February 27, 2019

Making the rounds:


February 27, 2018

And we know this, because there are in fact rigorous, honest, intelligent Conservative writers who come right out and state the position that the state should not intervene in climate change. They're wrong, but at least they're honest and clear about the reality we're living in. The problem is, no one likes them, because they shatter the Conservative Identity of, "I'm a responsible person and also I don't believe in Big Government." Climate change is the big test of identity, because if it IS real, then the only choices are: "I don't believe in Big Government and am irresponsible when it comes to the fate of the world" and "I am responsible when it comes to the fate of the world and Big Government is the only solution." [...]
At a basic level, all of the policies of the GOP can be summed up this same way: "we don't want to." We all know that healthcare is good, and that universal healthcare is a good, effective system of getting it for people -- all the data is very clear. The GOP position isn't that it doesn't work, it's that they don't want to do it. The fact that other people will die doesn't matter. They don't care! They don't care they don't care they don't care.
You can view this through a Moral Foundations Theory lens; climate and health hit the liberals Care vs Harm foundation hard core, but conservatives have so many other things going term of Ingroup vs Subversion and Liberty vs Opression that they are compelled to turn to idiotic immoral outrages like "facts don't matter!!!" instead of owning up to how destructive and self-centered their views are.

February 27, 2017

From the Women's March a few weeks ago...

When I read that nobody should ever feel ashamed to be alone or to be in a crowd, I realized that I often felt ashamed of both of those things. Epictetus' advice: when alone, "call it peace and liberty, and consider yourself the gods' equal"; in a crowd, think of yourself as a guest at an enormous party, and celebrate the best you can.
My introduction to modern stoicism was via William Irving's "A Guide to the Good Life", Batuman's reading of the original texts brought some distinct thoughts and quotes I hadn't yet encountered. (I also liked "Starting with things of little value--a bit of spilled oil, a little stolen wine--repeat to yourself: 'For such a small price, I buy tranquillity.'")
RIP Judge Wapner...

February 27, 2016

On my dev blog, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Tab Bars.
6 profane seconds - "i laugh harder every time i replay it"
Trump and the art of going meta. This short-fingered freak is frighteningly adept. I listened to about 5 minutes of the debate, and was amazed at how Cruz and Rubio let him sound humanistic and rational as they try to paint him as a lefty for defending a "Democrat" line like "not letting people die in the street" - though I guess that says more about how Cruz and Rubio read what it means to be a Republican. He's as Teflon as Reagan, in terms of the idea that he'll pander and say anything (having totally revamped his views to be a total suckup over the years) is not sticking to him, even though it's completely obvious to anyone who hasn't drunk down the kool-aid.
And his promise/threat to "open up the libel laws" is some scary-ass Putin/Berlusconi type stuff... stuff the Republican base has been primed to run with, 'cause of how gosh darn biased the MM (mainstream media) is.
There's an old saying: Tragedy is a close up. Comedy is a long shot.
(that link is cued to that point in the presentation - they back their points so well.)
Simone Giertz makes the best robots

February 27, 2015

dat dress

Just posting this for posterity; http://www.wired.com/2015/02/science-one-agrees-color-dress/ if you've somehow not heard.
Slate's Explanation
RIP Leonard Nimoy.
I suppost it's illogical to be sad about someone who had such a long and prosperous life, but also very human.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
Leonard Nimoy's final tweet

February 27, 2014

When you spend a chunk of your day reading a book that talks a lot about "hypermedia", the word starts taking on a weird retro-future patina.

February 27, 2013

Kermit: I didn't promise anybody anything. What do I know about Hollywood, anyway? Just a dream I got from sitting through too many double features.
Kermit's Conscience: So why did you leave the swamp in the first place?
Kermit: 'Cause some agent fella said I had talent. He probably says that to everybody.
Kermit's Conscience: On the other hand, if you hadn't left the swamp, you'd be feeling pretty miserable anyhow.
Kermit: Yeah. But then it would just be me feeling miserable. Now I got a lady pig, and a bear, and a chicken, a dog, a thing, whatever Gonzo is. He's a little like a turkey.
Kermit's Conscience: [Kermit's Conscience is sitting on a rock behind him] Mmm - Yeah. A little like a turkey, but not much.
Kermit: No I guess not. Anyhow, I brought them all out here to the middle of nowhere, and it's all my fault.
Kermit's Conscience: Still, whether you promised them something or not, you gotta remember - they wanted to come.
Kermit: But... that's because they believed in me.
Kermit's Conscience: No, they believed in the dream.
Kermit: Well, so do I, but...
Kermit's Conscience: You do?
Kermit: Yeah! Of course I do.
Kermit's Conscience: Well then?
Kermit: Well then... I guess I was wrong when I said I never promised anyone. I promised me.
The Muppet Movie.
This scene has been on my mind a lot as of late.

shave face race

February 27, 2012
To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
shave face race - source - built with processing

This was the first game I made for the 2012 GDC Pirate Kart. I hosted a little get-together and a few folks from the Boston Indies community dropped in and we all made games together.

This game was kind of just a warm up, but it got me showing I could make music and sound fx (provided by Renzo, same guy who was on my team for the GGJ, he was really good....)
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Teller-Reveals-His-Secrets.html - Teller (of Penn and...) tells all, sort of, but only in a meta-magic kind of way. Great read.

happy hoppy flappy floppy

February 27, 2011

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.
Kurt Vonnegut

rotatin' rocket race

(1 comment)
February 27, 2010
To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
rrr - source - built with processing
My first entry for THE 371-IN-1 KLIK & PLAY PIRATE KART II: KLIK HARDER. (You can see the current list of games)
Amber caught me multitasking: standing eating pizza, petting the cat, dancing to music, and THINKIN' ABOUT WRITING GAMES! http://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/437

i don't like cricket

February 27, 2009

--The Mighty Boosh. It's kind of like a less cerebral descendant of Kaufman's Mighty Mouse sketch.

"Probably it's simply that stupidity more often takes the form of having few ideas than wrong ones."

Am using a Mac a bit. The instant suspend/resume is so lovely.
Messing with the Shangri-La diet. The hunger suppression is almost eerie, especially since I mostly associate this kind of lack of hunger with being sick... or other people who are REALLY sick.
http://myabortion.tumblr.com/ - oof. Like Nerve.com says: "if it's real, it's kind of amazing. And by amazing, we mean horrifying. We're pro-choice, but on this, we're conflicted. And if you're not, you're surer of your ideals than we are."
http://blog.ihobo.com/2009/02/why-you-play-games.html - why you play games, based on pleasure centers of the brain
Gmail's OSX notifier wants me to clear my inbox of unread stuff, lest it be this splash of red on a monochrome status bar.
1929 + 2007 had consumer debt = 100% GDP. I want to yell at everyone for living beyond their means but I know I've been so lucky salary wise

zen and the art of intellectual maintenance

February 27, 2008
Now Reading: "Thank You and OK! An American Zen Failure in Japan"

I'm always intrigued by Zen ideals. (Current incessant Zen meme: Comparisons are Odious.) Alas, I've never demonstrated enough commitment to a Zazen sitting meditation practice, said to be the one indispensable part of Zen.

Today I started wondering about the parallels between meditation and reading. Both are ways of letting the mind seal itself from outside distractions, though reading is invariably about something-- something external to current moment and place-- and meditation is thought best when "about" as little as possible.

(Probably one reason I've been so bad at starting a practice of ritualistically clearing my mind is, fundamentally, I don't want to. Letting my thoughts ramble and tangentially meander is such a pleasant and productive experience that deliberately shutting that off seems like blasphemy. I guess I previously noted that about the Yoga "corpse pose")

Having a grand variety of reading material available at prices most people can afford is a recent phenomenon. At the risk of oversimplifying, reading a book seems like such a more intellectually worthy pursuit than watching television or a movie, or even most conversation, that it's tough to keep a disparaging historical context in mind. I think back to the old penny-dreadful days, how just about all novels were considered such trash reading. And I suppose to a non-secular society, any time engaged in reading non-religious writing will be deemed less worthy than hitting the holy scriptures.

So what does it mean that we can so easily immerse ourselves in other times and other places? At the risk of sounding like a mid-80s public service announcement, reading really can be an adventure, our mind's ability to take itself out of the current moment and into an elsewhere is quite remarkable. An offshoot of our evolved abilities to think in terms of hypothetical situations, to successfully model situations so that we can estimate the outcomes at a fraction of the cost and risk of actually going and doing it. My first thought was that the recent phenomenon of cheap books was an unprecedented revolution, but now I wonder if there isn't a tie-in with humanity's love of telling one another stories. (You can almost think of some shamanistic storyteller at the camp fire disapproving of the solitary pleasure of a book; sort of an intellectual "solitary vice".)

Anyway, back to Zen.

I think I'm confused about Zen as it should be practiced; specifically, I think I tend to over estimate its drive for pure stoicism. For example, it's said that when you're eating, you should just be eating, not conversing, not reading, just focused on the task at hand. But is the goal to then enjoy the food, and the sensations there entailed, or are you seeking a kind of non-judgmental emotional flatness, accepting it for what it is and only that, so as to avoid the path of desire and suffering, if only by contrast? I think I should be more sure of the answer to that by now.

As long as we're on the topic of my dimestore interpretations of Asian spiritual practice... at the most recent meeting of my UU Covenant Group, the topic was "spirituality in the workplace." I think that entails something different for a programmer than for most other professions. While quality relationships with your peers and management staff and others is crucial, it is fundamentally less personal interaction based than many other careers. Coders are some of the last modern craftsmen/artisans out there, so it's our relationship to the computer and our software that matters the most.

This is less dehumanizing or "robotic" than it sounds; any programming code base worth getting paid to maintain and extend is so complex, so difficult to fathom, with so many interactions that modern programming is something akin to biology. Programmers spend huge swaths of time and energy finding out why the programs aren't meeting their expectations. I wonder, then, if a more appropriate model might be that of Shintoism. My knowledge of the faith isn't deep, but from what I know of its animistic approach, being respectful and maybe a bit ritualistic about dealing with the spirit of your tools and materials, there might be a useful parallel there. Computers with their "ghost in the machine" feel a lot more like Shinto than, say, Confucianism and its strict sense of rules, order, and predictability!

pretzels for a buck

February 27, 2007
The new job is going well so far but I'm going to let it sink in a while before going on and on about it.

I will say this: there's a little concession stand at Alewife T-station, behind a bigger news stand and across from the Dunkin Donuts. Last night I bought a big pretzel from it for only a buck. Nachos were 1.50. They also had hot dogs. And I had to wonder... how the heck does something like that stay in business? With prices like that? At Alewife? I mean, that's tourist food and the only tourists there probably misread the T-map. Also, their calendars.

(Not a bad pretzel, not great but ok with mustard, and you could get it without the nasty chunk-o-salts. I kind of dig eating light at night, and that could kind of work from time to time.)

Image of the Moment

--Illustration from a Igor Malashenko commentary in Time, April 8 1991, "The Third Way: A Soviet strategist argues that while repression is all too possible, it is not inevitable". I saved that page all these years.

Independent of the meaning, and of the symbolic weight and repression and suffering that was behind the beautiful ideals in practice, from a graphics design standpoint I think the hammer and sickle rocks.

Quote of the Moment
I find the most erotic part of a woman is the boobies.
Zapp Brannigan pickup line, from "Futurama".
It's even funnier if you think of it in that big polished but dumb Phil Hartman voice.

Video Gaming of the Moment
Slate on the casual gaming delights of the Xbox 360... it touches on the concept of "Wii60", that these are two modern systems that complement each other very well. Xbox certainly is a few levels beyond anyone else for online gaming and downloads.

dc redux day 2

February 27, 2006
That same hotel window also had a view of this lovely building...my last day I went up to it and saw it was the Embassy of Indonesia.

And then I had a little fun with the bathroom's big mirror and the mirror on the back of the door. Not the most original thing, but hey.

The hotel was actually at a place called Embassy Row. A hall window had a view of one embassy courtyard...I looked up the flag, turned out it was Colombia. Why, it was like I was in the sniper's location for some terrible 80s movie.

Aside of the Moment
Random thoughts I've had, doing a bit more airplane travel lately:

lucky you

February 27, 2005
Anecdote of the Moment
A physicist visits a colleague and notices a horseshoe hanging on the wall above the entrance. 'Do you really believe that a horseshoe brings luck?' he asks. 'No,' replies the colleague, 'but I've been told that it works even if you don't believe in it.'
Niels Bohr

Query of the Moment
Watching some of the Oscars. Why are their so many empty seats at 9:40pm? You would think it would be a pretty hot ticket.

you can quote me on that

February 27, 2004
Tool of the Moment

DIY Toy of the Moment
Heh, I remember playing around with this Matchstick Rockets site at IDD in '96 or so. Big fun, just try not to get invaded for suspicion of WMD.

Quote of the Moment
When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
C. S. Lewis

Art Toilet of the Moment
This cellar.org Image of the Day is this London public lavatory lined with one way mirrors so you can see out but others can't see in. (On the message board someone asks what about at night, if there's a light on inside is everything visible?) Still, cool idea, and an artistically interesting idea about privacy and public spaces.

Ramble of the Moment
In a recent livejournal entry, Mo says "Have sworn to finally get a tattoo this summer. No more pussyfooting! Prolly something smallish on my back." (She actually mentioned to me that she almost hesitated putting it in, because she knew it would provoke comment from me...well here it is...) I just find it very odd that she doesn't know what she wants, just something, probably abstract. I mean, I guess it's not that weird a viewpoint, either she sees a line between people-with-tattoos and people-without-tattoos as a kind of social grouping, and she wants to be on the other side of that line, or maybe she just thinks it looks better and more interesting than nothing (or if it's usually hidden, some kind of peekaboo surprise), or maybe she just finds it a cool concept. But overall, just wanting "a" tattoo seems a little teenie-bopperish to me. (It's mostly a fear of needles that's kept her from one thus far.)

Of course, if I got a tattoo, that would be totally different. Mostly because I know exactly what I'd get: a small Alien Bill, like the one at the top of kisrael.com.

I suspect she finds some solace in the way tattoos don't seem as permanent now as they use to seem. Bill the Splut was right: dermabrasion is the industry of the future--maybe event the present.


February 27, 2003
"Unemployment", as in the checks you receive when you're out of work, is actually unemployment insurance, right? You get premiums deducted out of your paycheck, and all that? I wonder if anyone's every thought about trying to privatize that, if it could ever possibly work. I suppose some people would have to pay higher rates based on their layoff history, or the economy in general. It seems like that might suck. I guess "unemployment" is like the main bit of the social safety net I depend on.

Mo mentioned her company is planning on doing some of that outsourcing to India for an upcoming feature system on the site, looking to her to plan out the thing in excruciating detail. Man, are code monkeys that expensive? All the difficult work is that detailed planning...in fact, you should try not to overplan so you can apply a more interative approach. Anyway, this passage has been on my mind lately:
When I was a teenager, there were some explicit directions on life-saving for swimmers. The first rule was surprising to us young idealists: *never* swim out to save a person your own size or larger without a life-preserver, because a large percentage of panicked, drowning people will use the rescuer as a flotation device, and they will hold the rescuer's whole body under water to raise themselves. It stops working after the rescuer drowns, of course.
So we have U.S/Canada business managers sending away the jobs that would keep their neighbors employed and their own nation solvent - because after all, there's a profit to be made, briefly, until the whole economy begins to drown, and these oh-so-clever guys try to use each other as economic flotation devices.
The truly rich, of course, are already using the whole mass of us as a flotation device.
That was from this Usenet post. The metaphor is striking, though it kind of breaks down if you try to think about the mapping two much.

I guess that's not the kind of work I really want be doing anyway, that big system, well specified stuff, that I'd like to gear myself more at the "boutiquey" kind of thing, but its a disturbing trend. The danger is if we farm out too much to the third world, wages for both will slowly trend towards the mean, and we'll end up looking a lot more third world ourselves. (Yeesh, I never would have thought I was gonna be espousing such a "So Buy American" viewpoint.)

Image of the Moment
The past's vision of the Executive of the future...this is a piece by Boris Artzybasheff, more cool stuff by him at that link.

Farewell of the Moment
I think everybody longs to be loved and longs to know that he or she is lovable. And, consequently, the greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they are loved and capable of loving.
Mr. Rogers, who just passed away.
My respect for this guy has only grown over the past few years, as I've heard him speak about the philosophy behind his style and his life in general. Voice of America offers a nice profile. Also, check out the small song of his I quote on this old journal page, about the fourth from the bottom, which he thought summarized some of the most important stuff to express to children.

Tufts News of the Moment
The Elder Bush spoke at my alma mater Tufts yesterday. There were some protests, which I think is only appropriate. I'm not sure if it's because he's a decade older or because he didn't have his old cosmetic staff, but he looked old in the television footage. Also, he kind of looks like Will Rogers.

booze and sex

February 27, 2002
Quote of the Moment
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.
News of the Moment
Clearly, 20-somethings are not drinking enough.. Since this story came out, I've heard the figure is more like 11% then 25%, but hey. Clearly 21 is the perfect sacred number for a drinking age...jeez. Now that I'm safely on this side of the number, it still seems stupid that a guy could be drafted but still isn't considered responsible enough to have a beer.

Brave New World of the Moment
More on the booze-and-sex front: Consent Condoms. Your lips say "no no", but your eyes say "yes yes", along with your careful tearing of the date, month, and year on the specially laminated-to-preserve-fingerprints condom packet. (via Cruel Site of the Day)


February 27, 2001
You know, I was a little bit unsure of using a quote like the following here, but what the heck. If this site is going to be a replacement for my Palmpilot Journal it needs to be able to be used for quotes I like, such as the following:

Adult Quote of the Moment
Mallory collapsed off of her and lay blowing like a beached cetacean in the foetid air. His muscles felt like rubber, and he'd half-sweated the whisky off with the sheer work of it. He felt utterly wonderful. He felt quite willing to die. If the tout arrived and shot him dead on the spot he would somehow have welcomed it, welcomed the opportunity never to come back from that plateau of sensibility, the opportunity never to be Edward Mallory again, but only a splendid creature drowned in cunt and tea-rose
--Gibson/Sterling, from The Difference Engine

Movie Quote of the Moment
You know what you are? You're God's answer to Job, y'know? You would have ended all argument between them. I mean, He would have pointed to you and said, y'know, 'I do a lot of terrible things, but I can still make one of these.' You know? And then Job would have said, 'Eh. Yeah, well, you win.'
Woody Allen, Manhattan, (via the IMDB)

Link of the Moment
Salon.com has an interesting article on the post-dot-com slackers, taking it easy after all the sound and fury of the late 90s. I know Mo and I both are a little bit more nervous in general. I think the non-techies are getting it worse than the engineers, but still it's not the job bonanza that it has been.

does everyone know that pig dice game?