February 7, 2007

Fi, O Fi

Filed under: Emacs, Linux, Tech — Chris @ 7:52 pm

When I cut-and-paste from PDF into Emacs, ligatures come out weird. “specific” comes out . (Note that I had to make that an image, because pasting the same text into a Firefox window renders the ligature correctly. The gobbledygook is a control code that is properly understood by the standard GUI fonts. Note also that the cut-and-paste version is a ligature (fi), but the version I type in directly is not (fi).) Of course, there’s ligatures besides “fi”, and hyphenation is always a problem. Is there a magic Emacs incantation to make this work correctly?

Pop-ups, a Third Way

Filed under: Tech, Waste of Time — Chris @ 4:19 pm

If you set Firefox to block pop-ups, you get this message when a page requests a pop-up:

This is accompanied by a Preferences button with the following options:

Why only “allow pop-ups for this site”? Why not “allow this one pop-up that I’m pretty sure I want to see, but protect me from future nefarious pop-ups”?

This properly belongs in Bugzilla, but I’m sure the developers would tell me I’m stupid and ignore me. See, e.g., this bug that I voted for, like, two years ago.

UPDATE: As I suspected, Bugzilla has entries for why this isn’t really a bug and why you don’t want what you think you want.

The Congressional Work Ethic

Filed under: Not Tech, Politics — Chris @ 3:08 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong: are these Congressmen (of both parties) actually complaining about how hard, nigh impossible, it is to work five days a week? Is Jon Tester (“We shouldn’t complain about a little inconvenience. I got a lot of people in my state working two five-day weeks”) the only Senator who understands how ridiculous that sounds? There are poor people who work two jobs. There are middle-income and rich people (and graduate students!) who work nights and weekends (but not mornings!)…

Here’s an idea: if you don’t like the hours, you don’t have to be a Congressman! I’m sure your top-tier law firms and lobbying outfits will give you a week off every month.

February 4, 2007

Animals Have Problems Too

Filed under: Not Tech, Waste of Time — Chris @ 10:14 pm

Lots more fun here. (Thanks to Vijay.)

Argument by Animal

Filed under: Not Tech, Politics — Chris @ 5:54 pm

Ann Althouse wonders about the polar bears:

How many people look at that picture and think the polar bears were living on some ice and it melted around them and now they are stuck?

And, yes, I realize a polar bear can drown… if, say, it’s exhausted and swimming over 50 miles. But basically, these things can swim 15 miles easily, at a speed of 6 miles an hour, and they use the edge of an ice floe as a platform from which to hunt. Where’s the photograph of the bear chomping down on a cute baby seal?

And, no, I’m not denying that there’s global warming, even as I sit here a double pane of glass away from -12° air. I’m just amused at human behavior, such as the way it is possible to feel arguments at us. In particular, we are susceptible to argument by animal. We love the animal, if it’s pictured right, in a way that pulls our heartstrings.

I was kind of wondering this myself… I suspect the contextual implication of the picture below is completely false, but at the same time it somehow primes us to the deeper truth it signifies…

Pa, Pa, Pants Man!

Filed under: Not Tech, Waste of Time, YouTube — Chris @ 4:36 pm

(via Andrew Sullivan)

February 1, 2007

Top Chef Post-Show

Filed under: Not Tech, Top Chef, TV — Chris @ 7:09 pm

Now, that I’ve calmed down a bit…

I’m still a little perplexed by the decision. Ilan played it safe last week and very nearly got sent home. He played it safe again this week and took the title. According to my sources on the Internets (including Lee Anne Wong), several of his dishes this week and last were more-or-less straight from the menu of Casa Mono (including the bay leaf dessert).

By my count, they each had one miss (Marcel’s salad w/o tear-drop vinaigrette, Ilan’s angulas from a can), 3 strong dishes, and one “meh” (Marcel’s dessert, Ilan’s short ribs). The way the show was cut, I thought the diners were much more impressed with Marcel’s food. And Marcel’s “meh” was at least more creative and interesting than Ilan’s.

Here are the good reasons to send Marcel home that I didn’t hear come out of the Judge’s mouths: the salad course and the missing hamachi showed poor planning and bad judgment (even if the non-hamachi dish ended up being a hit); he’s probably less ready to go open his own restaurant tomorrow, considering his style of cuisine will only work in a high-end fine dining atmosphere and he’s not quite there yet (Ilan, on the other hand, could probably open a successful downtown comfort food joint next week); in short, Marcel is less capable of realizing his grand ambitions than Ilan is of realizing his own modest ones.

Still, it was a completely uninspiring end to the season. They failed to pick the obviously best chef, which was Sam. And they chose a guy who was a self-regarding, small-minded, ignorant jerk. Seriously, I think that his part in the Marcel-shaving incident—notwithstanding the fact that he never laid a hand on him—was probably worse than Cliff’s. Cliff was just physically following through on the logic of the moment, and he did so without excessive malice or force. Meanwhile, Ilan stood by shrieking and laughing, egging Cliff, Sam, and Elia on. He’s the only one that seemed genuinely disappointed that Marcel escaped with his hair. And after several months to contemplate what had happened, he fell right back into bullying Marcel without a second thought.

It makes me sick to my stomach. It really does.

That and the big pile of barbecue I just ate.

That Was Bullshit

Filed under: Not Tech, Top Chef, TV — Chris @ 4:08 am

My faith in reality television is shattered.

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