January 31, 2022

Unless you stop yourself, there's no stopping yourself
Via this essay on the "Get Back" documentary which I should probably watch.

Actually I just read the essay (via daring fireball). It's a great essay. I really admire thoughts about the secondary character's - Ringo's zen-ness, George Martin's willingness to give space. Also how import Hamburg was to them - I think the movie "Backbeat" is a way underrated tribute to that time before they had made it big.

January 31, 2021

The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.
Paulo Coelho
(But people are still really concerned that everyone have the correct opinions on everything! Or rather, have an opinion on everything, that can let everyone else know if you're on our team or their team...)
Follow up to that, from a FB discussion it spurred:

Vonnegut said: "Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative." and I think it's even worse with Social Media.

And here's the thing: that's not even both sideser-ism. I'm a liberal, and I'm even liberal enough to think "my" side - while flawed on some issues - has its heart more in the right place of empathy than the "other" side, and that is an important moral and ethical difference. But it's like - you can't even give the other side the benefit of the doubt, any inch of that you grant to the other side is viewed as deeply suspicious by your peers, that maybe you're secretly one of them on the inside - as if the idea of "these are basically moral and not entirely irrational people who are living out some incorrect conclusions because of faulty starting premises and bad choices on what they choose to elevate in importance" is pure capitulation.

ALL human motion comes from emotion; the intellect itself is NEVER what gets the ball moving in any field, it just explains the actions, what the embodied-smarts of emotional thinking and muscle memory has decided to do. And so both sides are engaged in a war of riling up feelings, making sure those big momentum laden rolling spheres of emotion get going the right way. It's exhausting.

we are the albertine algorithm

January 31, 2020
Minds are simply what brains do.
Marvin Minsky, "The Society of Mind"
Consciousness is what running the algorithm feels like from the inside.
Scott Albertine
Reading the book for the former quote, and the latter was from a coworker talking on our feeling of awareness and seeming ability to choose, despite being in a universe that seems governed by physical laws of cause and effect that precede our birth. Or as another author put it:
Our daughter's choices--like everything else--had been written in stone at the birth of the universe, but that information could only be decoded by becoming her along the way.
Greg Egan, "Singleton"
Lately I've been thinking about "Free Will", and the powerful feeling that we are making choices, despite us being marionettes with strings (held either by the statistical predestination or quantum "randomness") of the whole universe's history.

My current guess is that when I am saying "I am choosing", the problem isn't with "choosing" - my "Albertine Algorithm" is going one way or the other and it might not be clear to an outsider - or even an insider - which way it will go, which choice it will make, ahead of time - but with the "I"... like the Buddhists have cottoned on to, there isn't a "there there", a little part of my mind that is the "real me". To the extent I am anything, I am this (sometimes painfully) self-aware and self-monitoring algorithm all the way down.
And of course the algorithm is far more complex than the ones we work with all the time... Consciousness is the model of the world complex enough that the model understands its own place in the world, and make guesses and predictions about its own abilities to make changes in the world. (And one take away from Minsky's book is that the algorithm is composed of lots and lots of similar competing little algorithms...)
"Can I Get a Witness?!" "Testify!" Welp, guess not, LOL.

Between Trump getting his wish for No Witnesses (as would any wanna-be Mafia Don), Brexit clunking forth, and Coronavirus, kind of a shit week.

January 31, 2019

Closeness Lines by Oivia de Recat:

January 31, 2018

For my devblog, I got to thinking about the difference in information flow of, say Twitter or Tumblr vs Reddit: The Stream vs The Froth.
Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it.
Swedish Proverb.
(Been reading up on "Lagom", the Swedish concept of "just enough".)
TIL: Brett Favre's first NFL pass was to himself.

January 31, 2017

Campaign Idea! "Bannon: 2024", with the winking, meme-friendly slogan "Why vote for the lesser of two evils?" This way he can park his money truck right next to the Trump 2020 truck, which opened for campaign donation business on January 20 2017.

January 31, 2016

Dinner Party Faux Pas-- the fruit of my weekend's gamejame labor, along with that of my team. ( GGJ site for a bit more info)

January 31, 2015

As part of my http://soyouregoingtodie.com FB page, I'm thinking memes might have more legs than just text quotes...

January 31, 2014

All the Best Visual Effects Oscar Winners:

amazing to stop and think how long ago some of these movies were made.
I think I've posted similar before, but the "outsiders" view of the Super Bowl is great.

January 31, 2013

Working with a laptop that has a particularly asshole-ish piece of shitware/malware/bundleware callde skip.do. Not content to just adjust a homepage, it even overwrites chrome's new tab screen with its search homepage... and it survives reinstalls of chrome.

coworker orange


January 31, 2012

--via 22words
#joke: Q: What's brown and smells like dog poop? A: Dog poop.

The GOP race is between a man who wants a colony on the moon and one who thinks God will give him his own planet.

Time moves in one direction, memory in another. We are that strange species that constructs artifacts intended to counter the natural flow of forgetting.
William Gibson

Truly, there is something in the quality of a good translation that can never be captured in the original.
William Gibson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stelarc - posthumanism among us.

the cloud that ate north america

January 31, 2011

Satellite photo of the USA from today. That's quite the snow cloud. fullsize at NASA.
I deny the allegation, and I defy the alligators.
Allan Lamport, Toronto mayor

The barman says, 'We don't serve time travellers in here.'
A time traveller walks into a bar.

[Games] are complex, rusty machines built to show us that the world is so much bigger and weirder than we expected.

Note to self: keep workdesk's Sea-Monkeys to the left, not on the side where you tend to keep your soda, water, or iced-tea.
http://is.gd/di9kke "Largest Nev. casinos lose $3.4B during fiscal 2010" -- guess the house doesn't always win after all...

global game jammin'

January 31, 2010
So once again I'm doing the Global Game Jam, this year I'm at the Northeastern campus. Working with a team of 5 geeks - 3 Northeastern students and 1 alum from Harmonix. Cool stuff.

I love a good whiteboard photo, making it look like we're doing all kinds of interesting stuff:

click for larger version

And later, as I stare blearily at the clock from my position on the living-room couch, it also occurs to me that I can pass the night by buying some whiskey from the 24-hour drive-thru liquor store and then firing a gun right outside my bedroom window. I think I'm going to like it here after all.

Oatmeal is some sticky, STICKY stuff. They could make brick walls out of oatmeal.

Sneezing is like wet Tourette's.

fascinatin' babynatin'

(1 comment)
January 31, 2009

--Man, all that fun plus he gets to poop whenever he wants wherever he is!

Surprising absolutely no one, live webcam footage of rooms full of tired programmers "game jamming" is really dull.
Back in Kenya George Obama is arrested for marijuana. Man, what is it with Democratic President's brothers?
Long weary day coding. But in a good way; my mistakes are tending to make me giggle instead of fume.

rubber bands of the moment

January 31, 2008
Sadly, The Museum of Useful Things at Harvard Square closed its retail location a few days ago, but they've moved some of their products into their parent space "Black Ink". And "Black Ink" luckily had this product I just can't find online: "cinch it anchor bands" (by Shepard Medical Products, but their site doesn't mention them either.)

These are, simply, rubber band with little anchors on on end. At first the idea seems silly, but they allow for this one kind of cable wrapping (shown there in the packaging) that you couldn't easily do otherwise: you loop the whole rubber band, both sides around some gathered cable, secure it with the anchors, and you have a relatively secure, easy to remove way of keeping your iPod or whatever wires from getting all tangled up.

Fantastic! I wonder why I can't find them anywhere online? I'm tempted to go start hoarding!

Quote of the Moment
Yet no scientist--no person as far as we know--has ever seen a giant squid alive [...] The indigestible parts of giant squid, in particular their beaks, accumulate in sperm whales' stomachs into the substance known as ambergris, which is used as a fixative in perfumes. The next time you spray on Chanel No. 5 (assuming you do), you may wish to reflect that you are dousing yourself in distillate of unseen sea monster.
Bill Bryson, "A Short History of Nearly Everything".
Heh, "distillate of unseen sea monster".

i just lost an electron! are you sure? i'm positive!

January 31, 2007
You know, I've been told that the assignment of "positive" and "negative" for electrical charges was fairly arbitrary, but I'd say whoever did it (Franklin, kinda-sorta, by my understanding) screwed it up; at any rate I think the idea of positive bundles of energy, electrons, orbiting negatively charged nuclei is somewhat more aesthetically pleasing than the reverse, which is how the conventions actually work.

Passage of the Moment
Look at life from our perspective, and you eukaryotes will soon cease giving yourself such airs. You bipedal apes, you stump-tailed tree-shrews, you desiccated lobe-fins, you vertebrated worms, you Hoxed-up sponges, you newcomers on the block, you eukaryotes, you barely distinguishable congregations of a monotonously narrow parish, you are little more than fancy froth on the surface of bacterial life. Why, the cells that build you are themselves colonies of bacteria, replaying the same old tricks we bacteria discovered a billion years ago. We were here before you arrived, and we shall be here after you are gone.
"Thermus aquaticus" (a species of bacterium) as channeled by Richard Dawkins in The Ancestor's Tale.
(Eukaryotes are organisms made up of one or more complex cells; all animals, plants, fungi, etc are eukaryotes.)

The entire book is a biological riff off of "The Canterbury Tales", with the story of various other species and how they've evolved in myriad and marvelous ways. It's a time-reversed pilgrimage, each tale coming at the point where we have a common ancestor with them.

He admits that focusing on the evolutionary path of humans is a bit biased, certainly not justified in terms of biomass (he quotes Robert May: "to a first approximation all species are insects", though I think you'd have to qualify that a bit, at least to limit it to animals...) and misleading in the sense that thinking of humans at some kind of peak of evolution is incorrect.

Doodle of the Moment
--In decluttering I found this doodle-riff from a dental diagram ("indicate missing teeth"? Ugh!) I vaguely remember making years ago

dead theory sketch

January 31, 2006
Making the Rounds of the Moment
Customer: Hello. I wish to complain about this so-called 'scientific theory' what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very establishment.

Salesman: Oh yes, 'Intelligent Design'. What, uh... what's wrong with it?

Customer: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. Its vacuous, that's what's wrong with it!

Salesman: No, no, uh... what we need now is to 'teach the controversy'...

Customer: Look matey, I know an empty 'argument from incredulity' when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Salesman: No, no, it's not empty: it's just being elaborated. Remarkable theory, 'Intelligent Design', innit, eh? I mean, just look at all these books and articles: millions and millions of words...!

Customer: The verbiage don't enter into it, my lad. It's stone dead. It's a non-starter. Empirically untestable, it belongs in metaphysics. This 'theory' makes no predictions; has no contribution to make beyond extended polemics; and can't even be honest about who it thinks the 'Designer' was. Bereft of all logical and epistemological credibility, it has no scientific status! If certain right-wing and fundamentalist pressure-groups hadn't hit upon it as a way of opposing decades of uncomfortable scientific and social progress, it'd be pushing up daisies! It's off the table. It's kicked the waste-paper bucket. THIS IS A NON-THEORY!

Salesman: Well, I'd better replace it then. [takes a quick peek around] Sorry, squire: looks like that's all we've got...

Customer: I see, I see. I get the picture.

Salesman: I've got a piece of coal that looks quite a bit like a human tibia, if you squint at it...

Customer: Pray, is it part of a theory that unifies the paleontological and biological sciences and leads to a powerful understanding of observed homologies and the nested hierarchy of life?

Salesman: Not really.

Saw this on Usenet, seems to be making the rounds.
Sometimes it seems like Monty Python really is the Alpha and Omega of geek humor, or at least a definate shibboleth.

Actually I don't know if this is even funny if you don't know the original source.

Politics of a Past Moment
I must say to you that the state of the Union is not good.
Slate points out that they don't HAVE to be the big cheerleading, rah-rah sessions that they've become...and I agree, the applause and posturing is just silly.

In other news, Sayonara Greenspan! Hope the next guy does as well, and that we manage to get this whole "massive crushing debt" thing back under control.

now with 20% more freedom and justice!

(1 comment)
January 31, 2005
So it sounds like the elections in Iraq went not-too-badly, better than I expected.

Gary at work was talking about this one Atlantic article, and one point was that our Administration can't spin its message for the Islamic mindset worth a damn. "Freedom freedom freedom" we say, and to the western audience it's an important message. But I've been told, and it makes a certain intuitive sense to me, that in the Islamic marketplace of ideas, it's "Justice". I think in a world carefully architected by Allah, freedom--especially freedom to practice Islam--is important, but it's Justice that should be our stated goal. They probably see the West as having too much freedom, leading too lose, ungodly lifestyles...

Quote of the Moment
Life's too long not to waste time
Title or subtitle of this book at that paper store near Porter Square.
An interesting thought on a refreshing turnaround of all that usual 'life's too short to..' crap.

Combat of the Moment
More Self-Defense from the Turn of the Century. This image is from "How to Use a Walking-Stick as a Weapon in a Crowd" and it reminds me a bit of the "burly brawl" from the second Matrix movie...that guy in the hat is kick butt. Don't miss "One of the Best Ways to Meet a Direct Attack upon the Head with a very Heavy Stick when Armed with an Ordinary Stick."

go patriots

January 31, 2004
Sports of the MomentYear
So tomorrow the Pats are in the Sup'Bowl! A group called Meat Depressed made a little ditty, Here We Go Patriots!, a tour de force that gives oddly-insightful, thumbnail-sketch analyses of most of the other teams in the NFL.

Ah, hometown team novelty music. I think the best example of this ever was for the Cleveland Browns: Bernie, Bernie the Bleacher Bum's tribute to quarterback Bernie Kosar. (To the tune of "Louie, Louie": "Bernie, Bernie, Oh Yeah, How you can throw, Yah yah yah yah yah yah, Bernie, Bernie, Oh baby, the Superbowl")

Finally, Bill Simmons explains why the Patriots should have the game well in hand. He also tries to explain away the Pats' loss in the videogame "NFL Gameday" bowl that has succesfully predicted the winner for the last 8 years.

Link of the Moment
PG13 link: Uncle Patrick's Advice to Children, sounds like some hard-won rules-to-live-by knowledge. Funny. Actually, the rest of that "Diary of Indignities" looks pretty funny as well (archive link on the bottom of the right sidebar.)

Proverb of the Moment
The clock on the wall does not keep time to your heartbeat.

over the limit

January 31, 2003
I've been thinking about anxiety. You know when I get most anxious? It happens sometimes after I manage to lose myself in a movie, book, or video game...I start thinking along the lines of "huh, I've been really into this lately, it's like the outside world doesn't exist" and that makes me start getting meta-worried about the job market and big terrorist events, my two current neurosis-fodders. And that "worry I wasn't being worried enough" is much worse than my usual baseline concern.

The thing I'm starting to see is that worry--once you've allowed it to set some sensible precautions that hopefully you've overcome intertia for and acted on--just doesn't help. You might as well assume the best and be happy. And train yourself to appreciate what you've already experienced in this life and the memories you'd have even if some of the worse-case-scenarios did come to pass.

Man, Middle Class Americans are such wusses. Folks in Iraq have to worry about the barrages of cruise missiles that are likely to be headed in their general direction soon, folks in Israel (Israeli and Palestinean alike) are in daily fear of getting blow'd up, folks all over the world just don't know where their next meal is coming from, past generations of Americans (including my younger self) had much bigger fears about nuclear armegeddon, and I'm mostly worried about having a job that pays enough to pay my mortgage and keeps me sufficiently entertained.

Funny of the Moment
Reading our morning paper (La Presse, Montréal, Canada), I came across this comment by Pierre Foglia concerning the Washington snipers. They are being tried in Virginia because this is where there are the greater odds of a death penalty for Malvo (17 years old) and Allen Muhammad under two statutes: a state anti-terrorism law and one prohibiting the killing of more than one person in a three-year period.

My 13 year old son's comment: "Wow, Virginia has a bag limit on people!"
Nerrivik Consultants, via rec.humor.funny

furious george

January 31, 2002
Link of the Moment
This morning Kate and John were looking at some Very Evil Books for Children (PG13++, not for the easily offended.) The text commentary around the images is pretty pointless though.

Guestbook Entry of the Moment
Oh yeah, you went with Veronika that's right... your a player as I remember correctly? Player AKA Cheater... you know the drill.
This must've been brought on by "Garter Dance" entry two days ago. Me, a player? Uhh, right. I may have hurt someone when Veronika and I started going out. I kind of suddenly broke off another relationship. But I don't have a lot of regret about that; the other relationship had been stagnant for many months by the time Veronika and I were on that fateful jazz band trip to Boston, and what I had with Veronika stands out as my first and last great AND innocent love. I'm sorry that I may have hurt someone to get that though.

two digit years

January 31, 2001
Two Digit Years
I guess it's pretty natural for us to think in terms of two digit years, given both our lifespans (often under a century) and our attention spans (often under a minute or so-- though I'm thinking of our tendency to use decades as era-markers.)

Anyway, we're going from the two digit year being a much larger number than most of our ages, to much less. Right now we're too distracted by the rollover to notice, but I think in a few decades we'll be surprised to notice how old we are relative to the year... I'll be 44 in '18, for instance. I think the trick will be to keep growing, learning, and changing... I've heard it says that our awareness of time passing is intimately related to rate of change, so if you stay static, the years are more likely to slip away un-noticed. (My journals over the last 4 years have helped a lot in having something to show for that time. It's not much, but it's mine.)

Imaginary Quote of the Moment
That's me in the corner... that's me in the spotlight... Fundin' my Religion
All the anti-abortionists saying "My tax dollars funding this in foriegn lands, no way!" seem to pretty quiet about the idea that my tax dollars might be supporting the spreading of religous doctrine I disagree with. On the other hand, I've seen the work The Salvation Army, and how they have one of the lowest overheads in terms of percentages.

Whoa- Mo got a 23% raise, not a 17% one.  That's cool, though based on non-slackingess she should be getting a much higher percentage of my salary...
and Mike wrote to say he got his girlfriend knocked up.  Sigh.  It seems so- I dunno- White Trashy?  Something.
This keyboard may be making KHftCEA entries more verbose.  Reminds me of where I read something like "Would the Constitution have been written differently if under the glare of flourescent lights, banged out on typewriters?"
Also, maybe I should go back to the KHftCEA name.
 "Why Do You Persist In Tormenting Me So?"
--Quote I Posted at IDD
"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith . . . we need believing people."
--Adolf Hitler, 1933-04-26
A co-student of Mo's calls any friend's boyfriend "Steady Eddy". That amuses me.