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A Friday miscellany


They’ve been replacing the fusebox at work for two days. It means I haven’t had power, so I couldn’t really work, but I had to be there to babysit. No power for two days means the battery ran flat on the burglar alarm. Do you know what happens when the battery runs flat on a burglar alarm? It uses a backup battery to scream its lungs out.

I asked the alarm company if I could just pull the battery, and she said, “oh, god no! Don’t do that!” So I have sat under a howling alarm for six hours today, surfing the internet on a wifi signal stolen from the business next door. Coherence, I hasn’t any. Have some miscellaneous links instead.

Ah, now I know why the plague has been in the news lately: they’ve confirmed the plague organism of the Great Plague by DNA testing skeletons they dug up during Crossrail. I thought they did that ages ago, but I guess that was the Black Death of 1348, not the Great Plague of the 1660s. And, yes, in both cases the organism was Yersinia pestis.

On my morning slog through cute cat pictures (don’t judge me!) I ran across this article, making the case for a “tortoiseshell personality.” I’ve never had a tortie, but I surely believe from experience there’s a ginger personality and a tabby personality. The interesting nugget was this: “And now that there is a a study correlating coat pattern with behavior, our characterizations have been validated.”

Oh, how I want to find that study. And also point out if you correlating coat pattern with behavior in human beings, you’d be up on charges. Which brings us to our next article.

Apparently, AIs are turning white supremacist. The idea that feeding tons of data about white people into the database gives the conclusions a bias toward whiteness is perfectly sensible. Though I would also suggest that “risk of reoffending” data targetting blacks may not be a distortion of the data.

Finally, have you seen this? Wikipedia is trying to get people to take pictures of local monuments for them. The prize seems to be “Wikipedia will use your picture in Wikipedia,” so…woo, I guess. Anyway, I checked the interactive map to see which of my local monuments were in demand and discovered…our house made the list!

This isn’t a thing, really. They’ve obviously just used the data for listed buildings, of which there are 200K in the UK. Still cool. And no, I’m not sending Wikipedia a picture of my house.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

sock it to me

September 9, 2016 — 9:07 pm
Comments: 11