Mandarin Algae

These algae are of course not called Mandarin algae - I call them that since when viewed under UV light, their chloroplasts autofluoresce in red, mimicking Kanji.

Algae chloroplasts autofluorescence under UV light
Algae chloroplasts autofluorescence under UV light

TDS, Water Softeners and Stupidity

I need to start off by mentioning that even as a realist with a strong scientific background, marketing can be a powerful force not to be underestimated - especially concerning aspects that are unfamiliar to oneself.

Water. H2O. Why do they teach people in primary school that water's chemical formula is H2O? Only perfectly pure water in a vacuum might approach that composition. Normal water is so much more complicated that trying to understand it is like trying to understand how individual electrons move in a macroscopic object like a person.

Enough rambling. I recently relocated to a small town in Alberta, Canada. The water used to be very soft on the west coast where I came from (TDS = 19ppm). So water treatment was really not needed in any home I have lived in. The water was soft enough to not cause issues with soap, washing machines, refrigerators or boilers, and hard enough not to be corrosive. However it is a different story here on the other side of the Rockies. I measured my TDS with an electronic meter and the result was 260ppm. That is considered very hard water (depending on who you ask). It is enough that I could see buildup of limescale on some of my equipment such as the HVAC unit. The previous owner had a Premier AF-40K water softener installed, however it had no salt in it.

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My Wonderful Cat

I have been falling victim to a classic mistake - trying to compare something to some kind of perceived "average" or "normal" based on a sample of a group. It is easy to see a couple of instances of some behaviour and then assume it should apply to your sample as well, and if it does not, feel somehow disappointed.

Toruk Pondering Existentialism
Toruk Pondering Existentialism

See, the thing is Toruk cannot play fetch. He will sometimes chase after something thrown, but he will never bring it back. Other cats play fetch, even fish and whales play fetch:

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Some days....

Time Bug in macOS Big Sur

Why oh why?

waldo@waldomp ~ $ sntp
+2.074701 +/- 0.024010

If I manually set the time correctly, then re-run this command the time is accurate. The moment I enable NTP time sync with any NTP server macOS adjusts the time to have a +2.07 second offset. This does not happen on my M1 MacBook Air, only the Mac Pro. Why?