merovingian's recent activity

  1. Comment on The unexpected poetry of PhD acknowledgements in ~science

    merovingian
    Link
    I don't want to copy and paste that part of my dissertation, since that would identify me, but I did thank two different podcasts (not even their creators, just the podcasts by name) in my...

    Now, there are no limits to who, or what, you can thank.

    I don't want to copy and paste that part of my dissertation, since that would identify me, but I did thank two different podcasts (not even their creators, just the podcasts by name) in my acknowledgments.

    Also, agreed with one of the other quoted authors: it was my favorite part to write of the entire thing. Including results (read: vindication that my ridiculous ideas about such a small corner of the universe were actually borne out in the data ... or at least we think so).

    4 votes
  2. Comment on Linux gaming and the Steam Summer Sale: What are your favorites? in ~games

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    OP here, there are good answers to most of your questions down below as well, so I don't feel like I have much to add. I will note that there was a point of about a decade for which Linux (Debian...

    OP here, there are good answers to most of your questions down below as well, so I don't feel like I have much to add.

    I will note that there was a point of about a decade for which Linux (Debian 7, to age myself) was my daily driver for everything I did. I always had a second-hand refurbished Thinkpad around as my laptop for mobile work, and on that I distro-hopped quite a bit. That let me get used to loading up USBs (see @Asinine's post below) to test them, and that's what I did here too. I liked the UI and the Pop Shop, so I went with it. So, while I think I am reasonably savvy with using a Linux desktop in various situations and hardware configurations, I wanted to note that using Pop!_OS for gaming has been a really easy and positive experience.

    3 votes
  3. Linux gaming and the Steam Summer Sale: What are your favorites?

    I've gamed my entire life on Windows until about a month ago, when I switched due to my dissatisfaction with it as an operating system (another thread, another time). After years of hearing that...

    I've gamed my entire life on Windows until about a month ago, when I switched due to my dissatisfaction with it as an operating system (another thread, another time). After years of hearing that gaming on Linux was improving thanks to Steam Deck and Proton, I took the plunge and installed Pop!_OS on my desktop and loaded my favorite games. Holy smokes, it's amazing. I haven't found a game yet that's required any custom tweaking; download the game through Steam, let it install whatever it needs to on first run, and away they go. I'm blown away.

    However, I want to start exploring Linux-native titles in a more deliberate manner. Do many others here game on Linux, and if so what are some of your favorites that you would recommend now that the Steam Summer Sale is on? I mostly gravitate towards builders and colony simulators, RPGs, and 4X games, but I'll take any recommendations that people are excited to share.

    [Edit to add:] Thanks for your recommendations everyone! I'll definitely check out several of these.

    37 votes
  4. Comment on How can I best keep my room cool in summer? in ~life.home_improvement

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    The energy exchange between incoming and outgoing air that you're referring to is called "energy recovery ventilation," and you can read more about that here and here. Awareness about these...

    The energy exchange between incoming and outgoing air that you're referring to is called "energy recovery ventilation," and you can read more about that here and here. Awareness about these systems has been slowly spreading in the US, but it's kind of starting to pick up its pace - much like the increasing popularity of heat pumps. However, ERV systems can be more difficult to "retrofit" or "backfit" to existing homes, particularly if existing ductwork can't be used for some reason.

    1 vote
  5. Comment on The spiralling cost of insuring against climate disasters – rising home premiums are a de facto ‘carbon price’ on consumers as extreme weather events become more frequent in ~enviro

    merovingian
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I've thought about this question a lot, and my opinion might be somewhat controversial. However, based in part on data and modeling like this in my opinion one promising location will be the Great...
    • Exemplary

    I've thought about this question a lot, and my opinion might be somewhat controversial. However, based in part on data and modeling like this in my opinion one promising location will be the Great Lakes region (similar to what @wowbagger mentions below). However, also in my opinion this comes with some important caveats: ideally on the east side of them, between 5 and 100 miles from the coast, and more than 60 vertical feet from the nearest stream or water source. In other words, no lakefront property, no stream running past your front door or past the bottom of the steep hill on which your house sits. Bonus points if you have a small old growth wood lot on your property with a clear-ish view of the southern sky.

    My rationale is as follows:

    • 95% of North America's surface freshwater is concentrated here, so you want to be here too. Living east of the lakes keeps you in their "precipitation shadow" (e.g., warming air picks up moisture from the lakes and dumps it on you) to maintain your groundwater table levels and keep vegetation from drying out a la the Canadian wildfires. It also helps avoid atmospheric temperature swings, because these large bodies of relatively cold water (particularly Lake Superior and Michigan, owing to their depths) moderates the local climate.
    • You don't want to have lakefront property due to flooding, for the same reason you don't want to live near streams. Historical stream flooding models do a poor job anticipating future extreme weather events, and I say this because the stream running through my old college town experienced three 500-year floods back to back to back and caused the town's gross annual economy in damage, so I started to dig into this back then; non-anecdata can be found here, for example. Even if you don't experience direct flooding, site your house far enough away from bodies that could flow fast enough to erode the hillside on which your home is built.
    • It is somewhat easier to find property in this region with a small woodlot, and having that small old-growth woodlot (even a couple acres) which you manage well will generate enough wood for heating, and a small south-facing clearing in which you can grow food will keep you food-secure; you can also use wood ash as fertilizer for said garden, since it's mostly lime and potassium. Living in at least a partially-wooded area also helps moderate your own home's temperatures. The name of the game here is self-sufficiency in the event of power grid strains that lead to brown-outs, or storm-driven damage from the increasingly powerful storms that will feature prominently in our future.
    • As others said, this region is generally less prone to tornado outbreaks, the precip shadow helps mitigate droughts and wildfires, and you're in the middle of the North American tectonic plate and there's no fracking to cause earthquakes (I'm looking at you, Pennsylvania). No atmospheric rivers, no hurricanes, you're west of the AMOC.

    If you want me to pick an actual location that kinda demonstrates my opinion's actual geographic location, I would draw a line through New York State from Jamestown to Ithaca to Utica to Tupper Lake, and settle somewhere through there.

    Also, as a disclaimer, this is just my opinion. I try to base it on some data, but at the end of the day it's just my own opinion, and I tried to select some real numbers to give my opinion some actual metrics. These things can probably be found elsewhere, and the parameters I picked can probably be relaxed of course.

    Finally, to comment on whether I eat my own dogfood: I currently live in north central Maryland, and selected my own home's properties based on my opinion below (and in fact rejected a few good ones when I bought a house several years ago because they didn't meet these criteria). As a disclaimer, I lived for five years in Buffalo and it's my objective to retire there for the reasons I've outlined above. By then, this will matter a whole lot more. The trick is to beat everyone else up there...

    7 votes
  6. Comment on I need an alternative to the traditional typewriter in ~creative

    merovingian
    Link
    You tagged your post with "analog," so I'm wondering if maybe you're looking for solutions that emphasize more of an intentional connection with the media itself that comes with handwriting and...

    You tagged your post with "analog," so I'm wondering if maybe you're looking for solutions that emphasize more of an intentional connection with the media itself that comes with handwriting and mechanical typing. And I can see what you mean: modern standard typing experiences are slick, efficient, and wholly different from what I think you might be interested in.

    I have some suggestions:

    • If you want to maintain typewriter use to generate authentic-feeling physical media, have you considered (as someone else mentioned) typing on heavy-bond paper of your choice and then fixing it to a card? You could glue it in place, or try alternative methods like layering on some gesso with a thick-hair brush, then lying the paper over top to dry and stick in place (I'm not sure how well that would work, but it's just an idea about "alternative fixative methods" that would also give some texture to the card paper itself). That way you aren't rolling your card through the pin.

    • In the same vein but for journaling, have you considered buying loose-leaf paper of your choice, writing journal entries, and then binding your own journal? This gives you ultimate creative flexibility over the materials you use, dodges any concerns over a roller pin, and gives you another way to connect to the media itself. I think you could almost certainly find tutorials online for hand-crafting journals, from pretty easy to very elaborate.

    • If you want to remain with typing on a computer and end up making your own font (or finding an existing font package that replicates the irregular look and feel of typewritten characters, which you can download and install/use with your letter writing), another thing to consider is a mechanical keyboard. There are lots and lots of modern mechanical keyboards - I'm using one to type this right now! You can also find old IBM Model M keyboards on eBay or elsewhere, which will give you a nice mechanical clicky-clack to pair with your irregular digital font (just be sure to get a PS/2 to USB adapter). Paired with heavy-bond paper and printed with a good-quality home printer, this might get close to your original intent while still being a digitally-created item.

    Hopefully something here is useful, let us know what you do!

    3 votes
  7. Comment on E-ink tablets for note-taking in ~tech

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    Are you my officemate? :-P One day we were talking about e-ink tablets and notetaking, and he showed me what he does - and it's what you've described here, Goodnotes, Zotero, the whole nine yards....

    Are you my officemate? :-P

    One day we were talking about e-ink tablets and notetaking, and he showed me what he does - and it's what you've described here, Goodnotes, Zotero, the whole nine yards. This approach is pretty efficient and he said it really made him feel like notetaking on a digital device was finally and truly useful, in a "more than the sum of its parts" way.

    3 votes
  8. Comment on E-ink tablets for note-taking in ~tech

    merovingian
    Link
    I had a ReMarkable 2, which I purchased before they started charging for their cloud syncing service. I sold it. My review here will therefore be a little old, as I sold it in early 2022. Perhaps...

    I had a ReMarkable 2, which I purchased before they started charging for their cloud syncing service. I sold it. My review here will therefore be a little old, as I sold it in early 2022. Perhaps something has changed.

    The hardware experience was nice: it felt good in your hands, it was thin and light, and their "writing on paper" feel was a pleasure to use. The device's responsiveness to your writing was also good, in that I didn't think there was a significant delay between a stroke and seeing it on the screen.

    Their software was why I sold it. I found the user interface clunky, slow, and not intuitive. It was sort of challenging to get documents on and off the device (maybe that's why they went to the cloud service), and the organization was a little difficult to manage. IMO the interface reminded you that you were using an e-ink display, since the refresh rates of the UI were pretty slow. Kindle e-reader slow, again a contrast from the actual writing part which felt pretty snappy. Maybe that's better these days.

    If you are dead-set on an e-ink display (for battery life, that tactile writing feel, or something else), I'd recommend perhaps waiting for a ReMarkable 3 and considering whether you want to deal with their nickel-and-diming (which I agree with the above reviews that describe that feeling), or considering something else. If not, consider a second-hand or refurbushed iPad with a stylus/pencil. If you want the "write on paper" feel, get a screen protector that replicates it. Uninstall apps you don't think you'd need, and turn it into a notetaking machine. The use of color, the variety of documents supported, the ease of syncing with it, the performance of either a first- or third-party stylus/pencil with the display... it's worth thinking about, IMO.

    4 votes
  9. Comment on What was your first computer game? (Soundcheck question 2023) in ~games

    merovingian
    Link
    Zork on our middle school computer lab's Apple IIe terminal, loaded in with an external 5.25" floppy disk. Back then we had a dedicated keyboarding/typing class, complete with the little blinders...

    Zork on our middle school computer lab's Apple IIe terminal, loaded in with an external 5.25" floppy disk. Back then we had a dedicated keyboarding/typing class, complete with the little blinders you had put over your keyboard so you couldn't see your fingers while practicing touch typing.

    We had a deal with our teacher that we could play when we got done with the typing practice program: once we were done, he'd come around and inspect your work. If he signed off, you'd close the program, eject the floppy, and he'd trade you for Zork. We thought he was being nice letting us play a computer game, but little did we understand at the time that we were still practicing typing... :)

    1 vote
  10. Comment on Norway is among the countries with the most heat pumps per capita, along with neighbouring Finland and Sweden in ~enviro

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    As a heat pump advocate* I have two thoughts: While I agree that a heat pump heating air forced out of registers or ceiling vents won't be as warm as the hot air rising via convection off of a...

    As a heat pump advocate* I have two thoughts:

    • While I agree that a heat pump heating air forced out of registers or ceiling vents won't be as warm as the hot air rising via convection off of a radiator, the name of the game with a heat pump is efficiency per thermal unit rather than intensity of heat. So while your radiator will likely heat better, you're using more energy - spending more money - to do so. This might not be true in all cases, for example in locations where district steam heating is used because that can be quite low-cost; however, if your radiators are closed-loop water radiators in your home, you have to heat that water somehow. In my experience this is generally by burning oil and gas. Because your heat pump is pulling "waste heat" from the atmosphere outside, concentrating it, and then pushing it inside, at 45 degrees it won't be an intense heat and your heat pump will run a lot longer to do so - which is actually what its been designed to do, because in fact short cycling is bad for heat pumps. So if you run this thing and it takes a while to heat your home from a cooler temp, or runs longer when it's colder out, that's all by design and isn't anything to worry about. In fact when it gets cold enough out, your heat pump might run darn near continuously... somewhere a little before that point is when it's time to make sure your HVAC system appropriately engages its auxiliary or supplementary heating unit.

    • For a definitive answer on your system, I'd first use a secondary thermometer that you know is accurate to make sure that the thermostat's 74 is an actual 74. If it is, the second question I have is whether air is circulating in your home - because hot air rises, it can sometimes get trapped in a layer of warmer air at the ceiling. This is especially the case in older homes with high ceilings, arched ceilings, tray-style ceilings, large open-concept rooms, etc. If you have ceiling fans, run them backwards so that the blades suck air up towards the ceiling. This will forcibly establish a sort of convection cell in the room, pushing the hot air off the ceiling and down the walls to you nearer the floor (and coincidentally, this is another reason why radiators work so well - they use convection to their advantage). If you don't have ceiling fans in particular rooms, you can do the same with a box fan angled to blow upwards on its lowest setting - too much air circulation will make you feel colder, so gentle air mixing is the way to go.

    If after all that you're still not satisfied, call a local and reputable HVAC company for an evaluation. Sometimes they're free, sometimes they're a nominal flat fee, and they're usually called a "preventive maintenance checkup" or something like that. They will make sure your unit isn't malfunctioning in some way - it's leaking charge, your refrigerant system isn't plugged, your compressors and reversing valves are all working, etc. Anyway, hope that helps, let us know if you get something working! Because you shouldn't be cold with a functioning heat pump at 45 degrees F, a modern system should perform well.

    *I have two HVAC heat pumps, one primary system for the first floor of my brick rancher, and a mini-split heat pump for my basement. I also have one of those new heat pump water heaters, and it's freaking awesome.

    6 votes
  11. Comment on Looking for your best men’s pants/trousers recommendations! in ~life.style

    merovingian
    (edited )
    Link
    A few years ago I found Duluth Trading Company's "Foreman Pants", and this is exclusively what I wear to the office. Desert Khaki is quite light in color, like a pair of Chinos. They stretch, are...

    A few years ago I found Duluth Trading Company's "Foreman Pants", and this is exclusively what I wear to the office. Desert Khaki is quite light in color, like a pair of Chinos. They stretch, are pretty lightweight, and wear well. They have a nice in-the-middle look, and I wear them with my standard "winter uniform" (I mix and match long-sleeve button downs with sweater vests) and "summer uniform" (short-sleeve button downs and polos). I also wear them around the house, out running errands, out on dates too as you mentioned, honestly everything but yard or other dirty work. IMO they look good in all occasions that precede the need to wear a blazer; from then on, it's a pair of Dockers or better.

    A note on the "Fire Hose" branding: back when I first found Duluth back in the mid 2010s, they used to make their pants with duck cotton that was at least equivalently heavy duty to real fire hose external casing material. They were heavy, stiff, hot as hell, 100% cotton, and took a great deal of punishment. These foreman's pants are not those original FireHose pants - they're much lighter weight, and the 3% spandex doesn't sound like a lot, but it makes a world of difference. I think they just kind of kept that as branding more than anything else.

    [EDIT] Protip: while I'm thinking about it, these will shrink if you want them to, and I find they run a bit long. I fit best in a 35/32, so I'll buy a size up in 36/32 (which is really like a 33 and some change inseam, I think so you can bend your knees comfortably without them riding up) and wash them hot and dry them hot the first cycle or two when I get them. They'll drop an inch in both dimensions, then I wash tap cold / tumble dry at my dryer's lowest setting from there on out. They're stable after that.

    4 votes
  12. Comment on Those of you with standing desks, how are finding them and would you recommend? in ~life

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    An anti-fatigue mat is, in my view, absolutely essential. I bought a standing desk at the very beginning of the pandemic, and when I first got it I found myself in a lot of pain in my feet and...

    Two things that really help are comfortable shoes, and a good anti-fatigue mat.

    An anti-fatigue mat is, in my view, absolutely essential. I bought a standing desk at the very beginning of the pandemic, and when I first got it I found myself in a lot of pain in my feet and heels after standing just a few hours a day (even after just one to two hours to start). After reading around a little, I found a number of posts on Reddit talking about the merits of anti-fatigue mats and why they're important to use. I bought a high-quality one from Imprint and it was an immediate, obvious improvement - even on carpet, which I had in my office at the time and thought would do the job of a mat. It absolutely did not. I still use both of these, three years on.

    If you get a standing desk, I can't recommend an anti-fatigue mat highly enough.

    5 votes
  13. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~tv

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    An additional major factor (for me) that I didn't see mentioned here: price. If you like these shows and movies, it only costs $7/month. Compare that to other services that charge a lot more for a...

    An additional major factor (for me) that I didn't see mentioned here: price.

    If you like these shows and movies, it only costs $7/month. Compare that to other services that charge a lot more for a lot less.

  14. Comment on Does anyone read a weekly printed news publication? If so, which and why? in ~talk

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    Okay, thanks very much. Perhaps I will see if I can find Guardian Weekly locally or purchase some short of short-term trial subscription.

    Okay, thanks very much. Perhaps I will see if I can find Guardian Weekly locally or purchase some short of short-term trial subscription.

    1 vote
  15. Comment on Does anyone read a weekly printed news publication? If so, which and why? in ~talk

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    I've felt the same way for a while; honestly, what led me to posting this question about print news are some recent books I read, specifically on the topic of slowing down and being more...

    I've felt the same way for a while; honestly, what led me to posting this question about print news are some recent books I read, specifically on the topic of slowing down and being more deliberate with my attention and to what I devote it to. News for me is definitely included here (thus my initial foray with RSS, and now perhaps something even slower). I kind of see that in what you said (specifically: "I feel like I've lost something important"), so in case you wondered here were the ones I read and liked the most:

    If you do happen to pick them up, I'd be interested to see if they (particularly 1 and 2) capture how you've been feeling about the matter.

    --
    *I read this book, but honestly I've read other Cal Newport books too and I feel like they could be universally condensed into a small series of longer essays posted to a blog or Substack or something. There's a lot of fluff in there, and folks like him take a lot of flack along the lines of "When you have an interesting idea, but need to make it into a whole book to make money, this is what you get."

    1 vote
  16. Comment on Does anyone read a weekly printed news publication? If so, which and why? in ~talk

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    Okay, thanks all that provided comments about The New Yorker. This is something that I have not checked out before, but I have seen it turn up quite a bit in links that people post in various...

    Okay, thanks all that provided comments about The New Yorker. This is something that I have not checked out before, but I have seen it turn up quite a bit in links that people post in various places. I'm not sure I'm really looking for NYC-specific happenings, or fiction, or book reviews, but perhaps I'll try to find a copy and give it a shot.

    One thing that does resonate deeply with me too is the mention below of the time it takes to get through a weekly onslaught of really good long-form writing; it's a lot. I really wanted to accomplish this reading in a few hours every week on a Sunday morning, and then be "up to date" enough that I'm generally aware of what's happening. Perhaps I could just sort of pick and choose what to read each week and skip the uninteresting, but then the creeping sense of "wasted money" starts to percolate... that's something I'll have to think about.

  17. Comment on Does anyone read a weekly printed news publication? If so, which and why? in ~talk

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    I really like the current events portal, and in fact I cited it in my original post! I'm almost looking for someone to take the things that show up there, pick the top five to seven, and write a...

    I really like the current events portal, and in fact I cited it in my original post! I'm almost looking for someone to take the things that show up there, pick the top five to seven, and write a few thousand words for each of those stories. You're absolutely right that the depths to which you can go in Wikipedia (even with the caveats you mention, which I think you're right to do so) give it a richness that's hard to find elsewhere.

    However, the other critical feature I'm looking for is something in print. I stare at screens all day professionally, and I'd really like to be able to get a weekly news roundup or digest in physical form. That's critical for me, and otherwise the current events portal would be precisely the direction I go.

    1 vote
  18. Comment on Does anyone read a weekly printed news publication? If so, which and why? in ~talk

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    The Guardian Weekly is something I did not know existed. I just posted above on my take regarding The Economist, sharing sentiments (similar to others) that it's perhaps become a little more...

    The Guardian Weekly is something I did not know existed. I just posted above on my take regarding The Economist, sharing sentiments (similar to others) that it's perhaps become a little more superficial over time - I can't speak to the factual accuracy of articles, as some of those commenters have.

    Have you Flocculencio read The Economist and, if so, how do you find the comparison in quality and depth of articles between them both? Or, for that matter, does anyone else have insight here?

  19. Comment on Does anyone read a weekly printed news publication? If so, which and why? in ~talk

    merovingian
    Link Parent
    Thanks to all of those who have weighted in on The Economist, in one way or another. I actually share the sentiments of some of the replies - I used to read it a long time ago, and it was great,...

    Thanks to all of those who have weighted in on The Economist, in one way or another. I actually share the sentiments of some of the replies - I used to read it a long time ago, and it was great, but I feel like the articles have gotten shorter and more superficial over time. Changing reader preferences, the "digitalization" of the magazine, hollowing out the paper writer corps, all may be contributors in one way or another, but that's also the feeling I get. This would have actually been my go-to answer initially and precluded even asking here, but I was sort of at a loss where to go next if The Economist wasn't it. It's an interesting impression that I'm glad to see others have as well.