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Thursday, 2019 January 10, 09:20 — music+verse

intertwingled

Simon & Garfunkel came up in conversation, and I mentally listed their alba: Wednesday Morning 3AM, Sounds of Silence, Bookends, Bridge Over Troubled Water. Wait, aren’t there five? I was sure there are five . . . . .

The other one came to me as I was assembling ingredients for supper: salmon, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, black pepper.

Saturday, 2018 December 22, 21:51 — music+verse

musical generations

I’ve had this conversation more than once. I’m chatting with a cashier half my age. A song circa 1967 is in the background.

Me: “Is that song familiar to you?”

Cashier: “Um, yeah.”

Me: “When I was your age, if I heard a fifty-year-old song, I might recognize it but it would be foreign, you know?”

Cashier: “Well, my parents played it.”

I guess my parents are weird: as far as I remember, the only records they had from between their birth and mine were South Pacific and My Fair Lady. When the Swing revival (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy &c) came along, Dad said “They’re playing my music again!” and up to that moment I’d had no idea.

(This is my first post in WordPress 5. I hope there’s a setting to restore the old-fashioned editor.)

Friday, 2018 October 19, 13:54 — cartoons, neep-neep

there are domains and domains

keenspace.com, a free hosting service for comic strips, changed its name (not long after it was founded) to comicgenesis.com; but the old name still works, as do comicgen.com and (I just learned) toonspace.com and webcomicspace.com. Well, mostly.

Mostly it doesn’t matter whether you look at foo.comicgenesis.com, foo.keenspace.com or foo.comicgen.com; you get the same content. But sometimes images don’t show unless the address is foo.comicgenesis.com.

What’s going on here? Apparently these domains are not transparent synonyms for each other; but why would they be (flawed) mirrors?

Tuesday, 2018 April 17, 23:47 — language

graceless prose

. . . a Kennewick Washington-based [organization] based in Southeastern Washington.

Not only did someone write that, an accountant and a lawyer probably looked it over before it went public, and no one thought to rephrase it

. . . an [organization] based in Kennewick, in Southeastern Washington.

How hard can it be?

(Compare.)

Maybe I ought to have a subcategory for turns of phrase that make me itch; what should I call it?

Wednesday, 2018 February 28, 21:14 — curve-fitting

another problem with my clothoids

I wrote:

each curve hits alternate dots: first exactly, then with offsets pushing it toward the other curve.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned here how the offsets work. ( . . more . . )

Sunday, 2018 February 25, 09:57 — curve-fitting

clothoid weekend update

For context, see past posts in the curve-fitting category that I just created. To recap:

The curves I’ve been drawing are the paths made by a point moving at constant speed at an angle which is a piecewise quadratic function of path length. Curvature, the first derivative of angle, is continuous.

Such a path that hits a given sequence of dots is fully determined if it loops, but otherwise it has two degrees of freedom. For any angle and curvature at the starting dot, there is a quadratic coefficient that lets the path reach the next node, and likewise for the next.

My current code starts with an estimate for the length of each segment (between two dots) and the angle at its midpoint, and uses these basis functions to fit those angles: a constant, a linear function, and a family of “solitons”: piecewise quadratics, zero outside a sequence of four dots, discontinuous in the second derivative at each of those dots. For n segments, there are n-2 solitons, so the constant and linear functions are needed to consume the last two degrees of freedom.

Eventually I noticed a flaw in this scheme: the curvature of the resulting path is the same at both ends, namely the slope of the linear component, because the solitons contribute nothing to it. That’s appropriate for ā€˜Cā€™, but wrong for plenty of other strokes; in ā€˜Sā€™ the end curvatures ought to have opposite sign.

The next thing I’ll try is a least-squares quadratic fit to the whole sequence, then fit the residues with solitons as before. That should be an improvement but it’s not ideal; curvature is a local feature. Perhaps I’ll think of something better later.

Saturday, 2018 February 24, 14:57 — cartoons

second-guessing by halves

Early strips of some webcomics carry the author’s much later comments. Christopher Baldwin (Bruno) and David Willis (Roomies!) are reposting old series that ended. David Morgan-Mar’s (Irregular Webcomic!) schedule these days is two new strips and five comments on old strips each week.

If it were me, I think I’d want to keep coming back to older strips, with ever decreasing frequency. Perhaps like this:

if n even:
    n /= 2
    comment on n
    while n even:
        n /= 2
        add n to backlog
else:
    pick a number from backlog; remove it
    comment on that entry
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