June 27, 2016

"You know what's wrong with living in a world that exists on the brink of atomic destruction? When you give up that hour in April--you're never sure you're gonna get it back again in the fall."
--Robert Orben, from the 1960s book The Ad-Libber's Handbook: 2000 New Laughs for Speakers
Making the rounds, the Monty Python-inspired cover about Brexit is great.

Interesting to see if the rumors of "well, it's just an advisory vote, maybe they can walk this back after seeing how stupid it is" could be true...
"Quite simply, the English want England to stay relatively English, and voting Leave was the instrument they were given."
--Tyler Cowen on Why Brexit happened and what it means.

Another line from the article: Of course, USA and Canada and a few others are mature nation states based on the very idea of immigration.

I guess what I'm thinking is, I do feel somewhat more comfortable with a concept of an ethnic nationalism in England than I am in the USA, at least in theory. There's still an ugly xenophobic tinge to it, and I'd rather everyone accept a concept of human rather than ethnic identity, but it doesn't bother me as much as it would in other contexts.

In some discussions I got in on this, it made me feel like more of a "fence sitter" than sometimes. I alternate between describing myself as an "extremist moderate" to a "loony liberal" (though the latter is more of a self-deprecating label when talking with some of my more conservative, but still thoughtful, friends.)

The symmetry between left and right is imperfect, and I do think the liberal viewpoint is ultimately more moral, somewhat more reality-based (if a bit too optimistic here and there) and has more robust mechanisms for correction from fundamentalist doctrine that the conservative side. The tribalism of both sides is nuts though - there's a lot of social pressure to toe the line.

June 27, 2015

Where was all this "five unelected judges" chatter when they handed down Citizens United? Yeesh, Scalia.
making the rounds...

I'm delighted with the healthcare and the gay marriage push by Obama. I'm trying to figure out what to think about his other push on the trade deal. Why is it so secretive?
"It's so exhausting trying not to judge... I gave it up. "

June 27, 2014

"'Junior devs think they know everything. Experienced devs think they know nothing. Senior devs hate computers.' via @savagematt @darrenhobbs"

http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-ux-of-99-bricks-wizard-academy.html - my review of the UX of a great physics Tetris game.

June 27, 2013

(1 comment)

sentiment at kendall sq T

While TV and computer screens have moved from 4:3 to 16:9, the 1:1 square crop is going to be more important in amateur photography and video, in part because it's more natural and comfortable to hold a phone upright when taking photos and especially video, and because portrait-mode video looks a bit daft.
"Novice programmers swear when they get stuck. Expert programmers swear every fucking second."


June 27, 2012

As 22 words puts it (get it?), this is Kurt Roberts displaying "the grace and poise of shot put":

Along the same lines, their collection of 15 Pole Vaulters celebrating just before they land is worth checking out.
The Texas GOP is against the teaching of "critical thinking skills". Wow.
"What's mistake but a kind of take?
What's nausea but a kind of -usea?"
--William James on Nitrous Oxide (literally)
http://boingboing.net/2012/06/27/ataris-40th-anniversary.html Happy 40th Birthday Atari!

make wind for ducklings

June 27, 2011

Maybe I could foster more equanimity and tranquility about the frustrations of MBTA if I saw it as a force of nature, like the weather, not as a product of human incompetence.
"*Coconut* Twix?? What does that even MEAN???"

t party!photos

June 27, 2010

Random photos: Arlington's Panera really knows how to make a note of apology:

I really liked the economy of expression in this one:

Also I forgot where I shot this flower:

So it was EB's Baby T's birthday party! Here's the guest of honor:

She had a lot of friends over- they flip for her!

Finally, random closeups at the party:



Another bug! Maybe an out of place water strider?

"I've only got one setting, old-timer: 'KERBLAM!'"
--Warpath, "Transformers: War for Cybertron"

maryland reunion filler: ducks and kaleidoscopes and things

June 27, 2009

"The gray area is holy ground."
--Marilyn McEntyre, in "How to Read the Bible", taking a stand against Biblical literalism
The typical laptop is such a beautiful study in self-sufficient grace and technological wonder...
Digging Chrome. Don't like its "tab sorting" though, bummed Firefox might emulate. Prefer tab bar as chronology of opening, wish for option!
"Oh I almost forgot--you probably shouldn't have sex with Skinhead Katrina.

If you do have sex with Skinhead Katrina, and you do it around the side of the house during a party, know that you will never live it down. Your asshole friends will be putting that shit on the Internet ten years later. You didn't even know the Internet was going to be invented, did you? Ha ha! Should've kept it in your pants, Caligula."
--Patrick Hughes, "Diary of Indignities"
http://www.retrosabotage.com/ - nifty little playable artsy commentaries on classic games
http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html - stroke victim brain scientist: a bit hippy, a bit bad drug trip, quiet a bit Oliver Sachs Sacks...
My mom has a book of quotes on aging "Old Age Comes at a Bad Time". An alarming number of them use my current age, 35, as kind of a marker of a turning point.

pahking cahs

June 27, 2008

Sweet jimminy crickets almost forgot to do kisrael today.

I was going to write about how weirdly awesome it felt to FINALLY have a Boston parking permit... 12 years of trying to scrounge one of the Visitor spots or a local after hours meter behind me... amazing! My car AND a subway stop less than 100 yards away from where I'm sleeping... astounding!

Then my Uncle pointed out last night that there was no parking on the street at all today or Monday, some construction thing, and good thing he mentioned it or else it would just go from the status quo of taking the dew off the rose to being a major source of ranting and raving on my part, as my car was towed away.

Quote of the Moment
"a lonely tear running through his artfully kept stubble like a pachinko ball of pure shame and degradation."

Game of the Moment
Pointer... there's something weirdly compelling in this little maze game about how there's no avatar, just the point of the mouse itself, to maneuver through the little maze/obstacle course.

Kind of scary how often the sound of sirens follow big thunderstorms...


June 27, 2007

So with the whole Chris Benoit murder/suicide tragedy, they were making a big deal about discovering steroids. I gotta say, I almost fell over from not-surprise that a professional wrestler was found using steroids. That's a contender for biggest non-clue in the history of sleuthing. I'm not saying that they weren't a factor in what he did, or that the number of deaths of these entertainers over the past few decades isn't alarming but... sheesh.

Article of the Moment
Slate has a neat article on the best movie quips, with a focus on Die Hard's famous line (WARNING, CUSSES)
A quarter of the line (or half, depending on how you count) is profane, and yet "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker" is actually a delicate wisecrack. Underscoring the line's bridging of generations is the symmetry of its construction. On either side of the comma, past and present each get four syllables. This balance is manifested in the evenness of Willis' first—and best—delivery of the line. Subtly, he eases off "fucker," the word that, by virtue of its syntactical position, and its very nature, we might expect to land hardest on our ears. That Willis does not employ the same deftness in the sequels is a pity. The phrase is most effective not as a buildup to some hammer punch, but as one seamless unit of defiance.
In the 80s it was always fun to play "predict the quip"... I mean when Danny Glover is fighting off baddies in a construction project in his home with a nail gun, you know what line is coming up, right?

Webcomic of the Moment

--Julia Wertz' Fart Party, a great mostly-autobiographical webcomic. They didn't have any of the (what are the name of those $1 or $2, hand-stapled xerox style comics? Those.) at Million Year Picnic, but it sounds like there might be some larger compilations coming out.

Also... is this comic true?? Seems like a potentially useful factoid to know.


June 27, 2006

So Sunday Ksenia's grandfather introduced me to something I had kind of missed (despite the advertisements on public radio,) the New England Mobile Book Fair. It's pretty great! A huge selection, and a great "remainders" section. The weird thing about it, though, is they arrange first roughly by topic, and then by publisher (or maybe the former is a byproduct of the latter?) "By Publisher" isn't the most natural browsing format, though it's not quite as bad in practice as it sounds. Still, the only publishing imprints I care about are DK (who make those supercool hardover image-intensive books about Star Wars and Comic Superheroes etc) and Simon and Schuster's "Fireside" imprint, which I've noticed has a higher than average percentage of cool books.

Overall, though, the whole enterprise doesn't seem terrifically "mobile".

News Piece of the Moment
Americans' circle of close friends shrinking. Man, that stinks. As more of my friends get flung off to far reaches of the country, I've been thinking about working harder on the relationships that are in the area. That actually would have been one of the bad parts of that Senior Residence deal, being stuck further from EB and FoSO... (incidentally, I'm amused, and vaguely concerned, at how the 3 of us have been kind of dominating the sidebar.) In fact, I'm trying to persuade another close friend to consider becoming my flatmate, which would be cool. More on that later as, and if, it develops.

Entertainment of the Moment
Even non-gamers might dig The 50 Worst Video Game Names of All Time. Or, maybe not. Still the comments are nice and snarky.

monsters, no ink

June 27, 2005

Doodle of the Moment
--Paint.exe doodle during a slow stretch of training last week, click for full size. Maybe there's something nicer about sketching with a mouse that uses a rollerball.

Thought of the Moment
On the flight back from Chicago the Pilot mentioned that one of the channels of inflight audio entertainment was a feed of the Air Traffic Control chatter. Fascinatin' stuff for the geekly type--you really have admire the cordial efficiency of it, the clipped call and response, sometimes the whitewashed irritation when a flight is forced to be delayed. For some reason I liked the kind semi-formality of the "Good Day" or "Good Night" that would often indicate the end of a flight's passage through a certain airspace.

How Stuff Works has a description of the air traffic control system, and here's an interview with an air traffic controller about "Pushing Tin", an ok (if way overdone, acording to the controller) film about the people at the radar screens.

Of course it's not always perfect...there was that near miss at Logan on June 9...

pedal to the metal, heel to the steel

June 27, 2004

So I mentioned my street GPS before...it's still WONDERFUL for finding a route to a place or making your way through terra incognito, but it's lack of smarts about lights and traffic make it lousy for finding the best route. Case in point, it figures the best way from Arlington (north of Boston) to a wedding in Southern MA MUST be straight through the heart of Boston, on 93...

Anyway, when you first turn the thing on, it gives you a dire safety warning about not fiddling with it while driving, they're not responsible, blah blah. But I have to think, if they were more serious about safety, maybe they wouldn't have a permanent record of maximum speed acheived ever...I suspect having a video game like "high score" feature just encourages some guys to show off. And all I say about that is it at least looks like there's room for 3 digits in that little box...

Videos of the Moment
These four videos for the Discovery Channel's "Know More Than You Should" campaign all have nifty scifi vibes..."Antlers" and "Milk Truck" have this lovely edge of slight nighmarishness, and "Transporter" has a nifty kinetic energy.

Plug of the Moment
Thought I'd throw in a plug for Eye Q Optical in Harvard Square and the South End. They do a great job knowing how frames work with or against certain facial features, and the frames weren't more than the boring and helpful one-hour-place I went in 2001. (Though I let them sweet-talk me into a second set...) Plus, they seem really competent, especially the guy who did the exam and then also turned out to be one of the fitters. And they have a 30-day or so exchange policy, which lets a guy get glasses that are more of a "reach" than he otherwise might.

They also have a nifty logo...the only downsides are that their weekday hours aren't very long and of course you may be spoiled by the one-hour places...it was really worth it for me though. Between the hair and the glasses, I feel like I'm gonna be sending out a much better "I'm actually a bit concerned about my appearance" vibe to the world, rather than my previous "least physical and mental effort needed" model.

One odd point about my makeover, between the spikier hair and and the funkier glasses, my new look is maybe a bit reminscent of Mo circa last June.

come true

(1 comment)
June 27, 2003

News Story of Last Week
Yesterday on CBC radio the Toronto morning show host was interviewing one of the men who was involved in the court case leading to the legalization of same-sex marriages in Ontario. At the end of the interview, after the interviewee announced his intention to get married that afternoon, the host finished up by saying "well congratulations, it's a fairy tale come true."

Much apologizing ensued.
--Alexander O'Neill via rec.humor.funny...a touch stale now, but maybe newly relevant thanks to the Supreme Court...

Lyric of the Moment
"Fools dance, and fools look on. Since both are fools, why not dance!"
--Lyrics to accompany the Japanese dance "Awa Odori", according to my "How To Draw a Radish" Calendar

but you can't tuna fishfunny

(1 comment)
June 27, 2002

I approve of the ruling against the Pledge of Allegiance. In my believing days, I thought it violated that whole "don't take oaths" mandate of the Bible, and later, I thought it rude that, even if you stretch "God" to include Jehovah and Allah and all that, people who believe in many gods (ala Hindus) or no god at all (atheists) or aren't sure have to chime in and say 'under God' despite their belief...kind of like bending someone's arm and making them say uncle. I tended to mumble when I was in situations where I was obliged to say it. I think the fact that Eisenhower et al. just snuck it in there during the 1950s makes it worse. And I love how all the conservatives are all up in arms about the ruling. Too bad it'll probably be overturned.

Recipe of the Moment: Tuna ala Kirk
Can of Tuna
Grey Poupon Mustard

Open can of tuna. Preferably one of the kinds with the bigger chunks. Bread & Circus has a good brand that's cheap. Dump the water, pour remaining contents into a bowl. Give a few little pieces to the cats. Add healthy dollops of of mustard. Stir thoroughly.

I love this dish! Maybe I'm just a mustard fiend.

Quote of the Moment
"If ants had nuclear weapons, they would probably end the world in a week."
--Journey to the Ants, Bert Holldobler & Edward O. Wilson

optimal prime?shirts

June 27, 2001

Mo got her old job back. Guess her company has their budget tightly plotted, both from a finances and work that needs to be done standpoint, and they had another engineer (same level, but there longer) leave. So, while we worry that that guy may be giving up his deck chair on the Titanic to Mo, overall it's happier situation.

Link and Rant of the Moment
Working with E-Prime. The idea is that our thinking can be improved if we eliminate the verb "to be" not just from our vocabularies, but from our thought processes in general. It seems like madness to me. I can see what they're getting at, and maybe I can even see that I don't really grok it, but still, pursuing this idea that nothing "is" something else, really, just leaves us like Douglas Adam's "Man in the Shack", the man who doesn't know that it's raining outside, just that his visitors seem, to him, to be wet, that he hears what may, or may not be, rain, etc etc.

Look, I walked outside and I thought "It is sunny today". Should I say "it seems sunny today"? (And isn't that just short for "it seems to be sunny today"?) Some stuff in that link (which I think maybe an excellent example of writing in E-Prime) makes me think they want me to think of direct effects: "I feel sunshine on me." But again, isn't that short for "I feel that sunshine seems to be shining on me". (E-Prime link via memepool)

from the T-shirt Archive: #5 of a Series

Simple black and white design from a pottery place on Martha's Vineyard, where I bought a vase for my Aunt, a "sorry for making out with this chick from Cleveland in you living room" vase.

Quote of the Moment
"My mind is especially empty today."
--goofy looking buddhist monk to second monk in a New Yorker cartoon

KHftCEA 1998-06.3 June

Das computermachine ist nicht fur gefingerpoken und mittengrabben.
Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken
mit spitzensparken.  Ist nicht fur gewerken bei das dumpkopfen.
Das rubbernecken sichtseeren keepen hans in das pockets muss;
relaxen und watch das blinkenlichten.
Q. What's the sound of 30 million monkeys typing at 30 million typewriters?
Wishing a (potential) Romantic interest Good _____
look lock lick luck                                     
Here are some of the more interesting things I've [Shane Drew] learned in my classes
in my four years at Tufts:
1.  Beef jerky was first extensively eaten by the Mayan Indians.
2.  How to determine the 12th digit of a UPC symbol.
3.  The guy who INVENTED Modern Algebra (Galois) died at age 21.
4.  When counting cards in Blackjack, tens and face cards are -1, 3-6's
    are +1.
5.  The earth is the only place in the solar system where you can stand naked and still survive.
6.  The clitoris was first (officially) discovered in 1559 by Dr. Reginald
    Columbus in Padua, Italy.
7.  At the age of nine, Gauss derived the formula for the sum of the first n integers.
8.  If you're ever playing Let's Make a Deal, always switch doors.    
9.  My advisor's research is on the topology of soap bubbles.
10. The numbers 220 and 284 are "friendly numbers".
        The men sat sipping their tea in silence.  After a while the
klutz said, "Life is like a bowl of sour cream."

        "Like a bowl of sour cream?" asked the other.  "Why?"

        "How should I know?  What am I, a philosopher?"     
Everyone's got to believe in something.  I believe I'll have another beer
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

(Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.)   
There once was a lady from Crewe
Whose limerics went to line two.

There once was a man from Verdun.

There once was a lady from Bree
Whose limericks went to line three,
And never went farther.                                                 

There once was a man on the floor
Whose limericks went to line four.
He'd start up the trend,
and then it would end.

There once was a man from the Styx
Whose limericks went to line six.
He never did know
How far they should go,
And never did bother to fix
Them at all.                          
Unix IS *very* user-friendly-- it's just very particular as to who it makes friends with...
"To K.S. -- I've been wanting to say these three special words for a long time now, so here it goes.  'Wow!  Great ass!'"
Scully and Mulder, however, seem well-matched to their adversaries. Mulder's supposedly the intuitive one, evidenced by his insight as he flees an explosives-laden building that "something's wrong." Similarly, Scully, the smart one, sees a patch of emerald-green grass in the middle of the desert and is quick to conclude that "something's unusual."
          --Mr. Cranky, http://www.mrcranky.com/
"if something happened and Kirk and I broke up, I have NO idea what I'd be attracted to next."

KHftCEA 1998-06.2 June

Two words: spiked tail. "Oh, so you're sneaking up behind me to eat my delicious body? WHAM! Spikes! For you! In your head!"

 I have to admit a soft spot in my heart for Pooh, even through years of overzealous merchandising. He eats, he sleeps, he makes up dumb
little songs. That's pretty much what'd I'd be doing if I lived in a tree trunk.
--Brunching Shuttlecocks, http://www.brunching.com
"Ninjas aren't dangerous.  They're more afraid of you than you are of them."
Luke 21:32 strongly implies that Jesus' vision of the end of the world will happen in his generation.  Whoops.
You gotta program like you don't need the money,
You gotta compile like you'll never get hurt,
You gotta run like there's nobody watching,   
It's gotta come from the heart if you want it to work.
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw.  "I just wanted to be sure of you."
Just an article detector on the Information Supercollider.
"When you eat meat you are eating murder, blood, death, fat, cholesteral, muscle, connective tissues, veins, corpse, rat hairs, lips, assholes, eyeballs, guts, and flies."
          -- Jill Ballard

Mmmm!  I'd like seconds, please!
"Is God willing to prevent evil but not able?  Then he is impotent.
 Is he able but not willing?  Then he is malevolent.
 Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?"  
          --David Hume
Zoe Love (zoe@welcomehome.org) wrote:
: I like my coffee like i like my men:
: Pale, weak & bitter.
:         -- Zoe, the happy love slave

I like my humans like I like my coffee:
Stuffed in an air tight bag and all the air sucked out until it collapses
down and squeezes them into a hard little brick.
"People who do repetative work on keyboards tend to have higly erogenous forearms and shoulder cuffs."
          -- Microserfs by Douglas Coupland  
"... I've seen Sun monitors on fire off the side of the multimedia lab.
 I've seen NTU lights glitter in the dark near the Mail Gate.
 All these things will be lost in time, like the root partition last week.
 Time to die...". - Peter Gutmann in alt.sysadmin.recovery    
 I want to live forever or die in the attempt
  I want to live forever or die trying
"Love is two chicks cybersurfing in the direction of the Love Blender."

          -- M. E. Cablemann
 "Men are like fudge: sweet, but dense and rarely good for you."
          -- Audrey Walton-Hadlock, '99

"We are *all* standing in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
          -- Oscar Wilde.
doghead@psyclone.com Blowjob Jesus "The Savior with an attitude!" ---
"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad.  People are either charming or tedious."
          --Oscar Wilde              
"Sleep... Those little slices of death; O how I LOATH them!"
          -- Edgar Allen Poe   


KHftCEA 1997-06.2 June

"make sure you go before we leave" -are most people aware of the pun/paradox contained in that bit of travelling wisdom?
"Aww you know you're my awesomest"
          "You're awesomest what?"
"Nothing. Everything.  You're just my awesomest."