June 9, 2023

at the XR die-in at downtown crossing the other day...

Been a poor time for me discovering new music, between a busy band season, anxiety about job transition, and much media freetime being sunk into the new Zelda - a great and rewarding game but not much for the kind of music I have an ear open for.

4 star:
Hello (Why Are We Whispering Remix) (Martin Solveig & Dragonette)
Hyperballad (Björk)
Praising You (feat. Fatboy Slim) (Rita Ora)

3 star:
The Telescope (Theme Song) (Her Space Holiday & PCP)
Life Goes On (Oliver Tree)
Hey Bartender (Koko Taylor)
Dancing Queen (ABBA)
Dear Prudence (Siouxsie & The Banshees)
Kelen ati leen (Orchestra Baobab)
Hey, Mickey! (Baby Tate & Saweetie)
Lipstick Lover (Janelle Monáe)
What's up Doc? (Can We Rock?) [with Shaquille O'Neal] [K-Cut's Fat Trac Remix] (FU-Schnickens)

June 9, 2022

30 years ago, we used to say (ok I said), studying AI will make you believe in god. Programming BIOS will make you believe nothing so evil could exist to create this universe. My continued practice in computers and security has firmly set my belief that we are in fact living in the bad place. The deep magic has bee turned to evil.

Those in the notes that claim to know semiconductor design, have never seen ghost pixels from fast rise time during video refresh, or off by one stack corruptions deeply embedded into code only teased out with hardware emulators.
I command daemons in far way lands, with spells, to create illusions. (Software build tools for a VR game, just the tools, not the game dev).

If your science is so good tell me the position and velocity of an elementary particle. Or predict if a general purpose Turing machine will halt.

It is hubris to claim to know what is unknown.

June 9, 2021

Anyone remember the kid's show "The Great Space Coaster"? Sort of a spiritual successor to H.R. Pufnstuf, and right behind "New Zoo Revue" in terms of impact. Stuff like "The Gnus with Gary Gnu" and "Speed Reader" ("he can read an entire news stand while doing a head stand! Speed Reader! Speed Reader!") really stuck with me.

Also here I cued the video to start at an odd cartoon about worms... (I love the device the guy uses in-show to play the clip... back then that was like future wackiness, now it's just any smartphone...) I think the worms were a big influence in how I cartooned for a while, really big nosed characters like from there and from the box art for Nerds candy.

Also I loved the way the "inhabited asteroid" setting looked, at the end of the intro, all those cool ramps and whatnot:

June 9, 2020

On my devblog, how CNBC published just about the worst chart imaginable to display the 12% "bounce" we got against the unfathomably huge job losses this Spring...
Love is like a bottle of gin
But a bottle of gin is not like love

i think humanity's love affair with the sea is perhaps the sexiest thing about us

June 9, 2019

NY Times on The Making of a Youtube Radical.

The algorithms that show you "Up Next" aren't politically biased by design, but in practice - yow.
"There's a spectrum on YouTube between the calm section -- the Walter Cronkite, Carl Sagan part -- and Crazytown, where the extreme stuff is," said Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, YouTube's parent company. "If I'm YouTube and I want you to watch more, I'm always going to steer you toward Crazytown."
The story talks about how the algorithms at first focused on proximate content (i.e. videos with similar outlooks) but when they introduced the goals of getting people to stay on longer, started selecting towards pushing people to more engrossing stuff - and folks on the alt right figured out how to leverage this pattern.

Here's the most bullshit, weak-sauce, mathematically illiterate defense I've read this week:
In interviews, YouTube officials denied that the recommendation algorithm steered users to more extreme content. The company's internal testing, they said, has found just the opposite -- that users who watch one extreme video are, on average, recommended videos that reflect more moderate viewpoints.
LOL, I think they're arguing that regression to the mean somehow shows there isn't a trend. I mean come on - if someone lands on some of the most wackadoodle stuff, chances are, statistically, the recommendations will be somewhat less wackadoodle than that. Math is hard!

A slim silver lining is that the left is figuring this out as well, a "group [that] calls itself BreadTube, a reference to the left-wing anarchist Peter Kropotkin's 1892 book, 'The Conquest of Bread.'" Previously I enjoyed Contrapoints response to Jordan Peterson and the unlikelihood of the conflation of "Post-Modern Neo Marxism".

But yeah. These algorithms are god-awful. "You might also like" was sort of cool on Everything2, but it's too clear that rabbit holing can be utterly abused. (And while I'm at it, screw Netflix and autoplaying next. It's like a self-refilling glass for casual drinkers.)
An x-ray of a brown long-eared bat.

(Photo: Chris Thorn)


"I'll Fly Away" from the Second Line for Dr. John (spotted by Daniel in SoH)

Just so it's known - I'm no Dr. John but if I die any time soon I sure as hell want as much music as the Boston area folk I've played with this past half-decade or so can muster. Probably w/ a lot of School of Honk songs so everyone can join n.
LOL, so Marvel/Disney are being uptight about streaming rental of Captain Marvel (gotta get that new gawd forsaken DisneyPlus mojo working I guess, grrrrrrrr) - maybe it'll be time to go to frickin' Red Box physical media for a while til they get this shit settled or I succumb to the Mickey Christ and subscribe or steal a subscription.

me and wally down by the school yard

June 9, 2018
BABAM ran into Wally before marching Boston Pride

Follow Your Blisters.
Companion advice to "Follow Your Bliss", and don't expect it to be effortless or always fun.

June 9, 2017

June 9, 2016

I've been pretty happy with the alien bill tattoo I got in 2009. It's inobtrusive, most often hidden, and of strong personal iconic significance.

It's too soon, for now, but I've been thinking about how important and useful "Amor Fati" and the reminder to embrace - to love- this circumstance, because it is THE circumstance, is. And at least toying with the idea of getting a tattoo to represent that.

If I liked more elaborate concepts, the Bnomio design I semi-commissioned might be good:

But I've been feeling like I'm not sure I like the idea of unharmonized designs on random parts of me, so I've been toying with keeping some related, iconish designs in a column on the same arm.

This is a Processing-generated (then manually stretched) rendition of a simplification of the Bnomio I've been putting on graph paper (and it reflects those roots; maybe a more circular hour glass would look better)

Besides the poor rendition, it's maybe a little too fatalistic and dour. Also, I'm a little biased against tattoos in languages the wearer doesn't speak. (And google has a few too many "Amor Fati"s in simple cursive script.)

Lately I've been thinking of something like this:

This is a pretty good rendition, actually, even if I'm still uncertain about the kerning... I had to fake serifs for the "I" characters, otherwise they were too skinny.

Eh, just some thoughts. Not sure if at the size I'm thinking if typeface matters, or if will have a kind of handwritten look in any event.

Willing to listen to counterarguments and criticisms. This might not be my best idea ever, but I've had worse.
Of course the other idea I flirt with is the first bar of the bassline I stole from Atari 2600 "Moon Patrol" and have been using when making music with friends ever since early highschool:

Communities organically coalescing at McDonalds. It's easy to be snobby about that place, and how "Mc-" as a prefix became a jokey signifier, but still.
Also I was thinking how "Big Macs" used to feel like, the ultimate indulgent sandwich, now they're one of the least caloric thing on their specialty burgers menu. (Which assumes cheeseburgers come in twos anyway) I had one on my way back from Connecticut the other week. It was ok.

June 9, 2015

via pleatedjeans

June 9, 2014

The Drunken Downfall of Evangelical America's Favorite Painter Someone posted this, here I think. I'm still not crazy about the final product but I have more respect for the outlook of the man, and pity for his plight.
The world is more than rationality.
Editor Bob Mankoff, explaining the justification for absurdist cartoons alongside the articles in The New Yorker.

I'm glad no one's here, just me by the sea
I'm glad no one's here, to mess it up for me
I'm glad no one's here, just me by the sea
But man I wish I had a hand to hold
Edie Brickell

June 9, 2013

Quite a whittling talent!

Amniotic fluid... is that like Coconut Water?

getting rid of t-shirts

June 9, 2012
Time to clear out my T-shirts. Some were just getting old and dingy, others just didn't work.

Let me know if there's anything you want...
It's the remix to Ignition / hot and fresh out the kitchen / no we can't make you an omelet / our chef only does remixes

falling for you

(1 comment)
June 9, 2011

--via 22 words, posted here for Amber because even though she doesn't like youtube videos she sometimes likes this kind of stuff... Makes you wonder if NYPD is just looking to get the revenue or what...

let me hold you in my robot arms

June 9, 2010
Man, this is an exciting picture!
That's Ralph Mosher, who invented (for reals!) those crazy, fore-feedback robot arms. More information at Cyberneticzoo, along with more photos and diagrams like this one:
I'm glad I lived in a world that had real mad scientists in it!
I've been training Winnie for three days now and I'm ready to kill him. I showed him how the spreadsheets are updated on the network, and he just stared at me with this blank expression. I tried to demonstrate the copy machine, but he somehow got his head stuck in one of the slots. I heard his muffled cry of "Oh, bother!" as five of us worked on getting him out. Honestly, is this the best that recruiting could do?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damon_Runyon -had "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" in my head this AM-Runyon is terrific, more than somewhat.
Hmm, though my current Damon Runyon kick means that my current playlist has a lot of what are technically show tunes.

a sphere against rain

June 9, 2009

I think this is Abri N°177, by the Oz Collective. I like how it uses both open and closed umbrellas. (Via ArchMage who runs a weekly "Photo Friday" type LJ entry.)
Terrorism as an "autoimmune disease"; their strategy is to provoke over response. Those "terrorist will have won" jokes were right.
Geekgripe. JSP added JSTL, "Java in view is bad". But all these other toolkits want to make Java your only coding language. Bleh.
Wait, Andy Rooney is still alive?

yeah, that is a GREAT use of researcher dollars, much better than, i dunno, curing cancer

June 9, 2008
I think my inner mammal digs the heat more than it digs the cold.

It still wants the option of air conditioned splendor or warm and cozy heat as conditions dictate, but given the choice, heat is preferable.

I wonder if there's any small chance if it's because I lived on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands for a year when I was three.

Video of the Moment

--First I've heard of it, but Will It Blend? is a long ongoing series of awesome.

Neuroscience of the Moment
To her surprise, though, the magnetic resonance scans revealed that the part of the brain lost among those who failed to perceive sarcasm was not in the left hemisphere of the brain, which specializes in language and social interactions, but in a part of the right hemisphere previously identified as important only to detecting contextual background changes in visual tests.

"The right parahippocampal gyrus must be involved in detecting more than just visual context -- it perceives social context as well," Dr. Rankin said.
It's tough to express just how cool it is that we have a part of the brain that's generically "context", whether visual or social.
"Abraham Lincoln said all men are created equal. I guess old Abe never saw Bo Diddley in the Shower" RIP, man.
This morning at the T stop is the first time in a while I recall looking for a nice shady spot. (behind a local map billboard)
cex.co.uk is a kind of awesome used DVD, games, electronics store at downtown crossing.
i swear my development server has gremlins in it. no other explanation fits.

happy birthday ebling!

June 9, 2007
Ended up heading up to Rockport to help EvilB before his daughter's first birhday party tomorrow, so not much time for an update... but here are some fireworks I tried to take pictures of last Friday. I think it was Arlington's centennial or something:

That's actually from the end of the street where I live. It's always kind of cool to be able to see fireworks from your house.

photog phriday

June 9, 2006
"Thoughts on al-Zarqawi?" Cole prompted yesterday.

Well, I don't have much to say about that. Obviously his death bodes well for the situation in Iraq and a victory for people who would like to see peace and stability there, but I don't know how well. Sometimes the government downplays the importance of individual terrorists, like when it can't manage to track them down, times like this it talks about how this could change the tide there.

Update: Did Bush nix plans to take out Zarqawi a few years ago because doing so might diminish his case for war in Iraq? I wouldnt be surprised.

Photos of the Moment
This site has been lacking images as of late, so...


(1 comment)
June 9, 2005
Art Article of the Moment
Slate on the history of reactions to American Gothic...go get yerself some culture! While we're at it, check out this New Yorker piece on the history of recorded music. It's possible impact on classical music is quite interesting. (Linked to from this blog entry which is still good if not quite as compelling reading.)

Musing of the Moment
So I was sitting in a dull meeting I knew I wasn't going to get much out of, and I started wondering...if I had an option to fast-forward through unpleasant or boring stuff, would I take it? Even though I have a feeling that life is short, and shouldn't be made shorter?

That reminded me of an idea I had when I was a kid...what if everyone had the same superpower, like flying, or teleportation, but could only use it a small, fixed number of times? Would people save it for emergencies? Special occasions? Would there be a ritual time set up for it, maybe gather all your friends and family? Kind of like a bar-mitzvah, perhaps.

And maybe some people would save, save, save the power, and then die of old age never having tried it.

When would you use YOUR power?

singing in the drain

June 9, 2004
Link of the Moment
Making the rounds: the 50 Coolest Song Parts. Not coolest songs, just parts.


(1 comment)
June 9, 2003
Interview Q+A of the Moment
Do you think it follows without God, without faith, life is indeed meaningless and purposeless?
No, I don't actually think that. Without God, it may be ultimately meaningless and purposeless, and I suppose intellectually, if you are an absolute atheist like Richard Dawkins, you have to believe that. But because it's true ultimately doesn't mean to say it's true penultimately; you can give meaning to it, you can believe that love is important, that truth and beauty are important. And in a strange kind of way, if there is God then that experience must be part of the experience of God as well, so I think all the fragments get gathered up. I hate the kind of moralistic preaching that tries to blackmail people into believing, on the grounds that otherwise they will live lives of extreme anguish. I know lots of wonderfully committed ethical atheists whose lives are no more anguished than mine. They've chosen, as it were, not to believe in the way I have chosen to believe, but then to suggest that they are incapable of ethical vision, or love of their children, or enjoyment of the Monet Exhibition is absurd. But I do think that the meaning of God is so extraordinary that even official atheism is somehow not safe from it.
Richard Holloway, Primus of the Episcopal Church in Scotland (head bishop) being interviewed by Naim Attallah.
from a book called "Insights", where Attallah interviews many important cultural figures of England who are reaching the twilight of their lives.

What struck me is how much more common atheism and agnosticism is in England, and how even Christian believers (including Richard Holloway) there tend to see the story of the Virgin Birth and Resurrection as allegories, not historical fact. Of all the people interviewed, there was only one strong defense of what I think of as "traditional" Christianity. I think one thing that we forget in the USA is how much of a Fundamentalist influence there is, relative to other Western democracies. (Someone once claimed that some ethnographers view the USA as a third world country that got lucky wealth-wise; given how strong fundamentalism also is in, say, African nations, I wonder if religious influence is one of the things that ties into that view of the USA.)

Quip of the Moment
To err is human. To blame someone else for your mistakes is even more human.
seen on Slashdot

nostalgia of the moment

June 9, 2002

1 eyed 6 toed
battery operated
laser sloths

insert 'sucks' pun here

June 9, 2001
Bad Web News of the Moment
Oh man oh man oh man. Suck.com ("a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun") is going away-- or at least "on vacation". These guys introduced the idea of daily web editorial to a lot of people, myself included. Hell, when they started in 1995 they practically invented that style of small little columns centered on the page that was a fad for a bit, and is still one of the most readable formats on the web. Not to mention their generally-insightful, smartassed style (with a big heap of point out sights that, well, suck) that made them famous.

Here's an Nov 1996 Wired news article on what they were trying to do. And an informative Salon article on the recent hiatus. The article mentions how Suck's parent company (man, aren't there any rich people out there with enough money to float this stuff as a perpetual pet project?) is keeping up their vaguely slashdot like community system plastic up-- they say that user-generated content is one of the more viable models on the web, which I've definately found out through the tiny portion of net fame I've grabbed with the loveblender.

Quote of the Moment
Oh fuck. If I kill this guy, I'll have millions of nerds on my case.
David Diamond, after taking Linux inventor Linus Torvalds boogie boarding for the first time.
Diamond was coauthoring an Linus' autobiography, Just For Fun (slashdot review here). The book looks like this:
I am convinced that a few decades from now, people will look at this color choice and say "Ahh yes, the late 90s early 2000s Wired-esque color spasm". This look is to tech books in the 90s what shag and wood panelling was to recrooms in the 70s.

"Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin."
--John von Neumann (1951)
"Perl is the Cliff Notes of Unix."
"It's no accident that the ductwork shows in shell scripts.  Only we call them pipes."
--Larry Wall, "Perl, the first postmodern computer language"
YHTBT - "you had to be there" - rallying cry of my lunchtime gang at EHS.
Just read about how Sirius is an unstable blue-white supergiant that will blow anytime in the next few million years.  Man, humanity is so so fragile.  How the hell have we survived to the point where we can ask questions about how fragile we are?
God damn my blood pressure.
It used to be just fucking peachy.
(And then I started excercising. Probably unrelated?)
23 million "missing you" cards sold anually, 32 million "get well"
          -VH-1's pop-up video
life goes on
like melting ice
you can't escape
no plot device
will free you from
this slope of fate
embrace risks
don't hesitate
"The claim that 'They laughed at Columbus' is tempered by the fact that they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."
          --NCAHF newsletter
and that the big C could have sworn he was in India...