URLs du Jour


  • I kvetch about Wired's tired, tedious politcs a lot, but occasionally they get things right, as in this article from Brian Barrett. The 'Jeopardy!: Greatest of All Time' Tournament Is a Singular Event. (Written before last night's finale.)

    Not to get sentimental, but that future will be markedly different in more ways than just strategy. Alex Trebek has hosted the show since 1984. He’s now 79, fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer since early 2019. He says he has no immediate plans to step down, but it’s uncertain whether he’ll have an opportunity to take the podium in such grand fashion—primetime, to an audience of millions, guiding contestants that by now “feel like family”—before he settles into a well-deserved retirement.

    It’s not just Trebek, though. Harry Friedman has produced both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune for a quarter of a century. He’ll leave both shows when his contract runs out in March. Trebek has been the face and heart of Jeopardy!, but Friedman has spent the last 25 years as the connective tissue, making critical changes—lifting the five-game cap, increasing clue values—while keeping the show true to its original vision. Friedman is producing the GOAT tournament, and came up with its format. You’ll never see him onscreen, but you’re watching a legend go out on top.

    I was impressed at how easily James, Ken, and Brad got along, dropping small gags into the proceedings, while obviously playing to win. I was worried whether I could take a straight hour of Jeopardy! but it was easy.

  • Declan Garvey writes at the Dispatch: Justin Amash Has a Decision to Make. Specifically, whether to run for President as an independent. Or maybe as a capital-L Libertarian.

    Three weeks from the first votes of the 2020 election, the presidential race seems—finally—to be taking shape. Republicans, having blocked any serious attempts at a primary challenge, will field a candidate who brings passionate support from the hard-core GOP base, grudging acceptance from other Republicans, and intense opposition from everyone else. Democrats will likely field either a flawed candidate from the center—more accurately, the center-left—or an avowed leftist, maybe even an avowed socialist. 

    There are millions of moments, and billions of decisions, that will ultimately determine the next president and the next four years of the American experiment. But few will be as consequential as the decision now looming before a reserved, quirky, classical liberal from south central Michigan. 

    It would be nice to have someone to vote for in November.

  • Mark J. Perry of AEI calls it his Chart of the day… or century?.

    [Price Changes]

    It should go without saying which components Your Federal Government has been most insistent on making "affordable" for that time period.

  • At Reason, Nick Gillespie invites you to Gaze Upon the Worst Anti-Vaping Poster Ever and Despair. And via the magic of Twitter embedding…

    This is not simply wrong, it's unbelievably wrong, for all sorts of obvious and not-so-obvious reasons. For starters, the death rate of jumping out of airplanes without parachutes is 100 percent (the odd Vesna Vulović story notwithstanding). For vaping, not so much. In fact, even New Jersey's official site for anti-vaping propaganda admits that there is only a single confirmed case of a Garden State vaper—out of what must be hundreds of thousands if not millions of users—dying from illness related to electronic cigarettes. The site also links approvingly to an article from last October that notes there are at least two "vaping epidemics" at play. The first, writes Cristine Delnevo of Rutgers, "is the outbreak of more than 1,000 vaping-associated lung injuries nationwide, which appears linked to vaping THC, marijuana's psychoactive ingredient, and has caused more than 25 deaths, includng one in New Jersey. Separately, there is the skyrocketing rate of nicotine vaping among youth, with its risk of long-term addiction." For what it's worth, neither of the vaping devices pictured above are the sort that use the black-market THC cartridges that have been most plausibly linked to most serious illnesses, let alone deaths.

    But when you're dealing with propaganda, it's best not to get too lost in the weeds (perhaps especially when the propaganda is somehow related to weed). When targets of such communications realize they're being lied to, they tend to tune out all the information from official sources because they know it's not really unbiased, scientific, or seeking the truth.

    For seemingly the millionth time: I don't vape, and I don't advocate that people take it up. But I can't help but feel disgusted and angry about the media and politicians flat lying about the issue.

  • And one for you coders of a certain age out there, a Medium essay from Sedat Kapanoglu, Ex-Engineer at Microsoft Windows Core OS Division: How is computer programming different today than 20 years ago?. Short answer: very. But here are a few of his bullet points I really liked:

    • Since we have much faster CPUs now, numerical calculations are done in Python which is much slower than Fortran. So numerical calculations basically take the same amount of time as they did 20 years ago.

    • Unit testing has emerged as a hype and like every useful thing, its benefits were overestimated and it has inevitably turned into a religion.

    • You are not officially considered a programmer anymore until you attend a $2K conference and share a selfie from there.

    I attended a lunch with my old team yesterday, and one of the new faces said he'd been working with my code. He didn't kill me, so I'm happy.

Last Modified 2024-02-02 4:53 AM EDT