(If you are trying to get to Lexington Porchfest, try clicking here or maybe here - if neither link works please write me at kirkjerk at gmail dot com)
Kirk Israel's commonplace and blog. Quotes and links daily since 2001.
2024.05.27
2024.05.26
click to see most popular swears by state At last something Massachusetts, California, and Texas can agree on!
the humble "like" is oft mocked despite what it does for us. "like, three people" is a vastly different statement from "three people". "and i was like 'what the fuck'" is vastly different from "and i said 'what the fuck'". i love you "like" and anyone who says you make people sound stupid will be killed on sight
erisolkat

causes of death, what we worry about, what the media focuses on,
from Aaron Penne's page of data visualizations that has some other interesting ones.



New York City, 1975 By @joel_meyerowitz
2024.05.25
Quinn Rollins on FB writes:
I made these custom LEGO Muppet minifigures last year -- my casting is:

Kermit as Captain Picard
Fozzie Bear as Riker
Rowlf as Geordi
Miss Piggy as Troi
Gonzo as Data
Janice as Dr Crusher
Animal as Worf

I based it on the drawing below, that I drew in 1994...if I weren't basing on that, I might have switched Janice and Piggy's roles. 😬😬😬

(If LEGO released a Scooter minifigure, that would be my Wesley)

Open Photo Gallery


"Everything happens for a reason" has two interpretations:
1. everything has a higher purpose, or at least was caused to happen with someone's intent
2. everything is a part of a complicated chain web of cause and effect

When people are frustrated or disappointed with the world, they look to "everything happens for a reason" for solace - but too often they think more about the former definition, how so many things happen because of someone's intent - and that that intent is something like "pissing me off"
"Articles of Interest" is a podcast about fashion from a design sense, and they recently had an episode on the vestments of Clergy. (Of course, Catholic in particular but also some Anglican etc)
Two quotes from it:
"Style is not simply an ornament of speech. It is the ultimate expression of meaning. And style in life is crucial, right? What is John O'Malley? John O'Malley's a priest, John O'Malley a jesuit, he's an American, all that's important, right? HOW is John O'Malley? He's kind, he's sweet, he's a swell guy... heheh - that's what we're interested in right?"
Father John O'Malley
(Interesting point, in this sense 'style' represents two things I believe to be in true: that it's more important what you DO than what you 'are', and then it's more important to get the holistic forest right than the reductionist trees)

and then her friend Nick speaks on Catholic Philosopher Hans Urs von Balthasar:
and basically the concept is this: everything that is, has these three properties. It has truth, goodness, and beauty. If you're a thing in this world, you have those. And so Balthasar who was a religious philosopher, so it's all about God, he said 'Ok, so God also has truth, goodness, and beauty. And those three things are the only ways we can really explain God to people.' I mean just pointing to something and saying 'look, dude, look at the beauty of that" - and perhaps THAT could be a way in.
2024.05.24


Sports provides some of the most emotionally impactful and visually compelling photos online.
2024.05.23
15 years ago today I wrote:
You know, I wish they DID make "liquid courage" except it didn't make you drunk, just a bit braver.
I'm still looking for that - like maybe something to control my need to stand up and walk around while working at home when even the smallest obstacle or insecurity arises.

But I realized I think I can get some of the liquid courage in the form of music; I think back in the shared office workspace days I'd use headphones a lot, and I think that can do a lot to calm my inner kids.

Though I hate that the very best form of that is my "psyched!" playlist - the 55 high energy (and now almost painfully familiar) songs there has more focus power than shuffling all 4500 songs in my collection.

On the one hand I'm glad to have re-discovered this life hack. On the other hand I kind of resent having to use it vs just being able to always muscle through everything through force of will. (And it also makes me think, what am I missing out on being able to do because I lack knowledge for a corresponding life hack for it.)

And it feels funny to try to sense it working in action... it's kind of like I can get myself to groove/dance along to the music via gettin' things done...

2024.05.22
I started an AtariAge thread about a well-worn topic, the Video Game Crash of '83.
One portion of it was a pivot to home computers, which had dropped dramatically in price, and allowed massive piracy - useful for kids who didn't have much money.

But I pivoted back from the Commodore 64 to the NES even though I knew the computer was more powerful... in part because of the promotional power of Nintendo, especially the black-covered Official Nintendo Player's Guide. It really felt like no one was making a game like "Metroid", and here were the maps to prove it.

2024.05.21
Google is pivoting to REALLY leaning into preferring AI summaries of information rather than traditional web links and snippets. This article is a workaround that (at least for now) makes it easier to stick to web results.

But this trend so infuriating! Google made its mark with a brilliant "BackRub" algorithm: banking on the idea that a source is more useful and trustworthy based on how many OTHER sites refer to it. That's not Truth, but it's a good first order approximation.

This throws that out the window. They are putting all their eggs in a basket of how "people just want a simple answer" (As Nolan Bushnell puts it, "A simple answer that is clear and precise will always have more power in the world than a complex one that is true") and so replacing its history of "trust us, we'll show you who you can trust!" to a simplistic "just trust us (i.e., our Bot)"

And sure, knowing whom to trust online has always been as much an art as a science - people have to develop their own nose (starting with their own preconceptions) using the content and (for better or worse) the design and presentation of a site. (And while not infallible, I think it shows the wisdom of Wikipedia's approach - insist on citations, and let knowledgeable parties slug it out. Of course conservatives suspect it has a slant - but progressives tend to think of Colbert's "It is a well known fact that reality has liberal bias") But the "blurry JPEG" that is AI causes information to lose its flavor, all piped through the same Siri- or Alexa- or Google-Assistant- friendly stream of words.

And when the AI is wrong - boy there are some anecdotes out there. The one about what to do about a Rattlesnake bite is a killer. Possibly literally. It's almost enough to make one hope for some huge punitive lawsuits.

There is a weird "Idiot Ouroboros" aspect to Google's pivot away from connecting people to other knowledge sources - the AI has its knowledge base from what was gleaned from the web. And now the incentives for building up a reputable parcel on the wider information landscape fades away, and eventually the whole web starts to look like those dark corners of social media where Spambots try to pitch their wares to fake user account bots, endlessly.
Red Lobster going away, maybe a victim of that endless shrimp plan?? Beyoncé will need a new place to take your ass...