Kakuro – derived from the Japanese kasan kurosu (加算クロス, ‘addition cross’) is my new favorite puzzle game, for now. (Sooner or later I always go back to playing Scrabble against ‘Expert Computer’ as my favorite).
I find Kakuro games in online newspapers, and print them out larger, so that I can write clues for myself into the tops of the boxes. I see there are free puzzles available online as well.
I did not run out to a store or a mall today to go and shop. The United States’ consumer economy had better not look at people like me for keeping it going, I thought. I will look for something and buy it when I really need it, and not just because it’s out there on Black Friday.
Just for fun, I clicked around on luxury purveyor Bergdorf Goodman’s website (see left).
A long time ago, I was in New York City, and I stepped into the revolving door at the Bergdorf Goodman store on Fifth Avenue, to go inside and check out the merchandise. It was then that I saw the inside, and realized that the store was stratospherically out of my league. Keep going, keep going, I thought, pushing the revolving door to escape onto the sidewalk again.
I see I will have to get a Faraday pouch for my Toyota Camry’s key fob. (A pouch with radio signal shielding in the lining, so that it forms a barrier for emitting or receiving radio signals). There has been reports in Seattle of car thieves using signal amplifier kits to steal cars that use key fobs.
Reports of these shenanigans by thieves are also on YouTube, going as far back as 2013. It makes me wonder if the fancy 2019 models I see in the car commercials on TV, are any less vulnerable. And what about driverless cars? They will be no good if they can be hacked into.
One more South African bank note arrived in the mail, that I had bought from an Ebay seller in Canada. My little collection of South African bank notes is complete – for now.
I now have all the ones that I have memories of, or that I used to have in my wallet, back in the 80’s and 90’s!
Sigh* .. at least Trump visited California (on Saturday), and saw the devastation firsthand. He seemed to get along swimmingly with the new Governor-elect of California, Gavin Newsom. This after he had been pretty rude to him in Tweets in the past. (Gossip: Could it be because Newsom’s ex-wife Kimberly Guilfoyle now dates Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr.?).
*Trump felt the need to repeat his ‘assessment’ of California’s forest management: ‘In Finland they rake the forest floors’. (This baffles the Finns, and prompted a denial from the Finnish president that he had ever told Trump that). Then Trump got the devastated town’s name wrong, calling Paradise ‘Pleasure’, instead. When he did it a second time, FEMA administrator Brock Long (and Governor Jerry Brown) could no longer stand it and corrected him loudly.
It was a beautiful day here in the city but definitely not warm: 53 °F /11 °C!
I put on my scarf and went down to Pike Place market to take another look at the Alaskan Way Viaduct, before it is retired (at age 65, incidentally). Its replacement tunnel is just about ready, and demolition of the Viaduct will commence in January.
Check out the cool packaging for eggs that I got, from Vital Farms .. and to boot it has the ‘Certified Humane’ label on it. (That’s the labeling that matters here in the USA, say my friends that know. Ignore ‘natural’ and ‘cage-free’). So these eggs are from truly free-range hens. The Dutch call these chickens scharrelkip –‘chickens that scurry’.
It was a rough week for British Prime Minister Theresa May. She finally has a Brexit deal with the EU27 (European Union minus the UK), but now the hard-line Brexiteers in her own Conservative Party are revolting. The deal has the UK stay in the European Union Customs Union, and parts of the single market. This way an international border and customs would not be needed between Ireland (Europe) and Northern Ireland (part of the UK).
The UK Parliament still has to approve the deal. Instead, the hard-liners are pushing for a no-deal Brexit. This ‘jumping over the cliff’ type of exit will have all kinds of economic and other repercussions. Consumers, businesses and public bodies would have to respond immediately to changes as result of leaving the EU, and it’s unsure what controls will be put in place a the Ireland-Northern Ireland border.
What if Parliament does not approve the deal? Some say there may be a second referendum, then, already called the People’s Vote. (Pollsters say the Remain vote has shifted from 48% to 54% over the last 18 months).
The No 48 bus makes for an easy run up to the University (of Washington) District for me, and I did that today. (The main draw there for me is the big university bookstore, and the smaller second-hand bookstores, as well).
In another two years or so, the new Light Rail train station right there will be completed, and then I can take the train instead. That would be great!
The kilogram is currently defined as the mass of a chunk of platinum-iridium alloy created in 1889, that is housed at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sèvres, France. (Le Grand kilogram, or Big K, as it is affectionately known).
But what if Big K gets stolen, or damaged? And it has already (mysteriously) lost some 50 micrograms since 1889. So this state of affairs will not do for the 21st century.
This Friday in Versailles, a gathering of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, is expected to vote to redefine the kilogram by its existence as a unit in the Planck constant. This new definition is very complicated to explain (see here). For it to work, the Planck constant also had to be precisely defined and fixed to 9 significant digits, with the aid of a Kibble balance.
I guess Seattle has many gleaming glass and steel towers nowadays, but the Seattle Tower is one of the city’s original art deco gems.
Its construction was completed in 1929, and at the time it was called the Northern Life Building.
Word had leaked out by Monday night (before an official announcement from Amazon), that the two sites of the much anticipated Amazon HQ2 (second headquarters) will be Long Island City (in New York City) and Crystal City (in northern Virginia, just south of Washington DC downtown).
I think – I’m not sure – that it’s good news for Seattle that HQ2 will be split in two. Seattleites were fretting that HQ2 might eventually become bigger than Seattle, and this seems to make that less of a possibility.
It’s a very special Veterans Day: we can celebrate the 100 year mark since the end of World War I.
Says the New York Times, though: After more than four years of fighting, 8.5 million soldiers had been killed, including more than 100,000 Americans, and 7 million civilians were dead. In that time, modern warfare was born, and the trenches of Western Europe became a charnel house*. Just 20 years later World War II would start, bringing vastly greater destruction, and numbers of casualties.
*A building or vault in which corpses or bones are piled.
These little birds like to hop around in my backyard sometimes, looking for fallen seeds.
This morning, one was finally ready to pose for his close-up. (It’s time to get a 500 mm telephoto lens, if I’m going to be serious about shooting pictures of little birdies like these!).
It took a little searching to find it online, but now I know: it’s a dark-eyed junco.
At least 12 people were killed in a shooting late Wednesday at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Borderline Bar and Grill was holding its weekly event for college students. The gunman (28) was a troubled Marine Corps veteran that turned his gun on himself.
Here is Roxane Gay writing under a heading ‘Please Be Shocked at the Thousand Oaks Shooting’ in the New York Times:
According to statistics from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 307 mass shootings in the 312 days of 2018. They are a commonplace occurrence. This is a horrifying thing to say, but it is the truth. We need to say this truth over and over. We need to face this horror without looking away. We live in a country where there are relatively few restrictions on gun ownership and where our cultural tolerance for mass murder appears to be infinite. … It is a peculiarly American affliction that this epidemic of gun violence doesn’t move us to take any real steps toward curbing gun violence and access to guns. … It is painfully obvious that there is no shooting appalling enough to make American politicians stand up to the National Rifle Association and gunmakers. A congressman was shot and critically wounded. Children at Sandy Hook Elementary were murdered. Revelers at the Pulse nightclub were murdered. Concertgoers in Las Vegas were murdered.
It was sunny today, but we only got up to 52°F/ 11°C.
The sunlight we got, was gone by 4.41 pm – the time the sun now sets in the Pacific Northwest. Yikes. (On Saturday night, across the United States, we set our clocks back from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time*).
*California voters approved Prop. 7 on Tuesday, a proposal to permanently stay on Daylight Saving Time. The measure still requires a two-thirds vote from the California legislature and a change in federal law before it can take effect, though.
The Democrats have taken back the House! Yes!
This is of monumental importance. The Speaker and the House Committee chairs are going to be Democrats. There will be a real check on Trump’s excesses and the appalling Republican legislation that have come out of Congress. For the first time, there will be more than 100 women among the 435 House of Representatives.
The Republicans will retain the Senate. A bitter disappointment for Democrats in the Senate races, was that Texas star and El Paso native Beto O’Rourke’s inspiring campaign against incumbent Republican Texas senator Ted Cruz, came up short.
Alright. If 2016 was the Year of the Angry Older White Male in American politics, maybe 2018 is the Year of the Female College Graduate, says Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report. These suburban and younger women take a very dim view of our 45th president. (As do I).
The Democrats really need to win the House. Hopefully they will not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, like they did in 2016.
It is unlikely they will win the Senate.
There are also some very interesting gubernatorial (state governors) races. For my fellow citizens in red states (Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin): some free advice. DO NOT vote for a Republican governor. Republicans DO NOT CARE FOR PEOPLE, not even for you.
Update Wed 11/7: The Dems got the house, but not the Senate. Michigan, Pennsylvania & Wisconsin voted in Democratic governors.