Short Straw Villain

I believe they want you to give in.

How much attention does anyone really pay to the stained glass?

"We're sending you to the third quarter of 1996, right on the money."

My head is a machine that tries to estimate the likelihood that a given noun is true, based on principles of consistency and causality with respect to the rest of what my head is aware of. Funny, strictly speaking, the probabilities will always lie between 0 and 1, exclusive, since we can never be certain of anything. In practice however, most things lie so extremely to one side that it is not really worth describing the acceptable exceptions because they are just too outlandish to bother with. When doubting such large portions of the established observations we are left with little guidance to establish alternative explanations and consequently weak and dispensable alternatives. Why are consistency and causality assumed to be valid principles on which to base such important matters? Because the alternatives are of no use. Yes, good old proof by contradiction. It's not really that though, if there were good evidence that assuming the universe was inconsistent, or that causality does not hold, and the understanding of that evidence, or even that assumption, led to fruitful predictions, then those principles would be adopted immediately. There seem to be only three categories in which all things must fall... deterministic, probabilistic, and completely random.

But I will try to find a way to not fit in any of those categories, though it doesn't seem very promising.

I think I'm in love with EVE, from WALL•E. She's smart, strong, fast, playful, cute sounding, she takes care of WALLE•E, she seems to be attracted to his quirky/naive/playful, (and sometimes clumsy), behavior, and she solved his rubik's cube! She sort of seems like a free spirit. It's strange, those aren't really things I look for in a girl (though maybe it's because this is a joke?). Directive?

I've thought some about how artificial intelligence will eventually outperform us greatly, and I'm one of those people who suspect that it will happen sooner than we think (though I still wouldn't really say when with any confidence). But I can't decide what the consequences will be. Even physics will lose much of it's traditional pizzaz if artificial intelligence were to begin making physics discoveries beyond a human's capabilities, which seems quite possible.

While trying to fall asleep last night, I began thinking about the internet, and I realized, we have accumulated so much information, that our older methods of organizing it are stretched to their limits, or long dead. For instance, if you printed a book with everything available on the internet, there would be no good way to organize the table of contents, or the index, or a glossary.

Is it rude to tell a girl working in retail that she is really beautiful (while she's at work)? If so, would it be rude to ask her that question?
There must be a difference between continuous and infinitely divisible? Or maybe not. I cannot yet tell.
I don't think I've ever been rejected out right, at least not by a girl. I have by a job, though I think maybe only one. This isn't a testament to my abilities, but more a testament to my caution, lack of action, and inexperience.
Rhythm, then melody, then lyrics (Paul Simon's method).
You've fallen out of love with yourself. Take one small step outside of yourself and you find you're not the only one.
Falling upward.

Osborne effect
The fucking horses mouth, like Mr. Ed.
Graduate schooling:
Quantum computing with Mathematica:

I've got this book, with potentially more than tens, or even hundreds of billions of pages. And it's got an index that can near-instantly take me to thousands of pages relevant to any subject matter it covers. Unless you get real obscure you are likely to find something pertinent to your research.

There's always a villain, so we should probably draw straws.

I think we are finding that, although the methods of science are well suited to solve many problems, it is not suitable for all problems. As an example, science is very good at solving problems generated by curiosity, and problems involving the validity of information; in some sense, validating information is itself the scientific process. But human happiness is, oddly enough, not dependent so much on the validity of information, nor the satisfaction of curiosity. I'm not sure I know, but human happiness is probably dependent on more naturally evolved human needs and desires, which would certainly include the obvious things, like food, shelter, safety, and social interaction, but probably involve more subtle and complicated needs, like specific social and sexual needs, both of which are EXTREMELY complicated; take it from someone who has a basic understanding of gyroscopes, microwave ovens, and modern computers, all the way from the atomic to the human systems of measurement. You start off assuming a gyroscope is one of the simplest devices possible; a spinning mass, how much simpler could it get? But to see it intuitively takes time, and human social behavior is obviously

"My head is swimming, could you feed me my next line? I'm new at pretending."

Specioprin Hydrochloride

Ha ha haha! Floccinaucinihilipilification is a word!

This article is excellent. This line:
The most destructive form of grading by far is that which is done “on a curve,” such that the number of top grades is artificially limited:  no matter how well all the students do, not all of them can get an A.  Apart from the intrinsic unfairness of this arrangement, its practical effect is to teach students that others are potential obstacles to their own success.  The kind of collaboration that can help all students to learn more effectively doesn’t stand a chance in such an environment.

Reminds me of something my dad has reiterated occasionally, that in college, he didn't help other people in physics class because it couldn't possibly help him; there were only so many As, Bs, and Cs available, so improving your classmates' comprehension was like sabotaging yourself. I've found that discussing these things, even if I am way ahead of my classmates, helps me out just as much as it helps them out. It's sort of a 'rich get richer' scenario. This also reminds me of 3rd grade, when Tiffany Ryan asked for an answer on some quiz or test we were taking, and I gave it to her, and Ms. Phipps caught us, and took us both into the hall and scolded us. The ONLY reason I gave Tiffany answers was because I felt BAD for her. I was very embarrassed.
This bit is great too:
Moreover, elementary and middle schools that haven’t changed their practices often cite the local high school as the reason they must get students used to getting grades regardless of their damaging effects -- just as high schools point the finger at colleges.

In 8th grade I had an english teacher, Mrs. Wilson, who told us that when we got to high school, all of our papers would have to be written in cursive, otherwise the teachers would not accept them. As it turns out, if they weren't typed they almost certainly weren't accepted, but typing is a lot easier than writing cursive (at least to me), so it wasn't a big deal. I don't recall ever really writing in cursive in high school.

I think that this is a clear indication that voters need to be more well-informed by the people organizing the vote. I think in a large number of these ballots, the voter should have returned the ballot in exchange for a new one. I think that is a perfectly reasonable request. The ballot should be immediately and visibly destroyed, and a new ballot should be issued. Most of the ballots shown seem to be mistakes in choice (that is, they marked something unintentionally and didn't know it might invalidate their vote. Probably the people who signed it didn't know that would invalidate their vote too, an argument for more transparent presentation to voters of what makes their vote invalid).

The heat anticipator, and how to set it.

In Back to the Future 3, Marty accidentally breaks the fuel line in the DeLorean, and he and Emmett spend some time (and the rest of the movie), finding alternative methods of getting the vehicle up to 88 mph. Emmett explains that there isn't any gas in 1885, but there are TWO DeLoreans in 1885: the one Doc was in that got struck by lightening in 1955, and the one Marty took from 1955 (which was really the 1885 one that sat in a cave for 70 years). So they SHOULD have syphoned the gas out of the original DeLorean, but that wouldn't have been much of a movie I guess. Oops.

Don't look into it, but I'm a respected internal medicine doctor with many surviving patients.

My favorite complexity class (right now) is NC (Nick's class). It is the class of problems were are solvable in polylogarithmic time by a parallel processor machine with a polynomial number of processors. Which sort of just means it is the class of problems that are actually solvable.

I don't want to survive; I want to live.

Isn't 'easy' a very notation dependent notion? Should Turing-completeness be considered a generalized notation, providing a method of analysis that is independent of notation?

"Superladies? They're always trying to tell you their secret identity... think it'll strengthen the relationship or something like that. I say, 'Girl, I don't wanna know about your mild-mannered alter ego or anything like that.' I mean, you tell me you're, uh... S-Super, Mega, Ultra Lightning Babe, that's alright with me. I'm good... I'm good."

Against the wall.

AH HA! Chad Orzel explained in this video, about 43 minutes in, the difference between the Everett many worlds hypothesis and the multiverse hypothesis; both of which I abhor. The essential difference is that the many worlds hypothesis is meant to explain the collapse of the wave function into a single definite state while the multiverse is meant to explain the apparent arbitrariness of certain fundamental constants. Full disclosure: I very strongly dislike both of these ideas—neither of them offer up useful predictions, neither one is foreseeably falsifiable, neither one has real evidence beyond suggestions we interpret by our mathematics, and both postulate a much greater fundamental complexity to the universe than the alternative hypotheses (e.g., even the null hypothesis). As a result for my dislike of these ideas, I may have in the past lumped them together, though I think I have understood these differences for a long time. Ultimately I consider both to be fantastical suggestions and may have lumped them in with other fantastical science, since I consider it all to be a waste efforts. But let me more specifically attack the multiverse hypothesis now.
What strikes me as most unsatisfactory about the multiverse hypothesis, or more so it's motivation, is the assumption that the physical constants are fundamentally independent of one another, and everything else. The fact that we do not currently understand the fundamental physical constants is no reason to believe that they are not all the result of an overarching single law/rule/behavior/aspect of the universe, it is simply evidence that we don't know exactly what we are talking about yet. Quite likely we will never know to the exactness I refer to; Richard Feynman, when asked if he was looking for "the ultimate laws of the universe" replied, "no, I am not...", and went on to say it might be that there is some simple underlying rule, or it might be that the rules seem to go on forever and there is no end and no clear foundation. I agree, either path may be true, but neither one implies (the first in fact denies) the idea that we should have a large number of independent fundamental parameters. Even assuming there is a single fundamental parameter, I would argue that the ultimate goal of physics would be to not only find the single parameter, but also to explain it's reason for being so! (Admittedly I am holding my field to much higher standards than ANYONE should ever expect ANYTHING to EVER reach, but 'they' told me to aim for the stars, right?) I think I might be ranting here now, and that I should probably take a break, regroup... maybe try to return to the topic at hand.


Tie me up.

cognitive defect

Ha ha ha:
"and all the cops and armies in the world can't stop something with a 17,000% markup."
-Joseph McNamara (about cocaine)

The 3rd Scourge.

"but light a match, inhale the smoke, and it becomes an invitation to your own murder."

Uncontrollable hilarity.

I think I might have just gotten some insight into the whole dating situation, as described by girls who think they are giving me constructive advice. Assuming you, the reader, knows me, how would you go about telling a girl who was interested in me to approach me? I can't speak for you, but I can say, most likely you will be wrong. For the most part, I seem to make up my mind relatively quickly, and there isn't much that is in anyone's control. I'm sorry if that sounds shallow (if you don't think it's shallow, fine, but I do), but thats how I work. I didn't choose to be that way, it wasn't a decision. It's true that she could have a personality that I find really attractive, for instance, she could have principles in line with mine, or laugh at my sick jokes (like all the horrible things I would do as a parent), but none of those things really matter, because I adapt pretty readily to other people's thoughts. Barring something like religious fundamentalism, or brash ignorance, or more so, deliberate, self aware, fervent anti-intellectualism, (which is basically the serious religious fundamentalists), I would be completely obliged with virtually every other variation in personality. Obviously I'm partial to the same things everyone is partial to: girls who appear to enjoy themselves, smiling, adventurous, curious, excitable, reckless, free, whatever. I don't mind what might be considered a 'dumb' girl, so long as they don't take pride in their ignorance. In fact, I might define 'dumb' as someone who does just that, and anyone else, ignorant or otherwise, as intelligent. From my perspective, you have to work really hard to be dumb, you can't just be uninterested, and unexposed to more intelligent ideas, you have to downright reject them, openly, loudly, and repeatedly, with pride.

Conversations escalate.

Take. Take as much as you can.
Cause you know it's going fast.

One man's schizophrenia is another man's enlightenment.

I'm pretty sure that I've fallen deeply in love with every girl I've ever been attracted to (both of them! ha ha!), then eventually I get over it, and after that I probably just fall in love with the first girl I find irresistibly attractive. Am I shallow? I think so. Who are you to judge?

Heh heh, "because nothing is better than eternal bliss. And you are better than nothing".


I think I just like this phrase.

I think my favorite part of this article is how one of the conspirators only got 10 years for 1.5 tons of cocaine. What?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Seabight HA HA HA HA

On to the next willing victim.

pilling - those little balls that form on garments (like wool)
gregarious - fond of company; sociable
hefting (or heafing), the instinct in some breeds of keeping to a certain heft throughout their lives (a small local area).
I think I want to be a shepherd some day. Probably not though. But wool is pretty cool, and sheep dogs are awesome, and sheep are just kind of nice. Plus, New Zealanders are awesome, and they are big on the whole sheep thing.
Ha ha ha, Counting sheep... dammit, everything about shepherding is so laid back. It'd be cool to collect black sheep. Its recessive, so if they were breeding you'd just get more and more black sheep. Thats what I'll do someday. I'll heard black sheep.

This beautiful world.

23 skidoo

Everything in moderation. Except of course, moderation itself.

I just like the phrase, "a relative of the banana".

Maybe instead of sheep I'll raise goats.

This article has interesting things in it, but I disagree with the idea that our 'highly developed sense of morality' is what "does, or ought to" distinguish us from our the rest of life. I would say maybe it is the fact that we can develop a sense so highly, but I'm not sure I would be satisfied with that either. Most likely, the distinguishing quality of mankind is something subtle, and I would jack my answer from Richard Feynman's talk on teaching. In it, he describes a process referred to as 'time binding', in which a species begins to pass information between individuals more rapidly than the individuals can lose the information. That is clearly something that has never occurred with any other species. It is a result only obtainable after passing some tipping point, accumulating knowledge more rapidly than it is lost. This is magnificent.

An unsourced quote of Bertrand Russell,
Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.

"A nobleman went to purchase a pig on St. Stevens day, and then the pig monger quoth, 'seek you a sow or a hog?' Quoth the nobleman, 'which be the better for fucking?' "
-Jon Stewart

Holy Crap this is awesome!

Call me conceited, but I think I already know how we get to the 7th stage. And it is inevitable, because science fixes more problems than it creates, and all of our desires will drive us to it.


It's an exciting time to be alive. But then again, probably anyone who pays attention to science in any given lifetime has every right to say that.

I like the phrase "chasing skirt".

Boy are you a sight for sore eyes.
“smiles are on all faces,”

What'll it be stranger?
How can I make you feel so good, and so bad, at the same time?
Maybe there's something wrong with me, that I can't see?
Love like yours will surely come my way.

Ah, an explanation apparently.

Tie me down.


Mafia Wives

It would be really nice, when running a website/weblog/whatever, to make a list of links of 'interesting things', and keywords which trigger those links. So you don't have to bother linking them. Like how origin of life links to cdk007's video on abiogensis.

You know those abusive relationships? Where the one person remains with the other person despite physical abuse? All those jokes like, "he loves me, he really does", or "my husband beats me sunglasses", or, "I fell down the stairs to save time", and you know how confusing it is that people stay in those relationships? You ask yourself, "why would anyone put up with that bullshit?" Well the same question applies to what many people think of as their relationships with a god. Many christians and muslims (as well as other faiths I'm sure), seem to believe that a god will punish the unfaithful, or the disobedient, or the genuinely curious (myself), or the doubters, or the lovers, or the adventurous... or honestly, the human. Even if I could somehow convince myself that allah, or the god of many christians, or jesus, or the god of the old testament, existed, I would continue to reject any relationship with any of them, if only because I think it is an unhealthy relationship.

Heartbreaking beauty.
It'll be different.
The star of her own tragedy.
It'll break your heart.

Why am I heartfelt when I am alone, but seriously nervous when I'm near a pretty girl? What does that?

"Any problem on earth can be solved, with the careful application of explosives."
"And suddenly you're in love with everything"
"Knowing, that you don't know, is the most essential step to knowing, you know?"

panoply - a complete or impressive collection of things. A splendid display.

Math as language—excellent idea!

Absolutely brilliant.

How wrong can you be?
I can't believe that you actually died.
Shower notes: views/ratings = outline size/color/objec size?
Idea/solution wiki: lists problems, allows various branched solutions to be posed

I forgive everyone, for everything, always. Except arguments/debates/discussions where I get the impression that my opponent is merely disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing, or out of spite, or some other petty reason. That really seems to dedicate me to proving out my point.

Plausible and possible are great words for science.
Make a page to describe what is meant by the word certainty, in terms of science, and also what is currently thought of as a certainty, in science, and why. (I.e., the law of the conservation of energy began as a conservation of mass, or momentum, or numerous other more specific ideas. The conservation of energy however is so general, it seems very unlikely to be toppled in any way. Though science demands the attitude that it may yet be toppled anyway.)

"We turn ourselves in now they'll give us 20 years in the electric chair!"

I just wondered, is the length of the wick that remains above the candle wax directly determined by the capillary action of the melted candle wax sucking up the wick?

Here's a fun and simple question: given a volume of 1 cubic inch, what is the relative change in pressure when the surface area changes by 1 square inch?
I voted for sequoia voting systems machine number DRE 700 Serial # 34491
ab initio

And it's beginning to get to me.

"I'm not the enemy."—"then who are you?"

This is a pretty neat article. It explains why scientists suspect that Saturn's moon Rhea may have rings. Apparently the wikipedia article does a fairly good job of explaining it as well.

This is an awesome java applet that allows you to (roughly) investigate the phenomena of light mill (or Crookes radiometer).
And this is a simulation of traffic, so you can learn why traffic jams can form for no real reason at all.