This Week I Learned (2016-07-19)

Flour explodes. A hilarious QA joke. More than I ever knew there was to know about the Billington Sea.

The Atlantic Ocean, 11.4 miles from Billington Sea.
The Atlantic Ocean, 11.4 miles from Billington Sea.

A one-kilometer-square freshwater pond in Plymouth, MA is called the Billington Sea because a 14-year-old fresh off the Mayflower climbed a tree and thought he could somehow see across the entire continent. The same kid fired a musket inside the Mayflower; his father was the first person executed for murder in Plymouth.

Flour explodes. A sufficient concentration of dispersed flour particles in the air can ignite even more explosively than coal dust. Thank you, season one of the Great British Baking Show! (Curious about how this works? Watch this adorable Mr. Wizard clip explaining flour mill explosions using lycopodium powder and an empty paint can or read Alexis Madrigal’s The Explosive Truth About Modern Flour Mills.

It’s possible to recover deleted notes from Simplenote. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS BEFORE? My biggest complaint with the software so far is that it’s far too easy to accidentally click the trash icon, and there’s no “are you sure?” warning before your todo list or draft blog post or extensive documentation of critical work functions disappears. “Trash” tag to the rescue.

My new favorite joke (thanks, Metafilter!). A QA engineer walks into a bar. Orders a beer. Orders 9999999999999 beers. Orders 0 beers. Orders -99999999999999 beers. Orders a ❤. Orders a lizard.

Convicted felons who are newly released from prison cannot have contact with other convicted felons in or out of prison, including family members. If you haven’t already read The Washington Post’s “One Year Out,” which profiles nonviolent drug offenders whose sentences Obama commuted, one year after their release from prison, you should go do that now.

This Week I Learned (2016-03-23)

JavaScript, landscaping, and Dutch babies.

Batching several weeks’ worth of learning into a single post because I was too busy having fun in Kansas (*happy dance, again*) to post.

  • The difference between prototypical and class-based object oriented programming languages (at least at a surface level): objects in prototypical languages (like JavaScript) are derived from other objects, and can become prototypes for other objects. In class-based languages (like PHP), you define a class, and then create objects that are instances of that class.
  • Inside a JavaScript constructor function, variables and functions declared directly are private. Variables and functions declared using this are public (or privileged—see Douglas Crockford’s “Private Members in JavaScript” for more).
  • In JavaScript, innerHTML can’t be appended—you can use += to append new content, but the end effect is to rewrite/reload all content within innerHTML on the page, rather than to tack on new material.
  • JavaScript has 12 types of nodes. Each has a number. Elements are 1, text nodes are 3.
  • The global context in JS is (in web browsers) the window object.
  • I liked this history of JavaScript (and JScript and ECMAScript).
  • I’m looking forward to installing a few of these Sublime Plugins—I use Bracket Highlighter and Color Highlighter all the time, and I have Emmet installed but keep forgetting to use it. SublimeCodeIntel and AdvancedNewFile sound particularly helpful.
  • How to tear down a deck, what a tiller is and how to use it, and how to lay weed barrier fabric: much landscaping work was done in Kansas last week.
  • Lunch at Blue Nile in Kansas City’s City Market last week reminded me that I need more Ethiopian food in my life.
  • You can totally make a Dutch baby in a 9×13 pan. Wishing I had known this for the 26 years of life when I didn’t own a cast iron skillet.