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1 Kings 1:18-40

February 1, 2021
I've been relistening to the audiobook version of Karen Armstrong's "The Case for God", seeing if it resonates differently for me ten years later. It's positioned as a bit of a retort to the New Atheism of Dennett/Harris/Dawkins/Hitchens. I guess I still have the same thought on it as I did then:
She asserts repeatedly that ancient peoples had a clear split between Mythos and Logos (an idea first introduced to me in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"). Some cultures had multiple creation myths geared at explaining different aspects of the human experience, and none of them were expected to hold up to a literal interpretation as historic events. The book doesn't really cite evidence, though (at least not the audio version, I don't know if the real thing has endnotes or something) so I'm left wondering if maybe folks were just, you know, gullible back then. I mean, I'm sure some of the hoi polloi took the stories at face value -- I can't believe the question "mommy, did that really happen?" is new, created by our modern culture.
She often uses language like "these stories weren't meant to be taken literally" which forces the question- meant by whom? The original authors? The hierarchy that used them to persuade people to share in the group? Or the people themselves?

This time through, I'm thinking about the Bible story of 1 Kings 1:18-40, Elijah vs 450 prophets of Baal. He challenges them to a duel, separate bull sacrifices, and the real God would set His altar on fire. Elijah even douses his rebuilt altar with 12 jugs of water!
Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
(I kind of hope some of the 450 prophets got to, like, taste what was in the jars and make sure it was really water, given that Elijah apparently had all of them slaughtered after he won.)

But back to the story... does it sound like it was geared for a people who were "meant" to take things metaphorically? On a meta-level, it comes out and says "what's important is that God is Supernaturally True, with a connection to our physical reality that we can recognize." The proof of the puddings in the burning! Not just "the way we the people should live" or "profound metaphors that add depth and instruction to our lives".
February, the dumbest month to spell. Orthographically speaking it's the Wednesday of the year.
Take it from Max -

Comic based on Dr. Suart Ritchie's thoughts on where the Scientific Journal/Peer Review system has serious problems and what we can do about it.

photos of the month

February 2, 2021


February 3, 2021

CONTENT WARNING EATING MANAGEMENT

Trying to figure out if I'm actually hungerier in winter, or if my inner self has just started mixing up momentary transitory craving - just thinking of a tasty food - with actual hunger.

I've always been a "grazer" but it's a little worse now.

That said I'm not doing too badly, there are a lot of solid emotional and circumstantial reasons why many people are weighing more than they'd like during quarantine, and no one should beat themselves up too much no matter where they are with that.

It's all weird emotion - last Spring I started feeling a bit food insecure - every trip to the grocery was an uknown risk that I've now grown acclimated to - and my body started being less hungry, in an anxious kind of way. I lost 15 pounds, but I've gained 5 back, and its taken a lot of diligence to stay there.
I was young and love to me was a fuse that was lit, not a garden that was grown.
Hiram Walker in Ta-Nehisi Coates' "The Water Dancer"
Read by my UU Anti-Racism reading and discussion group. Very good magical realism tale of a young black man discovering how he can be of use to the Underground Railroad.

new music playlist january 2021

February 4, 2021
Decent, not great month for music. A lot from Spotify.
Hooked On Polkas
"Weird Al" Yankovic
One of the few polka medleys I grew up with but didn't have in my collection!
My mom bought me a book going over all of his songs...
Effortless Elegance
Keith Mansfield, Alessandro Rizzo & Elliot Ireland
Funky little background piece I think they use in one of the Saints Row games.



This Year
The Mountain Goats
"I am going to make it through this year if it kills me..."
via this tumblr post



Twister
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Weird Al Beastie Boy pastiche.
Brings me right back to summer camp when I played this tape again and again in my walkman.



That's the Way It Is
Daniel Lanois
Melancholy Cowboy song from "Red Dead Redemption 2"



Champage
Liz & Lisa
Wistful late 80s indie.
Like almost a decade or so ago Amber mentioned not being able to find this one song "Chamapagne" on an old Lisa Loeb tape from 1989, but now it's here on Youtube, and I ripped it as an mp3.
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing (Acoustic Version)
Karizma Duo
Nice cover of a cheesy song.
Hunted around on iTunes for a more palatable cover that caught the grace of it, after seeing it in Saints Row or something.



The devil wap down to Georgia
Dj Cummerbund
Crazy mashup
Some of these mashups are doing interesting tricks to make the vocalist sound like they're changing the words (like it opens with the guy saying "devil wap down to Georgia"?)
Walk on the Wild Side
Suzanne Vega
Cover.
I was wondering "huh, what is Suzanne Vega doing these days.



Wellerman
The Longest Johns
Sea Shanty (unless your pedantic on wikipedia, then it's a "whaling song") making the rounds...
Guess I saw the same aux cord video other folks did.
Da Doo Ron Ron
The Crystals
Wall of sound at its best.
RIP Phil Spector.
You, Dear
Eloise
Modern torch song.
Random spotify recommendation, I think looking for makeout music.
Burn
Ray LaMontagne
Folk tinged smokey song.
Melissa likes this one.
Too Repressed
Sometymes Why
Very blunt folk. ("I want to f*** you, but I'm too repressed...")
That Spotify playlist.
New York's My Home
Shirley Horn
Love song to NYC.
The Fran Lebowitz thing on Netflix had a different version of this song.



Revelry
The Careful Ones
Indie sounding pop. I just dig that sharp, high contrast percussion.
That Spotify playlist.

Everyone talks about how 2×2 and 2+2=4 but nobody talks about how 3×2×1 and 3+2+1=6
by yaboi1679, /r/Showerthoughts

paying it forward (to yourself), paying it back (also to yourself)

February 5, 2021
Sometimes reframing a necessary, repeated task makes it seem less onerous.

For example, I make a pot of coffee every other day, refrigerate it, and that's my morning beverage over the next two days. Somehow, it seemed like less of a burden if instead of thinking "ugh, every other day I have to make coffee" I frame it as "ah, now that I've finished off this pot, I should make a new one for myself for the next two days"

Similarly, daily physical activity can feel like a chore. In that case, I really liked hearing Willy Nelson saying he frames his daily walk or jog of what not as "paying for the day" - somehow that "pay as you go" sense, bit of gratitude seems much friendlier to me than a more typical "do it to benefit your future self!" while still acknowledging it often isn't something the current self really wants to do.

It's interesting that in one case it feels better to think of it as helping my future self, and the other as payment for where I am already, a debt owed by my present self rather than TO my future self.


Ha-ha-ha-ha!
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

It's getting kind of hard
To believe things are going to get better
I've been drowning too long
To believe that the tide's going to turn
And I've been living too hard
To believe things are going to get easier now
I'm still trying to shake off
The pain from the lessons I've learned

Having you here now
I see things are going to be brighter
Oh, and feeling you here now
I know I might make it through
Oh, loving you this long
Has made me believe in forever
And with you, these dreams
I'd forgotten might somehow come true

And knowing your embrace this well
Just makes me want to be better
And knowing your heart this well
Makes me wish mine would grow
(Oh my love)
And loving you this much
Makes me want to write sweet songs forever
With a little love, babe
We could make the whole world know
How much I love you

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

And when I see your face
I will swear to the Lord I was dreaming
And when I hold your hand
I watch time disappear into air
(Oh my love)
And when I speak your name
I can feel I just said something sacred
While saints pray for heaven
I thank God I'm already there

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

February 6, 2021

Rice Cakes! I know for many they are too much "diet food" but Quaker Oats has some that hit a good flavor and texture combo: the savory powder of Tomato + Basil, the chocolate-y chunks in Chocolate - both great.

But Caramel? Something about the sweetness and texture is anti-nostalgia, pure "I wish I was eating real dessert" sadness.

Unless you put some nutella on those bad boys. Then you're in business again.
Interesting - I guess the full story of the Trojan Horse makes the people of Troy seem a BIT less gullible, and the Greeks more cunning
Board game fans! The giant Quarantine Games doc - a bunch of games that can be played online, can be overwhelming. A while back some friends and I started a more modest vouched for games-list.

In some ways I'm only a so-so board game fan, especially strategic ones - like, taking an hour or something just to find out at the end that I'm not as smart as my friends has limited appeal. I do love a good drawing game though - Jack Box Bundles of course has many (Tee KO being my favorite) but a drawasaurus is a very good Pictionary clone.

Last night I played Ticket to Ride on Steam - just found out that there's a Tabletop2gether Humble Bundle on Steam, with all the variations of Ticket to Ride and some other solid titles for a name-your-price supporting St. Jude Children's. (>= $10 unlocks it all)

Finally, I found out of my favorite charming and strategic but fast and easy games "Hey, That's My Fish!" is available at Yucata.de - slightly klutzy interface and it's just one game among many, but the implementation of Fish seems pretty solid! (Not as polished as the awesome iPad version, which also has a one player mode, but good enough)
Everyone is self centered, the radius differs.
TheSarcasticCrayon, /r/Showerthoughts

February 7, 2021

Aw, kitty had belly shaved for an ultrasound a while back...







Wait, what is 'Eating Remote'?
Melissa can't decide if I was being dumb on purpose in response to the Wayne's World / Uber Eats "Eat Local" spot.

left brain for language, right brain for realness

February 8, 2021
Sam Harris podcast speaking with Iain McGilchrist on
on The Divided Brain: on how the two hemispheres interact and form us, and other tangents with implications for culture as a whole.

As always, I'm incredibly intrigued by the split mind topic. I feel as if a lot of different psychological models are about this divide: Freud's Ego/Id, the conscious vs the subconscious self, the "Elephant and the Rider" metaphor, the inner-child and..uh, the rest of us. McGilchrist adds another framing: the Master and his Emissary - the Right brain being the Master that sends the Emissary out to communicate with the world.

One question is, do all these models map well to a Left/Right hemisphere split? (And in that case, what about Society of Mind like models that introduce a kind of "subsystems rousing the rest of parliament" idea?).

Before getting into this, I'd note one small pragmatic breakthrough: mnemonically, I have a hard time remembering which stereotype was of the "Left Brain" and which of the right; but now I can remember Left = L = Language, Right = R = Real, as in "keeping it real"* (and as the Chapelle Show reminds us, keeping it real can go very wrong sometimes.)

Anyway.

"Master/Emissary" would seem to be closest to "Elephant/Rider" - but McGilchrist has a thesis that our society is poorer because we've been letting the left style of thinking side gain ascendency. The second half of his book (named after the "Master and his Emissary" model) is said to point to how various cultures - the Greeks, Renaissance Europe have thrived when they've achieved a better balance. And during the podcast he takes a tangential poke at wokeness, claiming it's a left-brain kind of thing, and lacking the warmth and fundamental humanness of more Right-brain-oriented approaches.

So, assuming there's something to this split - which is a lot to grant... well, here's my best explanation as to what's going on. The Left brain can be more clever, the Right brain can me more wise. The Right brain is the seat of muscle memory and where repeated experience becomes knowledge. But - if those experiences have a consistent bias (like it may well in a society that has a lot of racist power inequity soaking through it) then the Right brain will have a broken, foul, yet self-assured wisdom. The Left brain - the part dedicated to our social interface, explaining ourselves to others - also has the tools of language and rational thought. If to the "anti-PC" folks, the Left brain - which, by chance, happens to be the political left as well - sounds shrill or vengeful, some of that is because it's engaged in trying to overthrow this very self-satisfied knowledge of the Right brain that has inequity and injustice impressed deeply into it as "just the way things are".

So I go on about this topic in part because I think it's important to my development as a more mature person. I feel it would be useful if my smarty pants Left brain could have a more solid model of what's actually going on in there. Like, if I have a flare up of temper - is that Left brain or Right brain? Or when I find a part of myself looking for a moment of distraction where that part will then impel my body to go grab a tasty snack... which side is driving that? And which side resents it?

My thought is that it's my Right brain with those more negative qualities (which is why I'm wondering if I'll tackle McGilchrist with skepticism, since he is so in praise of the Right)- also I wonder if my youthful religiosity - where the Left brain felt that understanding and acting on God's will from His Objectively True point of view was CRITICAL to keeping me from burning in hell - led me to be too cerebral, turning the Left brain into a bit of a nanny, and that my Right brain is immature and stunted and rather childlike - or perhaps, in a long-term sullen adolescence.

* At first I thought, aha, Left = L = Logic. But, that doesn't preclude Right = R = Rationality. So Language/Realness is a better split.
The other week, my dream self came up with the following pun:

They're what Uncles have: Knee-ces
Some really nice wooden craftsmanship! Sometimes i wish my creation mojo wasn't all virtual!

February 9, 2021

A brain doesn't store memories like files in a computer​--​it reconstructs them on demand with electricity and swirling chemicals. We call this process *remembering* but it's really *assembling*.
Lisa Feldman Barrett, "Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain"

Sometimes we're responsible for things not because they're our fault, but because we're the only ones who can change them.
Lisa Feldman Barrett, "Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain"

We can only ever understand anything by comparing it with something else that we think we already understand better.
Iain McGilchrist, "The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning"

Moving a lot as a child helps you identify how old you were when things happened in your life as you can associate age ranges to specific houses.
/r/showerthoughts

February 10, 2021

Ryan North and Albert Monteys' graphic novel adaption of Slaughterhouse Five was a great, brisk read. The concept of 4D space being essentially fixed is philosophically important, especially in terms of our feeling of free will while trapped in a universe of cause and effect (or cause and effect and quantum randomness...I'm not sure it matters that much if the base of the universe is falling dominoes or rolling dice...)

February 11, 2021

iPhone life hack. When you make a screenshot in Safari, if you click on the thumbnail before it flies off to "Photos", the edit screen has a "Full Page" option that lets you save a PDF of the whole long page instead of just a PNG of what you see. (via McGST, great blog)

February 12, 2021

Brilliant little puzzle game, adding gravity to chess
Folks at my education startup I was working at in 2011 were kind of obsessed with the original version of this...

February 13, 2021

For a possible future project, I figured out how to make a computer manipulate a hex grid- flashbacks to all those strategy games of my youth, like Steve Jackson's OGRE...

There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people that stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on the Earth.
Mitch McConnell
THEN IMPEACH THE @$@$^%^#@!& YA NUMBNUTS. SEND HIM A MESSAGE AND STOP HIM FROM RUNNING AGAIN.

February 14, 2021


via

AI Generated Candy Hearts
Well, I used to be bad when I was a kid but ever since then I have gone straight as I can prove by my record; thirty-three arrests and no convictions.
Big Jule, a gangster in "Guys and Dolls"
I played him in a high school production, and this is his biggest laugh line. Right now, I can picture Trump saying something similar.
bailey's chocolate martinis for valentine's day by my sweetie Melissa!

February 15, 2021

fun fact about me is that when i was a kid id write capital E's with as many of those little horizontal lines as possible and id call them ladder E's and adults fucking hated them

All capital letters should have a leveled-up form

So far I've got Please add your own unsettling godtier capitals!



New alphabet dropped!
kalanchoeblossfeldiana, via

February 16, 2021

Good morning.

Don't tell but I think I agreed to buy a house yesterday.
This Fat Tuesday why not enjoy a Youtube Mardi Gras playlist? (via School of Honk founder Kevin L - also see his other youtube playlists and on spotify

February 17, 2021

RIP Rush Limbaugh. He and Gingrich (w/ the Contract w/ America) were f'in master rhetoricians/propagandists who really helped drive the wedge that has fractured our nation. Grudging admiration with anger at his stance.
Which metric is a better predictor of the severity of the fall surge in US states?

1) Margin of Democrat victory in Nov 2020 election
or
2) % infected through Sep 1, 2020

Spoiling the question: the more Dem the state voted, the lesser their COVID surge in the Fall - like that was a much stronger correlation than the % of the state's population infected before September 1.

Different political leans leads to different results in human misery.
And another more dynamic graphic, cases per million per state, color coded politically.

February 18, 2021

A long while ago, without permission I posted Garrison Keillor's Don Giovanni to my website The Blender of Love. The story is mostly a dialog, where florid piano bar pianist Don Giovanni argues the merits of the single guy, libertine life with Figaro, his more stolid and married companion. The Don speaks in a beautifully elevated prose style... here are some of the lines that have REALLY stuck with me all these years: (I'm not saying he's right! but whatever he is saying he is saying it memorably...)
Figaro, my friend, a man owes it to himself to stop and consider the three advantages of the single life.

One, if you're single, you can think. Two, you can act. Three, you can feel. Probably there are other advantages, but those three surely are important, yes?

But even a married man knows what he should have done. You should find a cheap place to live- who needs a mansion?

Alone, your life is intuitive, like poetry. With a woman, it's a form of bookkeeping.

"My love, light of my life, my interest in you is as vast as the Great Plans. Share with me what is in your heart so that we may draw close in the great duet of matrimony."

"Some of what you say, I suppose, is true," said Figaro, "but a guy needs a wife, someone who cares if you've collapsed in the shower with your leg broken."

Well, your chances of collapsing in the shower are sharply improved by being married, the Don said. Helpless rage is a major cause of falls in the home.

And then we'll undress quickly without shame, as adults, and jump into the big bed and amuse each other as only adults can do

(looks like you can get an MP3 of Garrison Keillor reading it...)
...Heh, a few days late for Valentines!

So, The Love Blender (it never could quite decide if it was "Blender of Love", or "The Love Blender") was/is a romance poetry website I started in the early days of the web, trying to stand out by gathering all these romantic prose and poetry bits I had typed in to try and woo my big college on-again/mostly-off-again (with decidedly mixed results). I put on a note saying "Something you want to see on the Blender of Love? Send it in!" thinking people would send in stuff from authors they loved, but what people mostly wanted then was a place to put their own writing, and eventually I turned it into a monthly digest.

These days it's a ghost town, but at its height in the early 2000s it was getting over 400 poems sent in a month! Before those peaks, in the 90s, it even got a mention in The New Yorker:

Blender of Love (http://alienbill.com/romance) "My brain says 'run' but the heart says 'browse.'" That sentiment appears as a thought balloon above the head of a man facing a woman with enough "emotional baggage" for an ocean cruise, in a cartoon by Adam Green that's posted (it looks literally pasted) on this Boston-based love site. Some visitors' brains may have the same reaction; an editorial page ("Kirk Rambles Regarding Romance") is somewhat puerile, and much of the correspondence is downright sophomoric. But a glance at the site's collection of poetry will get your heart in gear and put you back in a browsing mood. It has everything from standard carpe-diem fare, such as "To His Coy Mistress," to the more fatalistic "Theory," by Dorothy Parker, to surprises like Donald Hall's whimsical "Valentine"-- all in all, a satisfying sampler of ruminations on love in its various conditions, coital and post-, present tense and past.

Though the site is collegiate in its over-all-tone, it's ancient in Internet terms, having been up, in some form, since 1993. Its creator, Kirk Israel, is not ashamed to post his own fiction (thought you may be ashamed to read it). Other prose collected here includes a snippet from Tony Morrison's novel "Beloved" and a saucier offering from the ubiquitous Web siren M.A. Mohanraj. The response to Israel's literal labor of love bears testament to the heart's eternal folly. The Blender has spawned a monthly journal, featuring more writing, brash and impassioned. The Heart-on-Sleeve corner posts love poems and missives from visitors (mainly women), most filled with longing and self-pity. It will make you feel young again.
The New Yorker, Aug 25-Sep 1 1997 ("Only Connect" column, pg 22)
Once I looked up what "puerile" meant I was slightly offended! But hey, at least it was The New Yorker calling me that.

Heh. loveblender.com/prose/ and loveblender.com/poetry/ were the heart of the site back then. Not so sure about the old stuff I wrote but a lot of the other bits, worth checking out... I've forgotten a bunch of it.

This article on the challenges of figure skating in the USA was much more engrossing than I expected, given that the sport has never been my cuppa. Especially breath taking was a Elladj Baldé clip they embedded... I don't know how much is the style, the way you can see the path the blade leaves behind on the outdoor azure ice, or the intimacy of a camera traveling with the performer, but it really let me see a kind of beauty in it that I hadn't before.
Whoa we're aiming to put another rover on Mars today?? Watch online!

February 19, 2021

February 20, 2021











February 21, 2021

Did my usual 4-hour weekend facetime w/ my superniece Cora. Last week we started in with "ScratchJr", a beginner's programming kit that runs on tablets and I think phones and stuff, and this week she showed me some cool little scenes she did. She hasn't really gotten into the programming part yet (mostly she just has characters walk right for a bit) but she's doing some creative stuff with it!

It was interesting seeing her visibly soak in my praise for what she'd done. I need to find that balance of praising her legitimately cool things done so far with places where I'd like to see her push into with the tool-kit. How to get to "That's so cool, and..." and not "That's so cool, but".

I've been thinking lately about my relative emotional flatness. On a semi-tangent, one friend mentioned I was "mild-mannered" and while I appreciate the Clark Kent reference, it did make me wonder how I come across. Sometimes it gets on Melissa's nerves, or makes her worried, because I really am against letting emotions snowball so they start taking on a life of their own - when they become self-sustaining and you lose that connection with happenings in the outside world, it feels like they lack accountability, somehow, subject mostly to their own sometimes opaque logic.

At its worst, I worry I basically prefer to have two emotions, at varying degrees of intensity: satisfaction (I like this/love this/am proud of this) and annoyance (I would prefer this was otherwise.)
Ugh, couldn't embed it but this video on renovations for my alma mater Euclid High School was quite the trip down memory lane. Impressed at how many good programs they had. I didn't do any Votech, and missed out on doing any arts except band (and some drama) but it seems like they were doing a lot of great stuff, and were keeping a high quality college-prep/AP program.
A microphone on Mars is great, but if, for a fee, Nasa made it possible for people to blast their favorite beat on the planet, via a loudspeaker , it could pay for the entire mission.
j0hnk50, /r/Showerthoughts

Everything happens so much
@Horse_ebooks

They say "Life is just one damn thing after another," is a gross understatement. The damn things overlap.
1947 Cincinnati Enquirer

February 22, 2021

I've been reading AI researcher Janelle Shane's "You Look Like a Thing and I Love You" - she runs the AI weirdness blog and has a lot of fun seeing what oddities algorithms can come up with, like if you had a robot trying to figure out what ice cream flavors sounded good to a human.

Shane's view of the current state of AI seems more in line with what I thought I knew of where things were, vs my former coworker Slater (who is probably significantly smarter and more versed and practice in the field than I am but OH WELL.) Shane puts a modern AI's brain about the level of a worm, I don't want to paraphrase badly but I think Slater uses the term "human level" more freely. And that's certainly true for some tasks. (In trying to understand Slater's perspective, I do noticed how unfair the question is in reverse... from the CPU's point of view typical human level for calculation isn't even at the pocket calculator level.) Slater has expressed that it's a bit daft to try and get a computer to be smart in just the same way a human is smart, that we already have humans to be smart in that way, and they can work together to much greater effect. (Again, apologies for oversimplifying his views.)

One problem with AI can lurk in edge cases you didn't think of. Like, they will happily exploit any glitches in your physics to maximize the result you tell it to look for - happily evolve a tiny, fast critter that can glitch behind a wall and then get shot back out at tremendous speed in order to maximize velocity, say. One quote:
Sometimes I think the surest sign that we're not living in a simulation is that if we were, some organism would have learned to exploit its glitches.
My first thought was...huh, that might be the kind of thing a warp drive maker would be hunting for. Then I realized, in a way, nuclear weapons are kind of exploiting a glitch like that, or at least using the same kind of logic as a game glitch exploiter. (Oh, what happens if we put ENOUGH of this one kind of material all in one space at once? BOOOM!)

The book goes over some examples of AI's exploiting deficiencies in the win conditions, same stuff as in Specification gaming examples in AI. (Like a robot meant to travel far with minimum energy expenditure might build itself very very tall, so that it can just fall over and end up with a center of gravity far from its starting position without using any energy. Weirdly, this might not be as fake-y a solution as it sounds- prairie grasses and Walking palms might use the same trick!)

So to a layreader like myself, the solution seems to be a "who watches the watchmen" kind of thing, like making an evaluation-function-evaluator, that would spot violations of real world physics (or human morality) that would make a found solution untenable.

But suddenly I combined this idea with another recent reading interest of mine, lateralization of human brains - trying to crack the mystery out why the brain - a machine designed for connections - has found it expedient to divide into two quasi-independent halves. My new "just so" story hypothesis is... maybe that's partially for one part to be able to monitor the other part for this kind of exploitation. You can still have one part optimizing for simpler things ("I like cookies! I'm going to grab this one!") but another that contextualize and evaluate the likely results in a wider context ("that cookie belongs to my friend and they will be mad at me if I steal it"). Given that so many of the connections between the hemispheres seem inhibitory, this idea - while grossly incomplete - might not be totally offbase.
Asked to describe what happened during the assault on the Capitol, 58% of Trump voters call it 'mostly an antifa-inspired attack that only involved a few Trump supporters.' That's more than double the 28% who call it 'a rally of Trump supporters, some of whom attacked the Capitol.'

USA Today + Suffolk University, via
Damn. What are these people smoking? What lies are they listening to?
Interesting piece on 5/4 time. I didn't realize that the "long long, short short" of the Mission Impossible theme also spells out "M I" in morse code...

February 23, 2021

Everything is a clock. Some of them are harder to read than others.
Great podcast on physics! Also I guess this quote is a little kinder sounding than Star Trek's "Time is the fire in which we burn"...
Draw an iceberg, see how it would float - fun little toy!
An Ode to Low Expectations

February 24, 2021

German is Lego for words especially in these pandemic times.
Excellent point (from 1910) about Confederate Statues...

Elisha Hunt Rhodes at a GAR meeting. via
Ugh, I just found out something I have in common with that bozo Ted Cruz, we are both ok with canned soup. (Yesterday Melissa mentioned she does not share that ok-ness for her own eating.)

I just like it as an easy, known-calorie kind of savory thing...
It's just as much a "debodying" as it is a "beheading."
aguyfromhere, /r/showerthoughts

Hiking is an ideal structure for friendship.
I don't ever want to die in a way that is amusing to other people.
Fran Lebowitz recounting the downside of her Alaskan expedition to see bears.

February 25, 2021

I enjoyed Janelle Shane's "You Look Like a Thing and I Love You" - about the limits and possibilities of how we're doing AI these days. Her AI Weirdness blog has lots of examples of fun projects she's tried, the book mentions transitioning an AI from making metal band names to ice cream flavors and she says
(There's only a miiinor awkward phase in between, when it's generating things like this:)

Knowledge is never free, you pay attention.
Johnthebabayagawick, /r/showerthoughts
Luckily, as humans, we join together and can get some of our knowledge wholesale! Like science, for example.

This aligns with Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind" Moral Foundations theory- one part of which is saying there's been a left/right split along these lines going way back in history across different cultures.

February 26, 2021

I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Shit. That's a lot of obstacles.
Lore Brand Comics were the best.

February 27, 2021

Decided I wanted to move to something simpler and less chaotic than my Wall O' Peeps and decided to get a thing from inkifi.com - a single largeish framed 4 x 13 grid of square cropped photos. (and I'm labeling them here just for fun...)
melissa
foosball
jon + lilia + sophie
cora + mama c
johnny + jphonk
arun + bolt
liz + kazoo
mama k + cora
forager
me + scheiny
david + hunter
e
amber
hannah+mindy+
johnny
ariana
ksenia
cmg
joshua+erin
jz
john
miller
kay
cordelia
mo
lupschada
lee
jane
eb
habib
sarah
dylan
rebekah
lena
veronika
jen
marnie
kyle
judith
couch
mike,wendy,lynn
jenny + ellen
w/ toni
marcos + baptista
melas+uncle bill
w/ todd
beau
cornell
santa + dad
cousins+grandma
w/ papa sam
mom
I find it satisfying to (once again) plumb my photographic past and find photos meaningful to me, mostly because of who is in them but also with an eye towards the visually arresting. And this arrangement was interesting... I decided to build from the bottom up chronologically, with my parents anchoring the corners. Sometimes I used choice of photo or proximity (or lack thereof) to make a message or a joke. I used more photos that didn't show up in previous projects.

February 28, 2021

What I got out of that story was something still very new to me: I understood at last what art is really for, at least in certain respects. It gives somebody, individually, pleasure. You can make something that somebody likes so much that they're depressed, or they're happy, on account of that damn thing you made! In science, it's sort of general and large: You don't know the individuals who have appreciated it directly.
I understood that to sell a drawing is not to make money, but to be sure that it's in the home of someone who really wants it; someone who would feel bad if they didn't have it. This was interesting.
Richard Feynman, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"
I thought of this story yesterday when talking about commissions, especially for arts that are avocations and not full on careers. (For me, it's the appropriate pricing for band gigs and Porchfest websites that are tricky.)

(NB, Feynman is an amazing character in physics but also emblematic of enormous sexism and structural chauvinism in scientific academia that persists to this era.)

The video is a fantasy with some fantastic but impossible rides... but it reminds that I am bummed that I have few friends who dig roller coasters and thrill rides as much as I do...ahhh the good old days of Cedar Point....
So, CPAC made up a golden Trump statue. That's cool and totally normal. Exodus 32 was way overrated anyway. Oh, and made in Mexico, to boot.

Oh and stage design of a Nazi symbol Odal rune. Someone's having fun!
kind of a bummer to have been born at the very end of the Fuck Around century just to live the rest of my life in the Find Out century


Reincarnation exists. You wish it didn't. All conscious minds are simply feeding appendages of an extra dimensional parasitic being which consumes meaning from its host universe. Upon death everything you have experienced and all that you are is stripped from you. You vow to poison the beast.



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