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september 2014 new song playlist

New songs I found out about last month, in descending "You gotta hear / see this!" order...

October 2, 2014

Why Atheists Should Be Less Spock and more Kirk. Kirk was an anti-Deist who violated his own "Prime Directive" overthrew what seemed like a perfectly functional symbiotic society because at its core it had some computer claiming godhood - which by the villagers standards, it was. (Alright, there was something about a tractor beam and saving the Enterprise but whatever) I'd argue that people making a case for atheism need a good dose of McCoy to complete the Freudian Trio...Kirk is rational and intuitive, Spock is cold and logical, but McCoy is emotional and humanistic.
Style tips from Julia Kite: deodorant is the answer to questions we have not yet begun to ask.

Engrave this upon your heart: there isn't anyone you couldn't love once you heard their story.
Mary Lou Kownacki

October 3, 2014

You know, if one 20 or so years ago someone explained to me how the confluence of ubiquitous personal cameras and dating sites meant that "dick pic" was a thing in the mid-2010s, I would have been kind of surprised. I would never have guessed that was the way so many dude's sexuality rolled, despite the cultural type of the trenchcoat-wearing flasher...

October 4, 2014

Thinking of doing 24HCD but second guesing.... why is it so hard for me to think of a plot?

Any suggestions?

October 5, 2014

Very moving photographic series: 4 sisters, 40 years, 40 portraits.

--Late because of technical difficulties (I think because for September 6, the rafting trip, I added in footage from my waterproof Canon - a friend suggested "MPEG Streamclip" and that seemed to work great.). A nice Alewife deer on the 2nd, Arlington Town Day Fireworks on the 12th (first time I managed to remember to go see them, rather than look at them over the houses and say 'oh yeah I should go see those') and a sneeze on the 24th.

October 6, 2014

You think it's cool to hate things. And it's not. It's boring. Talk about what you love and keep quiet about what you don't.

One of those mornings where you think "huh, lot of glare from the windows, makes the monitor look so dark, relatively" and then 10 minutes later you remember you still have your sunglasses on.
SNL Skit "Whites" -- man I wish we were all this cool with demographic change. ("WHITES: Still calling the shots til 2050. 2060 Tops.")
Is there any generalized way to get old medical records? Specifically I wish I had more data about what I weighed before 1998 or so, high school, college, and just after. More for curiosity's sake, but still... I'd love to know what my start and end points were for my weightloss in high school (first time I gave it a serious effort... I was gently teased for constantly having to pull my pants up) and what it was during college.
http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservative_Bible_Project Oh, man. 5 years ago I found this project page. The begging the question of the fundamental correctness of everything Conservative is just mind boggling. "We know we're correct, and we share God's view of everything. So if anything in the Bible doesn't support exactly what we believe and how we believe it, it must be a mistranslation, and we can fix that." It runs so counter to other fundamentalist ways of thinking - swapping "the inerrancy of the Bible" for, like, "the inerrancy of us" (or maybe "the inerrancy of Rush Limbaugh") Check out the "talk" tab for extra awesomeness.
Also, that "best of the public" scheme it leads off with, that pretty much anybody who deeply studies a subject starts drowning in the kool-aid of that fields collective wisdom... man, physicians, heal thyselves!!!

October 7, 2014

http://what-if.xkcd.com/114/ An xkcd "What if" mentioned "The Earth sweeps up space dust as it travels around its orbit. About 100 tons of dust per day enters the atmosphere in the form of tiny grains". I'm not sure if my finding that fact so startling says more about my failure to grasp how much is in "empty" space or how big the Earth is.
A crick in the neck is such a pain in the neck.

Seriously, when you walk around with your head tilted down a bit because it's less uncomfortable - it really does a number on your mood, that weird feedback loop of mood to expression of mood to mood.
Huh! Black background screens are rougher on people with astigmatism, which may explain why they went out of style... (besides early-Mac-like dark-on-light just seeming hipper than all that 8-bit and DOS stuff, and more like print.)

I've never really felt the appeal of hipster grey-background code editors, and the way some Samsung phones default to black backgrounds for messages seems tacky and annoying to me. (Also, very light text on very dark backgrounds leaves dancing after-images in my eyes- back when web sites used that a lot, I used to do a quick "select all" just to make the text more readable.)

October 8, 2014

Computer simulations for games often use optimisations.

If the player is watching stuff, it is modelled realistically. But if no one is looking, a cheap approximate solution is used instead. This trick saves a lot of CPU cycles.

To discover if we are in a game, we need to look for an optimisation fingerprint. We need evidence that stuff behaves differently when no one is watching.

In our universe, the double-slit experiment shows that light looks like a wave when no one is observing closely - but starts looking like particles when we take a closer look!

It's obvious that modelling every bit of light as a particle is way expensive. So the universe switches to a more optimal wave representation to save cycles.

Clearly then, we are in a Matrix.

October 9, 2014

Note to self: Andrew W.K. != GG Allin, despite the parallel names, and famous photos of each with a bloodied face.
The mistake comes from ignorance, not hearing much about either of them. GG Allin I know because of this one article contrasting his path to Morrisey's. Andrew W.K. I don't even less, but then saw a tumblr post with his very positive party tips.
So my thoughts were, "wait, I thought he died" and "man, that doesn't sound like him at all".

I guess I might have seen footage of Andrew W.K. rocking out, and that wouldn't have helped the confusion, though it's the "music/noise" balance is more to the left with him. But mostly it was the initials, kind of messing with my pseudo-dyslexia.

Of course, neither of them are Louis C.K. either.
This is funny. That head mounted camera is terrific. And kids say the darndest things....

Why are boobs so soft. What are they made of. Is it the dreams of a thousand small rabbits

October 10, 2014

http://www.xkcd.com/1432/ XCKD kind of weighs in on the "devil's advocate" thing.

On the one hand, I get that (especially white dudes) injecting a "let me play devil's advocate here" can be destructive and hurtful of non-dominant voice and views. On the other hand, for me "devils advocate" thinking is also an exercise in empathy, a way to try to take on alternate viewpoints and understand the feelings people who disagree with me have, to see what's influencing people, whether or not we agree.

--via http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3506#comic
http://www.beagleton.com/flash/whatmessage_postswiff.html Posted this over ten years ago. I like people who also think most URLs should be permanent.
Sometimes I really long for a technically-minded career coach, or mentor of some kind. Even though I'm reaching the midpoint of my career, I think I need some guidance, feedback, and cheering up in general.

October 11, 2014

Jp honk banner in progress...

October 12, 2014

The Banner (thanks to EB, and there's EBD!) on its jury-rigged display, ready to march!

October 13, 2014

On the one hand, Columbus was a big slave owning jerk who missed judge the size of the world and got lucky. On the other hand, I kind of wish I had the day off too, dammit.
Picture of our group from yesterday's Honk Fest Parade... that's Chris, leader of the kids who joined us from the Conservatory Lab Charter School. Check out this Oral History of the Honk Festival, or this set of photos

Sweetgreen's "Roasted Turkey + Fall Vegetables Salad" is AMAZING. Brussel sporuts and sweet potatoes and I was worried cranberry vinaigrette would be too sweet but it's kind of perfect.
From a gardening book: Don't plant an oak tree or you'll break some gardener's heart in 350 years.
Tom P.

A buddy - giant horror fan and radio show runner - is kickstarting a genderswap'd take on Dracula. Should be fun!

October 14, 2014

yesterday, I saw a video on the physics of skateboard tricks and this morning I am suddenly weirdly struck by the everpresence of gravity; how it's always down down down and it seems like a miracle that anything can stand at all.
The Internet and Money and Hearts......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Standards_Day Today is World Standards Day. Except in the US, which celebrates it on the 23rd.
Also, the infamous Smoot became chairman of standards board ANSI!
Group shot of the band!

wherefore art thou kirkjerk?

So, recently I was (again) asked about the actual "jerk" aspect implied by my once preferred nomme de web "kirkjerk". For the record, no, I do not view myself as a jerk (or at least feel I'm near the center of the bell curve of jerkness). But why that name? Just because of the rhyme?

Not quite! Back in the mid-90s there was a game for PCs called "Death Rally"... it was a fun overhead car-racing-with-guns game, kind of like that old board game Car Wars / Autoduel come to life. In action it looked like this:

The game had a lot of character - and specifically it had 20 characters, enemies you'd race against. Here's a leader board; I think "D3ATH" is probably the name selected by the person playing th game:

Those names were BOGUS BILL, FARMER TED, LIZ ARDEN, DIESEL JOE, MIC DAIR, MORI SATO, SUZY STOCK, IRON JOHN, CHER STONE, LEE VICE, DARK RYDER, GREG PECK, MAD MAC, MOTOR MARY, MATT MILER, CLINT WEST, NASTY NICK, JANE HONDA, SAM SPEED & DUKE NUKEM. (Yes, that Duke Nukem.... kind of a crossover. I further acknowledge this naming scheme would also work for Garbage Pail Kids.)

So, when it came time to pick my own username for the intraoffice online game play (4 players at once) I tried to match the scheme, and ended up with KIRKJERK (I also think it was constrained to 8 letters, so I was pleased to just fit it in under the wire).

I tend to prefer usernames based on "Kirk", rather than being cut from whole cloth; Kirkjerk, Kirkamundo, TheGreatKirkini. And "Kirkles" is probably one of my oldest lasting nicknames, bestowed in high school (when my teasing friends envisioned the romantic exchange "Oh Kirkles" "Oh, Lynnie-Poo") and still used by my best college buddy and his family.

Anyway, like I said, "Death Rally" had a ton of character. Some of it was in the form of "flavor text", these little evocative prose passages, narrated by "TRUE TOM":


and another example:


I'm not able to dig up the evidence, but I have vague memories of corresponding with the guy who gave voice to "TRUE TOM"; he said it was kind of an independent effort they threw in, rather than being part of the design from the outset, and there were all kinds of character constraints they were dealing with.

Once upon a time I dug up this Lore of Geek's usernames. Back before FB and Google's emphasis on "real names", online handles were even more important (I guess they still have a big role in tumblr and twitter.) Of course, we've also seen how pseudo-anonymity can be abused, and jerk-enabling.
So happy to see Amazon's Kindle app for iOS has finally added in "Collections"! It was so frustrating to just have "giant pile of books, some read, some unread".
I am trying to figure out the level of irony in reading an ebook on mindfulness while walking to the T station
1. All jokes aside, I think there's 2 different kinds of mindfulness: being in the moment, and aware of ones surroundings, and taking more things in, vs focused intellectual activity, such as reading. And I don't think it's a terrible loss to let my mindless mind handle the walking as my mindful mind takes in a good book, my mindless mind has had lots of practice. (I remember walking the halls of 6th grade with a book in hand; as well as having a problem where teachers couldn't get my attention if I was deeply into a book, though for better or worse I don't lose myself with that level of focus very often these days.)
2. I do find a correlation with mindfulness and the art and practice of programming, at least if you're doing the latter properly
3. If I could foster half the focus on my surroundings at any given moment as I do on, say, an attractive person showing a chevron of belly below a short shirt after a long winter and spring, well, I would be doing pretty darn well.

I used that last meme on my new Devlog Entry on frameworks. I need to make sure possible future employers know that I'm not a curmudgeon about following the patterns they like.

What is nothing? Macbeth answered this question with admirable concinnity: "Nothing is, but what is not." My dictionary puts it somewhat more paradoxically-- "nothing (n.) : a thing that does not exist." Although Parmenides, the ancient Eleatic sage, declared that it was impossible to speak of what is not-- thereby violating his own precept-- the plain man knows better. Nothing is popularly held to be better than a dry martini, but worse than sand in the bedsheets. A poor man has it, a rich man needs it, and if you eat it for a long time, it'll kill you. On occasion , nothing could be further from the truth, but it is not clear how much further. It can be both black and white all over at the same time. Nothing is impossible for God, yet it is a cinch for the rankest incompetent . No matter what pair of contradictory properties you choose, nothing seems capable of embodying them. From this it might be concluded that nothing is mysterious . But that would only mean that everything is obvious-- including,
presumably, nothing.

That, perhaps, is why the world abounds with people who know, understand, and believe in nothing. But beware of speaking blasphemously of nothing, for there are also many bumptious types about-- call them "nullophiles"-- who are fond of declaring that, to them, nothing is sacred.
Jim Holt, "Why Does the World Exist?"

Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition.
Alan Turing

Our own universe is not very symmetrical on a small scale—look at what a mess your living room is!
Jim Holt

Kick at the rock, Sam Johnson, break your bones: / But cloudy, cloudy is the stuff of stones.
Richard Wilbur

I kind of like this skull I made for the

halloween loveblender
Probably inspired by seeing the Día de Muertos- themed "Book of Life" the night before.
This is an autotuned version of that Apollos Hester post-game interview that was making the rounds a few weeks ago:

You can see the original clip with partial transcription. Honestly I like the way the video condensed and focused and fluffed the message.
Do women hate beards? Dang.
They had a yoga class at work. It made me nostalgic for the weekly class my doctor used to run; a couple of lifetimes ago. A little note of sadness for the things that didn't work out, and the people it didn't work out with, heightened by a note that things feel a bit transitional right now.
5 Research-driven Secrets to Great Relationships. Great, now I have to go skydiving on a first date?
Haha, I so don't want to tell my calorie tracking app my current weight, because of how it will recalculate my daily calorie goal. "NO GIVE ME BACK THOSE 20 CALORIES THAT'S LIKE A WHOLE WHITE RABBIT CREAMY CANDY"
http://www.cgccomics.com/1134755001/ - A copy of Superman's introduction "Action Comic #1" was found... take a good look!

I like how it hits the note of saving an innocent life, and has Lois standing up for herself (if only to show how Clark Kent couldn't.)
'City on a Hill" "Athens of America' 'City of Champions' 'The HUB' (as in 'OF THE UNIVERSE')
DID YOU KNOW? Boston holds the worldwide municipal record for most self-appointed, self-aggrandizing names that no one outside the city has ever heard of!
Funny jabs at our beloved city in our beloved Commonwealth
Wow -- so the other week I was musing about the difference in music I dig, and music I intellectually think I should I like, but don't (like The Meters' Cissy Strut) I thought maybe the difference was the downbeat, that music that just has a groove, even a funk-ish one, still leaves me cold unless it has the big bass-y downbeat. (Not to mention my disinterest in jam bands.) Today, by semi-coincidence, my coworker Jeff shows me this video, a one minute lecture on Bootsy's Basic Funk Formula. And -- IT'S ALL ABOUT THE ONE. For Bootsy style funk, everything is rooted in that downbeat, and then you build off of that.

I don't know what's the cart and what's the horse, in terms of the tuba playing and the musical appreciation, but it all ties together.
I wish English had more of these!
I still play "Draw Something" with one buddy; nice to have a daily dose of doodling. I was pleased with this morning's rendition of "Death" -- also an inspiration for my tuba's costume this year that hopefully I'll get around to making today.

BTW, FWIW I *really* dislike Paul Klee's quote "A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.". Especially when used and abused by 'Draw Something's Notifications...
o my god so many new hampshire political ads around the patriots game shut up shut up SHUT UP.

"99% voted w/ Obama" is not the negative for me that it apparently is for its target demo
What's a big vegetarian/vegan indulgence? Like, is there a rough parallel to tucking in to a nice piece of steak?
There wouldn't be a forest if it wasn't for the forest fires.
From a dream last night.
I think I was also told not to trust people who espouse this philosophy, they're dangerous, even if the idea is true from a conservationist point of view.
from Cracked: 17 Creepy Photos That Prove History Was Haunted

(hint: turn your head sideways.) Man, that's still disturbing.
I am trying to extend my palette by learning to enjoy sugary sweets in with the savory. Today: Sweetgreen's "CURRY CAULIFLOWER + QUINOA SALAD" -- curry cauliflower, cucumber tahini yogurt, some kick with the siracha, and dried cranberries.
Philosophical debating with EB. Part of its trying to flesh out my concept of "non-trivial novelty" as a kind of existential moral good, an objective "point of it all", at least for me. (I started calling it "novelty of pattern" - EB thought maybe I meant "novelty in non-trivial subjects", when really I was just trying to say that the output of a random number generator wouldn't be very novel in the way I was thinking)

EB argues (and I may or may not be doing his view justice, but I'm trying) that since some failure is well-nigh inevitable in getting to that end goal, it is an inherent and essential characteristic. I kind of chafe at this; I think just because its damned likely doesn't mean it's inevitable, and therefore can't be a defining part, just an unfortunate side-effect that we'd avoid if we could and do avoid when we can.

As we argued on about this, we refined to a pretty specific gap in our outlooks: for me, definitions spring from theory, for him, definitions spring from practice. (So "risk of failure" would be a more acceptable candidate for part of the definition for him.)

I was sort of surprised to realize this aspect of my outlook. I mean, on the one hand, it's obvious, I seem to have an almost pathological need to be able to rationalize and justify my actions to some kind of unnamed higher, objective authority. On the other hand, I'm a strong descriptivist when it comes to the world of English and Grammar, and I think stuff like "the universe of platonic ideals" or what not is nonsense; what we see is what we get, universe-wise, and when we're lucky we can see and name the patterns.

So definitely an interesting potential inconsistency in my outlook. I'm still sticking with my guns on this definition though, since it seems like the definition should be reversible (If A = novel pattern results, and B = failures getting there, A implies B, but B doesn't assure A! And I can visualize -- as unlikely but not impossibly unlikely -- novel patterns without all the failure, but it seems like EB's definition rejects that.)
If, 100 years from now, they look back at my election, I hope what they see is the beginning of a century of inclusive politics.

Much like a cookie, I predict the Yankee dynasty will crumble and the results will be delicious for Red Sox fans.
Mayor "Mumbles" Menino, during the 2004 Baseball Playoffs.
My favorite Menino quote ever.

This year my tuba gets a costume too:

Look like 6 years of being the party of no and blaming that on the president will pay off for the Republicans

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