A Number of Hobbies Interrupted

I don't know if you care but I'm going to share anyway. :D
Got a 'heads up' email just now about this brand new article from Change dot org of all places.

A Newly Digitized Menu Collection Shows Off America’s Lost Railroad Cuisine
Once, Americans rode the rails for charbroiled steak, golden French toast, and prunes.

by Claire Voon December 2, 2019


Ira Silverman was always on the go. In the late 1960s, the train enthusiast enrolled in Northwestern University’s Transportation Center in Evanston, near the great national rail hub of Chicago. This proximity gave young Silverman and his classmates opportunities for research, adventure, and unparalleled feasting.

As graduate students in railroad transport, they regularly hopped on privately operated railroads that carried them to distant cities. But they always made sure to catch the evening return train, so that they could relish meals in a dining car while watching the shifting American landscape. With standard fare such as charbroiled steak, lamb chops, and fresh filet of sole, the experience probably far surpassed eating on campus.

Silverman, now 73, clearly cherished these memories. He began collecting dining car menus, eventually amassing an archive of 238 menus and related pamphlets. After a long career in transit, he donated the collection to his alma mater’s Transportation Library, which recently digitized it in its entirety. The pages (almost all, impressively, unstained) offer a ...
November 27, 2019

A method with roots in AI uncovers how humans make choices in groups and social media

by University of Washington


The choices we make in large group settings—such as in online forums and social media—might seem fairly automatic to us. But our decision-making process is more complicated than we know. So, researchers have been working to understand what's behind that seemingly intuitive process.

Now, new University of Washington research has discovered that in large groups of essentially anonymous members, people make choices based on a model of the "mind of the group" and an evolving simulation of how a choice will affect that theorized mind.

Using a mathematical framework with roots in artificial intelligence and robotics, UW researchers were able to uncover the process for how a person makes choices in groups. And, they also found they were able to predict a person's choice more often than more traditional descriptive methods. The results were published Wednesday, Nov. 27, in Science Advances.


Given that the model provides a quantitative explanation for human behavior, Rao wondered if it may be useful when building machines that interact with humans.

"In scenarios where a machine or software is interacting with large groups of people, our results may hold some lessons for AI," he said. "A machine that simulates the 'mind of a group' and simulates how its actions affect the group may lead to a more human-friendly AI whose behavior is better aligned with the values of humans."

Re: “"A machine that simulates the ‘mind of a group’ and simulates how its actions affect the group may lead to a more human-friendly AI whose behavior is better aligned with the values of humans.”“
Why would an AI designed and built by humans not already be inherently human friendly? Are AI designers and builders inhuman?
Yep, tornado watch.

Tornado Watch in effect from November 26, 06:20 PM CST until November 27, 12:00 AM CST

620 PM CST TUE NOV 26 2019


And as an added bonus at no extra charge,

Hazardous Weather Outlook
National Weather Service Saint Louis MO
534 PM CST Tue Nov 26 2019


This Hazardous Weather Outlook is for portions of eastern and
central Missouri as well as west central and southwest Illinois.

.DAY ONE...Tonight.

Thunderstorms are expected through this evening and into early
Wednesday morning. Some of the storms may be severe capable of
producing tornadoes and damaging winds.

Late tonight and through Wednesday morning, winds will increase with
gusts up to 60 mph across portions of central and northwest Missouri
as well as west central and southwest Illinois. Elsewhere, winds
gusts of 40 to 50 mph are expected.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...Wednesday through Monday.

Strong and gusty winds will continue on Wednesday, and the High Wind
Warning and Wind Advisory will remain in effect until 300 PM.
Sustained wind gusts of 50 to mph are expected.


Spotter activation will likely be needed this evening.
Oh, Yay,
This manner of thing has potential to significantly help disabled people & the article has a feeling which makes it seem to me that the authors are ultimately mocking its very existence.

November 25, 2019

Grocery-carrying robots are coming. Do we need them?

by Matt O'brien

Corporate giants like Amazon, FedEx and Ford have already been experimenting with sending delivery robots to doorsteps. Now Piaggio, the Italian company that makes the Vespa scooter, is offering a stylish alternative to those blandly utilitarian machines—albeit one that weighs 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and costs $3,250.

It's named the Gita (JEE'-tah) after the Italian word for a short, pleasurable excursion—the kind you might take to pick up some lacinato kale and gourmet cheese at the farmers market. Its creators have such trips in mind for the "hands-free carrier" that can hold produce and other objects as it follows its owner down a sidewalk.

"We're trying to get you out into the world and connected to that neighborhood you decided to move to because it was so walkable," said Greg Lynn, CEO of Piaggio's tech-focused subsidiary, Piaggio Fast Forward.

Tech industry analysts are already declaring the Gita as doomed to fail unless it finds a more practical application, such as lugging tools around warehouses, hospitals or factory floors.
A model railway exhibit which was destroyed by vandals has gone on display after it was restored thanks to an outpouring of donations.
Members of the Market Deeping Model Railway Club said a 'life's work' had been ruined after youths trashed the £30,000 display at Stamford, Lincolnshire, on May 18.
A surge in crowdfunded donations, including £10,000 from singer and model railway enthusiast Sir Rod Stewart, allowed the club to raise more than £107,000 to go towards repairs.


Mr Davies said that it took 25 club members 1,000 hours of work to restore the models by hand, with some of the originals having taken years to build.
Commenting on Sir Rod's 'amazing and truly humbling' donation, he added: 'This kind of thing doesn't happen, model railway exhibitions don't get trashed.
'To have that sort of donation has enabled us to get back on track.'

And we now present another example of alcohol’s great history of contributions to the uplifting of humanity;

The boys, and a fourth defendant, shared a bottle of vodka as part of a "pre-exam night out" before going on a "rampage", a court heard.
Lincoln Youth Court heard the youths had deliberately pushed tables over.
The four 16-year-old boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted criminal damage.
Three of them were handed 12-month referral orders and their parents were also ordered to pay £500 in compensation.
A fourth boy was told he would be sentenced on 2 September.


Sentencing the boys, chairman of the bench of magistrates John Lock said: "In nearly 20 years on the bench, I cannot recall such a case as this, of mindless, wanton destruction. It beggars belief.

"You came across the displays and models... and not content with kicking a ball, you then went on a rampage."
A little bit back I got 2 phone calls from ex after not having communicated with her for a couple years.
Not hearing from her was fine by me.
there was one call then couple days later another call.
On the surface at the time the calls seemed mostly innocent.

First call she said she looked my current number up because she really was wanting to remember name of a table top game we had enjoyed playing with my parents when we went to visit them.
I had changed home phone company and number both since the last time we'd had contact.
Also asked how I and my parents were doing and mentioned a couple other things.
I told a sort of Cliff Notes version of my last year or so.
She did likewise.
Then we said goodbye.

A couple days later ...

She called to let me know she had found my name and address on a website our state's government maintains for listings of unrecovered property and there was a notice that I had unrecovered property worth 50 dollars or more.
I said that was interesting but they clearly have my mailing address, they can contact me themselves if this is true.
A minute or two more and call ended, I was exhausted and was not interested in talking more.

But now ...

Wait a minute, now those recent calls from ex don't seem so innocent after all.

Some of the content comes back to mind ...
Her asking who was this woman whose name appeared on list of people who might know the person whose number you are seeking, was it someone I had a relationship with?
Why does she need to know that?
Her commentary that she had been staying with her first husband, which I knew was the case a couple years ago, until recently when he had taken her to court to get her out of his house.
That is interesting but none of my business since she hasn't been my wife for years.

And then the big question came to me, what the effing hell was she doing with that unclaimed property in my name thing?
Is this on the verge of becoming cyberstalking or what?
Since with my health the mess it is I'm not on social media, that's not going to be easy to do.

I don't know what she wants but I sure don't want her.

The memory of her mocking me while I was having the health collapse which began my CFS/ME journey about 15 years ago is still quite vivid -
when I asked her to quit making fun of me her response was to get in my face and wave her finger under my nose with "I'll use ridicule on you whenever I want to. I'll keep using ridicule. And you'll just learn to live with it!"

I have no desire to reestablish communication with her.
The Worlds Most Famous Cat.- Dirt the Cat at the Nevada Northern Locomotive Shops
Nov 17, 2019

Toy Man Television

Dirt the Cat was born in the roundhouse of the Nevada Northern Railroad in Ely Nevada. Over the last ten years, he has become an online celebrity. Dirt lives among the steam and diesel locomotives of this amazing railroad museum. He is absolutely filthy. He long ago learned to not attempt to clean himself by licking his fur. The dirt in the shop is a mix of soot and coal dust as well as rust and metal filings. And good old dirt. Nothing any animal would want to put in their mouth.

Fro Dirt's web page: https://nnry.com/pages/dirt.php

In 2008 Dirt was born here, in the main locomotive repair shop, under one of our historic steam locomotives. He was a shy little kitty who looked for nooks and crannies in the shop to hide in. The shop staff became attached to the little guy. Both the shop staff and the locomotive crews always liked to have him hang around the shop with them as they went about their tasks. With a can of Tuna here and there, and some attention every so often he fit right into the rest of the routine in the shop. Nowadays, Dirt is almost always front-and-center to great our museum guests and tours. He also loves to greet the locomotives as they return to the shop after a day of work out on the line. He is unflustered by the routine noises in the shop as the machinery operates. The shop has been his home and all that he really knows. He just loves the attention of his fans and now has fans all over the world! Dirt got his name because loves to roll in the Dirt in the back rooms of the engine house. He got his title, King of the Shop, because he carries out his role as official greeter and mascot in such a regal way. As you will see when you visit, he clearly sees himself as being the center of activity in the shop.
See also: still here; https://www.railpictures.net/photo/649499/
Inflation sucks.
Got curious what this 35 year old book would cost today.
Calculator is on web page of US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

25,566 views|Nov 2, 2019,9:50 am
Climate Darwinism Makes Disabled People Expendable
Imani Barbarin Contributor
Diversity & Inclusion
I understand disabled life, advocating for independence and inclusion.

When straw bans started gaining steam in the public conversation, disabled people sat uneasily confronted by the readiness with which many non-disabled people seemed to dismiss their needs. Now, with power shut-offs taking lives and articles blaming air pollution on inhalers, disabled people are learning just how expendable non-disabled people see them.


"While people with disabilities are familiar with casual ableism, deaths caused by the PG&E shut-off put the effects of disability ignorance into focus. On October 12th, 12 minutes into the PG&E power shut-off, a man who used oxygen died after the middle-of-the-night power loss amidst murky details from the company left him no time to prepare. In posts online, commenters blamed the man for his death and asserted that he should have anticipated and bought a generator. It takes a certain level of callousness to tell disabled people, a group that makes 66 cents to the non-disabled dollar and who are allowed to be paid well beneath the minimum wage, to spend $5,000-10,000 to avoid death."

The disability community is living in a dystopian present where conserving the planet is in direct competition with the value of their lives. Their deaths at the hands of negligence and discrimination re-packaged as climate awareness are unacceptable losses. Climate discussions that fail to include disabled and chronically ill people turn the conversation from “preserving the planet for all,” to “preserving the planet for the few.” In the battle of the “survival of the fittest,” disabled people will always lose.
Gotta love getting an 8lb, 3.6kg, railroad book in the mail. :)
Had been wanting a copy for a good number of years; at beginning of month found one on Amazon being sold by Friends of San Francisco Public Library for about $32 including shipping.
Okay, yeah, my 11 dollars a month below the poverty level Social Security Disability income can finance that A LOT better than it can finance the listed price.
600 plus pages of high quality clay coated paper. Nice.

Now, if only I still had the health to build models any time I wanted to …

About the author; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_H._White_Jr.

As soon as he graduated he got an internship position as a museum aide at the Smithsonian Institution. His early years at the Smithsonian Institution were spent working on ship models for Howard I. Chapelle, the curator of transportation. His internship was extended from time to time until his position as made permanent in 1960, when he became an associate curator in the Land Transportation Section. From 1961 until 1966 he was an associate curator of railroads at the Museum of History and Technology (renamed the National Museum of American History, curator from 1967–1985, and senior historian from 1986 until his retirement in 1989.
And it got here just in time to take to look at while Nan is having PT today. :)

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