Got Melk

Stift Melk
Melk Abbey, a full view. The photo is out of focus as the focus lock on an iPhone 3G was wonky. Friday, 22 October, 2010. © 2020 Jeffrey C. Jacobs

Melk, Austria, is a small, monastery town in North-Central Austria. I visited there in ten years ago today, in 2010, on a trip across Austria. Melk was our first stop as we left for there right after landing in Wien.

2010 was kind of a melancholy year for me since I decided to become a Vegetarian for just that year. I wasn’t ready so reverted back to meat in 2011, but a couple years ago I stopped liking the taste of meat so I went back to vegetarianism. The sad thing was that here I was in Austria and I couldn’t eat authentic Wiener Schnitzel.

The sky was clear that day, perhaps too clear, and the buildings of the abbey shown beautify. I wish the photo could give it justice but the iPhone 3G back then was just not up to snuff.

That said, the Chapel was lovely and I did like how that photo turned out. I love Austria and hope to return someday. Grüß Gott!

Stift Melk, Kapelle
Melk Abbey Chapel. Photo from Friday, 22 October, 2010. © 2020 Jeffrey C. Jacobs

EDIT 2020-12-12: Forgot to post this on the day in question. It was originally scheduled for posting on Thursday, 22 October, 2020. Sorry for the delay.

Jeffrey’s Jammin Birthday Bash

Join me to find out how I like my new job, the exciting plans I have for the upcoming year, and so I can give a personal thanks for your personal friendship!

Please note, the official start time is 20:00 because I want to make sure not to start it before I finish my first full day of work at the new job. If I finish sooner, I will open the room earlier. This is, after all, an exciting time for me. My first new job in 18 years, and the first of four steps on the route to make me a better man, and much, much happier!

This event is opened to everyone who claims to know me! All of my software colleagues, all of my fellow authors, fellow science readers, fellow Doctor Who fans, fellow cosplayers, fellow Electric Car drivers and enthusiasts, all of my Equal Rights Amendment sisters and brothers in arms, all of my National Popular Vote Interstate Compact supporters, all of my avid gaming friends, all of my friends abroad except those in Europe—have your kip, mates—all of my fellow Toastmasters, all of my fellow aviators, all of my fellow musicians, tous mes amis qui parle français oder Deutsch или по-русский o italiano, my acting friends and my friends who eschew meat!

The only thing I ask is you be respectful, kind, and know that I hope you all consider any friend of mine a potential friend of yours!

There is a password to this event. It’s not hard to guess if you know me but if you want to know, and you are reading this on from Twitter, message me, on Tumblr, message me, on LinkedIn, again, message me, or join me via the Facebook event. Or, just comment on this blog, with your email address, and I will mail it to you.

See you all next Wednesday!

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Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1


TeslaFi had been spamming me with news about TeslaOS 2020.16 for a while and I’ve been itching to see what, after giving us the amazing stop at a stop sign in the last minor update.

Turns out, not much. I am mostly unimpressed by Tesla with this update, though nonetheless very appreciative. Autoformatting a DashCam drive—I wonder if it supports 2TB yet—and a better layout for Easter Eggs are, after all, improvements, even if the Easter Eggs aren’t really hidden gems anymore.

The coolest new feature, though, is the new SuperCharger filter, allowing the driver to only see Version 3 stations and filter out all the slower ones. I love the fact that I have free, lifetime SuperCharging, and one of these days, I’m gonna cross the continents with that perk.

Overall, I’m not disappointed despite being underwhelmed. And one rumor is that this, or a soon to be released version will add V2G to the Tesla. I can’t wait until that rolls out as the Tesla Battery Pack may make for a new, mobile Powerwall. Mind you, even if #CO2Fre could do V2G, my house isn’t equipped for it anyway. So, even if it doesn’t have V2G, it’s still a cool update!

Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1
Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1 adds a new toy box interface, a SuperCharger filter, and auto-formatting of DashCam media. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

Gentle reader, if you have been keeping up with me since 11 February of this year, you know that I have been posting once a day since then. As such, today marks a hundred days of a hundred daily posting. Through that, I’ve shared with you exciting electric car news, updated to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, my struggles to get the Equal Rights Amendment to be our Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, written about my many works of fiction, and the many books of nonfiction I voraciously read to be a better scientist. I’ve shared with you my cosplay adventures, and my love of Doctor Who, my love of games, and a bit of my speaking in tongues as well as delivering speeches and singing to my heart’s content. I’ve talked about international travel and how I love to fly there in my own plane, discussed my acting and my dietary needs. And most of all I’ve told you I’m an excellent coder who is always keen for new work. Thanks for riding with me as we cruise upon the cloud to another one hundred posts!

The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human

Once again, I finished this book just in time, despite starting it right after The Copernicus Complex: Our Cosmic Significance in a Universe of Planets and Probabilities. Only this time, it’s because my commute went from an hour each way to five seconds each day to nothing because I’m on Weather and Safety Leave. Again, that’s a long story that, like yesterday, I’m punting for another day. Such is life with SARS-CoV-2, but in this respect I’m quite luck and still have my health. However, it does mean without that long commute, my reading time has become a fraction of what it was. But, I made it!

Noah Strycker spins a fascinating tale of the secret lives of birds. Clearly, the author loves class Aves and is an avid birder himself. His love of all modern dinosaurs shines through. Each chapter and section is set with a distinct theme and a story that focuses one one of our fine, feathered friends and how it relates to we mammals. So, without further à Deux, let’s dive in like a bunch if timid penguins!

Corvidae are smart! I’d never heard of any creature outside of the mammals passing the Mirror Test. The fact that some Magpies can utterly blew my mind. Heckle and Jeckle would have been proud! Damn, that bird family is cleaver! And the way Nutcrackers can remember where they cached food photographically is astounding! If we leave, I bet they’re taking over!

Hummingbirds are crazy violent. But Chickens take the cake, they are hierarchical. I mean, keeping track in your ranking up to thirty birds deep. Of course, it does break down with more than thirty and there’s still the triangle problem. Who knew chickens weren’t condorcet?

Now I want to see a Snowy Owl. I can’t believe a bounty of lemmings could cause a spike in populations that could bring the bird this far south. At least Washington State loves them, a lot more than they do the Spotted Owl, though that did inspire Hedwig. On the other hand, I want to see the Albatross but the Falkland Islands are so far away and then never serve them in my local theatre. If only I could get get around like a pigeon, especially a Homing Pigeon in case I get lost.

It was fascinating to hear that dummers can keep better time than Parrots. Which is to say, a Cockatoo can keep good time, but it isn’t good at noticing a change in tempo. It makes me wonder why they’re not as coordinated as Boirds or their prototype Starlings. Parrots still may have good hearing, but one thing’s for sure, Vultures have excellent eyesight. However, only Turkey Vultures can smell you from a meter away with its great, big nostrils, though not much more.

The main takeaway for me is how similar some bird behaviors are to humans. Bowerbirds males try to impress female birds to find a mate, and humans try to impress other humans in order to get a date. The birds build little shrines, complete with vanishing perspective, and we humans buy clothes, and cars, and houses, and do sports, or just become smart by reading lots of science books. And when you get the mate, being as faithful as a Fairy Wren could mean success. Then again, female Fairy Wrens who fool around do tend to live longer? 🤔

The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human
The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human

All in all, a very entertaining book that made me think. And books that make you think are indeed the best kind of science book. And speaking of the human condition, next up, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes

Hope to see you in person soon, my sapiosexual friends!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I’ve never been to Ireland.

That’s not to say I don’t want to go. Of course I do want to, someday. But not today, not with SARS-CoV-2. And guess what, I don’t drink either. No Guinnesses for me, mate! Now, I wouldn’t mind having a nice, hot turmeric spiced tea, like a very dear friend of mine, but, to be honest, maybe I should salute the last of my precious Low Acid Orange Juice?

The label is greenish and I feel much inspired by the Emerald Isle. Cheers, mate. This last glass, for a long, long while, this one’s for you!

Last of the Low Acid
Last of the Low Acid Orange Juice. Only one, maybe two glasses left. So I raise my glass to good ol’ St. Patrick and the great land of Ireland! © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

Bonne Voyage, mes amis!

Deux Bière, S’il vous plait…

André winced. “He’s no Prime Minister of mine!”

What if you could change history? What if you could put right what you felt in your heart was wrong?

André may have lost his bid for a Federal Riding in Québec, but when he’s given the opportunity to get his Francophone province to break with Canada, he’s unable to resist liquoring up his friend and stealing his boss’s time machine. But one piece of advice André never got: be careful what you wish for…

Giles is just a humble custodian. Just an ordinary Québecois with nothing to show for it but a well-paying job, a pension, … and his boss with a Time Machine. When his best mate André tricks him into visiting Canada in the 1860s, it’s not his hero Lincoln Giles meets, but the man who would become Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. McDonald. Can Giles keep André out of trouble. Can he keep his politician friend from effecting the future?

And isn’t it strange how similar André and John A are…

Read ‘Let’s Kill John A. OR John Wilkes Booth Must Die’ in The Witness Paradox, published by Tanhouser Press and edited by Martin Wilsey. Now available on Amazon, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Nobel, Powell’s Books. Alas, not available at Chapters, despite this story takes place in Canadian.

Double Rainbow over Portree

Double Rainbow over Portree
A Double Rainbow in Portree, Skye, in Scotland. The outer Rainbow can barley be seen but is just visible as a faint fuchsia streak that extends from the trunk of the tree on the right. Photo © 2019 TimeHorse, LLC

Every since I was a child, I dreamed of spending my mild summers in Scotland and my mild summers in New Zealand. Who needs winter?! Although I’ve yet to visit the lovely submerged island continent that is New Zealand, I have been to Scotland a few times and it never ceases to impress me. I’m so in love with the lands north of Hadrian’s wall I could happily spend months there just enjoying the sights.

As I got older, I became a bit of a polyglot, thirsting for new languages to speak. So when I read that you could secure Scottish residency by becoming fluent in Scots, I decided that was a language most assuredly on my bucket list.

The great thing about Scotland, and Edinburgh specifically, is that it has a thriving Doctor Who fanbase that meets monthly at an awesome bistro right off the Royal Mile, the Tron.

The Tron, Edinburgh
The Tron is a sports bar in Edinburgh where the Monthly Edinburgh Who show meets. Photograph © TimeHorse, LLC

I’m not sure when I’ll be back in Edinburgh or Scotland, but if you’re going, won’t you take me with you!