Month: February 2016

Movies: Experimenter

So the other day on Netflix the recommendation for the movie “Experimenter” popped up. It’s the story of Dr. Stanley Milgram’s experimental psychology.

The poor man was pilloried and abused by the psychology elders. Told him the experiment was unethical, that he deceived the participants, etc. Yes – maybe true Milgram’s experiment showed the dark side of humanity. That if you have an authority figure, you’ll pretty much carry out murder.

And a clue – Milgram is Hebrew for Pomegranate.

 

On Upgrading the PC

Well – I ordered an 8GB RAM kit for my Dell E6420. It originally came with only 4GB and Windows 10 was running ok on it. Well with the additional memory it’s booting it’s usual but apps launch must faster.

Had a little scare during the upgrade though. You have to drop the bottom cover of the machine to get at the RAM so I removed the CD-ROM, all power and Hard Drive. Plugged it all back in, went to boot and I was getting no boot drive found. What the hell? Did the hard drive die just from handling it?

So I open the bottom cover again and slide the drive in – it just misses the connector. Slide it in again and it connects. So I put the bottom cover back on and secured the hard drive screws. Voila – she boots.

I had been running scenarios in my head. If the drive was dead I’d just get an SSD and rebuild it as a Linux box since I’m perfectly comfortable running Linux as I am running OS-X or Windows.

But if the drive wasn’t dead it just boots. Great. But I’m going to replace it anyhow – a 500GB SSD is down to about $120 – a 960GB is $214. I might go for the latter. I’l just image the mechanical HD to the SSD and get zippidy doo dah speeds.

 

How is it?

That I go on Amazon and order a heavy ass enamel coated dutch oven and under my Prime account and when they say 2 day shipping they really mean 2 days – ordered it Friday evening, it’ll be here tomorrow.

I order a memory upgrade for my laptop on Crucial.com and paid for two day shipping – but UPS doesn’t deliver on Sunday’s so it’ll be three days shipping.

Once again UPS is shit wrapped in chiffon.

Reading SPQR

So I’m a good way into the book titled S-P-Q-R by Mary Beard. The title Senatus PopulusQue Romanus – the Senate and People of Rome.

One thing that interests me about the book is that the Romans invaded Sardinia back around the 3rd century BCE. So my Sardinian ancestry isn’t so much Sardinian (Which was Greek after all) but Roman. Very interesting.

And the transition of Rome from a moderate sized city to an empire that spanned quite a huge distance is fascinating. All had to do with the fact that as Romans invaded a place – they conscripted the male folk into the Roman army. Plus it eased logistics to keep pushing out into Europe and even Northern Africa.

Now we’ve had empires since – even the U.S. is still sort of a nominal empire itself. And Russia is still struggling with not being an empire anymore. But Rome still stands. We have to visit the city – I’d love to spend a couple of months traipsing between Rome and Napoli, perhaps even visit the ancestral home of Fondi.

And who knows, perhaps I’m descended of plebeians, or maybe a Praetor. That’s some of the research I’d love to do.

Food Porn Time Again

So I follow The Joy of Baking on YouTube. A while back she’d posted this recipe. I made it and they came out well though the potato didn’t brown as well as in the video below. Might be the Trader Joe’s potatoes.

So now I made them again – this time a bit more butter in the potatoes and they brown beautifully. And this time around I used a mushroom/onion/garlic/sausage stuffing instead of peppers, onions, ham. And I didn’t use grated cheese – instead I used cheddar.

They look like this from the side. Pure deliciousness. I’m serious – make them for yourself and let me know how you like them.

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I love how you can see the cracked salt and pepper in the photo. Plus that golden ring and the lightly browned potatoes. And the yolk mixed into the stuffing plus the yolks being left a bit on the runny side when the eggs set on top. Oh it’s delicious.

 

What the hell is with Amtrak Signalling

I was thinking today. How is it Amtrak’s signalling infrastructure is so fragile yet automobile traffic lights take a pounding all year round and still function nearly flawlessly.

I think the U.S. Congress, including the RI, MA, CT, NY, NJ, DE, MD and DC representatives and senators need to get funding to upgrade the signalling on the entirety of the line from Boston to D.C.

It was so bad today – that the MBTA commuter only went as far as Back Bay Station. So I had to hop on the Orange Line toward Oak Grove and get off a the Downtown Crossing station, then head for the Red Line bound for North Quincy station.

Tomorrow I’m leaving the house early – I want to see what ¬†cluster fuck it’s going to be then.

And let me be clear, I don’t blame the MBTA for this – I blame Amtrak and our Congressional delegation for not investing enough in rail transit in the United States – particularly that cash cow Acela line. When they built the Acela system they replaced the tracking and strung overhead catenary for the trains. But they did not upgrade the signalling.

And let me be abundantly clear – you can design electrical/electronic signalling systems that are immune to high wind and water. It’ll cost a bit more but with the weather patterns being what they’ve been recently it would behoove them to do it soon.

 

Amtrak needs to replace signalling

I’ve posted about this before. I’m putting all the congress critters on notice. You can in fact design electrical/electronics that don’t go to shit every time there’s a little wind and rain.

In fact my phone is blowing up with MBTA alerts with delays from 20 minutes up to a full hour for later trains. Glad I got on the 4:35PM train because I’d have been plenty pissed if my commute turned into a 2-3 hour odyssey.

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