Engineering energy
Engineering is essentially all about taking one type of energy -- mechanical, electrical, chemical, nuclear, solar, gravitational, orbital, potential, kinetic -- and converting it into a different type of energy, storing it for later, or using it to move or create or destroy something. #science

Decision fatigue reduction
Decision fatigue is the concept that having too many options or choices makes it more difficult to decide.  I realized recently that I unintentionally reduce decision fatigue by adopting habits and blindly following them forever.  The benefit of this is that (a) I feel less stressed by having too many decisions to make, and (b) my mental energy can be spent on more important things, like eating cheeseburgers or melting ice cubes.  I've consciously or unconsciously reduced the number of decisions I make on a regular basis with these Ten Simple Tricks (TM) (but I could only think of four for now, so bear with me): 
  1. I wear the same thing everyday.  I have like 24 pairs of exactly the same sock.  My pants are all versions of "khaki".  My shirts are all some sort of blue or some sort of green.  Everything matches.
  2. I use a clothes rotation.  I wear whatever is at the back of the closet or the bottom of the pile, then I put worn/clean clothes at the front/top.  It's literally more effort to not do this.
  3. I eat the same thing or the same concept of thing for pretty much all meals.  Meals are generally meat, vegetables, carbs.  Today's meal is tomorrow's leftover.
  4. I park in the same parking spot at work every single day.  I sit in the same chair in the conference room for every meeting.
I used to think it was weird that I'm such a creature of habit.  But in reality it's more beneficial for me to make a decision one time, then never have to make that decision again. #psychology

Choosing a username
One of the more difficult tasks in modern life is choosing a username for some newfangled digital system.  Sure, it's not terribly significant.  And yet the Hotmail email address you created in 1998 stuck around for a lot longer than you anticipated.  You can never tell which website or app is gonna be the next "thing," so it's sort of important to choose a name that's relevant, meaningful, and not embarrassing. 

I have a tendency to want to put some variation of my name (first or last or a combo) in everything.  But this can get a little wordy, especially if firstname.lastname is taken so you have to go with firstname.middlename.lastname.  Then every time you have to give your email address over the phone (yes this still happens in the year 2024), it's a whole thing. 

Plus, the internet is sometimes a scary place, so you might not want your real name attached to everything.  Or sometimes you just want to be anonymous.  I think there's value in anonymity, for the sole reason that you can do a dumb thing and leave it in the past, instead of carrying it with you forever.  (Side note -- kids these days should be allowed to make mistakes without having those mistakes potentially affect every future opportunity they ever have.) 

A username without your name is kind of tricky, because it can be something you like, or an activity you enjoy, or it could be random and arbitrary.  I think the more important aspect of this is:  Will you be sharing this information with someone?  Because you don't want your email on your resume to be something stupid like hikerguy42@aol.  Or if you're connecting with a real-life friend on an app and you have to say your username out loud and it's something like "boiled_fruit_enjoyer" maybe that might be undesirable.  Or maybe not.  I'm not you. 

The overarching issue is that, with an increasing population and the proliferation of internet access, the universe is running out of usernames.  You used to be able to get a two-letter Twitter username (also Twitter used to be called Twitter).  We're eventually moving to a world where your username is auto-generated and just a random combination of numbers and letters.  Choose wisely while you still have the opportunity. #technology

Internet ads
It feels completely absurd to be writing this at this point in the history of the internet, but internet ads have gotten completely insane in the past couple years.  I've used a browser with an ad-blocker for quite some time now, so I'm mostly immune to whatever nonsense is going on in gen-pop.  But on the off chance I inadvertently click a link on some app on my phone that opens an unmodified website full of shit-ass pop-ups and pop-unders and scroll-locks and full-volume auto-play videos and impossible-to-click x-buttons, it feels like my eyes and my brain and my soul are being raped by the worthless, meaningless, functionless products and elixirs and scams peddled by the blood-sucking sociopathic bottom-feeders who gorge on the trickle-down shit that runs our modern economy.  I can't even understand how regular people use the internet.  I remember a time when pop-up ads were a scourge that everyone agreed should be eliminated.  And browsers and plugins and companies were created to address this issue to make a better experience for users.  And this was a success!  Now we've gone so far back down the sewer hole, the modern web is unusable.  And that's not to mention YouTube ads.  If I happen to click a link that takes me to "regular YouTube" and it makes me watch two 15-second unskippable ads, I just go back to whatever I was doing before.  Whatever I clicked on isn't worth it.  No content on YouTube, or really anywhere on the internet, is worth wasting precious seconds of my life with arbitrary, non-contextual ads for fibromyalgia medicine and colorful LED lights.  The one thing the internet has undoubtedly achieved is destroying any semblance we once had of attention span.  Now you want me to look at an ad, a VIDEO ad, and it's multiple seconds long?  Fuck that. #technology

Defense in sports
As a sports fan, I'm supposed to appreciate defense.  And I do sometimes.  A 3rd down stop in football.  A blocked shot in basketball.  A strikeout in baseball.  These are all objectively good things which demonstrate skill and competitiveness. 

But sports are about scoring points.  Defense is about preventing you from scoring points.  Yes I've heard the adage that "offense wins games; defense wins championships."  That's probably mostly true.  But here's the thing:  It's boring.  It's boring to watch a football game that's a series of punts.  It's boring to watch a basketball game where nobody makes their shots.  A famous college football game between LSU and Alabama in 2011 ended in a score of 9 to 6, with all points being scored by field goal.  It was hailed as a "game of the century."  It sucked. 

But actually I don't think that adage is entirely true.  Defense will get you most of the way, but you need to score points to win.  Put another way, a good offense will beat a good defense.  I think most sports franchises are moving away from a defense-first mentality because they realize you still need to score points to actually win games.  I think this is the general concept behind the air raid offense in football and the increased popularity of three-point shooting in basketball.  For two teams whose defenses are fairly evenly matched -- heck, even if one is significantly better than the other -- a fast accumulation of lots of points will typically work out well.  To quote John Madden, "at the end of the game the team with the most points on the board is going to win," which is both stupid and profound. #sports

Leave me alone
There's this line from the movie Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey:
There are times when I just thought about checking into a hotel and just being in a quiet room by myself, just sitting in a quiet air-conditioned room, sitting down, eating my lunch, with no one touching me, drinking a Diet Sprite, by myself.
I think about this routinely.

Smith hyphen
There are four current NFL players with a hyphenated last name that starts with "Smith": 
  • Ihmir Smith-Marsette - WR - Carolina Panthers
  • James Smith-Williams - DE - Washington Commanders
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba - WR - Seattle Seahawks
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster - WR - New England Patriots
Honorable mention goes to Jaryd Jones-Smith - OT - Washington Commanders.  I don't know what was in the water supply 25-ish years ago, but it was something. #sports

Jerseys without names
Certain college football teams wear jerseys without players' names on the back, and I think that's stupid.  I get why it started:  In the old days, football was a team game where the contributions of one individual player didn't necessarily outweigh the performance of the team as a whole.  Sure, certain players were standouts and won individual honors.  But the team existed as a unit and players went to college primarily to get an education while playing football on the side.  We need to admit that hasn't been the case for a very long time.  College football is an industry, and the product is entertainment.  The most entertaining aspects of the game are created by the most entertaining players.  Also, players no longer stay with one team for very long because of the transfer portal.  How am I as a fan supposed to appreciate the best play-makers on the field if I can't even identify them?  Notre Dame, Penn State, USC:  It's time to enter the modern era. #sports

Tush Push
The Tush Push, a.k.a. the Brotherly Shove, is the quarterback sneak play run by football teams in short yardage situations, most notably by the Philadelphia Eagles.  In my opinion, this is the best thing that's happened to football since the Wildcat Formation was used by the fledgling Miami Dolphins to trounce the almighty New England Patriots, and then subsequently copied by everyone until defenses eventually figured out how to stop it.  For the Eagles, the Tush Push is about 90% effective, which is as close to a "gimme" as you can get in any situation in any sport.  It's a no-brainer; if you're in that situation, you run that play. 

But the interesting thing is that it's heavily dependent on personnel.  You need an offensive line that executes a specific thing exactly right, you need big strong running backs and tight ends to push, and you need a quarterback with a strong lower body who can take an initial hit and keep churning his legs.  The Eagle's quarterback Jalen Hurts is the ideal person for this role, both because he's relatively short and sturdy, and also because of his weightlifting prowess.  It's kind of funny to watch other teams try and fail to duplicate this play, either because their timing is off, or the offensive line doesn't quite get the motion right, or simply because their quarterback isn't athletic enough. 

There's nothing illegal or dirty about this play, and it's not particularly complicated.  Defenses know what's about to happen; they just don't have the physical ability to stop it.  It's just an us vs. them play -- Does our offense have more strength and grit and skill than their defense.  So it's kind of funny that people want it banned because it's unimaginative and ruining football.  It's not.  Figure out how to stop it, and then adopt it for yourselves. #sports

Early vs. late games
I don't understand the disparity in start times for early games vs. late games for American sports.  Early games start at 12-1 pm on the east coast, which is 9-10 am on the west coast.  Those are reasonable times for reasonable people on both coasts.  Unless you work the night shift or are weird in some other way, you'll have no problem watching those games in their entirety. 

Late games, on the other hand, start at 7-8 pm on the west coast, which is 10-11 pm on the east coast.  No normal person on the east coast regularly stays up until 12-1 am to finish watching these games.  Games that start this late pretty much only happen on the west coast, and because of the relative time frame, I'm led to believe the target audience is solely on the west coast.  Which is odd, both because I'm an east coast native, but also because 80% of the population lives on the east coast

Finally, we as a country need to address the start time of prime time games.  These games start at 8-9 pm on the east coast and last until 11 pm or 12 am.  On the west coast, this is 5-6 pm until 8-9 pm -- easy peasy.  For people on the east coast, this is too damn late.  This isn't a big deal for a standard Monday Night Football game or whatever, but it's significant for games like the Super Bowl or College Football National Championship where a sizable portion of the population (again mostly on the east coast) are watching.  I would like to formally propose a constitutional amendment to start prime time games at 7 pm ET.  People on the west coast can accommodate a 4 pm start time; it's for the good of the country. #sports

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