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2014, One Second Everyday

January 1, 2015


I'm happy with the feeling it gives me about the year; I always look for things to add to my mental grip of that kind of time frame, and reduce the feeling of it slipping away without a trace.
GROSS-- but, for me-- VINDICATION:
According to infectious disease specialist Dr. Owen Hendley, blowing your nose through both nostrils can actually create a secondary infection due to mucus being pushed back into your sinuses. His solution: "Either sniff (the mucus goes to the back of the throat and ultimately to the stomach) or, if you must blow, do it one nostril at a time."
I've always hated blowing my nose, it always seemed ineffective. Frankly I was always disappointed by the faint hiss sound my nose would make, vs the mighty honk I'd observe in others. WELL THE JOKE'S ON THEM! via

Oh and happy new year!


I haven't been totally unproductive this long(ish) holiday break, but I did spend a lot of time "comfort-fooding" on some video games and generally took it easy and not redoing a portfolio site, so I'm trying to make up for some of that today.

I guess I'm more focused here at my desk without music, but somehow I feel like less of a cool person for not needing music, and probably doing better with just the traffic noise.
Quora on the social rules of American / Western societies. I like this kind of analysis.

december 2014 new song playlist

January 2, 2015
Two 4-stars (for me, YMMV)
  • Pay Day (Tasha) Yoon Mi-Rae is suing Sony for use in "The Interview". Four stars because that "Drumline" music never gets old for me, and the rest (including some Korean) is solid.
  • Happy (NEUS Remix) (Pharrell Williams) You know, I just love the message of this song, and this is a good remix.
Some South Asian music came to my attention:
  • Hippy Shit (Akasha) Used in the game "Far Cry 4"...
  • The Bombay Twist (The Bombay Royale) Also from Far Cry 4, kind of like a India version of Misirlou
  • Superman (Remix) (Mika Singh) Folks from work went to the Fresh Pond Cinemas for Bollywood movie night, and this was on one of the previews.
Other songs, in descending order of "you gotta listen to this!"
TIL "50 Shades of Grey" was originally Twilight Fan Fiction.

I don't mean to be totally dismissive of Fan Fiction, but I got to say it explains my reaction to how it felt when I started reading it. There's just a clumsiness to it, with characters really clearly being just the way they are for the author's convenience (and a giant heap of Mary Sue-ism) rather than feeling grounded in some kind of reality and more generalized relatability. (Then again, the original Twilight felt the same way, kind of like it's its own fan fiction...) Though maybe I'm just not used to first person narration in general.
"Alright, Aesop, but what happened after the wolf gave up on the sour grapes? Maybe he opened a grape farm. Maybe there's a type of grape that gives him superpowers. Are there other trees with different fruits? Maybe there's a Mrs. Wolf. You've crafted a very interesting universe here, Aesop, and we'd like to explore it."
--James Harvey vs Fan Fiction
Director's Commentary for this year's Advent Calendar.

annual media roundup

January 3, 2015
The media I consumed in 2014... It's kind of weird how consistent most of the numbers are year after year, though I watched fewer videos this year. Anyway, 4 star stuff in red, stuff in red and bold are "5 star all time favorites". Gray Stuff I wish I hadn't seen.

Movies at the Cinema (14)
Robocop (Remake), Lego Movie, The Wind Rises, Her, Speed Racer, Godzilla, Chef, Edge of Tomorrow, Snowpiercer, Boyhood, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Book of Life, Anywhere Else, Action Jackson
"Her" was fantastic: romantic, a deftly subtle vision of future fashions and technology, and some deep thoughts about the Singularity. I played "Speed Racer" at my birthday party, "Anywhere Else" was a touching film I saw at the Jewish Film Festival, "Action Jackson" was a fun bit of Bollywood, though my Indian coworkers weren't too impressed.

Movies on Video (23)
Broken Flowers, Elf, Iron Sky, Tokyo Godfathers, About Last Night, Backbeat, Run Lola Run, The Way Things Go, 9, Indie Game: The Movie, Nymphomaniac Pt 1, Nymphomaniac Pt 2, Breath of the Gods, Pulp Fiction, Grosse Pointe Blank, Say Anything, The Thieves, Orange is the New Black Season 2, Buried Alive, The Sunset Limited, Wolf of Wall Street, Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe, Nick Offerman: American Ham
"Iron Sky" is a crazy good, or maybe just good, Finnish-Australian-German comic book of a film, Nazis on the moon. I love the Beatles story in Backbeat, and the alternate realities of "Run Lola Run"... "The Sunset Limited" was a an intriguing one-set film with Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel Jackson arguing theology. The Nick Offerman special was a great blend of sweet and absolutely filthy.

TV Shows (12)
Life's Too Short, Extras Season 1, Extras Season 2, The Office (UK) Season 1, The Office (UK) Season 2, Sopranos Season 1, Girls Season 3, Parks and Recreation Season 6,New Girl, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Game of Thrones Season 4, Orange is the New Black Season 1
The first two were Ricky Gervais comedies I liked. Mindy Project and New Girl just make me laugh.

Books (61)
Stuck in the Middle with You, I Wear the Black Hat, A Working Theory of Love, Expanded Universe, Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us , The Uncle Book, Everything That Remains, One More Thing, Breathing Machines - a Memoir of Computers, Desert Days (Meat + Greet), March of the Morons, RESTful Web APIs, Axiomatic, Design Crazy, Luminous, Oceanic, This Is How You Say Goodbye: A Daughter's Memoir, Raising Steam, Flatland, One Summer: America, 1927, Stories of your Life and Others, God is Disappointed in You, The Lifecycle of Software Objects, The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate, The Weirdness, NAVMC 2616 Unit Leaders Personal Response Handbook, How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons, We Are Still Married, ZZT, Think Like a Freak, The Word Exchange, Mapping Our Salvationist DNA, Defining the World, Galaga, Will Rogers: Wise and Witty Sayings of the Great American Humorist, Tibetan Peach Pie, Weird Al Yankovic Interviews, If This Isn't Nice, What Is?, Sex from Scratch, Hardcore Zen, Jagged Alliance 2, I Murdered My Library, Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception, Wetlands, A Man Without a Country, Chubster: A Hipster's Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool, An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge, The Mysterious Stranger, Midpoint and Other Poems, Super Mario Bros 2, Why Does the World Exist?, Mindfulness, How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane, Wishful Drinking, The Two Cultures, Not That Kind of Girl, The Secret History of Star Wars, A Sense of the Mysterious, The Way the World Works, The Meaning of Human Existence, what if?
"Axiomatic" by Greg Egan and "Stories of your Life and Others" by Ted Chiang are two awesome sci-fi short story collections; giant ideas in concise packages. "God is Disappointed in You" is my new favorite Bible translation and "NAVMC 2616 Unit Leaders Personal Response Handbook" is an interesting historical document of the smarter and kinder side of USMC.

Comics (6)
The Beats, Alone Forver, We Are Become Pals, The Adventures of Mrs. Jesus, Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, Tomboy
Bleh, shoulda gone through more of my shelf of "comics to read". "Alone Forever" by Liz Price is just short and sweet (I love the heart candy "AT LEAST U HAVE CATS") "We Are Become Pals" (Comeau/Fink) is a sweet tale for friendship, and doesn't devolve from best friends into girlfriends.

Video Games (14)
Mario Party Advance, Earth Defense Force 2025, Thirty Flights of Loving, EDF 2025: all 3 mission packs, Saints Row the Third, Saints Row IV, How The Saints Save Christmas, 99 Bricks Wizard Academy, Just Cause 2, Idleplex, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Far Cry 3, Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader, Far Cry 4
You know, a too many of these are either games I played before or sequels! I guess some of that was comfort food gaming... I was delighted by the new Earth Defense Force though, and Far Crys are a bit Bro-tastic, but it's nice to have another open world series. One that's probably going to make a buttload of sequels.

Live Shows (2)
Our Town, Spamalot
Finally saw "Our Town", a local theater in Montpelier... hadn't seen it before.


LOL Conservatives. "States' Rights! States' Rights! TOO MUCH STATES' RIGHTS! TOO MUCH STATES' RIGHTS!" (ditto "Personal Liberty")
Calories are so counter intuitive. I'm consistently startled at Panera where pastries easily top the number of calories in their really big salads. Like, this cookie should not have twice the calories of a Snickers. (My standard unit for caloric indulgence)

January 4, 2015

"Don't look at me, I just gave birth to him..."
"Hey, nature OR nurture, either way it's your fault..."
--My Mom and I during the holidays, after I did something or other during one of our traditional games of Dr. Mario...
Having a projector as my main TV, and a combination office / media room, is kind of weird. I watch football looking up at an 85" high def picture, 2-3 feet away.
It's like a vision of the future, but I'm not sure if it's more "Star Trek main screen" or "Fahrenheit 451 Parlor Walls"

loveblender!

January 5, 2015

"Lutherans are people who hate superman, right?"
--Footnote on http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3600#comic
"ice skating is like walking in cursive"
--deair (tumblr)
http://qr.ae/6hv75 - I like this set of day-planning and willpower-managing tips. Some of them I've already been applying to life. "It's not about time. It's about energy." -- or as it was called in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, "gumption"
http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/2015/01/text-overlay-effect-with-css-masking.html I made a rough tool for making text overlays - http://kirk.is/features/kstencil/ (technically I kind of recreated something I made like ten years ago, but in a new form)

January 6, 2015

"Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you."
--http://twitter.com/NightValeRadio

January 7, 2015

So, congrats terror dudes. On the one hand, organizations are going to be less likely to show images of Mohammed - but companies were already censoring that, out of politeness or fear. But millions and millions of people are going to google up those Charlie Hebdo covers and have a good look... people who had never heard of the magazine before.
Nerf slow-motion fun at work! Love the sound of it:

So, played a little rough with my bike this morning - I think the fact that yesterday's powdery snow wasn't slippery over the dirt path made me fail to think about it on the wooden bridge near Alewife, you know, the one with that 90 degree turn... no visible injuries but tenderness and a bit of pain on deep breaths on the side I landed on. I assume this is a "wait and see" kind of thing, like if it doesn't get better after a day or two or what not. (Man I'm such a delicate flower ;-)

January 8, 2015

By @LucilleClerc (but being misattributed to Banksy) on the Charlie Hebdo killings:

Tamara Oweibo, in http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-most-interesting-mental-illness-and-why :

Ataraxia - always being in a lucid state of robust tranquility, characterized by ongoing freedom from distress and worry.

A friend of mine suffers from this disease.... he works (computer programmer) only because he enjoys it... he really doesn't care how much his employer pays or whether his girlfriend cheats on him or whether or not doing something might be detrimental to him. he is very aware of the implications of everything he does... but feels no form of worry.


Man, I am jealous. I kind of hoped that an intellectual path to existential pseudo-enlightenment might get be closer to this. And in some ways it has, but the worried lizard ape in still kind of runs the joint.

January 9, 2015

"Hey Baby - are you regrets? Because I wanna hold on to you and never let go."
--smbc, http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3603#comic
"saying 'but at what cost' instead of 'in bed' after fortune cookies is going to stay funny for a while."
--http://twitter.com/kevinefclark

January 10, 2015


--from the New Yorker

testify

January 11, 2015
A month or two ago a member of Edwin F. Taylor advised me to temper my surprise about the intolerance of religions to other religions, and at how each seems incapable of recognizing the reality of a world with a plethora of faiths. This is my response to his email. I hope people aren't too bugged by it, but if people are interested in my path away from traditional faith, this tries to explain it.

Well, surprise is only one factor; but more irritation, and frustration.

I'm probably making a similar fallacy in terms of "why isn't everyone more like me?" but...
I realize now that Thursday's annoyance is an echo of what started me down my path to skepticism. (Personal testimony ahoy!) I remember it quite distinctly; I was at a summer music camp run by The Salvation Army in the very early 1990s, and I started to think about all the devout moslems in the world. I mean there I was, a literal son of a preacher man (sweet-talkin' optional), trying my darndest to be a good Christian, but if I had been born the son of an Imam, wouldn't I be striving just as hard to be a good Moslem? (This was combined with a sense of suspicion about the clockwork nature of the tearful repentance and mini-revival 'altar call' that would occur the Sunday at the conclusion of this particular camp, but never the Sunday at the beginning. It seemed like the spirit would move in more mysterious and less predictable ways than that, and that some large measure of psychology and manipulation was actually to thank. Or blame.)

I think the teenage years are a natural time and place to have this kind of realization, and the rebellious attitude to be able to act on it. And yet it is not nearly as widespread a changeover as I would have expected, or preferred.

(I'd love a world with more
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
and less
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.")

The 3rd pillar of doubt was the feeling that I was still living a "sunday school" life, following my church's precepts against drinking etc, and (if memory of the timing serves) making my cautious steps to exploring connections with girls guilt-ridden and tentative, but many of my peers in the church, seemingly not even struck with the conceptual doubts that I was having, also seemed to be having a ton more hedonistic party fun than I was, and not recognizing a discrepancy. (Or being able to make up for it at that aforementioned 'altar call') I found that kind of picking and choosing, accepting the comfortable and rewarding bits of faith and the promise of eternal life, leaving aside the less pleasant rules and regulations, kind of repulsive. (Apparently I absorbed some very puritan protestant principles!)

Maybe some of my ability to stray from the fold comes from a position of privilege, like Upton Sinclair said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" My high school years seeds of doubt were able to blossom into "not going to church every week" sprouts in college, and I suppose that reflects both the shelter college provides, as well as the lack of a sense of threat from "The Others" to keep me towing the line.

Over the years I've mellowed a bit, I suppose, and thought about how brittle the faith was I had set up for myself. My parents were pretty liberal, given that they were protestant ministers, and so even before this teenage turning point I had made efforts to see, say, Genesis as a poetically phrased recapitulation of planetary formation and evolution. I guess being smart enough to see that those efforts at reconciliation with this particular flavor of faith were local-environment driven, but not wise enough to accept that dichotomy and still look to the moral and spiritual heart of the Faith of my Fathers, stunted spiritual growth in me. And these days, it's the lack of meta-awareness and tendency to cling to some flavor of literalism that keeps me away from traditional faiths.

A few times I've seen thing that pointed to my experience being a bit provincial; I don't remember the names, but there was one online series of articles from an (ex-?) priest about his time in the seminary, and his claim that a lot people in that role have also shaken the literal parts of their belief, and also how the monks of various "incompatible" faiths seem to understand each other a lot more than the ministry. Also, there was a liberal Archbishop from England (sorry I don't have better citations for these) who said something like "well, of course the resurrection of Jesus isn't literally true, but it still is a story, of God's love for his people, that is at the heart of our faith". That sort of blew my mind at the time (probably mid to late 20s) and pointed me to think about the "Great Revival" roots of my protestant culture. (Hmm; might not be technically accurate, given The Salvation Army's English origins, but close enough.)

Over the past few days I've been thinking about the term "Cosmopolitan" (too bad the name has been so claimed by the magazine!) What a crying shame that rather than increasing our exposure to different outlooks and upbringings, to break through the bands of geographical distance, the Internet and other advances in the specialization of media are so used to gather together in increasingly tight virtual enclaves, enhancing our ability to make little echo chambers of like minded folks (freed from the old constraints of geography)

In the end, a seemingly utter and widespread world wide failure to "walk a mile in the moccasins" of other faiths is a tremendous deficit of empathy, or even self-reflection, and is the catalyst for so much of the damage religion provides, when it has potential to do so much good.

January 12, 2015

Climb-in Balloons look like fun...

January 13, 2015

"I just want a lover who'll make me chicken soup when I'm sick" -L, Nov 1 1995. Today, I'm kind of wishing I had a special someone to go for the saltines and gatorade.
I think the worst thing is worrying about spreading it to other people.

January 14, 2015

FWIW: After seeing this decade called "the '10s" and hearing it in my head as "the tens" I think we should agree to call the last decade the '00s, pronounced "double-O"s.

Also, it's kind of odd that we hear about "the '10s" a lot less than we heard about "the naughties" or whatever at the time.
I'm hoping some large fraction of my Day 2 blehs is actually caffeine withdrawal that will respond very favorably to oral administration of 24 oz DD Iced Coffee.
Even though it felt like every tourist in Central Park had one, I feel like I would be a sacrificing a tremendous amount of self-worth (or maybe a tremendous amount *to* self-worth?) if I were to ever own a selfie-stick.

January 15, 2015

On the one hand, maybe Obama shoulda been there, gesture-wise. On the other hand it was a big photo op, not a legitimate bit of international leadership. On the other other hand, what a security nightmare to have tried to do for reals.
Interesting - this Swedish "yes" vocalization (kind of a sip-py inhale) was my personal word for "juice" when I was a baby. A tongue click was my word for chocolate-- clearly I had my bases covered.
Man. Nothing has made me feel more like a toddler in a toy store than this article on new-ish features on CPUs in a while. Most coders have NO IDEA what's going on in them there chips, myself included.
Crap, false positives on Gmail's spam filters, from folks I'd corresponded with before. Worrisome.
GEEKNESS Wrapping my head around Grails. Wish the principle of DRY (dont repeat yourself) was matched by DASMS (dont assume so much sh...tuff. Shtuff.)

Seriously sometimes I think the balance between "conciseness" and "I actually feel I understand what is going on" is way the hell out of wack.
Reading "Thinking Fast and Slow", and it's pretty good but I am annoyed at the triumphalism over the conjunction fallacy... the favorite example being:
---
Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations.

Which is more probable?

Linda is a bank teller.
Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.
---
So by Venn diagram logic the former is "more probable" since it's a superset of the latter, but most people will say the second is more likely. The trouble is most people read in an implicit "and is not active in the feminist movement" after the first. (Or, more cynically, "is just a normal person"). So it IS revealing about our psychology, but more more so in terms of how actual humans tell stories about other humans vs how folks in the lab try to lay things out. It's sort of like how casinos and lotteries are artificial environments constructed outside the rules of the overwhelming bulk of the rest of our experience. And these chapters of the book are full of this self-congratulatory, look how broken we found people's analysis is. (And *sometimes* that breakage significant, but again, it says more about how we can be misled by the setup of stories. I think the chapters on "priming" are much scarier and prone to exploitation.)
They follow up with this example of a bunch of dishware: Set A has like 8 good plates, 8 good bowls, 8 good dessert plates, 6 good cups and 2 broken ones, 1 good saucer and 7 broken ones. Set B just has 8 good plates, 8 good bowls, 8 good dessert plates. From the researchers point of view, OF COURSE Set A has more value, since unbroken dishes can only add value, not subtract. To anyone who has ever bought dishware at a garage sale, however... you know that the condition of some of the stuff tells a story about how the set as a whole has been treated.

The book ends chapters by expressing phrases of how they'd like to enhance people's ability to recognize fallacies etc, and they say how like "adding a cheap little gift to the whole package actually decreased the perceived value of the whole thing, in this case less would have been more". And THAT is a reasonable takeaway in a world that never gets away from imperfect information. And imperfect and asymmetric information is so often ignored in the setup of these clinical-ish problems that assume the God's Eye View of everything in the stories.
It's so much "First, Assume a Spherical Cow" style thinking. Yes, there are valuable things to be learned with that, but no, you can't get to the finish line with it.

January 16, 2015

We had a team building event Monday, at Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville. Time lapse of an easy(ish) ascent...

http://www.city-data.com/top2/c467.html - 13 of the top 20 windiest US cities are in Massachusetts - and Somerville is 21. Is it weird that Cambridge and Somerville are 20 and 21 but Arlington isn't on the list at all?

January 17, 2015

Sometimes the answer to a number of web design questions is "well what is company X doing?" -- the assumption being that these are smart companies who might even be doing A/B testing with a lot of thought and metrics. So following FB's lead, it's a decent practice to request a web browser at least 1400 pixels across to show everything? To me that implies they think people tend to run FB maximized, or at about that width - relatively few screens are near double that.

Of course, there was a quiet revolution in the 2000s that tended to abstract literal pixel resolution from what every program feels it's working with. Compared to some early attempts in the first half of that decade, the results are astonishingly transparent to users and developers alike.

January 18, 2015

"Scariest phrase in the English language: 'In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Scalia...'"
--http://twitter.com/sarahlicity
Damon Linker:
Liberalism offers the following deal to individuals and groups: give up the hope of controlling the whole of social life, of using government power (and violence) to enforce your vision of the highest good, and allow the natural pluralism of society to grow and flourish; in return you'll be granted the freedom to find a home within that highly differentiated socio-cultural ecosystem, a place where you and those with whom you freely choose to associate can also grow and flourish in peace.

Tolerate -- and you will be tolerated in turn.

That's the liberal bargain. It is one of the finest achievements of Western civilization, and one of its greatest gifts to humanity in all times and places -- nothing less than an all-purpose strategy for getting along despite our often rancorous disagreements about the highest good and ultimate ends of life.

Muslims who admire (let alone who go to fight for) the Islamic State, or who favor a form of sharia law that would make apostasy a crime punishable by death, have effectively rejected the liberal bargain and opted to exile themselves from liberal civilization.

And therein lies the challenge confronting the liberal West.
--from Can Islam ever make peace with liberalism?. It's interesting to think about the differences between the US and Europe in their relations to their Moslem populations.
I refuse to read the Superbowl XLIX as anything but "X-Licks".

I always think postseason Win/Loss records are kind of wonky, because the postseason is 1 and done, so you actually get fewer opportunities to lose, so to speak.

January 19, 2015


I can't figure out if it's effective or the other bird is just like "whatever dude, I don't want to get involved."
Trying to fight a bad case of post-stomach-bug angst and ennui by taking down the Christmas Decorations and generally improving the Feng Shui of my sleeping and work/entertainment areas. I think the number one thing is putting my bed (a decent-ish IKEA daybed) back to twin-bed size mode; at double size it's too big for the space. Also hanging up some languishing art and getting stuff ready to move out to thrift donations.

Kind of enjoying the mindlessness of sports radio. It's kinda like an audio version of Mac+Cheese comfort food.

just listen. with your heart.

January 20, 2015
My drummer friend Tom says "Just listen. With your heart."

"I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I'll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else."

"Or brains even?"

"Oh gosh, yes, brains is one of the least. You can be a lovely person without brains, absolutely lovely. Kindness - that simple word. To be kind - it covers everything, to my mind. If you're kind that's it."
--Roald Dahl (and Brian Sibley)
I kind of dig "Do Your Job" as this year's Patriots' slogan. (There's also "We're on to [Team City Name]" which is important as well).

It seems like a lot of successful teams have a kind of theme, like "The Idiots" for The Red Sox, which one a year after "Cowboy Up" didn't quite get it done.

I wonder if the Seahawks have something like that this year, besides their usual "12th Man" shtick and this year a lot of talk about God and the usual "everyone doubted us" BS talk.

January 21, 2015

Wondering if I should switch back to paper books. Mostly because of the concept of worst retention etc with e-texts. Also paper books are great because you can put them on a shelf and look smart and easily lend them, but terrible because you have to put them on a shelf.

Sometimes I think keeping such close track of my book consumption year after year isn't a great thing, that I'm more biased towards activities I've quantified/gamified that way vs, say, coding (for recreational or self-education purposes)
O jeez is there any way to remove the [Username] button from the top right of the new version of chrome? It's like having your mom sew your name into your underwear.
I do think satire is a good weapon against ISIS propaganda.

January 22, 2015

"Made a graph of my past relationships. I have an ex axis and a why axis"
--Yik Yak, via tumblr.
Belichick, the comic book villain America needs.
The Road To Armageddon(2004) A point I've made before, but a bit more so recently: in save the world movies, an easy way to know who's the Bad Guys is they're the ones trying to bring about the end of the world. I think the same holds true for real life.

Dispensationalism, especially the "pre-millennialist"/Left-Behind variety ("Get Out Of Revelation Free, man it's gonna suck down here, I pity the rest of you suckas, shoulda repented when you had the chance!") is just horrible. It's one of those stories told to young Christian kids to calm them down when they learn enough about Revelation to freak the hell out ("O, surely God loves US to much to let all this bad stuff happen to US") but when their church isn't sophisticated enough to see Revelation as pretty clearly describing then current-day-Rome, and a metaphorical description of spiritual battle rather than as true life events, but instead say it has just enough poetry to see military helicopters as plagues of locusts or what not.

January 23, 2015

Getting through more of "Thinking, Fast and Slow" (took a short break for another quick read, it was getting to be a slog.)

While I think I get the idea of "Regression to the Mean" and in the prevalence of chance across the performances of members of a given population, I think it might be too easy to take away unhelpful life lessons from this, to take on a defeatist "well it's all chance anyway."
A quora right up my objective/subjective alley, What's the biggest difference between your culture and America's?

January 24, 2015

Trudging to Alewife through the snow, I saw and heard a small flock of geese fly one way and then the other. They seemed lost.
"Unrestrained randomness would make your games impossible to play, so you need to control it."
--from the Batari BASIC instructions

loaded4bear

January 25, 2015
The fruit of my weekend at GGJ, an original Atari 2600 game: See the Game Home Page

My teammates were cool, the music was GREAT, and the cover art was kind of brilliant:

January 26, 2015

In 2008 I went to Japan, and sent this postcard to the folks at work, customized with a funny speech balloon. (Well, funny for engineers on the scrum team anyway.) My company recently acquired Nexage, where a bunch of people from my old job wound up, and Steve Katz showed me it, apparently one of his favorite bits of office decoration...

Went to the grocery and packie, stocked up on Guinness and Clementines. That and a bit of milk is all you need, nutritionally speaking! Though maybe some metamucil if you planned to make such a low-fiber time of it.

January 27, 2015

Snow measured in dogs, excellent.

Dear Washington Post:

Your usage of "wicked" as an adjective ("Wicked Storm") is incorrect. In the New England vernacular, "Wicked" is generally only used as adverb modifying some other descriptor (e.g. "Wicked bad cold" or more an exclamation such as "That's wicked cool!"). Used directly as an adjective, "wicked" resorts to its more common meaning (e.g. "Your wicked ways")

The expression you were looking for was "Wicked Big Storm".

Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Smooches,
Kirk
I set out to talk about my Atari 2600 programming weekend on my devblog, but got distracted talking about my 2002-2004 Atari project JoustPong. Reading the game's own development blog, I'm struck by how many challenges I overcame to get the thing produced - and also the poignancy of how those dates (not quite coincidentally) correspond to the bookends of my marriage.

January 28, 2015

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/01/magazine/tom-brady-cannot-stop.html - big Brady writeup in NY Times magazine
Whoa, on a whim added a bit of tabasco to my usual 100 calorie kettle corn minibag, shaking well. That is pretty good!

January 29, 2015

"It's only a mistake if you don't learn from it."
--Cary Elwes' Father
"My entire work as a computer expert consists of adding to the data, the cross-referencing, the criteria of rational decision-making. It has no meaning . To tell the truth, it is even negative up to a point; a useless encumbering of the neurons. This world has need of many things, bar more information."
--Michel Houellebecq, "Whatever"
"Cognition is embodied; you think with your body, not only with your brain."
--Daniel Kahneman, "Thinking, Fast and Slow"

January 30, 2015

Be sure to hit unmute!

So currently one of my big takeaways from "Thinking, Fast and Slow" is this: everything in life is harder than we expect, but we have to do it anyway to get anywhere. Even if we wouldn't if we knew how hard it was going to be.

January 31, 2015

As part of my http://soyouregoingtodie.com FB page, I'm thinking memes might have more legs than just text quotes...
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