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Thursday, 6 August 2020 Dereel Images for 6 August 2020
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Accident in Grassy Gully Road
Topic: general, opinion Link here

While walking the dogs today, noted several skid marks. First, heading west:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200806/big/Road-accident-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200806/big/Road-accident-3.jpeg
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What could cause that? There was nothing else on the road, but clearly the driver had left the road and hit a tree.

But there was another skid mark in the opposite direction (going east):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200806/big/Road-accident-5.jpeg
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This one was mainly of interest because of all the litter left behind. But it would seem that two cars came along too fast, and to avoid collision they left the road and collided with vegetation instead.

Only: if that's what happened, they left to the right. Why? We drive on the left round here.


Measuring salt
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

The US Americans have a mania for measuring foodstuffs by the volume of some not clearly defined household device that wasn't designed for this purpose, notably spoons and cups. I've ranted about this at length. There are three basic issues:

  1. Measuring by volume, even in controlled circumstances, is not very accurate; the best you can hope for is 1%, and 3% is more likely. By contrast, most 1 kg scales (say 500 g average weight) are precise to about 100 mg, 0.02%.
  2. Measuring solids by volume is difficult because granularity can change the density of the product.
  3. Using substitute measures like spoons and cups introduces the largest error yet: even in the USA, home of such things, “cup” can refer to 6 different volumes between 84 ml (“small” cup on coffee machines) to 240 ml.

Today I found a question on Quora: How many ounces are in a teaspoon of salt?. OK, why not measure it? The result: between 0.19 and 0.56 (avoirdupois) ounce.

In detail. Three different kinds of salt:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200806/big/Measuring-salt-with-spoons-5.jpeg
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Take two different teaspoons, measure 10 “spoonfuls” of each kind of salt, and weigh them.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200806/big/Measuring-salt-with-spoons-2.jpeg
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Here the average weight per spoonful:

Salt kind       Spoon 1       Spoon 2
Rock salt       7.55 g       11.36 g
Kitchen salt       7.51 g       10.87 g
Table salt       7.84 g       9.98 g

All these were done with naturally heaped teaspoons. Interestingly, and contrary to my expectations, the kind of salt didn't make a big difference to the weight: it's within experimental error (table salt was the heaviest from spoon 1, the lightest from spoon 2).

I also tried as level as possible a spoon (spoon 1) of table salt and got 5.35 g.

In the past I have tried to measure the volume of teaspoon 2 (level) and come up with a volume of about 3.5 ml. In the USA, a "teaspoon" is defined as 4.93 ml (customary) or 5 ml (legal, § 101.9 paragraph (b)(5)(viii)), in other countries only 5 ml, all larger than any teaspoon I have measured.

The difference between definitely too little salt and definitely too much salt is probably about 30%. Here we have a difference of 300%. That's a perfect way to ruin a dish. And why?


Steak and kidney pie again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

We're still not home with correct preparation of steak and kidney pie. Last time I baked at the bottom of the oven for 20 minutes, followed by 5 minutes with the top element. The main issue there was to cook the dough under the filling, but I hadn't wanted to cook in two different ways.

Today I tried a different tack: cook the dough underneath by itself before filling, this time for 5 minutes at 180° in the “coffee machine” “air fryer”:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200806/big/Steak-and-kidney-pie-2.jpeg
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Is that enough? It wasn't too much, anyway.

Then fill the pies and cook for 20 minutes at 210° with the top element in the middle of the oven. After 10 minutes they looked like this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200806/big/Steak-and-kidney-pie-3.jpeg
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And after 20 minutes:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200806/big/Steak-and-kidney-pie-4.jpeg
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OK? Somehow the browning seemed too uneven. But we're getting there.


Friday, 7 August 2020 Dereel Images for 7 August 2020
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COVID-19: Too close for comfort
Topic: health, general, opinion Link here

We take protection against COVID-19 seriously:


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We've been pretty well spared any proximity to COVID-19 so far, but a couple of reports in the Ballarat Courier today were unsettling. One referred (without links, as seems to be their wont) to an infected staff member at Woolworths in Sebastopol yesterday. Yvonne had been shopping there on Wednesday, the day before. With a bit of searching found this page, which links to content to which I can't refer directly, and which will probably soon disappear. But today I read:

We have been notified that a team member at our Sebastopol store has tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

We’re making contact with our Sebastopol team members and will provide our full support to those required to self-isolate in line with advice from the health authorities.

As a food retailer, we already have very high standards of cleaning and hygiene in place. As an extra precautionary measure, the store will closed overnight for an additional deep clean.

While the risk of transmission to customers and team members is low, the safety and wellbeing of the local community is our priority.

Customers and team members should be assured they can continue to safely shop and work at our Sebastopol supermarket.

Any customers who shopped in our Sebastopol store on Thursday 23 July and feel unwell in the next two weeks should make contact with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

What's the danger? Pretty low. Yvonne was wearing a KN95 mask, she is unlikely to have come near the person in question, and she had been there the day before. But somehow the suggestion to do nothing until you feel sick is superfluous: if you develop symptoms, you need to be tested whether or not you were in Woolworths on Thursday. Somehow it's not overly reassuring.

And then there was a second incident that we heard only indirectly: an employee of Sinclair Meats in Delacombe tested positive this morning. Unlike Woolworths, they have closed their operation completely until further notice.

Yvonne was there too on Wednesday. Again, no particular cause for alarm, apart from the fact that things are coming so close.


Spring on its way
Topic: gardening Link here

Another sign of the coming spring:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200807/big/Arum.jpeg
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There's nothing that surprising about an Arum blooming at this time of year, except that it's one of the row that we transplanted in April.


A new gardener?
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

While walking the dogs today, found a gardener working on Lorraine Carranza's property. Anton's (or Tony's?) mowing, phone 0411 029 736. He seems to specialize in lawn mowing and whipper snipping, but he might make a good alternative if Mick continues to be unable to come.


More corroded spoons
Topic: food and drink Link here

Last month I noted some strange corrosion on an old spoon. It's not the only one. Here another case:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200807/big/Corroded-spoon-3.jpeg
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That looks less like corrosion than mechanical damage. But how?


X configuration on dereel
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

It's been several days since I've looked at the X configuration on dereel. There are at least two reasons: firstly, I've been busy, and secondly I expect pain.

Back to look at it again today. I had started editing a configuration file, but it looked strange. Here an example:

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen2"
    Device         "Device1"
    Monitor        "Monitor1"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    Option         "TwinViewXineramaInfoOrder" "DFP-0"
    Option         "metamodes" "nvidia-auto-select +0+0"
    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Why the TwinView entries? They're for displays spanning multiple screens. In this case I want three individual displays, one per monitor. OK, I've been there before, so why not check what I did last time?

It proved that I didn't record the thought processes that led to these decisions. And Nvidia have considerately removed some of the pages to which I referred. But in particular I didn't explain anywhere why I had included the "TwinView" "0" entry.

OK, start from scratch, do a Google search, which took me to this page (is this even from Nvidia?), which told me part of what I needed to do: simply duplicate the Screen entries, which all look like this:

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen1"
    Device         "Device1"
    Monitor        "Monitor1"
    DefaultDepth    24
    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
    EndSubSection
EndSection

The only difference for the three entries was the number at the end of the first three lines.

And how about that, it worked! And I was able to connect to it from eureka with:

DISPLAY=:0.3 x2x -east -to dereel:0

Well, almost. Of course the configuration couldn't know anything about the physical layout of the three monitors, and I arrived in the middle one. Going “east” from eureka:0.3 took me first to the middle one, then to the westmost one, then to the eastmost one.

Not a problem, we just tell the config what they really look like. That's what the Monitor entries are for. Well, that's actually what the Monitor section is for. The first entry looks like this:

Section "Monitor"
    # HorizSync source: edid, VertRefresh source: edid
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Acer G246HL"
    HorizSync       30.0 - 94.0
    VertRefresh     50.0 - 76.0
    Option         "DPMS"
EndSection

And that, of course, is the leftmost (westmost) monitor. But it seems that ModelName is merely for documentation purposes, and X assigns this number (Monitor0) to the second monitor and Monitor1 to the first. OK, there are various ways of fixing it. The obvious one is to swap the numbers in the Screen entries:

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "Device0"
    Monitor        "Monitor1"
    DefaultDepth    24
    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen1"
    Device         "Device1"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
    EndSubSection
EndSection

OK, try that, restart X. No difference! That must be a bug.

But there's another option: right at the beginning of the config file is a description of the server layout:

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Layout0"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    Screen      1  "Screen1" RightOf "Screen0"
    Screen      2  "Screen2" RightOf "Screen1"
    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
    Option         "Xinerama" "0"
EndSection

Just a little change to the config should do it:

    Screen      0  "Screen1" 0 0
    Screen      1  "Screen0" RightOf "Screen1"
    Screen      2  "Screen2" RightOf "Screen0"

But again it made no difference! And just to be sure, yes, the layout is in the log file:

[351814.689] (==) ServerLayout "Layout0"
[351814.689] (**) |-->Screen "Screen1" (0)
[351814.689] (**) |   |-->Monitor "Monitor1"
[351814.689] (**) |   |-->Device "Device1"
[351814.689] (**) |-->Screen "Screen0" (1)
[351814.689] (**) |   |-->Monitor "Monitor0"
[351814.690] (**) |   |-->Device "Device0"
[351814.690] (**) |-->Screen "Screen2" (2)
[351814.690] (**) |   |-->Monitor "Monitor2"
[351814.690] (**) |   |-->Device "Device2"
[351814.690] (**) |-->Input Device "Keyboard0"
[351814.690] (**) |-->Input Device "Mouse0"

Clearly something's severely broken here. I found a way to work around it last time, but that was 7½ years ago. Maybe that's the background for the TwinView entries. I'm not in much hurry right now, so it seems a good idea to analyse what's really wrong before working around it Yet Again.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. It's also not a vehicle for third-party content. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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