Elementary, Dear Data (TNG Rewatch: Season 2, Episode 3)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. LaForge works on his model ship in main engineering (?) and invites Data to enjoy a Sherlock Holmes holodeck adventure. Sounds fun, but a slow start, with low stakes. We can forgive the director for spending a lot of time showing the characters reacting to the richly detailed Victorian set. It was probably not cheap to build. I have to…

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A day after using an apparently altered hurricane map, Trump defends his Alabama claim

It was Mr. Trump who used a black Sharpie to mark up an official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map, which he displayed during an Oval Office briefing on Wednesday, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “No one else writes like that on a map with a black Sharpie,” the official said of the map, which added Alabama into…

Inverted Pyramid, #SharpieGate edition

Context: Sunday, President Trump tweeted a supportive message for people in the path of Hurricane Dorian; however, he included Alabama in the list of states in the path of the storm. Within minutes the National Weather Service posted a statement asserting that Alabama would not be affected. As usual, Trump doubled down when facing any opposition, and variously asserted that he was operating on new information, and that he was…

Reporters accurately repeat what VP spokesperson says; different official cites “misreporting”

The media reports that on an official trip to Ireland, VP Pence will not stay in the vicinity where he is doing work, but his entourage will fly 180 miles away to stay at a Trump-owned property. To respond to public criticism, the Pence camp organizes a media event, where the main speaker is the VP’s spokesman, Marc Short, who says Trump said, “Well, you should stay at my place.”…

What Critics of Student Writing Get Wrong

  [T]o improve as writers, students need to write frequently, for meaningful reasons, to readers who respond as actual readers do — with interest in ideas, puzzlement over lack of clarity or logic, and feedback about how to think more deeply and write more clearly to accomplish the writer’s purposes. There is no shortcut… When opinion columnists opine that “our students can’t write,” they mean that students can’t put together…

The history of Tetris randomizers

A pleasantly detailed analysis of how the various editions of Tetris chose what piece was next. In 1985, Alexey Pajitnov and Vadim Gerasimov released Tetris to the public. This fun and highly addictive game challenged players to fit pieces together that were dealt in a random order. Since then, over 150 licensed versions of Tetris games have been released. Varying in game modes, rules, and implementations, they all play slightly—or very—differently. In…