I got a "binary-coded decimal clock" (made by the good folks
at Anelace Inc.) a few
Christmases back. Picture via Amazon link at right, if you're not
seeing it, turn
off your ad blocker. The time shown is 10:48:36.
[And make no mistake, Anelace is a Good Company. I shorted out the power
supply adapter by clumsy accident. I emailed, asked where I could buy a
replacement, they just sent me one, free. Whoa.]
When I worked at UNH, I kept it in my cubicle as a conversation piece. The thing that
sticks in my mind today is how many IT managers needed me to explain
what it was and how to interpret the LEDs. No geeks they.
Shortly afterward, on a lark, I wrote a small Perl script to simulate
clock display in a terminal window. I recently exhumed and
updated the script to more modern standards. It's short and (I think)
Here's a screen snapshot of what it looks like in action. The
red dots inside indicate "on" LEDs.
The LED array is updated every second, as is the time displayed at
Plaintext source is here;
Prettyprinted HTML source here.
The Term::ANSIScreen Perl module available from CPAN
handles text positioning, color, and formatting. I think most
terminal emulation programs do ANSI commands these days.
The LED-on "dot" is a UTF-8 character. If your terminal program
doesn't handle UTF-8, the code has a commented out alternate that
might work: a space with a red background.
The Term::ReadKey module
terminal reads. This was implemented so that pressing the
Q key will quit. [Pressing control-C might leave your
terminal window in a funny "raw input" state. Fixing that left as an exercise
for the reader.]
It could well be that a more judicious selection of fonts,
characters, etc. would make the display more pleasing.
Obviously, it's easy to play with.
There's a "sleep 1" in the script's main loop. Since
the calculations inside the loop also take a finite amount of time, it's
likely that a second will be skipped every so often. I haven't
noticed that happening, though.
This is one of the books I own that I don't remember when, why, or how
it was obtained. It has a copyright of 2003, so after that sometime. And
I put it in my cyber-to-be-read list at some point. And it popped up.
Esquire magazine ran this "What It Feels Like" feature for a
while. (I don't know—or care—if they do any more.) Each was a
first-person account from someone who underwent a situation in which
most of us will never find ourselves. This book collects those, and adds
in a bunch more, a total of somewhere around 60. Each is just a page or
two, which makes the book very short, 143 pages.
People in dire situations tend to drop the f-bomb a lot.
The most famous person: Buzz Aldrin, who contributes "What it Feels Like
to Walk on the Moon". No f-bombs from Buzz.
Also semi-famous: Barry Rosen, Iranian hostage. "What it Feels Like to
be Held Hostage". Almost 40 years later, I still got a little pissed at
Some people are eloquent, like Jenny Lundy: "What it Feels Like to be
105 Years Old".
And some are just interesting. "What it Feels Like to Win the Lottery"
by Washington Iowa's Ed Brown, for example. Unlike the infamous lottery
winners who crash and burn, Ed seems to have been remarkably
level-headed. Bottom line: "I guess I liked who I was before I won the
lottery and I decided not to change."
But it's a hodgepodge, with all that implies. I suggest you look at the
table of contents at Amazon to see if there's anything in here you
really want to know about. You can pick up a used copy for about $5 at
Once I lived the life of a millionaire,
Spent all my money, I just did not care.
Took all my friends out for a good time,
Bought bootleg whiskey, champagne and wine.
Then I began to fall so low,
Lost all my good friends, I did not have nowhere to go.
I get my hands on a dollar again,
I'm gonna hang on to it till that eagle grins.
Today's picture: a poor friendless dog. Awww!
■ @JonahNRO's G-File
this week is low on jocularity, but high on insight. Bush
and Kelly: Truth Tellers. Keying off recent speeches by Dubya
and General John Kelly, which were widely interpreted as attacks
(respectively) on Trump and Democratic congresswoman Frederica
Wilson. And were harshly criticized (respectively) by Trumpites and
I’m disgusted with a great deal of this, but rather than argue
against any of that, I want to ask you to entertain a thought
experiment. Imagine, if just for a moment, that all of you who fall
into one of these camps are entirely wrong.
What if President Bush was aiming his fire at Democrats and liberals?
What if Kelly was actually lecturing his boss?
If you can take off the partisan blinders and restrain your tribal instincts, it’s not all that hard to see it that way.
It's really not.
■ P.J. O'Rourke writes at American Consequences on This
Month’s Two Worst Political Ideas Ever. (Just "this month",
according to P.J., because "worst political idea ever" is a rapidly
moving target. But anyway, the ideas are (1) Universal Basic Income
and (2) Single-Payer Health Care.
If the Universal Basic Income idea really gets going and smashes
into the single-payer health care idea, the collision will leave
American society a total wreck.
Americans will be turned into beggars and thieves.
We’ll all be panhandlers squatting on the curb of the political avenue, rattling our tin cups at our elected officials to bum more spare change off the government.
P.J. illustrates his contention with a couple stories from his past.
No, this isn't a Clickhole story; if you're a white man in
Stephanie McKellop's history class, you might be called
out, but you probably won't be called on.
McKellop, a graduate instructor at the University of Pennsylvania
herself as a "queer disabled feminist," recently tweeted, "I
will always call on my Black women students first. Other POC get
second tier priority. WW [white women] come next. And, if I have to,
white men." McKellop eventually deleted the tweet, but not before
the internet immortalized
Undergrad yearly tuition at UPenn is $47,416 (as I type). If you're a white
male, do you get a discount if you wind up with Stephanie McKellop
for a teacher?
A white, male student at Chapman University has been maligned on
social media after penning an op-ed for his school newspaper that
argued campus diversity efforts, while seemingly offered with good
intentions, actually breed radicalism and silence dissent.
Sophomore Ryan Marhoefer, a business administration major at the private university in Southern California, received major backlash in comments about the article that included calling him a white supremacist and suggesting he should be expelled or physically assaulted.
by "members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)". Its
students today seem to be experts at persecution of heretics.
■ Mental Floss picks out
Far-Out Facts About Futurama. And here's one I didn't
know: the remarkable similarity of the Futurama theme to a
1967 composition “Psyché Rock" by Pierre Henry. Have a listen:
■ And have you played the Paperclips
game? It's a certain amount of fun, and I dinked around
until I realized … I'd spent about an hour dinking around.
Paperclips, a new game from designer Frank
Lantz, starts simply. The top left of the screen gets a bit of
text, probably in Times New Roman, and a couple of clickable
buttons: Make a paperclip. You click, and a counter turns over.
The game ends—big, significant spoiler here—with the destruction of the universe.
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