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Spoilers warning.

Things I didn’t like about Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir:

This late in the equinox no light would make it here for months

Since it’s a speculative fiction book, one can’t be certain if this sentence intentionally redefines an equinox, which is a point in time, as an extended period of time like a season. The only other use of the word:

blotting out the ever-fainter light of the equinox

sheds no more light on the mystery.

Behind her stood the Lady of the Ninth House, watching her with no satisfaction.

The Lady seems actually to be fairly satisfied, so I wonder if this was intended to be the phrase, ‘no little satisfaction’?

boring slats into the bottom of the trunk

The slats I’ve met have all been objects: long, flat, and skinny, like vertical blinds, or parts of a wall. I don’t know how to read ‘boring slats’. It seems to want to be ‘boring slat-shaped holes’, but it doesn’t say that, and you would only need one slat-shaped hole for a sword.

… Gideon had known that the fight … was hers to lose.

I’ve only ever heard the construction X’s to lose in the idiomatic sense of, X will win unless they make a mistake. The outcome, the context, and later references indicate the opposite meaning. The idiom doesn’t seem to apply here, so ‘hers to lose’ parses equivalently to ‘hers to eat’ or ‘hers to take’: she is going to lose.

“Griddle,” said Harrow, “I have not puppeted my own parents around for five years and learned nothing.”

But Harrowhawk is 17, and she preserved her dead parents at age 10.

I think that’s a pretty exhaustive list of things I didn’t like, so I’ll stop here for now. Future lists I may create about this book include:

She heard Colum’s “Means yes, probably,” but not the murmured reply.

“Do you want,” Gideon whispered huskily, “my hanky.”

“I want to watch you die.”

Overheard in SF

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His tab was thirty-five hundred. Todd told him […] We didn’t have an after party so he told him […] He just closed a really big deal and his commission was like fifty kay.

What good is bad data?

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The advertisements in San Francisco are very localized but have much higher budgets and production values than typical local business ads for car dealers and real estate agents. This one is my new second-favorite bus ad of all time1. The small text reads, “What good is bad data?”.

Bus advertisement: large text: Go Dodgers.  small text: What good is bad data?

  1. First-favorite: An ad for a Seattle regional bank competing with Wells Fargo, which read, “Have wild horses dragged you to the wrong bank?”

Sometimes failure is not an option

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  1. Django Software Foundation and individual contributors. (2019). The messages framework. django Documentation. Retrieved from

Advertising is lies

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Wells Fargo continues its holiday advertising tradition with an encore of “The Stagecoach & The Snowmen” — a television commercial that struck a chord in its 2013 debut with themes of selflessness and working together.1

But actually

Channel 2 consumer investigator Jim Strickland began an investigation six months ago into allegations that some of the banking corporation’s stagecoach horses were subject to abuse, drugged, ill-trained and, at times, put bystanders at risk. The decision to suspend the program came only weeks after the stagecoach’s most visible event: The Rose Parade. 2

Homeless Blockchain

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“We have at least 1,400 homeless people in our city, and that includes many right here at UC Berkeley,” Bartlett told the class. “So how can we use blockchain to fund a new prosperity? That’s a challenge I’d like you to take on.” The course, taught by visiting professor and former venture capitalist Po Chi Wu, is among a growing number of classes and research initiatives on blockchain technology emerging at universities.

Biden, like SFUSD, like White San Francisco parents, like most Democrats, does not support busing

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We’re now having a debate about Biden’s opposition to busing in the mid-1970s, and whether that is beyond the pale for a Democratic nominee in 2019. But the fact is that virtually no Democratic elected officials – certainly very few at the federal level – have supported the federal government using busing as a tool for desegregation for the last forty years. So I think in effect Biden’s position has been the position of the vast majority of Democratic elected officials for decades.

—Josh Marshall1

CloudFlare’s bandwidth peering with Telstra and other bad actors

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For instance, if Telstra were to peer with CloudFlare then they would only have to move traffic over about 30 meters of fiber optic cable between our adjoining cages in the same data center. Now Telstra will need to backhaul traffic to Free customers to Los Angeles or Singapore over expensive undersea cables. Their behavior is irrational in any competitive market and so it is not a surprise that each of these providers is a relative monopolist in their home market.

—Nitin Rao, CloudFlare1

  1. Rao, Nitin. Bandwidth Costs Around the World. 2016 Aug 17. CloudFlare blog. Retrieved from

Overheard in San Francisco

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… was missing for almost a year. They just found him. Now that they know he’s dead, we can …

—somebody I walked past

DIY Smut

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I just used a Dremel to saw a notch into a stripped Ikea hex nut. I’ve never felt more dirty—or more alive!

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