About a week ago a smell appeared in my basement workshop. Our house is above ground about four feet. You could crawl around under there but it would be a nasty experience, so I didn’t do more than peer into the darkness below the house with the flashlight in my phone.

The smell got worse and worse. It was an awful odor. Sewage? Death? Chemicals? I couldn’t tell. I investigated but couldn’t find the source.

Noah mentioned it last night. And then today Karen couldn’t stand it any more.

She goaded me into looking harder by threatening to call the handyman – I hate spending money for jobs I can do. Plus it didn’t hurt that she went out and bought a good flashlight, turned it on, and put it in my hand:

“You’re the dude.”

It was raining hard today, Halloween. We peered under the house from the one reasonably comfortable viewing location in my workshop. There was nothing that could be the source, but there were some droppings.

I found another viewing angle from the driveway. This was cobwebby and creepy but I didn’t have to actually get into the crawl space. I didn’t see anything.

I looked under the front porch. From the least gross viewing angle I couldn’t see clearly. I went in. The smell was overwhelming. I could walk by squatting. It was dark and I had to clear cobwebs to move. There were piles of leaves, and one of them seemed like it might have been made into a nest.

Karen got a shovel and rake. I started digging. As I dug the smell got stronger. And then something like fur became visible.

Soon more fur, in clumps. Then a foot, the remnants of a face, a tail. A dog? Not quite. It had a huge bushy tail, thin face, skinny body – a fox.

It must have gotten sick, looked for a hiding place, and found a den under the porch. From there it explored further under the house, over to the point where the droppings were. Eventually it made a softish place to lie in a pile of leaves and died.

The body had reached a fully macabre state. Larvae wiggled between the toes and in the crevices of the face. What to do with it? I used the rake and shovel together, like awkward chop sticks, to drag it out to the street. There was a sewer that I could push it into, but it was right by the toddler park. The body was shedding hair, bones, and wiggly things in the heavy rain and there was a risk of disease.

You acclimate to disgustingness. Karen found a contractor bag and threw an old towel over the body. There was just a paw peeking out peacefully. I picked up the body with the shovel, Karen held the bag open like you would when you’re raking leaves, and we got the body into plastic. Now I know what a fox weighs.

I put the bagged fox in the car and drove it to a dumpster. Then I picked up hot chocolate for us and went back to work. But the smell was still in my clothes.

AI Swarms on the Blockchain — Medium

It’s staggering to consider that the overwhelming majority of cells in your body are meant to die, are ready to die, in the service of the germ cells (sperm and eggs). Our bodies are fantastically fine-tuned collections of celibate specialists engaged in monkish harmony for the purpose of highly orchestrated reproduction.

via AI Swarms on the Blockchain — Medium.

Spotify Lowers Music Price with Family Plan, Apple Wants Cuts Too | Re/code

Apple has been pushing the labels for more extensive price cuts. It wants to relaunch the Beats Music subscription service it bought last spring next year, and industry scuttlebutt is that it’s trying to get the price cut in half, to $5 a month.

The logic of Apple’s argument, relayed by people who’ve heard the pitch secondhand: Apple’s best iTunes buyers spend about $60 a year on downloaded music — $5 a month. So if subscription services dropped that low, any download buyers that switched over to the streaming model would generate just as much revenue for the music labels. And, more important, the market of potential subscribers would get much larger.

via Spotify Lowers Music Price with Family Plan, Apple Wants Cuts Too | Re/code.

The secondary market for Soylent on Craigslist and Ebay | Motherboard

This is the prime Soylent victim: someone overwhelmed by the process of finding food. “What if you never had to worry about food again?” the company’s website asks, as if food were as difficult to come by as money or health, which it is for some people, but not really for Soylent’s target demographic of r/technology.

Their demographic is large enough, however, that Soylent is on backorder. The company told me my Soylent would take 10 to 12 weeks to arrive. It took 20. If I had been dependent on Soylent as my primary food source, I would have died waiting for it.

via The secondary market for Soylent on Craigslist and Ebay | Motherboard.

Emulating vinyl’s constraints

What if you had a streaming music player that would only play music with the same constraints as albums?

Whole sides only. No less than 5 songs in a row. No picking a song.

When you press play on a new side, there’s a pause while the needle arm moves over and drops down.

You can queue up a series of sides, like a stack of records, but you can’t automatically turn over a side when it’s over.

You must pay attention throughout. Backgrounding the app turns off the music. This is a foreground experience.

No FF or REW. No skipping within tracks.

At the end of the side, you must manually end the music. From the end of the last song until the listener turns off the music, the player makes that scratchy locked groove sound from the end of an LP.

Connecting blogroll to feed reader?

Anybody know a simple way to auto-add to my blogroll when I add a feed in my reader? Right now I’m using Stringer for consuming RSS.

I’ve found a bunch of plugins that do related things but none of them address this particular use case.


This isn’t the only use case for connecting my feed reader to my blog writer. I’d also like to be able to reblog a post right from the reader, with automatic pingback or webmention.