Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

« Previous Day Next Day »

Good news, I woke up feeling a bit better. Still not 100%. Still fighting sniffles and congestion. But no longer feeling like death warmed over.

1/10/2023 8:28 am | | Tags: life

We now understand Roman concrete

Fascinating stuff. I watched a TikTok about it last night. The core is that there are larger than expected chunks of limestone in the cement mix. Their unusual size means that many cracks involve them, and when water runs through these cracks the limestone basically is porous and dissolves to be a bit more glue to fill the crack, dry and harden. However, the other major realization is that it was mixed while being hot, rather than as we do today with cold mixing.

Here's the abstract of the paper:

Ancient Roman concretes have survived millennia, but mechanistic insights into their durability remain an enigma. Here, we use a multiscale correlative elemental and chemical mapping approach to investigating relict lime clasts, a ubiquitous and conspicuous mineral component associated with ancient Roman mortars. Together, these analyses provide new insights into mortar preparation methodologies and provide evidence that the Romans employed hot mixing, using quicklime in conjunction with, or instead of, slaked lime, to create an environment where high surface area aggregate-scale lime clasts are retained within the mortar matrix. Inspired by these findings, we propose that these macroscopic inclusions might serve as critical sources of reactive calcium for long-term pore and crack-filling or post-pozzolanic reactivity within the cementitious constructs. The subsequent development and testing of modern lime clast–containing cementitious mixtures demonstrate their self-healing potential, thus paving the way for the development of more durable, resilient, and sustainable concrete formulations.

1/10/2023 9:13 am | | Tags: roman empire, engineering, history

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania trailer

Jonathan Majors remains the actor who I am most excited to watch in any role.

1/10/2023 9:48 am | | Tags: movie, trailer, marvel

Data shows omicron booster kept seniors out of hospitals

Not that this will change anyone's mind which has been made up, but it is good to see ongoing study and evaluation regarding effectiveness.

In the first real-world test of vaccine boosters specially designed to protect against the omicron variant, Israeli researchers have found that people 65 and over who got an updated jab were 81% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who did not.

1/10/2023 11:37 am | | Tags: covid 19, vaccinations, science

Extending Markdown

I've been running into limitations of Markdown as it comes to this blog, and am finally taking steps to extend it.

First up is a new implementation for links:

[This is a new link{With helpful link titles}](

And what that does is create this (hover your mouse over the link):

This is a new link

1/10/2023 2:26 pm | | Tags: programming, markdown, glowbug

There was a surge in road deaths during Covid, why?

From the Abstract:

Despite a brief reduction during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States surged in 2020 to its highest level in over a decade. The purpose of the research reported here is to advance the understanding of how safety on U.S. roads changed during the pandemic, beyond its initial months, by comparing the involvement of specific crash-, vehicle-, and driver-related factors in fatal crashes during the eight-month period of May through December 2020 to what would have been expected had the pandemic not occurred and pre-pandemic trends continued. [...] Overall, the number of traffic fatalities in 2020 was 2,570 (7.1%) more than expected based on pre-pandemic trends. However, a sharp decrease in traffic fatalities in March and April 2020 partially offset an even larger increase later in the year. During the eight-month period of May through December 2020, the number of traffic fatalities was 3,083 (12.1%) more than expected.

The real takeaway:

The increase in traffic fatalities was not uniform across crash-, vehicle-, and driver-related factors. Scenarios present in greater than expected numbers in fatal crashes in 2020 included evening and late-night hours, speeding drivers, drivers with illegal alcohol levels, drivers without valid licenses, drivers of older vehicles, drivers of vehicles registered to other people, crash involvement and deaths of teens and young adults, and deaths of vehicle occupants not wearing seatbelts. In contrast, several crash types followed pre-pandemic trends (e.g., crashes in the middle of the day; crash involvements of drivers with valid licenses; pedestrian fatalities), and a few decreased (e.g., crashes of elderly drivers; crashes during typical morning commute hours).

So what we saw was an increase in deaths in the middle of the night, midday crashes held, and crashes by elderly or in the morning.

I am curious to find out any data relating to crashes based on economic situations. I suspect we would find workers of lower incomes suffered much of the reported spikes.

1/10/2023 3:49 pm | | Tags: covid 19, traffic

Turkish election this year will be very important

Among the many general elections of international consequence to watch this year, Nigeria’s, scheduled for February will be by far the largest; Pakistan’s, due by October, will probably be the loudest. But the most important will unquestionably take place on June 18, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeks to stretch his rule over Turkey into a third decade.

I have to question of Erdogan will step down or allow a free election. We'll see.

1/10/2023 4:21 pm | | Tags: turkiye, elections, world politics

"In Lebanon, Solar Power Is Booming. Why?"

In recent years, amid soaring inflation, unemployment, and poverty rates, Lebanese have faced devastating electricity shortages. But as I settled in, I began to notice something I'd never seen before in the city: Solar panels were popping up everywhere. From the rooftops and verandas of residential buildings to commercial establishments, people were now sourcing their own power to light up their homes and businesses.

1/10/2023 4:53 pm | | Tags: solar power, lebanon, clean energy

CPSC considers banning gas stoves in households

In an interview with Bloomberg, a US Consumer Product Safety commissioner said gas stove usage is a "hidden hazard."

"Any option is on the table. Products that can't be made safe can be banned," agency commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. told Bloomberg. The report said the agency plans "to take action" to address the indoor pollution caused by stoves.

The CPSC has been considering action on gas stoves for months. Trumka recommended in October that the CPSC seek public comment on the hazards associated with gas stoves. The pollutants have been linked to asthma and worsening respiratory conditions.

A December 2022 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that indoor gas stove usage is associated with an increased risk of current asthma among children. The study found that almost 13% of current childhood asthma in the US is attributable to gas stove use.

1/10/2023 5:00 pm | | Tags: us politics, child safety, cpsc

Amazing artist, Brian Mock

1/10/2023 8:10 pm | | Tags: art

Mastodon Favs for January, 10th 2023

This post was automatically generated

1/10/2023 10:45 pm | | Tags: mastodon, social media, automated

A good book day

Remember how I was bemoaning the massive pile of unread books I have? Yeah... about that.

I stumbled across this amazing pile of ebooks courtesy of Cambridge University which had a number of fascinating ebook pdfs available for download. The post that sent me to it said the downloads would only be available until January 11th. But I went ahead and downloaded them all, I don't expect to read the majority of them but there were a few which genuinely seemed interesting.

Emotions and Temporalities by Margrit Pernau

Emotions and Temporalities by Margrit Pernau
Emotions and Temporalities by Margrit Pernau

This Element brings together the history of emotions and temporalities, offering a new perspective on both. Time was often imagined as a movement from the past to the future: the past is gone and the future not yet here. Only present-day subjects could establish relations to other times, recovering history as well as imagining and anticipating the future. In a movement paralleling the emphasis on the porous self, constituted by emotions situated not inside but between subjects, this Element argues for a porous present, which is open to the intervention of ghosts coming from the past and from the future. What needs investigating is the flow between times as much as the creation of boundaries between them, which first banishes the ghosts and then denies their existence. Emotions are the most important way through which subjects situate and understand themselves in time.

It sounds like a brain bender, but I think that can be very good for us.

Violence and the Sikhs by Arvind-Pal S. Mandair

Violence and the Sikhs by Arvind-Pal S. Mandair
Violence and the Sikhs by Arvind-Pal S. Mandair

Violence and the Sikhs interrogates conventional typologies of violence and non-violence in Sikhism by rethinking the dominant narrative of Sikhism as a deviation from the ostensibly original pacifist-religious intentions and practices of its founders. This Element highlights competing logics of violence drawn from primary sources of Sikh literature, thereby complicating our understanding of the relationship between spirituality and violence, connecting it to issues of sovereignty and the relationship between Sikhism and the State during the five centuries of its history. By cultivating a non-oppositional understanding of violence and spirituality, this Element provides an innovative method for interpreting events of 'religious violence'. In doing so it provides a novel perspective on familiar themes such as martyrdom, Martial Race theory, warfare and (post)colonial conflicts in the Sikh context.

Given the prominant Sikh community around where I live, I'm always curious to learn more about them. I don't think a book like this should be my initial introduction to Sikh history and faith, but it did jump out at me.

Global Medievalism: An Introduction by Helen Young and Kavita Mudan Finn

Global Medievalism in Popular Culture by Helen Young
Global Medievalism in Popular Culture by Helen Young

"The typical vision of the Middle Ages western popular culture represents to its global audience is deeply Eurocentric. The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones imagined entire medievalist worlds, but we see only a fraction of them through the stories and travels of the characters. Organised around the theme of mobility, this Element seeks to deconstruct the Eurocentric orientations of western popular medievalisms which typically position Europe as either the whole world or the centre of it, by making them visible and offering alternative perspectives. How does popular culture represent medievalist worlds as global - connected by the movement of people and objects? How do imagined mobilities allow us to create counterstories that resist Eurocentric norms? This study represents the start of what will hopefully be a fruitful and inclusive conversation of what the Middle Ages did, and should, look like"

Too true, the eurocentricity to the history I have been exposed to is a thing I constantly want to overcome and I look forward to delving into this.

Tibetan Demonology by Christopher Bell

Tibetan Demonology by Christopher Bell
Tibetan Demonology by Christopher Bell

Tibetan Demonology discusses the rich taxonomy of gods and demons encountered in Tibet. These spirits are often the cause of, and exhorted for, diverse violent and wrathful activities. This Element consists of four thematic sections. The first section, 'Spirits and the Body', explores oracular possession and spirit-induced illnesses. The second section, 'Spirits and Time', discusses the role of gods in Tibetan astrology and ritual calendars. The third section, 'Spirits and Space', examines the relationship between divinities and the Tibetan landscape. The final section, 'Spirits and Doctrine', explores how certain deities act as fierce protectors of religious and political institutions.

I have always loved mythology. I remember being fascinated by Greek and Roman mythology and dipping my toe into what I could learn about others. I can still remember visiting back in middle school and high school reading about mythology around the world. I'm very excited to delve into this one.

Beyond those (and the others I downloaded), I decided to spend some Christmas Amazon credit on two books from MIT Press:

Uneven Futures: Strategies for Community Survival from Speculative Fiction

Uneven Futures by Ida Yoshinaga
Uneven Futures by Ida Yoshinaga

Essays on speculative/science fiction explore the futures that feed our most cherished fantasies and terrifying nightmares, while helping diverse communities devise new survival strategies for a tough millennium.

In this edited collection, more than forty writers, critics, game designers, scholars, and activists explore core SF texts, with an eye toward a future in which corporations dominate both the means of production and the means of distribution and governments rely on powerful surveillance and carceral technologies.

Unboxed: Board Game Experience & Design by Gordon Calleja

Unboxed by Gordon Calleja
Unboxed by Gordon Calleja

An in-depth exploration of the experience of playing board games and how game designers shape that experience.

In Unboxed, Gordon Calleja explores the experience of playing board games and how game designers shape that experience. Calleja examines key aspects of board game experience—the nature of play, attention, rules, sociality, imagination, narrative, materiality, and immersion—to offer a theory of board game experience and a model for understanding game involvement that is relevant to the analysis, criticism, and design of board games. Drawing on interviews with thirty-two leading board game designers and critics, Calleja—himself a board game designer—provides the set of conceptual tools that board game design has thus far lacked.

Both just sound like interesting reads. I'll get to them eventually. For now, I'm off to bed where I'll read a bit more of Africa Rising's short stories.

1/10/2023 11:31 pm | | Tags: ebooks
« Previous Day Next Day »