The subway centennial

You have until the end of the year to check out the New York Public Library's exhibit, The Subway at 100: General William Barclay Parsons and the Birth of the NYC Subway, but why wait?

Celebrating the centennial of the opening of the New York City subway system in 1904, this exhibition both salutes William Barclay Parsons, the first chief engineer of the subway, and recognizes the importance of the subway system to the life and growth of the city.

Sounds great, and since the subway is one of my favorite things about New York City, I'm keen to learn more about its construction and history. I'm adding this exhibit to my to-do list.

Living the bug-free dream

An interesting post about Where Bugs Come From — the computer kind, not the creepy crawly kind (we know where those come from).

…[A] classic tale of slippery assimilation, trying to find that ridiculous cut-off point where a program went from being short enough to be bug-free, to long enough to be inevitably buggy…This, of course, is the promise of structured programming, of functions, of objects. If we can write 137 lines of code without a bug, then we can structure our programming style so that were always writing units of fewer than 137 lines. We can build those units into components, and voila! No more bugs.

If only it were so simple! Having used various approaches to programming — from the by-the-seat-of-the-pants methodology to hard-core unit testing for each and every class that's written — I can say that there's no magic bullet, no magic number of lines, no magic anything. It's just freakin' work, and lots and lots of testing, to get your software to the point that it does what it's supposed to, and when it doesn't, to gracefully alert the user that something's gone amiss.

Big on Jesus, small on everything else

Oh, God – "The Jesus Factor" asks what's behind the president's religious beliefs is a brief Slate review of a new Frontline documentary (premiering tonight) that examines President Bush's religious views. It sounds pretty interesting, if only to get a sense of where he's coming from. But I was surprised to read a pretty astounding figure buried in the article.

[O]f the $100 million so far dispensed to faith-based charities by the Bush administration, not one dollar has gone to a Jewish or Muslim organization.

What?! I've always been irritated by the use of federal money for faith-based charities, but to find that it's only going to Christian charities is even more egregious. Argh!

A little sense of things

I talked with Dan Kreiss the other day. He's working on a Master's at Stanford and is writing his thesis on blogging. He's posted notes from our discussion on his blog. It was a lively conversation, and gives you a bit of an idea where my thinking is these days. The best part of talking with him was discussing what I'm interested in doing next. The answer of course is lots of things! But in particular I got all jazzed up again about some ideas I've been thinking about for a while. When you've just finished a job, and you're spending you days alone at home, getting jazzed up about ideas is a really great thing.

Go east, young man

I'm always interested in new places to visit, and for some time, Eastern Europe has been on my list. The BBC has an article discussing the tourist hopes of new EU nations such as Poland, Waiting for the tourists to arrive.

History is just one of the attractions that brings tourists to the resort of Sopot, a short ride from Gdansk – along with natural beauty and 1920s spa architecture.

The Baltic coast is just one of Poland's tourist attractions. The city of Krakow is perhaps a better known one. Then there's the Mazuria lake district in the north-east of the country.

I first became interested in Poland through Maciej's writings. His post about growing up in Warszawa (Warsaw) piqued my interest. And his recent entry on the Tatra mountains of southern Poland, Bukowina Tatrzan'ska made me long for snow! I think a trip to Poland is in order. In preparation, here's a Polish Language Introduction.

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em

And you've got to know when to fold 'em. According to this New York Times article, Hello, Ms. Chips: The New Face of Poker, more women are playing high stakes poker and participating in events such as the World Poker Tour and the World Series. I've never been much of a gambler but recently spent a Saturday evening playing poker for very low stakes with some friends. It was great! I'm totally into poker now, as long as my total investment remains below the $10 mark. But this article inspired me. Maybe now that I'm done with Kinja, I'll begin my training to become a professional poker player!

Slate on variety meats

Interesting article over at Slate about all the gross things you usually only eat disguised as hot dogs, Offal Good – Why upscale chefs are serving euphemistically named "variety meats." Apparently British chef Fergus Henderson has a new book out entitled The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating that has recipes for all the parts that Americans tend to throw away.

The publication of Henderson's book heralds a new fashion in food, already discernable in various hot restaurants in New York: offal, the organs and extremities (nose, cheeks, tail, feet) of butchered animals, has become chic.

Foie gras, truffles, and other traditional staples of gastronomic excess now find themselves cheek by jowl on upscale menus with, well, cheeks and jowls.

I haven't noticed this trend yet, but maybe I'm not eating at the "right" spots. I certainly don't think I'll rush out and buy the book any time soon. While I'm in favor of using the whole of the animal or plant — and don't like waste one bit — I have a hard time trimming the tips off a chicken's wings before I put it in to roast. As a failed vegetarian, I now enjoy meat occasionally when I'm out, but it's pretty much impossible for me to do any kind of chopping, hacking, or anything else with animal parts in my own kitchen. I don't expect to be boiling a pig's head any time soon, even if I had a pot it would fit in.

Also, who's the editor at Slate that allowed such horrible pun for the title?