Known Leaders is an open-source
program that combines WikiData with a random generator to come up with almost-invariably inaccurate but sometimes hilarious facts. Jim Kang came up with it during Recurse Center‘s Never Graduate Week. Go have a play, or read more about how and why he made it.
The other night, Ruth and I were talking about collective nouns (y’know, like a herd of cows or a flock of sheep) and came
up with the somewhat batty idea of solitary nouns. Like collective nouns, but for a singular subject (one cow, sheep, or whatever).
Then, we tried to derive what the words could be. Some of the results write themselves.1
Some of them involve removing one or more letters from the collective noun to invent a shorter word to be the solitary noun.
For others, we really had to stretch the concept by mutating words in ways that “felt right”, using phoenetic spellings, or even inventing collective nouns so that we
could singularise them:
Did I miss any obvious ones?
1 Also consider “parliament of owls” ➔ “politician of owl”, “troop of monkeys” ➔ “soldier
of monkey”, “band of gorillas” ➔ “musician of gorilla”. Hey… is that where that band‘s name come from?
2 Is “cluster of stars” ➔ “luster of star” anything?
3 Ruth enjoyed the singularised “a low of old bollock”, too.
A video, in which I rant about the challenges of carrying two-childrensworth of school gear while dragging our dog, herding somebody else’s dog, and trying to stop the kids from
fighting. Some mornings it’s easy. Today… it was not. Also available on YouTube.
Full transcript of the audio (except for the ocassional snorting sounds of our noisy Frenchie as she snuffles about in the background):
The morning school run is never effortless. But some days it’s easy.
Today was not one of those days.
It’s a Wednesday. So, for some strange reason, that’s the heaviest-laden day. And so, with the eldest child on her bike and the youngest on his scooter I set off, pulling the dog, and
carrying a PE kit, two book bags, two water bottles, and a guitar.
I should have realised early on that today wasn’t going to be a day that the universe smiled on me when the dog immediately ran off into a ditch to take a dump and I had to clamber down
into the ditch with a poop bag to fill it.
But while I’m coming out of the ditch I discover that the youngest child has zipped off up ahead in an effort to ram into his older sister and in doing so has inevitably flipped himself
over the handlebars of his scooter and is now lying, crying, in the middle of the road.
So I go over to him dragging the dog and carrying a PE kit and two book bags and two water bottles and a guitar and a bag full of poop and as best I can, carrying all those things,
console him and eventually, with some encouragement he’s able to get back up and carry on walking to school, but says he can no longer scoot, so I have to carry the scooter.
Now I’m dragging a dog and carrying a poop bag and a PE kit and two water bottles and two book bags and guitar… and a scooter… and that’s when the oldest child manages to throw the
chain off her bike.
Now she’s had little experience, in her defence, of the chain coming off her bike. And so she does the absolute worst thing possible which is tries to pedal as hard as possible to solve
the problem which makes it much worse. By the time I get there the chain is royally snarled between some of the sprockets and their housing, so I put down the guitar and the bag of poop
and I hand the lead to the younger child so that I can try to unpick the older child’s chain from her bike, getting myself covered in oil.
And that’s when I notice the commotion up ahead. There are some workmen who are rebuilding the wall outside Letterbox Cottage, and – up ahead of them – barking furiously, is a small
dog. This dog is Lovey, and she belongs to a friend of ours. And she’s probably the best example of whatever the opposite of nominative determinism is. Because Lovey is a truculent
little bitch. Lovey is a tiny small yappy dog who will start a fight with other dogs, try to see off workmen (which is what she’s doing at the time), and she’ll bark at passing cars.
And right now she’s running free, unattended, in the middle of the road. And one of the workmen says to me, “Oh, do you know who’s dog that is?” and I have to admit that yes, I do.
So, dragging our dog and carrying a PE kit and two book bags and two water bottles, a guitar, a scooter, and a bag of poop, I have to help round up this lost dog, who – if it gets too
close to our dog will start a fight – and get it back to the house where it lives.
So the younger child and I manage to succeed in our mission and return this lost dog and get back on our way to school and it’s there that we finally catch up with the older child who’s
gotten bored and cycled ahead. And when we catch up to the older child with me dragging the dog and carrying a PE kit and two book bags and two water bottles and a guitar and a scooter
and a bag of poop… she looks up at me and says, “Ugh! You took your time!”
Suffice to say, it’s a good job I Iove those children.
This is an IBM tape library robot. It’s designed to fetch, load, unload, and return tape media cartridges to the correct bay in large enterprise environments.
One fateful ‘workend’, I made one serve drinks.
It went back into prod on the Monday…
In a story reminiscient of those anecdotes about early computer science students competing to “race” hard drives across the lab by writing programs that moved the heads in a way that
vibrated/walked the devices, @SecurityWriter shares a wonderful story about repurposing a backup tape
management robot to act as a server (pun intended) of drinks.
You’ve got 37 unpaid parking tickets. You just got pulled over for speeding. In your defense, you were texting your sister about how drunk you are. Plus there’s all that blood on your
windshield. Obviously you know it’s deer blood, but the police officers walking toward your vehicle don’t. Still, in the time it takes them to figure that out, maybe you’ll sober up.
Or escape on foot! Either way, it’ll probably be fine.
User Tags: Poor Choices / Story Rich / Multiple Endings / Parkour
Collect dead seagulls and build a zoo to house them all. Beautify the zoo with artistic flair and deodorizing sprays. Design creative group promotions to stir up interest! Is that a
customer? You’d better hope it’s not the owner of the live seagull zoo down the street, because he’s probably got some questions.
User Tags: Hard Work / Supply / Demand / Diseases & Parasites
You can install it as an offline-first progressive web application, which means that this could be the first ever digital currency to have an app that works without an Internet
connection. That’s probably something no other digital currency can claim to have, right?
Here’s what it looks like if I send 0.1 EGX to my friend Chris using the app:
Naturally, I wouldn’t be backing Emma Goldcoin if it didn’t represent such a brilliant step up better-known digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ripple, and Etherium. Specific features
unique to Emma Goldcoin include:
Using it doesn’t massively contribute to energy wastage and environmental damage.
It doesn’t increase the digital divide by helping early adopters at the expense of late adopters.
It’s entirely secure: it’s mathematically impossible to “steal”EGX.
Emma Goldcoin is so simple that you don’t even need a computer to use it: it “just works”.
EGX fixes all the problems with all the existing cryptocurrencies once and for all. In particular it fixes the problems around security, environmental impact and ease of use that
beset all other known blockchain-based cryptocurrency offerings.
Due to the unique way in which the EGX blockchain is constructed, EGX cannot be hacked and will never be hacked. Period. There are and never will be any security issues with EGX. No
other cryptocurrency on or off the planet can claim this.
Whether based on Proof Of Work or Proof of Stake, all other blockchains have a non-negligible and non-zero environmental impact. EGX however is based on neither of these. Instead it
is based on Proof Of Existence, described below. PoE has a minimum environmental impact that is provably zero. Individual EGX implementations may have greater environmental impact
than this, but that is entirely on the implementor. EGX PoE can be as low as zero if you wish, and we can prove this.
Ease Of Implementation
Due to its unique properties, no other cryptocurrency is or ever will be easier to implement and work with as EGX. This is not an empty claim – again, we can prove this.
Now here’s a cryptocurrency I can get behind. Shut up and take my money!