Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, February 17, 2021

In an attempt to refute the idea that “people think there’s nothing going on” in North Dakota, some 8,910 people dropped onto their backs in Bismarck to set the world record for the most snow angels in one spot.

Large-scale snow-angeling. Yeah, that’s what makes the Dakotas the place to be!

Allow me to add a small measure of yin to this mass yang: A snow demon. Bet there’s no Guinness Book of World Records category for that one!

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/17/2007 07:29:36 PM
Category: Weather
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floral on the floor
Check it out: The “Stow” moccasin-style suede upper shoe, by Paul Smith.

The digitally-etched floral print on the soles is a nice, artistic touch. Of course, you won’t have much time to enjoy this little flourish, as it’ll start to fade and scuff away as soon as you take your first steps in this pair. So if you plan to show off this unusual feature, make sure to walk around on your hands!

(Hat tip to the new March 2007 Esquire Magazine for cluing me in on this via a sidebar article, which — of course — isn’t online.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/17/2007 04:17:48 PM
Category: Fashion
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A few days back, I tested the Akismet plugin on my WordPress backend, to see how many spams it would prevent from appearing on this blog over a 24-hour period.

It caught 185, which seemed pretty low to me.

Since then, I’ve let the Akismet queue fill up a few times, and I’ve confirmed my suspicions: I ran my test on an off-day for the spammers. I haven’t done a 24-hour test again, but I’ve let several hours pass by without a mass delete. During those period, I’ve wound up with several hundred comment/trackback spams caught in the Akismet netting. My best guess is that an average of 300-400 get tossed at this site daily, and all but one or two per week get blocked.

All is well.

Except, as I mentioned before, I would like an improvement in how to scan through all that junk. In lieu of a fully-flexible interface, how about this: Instead of a “Delete All” button that vaporizes all the spams that are caught, design a Mass Edit Mode that’s similar to what’s built into the WP backend for comment/trackback management. And allow the ability to check/uncheck a portion of all the junk in the queue — say, 20 at a time — and then delete in chunks.

This way, those of us who are (irrationally, I know) concerned about killing off false positives can easily eyeball what’s in there and manage it to our heart’s content. The present all-or-nothing option isn’t satisfying at all.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/17/2007 02:54:24 PM
Category: Bloggin'
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I don’t mind admitting that I’m perpetually mystified by the New York City subway system schedules and routes.

I just can’t memorize them. I know which lines I need to take to my usual haunts, and generally the stops that they make, but that’s it. And that’s just in Manhattan; the outer borough stops — forget it.

At least I’ll soon know how long I need to wait for the trains I know to arrive. Electronic signs and voice announcements will give passengers accurate to-the-minute information about when oncoming trains will arrive, late or not.

The signs and the recording are part of a new system being tested on the L line that will, for the first time, give riders accurate information about the arrival time of trains, coupled with clear announcements — both things that seem as foreign to the subway as a man offering a woman a seat on a crowded train.

The clear vocals — what a concept. I know the usual unintelligible garbling on the PA system is a decades-old fixture, but I’ve never appreciated its charm. How can it be so hard to install a speaker system that works? I find it hard to believe that they’re being sabotaged or subject to harsh conditions. I suspect the Transit Authority just cuts corners on the components installed at the stations and on the trains, and leaves it at that. People are so used to the audio gobbledygook that they don’t expect any better.

I haven’t seen this in action yet. The plan is to have it installed system-wide by 2009. Maybe by then I’ll have the subway sussed out.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/17/2007 02:12:29 PM
Category: New Yorkin'
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Me: …but, y’know, it’s not a dealbreaker.
Fellow Traveller: Is that like your favorite word or something?
Me: What, “dealbreaker”?
FT: Yeah! You use it every time you talk about a girl.
Me: Get outta here.
FT: You do! You’re like, “she’s blonde, but it’s not a dealbreaker”, or “she smokes a lot, but that’s not a dealbreaker”.
Me: Just keeping my options open. Everybody says I’m too picky.
FT: So what is a dealbreaker for you?
Me: I dunno; I guess a crack habit would be hard for me to go along with.
FT: Only crack? What about other drugs?
Me: Hey, there’s a reason why they called it heroin chic!
FT: Anything else?
Me: A sloppy drunk is a turnoff. Or if she outweighs me. There’s my dealbreakers, okay?
FT: At least you have standards.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/17/2007 01:36:53 PM
Category: General
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