reviews

Why Harry Potter Fans Should Read the Arithmancer Series

Submitted by Ben on Sun, 10/27/2019 - 10:48

I have to start by saying that The Arithmancer by White Squirrel is the first fanfiction I've ever read, unless you count mainstream works like The Mists of Avalon. I wouldn't have given it a chance if it hadn't been recommended by mathemusician Vi Hart. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. Having now finished the second book in the series (Lady Archimedes), I'm ready to lay out why I think you should read it, too.

Tags

Why I'm a top Pocket user

Submitted by Ben on Mon, 12/16/2013 - 14:29

I got an email a few days ago informing me that I'm in the top 5% of users of a service called Pocket -- I've used their free service to read more words on more Web pages than 95% of their users.  This is a totally unpaid and unasked-for endorsement, but chances are you haven't even heard of this service, so let me introduce you to why I use it so much:

Tags

Why we keep making movies like Avatar

Submitted by Ben on Sun, 01/03/2010 - 12:36

This is a response to a blog post called "When will White People Stop Making Movies like Avatar?" by Annalee Newitz.  The post made me upset when I first read it, but I hadn't seen Avatar yet, and besides, her argument is protected by the good old rhetorical ploy, "If this makes you feel defensive, you must be a racist."  Now that I've seen the film, I disagree more strongly on a number of po

Tags

household uses for bike chain wax

Submitted by Ben on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 09:27

Soon after I bought my first recumbent bike, I became a devotee of chain wax instead of oil.  When I was a kid, we always used 3-in-1 oil on our chains, but it only took one application of that stuff to the long dangly chain of a Bike-E to make me realize my error -- oil got all over my leg!  I had to remove all the oil with a rag and replace it with wax.  I was so sold on wax that once when I took my bike to a small-town shop for unrelated work and the well-intentioned mechanic thought my chain looked "dry" and oiled it for me, I made him wipe the oil back off and gave him a

Tags

Dehumidifiers: a cautionary tale

Submitted by Ben on Tue, 05/12/2009 - 15:41

Back in September, I wrote about our frustration in trying to follow Consumer Reports' guidance in buying appliances, including a dehumidifier.  Then in November I reported on the energy consumption of our appliances, including the dehumidifier, which was the number one energy hog in the house, costing us an estimated $593.09 per year to maintain the relative humidity at 50% (dry enough to keep mold from growing).

Tags