A quick search of several neighborhoods of the United States revealed that while pseudoephedrine is difficult to obtain, N-methylamphetamine can be procured at almost any time on short notice and in quantities sufficient for synthesis of useful amounts of the desired material. Moreover, according to government maintained statistics, N- methylmphetamine is becoming an increasingly attractive starting material for pseudoephedrine, as the availability of N- methylmphetamine has remained high while prices have dropped and purity has increased . We present here a convenient series of transformations using reagents which can be found in most well stocked organic chemistry laboratories to produce psuedoephedrine from N-methylamphetamine.
"Institute for Theoretical Experiments, Department of Chemistry, Miskatonic University."
I was not able to stay for Glass Candy because the crowd was so full of bro-tards and stoners: it was like being at the fucking Fillmore. I was trying to decide what made it so brospicable -- did we have Glass Candy, Noise Pop or Mezzanine to thank? When I remembered that Glass Candy were on the Drive soundtrack.
Yup. Hollywood will vinegar it up every time.
"She walks directly to me," he said. "She walks up the hood of my car. And she begins stomping on my windshield, completely naked."
The woman, who Knight estimated to weigh about 250 pounds, cracked his windshield with the first stomp. She got a couple more in before plainclothes officers pulled her off and handcuffed her as she screamed and wailed, Knight said.
Before I talk about my own troubles, let me tell you about another book, "Computer Game Bot Turing Test". It's one of over 100,000 "books" "written" by a Markov chain running over random Wikipedia articles, bundled up and sold online for a ridiculous price. The publisher, Betascript, is notorious for this kind of thing.
It gets better. There are whole species of other bots that infest the Amazon Marketplace, pretending to have used copies of books, fighting epic price wars no one ever sees. So with "Turing Test" we have a delightful futuristic absurdity: a computer program, pretending to be human, hawking a book about computers pretending to be human, while other computer programs pretend to have used copies of it. A book that was never actually written, much less printed and read.
The internet has everything.
Last year I published my children's book about computer science, Lauren Ipsum. I set a price of $14.95 for the paperback edition and sales have been pretty good. Then last week I noticed a marketplace bot offering to sell it for $55.63. "Silly bots", I thought to myself.
Then another piled on, and then an overseas dropshipper, and then another bot. Pretty soon they were offering my book below the retail price.
The punchline is that Amazon itself is a bot. Noticing all of this activity, it decided to put the book on sale! 28% off. I can't wait to find out what that does to my margin.
My reaction to this algorithmic whipsawing has settled down to a kind of helpless bemusement. The plot of my book is about how understanding computers is the first step to taking control of your life in the 21st century. Now I don't know what to believe.
It's possible that the optimal price of Lauren Ipsum is, in fact, ten dollars and seventy-six cents and I should just relax and trust the tattooed hipster who wrote Amazon's pricing algorithm. After all, I have no choice.
But I can't help but think about that old gambler's proverb: "If you can't spot the sucker, it's you."
The Roof Terrace at One Kearny shows why we're lucky that San Francisco requires downtown developers to provide space in their projects that is accessible to the public at large. [...]
But the only exterior hint that the terrace exists is a see-through sign etched into the glass at knee level by the front door. Once inside, a guard requires you to sign in before going farther.
You kids may have heard about that whole "Y2K" thing, where all the date-manipulating code in the world was going to go sideways once '99 turned into '00. Planes were going to fall from the sky, ATMs were going to jackpot cash into the street, nuclear power plants were going to melt down, dogs and cats were going to move in together, and so on. People were feverishly spending their time digging through any code that cared about what time it was. Warnings were added to compilers. Anyone who wasn't planning to convert their money to krugerrands and ammunition was a fool! It was a full-fledged nerd panic.
So I have this program Dali Clock that maybe you've heard of. And for many moons, Dali Clock had been distributed on the CDs along with just about every Linux distribution in the world.
And I had an Idea.
So, in late 1998, I hid a prank in it. I had to start on this project very early in order to ensure that there would be time for the code to make it out into the world: it would take at least a year for the release cycles of the various distros to pick up the new version and get burned and shipped out. Though, I was certainly helped along by the fact that everyone was in a Y2K-addled upgrade fever in 1999. It would simply not do to be running a software release from 1997, oh no. So I got my code out there, and nobody noticed it amongst the set of other diffs in the release.
The prank was this:
If you happened to be running Dali Clock exactly at midnight on Jan 1, 2000, it it would start running "backwards" -- at midnight, the digits would mirror right-to-left. But this would only happen if Dali Clock had been launched in 1999. If you quit and restarted it in 2000, it was all back to normal. The source code in question also avoided using any obviously greppable constants like "99" or "2000" or "946713600" that might have set off alarms.
I got a bunch of almost-hate mail between 12 AM EST and 2 AM PST from people who had dug into the code and then eventually realized that it had been intentional... and that it had been lying in wait there for years...
It was glorious.