Running Zork

I wanted to post something about Zork – because who doesn’t love Zork? And then I got curious whether I’d done that before. And whaddya know – I had. Well, sort of. What’s shocking to me is that is was almost 10 years ago. YIKES! This blog’s been around a long time. Anyway – back…

In Defense of Shannara

A confession: I find The Lord of the Rings slow going. Another confession: I’ve just finished reading The Sword of Shannara all the way through for the third, possibly the fourth, time. The bombshell: I really like The Sword of Shannara. So put that in your pipe and smoke it. The standard-issue complaint about The…

‘Splainin’ in 2016

100 days to go till Election Day … which means, as always, that I have some ‘splainin’ to do. Because every 4 years people who are barely heard from during the midterms come out of the woodwork to tell me that even though they are deeply distressed by having to choose between two obviously terrible…

Number System Solution

Yesterday I used a programming challenge to illustrate a use of generators. The solution to the problem given in that post was far from ideal – just a brute force hack, really. Today, let’s look at a respectable solution to the problem. Again, the problem: Imagine you are given a set of weights, each weight…

When Generators Are Brute Force Enablers

An interesting (if mysterious) programming challenge popped up in my business partner’s browser the other day. You’re given an odd set of weights which represents the series of powers of three. So, the first one is 1lb, the second 3lbs, the third 9lbs, the fourth 27lbs, etc. You also have a scale. If someone puts…

Australia Proves Something about Guns

The blood’s barely dried on the Orlando mass murder shooting spree, and people on Facebook are already dredging up the New York Times classics claiming that Australia’s gun ban and buyback program eliminated all mass murders forever. To show that I’m not exaggerating the article’s implications: In the 18 years before the Port Arthur massacre,…

Disqualification Round – GO!

Now that primary season is de facto over, it’s time to start making peace with the Trump nomination – and by "making peace" I don’t mean approving of it so much as letting go of my (largely negative) emotions about it and thinking it through. Because whatever else it is, Trump’s nomination is a significant…

Dead Man’s Party is Less Confused than you Think

I don’t want to defend Dead Man’s Party, necessarily. It’s not one of the good ones. But it is one of the misunderstood ones, so I guess it does need a little defending. I’ve been reading Mark Field’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Myth, Metaphor & Morality as I go through the series for maybe the…

The Gift

Apparently I missed an important anniversary by one day. 15 years ago yesterday, The Gift – the beautiful 100th episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and finale to its fifth (and final, as far as anyone knew at the time) season – aired. 22 May 2001. I’m starting to doubt there will ever be a…