Parking lot optical illusion

Ever since I was able to drive a car on my own legally, and I think before that also (not sure tho), I noticed this in parking lots for “strip malls”.

I park somewhere, a certain distance to the entrance of the store in one of the “aisles” and walk in. When I walk out, the location I parked feels different. It has always felt further away, even if I did not buy anything and am not carrying anything that would make the distance harder to walk. I sometimes get a spot almost right in front of the store (never exactly at the head of the aisle because those are reserved spaces for people with physical handicaps) and even those look and feel further away when I’m returning v. going in.

Someone of this may be from the stores’ having different exits than entrances, but when I’m parked far away, the difference in real distance is probably < 5% or even < 1%.

Slow, modern Heptameron, story ten X

Another childhood memory with no speech at all.

From when I was about 5 until after I moved out around 20 years later, I lived with my parents where they lived, in a rural area on the edges of a sub urban area. In the sub urban area was a little shopping plaza at an intersection with 3 others. These were not “malls” I don’t think, although 1 might have qualified. A different one had that so-distinct 1970s? look to the sign out front, which I wish I could know the name of that style.

The one I am thinking of tried to be old timey in a very vague way. It had a brick front and an actual arcade (I think) with brick columns and roof lines and in the middle a clock on a higher than the rest roof.

When I first saw this was early, probably close to 5 or 6 years old, so about when I was learning to read a clock (something I do remember). This one you could see two sides of when you were in a car in the parking lot. From then until I last saw it, whenever later / ago, these two perpendicular faces’ hands never moved and were so different it was unavoidable to notice.

I think the two facing either “side” of the stores were the same, and I don’t remember that I ever, after I had learned to drive and could go there myself, walked around the back to see if it even had a rear face.

Milk jug colorization

I noticed a while ago that, in the area of the world that I am familiar with, which is to say 2 or 3 of States in the “northeast” of the United States, of the 4 types of retail cow milk (skim or 0% milkfat, 1%, 2%, and “whole” or 3.25%) only “whole” milk is consistently sold with a red cap and label. The others are totally unstandardized and different colors are used for them and some times the same-ish color is used by two different bottlers for different types/grades (cyan is skim milk at 1 retailer and 1% at another one, both with stores around here).

Does any one have more information on this, preferably stories not published but experienced or known? Legal or other citations OK too.

3-eyed electric meter

A quick one: this simplified graphic of an electric power meter, as seen on common residential and light commercial services, looks like it has 3 eyes and is unimpressed:

NYSEG meter is unimpressed with your power profile.

Unicode calls this a “neutral face” but to me it’s unimpressed with what it sees, or what it is registering.

Against pictures in charitable organizations and appeals

I got, out of nowhere, a magazine for a well known, audited, and considered-legitimate charitable organization that applies itself to assisting poor people in many countries. Aside from the annoyance at their having no obvious way to unsubscribe on their website, something else:

This, and other organizations I know of, have photographs of people and groups they have helped by their work in their publications and on their websites. Since I have no experience with their work, I can’t speak for the people in the pictures. They should have been asked if they wanted to be photographed, though that itself is risky.

For me as recipient of their appeal, I have this objection: how am I supposed to know these pictures are representative (and not staged)? What about them proves the people in them are what they are presented as?

Names and places aren’t given – rightly so, poverty doesn’t abolish privacy (or shouldn’t). I have to take in clues in the pictures (which are also manipulatable), and sadly a highly obvious one is race. This could make perception that the only really poor people (or the only ones they help) are Black.

The best way to be sure of their legitimacy is by independent conduct and publishing of audits on their work regularly. Catalogs do not have to be text only, but pictures can be of the works of charity themselves, and if people are needed for scale or demonstration (such as for a water pump), where and how they appear should be carefully considered.

If the people who would appear in these pictures do not fit an obvious pattern, for example being of an entire range of skin colors, there is still such a risk of pattern recognition in the unknowable readership picking up something unobvious to the designers (all poor people are left handed? have blue eyes? something else?).

Microsoft’s animated explanation of “Windows Hello”

Microsoft has a history of hiding “easter eggs” in the Windows directory, including the teddy bear and “SULFNBK” whose icon appears to have been made in in Paint.

Cruizing through a current (20H1 / 2004) installation of Windows 10, I turned up the following GIF:

Explanation of image in first paragraph after it.
Filename is @windows-hello-V4.1.gif

Here is my explanation of what is going on for blind persons, and to highly how really weird it is to everyone:

  1. The words “Windows Hello!” appear. The main character appears, a filled in black circle with one arc slightly above the top third of the circle.
  2. Circle turns into a horizontal line for a second, and then back to a circle. It is an eye that just blinked at us.
  3. A light blue smiley face (two eyes and smile) appears in the upper left. At the same time, a ninja/cartoon bomb appears at the right and moves towards the eye.
  4. The eye watches other ninja-bombs follow. It looks up at the blue smiley. While this is going on, biometric lines have been appearing around the smiley.
  5. The eye moves to the blue smiley while the ninja-bombs (five total) line up to fill in a password field, taking the place of the round dots usually seen when typing one in: ●●●●●
  6. The eye arrives on top of the blue smiley and they both disappear in a blue flash.
  7. The eye reappears in the same blue color as the old smiley. It moves towards the ninja-bomb-password and changes back to black when there.
  8. Using its eyebrow like a Pac-man mouth, the eye eats the ninja-bomb-password one ● at a time.
  9. When done, it flips its eyebrow around twice and changes from a single (cyclops) eye into a two eyes, thus becoming a (different from the first!) smiley. It winks with its left eye and fades out.

Other than the product name (Windows Hello), there is no text to localize, which is easy, but there is more going on here than the obvious “Windows Hello uses facial biometrics to replace passwords” that may need explanatory text anyway.

I don’t use this feature of Windows, so I can’t say where this is used in the setup or day-to-day use of it. It has a mesmerizing story to it, so it can loop forever without being too bad.

Addiction a counter-conspiracy

This was part of an email to a friend, but after reading the “old fart” his post about a continuous struggle to remain sober (which he reports success at length at). Nothing especially sensitive and no harshness follows.

Continue reading Addiction a counter-conspiracy

Slow, modern Heptameron story seven (VII)

With a new tablet (that has some sweet features) I wanted to try my accidental find Bluetooth speaker again. On the old tablet, enabling Bluetooth once made Windows so obnoxious that I use it as an excuse to make a fresh installation.

Of course, when I first got the speaker I used my favorite sound test, but this time I wanted some musique. This lead me to a memory of earlier:

In younger says, before I could have legally driven, my mother usually drove me where I needed to be. At the time, it was school (far too far for a bus to drive). On the way, I would often listen to the radio. There was a station out of a nearby cittie that played “oldies” (ca. 1950s to 1980s). This was the first time I remember hearing Smokey Robinson and the Miracles‘ song “Going to a Go Go“.

I have always known parsing sung words are hard, and would do the best I could. More than a decade later, I am still undoing this. Sometimes, the originals are hard to forget. (One has ruined a classical piece for me and has proven the hardest to get rid of.)

Anyway, I had never heard of a “go go” and the term wouldn’t have made sense to me, so my mind “go” into “vote”. (If you think that’s so far fetched, listen to the song yourself.) The lyrics that I could pick out didn’t contradict this interpretation:

  • “Goin’ to a go go” / “Going to a-vote vote”
  • “…and don’t be shocked if you find your baby there.”
  • “Don’t you want to go?” / “Don’t you want to vote?”

The only one that would have been confusing was “There’s a brand new place I found-a, where people come from miles around-a.”, but I knew this was from the 50s/60s, that the singers were Black, and the civil rights laws were being enforced for the first time in likely living memory, so assumed it was a reference to the polling place being “brand new” to the singers.

(That “featured image” icon took me about 3+ hours to make, and is derived from this [Public Domain] and this [CC-BY: Wikimedia Commons users “G ambrus” and “Junaidpv”] ALL BY HAND. It better not be more interesting than my story… ):<…)

FEMA subversiveness

In the United States, emergency management/civil protection (what used to be called civil defense) is coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA (read as “FEE-mah”). The justly respected Florida COVID Action site recently linked to a page of FEMA’s on how to prepare for hurricanes (which Florida is the constant target of) with COVID-19 in mind. Looking closer…

Continue reading FEMA subversiveness