September 17, 2020

Low key rip your heart out Twitter thread from a doctor encountering the callousness of the economics of the USA's health care system. "Doc, which kills you faster? Blood pressure you don't control, or blood sugar you don't control? [...]
I just can't afford all these medications anymore." The other heart wrenching part is, he wants to aim for 4 or 5 more years which is how long he figures his pet dog has.

September 17, 2019

Probably bad idea: had a momentary flash of wanting this as a tattoo...

The phrase just popped into my head, as I find myself getting all tightened up about conflicting band schedule issues... such a good reminder from Porkypine there.

September 17, 2018

Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.
Bruce Lee

September 17, 2017

Article on the background of "woke". I hate false symmetries but I've been thinking about some of the parallels with "taking the red pill" and "being woke". I'm wary of most claims of group-cohering revelations and special knowledge, but at least "woke" carries a sense of being aware so you can do your own thinking, whereas red pill draws more of a knowledge injection.

Still love that @mlliondollameat tweet:
wife: go see if the baby sleeping
*walks into baby's room*
baby: corporations exploit our insecurities for profit
me: no babe she woke af

6 Things Juggalo Culture Teaches Us About Trump (Ad-heavy Cracked link, their "Cracked Lite" app might be a better bet)

James Harvey linked to it, focusing on it's thought that ""People tend to interpret bluntness as candor and eloquence as dishonesty". I rambled about the whole "they're stealth Christians" angle that was there for a while but maybe didn't end up really applying (and how easily a group like U2 can mask a Christian heart from me with artistry and simple tricks like a gender swap for the Holy Spirit in "Mysterious Ways" - the Evangelical music I grew up near was pretty damn hamfisted) but then I thought more about the article's point.

Here's what I said:
This may be disingenuously sophomoric, but I think the "world hates us" perverse pride that powers Juggalos/Deplorables cohesion all comes from the human need to slap value judgements on everything. Things can't just be, or can't just be evaluated and valued for their objective productivity, people are desperate to figure out what the "shoulds" are, and then paint was is overall better and overall worse. (For people who fancy themselves clever it's very easy to conflate intelligence with human worth) So the privileged groups parlay their objective advantages into snobbish looking down at everything, and ICP and Trump is the reaction, like the article sets out.

I guess this is just a goofy pollyanna call for kumbaya, see-the-good-in-everything, but just now I noticed it ties into the idea that everything needs to be measured on many different dimensions but there's a human tendency to smush that into a single dimension of good/bad, or worthy/unworthy, which is one my earliest philosophical / existential morality cornerstones - an idea that's "sophomoric" for me in a very literal, second year at college sense.
Here's a 2004 retelling of that idea history, inspired by "Theory of Multiple Intelligences".

Blender of Love

Why do we like sports or movies? It's just incredible that a trillion-synapse computer could actually spend Saturday afternoon watching a football game. It's a colossal phenomenon that needs to be explained, and I'm not joking.
Marvin Minsky

September 17, 2016

Lately I've been thinking about forms of empathy in everyday life, of whether an assumption of competition vs cooperation is good for us: pragmatically, but especially emotionally.

The examples that come most easily to mind are traffic-related. You're stuck behind some left-turner, look for your chance to scoot around to the right lane so that you can go straight, and some putz from behind you zips on up and takes your chance. It's easy to feel frustrated and annoyed by that, and to feel that you've somehow "lost" to that person. But what if you were able to view it as a little victory, either for them, or for local car-driving humanity in general?

Stupid? Naive? Maybe. I mean, from an evolutionary standpoint, we have a lot of cooperation in our history, but also a mandate to be on watch against cheaters, people who will take advantage of us, people who carry and struggle for their own agendas that we may actively disagree with, maybe even people with enough awareness of our own Kumbaya that they can leverage it for their own purposes with a blatant disregard for reciprocity. And few of us want to feel like that kind of fool.

Still, I think it might be a useful attitude to carry. I've been finding ways to douse "road rage" with thoughts like "Waiting Is" (time stuck waiting is still time, it's not some untime that is inherently valueless, even if we are impatient to get to somewhere else, eager for some event to occur) and adding in a dose of perspective - i.e. keeping in mind Homer Simpson's reaction to a traffic jam, the utterly furious "Lousy minor setback! This world sucks!", and how that's a kind of natural but short sighted way to be... and being aware how my brain is SO damn good at coming up with "alternate realities" that remove those little inconveniences. All that helps, but that feeling of "losing" to the other driver still stings. If I can share in their victory, or see it as a general positive for driver-kind, I'll be a happier and more generous person.

I'm not there yet, but hippy and Eastern ideas like "we are all one" make more sense to me, even if I have to wade hipdeep through my flavor of Western Rationalism to get there.

September 17, 2015

There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.
G.K. Chesterton

September 17, 2014

For survival in this world, it's to an animal's great advantage if Humans think you're cute.

At 230 calories, a bottle of Guinness Draught and a Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle bar makes a helluva nightcap for a dieter like me.

September 17, 2013

first morning bike ride where my fingers got cold. But if I wore gloves I'd feel like I should give up the sandals, not ready for that.
Fun time with Anna Anthropy last night -- Crossroads and its sequel on the projector, and going over Atari 2600 games including my own JoustPong.
- Go to a Mac.
- Minimize a window.
- Unminimize the window, and hide it while it's unminimizing (cmd+h)
(via hjttp:// )

storm by tim minchin

September 17, 2012
EB pointed this great animation / spoken word piece. It's intensely skeptical, some harsh language, but the rhymes are so catchy!

I've been cultivating increasing awareness of how my conscious life is mostly just making up the story of what my unconscious just decided. Like I'll be debating whether to get out of bed in the middle of the night, pros and cons, finally my unconscious decides, the rest follows.
SMBC has the most amazing deconstruction of Pac-Man I've ever seen. -- fun swaggering cowgirl / go-go blend
Yesterday we went with EB and his family to the Marini farm corn maze-- 8 acres of twisty fun. Personally I recommend take a snapshot of the map with your cellphone... for me, deliberate navigation was more fun than random wandering, especially when we had to split into two groups (a kid needed a bathroom break) and EB would send helpful txts with photos saying "we are here" to help us find them....

Success key: Design your life to minimize reliance on willpower.

Zipcars scare the shit out of me. You know what your Zipcar says to me? 'I haven't driven in six months. Where's the Ikea?'

For the record I did not say to Noah "There's gonna be a floody-floody." It was an apocalypse, not a summer camp.

We can't teach C++ anymore. It's like trying to explain Lost now - you had to be there. No one's going to want to watch all 6 seasons

lol ur doing it wrong

September 17, 2011

--via kottke (2019 replacement for missing vid)

lg10: merri-vue extends to you

September 17, 2010
One final bit of Lake George-ism -- I've always liked this poster, an old party invitation, though I'm not sure of the year or of all of the references, but here's an attempt at transcribing it... (Merri-Vue must've been the name of one of the other cabins.)

Merri - Vue
extends to you -
a hesitant invitation
to come on up and grab a cup
of gin, or hooch libation .......
we've stripped the joint, so there's
no point to limit jubilation ....
besides our thirst, Anthea durst
have a birthday celebration .....
bring bob along (we may be wrong)
it's quite an education, to see him
drink and slowly sink in quiet stupification .
..... our john's inside, we say with pride
no need for constipation! ...........
so tell ivân to use the can*,
fur coats are his temptation .........
black tie and tails, long dresses, veils,
just use the imagination ..........
the date is Sun*, we'll go to Mon .
to miss. hyatt's consternation .........
come one; come all to the merry brawl
the seasons wind-up celebration ......

5:00 PM

"Hi! I'm Princess Laidup! Note that I'm wearing less clothes in this movie than before! That's because my Figure's improved! Unfortunately my acting HASN'T!"
--Leia from MAD's parody of Return of the Jedi... I remember being kind of fascinated by this drawing back in 1983 or so


September 17, 2009 - more realistic video games - Naval Safety Center Photo of the Week. Kind of a less wacky "Safety FAIL" blog. - repost of a fun little Cricket game. Great use of Box2D. - slang of the 50s. Like crazy, man. - Cracked was making fun of it but I find something really appealing about a C3P0 assassin droid.

remeber, you can't have wednesday with out the "ednes"

(1 comment)
September 17, 2008
Ugh, this week is still going on?

Prudery of the Moment
The 1968 Romeo and Juliet shows breasts after Peek A Boos and Modesty Bedsheets appeared to be used. Especially notable as the actress was only 15 at the time — supposedly, she wasn't allowed to attend the premiere because she was too young to be allowed to see herself topless. It was originally rated G, then changed to PG once the rating existed. It's actually illegal to show the nude scene in United States high school English classes because of the laws on child pornography.
It reminds me a bit of underage but sexually active kids who use cellphone cameras and the like to make their own child pornography that would be illegal for them, or anyone, to look at. (Then again, I guess statutory rape laws might've made what they were doing illegal for at least one of them.)

I think I did see that movie in school, seventh grade, 1987 or so. I don't know if the standards have changed since then. We were suitably wide-eyed.

It is unfortunate that these kids are doing what they're doing as young as they're doing it, though, whether it's hormones in food and the environment accelerating the onset of puberty, or just the side-effect of the Sex Sells popculture...

On the other hand, it's easy to forget than "female breasts must be covered" isn't a Universal Law. (And not that uncovered breasts at, say, a European beach aren't de-sexed, any more than a supple torso or curve of hip on an American beach is... it's just the old American Puritan reaching out and trying to cram sensuality into as small a carton as possible.)

Game of the Moment
Cute little physics-y Cricket batsman simulation. I was thinking a bit about this when I did that OLPC Physics Game Jam...

I'm kind of fascinated by Cricket as the old world baseball... probably because of Douglas Adam's sci-fi friendly disdain of it, but it seems kind of neat, I like how the "pitching" is anything goes hurling, they just want to get the damn thing to hit the structure behind you... I went on a youtube video kick for that a while back.

weird tape-delay effect being on a conference call w/ a guy I can hear down the hall; cell delays add thoughtful pauses that aren't there-
Just made two donations, one to the Houston Foodbank, the other to the Salvation Army. Texas is wet and hurting, google and give...
Pollyanna: well, the "5 year" Dow Jones chart doesn't look that terrible so far...
I love that the economist Nouriel "Dr. Doom" Roubini's homepage has one of those wacky webhit counter parody animated GIFs.
FAIL: The new signs on the restrooms at work have braille. Except they're actually garishly photoshopped printouts of signs with braille.
Vaguely worried (moi?) about heat bill with a window open all day- til aunt says heat isn't on - brownstones flats are cozy! (if drafty)

Boston LATER

(1 comment)
September 17, 2007
Ironically, the free paper called "Boston NOW" is the one with lead times such that they can't actually tell me what happened with the Patriots (yay) or the Sox (boo) last night.

I did help Jonathan buy and setup a video projector to replace his small television. And MAN, is his setup simple and sweet. He's got a small apartment in Back Bay but a large white flat wall, and the resulting HD picture is larger than many art cinemas I've been to, I think significantly bigger than that dinkyplex they used to have at Copley.

I also went to by myself a replacement alarm clock/clockradio. I had a promising iPod speakers/tuner combo unit, but really its tasteful LCD face is too hard to read with bleary eyes at night. So I got a fairly cheap but feature-laden thing: it has nice big red digits (sorry to see that designer's love of way-too-bright and night-sight-destroying blue light has spread to clocks), automatically sets itself with that radio signal, it even has a projector to put the time on the ceiling or opposite wall. But the radio ain't a digital tuner!!! What is up with these people? Do they really enjoy twisting a knob and hoping they get it just right? Do they still use car radios from 1986? I thought that they had this problem figured out five years ago. (And DANG IT -- It matters)

Funny of the Moment
We wish that the [Watergate] break-in had happened at the John Hancock Hotel, JUST SO all future political scandals would have been named differently, i.e. Travelcock, Whitewatercock, etc.
The book also provided useful comedy gems such as
"The first rule of Polite Club -- don't talk about Polite Club. Please."
and a list of available clown names such as "Bricksy" and "Floppo the Dicknificent". Not to mention striking comedy factoids such as "Tommy Chong made a career out of telling 'weed jokes' and was arrested for selling bongs."

kills spam dead. i hope.

September 17, 2006
Comment spammers are on my mind, so once again I wade into the fray The "topics" of the links have gotten too diverse for my "forbidden words when posted with a link" filter to keep up. But I've noticed something that wasn't clear to me at first: there's hardly ever spam on my front page, these scumbags' scripts seem to prefer the dark shadows of previous comments.

So for a while I thought of closing off the ability to post comments to old articles. But that was a kind of sad admission of defeat, and there had been some really lovely comments from Johnny from Portugal recently that wouldn't have been possible with that setup.

Then the obvious solution hit me, and I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier: comments on old articles are fine, comments on old articles that include links are not. So that's the new filter, and for the time being I've even disabled the keywords-with-link filter, which was prone False Positives for spam anyway.

I realize that there might be a reason why these scripts pick on old entries and leave the front page alone. I noticed that some entries seem to be attract far more than their fair share of spam: (quack quack waddle waddle!, antihippopotamus, brrr. brr brr Brr brr BRRRRR., a visit from the laissez-fairies, and ironically enough, towards a better comments spam filter) I would guess that those pages rank highly for specific websearches, and maybe that explains why the front pages receive less Spam they haven't had time to be indexed by the crawlers.

So I'll be keeping an eye out. I know the "no links for comments on old posts" filter is a bit leaky, because there are some feeler scripts out there without links. Some of those get picked up by my other "whole phrase match" filters, and then we'll play wait and see.

There's slightly more of a chance of a front-page flood now, but I'm more likely to notice that in a timely fashion.

(UPDATE: bleh, I notice that some f'in bot is still posting random, meaningless strings, like "lhdgvumxt etrod tzphiwa rnwtmys algcqvr nfojtgi zocyr". There aren't nearly as many of these though. Maybe at some point I'll add a filter, if 2/3 of a post aren't in the dictionary for an old post, you get rejected. This may also have the happy side-effect of ignoring people who are typing entirely in L33T.)

Videos of the Moment

--So one subgenre of fanfiction is, of course, "slash", which explores the possible romantic and sometimes sexual relationships between various characters that the original authors probably never meant, or at least would only barely hint at. They say the genre started with "Kirk/Spock" stories. This is a music video playing that up, with clips from the show. Actually, this one is a cheerful PG13 example, as opposed to the other one making the rounds, which is a dark and violent (in terms of music and imagery) video set to "Closer"... admittedly it's a bit more "artistic" than the previous one.

Finally Trek does Monty Python's Knights of the Round Table is surprisingly well matched and enjoyable.

what's zappening?

September 17, 2005
Link of the Moment
Power-dressing man leaves trail of destruction...a guy in a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket generated a 40,000 volt charge and darn near spontaneously combusted. Yow!

Quote of the Moment
The best audience is intelligent, well-educated and a little drunk.
Maurice Baring


September 17, 2004
Geek Ramble of the Moment
You know, I just thought of one major lack of Java, and to be fair, most C-derived programming languages: a function can have many input parameters but only one return value. That's a really odd asymmetry to have to put up with.

Perl, for example, handles it much's no problem to write something like

($foo, $bar, $baz) = somefunction($a,$b,$c);

In Java, though, you'd have two ugly workarounds: create a wrapper object that contains each thing you want to return, or if the objects are complex, sometimes you can have the calling program create an object, pass it in, and let the called function fill in the blanks. (Kind of like Oracle's "INOUT" parameters.)

Personally, I think this lack is something that provokes over use of Exceptions, which really do horrendous things to understanding a programs flow of execution.

Seriously, would it be so hard to add a syntax so something like this would work?

int foo;
String bar;
(foo,bar,String baz) = somefunction();

public int,String,String somefunction(){
   return (5,"hey","ho");

Does anyone know if any of the other C-derived languages handle this case better? C# or any of that? I know they're hyper-conservative about adding this kind of structure to Java, since it breaks old compilers and what not. But still, it seems like one of those things that actually is pretty stupid and only around for legacy reasons but that everyone just kind of accepts.

Quote of the Moment
The more sensitive you are, the more likely you are to be brutalised, develop scabs, never evolve. Never allow yourself to feel anything, because you always feel too much.
Marlon Brando, via Candi
An odd if depressing idea, but it seems like not allowing yourself to feel anything is a kind of scab in and of itself, a protective barrier. I guess I like the more mild message of Janeane Garofalo's line "Cultivate the Switzerland of your soul and remain delightfully detached."

Analysis of the Moment
So just how badly is Iraq going for us? What a dumbass idea the occupation has been. Neocons live in a dreamland.

Photo of the Moment

--Hurrican Ivan as seen from the International Space Station. I like how my eye misread this at first, seeing the solar panels as buildings, with the menacing cloud in the apocalyptic sky above...

don't forget nothing

September 17, 2003
I made up a new logo for JoustPong, combining the blatantly borrowed-from-Joust top with a goofily nondescript bottom. The funny thing is it probably looks like a made this "proper" version and then converted it to the 2600, but really I made this version after the fact. (Though admittedly using the same techniques.) It looks great on a real atari, you can see a photo at the JoustPong Development Page (or see an emulator screenshot)

Orders of the Moment
1. Don't forget nothing.
2. Have your musket clean as a whistle, hatchet scoured, sixty rounds powder and ball, and be ready to march at a minute's warning.
3. When you're on the march, act the way you would if you was sneaking up on a deer. See the enemy first.
4. Tell the truth about what you see and do. There is an army depending on us for correct information. You can lie all you please when you tell other folks about the Rangers, but don't never lie to a Ranger or officer.
5. Don't never take a chance you don't have to.
6. When we're on the march we march single file, far enough apart so one shot can't go through two men.
7. If we strike swamps, or soft ground, we spread out abreast, so it's hard to track us.
8. When we march, we keep moving 'til dark, so as to give the enemy the least possible chance at us.
9. When we camp, half the party stays awake while the other half sleeps.
10. If we take prisoners, we keep 'em separate 'til we have had time to examine them, so they can't cook up a story between 'em.
11. Don't ever march home the same way. Take a different route so you won't be ambushed.
12. No matter whether we travel in big parties or little ones, each party has to keep a scout 20 yards ahead, twenty yards on each flank and twenty yards in the rear, so the main body can't be surprised and wiped out.
13. Every night you'll be told where to meet if surrounded by a superior force.
14. Don't sit down to eat without posting sentries.
15. Don't sleep beyond dawn. Dawn's when the French and Indians attack.
16. Don't cross a river by a regular ford.
17. If somebody's trailing you, make a circle, come back onto your own tracks, and ambush the folks that aim to ambush you.
18. Don't stand up when the enemy's coming against you. Kneel down. Hide behind a tree.
19. Let the enemy come 'till he's almost close enough to touch. Then let him have it and jump out and finish him up with your hatchet.
20. Don't use your musket if you can kill 'em with your hatchet.
Supposed Major Robert Rogers Standing Orders to his rangers, 1759, though I've heard this is a purposefully folksy sounding 20th century paraphrasing.
The actual orders were more verbose, precise, and "properly" written.

Hero of the Moment
Angle Grinder Man frees clamped cars in the UK by using an Angle Grinder as a form of political protest. Or something. The oddest real-life superhero you've seen in a long time, I'd wager.

Observation of the Moment
I heard an Radio ad inviting "moral men" (or something like that) to find out about becoming a mason. I'd heard that they were having trouble filling their ranks, but was surprised to hear an actual advertisement. Of course, it didn't help that all I could think of was the Simpsons episode with the Stonecutters and their song...(Who controls the British crown? / Who keeps the metric system down? / We do! We do!)

fists of fury

September 17, 2002
Man, if the administration tries to just completely blow off Iraq's offer to accept inspections without conditions , we are going to lose what little credibility we have left. Maybe the Onion article Bush Won't Stop Asking Cheney If We Can Invade Yet was more right than I realized.


News Story of the Moment
Previously making the rounds: The story of Buzz Aldrin, two fisted astronaut: he decked this "moon landing skeptic" guy who was trying to get him to swear on a Bible that he'd been on the moon. I managed to find coverage with video footage...unfortunately it doesn't get a great shot of the hit, but you can see how annoying the other guy was, accusing Buzz of being "a coward and a liar and a thief" right before Buzz let fly with his trusty right. (The link requires free registration, though Mr. foobar has a very obvious password...)

Link of the Moment
You don't always have to go to Japan for incomprehensible insanity with cute cartoon animals. Apparently we've started our own domestic varieties.

Usenet Funny of the Moment
>Most of the molasses also goes abroad.
>I have _no_ idea what the hell anyone
>wants with that stuff; it's icky and stinks.
>It must be good for something,
>it's been exported for 300 years.

It is stored in a refrigerated platinum vault in Paris, and used as a world standard for "slow".
Patrick James and Bertil Jonell, via
Had to think about the implications of it for a second and then I laughed out loud.

thoughts of the produce section 1

September 17, 2001

Notes: 'Thoughts of the Produce Section' was a series I did in college and a little beyond Like a lot of art, it was done to impress women. It started as an oddball, inner-life-of-plants thing on the dormroom door message board of a woman I was trying to woo. Seen here are recently 'colorized' versions of remakes I did to impress Mo soon before we started going out, on Dinky Pad, a doodle program for the PalmPilot. (Hence the sever squiggle effec.) Some were original 'thoughts', some were remakes from the message board and other places.

The cherry's thought was one of the first ones I ever came up with, and the most poignant. (I used it to name a mix tape for the romantic interest as well, but she had me change it so it wouldn't prove problematic for her steady eddie boyfriend.) The Grapes are thinking a snippet of a prose poem I came up with. Orange's thought seems especially apropos these days, but it's not: I've been afraid of (in roughly this order) eternal damnation, nuclear M.A.D., Y2K, EMP blasts, mortality, and now nuclear terrorism. The mushroom thinks it's being deep.

It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.
(Looking at the paper I wrote that last Voltaire down on, a xeroxed map of part of Africa, it may have been from freshman year, world cultures...Sudiata, an epic of Mali)
"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet."
--Ambrose Bierce
"Look, I don't want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you're alive, you've got to flap your arms and legs, you've got to jump around a lot, you've gotta make a lot of noise, because life is the very opposite of death...if you're quiet you're not living...your thoughts should be noisy and colorful and lively."
--Mel Brooks
"it breaks the object model just as much as the bind does, but at least it screws things up efficiently"
          --John Lammers
"Do you come here often? Do I?"
          --Alzheimer's pickup line
Her eyes were cold and harsh, which made them tough to chew.
          --Roger Lee
lo.jak claims that a 2 year old car is worth 3x as much for parts. If so there *has* to be a way of making money off that...