.3 mL (0.088 to 0.257 imp fl oz; 0.085 to 0.247 US fl oz). For cooking purposes and dosing of medicine, a teaspoonful is defined as 5 mL (0.18 imp fl oz; 0.17 US fl oz), and standard measuring spoons are used.”

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Why we are afraid of AI

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In Western culture, at least, we have a healthy fear, or an unhealthy fear, I can’t decide, of Artificial Intelligent. That fear may be justified, but any such justification is a product of our culture, not rational discourse. I say that with certainty because that’s how everything is, as I’m sure you already know. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be afraid (or that we should). I’m saying that like almost everything else we claim to believe, we didn’t work it out in a Baconian framework, but rather, came to that belief using the same process of mind we come to most of our beliefs by.

So, where does the cultural trait of fear of AI in Western society come from? The same place all cultural traits come from. Movies. (And other conduits of received knowledge.)

I’m teaching a class on a related topic, and in so doing put together a series of video clips that I thought I’d share. Have a watch, and feel free to discuss. You’ve seen most of these already.

They are in a sort of order. Continue reading Why we are afraid of AI

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Lucas Davenport vs Virgil Flowers: Which is better?

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People argue. Some say the Prey novels with Lucas Davenport are the best. Others, usually women, say it’s that fucking Flowers all the way. Like that. I say, why not have both. Righteous Prey is the new Sandford novel that comes out in October, available now for preorder. Beloved heroes Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers are up against a powerful vigilante group with an eye on vengeance in a stunning new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author John Sandford.

“We’re going to murder people who need to be murdered.” So begins a press release from a mysterious group known only as “The Five,” shortly after a vicious predator is murdered in San Francisco. The Five is believed to be made up of vigilante killers who are very bored…and very rich. They target the worst of society—rapists, murderers, and thieves—and then use their unlimited resources to offset the damage done by those who they’ve killed, donating untraceable Bitcoin to charities and victims via the dark net. The Five soon become the most popular figures on social media, a modern-day Batman…though their motives may not be entirely pure.

After a woman is murdered in the Twin Cities, Virgil Flowers and Lucas Davenport are sent in to investigate. And they soon have their hands full–the killings are smart and carefully choreographed, and with no apparent direct connection to the victims, The Five are virtually untraceable. But if anyone can destroy this group, it will be the dynamic team of Davenport and Flowers.

I’ve ordered mine, have you ordered yours?

(BTW the price is lower than typical, not sure why, but I’m not asking questions.)

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Democrats are the good guys. Extremists MAGA Republicans are the bad guys.

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There. I said it. But you probably already knew it.

Democrats like health, Republicans prefer misery and death

All of our recent improvements in health care have come from Democratic administrations, including the most recent expansion of the ACA by Joe Biden, to add 5,800,000 new customers.

The MAGA Republicans hate health care, and do everything they can to take it away from us. Remember, it was the first Republican effort to kill Obamacare that caused the uprising known today as Indivisible.

Democrats protect and nurture rights and dignity while Republicans are misogynistic anti-freedom creeps

Years of progressive activism brought us to a point where women’s bodily autonomy was guaranteed, we can marry whom we love, and we recognize the widespread rights of dignity and freedom of choice.

Then the Republican-packed Supreme Court took that away and threatens to do worse, while extremist Republican governors and legislatures across the country are doubling down on enslaving women and taking away basic human rights.

Democrats = the good guys.
Republicans = the bad guys.
Vote Blue, in Minnesota vote DFL.

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Terrorism has a color and the color is red

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President Biden, like his Democratic predecessor President Obama, killed the number one foreign terrorist leader in the world (not personally, of course).

Meanwhile, MAGA President formed and expanded the largest terrorist organization to operate in and attack the US ever, which most recently produced a stochastic attack on the FBI.

One of the MAGA_GOP candidates went so far as to publicly call out the FBI so he could kill some of them:

Meanwhile, the gun-nut lobby, a largely MAGA Republican production, and it’s fundraising branch known as the NRA, kill tens of thousands of Americans a year.

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Republicans break, Democrats fix

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Democrats build, Extremist Republicans prefer rot

It has become axiomatic that Democrats build infrastructure (this has been true of northern Democrats since the time of Lincoln, and those northern democrats voted for Abe). This continues with the largest infrastructure bill ever, which is changing the face of our country for the better. Much of that infrastructure upgrade is required because of MAGA Republican neglect. Republicans like bridges that collapse. Democrats build bridges to the future.

The Biden Economic Recovery is developing at a rapid pace, outpacing previous Democratic administration recoveries such as the Obama-Biden recovery of 2009. In Minnesota, DFLers proposed important infrastructure upgrades and the extremist Republcian Senators who ruin everything good have put a halt to that. Speaking of infrastructure, you should check out my Senator, DFLer Ann Johnson Steward’s infrastructure shorts, mainly on You Tube. (Note, in Minnesota, the word “ramp” is used for “elevated parking garage.” We don’t often refer to highway ramps, but sometimes call them “metered ramps.”) Continue reading Republicans break, Democrats fix

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Turns out you can buy less misery

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Over the last year and a half, the Democratic White House and Congress carried out an amazingly successful experiment in small scale personal guaranteed income, with the expanded Child Tax Credit and similar programs. Democratic Governor Walz in Minnesota has been trying to do something similar.

Minnesota Extremist Republicans have not only fought tooth and nail the famous “Walz Checks,” they also left billions of dollars in federal money on the table, a huge state surplus that could be used to fund education, give money back to families, and do other good things, for one reason only: to have a bigger and better hissy fit than otherwise possible.

Demand the extremist Republicans running the Minnesota Senate either do their jobs or step aside. Then, even if they do (they won’t) vote them out in November.

Vote #DFL. For example, these candidates.

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Pandemic Covid has killed over 13,000 Minnesotans, over a million Americans, and over 6 million people worldwide

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President Biden’s Democratic administration and Democratic governors got hundreds of millions of shots in arms, and distributed effective therapeutics, to fight Covid-19.

Covid + MAGA Politics Kill
The MAGA Republican president and MAGA governors did everything they could to ensure that more citizens died or were terribly sickened by Covid-19. This ultimately killed a higher percentage of those exposed in red states than in blue states. Their rhetoric also reinforced and expanded anti-science and anti-vaccine sentiment in our country, so more children will be sickened by other preventable diseases as well. The party that accused Democrats of having death panels are themselves indubitably a death panel party.

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Climate Chaos is an existential disaster caused by Republicans

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Democratic President Joe Biden and the Democratic Congress passed the biggest climate change fixing legislation ever passed in this country, or in any country, in history.

Extremist Republican Former President (Biden won) under investigation for stealing, retaining, documents that were not supposed to leave the White House.
The same week, we discovered that the former MAGA Republican president and his cronies apparently stole highly classified documents, including some related to nuclear weapons, lied to the FBI about having those documents, and then pretended that the FBI planted the documents, which he had previously de-classified (in his own head).

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Starry Messenger: New Neil deGrasse Tyson Book

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Starry Messenger*, a new book by Neil deGrasse Tyson, is coming out on September 20th, and you can pre-order it here.

Bringing his cosmic perspective to civilization on Earth, Neil deGrasse Tyson shines new light on the crucial fault lines of our time—war, politics, religion, truth, beauty, gender, and race—in a way that stimulates a deeper sense of unity for us all.

In a time when our political and cultural views feel more polarized than ever, Tyson provides a much-needed antidote to so much of what divides us, while making a passionate case for the twin chariots of enlightenment—a cosmic perspective and the rationality of science.

After thinking deeply about how science sees the world and about Earth as a planet, the human brain has the capacity to reset and recalibrates life’s priorities, shaping the actions we might take in response. No outlook on culture, society, or civilization remains untouched.

With crystalline prose, Starry Messenger walks us through the scientific palette that sees and paints the world differently. From insights on resolving global conflict to reminders of how precious it is to be alive, Tyson reveals, with warmth and eloquence, an array of brilliant and beautiful truths that apply to us all, informed and enlightened by knowledge of our place in the universe.Book Cover of Starry Messenger by Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Happy Anniversary Anthony Watts!

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One of the most odious individuals to exist on the Internet is Anthony Watts, climate science denier and all round ass.

But you knew that.

What you may not have been thinking when you woke up this morning, and you are forgiven since there are some other important things going on in this world, is that this is the approximate tenth anniversary of the end of Watt’s credibility, which also coincides with the end of Roger Pielke Sr’s credibility, and a few other related casualties of ill intentioned fake science.

I’m reminded of this fact by my friend Victor Venema, who woke up this morning with a blog post: The 10th anniversary of the still unpublished Watts et al. (2012) manuscript .

The object lesson from this anniversary: Science marches on while pesudoscience withers and dies.

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The Amazing Non PFAS Frying Pan

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If you manufacture or sell a product you’d like me to endorse, forget about it, I don’t generally do that. But every now and then I come across something I want to blog and brag about.

Friends, I want to tell you about this Amazing GreenPan Frying Pan* thingie. I needed a new non-stick frying pan. I hated the idea of getting a PFAS spewing cooking utensil. I did not want to spend a lot of money. The Amazing GreenPan Frying Pan* is a non-stick ceramic surface aluminum 10 incher with a glass cover.

The key term here, I think, is “GreenPan.” I don’t know anything about this company. Maybe they are evil, or green washing. But it seems pretty legit to me.

It is inert, has excellent heat distribution qualities, a nice fitting lid, does NOT go in the dishwasher but practically washes itself by hand (it is, after all, non-stick).

Apparently it was invented in 2007, so there is a good chance you have not bought a new frying pan since they existed. They sell all sorts of pans. I did not know about them. Maybe everybody else did but not me. But now I know and so do you as well.

I love my 10″ GreenPan with glass lid. No kidding.

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Horror, Fantasy, History, Cheap Books

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Lovecraft complete collection*

H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection Kindle Edition is probably a amazing horrible book. Or, at least a book of amazing horror.

Lovecraft is classic. Racist. I would say he is misogynistic but his literature regards women as virtually non-existent so maybe it is hard to tell. I find his the craft of Lovecraft so offensive in this regard, but the love of his writing so abiding in the science fiction community, that I decided to re-write The Call of Cthulhu. My version is novel length, and the main characters are two women. The setting is the modern era and there are no benighted wild natives. I’ve written one chapter. It will be a while before you can read it.

In the mean time, get Lovecraft’s complete works and verify my assertions.

In cased you needed the Chronicles of Narnia* in Kindle format for nearly free, here it is.

Burry My Heart at Wounded Knee* buy Dee Brown is also cheap right now, maybe free depending on your account.

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