The U.S. Mail delivers intrigue

On the Postal Service website just now is an advertizement for their “Informed Delivery” tool, that emails you scanned images of mail pieces that are going to end up at your address.

From: USPS / To: Jane / Informed Delivery Daily Digest 7:52 a.m. / COMING TO YOUR MAILBOX SOON / MAIL / picture of letter with return address “John Doe / 123 Any Street / Anytown USA 55555”, canceled stamp, and address “Jane Smith 123 Any Street / Anytown USA 5555”.

Aside from the maybe incorrect address formatting (The USPS seems to want you to use abbreviations for road names, so 123 Any ST) and notable lack of a state or territory for Anytown, why is John Doe sending a letter to Jane Smith at the same address?

Continue reading The U.S. Mail delivers intrigue

Very minor art mistake in EU4

More posting about that favorite “grand strategy” game Europa Universalis IV or “EU4”.

In EU4 you play as a country in the world starting (usually) in 1444 and try to survive until 1821. Now as time moves along you get to select “national ideas”, which are nifty little bonuses that improve the performance of your country. NIs, as they are called by regular players, are grouped into groups, so we have things like Maritime, Quality, Administrative, etc. These groups have icons, like so:


What’s the problem with this one?

Continue reading Very minor art mistake in EU4

Wikipedian Easter eggs – I don’t actually know how to use Excel

Easter eggs are hilarious little hidden gems in software or hardware that don’t have to be there, but are and make you smile.

Wikipedia, the well known online encyclopedia, has a few. I just found a new one. Here’s how to find it, as of now (Election Day in Canada).

  1. Go to their page on the new Microsoft Office .
  2. Clique the immage right underneath the big Office logo.
  3. Clique the immage again.
  4. If you are zoomed out, click it again to zoom in.
  5. Scroll so you can see the title bar of the instance of Excel shown.


538ing in the United States

Many people in the United States political interest scene are well aware of the 538 website. Originally independent, then part of the New York Times, it is now owned by ESPN, of cable TV bundle infamy.

The new version of the site has an animated background for political Presidential candidates showing what campaigns are about. You can see an example here (Republican) and here (blue).

Let’s take a look at the animated icons, from LTR:

  • First, and most notoriously, kissing babys, a stupid trick that is still practiced by some persons. I suspect that within living memory it will become so ill advised that people will think you are a child molester if you try it.

  • Next, a (Republican) elephant blowing its trunk. Unfortunately this looks pornographic.

  • A campaign button. Oddly the colors for the two parties are the same as the colors of the country. White is not used by either party because it’s just too hard.

  • Getting photographed. Bonus points if you get photographed by a camera so old that it has a one shot flashbulb and get that photograph circulated without anyone accusing you of being too old to run, or a poser.

  • Flag waving. Every country (I think) has this.

  • Campaign buses. These candidates used to travel around and appear at events. Oddly they avoid the usual stigma of being a bus. Everyone has these, except completely excluded third party types that are never going to win.

  • Money. Money in politics is like poverty in policy: it will always be there.

  • The destination itself, metaphorically: The Executive Mansion, alias the White House.

  • Hand shaking. This could be cutting deals with donors and high level supporters, or just room working.

  • Holding up campaign signs. This gets tiring after a while so people let their signs down. Oddly enough the importantistic lawn sign isn’t shown here, probably because you can’t animate it, except by having someone steal it. Full disclosure: I knew someone who claimed he would steal election signs, but then actually did so, contrary to my expectation.

Colorful Congress

Although the title is something of a misnomer since this “map” is only of the House of Representatives. It is still so very colorful I couldn’t pass it up without bringing it to your attention, if you read this blog.


Original is here: and it is public domain!

I find this map somewhat beautiful, though it might be touched up a little. Anyway, it is quite fascinating unless you have color blindness. If so, this might have been a wasted post. Sorry.