Saturday, December 31, 2022

Public Key Housekeeping ...

I recently had reason to reset my password on ProtonMail, which means my previous keys don't work. So here's the new public key for thomaslknapp at protonmail dot com, for anyone who cares:

 -----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK----- xsFNBGOwPFIBEADZsiTWeN0wJzppAYs7IpeJmAsRSy051BJ0tQVwI9B6xF9D Vi6lbIxyBQa/lW2WrNwUHceLVl6k9vy93kh0T1IFXrczULjdFLKTMVAJc0S1 vSqCjOJpwlhK8FF/jkatHeZo5HB1bOJf+eBe+Rcc3RsmW+eNsGl5OS5jrvWT Oxz6Z7ggNddqwaLiST79Yr4SgjAfIizp0kDsIEj0Rw82iPBHr0ECxiG68p9i TfdmYTlmOj4ETsE0MXJbzQWAck5lqKCjWX243rAZMpCU8e+LoNDHmKj6Clxk hJhv4RPUqziBCDrSL9E12D8nYYbiyBBztMgb2MFoz8Ep1PrNG/E8zT2t8kZG yGXKc5OjJEP7xZHjgCdNmhpladxWa5IfPSfVeb++ijxFXGNgjhuTIOu2aO2W tkte/LKXQR6zx/7HE10JDsyS+RJNpTM7m5D3q1gOh9bcmBcD6/QPBMW71nOf t7koTZ3RL96GM4jICK/zlQgUm+c1yFhopNpOXm2k6n+BrKrB8kW5UVtw76JW xOYl6IdNmlLsh+qTT5KE9tp6qPSzCfVgyuSG/eAv4/oPcq9Ay1Kc8rv7GCC8 1DuYTkggHiHYJ9wraZtNol9fOjO5iyZsaqqqJQ2x4+SlXivfsUd1zsgHIhMf NqYks5W4IKOlNbmdWtLXFDob4SSe2x2iGrQ8qwARAQABzTl0aG9tYXNsa25h cHBAcHJvdG9ubWFpbC5jb20gPHRob21hc2xrbmFwcEBwcm90b25tYWlsLmNv bT7CwYoEEAEIAD4FAmOwPFIECwkHCAkQ1duY+twCdRkDFQgKBBYAAgECGQEC GwMCHgEWIQThu0oAyDR8dyCYcmLV25j63AJ1GQAAqHIP/jvWHIQ7cCm9M/xe JMu26ooEEH8zotY86c4MwZ4FPPxfyuGIiiZICa/WiCdYGJ9kaVjH4rN/pH8W CUHivZUX3UQxXBgq6FK/FPc3nNQRWTJdlBjnI4Y4i+P5TKMBvkUct9kNAxaQ aGSZv4PVVS+DnpLz5N6ENUOO63QOfmOZVjDHGlgIwN8Xbs+yGXiQoCTvZw8n umTrqjJDn88/4tSSFIYW06DRXFP4geh8GM0SPA5YhDfZPTjWeZU/9qcS5FLu c/qyDdIv8orVidJGCsLCixDSh0opqzrwDumHzsOqE2ZOrNzugwAvFg8MGzo9 UlMjcwIgXxv1mylOKIAGkq7AhP8z4NRgVFf51vmdNDb2C5x2A3hzVtwjggyR bV6LWbOObeCkeqLeOoMK2/sLzVwj1J9YPM/8Y4B4iCDmmRltKPIUKUyUETzE b2yQukQ0KKRRoijMAvgZXdAnk4vGGL+M2uHssYiBVgLoUimBdCdtRgs+OZiJ SeEMf4nT36fLiAPfysPimMHE7WJM9RAdgICuo9S7mK6OdutxhPHpfo94avX7 rmqZCeFDaPsxhLCrwBAW/2yJgQwSMlxN4Xr4xjbdc5+R+u19eS0W7gZZ/sWK 0zYPx6OEpa09GSfbxzMD49W48jM9QADQF/J1SrEThCFOqKmhYW4jMVkKLIAj l7v+gPTEzsFNBGOwPFIBEADMOkVdoydd84ydfkJ+COwTDMU/s6Ejc58629Ld Y0lafwzjnOidwQ4LvfU2w7jsOBDfmSDw0Q1ydlF1FA80Qg88hxM4njtKCHAZ igUxqGj62fXLbvHHGUwOueRydvGk2r9R6DTbPxI9sHnpl5Wb2aRRpyYlSj67 Y7SR1ZGytxmqTgU2MBzy8ZTgocgR6tQc/G5iee38bTaWrYqGf8dYwogEC6nX VxA3hq0TPSqd2S0e6LPvOvxoOra/TN0tOC9bQeamHxBbLPJdb4+/crGJ5cfO uaNzvD2wN349sqAorhV345B5/VHUHnvqSEanwYTaNsg1rG0o+JRl0kjF7EHA +WqBSkGrw2WSiEMQavQyvncBXkoKprvGFBh2qtDvFGwon5UgozGeyLCByFwO jqTGPpjNrrElCncNUfz5vXDafoxOkUA1SEj3MsBHVEXFbkzq4HsEmV626/4I LcN2G/YkbKfQSL5VR5qnTDyvx0QCnNpADo/GaAI0ZxZxeWrVCredXEXAi0yq vmiEatP23Hebk5mSVs+fxju9NrBPiT/1uIEkfWI8D5RttgaWyC9xq30DTPgy OMKw7RTAsM6ItFEOKeImnen14kNRGXREYuGAOdbER6d/2PSWEIbA20NJIQ9Z cCQmF7SF7jw5F3pF1iZJeeVMX/q5WSIHEpW2fm7/ko74uwARAQABwsF2BBgB CAAqBQJjsDxSCRDV25j63AJ1GQIbDBYhBOG7SgDINHx3IJhyYtXbmPrcAnUZ AAA1SQ/+M5ke4/reF6B941Vpvk1MDlGGzXK38YVL7grZz/CFxNpvXvxhGSZt RRo/s9CXkoDghVqZ/F8b3G5qCCLI3+TRNcEOEiSwbxZHVhF6RaYxVmdoQGFU Of+06kUkmGUzz9Qx7JDu3ilL74QYWh55HHHly3DhxCG87NYy7fTrSVaA8CD6 x8LDRGCGKZLO9gBPRGw2UuLFp6kW/98laGaefDWizX2Obmp4eK/i12Hy7sRM SMMSpOHRKh+ERH3NNPsWSPlZy49M9MO78QHjq987mLYt7OqccuhYgWt/LIPx SrVlMAvg2UCY9gRw4o97XQR80J7w+QKLg+Tj3TNa+KCH4mW0VTQEj1B7pBJW deO//+UPuacUARGNja0o21raVQPSUV9Y3R4URva72xkpdpuod3r1RrciYgfT l/dK/8wFbfgNM3IqWeYo5pT+q1BeIbrmn8W61rS2ouBUMU8F4kZujLnyzsjB sQJH+acwA3wYpRDF91S3nc3gY5jQqPPSP0lge96homeiuqMH7iqs80kwbVHt 1e4br48KO4RMiQfZJm9N8vAyphS2/hbLf7E3hPBknY9QQ/hUOIUajjyqnEMy D/vZrpfOwTPf0aFTw9dxiy+1Ft5euB5h/Xcc2Rx4s4PkbDZdHC7tkPrV7+Up k3nM/NRx9H+Nw3UAcVKraXsOCgqEi4o= =JYeI -----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

A Little Bit of a Statement

I had a note from my primary care physician last night, following up on those raw chest CT results:

The CT chest results came back abnormal. Please keep your appt in January, we will discuss this in more details. I will also send the referral to the lung doctor.

Potentially bad health news always gets me thinking about certain things, things I suppose it gets everyone thinking about. Specifically, 1) mortality, 2) responsibility, and 3) options. It also generally results in a certain attitude on my part that I'd like to share before there's any chance that I might turn into a fearful, whiny, blame-shifting, first-four-stages-of-grief type. So:

  • Mortality: Absent massive advances in medicine and technology and so forth, we're all going to die. I won't try to bullshit you by claiming I like the whole idea, but at least as far back as my teens I've accepted the proposition, and for a long time expected my own death to come fairly early. I drove fast. When I joined the Marine Corps, my wanted and expected MOS was infantry, not admin clerk.  Both in and out of the Corps, I engaged in reasonably risky physical behaviors like crawling through caves, rappelling off of cliffs and helicopters, etc. I tried several ("illegal") drugs widely considered scary and dangerous, although I never became a habitual user of those. And yes, I started dipping snuff at 12 and smoking at 16. It's not that I believe in a Big Rock Candy Mountain afterlife or anything like that (I just don't know what, if anything, happens after one dies, although I engage in some comforting speculations and childhood-inculcated fears). It's that I have preferences as to how to live, and that I've allowed those preferences to outweigh any dread of dying.
  • Responsibility: That's mine. All mine. Big Tobacco didn't tie me down and shove cigarettes in my mouth. I knew from childhood ("Surgeon General's Warning ...") that they were referred to informally as "coffin nails" for a reason. The Marine Corps' (very effective) recruitment approach is to discourage potential enlistees with stories about how difficult and dangerous it is, and I grew up in the shadow of Vietnam with stories from veterans (and their surviving family members),  e.g. Apocalypse Now on the screen, etc. I heard the "just say no to drugs" messaging. I got the lectures on how I was going to get myself killed skateboarding, rock-climbing, etc. I cannot say I wasn't warned, repeatedly and stridently, about every dangerous decision I made. I made them. Me. Nobody else. If I die because I did stupid things, the stupidity involved was and is mine and mine alone.
  • Options: Here's where it gets variable. I've known many people with terminal or likely-terminal diagnoses/prognoses. Some of those people have chosen to take every conceivable offered measure to extend their lives. Their call to make. For me, it's a cost-benefit thing. If I'm told I have six months to live in relative comfort, or that I can possibly extend that to 12 months with a series of measures that are painful to me and inconvenient to my family, I plan and hope I'll stick with the plan, to go with the six months. I've always thought I'd rather have six not-too-terrible months than 12 really bad months, knowing that the end is coming either way. But I suppose I might change my mind when it actually comes to that fork in the road.


A digression based on the "options" section:

I know many people who are interested in, have researched and used or practiced, etc., "alternative medicine." Nothing against that, and if I get a diagnosis justifying it I may well try a thing or two -- especially of the palliative, but also possibly of the treatment, variety.

I also know a few people who spend a lot of their own time and energy on "life extension" in general. Again, nothing against that. If it's how you roll, I hope you're enjoying life. For me, it comes back to something like the "six not-too-terrible months versus 12 really bad months" thing. I've always found it interesting, but not interesting enough to set aside much time or energy for. Spending 40 hours enjoying life less in the hope of getting an extra 40 hours to also enjoy less because I'm using that 40 hours to try and get another 40 hours isn't my idea of a good investment. But some people enjoy the quest itself, so they're getting a good deal either way, aren't they?

Anyway, the real takeaway I hope you'll get out of this post is that if I later suffer some kind of breakdown and start whining about it all and trying to blame others for my impending death, that will just be bullshit. I expect to die, and unless a drunk driver falls out of the sky and lands on me or something, I expect the way I die to have been a reflection of my life choices, not something unfairly inflicted on me by others.

Wordle 560 Hint

Hint: Today's answer could be like the guy in Old Spice Commercials, or like a beach-side Sydney suburb in Australia.

Not Enough? Get the first letter of today's Wordle after the ads below.

New to Wordle? Here are some thoughts on how I go about solving each day's puzzle.

First Letter: M

Friday, December 30, 2022

After 40 Years of Smoking ...

... I got my first chest CT this morning.


Longer read:

OK, it might not be that bad.

Some highlights:

  • "Finding suggestive of pulmonary Langerhans' cell histiocytosis with multiple pulmonary nodules ..."
  • "Nodular contour of the liver which can be seen with chronic hepatocellular disease."
  • "Probably benign finding: 1-2% risk of malignancy"
  • "Clinically significant or potentially significant non-lung cancer finding." (I think that may be referring to the liver part)
  • "Mild mixed emphysema."
  • "[I]nnumerable bilateral pulmonary nodules measuring up to 4 mm."
The only surprise there is that it didn't say something like "geez, this guy is full of lung cancer." Four decades of smoking that didn't result in emphysema would be the real surprise.

I'm not that worried about the liver stuff -- I got the workup on that several years ago, and it amounted to "everything seems fine, but we can see why you were sent to us because it does look kinda weird."

And there was no evidence of aortic aneurisms, which I was worried about given my family history. Mild coronary artery calficifation, mild aortic atherosclerosis, etc. I had a stress test and echocardiogram a few years ago, and seem to be in reasonably good shape there.

Presumably I will find out what it all means at my next appointment with my primary care physician. The only actual recommendation in the report was that I have another CT in six months instead of a year.

I also had blood work done. Apparently rosuvastatin is good stuff. My triglycerides were in normal range for the first time I can recall. And my total cholesterol count was below normal, with the "bad" cholesterol in the normal range.

I Like Silver ...

... especially at 100% below spot.

And if you click on THIS AFFILIATE LINK to enter a drawing for a free 100-ounce bar of the good stuff, I get additional entries of my own.

So please do that.

Disclaimer: I have not previously purchased metals from BullionMax and have no opinion on their quality, customer service, honesty, etc. However, I noticed them because they're promoted by my favorite radio show, Free Talk Live, and I don't ever recall the FTL crew helping anyone scam me (I've purchased stuff they tout before and was always, so far as I can recall, satisfied with it). I generally buy my metal either from persons I know, or from APMEX (not an affiliate link).

Wordle 559 Hint

  Hint: Sink your teeth into today's puzzle, but be prepared for a grind.

Not Enough? Get the first letter of today's Wordle after the ads below.

New to Wordle? Here are some thoughts on how I go about solving each day's puzzle.

First Letter: M

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Next Up in the Never-Ending Quest for My Ideal Desktop Machine ...

... is the ATOPNUC Mini PC. About $105 including tax and a $10-off coupon at Amazon (not an affiliate link). That's for the model with Ubuntu instead of Windows 10, and with 8Gb of RAM instead of 4. Call it my Christmas present to myself, although it won't be here until next week.

I've been using the Raspberry Pi 4B as my "daily driver" desktop machine since August of 2021 and I can't say I'm terribly unhappy with it.

But what I really want is: An 8Gb Chromebox that doesn't cost several hundred dollars.

Why? Because other than an occasional game of a Connect 4 clone, I don't really use the operating system.

I've gone through 32-bit Raspbian, 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS (which was buggy and kept freezing), Manjaro Linux in both KDE Plasma and xfce desktop editions. And all of them are just more operating system, using more resources, than I need. I use 1) the Chromium or Chrome browser, and 2) a text editor that's a Chrome/Chromium extension. Or, to put it a different way, I'm using the features of a Chromebook or Chromebox, with a bunch of other resource-consuming crap just taking up space and CPU time.

Last week, I tried installing the Raspberry Pi build of ChromiumOS, and it was just dreamy -- except that some things simply didn't work, and I was unable to successfully troubleshoot them.

I'm hoping that ChromiumOS (or ChromeOS Flex, if there's a build for this  AMD 9400 CPU , which there may or may not be) will work on this new machine.

It's got a small physical footprint, which I like.

It's got two HDMI out ports, so I won't need adapters, etc. to use it with my two monitors.

I am a little worried about its power consumption. Its power supply is 12 volt/3 amp, so it could conceivably draw up to 36 watts, while the Pi hardly ever breaks 10 watts even under load, and I'm trying to run entirely from solar power via a 160-watt panel and 300 watt-hour power station.

I guess we'll see. Worse comes to worst, it will end up as yet another project machine for my son to turn into a weird retro gaming box or something. But I'm hoping for the best.

Week 17 NFL Picks

Week 16 wasn't good to me. It wasn't terribly bad to me, but I did go for -7.6 points, with only eight correct picks on 16 games. That leaves me at 82.6 points for the season, still in the top 2/3 of players in the FiveThirtyEight NFL Forecasting Game.

Week 17 picks:

Dallas Cowboys beat Tennessee Titans -- 100%
Arizona Cardinals beat Atlanta Falcons -- 53%*
Carolina Panthers beat Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- 53%*
Detroit Lions beat Chicago Bears -- 71%
Washington Commanders beat Cleveland Browns -- 53%
Kansas City Chiefs beat Denver Broncos -- 100%
New York Giants beat Indianapolis Colts -- 53%
Jacksonville Jaguars beat Houston Texans -- 100%
New England Patriots beat Miami Dolphins -- 61%
Philadelphia Eagles beat New Orleans Saints -- 100%
Seattle Seahawks beat New York Jets -- 67%
San Francisco 49ers beat Las Vegas Raiders -- 71%
Los Angeles Chargers beat Los Angeles Rams -- 79%
Minnesota Vikings beat Green Bay Packers -- 91%
Baltimore Ravens beat Pittsburgh Steelers -- 67%
Cincinnati Bengals beat Buffalo Bills -- 61%

All of my picks differ from the FiveThirtyEight models in terms of percentage odds. Asterisks next to picks indicate where I disagree with the model on who actually wins/loses a game. If I change any of my picks, those changes will be made before kickoff of the game in question, and will appear as updates to this post.

Update, 12/29, 9:35am: I made a big move on tonight's game, upgrading the Cowboys' chances of defeating the Titans from 61% to 100%. The reason: Injury reports. The Titans would be an upset versus the Cowboys right now anyway, but at the moment they've got EIGHT players out with injuries (including QB Ryan Tennehill) and a ninth  listed as "doubtful" for tonight's game. A Titans win would fall into the "miraculous" category, so I decided to go whole-hog.

Wordle 558 Hint

 Hint: Got some mean dogs? Cry this before letting them off their leashes.

Not Enough? Get the first letter of today's Wordle after the ads below.

New to Wordle? Here are some thoughts on how I go about solving each day's puzzle.

First Letter: H

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

And Again with the Damn Grids ...

Jon Sanders at the American Institute for Economic Research:

There are only two ways to go: change the plan to destabilize the grid with politically favored renewables, or try to change people’s idea of normal grid operations.

There's a third way to go: Reduce reliance on "grids," period.

Naturally, Sanders throws out the "intermittency" argument against solar and wind. As I've pointed out elsewhere, that argument doesn't just go both ways, it favors household-level renewables over large centralized power plants and sprawling grids.

ALL energy sources are "intermittent":
Transformers blow. Drunk drivers, hurricanes, or ice storms take lines down or flood/freeze pumps. Trains full of coal derail. Pipelines leak.

When those problems occur, “intermittency” goes to “non-existence,” and “density” falls to zero, until they’re fixed, for every customer downstream of the problems.

If a squirrel chews through the wires connecting your solar panels to your internal home “grid,” your neighbor’s refrigerator doesn’t miss a beat.

As with everything, there's a cost-benefit analysis involved.

Maybe, for example, home (or neighborhood) solar or wind with ample battery storage (for cloudy or windless days) is more expensive per installed kilowatt-hour than is centrally-generated, grid-distributed coal, gas, hydro, or nuclear.

On the other hand, less centralization of power generation delivering to many usage nodes via a grid means that fewer people are affected when there's a problem at the generation or grid level.

Do you prefer cheaper power, or do you prefer to have your lights on even when there's a problem elsewhere (and for your neighbor to have his lights on even if yours are out)?

Another "Why Do These Not Exist" Thought

Gift cards for real estate.

Not sure why that popped into my head*, but it did and when I went to search for it all I found were 1) greeting cards for real estate agents and 2) gift cards for some outfit that supplies real estate agents with leads.

But why not a gift card that can only be spent as a down payment or mortgage payment on real estate?

Seems like a seller of real estate or a mortgage broker would make out well on the proposition -- cash flow coming in before anyone even looks at a house or lot and wants to buy it.

And it could be a good savings tool for people who keep thinking about buying a house but tend not to be great at saving.

And those people's friends and family might like to give them a gift card that gets spent (eventually) on something more substantial than dinner out or the latest game console.

I wonder if there are regulatory problems with the idea, or what?

* It probably popped into my head because I recently found what I consider, but Tamara doesn't, the perfect retirement spot, a nearly 1-acre lot in Golden Valley, Arizona, for single-digit-thousands of dollars. She objects to it being in the desert, being a "water haul" (i.e. no well or city water, you have a big tank and a truck comes by to fill it), etc. I was thinking about buying it anyway as an "investment" and then trying to get her out to it for a camping trip and hope she falls in love and says yeah, let's find a cheap RV to live in until we can afford to have a larger mobile home placed there.

Wordle 557 Hint

 Hint: Don't feel up to Wordle today? I urge you to get on with it anyway! 

Not Enough? Get the first letter of today's Wordle after the ads below.

New to Wordle? Here are some thoughts on how I go about solving each day's puzzle.

First Letter: I

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Wordle 556 Hint

 Hint: When an apartment is for sale, not for rent, it's usually one of these. 

Not Enough? Get the first letter of today's Wordle after the ads below.

New to Wordle? Here are some thoughts on how I go about solving each day's puzzle.

First Letter: C

Monday, December 26, 2022

Fairly Short and Hopefully Spoiler-Free Review(s) -- The Knives Out Flicks

I waited until Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery was about to arrive (on Netflix) to watch the original Knives Out movie (not on Netflix -- apparently the owner of streaming rights to the original was pissed that Netflix got the rights to two sequels and declined to let them stream the first one; I bought it on sale at Vudu). We watched the first one last week and the second one last night. A third one is on the way.

TL;DR --  They're both incredibly fun, star-studded whodunits, very much (and intentionally) in the mold of Agatha Christie, only not bloodshed-averse like her cozies. Daniel Craig as a southern-accented private investigator is a great turn. So, in the second one, is Edward Norton as a sort of Howard Hughes / Elon Musk eccentric billionaire type. And Christopher Plummer (in his last filmed role) as an eccentric author of mysteries in the first. Etc., etc..

Longer Version -- I don't really have one. You like comedic whodunit or you don't. You like the many, many actors who show up (including cameos, references, etc.) or you don't. I do.



As I think I've mentioned before, each morning I complete three items to maximize my Microsoft Rewards points (that is an affiliate link -- I get some points when people sign up for the free program through it). Those three items are called the "daily set."

One is just a search result on an interesting/relevant term (today's was Boxing Day).

The second is a quiz (today's was on which cities have National Hockey League teams).

The third is a daily poll.

Today's daily poll was on whether one prefers 1) apples or 2) tomatoes on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Personally I prefer neither, although I suppose some diced tomato (or maybe pico de gallo?) might not be terrible.

I generally take my grilled cheese sandwiches "plain." I've been known to throw a slice of bologna or some already-cooked bacon in there occasionally. Usually it's just cheese  and bread (sometimes I vary the types of each -- Muenster on sourdough is a favorite).

But apples? Not only do I not prefer that, I've never heard of that.

Apples? On grilled cheese? That sounds awful.

And yet a slim majority, as of the time I took the poll, were saying they preferred it.


Anyway, I've redeemed Microsoft Rewards (there's that affiliate link again) points for $40 worth of stuff (usually Amazon gift cards, but you can also enter sweepstakes, make charitable donations, etc.) this year, and am about at the $10 redemption level again. It's a minute or two per morning, and (along with Wordle) helps me get my brain in gear.

Wordle 555 Hint

 Hint: Most people do this all the time, but some people do it for a living while wearing robes (and even, in some places, wigs). 

Not Enough? Get the first letter of today's Wordle after the ads below.

New to Wordle? Here are some thoughts on how I go about solving each day's puzzle.

First Letter: J

Sunday, December 25, 2022


We only really get a few cold days a year here in north central Florida, but we're in the middle of a cold snap right now (low 20s in the mornings).

I went out to a church service last night, mostly to hear Tamara sing a song the music director wrote with her in mind for lead vocal (it was lovely, see pic below), and when we got home my "keep the well warm" setup had failed. I usually use a heat lamp and tarp, but I decided to use an actual heater instead, and it threw the breaker while we were gone. Things were already frozen (I also hadn't left enough things running, or at least enough things with enough volume), and they've just now thawed enough for us to have running water again.

Of course, it's supposed to hit 80 degrees by next Saturday, so I'm not inclined to complain TOO much.

Merry Christmas.

Wordle 554 Hint

Hint: The holidays are a great time to treat yourself to a little bit of this. 

Not Enough? Get the first letter of today's Wordle after the ads below.

New to Wordle? Here are some thoughts on how I go about solving each day's puzzle.

First Letter: E

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Wordle 553 Hint

Hint: Obsessing over Wordle? Try to keep a sense of balance and equilibrium. 

Not Enough? Get the first letter of today's Wordle after the ads below.

New to Wordle? Here are some thoughts on how I go about solving each day's puzzle.

First Letter: P

Friday, December 23, 2022

Wordle 552 Hint

Hint: Have a heart (and one of these to handle outgoing traffic)!

Not Enough? Get the first letter of today's Wordle after the ads below.

New to Wordle? Here are some thoughts on how I go about solving each day's puzzle.

First Letter: A

Thursday, December 22, 2022

NFL Week 16 Picks

Who, I'm running late -- only an hour until the first game of Week 16!

For Week 15, I only picked six of 16 games correctly, but I still came out in positive points territory because I got the games I went BIG on correct. Net 28.6 points, putting my total score for the season at 90.2, and keeping me in the top 1/3 of players in the FiveThirtyEight NFL Forecasting Game.

Week 16:

Jacksonville Jaguars beat New York Jets -- 61%
Baltimore Ravens beat Atlanta Falcons -- 61%
Buffalo Bills beat Chicago Bears -- 91%
Cincinnati Bengals beat New England Patriots -- 53%
Detroit Lions beat Carolina Panthers -- 53%**
Tennessee Titans beat Houston Texans -- 73%
Cleveland Browns beat New Orleans Saints -- 71%
Minnesota Vikings beat New York Giants -- 79%
Kansas City Chiefs beat Seattle Seahawks -- 100%
San Francisco 49ers beat Washington Commanders -- 91%
Philadelphia Eagles beat Dallas Cowboys -- 53%*
Las Vegas Raiders beat Pittsburgh Steelers -- 53%*
Miami Dolphins beat Green Bay Packers -- 91%
Denver Broncos beat Los Angeles Rams -- 53%
Arizona Cardinals beat Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- 53%*
Los Angeles Chargers beat Indianapolis Colts -- 53%*

Single asterisks indicated where I disagree with the FiveThrityEight Model. The double-asterisk on the Lions/Panthers game means that the model put that game at 50/50 instead of picking a winner. Any changes will be made before game times and explained in updates to this post.

Password Management: Moving On

Because I work on more than one computer (although not terribly often), a password manager application seems like a must so that I'm not forgetting and having to reset 6,000 passwords every time I travel, etc.

For several years, my password manager of choice has been LastPass (yes, I know they had a "data breach" a little while back, but they claim that no actual passwords were lost, and I've had no e.g. hacks seemingly connected to using it or anything like that).

But, starting a few days ago, I started having a real problem with LastPass. It wouldn't recognize my "master password" so that I could log in and use the application.

Was I forgetting my password? No. That's one of the few that I keep written down on a piece of paper.

Was I mis-typing my password? I typed very carefully. No dice.

But then a few minutes later, I tried again and logged in successfully.

This happened a couple of times, and I was about half convinced that my fingers were spazzing out and I was making typing errors.

So, by way of testing that theory, I changed the master password, wrote it down, and (unsafely, I know) stored a straight paste of the password in a text file on my hard drive.

Next time I went to log in, I pasted the new password in. No dice. Again. Nope. Five minutes later, hey, it works.

I can't have a password-protected app that randomly recognizes or doesn't recognize its own password. Especially when that app is where I store all my other passwords. So I'm trying out Dashlane as a replacement.

Wordle 551 Hint

Hint: I'm good. Very good. Especially at using a particular spreadsheet application.

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First Letter: E

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Thirteen Days

That's how long I was able to operate my computer and Echo Dot on solar power (starting from a fully charged power station) before plugging back into AC.

The last two days were 1) short enough, 2) overcast enough, 3) for long enough that I was getting drastically reduced output from the panel. As of this evening the station was down to about 10% (33 watt-hours of stored power left) and would likely have drawn 25-30 watt-hours overnight (I turn the computer off, but leave the Dot plugged in), with 3-4 hours of work to do in the morning before the sun would be back up and the panel generating power at all, let alone anything like peak power. So I just plugged in rather than have to do so in the morning.

This is presumably just about the worst I can expect in terms of sunlight conditions -- shortest days, cloudy weather. My guess is that from February through November, the 160-watt panel should be enough to keep those two things running without needing to tap the grid.

But of course, I'd like to power more things, and to never have to switch from solar to house AC. The latter could be accomplished with more panel alone, but the former would probably need more battery as well (the modem and router, unlike the computer, would be running 24/7).

Wordle 550 Hint

Hint: When I finally solved today's Wordle, I was over the moon about it.

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First Letter: L

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

I Never Really Do Get Away From Google ...

... and various events over the last few days (including a warning that Chrome apps are about to stop working in Linux) got me thinking about going back from my beloved Raspberry Pi 4B to a Chromebox.

Even after switching to the Pi, my browser was Chromium, my text editor was the Caret Chrome app, my main email continued to be Gmail, and I really didn't make much use of other software, so why not?

BUT! Pricing on Chromeboxes with at least 8Gb of RAM still isn't very attractive (I get this urge every so often and check).

Then I remember that Google now does something called "ChromeOS Flex," which allows you to turn older machines into Chromeboxes/Chrombooks. But when I went to have a look at that, I found that it only supports Intel and AMD processors. The Pi runs on an ARM CPU.

Again, BUT! There's a version of ChromiumOS for the Pi. So I burned it and am running it.

So far, so good -- and if I decide I don't like it after all, I've still got my Manjaro/xfce install sitting on an SD card, so it's as simple as shut down, change SD cards, restart to revert.

Update, 12/21/22, 7am: Well, ChromiumOS is mostly pretty sweet on a Pi, but there are some problems. 

One is that it tells me I'm low on disk space even though the install resides on a 128Gb SD card, the OS only takes up 2 or 3 gigs, and my files total less than on megabyte. Presumably a partitioning problem, but I'm not sure how I'd solve it since it's, you know, ChromeOS. I can research that.

Another is that it didn't like my audio setup. Had to plug in external speakers instead of running it through my monitor/TV audio. No biggie, and maybe I can figure that one out too.

The big one is that the build seems to dislike particular web sites. One,, it didn't want to let me log out of (although that seemed to fix itself later). The other is MailChimp, without which I simply cannot do. I could log in, etc., but when I clicked "create," it never moved on to letting me set up the day's Rational Review News Digest. I finally had to shut down, swap SD cards, and go back to Manjaro to get the day's email out.

If I have time over the next few days, I'll try to troubleshoot all that, because ChromiumOS is fast and probably doesn't consume nearly the resources. But I gotta get my work done.

Wordle 549 Hint

Hint: If your first and second guesses aren't correct, that next time may be the charm.

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First Letter: T

Monday, December 19, 2022

Wordle 548 Hint

Hint: If Wordle ever runs for public office, it should do so as part of a group with Scrabble and Wordscapes.

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First Letter: S

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Wordle 547 Hint

Hint: If you're feeling retro, turn off that lamp and work by the light from one of these to solve today's Wordle.

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First Letter: T

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Odd Take, IMO

According to Rod Dreher, increasing acceptance among evangelical Christians of 1) homosexuality and 2) "gender identity" beliefs conforming to the current trends -- specifically referring to God in non-male terms -- "is to neopaganize Christianity" in defiance of "basic Christian orthodoxy."

I find the complaint strange

Not because of any particular beliefs I may have regarding the subject matter he's targeting for the claim, but because of the claim itself.

"Basic Christian orthodoxy" is a needlessly long way of saying "Judaism," the religion Jesus practiced and taught.

Dreher's version of "basic Christian orthodoxy" (the Pauline heresy and its descendant sects) is itself the result of a Greco-Roman paganization of that religion. Even the doctrine of trinity, which he cites as evidence on the gender claim, was a kludge to drag the polytheistic Pauline sect back toward Christianity's Jewish monotheism pursuant to Constantine's identification of God with the official Roman pagan deity (the sun god Sol Invictus) and his requirement that Christians worship on that god's day (Sunday) rather than on the sabbath.

Dreher's problem with "neo-paganization" seems to be that it conflicts with his own "paleo-paganism," not that it conflicts with "basic Christian orthodoxy."

Best Mini-Vacation Ever

Thanks to reader GL, who had me out to his stomping grounds for an afternoon of shooting, an evening of backgammon, and a day of kayaking the Lower Santa Fe River!

Wordle 546 Hint

Hint: If today's Wordle had two more of these and some truth, it would be a country song.

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First Letter: C

Friday, December 16, 2022

Wordle 545 Hint

Hint: Today's puzzle requires further investigation. Poke and prod it a little bit.

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First Letter: P

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Wordle 544 Hint

Hint: Why should I even give you a hint today? To the extent that Wordle is a contest, you're my opponent, right?

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First Letter: R

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

NFL Week 15 Picks

As previously mentioned, I managed to get through Week 14 with neither a gain nor loss in points, and am currently performing (for the season so far) better than 66% of players in the FiveThirtyEight NFL Forecasting Game.

Week 15 picks

San Francisco 49ers beat Seattle Seahawks -- 53%
Minnesota Vikings beat Indianapolis Colts -- 71%
Baltimore Ravens beat Cleveland Browns -- 53%
Miami Dolphins beat Buffalo Bills -- 53%*
Atlanta Falcons beat New Orleans Saints -- 53%*
Jacksonville Jaguars beat Dallas Cowboys -- 53%*
New York Jets beat Detroit Lions -- 53%
Kansas City Chiefs beat Houston Texans -- 100%
Philadelphia Eagles beat Chicago Bears-- 91%
Carolina Panthers beat Pittsburgh Steelers -- 67%
Arizona Cardinals beat Denver Broncos -- 53%*
New England Patriots beat Las Vegas Raiders -- 53%*
Cincinnati Bengals beat Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- 79%
Tennessee Titans beat Los Angeles Chargers -- 59%*
Washington Commanders beat New York Giants -- 61%
Los Angeles Rams beat Green Bay Packers-- 53%*

Asterisks indicate my disagreements with the FiveThirtyEight model's predictions, and there are quite a few of them this week. I'd say the two real "upsets" I'm predicting are the Dolphins to beat the Bills and the Jaguars to beat the Cowboys.

The former may just be wishful thinking, but I've got a feeling that 1) the Dolphins are going to be all in to redeem themselves after their Sunday night prime time embarrassment, and 2) the Bills are not in top form at the moment.

The latter is almost certainly wishful thinking, but after the Cowboys' near-loss to the Texans last week and the Jaguars really showing some stuff versus the Titans, I've once again got a feeling here. The Cowboys are not necessarily on their way down, but the Jags are definitely starting to put some things together this year.

Any changes to my picks will 1) be made before game time, and 2) be noted in updates to this post.

Wordle 543 Hint

Hint: The type of suspects you normally round up, or the drink you normally order.

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First Letter: U

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

NFL Week 14: I'm Your Zero

Yesterday morning, in an update to my Week 14 NFL Picks, I changed my Monday Night Football prediction in the FiveThirtyEight NFL Forecasting Game.

I didn't change my prediction as to who would win in the matchup between the New England Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals. I changed my prediction of probability from 53% to 61%.

Why? Not because I suddenly had higher expectations of New England -- because up to that point, I was at -9.8 points for the week, and a New England win at 61% probability would net me 9.8 points and make the week a wash instead of a loss. I decided to throw better "money" after what I already thought was decent "money."

New England won, 27-13.

This week, I beat FiveThirtyEight's model. I neither picked up nor lost any points, it lost 11.6 points (but it's still way ahead of me for the season, 423.5 to 61.6). I picked eight of 13 games correctly. The model picked six of 13 games correctly. In both cases where my picks disagreed with the model's, my picks were the right ones. And I'm doing better than 66% of humans playing the game.

Wordle 542 Hint

Hint: OK, who talked? Don't tell me nobody talked -- someone talked!

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First Letter: S

Monday, December 12, 2022

I Generally Enjoy Working Outside. This, Not So Much

Last night, Manjaro informed me that I had a bunch of updates to install for various software packages, including Chromium. So I did. And now Chromium won't launch on the beloved Raspberry Pi 4B. So I'm outside at 5 in the morning, working on my Chromebook at my little patio table. Which would be fine if it wasn't 50-odd degrees and pitch black other than my monitor, and if I my LastPass  master password didn't seem to have changed (without me changing it) since the last time I had to actually log in.

Additionally, today WOULD have been a continued test of whether my solar setup for the Pi is enough to get me through two cloudy days, but now I'm not actively using that machine, somewhat reducing the power draw.

Yeah, I know, first world problems.

Update, 8:30am: Because I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, it completely slipped my mind that I had an instant solution right there at my desk -- an SD card with the 32-bit version of Manjaro, and all my software in 32-bit versions the KDE Plasma version, rather than the xfce version, of Manjaro. I could have just shut the machine down, swapped SD cards, and been right at things. But no biggie. I sat outside shivering in the dark and got the first round of morning tasks (some daily proofing and social media work for a long-term client, and the day's email/social media editions of Rational Review News Digest) done before remembering. Came back in, did the swap, started in on the second round of morning tasks (gathering content for RRND) ... and while my power station did get down to 25% storage, I see that even this early on on a cloudy/foggy morning, the solar panel is delivering 25 watts. So I should be able to make it through a second consecutive not-especially-sunny day without grid input. Huzzah.

Wordle 541 Hint

Hint: If you're looking for a job, you'll probably have to do this.

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First Letter: A

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Wordle 540 Hint

Hint: Don't try to bring your experience or technique to today's Wordle. Better to approach it with innocence.

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First Letter: N

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Wordle 539 Hint

Hint: If you hear this at your front door, it may be a joke. On the other hand, it could be Walter White.

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First Letter: K

Friday, December 09, 2022

I'm Going to Call This a Fail ...

... but I'm also going to assume that it's simply a function of me not being significant enough for my writing to be included in the databases involved, rather than because of AI deficiencies.

I asked ChatGPT/OpenAI to "create an op-ed about Kirsten Sinema in the style of Thomas L. Knapp." I chose Sinema as the topic because it's just been reported that she's changing her party affiliation from "Democrat" to "independent."

Here's the result. If you think it sounds like 1) my view of an "issue" or 2) my writing style, I think that thing you're doing that you think is thinking isn't.

Kirsten Sinema is a breath of fresh air in the world of politics. She is a true independent who is not afraid to buck the party line and do what she thinks is best for her constituents and the country.

As a member of the United States Senate, Sinema has shown a willingness to work across the aisle and forge compromises on important issues. She has voted with the Democrats on some issues and with the Republicans on others, proving that she is not beholden to any one political ideology.

In an era of intense political polarization, Sinema stands out as a leader who is willing to put the needs of the people ahead of party politics. She is not afraid to speak her mind and challenge the status quo, even if it means going against her own party.

One of the most impressive things about Sinema is her ability to work with people from all walks of life. She has a reputation for being open-minded and willing to listen to others, regardless of their political beliefs. This is a rare quality in today's political climate, where too many politicians are more interested in scoring political points than in finding solutions to the problems facing our country.

Sinema is also a strong advocate for issues that are important to her constituents. She has been a vocal supporter of improving the quality of education in Arizona, and she has also been a leader in the fight to protect the rights of women and the LGBTQ community.

In short, Kirsten Sinema is the kind of leader that our country needs right now. She is a true independent who is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, and she has a proven track record of working across the aisle to get things done. We need more leaders like Sinema in politics, and we are lucky to have her representing Arizona in the United States Senate.

Final Senate Prediction Outcome: Six for Five

No, I did not issue predictions for the 435 US House races, the 36 state and three territorial gubernatorial elections, etc.

I stuck to five the "toss-up" races for US Senate, because I prefer focusing on one thing and actually trying to figure out what's going to happen and why, rather than taking on everything and just guessing.

My six predictions concerning those five races were all correct. That is, I correctly predicted the November 8 general election outcome in all five, and correctly predicted this week's runoff outcome in Georgia.

Given the scope I limit myself to, I think I do a fairly good job. I've predicted 48 of 50 states (and the overall winner) correctly three presidential elections in a row.

Should I broaden my focus? I've thought about it. But covering/predicting 435 US House races, 50 quadrennial gubernatorial races, etc., in a "don't guess, rationally predict" way would be a fairly major investment of time, and probably an investment financially as well (among other things, I'd want to subscribe to Cook Political Report, which costs $350 per year) ... and I think it might move away from "fun" and toward "job," which I don't object to in principle, but I do like me some fun. 

Wordle 538 Hint

Hint: If you're pulling your hair out trying to solve today's Wordle, knock that off and try a new hairstyle instead. Don't bob, weave. 

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First Letter: B

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Solar Update (w/ Mild Complaint)

The 160-watt solar panel arrived last night. I set it up this morning, eyeballing the angle. I'll dig up a protractor later and go with one of two formulas I've found for my area (Gainesville, Florida), which offers me widely varying angles to use.

Formula #1 says that the optimum year-round angle is 25.6 degrees, but that subtracting 15 degrees in summer and adding 15 degrees in winter will further maximize sunlight (and therefore panel production efficiency).

Formula #2 is a formula that yields following angles: 24.1 degrees in spring and fall, 3.1 degrees (so basically flat) in summer, and 55.69 degrees in winter.

Which one? I haven't decided. At the moment, I've got it at about 45 degrees.

When I set it up early this morning, it was only producing a watt or two. Unsurprising with the sun being so low and also having some inconvenient trees that block some light at that time of day.

But circa 8:45 am, with the sun not that high in the sky, or anywhere near in the direction the panel faces (due south), I'm getting 14-17 watts out of it.

Which brings me to my mild complaint:

Most inexpensive electronics are of Chinese manufacture, and apparently most of the manuals for that gear are written by people who aren't especially fluent in English.

This whole time, I'd been under the impression (from diagrams, labels, and manual language) that the wattage measurement on a particular part of my power station screen was output. Which confused me, since theoretically my Raspberry Pi 4B and Echo Dot combined draw something like a maximum of 10 watts combined (closer to 5 watts at idle), and I was seeing 10-15 minimum, with spikes to more than 20. I wrote that off as including the consumption of the power station itself.

Well, that output level is actually the input level. I'm glad of that, but I wish I had known it before.

So, if I revert to an assumption of 10 watts maximum draw for the computer and Dot, that's a maximum of 240 watt-hours per day, and in theory the panel should produce an average of 672 watt-hours per day. I turn the computer off (and could unplug the Dot, since it's in my office and I'm not) at night when I go to bed, so that's less consumption (more like 160 watt-hours). So I could probably run another thing or two off this setup, although I'm not sure what I have that fits into that differential.

Another mild documentation complaint: The listed dimensions of the panel are 85" wide by 22" tall. The latter measurement seems to be correct, but it's about a foot narrower than the former. So the frame I built while waiting for it (as you can see from the photo) is not really correct in size. I could have saved myself both a little lumber and a little extra work piecing together scraps to get to that width. I'll be recombobulating things so that the panel is attached to, rather than just leaning on, the frame, and maybe buying some plexiglass to put over the panel and give it some weather protection.

Update, 1:37pm: In nice full noonish sun, I'm seeing panel production in excess of 30 watts, with spikes up to 40. I do see a problem, though: It looks like the power station stops drawing from the panels once its battery is full, and only starts drawing again once it comes down to some threshold. Which, as little wattage as I'm pulling, means I'm having "dead spots" where the solar production isn't being used. Hopefully the fact that I get up and start working at oh-dark-thirty will let me draw the battery down enough that I get maximum "yes, the battery wants that solar-generated power" time during the day, with it hitting 100% about the time I shut down for the day.

Update, 11am 12/09/22: So far so good. I got up this morning at oh-dark-thirty, went to work, and by the time the sun came up the "power station" was down to 64% of its storage capacity, having received no solar input overnight (obviously). Now it's at 99%, with the solar panel cranking as high as about 60 watts at times. If this is anything like typical, I should be able to run these two devices in perpetuity (well, until something wears out, anyway) without ever plugging into the wall outlet.

NFL Week 14 Picks

I can't say that Week 13 was especially good for me -- since I always pick the Kansas City Chiefs with a 100% chance to win (it's a religious thing),  I lost a whopping 75 points on their loss to the Bengals. But I did end up in positive points territory with 2.8 points (down from 97.3 last week), even though I lost an easy 20 points or so by somehow accidentally not registering my 79% pick for Dallas to beat Indianapolis. I picked nine of 15 games correctly.  At the moment, I am close to, but not quite in, the top third of players in the FiveThirtyEight NFL Forecasting Game.

This week's picks:

Las Vegas Raiders beat Los Angeles Rams -- 61%
Baltimore Ravens beat Pittsburgh Steelers -- 53%*
Cincinnati Bengals beat Cleveland Browns -- 71%
Dallas Cowboys beat Houston Texans -- 100%
Tennessee Titans beat Jacksonville Jaguars-- 67%
Minnesota Vikings beat Detroit Lions -- 71%
Buffalo Bills beat New York Jets -- 91%
Philadelphia Eagles beat New York Giants -- 79%
Kansas City Chiefs beat Denver Broncos -- 100%
Seattle Seahawks beat Carolina Panthers -- 91%
San Francisco 49ers beat Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- 71%
Miami Dolphins beat Los Angeles Chargers -- 71%
New England Patriots beat Arizona Cardinals -- 53%*

Asterisks indicate where my picks disagree with the FiveThirtyEight model's predictions. Any changes to my picks will take place before game kickoffs and will be noted in updates to this post.

Update, 8:50am, Monday, December 12: With only one game left to play (Monday night's), I am changing my prediction from New England Patriots beat Arizona Cardinals -- 53%* to New England Patriots beat Arizona Cardinals -- 61%*. Not because I'm any more confident that the Patriots will beat the Cardinals than I was last Thursday, but because I am at -9.8 points for the week and a Patriots win would get me, you guessed it, 9.8 points for a net zero for the week. So far, all of my bad picks for the week have been picks that agreed with FiveThirtyEight's model, but they're only down 7.4 points because I tend to "bet bigger" than the model does. My only other pick than this one that disagreed with the model was right -- the Ravens beat the Steelers. Unfortunately, I didn't go big on that one and only picked up 2.9 points.

Wordle 537 Hint

Hint: I'm not going to just come out and explicitly give you the answer to today's Wordle. You're going to have to engage in a process of deduction, and/or induction, and/or abduction to work it out for yourself. 

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First Letter: I

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Wordle 536 Hint

Hint: To win today's game, you'll need to saddle your horse and armor up.

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First Letter: J

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Wordle 535 Hint

Hint: I may be a sap, but I'm a very old sap.

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First Letter: A

Monday, December 05, 2022

The Latest Recombobulation of my Solar Wish List Items

Where I'm at: My "power station" arrived the other day, and I'm currently powering my Raspberry Pi 4B computer and an Echo Dot from it, using grid AC.* When my 160-watt solar panel arrives, I'll continue to power those two things off of it, and see if it's capable of handling more than that. One of my "get your man card punched" projects this weekend was building a basic frame for the panel out of some scrap 2x4 lumber.

Where I Was Headed: My previous ambition was to tempt a supportive fan into purchasing 800 watts worth of solar panel for me from my Amazon Wish List, in the hope that that might be enough to run my cable modem, router, computer, and monitors. But three things have happened to change that.

  1. No supportive fan showed up to make it happen (no surprise there -- when I post these things, I usually assume that it's me who'll eventually get around to doing them ... or not).
  2. The item I put on the Wish List seems to have disappeared from Amazon.
  3. On further reading, I see that using these "power stations" as, essentially, uninterruptable power supplies is ... not receommended.
So I'm both scaling back and escalating my ambition.

Where I'm Headed Now:

Fewer panels / lower wattage production, but a basic battery/inverter system instead of a "power station" setup (linked, not an affiliate link, from the graphic):

More expensive ($535.45) than 800 watts of cheap solar panel alone, but maybe -- maybe -- enough to keep the modem and router going 24/7. And a regular controller/battery/inverter system instead of the "power station" kludge. And I can presumably add more panels (including, possibly, the 160-watt job that's already on the way), and add more (or higher-capacity) batteries to the system as time goes on.

So now that's on the Wish List for the prospective supportive fan, or for me to get around to at some point.

* Between the power station itself, the computer, and the Echo Dot, the "base" consumption seems to run about 12 watts, with peaks in the low 20s. I think it's eminently reasonable (even a bit high) to call it 18 watts average, which would be 432 watt-hours per day. Based on a random pick from one of several sites I've consulted, I should get an average of 672 watt-hours per day (based on panel size and average direct sun in my particular location) out of that 160-watt panel when it arrives. Which in theory gives me the ability to even run an additional 10-watt device without drawing more power than I'm producing (on average) if I wanted to. And I'm also making a habit of turning off the computer at night, which probably only saves me about 15-16 watt-hours, but hey, that's better than nothing.

I Have a "Campaign Spam" Theory

Republicans have been complaining for months about Google's Gmail sending GOP campaign mails to users' spam folders, and the Republican National Committee is even suing over the claim.

I get lots and lots of political email from lots and lots of entities associated with the two "major" parties and more than one "minor" party.

One thing I've noticed during the post-midterm period is that I get lots and lots of campaign email concerning the US Senate runoff in Georgia, and that pretty much all of that email is for incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock, and almost none of it is for Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

Hmm ... when I go to my spam folder, there's a crap ton of Walker campaign email.

So chalk one up for the GOP claim against Gmail.


I think I know why.

The Democrats send me all kinds of email begging me for campaign contributions.

The Republicans do too.

But the Republicans also fill my inbox with email purporting to be of the "newsletter" variety, to which I have not intentionally subscribed. Many iterations of this email type consist of nearly exact copies of other iterations.  "Patriot Brief." "Patriot United News." "Conservative Intel." Etc. Some of these have more disguised titles and look almost like the more conventional "crazy headline of the day" newsletter format.

I like getting campaign email because it keeps me up on the latest strategies and approaches whether I support the candidates or not.

I hate getting "newsletters" that I didn't ask for.

When I get a "newsletter" I didn't ask for, I tell Gmail to unsubscribe me from it and send it to spam.

I suspect that many other people feel, and do, likewise.

And I suspect that Republicans run a lot of campaign email and a lot of these "newsletters" through the same handful of email servers / IP addresses, causing their campaign email to to get caught in the same (user-generated, or at least based on revealed user preference) spam traps the "newsletters" get sent to.

That's my theory, anyway.

Wordle 534 Hint

Hint: Instead of trying to solve today's Wordle in your dreams, wait until after someone's done this for/to you.

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First Letter: W

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Wordle 533 Hint

Hint: O Come, let us solve today's Wordle Christmas Carol style.

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First Letter: A

Saturday, December 03, 2022

This Sounds Very Familiar ...

I wish I could give credit to whoever mentioned Balaji Srinivasan's The Network State: How To Start a New Country (not an affiliate link) within my field of vision on the Intertubes, but I can't because I can't remember who that may have been.

From the description at Amazon:

This book introduces the concept of the network state: a country you can start from your computer, a state that recruits like a startup, a nation built from the internet rather than disrupted by it.

The fundamental concept behind the network state is to assemble a digital community and organize it to crowdfund physical territory. But that territory is not in one place -- it’s spread around the world, fully decentralized, hooked together by the internet for a common cause, much like Google’s offices or Bitcoin’s miners. And because every citizen has opted in, it’s a model for 100% democracy rather than the minimum threshold of consent modeled by 51% democracies.

Sounds like panarchy -- which long-time readers will know is one of my hobbyhorses -- doesn't it?

One of the great joys of Amazon Prime membership is being able to accrue credits toward digital goods by choosing "just in time" shipping versus the normal "two-day shipping" membership benefit, so I just got The Network State at a deep discount.

I'll start reading it at my earliest convenience ... but I think it may deserve more than just a review. This looks like "online book club" material. Anyone else interested in reading it and, here on the blog, discussing it chapter by chapter?