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[personal profile] austin_dern

Thank you, dear [profile] bunny_hugger.

Story Book Land, as a park for families, mostly with young kids, and a fairy-tale theme, has mostly gentle rides. One that we missed, as it's being renovated, is the Antique Cars ride. It looked like they were shortening the track a little, removing a short bridge that passed over a water trough. Don't know why they'd be doing that; it's not as though the space they're saving seems to be enough for another ride or anything but a small display. On the other hand, they do need small displays.

They've also got a Tilt-a-Whirl dubbed the Turtle Twirl. The cars on it are painted up as turtle shells, complete with heads out top and hands reaching around the sides of the cars. This left us thinking: haven't we been on this before? We could swear we've seen a turtle-made Tilt-A-Whirl before but can't place just where. Possibly Story Land in New Hampshire. At least that's what seemed most likely to us.

They do have a roller coaster. It's a small, kiddie one, and we weren't sure we could ride until we saw unaccompanied adults on it. The ride is called Bubbles The Coaster, and it's got a ride sign of a water dragon with a bubble wand in her(?) tail. We also noticed the passenger restrictions said explicitly, ``small children obviously being forced against their will, for example struggling to get away from a parent in the seat'' may not ride. I didn't remember seeing the rules about don't terrify your kid, for crying out loud being spelled out so cleanly before, and was glad to see them.

Bubbles The Coaster isn't a big or a fast one; it's got maybe a ten-foot drop, at most. It's a Dragon-wagon coaster, with a train that has a dragon's head out front and a tail out back. But it earns its name. Part of the ride's decoration is an adorable little house by the main drop. And when the train goes past that, the house emits a spray of soap bubbles. There's a good chance of getting hit by them at not too much speed. It's a sweet and fun little ride. And that would be our dominant impression of the park: it's a sweet place. No enormous, compelling thrills, but a lot of nice scenes and excellent for someone who's got kids to entertain.

[profile] bunny_hugger would buy a plush of Bubbles The Coaster the dragon. We don't know whether the park has a mascot costume or anything for the character as shown on the sign. But it would be a great fit. Friendly sea dragon with bubble wand has the sort of easy-to-get appeal that makes a great park mascot. I'm still not clear who, if anyone, the park's mascot is.

The roller coaster would be one of the two centerpiece rides we were looking for. The other would be the carousel, of course. They don't have an antique carved-wood carousel. But they have got a Herschel-made kiddie carousel, one that dates to 1955 and that we just assumed had been there since the park opened. Not so, according to the park history book. The carousel happens to be as old as the park, but it was brought in after the park had been open for decades. No idea where it came from.

But we'd work our way to it slowly, not least since we didn't have a map and weren't sure just where it was. We walked past an Alice In Wonderland-themed card maze, delightful and so close to the Disney Movie rendering that we got to seriously worrying for the future of the park. Surely someday the Disney corporation has to tumble on to them, right? And then just before Sleeping Beauty I got distracted by birds. there was the enclosure with several peacocks, including a white one, and including one peacock so studiously attending to a bug at the end of his cage that we got caught up in this drama. (The bug got away, and the peacock pecked at a white feather that'd gotten loose from any bird.)

This would lead us on a path to the swing ride. That was dressed up as a tree, complete with nutty-looking squirrel on top. I think it's a standard kids-park version of the ride; it didn't look like it was matched to any kind of fairy tale or nursery rhyme or something. We did spot the cradle, suspended by wires, with the baby in the tree tops. I think the park history said they put a new doll in each year. At least it's some surprisingly regular changeover for a thing most people only get an obscured glimpse at from afar. It says good things, to me, about a park that they put effort into little stuff.

Trivia: While in Saint Petersburg, Russia, hoping to open peace talks with the United Kingdom, Albert Gallatin learned that the Senate had rejected his appointment to the peace commission by a vote of 18-17. Source: Union 1812: The Americans who Fought the Second War of Independence, A J Langguth.

Currently Reading: Binary Fusion and the Millennium Bug, Beth Bridgman. Aaah, after some dull stretches now we've got to some good crazypants writing. Bridgman's (character's) idea: rectangular microchips can grow so large that the speed of electricity limits computing power. Fair enough. So therefore, make your microchips spherical, in order that every part is equally far from the center. Uhm. Also, since the speed of electricity is so slow on this scale, use the power from cold fusion generators to force these spherical chips to run up to an infinite number of computations in one millisecond in order to reprogram every computer in the world to cure The Y2K Bug. And then on to the Accelerated Shroud of Turin Cloning Project.

PS: Halloweekend on a Saturday. We did some stuff out of the ordinary.


One of those roller coasters we never ride, but got around to this time: the Woodstock Express. I'm assuming it's the Woodstock Express. The train would be oddly decorated if it wasn't.


Woodstock Express is a kids' coaster, but that doesn't mean it can't look like great exciting fun given half a chance.


Serendipity! We were at the right spot, just after Woodstock Express, to catch the steam locomotive go across the central lagoon's bridge. Behind that is the Mine Ride roller coaster.

PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Young Tableau, something I didn't know existed three months ago and that I'm now fascinated by.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
At Demography Matters, I have a brief post asking readers what countries and regions, what themes, they would like to see explored.

(And you?)

Rock and Salt

Sep. 26th, 2017 11:14 am
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
 Queen's birthday weekend here in W.A (That's Western Australia) - some friends married and invited us out to the celebrations quite a way East from the coast. Very much reminded me of some of the Heidelberg School paintings and had me thinking of some of the Arthur Upfield Bony books. Extraordinary views from the top of Jilakin Rock. The east most occurrence of the Jarrah tree is here, possibly once part of a superforest ranging right the way across the State. A long drive, made fun by the Tin Horse Highway and definitely worth the drive to my mind for the sheer presence of country.

Google Photos Autoawesome Video with sound

sqlite the miracle DB

Sep. 25th, 2017 11:24 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
At work today, Boss suggested I look at sqlite a bit, since our client code uses it. What I thought might be a brief glance turned into hours of reading, as it became rather fascinating. For those who don't know, it's an embedded SQL database, with not much code, unlike the client/server databases of Oracle or anything else you've probably heard of. As their docs put it, they're not competing with such databases, they're competing with fopen() and other filesystem access.

They call their testing "aviation grade", possibly without hyperbole: 100% branch coverage, 100% coverage of something stronger than branches, 700x more testing code than actual library code and a lot of that generates tests parametrically... it sounds pretty nuts. They worship Valgrind but find compiler warnings somewhat useless; getting warnings to zero added more bugs than it solved.

They claim "billions and billions of deployments", which sounded like humorous hyperbole until they added being on every iPhone or Android phone, every Mac or Windows 10 machine, every major browser install... There are over 2 billon smartphones, so just from the phone OS and the phone browser, you've got 4 billion installs...

They also make a pitched case for consider a sqlite database any time you'd be considering some complex file format. With almost no code to write, you'd get consistency robustness, complex queries, machine and language independence, and at least some ability to do partial writes[1], compared to throwing a bunch of files into a zipfile.

They also had a nicely educational description of their rollback and write-ahead models.

[1] I do wonder about this. One odd thing about sqlite is a looseness about types, and AIUI cramming numeric values into the smallest range that will hold them. So I'd think that if you UPDATED a value 100 to a value 1000000000000, you'd have to shuffle the trailing part of the file, compared to a format that e.g. reserved 8 bytes for a numeric type. But maybe they do buffer numeric or string storage. And not having to write the whole file, or not having to read the whole file (e.g. to decompress it) seem like at least partial wins.


Sep. 25th, 2017 08:06 pm
mmegaera: (Default)
[personal profile] mmegaera
Well, apparently I can't get my blog to cross-post to DW tonight. So if you want to see my most recent post, you'll need to go to Sorry!

If I had wanted ice cream . . .

Sep. 25th, 2017 07:30 pm
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
[personal profile] gridlore
Had an annoyance this morning. I'm finally getting back to my writing group. The fall session started in late August, but I would have missed two of four sessions due to Burning Man, so why pay for that? So I was ready and eager to get back to having to explain things to my fellow writers who know nothing about science-fiction.

A ritual I've developed is hitting the McDonald's drive-thru for breakfast. I love their sausage biscuits with egg, and I get a milk to go with it. I do this because making breakfast myself requires spoons that I'll need later. Plus, yummy biscuits.

Had an annoyance this morning. I'm finally getting back to my writing group. The fall session started in late August, but I would have missed two of four sessions due to Burning Man, so why pay for that? So I was ready and eager to get back to having to explain things to my fellow writers who know nothing about science-fiction.

A ritual I've developed is hitting the McDonald's drive-thru for breakfast. I love their sausage biscuits with egg, and I get a milk to go with it. I do this because making breakfast myself requires spoons that I'll need later. Plus, yummy biscuits.

I should have known there was a problem when the line was at a dead stop. But I had given myself plenty of time, and I wanted my sandwich! So I crept the truck up to the order box. Where I gave my exceedingly simple order in a clearly enunciated voice. "Sausage Biscuit with Egg, and a milk, please."

All I get is an "OK, second window" and nothing on the order screen. This was a little disturbing, but the screen has been out for a while. And my order is dead fucking simple.

Still creeping. I have the window down and I don't care who hears me mangle Turn the Page Finally get to the window, with my formally comfortable time cushion deflating rapidly.

The young lady asks me for an amount way over what I know my order costs, even with tax. When I question this, she reads back my order as "Egg McMuffin meal . . ." I stop her right there. Where the hell does one get "Egg McMuffin" from "Sausage Biscuit with Egg"? She gets the correct order up, and after wandering aimlessly for three minutes hands me my order. Stopping only long enough to check it was my order, and not a BigMac or a half-eaten donut from across the street, I raced (as well as one can race on streets with a 25mph speed limit) to school, devouring my precious food all the way. I figured I'd just slam the milk in the parking lot. I'm an old truck driver, many times I've eaten a meal in stages in three different places.

Find parking, put up my Gimp Placard, and grab my milk. I twist the cap open and get a refreshing mouthful of . . . nothing. That, and my lips are very cold. The milk they handed me was frozen solid. It was a rock. Frustrated, I grabbed a few swallows from a water fountain and headed in for the group.

Which was terrific as ever. Good to see everyone again after the extended summer break, and see what people were working on. This group lasts two hours, 1000-1200 hours, and it was a warm day here in Santa Clara. We even stayed late to allow one more story to be read. The milk jug was still solid.

Back over to McD's, where the manager was appalled. She quickly checked the unit where milk and the like are stored and swore in a language that was both beautiful and venomous. She was pissed. I've seen this woman, always clad in the best hijab that manages to compliment the uniform of the day, running the morning shift like a pro. She takes pride in her work. She quickly refunded my money, and I was on my way.

But seriously, the problem with the frozen milk aside (which is a training issue, someone forgot to reset the temperature controls) my real complaint was with the young lady who took my order. She failed to offer a greeting, failed to confirm my order, failed to tell me my total, and I never got a thank you. This location is hiring a lot of new people, but someone that inexperienced should not be running breakfast rush by herself. I can only imagine how many errors ahead of me were the cause of the glacial movement of the line.

I know I've never worked fast food, but I have worked jobs where getting and relaying accurate information is vital to success. I've been a dispatcher, carried messages from contractors to my warehouse manager and sales staff, and, oh yeah, learned to call in artillery and air strikes! You do not want to say Sausage Biscuit with Egg and have them hear Egg McMuffin in that last one!

And it really isn't like this is my only option. Within a short drive, there is a Jack in the Box, a Burger King, and if I want to go nuts, I can sit down at Denny's. I hate to sound like That Customer, but they are in a fight to keep my money in their tills.

Oh, well. At least I got my biscuit.

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:40 pm
doc_paradise: (Default)
[personal profile] doc_paradise
 FUUUCK... I forgot how much I loved "The Booth On The End". We finally watched the second season on youtube.  

This week seems to dragon

Sep. 25th, 2017 09:08 pm
flemmings: (Default)
[personal profile] flemmings
Time was, air quality alerts started in May and went on at regular intervals through to October. We rarely get them these days, a result I assume of closing coal-fired plants. But we had one today and I could feel the familiar burn in the throat. Haven't missed it at all.

Heat gives me apocalypsosis, so between North Korea and the DoJ having finally noted my existence for jury purposes, I'm feeling end of world and out of cope. Come Thursday I shall probably be able to deal with both, but for now I would welcome the G&T I do not have. What's the point of counting calories if we're all going to die, I think; and the point, as ever, remains that *I* may not die, or not soon enough, and in the meantime I would like my mobility back. Sigh.

building affordable housing

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:39 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
A longish article on cities (or a country) that have built their way to affordable housing, contrary to the claims of many market-allergic leftists.

Money-quote paragraph:

"Houston, for example, can be Cascadia’s model for how easy it ought to be to get permits to build homes—if we believed, as Houston does, that building homes is in itself a good thing, our permitting processes would encourage rather than discourage it through endless months of hoop-jumping and politicized reviews. Tokyo, meanwhile, reminds us that placing control over development at senior levels of government, and making development of urban property a right of its owner, helps to elevate the broad public interest in abundant housing choices over parochial opposition to change. (Leaders in California have recently succeeded in passing a raft of new laws to act upon this lesson.) Chicago teaches that a pro-housing political orientation can provide abundant housing even under conventional zoning in a deep blue city, while Montreal offers Cascadia a model of a cityscape no longer of single-family homes but of three-story rowhouses, walk-up apartments, and condominiums on quiet, tree-lined streets close to transit and neighborhood centers. Singapore’s lesson is the promise of erecting high-density, park-like “new towns” on underused city land. And Germany shows us that a future is possible where housing is no longer an investment vehicle but “a very durable consumption good that provides a stream of housing services, not a ticket to financial gain.”"

Relatedly, Vienna and Singapore as two examples of massive public housing:
Also useful if anyone tries to tout Singapore as a free-market miracle...

How Are You? (in Haiku)

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:36 pm
jjhunter: A sheep with shaded glasses and a straw hat lies on its side; overhead floats the pun 'on the lamb' (as in baby sheep). (on the lamb)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.


Signal-boosting much appreciated!
jjhunter: Watercolor sketch of arranged diatoms as seen under microscope (diatomaceous tessellation)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Ed Yong @ the Atlantic: Even Jellyfish Sleep
Do jellyfish dream of gelatinous sheep?

Ephrat Livni @ Quartz: Octlantis is a just-discovered underwater city engineered by octopuses
Gloomy octopus males seem to spend a great deal of time chasing each other out of dens.

Ed Yong @ the Atlantic: Octopuses Do Something Really Strange to Their Genes
It’s impossible to say if their prolific use of RNA editing is responsible for their alien intellect, but “that would definitely be my guess”

Greta Keenan @ New Scientist: Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds
Nocturnal predatory fish use calls to stay together to hunt, while fish that are active during the day use sound to defend their territory.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Universe Today reports on the potential game-changing nature of a hyperloop connecting Toronto and Montréal.

  • Hacking of the brain is an obvious risk of two-way brain/Internet interfaces. From VICE.

  • Puerto Rico's ongoing economic crisis has only been worsened by Hurricane Maria. Bloomberg reports.

  • The problem with the German economy, strong as it may be now, is that not enough has been invested in the future. Bloomberg warns.

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:33 pm
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley
Rash assumption, I know, but I presume people remember that the Korean War ended without a peace treaty.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • The mixture of high- and low-end real estate on High Park Avenue might be a model for Toronto. Tess Kalinowski reports.

  • There are quite a few different proposals for replacements of the streetcar linking Union Station to Queens Quay.

  • Edward Keenan argues that, however Union Station or Queens Quay are linked, the link should be funded adequately.

  • The Globe and Mail reports on how the arrival of rent control is leading to the early conversion of rental units to condos.

On Reports and Discovery

Sep. 25th, 2017 07:24 pm
dewline: (canadian media)
[personal profile] dewline
I was going to explore my reactions to Star Trek: Discovery(AKA "DSC") in greater depth, and you may expect that later in this entry. For the moment, a surprising bit of news from closer to home arrived this morning: Rick Mercer's announcement that the Mercer Report will be closing up shop at the end of what will be its fifteenth season CBC Television.

Allow me to share his announcement via his own recording...

I admit that I see this as another sign of something akin to a Canadian Apocalypse. Some of you who've been watching this weblog for a while will be making informed deductions and/or guesses as to what some of the other signs are.

I'm not happy. But it's Rick's choice to make. Not mine. Not CBC's.

Okay, on to DSC.

What we ended up getting on Sunday night, after delays thanks to CBS' contractual obligations to the NFL impacting on BellMedia's obligations to CBS, was the first two episodes of DSC. Aired back to back, with "The Vulcan Hello" followed immediately by "Battle at the Binary Stars". Together they form what you might call either a prologue or a full Act One of the first season's larger story.

Without giving away too much, it's a good setup for whatever else we're about to get this year.

I'm still getting over my bout of design history dissonance considering this is supposed to be happening about a year after the events of "The Cage" and ten years before "Where No Man Has Gone Before". The uniforms, the user interface designs, the starship architecture...all seem a bit out of place with those two episodes of the original series. We're being promised explanations and evolution over time, to be sure. How fast the production team delivers is up to them. Our reactions to that speed - or the lack of it - are up to us.

Just about everything else: the scripts, the performances of the live actors, the visual effects work...all meet my hopes.

That visual dissonance remains. For now, anyway.

One bit of advice to CBS and its production partners: please show the episode titles in the episode itself.

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2017 07:44 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I've been trying to find time to write a proper post today, but things keep coming up to distract me. Also, if I don't write something by the time Cordelia gets home, I may not have privacy to write on my laptop. I'm writing this on my phone.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
but given the advanced state of their tech, am I wrong in pegging this as a third universe? Okay, that's my official head-canon. Something, something, temporal cold war - THIRD UNIVERSE! (So does each new parallel universe also have its own twin mirror universe?)

Also: Why do all futuristic jails in all universes everywhere have force fields with no physical backup? That seems like a major design flaw.

Also also: Why are all the Klingons bald? Strange fashion choice, or genetic disease?


james_davis_nicoll: (Default)

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