2023 April❮❮prevnext❯❯

April 1, 2023

WaPo What does an AR-15 do to a human body? is a complement to the older What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns

I wish this was April Fools...

April 2, 2023


same applies for banks and trains which is why big moods of deregulation are often misguided.

April 3, 2023


Open Photo Gallery

view from up there...

Saturday at John Brewer's

decided to break out the Lego. I've actually split my childhood collection, 1/3 to Cora, the other thirds to 2 other old friends with kids...so we're left with the dregs of what I've acquired as a grownup.

The storm trooper minfig with a full size figure helmet was a big hit.

One of Stone Zoo's famous penguins.

These chicken shots were some of my favorites of the day

April 4, 2023

There's much to disagree with, but this is an interesting take on if "should you worship something just because it's powerful", and also an Islamic take on the kind of more-transcendent and abstract less personified sense of God...

April 5, 2023



April 6, 2023

This month's new music. (I admit I'm tired of the old song and dance I used to put into this...)

4 star:
Mercedes Benz (Janis Joplin)
Simply Irresistible (feat. Brad Davis) (Pickin' On Series)
Follow the Leader (7" Edit) (Eric B. & Rakim)
Otis (feat. Otis Redding) (JAY-Z & Kanye West)
Mercedes Benz I had all the way back in college, but weirdly didn't make the cut when I ripped my DVDs (also does she change the key halfway through?) Simply Irresistible is a fun bluegrass-y cover. The other two are just good sounding hiphop.

3 star:
We Shall Win (Euphonium Multi-Track) (Jorijn van Hese)
Just a Girl (feat. Loah) (Wyvern Lingo)
I See a Darkness (Johnny Cash)
Tina (La Integracion)
Break Through It All (feat. Kellin Quinn) (SEGA / Tomoya Ohtani)
1985 (Bowling for Soup)
Toujours gai (From "Shinbone Alley") (Eartha Kitt)
Goodbye Earl (The Chicks)
You're Gonna Go Far, Kid (The Offspring)
Play Ball (Kenny Mason)
Jumpin' Jack Flash (7" Mix) (Aretha Franklin)
Gritty Man (.45 Soundtrack) (Timothy Sean Fitzpatrick)
Survivor (2WEI & Edda Hayes)
Mad About the Boy (From "Words and Music") (The Piccadilly Dance Orchestra)
A 9-year-old girl didn't want her goat slaughtered. California fair officials sent deputies after it JFC, maybe ACAB after all.

April 7, 2023

On my devblog - a response to an episode of a friend's podcast on design. It's funny because it's easy to think of "detail-oriented" as an unalloyed good, and presume that the opposite of that is just sloppy and bad, but when you think about how a good design needs a resiliency and flexibility, the trees-forest relationship is more complicated.
you are not immune to propaganda crop top and propaganda booty shorts

Tried reading while taking my daily walk, seemed like a better use of mind input time than the podcasts I had lined up. Last time I consciously remember doing similar was maybe sixth grade, on the way to the cafeteria. It's not that hard to multitask and keep an eye on where you'll be stepping...

April 8, 2023

how most of the "founding fathers" owned slaves. but abolitionists knew they were wrong.

April 9, 2023

wishing everyone a happy confederate surrender day

(via bobby lewis)

(Also Easter, Passover, Ramadan)

via this post with Umberto Eco's 14 signs of Ur-Fascism.
A.O Scott ending his time as NY Times Movie Critic. I really need to see La Dolce Vita.
I think I've seen this video before but it's mesmerizing.

April 10, 2023

Last clip in this link is the original wilhelm scream session, like 6 takes. (about the wilhelm scream)
I am convinced that Trump only ever first decided to run for president because he really enjoys being on television
Justin Peters, though he is also wary of a 3-way-love-affair of Trump, Fox News, and "the left itself, which loves and needs Donald Trump: as a boogeyman, a topic for tweets and columns and late-night monologue dunks, a fundraising catalyst, a tribal unifier, and as an eminently beatable candidate in the 2024 presidential election."

April 11, 2023

RIP Al Jaffee. You made the world a MADder place

April 12, 2023

I worship a god in the sense that a deep sea mollusc worships the whale corpse it's eating

Maybe Treating Housing as an Investment was a Colossal, Society-Shattering Mistake...

Sending off Van Damme was a mistake. He played with passion. "Passion" is a word we use when talk about love. It is also a word we use to describe a crime. ...Sometimes it is also a fruit.
Zava, Ted Lasso

April 13, 2023


April 14, 2023

momento moray comic

April 15, 2023

I improved a recreation of a graphpaper font I used to do by hand in high school...

April 16, 2023


April 17, 2023


[Leonard Leo] figured out twenty years ago that conservatives had lost the culture war. Abortion, gay rights, contraception -- conservatives didn't have a chance if public opinion prevailed. So they needed to stack the courts.

April 18, 2023


Open Photo Gallery

I do love fictional brands, thinking about logos and what not is always a kick.

April 19, 2023


diffusionBee, "a cat with black and white features and tentacles from a snake's body rising out of water in a photorealistic style"

April 20, 2023

remember the alamo!

more specifically remember that it was about white folk fighting to be able to keep slaves.

(small tangent in Vonnegut's Hocus Pocus)

April 21, 2023


How To Make Good Small Game

I used to be more into making small games - especially at glorious trainwrecks and their 2-hour-game-jams. Small games often hearken back to the early days of video games where games tended to lean on novel physics and other mechanics, often on a single screen, instead of world-building and lore.

Processing (Java) and then P5 were my platforms of choice. You had to do everything from scratch, but you had absolute flexibility. And skills I learned in small game making have come in useful in small projects for work and the interactive greeting cards I still enjoy making.

games.alienbill.com is probably the high point of my small-game hobby, where I gathered 25 of the most interesting things I had made into an advent calendar.

from Kurt Vonnegut's Hocus Pocus

Working my way through Vonnegut - Hocus Pocus is one of his later books (1990) and is disturbingly modern with its thoughts on messing with the climate (though with a tinge of expecting glaciers for a new ice age, a sentiment I remember from a Barney Miller episode) and white folks who want lots of guns.
I AM NOT writing this book for people below the age of 18, but I see no harm in telling young people to prepare for failure rather than success, since failure is the main thing that is going to happen to them.

In terms of basketball alone, almost everybody has to lose. A high percentage of the convicts in Athena, and now in this much smaller institution, devoted their childhood and youth to nothing but basketball and still got their brains knocked out in the early rounds of some darn fool tournament.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus Pocus"

The lesson I myself learned over and over again when teaching at the college and then the prison was the uselessness of information to most people, except as entertainment. If facts weren't funny or scary, or couldn't make you rich, the heck with them.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus Pocus"

"I have to tell you, though, that you are not the first person to say the game was all over for the human race. I'm sure that even in Egypt before the first pyramid was constructed, there were men who attracted a following by saying, 'It's all over now.' "

"What is different about now as compared with Egypt before the first pyramid was built--" Ed began.

"And before the Chinese invented printing, and before Columbus discovered America," Jason Wilder interjected.

"Exactly," said Bergeron.

"The difference is that we have the misfortune of knowing what's really going on," said Bergeron, "which is no fun at all. And this has given rise to a whole new class of preening, narcissistic quacks like yourself who say in the service of rich and shameless polluters that the state of the atmosphere and the water and the topsoil on which all life depends is as debatable as how many angels can dance on the fuzz of a tennis ball."

He was angry.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus Pocus"

The most important message of a crucifix, to me anyway, was how unspeakably cruel supposedly sane human beings can be when under orders from a superior authority.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus Pocus"

[On Human Space Travel] "How could all that meat, needing so much food and water and oxygen, and with bowel movements so enormous, expect to survive a trip of any distance whatsoever through the limitless void of outer space? It was a miracle that such ravenous and cumbersome giants could make a roundtrip for a 6-pack to the nearest grocery store."
The Author of "The Protocols of the Elders of Tralfamadore" in Kurt Vonnegut's "Hocus Pocus"

I agree with the great Socialist writer George Orwell, who felt that rich people were poor people with money.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus Pocus"

Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus Pocus"

[The 3 servants of the prison warden] were old, old men, sentenced to life in prison without hope of parole, back when I was a little boy in Midland City. I hadn't even learned to read and write, probably, when they ruined some lives, or were accused of doing so, and were forced to lead lives not worth living as a consequence.

That would certainly teach them a lesson.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus Pocus"

My second point, in fact, was something the convicts had taught me. They all believed that the White people who insisted that it was their Constitutional right to keep military weapons in their homes all looked forward to the day when they could shoot Americans who didn't have what they had, who didn't look like their friends and relatives, in a sort of open-air shooting gallery we used to call in Vietnam a "Free Fire Zone." You could shoot anything that moved, for the good of the greater society, which was always someplace far away, like Paradise.
Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus Pocus"

"At least we still have freedom of speech," I said.

And she said, "That isn't something somebody else gives you. That's something you have to give yourself."
Kurt Vonnegut, "Hocus Pocus"

Otter teaches human how to pet him.
Statistically, some of you will be single parents. Sorry, I have bad news for you: Love dies, and children live.
Laurie Kilmartin

Celebrating a weird anniversary today - I just noticed about half of my music is date April 22, 2013 - ten years ago today (so like 2232 songs out of 4397 have the same date, though I know I ripped a big chunk of that from CDs in 2004 when I got my first iPod). I think that's most likely indicating when I switched to a mac as my main computer...

Its weird how liking to have files of music seems to make me old and stodgy. I just don't get the Spotify lifestyle, having to pay rent to get to your music...

April 23, 2023

protesting for housing justice

On "God Soul Mind Brain"

Bob Doyle suggested Michael Graziano's "God Soul Mind Brain" might be a good book for the kind of stuff my Science and Spirituality group is approaching. Here's some of what I wrote back to him on finishing the book:

So "God Soul Mind Brain" was a pretty easy read.

It didn't present me with too many new-to-me ideas. I think the most interesting one reframing God as Qualia - like since we can't know "Ding an sich" and sensory perceptions are "our" reality, then "God is Real" in that sense, when combined with human's sensory apparatus that is highly biased towards looking for intentionality and purpose behind every damn thing:
Indeed, calling God a belief is a misnomer. It is more than a belief; it is more than a theory; it is more than imagination; it is a perception. That is precisely why it feels real to people. It is one of the reasons why atheists and religious people talk at cross purposes. To the religious, God is not really about theories and deductions, reasons for and reasons against. It is not really a cognitive proposition. To those who have the perception, the pervasive universal consciousness feels like external reality. One experiences the love and the anger and the awareness of God. Is God real? In the view described here, God is as real as the color red, also a perceptual construct of the brain.
But in that way the book doesn't engage with the main thrust of many (probably most) believers, which is that God and religion represent a shared, objective, supernatural reality. Unlike my mushy view of "divinity" possibly emerging from mundane stuff, the traditional religious view is fundamentally topdown. In this view God's purpose and intent comes from outside and precedes our system of mundane matter and energy.

Graziano writes about the brain basis of morality:
At its core is the realization that when we plumb inwardly for moral truth, we follow a specific process of firing up thought X and assessing its emotional tinge. We may say to ourselves, "On deep reflection, I realize that X is wrong," or, "X is right." But the inner reflection does not reveal anything about a moral framework of the universe. Instead, the inner reflection is a way of assessing our own quirky, culturally and personally learned emotional associations.
I'd argue this view is wrongfooted because it's implicitly referring to a single brain; but if morality is a property that emerges from connected group of lots of brains and subjective feelings/thoughts/observations, that might offer a way that transcends this description of a more purely subjective process.

Finally I'll wrap up with him pointing out
To be honest, I am not sure that religiosity is statistically correlated with brutality or decency. I tend to think that people are brutal and decent, selfish and incredibly generous, whatever level of religiosity they may practice. Yes, wars have been fought in the name of religion, but the Soviet Union also did a good job of violent mayhem with an atheistic premise.
I'd say what unites religious and atheistic bellicosity is authoritarian self-assuredness. I recently finished Vonnegut's "Hocus Pocus" and this observation of the narrator comes to mind:
The most important message of a crucifix, to me anyway, was how unspeakably cruel supposedly sane human beings can be when under orders from a superior authority.
I feel like the view I've developed - that there IS absolute moral truth (and thus any purely subjective/"it's existentially up to you!" view should be rejected) but we can not be sure about what that truth is (and thus authoritarian certainty must also be vigorously fought, especially when it makes commands that would go against our subjective sense of humanistic sympathy and empathy) gets around this kind of atrocity-provoking dogma. But I worry that it might not get as much good stuff done in the world - maybe certainty (however unjustifiable) and faith might be prerequisites for action, and also for girding ourselves for "good" action against people with greedier intents. (as Bertrand Russell put it, "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people are so full of doubts.")

(Of course thinking of the counterfactual world populated with go-with-the-flow folks like me quickly brings one to, well, what is a good direction to try and get humanity aiming for anyway.)

April 25, 2023


Open Photo Gallery

April 26, 2023


April 27, 2023

For a private slack's "#ideas" brainstorming channel, I said we should make a campaign encouraging people to ... I dunno, not be quite so "The Cloud" and streaming centric. slogans like "OWN YOUR FILES" or... "CLOUDS BLOW AWAY".

I dunno. As I "hand repost" stuff to my 20+ year blog, I do take pride in the assemblage. And I know it's backed up in ways I control and won't just go away (barring some big events where decades old blog content will be the least of my problems). Ditto for my music. And while there are a several "sync your notes across devices" apps I use and trust, most of them have a good local cache so even if the company went away I could grab data. (I think google docs is one of the biggest exceptions, and I tend to use that mostly just for things I need to collaborate with other folks on)

Hell the same idea kind of shows up when I build software with my "NIH (Not Invented Here)" preferences for relying more on fewer, simpler things where I start simple and build my own bespoke complexities, vs kneejerk looking for a library to solve the problem for me. Like there's a parallel vibe in liking transparent things that I can understand and have a bit more control over.

Back in the 90s, there was a feeling that "URLs are forever". I mean you still have the negative sense of that in "you can't really fully remove things from the Internet" but it was a little shocking when a site went away and took its URLs with it.

Maybe this is all just sad anti-Buddhist attachment to things, as if my efforts to back up files will somehow keep me immortal. Though, I think the more connected you are with your past the longer your life feels, and if your life has been more or less pleasant that's on balance a good thing, so long as it doesn't occlude your feel of the present or work for a better future...
Q1 of this year (January - March of 2023) saw the largest number of Tech Industry layoffs in history. 183,720 layoffs in just three short months -- over three times the number of layoffs we saw during the Dot Com Bubble Burst of 1999.
definitely a sobering number especially for someone like me who is going to be laid off in 2 months.
I do wonder about the statistic though- both in terms of the tech industry being a lot bigger now than it was 2 decades ago, and then in terms of the timing... digging into the self-link he provided he looks at the number Dec 1999- Jan 2001. i got laid off spring of 2001, and then again in 2002. So the bright side is "maybe the number is as bad as all that", but that is undercut by "but who knows how long this will stumble along"

Anyway. I guess "'punishable by a fine' = 'allowed for rich people'" applies to businesses too...

April 28, 2023


Thinking about ChatGPT, its ability to communicate, its wide range of knowledge and its tendency to confabulate and fall right off the edge of what it actually knows about.

I just noticed these are all factors of the human left hemisphere ... a very similar mix of fluent language use that is informed by but not confined to reality. In split-brain experiments and some stroke cases, people with a lack of inter-hemisphere communication will gladly make up explanations for what their silent right hemispheres decide to do - it makes me wonder if the left hemisphere uses a similar process to ChatGPT's probabilistic "yeah, this sounds plausible as the next thing to say!" methodology. (Also in humans, I suspect this post-facto justification for what the organism decided to do is how we live all the time, but we tend to mistake the justifications for 'consciousness' and being the 'real' 'me')

So for now maybe that's the role humans have to play for ChatGPT: acting as the wiser, big-picture reserved holistic right hemisphere for the NLP's left hemisphere zoomed-in enthusiastic but reductionist model.

gorilla eating a pepper must watch

April 29, 2023

Call with Cora. She got one of those LCD doodle boards, like a more colorful version of the old "magic slate" toy. (Had to look up how it works... I think it uses just a bit of electricity for the erase button). probably the best result was using a "monster high" centaur as a model, but we got into but we got into "bad versions of loveable figures", so stalker santa, bad tooth-fairy, skeletal-cupid...

Beyond that, a lot of other centaurs, and a few doodles with the left hand...

Open Photo Gallery

Finding jeans that fit me well became easier when I realized "slim" doesn't mean "slim" per se (which I don't think I am really) but is also a euphemism for "no ass" (ding ding ding ding)

April 30, 2023


Open Photo Gallery

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