Monthly Archives: February 2017

SpaceX tries to disrupt and partner with NASA at the same time

It’s not explicitly stated, but if you read this: If you think NASA is frustrated with SpaceX, you’re probably right in Ars Technica, then you may draw the same conclusion. It seems SpaceX is taking advantage of its partnership with NASA to position itself to get the point where it can get by without it and eventually compete with the space agency.

If that was not the case, then I would expect SpaceX to stick to missions that were separate from NASA and supportive of NASA. Instead they seem to be trying to compete with NASA for the same missions.

It’s a tricky call for SpaceX: if they are not careful, they could ruin their partnership and find themselves without a steady source of income to fund their ambitions. I’m all for both NASA and SpaceX both being viable for the long term. Let’s hope that happens.

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How to read more books

If you want to read more books but struggle, then I recommend this article: How I Tricked Myself Into Reading More Books. I have applied a number of the lessons in this article and I have gone to reading 2-3 books a year to reading over 20 a year.

Besides the lessons in this article, there are four other methods I use to read more books.

  1. Buy (or borrow) more books than you can read. I used to buy a book and then try and read it. What I found was that if I didn’t like it much, I would put it down and not read anything. Now I tend to buy 3 or more books at a time, and have them close by. If I get stuck on one, I move on to another until I find myself reading often. Most times I will come back to the book I got stuck on. If I find I continue to get stuck on it, I just toss it.
  2. Follow the 50/100 page rule. This rule has two parts. Part 1: if there is nothing of merit in the book by 50 pages, get rid of it. Part 2: if there is something of merit in the first 50 pages but nothing more by page 100, get rid of it. Life is too short and there are too many good books out there to waste your time trying to finish a poor one.
  3. Skim the middle of non-fiction books. I find for many non-fiction books, the beginning is strong and the ending is either strong or short. However, in the middle you often find repetition. For example, for how-to books or books that have examples or cases to illustrate the main ideas of the book, you will find many of the same ideas played out 5 or 6 times. I find after 2 or 3 times, I either agree with the author’s ideas or I don’t. Either way, I can start to skim by the 2nd or 3rd time.
  4. Mix up light reading with heavy reading. If you find you are reading heavy material all the time, you might find you read less. I do. Likewise, if you read light material all the time, you may give up on reading because it isn’t satisfying. So switch it up. Diversifying your reading keeps it interesting and keeps you from getting stuck in a reading rut.

Derek Parfit: Why anything? Why this? 

The great philosopher Derek Parfit died recently. At the time, many things were posted about him, including where you can find his works online. One such work is this:: Derek Parfit · Why anything? Why this? Part 1 · LRB 22 January 1998.

In it, he asks:

Why does the Universe exist? There are two questions here. First, why is there a Universe at all? It might have been true that nothing ever existed: no living beings, no stars, no atoms, not even space or time. When we think about this possibility, it can seem astonishing that anything exists. Second, why does this Universe exist? Things might have been, in countless ways, different. So why is the Universe as it is?

Worth reading, and accessible, even if you aren’t a philosopher (although we are all philosophers, from time to time).

Where the weather is not too hot, not too cold…but just right

I often wondered, especially in the bleak mid-winter, if there are places that have lovely weather all of the time. Well, someone at Buzzfeed wondered this too and came up with this list: 10 U.S. Cities Where The Weather Is Perfect Year-Round.

Some of the cities on this list (L.A., San Francisco), shouldn’t surprise anyone. Others, like Galveston, Texas (seen in the image above) might be unexpected.

If you are thinking of moving to some place in the U.S., you want to check out this list.

I’d like to see Buzzfeed do an extended list for cities worldwide. I like winter, but I’d rather visit Winter in some other city than have Winter visit me in my city. 🙂

How to build a simple web page fast? Use HTML Shell

For testing purposes, I occasionally need to generate a simple page to test. This “quick custom boilerplate HTML5 markup generator” does the job for me. Recommended.

html shell

The easiest of minestrone recipes is…

.. this: Minestrone Soup Recipe – Bon Appétit Recipe | Bon Appetit.

Purests would argue it isn’t minestrone at all. Let’s say it is in the style of a good minestrone, and it opens you up to make it with whatever you have and whatever you feel like.

This recipe calls for Sambal Oelek. If you don’t have it, but you have sriracha or chili-garlic sauce, then you are in business. (For a good run down on how each of those three sauces differ, see this.)

Enjoy!

Beautiful Geometric Paper Sculptures 



Colossal has some gorgeous paper sculptures on exhibit on their site. Created by Matthew Shlian, they are well worth seeing. Click the link to see.