Archives for: May 2005

Crazy-ass Bicycles!

posted by collin on 05.05.31 at 15:12, nonsense, art, visual, random, art, technology, 1 comment Permalink

Mixed in with a lot of recumbents are pics of some truely great bikes. They rival the venerable steeds of Chunk 666 and the BLF. Jah is mighty.

via.

Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
That canoe is awesome. The shadows on all the bikes are not.
Permalink 06/01/05 @ 14:24

Deep Throat

posted by collin on 05.05.31 at 15:04, news, news, 3 comments Permalink

Has Deep Throat been revealed? Or so Vanity Fair seems to be reporting, according to Reuters/AP. The most interesting part of the linked article...

"My grandfather is pleased that he is being honored for his role as Deep Throat with his friend Bob Woodward," Jones said.

Felt's daughter spoke to Woodward, who visited Felt in 1999, by phone more than a half-dozen times to discuss a potential joint announcement, Vanity Fair said.

But Woodward would often begin those conversations with a caveat, the magazine said, saying: "Just because I'm talking to you, I'm not admitting that he is who you think he is."

The magazine said Felt's daughter directly asked Woodward to reveal if her dad was Deep Throat.

"He wouldn't do that," his daughter Joan is quoted as saying. "I said 'If he's not, you can at least tell me that. We could put this to rest.' And he said 'I can't do that."'

The magazine said Woodward was concerned that Felt's family was pushing Felt, whose health and mental sharpness were declining with age, toward exposure against his will.

So neither Woodward, Bernstein, nor former Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee, the only three people who actually know Deep Throats identity have commented on this? (Is Bradlee alive?) I'm suspicious.

Comment from: marco [Member] Email · http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~barreno
Woodward & Bernstein Confirm: Felt Was 'DeepThroat'
Permalink 05/31/05 @ 16:52
Comment from: Other Graham [Visitor] Email · http://nores.org/wire
bernstein had given us at E&P a no-denial-denial. I think the Post was waiting until they could take the thunder and get the headlines to say "washington post confirms..."

bradlee is retired. bernstein works partly for vanity fair. woodward is deputy managing editor of the post.

-g
Permalink 05/31/05 @ 21:15
Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
Permalink 06/02/05 @ 00:36

Providence CS Church

posted by ben on 05.05.30 at 19:32, null, pictures, Leave a comment Permalink

posted by ben on 05.05.28 at 00:49, random, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

My dear little cousin is screwed in math. The reasons are both numerous and not her fault. Apparently she has trouble with arithmetic even though she is taking a remedial version of algebra 2. It seems clear to me that she must study arithmetic, then multiplication and long division... and only then she can start thinking about learning algebra.

The way I learned arithmetic was repetition. I'm not sure there's any other way either. I'm thinking she ought to sit down with a hundred arithmetic problems a day until she knows it. I may start lobbying for this too.

My other cousin now calls things he doesn't like "niggers," "negros" or "jews" as he sees fit. Supposedly this is somehow my uncle Dave's fault, though I'm not certain I believe that. I tried to explain my horror at all this today, but I'm not sure anything got across. This is not my beautiful house.

I don't remember where I found this.

posted by collin on 05.05.26 at 14:01, nonsense, random, 1 comment Permalink
Comment from: scott [Member] Email · http://ink08.net/~cederber/
Wow. That is fucked up.
Permalink 05/30/05 @ 20:18

Wonderful things...

posted by collin on 05.05.26 at 00:29, nonsense, random, 2 comments Permalink

McMaster-Carr! They have everything! Do you need titanium mesh ($400 24"x36"), or a cubic foot of lingum vitea aka iron wood the hardest wood in the world ($1300), or 4 flute diamond finished end mills (a cheap $40), or a 3000lb pull electromagnet? Do I need these things? Yes, yes I do.

Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
This is flippin' brilliant. Can anyone buy from this place though?
Permalink 05/26/05 @ 21:27
Comment from: collin [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/collin
Yes I believe so.
I can get a 1 by 2 foot sheet of carbon fiber (already epoxyfied) but I can only get tubes in 1 foot lengths? That sucks. I would have added links for every one's enjoyment but they use icky frames or something...
Permalink 05/26/05 @ 23:08

Recycling the Interwebs

posted by ben on 05.05.22 at 11:29, null, rant, 2 comments Permalink

Stolen from boingboing, this is a problematic bit of journalism about a creationist museum. I read it as desperately attempting to be unbiased. In avoiding a bias against creationism, the article fails to say anything useful. The article should convey the notion that a fringe Christian nut job is building a museum in an attempt to propagate blatant falsehoods. Instead, it gives the impression that a man with a reasonable minority opinion is slowly winning a fight against oppressive public opinion. This is why the mainstream outlets are good.

   
-Ministry uses dinosaurs to dispute evolution, The Cincinnati Enquirer

Also: Eve had no shame, so she would not feel the need to arrange her hair to censor her own nipples. And I suspect Adam's hand would make a tasty snack for that little dinosaur he's holding it out to.

Comment from: Shenni [Visitor] Email
According to every translation, they both felt shame...but Eve didn't cover her breasts. God never put an immoral undertone on female breasts, at least not in the Bible, if that's the medium we're saying that God speaks through today.

Why the hell not, it's Sunday.


'At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they strung fig leaves together around their hips to cover themselves.'
-Genesis 3:7; New Living Translation
Permalink 05/22/05 @ 13:49
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
I was thinking the sculpture was a pre-fall Eve. I assume she would frolic naked in the fields with her hair blowing where it may. Likewise, I assume post-fall Eve would have the ingenuity to devise a fig leaf bikini rather than hoping her hair would make her posterity appropriate viewing material for five year old creationist children who will assuredly have some rude awakening to sex later in life. Also: there should be more trains, though perhaps with dimmer headlights.
Permalink 05/22/05 @ 14:46

posted by ben on 05.05.22 at 01:16, null, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

Can we be twins? We'll dress alike, but not and dance madly in the moonlight flaunting our pale skin. We will wear tight black clothing and cut our own hair. Instead of laundry detergent, our cupboard will contain only black dye. At dawn we'll recite poetry we used to know. When the sun is up we will sleep and become freckled. When night returns we'll go out for chocolate chip pancakes and mangos. People will talk suspiciously. On different days we'll be siblings, lovers or ghosts and when the sun comes up it won't be over.

No it can't.

posted by collin on 05.05.21 at 23:56, visual, rant, art, Leave a comment Permalink

Even when you're puking or getting swastikas drawn on your passed out face you're thinking, 'I'm making history.'

Oh, because it's art. Because they made a record. Because they were aware of what they were doing. Because it's fucking art, it's not juvenile crime. Because it's capital-A Art, he get's a show at the Whitney. Let us all celebrate the self destruction of the True Artist.

From here.

Can Architecture save us?

posted by collin on 05.05.21 at 23:44, art, visual, art, Leave a comment Permalink

In this world, information flows freely and man and machine live in blissful harmony.

From here. Does this really happen? Can art save us? I once thought this was true, now I am not as sure.

Ben's Poesy

posted by ben on 05.05.21 at 19:35, null, puppies, rant, Leave a comment Permalink
you can dance
you can dance
everybody take off your pants
there are ants
there are ants
eating pink elephants

smoking is cool

posted by ben on 05.05.21 at 17:59, null, pictures, Leave a comment Permalink



Diskovery Books, Allston

posted by ben on 05.05.21 at 17:58, null, pictures, Leave a comment Permalink

For all your graph theory needs.

posted by collin on 05.05.21 at 15:28, math, math, 1 comment Permalink

I was reading some posts over at crooked timber about how physicists are dumb, not that I agree, and some one mentioned this ebook which is actually a legitimate copy of a fairly new Springer-Verlag book.

Comment from: collin [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/collin
So one of the "physicists are dumb" links above is a year old CT joke post, and all the sociologists got pissy when somebody got an article in Physica A about the same thing. An explanation of the whole thing can be found here if anyone wants to read about academic squabbling.
Permalink 05/21/05 @ 18:10

Sons of Bitches and Idiots.

posted by collin on 05.05.21 at 14:01, rant, random, Leave a comment Permalink

[Note: all quotes are approximate as most things said by persons who are not me were mostly unintelligible]

It was about 2:45am this morning, I was still awake as was Ben, when I heard an unusual amount of banging and screaming coming from the hallway. Now a little bit every once in a while is normal, but when I hear things like "You fucking whore!" and "You fucking strangled me!" I become concerned.

I step outside my apartment and realize that it's a Guy and a Girl standing outside the apartment below me doing the banging and screaming. I'm not sure what I should do so I just kinda stand there. After "I'll get you your money bitch!" Guy walks downstairs. It should be noted that Girl has been out-and-out balling this entire time. Shortly afterwards I see Roomate [of Guy] and Girl walking downstairs. I ask if everything is Ok and he mumbles "yeah." I figure he's not screaming he can handle this. More screaming outside my building.

A short while later Girl knocks on my door, still sobbing, and asks "Did you see what he did to me?" Being honest I say "No I didn't see anything, but I did hear things. If you want to call the cops I'll talk to them." I ask if she has a friend she can call. She then asks me to walk downstairs with her. I follow until she's listening at Guy's door and says "Just make sure he doesn't come after me." At this point my fear/common sense kicks in and I look up at Ben standing in my doorway and tell him to call the cops.

I take her up to my apartment and sit her down is the kitchen and she talks to Ben while I go wait for the cops downstairs. Now everything she said to Ben (some of which she also said to me before I went to wait for the cops) are textbook examples of an abusive relationship: "You must think I'm so stupid. All my friends say I should leave him. But it's hard, I've been with him for seven years. He only gets this way when he's drunk."

The cops show up and I tell them what I saw and heard. One cop talks to her while another talks to the Guy. The Roomate walks into my apartment and I have to say I didn't like him being there. All three of them say it was just verbal (which I doubt) and she "doesn't want to get him in trouble." So they do nothing, just put her in a cab and send her home.

I'm a little rattled and it's 4:30am but I try to sleep. I hear screaming outside and assume it's just normal college idiots. At about 5:00am I look out my window and see the idiots across the street decided to burn two armchairs in their lawn and are now hitting the charred remnants with buckets, which might mean they actually did something halfway intelligent and doused them with water. I see a fire truck pull around the corner and the idiots all run inside and turn off the lights and hide. The firemen spray more water on the chairs and knock on the door but nothing happens. It must have been a roving band of furniture arsonists. Fifteen minutes later they're back on the porch and improvising a bucket drum circle. I don't really feel like calling the cops twice in one night. I fall asleep at about 6:30am.

In regards to the arsonists, I seek no advice. However about everything else, I'm not sure I did the right thing. Though I doubt there's anything I could have said to the Girl to change her behavior. And I'm not crazy about living above an abusive alcoholic that had to talk to the cops because of me. Now there is one thing I could do to make the Guy's life difficult, which I think he deserves. When I was at the owners meeting for my building the head of the management company said that the colleges around here take the behavior of their idiot students very seriously, and they exercise the same level of oversight as if they were living in a dorm. For example he said that if someone throws a party and property is damaged, and the students refuse to take responsibility their school will sanction them in some way. I think a loud party where somebody breaks something pales in comparison to what happened. Though I don't want to get more involved more than I already have, I don't like the idea of this asshole living below me.

posted by ben on 05.05.21 at 12:11, null, null, pictures, Leave a comment Permalink

So cool.

posted by collin on 05.05.20 at 16:37, nonsense, random, Leave a comment Permalink

Online Lemmings! Via memepool.

Now don't forget.

posted by collin on 05.05.20 at 15:39, news, news, politics, Leave a comment Permalink

Amendment V - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

This is where we get "innocent until proven guilty."

Idea! Let's shoot ourselves in the foot!

posted by collin on 05.05.20 at 15:38, science, news, news, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

Saddly we all read the same aggregators, and I am unable to produce content of my own, but let the rehashing begin. From SFWeekly and via /..

According to changes recommended by the Department of Commerce, universities could soon be forced to apply for individual licenses from the federal government before they can "export" knowledge to specific students about the operation, installation, maintenance, or repair of certain equipment. But thousands of academic subjects fit into the dual-use category, including computer science; mathematics; civil, mechanical, and nuclear engineering; and biological and chemical studies.

Wow, that sounds incredibly stupid. So who's on the list? China, Cuba, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, and Syria. Hmm, no Saudi Arabia, because they have no "terrorists" just like Spain, Ireland, the -stan's of central Asia and the US. And then there's the issue of increasing the load on the part of the Dept. of Commerce that handles this kind of thing by a projected 2-3 orders of magnitude (that's 100 to 1000 times kiddies). And don't forget the requirement when filling out a form to clear a student to use a piece of equipment to place a monetary value on the knowledge gained. I wonder what the monetary value of the math I've learned is? Basically, ignoring the idiocy and subtle racism, this quote from Rachel Claus, an attorney in the office of the general counsel at Stanford, sums up my thoughts fairly well.

When the Third Reich was emerging, they said that only Germans of pure Aryan descent could attend German universities. Significant numbers of German scholars departed. That was detrimental for Germany, but was glorious for the U.S.
We got Einstein.

Fact: The US is basically post-industrial. Therefore our economic growth is going to come from basic research and the application of that research to new technologies. So of course it makes the most sense to catagorically limit what smart people can study here based on where they're born.

The Link Post

posted by ben on 05.05.19 at 13:18, null, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

I don't believe in RSS feeds since all art needs context. These are the contents of my Firefox bookmarks toolbar blog folder... the coolest thing about Firefox. Now if the CSS only rendered correctly...

People I know:
Adam: http://www.technicolor.org/adam/
Alex: http://technicolor.org/
Graham: http://www.nores.org/wire/
Scott: http://ink08.blogspot.com/
Seth: http://peaceofchrist.blogspot.com/
Devin: http://hwaethwugu.com/blog/
Shenni: http://sprechstimme.com/
Nate: http://www.carrotrope.com/
Morgan: http://livingmorganism.blogspot.com/

Books:
http://bookninja.com/
http://www.bookslut.com/blog/
http://maudnewton.com/blog/

Cultural Literacy:
http://slashdot.org/
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars
http://www.boingboing.net/
http://jwz.livejournal.com/
http://www.crookedtimber.org/
http://fafblog.blogspot.com/
http://gawker.com/

Design:
http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/
http://mocoloco.com/
http://www.kk.org/cooltools/index.php
http://www.gizmodo.com/

We're all going to die.

posted by ben on 05.05.18 at 02:30, rant, politics, Leave a comment Permalink

I'm thinking I should buy stock in Phillips Conoco, BP, Xcel, and some other companies I can't think of. The 20 year outlook seems good.

and damned lies... we need pebble bed reactors.

posted by ben on 05.05.18 at 02:24, rant, politics, Leave a comment Permalink
   
-The DOE

BP energy usage java thing

posted by ben on 05.05.18 at 02:14, null, politics, Leave a comment Permalink

Apocalyptic Nightmares

posted by ben on 05.05.18 at 01:40, puppies, rant, politics, Leave a comment Permalink

So it peaks at 9.22 billion in 2075 for the medium model. Are we all dead by then, so horribly over carrying capacity as to have no hope? Are we there now? Are we all going to die, leaving an earth inhabitated by sentient spaniels... another blip in the fossil record.

World population is 5.5, 9.1 or 14.1 billion respectively by 2100 (page 132). Intuitively that low figure seems like a good thing... something to aim for.

FBQ: Frame Builders Questionnaire

posted by graham on 05.05.16 at 16:47, Raves, art, Leave a comment Permalink

You bicycle people must check this out.

My spam is better than your spam

posted by graham on 05.05.15 at 11:58, Raves, random, Leave a comment Permalink

This is the message text from some spam (with the subject "how to cover your girl in szperm") I received a week ago. If I hadn't been checking my email on my crappy phone browser I never would have seen this hidden text. Needless to say, I almost crapped myself when I saw it quote Vonnegut.

"Wisdom is knowing what to do with what you know.",

"I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled Science Fiction and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal. -- Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons, Science Fiction, 1974"

"When I moved to the country I asked my neighbor if he had lived here all his life. His response was \"not yet.\"",

"I want to be old and annoy people pretending I'm deaf. -- Blackadder III",

"Murphy's 11th Law: It is impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious.",

She's a femme fatale.

posted by ben on 05.05.14 at 13:01, art, books, art, Leave a comment Permalink

Love knows no virtue, no merit; it loves and forgives and tolerates everything it must. We are not guided by reason, nor do the assets or blemishes that we discover tempt us to devotion or intimidate us. It is a sweet, mournful, mysterious power that drives us, and we stop thinking, feeling, wishing, we let ourselves drift along and never ask why we are drifting.

-Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs pg 53

I can go insane alone in Collin's apartment too.

posted by ben on 05.05.14 at 00:55, art, books, art, Leave a comment Permalink

She sat down and relished my fear -- for I dreaded her even more now, in broad daylight -- a charming scorn twitched around her upper lip.

"You view love and especially women," she began, "as something hostile, somthing against which you defend yourself, although in vain, something whose power over you, however, you feel as a sweet torment, a prickling cruelty: this is truly a modern attitude."

"You do not share it."

"I do not share it." She spoke quickly and decisively, shaking her head so vigorously that her curls flew up like red flames.
"I regard the cheerful sensuality of the Hellenes -- a joy without pain -- as an ideal that I strive for in my own life."

-Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs pg. 17-18

posted by ben on 05.05.14 at 00:49, null, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

In what way is storge not a subset of philos? I'm holding the fundies responsible for this one until I receive further notice.

If you search for NIPS, you find nipple clips.

posted by ben on 05.05.14 at 00:44, math, math, Leave a comment Permalink

My proto NIPSian paper: here (600k)

0/7 is bad.

posted by ben on 05.05.13 at 16:23, null, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

Todos Santos

posted by ben on 05.05.13 at 15:44, art, books, art, Leave a comment Permalink
I
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
--Those dying generations--at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unaging intellect.

II
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

III
O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

IV
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
-Yeats, "Sailing to Byzantium"

I think I fell asleep.

posted by ben on 05.05.13 at 15:39, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

least attractive you say?

posted by ben on 05.05.13 at 13:00, null, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

Give up now. Stop drawing, even trying… it’s not worth the effort. Things will get worse. You’ll be ugly before you know it, lauding the exploits of others and weeping for yourself.

If you have sense, maybe you aren’t that self centered.

Give up.

Things that go bump in the night

posted by marco on 05.05.12 at 09:56, computers, technology, 2 comments Permalink

My computer rebooted last night. Twice. Once at 11:24pm and again at 2:00am, though now its clock is an hour behind, so who knows when it really was.

I can't figure out what happened--I don't think the power went out, since my alarm clock wasn't reset. Did my computer get hacked into? Maybe, though the only port open is 22 and I haven't heard of any recent ssh vulnerabilities (and although I do regularly get batches of ssh login attempts for common usernames and/or root from far-flung IP addresses, I seriously doubt that's it).

My system logs aren't particularly helpful--nothing shows up right before the reboots.

Annoying.

Comment from: haX0r [Visitor] Email
I did it. I be 1337 haX0r.
Permalink 05/12/05 @ 15:36
Comment from: marco [Member] Email · http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~barreno
Oh shit--now the hacker broke into a computer at Lauren's place and is posting from it...
Permalink 05/12/05 @ 15:55

Granola, Yogurt and Raspberries

posted by ben on 05.05.12 at 06:17, null, food, 1 comment Permalink
Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
I'm hungry...
Permalink 05/12/05 @ 06:51

Ah, so much professionalism!

posted by anwar on 05.05.12 at 06:13, Engineering, null, Leave a comment Permalink

The following is excerpted from the end of long thread about a proposed bugfix/feature...

I agree with "Joe". "Mike" will agree too, once I explain to him the alternative. Consider his mail a random grenade lob without first checking to see what's in the foxhole. :-)

More radio - M.I.A.

posted by graham on 05.05.12 at 05:39, Missleaneus, music, 53 comments Permalink

Another KEXP live radio performance/interview. This time it's M.I.A. and her crew. I managed to not screw up getting the stream this time.

26.3mb, 28 minutes 44 seconds. Get it here.

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Permalink 01/20/06 @ 04:52

Why would you do this?

posted by collin on 05.05.10 at 12:41, math, math, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

Screw you.

An analytic function g(z) in Omega is said to be univalent if g(z)=g(z') iff z=z', in other words, if the mapping by g is ont-to-one (the German word schlicht, which lacks an adequate translation, is also in common use).

The word schlicht is in common use? Fuck you. And it doesn't have and adequate translation? How about one-to-one or injective? And why do you use FOUR words that mean the same thing?

We are so fucked.

posted by collin on 05.05.09 at 19:27, news, news, rant, 5 comments Permalink

So there's been a lot floating around the interweb the last few days about the RealID provisions in a soon to be passed spending bill. But the scariest things come from this part of the constitution:

Article 3, Section 2

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

Let's repeat the important part: with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make. From ars.

That last sentence is the kicker, because it looks for all the world like language that would enable Congress to wave a magic A3S2 wand over any piece of legislation no matter how outrageous and have it be completely exempt from review by the courts. The implications for the system of checks and balances if Congress actually invokes this provision are about as profound as it gets, which is why no Congress in American history has ever opted to open that particular can of worms... until now.

While I think that a national ID is bad, and useless in terms of security, setting the precident for a complete disregard of checks and balances is utterly disturbing. But then again I'm not a scholar of Constitutional law...

Comment from: collin [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/collin
Tired and sweaty...

Some one tell me is A3S2 does what I said above, OR gives the Supreme court first jurisdiction (as opposed to appellate)?
Permalink 05/09/05 @ 20:10
Comment from: devin [Member] Email · http://www.hwaethwugu.com/blog
I think it is widely recognized that the Constitution did give Congress the ability to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on the constitutionality of legislation. It was only in 1803, in Marbury v. Madison, that the Supreme Court effectively granted itself judicial review. The decision was a remarkable bit of politics -- it granted the President (Jefferson) what he wanted, so he wouldn't make a fuss, but also asserted the right of judicial review.

Marbury v. Madison is also a deadly blow to the so-called "strict constructionists" (or "constitution-in-exile" folks) who believe that we should follow blindly only what is in the actual text of the Constitution (i.e., there is no right to privacy, because the Constitution does not grant one). Hardly anyone would argue that judicial review is a bad thing (except Congress) -- we are all indoctrinated at an early age about the separation of powers (it is what makes our government good and all others evil).

Ultimately, I think anything that appears to alter the Checks and Balances(tm) is probably doomed to fail. After all, who do you think people trust more (rightly or wrongly): Congress, or the Supreme Court.
Permalink 05/09/05 @ 20:31
Comment from: collin [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/collin
Wait? It's Pat Robertson's fault? Though it seems like the author might be a wee bit biased.

and from here
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, sir, you have described this in pretty -- this whole battle in pretty apocalyptic terms. You've said that liberals are engaged in an all-out assault on Christianity, that Democrats will appoint judges who don't share our Christian values and will dismantle Christian culture. And that the out-of-control judiciary -- and this was in your last book, Courting Disaster -- is the most serious threat America has faced in nearly 400 years of history, more serious than Al Qaeda, more serious than Nazi Germany and Japan, more serious than the Civil War?

ROBERTSON: George, I really believe that. I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together. There is an assault on marriage. There's an assault on human sexuality, as [U.S. Supreme Court] Judge [Antonin] Scalia said, they've taken sides in the culture war. And on top of that, if we have a democracy, the democratic processes should be that we can elect representatives who will share our point of view and vote those things into law.


I knew I didn't like that man.
Permalink 05/09/05 @ 21:23
Comment from: scott [Member] Email · http://ink08.net/~cederber/
No doubt about it, Pat Robertson is a first-class asshole. Probably the worst thing I've seen him do is draw up the political borders he advocates for Israel by following a passage in the Bible. ("And God granted to the Israelites blah blah blah".) I mean, GMAFB--that's a sharia mentality if ever there was one. And he added insult to injury by introducing this segment with "Israel is a fascinating place, and I've been there so many times. But they're fighting over there...", the latter sentence said as though he were explaining the situation to a three-year-old. Thanks to dear Uncle Pat for clearing that one up. And of course it was on his show that Jerry Falwell made his infamous comments blaming the ACLU and other liberal interests for angering God enough that he allowed 9/11 to happen.

I hadn't heard about this A3S2 thing, but I'm inclined to agree with Devin that it's political suicide. (And I'll note that FDR's court packing didn't go over well.)

OTOH, there's some animosity out there about the courts. But I don't think it's enough for Congress to exempt any laws from judicial review. The Constitution aside, people really believe that judicial review is just the way things work, and for Congress to cast that aside in an obvious power grab for itself would not fly.

P.S. If anyone can explain Marbury v. Madison to me I'd be interested.
Permalink 05/10/05 @ 00:09
Comment from: collin [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/collin
Good old Wikipedia has a pretty good entry on Marbury V. Madison, which for some reason I keep forgetting about. I am a bad citizen scholar.
Permalink 05/10/05 @ 09:48

what is called life

posted by ben on 05.05.09 at 15:38, null, rant, 2 comments Permalink

I’ve been having too many profound realizations lately. For this reason, I suspect they aren’t profound. That, and everyone around me is busy being profound too.

I can now see the artless folly in “this is how it is.”

I’m a postmodernist now, though I still don’t know what it means. I can accept that there is no overarching moral truth, but I still claim there are evolutionary imperatives. For instance, it’s bad for a social primate to go around killing its fellow monkey… interferes with the proper functioning of society and such. So, there are morals that apply to humanity as a species.

Continuing this argument, there are moral truths that apply to life. Here I invoke my beloved Schrodinger: “life is an entropy reducing machine.” So, it is contrary to the fundamental nature of life to increase (local) entropy. Acting in concert with this nature is in some sense moral.

Comment from: scott [Member] Email · http://ink08.net/~cederber/
I've thought for a while that it'd be useful to draw a distinction between "right vs. wrong" and "good vs. bad", in which "right" and "wrong" would refer to the morality of an action, taking into account all of its consequences, while "good" and "bad" would refer to some particular consequence of an action.

With this distinction drawn, it seems to me pretty safe to say that consciousness gives us a basis for describing things as good and bad, in that pleasure is good and suffering bad.

Don't know exactly how this relates, just strikes me as a reasonable thing to say about morality.

As for the idea that killing (e.g.) is immoral because it messes up the functioning of society, I agre--but from a moral philosophy point of view you would need some argument as to why society's functioning "properly" is morally right before you can say that actions which derail that proper functioning are morally wrong.
Permalink 05/09/05 @ 23:59
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
Things that derail the proper functioning of society can be shown immoral by another invocation of Schrodinger. Causing society to malfunction causes problems with our habitat and our reproduction.

I wonder if I would enjoy the world that operates on this morality. It's sort of a useless system if I wouldn't. Maybe it needs suplemental irrational morality...
Permalink 05/10/05 @ 00:27

Math is nonsense.

posted by collin on 05.05.08 at 19:27, math, nonsense, math, random, Leave a comment Permalink

1!=
1

10!=
3628800

100!=
9332621544394415268169923885626670049071596826438162146859296389521
7599993229915608941463976156518286253697920827223758251185210916864
000000000000000000000000

1000!

10000!

100000!

You should all buy this showerhead.

posted by ben on 05.05.08 at 18:04, null, puppies, 1 comment Permalink
Comment from: anwar [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/anwar
You're absolutely right Ben, this one does kick ass.

I have v0.9 of this showerhead (4 jets instead of 6) in my bathroom.
Permalink 05/08/05 @ 22:01

Everything will be ok if I can find these three tools...

posted by collin on 05.05.08 at 16:13, nonsense, random, Leave a comment Permalink


Get perpendicular!

posted by collin on 05.05.08 at 14:36, nonsense, news, random, Leave a comment Permalink

Does the superparamagnetic effect have you confused? Do lie awake at night wondering how they'll increase harddrive densities? Can you only learn concepts from singing cartoon characters? Check it.

"A Declaration of Independence from the need for Fascism"

posted by graham on 05.05.08 at 00:00, Missleaneus, politics, 1 comment Permalink

This is an excerpt from a two-page paid advertisement in the current Seattle Weekly. Incidentally, it was written by the founder of the bakery that makes the baked goods for my local coffee shop.

As one who claims to be the current incarnation of the person who previously incarnated as Abel, Isaac, Jesus, King Arthur, Thomas Jefferson and Mohandas Gandhi, among others, I believe that it is my role to declare the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth in the Nation of New Israel and to ask for the support of the leadership of the USA in bringing about this Nation.

The foundation of this Nation (to use the language of Jefferson) will be laid upon such principles and its power organized in such forms as follow:

All persons will be joined in a single union of marriage with their Leader, consummated en masse on a regular basis in the Temple. No nuclear families in this Kingdom, only one great big happy, fully alive, orgiastic, taboo-and-phobia-free family that parties together every night. All men and women will see themselves as brothers and sisters, equal as the children and lovers of their one mother and father. No patriarchy, no taboos, no division into nuclear families, no homophobia, no aversions, no shame, no hiding, no secrets, no sexual repression.

-Arthur Jefferson Fairhall

Comment from: collin [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/collin
I assume that this man is insane, as opposed to joking. To wit
I believe that there will be a moment in time that will occur in 2005 when I will be recognized by important persons and institutions, including the Roman Catholic Church, as the person I've been claiming to be.
Are you Jesus? Oh, you allready said that.
Permalink 05/08/05 @ 14:07

I wish I were profit...

posted by collin on 05.05.07 at 22:10, nonsense, news, news, rant, random, politics, Leave a comment Permalink

I can't decide if I think this is abuse of language, or wonderful...

Already, four of the six drug makers have collectively announced plans to return $56 billion in profits to the United States. Two others say they are still considering but could repatriate an additional $18 billion.

From the Times here. This says it's a proper definition, whereas Webster doesn't. Anyone that can see the OED care to end this argument? (that I'm having with myself)

completely fucked

posted by ben on 05.05.07 at 16:17, null, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

1 letter of rejection to go... They tell me to pray. Am I supposed to pray that God will intervene and favor me over some other person who may well be more deserving of a position at Davis? If God is just, there is no reason for God to favor me. And I quote: "God has nothing to do with it."

tiger mountain

posted by ben on 05.05.06 at 20:11, null, null, 1 comment Permalink

Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
I ate the last one,
Savoring beany goodness.
Too bad you left it!
Permalink 05/12/05 @ 05:17

What is happening?

posted by collin on 05.05.06 at 12:00, math, nonsense, math, random, Leave a comment Permalink

When iterating a polynomial over the complex plane, e.g. f(z)=z-z^3/3+c , there exist parameters c such that the orbit of one critical point p is bounded and another q is not. In this case p is in the filled Julia set (by definition) for c and q appears to be on the boundary. Suprisingly the filled Julia set for c is not simply connected nor completely disconected, in the case of f(z) and c=-2+0.1*i the filled Julia set appear to have two components. This seems to happen at least some of the time.

Holy Crap!

posted by devin on 05.05.06 at 10:08, Absurdities, coffee, Leave a comment Permalink

It's getting harder and harder to be a fundamentalist in the 21st century.

saw old boy

posted by ben on 05.05.06 at 01:36, coffee, coffee, Leave a comment Permalink



Chips.

posted by collin on 05.05.05 at 21:42, nonsense, random, Leave a comment Permalink

I just realized that the last Intel processor I bought was 7 years and 10 processors ago, and that was a 266MHz PII.

bauhaus

posted by ben on 05.05.05 at 14:20, coffee, coffee, Leave a comment Permalink


No, the GUI is in your mind.

posted by collin on 05.05.05 at 14:20, science, random, Leave a comment Permalink

There's an article at Arstechnica about the development of the GUI [graphical user interface, for anyone reading this that doesn't know]. Here are a few paragraphs.

Like many developments in the history of computing, some of the ideas for a GUI computer were thought of long before the technology was even available to build such a machine. One of the first people to express these ideas was Vannevar Bush. In the early 1930s he first wrote of a device he called the "Memex," which he envisioned as looking like a desk with two touch screen graphical displays, a keyboard, and a scanner attached to it. It would allow the user to access all human knowledge using connections very similar to how hyperlinks work. At this point, the digital computer had not been invented, so there was no way for such a device to actually work, and Bush's ideas were not widely read or discussed at that time.

However, starting in about 1937 several groups around the world started constructing digital computers. World War II provided much of the motivation and funding to produce programmable calculating machines, for everything from calculating artillery firing tables to cracking the enemy's secret codes. The perfection and commercial production of vacuum tubes provided the fast switching mechanisms these computers needed to be useful. In 1945, Bush revisited his older ideas in an article entitled "As We May Think," which was published in the Atlantic Monthly, and it was this essay that inspired a young Douglas Englebart to try and actually build such a machine.

Douglas Englebart completed his degree in electrical engineering in 1948 and settled down in a nice job at the NACA Institute (the forerunner of NASA). However, one day while driving to work he had an epiphany: he realized that his real calling as an engineer was not to work on small projects that might only benefit a few people. Instead, he wanted to work on something that would benefit all of humanity. He recalled Bush's essay and started thinking about ways in which a machine could be built that would augment human intellect. During the war he had worked as a radar operator, so he was able to envision a display system built around cathode ray tubes where the user could build models of information graphically and jump around dynamically to whatever interested them.

Finding someone to fund his wild ideas proved to be a long and difficult task.

This set is messed up.

posted by collin on 05.05.05 at 11:49, null, math, null, math, Leave a comment Permalink

The most interesting IEEE paper EVER!

posted by collin on 05.05.04 at 23:06, null, math, null, math, random, 1 comment Permalink

Seriously. I haven't read it since I just found it. One of the authors is still at Berkeley...

Ok here it is.

Comment from: marco [Member] Email · http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~barreno
Yeah, I heard that there was some trouble after this was published because someone in one of the funding agencies (NSF or DARPA or somewhere) got upset that their money was going towards "Finding Naked People." I think the authors later wished they had chosen another name. But it's cool that they didn't.

And even so, some of the pictures in the paper are actually surprisingly explicit...
Permalink 05/05/05 @ 14:09

I am Poseidon.

posted by collin on 05.05.04 at 16:58, null, nonsense, null, random, Leave a comment Permalink

I can buy fish online?

my friends should write novels (you in particular)

posted by ben on 05.05.04 at 16:33, math, rant, 2 comments Permalink

I've decided to turn my thesis into a conference paper. Working on it is one of the most bittersweet things I have ever done. Why bother if I have no academic future...

Comment from: collin [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/collin
Me in particular?
Permalink 05/04/05 @ 16:47
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
It should be about love and math and end in tragedy.
Permalink 05/04/05 @ 17:47

In Bollywood there is only inneundo.

posted by ben on 05.05.04 at 15:07, art, movies, Leave a comment Permalink
-Bride and Prejudice

reading as antisocial

posted by ben on 05.05.04 at 15:05, null, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

They told us we need characters to identify with. If not, we might identify with the wrong people and not enjoy reading. Then we would never be cultured and that would make baby Jesus cry. They never guessed I would identify with characters I have nothing in common with.

Be ready for a nuclear blast

posted by marco on 05.05.04 at 11:53, null, random, random, Leave a comment Permalink


Orson Scott Card is a jackass.

posted by collin on 05.05.03 at 20:13, nonsense, null, rant, random, 1 comment Permalink

I tried to read this but didn't get very far. But here are some choice pieces:

The Massachusetts Supreme Court has not yet declared that "day" shall now be construed to include that which was formerly known as "night," but it might as well.

By declaring that homosexual couples are denied their constitutional rights by being forbidden to "marry," it is treading on the same ground.

Do you want to know whose constitutional rights are being violated? Everybody's. Because no constitution in the United States has ever granted the courts the right to make vast, sweeping changes in the law to reform society.

As for the last sentence, WTF? Does this ring a bell?

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

347 U.S. 483
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
No. 1. Argued: Argued December 9, 1952Reargued December 8, 1953 --- Decided: Decided May 17, 1954

Segregation of white and Negro children in the public schools of a State solely on the basis of race, pursuant to state laws permitting or requiring such segregation, denies to Negro children the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment -- even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors of white and Negro schools may be equal. Pp. 486-496.(a) The history of the Fourteenth Amendment is inconclusive as to its intended effect on public education. Pp. 489-490.(b) The question presented in these cases must be determined not on the basis of conditions existing when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, but in the light of the full development of public education and its present place in American life throughout the Nation. Pp. 492-493.(c) Where a State has undertaken to provide an opportunity for an education in its public schools, such an opportunity is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms. P. 493.(d) Segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race deprives children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal. Pp. 493-494.(e) The "separate but equal" doctrine adopted in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, has no place in the field of public education. P. 495.(f) The cases are restored to the docket for further argument on specified questions relating to the forms of the decrees. Pp. 495-496.

Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
Lesbian Jew interviews Orson Scott Card on Salon...
Permalink 05/04/05 @ 15:13

Of course...

posted by collin on 05.05.03 at 19:55, nonsense, random, Leave a comment Permalink

Of course I would like to purchase 50 pounds of knives. (via boing*2)

Why does my phonebook mock me?

posted by collin on 05.05.03 at 19:44, math, nonsense, null, math, random, Leave a comment Permalink

scrabble

posted by ben on 05.05.03 at 16:33, art, music, Leave a comment Permalink
So be ready, if you're wack it may be vital
It be across the map because good music travels
The music that I heard started at the sugar shack
on some killer MC raps it was never lookin back
I figured that, he's a writer, and not a back biter
Original sound profound a hyper soul cypher
Cypher to soul, takin lyrics out of control
So searchin was emboldened of reason but we don't fold
Or must I explain, because it's gettin kinda old
I'm gonna stop, and let Illogic gain control
-Illogic, "Blacksmif"

Dialog

posted by collin on 05.05.03 at 13:43, art, null, 5 comments Permalink

Movies that were written by playwrights have better dialog.

Closer

You think love is simple? You think the heart is like a diagram?

Ever seen the human heart? It looks like a fist wrapped in blood.

Spartan

Lemme speak to the Chinaman... You tell him the only man ever heard him call on Jesus.

Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
I'm having trouble parsing this. Does it mean these things:
(i) Let me speak to the chairman
(ii) I am the only man ever.
(iii) I heard him call on Jesus.
(iv) Tell him (ii) and (iii).
Permalink 05/04/05 @ 15:29
Comment from: collin [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/collin
No, none of those. In the scene you see Val Kilmer talking on a payphone, and you can't hear the other person. So one would assume the other person said something like "Who's calling?" in between the two sentences. And it's "china-man", a la Maxine Hong Kingston. As for the "ever" I guess it's a "contraction of "who ever." The Chinaman actually turns out to be an Arab (guessing based on look/accent and Kilmer then goes to Dubai) who happens to sell chinese art, and illegal weapons.
Permalink 05/04/05 @ 22:31
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
Let me speak to the chinaman. You tell him the only man who ever heard him call on Jesus is calling.
Permalink 05/05/05 @ 15:47
Comment from: collin [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/collin
Yes, but that doesn't really have the same ring to it. And "Chinaman" is capitalized since it's a name.
Permalink 05/05/05 @ 17:43
Comment from: Ronen [Visitor] Email
"The Chinaman actually turns out to be an Arab (guessing based on look/accent and Kilmer then goes to Dubai) who happens to sell chinese art, and illegal weapons." Actually the Chinaman is Israeli.As they are entering the room for the meeting He tells his man Itzik "to stand outside" in Hebrew. Which by the by would make the "boyscouts" that the Chinaman worked for the mossad.
Permalink 08/11/05 @ 01:58

miller music

posted by ben on 05.05.03 at 03:15, null, kittens, music, Leave a comment Permalink
Milkshake, milkshake,
I love to feel you sweat,
You don't have to go to the pool
if you want me to make you wet.

-Louis XIV, Pledge of Allegiance

Uh, good? No, wait, bad?

posted by collin on 05.05.02 at 23:19, nonsense, news, news, random, Leave a comment Permalink

Posted 3/29/2004 6:34 PM
Teen girl charged with posting nude photos on Internet

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A 15-year-old girl has been arrested for taking nude photographs of her self and posting them on the Internet, police said.

The girl, whose identity was withheld, was accused of sending out photographs of herself in various states of undress and performing a variety of sexual acts. She sent them to people she met in chat rooms on the Internet, police said.

Police seized her computer and found dozens of photographs stored on the hard drive. Authorities did not say how police learned about the girl.

She has been charged with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Via USAToday, and that appears to be all there is on the internets about that.

alienable

posted by ben on 05.05.02 at 19:12, null, puppies, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

Freedom of speech means nothing... it is, in fact, an inalienable right. The problem is not the ability to speak freely, but the retaliation that comes afterward. There doesn't seem to be any clear answer to what amount of retaliation should be allowed. I am inclined to say any retaliation for any speech should be a crime, but I don't know what that means. If somebody says something stupid and they are told as much, has freedom been curtailed? If they are ostracized? Never hired? Fired? Jailed? Killed? Clearly the line comes early in this progression, but where?

Then I go on... there are things that should be protected speech, but are not. Copyright should fade away. An MP3 is just a bunch of numbers... Writing those numbers to someone else shouldn't be a crime. The problem with child pornography is not the pornography itself, but how it is produced. Soon there will be computer generated child pornography. Should looking at that be a crime? The reason child pornography is bad is because people suffer in its production, not because naked pictures of children are inherently evil. And hate speech is obviously speech... I don't understand how it can be banned.

Laws should only punish wrong actions. Any transfer of information should be protected speech. Further, both the speaker and the listener must be protected.

Is the listener protected in the constitution? I guess there's the right to free association, but I want something more direct...

My new novel will have characters.

posted by ben on 05.05.02 at 18:12, null, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

When he spoke, his words betrayed a certain paucity of spirit. This weakness is indicative of his whole being, a thing most suited to darkness and silence. He is most at home in idle dreams of his imagined physical prowess and unique mentality. He dreams of a world where heroines are rescued through his heroics, where his name inspires legend, but mostly where his counsel is sought. In such a world, however, he would quickly fall victim to his own sloth and die fittingly at the hands of one of the many villains he imagines himself to be the better of.

This morning, I set out for my morning constitutional whole in the knowledge of my solitude. I am the last modernist. Despite the folly in this, I am continuously rejuvenated by the knowledge that I am alone. As such, I must be singularly destined for greatness. To bring back the philosophy of certainty to a world clouded by doubt and metaphor...

There are artists everywhere now, crouched in coffee shops, scribbling where the world can see. These hollow men beg for acknowledgment, prestige... in short, they ride themselves on all that a true man of culture disdains. When I was young, I too was a harsh allegory. I made of mockery of myself through weakness and ineptitude... a coffee shop intellectual of no grace nor poise, couched in the corner of my coffee shop with delusions of grandeur.

Nothing saved me, least a single action.

I have written a letter to the society for creative anachronism expressing my concern for their mockery of the past and its glories.

On Seattle we need seapower.

posted by ben on 05.05.02 at 18:10, null, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

The opening band has a name that's too indie to remember. The audience stands in concentric arcs with ample space between arcs. They don't want to touch strangers... On stage, the band does something and someone cheers. The audience shifts uneasily, still standing, but not dancing. The audience is defeated by its own indie powers. They are too cool to dance, to drink, even to move. They stand there and someone sways gently, maybe dancing, or maybe it's a breeze. He is stared until he ceases moving. In slow unison, the audience turns its head away from him and back to the stage.

Beyond admonishment, a young nazi dances. He plants his feet firmly and snaps his skinhead back and forth. 180 degrees to the left and back again. The muscles in his neck are well defined. Too defined to be indie, he's an imposter... not a very good one.

The second opening band comes on. They don't even try to hide their disgust with the audience, but this is vindication. Only an indie audience would watch a band that hates them. So, it is affirmed, to each is granted his own indieness, individual and unassailable... except that everyone is wearing jeans and has the same haircut.

...

British Seapower leaves the stage. There is clapping. A hopeful girl, the kind who would have been beautiful in the 80s... in her jean skirt, jean shirt, jean jacket, and platinum blonde hair... she raises a single bony hand. Take me back, hopeful and silent, dependent on her perceived good looks. She isn't indie and the indie superbrits can tell. They may also be hung over and drugged. They leave, the audience falls silent and her hand finally drops.

sad man in coffee shop (no the other one)

posted by ben on 05.05.02 at 18:07, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

The only question that matters...

How do I lead an intellectually stimulating life?

I want to lead an intellectually stimulating life. There is no obvious way to accomplish that. Fulfillment can be sought through work, art, love, or physical exertion.

Physical accomplishments are the least promising. These fade. Worse, they become more difficult with age... and more difficult still when coupled with the desire to improve on that achievement.

Work, by which I mean the means of accumulating money, is substantially pointless as well. What would I do if I had money, vast piles of money... Alex said he would become Adonis. I make idle claims about the pursuit of art... however, financial security is the progenitor of the worst art. Study the medieval courts...

Perhaps the pure pursuit of art leads to intellectual security.

I don't want happiness.

On Writing

posted by ben on 05.05.02 at 18:03, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Not to write a real novel, but a bitter thing, a mockery of various aspects of character. Each person a mockery of some aspect of human behavior.

Of me? I'm a hundred different things, all of them ugly.

Sufi Wisdom

posted by ben on 05.05.02 at 17:55, null, rant, 1 comment Permalink

The story goes something like this:

A man is trapped on a boat in the middle of the ocean, dying a lingering death. He's pious as all hell, so he prays to the one true God. He knows God is all and all and will protect him because God is good.

Another boat passes by and some guy asks him if he needs a ride. "No, God will save me."

A dolphin offers itself for a ride to the shore, but he speaks to it and says: "No, God will save me."

More boats pass and he gives the same response while growing thinner. Finally he starves. In heaven he asks God:
"Why didn't you save me?"
"I sent you boats and even a dolphin."
"But, I was waiting for you to save me."

Don't read God into everything. If God exists, he obviously doesn't concern himself with the mundane... otherwise there would be no war. God doesn't care what you had for lunch or if I get a job. God's purpose is to adminster to the metaphysical not meddle with the banal.

Comment from: marco [Member] Email · http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~barreno
Gandhi had some good thoughts about God:

If you don't find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further. -Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)


God comes to the hungry in the form of food. -Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)

Permalink 05/04/05 @ 11:43

Programming Aptitude Test

posted by ben on 05.05.02 at 17:54, null, null, 3 comments Permalink

This is a question from some programming aptitude test that Union Pacific requires for its programmers. It is worded very badly and I don't understand.

Comment from: collin [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/collin
The answer is 2 because that set is empty and therefore has zero bits of information. Though only if you look at it in an obtuse way. Or is it 4, because that string is the shortest?

Seriously the question makes no sense.
Permalink 05/02/05 @ 22:52
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
Supposedly the answer is 1. The idea is you break up the biggest group first, then the next group... Something doesn't sound right about it though.
Permalink 05/02/05 @ 22:55
Comment from: collin [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/collin
So is the best way to think about it is as a weighted tree? Eg:

One company
[branches]
3 divisions
[branches]
5 departments
[branches]
3 classes
[branches]
10 employes

Where the weight at each node is the sum weight of the nodes below it. Looking at it this way 2 still makes no sense, and 3 and 4 you have to traverse all the way down the tree. Leaving 1 as the best answer.
Permalink 05/03/05 @ 10:49

Oh happy day!

posted by ben on 05.05.02 at 17:34, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Suppose I get a job... and everything is happy and I can afford a place to live while I write computer programs that will eventually realize Kurzweil's paranoid delusions. Will that make me happy?

Collin put it into words a while ago. I hadn't even realized what the problem was... or exactly that there is a problem.

In the best case, I get some ML job and I'm happy. Should I be happy with such a job? It might make me a bad person to be content in such a position. Is ML really a worthwhile use of a life? I imagine Seth would say not... and then say something about Jebus. Is he right?

What if I wrote a novel instead... and this novel was great. Not Miller or Orwell great, but better than those that never become trade paperbacks... then would I be a real person? Someone Gene couldn't dismiss with that look... the one where he shows you by looking at you that your life is shit.

I suspect there is nothing to do. The only way to be happy is to be stupid. It is not possible to be happy and lead a meaningful life. It may not be possible to lead a meaningful life at all.

mochi

posted by ben on 05.05.02 at 17:33, null, null, 1 comment Permalink

Mochi ice cream is ice cream rolled in rice flour dough and then sprinkled with more rice flour so it won't be sticky. In Seattle there is an asian food store with a mochi aisle. You can get mochi shrimp, chicken, beef, tofu, vegetables, ice cream and, of course, bean paste. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking some up.

Comment from: pauline joy [Visitor] Email · http://e360.obliviousmind.net
oh my.
random link clicking.. and i must say mooochi tastes so so good.

bravo.

(kona coffee is my favorite flavor, although mochi beef sounds scary)
Permalink 05/04/05 @ 20:39

Daily dose of idiocy and insanity.

posted by collin on 05.05.02 at 16:56, rant, random, 2 comments Permalink

I posit the question: Has the explosion of information available to all of us made you believe that humaninty is better or worse than you previously though?

I was walking down the street today and heard this:

Dude. Why hasn't Ferrari or Lamborgini made an SUV? That would be the best selling SUV ever!

Well sonny boy, they haven't because they make fucking sports cars, very very fast sports cars. And they're very good at it. And it wouldn't be the "best selling ever" for the simple reason that they would cost $100k minimum. The best selling vehicles "of all time" are those that choose a form (platonism in utility) and stick with it: eg the Beetle (the old one) or the Model T, the 911 (1963-1985), the Jeep (CJ-2A through Wrangler). Pick a design for a particular purpose (cheap, fast, rugged, simple) and refine it. God damn frat boys.

I was going to add some AP story about charging a 15 year old girl for distributing child pornography of herself, but I give up.

Comment from: scott [Member] Email · http://ink08.net/~cederber/
Wait, where is that pornography story? That sounds amusing.
Permalink 05/02/05 @ 20:09
Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
GENTLEMEN!




I present to you...

The Lamborghini LM002!
Permalink 05/02/05 @ 21:25

Oh, "redactions"...

posted by collin on 05.05.01 at 13:19, news, news, Leave a comment Permalink

As some of you way be aware the redacted Petagon report on the shooting involving US troops and Italian secret service adjents and a rescued hostage was released a day or two ago. And do to the magic of exact digital copies and people that don't know what they're doing when it comes to pdf's you can now see the complete unredacted version (I believe copy/paste and pdftotext both work, though I can't find a redacted copy.)

It's is being hosted here (hosted in Italy, doc format) and here (hosted in the UK, html format). I was thinking of just putting up a copy here, but as we know Ben has a weak heart when it comes to the G-men knocking on his door.

Right now I don't have a well formed opinion of the entire situation. Though a brief skimming of the non-redacted copy shows that most of the redacted portions (those that begin with "S/NF" I think) shows that they deal mostly with the exact number of insurgent incidents, methods of IED concealment, attacks per mile, times attacks are most likely to occur, and procedures for the set up and operation of a checkpoint. All of which I feel are reasonable pieces of information to redact. Though this is interesting:

(S//NF) The 1-76 TOC had two means of communicating with 4th Brigade, its higher headquarters: Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP)2 and FM. The 1-76 FA Battle Captain was using only VOIP to communicate with 1-69 IN, but experienced problems with VOIP, therefore losing its only communication link with 1-69 IN, other than going through 4th Brigade. (Annex 97C). As a result, the Battle Captain was unable to pass updated information about the blocking mission either directly to 1-69 IN, or to 4th Brigade. He did not attempt to contact 4th Brigade via FM communications. (Annex 63C). Fourth Brigade, in turn, could not pass updated information to its major command, 3ID. (Annex 57C). Likewise, 3ID had no new information to pass to its subordinate command, 2/10 MTN. Finally, 2/10 MTN was thus unable to pass updated information to its subordinate command, 1-69 IN. (Annexes 51C, 52C).

As it this (why nobody though of this before, I don't know):

(S//NF) Recommend the Force Protection Working Group consider the use of additional non-lethal measures (e.g., spike strips, temporary speed bumps, and wire) be emplaced to slow down or stop vehicles before the use of disabling shots. The intent is to provide as many non-lethal options as possible before asking a Soldier to focus on firing the weapon.

Now I don't know shit about the chain of command, but the words "losing its only communication link" kinda bother me. The only things redacted about the actual incedent are the recomendations, ie things like the second quote above (I'd check if some one can find the redacted report, I'm only half sure about the "S/NF" label).

Now, like most things in the news these days that I have no empirical knowledge about, I take all of this with a grain of salt. Now, I post this next quote (which came from one of the numerous random blogs it's been posted to, copied from here) with some trepidation since I cannot read it's original source (I don't speak dutch, bablefish kinda useless, though I now know that "zoeken" means search, and the paper's site is down, here's a google cache)

'Be careful not to get kidnapped,' I told the female Italian journalist sitting next to me in the small plane that was headed for Baghdad. 'Oh no,' she said. 'That won't happen. We are siding with the oppressed Iraqi people. No Iraqi would kidnap us.'

It doesn't sound very nice to be critical of a fellow reporter. But Sgrena's attitude is a disgrace for journalism. Or didn't she tell me back in the plane that 'common journalists such as yourself' simply do not support the Iraqi people? 'The Americans are the biggest enemies of mankind,' the three women behind me had told me, for Sgrena travelled to Iraq with two Italian colleagues who hated the Americans as well.

(Doornbos goes on to explain how the women demeaned him for travelling as an embedded reporter with the US military, for security reasons. They didn't want to hear about any safety concerns.)

'You don't understand the situation. We are anti-imperialists, anti-capitalists, communists,' they said. The Iraqis only kidnap American sympathizers, the enemies of the Americans have nothing to fear.

(Doornbos tells them they're out of their mind.)

But they knew better. When we arrived at Baghdad Airport, I was waiting for a jeep from the American army to come pick me up. I saw one of the Italian women walking around crying. An Iraqi had stolen her computer and television equipment. They were standing outside shivering, waiting for a cab to take them to Baghdad.

With her bias Sgrena did not only jeopardize herself, but due to her behavior a security officer is now dead, and the Italian government (prime minister Berlusconi included) has had to spend millions of euros to save her life. It is to be hoped that Sgrena will decide to have a career change. Propagandist or MP perhaps. But she should give up journalism immediately.

This post has become far too long, and I have work to do. In conclusion all I have to offer is that it is a sad fact that innocent people die in any war. I await illuminating rhetoric, that hopefully some one better than I can provide.

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