| < retrospect: 23 oct >

October 23, 2015

Like Edwin Taylor says, the future does not exist.

Another way of looking at it is: the universe is in the process of running a crazily chaotic algorithm, and while we can make some crude predictions and extrapolations, in practice there's no way of seeing the result of those calculations besides letting the universe go ahead and run 'em.

I will never not post something smart that mocks Searle's "Chinese Room". Though I wonder if this is a different model of the Chinese Room than I was thinking; this one implies that every possible conversational twist and turn is laid out, while the version I've been told involves hand-wavey "symbol manipulation"
Wow-- screw Uber, screw Chase, screw

So a month or two ago I started getting bogus Uber charges.

Fine. I contact Chase, dispute the charges, they cancel the card, etc.

2 1/2 months later I get snail mail from Chase telling me they've disputed the Uber charges. Plus Amazon, Foodler, and

WHAT THE $(@#&$(#@&$.

Amazon suspended account activity, but hopefully I settled up with them in pretty short order.

Register though... they just lock the account and release the domains to the wild. Specifically so vulture domain squatters like "New Venture" can swoop and demand a ransom if it were a domain I cared about... which here, mercifully, is not the case. But it's serious 1 strike you're out time, even for an account that has been quietly paying them for over a decade.

What a bogus policy, and what a screw up by Chase.

October 23, 2014

Haha, I so don't want to tell my calorie tracking app my current weight, because of how it will recalculate my daily calorie goal. "NO GIVE ME BACK THOSE 20 CALORIES THAT'S LIKE A WHOLE WHITE RABBIT CREAMY CANDY" - A copy of Superman's introduction "Action Comic #1" was found... take a good look!

I like how it hits the note of saving an innocent life, and has Lois standing up for herself (if only to show how Clark Kent couldn't.)
"'City on a Hill" "Athens of America' 'City of Champions' 'The HUB' (as in 'OF THE UNIVERSE')
DID YOU KNOW? Boston holds the worldwide municipal record for most self-appointed, self-aggrandizing names that no one outside the city has ever heard of!"
--Tom the Dancing Bug -- funny jabs at our beloved city in our beloved Commonwealth

October 23, 2013


Kinda weird seeing a non-gussied up Google logo on top of the page. I went to the top of the site to see if it was an easter egg anyway.
Just tweeted at Athena Health about their standard enrollment form... "Marital Status: S M D W" seems both more invasive and more inaccurate than a simple "In a Relationship Y/N", though I'm not sure about the relevance of either.

October 23, 2012

Obama vs Romney in an epic rap battle:

"Mitt's entire debate strategy: What he just said, but from a white guy"
Math is really logic.
Logic is really philosophy.
Philosophy is really psychology.
Psychology is really biology.
Biology is really Chemistry.
Chemistry is really physics.
Physics is really math.
--Ben Mordecai on Quora

old money

October 23, 2011

Boingboing points out that the US used to have some awesome looking money.
"I wish the next idiot who calls taxes or welfare "slavery" would be throttled by actual slaves rising from the dead. "

an airbag for your head

October 23, 2010

via ecouterre - more neat photos there
Reason 3,271 to hate the Yankees : NY sportswriters' misuse of "Yankees-like", as in "The Yankees were looking very un-Yankee-like" or "The Rangers were looking more like the Yankees than the Yankees!" The most expensive team in baseball often chokes, get over it. And congratulations Rangers.

hi guys i heard there's this new version of windows

October 23, 2009

New version of Windows, baby!

PS That may be the worst recipe storage idea I've heard. Plus I'm not sure there's actually that "turn your voice into a robot" thing.
"Breathe Deep and Let Go of Things"
"I LIKE being stupid. You see things clearly. Being stupid is like squinting through the sunlight."
--Ford Prefect, "And Another Thing" (H2G2 sequel by Eoin Colfer). I'm digging audiobooks, and maybe will add Podcasts into the mix. I look forward to driving commutes, second best thing to actually having time to read. Heh, yet another reason for me to adore the iPhone and modern technology in general.
I'm telling myself I have mad geek cred after reading today's xkcd and thinking "well, the introduction of boba fett cartoon was kinda cool" - heh, Intel doesn't sound like they like netbooks all that much...

oh you lucky chip!

October 23, 2008
Finished Douglas Hofstadter's "I am a Strange Loop", a big study on how self-reflective systems are the key to understanding consiousness. It had this facetious passage:
"Oh, you lucky chip! If I eat you, then your lifeless molecules, if they are fortunate enough to be carried by my bloodstream up to my brain and settle there, will get to enjoy the experience of being me! And so I must devour you, in order not to deprive your inert molecules of the chance to enjoy the experience of being human!"
I went from being really excited about getting ready to read this book (when I was finishing up Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), from worrying that it was recovering territory I'd seen from Hofstadter before, to really being touched by the turn it took, where he has excerpts from letters he was writing to Dan Dennett processing his grief over the sudden and tragic death of his wife.

Those letters cover an idea that I've been mulling over, his stance that people's consciousness might well live on in other people, and not merely in a poetic sense. To really accept this view, you probably have to have "drunk to kool-aid" about Consciousness as being largely a matter of pattern, and convenience, and that the typical, layman "sense of self" is rather illusory in nature.

I've drunk the kool-aid, via various books. Probably the most important was Dennett's "Conscious Explained". Another more recent one was Hawkin's "On Intelligence". Some of the concepts have also shown up in some science fiction I've read... Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep (SPOILERS, highlight to read:) which does a FANTASTIC job of describing a single individual consciousness "shared" by a pack of animals), Greg Egan's "Permutation City" extends some What-Ifs and Thought Experiments about being able to make accurate models of our minds in cyberspace, and where the people thus transfered were also more free to modify their inner makeups (you could make yourself content in any activity, one guy made chair legs for virtual decades, then rewired himself to get the deepest possible satisfaction about climbing an endless rockwall), and even Cory Doctorow's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" explored some implications of being able to make a backup of your brain, which you could then throw into a newly cloned (and quickly matured) body. (The protagonist is assassinated, but was a little lax in making backups, so upon "resurrection" has "lost" a few weeks... he's a bit unnerved by watching security camera footage of himself, and his assassin, events he filled happened to "him", but... not.

I'm still pondering on this.)

Photos of the Moment
Some lovely behind the scenes photos of Obama.

UU group talked def'n of Home.Nice to say "the people" but-I've lived alone, with var.loved ones-its the stuff (esp. books) thats constant.
So Nokia announced austerity policy. Not nec. a prelude to badness, but- recruiters are still pretty active, tho, and I pre-hunker downed.
masukomi Hofstadter says "there is something it is like to be that machine" (on machine's inner life or lack thereof) is hard to translate
Has Google maps always had shadows for its speech balloon-like callouts? Kind of menacing, zoomed out its shadow is the size of Rhode Island
CNN:"[Greenspan] said he was 'shocked' when that system [of lenders being self-regulators] 'broke down.'" Shoulda been "shocked, shocked!"
I have been doing well at fending off the cold everyone is having. A small chance it's that "moderate exercise boosts immune system" thing?

hair today

October 23, 2007
I got my hair cut fairly short the other week, but I kept the sideburns, just had 'em trimmed a bit.

Suddenly I was worried I was mixing my decade metaphors, a kind of 50/60s cleancut vibe with the scruffier 60s/70s look.

Does pop fashion now only exist in reference to previous decades? Is that's the way its always been? Were big shaggy sideburns seen as something new, or hearkening back to good old General Burnside and the mutton chops of yesteryear?

Invention of the Moment
Boingboing linked to a Homebrew Helicopter. I thought the oddest bit was this:
a set of six buttons adjusts the screen's brightness
I'm kind of hoping something got lost in translation, otherwise that kind if implies an idiosyncratic sense of priorities...

Video of the Moment

Ah, Paint. (Love that exchange: "Can we... can we thin out the line? Can we make the line thinner?" "No." "Ok.") I have to admit I still come back to that program for doing pixel art on my Tablet PC, partially because of how the cursor becomes the brush you'll be drawing with.

did you see that?

October 23, 2006
Watching the NFL. Patriots beat the Bills handily, they go over to the Falcons/Steelers. And then because of some bizarre contractual obligations, they can't show us the exciting tied-up endgame... instead, we get to watch the 4 guys in the studio watching the game. So weird... talk talk talk then they all shut up to see if the fieldgoal attempt is good or not, while we get to see them peering at the studio monitor, offscreen. Yeah, that's great TV. Way to go, NFL and CBS. (I guess they're not allowed to show a live game after 4:15, when it starts on the other network. Wow, talking about screwing the experience up for the viewer. I guess I blame the NFL more than anything.)

Small Gif Cinema of the Moment

that 00s
--EB + EBbaby, myself, EBSO, and Sarah, all sitting around the EB table during Sarah's recent visit. Not the most imaginative small gif cinema, but still, a nice effect and fun use of a "Lazy Susan" (Sorry MELAS)

Powerpoint of the Moment
Forget who sent this to me... prepping for the Death Star trench run with Power Point. S'funny!

my vacation week, an apology of sorts

October 23, 2005
My Vacation Week, An Apology of Sorts
Don't know why I'm a apoogizing, per se, except maybe for having a lamer than average week on kisrael, or maybe to myself for not getting through that many things on my project TODO list. Update: maybe I should pre-emptively apologize for this really dull entry.

I burned a great number of hours getting through a new (to me) videogame "Mercenaries". It's kind of like "Grand Theft Auto: Future Wartorn North Korea"...violent, but a lot of fun. (And unlike GTA penalizes you for killing civilians. 'Cause it's not murder when it's war, you see. [UPDATE: "and it's soldiers you're indiscriminately bringing to untimely ends, I meant to say]) I'm realizing I prefer "mission" based games which present different tactical situations and then let you select your approach (sneak around and snipe, run in guns blazing, bring some excessive weaponry or military vehicles to bear, etc) versus the more common "puzzle platformers" where there's one correct solution you have to figure out to get to the next stage. It's part of this larger game philosophy I'm trying to hash out, where "novel interactions" are what I'm really looking for in games...and the missions count as novelty, even though they're made from a small set of gameplay elements and routines.

The only project I worked on was a new edition of my "photobook" photo album (still a work in progress) but I got to do a reasonable amount of other stuff during the week:
  • Tuesday Ksenia took me to a gallery and panel discussion of Protest Posters at MassArt.
  • Wednesday I attended a light but technical lecture at my alma mater by Ben Shneiderman (Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory) on tools for visualizing multidimensional data. His work has led to some cool stuff, like recognizing certain correlations in the human genome, that kind of thing. (His message was first present an overview of all data, then let the user drill down and pick what relationships they want to check out, generally with 2D graphs.)
  • Thursday I had another call with the therapist I've been having weekly sessions with, and then I had a followup back massage appointment.
  • I started Friday with a pedicure (!) first. Cool to have my feet minus the usual cracking I get. Also I had a checkup with my regular doctor...he agreed with my assessment that I need to drop the frickin' wait I've packed on since the divorce.
So all in all a well-wasted week I'd say. Ksenia thinks I seem a lot more relaxed, could well be. Sorry for such a "minutae of my life" entry today.

Quotes of the Moment
"If you're not sick of Elvis by now, you probably never will be."
--Art Chantry at that MassArt panel, explaining a record cover for the Von Zippers where he cut-and-pasted a bunch of celebrities with their mouths zipped closed.

"Working with hippies is really hard."
--Art Chantry explaining a "Give Peace A Dance" poster, where he ended up having to throw in everyone's idea, 'cause that's the way hippies work.

"There's nothing more dangerous than a true believer."
--Art Chantry again. Anyway, he says his most reproduced work is his Ready For War poster, a bit like "The Scream" I thought.

"That's one thing I learned from politicains...don't answer the question, just say what you want to say."
--Robbie Conal during the Q+A after...he's probably most well known for his Contra/Diction poster. In general he was a bit too sardonic and trying overly hard to be funny, but still kind of interesting.


October 23, 2004
Final Feeble Fable of the Moment
MARCUS: Wow! Another monster!
VALK: Forget's on strike.
MONSTER: Away with you, foul adventurers out to plunder me of my great riches!
BRUNO: Ain't you on strike or something?
MONSTER: Uh uh. I'm a replacement.
VALK: Oh, a scab monster, huh?
MONSTER: Uhhh, yeah. But they did give me a photonslinger. Heeheeheehee.
VALK: Got a lot of gold?
MONSTER: Oh, of course! Huge piles of it! But try to lift it...
BRUNO: Get 'im!
MONSTER: I'll shoot!
VALK: SO WHAT! We're the heroes of these fables. We always survive.
(All 3 charge with weapons raised. Monster calmly takes out huge gun and shoots them all down. He then lifts barrels to his mouth and blows, western style. They all die.)
VALK, MARK & BRUNO: Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh!
NARRATOR: Ok. One more moral for our feeble fables: never mess with any monster armed with a photonslinger, or for that matter, any weapon capable of laying waste to a small building. That about wraps it up for the three heroes and, fortunately, for our play.

--A few comments on the "photonslinger", my attempt at a cool scifi sounding is, it's a lame name. If I ever pull a Lucas and rewrite this, it's going to be way upgraded, to something like "Mazatronic Warptech Particle Vortex Blaster". Heck...I think technically, a frickin' flashlight might do what the name "photonslinger" implies. Secondly, though, the prop for the "photonslinger" was this way cool oversized Star Wars "Laser Rifle Carry Case" I had picked up somewhere and let them use:

(The only pictures I could find online were by collector nerds who keep it in the original packaging) Anyway, I neglected to retrieve the gun after the performance, which is too bad, it was really nifty.

Come back tomorrow for a Kinda Feeble Fables surprise bonus!

Movie of the Moment
NASA posted some spooky footage of a "Crash Impact Demonstration" they had done involving a passenger plane and the ground, including shots of the crashtest dummies inside the plane. There was a contest to assemble the footage to music, and the winner is pretty cool indeed.

Also in the flying-things-music-videos department, this flying lawnmower is kind of neat. Maybe one of these years I should get into remote control planes, they've always held an appeal for me...

reddy kilowatt rocks

October 23, 2003
Q+A of the Moment
Answers to Questions Kids Might Ask GE Mascot Reddy Kilowatt During His Tour of American Elementary Schools.
Q: Is that light-bulb head supposed to be cute?
A: You'll have to ask my designers, but I believe it's supposed to be indirectly educational.
Q: What, as if we never saw a light bulb before?
A: Not everyone has had your advantages.
Q: Why are your arms all crooked?
A: They're bolts of energy.
Q: Do you have a penis?
A: No.
Q: So, are you from outer space or what?
A: No, I'm just a drawing.
Q: Can I get a suit like yours?
A: You wouldn't be skinny or zigzag enough to wear it.
Q: I know fire isn't exactly electric, but what about flame throwers? Or bazookas? How about bombs? Are they electric? Or are you just to help Mom's blender make yogurt shakes for babies?
A: All the things you mention have electric components.
Q: What about those giant robots that Godzilla fights? Are they alive?
A: As a form of brute nature, I'm unqualified to comment on the dramatic arts.
Q: Is it satisfying to flow through the body of a condemned killer?
A: No, I'm emotionless. As lightning, I strike innocent forest rangers and prairie housewives, too.
Q: What happens if you touch water? Do you die?
A: Electricity does not conceive of its own cessation.
Q: What about "sexual electricity"? Is it really electricity?
A: I'm answering children's questions only, sir.
Q: They always show atomic energy with big muscles. You must be jealous, huh?
A: I don't get a chance to look at other drawings.
Q: Why is it we get wax in our ears and snot in our nose? Why not snot in the ears and wax in the nose? Why not the same thing in both places?
A: That's a biological matter, to which I'm indifferent. I only seem to live.
Q: So if I waste electricity, like, by leaving the lights on all night, do you go lie down somewhere and weep?
A: No. You're thinking of Christ.
Q: I don't think you're neat. I think you're queer.
A: That's not a question.
Q: Let me get this straight. Does it mean your nose and your stomach and your gloves and all of you are made of nothing but energy?
A: Believe it or not, kid, so are you.
--Not sure where I originally saw this, maybe Spy Magazine. "Electricity does not conceive of its own cessation", heh. Here's the Toonpedia entry on Reddy.

Link of the Moment
That Reddy Kilowatt logo, along with many other industrial logos (I think they were all companies that made radio tubes) can be found at The People's Logo Page. I love that old-school styling.

Prose of the Moment
I'm really not sure I understand the what and wherefore of The Previous Adventures of Popeye the Sailor but I really like reading it...the way it turns the cartoon character into an almost elemental-force archetype, grounded in both kiddy popculture and the reality of life as a sailor.

yesterday's sunrise

(1 comment)
October 23, 2002

a lot nicer than the snow splatters of this morning's drive...

Link of the Moment
This Slashdot poll on "Favorite Cartoon Geek" had the option Brain, of "Pinky and the Brain" fame. (Though some people thought it might've meant the dog from Inspector Gadget.) Anyway, someone linked to the semi-canonical "Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering" List...
"Pinky, are you pondering what Iím pondering?"
"Wuh, I think so, Brain, but burlap chafes me so."
It might be fun to learn how to make up this kind of exchange with my friends in real life.

Article of the Moment
Wired on Americanization Lessons for workers in call centers in India. Man, the concept of a well-educated workforce with salaries so low makes me nervous. I hope their standard wages go up before global integration becomes easier than it is now. Software-Industry-wise, I've heard that although it seems like a tremendous bargain for a US company to outsource with offshore centers, in the long run, the costs are about the same. Given my experience with about 2/3 of the Indian consultants I've worked with, that doesn't surprise me. Still, a number of jobs'll be lost while companies figure out if it's a good deal or not.

pixels on the run

October 23, 2001
I've always loved the Mattel Intellivision "Running Man". I was always jealous, I was never able to make a good running animation as a kid in the 1980s, playing with sprite editors and the like. Though I never understood that line through his waist either. (I made this animation by clipping a banner from some website...sorry don't know which one, probably one of the ones linked to from this Intellivision page.)

This guy featured in Tron Deadly Discs for the 2600, one of my favorites...

Quote of the Moment
"If women like it, it's erotica. If men like it, it's pornography. WTF?!?!"
--Lord Kano on Slashdot a while back.

Link of the Moment
Windows XP's new default background seems to be taking its cue from a certain children's show...what's next, Barney Device Drivers? (You can see the full story here.)
KHftCEA 1997-10 October

KHftCEA 1997-10 October

"Breathe with me"
anything that's "verb with me" makes a cool title/ refrain: sleep, walk, breathe, run away, stay, stand by. It borrows the beauty of an invitation.

< retrospect: 23 oct >