It has been a year since I started using a simple python script, to produce this log, instead of a content management system. From code brevity to clear separation of content (markdown) from presentation (HTML), simplicity does indeed look like it’s an ultimate sophistication, all without the hassles of security or data fidelity. Plus, with backup being part of the workflow of content generation, it no longer feels like a chore, since everything is generated locally first before being pushed to github — to serve as a website.
Around this time last year, when this log was still powered by Tumblr, Tumblr offered a backup tool. That it’s now no longer available (or the one in wild no longer functional) because of a switched API is sobering to realize, and that my switch was timely.
With prominent tools, notably WordPress, turning from being unicellular organisms of yore into multi-headed hydras today, it isn’t surprising to see many people switching to simpler static generators, notably Jekyll, Octopress, and Pelican, just as I have switched to chisel.
I read Charles Mann’s article in The Atlantic a couple of days ago. It’s an interesting take, and one of the balanced I’ve read to-date I think. The “little-known energy source” he discusses is Methane [pdf], which while is highly attractive as fuel, it is quite a pain to transport. As Marianne Lavelle illustrates in her National Geographic article, Good Gas, Bad Gas:
Worldwide, hydrates may contain more energy than all other fossil fuels combined. They’re usually snow-white and look like ice, but they’re strange stuff, and extracting the methane is tricky. Each molecule is trapped in a cage of water molecules that’s stable only at high pressure and low temperatures; change either just a bit, and the cage crumbles. The escaping methane balloons in volume by a factor of 164.
One does not have to look beyond its phase diagram to see the extent of its instability, which is why historically it has been harder to get, aside from the other big problem: its high global warming potential.
In Mann’s article, the perception of reserves from a finite entity to an economic entity is addressed reasonably, and this is how I understand the industry works as well:
To McKelveyan social scientists, such stories demonstrate that oil reserves should not be thought of as physical entities. Rather, they are economic judgments: how much petroleum experts believe can be harvested from given areas at an affordable price. Even as companies drain off the easy oil, innovation keeps pushing down the cost of getting the rest. From this vantage, the race between declining oil and advancing technology determines the size of a reserve — not the number of hydrocarbon molecules in the ground.
There will still be a physical threshold, of course. It’s just that we do not know which comes first: the physical or the technological. With unclear understanding of the former, the latter has the tendency to show that it is a matter of time.
But harnessing a vast, unstable energy source without hurting the planet requires frontier technology. That’s the burden of responsibility for everyone in the energy business, as well as an opportunity to feed the ever growing world energy demand. Driven by its domestic demand, Japan has already made the move. I would assume that it’s only a matter of technology and time before others will follow.
Automatic image link
Typically, all images I (plan to) embed are stored in a folder called
images, and I use Markdown syntax to add a relative URL into the post I write or edit.
In the past, I’d look up an image to embed, say,
filename.jpg in the Finder, and then type the following in TextMate — my text editor. While this was fairly straightforward, typing a filename at times felt like a chore, i.e., a good case for automation.
Here’s the workflow:
images folder in Finder, and select an image of choice. (Left window.)
Then in TextMate, I type
;img at line I am looking to embed an image in the post, and Markdown-formatted image link for the selected image appears. (Right window.)
Obviously, I am using a couple of TextExpander snippets to get the desired outcome. Here’s how it works:
First snippet (named
imgfn), an Applescript variety, gets the filename of the selected file from Finder, which is as follows:
-- Get filename of the file selected in Finder
-- by ckunte
tell application "Finder"
set theItems to selection
set fileName to name of item 1 of theItems
The second snippet (a plain text variety, named
;img) pulls the filename of the selected image file in Finder, formats it in Markdown and prints it in the text editor. The second snippet looks like below:
While doing this, positioning windows side by side for better visibility, as seen above, works for me.