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It's not uncommon for computer manufacturers to sell the same hardware at multiple price points, with the lower‑priced models artificially slowed down. This isn't new, nor is it a deep dark secret, but it struck me as a bit weird when I first heard about the practice. (I was young and naïve to the ways of the business world).

I get the impression Amazon sometimes delays shipment according to the price paid. They use an economical next‑day carrier for shipments within California, but the customer doesn't enjoy that speed if they didn't pay for it. An order I placed this month with the cheapest (i.e., free) shipping option was shipped via a next‑day service—but only after Amazon sat on the order for five (calendar) days. I got a new meter last week Older electromechanical power meters had a rotating disk that let you gauge your rate of energy use at any moment. The disk made one revolution for each watt‑hour (i.e., each 3600 joules) of energy used. You could calculate how much power an appliance was drawing from how much faster the disk spun when you had the appliance turned on.

If you ever wondered how to glean the same information from a no‑moving‑parts meter like the one shown: the dots under the rightmost numeral are a "watt disk emulator". A dot turns dark or light with each watt‑hour used. (The "kWh" legend next to the dots refers to the numeric reading, not the dots.) The dots march left‑to‑right if you're consuming energy, right‑to‑left if you're sending energy into the grid.

Happy nineteenth, everyone. Topalov-Aronian, Sinquefield Cup 2016 The position shown here arose in the last game of a chess tournament in St. Louis this month. It's black's turn; what's the only move that doesn't result in black losing the game?

Black played e1N+, i.e. he promoted the pawn to a knight (giving check) and the game ended in a draw.

Positions that call for underpromotion are rare but not unheard of; the Wikipedia article on pawn promotion mentions a game from 2006 that reached a position like this one. Most chess players find aesthetic value in underpromotion (when it's not a gratuitious flourish), and why not? Seeing a knight do what a queen couldn't is like watching an underdog win.

Here's my question though. If underpromotion—which is a form of understatement—is so endearing, and if the taste of chess players isn't way out of the mainstream (a big if?), why isn't understatement in general more popular, say in movies (where overstatement is routine)?
For about a week now I've seen the same lizard in the same spot day after day. He clings to the side of my house just below the eaves, about ten feet off the ground. I don't know what he thinks about but I permit myself to admire his example of composure and equanimity. He looks at me when I walk by.

He goes somewhere else in the nighttime and returns in the morning, except for Thursday when I didn't see him at all. The Moon was close to Mars and Saturn in the sky that day and perhaps he decided to keep a low profile until the baleful influence of that conjunction had subsided.

Ernest Barnes, Bishop of Birmingham, wondered how a creature as excellent as man could fail to be immortal. "His mind is a far finer instrument than anything that had appeared earlier—he knows right and wrong. He can build Westminster Abbey. He can make an airplane."

Yeah, but can he do this— Sceloporus occidentalis I'm not sure which of these events surprised me the most:
  • At Madrid-Barajas Airport last Friday, a passenger showed up late enough that his flight had already pushed back from the gate. He jumped to the ground from the jetway and ran after the plane.
  • He was let on the airplane.
  • A spokesman for the Spanish airport authority said, "The only person who can answer the question of why he acted like he did is the man who protagonized this incident."
Maybe I don't get out enough, but I was taken aback by protagonized as a transitive verb (although the meaning was clear enough). The aback‑takenness faded after I found out that protagonizar is an established verb in Spanish and Portuguese. Amazon Prime Air is registering freight airplanes with prime numbers. Their first Amazon-branded plane (a Boeing 767) has tail number N1997A. Now that they've gotten a mundane choice out of the way (Amazon went public in 1997), I'll be curious to see what other primes they pick.

If the prime number theme was intended to be endearing to geeks (and it is), the "Amazon One" text painted near the cockpit windows fails. One is not prime. Nor is it zero, the geek's choice of where to start numbering things. And this isn't Amazon's first plane, it's just the first they painted their name on. The president of the leasing company (which provided ten planes to Amazon before this one) jokingly said, "This is Amazon 11, as far as we’re concerned." ♃  ☽   ⛰
Jupiter
Moon
Lone Pine Peak (12944', 3945m)
From court proceedings in Rome, Georgia last month: State of Georgia v. Denver Fenton Allen The transcript continues in that vein for many pages. Calypte anna
My hobby: confusing the hummingbird outside my window by playing back a recording of its call.
I'm looking forward to the release of Loving Vincent, an animated film about Vincent Van Gogh made from 62,450 oil paintings—supposedly the first feature length film ever produced by this technique. The trailer looks good.

To save effort, the film is being shot "on twos", i.e. each piece of artwork is duplicated over two frames of film. And if screened as a film, each image will be projected four times (most projector shutters operate at 48 Hz).

A friend asked whether I'd have to go to Los Angeles to see the film and I said yeah, I doubt it would play anywhere closer. The night after I said that, I had a dream it was playing in Lone Pine, in a building with a gap in its wall that I looked through. The seats were folding chairs, not the usual fixed theater seats. And they were all empty.
Albatross Airlines

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Albatross Airlines
Albatross Airlines
IATA ICAO Callsign
A7 A7B ALBATROSS
Founded 10 May 2016; (as Albatros Airlines)
Hubs Española Island
Diego Ramírez Islands
Frequent-flyer programme Sempre Albatross
Airport lounge Alcatraz Lounge
Alliance Oneway
Subsidiaries Albatross Works
Albatross Airlines Cargo
Albatross Connect
Fleet size 109
Destinations 47
Company slogan Air, air, every where
Key people Phoebe Astria (CEO)
Revenue Increase $2.364 billion (FY 2016)
Operating income Increase $217.3 million (FY 2016)
Net income Increase $176.4 million (FY 2016)
Employees 11,213 (FY 2016)
Website www.albatrosair.cl
Albatross Airlines, S.A. de C.V. is the flag carrier of the albatross flag with hubs at Española Island and Diego Ramírez Islands. The airline was established in May 2016 as Albatros Airlines with routes throughout South America, Central America, and the Carribean.[1]

The Albatross group includes several airline-related subsidiaries. Albatross Works handles maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations across seven countries. Albatross Airlines Cargo operates a freighter fleet and manages the cargo hold capacity in Albatross's passenger aircraft. Albatross Connect operates regional flights to secondary cities and serves as a farm team for pilots aspiring to fly for a safe airline.

Albatross Airlines is the launch customer for the Boeing 797, the world's largest nonexistent aircraft. It ranks amongst the top 23 carriers worldwide in terms of revenue passenger miles,[2] and 29th in the world by international passengers carried.[3]

Albatross Airlines is not to be confused with Albatross Air, Inc., a West Virginia aviation services company with the slogan Because "A" Comes First in the Phonebook.[4]

Vladimir Putin lands at Helsinki airport and proceeds to passport control:

border guard:Name?
Putin:Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
border guard:Occupation?
Putin:No, just visiting.
(from Language Log) N911VR, this afternoon
One of several helicopters en route to a fire about seven miles west of me.