Newscasters

Isn’t it strange how newscasters seem to talk in acutely exaggerated tones? A normal phrase turns into a bizarre collection of accents, stresses, and pauses:

“a section of main street IS ::with eyebrows:: back open for the first time since this morning’s accident but investigators still have A LOT ::dramatic pause:: to figure out.”

This research article on speech suggests “listeners interpret higher peaks associated with a mentioned item as conveying greater informational prominence.”

So it’s a trick to insinuate urgency and distinction even when the statements are actually boring and uninteresting? I can believe that.

Unfortunately, now that I hear it – I can’t stop hearing it.

Off the beaten path

Prior to moving to Clinton, CT, I had never lived outside of a city. As such, I’ve never had experiences with nature creep – that is, the slow but inevitable incoming tide of nature as it slithers, wriggles, and scrabbles into, around, and through a home. Prior to 2013, I only knew a pest as a mouse or a fly. Oh how unexposed I was! Since purchasing this home, every year we’ve fought off a different invader.

Year 1: Drain flies

Drain flies live in drains! Imagine that! Thankfully we caught the issue before it became a problem. We bought BIO DRAIN by Invade and it worked pretty well. It also smelled pleasantly citrusy and was easy to use.

Year 2: Carpet moths

If weird little cocoons show up on your carpet, be forewarned your carpet is being slowly consumed by this bug that matures to a moth. Thankfully, the treatment is easy: Vacuum like you’ve never vacuumed before! Also? Ceder and lemongrass spray around the perimeter of a room. It took us a solid 30 days to rid ourselves of these pesky bust mostly benign bugs.

Year 3: Artillery Fungus

What the heck is artillery fungus? It’s a spore that lives in mulch and launches tiny black modules all over your property. So far, this is the most annoying pest I’ve encountered. These spores can fire 20 feet in the air! AND, you can’t even pressure wash the spores off of siding you have to individually scrape off each one AND THEN you have to go around with a toothbrush and scrub off the residue.

How does one prevent artillery fungus from attacking your home or car? You can’t. It just happens with Mulch.

Occasionally (rarely) I miss the nature-less city.

Engineer

 

I was WAY older than I should have been when I learned that an “engineer” didn’t exclusively mean someone who drove trains for a living. Curiously, in the field of trains there’s a second synonym profession title: a conductor. There’s also dual meaning between train like a locomotive and train like to teach.

There’s gotta be some clever joke where an engineer and a conductor walk into a train car… but I’ve only had one cup of coffee today and can’t come up with anything clever enough.

Trying to measure inconvenience

I have a question: What two places in the United States are the most inconvenient to travel between?

Saunter down this path with me for a minute.

First, let’s set some constraints. We’re talking transport via road. Start and End destinations must be on a road. We don’t have helicopters, boats, or jetpacks. We also don’t have ferries  – we’re going to assume you must travel on your own time schedule – you can’t depend on a ferry or a train because one might not be there when you need to travel. Lastly, we’re going to travel via GoogleMaps; this makes examples testable.

Let’s define inconvenience as distance of travel required divided by the distance it would take if you could go direct.

How far apart the locations are in driven mile / How far the two destinations are apart as the crow flies

Here are some of the ones I have found so far:

Grand Canyon
210 : 10.18
Inconvenience = 20.63

Long Island
191 : 8.78
Inconvenience = 21.75

Chesapeake Bay
131 : 5.46
Inconvenience = 23.99

Near Seattle
218 : 3.95
Inconvenience = 55.19

So… it’s pretty obvious by targeting Ferry routes you can nail inefficient locations. I’d be interested to see if there’s a way to do this with the inclusions of Ferries.

ASIDE – don’t you think the inconvenience equation should have some sort of scale? Doesn’t it seem less impressive at greater distances? If I’m 1 mile from where I need to go, but it takes me 10 miles of travel, that seems more impressive than if I’m 10 miles apart and it takes me 100 miles to get from A to B… I’m not sure. I think there should be some sort of logarithmic scaling, but I’m not sure the best way to do this.

As for targetting locations on the map, this is something I imagine Patrick being really good at.
Any recommendations for even more inconvenient destinations Patrick?

Today’s Five Links

Here we go!

  1. RadioLab’s “Playing God” – A painful but fascinating look at the complexities behind triage – Length 1 hour
  2. Do your Job – A documentary on the Patriot’s 2014-15 season. I love witnessing the unseen professionalism behind a passion. This documentary did a great job at opening my eyes to the strategy and thought behind what, to the uninitiatied, looks fairly straightforward. Length 43 minutes
  3. Making a Guitar – More unseen professionalism behind a passion (From Sander) Length 1 hour
  4. Tsukamoto Isao – a guitarist with a unique raw style (from Kevin O) Length 4.5 minutes
  5. Brass band multitasker – Bizarre short video of a brass slapstick band (from Dad D) Length 3 minutes

Little Guy Update

 

jatlas4mo

J.Atlas continues to be awesome. His most recent skills include shoulder rides, poking his parents in the face, and concerted efforts to consume all handheld electronic devices.

NFL

The most frustrating thing about watching football: Advertisements.

The second most frustrating thing about watching football: When there’s a fumble and all the members of both teams confidently point their arms as if they had recovered the ball, long before the pile of bodies has been deconstructed.

Although I suppose it’s not that different from when I’m bowling and despite the pending fall of my ball into the gutter, I desperately twist and flail my body to will some miraculous alternative.

Baby books and the seven deadly sins

There does seem to be a strange correlation between Eric Carle baby books and the seven deadly sins. Let’s take a look:

The Grouchy Ladybug – Wrath

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Gluttony

“Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth – Sloth

The Greedy Python – Greed

The Tiny Seed – Pride

The Very Lonely Firefly/The Mixed-Up Chameleon – Envy

The Very Busy Spider – Lust

Actually, I think the Very Busy Spider might be about a hardworking spider that builds a beautiful web. But the other comparisons are pretty dead on.