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In an essay, Pynchon once defined a badass:
- "There is a long folk history of this figure, the Badass. He is usually male, and while sometimes earning the quizzical tolerance of women, is almost universally admired by men for two basic virtues: he is Bad, and he is Big. Bad meaning not morally evil, necessarily, more like able to work mischief on a large scale. What is important here is the amplifying of scale, the multiplication of effect." From Pynchon, Is it O.K. to be a Luddite?
A hash slinger is a cook or food server in a cheap restaurant, especially one who is discourteous or inattentive to customers. However "hash" has a very different meaning on the Internet:
Producing hash values for accessing data or for security. A hash value (or simply hash), also called a message digest, is a number generated from a string of text. The hash is substantially smaller than the text itself, and is generated by a formula in such a way that it is extremely unlikely that some other text will produce the same hash value. Hashes play a role in security systems where they're used to ensure that transmitted messages have not been tampered with. The sender generates a hash of the message, encrypts it, and sends it with the message itself. The recipient then decrypts both the message and the hash, produces another hash from the received message, and compares the two hashes. If they're the same, there is a very high probability that the message was transmitted intact. Hashing is also a common method of accessing data records. Consider, for example, a list of names:
- John Smith
- Sarah Jones
- Roger Adams
To create an index, called a hash table, for these records, you would apply a formula to each name to produce a unique numeric value. So you might get something like:
- 1345873 John smith
- 3097905 Sarah Jones
- 4060964 Roger Adams
Then to search for the record containing Sarah Jones, you just need to reapply the formula, which directly yields the index key to the record. This is much more efficient than searching through all the records till the matching record is found.
"Loeffler" is the German name of a bird, the Eurasian Spoonbill. Wikipedia
tramp container vessel M/V Aristide Olt
A "tramp" vessel means that a ship has no fixed schedule or published ports of call. "Hungarian" may be a joke as Hungary, a landlocked country, has no ports. Aristide Olt was a stage name used by Bela Lugosi when he made silent films in Hungary. Source The Marshall Islands is an island country located in the northern Pacific Ocean, part of the larger island group of Micronesia.
Pynchon mentions rare stamps and stamp collecting in many of his works. Bill Gross is a a billionaire fund manager who owns a leading stamp collection. Apparently duck stamp collecting is a real thing. Robert Steiner is an American artist known as the master of duck-themed stamp artwork. An article on Steiner
"the 301 point 83"
301.83 is the classification number of borderline personality disorder in the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
real estate injustice
By way of explanation to readers unfamiliar with NYC real estate, many people live in apartment buildings where rent is controlled and managed by co-op boards, which can have large amounts of control over things like transferring the property. NYC is famous for long, protracted legal battles involving co-op boards, divorces, and/or trusts. RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) is a law used to combat organized crime.
in Dante's Inferno, the eighth circle of hell was reserved for those who commit fraud or treachery.