Celestial Nomenclature


Why I Stopped Watching Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, Reason 227

I wanted to open this blog with the actual clip from Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, episode 107 (S01E08), but I could not find a copy anywhere on the Internets. This was way back when that show was brand spanking new and I thought I'd watch a few episodes to see how it was. This was the last one

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PSA: "Period of Time"

This phrase is always redundant. Please use either "period" or "time." Do not use both. The phrase "point in time" is also redundant, and based on a poor understanding of physics. Likewise "moment in time."

As a general rule, the "in time" modifier is easily dropped without affecting clarity. This will tighten your prose, making it easier to consume quickly.

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23andMe Sale!

23andMe offers ridiculously low cost, private genotyping to just about anyone. They take your spit and use it to test your DNA for hundreds of thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Many of these SNPs are reliable predictors of gene sequence, and 23andMe can tell you tons of interesting stuff about tote traits, disease risk, heredity, and more! I've found out all sorts of really interesting stuff, like the fact that my father's father's mother,

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Ruminations on Holiday Shopping

WalMart sells replacement plans for Cabbage Patch dolls.

At WalMart, I was helped by a man named Dexter wearing a long-sleeved Henley shirt.

I went to two Targets, a Giant Eagle, a Home Depot, and a WalMart today. I encountered two charity collection drives. A Salvation Army bell ringer, and a Firefighters' Union toy drive. Both were stationed outside the WalMart.

I have done something I never expected to do. I purchased an artificial Christmas

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A Brief Follow-Up

Thank you to everyone who expressed concern. The official diagnosis is chronic sleep deprivation, causing anxiety, poor concentration, fatigue, and depression.

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Dear Diary

My soul has been broken for so long I've forgotten what it feels like to be alive. That white hot electric shine of meeting each moment knowing, with full certainty, who I am and how to meet the next challenge barreling down on me. The quiet serenity of confidence in my ability to meet the future, and the blazing inferno of rage that anything should stand in my way. That secret, sacred, insatiable center feels

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Free Legal Advice

Number One: Know your own Terms of Service.
Number Two: Don't fuck with me.
Number Three: When shopping for a Ventrilo server, think twice about Darkstar, LLC.

Bonus Number Four: Learn how to spell "do."

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As you may have heard from the twitters, I have some projects going. Here are some brief descriptions of them. No photos, yet, because I'm writing this on my phone and don't have any handy.

Project #1: Exercise
Yesterday, I went to a high intensity training facility. It's not a gym--a gym is a place where you pay a membership fee and get to use the equipment on your own, and pay extra for a

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Health Care "Reform" - 2011

The following provisions of the Affordable Health Care for America Act take effect beginning January 1, 2011:

  1. Numerous and extensive changes to the Medicare rules, including payment cuts to providers and facilities.
  2. Pregnant women receiving Medicaid must not smoke or stop smoking by January 1, 2011, in order to remain Medicaid-eligible.
  3. Individuals may no longer use flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement accounts, or health savings accounts to pay for over-the-counter medications.
  4. Penalty for unqualified withdrawals
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My Mother is an Addict

My mother has an addiction. Each year, she must see how far the laws of physics will stretch. She will not be satisfied unless she manages to push them further than the previous year.

Her obsession is with Christmas trees.

Every year of my life (except last year, when we were in Italy), we have had a live Christmas tree. For the past 10 years, it has always been a particular sort of tree, an

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Knitting Harry Potter Scarves

PoA-style HP Scarf (Ravenclaw)

I have knitted several of these. The one pictured is my personal Ravenclaw, in blue and bronze. The films use blue and silver for Ravenclaw, but every True Ravenclaw knows the colors are really blue and bronze. The finished scarf is about 10′ long. One day, I'll take better pictures of it, under proper lighting. Done with the move to Ghost, 8 June 2014.

The pattern is adapted, with significant alterations, from a pattern

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Are TSA Screenings Custodial?

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), requires that law enforcement officers read certain warnings to suspects before subjecting them to custodial interrogation. Failure to do so renders the defendant's statements elicited thereby inadmissible in court. One of the key factors in determining whether Miranda applies to a particular situation is whether that situation is "custodial." The standard for whether a situation is "custodial" is basically this: if the person is not free to

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The Autumnal Unpleasantness

This will in all likelihood be my only commentary on The Autumnal Unpleasantness. If you don't know what that is, try and keep it that way.

First this tweet:
[quotetweet tweetid=29220245128]

And also, this DM I sent to Trey:

And that remains the sum of my evaluation of the matter. I know that the events have been of very significant importance to people about whom I care. But the fact remains that the whole

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Electricity is a Mystery

A few months ago, Gus posted a link to an image purporting to be a scan from a children's science textbook:Gus was skeptical of the image's authenticity. Obviously the image had been altered to show a gun in the girl's hand rather than what the hairdryer that was probably in the original. But the text was partly believable as genuine fanaticism. To see if Poe's Law was really at work here, I did a

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How I Got Here

Last time, I told you that I got myself a lovely job with Ardiwa, the American Retirement and Disability Insurance and Welfare Administration*. Here's the story of how I got it.

Since being admitted to the bar in Key Midwestern Swing State, I practiced general law out of my mother's house in Greater Northeast Key Midwestern Swing State City. I lived (and still live) with her because it was cheaper that way while I was

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On the Thing Into Which I Have Gotten Myself

Right then. So. I got a job. And I'd bet someone is wondering what kind of job it is. So I will tell you.

First, keep in mind a few things. I have a law degree, which was very expensive. I owe approximately $100k on it still. I have a law license in Key Midwestern Swing State, which I have had and tried to use since November of 2009. The current national government has seen

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