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Girus Tue, Sep 07, 2021
Here's a weird video about giruses (giant viruses) with this terrible quote: 
Most Giruses we've found so far hunt amoebae and other single-celled beings.  When they find a victim, they connect with it and use its natural processes to enter the cell.  Like all viruses, their goal is to misappropriate the victim's infrastructure and procreate.  Imagine a mouse crawling into your mouth and using your guts and bones and fat tissue to build a mouse factory.
No. #science

Migration solution Tue, Aug 24, 2021
It's clear the world has a migration problem.  More specifically, people want to leave the shitty countries they live in and move someplace where they won't be murdered for listening to pop music or wearing shorts or being female. 

I have a terrible solution to this problem.  Everyone knows the US likes to meddle in other nations' foreign affairs.  They like it even more if they can drop some bombs on the way.  The solution is this:  The US should invade each of these shitty countries, create a little freedom zone within each country, and tell all the migrants to go to these freedom zones.  They would essentially start out as military bases and expand outward and upward over time.  The goal would be to establish a self-sustaining freedom-loving economic safety zone that has the full defensive protection of the US military, but with less of the actual military toppling regimes and chasing terrorists through the mountains.  Businesses can be created and investments encouraged through tax write-offs, with a portion of the profits going to the invading country's pockets.  And the locals get to stay in their county, with their family and friends and cultures.  It's like a mini nation incubator, inside a big shitty nation's borders.  Not only will this cut down on immigration into the US and other western nations, it will permanently embroil the US in a number of endless foreign occupations, which is something they really like. 

Please don't try this. #politics

Phish is bad Wed, Aug 11, 2021
I've been a Phish fan for a while now.  I was talking to a friend recently who was saying something about how they "never quite got the appeal of Phish", and that's something I totally understand.  Phish is an acquired taste.  But not an acquired taste like fine wine or Scotch, which are objectively good products that are sometimes unenjoyable for newcomers. 

Phish is objectively bad.  Trey is a pretty good guitarist who sometimes hits the right notes.  Mike is a sub-par bassist who still hasn't locked in a good bass tone.  Paige is an ok pianist.  Fishman is a mediocre drummer at best.  Phish is known for their live shows, but any newcomer who's heard a recording of a live show notices immediately that it sounds like Phish have never played their own songs before.  They're sloppy.  They miss notes.  The singing is terrible.  And the jams ... just too damn long. 

So what exactly is the appeal of Phish?  It's hard to explain in a way that doesn't sound crazy, but here goes:  Phish is a band that manages energy really well.  This is best demonstrated in a live show.  There's a sort of palpable energy at pretty much any live music event.  There's the excitement of getting to hear live music, preferably from a band you like.  You're there with friends; there's alcohol; weed smoke floats lazily through the air.  The lights dim; the band gets on the stage.  Phish's claim to fame (sort of) is that they routinely play songs from their entire 40-year catalog, so you never really know what you're gonna get on any given night.  The song could be fast or slow, short or long, happy or sad, old or new.  The lights follow along to the music.  Then:  The jam.  That's where the magic happens.  Veterans know what's happening, but it's still sort of a surprise every time.  It starts off slow and steady.  Meanders through ups and downs.  Dies off for a while.  Then slowly and steadily it comes back, and it builds and builds and builds to a climax.  Music blaring; lights blinding; crowd screaming.  Rinse and repeat. 

By any objective measure, Phish is bad.  Wrong notes; bad singing; weird lyrics; dumb songs.  But that's looking at it the wrong way.  Phish is about energy.  They follow a pattern of excitement, anticipation, surprise, delayed gratification, climax.  And they're quite good at it. #entertainment

Temporary expertise Tue, Aug 10, 2021
I feel like there are a handful of experiences in life where you momentarily become an absolute expert in some topic before quickly forgetting everything and never using that knowledge ever again.  Things like pregnancy, buying a house, traveling to a foreign country, etc. all involve copious research, checking books out of the library, watching documentaries or how-to videos, learning a new language or a new vocabulary, all in a quest to be as proficient as you can possibly be for that short period of time when being an expert is required.  And then once that time period ends, that knowledge is completely useless to you.  You're not having another kid.  You're not buying another house for at least another 20 years.  All that's left of your knowledge quest is a bunch of outdated, probably wrong information that you can either completely forget or attempt to bestow on people who are in similar situations.

Crazy gas station guy Mon, Aug 09, 2021
I was at the gas station filling up, and the attendant said "hey nice shirt" as he noticed we had similar shirts.  My toddler in the back seat asked me to roll down the window so she could say hi.  Gas station guy said, "cute kid," and I thought that was the end of my very pleasant gas station experience.  But a minute later he comes over to my window and says, "Can I ask you a question?"  The following is my attempt at a direct transcription of everything that was stated: 
Him:  Biden is about to shut the country down again, because he's a crazy psycho looking to boost vaccination numbers for profit. 
Me:  ...
Him:  So I wanted to ask if you're vaccinated.  Actually I wanted to ask you to get the word out so people won't get the jab.  It's not even a vaccine, it's a population control device. 
Me:  ...
Him:  You see, everyone who got vaccinated will be dead within a year once they switch on the 5G and activate the mind control.  So I'm not sure if you're pro-vax or anti-vax, but just be sure to tell people to not get vaccinated.  Did you want a receipt?
Like, I know these people exist.  And I live in a red part of a blue state, so it's not out of the question.  But it's just ... c'mon man.  I'm trying to be a person in a society, but you're making it really difficult.

NBA playoffs Thu, Jul 22, 2021
I started watching NBA basketball a few years ago.  More specifically, I started watching the playoffs.  Even more specifically, I sporadically watch the last few rounds of the conference playoffs, then watch the finales religiously.  I skip through the regular season stuff (82 games?!) and just watch the good stuff. 

And I have to say, I really like the 7-game series (a.k.a. best-of-4) format.  Other sports and leagues do this too, so it's not NBA-specific.  As opposed to the NFL playoffs or even the NCAA basketball tournament, having multiple games gives everyone a chance to have an off day without ending their entire season.  It allows for home-court advantage to help and hurt (games are played alternately at both teams' locations).  The refs can make or miss some big calls and not ruin the entire series.  It even allows a little space for injury:  A player sidelined with a muscle strain in one game might come back for a later game.  I feel like if your team can't beat an opposing team in 7 games, you don't deserve to move on.  It's thorough and it's fair. 

Another thing I noticed is a comment on basketball in general:  Basketball is a very balanced sport.  Every player plays both offense and defense.  Every player uses the same general skills to play -- dribbling, passing, shooting, blocking, etc.  Sure, some players tend to do more of the shooting, while other players tend to do more of the blocking.  But there are no single-purpose players on the court; no punters or goalies or designated hitters.  And everyone is expected to be pretty good at all of them -- so much so that certain players' star status is questioned if they're bad at one of those fundamental skills.  Sure, you have to be 6'6" to get on the team, but at least you don't only do one thing. #sports

3116 Mon, Jul 12, 2021
I feel like as a project manager there's a fine line between planning a tight schedule and challenging your team to do more than they think is possible in the allotted time vs. planning poorly and getting mad when your team can't meet your ridiculous timeframe.

Vegetarian diet experiment Fri, Jul 09, 2021
I've had high cholesterol since I was a teenager, and I've tried all kinds of things to lower it.  Everything from the standard "diet and exercise" (thanks doc, I'm glad I paid for that advice) to pills.  Pills work great, but most doctors are hesitant to prescribe them to a person who'll likely be taking them for 50 or more years.  A recent doctor visit presented me with the motivation to try something new:  Become a vegetarian.  I've heard that advice anecdotally from people who think cholesterol only comes from the food you eat (side note:  it doesn't; 80% of the cholesterol in your body comes from your own goddamn body), but I've never taken the plunge.  So I decided to conduct an experiment that would either make me a permanent vegetarian, or prove people wrong so I never have to have this stupid conversation again. 

The first step was to figure out what meals I could eat in place of meat.  It took a little effort, but I found that it's less of a "replace [meat] with [vegetable]" and more of a "replace [meaty meal] with [veg+carb meal]".  Stir-fry meals are essential.  Sometimes tofu (fried and diced) was involved to add a little bulk to the meal, but the idea that you would simply replace a piece of chicken with a piece of tofu is ludicrous.  Final note:  pizza and pasta are vegetarian, so I ate a lot of those. 

I decided to give it a solid six month trial.  One month is way too short (I think) to produce any type of biological change, and three months sounded short as well.  During these six months, I never ate a single piece of animal flesh, and the only animal "product" I consumed was dairy -- not much milk or eggs, but holy hell lots of cheese. 

Eating at restaurants was a little bit of a challenge, but not nearly as much as it likely was 20 or so years ago.  Every place on earth has a vegetarian option.  It's not hard to find.  But don't come at me with some dumbass salad -- I'm a vegetarian, not a rabbit.  It's not that I dislike salads, it's just kind of the most basic vegetarian thing in existence, and it gets old quick. 

One of my biggest pet peeves is catering to other people's absurd preferences and dietary restrictions, so I made sure people didn't cater to mine.  This was sometimes difficult because people are nice.  It helps that I'm totally not a foodie; I'll literally eat snacks and call it a meal.  Regardless, some people went out of their way and made fantastic vegetarian dishes, which was pretty cool. 

Now for the results.  I got a blood test before I started, and then six months later.  My total cholesterol ... stayed almost exactly the same.  The ratio stayed almost exactly the same.  My triglycerides went up, possibly because of all the carbs I was eating. 

In short, a total failure.  Or at least that's what it felt like when I got the results.  But it was an experiment, so there's really no failure or success, just a result.  Either way the result was kind of disappointing, not because I necessarily wanted to be a vegetarian for the rest of my life (which wouldn't be terrible), but because yet another cholesterol-lowering thing produced exactly zero results.  Oh well. #food

Creative philosophy Thu, Jul 01, 2021
I realized my philosophy when creating things is this: 
  1. Make it work.  It doesn't have to be pretty.  There's a lot of trial and error.  Keep trying things until something works.
  2. Make it good.  Clean it up.  Polish the rough edges.  Apply a fresh coat of paint.
  3. Make it right.  Use best practices.  Remember lessons learned.  Don't reinvent the wheel.
I should probably switch the order around, but it is what it is.

Snakebite deaths Thu, Jul 01, 2021
I heard this statistic the other day, and I still can't believe it:  Somewhere around 100,000 people die every year from snake bites.  That's easily more than any other animal on earth, if you ignore things that simply spread disease like mosquitoes and whatnot.  Snakes kill directly by biting and "envenoming".  People are scared of shark attacks and crocodiles.  But snakes kill orders of magnitude more people than pretty much everything else combined. #nature

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