- The panel above is from one of my favorite comics when I was a
kid, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #20, scripted by
James C. Owsley (now Christopher Priest).
It involves a version of Iron Man from the dystopian far future of 2015
time-traveling back to the present (1986) on an urgent mission that
Spider-Man tragically interferes with.
I can't believe that Marvel's editors could read this issue and not give
Owsley/Priest the regular Iron Man job.
(For one thing, he had something very much like the Jarvis operating
system in the armor more than twenty years before the movie.)
- I was thinking about how few protests there were when I was at
Berkeley vs. how today's students have participated in both Occupy
and this winter's police brutality protests.
Then it occurred to me: wait, only 1/4 of current students could have
participated in both!
In college, three years is actually a significant length of time.
Whereas now the idea that three years is long enough to do more than
maybe grab some lunch is ludicrous to me.
- As I was driving southbound down MLK one afternoon I saw a woman
walking a sheltie dog down the opposite sidewalk.
Just then, a motorcycle approached, heading north.
As it passed the woman, the dog attempted to leap at the motorcyclist's
Only a firm grip on the leash prevented a gruesome outcome.
- Maybe this sort of thing is old hat to you, but I was pretty
gobsmacked by this video of Erik Satie's
Gymnopédie No. 1 played on a bass guitar
- More music: I was watching
of Care Failure doing an acoustic version of "Sucker Punch" when I
suddenly noticed — her guitar only has five strings!
I knew the Presidents of the United States of America played with five
strings combined, but it wasn't until I did some more poking around that
I learned that Keith Richards has spent the past half century playing
- During a power outage, PG&E called me with a recorded message.
The call went to voicemail.
I'm signed up for Google's service that automatically transcribes your
voicemail messages and emails you transcripts along with a link to the
Let's see how it did.
"Para servicio en español, oprima nueve."
"I see if you can just leave me alone, we'll be in the movie."
- Recently I started corresponding with someone who uses a lot of those
I can't actually see the emojis: they show up in my chat window as
rectangles, and when I paste them into a browser they are transformed into
hex codes, and then I search on the hex codes to find out what the picture
is supposed to be.
At first I thought emojis were just graphical emoticons — hence
the name — but I soon found that there are emojis that don't
seem to have any purpose except to replace words.
Like, here's a pineapple.
Here's a bikini.
Here's a cat.
What is the purpose of these?
It seems like the idea is to get speakers of phonographic languages
writing logographically — to represent concepts with unique
glyphs rather than with words composed of a limited set of letters.
In 1955, Why Johnny Can't Read argued that, in
teaching sight recognition rather than phonics, schools were shortchanging
students by treating easy-to-learn written English as if it were
hard-to-learn written Chinese; sixty years later, the Chinese approach
seems to be winning, as if the only problem with it were that the
characters were too stylized.
- Charlotte, age 10, to her mother, earnestly: "I heard that there is a
suit you can wear that lets you experience the emotions of the characters
in the book you're reading. So, like, you would know exactly how Katniss
really feels when she is separated from Peeta, you can feel what she feels
in the book. I want one for my birthday."
Her sister Lucy, age 8: "That's a bad technology. The person who invented that suit did it for a bad purpose, I know it."
- Lucy's right, you know. I made the mistake of wearing that suit and then reading a cookbook. Now every time I make a sandwich I have to call my therapist.