May lard - UPDATED!
In a changereversion to the tentative plan, this week we'll be at Red's True BBQ on Eccy Road. Meet in the Nursery Tavern beforehand.The Mediterranean, not too far from Eccy Road. Meet in the Porter Brook beforehand.

Places for future consideration:

Tapas Revolution, Meadowhall (yes, really)
Satay Yo! Beer, London Road
Aagrah Kashmiri, Leopold Square
Red's True BBQ, Eccleshall Road
Vera Gusto, Norfolk Row

Post any other suggestions down below, so I can keep all the future options together.

Falcon 9 first stage drone ship landing - extended post.
As I posted on Friday, SpaceX landed the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship...Collapse )

Truly, we are at the dawn of a new golden age of spaceflight.

(Thanks to everyone at /r/spacex for keeping track of all this stuff, providing links, intelligent discussion, and answers to endless questions.)

SpaceX land Falcon 9 1st stage on Drone Ship "Of Course I Still Love You"
Webcast of landing.

Awesome work!!! :-D

Longer write-up later this weekend...


Edit: Fixed timestamp of landing in link to webcast, after the source video was edited to be shorter than it was when initially uploaded.

April Lard
Will be in the Prince of Wales pub, on the junction of Eccleshall Road and Carter Knowle Road. (Car park entrance is on Carter Knowle Road)

Doing things alone, together
I've run this past a few people recently, and got some good perspectives which have allowed me to think about it a bit more, so it's probably time to post this here.

When I see a bunch of people sitting around together reading books, to me, that implies a closeness between those people. Conversely, when I see a bunch of people sitting around together doing stuff on their smartphones, it looks like there's a distance between them.

Despite the fact that both of these attitues involve people sitting near each other, but not paying attention to each other, I interpret the situation differently.

The most obvious explanation here is that I'm just old, and don't get the smartphone generation, or the appeal of smartphones. (What would I understand about sitting near a bunch of people you know, but staring at a screen, having low-bandwidth textual conversations with people who might be thousands of miles away, or even having those conversations with someone in the same room rather than talking to them face-to-face?)

Some people have said that spending time on your phone is different, because it signals to the people around you that you'd rather be spending time with other people than with them. I think that gets close to the reason, but it's not entirely there, because for those people reading books, aren't they signalling that they'd rather be spending time with a bunch of imaginary people that with those around them?

I think the real reason has to do with intentionality.

When people take books somewhere, it because they intend to read that specific book. That's a thought-out plan of (sedentary) action. When multiple people take books somewhere, to read together, that implies a certain level of co-ordinated planning. It implies those people have agreed that reading is something they all want to do, and they'd rather do it near each other than alone, in spite of the fact that books can be read perfectly fine alone, and doing any co-ordination is harder than doing none at all.

Whereas people take their smartphones everywhere. There's no plan there. Playing on a phone is a distraction of last resort. People play on their phones when they have literally nothing else to do. OK, that's a half-truth - people also sometimes play on their phones when they do have some other things they could be doing instead. But still, playing on your phone can be a signal that you didn't plan for the current moment, and you cannot think of a single other thing to do. So a bunch of people sitting around together, but playing on their phones, can suggest that they're only doing so because they see zero value in interacting with each other. They believe they have nothing to say to each other, and nothing to gain from listening to what they might have to say.

Of course, that's not always going to actually be the case. But it's one of the possibilities in the solution-space to the question of "What relationship do those people have to each other?" that one ponders when seeing such a group.

Do you think that's it? Is it a lack of intentionality to the action that I see creating a distance between people using their phones, that makes it different from those people reading books?

Or should I go back to my first hypothesis, and attribute my perception of a lack of intentionality to these people's actions as a result of being old?

Dear [eCommerce website] Customer Care,
On [a recent date], [support monkey] wrote:
In regards to your query about having issues trying to reset your password via our website, I would recommend re-attempting to reset your password via a Laptop or PC using Google Chrome where possible for compatibility purposes.

Some thanks are in order, as I was able to reset my password using Google Chrome.


"This website works best in $CORPORATE $BROWSER" was a Dark Time™ for the web in the late-nineties/early-noughties when $CORPORATE was Microsoft and $BROWSER was Internet Explorer. That mindset is no less awful in 2016 when substituted by Google And Chrome. The web grew to become what it is *because* it was built on open standards that are re-implementable by anyone.

Notably, the functionality I had trouble with, consisting of an HTML form with two password fields and a submit button, was codified into HTML 2/RFC 1866[0] as part of "the capabilities of HTML in common use prior to June 1994". That functionality has been included in every web browser released as a /de facto/ standard for over 20 years, since before Windows 95 even existed.

That your web developers managed to break cross-browser interoperability for such a basic web use-case is an impressive technical feat. One which, IMNSHO, they should *not* be proud of.

If you would be kind enough to pass on a request that your web team look into either Graceful Degradation[1] or Progressive Enhancement[2] (or, preferably, both[3]) as cross-browser compatibility strategies before commencing any future updates of the site, I, and the web as an entity unto itself, would be most grateful.


[Grok McTanys]


March Lard
Taken from a previous suggestion list, the U Buffet on West Street, because you can never have too much all-you-can-eat Chinese food. Nom.

Meet in the Red Deer beforehand.

Skiing, and more thoughts on pain.
No, I didn't hurt myself this year. No dislocations or breaks or anything! Win.

I even only fell over once. I was going about 2mph and my ski got a bit stuck, and I overbalanced and basically sat down unexpectedly. I definitely took things easy this year. And it was still fun. A more relaxing kind of fun, but still fun.

I was still quite nervous at times though. Despite a fair amount of physio, and then some time in the gym geared towards strengthening my shoulder and the muscles around it, and starting climing again and being pretty confident of putting a lot of weight through that shoulder, I've still not given it a good 'jolt' yet. I'm not entirely sure what will happen when I do. So there's that.

It did lead me to wondering a bit more about the nature of pain.

First, is it just me, or did pain used to be a lot more emotionally disturbing as a kid/teenager?

I remember watching some movies when I was younger, seeing characters get hurt in various ways, and wondering how they could be so brave as to not burst into tears. Lawrence of Arabia's "The trick [...] is not minding that it hurts" was genuinely confusing. James Woods character in Bestseller putting a cigarette out in the palm of his hand was astonishing. Sometimes it broke my suspension of disbelief (even though I couldn't have articulated that at the time), but at other times I was aware that adults generally didn't cry when they got hurt. Still, I couldn't separate the idea of being in pain, and being really distressed and upset.

Nowadays, pain just isn't as emotionally disturbing. Other kinds of things that weren't particularly upsetting then, now are (thanks, Pixar!), but pain, not so much. Sure, pain is still painful, and a sharp stub of the toe on a bedpost first thing in the morning can still bring a tear to my eye, but it doesn't set off the whole "cry" reflex including a wobbly mouth and buckets of snot.

Is that familiar? Do you think you've become 'braver' as you've grown up? Developed a different mental outlook on pain? Or do you think it's something more subconscious and innate than that?

Second, if you're asked to consider the idea of a 1-10 pain scale, is your scale linear, or geometric? In other words, if you take the difference in pain between levels 2 and 3, and add that amount of pain to a 7, do you get an 8 (linear)? Or something only a tiny fraction over the original 7 (geometric)?
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February Lard
Thanks to a suggestion from bonedancer, this Wednesday we shall be trying out Kia's Pasteria on Abbeydale Road (near the bottom of Woodseats Road) at around 7:30. The nearest pub is The Broadfield, so if you're in the mood for a drink meet there beforehand. It is about ⅓ of a mile away though, for what that's worth.

Party leftovers
Argh. Been meaning to post this for ages.

Thanks again for everyone who came to my New Year/Birthday party. All the food that was left is now gone, but I still have some containers and other miscellanea that needs to find its way home.

1 "Plastic is not fantastic"/Manchester international festival canvas bag.
1 robust iron(?) bottle opener/flathead screwdriver, stamped "GEORG". Possibly belongs with bag.
1 24cm×18cm×9cm "sistema" plastic container, with two blue lid clips along the long sides.
1 22cm×15cm×6cm generic food container, with lid clips on all 4 sides.

If these are yours, or you know who the belong to, please give me a shout, and I'll try to get them back to you as soon as I can.


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