July 2021 archive
I don't like emojis in text because they can be illegible in a font size that makes sense on a phone screen, at least for those of us who aren't young and whose eyes won't focus close.

With exactly one exception, my friends don't use emojis when texting me (naturally, that is; I haven't told them whether I like emojis or not).

So when I'm texting someone and have typed half of a noun and the phone suggests a fucking picture of the thing before it suggests the spelled‑out word, what were the people who wrote the messaging app thinking. Does their user base use emojis like crazy and are my friends (with one exception) and I outliers for eschewing them?
Sceloporus uniformis, Yucca brevifolia
Yellow‑backed spiny lizard
hanging out in my J‑tree this morning.
click for larger
This morning.
Most jackrabbits here are wary of people, although less wary if they inadvertently approach you rather than the other way around. I was up on a ladder working on my house this afternoon when one of my resident jackrabbits came around the corner. He loped past me at a casual speed and didn't seem afraid. His body language was gentle, almost polite.

A few years ago, two jackrabbits came up my driveway together and found me standing still at the top. A faceoff ensued with them nodding their heads for a bit. They seemed somewhat taken aback at having missed seeing me sooner.

Then there was the jackrabbit I photographed and blogged about—on the 26th of July three years ago—who didn't mind me walking past him. (Most jackrabbits would have hightailed it.) Maybe he concluded I was a benign presence or maybe he just didn't want to move in summer heat.
This morning, work on the house being built next door featured a concrete pour. A concrete truck showed up at 6:00. Its thing-that-makes-noise-when-in-reverse-gear-as-required-by-29 CFR 1926.601(b)(4) alternated between notes a tritone apart: F and B.

They start early because concrete sets too quickly in hot weather. I get up around 6:00 nowadays anyway and even if I didn't, I accept that construction entails noise.
The less that the symbols in an alphabet resemble one another, the harder it is to mistake one for another in communication. The NATO phonetic alphabet was designed with that in mind.

Digital telecommunication makes use of error‑correcting codes: lists of words that don't resemble each other and are thus easy to distinguish after errors in transmission. E.g., the extended binary Golay code uses a list of 4096 words chosen so that any pair of words from the list differ in at least 8 bit positions. The code makes it possible to correct transmission errors of up to 3 bits per word and to detect (but not correct) 4‑bit errors.

The Golay code has connections to group theory and to the Leech lattice (a dense packing of spheres in 24 dimensions).

Among this year's Fields medalists is Maryna Viazovska, a Ukrainian mathmatician honored
For the proof that the E8 lattice provides the densest packing of identical spheres in 8 dimensions, and further contributions to related extremal problems and interpolation problems in Fourier analysis.
Those 'further contributions' include showing (in collaboration with others) that the Leech lattice Λ24 (or its mirror image; it's chiral) is the densest sphere packing in 24 dimensions. Each sphere touches 196,560 others.

I like that Λ24 was discovered by John Leech because Leech lattice is a great name.
shortly
before
sundown
shadowy man with bucket
click to embiggen
Last time I was in England, I bought a bathroom scale because a scale that gives your weight in stone struck me as archaic and weird in a characteristically British way and amused me to no end and made me want to have one. One might get the impression I am easily amused.

It was a mechanical scale and lasted 20 years before it broke. I took it apart today.

A Wikipedia article says
In a spring scale, the spring either stretches (as in a hanging scale in the produce department of a grocery store) or compresses (as in a simple bathroom scale).
I think whoever wrote that was guessing about how bathroom scales work.

The scale I got in England--which I believe is typical--uses a tension spring, not a compression spring. There are pivots at each corner of the scale. Levers from the pivots come together and pull on a tension spring. The spring elongates when you stand on the scale.
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