Bacon, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives

Things I love

Tiananmen Square

My senior year in high school I was focused on two things: graduating and watching the protests in China. I had a TV in my room which might as well have been permanently glued to CNN, and I remember it was constantly on TV and the radio. I seriously thought “they’re going to pull it off!” until the massacre. The next time this played out I was waiting for the machine gunners to wrap it up the same way – thankfully, it didn’t happen. Perestroika and Glasnost had been underway for a while and the Chinese Democracy Movement seemed to be fruit of a similar tree, if not the same species.

From 2003-2005 I worked with a couple of Chinese expats – one was a programmer now, but was a doctor in China. We were talking at one time and he said he was at the massacre, but supposed I’d never heard of it. I told him the whole US was watching it on evening TV every day, and it was all anyone talked about. It looked like he was about to cry, so I let it drop.

At one point I took him shooting with his friends and we all talked more about it. He explained he had been there to treat soldiers, basically at gunpoint. Fellow medical students were on the other side of the lines being killed.

I don’t have much to add but I do think of it every year when it comes around, and I wish the outcome had been better.

Written by Ry Jones

6 June 2015 at 19:07

Posted in Life

Cowboy Bebop

Tom gave me a copy of Cowboy Bebop in 2000 or 2001, and I enjoyed it greatly. Steven Den Beste’s review from 2003 has stuck with me. Hell, I named my cat after one of the main characters. I still like it – I did a rewatch over this week with the movie inserted in order and found it holds up.

The first time I went to Ba Bar they were playing music from the series. I think I’ll keep going there, maybe one day they’ll play it again.

Written by Ry Jones

29 May 2015 at 19:49

Posted in Japan, Life

Map errors

This weekend, I had occasion to pay attention to maps around the area of Elk Butte.

Map Errors near Elk Butte

In the upper right, you see Google Terrain – which shows approximately the truth on the ground. The rest of the layers show an insane artifact of a stitching error. I tried to sift through all the vector data sources to find the suspect source of data, but ran out of energy before I chased it down.

Error source?

This is as close as I got. This two shots are of the same region at very slightly different zoom levels using Google Terrain data.

If I didn’t know this area as well as I do, I might have noticed the error but not appreciated how bad the stitching error is.

Written by Ry Jones

26 May 2015 at 20:44

Mobile home parks

An article about buying mobile home parks as going concerns got me wondering how the MHPs in my area still exist. I need wonder no more as the last MHP in Kirkland will soon be gone (article with more spin here). While searching for the original link, I found this and this and about a dozen more variants of the same story. While in Moscow this weekend I drove through the MHP I lived in from 2002-2005 and saw that nothing has changed – literally. Everything is rotting in place.

Written by Ry Jones

26 May 2015 at 7:14


an amazing lightning storm blew through the area last night, so I went up behind WalMart to try to take pictures. The iPhone is horrid in low light. 


Written by Ry Jones

24 May 2015 at 11:08

Posted in Idaho, Photography

Bumping around

tried to summit Elk Butte from the north and south, and failed. There’s one patch of snow blocking the south and a tree blocking the north. 


It was a good day anyway. A hell of a storm blew in and we barely got off the hill before lighting and hail really opened up.

Written by Ry Jones

24 May 2015 at 9:23

Posted in Offroading

How a machine can spot depression; ELIZA

Reading this article on software spotting depression, a quote stood out:

Mitic remembers that Ellie’s robot-ness helped him open up.

“Ellie seemed to just be listening,” Mitic says. “A lot of therapists, you can see it in their eyes, when you start talking about some of the grislier details of stuff that you might have seen or done, they are having a reaction.”

He knows it’s a machine, but it’s good enough for him to work through issues.

From seventh to ninth grade, my junior high school had a TRS-80 in the library that you could use. For a while, when I went to school really early, there was a guy I knew beavering away typing in a BASIC implementation of ELIZA and then running it for the rest of the open time. He was typing it in every day and running it for however long – no floppy disk drive.

I never understood what was going on. At the simplest, you look for ending punctuation or a few words to trigger the response. The article on ELIZA effect covers it. But he was clearly getting something out of it because he was happy to do the work of typing it in every day.

No moral – but it has stuck with me since then.

Written by Ry Jones

20 May 2015 at 15:49


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