Four Random Things

Friday, March 15, 2024

A Friday Hodgepodge

1. Some time back, the New York Times bought Wordle from its inventor. Having heard the new owners were going after clones of the popular word game jogged my memory of the existence of the game Don't Wordle.

This non-clone has a different object: Make it through six rounds without guessing the word correctly.

It's harder than you might think.

2. On her Substack blog, Claire Evans discusses art inspired over time by scintillating scotomas in her post "Brighter Than a Cloud:"

Perceptual distortions are difficult to measure, but they can be approximated in paint and pencil, which makes migraine art a powerful diagnostic and scientific tool. The earliest depictions of migraine phenomena were illustrations made by physicians who happened to be migraineurs themselves, like the German ophthalmologist Christian Georg Theodor Ruete, who illustrated the three successive stages of his own "flimmerskotom" in 1845, and the 19th century British physician Hubert Airy, whose ink renderings wouldn't be out of place in the Wellcome's migraine art collection.
Occasionally experiencing these myself, I have to say I wish English had borrowed the German term for these unchanged.

Also worth noting are a link to an extensive British collection of migraine-inspired art and mention of the only Oliver Sacks book I have not yet read, Migraine.

3. If you live in certain small parts of North America, this year is going to bring you a double blast of cicadas: Adjacent broods of 13- and 17-year cicadas will be emerging at the same time.

4. I found the title odd: "The Best Multi-Tool for Every Job." I thought: What? Isn't that like looking for an expert jack of all trades?

But what the article does is list the best such tools for certain niches, like keychain-sized:
Tools: Needlenose pliers, wire cutter, knife, package opener, scissors, flathead driver, crosshead driver, bottle opener, tweezers, file

It would be wrong to compare the Gerber Dime to most full-size multi-tools. After all, it only weighs a shade over 2 ounces and occupies as much space as a Bic lighter. But when we compare the Dime to similar keychain-size multi-tools, it continues to surprise and charm.

The spring-loaded pliers are strong enough to pull staples from a 2-by-4, and the crosshead driver tightens loose, irritating screws. Because the Dime attaches to a keychain via a split ring, we frequently call on the bottle opener between camping trips and cookouts. A hidden set of tweezers and a pair of scissors are welcome additions too. The build quality remains up for debate, and we question whether the Dime's portability sacrifices durability, but Gerber's limited lifetime warranty puts our mind at ease. Even though most of us carry a full-size multi-tool, the Dime is a welcome addition that exceeds expectations.
My favorite memory of being glad I carried a multi-tool -- a Swiss Army Knife in this case -- was to facilitate the small, informal picnic after the ceremony for the wedding of a friend, for whom I was best man.

Whoever planned that picnic hadn't thought to bring a knife!

-- CAV

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