Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

April 8th, 2009:

Odd Lots

  • From the Words I Didn’t Know Until Yesterday Department: “charcuterie,” meaning cured meats like bacon, ham, prosciutto, and the preparation thereof.
  • I talked to the realtor who’s handling the listing of the old Heinlein house here in Colorado Springs. What she said astounded me: Heinlein’s 1950 custom house is still in there. They built that ugly thing around it in 1995 or so. Parts of the original structure were removed, but most of it still exists, although it evidently was used as framing more than anything else.
  • And further relevant to the Heinlein House is a report from elder SF fan Bruce Pelz, who not only visited the house in Colorado Springs in 1963 when the Heinleins were still living there, but he slept in their legendary fallout shelter. (Cool photo there–definitely click through! And thanks to Bruce Baker for the link.)
  • Needless to say, I haven’t visited the Heinlein fallout shelter (I stood in line to shake the great man’s hand at MidAmericon in 1976, and that was the only time I ever met him) but I frequently visited the 10-foot-deep underground fallout shelter of the late William A. “Bill” Rhodes in Phoenix, which he was using as a cool (literally) computer room until his death in 2006. It was culturally jarring–people of my parents’ generation took fallout shelters for granted, and people of my generation (for the most part) found them appalling.
  • CFLs may not be the big environmental win that they’re being touted as, because the power factor of the lamps is very low. Thery’re still a win, but the hype needs to be pruned back a little.
  • The whole idea of a CAPTCHA may be flawed, and although there are a number of objections to CAPTCHAS, this article pins down the primary and probably unfixable one: You can pay people to solve them. There are apparently some porn/pirate sites that charge for access in solved CAPTCHAS. And if nothing else works, hire a CAPTCHA-breaking firm in the third world. It looks to me like CAPTCHAs are becoming at best speed-bump hindrances to bots. If I had to guess, I’d say make it slower to establish accounts, and certainly slower for one IP to sequentially attempt a CAPTCHA. Could teergrubing make a comeback?
  • For the benefit of those who asked, here is the Web site of the people who did my crowns over this past year. They are artists, especially Dr. Frank Seaman. The 15-month project was actually a collaboration between two independent offices in the same building. Dr. Jeanne Salcetti did the periodontal portion (gingivectomy, tooth extraction, bone graft, and implant) and she was wonderful too. I recommend both of them without hesitation.