October 2019 archive
RGB I planted this tree around 20 years ago for its fall color. About this species¹, a well‑known gardening guide² said, "Only tree to color scarlet in desert."

My neighborhood has caliche, a hard layer of mineral deposits around one‑half meter under the surface. It's the bane of many a tree's existence. Before planting this tree I spent hours chopping at the caliche with a 6‑foot steel spike and drilling into it. I never got through. I had already bought the tree and planted (and irrigated) it anyway.

It grew for about six years and then hit the wall. It looked unhappy and got no larger from year to year. I deemed the experiment a failure and cut the tree down.

A few years later, despite getting no irrigation, a shoot came up from the roots. I thought, if you want to grow that badly, you have my support and restored its irrigation line. It's taller now than it was when I cut down its first incarnation and it's still growing.
¹ Pistacia chinensis
² Sunset Western Garden Book
When you look up a word at dictionary.com, it lists 'nearby words' which can simulate the experience of using a physical dictionary and coming across other words that catch your eye.

Also, there is entertainment value in juxtapositions that are wildly unrelated in meaning, e.g. how nearby words for druthers include 'dry adiabatic lapse rate'. What mystifies me, though, is what kind of bug in their software would screw up the link for dry adiabatic lapse rate and direct it instead to the definition for delta. Screenshot here in case it gets fixed.
I'm guessing this was done by hand
From a recent interview by Stephen Sackur of the BBC with Stuart Russell. I liked Professor Russell's response.
Is the word thinking ever applicable in the world of artificial intelligence?
It depends which philosopher you ask. Is the word 'swimming' applicable to submarines? In English, no, we don't say that. In other languages, I think in Russian, they do use the word swim for submarines.
(starting at 3:22 in the download; transcript edited somewhat)
How I would prefer the Encino article to read: click here if you don't get the reference Although I suspect such an edit would be reverted, if for no other reason because the Galleria is in Sherman Oaks, just barely outside of Encino.
Lepus californicus
semicircle, quarter circleA math problem I found on Mind Your Clickbait Decisions
(where it is credited to the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust).

A semicircle is inscribed in a quarter circle as shown in the diagram. What fraction of the quarter circle is contained in the semicircle (shaded in red)?

It's not that difficult. The fun is in trying to guess the answer first.
Lepus californicus
Cathartes aura
current journal
spam notice
terms of use
warrant canary