### How I feel about ebooks

I was sitting there, as I said, and had been for several watches, when I came to me that I was reading no longer. For some time I was hard put to say what I had been doing. When I tried, I could only think of certain odors and textures and colors that seemed to have no connection with anything discussed in the volume I held. At last I realized that instead of reading it, I had been observing it as a physical object. The red I recalled came from the ribbon sewn to the headband so that I might mark my place. The texture that tickled my fingers still was that of the paper in which the book was printed. The smell in my nostrils was old leather, still wearing the traces of birch oil. It was only then, when I saw the books themselves, when I began to understand their care.

His grip on my shoulder tightened. “We have books here bound in the hides of echidnes, krakens, and beasts so long extinct that those whose studies they are, are for the most part of the opinion that no trace of them survives unfossilized. We have books bound wholly in metals of unknown alloy, and books whose bindings are covered with the thickest gems. We have books cased in perfumed woods shipped across the inconceivable gulf between creations—books doubly precious because no one on Urth can read them.”

“We have books whose papers are matted of plants from which spring curious alkaloids, so that the reader, in turning their pages, is taken unaware by bizarre fantasies and chimeric dreams. Books whose pages are not paper at all, but delicate wafers of white jade, ivory, and shell; books too who leaves are the desiccated leaves of unknown plants. Books we have also that are not books at all to the eye: scrolls and tablets and recordings on a hundred different substances. There is a cube of crystal here—though I can no longer tell you where—no larger than the ball of your thumb that contains more books than the library itself does. Though a harlot might dangle it from one ear for an ornament, there are not volumes enough in the world to counterweight the other.”

### List of places where the US has been involved in regime change, with multiplicity

I got this from the headings in the Wikipedia article, so this is a conservative lower bound.

### Accuracy vs Precision

I had a hard time remembering this1, almost as bad as Type 1 vs Type 2 (which are still the worst terminology I’ve ever seen).

1. 4 years until 10 minutes ago, when I finally thought about it

### Handy command line benchmarking tool

Lots of languages have packages for benchmarking. But writing code to do that is a pain when you just care about getting a sense of how fast it is as a whole.

### Stan Rogers

I found out about this guy yesterday. He was a famous Canadian folk singer1 who died in the accident that led to planes having a special section for people who’re supposed to help out in emergencies (with extra legroom as a nice perkquisite).

1. Tom Lehrer’s preamble to Irish Folk Song has made it a lot

### The Programmer Tendency

And, behold, I will deliver you up to the programmer tendency to build overelaborate sandcastles of abstractions.

### Figure out undocumented JSON with gron

Found a new tool: gron. It flattens JSON and makes it easier to figure out what structure some JSON document has. Once you know that structure, further processing is much easier.

## Story time

### Book Review: Swastika Night

I read this book a while back and thought it was alright. But then I read that it was written before World War 2. It predicts that both the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese conquer the world.

## Construction

### Fun with negation and idioms

This is trivial but kind of fun.

### How to change tabs to spaces

find [options here] -exec bash -c 'expand --initial --tabs=4 {} | sponge {}' +

### Another Way to Write Conditional Probability

The $$p(\cdot | B)$$ notation is convenient sometimes, but other times it obscures what’s going on, like in the definition of conditional independence and the law of total probability (when you fix the conditioning event).

### Notes for May 9, 2019

• Spotify’s “Medieval ambient” in your house is a great way to feel like you’re in Skyrim, especially when Streets Of Whiterun is playing.
• Seabreeze Cafe has good fried catfish
• I’m writing this because my post on math notation proved a lot longer than expected, so I’m copping out.