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Semper Ad Meliora

The term 'halitosis' was popularized to sell Listerine mouthwash

As it turns out, the BBC's Q.I. (Season 9, Episode 1) quoted the myth that the advertising for Listerine invented the term, but upon my looking into it, I found Wikipedia citing Freakonomics that the term 'halitosis' predated the marketing, but was obscure and not well known.

Contrary to the popular belief that Listerine coined the term halitosis, its origins date to before the product's existence, being coined by physician Joseph William Howe in his 1874 book The Breath, and the Diseases Which Give It a Fetid Odor, although it only became commonly used in the 1920s when a marketing campaign promoted Listerine as a solution for "chronic halitosis".

12/9/2022 4:49 pm
Tags: random fact

Trucker explains why the Tesla truck is poorly designed for working truckers (twitter.com)

12/9/2022 3:31 pm
Tags: tesla, electric vehicles, shipping

"The bizarre far-right coup attempt in Germany, explained by an expert." (vox.com)

Reading this made me understand how much more insane and crazy the whole thing was:

It sounds like something out of a novel: a cell of heavily armed German extremists plotting to overthrow the elected government and elevate a man called Prince Heinrich XIII to the throne of a new Teutonic monarchy.

On Wednesday, German police arrested 25 people attempting to do exactly that — including a former member of parliament from Alternatives for Deutschland (AfD), a far-right anti-immigrant faction.

The plot originated out of a movement called the Reichsbürger — literally, "Reich citizens." They believe that every German state since World War I has been illegitimate, a corporation rather than an authentic government, and thus feel entitled to ignore its laws.

Sounds shockingly similar to the stupidity peddled by parts of QAnon and the sovereign citizen hokum? Well, that's because it is directly derived from the sovereign citizen movement:

To try to understand this bizarre incident and the movement behind it, I reached out to Peter Neumann, a professor of security studies at King's College London and a leading expert on terrorism in Germany. Neumann has been studying the Reichsbürger for over a decade, which he learned of by researching an older movement that existed in America — so-called "sovereign citizens" who believe that the 14th Amendment (or possibly the end of the gold standard) secretly overturned the US Constitution, and that they are under no obligation to obey America's laws.

"I first took an interest in this when I was teaching at Georgetown, 12 years ago. I learned about the sovereign citizens in the United States," he says. "I didn't know that we had a similar movement in Germany, where I come from."

Recently, Reichsbürger adherents have started taking on ideas from another American conspiracy theory: QAnon, the idea that Donald Trump is leading a secret campaign against a cabal of Satanic pedophiles who run the world. Somehow, according to Neumann, this peculiarly American theory has become a major part of the German extremist landscape.

12/9/2022 12:50 pm
Tags: germany, far right, qanon, sovereign citizens, reichsburger, conspiracy

Delving into the math of subsidies and how they can't / shouldn't be used as a tool to change eating habits (threadreaderapp.com)

12/9/2022 9:34 am
Tags: diet, us politics, farming, economics

ICON weather satellite is out of contact and in deepening orbit (blogs.nasa.gov)

On Nov. 25, 2022, NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) team lost contact with the spacecraft. The ICON spacecraft is equipped with a built-in onboard command loss timer that will power cycle or reset the spacecraft after contact is lost for eight days. On Dec. 5, after the power cycle was complete, the team was still unable to acquire a downlink signal from the spacecraft. The team is currently still working to establish a connection.

As it turns out, it was launched for a two-year mission, which it completed. They were still running and using it, but it was in overtime regardless. It is always notable to me to hear about equipment, especially satellites, suddenly failing. A reminder that engineers of all sorts are fallible.

We don't yet build indestructible machines (despite what the plucky Mars Rover might lead us to believe.)

12/9/2022 8:27 am
Tags: nasa, space, weather

197 Theremins playing Beethoven's 9th Symphony (youtube.com)

Found via OpenCulture

12/9/2022 8:20 am
Tags: music, classical music, japan, theremin

Nemik's manifesto from Andor (youtube.com)

Tyranny requires constant effort. It breaks, it leaks, for it is brittle. Oppression is the mask of fear.

Beautifully edited.

12/9/2022 8:15 am
Tags: star wars, spoilers

Advent of Code - Day 7

Remember when I was waiting for a day where I felt really challenged? Well, I'm a few days behind and Day 7 did it.

I was able to get, I'd say 80% of the way there for getting an answer to Day 7's first challenge. I am confident I would have eventually figured out what was going on with my code and gotten to the solution, but it was taking a while and I realized that I didn't need to keep banging my head against the wall. Rather than blindly bumble into the correct eventual solution, I decided to stop and see how it was done by others. YouTuber 'thibpat,' a French programmer and casual YouTuber, had a video showing how he approached solving it.

Also, I have realized over the course of these days of coding, that I need to better understand Regular Expressions. They are an example where I have a very base level of understanding and rely heavily on googling up a solution when I need them. I would like to just understand them. So I'm going to work on that.

I asked on Mastodon and @shiftingedges recommended recommended Execute Program's free course on it. So I'm going to check that out in the coming weeks.

12/9/2022 7:58 am
Tags: programming, advent of code, javascript, regex

South Koreans about to get younger by 1-2 years (theguardian.com)

This is rather wild.

South Koreans are deemed to be a year old when they are born, and a year is added every 1 January.

So a kid born on Dec. 31 was two years old on the 2nd day of their birth. But, the story notes, South Korea is stopping this old tradition and moving to match the rest of the world.

The confusion should end in June – at least on official documents – when laws stipulating the use of only the international method of counting ages take effect.

"The revision is aimed at reducing unnecessary socioeconomic costs because legal and social disputes as well as confusion persist due to the different ways of calculating age," Yoo Sang-bum of the ruling People Power party told parliament.

Additionally, they don't seem to know why they started doing it the old way.

The system's origins are unclear. One theory is that turning one year old at birth takes into account time spent in the womb – with nine months rounded up to 12. Others link it to an ancient Asian numerical system that did not have the concept of zero.

Explanations for the extra year added on 1 January are more complicated. Some experts point to the theory that ancient Koreans placed their year of birth within the Chinese 60-year calendar cycle, but, at a time when there were no regular calendars, tended to ignore the day of their birth and simply added on a whole year on the first day of the lunar calendar. The extra year on 1 January became commonplace as more South Koreans began observing the western calendar.

12/9/2022 6:27 am
Tags: south korea

December 8th, 2022

A fascinating look at the intertwined history of the banjo and black history (youtube.com)

Sadly the racism is not altogether surprising given the south's overt history, but I never thought of it in this particular lens. I particularly found the segment about the 'ring shout' tradition fascinating.

12/8/2022 4:53 pm
Tags: music, black history, banjo

PSE energy stations among those attacked in Washington & Oregon in November (seattletimes.com 🗝️)

At least five attacks at electricity substations in Washington and Oregon, including two at Puget Sound Energy substations, have been reported to the FBI in recent weeks.

Spokespeople for Puget Sound Energy, the Cowlitz County Public Utility District and Bonneville Power Administration confirmed the attacks happened in November, according to emails sent in response to Seattle Times inquiries.

The FBI declined to confirm it is investigating the attacks, but the utilities say they are cooperating with a federal investigation.

12/8/2022 4:41 pm
Tags: terrorism, seattle, domestic terrorism

A comment on why the US traded Bout for Griner (/r/NoStupidQuestions)

A Reddit poster claims this comes from a friend in a counterterror / intelligence think tank. Take that claim with a gain of salt, however I think the point is solid:

Because Bout is burned, the ability for him to do what he did before is essentially nulified because hes spent 15 years in an american prison. we should have gotten more for Bout but the reality is we don't get that luxury. Griner doesn't deserve to die bc Putin wants to poke Biden in the eye, and there's dozens of other Bouts in the world, a few in Russia, a few in America. What Bout did pales in comparison to what our own people in the govt have authorized for arms trafficking. the reality is, authoritarians always have liberal democracies over a barrel with prisoner swaps. it's just the nature of the beast.

but what sets us apart is our willingness to make these hard swaps bc we value life and liberty. It's a greater statement than the inverse condition/outcome wherein someone like Bout is valued higher bc of their danger.

12/8/2022 4:36 pm
Tags: us politics, russia

Moose sighting in Rainier National Park (twitter.com)

Moose are not known for living this far south, this is very exciting to me. I would love to see more of them in this part of the state.

12/8/2022 4:06 pm - Updated: 12/8/2022 4:24 pm
Tags: rainier national park, wildlife

8 in 10 young adults in the US live within 100 miles of where they grew up (census.gov)

Some interesting insights in this article. Also in the full study, which I've only skimmed currently. I wouldn't have put the percentage that stayed home that high, probably over 50%, but I think the fact I moved so far from home and also that both places I most consider home when growing up (Orlando and Seattle), have huge influxes of people sways my perspective.

Nearly six in 10 young adults live within 10 miles of where they grew up, and eight in 10 live within 100 miles, according to a new study by researchers at the U.S. Census Bureau and Harvard University.

Even the prospect of higher earnings in more distant locations does little to change these patterns.

The final dataset draws upon anonymized decennial census, survey and tax data for people born from 1984 to 1992, to measure migration between locations in childhood and young adulthood. Childhood locations are measured at age 16 and locations in young adulthood are measured at age 26.

12/8/2022 2:47 pm
Tags: united states, economics

"Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has been knocked offline for more than a month" (npr.org)

12/8/2022 12:01 pm
Tags: news, vanuatu, hacking