“Dadu dach tach ta”

Nastya Maslova, “D’n’B Song”

Random Kid, Both Flesh and Not

“Velocity’s just one part of it. Now we’re getting technical. Tennis is often called a “game of inches,” but the cliché is mostly referring to where a shot lands. In terms of a player’s hitting an incoming ball, tennis is actually more a game of micrometers: vanishingly tiny changes around the moment of impact will have large effects on how and where the ball travels. The same principle explains why even the smallest imprecision in aiming a rifle will still cause a miss if the target’s far enough away.

By way of illustration, let’s slow things way down. Imagine that you, a tennis player, are standing just behind your deuce corner’s baseline. A ball is served to your forehand — you pivot (or rotate) so that your side is to the ball’s incoming path and start to take your racket back for the forehand return. Keep visualizing up to where you’re about halfway into the stroke’s forward motion; the incoming ball is now just off your front hip, maybe six inches from point of impact. Consider some of the variables involved here. On the vertical plane, angling your racket face just a couple degrees forward or back will create topspin or slice, respectively; keeping it perpendicular will produce a flat, spinless drive. Horizontally, adjusting the racket face ever so slightly to the left or right, and hitting the ball maybe a millisecond early or late, will result in a cross-court versus down-the-line return. Further slight changes in the curves of your groundstroke’s motion and follow-through will help determine how high your return passes over the net, which, together with the speed at which you’re swinging (along with certain characteristics of the spin you impart), will affect how deep or shallow in the opponent’s court your return lands, how high it bounces, etc. These are just the broadest distinctions, of course — like, there’s heavy topspin vs. light topspin, or sharply cross-court vs. only slightly cross-court, etc. There are also the issues of how close you’re allowing the ball to get to your body, what grip you’re using, the extent to which your knees are bent and/or weight’s moving forward, and whether you’re able simultaneously to watch the ball and to see what your opponent’s doing after he serves. These all matter, too. Plus there’s the fact that you’re not putting a static object into motion here but rather reversing the flight and (to a varying extent) spin of a projectile coming toward you — coming, in the case of pro tennis, at speeds that make conscious thought impossible. Mario Ancic’s first serve, for instance, often comes in around 130 m.p.h. Since it’s 78 feet from Ancic’s baseline to yours, that means it takes 0.41 seconds for his serve to reach you.(9) This is less than the time it takes to blink quickly, twice.” – DFW,”Federer, Both Flesh and Not”

“Through the fire and the flames we carry on”

Come for the incredible guitar technique, stay for the look of sheer boredom.

A Koan

The security Student asked the security Master, “at what point will my threat model be complete?”

The Master produced two coins, one silver and one gold. He placed both coins in his left hand and closed his fist around them. From his fist he withdrew the silver coin, which he placed in the pocket of his robes.

“What coin is in my hand?” The Master asked.

“The gold.” The Student replied.

The Master opened his hand. Both the silver and the gold coin remained.

He closed his hand again. This time he withdrew the gold coin and placed it in the pocket of his robes.

“Which coin is in my hand?”

“The silver.”

The master opened his hand. Both the silver and the gold coin remained.

The master closed his hand again.

“When I withdraw the next coin from my hand, what coin do you think will remain?” The Master asked.

“Both of them, clearly!” The student replied.

The master reached into his hand and withdrew a copper coin.

And the student was enlightened.

“And when I come, I come on like a dream”

An Etymology

“With enough in my pocket now to last me a month, I gave the town a thorough canvassing for something worth while. I found many places that appeared to be advertising for a bursar and the most promising was the big general store. It was packed to the roof with merchandise, and the owners, to save floor space, had placed the safe behind the stairs, where it could not be seen from the street. I ‘pegged’ the spot for a week and satisfied myself that after the was closed at night no one entered it till opening-up time in the morning.

The expression, ‘I have him pegged,’ which has crept into common usage, is thieves’ slang pure and simple, and has nothing to do with the game of cribbage as many suppose. The thief, to save himself the trouble of staying up all night watching a spot to make sure no one enters after closing hours, puts a small wooden peg in the door jamb after the place is locked up. At five or six o’clock in the morning he takes a look. If the peg is in place the door has not been opened. If it is found lying in the doorway, that means somebody has opened the door in the night. If he finds the place is visited in the night he must then stay out and learn why and at what time and how often. He now has the place ‘pegged’ and plans accordingly or passes it up as too tough.” – You Can’t Win by Jack Black

“Excuse me, Sir. Do you have a minute to talk about rock and roll?”

“Does it ever stop raining here?”

I’ve been really digging local Seattle artist Shelby Earl for the past few weeks. Here 2013 record, Swift Arrows is fantastic. Bare, honest folk music, with incredible lyrical craft paired with stripped-down, but solid composition.

Highly recommended.

An Elegant Proof.

Destruction is always easier than creation: “By Stefanovitch’s reckoning, just two individuals had accounted for almost all the destruction, eviscerating the completed puzzle in about one percent of the moves and two percent of the time it had taken a crowd of thousands to assemble it.”

Alternately phrased: one malicious shitheel can destroy the work of hundreds of good people, but only if the system permits it.

One thing that I think gets glossed over in the (otherwise) excellent write-up above is that Stefanovitch’s original reckoning was correct. The project didn’t actually have one antagonist, but two. I’ll give you a hint as to the other:

“‘We were crossing our fingers, hoping we wouldn’t get sabotaged,’ says [REDACTED], the team’s security expert.”

“Security” “expert”. Malfeasance is one thing, but when it comes to security, willful incompetence is just as bad.

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Magic Blue Smoke

House Rules:

1.) Carry out your own dead.
2.) No opium smoking in the elevators.
3.) In Competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
4.) A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place.
4a.) Penalty one stroke.
5.) Pilsner should be in Roman type, and begin with a capital.
6.) Keep Calm and Kill It with Fire.
7.) Spammers will be fed to the Crabipede.