Oof guess Friday isn't much better for MacOS Calendar:
The amount of horseshit being crammed into this "tax bill" is fucking amazing. Scribbled notes on the margin? Sure why not. Want to put in a definition of unborn child? Yeah that's fucking relevant!
Like, maybe you didn't like the ACA? Maybe even that there was some unseemly political games to let it squeak by? But at least it was what it was, and political capital was spent to let it happen. This absolute fucking nonsense of "oh politics says this big ass bill will pass, we'll gone shove it through (even past the republicans who give a damn about deficits and the fact we can't even wait for the numbers from the CBO which are gonna show what a craptastic notion is) so since we're gonna make it happen by christmas, lets give ourselves all the christmas presents we can!"
Garbage. Shame on you Republicans, you're so damn gerrymandered that half of you can only lose to tea party nutjobs in the primaries, so any hope of making politics mean any kind of finding common ground is lost.
December 2, 2017Good month for music, 4 star stuff in red, in descending "you should hear this" order.
- Feel It Still (Portugal. The Man) Probably the best sounding song this month... great mix off old R+B with more modern stuff.
- Never Be Famous (Hussalonia) "They're not brilliant, they're just burning brilliantly, and there's a difference, don't you know..."
- Pinball Prison (Puddles Pity Party) "Pinball Wizard" sung to "Folsom Prison Blues", by a giant sad clown, is brilliant on every level. (My cousin Bill saw him, which made me look into his stuff beyond his cover of Royals)
- Praise You (Piano Version) (Hannah Grace) One of those "soft lovely acoustic covers of a more pointy song".
- I'm a Stupid Cat! (Mike Polk Jr.) Melissa's favorite! From the guy who brought you those hastily made Cleveland tourism videos...
- Stagger Lee (Lloyd Price) In the 80s McDonalds had some 60s compilations ("Shake Burger and Fries" or "Shake Rattle and Fries", one of those) that were influential to me, but I can't find any mention of online. Anyway this was on it. I love the long history of the song and its variations and possible historical roots
- You're Out of the Computer (Bingo Gazingo & My Robot Friend) Bingo Gazingo was an amazing spoken word style poet singer - you should check him out (thanks Bill)
- I'm Moving On (Chyvonne Scott) Lovely moody R+B from that weirdly backfiring Samsung Ad.
- The Littlest Birds (Jolie Holland) Soft and sweet
- Radioactive (Josh Knowles and Aaron Fried) MP3 link 'cause I couldn't find the album "Heartstringz" online (cello/violin covers I think I bought from Boston buskers)
- Hush Your Mouth (Bo Diddley) Been thinking about the "Bo Diddley Beat". Kind of weird the chorus to this one sounds like "Hershey Mouth"
- Game Time (feat. Sage the Gemini) (Flo Rida) My company used this for an in-house promotional video about the IPO process... love how it music-ifies the basketball "sneaky squeaker" sound.
- Honey Bee (Zee Avi) Saw her live once upon a time...
- How Many More Years (Howlin' Wolf) Looked up "power chords" on wikipedia, this song came up
- Rumble (Link Wray) Another early "power chords" song. Turns out it's just "a fifth"!
- Heaven Is a Wonderful Place (Psalty & Ernie Rettino) Way back when my mom used this cheesy sunday school song as an example of combing multiple melodies...
- UNGA BUNGA BUNGA G (Flavor Flav) Despite the dominance of his hype man role, Flav is a crazy talented musician on a ton of instruments. I think you hear a bit of that in the vibrato on the "ring ding doOoOoOoOoOng..."
- Girl Anachronism (The Dresden Dolls) Got to see them live, great show
- Ruler of My Heart (Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Norah Jones & Robert Randolph) Simple and lovely
- Not a Virgin (Poe) Sexy in a young people figuring out sex kind of way.
- Die Young (Sylvan Esso) It's no "Coffee" but still pretty good.
- Get Loud For Me (Gizzle) Rockin'
Republicans are so full of shit. Even when they said they cared about the deficit. Not as much as sucking up to their corporate backers! (LOL Democrats opposed the bill because it was "too good" and they wouldn't get credit. Trump uses delusion the way a carpenter uses nails)
When every non-partisan group tells you your economic ideas are full of shit, that's not a bias in the groups, that's the bias of reality.
--William Hughes, on Trump's lawyer's press release. My tuba solos are not bumbling >:-(
A Generation in Japan Faces a Lonely Death - Excellent long read in the NY Times. While my book's concerns are more on the existential aspects of death, aging is another part of it all that looks to us to be brave and thoughtful. On Art and Sesame Street.
The Last of the Iron Lungs Hate to admit it but reading about these reminds me of how stupid my love of Weird Al's "Mr. Frump in the Iron Lung" was, it was like my goto goofy a cappella song as a young teenager. (Yeah, I know it's goofy to pick on a novelty song, but man, that's just not how the contraptions work...)
I guess for it work, there has to be a subtext of A. Mr Frump is also in a coma (otherwise he could talk on the outbreath) and B. Mr Frump's iron lung has a terrible mechanial breakdown (I suspect if you die in an iron lung, you just keep being "breathed for", the whole point is that it keeps things steady no matter what heart-attacky thing your body might be doing...)
A big part of managing our fear of mortality is getting a grip on what regrets we might have. Travis Bradberry's answer to "What are the most common regrets that people have once they grow old?" is worth reading. A summary of it is:
1. They wish they hadn't made decisions based on what other people think. (Especially about their careers and moral decisions)
2. They wish they hadn't worked so hard.
3. They wish they had expressed their feelings.
4. They wish they had stayed in touch with their friends.
5. They wish they had let themselves be happy.
Good stuff. How are you dealing with your future regrets?
Artificially Intelligent Robot Predicts Its Own Future by Learning Like a Baby In "On Intelligence", Jeff Hawkins (he made the Palm Pilot but his other love is neuroscience) argues that intelligence and consciousness is a big game of "predict and test" - that relatively few researchers back then had noticed that we have about as many connections down the hierarchy of abstraction as up - so we don't just see light and dark, resolved into a border, resolved into a line, resolved in a face, that a higher system probably remembers there's a face there, and tells the lower systems to look for face-ish parts, and only report back if there's something surprising... i.e. predict and test, predict and test, all the time. (This failure to really "take in" the world as it is appears at a low level explains a lot things, like why it's hard to draw realistically vs based on your expectations of what the object looks like, and many other illusions and also political misthinks - tons of confirmation bias sneaks in there.
Anyway, it sounds like this robot is design to really live out that kind of theory, predicting what the scene should look in X seconds if it does action Y - like a baby exploring the world.
My hunch is that this style of learning - and safe sandboxes to foster it - will critical if we ever get true thinking AI, something with the ability to shape its own thinking at macro level, vs algorithms that kind of "learn" but only in the meta-patterns that are programmed into it at the outset. (Another theory says certain types of squid seem to have the same level horsepower humans do, but maybe it will never reach fruition because A. the undersea environment of objects isn't as rich and B. there are predators enough that a prolonged period of protected, learning, experimental childhood isn't possible.
Gestures where an errant side of a finger creates radical behaviors violates this part of Tao of Programming: `A program should follow the "Law of Least Astonishment". What is this law? It is simply that the program should always respond to the user in the way that astonishes him least.`
BTW, the Tao of Programming is brilliant - it's weirdly authentic, like I've seen other things that parody the form of the Tao Te Ching but they generally don't also say smart things about their subject matter....
Get your cinema nerd on about technicolor and the Wizard of Oz
Last night in a dream I had a very specific wine recommendation:
keenan spruce ronan wine (white)
I... don't think that's a thing?
AI AlphaGo Zero started from scratch to become best at Chess, Go and Japanese Chess within hours - This is pretty incredible stuff, and damn near my idea that "I'll be impressed when the same program that wins at Go wins at Chess, and for the same reasons."
I remember hearing about the core idea (setting a game-playing AI against a copy of itself to improve) used in Arthur Samuel's checker playing program back in the late-50s.
All the games AlphaGo Zero plays are "perfect information" games. I wonder how it would do with games of ambiguity and bluff and randomness, like Poker (or Stratego, even.) I suspect when you have a computer play a version of itself, you're vulnerable to the "hill climbing" problem (i.e. if you always head towards the highest ground NEAR you, you might end up stranded on a local high peak, but not the highest in the land) - that you get a certain type of genius at playing another certain type of genius, but vulnerable when playing a more wildcard player, and that vulnerability is increased if you don't know the full state of the game.
Of course, my favorite emergent chess program behavior remains the stories around Atari 2600 Video Chess; the screen would blank as the computer was "thinking", and sometimes when the board returned you'd find some pieces weren't quite where they were before...
UPDATE: better summary The future is here – AlphaZero learns chess
Some random thoughts:
- I was surprised that kids seem to prefer mice to touchpads
- especially in this particular class (4th grade) I was aware of how noisy and attention seeking some of the kids were, and saying things mostly just to look smart or similar - probably more aware because I'm pretty sure I was like that as a kid. And it was mostly just boys, which might be problematic.
- I was happy to see the enthusiasm for checking out books. (the lessons were in the library, serving as a computer lab of sorts)
- "The Paper Bag Princess" seems like it would be a bad story to read to folks living near the wildfires right now.
- Kids are more enthused by Pokemon / Digimon type stuff as a programming lesson theme than Wonder Woman or Star Wars (even though "Code Monsters" seemed buggier and more arbitrary than the other stuff)
- Most of these programming exercises focus on breaking tasks into step by step instructions - which is admittedly a critical part of programming - but I wish more were about ... like, making stuff? I.e. drawing on some kind of canvas vs programming a robot-ish thing. I'm not sure if it's inherently a more complex thing to teach (I guess "Logo" is the mix of those two) A "Star Wars" Hour of Code thing came closest, where rather than telling R2D2 what steps to take you learned event-driven programming and made a game of sorts, setting up a program that then let you drive R2D2 via the cursor keys.
via and via
--/r/showerthoughts Consumer Vigilante
"and if you see me first you say hello
and if i see you first i'll say hello"
How our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult Yarr. Sometimes I think my favorite post-college housing was "the big yellow house", 6 or 7 people, some in couples, sprinkled across 3 floors. Interesting thoughts about when family's just had one "the computer" All my life, all the way back to the early 8 bits (Atari 800XL and Commodore 64) I cut my teeth on, my computing resources were just mine, an only child with non-techie parents. But there was a time, before the rise of the smartphone and cheap powerful laptops, when my main connection to the world of computing (online and off) had its own permanent deskspace - I came to It, it didn't wander around the house with me. Sometimes I see those lovely Apple iMacs and think about that time, when my computer was its own little shrine of sorts - crossing the boundary in space demarcated boundaries in time as well.
A Predictive Keyboard is trained on Harry Potter books and writes a new book in the series: Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash!
Back to vertical monitor land!
(though not my first trip to this rodeo 2011/10/20)
Just testin' out the camera on Melissa's best lil buddy...
Sibilant Snakelikes - exploring different game options with the basic "Snake" mechanic. Shadow of the Coloussus and Sensible Soccer were especially sssssmart!
Cool, animators brought to life the original Ralph McQuarrie art for The Star Wars - I think someone made a comic adaption of the original outlines too, but seeing things come to life is a trip.
December 15, 2017The Atlantic on how China is leading the way in listening out ofr extraterrestrial intelligence. With the powers that be in the USA demonstrating spectacular disinterest in the scientific way of understanding the world, we're ceding so much to the rest of the world.
Donald Trump's call for a moonshot not withstanding- to my biased eye it sounds like an unfunded mandate, and I also understand that the conservatives are much more interested in retrograde "Put America In Space" ambition than NASA's attempts to understand what we're doing on the planet all but 536 of us have been stuck on, lest they suggest it might be premature to screw this place over.
I guess the American model is putting all our eggs in the Tony Stark / Ayn Rand-hero type genius who manages to have big long-shot ambition despite the capitalist desire for quarterly profit, the most notable example being Elon Musk.
The Atlantic piece came out before word of `Oumuamua, an intringuingly shaped interstellar asteroid swinging our way. So far efforts to detect any sign of intelligent construction or signal have come to nothing, but it's one of the more provocative things we've seen, shades of Arthur C Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama...
Anyway, the piece ends with a musing on what evidence of alien intelligence would mean for humanity in a spiritual sense:
Even if no geopolitical strife ensued, humans would certainly experience a radical cultural transformation, as every belief system on Earth grappled with the bare fact of first contact. Buddhists would get off easy: Their faith already assumes an infinite universe of untold antiquity, its every corner alive with the vibrating energies of living beings. The Hindu cosmos is similarly grand and teeming. The Koran references Allah's "creation of the heavens and the earth, and the living creatures that He has scattered through them." Jews believe that God's power has no limits, certainly none that would restrain his creative powers to this planet's cosmically small surface.The author is painting all these belief systems with an awfully wide brush! But I disagree especially with the take on humanism. I think the modern humanist views humans not as a pinnacle and certainly not as a goal - we take pride in seeming to be the only thing *in this neighborhood* capable of constructing complex culture and a model of the universe, but it has been a long dream of the science fiction that has inspired so many of us - our secular inspiring fables - that the universe has rolled the dice better elsewhere. And maybe those more advanced ones can help us out! (The secular view isn't that we're created in the image of God, unless maybe you say that we're all a hodge podge of steadily selecting beneficial traits from a chaotic, unpredictable blend.... hmm, that might be sort of true, after all...)
Christianity might have it tougher. There is a debate in contemporary Christian theology as to whether Christ's salvation extends to every soul that exists in the wider universe, or whether the sin-tainted inhabitants of distant planets require their own divine interventions. The Vatican is especially keen to massage extraterrestrial life into its doctrine, perhaps sensing that another scientific revolution may be imminent. The shameful persecution of Galileo is still fresh in its long institutional memory.
Secular humanists won't be spared a sobering intellectual reckoning with first contact. Copernicus removed Earth from the center of the universe, and Darwin yanked humans down into the muck with the rest of the animal kingdom. But even within this framework, human beings have continued to regard ourselves as nature's pinnacle. We have continued treating "lower" creatures with great cruelty. We have marveled that existence itself was authored in such a way as to generate, from the simplest materials and axioms, beings like us. We have flattered ourselves that we are, in the words of Carl Sagan, "the universe's way of knowing itself." These are secular ways of saying we are made in the image of God.
In the wake of "Team Magic Unicorn" (the nextgen UI team) us stragglers formed "Team Cardboard Manatee" and today I decided to demarcate our territory with handcrafted wall art...
An artisanal authentic cardboard manatee. we don't know if there's real magic in the magic unicorn but the cardboard in the manatee is 100% seven words the CDC has been told it's not allowed to use:
Here are some more words: take your reality-denying list and shove it up your Orwellian ass.
People who argue the Democrats are more prone to "political correct speech" etc? Fuck off. This is the god damn CDC - public health is one of the cornerstones of what civilization does to make life better, and you saying "reality-based" is verboten? You screaming sons of bitches.
UPDATE: Semi-legit attempt to see it from "their" side... I guess it's all like "Well NASA should stick to space only because all this earth science stuff hurts our tender belief system, and CDC should still to germies and cooties because we're so VERY VERY sensitive"
Still, this is unacceptable. I'd prefer not to."
Was thinking about that line in my own moral framework. Sometimes I'm clearly something of a self-indulgent kid, other situations, I feel like I have no standing to say no to something just because I'd rather do something else. Usually I can rationalize any refusal down to some other benefit I'm pursuing.
Sometimes I look at the 40-odd items on my todo list, including some things months old, and I think of the London fatberg...
"I did not like any of this. As I've mentioned, I am an only child. This makes me a member of the world-wide, super-smart, afraid-of-conflict narcissist club. And let me emphasize: afraid-of-conflict. Since I had no siblings to routinely challenge or hit me, and equally no interest in playing sports, I'd grown up without any experience in conflicts. I therefore had no reason to imagine confrontation of ANY kind, ranging from fighting to kissing was not, probably, fatal."
--John Hodgman, "Vacationland"
"The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart."
--Kurt Vonnegut. It reminds me this recent Sam Harris podcast with Tom Nichols, Defending the Experts - a super bright guy (a Never-Trumper despite being a Republican - and firmly in the 'Trump probably didn't want to win for reals' camp) who is just aghast at how "my common sense gut feel is better than your studied expertise" is running over the land. He made an interesting point about the kind of people who revel in Trump's success - apart from the white nationalist element, there are people who just feel left out by age of increasing technological change and expertise. I knew that, but pointing out that many of these people aren't even struggling financially, from communities stuck by heavy industry screw-over and the opioid epidemic - but they still feel chronically out of the loop - that part was a new angle for me, with some explanatory power.
--John Hodgman, "Vacationland"
Best skeptical twitter thread on the latest UFO hubbabaloo.
To quote Marsha Appling-Nunez (friend from church back in Cleveland): Out with the old and in with the new! Euclid Mall was where my sisters and I along with friends, and a boyfriend hung out, shopped, ate, and even worked those famous Salvation Army kettles. #EuclidSquareMall Welcome #Amazon.
Man, tough to see, even though it's been on the outs for a long time.
My part of the country usually said "N.E.S." not "Ness", and now I'm hearing SNES pronounced as one word ("Sness") on podcasts and youtube and it's kind of freaking me out.
"The amount of stuff I don't know could fill a bucket with a hole in it."
To update it , I swapped in replacements for a few photos, and added some as well. As I make the selections, I realize how important this collection is to me, I end up knowing its contents like the back of my hand.
You can see the first rendition here. Also I started making an archive of the fullsize version of these.
Blender of Love
Boston and Racism
catholic contestant: i'd like to buy 12 O's pic.twitter.com/M6tIcsPn7h— pope phteven (@PhuckinCody) October 2, 2017
Hm, the offense that fueled my profanity-laced tirade about censorship at the CDC may have been exaggerated - to the extent that it's self-censorship in the CDC for budget documents. Is a group censoring itself to try not to get the axe from a bunch of truthiness-wielding blowhards better than outright orwell censorship? I guess? Still telling tho. Trumps Challenge Coin, LOL, you tasteless egomaniac, this is as stupid as your banana republic "have all your underlings tell you what an awesome swell dude you are" crap. Oh, plus you're a racist as hell know-nothing as well. No wonder you ditched E Pluribus Unum, you fat sad old man who can't even drink a damn glass of water.
Advice From A 19 Year Old Girl & Software Developer. " most hardworking, yet most relaxed" sound like good complementary life goals.
Just watched "Doctor Strange" (REALLY REALLY MINOR SPOILERS AHOY) Netflix movies are so low rent sometimes, I'm kind of surprised to see some of those Marvel films and Star Wars there... Anyway, REALLY liked the Inception and Groundhog's Day pieces.
Oh and the Matrix
--Frank Sinatra. Between this and his 1963 interview in Playboy, I'm really impressed by how humanist and thoughtful he is.
Also, the Switch with its "play the same game on a TV or a mini-tablet-with-thumbsticks" is pure genius - I wonder how powerful it is? Mario Odyssey was so impressive, but could it play, say, GTA5? If not, that means it's not as powerful as a 12-year-old Xbox 360 (But also reinforces my idea that the 2001 GameCube was the time when Nintendo got enough power to do most of the games it wanted to make, and 360/PS3 for everyone else, since we had all those PS3/PS4, 360/Xbox One dual ports.)
The Daily Routines of Various Famous and Productive People. Rhythm is key.
--Navid Kermani in "Wonder Beyond Belief" (via Harper's), speaking of the non-canonical Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Besides the reference to personal growth - not something easy for me to have faith in - I appreciate that it captures an issue much on my mind, how people have such difficulty seeing that most things are mix of attributes, some of which we like, some of which we don't. (Or more specifically, some we'll call good, some we'll call bad, and often the presence of the bad will cause us to condemn the whole thing - or person.)
wecroak.com A high tech "memento mori", "WeCroak" is an app that sends you five randomly-timed reminders a day of your own mortality, including relevant quotes.
That...seems a bit much, maybe? WDYT? Do you prefer to not think about death on the regular, or do you think facing the concept of the end head on can get us to take more advantage of the life we find ourselves granted? Blacktron Message Intercept Base was the representative of the "Blacktron" line (cira 1987) when it was the "Renegade" that really stuck with me.
(Here's the video for that- JANBRiCKS has pretty good coverage, hadn't heard of them before.)
For my money, this is when Lego Design first start getting cool - this ship, with its asymmetrical design (probably inspired by the Millennium Falcon, come to think of it), swept-forward wings, and that distinctively Triforce-ish logo. (Not to mention the Pilots with their cool opaque helmet visors) Before this, I felt I could reliably make cooler designs than the original sets, years later I certainly couldn't, and this set represents the transition. (Also, this ship DID sort of make the cut in the book, on a special page about the whole history of the Lego Space series.) 2 years later they'd finally start making cooler windows (see 6781: SP-Striker vs Renegade's clunky yellow cockpit) but I really think this was the turning point.
Space Lego was always special to me - Lego is the best "CAD" kit kids have for good-looking solid 3D design (Erector and K'nex are superior in some ways, but everything looks skeletal and wireframe) - I mean now kids might have 3D printers and Minecraft and what not, but then, this was it! Also, besides my Star Wars- and Trek-fueled excitement about the future, I knew that today's Towns, Castles, and Pirates didn't have little round studs on every surface... but the future MIGHT - so in that way the sets were "more realistic".
Oh, and here's a history of lego bricks- the book had a page on the history of the bricks thmselves, but didn't really mention when the "tube" design in the mix Part 1 and Part 2
Also I had this grand slam Christmas Gift in 1984 - Robot Command Center - - LOOOOOVED those grabby arms
What this world needs is Studio Ghibli Lego Sets- My Neighbor Tortoro and Porco Rosso and Nausicaa especially. I, Pencil. A bit heavy handed with its libertarian message, but still a great reminder that almost any manufacturing process is a bit of a miracle.
From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - MAGA, indeed...
Listening to a podcast with scientists pontificating, I realize I treat triple-equals usage similarly to how I treat the correct usage of "data are plural", and for similar reasons: a begrudging respect for people using a shibboleth correctly, set against a personal bias for the looser usage; with that split masking a philosophical difference in worldview.
My worldview is: people and things are more important in how they interact than in their internal makeup. Take "Data". It's technically a plural world from Latin, with "Datum" being the singular. But a "Datum" is useless to the point of meaninglessness on its own - ONLY through multiplicity does a datum go from being a one-off anecdote to a statistically meaningful bit of information. Casual use would treat "Data" as a kind of singular group noun - "what this data suggests" vs "what these data suggest", and since that group-making is the only useful way people interact with data, "this data", the street usage, makes much more sense.
(I'm not a big fan of the old tradition of presuming Latin rules need apply to English anyway- like how you should never split an infinitive ("to boldly go") since such a construction is impossible in Latin where the infinitive is a single word.)
With triple equals, I return to the basic idea that it means "reject the comparison if the things being compared aren't exactly the same type" - an internal analysis. Double equals says if two things have the same value when they interact, that's fine! We don't care about the history or composition of the things, just how they'll interact now. (A long history with Perl and other duck-type languages helps inform my view, I think.)
To wax philosophical, I've realized this difference in worldview- whether what's important is the history and internals of a thing (since that will be the surest guide to predicting long-term behavior, and/or give you a special revelation of how things "should be") or whether we should attend to how things are capable of interacting with the outside world - is profound and tough to bridge.
I'd recommend the book "Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking"... and then when I hear some punk like Scott Adams say that because analogies are always imperfect they can never be persuasive, and that it's where "reason is embarrassed to show its face"... balderdash. Finding parallels in how different systems are interacting makes up one of the most critical tools in understanding the world, no matter that there will ALWAYS be some difference in intrinsic makeup. (Of course, saying there are only surfaces or only essences is a false dichotomy; some analogies run deep, that two systems are interacting in parallel ways because of parallel functioning in their guts. And some analogies are just shallow and rhetorical and are of less value.)
.@BretWeinstein "Metaphorical Truth" sounds like Vonnegut's "Foma" - "the harmless untruths" that can "make you brave and kind and healthy and happy." Skeptical of your use of "truth" as a stand-in for "utility"
"December 31, 2017 is the only day where every adult was born in the 1900's and everyone else under 18 was born in the 2000's"