Larry Hosken: New

This morning, I went for a walk along the Embarcadero. Not much happened. I appreciated that.

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2020-02-23T18:51:32.771306

I got some snail-mail from Mike Bloomberg. I opened up the envelope, but there was no check inside. I don't understand his strategy as well as I thought I did, I guess.

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2020-02-22T16:04:46.462896

[Content warning: implied violence]

This morning, I went for a stroll on the Embarcadero. I came up to a small gathered crowd and stopped when someone pointed out the reason for the crowd—a jogger had been stabbed in the back. There was the jogger crouched on the ground, knife sticking out. Cops arrived; ambulance arrived. I wasn't helping, so I walked off.

Because I am very clever, I realized: Hey, the stabber left his knife in the jogger's back. Thus it's safe for me to continue with my stroll in the direction that the stabber rode off. It seems brave, but it's just common sense. And so I continued along. (I wouldn't say I was nonchalant. Okay, I was looking back over my shoulder whenever I heard anything.)

By Skygate, a swarm of cops stood around. Two of them held the arms of a potential stabber.

By Pier 39, there was another ambulance. I figured that tourist must have pretty bad luck, having a big health issue just as much of the local emergency services were distracted with something else.

Except when I checked the news this afternoon I saw: that Pier 39 ambulance was there to help a second stabbing victim. Apparently the stabber was prepared with more than one knife.

This probably goes to show something about relying too much on cleverness in crisis situations.

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2020-02-16T00:50:39.374635

At today's Poll Worker training class, the instructor said that 80% of us volunteer election clerks would never see a ballot marking device (BMD) in action. That's too bad, since my curiosity about these devices is part of what drove me to volunteer in the first place. You might remember that when I volunteered back in '18, I was disappointed that nobody wanted to use the B.M.D.; and I chalked this up to the neighborhood's hilly nature. (Surely, I reasoned, anyone who lives in this hilly place must drive; and thus wouldn't need voting assistance from this device. All potential users would move to better neighborhoods.) But apparently, it's not just that neighborhood.

To satisfy my curiosity, I guess I could use a B.M.D. in the upcoming election. San Francisco has new devices, now with big printers. So it's plausible that the "marked ballots" it produces are actually legible. So I could double-check that it actually, y'know, marked the choices I wanted. And the upcoming election is relatively short—just a couple of sheets; so double-checking it wouldn't be such a chore.

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2020-02-01T00:33:36.014202

Book Report: Gideon the Ninth

It's a horror-scifi-mystery: necromancers travel to a distant world to study secret death magic. They're murdered one by one. Fortunately, they're terrible people. Thus, instead of sorrowfully mourning these death-sorcerors, the reader is free to treat the book as a puzzle: rub chin, say hmm and consider possibilities. I picked this book up because Robin Sloan said it fell into his niche-genre of "puzzle fiction"—books that lead you around somewhat in the way that The Westing Game did. And the book does start out with the characters thinking they're in some sort of puzzle-ish smartie competition… at least until they start turning up dead.

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2020-01-30T01:49:42.990993

Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Cambridge, MA in the frickin wintertime AGAIN

I'm back from Boston, having helped run the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt. For now, you can see the puzzles at pennypark.fun, but soon-ish we hope to move them to https://www.mit.edu/~puzzle/. (That's what I'm working on now—webmonkey tasks that we didn't have time to get to before the hunt. E.g., getting that [SPOILER REDACTED] video into the solution-page for the Tall Tales puzzle…oh hey that just finished uploading. Guess I should stop blogging and get back to web-monkeying.)

Anyhow, write-up coming… eventually. After web-monkeying is done. And some surprisingly-important things I've been putting off until I was done with this (Hi, Curtis!).

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2020-01-22T13:03:55.371516

Three especially-popular blog posts from last year:

(I thought it might be nice to post something like this annually, giving occasional visitors a way to "catch up" on the blog. Now that Facebook can no longer import blog posts, folks who follow me on Facebook don't normally see my blog posts. I'm too lazy to hand-copy all of my blog posts over to Facebook… But once a year, I could hand-copy a "best of" blog post. Anyhow, I'm doing that again today. And I can do that again next year, uhm, if I remember?)

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2020-01-01T21:29:51.330515

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