Tuesday is always the liveliest day at the office and the skyways, as everyone does the world a favor by going to the office. Coming back from Andrea’s Pizza, I noticed some signs by a closed-off area once occupied by a bank. You know, those places where people used to go to get money or put money away. The entire space will be converted into a private club for building tenants, like an airport lounge.

I like it. The bar looks rather spare, though.

There’s also a “game room” with a “golf simulator.”

Since I don’t play golf I can roll my eyes and say it’s stupid and suggest something more tailored to my interests, right? Upvotes? Who’s with me? Oh - right, this isn’t Reddit, where 30something smart-ish dorks in franchise-character T-shirts and fedoras congratulate themselves on being different. It’s real life, where we let people enjoy things!

You forget that from time to time, which is why it’s good to go to the office. There’s no benefit to spending more time online than less. You tend to see people in terms of groups and invented characteristics, like I did in the third paragraph.

Seems like it'll be a place of noticeable tension.

He works the bar, she works upstairs in the reinsurance office. At first she liked the fact that he wasn't like the other finance guys, but his appeal quickly waned. Then she found out something he'd been doing. Best to do the necessary cauterizing here, then. Makes sure he'll behave.

Let's see, anything else today? Ah: two more morons defacing a painting. A Klimt this time. I still wonder how they get the paint into the museum. Or why no one does anything. Why, it's almost as if they allow it to happen, because they don't want to anger the right people who disapprove of the tactics but approve of the agenda. IO know, I know, nonsense, but:

In a statement, Leopold Museum director Hans-Peter Wipplinger said, “The concerns of climate activists such as those of the ‘Letzte (Last) Generation’ are valid, but attacking artworks is definitely the wrong way to prevent the intended goal of preventing the projected climate collapse.”

This is how you get more of these attacks on a daily basis. Then again:

Museums directors across the globe have fiercely decried protests such as this one, citing the “fragility” of the artworks being targeted. Institutions have also begun initiating heightened security measures in the hopes of stopping these actions before they happen.

Gosh, I wonder what form that might take. I'd post a docent who was good at the quick-draw with a Taser. This, of course, will strilke some as barbarism: violence to stop these earnest, worried advocates for a better world? Really, Tasers? Yes, because bean-bag guns would probably be too bulky to conceal, and would spoil the vibe. But it is not an act of barbarism to tase someone who is attempting to deface a painting. It is an act in favor of civilization.

Cue the Concerned People Who Deplore the Tactics but Not Really to Be Honest: the paintings are protected by glass, so it's unfair to sluice a sizzling jolt of justice-juice into the skeletal frame of a lanky hysteric. Well, we don't know that they're going for glass-protected paintings, and as the photo in the article linked shows, the glass isn't always a form-fitting sheet over the work. It's vandalism that targets our shared cultural heritage, one of the precious things that manages to bind us. Even when it divides us, the dispute isn't existential to our conception of our civilization, but a matter of taste and interpretation.

Again, I don't know why anyone doesn't intervene. People keep telling me that anyone inclined to stop them would fear being arrested for assault. Feh. Knocking a can out of a jerk's hands isn't assault, if you do it right. Maybe you could suddenly bolt forward and knock them over. No law against running in a museum. Say, sorry about that.

They were not arrested, but will have to show up in court for wrist slapping. I have such hot loathing for these people I would be happy to see them sentenced to a year of hard labor on an offshore oil platform.

Anything else? Good workout, but who cares. I've added a few more machines to provide additional pain. Before that I went to the Government Center to get license plate tabs for Wife's car. I had to present my ID, whereupon the fellow behind the glass said, and I quote, "Are you him?" I said that I was. His sister went to school with me, and I had to conjure that thing where you act as if you remember someone without actually saying that you do.







Here's a piece reviewing the new Meta Quest VR set. It costs a bazillion samoleons.

The whole thing is a disaster. They released a device that was unpleasant to wear, and underwhelming to use. I wear glasses, so the device was almost instantly annoying, pressing the bows into the side of my head. It also meant that the view was less than crystal clear, and when everything in your landing room is a bit out of focus, it takes away from the immersion. It didn’t help that I couldn’t go anywhere in this room. It’s a great space! I’d love to explore it, walk to the window, look out. But you’re glued in place. You can turn around 360, which is cool.


The main meeting room, Horizon Worlds, was ridiculous. Torsos floating around having public conversations, most of which seemed to be “hey I’m a torso floating around.” Moving from one location to the other was the usual point - click - hurl; you would be flung across the room instead of strolling. I was interested in the art gallery exhibits, though. They also have the point - click - hurl experience. The paintings look nice. You can’t read the explanatory plaques. If you want to study how paintings are arranged, how museums group them, then it’s fine - but it’s a completely unsatisfactory way to look at a reproduction of a painting. I can’t find the words to describe it, but the fidelity of the setting and image somehow enhances its unreality. A version of the uncanny valley, I suppose, but there’s nothing uncanny or unnerving about it. You just want to take this damned thing off and look at a proper reproduction on your computer screen - which, since it has no pretenses, seems more real. At least more approachable.

Anyway. Now there’s a new version with an Apple-level price, and supposedly it fits better, isn’t as heavy, looks crisper, and - get this - allows you to work on computer screens inside the virtual world!

Something no one asked for and no one needs!

More than just virtual reality, the Quest Pro also represents Meta’s biggest push yet into so-called “mixed reality,” where virtual objects are overlaid on the real world around you. In the Quest Pro, this is accomplished with Meta’s first full-color passthrough camera, which can show you your surroundings or integrate them into specific parts of a virtual scene.

Unfortunately, the new camera is far from ideal for mixed reality. While Meta says that its outward-facing cameras boast “4x the number of pixels as Meta Quest 2’s cameras,” the resulting image is still far too grainy and fuzzy to resolve fine details. Even something as simple as reading a piece of paper with 12-point font is impossible without holding the page ridiculously close to your headset.

Facebook burned billions of dollars to develop a device and an environment where you can read a piece of real paper in a virtual environment with a bit of difficulty, which will certainly replace reading a piece of real paper in the the real world with the usual ease.

The passthrough camera is good enough for finding and moving large desktop objects like drinking glasses while wearing the headset (a couple of taps on the side of the device can switch from passthrough to full VR and back). It’s also very useful for navigation; I even used it to walk downstairs to go to the bathroom at one point without taking off the headset.

That’s right: you can take a leak without leaving the virtual environment!

Mind you, this is not an overly positive review. It says that the thing costs too much and delivers too little.

I’ve soured entirely on it now, after having those gee-whiz moments where you experience something novel. Sitting in the International Space Station looking down at the world was cool. The first museum trip was cool. Watching a movie in a virtual theater was cool, until it was suddenly sterile and lonely and weird. Eventually the device seemed not a portal into a new way of experiencing things, but a self-imposed prison sentence, a box locked on my head. It didn't matter what wonders it showed me. It was a box, locked on my head.

So, I thought, AR, that’s the ticket. Glasses that weigh no more than usual with subtle ways to enhance the world. Go to the grocery store, double-tap your glasses to call up the coupons, and see which tomato sauce is the cheapest today. Messages displayed in a floating panel so I don’t have to check my watch or phone. Wouldn’t that be great?

Wouldn’t it?





It’s 1914.

People knew where this was, and why it mattered:

Dixmude was a Belgian town in the news a month earlier. Its loss seemed of psychological importance.

To think they were just at the start of it all.

The Emden, you say:

SMS Emden ("His Majesty's Ship Emden")[a] was the second and final member of the Dresden class of light cruisers built for the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine). Named for the town of Emden, she was laid down at the Kaiserliche Werft (Imperial Dockyard) in Danzig in 1906. The hull was launched in May 1908, and completed in July 1909. She had one sister ship, Dresden. Like the preceding Königsberg-class cruisers, Emden was armed with ten 10.5 cm (4.1 in) guns and two torpedo tubes.

The end:

Müller then took Emden to raid the Cocos Islands, where he landed a contingent of sailors to destroy British facilities. There, Emden was attacked by the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney on 9 November 1914. The more powerful Australian ship quickly inflicted serious damage and forced Müller to run his ship aground to avoid sinking. Out of a crew of 376, 133 were killed in the battle. Most of the survivors were taken prisoner; the landing party, led by Hellmuth von Mücke, commandeered an old schooner and eventually returned to Germany. Emden's wreck was quickly destroyed by wave action, and was broken up for scrap in the 1950s.


Meanwhile, close at home.


Everything everywhere does seem to be ablaze.



Ha ha look at this one Marge you know dad beat him senseless

This part of DC has been completely remade, so there’s no hope of being the window through which the lad drove.


  “What this fellow needs to get right is a stint in the hoosegow, with daily labor.”

Perhaps it worked, but I doubt it.


  Ah, the old traditions were still observed.

This guy:

In late August, he was sent to the United Kingdom with orders to spy on the Royal Navy. He posed as an American – he could speak English fluently, with an American accent – using a genuine U.S. passport purloined from an American citizen in Germany. Over the course of a month, Lody travelled around Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth observing naval movements and coastal defences. By the end of September 1914, he was becoming increasingly worried for his safety as a rising spy panic in Britain led to foreigners coming under suspicion. He travelled to Ireland, where he intended to keep a low profile until he could make his escape from the UK.

But he had little training, and the Brits were on to him. They monitored his communications and let them go through until his reports became too good, and then they arrested him.



When the Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933, it declared him a national hero. Lody became the subject of memorials, eulogies and commemorations in Germany before and during the Second World War. A destroyer bore his name.



That destroyer was later confiscated by the Brits.

So much for “thanks for your service”:

I can’t imagine that was popular for a moment. I can’t find any information on the incident, and wonder how widespread it was.


  Another of the many, many rustic joke columns. Except this guy seems to be spouting genuine frontier gibberish:

Why would they have to advertise? Well: By 1924, ridership had already peaked.

That would be the Civil War?

She’d be in her seventies, I think. Hence a dry crone, best left alone to sit and wither.




That'll do! Back to the smokes of '57.





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