Bonum Certa Men Certa

Gemini Links 20/05/2023: Ascension Day and Closed Registration for (Small Web)

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • Introducing the Broad Framework

        * Pointers on how to get a starter that is more yeast-y (use a "stiff" starter, maybe 50% hydration) or with more lactic acid bacteria (drown the starter in 500% hydration). Also that the drowning can help with mold problems.

      • Summer Springing Up

        For the past two summers in Sacramento, by the time May rolled around it was hot, IE 90+ degrees most days. I moved here May 24Th 2021 and slept on top of the covers every single night until mid September since it would stay hot late into the night. In 2022 it was regularly into the 90s by April and stayed hot late into October, a long, hot Summer. This year we had a pretty brutal Winter, the most rain I've seen in California in all my life. The rain wasn't actually all that hard, it was the strong winds that came with it that brought down so many trees. However the rain did last for a long time. Normally we would get 2 or 3 days of rain like walls of water when you step outside, and then a couple sprinkles here or there, which almost always wasn't enough water for the year. Now we've gotten more than we possibly can imagine, lakes are filling back up, rivers are higher than ever, everything is so green. The multi-week long light to moderate rain showers was not the California I was used to.

      • Driving in England

        I live in the United States, but this weekend the family have traveled to the UK to attend a wedding. I have visited other countries in Europe before, but not England.

        We decided to rent a car for the duration of our stay. I've never driven a right-hand drive vehicle before, much less driven in left-hand traffic. Of course that meant that we, jet-lagged and very tired, had to drive to the inn with everything on the opposite side from that to which I'm accustomed.

      • Ascension day ponderings
      • Ascension day ponderings

        Yesterday was a public holiday here, Ascension day. It's one in a long list of Christian holidays which I had never heard of in my life before moving to Europe. Also in this list are All Saint's Day, Epiphany, Reformation Day, and Whit Monday. It made me realise how incredibly watered-down religion is in Australia (maybe in the Anglosphere in general?). I'm sure there are people in Australia who observe these days, but they certainly do not feature prominently in the public consciousness. Easter and Christmas are the whole shebang when it comes to religious holidays. I even attended an overtly religious high school and have no memory of these days being recognised. Maybe some of them are specific to certain denominations? I mean, obviously Reformation Day is. I don't even know what denomination was my school was supposed to be, if anything. Amongst all the hymns and services, that never came up. It was just generic, unspecified Christianity. At the time I didn't even question this.

      • Saturn, Hacking 2023-05-19

        It basically amounts to a glaring admission by NASA (back in 2019) of the many ways that the things that we know about Saturn's moons don't line up with what we would expect based on the popular solar system formation myth. Of course, NASA wasn't meaning to present it that way. Rather, these are "mysteries" that will one day be solved by brilliant scientists. But I challenge the reader to consider an alternative — that the naturalistic model doesn't fit, because the solar system was formed supernaturally about 6000 years ago.

      • Hello, it's me

        Pleasant day. Did some grandchild sitting, started wading through our performance hints/lyrics for a June 3rd performance at a zoo, rain on and off keeping me out of the yard work zone. Sipping a bit of Cuervo over ice at the moment.

        I can't due wordy justice the joy of getting out of the car, and the face of a really young human is lighting up to see you coming their way.

      • Long Weekend

        Today it's a long weekend across the country. Monday is Victoria Day, something of a complicated day honouring Queen Victoria, who ruled for decades, directly or indirectly, over a very sizable swath of the world. In that way of empires, whether people asked for it or not.

        Canadians call this weekend a lot of things. Victoria Day, May Two-Four, Picnic Day, May Long. For some people, it's the first weekend at the cottage. But I don't have that kind of lifestyle. For me, it's the weekend to get the first bit of heavy yardwork done. Mow the lawn, get the vegetables in, start planting.

    • Technical

      • Science

        • Guarded Commands

          Guarded commands have a pretty math-y definition, courtesy Dijkstra.


          Anyways, the code is terrible; the mkdir and chdir calls are not checked for failure. Guarded commands may not care whether a command fails. Rather, there is a test associated with each command; if the test passes then the command is not run, and if the test fails after the command is run, the script halts or otherwise signals an error. A benefit of all this testing is that a script that fails somewhere can be restarted without issue (besides the CPU cost of doing various tests). If the above script fails and then is re-run, "foo" or "bar" might be appended multiple times, which might be really bad. Someone might have to manually clean things up, which will take time and effort, or may have to wipe the system and retry from a clean slate, which also takes time and effort. Instead, one could use what I'm calling guarded commands. This may differ from what Dijkstra cooked up.

      • Internet/Gemini

        • On Bubble, centralization and federation

          I'm going to break my own rule about posting on Gemini about Gemini because I think we're at an important moment right now. I don't want to rehash the entire discussion right now because you would have had to be offline for the past week or living in a cave to have missed it. There have been a lot of great points brought up, and the civility and thoughtfulness of the discussion is a credit to everyone involved. Thank you everyone, for proving my faith in Gemini as a community to be well founded.

          At any rate, Bubble is off to such a roaring start that it's blaringly obvious this is something that people want. Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up my own capsule any time soon, and I'll still be pushing my feed to Antenna for each and every post. But Bubble is off to a roaring start. Having tried it I have to say it really is pretty slick. From a technical standpoint, bravo to Skyjake for pulling this off so quickly.

        • Closed Registration for a Small Web

          I have been running a web service,, with a relatively small active user base, since 2020. I remain happy with it, and administering it takes up a relatively small amount of my time. One reason I am able to sustainably run it, despite having a lot of other obligations and a relatively demanding full-time job, is that I keep its scale intentionally limited. This is through a relatively simple mechanism: closed signups.


          Signing up for an account on the web is generally pretty low-friction, but I question whether it ought to be. If we think about web infrastructure at its foundational level, signing up for an account puts you into a pretty strong relationship of trust between me (a systems administrator) and you (someone using my system). Your data lives on my computer, and I allow you to put your data on my computer. Is this really something that should be open to anyone?

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It's like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

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