flewellyn: (Default)
If, horror of horrors, Mitt Romney were to win the election, do you know what this means?

PAUL RYAN would be only a lack-of-heartbeat away from the Presidency!
flewellyn: (Default)
Maja: what up G?
Flewellyn: Hmm...
Flewellyn: Up is the direction away from the center of a gravitaionally significant body…and G is the gravitational constant...
Flewellyn: So...
Flewellyn: *does some calculations*
Flewellyn: I would say 9.8 m/s^2
Flewellyn: More or less.
Flewellyn: How about you?
Maja: What! Let me finish. Of course, "G" was also used to refer to the "God" in another person and recognizing their divinty during the 60's civil rights movement
Maja: so put that in your computer and crunch it.
Flewellyn: *does so*
Flewellyn: "INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER"
flewellyn: (Default)
Grant me the Serenity to accept what I can't change, the Big Damn Heroes to change what I can, and the Captain Mal to say "Screw the difference, I aim to misbehave."
flewellyn: (Default)
So, I've been trying to get a small interest group going in my town, and I had a bunch of positive replies from various folks in the community. I had a first meeting planned tonight at our local Barnes and Noble, but, alas, nobody showed up.

It's odd. You'd think there'd be more interest in a book club for ninjas...
flewellyn: (Default)
The wildfires spreading through Texas were apparently started by a dry piece of brush that caught when Rick Perry walked past.

He'd just given a press conference, and his pants were still on fire.
flewellyn: (Default)
If I ever get married, I think my bride and I will have to compete to see whose dress is prettier.

Because if I DO get married, I will want the day to be memorable for all attending, even after the therapy.
flewellyn: (Default)
So, my sister's visiting, and she came over to my place for dinner to meet several friends of mine.

After she left, my friend Ed, with whom she was staying, called:

Ed: Hey, is your sister there?

Me: No, she just left for your place. Why?

Ed: I needed to ask her some questions.

Me: I believe the answers are "three", "yes", and "I was really drunk".

Ed: Hmm..."How many times did you have sex?", "Did you have anal sex?", and "Why?" That works out perfectly! Thanks!


...yeah.
flewellyn: (Default)
So, a friend told me she had this question on her chem test: "Given blah blah blah, Calculate the *morality* of the NaBr solution."

I replied: "You could point out that it's full of comforting bromides."
flewellyn: (Default)
Note: usually, what you want to say is "I could NOT care less". If you say "I could care less", this lacks the impact you desire, unless you state specifically to what degree your level of caring could decrease from its current value.

For example: "I could care less, possibly, but the amount would be measurable only on the Planck scal...e." That works handily, and has the advantage of also being amusing.

This has been a PSA from the Youth Outreach Undertaken to Improve Delivery of Insulting and Obnoxious Tropes (YOUIDIOT).
flewellyn: (Default)
On October 10th, 2010, the date will be 10/10/10.

101010 in binary = 42 decimal.

In other words, October 10th will be the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

We must celebrate!
flewellyn: (Default)
So, the other night, I had a strange dream in which a science teacher was explaining about how light travels at different speeds through different substances. Some joker in the class asked "how fast does light travel through marijuana?"

Said the teacher, "About three miles an hour. And when it makes it through, it can't be bothered to care if it's a particle or a wave."
flewellyn: (Default)
So, a friend of mine is writing a television script, and wanted some examples of absurdly unbelievable reality TV shows for characters to mention in passing. Naturally, I relish a challenge to be silly such as this. She had already set the tone with "Celebrity Food Fight".

Here is what I came up with...

  • "Two chefs compete to bake the best cake...only the winner will have the bomb strapped to his or her leg defused! That's right, it's another exciting episode of 'Cake or Death!'"

  • "Two teams compete to decorate a semi truck and trailer in the most outlandish way possible, then drive it across country and see who gets the most bizarre looks, in 'What the Truck?'"

  • "A bunch of self-absorbed, egotistical idiots live together in a house...while every week, one of them mysteriously disappears due to ideological thoughtcrime! That's right, it's 'Big Brother: Orwell Edition!'"


Other ideas include "Hurling Bricks At The Stars", "Slaughterhouse Danceoff", and "Extreme Makeover: Septic Tank Edition".

Got any of your own? Comments welcome!


Edit: Another idea I had: "HE is a banking executive whose bad decisions cost thousands of people millions of dollars! THEY are the thousands of people! Watch as they compete not just for money, but for vengeance, in 'Who Wants To Beat Up A Millionaire?'"

OW

Aug. 22nd, 2010 09:38 pm
flewellyn: (Default)
I have a song stuck in my head, which I cannot dislodge no matter what I try.

The song? "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" by Kylie Minogue.

Painful AND ironic. Score!
flewellyn: (Default)
When pundits or policymakers start talking about sacrificing the well being of various people to serve the economy, I know they are talking of doing evil. The economy exists to serve the people, not vice versa.
flewellyn: (Default)
LimpingPigeon: Anywho... I must sleep.
LimpingPigeon: gotta be up in... five and a half hours. Ugh.
LimpingPigeon: Stupid job.
LimpingPigeon: Stupid work.
Flewellyn: Aww.
Flewellyn: Gnight Pigeon.
LimpingPigeon: I need to win lots of money so I cna quit and just draw all the time.
Flewellyn: *tuck tuck*
LimpingPigeon: and play video games.
Flewellyn: Or maybe get some more work doing drawing.
LimpingPigeon: and read manga.
LimpingPigeon: and buy a little tiny saddle to put on Morris.
Flewellyn: ...what?
LimpingPigeon: and tranquilizers so I can put the saddle on him without him shredding me.
Flewellyn: Why do you want to...
Flewellyn: I mean, WHAT?
LimpingPigeon: So I can give the bunnies riding lessons.
Flewellyn: You're...doing this on purpose, aren't you?
LimpingPigeon: *innocent look*
flewellyn: (Default)
I've found that I am becoming more and more irritated by the common-in-some-circles debate trope of "answering a series of rhetorical questions". You know the form, no doubt: "Is this X? Well, does it resemble X? Yes. Could it be said to be related to X? Maybe. Is it definitely X? No." Or what have you. When I see someone engage in this trope, I find myself rolling my eyes, and it makes me less interested in their argument.

Why? Well, I've noticed that the people who tend to do this are those arguing that an observation by an oppressed person about their oppression, isn't really true because XYZ. The questions themselves tend to be of the "temporary tactical concession" type, where the arguer will admit that something may sort of be somewhat like what the original person said in some way, but surely it's not really exactly like that. It's a dismissive tactic, used for dismissive arguments.

And, well, the pattern I've observed is that the people who do this "pose rhetorical questions and then give quick, decisive answers to them in rapid succession" thing, generally don't have a real argument to present to begin with. It's not the same as asking a rhetorical question, or even a set of them, and then taking the time to carefully respond in detail to each one, coming up with a reasoned, factually-based response. This is just rapid fire, single word dismissals. If anything, I find it a sign of intellectual laziness.
flewellyn: (Default)
Just thinking to myself tonight about how to boil down my problems with evolutionary psychology. It could have been a promising field! Really! It's just...as it is, it produces massive amounts of USDA Prime Grade bullshit.

Here, I think, is the chain of logic, boiled down to essentials:
  1. Human brains evolved. (Right! We know that.)
  2. Human psychology is a product of human neurology. (Makes sense.)
  3. Therefor, human psychology must have evolved in concert with our neurology. (Okay so far...)
  4. In evolution, traits which are adaptive (or neutral) tend to survive, while traits which are maladaptive tend not to survive. (Again, not controversial.)
  5. Human psychology definitely counts as a trait, if not many. (Fair enough...)

  6. Here's where they go off the deep end...

  7. Therefor, human psychological traits must, on the whole, be adaptive. (Well, hang on a second, all of them? Some might not be neutral or even maladaptive? And what about cultural influence? Hey, are you listening?!)
  8. Therefor, all behaviors that we observe in current human populations MUST have been adaptive traits that carry over from our savanna-dwelling ancestors, and biologically determined! Cultural norms of today are of course adaptive traits, and therefor there's no point in trying to change them! (Wait, WHAT?!)


See, they're doing fine up until that second-to-last step. Nicely reasonable premises that square with well-established science. Then suddenly it's VROOM! Straight over the cliff and into a huge sea of unfalsifiable hypotheses and "just-so" stories, transparently trying to justify current cultural norms as unchangeable biological imperatives. They routinely ignore cultural variation, both between contemporary cultures and within a single culture over time. They also ignore the enormous plasticity of the human brain, especially in childhood, and its ability to adapt itself to many different environmental conditions, on a time scale many orders of magnitude faster than evolution operates. And they tend to show a rather poor understanding of evolution; I am not a biologist, but what I do know on the subject tells me that this "cave-man psychology" thinking is woefully uninformed. I have read essays by actual biologists on the subject who make precisely that charge.

And it's surely a coincidence that the evolutionary psychologists who engage in such speculation are almost exclusively white men, and they spend an awful lot of time trying to justify problematic societal attitudes towards women and minorities, right? Right?

The frustrating thing is, up through step 5, it does sound like an intriguing field of inquiry. It really would be fascinating to learn more about how and why the overarching structure and function of our pscyhes formed, and how that influences our cultural development today. But the way they're doing it now, producing the neuropsychological equivalent of "How the Leopard Got His Spots"? That's not science. That's just pseudoscientific onanism.
flewellyn: (Default)
So, Saturday night and Sunday morning, I was at the office, doing some work to migrate our database to a new server. I was alone in the office, so I had the doors locked.

I took a break to go use the restroom. When I was finished, I realized two things: first, the door was still locked, and second...I had left my keys on my desk.

Not only was the office door locked, but also the door to the outside. And it has keyholes on both sides, so you can't open it from the inside without a key. I was well and truly trapped.

I thought briefly about breaking down the door, but decided this was a last-resort option. Was I in a last-resort situation?

Well, I had my cell phone with me, so I decided that no, I was not. So, I tried calling my supervisor, Ron. No answer. Tried his house phone, also no answer.

Tried my boss, Lanny. No answer.

Tried Ron again. Tried boss again.

Tried the other programmers. No answers there.

I was about to try Mark, our GIS guy, when my phone died. Out of power. Kaput. The timing could not have been worse.

WELL. At this point, I took stock of my situation. No way out of the building, and even if I could get out, no way to get home because my car keys were in the office. Even if I could get home, no way to get in because my house key was in the office. No one else was awake to come open the door. I had no food, only water was from the bathroom sink, and no idea when someone else might come by. And, most important, I had no way to communicate my situation to anyone else.

At this point, I decided it WAS a last-resort situation. So, I grabbed the fire extinguisher off of the wall and approached the door.

Bashing the door itself was not going to work, it is solid oak. I looked it over, and realized that bashing open the main office door was a bad idea. There was, however, another door, the door to the server room, which opened onto this corridor. That door never got used, and was usually blocked by large heavy boxes. In this case, however, I knew that they had been moved a week before, and there was a good chance the door was unobstructed.

So, I looked again. Big door, also solid oak. Not going anywhere. Doorknob, however, was a different story. I realized that I didn't need to break the door, just the knob; then I could pull the bolt from the wall and push the door open.

It took about fifteen or so heavy bashings with the extinguisher, but the knob came off, and the bolt came out. I pushed open the door and collapsed on the floor with relief.

I was a bit too frazzled to work any more, so I collected my keys, wrote a note to my bosses about why the doorknob was broken on that door, and left. My last words to myself out the door were, "I hope there's no legal repercussions from this."


Fast forward to today: I'm back in the office, much refreshed after resting, and working again. My boss calls to check on my progress. I fill him in, and then tell him about the incident of the previous night. I worried that he would be upset, or angry, or...something. Instead, he just said "Yikes, I'm glad you're okay. Y'know, this isn't the first time someone has accidentally been locked out. Maybe I should invest in combination locks."

*WHEW*

So, no trouble. I might have to pay for the doorknob, but those are cheap. And hey, now I get to tell people that I have actually broken down a door by bashing the knob with a fire extinguisher!
flewellyn: (Default)
"Antidisestablishmentarianism" is a poor choice for a safeword.

GAH

Mar. 13th, 2010 04:42 pm
flewellyn: (Default)
No wonder I'm having an "off-brain" day. I just looked at the calendar.

March 13th. Mom's birthday.

It always sneaks up on me...

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