George V. Reilly

Review: The Murder Road

Title: The Murder Road
Author: Stephen Booth
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 403
Keywords: police procedural
Reading period: 24–31 July, 2016

Detective Inspector Ben Cooper, newly promoted, is leading the team that’s in­ves­ti­gat­ing the murder of a lorry driver outside a remote Peak District village. It seems to be connected to a suicide that took place the same day, but how? Cooper and his team manage to peel back the layers sur­round­ing the dual mysteries.

Booth writes solidly plotted, solidly char­ac­ter­ized novels, and this is another good entry in his long-running Cooper & Fry series.

On Washers

I assembled an outdoor dining table on Sunday, and belatedly realized that I had used only half the washers. The unclear directions had said to place one washer next to the bolt head and the other washer at the far end, just inside the nut. I had overlooked the latter. I don’t feel like undoing twelve bolts and starting over, so it will stay that way.

It occurred to me to wonder what purpose the washer serves. I had a notion that, since it increases the apparent area of the bolt head or the nut, it must reduce the pressure on whatever is being tightened by the bolt in the immediate continue.

Review: Flashman And The Redskins

Title: Flashman And The Redskins
Author: George MacDonald Fraser
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 1982
Pages: 480
Keywords: historical fiction, humor
Reading period: 20 July–7 August, 2016
Flashman Papers VII: 1849–50 and 1875–76

Flashman And The Redskins is the seventh volume of the Flashman Papers, although it opens im­me­di­ate­ly after Flash For Freedom! In the first part, which takes place in 1849–50, Flashman is fleeing from New Orleans in the company of a madam who is taking her entire brothel westward to take advantage of the California Gold Rush. He sees the opening of the West and the beginning of huge changes to the Plains. He is taken captive by Apaches continue.

Review: Fuzzy Nation

Title: Fuzzy Nation
Author: John Scalzi
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Tor
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 368
Keywords: sf
Reading period: 20 July–12 August, 2016

Jack Holloway is a prospector on Zara XXII, con­tract­ing for the giant ZaraCorp. On one momentous day, he is fired, discovers a huge seam of sunstones worth trillions, and meets the first members of a new species, the fuzzies. Since he was fired before he discovered the sunstones, he now has an en­force­able claim—and he’s a disbarred lawyer, so you can bet he’s following through. The fuzzies are delightful and they’re pretty smart—so smart that they might just be sapient. And if they are, that’s a huge problem for ZaraCorp, since the fuzzies continue.

AIDS Walk 2016

AIDS decimated the gay community in the 1980s and early 1990s before effective treatments were developed, and AIDS and HIV continue to affect the LGBT community dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly. I personally have walked in the Seattle AIDS Walk every year since 1992.

Please sponsor me at­ly I am also the captain of the Freely Speaking Toast­mas­ters team and we’d love to have you join us.

Any money you donate or raise will support people in King County who are living with HIV or AIDS. It will help feed them, pay for medicine, and prevent further infections.

I’ve walked for 25 years to honor the living and the dead. I’ve known people who died of AIDS continue.

Review: Flash For Freedom!

Title: Flash For Freedom!
Author: George MacDonald Fraser
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 1971
Pages: 304
Keywords: historical fiction, humor
Reading period: 11–20 July, 2016
Flashman Papers III: 1848–49

Flash For Freedom! is the third volume of the Flashman Papers, in which Flashy gets caught up in the slave trade. After a scandal involving cheating and assault, England becomes too hot for young Flashman and his father-in-law ships him off. Flashman quickly realizes that he’s on a slave ship captained by a lunatic that is bound for Africa to take on a cargo of slaves, and he’s horrified. Not so much about slavery but that running slaves is proscribed in 1848 and he’s continue.


I recently learned from a Stack­Over­flow question that the rounding behavior in Python 3.x is different from Python 2.x:

The round() function rounding strategy and return type have changed. Exact halfway cases are now rounded to the nearest even result instead of away from zero. (For example, round(2.5) now returns 2 rather than 3.)

The “away from zero” rounding strategy is the one that most of us learned at school. The “nearest even” strategy is also known as “banker’s rounding”.

There are actually five rounding strategies defined in IEEE 754:

Mode / Example Value +11.5 +12.5 −11.5 −12.5
to nearest, ties to even +12.0 +12.0 −12.0 −12.0
to nearest, ties away from zero +12.0 +13.0 −12.0 −13.0
toward 0 (truncation) +11.0 +12.0 −11.0 −12.0
toward +∞ (ceiling) +12.0 +13.0 −11.0 −12.0
toward −∞ (floor) +11.0 +12.0 −12.0 −13.0

Further reading on continue.

Useful Mental Models

Gabriel Weinberg has a great Medium post about Useful Mental Models. ‘There is a much smaller set of concepts, however, that come up repeatedly in day-to-day decision making, problem solving, and truth seeking. As [Charlie] Munger says, “80 or 90 important models will carry about 90% of the freight in making you a world­ly‑­wise person.”’ He notes ‘my definition of mental model differs from some others, with mine being more broadly defined as any concept that helps explain, analyze, or navigate the world.’

Review: Above Suspicion

Title: Above Suspicion
Author: Helen MacInnes
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Titan Books
Copyright: 1941
Pages: 341
Keywords: spy thriller
Reading period: 23 July, 2016

In the summer of 1939, Richard and Frances Myles are approached at their Oxford college to do a simple-sounding spy-related task during their upcoming European vacation. One thing leads to another until eventually these amateur spies are on the run in the Tyrol. MacInnes had traveled in Europe in the 1930s and brings a strong sense of place to the locations she describes, as well as a strong dislike of the to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism that the Germans had fallen into.

git commit --verbose

I learned today about the -v (--verbose) flag to git commit (git-commit), which causes a unified diff of what would be committed to be appended to the end of the commit message. This diff is not part of the commit. Set the commit.verbose con­fig­u­ra­tion variable (new in Git 2.9) to adjust the default behavior.

I also learned about using git show (git-show) to display the diff for the most recent commit. I had been using git log -1 --patch (git-log). More on git log -p vs. git show vs. git diff.

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