The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Head (and kittens) exploding!

Leading off today's afternoon roundup, The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman) announced today that Netflix has a series in production based on his game Exploding Kittens. The premise: God and Satan come to Earth—in the bodies of cats. And freakin' Tom Ellis is one of the voices, because he's already played one of those parts.

Meanwhile, in reality:

  • A consumers group filed suit against Green Thumb Industries and three other Illinois-based cannabis companies under the Clayton Act, alleging collusion that has driven retail pot prices above $8,800 per kilo. For comparison, the group alleges that retail prices in California are just $660 per kilo. (Disclosure: The Daily Parker is a GTI shareholder.)
  • Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D), one of the indirect defendants in the pot suit, signed a $46 billion budget for the state that includes $1.8 billion in temporary tax relief. Apparently, I'll get a $50 check from the State that I can apply to the $600 increase in property taxes Cook County imposed this year, which is nice, but I think the state could have aimed a bit lower on the income cap for that rebate and given more help to other people.
  • Shortly after US District Court Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle (a 35-year-old who never tried a case and who graduated summa cum mediocrae laude from the legal powerhouse University of Florida just 8 years ago and earned a rare "not qualified" rating from the ABA upon her appointment in 2020 by the STBXPOTUS) ruled against the CDC in a case brought by an anti-masker, the DOT dropped mask mandates for public transport and air travel in the US. In related news, the Judge also said it's OK to piss in other people's swimming pools and up to the other swimmers not to drink the water.
  • While the Chicago Piping Plovers organization waits for Monty and Rose to return to Montrose Beach, another one of the endangered birds has landed at Rainbow Beach on the South Side. He appears more inclined to rent than buy, but local ornithologists report the bird has a new profile on the Plōvr dating site.
  • NBC breaks down the three biggest factors driving inflation right now, and yes, one of them is president of Russia. None, however, is president of the US.
  • Along those lines, (sane) Republican writer Sarah Longwell, who publishes The Bulwark, found that 68% of Republicans believe the Big Lie that the XPOTUS won the 2020 election, but "the belief that the election was stolen is not a fully formed thought. It’s more of an attitude, or a tribal pose." Makes me proud to be an American!

And finally, via Bruce Schneier, two interesting bits. First, a new paper explains how a bad actor can introduce a backdoor into a machine learning training session to force specific outcomes (explained in plain English by Cory Doctorow). Second, an attacker used a "flash loan" to take over the Beanstalk crypto currency voting system and stole $182 million from it. Because Crypto Is The Future™.

Formal operations thought, part 3

If you've enjoyed (or at least attempted) Tuesday's and Wednesday's pieces of this quiz from William Bart at the University of Minnesota, you get to finish it now:

21. All ashes are not poplars. All locusts are ashes. Therefore:

(A) All locusts are not ashes
(B) All ashes are poplars
(C) All locusts are poplars
(D) Some ashes are poplars
(E) Some locusts are not ashes
(F) All locusts are not poplars

22. If yeast rises then caustic potash is present and if mold grows
then limewater is present. Either caustic potash is not present or
limewater is not present. Therefore:

(A) Yeast does not rise
(B) Limewater is not present
(C) Either yeast does not rise or mold does not grow
(D) Limewater is present
(E) Yeast rises
(F) Yeast rises and limewater is present

23. Some antigens are serums. All serums are donors. Therefore:

(A) All donors are not antigens
(B) All donors are serums
(C) Some donors are not antigens
(D) All antigens are not serums
(E) Some donors are antigens
(F) Some donors are not serums

24. If the Hardy-Weinberg law holds then Darwinian theory is false. If
Darwinian theory is false then man is a naked ape. Therefore:

(A) The Hardy-Weinberg law holds and Darwinian theory is false
(B) The Hardy-Weinberg law holds
(C) Darwinian theory is not false
(D) The Hardy-Weinberg law does not hold
(E) If the Hardy-Weinberg law holds then man is a naked ape
(F) Either the Hardy-Weinberg law holds or man is a naked ape

25. If opah live in the Indian Ocean then bass live in the Black Sea
and if gar thrive in Lake Chad then beavers live near Lake Chad. Either
opah live in the Indian Ocean or gar thrive in Lake Chad. Therefore:

(A) Bass live in the Black Sea and beavers live near Lake Chad
(B) Bass live in the Black Sea and gar thrive in Lake Chad
(C) Bass do not live in the Black Sea
(D) Beavers do not live near Lake Chad
(E) Beavers live near Lake Chad
(F) Either bass live in the Black Sea or beavers live near Lake Chad

26. Sycamores are smaller than red elms. Sycamores are larger than
sequoias. Therefore:

(A) Sycamores are the largest of the three trees
(B) Red elms are the largest of the three trees
(C) Sequoias are larger than red elms
(D) Red elms are the smallest of the three trees
(E) Sycamores are the smallest of the three trees
(F) Sequoias are the largest of the three trees

27. Chordates are less numerous than crustaceans. Mollusks are more
numerous than crustaceans. Mollusks are less numerous than cilliates.
Therefore:

(A) Chordates are the least numerous of the four animals
(B) Ciliates are less numerous than crustaceans
(C) Chordates are more numerous than mollusks
(D) Ciliates are the least numerous of the four animals
(E) Mollusks are the least numerous of the four animals
(F) Mollusks are the most numerous of the four animals

28. Either flagellates grow in ce or sponges reproduce in icy water.
Therefore:

(A) Flagellates do not grow in ice
(B) Flagellates do not grow in ice and sponges reproduce in icy water
(C) Sponges reproduce in icy water
(D) If flagellates do not grow in ice then sponges reproduce in icy
water.
(E) Flagellages grow in ice
(F) If flagellates grow in ice then sponges reproduce in icy water

29. All blue monocots are parsnips. Therefore:

(A) If all individuals are blue then all monocots are parsnips
(B) All individuals are blue
(C) All individuals are blue monocot parsnips
(D) All individuals are monocots
(E) All individuals are either blue or monocots
(F) All individuals are parsnips

30. Oaks are not fungi if and only if oats are flowers. Therefore:

(A) If oaks are fungi then oats are not flowers
(B) Oaks are not fungi and oats are not flowers
(C) Oaks are fungi and oats are not flowers
(D) Oaks are fungi
(E) Oaks are not fungi
(F) Oats are flowers

Wednesday's answers: 11, c; 12, d; 13, d; 14, a; 15, a; 16, c; 17, e; 18, b; 19, d; 20, f.

Formal operational thought, part 2

Had fun yesterday? Try these next 10:

11. All dace are platy. Some dace are cod. Therefore:

(A) All cod are not platy
(B) Some cod are not platy
(C) Some cod are platy
(D) All platy are dace
(E) All dace are not cod
(F) Some dace are not cod

12. Some skinks are plastrons. All turtles are not skinks. Therefore:

(A) All skinks are not plastrons
(B) Some turtles are skinks
(C) All turtles are plastrons
(D) Some turtles are not plastrons
(E) Some skinks are not plastrons
(F) All skinks are turtles

13. If wasps eat haploids then fly pupae are lost. Wasps do not eat
haploids and fly pupae are not lost. Therefore:

(A) Wasps eat haploids
(B) Either wasps eat haploids or fly pup‘ are lost
(C) Fly pup‘ are lost
(D) Fly pup‘ are not lost
(E) Wasps eat haploids and fly pup‘ are lost
(F) Wasps eat haploids and fly pup‘ are not lost

14. All axolotls are bream. All catfish are not bream. Therefore:

(A) All catfish are not axolotls
(B) Some axolotls are not bream
(C) Some catfish are bream
(D) All axolotls are not bream
(E) All bream are axolotls
(F) All bream are catfish

15. Some peepers are killifish. All peepers are haddock. Therefore:

(A) Some haddock are killifish
(B) All haddock are not killifish
(C) Some haddock are not killifish
(D) All haddock are peepers
(E) All peepers are killifish
(F) Some peepers are not haddock

16. All blue wombats are skates. All skates are not nymphs. Therefore:

(A) All nymphs are blue wombats
(B) Some nymphs are blue wombats
(C) All nymphs are not blue wombats
(D) Some blue wombats are not skates
(E) All skates are blue wombats
(F) Some skates are nymphs

17. Either genes grow or dodders thrive. Genes do not grow and dodders
thrive. Therefore:

(A) Genes grow if and only if dodders thrive
(B) Genes grow and dodders thrive
(C) Genes grow
(D) If dodders thrive then genes grow
(E) Genes do not grow
(F) Genes do not grow and dodders do not thrive

18. All medaka are sea horses. All orangefish are medaka. Therefore:

(A) All medaka are not orangefish
(B) All orangefish are sea horses
(C) Some medaka are not sea horses
(D) Some orangefish are not medaka
(E) All medaka are not sea horses
(F) Some orangefish are not sea horses

19. Margays are less aquatic than ocelots. Margays are more aquatic
than penguins. Pike are less aquatic than penguins. Therefore:

(A) Margays are the least aquatic of the four animals
(B) Pike are the most aquatic of the four animals
(C) Penguins are more aquatic than ocelots
(D) Ocelots are the most aquatic of the four animals
(E) Margays are the most aquatic of the four animals
(F) Penguins are the most aquatic of the four animals

20. If water dissolves fat then acetone dissolves protein. Water
dissolves fat if and only if acetone dissolves protein. Therefore:

(A) Either water dissolves fat or acetone dissolves protein
(B) Water dissolves fat
(C) Acetone dissolves protein
(D) Water does not dissolve fat
(E) Acetone does not dissolve protein
(F) If water does not dissolve fat then acetone does not dissolve
protein.

And here are the answers from yesterday: 1, a; 2, c; 3, e; 4, a; 5, e; 6, f; 7, a; 8, a; 9, f; 10, c.

Test of formal operational thought

I found this quiz in a (virtual) pile of things from my first year at university. Have fun! Answers and more questions tomorrow. (The answers may surprise you, unless you really dig in to the logic.)

1. Either auxins are proteins or petioles grow on auxins. If auxins are
proteins then petioles grow on auxins. Therefore:

(A) Petioles grow on auxins
(B) Either auxins are not proteins or petioles do not grow on auxins
(C) If petioles grow on auxins then auxins are proteins
(D) Auxins are not proteins
(E) Auxins are petioles
(F) Auxins are proteins and petioles do not grow on auxins

2. Whelks are more colorful than periwinkles. Whelks are less colorful
than abalones. Therefore:

(A) Whelks are the most colorful of the three animals
(B) Periwinkles are more colorful than abalones
(C) Periwinkles are the least colorful of the three animals
(D) Periwinkles are the most colorful of the three animals
(E) Abalones are the least colorful of the three animals
(F) Whelks are the least colorful of the three animals

3. Worms move slower than lice and worms are smaller than mice. Worms
move faster than mice and worms are larger than lice. Therefore:

(A) Worms move the fastest and are the largest of the three animals
(B) Mice move faster than lice
(C) Mice are smaller than lice
(D) Lice move the fastest and are the largest of the three animals
(E) Lice move the fastest and are the smallest of the three animals
(F) Mice move the fastest and are the largest of the three animals

4. No individual is a tapir. Therefore:

(A) All individuals are not tapirs
(B) All individuals are tapirs and monkeys
(C) No individuals are tapirs
(D) All individuals are tapirs
(E) No individuals are not tapirs
(F) Some individuals are tapirs

5. Either birch thrive or sage die. Birch do not thrive. Therefore:

(A) Birch thrive if and only sage die
(B) Sage do not die
(C) If sage die then birch thrive
(D) Birch thrive and sage die
(E) Sage die
(F) Birch thrive and sage do not die

6. If amnions are red the chick embryos shrink. Amnions are not red and
chick embryos shrink. Therefore:

(A) If chick embryos shrink then amnions are red
(B) Amnions are red
(C) Amnions are red and chick embryos shrink
(D) Chick embryos do not shrink
(E) Amnions are red and chick embryos do not shrink
(F) Amnions are not red

7. Manatees are reptiles if and only if lemurs are birds. Therefore:

(A) If manatees are reptiles then lemurs are birds
(B) Manatees are not reptiles and lemurs are birds
(C) Manatees are reptiles and lemurs are not birds
(D) Manatees are reptiles
(E) Manatees are not reptiles
(F) Lemurs are birds

8. Pink rays are not carnivores. Therefore:

(A) If pink rays are carnivores then remoras ride pink rays
(B) Pink rays are carnivores
(C) Remoras ride on pink rays
(D) Pink rays are carnivores and remoras do not ride on pink rays
(E) Pink rays are carnivores and remoras ride on pink rays
(F) Either pink rays are carnivores or remoras ride on pink rays

9. All individuals are neither zebras nor rotifers. Therefore:

(A) All individuals are zebras
(B) All individuals are rotifers
(C) All zebras are rotifers
(D) No individuals are zebras
(E) Some individuals are zebras
(F) All individuals are not zebras and rotifers

10. Either tropisims occur in apes or taxes occur in bees. Tropisms
occur in apes and taxes occur in bees. Therefore:

(A) Taxes do not occur in bees
(B) Tropisms occur in apes and taxes do not occur in bees
(C) Tropisms occur in apes
(D) If tropisms occur in apes then taxes do not occur in bees
(E) Tropisms do not occur in apes
(F) Either tropisms do not occur in apes or taxes do not occur in bees

Fun, right?

(I have a note that the author of this quiz is William Bart at the University of Minnesota, but I cannot confirm this.)

Found an old game. Now what?

Over the weekend, I stooped down to give Cassie some pats while she slept on her bed in my office, and realized I had a cache of turn-of-the-century computer games on a lower shelf. Among them I found SimCity 4, from 2003.

It turns out that SimCity 4, like many games from that era, relies on a thing called "SecuROM" which turned out to have sufficient security problems of its own that Microsoft decided not to support it in Windows 10. I didn't know this until I started researching why the game just...didn't work. When you find a support article that says "96 people have reported this problem" you at least know you're not alone.

So, following the advice in the support article, I opened a support case with Electronic Arts. We are now on a 24-hour cycle of them asking me to send back auto-generated codes to prove I'm an actual person with an actual copy of the SimCity 4 CD. This, after it took three rounds with their automated systems to set up a support account. The merry-go-round with their automated systems was irritating, but the 24-hour cycle time between emails just makes me laugh. I haven't actually taken the time 

After all that, I may actually play SimCity for the first time in 17 years at some point this month. I can't wait to see how a game designed for Pentium 4 processors and 256 MB of RAM performs on a Xeon 6C with 40 GB available...

Take my money!

CityLab just alerted me to a card game that I am going to order as soon as I finish this post:

The nail-biting drama of rush-hour congestion, shuttle bus transfers, and airport mix-ups—now in a deck of cards: It’s LOOP: The Elevated Card Game, developed by Chicago merchandiser Transit Tees. The game draws on the relatable pleasures and perils of using the Windy City’s elevated rapid-transit network, the venerable L; it’s a love letter to the joys of public transit, as well as an opportunity to mocking its abundant annoyances.

The gameplay is similar to UNO or Crazy Eights, but instead of matching numbers, suites, or colors, players match the L line or station. For example, if the top of the pile is a Brown Line card for the Washington/Wells station, you can play any other Brown Line, or another Washington/Wells card (as if you’re transferring lines in real life). The object of the game is to get rid of all of your cards first. The player who most recently used public transportation gets to deal.

Yah, total Daily Parker bait. There seems to be a lot of that lately.

Gobbling up your free time

I mean, come on Google. No fair:

Starting now until April 4, you can chomp fruit, avoid ghosts, and collect PAC-Dots along city streets in Google Maps worldwide—all as Ms. PAC-Maps. Just tap on the Ms. PAC-Maps icon on iOS and Android, or click the Ms. PAC-Maps button at the bottom left on desktop, to enter the maze and start chompin’. Sign in to save your top score on the leaderboard and share with friends.

Here's Downtown Chicago:

That's the Civic Opera Building on the upper left and LaSalle and Jackson on the lower right.

Or try this possibly-recognizable board:

Any guesses where that is?

Do Fitbits make you sad?

Duke University business professor Jordan Etkin found evidence they might:

"In general, tracking activity can increase how much people do," Etkin said. "But at the same time, measurement has these pernicious effects. Enjoyable activities can became almost like a job, by focusing on the outcomes of things that used to be fun."

In another study, researchers had 310 participants read for eight minutes. One group read additional text that described reading as fun an enjoyable; for another group it was described as useful and educational — more like work. A third group received no additional information. In all three groups, some readers were told how many pages they had read as they went, others were not.

The readers who could see how many pages they had read reported that reading felt more like work and less enjoyable than those who could not — but not among participants who were told the project was more work-like at the start.

"This doesn't mean we should stop measuring our daily activity," she said, "but we need to balance that increased productivity against our underlying enjoyment. For activities people do for fun, it may be better not to know."

Finding out that my Fitbit might make me sad makes me sad.

Of course, this could just be a horrible example of bad science reporting, which Deeply Trivial just blogged about yesterday.