Book reviews for October 2017

Origin (Robert Langdon, #5) by Dan Brown

Origin (Robert Langdon, #5) by Dan Brown



The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Millennium, #5) by David Lagercrantz

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Millennium, #5) by David Lagercrantz



Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1) by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1) by Jeff VanderMeer



A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles



(Related: #Resist; Go-arounds: LEGO and Legislative Service; Street View)

(You might also like: Sunrise; Meeting Defragmenter; Die PDF Die)

(All Book Reviews)

Round Top loop at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

Updated on Saturday, July 31, 2021

Round Top loop trail in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

Round Top in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

Labyrinth in quarry at  Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

Small garter snake at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

Round Top is a remnant of a 10 million year old volcano, tipped over by tectonic activity. It's pretty high at 1,763 feet. Unfortunately the peak is privately owned so you can't go right to the top but there is a 2.5 mile loop around the peak. You get views out to Mount Tam, Mount Diablo and even the Sierras and an occasional glimpse of the bay. The drive up is also spectacular.

Hike Starts at 37.8483327,-122.1986103 (Google Earth).

(Related: Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve; Bumpass Hell; Hill 88)

(You might also like: Facebook shouldn't own your social graph; San Francisco 2012 Propositions; Doyle Drive: Before and After)

(Hike Map)

GGNRA Victory

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the National Park Service's effort to ban dogs from much of the GGNRA is dead:

"The National Park Service pulled the plug Thursday on a 14-year-long process for restricting dog access in the 80,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area, 10 months after revelations emerged that agency officials had improperly corresponded about the process from their personal email accounts."

I've been fighting this for over six years. Some highlights from 2011, 2013 and 2016.

(Related: GGNRA Dog Management Round 3; Response to GGNRA Draft Dog Management Plan; Response to updated GGNRA Draft Dog Management Plan)

(You might also like: Long term solar powered time lapse camera using Arduino; News: The War Nerd: More proof the US defense industry has nothing to do with defending America; Vernal (Spring) Equinox 2018)

(All Politics Posts)

End the Electoral College: Amendment, Compact, or Supreme Court?

Updated on Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Lawrence Lessig and Richard Painter write about the possibility of the Supreme Court taking on the Electoral College in USA Today:

"The Constitution is not going to be amended to remove the Electoral College. It’s possible that states will agree to a compact to allocate their votes to the winner of the national popular vote. But right now, the court should recognize that there is no principle in American law that could justify the unequal reckoning of the votes of citizens of the United States for president of the United States. Call it proportionality, or simple equality: it is an idea that needs urgent legal recognition, now."

It's an intriguing possibility, but they're short on specifics. Who needs to file suit to get this question in front of the court? Should I do this as I live in California and may as well not bother voting for President? If so, please get in touch guys.

I'm a big fan of the The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Until another option looks plausible please follow that link and take one the actions listed to support it.

(Related: Liquid Democracy and; Legislative Service; Thinking about the UK referendum on AV)

(You might also like: West Portal 360; Twitter's API has got too painful for me; Open Democracy)

(All Politics Posts)

Harbor Seals

Book reviews for September 2017

Crab at Fort Funston

Crab at Fort Funston

A Dungeness Crab in shallow water at Fort Funston (Golden Gate National Recreational Area) in San Francisco, California.

(Related: Dolphins at Fort Funston; Humpback Whale at Fort Funston; Gray Whales at Fort Funston)

(You might also like: San Francisco from Alameda; Kirby Cove; #Resist)

(Recent Photos)

HOWTO: Fix Twitter

Updated on Sunday, August 8, 2021

HOWTO: Fix Twitter

Wired (and everyone else) is reporting that Twitter is finally testing longer tweets. Maybe 280 characters! I had a better fix six years ago:

ITHCWY: Twitter: Put some status in status updates: Give me an extra character for every year that I’ve been with…

— Robert Ellison (@abfo) July 8, 2011

(Related: Twitter: Put some status in status updates; The Trust Project, Fake News and a Partial Facebook Uninstall; Updates were installed...)

(You might also like: Treasure Island; Debugging Treasure Trove; Crushing PNGs in .NET)

(All Marketing Posts)

What do you get when you multiply six by nine? Brexit.

Updated on Saturday, August 14, 2021


“Good Morning,” said the Electorate at last.

“Er… good morning, O Electorate,” said Cameron nervously, “do you have… er, that is…”

“An answer for you?” interrupted the Electorate majestically. “Yes, I have.”

“There really is one?” breathed Cameron.

“There really is one,” confirmed the Electorate.

“To Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

“Yes, though I don’t think,” added the Electorate, that you’re going to like it.”

“Doesn’t matter!” said Cameron, “We must know it! Now!”

“All right,” said the Electorate, “The answer to Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? Is…”





“I’m going to get lynched, aren’t I?”

“I checked it very thoroughly,” said the Electorate, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.”

“But it was Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” howled Cameron.

“Yes,” said the Electorate with the air of one who suffers fools gladly, “but what does that actually mean?”

“Well, you know, enjoy the benefits of the single market without being part of it, points based immigration here but still retire to Spain, restore the sovereignty of parliament without actually letting it vote…” said Cameron weakly.

“Exactly!” said the Electorate. “So once you do know what the question actually is, you’ll know what the answer means.”

“Look, all right, all right,” said Cameron, “can you just please tell me the question?”


“But can you do it?”

“No, but I’ll tell you who can,” said the Electorate.

“Who? Tell me!”

“I speak of none but the referendum that is to come next,” intoned the Electorate, “A referendum whose merest subordinate clauses I am not worthy to comprehend. A referendum that will actually tell us what Brexit is. A referendum of such infinite and subtle complexity that understanding ATM modernization under Single Sky and the medical implications of leaving Euratom shall form part of its introductory reading material…”

(Apologies to Douglas Adams)

(Previously, Previously)

(Related: Scott Adams; The real reason Americans don't have passports; 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall)

(You might also like: Vernal (Spring) Equinox 2021; Spherical Sunset; Northern Pacific Rattlesnake)

(All Politics Posts)

Autumnal Equinox 2017

Updated on Saturday, August 21, 2021

Autumnal (fall) equinox 2017 rendered in Catfood Earth.

Autumn/Fall starts now in the Northern Hemisphere. Springtime for the hemispherically challenged. Rendered in Catfood Earth (Windows, Android live wallpaper).

(Previously, Previously, Previously, Previously)

(Related: Autumnal Equinox 2019; Autumnal Equinox 2014; Autumnal Equinox 2015)

(You might also like: Scott Adams; Bernal from Davidson; San Francisco Botanical Garden)

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I Thought He Came With You is Robert Ellison's blog.