post-baby linked list: Episcopalian same-sex weddings!, how to ask a favor, security keys for safer logins

Episcopalians will allow same-sex weddings in all churches without exception – wow, great news! Although this would have been better if it had happened 9 years ago and David and I could have been married in our church…

How to Ask a Favor – this is very useful advice for adulting! As I was reading it I was like “man, they should write one on how to accept a compliment, which almost always is to just say ‘thanks!’ and move on”, and then I got to the bottom of the article and lo and behold: How to Accept a Compliment!

Google: Security Keys Neutralized Employee Phishing – security keys work. More websites (like Gmail and Facebook and Twitter) are supporting them, and Firefox recently added support too, so I might pick one up for the fun of it. (I don’t think state-level actors are targeting my accounts 🙂 )

Why soccer teams that go first in shootouts usually win – a little late, but interesting stuff. From a game theory perspective it’s better to go second because then you know if you need to score a goal or not and can tailor your strategy accordingly (although I’m not sure how much that matters in this case? It definitely does in baseball…), but in the real world going first is an advantage because there’s much less pressure. (thanks Dad!)

New Spectre attack enables secrets to be leaked over a network – the good news is that it’s very very slow, but still: maaaaan, this is why we can’t have nice things. (like caches)

The $3 Billion Plan to Turn Hoover Dam Into a Giant Battery – neat!

Inside the Two Years That Shook Facebook—and the World – a good recounting of Facebook’s role in the 2016 election.

The Children of Flint Were Not ‘Poisoned’ – interesting, although as the article notes there is no safe level of exposure to lead.

New Alzheimer’s Drug Slows Memory Loss in Early Trial Results – it’s only a Phase 2 trial, but still, very encouraging!

Big tech warns of ‘Japan’s millennium bug’ ahead of Akihito’s abdication – calendars are weird, y’all.

An obscure British parliamentary rule was broken. Here’s why it’s a big deal. – this seems like a good practice, but if there’s anything the last two years have taught me is that norms aren’t good enough – you need rules for this sort of thing. Also, proxy voting sounds like a better system anyway. (thanks Jessica!)

Why A Drop Of 4 Degrees Made A Big Difference For A Garment Maker’s Bottom Line – makes sense, but it’s cool (no pun intended) that this is a measurable effect!

Toyota Prius vs. Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan fuel efficiency fight!

Now that these are our two cars, I thought it was time to do some math!

In one corner: our Toyota Prius! It’s a hybrid, of course, but not plugin. I’ve tracked it over time and it gets right around 42 miles per gallon.

In the other corner: our brand new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan! It’s a plugin hybrid, so on a full charge it gets around 30 miles on the battery. After that, it’s still a hybrid so it gets 32 miles per gallon, which is quite good for a minivan.

So, assuming the minivan has a full charge, when is it more efficient to take the Pacifica versus the Prius? If M is the number of miles driven, the Prius uses M/42 gallons of gas, while (assuming M > 30) the Pacifica uses (M-30)/32 gallons. Clearly the Pacifica is more efficient at first, but the crossover point is when these two are equal, or M/42 = (M-30)/32, which is when M = 126. So only on a 126 mile trip or longer does the Prius come ahead! That’s a lot longer than I expected…

Now let’s talk about money. Here are some assumptions:

  • Gas is $2.50 per gallon (as of today, roughly, here’s a source)
  • The Pacifica’s hybrid battery capacity is 16 kWh (source)
  • The wall charger has around ~80% efficiency (source)
  • In the summer we pay around 11 cents per kWh

So! The Prius is simple again – 42 miles/gallon at $2.50/gallon means it costs 1/42 gallon/mile * $2.50/gallon = 6 cents per mile.

The Pacifica is trickier. For the first 30 miles, we’re using up the battery, which takes 11 cents/wall kWh * 1 wall kWH/.8 car kWH * 16 car kWH = $2.20, which works out to 7 cents per mile. After that, at 32 MPG we pay 1/32 gallon/mile * 2.50/gallon = 8 cents per mile.

So that’s a little surprising – even in electric mode, the Pacifica costs more to operate. But:

  • Our electricity is on the expensive side because we buy all renewable from Green Mountain Energy. Because of that, the first 30 miles of driving is carbon emissions and guilt free!
  • Obviously if the price of gas goes up that makes the Pacifica look better.
  • Less time spent at gas stations/worrying about gas is nice!
  • We didn’t buy the Pacifica for efficiency, we bought it because we needed a bigger car. And it’s way more efficient than a standard minivan! (that tend to get 25-28 MPG on the highway, worse in the city)

 

 

last pre-baby linked list!: “find your passion”, smart TVs are bad

Baby is coming soon aaaa! But not too soon for some mostly depressing links.

‘Find Your Passion’ Is Awful Advice – a good reminder that passions develop over time. And also, “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” is not realistic. I love to program but work still feels like work a lot of days 🙂

How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s On Tonight – another reason “smart” TVs are not good. This is really creepy.

We Are All Public Figures Now – and now Unidentified Plane-Bae Woman’s Statement Confirms the Worst. Sigh.

Teardown Of USB Fan Reveals Journalists’ Lack Of Opsec – amazingly, the USB fans handed out at the US-North Korea summit don’t seem to have had malware on them. But they easily could have, and this is a reminder to not plug in random devices to your computer!

How Postcards Solved The Problem Of Disappearing Rice – a clever use of common knowledge!