I've said it before, but if Wonderella and I agree that you are off the rails, then dude, you are seriously off the rails. However, people seem to eagerly argue that the KFC Double Down "sandwich" is the greatest abomination in fast food history.


Even if you handicapped them by putting a bun around it, it's a double chicken sandwich with cheese and bacon. That doesn't even survive the first round of the Fast Food Abomination playoffs. When I was living in California, Jack in the Box would routinely offer specials like double cheeseburgers with three slices of cheese, five strips of bacon, and ranch dressing. But this? Burger King has spent years with "buy one chicken sandwich, get one free" coupons, and you have to know that customers were routinely eating both of them in the same meal. Take a deep breath.

My only question is why people are going into a KFC and ordering processed products like this when their signature fried chicken is so outstanding and you can just SEE that it's made out of a whole chicken with breading and fried in oil and nothing mysterious except exactly what the specific herbs and spices are.

On a slightly broader and less silly note, Nate Silver at 538 does an interesting deconstruction of the issue (which is a great relief from that site's normal operation these days of relaying Obama's talking points without even pretending that it's about poll analysis or statistics any more), and I think he is onto a good point when he talks about the utility of understanding nutritional benefits and harm per calorie. I think that there are two tough parts about meal planning with an eye towards maintaining weight. The first is making sure that you're taking in the proper amount of calories considering what you burn off through your basil metabolism and exercise, and the second is making sure that you don't accidentally shoot your entire wad of sodium or polyunsaturated fats on a single small portion of it. And the data that we get doesn't always do the best job of driving that home. I don't think that Silver has the magic bullet right off the bat, but it's an interesting avenue for exploration.
I know that most of you agree with me that the Internet was created to host the Terror Alert Dancing Banana, a completely useful applet that would ping the Department of Homeland Security to find the current alert level and then display the lovable Dancing Banana icon doing his thing in the appropriate color. And, if you are reading this, then you are like me in trying to continue to find purpose of life despite the obvious death of the Internet when that site when offline. Truly the largest disappointment to online life since the Really Big Button started doing something.

Well, I don't know exactly when it happened, but the third shoe has dropped. Weather Pixie would appear to be gone. Now you have to comprehend the local weather through boring one-dimensional numbers rather than glamorous online paper dolls wearing appropriate clothes for the current conditions. I'm quite afraid to see what will disappear next.
My niece just celebrated her fourth birthday, and her cake had this on it.

It is either the most awesome or the most horrifying thing I have ever seen, and I still can't decide which.

[profile] prarierabbit, I owe you an apology, because I woke up Sunday morning and realized that I had managed to sleep through the Sarah Palin tour. It sounds more positive than the story I had heard about some previous stop. According to our paper, nobody who wanted a signed book failed to get one, and she stayed an hour over schedule to make that happen and apparently took very few breaks. She went through about 1200 books in four hours, but I haven't heard from anyone who was let down by the lack of quality time. There was a small crowd of protesters and one guy who got himself arrested for protesting outside the approved zone. Sounds pretty much like she treated us right, and we didn't make big asses of ourselves, so win-win.

On the other hand, of course, some members of my home town are less capable of not making asses of themselves:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Windowless News Van for Kids - The Ball
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Up to about 42000 words in my NaTexWriMo challenge. I keep hitting the limit of what I know, and then I struggle enough to carve out a whole new section, and I've actually been pulling ahead on my word count per day. I guess it's valuable to have something to hit my head against, so I'm very glad to have been doing it. I think I'm finally optimistic that I'll find a way to make it to the end, even if I'm not perfectly sure where those last 8000 words are going to come from yet.
At the halfway point in the month, my writing project is up to 20,299 words and 16 diagrams. I've come to think that whoever said that a picture was worth a thousand words wasn't a mathematical writer, because my pictures would seem to be generally worth only about 250 words. It's laid out at 41 pages right now (and that's normal A4 paper, not tiny book paper), solving 135 problems out of my textbook.

I'm thinking that my output is probably due to drop like a rock for the rest of the month. Even though there are 192 problems left, I've nearly covered the entire syllabus of the undergraduate course that I took (and then graded for four semesters), so the sections that are left are some combination of difficult and esoteric. The solutions will probably be longer when they come, but I think that they probably will require much more thought per word, and 1000 words per day is probably too optimistic.

I'm thinking about writing a chapter of my own about the process of mathematical proof writing, as my papergrading experience lead me to the belief that a lot of people do not have the innate talent to write out a well-argued proof by induction or proof by contradiction even if they understand fundamental logic and the material they are trying to convey. Alternatively, I guess I could jump over to my abstract algebra, topology, or combinatorics textbooks to flesh out my word count for the rest of the month. Then again, I might keep on hitting my head against graph theory for a while and be pleased with the new revelations that come out of it even if I miss the "goal" of NaNoWriMo, which I've already perverted by writing non-fiction and having worked on the material ahead of time.

ETA: OMG, I just found out that I've been robbed all this time. How many words are there in the sentence "Let v be a vertex of G"? I think there are seven. But if I throw math tags around the two variable names to give them the italic look and spacings of math variables, LyX doesn't count them as words. I'm pretty shocked that a mathematical layout application would offer the feature of a word count and then undercount like that.
I don't recall it being just a tot, but I am told that I watched the premier episode of Sesame Street 40 years ago today. I absolutely remember watching very many of the subsequent episodes. It was smart and dear, and it taught me about cooperation and imagination and appreciating diversity and how to count to twenty in Spanish. It spawned the greatest childrens book ever.

There have been dark moments over the years. I really wasn't a fan of the 1985 decision to positively declare that Mr. Snuffleupagus existed. (Yes, yes, if you don't do that then kids will be too afraid to tell grownups about their sexual abuse. But it de-legitimizes my childhood imaginary friends who haven't been seen by grownups.) I was a very very confused child when they recast Gordon TWICE without announcement, as if I wouldn't notice that Susan was now married to a different guy than before. (That didn't happen in my white, middle-class world, you understand, so I assumed that such switches were not unusual elsewhere.) And I think that Elmo has settled into an adorable sharp-witted monster and I have a secret crush on Kevin Clash, but he sure started out as an over-commercialized hot mess.

But, you know, watch this and tell me that any of that matters. That's quality. What are Joey and John-John up to these days?
In lieu of having anything insightful to say about the scandal that might take down British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, I will point out that it would be a shame if this earnest anthem became history instead of current events. Granted, it isn't "Kenya" or "Mango", but I love me some Weebl songs.


Matthew Daly

December 2012

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