So I have a weekly 4-hour-or-so call with my superniece Cora, and yesterday's was especially good, we got into co-doodling/drawing and talking about doodling. I actually discovered a new-ish coloring tool in Apple Notes (my prefered doodle program)
Open Photo Gallery
"This is the ideal desktop setup. You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like."
Just a note for me to find when I'm making an argument in terms of trans rights - on intersex folks. Intersex isn't the same as Trans but I think it helps with the argument that a genital centric, fifth grade science class understanding of what makes men, women, and non-binary just isn't enough to get all authoritarian about.
There's a saying from computer science.
"Whatever you measure will improve. This is a warning"
Whether it's metrics you're applying to employees, or unit tests of AIs, or fulfilling statistical victories.
Want more lines of code written? Done, now no one writes short, snappy code and every if statement uses three different lines.
Want this neural net that's learning how to walk to reach the furthest distance? Now it makes itself impossibly tall so that when it falls down, the top of it reaches further.
Want more jobs? Well, the finger on that monkey paw is curling up as you speak.
random shots from the ending of The 3-D Battles of World Runner:
Weirdly jocular reminder that the outlandish scenario of "Red Dawn" (USSR staging an invasion of the western USA) is all too real in Ukraine right now, and I guess this kind of citizen soldier life is a serious option
Comped drinks for the mardi gras band at Pivotal Brewing Company in Rhode Island!
17 Biblical Things (That Are Nowhere In The Bible) - I think some of these are debatable but I'm often struck by how abibilical a lot of American Folk Christianity is... like getting winged off to the Pearly Gates for judgement overseen by St Peter right at death isn't really in the book...
search.marginalia.nu A search engine that favors text heavy websites...
I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Shit. That's a lot of obstacles.Lore Brand Comics were the best.
I'm reading David Whyte's "The Three Marriages" (people's lifetime of a commitment to a relationship with a partner, to their work, to themselves) these days and thinking on how the externality of God, and the concept of there being a true measure and judge of all things, really molded me, became the fundamental story of who I am and how I relate to the world. I'm not saying it was the direct or only way to grow out of the particular religious upbringing I had, but I wonder if other faiths would have left me in a more useful, more self-actualized place.
The Hindu "Namaste", "The Divine in Me salutes the Divine in You" never really rang true for me, because I have no feeling for there being divine in me. Or you. Or anyone (In fact I half-jokingly asked my yoga instructor if there was any gesture saying "The Profane in Me salutes the Profane in You.")
Would Catholicism's greater respect for wonder and mystery have left me more open to a belief in inner light? That's just a scatter-shot guess. I know some Catholics, or former Catholics, who do seem to have that kind of ease, and others who seem to have imbibed more of the guilt and fear.
I've mused before on growing up as not just as the Sweet Talkin' Son of a Preacher Man, but as a Salvation Army "Officer's Kid" - witnessing my parents being commanded on where to live and what to do, pseudo-military style, their home provided and furnished and then changed up at will by an organization which in turn set itself as commanded by God... yow! That is more of a direct and all-encompassing God->kid chain of command than most kids deal with! And I think more so than for preacher's kids in other Protestant churches where the Pastor and Congregation have more autonomy in choosing one another. (Catholics of course have even bolder claims from God on down, but it doesn't become a family matter.)
And I guess there might have been some synergy with my self-aggrandizing as a clever, precocious kid. Parallel to me trying to force a love of jazz and classical, since that's what smart people liked, I fostered a love of science, since that was what smart people believed! Plus, as with my religion, science was an externalized source of The Truth. In both cases, the only meaningful - or perhaps transcendent - role the individual has is as a conduit for that external Truth. Everything else is just mundane and arbitrary.
As a teen, I had to shift away from active faith, when considering how many different faiths there were. if a Faith was True, if it represented a supernatural or at least objective absolute truth, then how on earth (or from heaven) did we get to have so many religions? What hubris the Believer, the person sure of their faith, displays -- to presume that all the believers in incompatible cosmologies are either deluded or being disingenuous! Absolute Faith seems so incompatible with universal empathy.
I suppose you can squint and take a "many paths" interpretation of all or at least most of the world's religions. Again, if I had more of a feeling for my own inner light, a better intuition on the legitimacy of self-actualization, "many paths" would feel like less milquetoast, makeshift compromise to me than it does now.
Instead, I guess Science is weirdly more compatible with the religious notions that formed me- science strives for doubt and skepticism and constantly putting itself to the test against The Truth, which it assumes exists, and would by definition be the same for all people who took the time to measure it accurately.
But of course Science is limited. It shouldn't be mistaken for philosophy, because "You can't get ought from is". Once your goal is selected, science can be useful in aligning your methods with your target, but it doesn't have much to say on what that target Should Be. (Maybe science can give you a better idea of the possibility space? But maybe not, since almost by definition that extends to the dark edges science has not yet brought light to.)
Yeesh. I'm in my mid-40s now and had my crisis of faith when I was in my mid-teens. So it took me about twice as long to figure out what was going on than it did to go on in the first place!
So I navel gaze a lot, but I appreciate when a new interpretation seems to provide a better explanation for aspects of me that have always seemed kind of weird. I've always noticed my own lack of a need for privacy... maybe that's just because I don't have a meaningful inner life worth shielding- and by trying to put good stuff out there, I can create value for the group (which is what matters) as well as get validation that is always best when it's external, because I don't trust my own self-serving evaluation to be as in line with the objective truth as what outsiders can tell me.
And a lack-of-inner-light helps explain my skepticism about the idea of personal growth (and resulting indifference to literature involving character arcs). I mean, there's just not much there to grow! People are who they are, they don't change all that much over time, myself included. Behaviors can change but it always seems to take a tremendous force of will.
I guess I should credit my estranged debating partner EB for cottoning on to some of this. He's noted a phenomenon where he tells me an idea that I reject at first and later come around to, often forgetting to credit him for it - his take being I just can't accept something if it comes from him, that I'm perpetually ad-hominem about it all.
I don't think that's quite fair; he's presented difficult to accept truths that are often married with things that I believe are untrue. Like he was right to note some of the influence the Salvation Army had in externalizing approval for me but also (operating under the misassumption that most of my dinners were communal) he'd go on to assume that's because I live in fear of rejection from the group - like if they rejected me, I wouldn't eat! But in practice I'm kind of indifferent to people's opinion except as a way of getting to an objective evaluation.
For example, I was always willing to stand up to teachers if they were being unjust - if a fellow student missed a question I got right, but thought it was an unfair trick quick question I happened to see through - I would fight for that student. (Sometimes I was an argumentative pain in the butt.) The teacher's authority can only rightfully come from being righteous in an objective sense. I suspect EB's irritation sometimes springs from me paying insufficient heed to his authority - and again, he's a really good thinker - he finds insult in the time it takes me to come around, and the places where I never will.
So I've been consistent for the first 8 or so days of my "walk half an hour over lunchbreak" club at work. A few days a coworker joined me, but mostly I listen to podcasts.
Another daily ritual is an after-lunch popsicle - uh, freezer bar. Whatever the hell Outshine bars are even when it's the creamy type.
New idea: I can't have my daily popsicle 'til I get to Inbox Zero. I've really been struggling with that lately, but it's a classic case where procrastinating on it hardly ever makes it better.
The feeling of commiseration is the beginning of humanity.
Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
Nothing, believe me, nothing is more satisfying to me personally than getting a great idea and then beatin' it to death.
Since flesh can't stay, we pass the words along
Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased--thus do we refute entropy.
There are no facts, only interpretations.
Moderately bummed the new minigame in Mario Odyssey "Balloon World" is just hide and seek with balloons and not involving the physics of Balloon Fight.
--photo by my Aunt Susan Jordan
I really believe I'd run in there even if I didn't have a weapon.(Five deferments from military service - or as @andylevy put it "i would've dodged those bullets like it was the draft")
A psychological study of the political gap in views on gun control. Seems to have some roots in Moral Foundations theory (as in the book "The Righteous Mind") which I dig - I was actually wondering how gun control tied into the conservative's greater increase on deference to proper authority, since the reasons for guns are often given in terms of self-defense autonomy...
More shots from yesterday's puppet action...
Infographics that offer timelines for "based on true movies" showing which parts were authentic and which ones less so.
You know, just because I didn't like that ridiculous comedy you did with Goldie Hawn did not mean I did not love you. That's what you always do. You confuse love for admiration.
I enjoyed this image of a parrot having a nice scratch with a pointy feather
Outlook on Mac is such a hot mess.
Man, OSX Mavericks has a bug where you can't get the Dock to move to a different window if you keep it on the side. I hate UI stupidity.
http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/ - on my dev blog: put my thing down, flip it and Reverse Proxy it
In celebration of tonight's Oscars it's...the Spielberg Face
Looking at the Oscars preshow -- is this mustache and scruff thing just the Hangover actors or is it a thing?
Little Caesars was the semi-official after church pizza of my high school years- found one in Stoughton. Still dig it- tasty and cheap. Not square, though, alas.
"[holds up zen garden] Hey. Whose dirt box is this?"
"That's our zen garden."
"What do you grow in here, bullcrap? [angrily throws in trash]"
Take Care of the People, and God Almighty Will Take Care of Himself.
We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.
Guess this requires Microsoft's Silverlight plugin... this was made in Small Basic, a cute little IDE/language not entirely dissimilar form my beloved Processing - a less powerful language but a much slicker IDE. (Ha, nice to see them port the old QBASIC classic Gorillas.)
It was cool that they threw in a Logo-ish turtle... but it's funny how this compares unfavorably to Atari LOGO, with its 4 turtles and collision events and all.
this page seems to be a decent starting point for Small Basic.
Small BASIC. I often lament how computers don't boot into BASIC - that was important for where I am now. Guess this could in theory help.
Cnn.com says "Massachusetts was averaging 22 inches across the state". Boston: zero inches. Someone in MA must be getting a LOT for that avg.
http://brenelz.com/blog/firebug-in-ie-a-dream-come-true/ - firebug lite for IE... a bit glitchy, but better than nothing
I took a Meyers-Briggs test. Turns out I'm a "Briggs."
Just a few weeks until Daylight Savings - hooray!
A Crane Fail from Failblog.org ... I love how it looks like it's breakdancing.
OSX: why does "display date & time" (on the top bar) actually only mean "display day of week and time"? (without fiddling) Apple drops the ball in weird ways.
Gotta get my butt to the bank and exchanging some currency. My trip to Japan is in like 2 weeks and a few days! YIKES.
News of the Moment
Headline, Coffee break for Starbucks' 135,000 baristas:
Starbucks, which last week announced 600 layoffs, plans to temporarily close its 7,100 U.S. stores on Tuesday for three hours of employee training."Employee Training"??? Or something much more sinister???
"The Onion", harsh satire, or prophet of our times?
Fashion of the Moment
The sad, dumb history of our Failed assassination attempts against Castro. General, stick with the military garbs. I just don't think the Adidas tracksuit is getting you where you want to be. (thanks Bill)
First day on the new job. Wish me luck...
Anecdote of the Moment
Felisdemens told a great story about a macaw that was at a pet shop where she once worked. To brutally paraphrase... first off she pointed out out that "Shut up!" is something that a LOT of pet macaws and parrots have learned to say, for some mysterious reason.
But the macaw at this store was quite affectionate, loved to climb up on people's arms, and shoulder, and nestle against their head, and then lean over and take a giant bite out of their Trapezius. So this Macaw had an even richer vocabulary of "ow get it off me!" and "fuck!"
The idea of a Macaw going "Rawrk! Ow! Get it off me! Rawrk!" amused me to no end
Video of the Moment
--Bitter:Sweet "The Mating Game". Might be getting a tad more exposure because it's preloaded on Microsoft's iPod wannabe the Zune, which is where I first heard it. Love that neolounge stuff, like History Repeating.
Wow. A duo formed on Craig's List.
So I'm back in DC this week. Decided I'd wait 'til now to post my photos from last time.
You could see the top of the Washington Monument from my hotel room...
Now, Ksenia likes one of these shots and I like the other one better.
So if people are bored, on the comments, write your guess and opinion:
Which one does Kirk like best?
Which one do you like best?
Mascots of the Moment
--I kind of missed hearing about Neve the Snowball and Gliz the Icecube, mascots of the Torino Olympics. I think each Olympics having its own Mascots is kind of cute...it would be fun to make a videogame with them all fighting it out. Here and here are some more, including my favorite Cobi from Barcelona. Harder to get information about the Winter Olympic mascots, though Powder, Copper, and Coal were kind of cute. (Guess they can't stop at just one anymore.)
Quote of the Moment
Every human being has a project.(Pekar of "American Splendor" fame.) Google doesn't seem to think that it's an exact quote, but its a neat idea.
It's fun to figure out your project. I think for a lot of people it's their kids. I think that's a new development in some ways...in at least some points in history, men got to pick their own projects, and women got assigned the projects of the kids. Now that we lived in a somewhat more symmetrical society, women have more freedom in their choice of project, and men are expected to make the kids their project as well.
Something like that.
Personal Semi-Triumph of the Moment
So JoustPong lives again! The game was "off the market" at AtariAge after Atari (in its newish, French-owned "Infogrames" form) sent a nastygram claiming the name of "Pong" as their intellectual property. I'd argue that the concept has gone generic ala "Kleenex" -- they certainly haven't been defending their intellectual property very well, Google has pages and pages and pages of links without a hint of Atari around.
But now the game has returned in a new incarnation -- FlapPing (a name suggested by brilliant 2600 coder Thomas Jentzsch on an AtariAge forum...quite clever.) I updated the title screen, switched the "Atari Fuji" symbol for "Computer Controlled Player" to a little 1s and 0s thing, fixed a minor conceptual score display bug, and best of all Atari Age Al and I got Dave LiveInABin Exton to make some nifty new artwork for it. Here's the image he ended up using without the title or Alien Bill or AtariAge logos:
Nice, huh? You can see the evolution of it, including the other video game art that inspired it, at the Flapping Development Journal, though really his first sketch is more-or-less what we ended up going with.
In other news, a recent issue of the UK's Retro Gamer magazine published a brief interview with me. (I heard there's an interview with Pitfall! legend David Crane as well as with Atari Age Al.) Al was kind enough to scan the page with the interview (150K jpeg) for me, but the result was so heavily edited that I've published the original e-mail Q+A between Peter Latimer and me...I worked to give some quality answers to his very good questions. Unfortunately, the article gives the new name of the game as "FlipPing"...ah well.
Quote of the Moment
"Only a fool is sure of anything, a wise man keeps on guessing."
Epic of the Moment
Brilliant first 3 parts in some Flash-animation "Fan Fiction" that recasts the struggles of Mario and the mushroom kingdom in an almost awe-inspiring epic light. I kind of hope they leave it as is: as it stands, it would be a perfect prelude to the first Mario Brothers game, changing it from a goofy "save the princess" game to a Heroic struggle for redemption. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Link of the Moment
Reason's Daily Brickbats, tales of bureaucratic stupidity and corruption (with a liberterian agenda, natch.)
Alleged Quote of the Moment
"We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of this great country and rid the world of evil."I've also seen it attributed to a "random CIA person", which makes me wonder. More on the administration, and whether they might be aiming for bringing on the end of the world.
Comic Strip Quote of the Moment
"So our government says we're running a huge deficit of 199 billion dollars. But our president says being in the red will lead to economic prosperity, pushing more tax cuts and a bigger deficit."
"Apparently, red is the new black this season."
Eyebending Link of the Moment
ASCII art stereograms. I'm really glad they chose green on black on the webpage, when you refocus your eyes and the 3Dness comes out, it's like you're entering the Matrix. Not recommended if you don't have a good monitor...
Boring Quote and Link of the Moment
"If people felt bored before the late 18th century, they didn't know it."Spacks is the author of "Boredom: The Literary History of a State of Mind", on how the word boredom didn't even exist until about 1850. The quote is from an excellent article from latimes.com's calendarlive, Is boredom bad?. It's worth reading through to the end, where it starts talking about how seeking novelty might not be the best solution to boredom.
I know I'm very frequently driven by novelty seeking behavior, but on the other hand sometimes at work I find a lot of satisfaction in the coding tasks that others might find dull and repetitive.
Quiz of the Moment
1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get cat gut?
Sheep and Horses
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
--from The Comics I Don't Understand "last week" page.
Methinks They Do Protest Too Much
This was one of those "XCam2 camera" ads from a long while back (You can try seeing it here but you may have to cut and paste into a browser before it autodestructs the window.) I love how it tries to protest its innocence, while at the same time promoting its obvious use..."QUIT SPYING ON PEOPLE!" in big type, and then a smaller parenthetical reminder "(we never told you to do that)". And the "better uses" use it suggests are pretty sad: "monitoring sleeping baby" (I think this version doesn't have sound, so you'd need a baby monitor as well), "watching nature without intruding" (in a grainy little window), "throwing a candid camera party" (What?? A "party"? Isn't that just group spying even if you could somehow work up a social event around it?), etc. And what the heck does the back of that naked woman have to do with any of those "better uses"? Luckily, since I went to this popup disablers page I haven't seen these particular ads...are they still around? (I can't find this one link that compared various cameras like these...they aren't as wireless and portable or useful as the ads indicate, surprise surprise.)
Quote of the Moment
Boy, life takes a long time to live.
So Maybe W. still woulda won that recount. Still doesn't account for Florida's incredibly over-enforced anti-Felon voting act, or the way George W. Bush is acting like such a damn partisan when he got fewer votes nationwide than Gore.
Link of the Moment
There's a surprisingly straightforward fart FAQ Here. I like its direct style.
I remember when I was in third grade or so, I got into an argument about how to spell "fart"-- I was convinced there was a U in there, "faurt", that it was some kind of French word or something.
Randomness of the Moment
"I praythee, Lorde, bequest me with thine finest crab rangoone, and ye olde beef with greenerie vegetables and tremendouse fyne spice"EB who I wrote this to (the one who always orders for Spicy Beef and Broccoli) pointed out that all RPGers aren't of the SCA variety. Still, I amused myself writing it.