The Eclectic Quill

Website of Joshua McGee


Sorry, Snopes: Hitler did say he would make Germany great again

This is an excerpt from a syndicated 1934 U.S. news article.  This scan, specifically, is from the January 4, 1934 issue of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, retrieved from archive site

Adolf Hitler specifically said he would make Germany great again

Randall Munroe ( tipped off Matt Novak ( that this article existed, and Novak wrote it up, so if you were wondering whether Internet publishers can actually add value to discussions about critical issues, ask yourself:  "Have I seen this discussed or reprinted anywhere else?"

As of this writing, the Snopes page for this claim tags it as "mostly false".

Read Novak's full post here.


Measuring the diameter of a circle in ImageMagick

If you have an image (or crop of an image) that contains just a circle against a solid background of a contrasting color, you can measure its diameter with the ImageMagick command line tools.

Let's generate an image to test it:

convert -size 400x400 xc:skyblue -fill white -stroke black -draw "circle 260,220 280,340" circle.png

That generates this image:

What are the dimensions of that circle?  Run this command:

convert circle.png +repage -fuzz 5% -trim +repage - | identify -format '# %wx%h\n' -

You get this output:

# 245x245

If the numbers on the sides of the x are not within 1px of one another, change the value of fuzz, marked in blue in the code above.  If it is a lossless image format such as PNG or GIF, make it 0%.  If it's a JPEG, try increasing it.  Once they are within one pixel, you have identified the circle's diameter: in this case, 245 pixels.

That is because, internally, you have created this trimmed image:


Happy 82nd Birthday, Carl Sagan!


We humans are one species and this is our world — Carl Sagan, 1934 – 1996


It is not “intolerance” to oppose Trump and his supporters

It is all the rage in some conservative circles online to point at people who oppose Donald Trump, or who oppose supporters of Trump, and say "Look at you, preaching tolerance all the time, and now you show that you are nothing but a bigot!"

OK.  Let's break this one down.

"Tolerance", properly construed, is merely a convenient shorthand for recognizing the humanity of others and their right to carry on in any fashion that does not actively harm another person.  It is not magnanimity to "tolerate" gay people, or fat people, or people in wheelchairs, or people with a different skin color — rather, it is an act of wickedness to ostracize them.

Likewise, no one argues that we should tolerate a man who is assaulting someone in the middle of the street.  It is an immoral act to permit an assault — when you prevent violence, you are not denying a man his right to harm others, you are supporting his victim's right not to be subjected to violence.

I would go a step further: it is an immoral act to tolerate someone who stands by and watches a man commit violence against another human being without attempting to intercede, let alone someone who cheers that man on.  Such a person is not expressing a simple difference; such a person is enabling an unjust act.  And that gets us to Trump and his supporters.

No, I will not "tolerate" Donald Trump.  No, I will not "tolerate" your right to support Donald Trump.  To do so would, itself, be an injustice.  Trump is — with every breath and every joke and every grope — degrading and insulting and injuring and threatening and violating our fellow citizens.  To oppose him, and the people who enable him, is not called "intolerance".  To oppose them is called "morality".


Just when you thought you had mastered cross-browser testing…

Just when you thought you had mastered cross-browser testing, emoji come along

Just when you thought you had mastered cross-browser testing, emoji come along