Monthly Archives: January 2016

A few tips for using Runkeeper on your runs – The Sweet Setup

RunKeeper is a good app, I guess, but it suffers badly from feature bloat.

I’ve been using RunKeeper for years to track my walks. I have it configured to tell me when I’ve walked a mile and a half. Then I turn around and go back.

That’s all I’m interested in. But RunKeeper just piles on the features: Social connectivity, maps, interval training.

The latest ridiculous feature is one where it tells you when your shoes are wearing out. Because apparently you can’t be trusted to know when your shoes are wearing out. It’s not like you wear your shoes on your feet and walk around in them every day.

I just want to go for a walk.

I don’t need an app at all. I always walk the same path – to the park, into the park, and back, with stops for Minnie to perform her functions. But I’ve always used RunKeeper, so I continue doing so. Still, I’d like something simpler that does the things I want RunKeeper to do, and nothing else: Tell me when I’ve walked a certain distance, how fast I’ve walked, and how long it took me to do it.


Booting up a fresh blogosphereRebooting blogging for the post-social-media era.

Dave Winer wants to do it.

Winer pioneered blogging 20 years ago, and developed one of the first – maybe the first – blogging apps, Userland Radio. Before that, bloggers had to write their own HTML and upload it to a server.

All I’ve ever wanted to do is share links and photos and comment on them, with the occasional very short essay. I’ve been finding social media increasingly unsatisfactory for that. And yet blogging isn’t an alternative anymore for nearly anybody. Blogging is dead, particularly the kind of off-the-cuff linkblogging I do.

So I wish Dave luck trying to bring blogging back. I mean that.

Bloomberg View: Opinions on Finance, Politics & The Economy

Contrary to appearances, Trump has a coherent foreign policy organized around three principles, says Sam Clovis, the candidate’s chief policy advisor and retired Air Force Colonel.

“One, we want to take a very clear worldview in our foreign policy, dealing with the national interest, and let that be our organizing principles. Two is that we want to make sure that we engage in free markets, but we want those markets to be fairer as well. And three, if we do not have strong economic recovery, we can’t do the other two,” said Clovis. “If that’s not a Trump doctrine, I don’t know what is.”

The practical application of that doctrine plays out in several ways. Trump’s narrow definition of “national interest” does not include things like democracy promotion, humanitarian intervention, the responsibility to protect people from atrocities or the advocacy of human rights abroad. Trump believes that economic engagement will lead to political opening in the long run. He doesn’t think the U.S. government should spend blood or treasure on trying to change other countries’ systems.

“This is a long game; it’s not a short game,” Clovis said. He faulted neoconservatives who “ think you can go out there and in three weeks after Iraq collapses you can create a constitutional democracy over there.”

10 Things They Won’t Tell You About the Flint Water Tragedy. But I Will…

  • While children in Flint were given poisoned water to drink, GM got a special hookup to clean water.

  • The crisis could have been prevented for $100 a day.

  • People’s homes in Flint are now worthless because they can’t be sold.

  • While all this was going on, the US military was using Flint for exercises in urban warfare with live ammmo.

  • The wife of the governor’s chief of staf is a spokesman for Nestle, Michigan’s largest owner of private water reserves.

  • Everybody in Flint has been exposed, not just children.

  • The reason this happened: So the rich could get a tax break.

& 3 more

The right tool for the right job

The right tool for the right job

I was doing an experiment for a couple of months sharing links and off-the-cuff posts on this blog. It’s the kind of thing people usually post nowadays to social media. But I liked the idea of having my own little corner of the internet for “tumble blogging.”

Turns out people aren’t interested in that kind of thing here. They want to see it on social media. So I’m going back to that.

Find me…

View On WordPress

Basement house, Minnesota, 1947, 

Via Honestly_ on Reddit, who says:

Due to major post-WWII housing shortages, some families excavated a basement on their lot and lived there until they could afford to build a house.

Photo from Minnesota Historical Society, published in Minnesota Modern, which covers midcentury modern buildings in the area.

Looks practical – cozy in the winter, cool in the summer. Though in the winter ventilation would be a problem when it gets piled high with snow. 

7 surprising things NASA’s Scott Kelly learned from 300 days in orbit

What it’s like to spend more than 300 days in space

Astronaut Scot Kelly answers a Reddit AMA from the International Space Station.

Living in space presents lifestyle challenges, with food, exercise, and more. 

 > “Sleeping is harder here in space than on a bed … because the sleep position here is the same position throughout the day. You don’t ever get that sense of gratifying relaxation here that you do on Earth after a long day at work. Yes, there are humming noises on station that affect my sleep, so I wear ear plugs to [bed].”

And don’t even think about what happens if you aren’t careful to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze.

Kelly also says he “will appreciate nature more” when he’s home on Earth.

German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too

Trees aren’t isolated creatures – they live in communities, says Peter Wohlleben, a German forest ranger.

In the deep stillness of a forest in winter, the sound of footsteps on a carpet of leaves died away. Peter Wohlleben had found what he was looking for: a pair of towering beeches. “These trees are friends,” he said, craning his neck to look at the leafless crowns, black against a gray sky. “You see how the thick branches point away from each other? That’s so they don’t block their buddy’s light.”

Before moving on to an elderly beech to show how trees, like people, wrinkle as they age, he added, “Sometimes, pairs like this are so interconnected at the roots that when one tree dies, the other one dies, too.”

Contemporary society looks at trees as “organic robots” producing oxygen and wood, but they are far more complex, Wohlleben says. They can count, learn and remember “nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical messages across a fungal network known as the ‘Wood Wide Web’; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.”

The Language Barrier Is About to Fall – WSJ

In 10 years people will wear earpieces that whisper realtime translations of foreign languages, and language barriers will fall forever.

Much of the success of globalization depends on English as a common language. There are now twice as many non-native English speakers as natives speakers. “Currently, when Korean-speaking businesspeople speak with Mandarin-speaking executives at a conference in Brazil, they converse in English. There will no longer be this need, opening the door of global business for nonelites and a massive number of non-English speakers.”

So THAT’S Why There’s A Tiny Pocket In Your Jeans

Turns out my friends include many mustache-waxing pennyfarthing-riding hipsters who carry pocket watches and inform me that the tiny pocket on a pair of Levi’s is too big enough to hold a pocket watch.

Mitch Wagner originally shared:

Says here the tiny pocket in jeans was initially put there to hold a pocket watch.

I call shenanigans on this – pocket watches are too big for that particular pocket. I’ve always assumed they were there to hold coins – particularly practical until the 1970s or so when you could actually buy something useful for less than a dollar.

Why I still believe Donald Trump will never be president

Two arguments here on why Trump will never be President.

The first argument: Trump only has one gear. The only thing Trump knows how to do is display dominance, bully his opponents and make them look weak. That’s proven to be an effective strategy for him in life, and in the election so far, but it won’t carry him through a general election. Even Trump seems surprised at how far he’s gotten in the primary.


That’s a big reason I support Clinton rather than Sanders: She has a better chance of taking down Trump, or whatever Republican runs. Clinton is experienced with attacks. She’s seen these kinds of macho displays before. They are waffles with butter to her; she eats them right up. Remember the Benghazi hearings?

Clinton’s got that grandma thing going on. A six-year-old having a tantrum is terrifying to his younger brothers and sisters. But grandma don’t care. Grandma just waits him out, paddles his ass, and send him to his room for a time-out. 

You know who’d give Clinton a hard time? Mitt Romney. Nerd vs. nerd.

The other argument in this article is perhaps more compelling, but the writer only mentions it in passing: There aren’t enough angry working white people in the country to carry a candidate to the presidency.

Now here’s where the argument might be wrong: If Trump is able to pivot to the center, as Presidential candidates do between the primary and the general election. But that’ll be hard for him; he’s got a LONG way to go before he reaches the center.

So THAT’S Why There’s A Tiny Pocket In Your Jeans

Says here the tiny pocket in jeans was initially put there to hold a pocket watch.

I call shenanigans on this – pocket watches are too big for that particular pocket. I’ve always assumed they were there to hold coins – particularly practical until the 1970s or so when you could actually buy something useful for less than a dollar.

Hollywood is stuck in a bubble of expanded movie universes. It’s time for it to…

This is one of the reasons we hardly go to movies anymore. I feel like I have to see eight other movies before I go see the movie I’m thinking of seeing. Same for science fiction TV shows.

This kind of thing was commonplace in the science fiction I read when I was a teenager. Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and Larry Niven wrote “future histories.” But in that case each novel and story was designed to stand alone, and you could read them in any order. I don’t get a sense that’s the case with today’s superhero movies and TV. 

Also, when in the case of the future histories, the events spanned centuries – even thousands of years sometimes. You’d read a story and then you’d read a different story set hundreds of years in the future and the people in the second story referenced the first story as something they read about in history books. That was cool.

Podcast: Fly Girls

The American women who flew military aircraft during World War II.

Most of America’s pilots were overseas fighting the war, but planes needed to be delivered from factories to military bases. That’s where the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) came in.

As is always the case when women were excluded from combat roles in the military, they ended up getting shot at anyway. And sometimes by their own side – one of their jobs was to tow targets for anti-aircraft training. After a day of that, the women said they wouldn’t do it any more until the men became better shots.

BBC Confirms A New Streaming Service As Netflix And Hulu Lose The U.S. Rights To…

“Doctor Who” is leaving Netfix and Hulu.

We’ve been re-watching the 2005-and-later series, so that’s disappointing. However, they’re still available on Amazon – hopefully free with Prime, which we subscribe to. 

Great choice of animated GIF here.