Bag of Randomness for Monday, June 29, 2020

I have this crazy ability not to be able to find the remote or my phone when either is right next to me. It’s not that they are misplaced, I know they are somewhere within arm’s reach because I recently used them, I just can’t find them. It’ll get to the point that I use my hands to feel the area all around me only to stand up and find the object, right next to me, and then I sit down in defeat.

Saturday was the 22nd anniversary of my father’s death. I did the math, and come this April 24, I will have lived more days with my father being dead than alive.

As I expected, my COVID-19 test result came back negative.

Texas Republicans move forward with plans for an indoor convention in Houston, the state’s biggest coronavirus hot spot

Gov. Greg Abbott is allowing limits on outdoor crowds — but not indoor gatherings. His party’s convention — with an expected attendance of 6,000 — so far will not require attendees to wear face masks.

WifeGeeding’s father and brother killed a 400-pound alligator on their property this weekend. The only place that had a scale large enough to weigh it was the local fertilizer plant.

WifeGeeding’s father and said gator.
WifeGeeding’s father, said gator, and some dude at the fertilizer plant. 

A small update on the renovation of the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells.

Planets and dwarf planets to scale in size, rotation speed and axial tilt (in order of distance from the Sun).

FAQ: the tilts would ordinarily be all upright in a perfect system because dust and gas all orbited the same way in the early solar system. However, impacts by giant asteroids/planetesimals during this time will tend to modify that, in addition to planetary migration. Impacts to Uranus have been simulated by scientists here and please stop smirking about this sentence.


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Bag of Randomness for Friday, June 26, 2020

When I first saw this photo, probably around 1985, I thought it was probably taken 20 years ago. In truth, I was probably 20 to 25 years off. Now that we’re in 2020, that picture is now closer to 50-55 years old. Point being, we think this sort of stuff happened much further in the past of our nation’s history when in reality, it wasn’t that long ago. If I understand this two-year-old article correctly, Texas didn’t really start desegregation until the Seventies. Equal rights, that’s all that’s being asked. Today, some may beg to differ with Black Lives Matter and argue many blacks want revenge and that’s the reason for looting and rioting. But wouldn’t it be something if you could just treat someone equally? That you could simply admit that they matter, not that they are better or more important, just that they matter. If you treat someone as your equal and let them know through your actions that they matter, you wouldn’t need to fear or imagine anything about revenge.

WifeGeeding got her prosthetic-eye professionally polished yesterday. She has that done at least yearly.

I guess we’re all in agreement that the biggest tragedy in sports this year is that the XFL couldn’t complete their second inaugural season. Damn, life ain’t fair.

I wonder how Shepard Smith is doing and what he’s been up to since leaving Fox News.

The Fourth of July is next weekend. People are going to gather. COVID-19 is going spread like wildfire. I just don’t see schools opening. I don’t understand how kindergarten teachers like WifeGeeding are going to successfully be able to teach four and five-year-olds via distance learning.

Almost 1 in 3 pilots in Pakistan have fake licenses, aviation minister says

More than 30% of civilian pilots in Pakistan have fake licenses and are not qualified to fly, the country’s aviation minister revealed Wednesday.

Addressing Pakistan’s National Assembly, Ghulam Sarwar Khan said 262 pilots in the country “did not take the exam themselves” and had paid someone else to sit it on their behalf. “They don’t have flying experience,” he said.

I would definitely buy a car from this woman, especially if she pulled this stunt in front of me. I wouldn’t’ care if the truck snot working. That goofy smile she’s trying to hold in at the very end is cute as heck.

Daughter of Michigan Republican urges people to vote against her dad

A lot of locals are complaining that the newly completed Texas Rangers new ballpark doesn’t live up to artist’s renderings when it was first shown to the public (lack of glass as LiberallyLean pointed out). I bet the Oakland A’s fans will have the same feeling in 2023, which is supposed to be on the water.


I’m soooo reminded of my teen years as a Baptist youth.

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Bag of Randomness for Thursday, June 25, 2020

You can replace any Confederate statue with one of Michael Flynn, trade one traitor for another. He only pleaded guilty, twice.

It is utterly amazing this man is still married to Kellyanne Conway.

South Dakota Gov. Noem vows to protect Mt. Rushmore: We won’t stand for ‘radical rewriting of history’

This isn’t directly related to this story, but more times than not, the folks worried about any rewriting of U.S. history have already fallen for some sort of biased rewrite or just want to protect a narrative. It’s happened to me many times and it takes a lot of work to figure out what may cloud your judgment and assessment. A lot of folks have no idea there are any clouds at all, and many prefer living in the clouds.

If President Trump loses the election, I can totally see him resigning and not completely finishing his term reasoning why do such a thing if everything is rigged anyway.

This is an interesting photo the First Lady tweeted yesterday.

I can only imagine what it would be like reading this article as a resident of Flint, Michigan, which isn’t even mentioned.

The GuardianRevealed: millions of Americans can’t afford water as bills rise 80% in a decade

Exclusive analysis of 12 US cities shows the combined price of water and sewage increased by an average of 80% between 2010 and 2018, with more than two-fifths of residents in some cities living in neighbourhoods with unaffordable bills.

In the first nationwide research of its kind, our findings reveal the painful impact of America’s expanding water poverty crisis as aging infrastructure, environmental clean-ups, changing demographics and the climate emergency fuel exponential price hikes in almost every corner of the US.

Yesterday, the TICKET’s morning show fill-ins were wondering if music could be played as a baby is delivered. Heck, I had my entire U2 collection set to random when my kids were born because I wanted their first exposure to music be to the most significant band in my life. In case you were wondering, DaughterGeeding was born to Jesus Christ and BoyGeeding to Staring at the Son. Neither is a particular favorite (the songs, not the kids).

Here’s a headline no North Texan ever thought he or she would see – Addison’s Kaboom Town fireworks moved to an undisclosed location, to be live-streamed online

I can’t identify a single song from the Old 97’s, but there was a lot of buzz about their new album cover. Frankly, it brings back bad memories of the Quincy Carter years because a buddy and I used to make fun at all the jump-passes Carter would make.

Electrify America’s first cross-country EV charging route is complete

Taking a cross-country roadtrip in your electric vehicle is a little more feasible thanks to Electrify America. Its first coast to coast EV fast charging route is now complete, and the company plans to have another route finished by September. The routes provide high-powered chargers to all EV brands, and on average, the stations are spaced about 70 miles apart, so EV owners can travel beyond a single charge without being stranded.

Twitter posts reveal rapid politicization of COVID-19 issue in U.S. Congress.Using AI, researchers could correctly classify the political party of the member who sent each COVID tweet 76 percent of the time, based only on the text of the tweet and the date it was sent.

A musing from a friend: If Hillary Clinton was president today would Jeffress and Fallwell claim that the Coronavirus was a plague sent by God to punish our country because of our transgressions?

Yes, definitely.

I think if you asked Americans should there be tributes to the person who was responsible for killing the most Americans in history, most would say certainly not. But if you revealed to them that person was Robert E. Lee, then some of them would instantly be okay with it.

Interesting line – “The idea was to create an enormous work of art to celebrate democracy and use America as an example to restore liberty in France.”

Random tidbit: When Ulysses S. Grant visited France after his presidency, he saw the Statue of Liberty being built.

Our most venerated monuments represent a mythology. While we may hope the statue represents our highest aspirations of what America can and should be. It also can be a reminder of where and how far we fall short.

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Bag of Randomness for Wednesday, June 24, 2020

I’ve been seeing Top Gun air a lot on television. I bet there was some contractual obligation due to the sequel which was supposed to come out this summer but has been pushed back to December.

I know in many Asian cultures, wearing white clothing is a sign of morning and you’ll see it at a lot of funerals. I’ve noticed a lot of white clothing being worn in the black community, but I’m unaware of it’s always been a part of their culture or something recently adopted.

We watched the fifth episode of season one of Ozark and I felt like it “jumped the shark”, but I’m still gonna stick with it.  First, the closeted homosexuality was a stretch. Second, I don’t believe a pastor would accept a strip club owner’s money to build a church. I know I live in Texas and not the Ozarks, but a lot of my pastoral friends have bluntly told me they could not accept a lottery winner’s tithing because the money came from sin.

AI researchers discover inherent resolution limit to “upsampling” of pixelated faces

Duke University researchers have created an AI algorithm (“PULSE”) that pixelates an uploaded picture of a human face and then explores the range of possible (computer-generated) human faces that could produce that pixelated face.

For starters, Rudin said, “We kind of proved that you can’t do facial recognition from blurry images because there are so many possibilities. So zoom and enhance, beyond a certain threshold level, cannot possibly exist.”

“A lot of algorithms in the past have tried to recover the high-resolution image from the low-res/high-res pair,” Rudin said. But according to her, that’s probably the wrong approach. Most real-world applications of this upsampling problem would involve having access to only the low-res original image. That would be the starting point from which one would try to recreate the high-resolution equivalent of that low-res original.

“When we finally abandoned trying to come up with the ground truth, we then were able to take the low-res [picture] and try to construct many very good high-res images,” Rudin said.

So while PULSE looks beyond the failure point of facial recognition applications, she said, it may still find applications in fields that grapple with their own blurry images–among them, astronomy, medicine, microscopy, and satellite imagery.

Vice-President Pence had a reverse Gerald Ford moment.

My Photo Shoot with Mike Tyson

Every so often a photo shoot comes along that both excites you and terrifies you at the same time. Today’s article is about one such experience.

When I was in college—more specifically in Russian History 401 at ASU—I got a phone call and had to leave class, much to my teachers chagrin. It was Getty Images (my rep at the time) with a request for me to photograph the one and only Mike Tyson. To add a little stress to the mix, I had less than two days to prepare for the shoot.

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