I've been listening to the impeachment proceedings. They're repetitive but there are occasional striking moments. I have the audio playing while I do other stuff. I listened to the bitter end yesterday but I don't think I would've stayed up that late if I lived on the east coast.

There will be no justice in the short term but my guess is that history will not be kind to Trump and his allies.

Artwork by my friend Kira (photos of whose dog Fred have graced the pages of this blog) is currently featured on Adam Schiff's web site.
Some of the nicer readily available plywood comes from Finland or Russia, sold as Baltic birch. It's relatively stable and the inner layers are sound. I don't know why it's as inexpensive as it is, especially considering how far it has to be shipped to be sold in California.

It's often made in metric thicknesses, even when produced in 5'×5' sheets for the US market. 12mm is popular.

I need some for a project I'm working on but the lumberyard in my small town doesn't stock it anymore. I called a yard in Bishop this morning:

Tommy:
Do you have 12mm Baltic birch?
dude:
I don't know millimeters.
Tommy:
½ inch.
dude:
We're out but we'll get a delivery at 1:00 this afternoon.

At the lumberyard this afternoon:

Tommy:
Do you have ½ inch Baltic birch?
dude:
It'll be here at 1:00 on Wednesday.
Tommy:
On the phone you said 1:00 today.
dude:
I might have said that. I was wandering around thinking today was Wednesday.

Another lumberyard in Bishop had it, making it easy to be more amused than annoyed by this episode.
4800VAC
Installing a new utility pole on my block today.
The high voltage circuit they're working on is live.
N787RR at 35,000'
A Rolls-Royce 747 flew overhead yesterday
(note the mismatched engine).
I've always liked the look of their RR logo.

Today's Rolls‑Royce Motor Cars is a BMW subsidiary that licensed the brand name and trademarks. Their cars are built in a new factory and have no direct connection to Rolls‑Royce cars made prior to 2003. The Rolls-Royce company that makes (among other things) aircraft engines is a more direct descendant of the business started in 1904.
"There was no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qasem Soleimani. And we don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real."
‑ Mike Pompeo, January 9, 2020

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."
‑ Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."
‑ Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003
HTML support for custom fonts seems like a good thing. But like any freedom, it creates opportunities to screw up. With WOFF fonts in common use on the web, I'm seeing various forms of typographic ugliness that used to be rare. E.g., some fonts support automatic rendering of 'fi' with a ligature. Problem is, some fonts have a ligature for fi but not ffi and make a mess out of a word like 'suffice'. A picture would be worth a thousand words but I don't have an example on hand. I'll update this posting next time I come across one.

Fonts include hints intended to improve rendering on less-than-high-resolution devices but the wrong hint can make things worse. Der Spiegel has redesigned their web site and now uses a font for body copy whose lowercase 's' has a hint that makes it drop below the baseline when viewed with a couple different browsers. This is a Firefox screenshot from the article in which I first noticed the problem: The US President stands in the White House in front of generals and colorful flags and announces with great foofaraw the solution to a crisis to which he himself made a significant contribution. Maybe I'm just overly sensitive but those subterranean esses grate on me.

Comparing desktop browsers, Chrome exhibits this problem to a lesser degree than Firefox. The page looks fine on my phone. So yeah the problem is browser‑dependent (and font‑size‑dependent) but it is also unnecessary. The 's' looks good everywhere if I remove the hint in the font. So far I've found no downside to taking it out.

Both the font's hinting and the idiosyncrasies of the browser's rendering code contribute to the result. I can imagine font designers pointing fingers at browser engineers and vice versa. I don't know enough about hinting to comment on who is more at fault in this case. But when it's your web page, you just want it to look good. You may not be able to change how browsers behave but you can can choose or tweak fonts to get results you like.
Geococcyx californianus
Roadrunner in my yard around noon today.
I'm considering making something that will include rack and pinion gears made of wood, and before cutting anything I've been reading up on gear tooth shapes.

I started (where else?) with Wikipedia, where I saw that the gear article describes an insect, Issus coleoptratus, with tiny interlocking gears to synchronize the movement of its hind legs when it jumps. This was the first instance of functioning gears discovered in an animal. Is this way cool, or what. Issus coleoptratus Also, I encountered the word dedendum, analogous to addendum—except that addendum is in common parlance and dedendum is gear jargon.
Artifacts of aerial photography as a sequence of color‑filtered exposures. Yes, I posted an example of this before—but that one didn't have a shadow. Yes, I am easily amused. Happy solstice, everyone. -12.003,-77.124
In 1893, the USA standardized the foot as 1200/3937 meter. In 1959, the foot was redefined as 0.3048 meter, a US and international standard used to this day. It differs from the 1893 definition by two parts per million.

Surveyors kept using the old definition and know it as the US survey foot. The USA is divided into 124 geographic zones, each with a map projection tailored for low distortion within the zone. Coordinates within zones are often given in feet.

US authorities have been wanting to ditch the survey foot for a while but only recently put their foot down (sorry). The survey foot will be deprecated in 2022. That's when a new datum will replace NAD83 (which gets the center of the Earth wrong by about 2.2 meter). As long as you're upsetting one applecart, might as well upset another.

The impending demise of the survey foot was in the news recently. Russian media made snarky comments along the lines of why don't you just use meters, which made me curious to see what the Russian language Wikipedia page for the metric system had to say about the USA. An excerpt (via Google translate):
...the USA is the economic and technological leader in the world, and representatives of imperial thinking believe that it is not worth the US "trendsetter" to adapt to others, even if it will bring tangible benefits. This is confirmed, for example, by the US's reluctance to switch from Letter paper format to mathematically justified aspect ratios and accepted by all other countries in the world according to ISO 216 standard.
Not all other countries. Canada, Mexico, and a few others use 8½×11" too.

Certain US standards (e.g. fractional inch measurements and tool sizes) cause me occasional frustration but it doesn't bother me that our paper has an aspect ratio other than 1:√2. It never happens that I fold a piece of paper in half and wish it stayed the same shape.

Certain products are in inch sizes worldwide, e.g. socket wrenches in ¼", ⅜", and ½" drive, and car wheel diameters in inches.
Erythrostemon gilliesii (formerly Caesalpinia gillesii) is an ornamental shrub popular in my area. It's suited to our soil and climate and has nice flowers. It exhibits impressive explosive dehiscence. A friend and I were near one of my plants when it ejected a seed hard enough to hit the roof of my house.

My favorite specimen started on its own about 20 years ago from seed thrown by an existing plant. Unfortunately it's next to a frost-free hydrant which has a drain valve about 40 cm below grade. I recently replaced the hydrant because roots had invaded the valve. I now face the question of whether I love the plant enough to accept having to continually replace the hydrant (which I use a lot).

This pic of one of the plant's flowers is from 2015. Erythrostemon gilliesii
this

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