Inman Square: Home of the No Left Turn Sign

How many no left turn signs does it require to create a minimally safe intersection?

For an intersection like Inman Square, maybe infinity.













Pokémon Go: 80 Million XP (Level 40 a Fourth Time)

On 06-29 at 1657, I passed 80000000 XP, by completing a raid. This was Day 1037 of playing Pokémon Go, so the fourth 20000000 XP took 188 days, slightly less than the second (which took 211 days), but substantially more than the third (which took 95 days).

My current buddy is a Chansey, which I obtained via trade with Afterma7h. Prior to this, my buddy was a Snorlax from trade with betaveros. I accumulated 855.1 km of buddy distance with that Snorlax, the second highest of any buddy ever. Since betaveros caught this Snorlax on July 11 of the first year, this Snorlax is now my oldest Pokémon, from Day -46 of playing Pokémon Go. These two Pokémon are the only ones I’ve had as buddies that I acquired via trade.

I continue to have very mixed opinions on the various friend features. Many aspects of gifting and trading still come off as really silly to me, and I still think the concept of a lucky trade (and for that matter, lucky Pokémon) is one of the most terrible ideas the designers of Pokémon Go have conceived, but the role of trading in geographic interaction is really cool and the fact that information on geographic separation across a trade is tracked for the player is excellent. I really get excited about expanding the swath of places I have Pokémon from to a spatial span much larger than where I’ve been through trading with friends, even though these Pokémon aren’t really functionally any different when they’re from somewhere else. And it’s fun to see snippets of other places through the postcard format of gifts. I continue to be adamant that the amount of experience gotten from friendship and raid rewards from friendship are far too high.

Before getting to the usual charts: this time around, I went and tabulated statistics on the 608 Pokémon I currently have with CP 2048 by a few properties. Here’s the summary.

Method of acquisition:


Origin trainer:


Origin location (well, what Pokémon Go thinks the origin location is):




And origin month (years are CL: 71 is the first year of Pokémon Go):


Actually, one more thing before the usual charts, an acknowledgment:

Happy retirement from Pokémon Go, ImASteamShovel. You have inspired and awed many, including me. We will not forget how important of a figure you’ve been in Team Instinct Boston.

Continue reading “Pokémon Go: 80 Million XP (Level 40 a Fourth Time)”


You may have noticed that the rate of new blog posts here has dramatically slowed.

There’s a part of this that’s because I have a job now.

But the largest part of this is that I just am so much more unsure about whether I want to publish what I write than I used to.

I actually now have hundreds of unpublished barely started, half-finished, or almost-finished-but-I-really-just-don’t-like-how-it-turned-out drafts.

And I keep being unsatisfied with where I have ended up.

What’s particularly frustrating is that I frankly like most of my more recent ideas much more than things I actually considered publishable a few years ago; I just yet still think they’re not good enough. This someone is keeping me from, from my perspective, increasing the average quality of this blog.

But I’m going make myself publish this right now anyway, even though I don’t like this post either.

Nuanced Differences in Types of Fact Acquisition and Storage

I love TIL (Today I Learned) compilations. One could just scroll through a TIL set and wade through a delicious cornucopia of unique and interesting aspects of the world around us at incredible efficiency. Reddit’s r/todayilearned is one of my favorite subreddits (in fact, I made my highest-rated Reddit post ever on r/todayilearned).

Those of you that have interacted with me on other online communication media may know that I have a tendency to use several other TI_ abbreviations as well, most notably TIR (Today I Realized). The gradual drifting of these abbreviations into my vocabulary space shadow an increased awareness of differences in the various facts I learn.

“Is what I just did something that can be called ‘learning’?” is the question in question here. When I realized only this past year that the Monterey in California and the Monterrey in Mexico were spelled differently, I definitely gained knowledge, but what I mentally did was probably less accurately called “learning” than “correcting” or “realizing” (hence, “TIR”). (This realization triggered in my mind a horror at how many times up to then I must’ve spelled one of them the wrong way. I think the way I spelled both of them was like the Mexican city, so the one I would’ve gotten incorrect was the one more frequently relevant to my life, but along the lines of this being a realization: I’m not even sure that was the one I got wrong.) On a similar vein, about 7 years ago, I realized that contrary to my previous belief, the flags of Qatar and Bahrain had a different number of spikes, despite thinking that I knew both flags for over a decade prior. And more recently, I learned that the United Kingdom’s flag does not have reflectional symmetry. In all of these cases, there was a sense that the process of learning happened before the incidence of knowledge acquisition, and what I gained was a correcting of the knowledge: if I was asked about this knowledge before the moment of correction, I would’ve furnished incorrect information, like a belief that the UK’s flag was reflectionally symmetric.

But there’s yet another nuance that can be highlighted: situations that can be considered “realizing” but not “correcting”. One case of the such is with time zones of Australia. At one point, I learned that Western Australia is in UTC+8 (mostly), Northern Territory and South Australia are in UTC+9.5, and Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania are in UTC+10. Somewhat later, I learned that South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania practice daylight savings time. But only later still did it dawn on me the implication that in the summer, Queensland is at +10, which is behind South Australia at +10.5, an order swap, and, I’d argue, a significant piece of knowledge. Boiled down to the essence, the fact realized here is “Which of Queensland and South Australia has clocks set later depends on whether it’s summer or winter.” My mind had the information to know that fact, but it was not until more than the time for knowledge processing later that I explicitly considered the fact. Another such fact is “Canada borders only one country.”. Sure, I had the knowledge of the layout of countries in the world to know that fact, but only upon explicit mention does it suddenly stand out quite far: Canada is a country of such substantial size that manages to border only one country. Bonus round: Does Canada actually border only one country?

Continue reading “Nuanced Differences in Types of Fact Acquisition and Storage”

But like, how do you know?

“Many people have a gene that makes cilantro taste like soap.”

“Hydrogen cyanide smells like bitter almonds.”

“The last step of the lethal injection feels like fire running through the veins.”

There exist many facts out there of a comparative nature for which I’m left wondering:

1) How do you know this?
2) Even given that, what motivates someone to seek this comparison?

Please let me know if you’ve tasted soap or have smelled bitter almonds.

Schoolbook Cookies

Shown below: the bottom layer of a container of Trader Joe’s® Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies.

Also shown below: my tendency to significantly prioritize cleaning out the already-broken entities first before the still-whole entities.