Chuckellania for October 22nd, 2021

Published on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Your occasional dose of Star Trek: a deleted scene from Star Trek: Nemesis that really sets the tone for Star Trek: Picard (which aired 18 years later!).

I think of the series's misses is that Geordi is all but unmentioned, which I don't think works, as he's close buddies with Data during TNG. So I feel they didn't quite nail the Picard/Data relationship.

But, just Picard himself as character worked rather well for me. It seemed quite consistent to me, and this deleted scene (and the interview that precedes it) reinforces that.


Tech folks's tendency to reinvent public transport (especially buses), poorly, is really rather striking.

A cynic might say they're trying to invent buses where rich people won't have to sit next to poor people, but there's also the more innocent (yet equally not great) explanation that they're too far lost in their bubble that they can't see the simple already- available solution right in front of them.

Lots of "problems" tech tries to "solve" have in fact already been solved with a lower- tech alternative, and more tech is not automatically better. (Nor, of course, automatically worse.) New approaches may simply sound sexy, or they may exist chiefly to attract investors.

And sometimes, such as with public transport, the free market is the problem in the first place, rather than part of the solution.

In more "the MacBook Pro has a weird cutout in the display" news, Marcos wonders if the mini-LEDs line up with the menu bar.

I did the math (which is generally not advisable), and it looks like they do indeed!

Apple claims they have "10,000 mini-LEDs", which is almost certainly a rounded number.

We know the non-menu bar area is a regular 16:10 display (via ATP). If every square of 27x27 physical pixels gets one LED, that means you end up with exactly 80 rows and 128 columns of LEDs. Then, in addition to that, you get a 3456x74 pixel area for the menu bar, with the center cut out — and that area gets its own dedicated row of 128 LEDs, for a total of 10,240 LEDs, close to Apple's claim.

On the 14-inch, this also works out, with the same factor of 27. 112 columns, 70 rows, and a 71st row for the menu bar. However, this only gets us 7,952 LEDs; I'm guessing Apple's claim refers only to the 16-inch.

Science has been done on why ducklings and goslings, when swimming, follow their mothers in such a specific formation.

The answer appears to be: due to how waves work, it saves energy!

By riding the waves generated by a mother duck, a trailing duckling can obtain a significant wave-drag reduction. When a duckling swims at the ‘sweet point’ behind its mother, a destructive wave interference phenomenon occurs and the wave drag of the duckling turns positive, pushing the duckling forward. More interestingly, this wave-riding benefit could be sustained by the rest of the ducklings in a single-file line formation.