I've been meaning to blog for quite a while on Jeff B., the bicyclist who was injured by a careless motorist while he was commuting to his job at UPS on July 23rd. On my way home the other day from San Francisco, I followed his path in the northbound breakdown lane of 101 passing Kastania Road. It was a lot scarier to me than the previous times I'd been by there, knowing what had happened. There's no rumble strip; had there been, it's likely the accident could have been avoided, since Jeff could have heard the sound of the van entering the shoulder and taken evasive action. There is a different type of rumble strip separating lanes, those hemispherical plastic or ceramic bumps every 10 feet or so, which make another sound altogether. That's good; some places, Utah as I remember, use the same type of rumble strip on the shoulder as between lanes, making it difficult to know if one should be relieved on hearing the sound (a car is switching lanes to give you maximum clearance) or terrified.
Twilight anarchy: Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series books are, I believe, an overall good influence on the young adult generation. The heroine, Bella, feels compelled to solve problems on her own, not counting on the Man for anything. The latter, in fact about the only mention of government in the whole series I've seen so far (the first two books plus the Eclipse movie), is her own Dad, a bumbling small-town cop. Powerful forces exist in the Quileute tribe of werewolves and the Cullen vampires, who are at low-level war with one another while cooperating to fight other vampires, and preparing to attack the Volturi, the "royalty" of this vampire world. The tribe's leader, Billy Black, has only an advisory role, and Sam Uley, the first of this generation to go through the werewolf transformation, has emerged as another leader, to whom even Billy grants deference when it comes to the Protector role of the tribe. Tribalism, anarchy, fighting corrupt royalty, radical self-reliance: all good traits for the young Hero generation to venerate.
Over the weekend I made some progress on an idea I've had for a while, a Python shell I call "pysh". The basic idea is that of a Forth-ish data stack that collects everything you do from the shell, allowing you to work from the stack without having to invent variable names for everything. It's pretty primitive at this point. One of the first modifications I plan to make is to prefix shell commands with '!' to make one's intentions non-ambiguous.
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