packbat: Headshot looking serious and superimposed on the Gettysburg Address. (gettysburg)
I am not a Christian, but there are a number of things I admire in the theology of most Christian religions. One of these goes back to the titular Christ himself: his affection for all peoples. Heretics, sinners, those judged impure and those despised, all these were the people he chose to spend his time with, the people he was loyal to. Fred 'slacktivist' Clark spoke of this quite memorably in the essay "Clean shoes" - and for that matter, so did Richard Thompson in the song "God Loves A Drunk" - but there's another aspect of this that struck me quite powerfully. An inversion, if you will.

What we usually say is that Jesus loves everyone. What we usually say is that Jesus hung out with fishermen, tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes. We say that Jesus accepted all these people, people who the Pharisees, the cleanliness-obsessed, the self-righteous rejected. But the same goes the other way around. These people who would have nothing to do with self-righteous, cleanliness-obsessed Pharisees accepted Jesus. Prostitutes, lepers, tax collectors, fishermen would hang out with him. Everyone loved him.

To say he loves is to say a great deal - but to say he was loved, a great deal more. It is not difficult to be convinced that you love someone, that you care for them, that you want the best for them. To be convinced that others care about you and appreciate you - that they value you - is somewhat more challenging. If someone handed you a religious tract, would you believe they cared for you? If someone proselytized to you, unasked, on the street, are they offering you what you need? They believe so - but do you?

In contrast, if someone listened to your troubles, would you believe they cared for you? If someone offered their aid, unasked, on the street? Would it matter what they believed, if they offered you clothes when you were naked, drink when you thirsted, food when you hungered?

It seems like a thought worth considering.
packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
[personal profile] alchemi recently posted a self-esteem meme based on an earlier post from [ profile] finding_helena, here (who cites an earlier post on another blog - warning: language). In the introduction, alchemi quotes the opening paragraphs of finding_helena's post:

We all, particularly women, tend to downplay what we're actually good at. When somebody compliments us, we demur. And I definitely include myself in that. I don't want to seem too vain in accepting a compliment. And it's true, I think, that bragging can go too far.

And I do feel a little silly taking credit for things that come really easily to me. Like if somebody is impressed with, oh, my ability to tell you what note you just played to me. Seriously, that's just a little quirk of my brain that I have nothing to do with. It's like complimenting me on having pretty eyes... I mean, glad you appreciate them, but I didn't have anything to do with the process of them being so.

BUT. There are things that I've worked hard on and am good at.

Now, I think there's something interesting to be said about what you can and cannot take credit for, and what taking credit should mean ... but in the meantime, some things do I take credit for )

I'm sure I could say more, but at 1:05 in the morning it might be better to stop here.
packbat: Headshot looking serious and superimposed on the Gettysburg Address. (gettysburg)
Via [ profile] roaminrob: Arithmetic, Population, and Energy by Dr. Albert A. Bartlett, uploaded in eight parts. ~75 minutes.

Part One.

I've posted some links because I was curious about your opinion; this one I think is important, clear, and convincing. Unfortunately, I don't see a good way of summarizing it - wonderingmind42, who uploaded it, did a pretty iffy job with the title, in my book - but I'll try: the lecture is about the nature of steady percentage growth (e.g. 7%/year) and the policy implications that come out of the arithmetic. You don't need anything more than multiplication and division to follow the reasoning - the most difficult calculation is for the doubling time, and that goes

years to double = 70 / % growth per year

which is accurate to one part in twenty for any growth rate up to 12%/year.

I think it's worth at least 90 minutes of your time - 75 minutes is a steal at the price.
packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)
Academian on LessWrong talks about the apparent disconnect between our experiences and philosophical materialism. 2227 words. The author edited it down to 771 words.

Please comment there or here if you read it - I have my own opinion, but it's not written for me.
packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)
As a number of people have noted, Livejournal placed into their software for a period of time code which would do two rude things:

1. Alter links to ecommerce sites to forward users to a particular company's URL.
2. Replace affiliate markers on such links with a different affiliate marker.

...and do these things on every link on Livejournal, regardless of context. [ profile] shatterstripes looked into this from the technical side, and made a series of relevant informative posts, but the implications are clear: they were mining money from everyone on Livejournal without telling anyone that's what they were doing.

I personally like my Dreamwidth+crosspost solution, and have three invitations on hand, but I'm not going to remove all my LJ content. If you are staying on LJ, I will still be paying attention - if you are migrating elsewhere, please let me know so I can find you there.


Feb. 9th, 2010 11:45 am
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
bliumchik i.e. [ profile] maggiebloome had a tasty, tasty post+links about the sort-of self-destructive anti-ego thing which a lot of women do to avoid seeming too self-confident establish their femininity ...

... and that reminded me of an entirely different self-destructive anti-ego thing that I do, when I don't get things done that I wanted to have done. The thing is, I have this self-image of this feckless, flaky ass who blows off important assignments and mooches financially and emotionally off everyone he meets ... but the whole basis for this persona is that I'm ADD. I don't concentrate well, and I don't have the tools established to work around it (other than "be so clever that you can solve the problem in fifteen minutes or less"...). And given that I'm the only person I have ever met who has given any weight to the ass-hypothesis, I suspect the truth is closer to "my organization skills need a little work".

The self-destructive part, then, is whinging about being a horrible person who deserves to die (a total lie, for the record), rather than doing that little bit of work. Because I can - I have the technology - and everything else is just that I haven't, yet.

Abrupt transition!

Reply to this post, and I'll tell you one reason why I like you. Then repost this [if you like] and spread the love.

Except! Amendment!

Reply to this post with something you like about yourself. No cop-out complinsults please! I know you've got it in you! And if you don't I will still do the original meme above, so no pressure or anything, but try. For me.
packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
(Or rather, because I was incapable of not reposting this.)

Bag Check

New jacket!

Oct. 4th, 2009 04:39 pm
packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
Went to Value Village today to get some cheap new-to-me slacks for work. And while I was there, I found a pair of leather shoes in my size and ... this.

A black leather biking (?) jacket on a hanger hooked over the top of a white door.

Only twenty bucks, too! There's a seam with a few stiches loose in the lining, but the zipper is intact and the snap-closures don't stick.


(In other news, eating spaghetti with a spoon is ... less than elegant. Also, Interviewing Leather is still a great read.)
packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
"What's the easiest unsolved math problem to explain?" I asked my dad tonight, just out of curiosity. I asked because the two obvious, famous answers - Fermat's last theorem and the four-color problem - are both (probably) solved.

Well, I can't guarantee the actual answer is here, but a few candidates he pointed me to:

  • The P = NP problem: if the answer to a computational yes-no question can be checked quickly (in polynomial time), does that imply it may be answered quickly (in polynomial time)? This is a marginal case, as a lot of people don't know what "polynomial time" is, so two better candidates are...
  • Goldbach's conjecture: that every even integer greater than 2 can be written as the sum of two primes, and...
  • The twin prime conjecture: that there exist an infinite number of twin primes - primes separated by two (like 3 and 5). (Bonus: this is a special case of Polignac's conjecture.) However, there are a pair which do not even require understanding primes...
  • The existence of (a) an infinite number of even perfect numbers and/or (b) the existence of any odd perfect number. Perfect numbers being, in these examples, those which equal the sum of all the divisors smaller than themselves - such as 6, equal to 1+2+3, and 28, equal to 1+2+4+7+14.

(Now, one could argue that an even easier hard problem to state is "how come things fall", but that's physics!)
packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
Day before yesterday, Jerry "Tycho" Holkins commented on his fascination with the deeply disturbing "seduction community", and Mike "Gabe" Krahulik stepped in to play devil's advocate.

I completely see where both of these people are coming from, here. But in this particular case, Tycho is very straightforwardly correct, and Gabe's instinctive fairmindness is misplaced. And normally I wouldn't be so confident staking out my spot in this minefield, but I happen to have an advantage: just last month, a completely unrelated community which I have been involved in discussed this question, and the conclusions of the discussion are pretty clear.

The seduction community, or pick-up artist community, or whatever it's called, explicitly treats sexual relations between persons as a game in which the player - singular - seeks to win against opposition. This attributes an explicit status imbalance in which only the man is an actor (cf. Bark/Bite, "Do You Tell a Football What Time the Superbowl Starts?") and in which sexual congress raises the status of the man and lowers that of the woman. It's sexist, offensive, and wrong.

End of line.

P.S. Obviously, two days being an eternity in the wonderful world of cyberspace, I have been preceded in remarking on this discussion - goblinpaladin, pandagon's Amanda Marcotte.

P.P.S. If there are people reading this is frustrated in their desire to find sexual partners, recall that people are complicated. Anyone offering shortcuts is lying.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Mardy: Throwing a tantrum and/or feeling self-pity because you didn't get your way.

Via Mitz's "Plan B", where Veronica heads home "in a mard". Urban Dictionary also mentions telling people, "Stop being such a mard arse!"

(This post attempts to imitate [ profile] prettygoodword, a much more reliable source of nifty words. Checkit.)
packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
A man in crazy pajamas atop a skyscraper rains laser death down on the streets. He's laughing as he does it.

Below, fires bloom for the news cameras. Reporters duck debris as they yammer on about demands and manifestoes and terror.
Meanwhile, in the background, the screams of scorched innocents melt into the wail of sirens.

It makes me angry. My cheeks burn with it -- or that just might be from the wind.

The madman grows closer and closer, impossibly fast. His eyes widen as he lifts his weapon in my direction. He won't make it in time.

My hands tighten into fists as I brace for impact.

I have a set of crazy pajamas of my own.

Truth & Justice is a superhero RPG Eric Burns-White (nee Burns) recommended ages ago.

I desperately want to play this thing.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Via [ profile] jfs:

It's a map of many (all but ~17000) of the artists indexed on, spread out in two dimensions* according to the similarity data that site has between each pair of artists. One of the cooler features here is the Interactive Map - you can look up any indexed artists and they mark them with flags. I generated the following map shown by entering a comma-delineated list** of my favorite artists and taking a screenshot.

* What would happen if it were three dimensions or more? I guess it's inconvenient to render...

** Names separated by commas. Example: Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, XTC. If you enter the list of your favorite artists this way, it works - even if the names have commas, like Peter, Paul and Mary.

Packbat's music map

I assume some interpretation could be put to why my flags all fall on a line between Avril Lavinge and Muse, but I'm not going to.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (internet)
Unlocked the tweets from the week ending two weeks ago. (It's my rule of thumb for how behind my flist might be on their flists.) Some highlights:

Now, to correct all the busted 365tomorrows bookmarks that I'm sure populate my bookmarks file!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (nomicide)
The world's most active Livejournal Nomic*, [ profile] nomicide, is running a game of Mafia! The entry poll is open all week, but only to current players, so if you like the idea of a game where changing the rules is a move, there's no better time to join than now! Nomicide Mafia - it's where it's at!

(geez, I feel so weird when I shill this thing.)

(I wonder if I should repost this to [ profile] community_promo...)

* Also the world's only active Livejournal Nomic, but that's surely unrelated.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (le twittre)
  • 17:50 Via lj::shatterstripes, some killer Youtube plunderphonics (mashup music tracks): "Kutiman mixes YouTube". #
  • 18:55 I got a 74% on the Barnum Test! :P #
  • 22:44 You watch Bones, @toya121? That's one of my favorite shows! (But nothing will replace the original Dragnet in my heart. ^_^) #
  • 23:00 @kirabug Of course, I'm fairly sure *my* score, at least, is distorted by knowing the algorithm... #
  • 23:29 @kirabug Wise of you. :) #
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packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)

        by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

            I heard the old, old men say,
            "Everything alters,
            And one by one we drop away."
            They had hands like claws, and their knees
            Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
            By the waters.
            "All that's beautiful drifts away
            Like the waters."

- from In the Seven Woods, 1903.

(Quoted in "And So To Fade Away" by Ken Arneson, linked by [ profile] pecunium a while ago. Text was copy-pasted from The Poetry Archive.)


Feb. 1st, 2009 01:05 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Earth:Harmless/WikiGuide)
[ profile] dslartoo has a couple good links about depression from [ profile] fairgoldberry: Part 1, Part 2. Worth reading.

(Yes, a few items on that first list sound pretty familiar - both in my case and in someone else's. Dunno what I'll do about it.)

On a more cheerful note - I hope you enjoyed my Rabbit Hole Day entry this year; here are the ones I bookmarked of those I read, in no particular order:

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Earth:Harmless/WikiGuide)
As you probably do not know, I have recently been trying out Google Reader as a way of tracking my weblogs. (My "Shared Items" page.) What I have discovered, in the experiment, is that Google Reader acts like the ever-multiplying tabs in the more-slowly-multiplying Firefox windows that keep haunting me, only on speed.

So, back to "Morning Coffee". At least that way, I can say "eh" and ignore the huge pileup of old posts.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (darwin has a posse)
As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I am involved in a "Formal Debate" on the FRDB. Round 1 is up.

Peanut Gallery if you want to make observations over there.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
  • 16:04 @fadeaccompli you realize I can't remember a single time I've eaten cinnamon toast? #
  • 19:31 @fadeaccompli Should I switch back to the official build from NeoOffice? I like how the latter runs without needing to start X11. #
  • 19:33 @hmmm_tea Good grief, how did that happen? #
  • 20:31 Via the incredible Peter C. "the_zaniak" Hayward: "Validation"! #
  • 23:40 I, like most pretentious people, long said that I liked songs with complex lyrics. Then I became an Alanis Morissette fan. So much for that. #
  • 23:51 @Sugarwilla A lot of pop-rock, with excursions into the jazz, R&B, folk, electronic, punk, alternative, romantic, and modern genres. No rap. #
  • 23:53 Romantic and modern here refer to those eras of "classical music" - I generally prefer the less orthodox but still tonal compositions there. #
  • 23:54 (Wow, I bet that last tweet made no sense to anyone not either following all @-replies or @Sugarwilla.) #

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packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
  • 01:26 @fadeaccompli I never watched the commentary to that one! I should check it out when I have a chance. #
  • 11:20 Slept the sleep of the unrighteous. At least it was still sleep. #
  • 11:43 @jephjacques Because Dora's new haircut is *just that awesome*. #
  • 20:09 Huh, Jack Johnson is pretty good. #
  • 20:20 @Sugarwilla No, there's one tweet I posted, too. (; #
  • 20:23 More linky: check out the fine print on UrsulaV's latest soap label... #
  • 21:19 @jephjacques "A lot" is a moving bar in all things, exercise most of all. It was. #
  • 21:49 A serious question (for once). It seems widely agreed that news reporting is uniformly terrible. Is there even a market for the good stuff? #
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packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (twisty little passages)
This is why I love The Internet Oracle.

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply.
Your question was:

Oh most canny Oracle, to whom every function is integrable analytically,

If fifteen people get on a bus, and then twelve more people get on a bus, how old is the driver?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

Aha! Trick question. It depends how many people were on the bus to begin with.

You owe the oracle more information.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
  • 15:34 @jephjacques Submacopter sighting! It's not in Area 51, it's in Alaska! #
  • 22:45 Picked up the first volume of Alison Bechdel's "Dykes To Watch Out For" at the comic shop. Eyeopening, at least to this straight male dude. #
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packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (accept christ playstation)
( You're about to view content that the journal owner has advised should be viewed with discretion. )
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Earth:Harmless/WikiGuide)
Okay, so I'm way late getting on board the 2008 Civics Quiz (32/33, by the way - I missed the harder Roosevelt question), but I haven't seen this angle approached: Has anyone checked to see if the respondents are literate, full stop? It seems to me that misunderstanding the questions and/or answers (some of which have difficult wordings) could be a factor in the 71% "failure" rate.

Just thinking about possible controls on the test.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (filler)
  1. The last time I looked at my flist was November 5th. My pants are so bankrupt, they're getting a $1b injection of capital from the U.S. Treasury.
  2. Feeling decidedly under the weather.
  3. If you haven't checked it out before, try out Kaspall. It's a great fantasy-mystery, and the artist is doing humorous little "Character Q&A" comics for vote incentives!
  4. 2+2=4. I have a truly ingenious proof of this, but this bullet point is too small to contain it.


Nov. 5th, 2008 07:13 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (darwin has a posse)
Dropped by the comic shop in College Park today - I just read Issue #1 of Transmetropolitan (h/t Blake Stacey), and was jonesing for some more.

Unfortunately, Vol. 1 is out of print. Not Vols. 2, 3, 4, whatever, just Vol. 1. Great timing, Detective Comics - I'm proud of you.

So proud, in fact, I got two other DC-subsidiary books while I was there - The Plain Janes (a Unshelved recommendation that I, who read it on the bus, wholeheartedly second) and Global Frequency Vol. 1: Planet Ablaze (also Warren Ellis, but I mainly got it because of the movie that didn't get made). Oh, and I got Whiteout, Vol. 2: Melt (because I got Whiteout, Vol. 1, which because of Free Comic Book Day 2007, which because of Wings of Change, which eventually because of Dad=[ profile] zhurnaly emailing me a link to Mark Sachs and I'm cutting this off before we get ridiculous).

So, a fun evening, even before the lasagna [ profile] zhurnaly's got in the oven downstairs. Rawk aut!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

'Tis the season for scary movies. Some rank The Evil Dead as the best horror film of all time. What is your favorite scary movie?

View other answers

Darkness Falls is my favorite. Definitely Better Than It Sounds fuel, and well, well done.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
  • 13:35 Check it: Michael Stipe on the Shiny Happy People contradicts the cognoscenti. #
  • 17:03 My #1 pet peeve: autocomplete and all its autocrat^H^H^H^Hmatic cousins. Can't they see that a lowercase "i" might merely be half an "is"? #
  • 21:10 Every ad in my train car is for the Lupus Foundation of America,, CFC #10566. Another worthy cause; this world has too many... #
  • 21:14 There's a tower off the eastbound end of the Fort Totten platform whose light flashes four times or three irregularly. A code, I wonder? #
  • 22:09 Alaska ethics report on Sarah Palin is out, full text here: #
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packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

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