FB offered this image for me to repost from 2017:
March 17, 2020
The core issue of it still sort of remains for me. I mean I *feel* things, but mostly anxiety and what not, and I cultivate sympathy and empathy for loved ones especially when they get knocked over by a wave of fear, but lately I'm even more aware of this philosophical safe space of emptiness I have, that my feelings and preferences don't matter much from the objective potential God's Eye View that I am forever subservient to, so I might as buck up and give the world a sardonic grin and get ready to roll with it.
To accept that it's not morally wrong to not get swamped by feeling is tough - whether it's fear of viruses and being part of a chain of infecting the vulnerable as well as myself, or concern for an economic future that suddenly has many more questions than answers (and the answers we have are all pretty bad), or of outrage that might lead me to be more politically active.
The older ya getVia the Hidden Brain podcast The Cowboy Philosopher
The more it's gonna cost
To do the things you did
When you were young
When an old man's in love
He just *thinks* he's in clover
He's not cooking with gas
He's just warming it over
Y'know, I really had high hopes for 2020. Usually even numbered years have a good vibe for me.
So a question about R0, how many people an infected person gives it to, on average... a few places I've seen them run the exponential math that results:
Now, I don't want to underplay it- viral spread is exponential, and this explosive growth is fundamentally true. And if seeing these exact numbers helps someone get the message, and do the right thing, and stay the hell home for a while, good.
But... does R0 assume 3 new cases, of people who otherwise wouldn't be infected? At some point - maybe sooner maybe later - the contact is with people who were going to catch it anyway. Exponential growth eventually ends. (Just like: "All Bleeding Eventually Stops")
So the math geek in me is irked or at least questioning, but I don't want that "skepticism" to detract from the fundamental correctness and truth and Truth of the issues at hand...
(Oh, did I not post that brilliant Washington Post Simulations of Viral Spread?)
Under current guidelines one's milkshake is only permitted to bring nine boys to the yard.
"you cannot kill me in a way that matters" is so raw and powerful but it comes from an incomprehensible shitpost about mushrooms
I think it's easy to forget the advances we've made in optical illusions over the last few decades. While some of these are surely computer assisted to generate, with most of them there's no reason to think an illustrator couldn't have done them a century ago. When you go to, say, a Ripley's Believe It or Not, a lot of the dank old 50s-era attractions hold up well, but their 2D optical illusions tend to be like "can you believe these two lines are the SAME LENGTH"?
as if losing Ryles (after Johnny D's) didn't suck enough, what the hell is this about??
For the first time in my life I noticed St Patrick's day is always a preview of the day of the week for my birthday. Huh.
Incidentally a while back I made a "figure the day of week for a date over years" toy tool : https://kirk.is/2005/06/19/
From Barking Up The Wrong Tree (very good weekly email newsletter) 5 Questions That Will Make You Emotionally Strong:
Today is the 17th day of the third month of the 17th year of the third Millenium
Last night I played at Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville... they're trying to improve their zoning situation, though last night's hearing got postponed we had a mini-rally anyway.
Man, it's tough to look cool playing a tuba. Never sure of the best place to put my other hand. (and at one point I'm sneaking in a Second of the Day...) Still, some great footage.
Irvin D. Yalom's "When Nietzsche Wept", spoken by the title character:
Dying is hard. I've always felt the final reward of the dead is to die no more!
The enemies of truth are not lies, but convictions!
Maybe, Josef, Living safely is dangerous. Dangerous and deadly.
I've always believed, Josef, that we are more in love with desire than with the desired!A very solid book, I think it's a great introduction to Nietzsche's view of the world, especially as lived through his own suffering, as well as early psychotherapy.
I've gotten some positive response to my "optimistic realism" post the other day. In terms of thinking of better names for it I realized I could think of it as SNAFU ≠ FUBAR; Situation Normal is ok, and doesn't mean things will inexorably go FUBAR.
They're called 'alpha males' because they're broken, primitive, buggy versions of real humans.
Black holes happen when reality has an overflow error: you put too much stuff in one place, and it breaks both the stuff and the place with gravity.I like that as an extension of the "Blackholes are where God is dividing by zero" idea.
http://www.cracked.com/article_20313_the-6-most-baffling-science-experiments-ever-funded.html - the second one (#5) kind of weirds me out, where Chicken express the same preferences for faces that College Students do with a .98 correlation. That suggests that big parts of beauty are objective, or at least cross-species.
I got my license in the mail the other day. A few years ago they changed designs.
March 17, 2012
I think the new design is a real step backwards. I'm no font-wonk, but come-on, a serif font for the proud name of the commonwealth? And the old design was nothing special, but this new one is worst in about every dimension.
March 17, 2011
--In looking for versions of the Mad Men theme on youtube yesterday, I found this gem... Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy" fits the "Mad Men" theme to a T.
One way or another, if human evolution is to go on, we shall have to learn to enjoy life more thoroughly.
Probably just my poor intuition of random chunking, but it's weird how iOS "shuffle" seems to have moods. Today is retro day, for instance.
March 17, 2010
--from designrfix'spage of Comic Book Inspired Vector Artwork
"Erin Go Braless!" Man will I ever get tired of thinking that?
The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.
It is better to be quotable than to be honest.
Today's weather: scattered begorrah
If I'm gonna go down in history for one quote, let it be "Everyone knows cupcakes are just muffins in drag."
I think I was a strictly rationalist skeptic in a former life.
March 17, 2009
--The other day I wondered aloud about what my Todo "united states chef" meant... JZ reminded me it was something his gal Heather showed me, a bit of Midwest Lore, how there is a figure of a chef embedded in the USA serving up a Tennessee platter of Kentucky. Not quite as impressive as the boot of Italy, but some of those state borders are outlined by the large rivers, so it's not quite as arbitrary as you might think.
Has anyone else heard of this?
makeaworldfilm -- Ed Emberly has a posse! Or at least a film. Neat.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecilia_(song) - the original LP for Cecilia had hidden high pitched sounds, maybe for/about a dog?
March 17, 2008
* Users must be given obvious and easy control over color usage. Different people have very different combinations of monitors, background colors, limitations in color perception, and general preferences. There is no single choice of colors that will work for any substantial portion of the user community.
* The basic nature of the human visual system is that it separates objects based on intensity differences, not color differences. If you are designing colors for a white-background display, every color you use must be, with few exceptions, a low-intensity color. Hot pink on white may look snazzy, but people will have to work hard to read it.
* Dark blue should never be used for anything somebody is expected to read. Short wavelength colors tend to focus just in front of the retina, and will thus always be a little bit blurry.
- Crappy Movie Pitches -- the older ones are a bit punchier than the stuff that's on the front page.
Travelog of the Moment
So I thought Monday would be mostly travel, but I got to see some important things. I braved the Tokyo subway and then the bullet trains all on my own, got to Hiroshima, and then determined to heed Josh's admonition to "don't be that girl from Lost in Translation" (i.e. sitting moping around a hotel room) I headed out for a few hours of exploration.
So, the trains. It's too bad that "and the trains ran on time" has such a negative connotation, because it's actually quite handy. They are extremely punctual, except when someone stepped in front of one... a not uncommon occurrence, maybe 2 or 3 a month - infamously the result of a nation that has A. a strong and idiosyncratic sense of honor, B. not much of a religious prohibition against suicide, and in fact a social precedent for it (A Spitzer in Japan would be dead by his own hand by this point, Josh says) and C. Really, really fast trains.
Open Photo GalleryThey also have thse little strips that reliably indicate where the doors of the train will open. People line up behind 'em one or two abreast, and it likely helps speed things along:
So back in the day there was a game called "Koronis Rift", that had a distinctive fractal-based landscape-- I have a strong memory of the way the game used color to show hills fading into the distance:
I always assumed that was a game conceit, but really, Japan from rail looks a bit like that:
I admit to feeling a note of melancholy traveling on my own. But maybe some of that was the hazy landscape, or the feel of the rails, or maybe the Portable Dorothy Parker I was grinding through... she's a very lonely writer.
Hiroshima Station has a huge hoard of taxis waiting outside:
I decided to walk rather than take the tram (but, oy, I'm starting to feel all this walking) and this is a temple I saw, a bit elevated:
Plus I found this posture-based poster a little amusing.
Here's another view of the pavement inserts for the blind, here you can see how some parts are linear while other parts (intersections and endpoints) are more generalized:
I tried to play it like I wanted a picture of the statue but really I was more interested in the guy:
My hotel, the Rihga Royal, was surprisingly swanky, I got a really good deal on Expedia the day before. The giant sweep of lobby:
I got in after many of the attractions were closed, but I made one important trip: The Atomic Bomb Dome was just a few blocks away. This was the "Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall" until the first atomic bomb exploded about 150 meters away.
I know in my stupid blog here it's going to sound trite, but I was moved to the point of tears by its stark presence and broken grandeur. The intellectual part of me knows more people died in firebombings and massacres, and there's always the rightwingers argument that more would have died in a full invasion but... the sheer brutal efficiency of the engines of war has made humanity's chance at making it for the long haul that much worse, so in that way the blast still echoes for us all. And what does it matter that this wasn't the "worst" tragedy humanity has inflicted on itself; it was a tragedy, and I can mourn for the lives destroyed.
The dome is by the Motoyasu river.
There was a surprising amount of seaglass there on the sandy bank. Maybe not worn enough to be seaglass; and some of it seemed like shards of china and other things. I gathered a few pieces.
Later that evening I headed to the Hondori shopping area. I was thinking I wanted to try the cliche of checking out the McDondalds, but since I didn't want to subject my friends to it it seemed like a perfect time. (We didn't actually get anything at Wendy's before.) I...uh... think this had some kind of egg on it...
Hondori is pretty cool, almost like a normal street with a ceiling, and tons of stores. You can see the traffic light here, it's so odd to feel a bit like you're in a mall but you still have to watch for traffic:
I checked out a Sega arcade, including the fun of Mario Kart 2 (it even has a builtin webcam and puts a mario mustache on you). Also, I liked the Beatles with coffee cups on their heads:
On my way back to the hotel,I was startled when what I thought was just a simple underpass and tramstop turned out to be more extensive, going on for a few blocks:
Finally a note on television: many shows have a little subpicture showing what looks like audience reaction. Josh explained "the japanese are big on group activity. The panel/audience guides the crowd reaction--shows them what to do." Which sounds kind of bad, but really that makes it a visual laugh track, but with real people.
More tomorrow or thereabouts.
Last night I had a few hours to kill before meeting up with some folks at Harvard Square. I was thinking of hitting a bookstore, but I wanted to finish the last 20 pages or so of my current read. It was a mini-blizzard out, so I decided to loiter on one of the waiting benches by the red line... the bench wasn't well lit, and at one end had a little clutter, including a cup with some kind of orange slush looking stuff in it, full, with a lid and straw. So not the optimal reading environment, but it was fine, reading as many trains passed, playing the jutting rock as the crashing waves of people actively commuting came and receded.
March 17, 2007
Until some guy in business wear came and picked up the orange drink, and walked off drinking it. I had to fight the urge to run up and ask "Sir? Was that always yours? Do you always give your frozen beverages some 'me time' alone on benches at public transportation? Were you concerned about people sampling it, or would-be Samaritans throwing it out, or did you just find it and decided it looked good?"
And now I'll never know.
Video of the Moment
--Speaking of things by the shore, it's Sand Castle Unexplosions
Event of the Moment
Hey, has anyone heard anything about BarCamp? Odd little geekish event at MIT, but I hadn't heard anything about it..
March 17, 2006
Political Geek Art Snark of the Moment
March 17, 2005
Source code // Built with Processing|
Keen-eyed regulars may recognize this (not terribly original) technique of text-over-image, last year I made three pieces Cider, Accuse, To Sleep, though those were all "By Hand" as it were. Now I can let the computer do most of the dirty work.
I should make up a webpage that lets you upload or use an arbitrary image from the web and with some better text editing options. (The current thing only understands "backspace" for editing.)
Actually, now that it's a java applet there's more things I could do than with the static images...I already use a "one letter at a time" display, but also theres no reason the image behind couldn't be changing, either some frames of an animation, or just flipping through various images.
Thought of the Moment
So last night I was showing that app to Candi...she thought it was kind of cool that I program "for fun" too, while she just does what she needs to for school. I was going to say that that's what seperates "real programmers" from other people, but then I realized I know a large number of "real programmers" but very very few of 'em do this kind of stuff for fun per se, as far as I can tell. But I've been doing that for years and years; I think a lot of the kids in the 80s did that, but then a lot of people just gave it up. "Recreational Programming" is a bit of an arcane field.
Product of the Moment
March 17, 2004
So the other night I saw a commercial for the Phillips HeartStart Home Defibrillator. Which is, for some reason, mildly amusing to the easily amused in a Homer Simpson getting one and then realizing he can eat ALL the bacon he wants, he'll just self-defib through any heart attacks and go "ahhh" kind of way, though I'm sure for some people it's very serious indeed. But what's odd about the tv pitch is, on the one hand they say "have this around, Often no prior symptoms" scare tactic but then they mention that you need a doctor's prescription. Maybe that's not quite a contradiction, but it seems a little odd, or at least paranoia inducing.
Of course, being a separated and soon to be divorced guy, I become aware that this kind of product pretty much relies on someone else being arond.
Paranoia of the Moment
In the spirit of yesterday's parnoid with a slashdot account, it's the works of Tammy, who seems to have some serious problems. She'd write these long, Dr.-Bronner's-Soap-like rambles on sheets and hang them outside her house, but if you're in a hurry, just check out the pages about people (looks like they think I'm trying to eat up their bandwidth, go to main page, about 3/4 of the way down, the one with all the snapshots) with various psychic powers, two shown here. (It took me a second to realize that Judy Nielson's ability of "HEAVY PERIODS" probably means causing that in other women, not just having them herself.) The author has a bit too much schadenfreude in it all, but it's still compelling.
Actually, I just realized that those pages remind of Jesse Reklaw's brilliant compilation Applicant, scavanged from Ph.D. applicant files (1965-1975) where Reklaw takes the headshot and a really telling, tiny snippet from that person's letter of recommendation. (The quote, which the applicant him or herself wasn't privy to, often says more about the time period or the letter's author than the applicant...on the other hand, you can look at the picture and guess that some are strangely apt.) That booklet is only $2...buy it, it's the best $2 you'll spend this week, I promise you.
So in parts of Massachusetts, today is Evacuation Day...Boston's way of celebrating St. Patrick's Day in a revolutionary war history kind of way. It seems like Bush has decided to observe the holiday as well, telling the UN inspectors to get the hell out.
March 17, 2003
Turns out my thoughts on this issue have been pretty constant for almost a year, last April I started a thread on Usenet about it (with the unfortunate title "Attaq Iraq?"--what can I say, I was young and foolish)... back then I was surprised how this just wasn't on people's radar, even though a New Yorker editorial I had read mentioned the Pentagon thought it was an inevitability. And the administration gets its way by ramping up the military encirclement to such an extent that backing down looks even worse than going on with the damn thing.
Joke of the Moment
President Bush and Colin Powell are sitting in a bar. A guy walks in and asks the barman, "Isn't that Bush and Powell sitting over there?"
The barman says, "Yep, that's them."
So the guy walks over and says, "Wow, this is a real honor. What are you guys doing in here?"
Bush says, "We're planning WWIII".
And the guy says, "Really? What's going to happen?"
Bush says, "Well, we're going to kill 140 million Iraqis this time and one blonde with big tits."
The guy exclaimed, "A blonde with big tits? Why kill a blonde with big tits?"
Bush turns to Powell, punches him on the shoulder and says, "See, smart ass, I told you no one would worry about the 140 million Iraqis!"
Quote of the Moment
According to Lifton, the standard requirements for a really sparkling clean brainwash include: isolation of the subjects, control over their information, debilitation, degradation, discipline and fear, peer pressure, performance of repetitive tasks, and renunciation of formerly held values. (All of which sounds eerily like law school to me.)...is it real, or just a pseudoscientific way of explaining why seemingly nice and smart people believe certain things (especially religious/cultish) that we find unacceptable?
Article of the Moment
"Luckily" I have too many "clear and present" frets to give the Boston Housing Bubble much attention.
Housewarming party went very well last night. There was dancing, conversation, pictionary, video games, and a pretty amazing assortment of cookies by Mo. These cookies to the right were the most extravagently decorated...people had trouble believing they were homemade, actually. It's a little frightening, come to think of it.
March 17, 2002
Quote of the Moment
Right now, I'm working on trying to learn some new old songs. You know, there are so many tunes, but you tend to whittle yourself and your memories down as life goes by. You know how you kind of become the same five stories in the end? I've done that already, and I'm fuckin' 31 years old.I think this journal is my way of trying to keep my other stories accessible, beyond those five. I also think I really need to get a cd from Drums & Tuba, one of the bands on her label.
Useful Link of the Moment
One of the most useful community sites on the web, experts-exchange.com (I remember the dash by realizing without it, the name could be read "expert sexchange") The theory is you get points for answering other people's technical questions, and you give points to people who answer yours. In practice, you spend the points they give you daily just for being a member, and your question is answered by some amazingly smart people who seem to have a lot of time to answer tough questions, because they get to it before other people have the chance. (Actually, a neat etiquette spontaneously emerged, where people started posing answers as "comments", so it wouldn't lock out other potential answers. Eventually the site added the feature "accept this comment as answer" to better support this natural behavior.) It amazes me how well this point system motivates some of these people, who amass huge fortunes of points that aren't good for anything except reputation within the community. It's a more reliable source of answers than Usenet, and you don't have to feel like a mooch using it, because of the point system.
Quote of the Moment
March 17, 2001
Bed is the poor man's opera
Related Quote of the Moment
I don't need viagra at all... all I need is a skinny, boney female
Wired article with the vi guy's essay on the obsolesence of humanity and, much more disturbingly to me, this geometrically increasing "Oops!" factor that nano-, bio-, and maybe cyber- technology will be bringing on over this next century. In particular the "grey goo" idea, and custom bacteria multiplying like clouds of pollen stick in my head as vivid images of biosphere imploding disaster. Sigh- hopefully these memes won't rush in to fill a void Y2K left behind.
Right now I'm at Home Depot, trailing Mo as she gets paint color sample chips to base a wedding color scheme on (and to get the makings of a murphy free flower & plant shelf)