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September 3, 2019

Experts' Experts: Salted-in-the-Shell Peanuts are "Best Served Warm"


Who knew?

Not me until yesterday when I read what was on the back of a bag of CB's Nuts Barrel-Roasted Small Batch Robust Roast Peanuts.


From the bag back:


1) Spread peanuts one layer deep on a cookie sheet

2) Heat in 275° oven for 8-10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes


Bon appetit!

September 3, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


A new Netflix series, eight episodes, centering on a Norwegian special forces unit stationed in Afghanistan.

The scene moves between Oslo (and its outskirts) and Afghanistan.

"The Norwegian way" when it comes to warfare is both unlike and like that of the U.S.

As is standard with these series, superb actors none of which I've ever seen nor heard of previously.

Highly recommended.

Lagniappe: the camera work, with its quickly shifting framing, reminds me of the films of the late, great Tony Scott.

September 3, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

San Francisco FogCam gets a reprieve

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Constant readers will recall my August 21, 2019 post on the then-imminent August 31, 2019 planned demise of what is believed to be the world's longest-running public webcam, the FogCam hosted by San Francisco State University since 1994.

Turns out it got a last-minute stay.

Today's New York Times story follows.

The San Francisco FogCam, believed to be the longest-running public webcam, was supposed to shut down at the end of August, 25 years after it began broadcasting images of life at San Francisco State University (and, on occasion, the city's trademark fog).

But after recent news reports publicized the beloved webcam's impending demise, the university decided to step in to "preserve and run it indefinitely," according to the FogCam's website.

"San Francisco State University can confirm it has agreed to continue maintaining the FogCam, which prevents shutdown of the service," the website said. "San Francisco State University has supported operation of the FogCam since its inception in 1994, a major technology milestone at the time. The university looks forward to continuing the webcam's legacy."

The FogCam was originally set up by two students at the university, Jeff Schwartz, known online as Webdog, and Dan Wong, called Danno.

They were studying instructional technologies at the Graduate College of Education at the time.

According to a 2004 interview with The Golden Gate Xpress, a student-run publication, the men bought the camera from a campus bookstore and sought to provide "a typical view of campus life," long before the popularization of streaming video.

The FogCam began capturing images every 20 seconds, as it still does today.

Over the decades, the webcam has drawn a sizable following as an everyday chronicle of the seemingly mundane.

Its location on campus has sometimes changed, partly because of run-ins with school administrators who threatened to shut it down on several occasions.

Mr. Wong and Mr. Schwartz had initially wanted to put the webcam in the student center, but they were denied access.

They placed it in front of the student health center, in a room overlooking Tapia Drive, and, ultimately, on the edge of campus, facing Holloway Avenue.

The webcam was becoming harder to maintain.

Mr. Schwartz told the news website SFGate last month that "we no longer have a really good view or place to put the camera."

"The university tolerates us," he added, "but they don't really endorse us and so we have to find secure locations on our own."

San Francisco State University did not respond to a request seeking comment on Sunday evening.

Neither did the FogCam's creators.

Before he knew that the FogCam would not be turned off, Mr. Schwartz told The New York Times last month that it was easier to accept the end because internet ventures nowadays tended to be more corporate in nature.

"The big technology companies have stifled innovation," he said. "They rake in billions of dollars by surveilling people who do — and don't — buy products."

Mr. Schwartz said he and Mr. Wong had never sought to make money with the FogCam.

"It was a throwback to the time when anyone could publish anything," Mr. Schwartz said. "A lot of people were experimenting. It wasn't very exciting. But it didn't matter."

September 3, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Now you see me


Above, the GIF version of the cover of the latest issue of the New Yorker.

This is the first time I've seen such a rendering, but my Crack Research Team®© tells me the New Yorker produced its first such image for the October 6, 2014 issue.

So I'm only five years behind the curve.

In any event, I love it.

September 3, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

HiMirror Mini Premium: TMI

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Wrote Rhik Samadder in the Guardian:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the most acne-prone of them all? "RHETORICAL QUESTION LOL" I'm thinking bitterly, staring into this week's device.

HiMirror Mini Premium (€259, himirror.com) is a smart surface that analyses your skin, presenting a breakdown of wrinkles, red spots, dark spots, dark circles, fine lines, pores and roughness.

Every day for a week I have been looking into this pitiless oracle — and the news is never good.

I may have hidden depths, but my sallow is all too visible.

The mirror keeps flashing up bits of rude advice, telling me to get more calories from peanut butter, or informing me my outer skin "loses moisture easily, as it is composed of the oldest and driest cells".

Right to my face.

It might as well be calling me Ol' Wonken Chops.

In its favour, HiMirror is technically mesmerising.

You line up your face to a virtual mask and it snaps a picture of you to analyse.

The mirror is a mirror — unless you choose to magnify your face by x2 or a horrific x3, in which case it switches to a tablet-style camera in selfie mode.

It displays weather and news snippets. (Deeply weird to be given the latest on Kashmir when obsessing over your pores.)

You can connect to Spotify and watch beauty tutorials on YouTube.

I'm a sucker for this kind of fluid futurism — and, unlike many overengineered devices, it works beautifully.

When I turn it on, a purple sprite formed of bubbles winks at me, as if I'm taking a wee break from reality.

By default, the sides of the mirror illuminate in clear white, although they turn warm and orange if you select the "Makeup studio" option.

You can even try virtual makeup effects using augmented reality.

The interface is stunning.

My face, however, is not.

It's hard, being informed how rough you are on a daily basis, that you rate "poor" for dark spots but "average" for wrinkles.

This information is tracked via projected graphs.

The data is meant to indicate whether your skincare regime is working, which many people will love.

As far as I'm concerned, the mirror might as well be shouting: "Come get some ham, Fatty Boom-Boom," first thing in the morning.

It gets worse.

The company also offers a suite of accessories with which the mirror can communicate — including the Smart Body scale (€119, himirror.com).

"You are underfat and with little muscle," the mirror tells me after they have a little conversation.

It flashes up a stick drawing of a man with a tiny arse.

I have never been so insulted.

It also claims I weigh 6st 12lb (44kg), which can't be right – the tureen of chilli I ate last night weighed about that — yet I spend two days walking around wondering if it's true. (In fact, I had the scale on a carpet, which threw off the reading. Proper readings, on a hard surface, reveal that I weigh just more than 10st and have 9lbs of bone; that I am slightly fat, 64% water and 8% nachos. OK, not that last one.)

"You are standard," the proper readout reveals. "With little muscle."

None of this is a healthy way for anyone to think of themselves.

Body fat and basal metabolic rate may be interesting to gym bunnies, but should we care what our muscle mass, bone weight or water percentage is?

You are not training for Tokyo 2020.

You can like yourself without those numbers, or hate yourself when you are "winning".

It is impressive how the scale reads body composition from only an electric current, but frankly it is too much data.

Staring at the chasm between yourself and your beauty ideals won't bring you any closer to achieving them.

If x3 magnification isn't enough, how about x6, or x160?

If you don't like yourself, there will always be more ground to make up.

From an engineering perspective, HiMirror is extraordinary.

You could lose hours with it.

Is such a use of time more important than nurturing your abilities and talents?

Give me strength.

And a bigger arse.


The mirror and the scale both require a mains connection, which is just too much cable.

I'm falling over myself, but not to recommend this.


Mirrorballs to it all. 2/5

September 3, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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