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Passing options to node on the shebang (#!) line


Someone on #node.js wanted his script to pass a command-line option on the node shebang line. When I suggested he use the “-x” hack…

Teaching Editing and Dictation


The day before yesterday we practiced editing and dictation (#4 and #3).  For editing, I found an essay online that Kaija wouldn’t hate to read (it’s about Pokemon).  I asked her to read it out loud to me.  Afterward, we went over it with a highlighter and pen and I summarized each paragraph in a single sentence and […]

Learning By Breaking It Down


When learning how to do something, it helps to break it down to irreducible subtasks. As an example, we homeschool our kids; my eldest daughter Kaija is 5th-grade age.  We want her to practice writing simple paragraphs as a stepping stone to essays.  But asking her to just “write a paragraph” can be overwhelming, because […]

Dim Glimmers of Light


A lot of change this year. At the beginning of 2013 I said ‘goodbye’ to a longtime client (15 years).  It was time, and past time. Getting all my stuff sorted out and handed over took a while: I planned three months, it took only two, so I picked up and knocked off one more […]

Software <-> Politics


Here’s an analogy that came up this morning. Liberals (Democrats) are like new CS grads.  They are excited about writing new code (laws) and disdainful of the negative predictions others make based on their hard-earned experience (believe in the perfectibility of people/software). Conservatives are like grim old maintenance programmers.  They have seen fads and standards […]

Less Fatal: Peptic Ulcer


People don’t die of peptic ulcers so often anymore.  Here’s a nice picture: Relevant dates include 1982, which is when Marshall and Warren identified H. pylori.  It gets a bit steeper after 1994, when the CDC starts promoting antibiotic treatment of peptic ulcer disease.  By 2005, when Warren and Marshall receive the Nobel Prize, it’s […]

The Future was Last Week


In the future, we will have roving autonomous self-assembling bioreactors which will take in cellulosic matter, and convert it to natural gas and bio-available nutrients including complex amino acid chains. Some units will allow on-line collection of liquid food product, which can either be transported as-is or condensed into various solid, more easily stored forms, […]

Not actually one of the reasons why we homeschool


But hey, if school kids are a) seeing knife wielding bullies and b) getting told to “not get involved” and quasi-punished for intervening, then well, maybe there’s more reasons to homeschool than I think. Of course, this is Calgary. Links via Gawker

Prague Floods Again


Looks like some dimwit opened Flood Control Dam #3

Chai vs. Tea


Most languages have a word for ‘tea’ derived from either ‘cha’ or ‘te’– a language map.