Category Archives: Technology


Have you ever heard of dazzle camouflage? I hadn’t heard of it until today*, but it’s super interesting.

Dazzle camouflage was used a lot in WWI, mainly on ships.  It is not designed to conceal a target but rather to make it difficult to estimate how far away it is, how fast it’s going, and where it’s going – thus making it difficult to fire upon it. The idea is to paint the object with complex patterns and geometric shapes that cross and zigzag and basically mess up perspective. Here are some pics:




So did it work? Apparently it’s hard to know. There were some analyses done based on WWI data, but too many confounding factors made it difficult to be able to conclude definitively that dazzle camouflage was advantageous over any other painting scheme. Still interesting, though!

*I was looking up scintillating scotomas and they mentioned that sometimes the shimmering looks like the patterns in dazzle camouflage. Which is true.

Just in case you needed reminding…


Snap back to reality, OOP there goes…um…a rope…

This is REALLY interesting, yo.

According to Wilhelmsen, “when a mooring line snaps, it moves at up to 800km/h…Snap back accounts for a staggering 53% of mooring accidents, according to the UK P&I club, with a sobering 1 in 7 of those accidents resulting in fatalities.”

What a cool, innovative solution to try to prevent these accidents.

Also, this brings back vague memories of reading about snap back incidents with games of tug-of-war. Pretty rough stuff for a “fun” game, but I guess those accidents too have resulted in ropes that are specifically designed for the stress of tug-of-war.

Tabula Rasa

Let’s talk about online teaching!

So U of C shut down in-person classes (and campus in general) in mid-March last semester because of COVID. I won’t be teaching again until summer, but I am doubting that classes will be in person by then. Hell, classes might not be in person in the fall, either.

I ended up using my laptop in its “tablet mode” to finish out the remainder of last semester, meaning that I used it like a tablet to write out all my notes while I dictated and recorded the notes/dictation, then uploaded all the recorded lectures to YouTube. This worked okay, except doing 50-minute recordings made my laptop super hot and I don’t want to demolish it during summer, where I’ll be teaching back-to-back two-hour classes M/W/F.

So I decided to get all fancy and bought a Wacom One tablet!

I’m scared to open it ‘cause it was super expensive and I don’t want to break it, but I’ll have to test it out before summer to make sure it actually does what I need it to do. Namely, I’ll need to be able to write in OneNote on my little note packet PDFs and record the tablet screen while doing so.

Edit from a few weeks later: okay, yeah, this is going to work really nicely I think. The tablet reads as another monitor to my computer, so when I’m lecturing through Zoom, I can “share screen” my tablet and whatever window(s) I have open on the tablet screen show up to my students and get recorded.

Edit from summer semester: this works amazingly! I love this little tablet. Definitely a worthwhile investment, since fall will also be online.

E-lectricity! EEEEEEEEEEE-lectricity!


So we were away from the Superstore for a little while and when we came back they had THESE.



They’re little electronic price labels and they are fascinating.

Edit: I just spent fifteen minutes reading a brochure about them.

Can…can regular people get a hold of these? I just want, like…five of them.

To cuddle.

(Sorry, these are for some reason obscenely cute to me and must be treasured and protected. I don’t know what my problem is.)

Edit again: we’ve seen a few injured ones (punctured/broken screens) lying to the side of aisles in the Superstore and it’s so hard not to take them, hahaha. I’d get in so much trouble, I’m sure.

Hahaha, oh my god

A Child from the Future: “Grandpa, what did you do for fun when you were younger?”


Look at these Millennials ruin everything.

Those vacuums in that pile of cereal, though, that was hysterical.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Light

Didn’t think I’d spend 12 minutes watching a video about twinkling Christmas lights, but this was actually super interesting.

What SORT of nonsense is this?

Yo, nerds, remember when I posted this blog containing a video of visualizations for 15 sorting algorithms?

(Probably not. But I did!)

If that video gave you seizures and you still want to visualize some sorting algorithms, check this video out!

I love sorting algorithms, yo. If you want to read about some of the common ones, check out here and here (click “Sorting algorithms” on the left-hand menu).

Headphone Pandemonium

Do you have a favorite pair of headphones and want to test how well they perform? Or are you looking to buy a pair of headphones but can’t decide between a few different models? Try this website! It lists a bunch of tests you can run by just listening to different sound files on your headphones.

Give it a try!

(Confession: I’m mostly posting this for my own reference later, haha)

I Like Big Trucks and I Cannot Lie

So thanks to Euro Truck Simulator and American Truck Simulator, I’m kinda into medium/heavy trucks now. And the creepy, privacy-invading algorithm that is Google must be aware of this, because these two videos showed up in my “recommended for you” on YouTube.

That’s…that’s really impressive. This could be a really useful feature, especially if it’s automatic and will apply in cases where, say, the driver falls asleep.

(I am now subscribed to the “Volvo Trucks” YouTube channel).

Edit: a Scania!

I want one of those sad little fabric cars, too.


That is all.

Click Clack I was Taken Aback

I’ve been trying to resist.

I’ve been trying to convince myself that there is no practical need for this.


But then we went to Best Buy last week and I got it anyway.

It lights up and has colors, yo. How could I resist?

It’s also super clicky-clicky, which badass.


(The intense color of the light is not captured on this video; the colors are SUPER BRIGHT.)



Do I need one? No. Not right now. But I know I’ll need one at some point, once my current one’s battery bites it due to too many walks in freezing cold weather. I was worried that Apple would discontinue their iPods due to the fact that their phones do everything that the iPods do and more. But as this article points out, iPods are good for the demographic that can’t afford the phones and/or don’t want to deal with smart phones but still want a music player that can connect to wifi.

So yay! I’m glad there’s at least one more iteration.


Me: I am so obscenely busy right now that I barely have time to sleep

Also me: Ooh, let’s learn LaTeX!

Yeah, I know, I should already know LaTeX, I know. I’m a bad person. But this is the same problem I ran into with learning how to write dynamic WebWork questions: it’s something tedious and coding-like and I absolutely love doing it, but it takes a long time to do it when you’re first learning it.

I shall try to put off the real learning/adventuring until I have a bit more free time, instead of, you know, trying to re-write all my math and stats notes in LaTeX prior to the start of the next semester.


So my mom brought this to me a while ago (she bought it for some sort of work-related recordings she needed to do, but never needed it?):


This is really stupid, but I’ve been tempted to try to do an a capella singing of Coldplay’s Fix You. I really love that song, it’s got a lot of meaning for me, and I like to sing.

That doesn’t mean I can sing, of course, but it would be fun to try now that I finally have a microphone that costs more than $5.


Unpopular (?) Opinion:

Does anyone else feel like parents putting Snapchat filters on their babies is really…creepy? Especially those ones that make your skin super smooth and your eyes big and weird.

Like…aren’t they your pwecious wittle perfect angels already? Why put a filter on them?

Ugh. People.


Sorry, I’m just in love with these headphones and how much they’ve reignited my love for certain songs.

This includes:

  • Viva La Vida – Coldplay (you can really hear the bass line with these headphones and it’s so good)
  • Big Country – Bela Fleck and the Flecktones (this song is an experience with any headphones, but again…BASS)
  • Doin’ It Right – Daft Punk (you can feel this song in your freaking bone marrow, yo)
  • Silhouette – Owl City (it hurts my soul, but it sounds so good doing it)

There’s more, but these are the big ones right now.

Freaking love these headphones. Thanks, husband!

The Passion of the Pit

I don’t know why it took me so long to listen to Sleepyhead with these Sennheisers, but oh my god.

Sleepyhead was added to my music collection before my Decade of Music project (February 23, 2009 more specifically). It’s been surpassed by quite a few songs on my overall ranking of best songs, but I still maintain that its chorus is one of the best things I have ever heard.

(Chorus at 1:20)

I mean, I judge the quality of a Sleepyhead remix based on what they do with that chorus, which is why the Jazzsteppa Remix (makes the chorus a little slower and a lot more prominent with some serious bass) and the Cillo Remix (makes the chorus a bit more techno-ish and, again, more prominent with a chill vibe) are my two favorite remixes of this song.

Sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve praised Sleepyhead. I’ve had a lot of other songs to rave about, but this one definitely has not fallen off my radar.

Current Favorite Nighttime Activity:

  1. Sit at computer desk with Sennheisers affixed to ears.
  2. Listen to music. Any music.
  3. Cry a lot due to the fact that every song sounds so much better with these headphones and it makes me goddamn emotional.
  4. Cry a lot due to other general reasons.
  5. OOPS, IT’S 4 AM.

(I think I posted a similar blog like a week ago, but I don’t care!)

ssklsdfslshspef SENNHEISERS

Guys. My freaking husband got me headphones. The headphones. The Sennheiser HD 600s. These are the ones.

I have wanted these headphones for quite some time, as everything I’d read about them basically said they’re the best “under $1000” headphones you could really get.


(He also got me an amp because these headphones have a high enough impedance that the amp is necessary for power.)

And dudes. They’re so good.

You can hear every sound so separately from everything else. Everything is clear and crisp. It’s going to take a long time for me to explore all my music with these headphones, but I’ll keep a list of favorites (songs that sound RIDICULOUSLY good with these) here:

  • Algorithm (Alternate Reality Version) – Muse
  • O Magnum Mysterium – Lauridsen
  • Hide and Seek (A Cappella Cover) – Dan Wright
  • Sunshine (Adagio in D Minor) – John Murphy

Edit: DUDES THAT FREAKING PLANET EARTH II SUITE SOUNDS OBSCENE. What is that word for when a song gives you tinglies? Frisson? This is frisson up the butt, yo.


Today, I decided to see if my iPhone would accept one of my toe prints as an additional “fingerprint” that could be used to unlock my phone.

Y’know, for science.

Results (there’s music about half way through, so keep the volume kinda low):

(Would the U of C still let me teach if they found out that this is how I spend my free time?)
(Or is this how profs get tenure?)

Also, I love that my husband can come in the living room, see me pressing my iPhone to my big toe, and not be phased by it.

Note: it does not accept a tongue print.

Garmin Forerunner 35

So today is my first day wearing my new Garmin Forerunner 35 as opposed to my Fitbit, which is slowly falling apart.


The Garmin has GPS (which my Fitbit does not), so I can finally get an accurate assessment of my walking distance.

Let’s give ‘er a roll and see how she does.


In GPS mode, it gives you a map of your activity.


It also gives you a plot of your pace. I always wondered how consistent my pace was on a 15-mile walk. Turns out it’s pretty damn consistent.


Heart rate! It was all over the place here. To be fair, though, my route was relatively up and down and had a decent number of stops at lights.


Elevation change!


This is freaking awesome. I love it.


Ugh. So that new laptop I just bought?


Died the same way as the first one.
Why is this happening in the busiest part of my freaking year.


Edit: Okay, fuck it, switching brands. Got an Acer. The keyboard feels like Jesus. It’s got an SSD so it starts up in like a nanosecond.

I’m digging it.


What normal people use the “panorama” setting for:


What I use the “panorama” setting for:


I’m goddamn Ansel Adams.


Hey, so I’m in like the busiest part of the semester and what happens? My freaking laptop craps out on me.


Luckily, my wonderful husband was able to help bail me out today by going to Best Buy (while I panicked in my office and tried to use my office mate’s computer to get some work done) to pick up a new laptop for me. He then stayed and set it up while I tried to finish my work.

I love him so much.

2018 is trying to end me, I swear.