I'm posting this because it's my duty as the most interesting person in the world. I know you all miss my wisdoming. So here it is.
blog n. (<MnE: web log). A chronological repository of poorly written tripe, esp. on the author's personal life, or lack thereof.
I'm posting this because it's my duty as the most interesting person in the world. I know you all miss my wisdoming. So here it is.
I love pretty much everything Diana Wynne Jones has written, but I never understand the review snippets they put on the books. 'Laugh-riot'. 'Uproariously funny'.
I'm not sure that I've ever laughed while reading her books. They're amusing at times, but do you really laugh out loud when reading them?
To my mind, Gordon Korman is funny and Diana Wynne Jones is just brilliant. Explain how Jones' funny. I want to understand. Show me a line or a scene from one of her books that made you laugh aloud.
1. Sign up at their website.
2. Wait for the email message with the link to arrive.
3. Follow the link in the email message.
4. Sign in to their website.
5. Select the language and click download.
6. Select 'Open', because it's an installer. You don't need to save it to the hard drive for reuse later.
7. Wait a bit over half an hour for the 250MB installer to download.
8. Run the installer.
9. Wait as it spends ten minutes installing
10. Have it tell you 'ZOMG you don't have SP2! Install SP2 and try again.'
11. Curse Adobe's name.1
12. Go to the Windows XP SP2 update site.
13. Select Download SP2 from Microsoft Update.
14. Have it update to the newest version of the updating software.
15. Restart Windows.
16. Go to the Windows XP SP2 update site.
17. Select Download SP2 from Microsoft Update.
18. Have it check for updates.
19. Select the twenty updates it has for you.
20. Wait as it downloads and installs the twenty updates.2
21. Restart Windows.
22. Go to the Windows XP SP2 update site.
23. Select Download SP2 from Microsoft Update.
24. Wait an hour while it downloads SP2 (100MB). (Note: if you're like me and don't think your bandwidth is the major limit, use this time to also redownload Adobe's 250MB installer, this time saving it. Don't worry: the Adobe thing will finish downloading before SP2.)
Wait half an hour Wait an hour Wait a bloody long time while SP2 installs.
26. Restart Windows.
27. Turn off the Firewall because you don't know what ports to unblock and it'll just piss off the non-techies who hired you. :-(
28. Run the Adobe installer. This takes ten minutes or so.
29. Have the Adobe installer run the Adobe installer. (WTF? I don't know. Maybe it had to use the basic installer to install the real installer.) This will take a while. Use this time to update some of the other computers in the office.
30. Go home. Everyone else did several hours ago.
Aside: Opera BLogger Beta does not support Opera 8.53. Not only can you not preview, it allows you to post your post, but only the title and tags get posted. Actual text is blank.
1 Though you should also admit tyo yourself that you (or your employers) deserve it for not having SP2 already installed.
2 Including: 'Critical Update for Windows: This item updates the Bookshelf Symbol 7 font included in some Microsoft products. The font has been found to contain unacceptable symbols. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.'
Because unacceptable symbols are critically unacceptable.
It's time for another repost of something I posted to eC some time ago! This time, it's one of my favouritest IM conversations ever:
(20:48:12) Person: Excuse me, do you know anything about falconry?
(20:48:47) General Wesc: Why, yes! I raise and train falcons for a living. I am a falconer by trade.
(20:49:31) Person: Oh I'm glad I asked! I want to be a future falconer, I just can't find any useful information on the internet so far. I was wondering if you could help?
(20:50:09) General Wesc: http://everything2.org/?node=Falconry
(20:50:44) General Wesc: 'Acquiring a falconry license in the US requires an aspiring falconer to serve as an apprentice to a federally licensed falconer for a minimum of two years, take and pass a written test, and have their facilities and equipment inspected to make sure that they meet minimum federal and state standards for falconry.' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falconry)
(20:52:55) Person: Thank you! I asked because I have always admired birds of prey, and red tailed hawks most of all, so the zoo saw me outside with the birds. Now I'm pretty glad I work at a zoo because they came up with the idea for a falconer to come in with his red tailed hawk and teach me a little about the sport. At the time I wasn't sure what I was going to do with my life, and I studied falconry, deciding it was something I definitely wanted to do. Thanks again.
(20:53:37) General Wesc: No problem. I'm also a certified everything-knower. I am a know-everythinger by trade.
(20:54:20) Person: I'm not. (:> So, if I have any left-over questions, can I come to you?
(20:55:15) General Wesc: You could, but I know next to nothing about falconer. I exagerate my accomplishments for a living. I am a professional accomplishment exagerator.
And a bit later:
(21:01:26) Different Person: You're a falconer, right? Would you mind answering a few of my questions? *hopes she isn't getting annoying*
(21:01:46) General Wesc: No, I'm not a falconer.
(21:02:14) General Wesc: I'm mre interested in shrubberies. Yes, shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
(21:01:26) Different Person: ...Oh. Well, never mind then, unless you still happen to know a lot on the subject of falconry. And I'll ask you if I have a question on shrubberies.
Okay, some of you may already know about how I've had to teach Firefox' the British dictionary all sorts of unusual words it didn't know, such as
Firefox1. Well, I was writing about a 'Sergeant' a few days ago and I misspelled it as 'Seargent'. Stupid me. Luckily, good ol' Firefox knew what I meant to say
Sargent. Yes, that's right, Firefox' only suggestion2 for
Seargent is some Italian painter from a hundred years ago. This name, they know, but not their own.
Firefox stores my additions in a plaintext file, so if necessary I can take a decent dictionary and parse it into persdict.dat. I don't know what effect this will have on speed or memory usage. Actually, I could probably just make my own dictionary separate from persdict.dat. I'd have to figure out the Affix file, though.
0 I actually see this in their dictionary, but for some reason, it was marked as misspelled until I added it myself.
1 For those wondering, here's my current persdict.dat, commaised:
NaNoWriMo, math, humourous, Ogg, eeMail, Draega, pyromaniacal, nontheist, Fatboy, pomeranian, ruckus, eC, may've, Firefox, username, katana, GMail, slutty, AOL, eem, Zounds, sophomore, Google, Blogger, OMG, usernames, blog, mom, sterilise, toolbar, Yankovic, vulcanologist, Where've, chav, Why'd, quait, Nefeara, we'd've, Internalism, AOLspeak, Everything's, Tanenbaum, Crips, permalink, How'd, nutcase, what'll, eCritters, I'm, goth, Flaillip, long's, Sophomore, towelettes, Elrond, tad, Winamp's, dumbass, recognise, Firefox's, geek, Quaker, Pesce, IM, wanna, chowder, Realising, MSN, unschooling, food'll, cypherpunks, VRML, emo, Physicalism, ECU, Badfinger, Rammstein, Debian, Universalists, burrito, Yay, MxPx, snuck, NOFX, Wesc, VeggieTales, Whoot, Wikipedia, Mom, infinitly, NC, fantabulous, Tanenbaums, codswallop, pissy, IRC, genwesc, Strawhert, Cardassian, marvy, begetting, Chatspeak, Provolone, Elinks, favourite, military's, dang, olds, pomiferous, Luca, Ramones, Why's, okay, Nyrial, perfit, gonna, paddleboats, Galeon, Zeka, Kaceem, Okay, Bizkit, paddleboat, FreeNode, ACLU, bear's, Paddleboats, online, blogging, anymore, Pigface, Hilfa, geekdom, Chocowinity, Reliabilism, WMP, nutjobs, hollered, CJ, lkbm, STFU, sesquipedalian, sudoku, miso, plaintext, undead, Gorillaz, asshole
2 I lie. Firefox also suggests 'Se argent' and 'sear gent'.
You've all had the experience: you've just killed a passer-by with your katana and now it's covered in blood. What to do? These things are, of course, quite difficult to clean, and leaving the blood on their is not an option. It will not only destroy the shine, but will cause corrosion.
Perform this simple manoeuvre! Hold the katana in your right hand, with the hilt close to your hip and the tip pointing down to your left. Slash into the air and watch the blood fly off in an incarnadine arc.
If you're lucky and well-skilled, your katana may now be safely sheathed without inviting damage to the blade or the noto. If not, you will still have to wipe if off.
You are now well on your way to being an Iaido master.. Use this skill only for good.
I just thought I oughta mention that for my NaNoWriMo, I have a separate blog. It's full of wit and wisdom and cleverness and nothing at all really, but just let me dream, okay?
It turns out, however, that Firefox 2 uses the same function name for their spelling-checking-as-you-type. I had to rename my function.
Okay, so it took me not long to figure out the cause and fix it. But this isn't a JS1.7 change, so it shouldn't be messing with my scripts.
Fx2 is nice, though. It's much faster and less leaky, probably because Tab Mix Plus didn't support it. This means worse tab behavior, but I'll survive. Or I could try the RC.
1 Not so much a spelling checker, as a tag parser for some forums I use. Convenient to type in, e.g., '[Staff]' and have it translate to a link to the staff list.
2 Seafood node 1.
Since I've already turned this blog into a boring pile of crap by posting one of my dreams a couple days ago, I figure I may as well post about the most terrifying nightmare I've ever had:
My hard drive was full.
Now, I actually forgot about this nightmare for a few days, but when I remembered, I had to go check to make sure it really was just a dream. It was, of course.
Thomas de Mowbray was the first Duke of Norfolk. His mother, Elizabeth de Mowbray, Baroness Mowbray and suo jure 5th Baroness Segrave, was the eldest daughter of Margaret Plantagenet, Duchess of Norfolk (and being the eldest daughter of someone who died 1399 makes you one old lady!) who was in turn the eldest daughter of Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk, was the seventeenthish1 child of Edward I, [former as of 1307] King of England. Mr. Edward was a tall bloke. Actually, only 6'2", but they called him 'Longshanks' anyway.
Anyway, Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk got in an argument with Henry of Bolingbroke, 1st Duke of Hereford (who's most famous for usurping the throne to become King Henry IV and a title for a couple plays by that English playwrite.) So, Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk got banished (along with the future king). He's featured in aforementioned playwrite's play named after the guy who banished him.
But I'm not here to tell you about Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk. My point is the other Thomas de Mowbray, this one being the fourth Earl of Norfolk. And he's the son of the guy I just rambled on and on and on about. Thomas de Mowbray, 4th Earl of Norfolk was beheaded, by which I mean deheaded.
Now, the point is, this headless man, Thomas de Mowbray, 4th Earl of Norfolk, had both a brother named John de Mowbray, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and a son named John de Mowbray, who just so happened to be (after Thomas quit due to nonheadedness), the second Duke of Norfolk. (What a numbering system they had in those days! Brits. I tell you.) And he had a grandson, John de Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, whose only son was John de Mowbray, 4th Duke of Norfolk. And Thomas de Mowbray, 4th Earl of Norfolk's grandfather was John de Mowbray, 4th Baron Mowbray.
So, in chronological order or something like that:
Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk
Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk
Thomas de Mowbray, 4th Earl of Norfolk
John de Mowbray, 2nd Duke of Norfolk
John de Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
John de Mowbray, 4th Duke of Norfolk
Now, my actual point--and I know I keep saying 'my point is' when it really isn't, but I'm telling the truth this time--is that when I was fairly young, I memorised all the presidents of the US2 in order. And I could recognise their portraits.
The closest thing we had to duplicate names were John Adams and his grandson John Quincy Adams.
Yay for living in a young country! (Too bad it behaves immaturely as well.)
1 Wikipedia lists only five children for Edward I, probably because most died in infancy. One of the survivors (until 1284), Alphonso, Earl of Chester died at age ten, but was still apparently Earl of Chester, except maybe he wasn't actual and is only considered so retroactively. Alphonso's mother, by the way, was considered a 'greedy foreigner' by the general public, but she bore sixteen children and didn't eat any of them, which makes her better than Britain's own Johnathan Swift. But she's not Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk's mother. Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk's mother was Marguerite of France.
2 Yes, I know Dukes and Earls and junk aren't analogous to presidents. Shut up. I needed something to post, and this is it. It's also the longest, most boringest post in the history of this blog. Gosh golly gee whiz, who the heck will want to read this mess?
You have to write to them and tell them not to do stupid things. They probably won't listen, but you're obligated to try.
In 2001, I told my reps 'Pay UN dues. UN good.' A few months later I told them 'RIAA bad.' About the same time, I wrote to say 'SSSCA bad', so they renamed it.
One of my former reps voted against the USAP AT RIOT Act, so I wrote to say 'You good', which was a refreshing change. Then in 2005 I wrote other reps to let them know that 'Nuclear war with Democrats bad'.
Of course, the actual letters tend to be a few hundred words, not just two words.
Dreams are usually boring. But this was lucid. It's still probably boring. But I've not posted recently, so I'll post this:
Okay, I was taking photos. And people I knew online were there. I think. But then my camera ran out of power. And was almost full. So I had empty it out onto the laptop, but I was aware that this was a dream, so I was all 'can't I just decide it's been done? You know, fast forward?' but I knew I couldn't 'cause I'd know I hadn't really done it. So I thought 'Well, how about I've written a tiny scripts to handle it for me?' and that was okay, but the camera wasn't totally full; that wasn't the problem. It was out of power. And recharging takes a while.
I don't think it occurred to me that I could run out and buy a second battery. Or maybe it did and that was unacceptable as well.
Lucid dreaming sounds fun until you discover your mind is so logical that it won't even let you bend reality in your dreams.
Though how I copied photos from my camera when the batteries were dead, I don't know. I hadn't a chip reader. And this was internal memory.
I had some fun with the Google Image Labeler a month or two ago and some more tonight. It's fun.
* An image won't load. Major annoyance.
* My partner won't do anything. Maybe they quit.
* My partner will do stuff, but somehow, he's incredibly stupid.
Tell me I'm wrong.
If you get caught in a vacuum, your blood boils and things explode, correct? But suppose you're not quite caught in a vacuum. Suppose you're flying along in your lovely rocketship with 1-inch thick walls and some big lug flies by and pokes a small hole in your hull. Obviously you'd wan to stop up the hole through which all your oxygen is leaking, as is the lovely smell of those chocolate chip cookies you just baked. So thinking quickly, you stick your thumb in the hole.
Does your thumb explode? Do the capillaries burst and you begin to lose blood at an alarming rate. (And if so, how many cookies must you eat per minute in order for your body to have enough sugar to replace the lost blood. How many litres of soy milk must you down with these cookies to replace the lost fluid that is literally and non-metaphorically the life-blood of your circulatory system? If you pull your thumb out and stop up the hole with a cookie-crumb-covered napkin, will your thumb recover, or will it be a bloody mess for the rest of your life?
Clearly, this is unhappy. So perhaps instead of sticking your thumb in the hole, you merely press it against the hole. Will the skin explode but the rest of the thumb still manage to block the air's escape? Will your new lack of a thumbprint on one hand lead you down the dark path of criminal behaviour?
If any of you happen to have a vacuum you can test with, please do so. However, because we'll be wanting your results typed out, you'd best do the testing on a toe rather than a thumb.
Though there are quite a few geek/nerdity1 tests around, most seem to be written by wannabes or nots. The only one I've ever given any real credence is The [Infamous] Nerdity Test and its ancestors. This is in part, however, because it's so old--also its biggest flaw.
These days, such tests ask about playing video games or writing web pages. Things done by geeks, but also by the least geeky people around. Back in the day, having played a computer game all night meant, for starters, that you had a home computer. Hardly a sign of geekdom these days.
The key to assigning a geek rating is less than ever to focus on computer ownership, or even computer knowledge. A book geek can be much geekier than most computer experts are. What you should focus on is prioritising and caring about such things. Cosplayers are geeky2--at least during their public cosplaying--because they put cosplaying above normality. They appear obsessed simply because they care more about enjoying their interests than in fitting in with the world at large.3
However, because we can't just enumerate the computer knowledge and hardware of a person to determine their nerdity quotient, assigning a value become difficult. There are countless things to be nerdy about, and a single test can't cover all of them.
In addition to being out-of-date and biased towards (or against, some might say) computer geeks and hard science geeks, the infamous test is also skewed towards people who've attended college, people who've had formal schooling, people who speak English (*shrug*), people rich enough to afford lots of equipment, and so on.
I've been meaning to make a better nerdity test for quite some time, but I'm not entirely sure how. Obviously updating the numbers would be a start (why, yes, I do have a computer with >1M[i]B RAM!), but that doesn't address the major issues. Maybe I should make seperare tests for different types of nerds, allowing scoring of at least some people, but then the dual-interest geeks and weird-interest geeks get unscored/misscored. That's unacceptible, as ones nerdity score is the most important number in ones life.
I'm roughly 53.4% on the infamous test, by the way.
1 There are lots of bad definitions for distinguishing geeks from nerds. There are also some good ones, but no good, standard way of distinguishing the two, and I don't feel like writing an essay on the distinction, anyway, just now. So I'll use them interchangeably. If you think this is a big problem, it's because you favour those stupid definitions.
2 Disclaimer: Anime sucks. Well, okay, I've seen very, very little, and I know there's a lot of good anime out there. I just don't watch it. Anime doesn't suck.
3 As an aside, I absolutely have to clarify something here4: many, many, many people these days are weird and profess theirselves nerdy, not because they're nerds, but because being weird makes them different == cool in an off-beat way. Or whatever. My point is that nerds are not weird for the sake of being weird. We're weird because we legitimately are interested in our interests, and won't sacrifice them, whether to fit in or to stand out. Many nerds throughout history have desired to fit in (while others just didn't care either way).
Certainly a nerd can be happy to be different, but abandoning ones interest because it becomes popular is as decidedly anti-nerdy as abandoning it because it's unpopular. The condition for being a nerd is that popularity is the primary consideration.5
4 So much for not writing a definitions essay. But I'll still use 'geek' and 'nerd' interchangeably.
5 This is clumsily stated and may be wrong with certain types of geekdom.
6 This footnote had nothing pointing to it. Why are you reading this footnote?7
7 This would be cleverer if my footnotes were slightly more 'hidden'.
Science fiction from before we went to the Moon can be fun.
In Poul Anderson's 1957 short story 'The Light'1, the astronauts have cold feet.
I'm not saying that they're scared. It's their feet. In the story, the astronauts are very warm at the top of their spacesuits, as very little heat escapes via radiation, but very cold at the bottom, because the freezing Moon surface rapidly sucks the heat out through the soles of their shoes. Major heat gradient goes on inside.
Now, I personally have never been to the Moon--my vials froze and exploded at an altitude of several thousand feet--but I'm fairly confident this isn't how it is. Still, it's a brilliant insight on the part of the author. It's things like this that make me understand why scifi is so geek-loved. I often find scifi novels boring, but the authors think, and come up with some very artful concepts.
Of course, it's not all genius. One children's scifi series I enjoyed when I was young was Jerome Beatty Jr.'s Matthew Looney series. The Looney's were a family of Moon-dwellers.
On the Moon, people had to walk a special way. Otherwise, they'd find themselves hovering ten(?) feet off the ground for a few hours before finally settling back down to the surface. Low gravity, you know? However, when the Moonfolk visited Earth, the planet's gravity was so strong that they couldn't move at all unless they had their personal anti-grav units.
At one point, Maria Looney--I think it was her--was launched high into the Moon's sky, and oh my goodness! She couldn't breath. Luckily, she floated back down nearer to the surface quickly and was able to fill her lungs with 'atmos'.
(Sidenote: The Moonfolk were very wasteful. They used each article of clothing once, after which they'd be converted into Moon dust and used to fill craters. They were shocked to discover Earthlings use the same clothing over and over again.)
1 Poul Anderson, THE LIGHT © 1957 by Galaxy Publishing Corporation. So says 13 Great Stories of Science Fiction, edited by Groff Conklin, which is where I read it.
LISP -> Scheme -> Schemer -> Ringo Starr -> The Beatles -> Liverpool -> King John -> Shakespeare -> Bacon -> Miss Piggy -> Frank Oz -> Yoda -> Size matters not -> Canada's Really Big -> Cold -> Siberia -> Russian -> I18N -> Mozilla -> CSS -> deCSS -> MPAA -> Disney -> Cryogenics -> Futurama -> Bender -> Pigface -> Penn Jillette -> Libertarian -> US Constitution -> Magna Carta -> The Charter of Liberties -> Henry I -> William the Conquerer -> France -> Napoleon -> Louisiana -> Hurricane -> Floyd -> Seargent Pepper -> Mr. Kite -> Wind -> Air -> Oxygen -> Trees -> Leaves -> Back to the Future -> Westerns -> Elvis - Country -> Peace of Westphalia -> Netherlands -> Audrey Hepburn -> model -> anorexia -> Tubgirl -> Goatse -> Slashdot -> Everything -> 42 -> BBC -> Monty Python -> John Cleese -> Harry Potter -> Scotland -> Braveheart -> Robert the Bruce -> Uncles of Wesc -> Mark -> Low GPA -> Einstein -> Quantum Mechanics -> Indeterminism -> Free Will -> God -> Ra -> Stargate SG-1 -> McGuyver -> This American Life -> NPR -> Underfunded -> Social Security -> Franklin Delano Roosevelt -> Wheelchair -> Ramp -> Slide -> Banana Peel -> Fruit -> Fruitcake -> Things harder than diamond -> Geroge W. Bush's Head -> Hollow -> Cavity -> Toothpaste -> Mint -> Benjamins -> Overused Names -> John Smith -> Smite -> Bruise -> Weasel -> Fur is Murder -> Shave Your Legs -> Marielle -> Table Tennis -> Forrest Gump -> Vietnam -> Communism -> Cuba -> Full Health Care -> Most First-World Nations, but Not The United States -> Right to Protest -> Locke -> Hobbes -> Calvin -> Patent Attorney -> Lawyer -> Copyright -> Pokemon -> Pikachu -> Squeeky Things Wesc Hates -> Elmo -> Kevin Clash -> The Labyrinth -> David Bowie -> Avril Lavigne -> Not Punk -> Britney Spears -> Reality TV -> Pretty Much Any News Except FOX News -> Journalism -> Writing -> Socrates -> The Matrix -> Star Wars -> Star Trek -> Wolf 359 -> Binary Star System -> Bennifer -> Divorce -> Catholics -> Homophobia -> Racism -> KKK -> Sororities -> Fraternities -> NOD -> Agree.
When I say 'LISP is the best language', you should nod in agreement. THE BEST LANGUAGE!
The US is still busy busy busy in Iraq, but we're already discussing what nation(s) we should invade next. Iran? North Korea? Sweden? I think I have a few better ideas:
We all want a way to send people to the Moon. We did it in the sixties and the seventies, but not since then. And yet over the past few years, numerous people whom we really don't want on Earth have cropped up, both in politics and entertainment. So what we need is a new plan for getting people to the Moon. Several concepts worth considering exist:
One distinguished author had the thought of launching the spaceship from a cannon. This has the benefit of not weighing the ship down with tons of fuel. It has the disadvantage of extreme acceleration--enough to kill the passengers--and (assuming you aim well) extreme deceleration--enough to squash or bury the passengers upon arrival.
Another method worth considering would be to build a bridge. Space elevators are talked about a lot, but if you really want something useful, you should make a space elevator going all the way to the Moon's surface.
This idea, however, has the disadvantage of disrupting the Moon's orbit around the Earth or the Earth's rotation. While I wouldn't mind longer days, I would object to the Moon being pulled apart by sudden deceleration and then falling on our ambitious heads.
Of course, this can easily be avoided. Most space elevator designs are flexible, and many have movable bases. All we need is a full track around the Earth's surface so the base can follow the Moon. (Gravity has slowed the Moon's rotation to match it's revolution, so we can fix the point it attaches to the Moon.) We'll also need some stretchiness, as orbits are elliptical. We'll keep this as a backup plan.
There was also an idea from a clever French poet noted for his oversized proboscis. He figured that in the morning, dew rose from the ground up to the Sun. So he figured we could fill a bunch of vials with dew, attach them to our hapless spaceman, and watch him float up into the sky come morning.
In his outline for this plan, however, he predicted a small problem. The astronaut found himself going too far (keep in mind the dew goes to the Sun, not the Moon) and had to break the vials to stop his ascent.
I'm sure I don't have to point out to you the dangers of shards of glass raining down from the upper atmosphere or beyond. This plan should be only used as a last resort, and only if we have force shields to protect us from deadly glassrain.
Lastly, there's the option of reviving the methods used by NASA. These, however, have the politically unpopular characteristic of being based on actual science, something the jury is still out on.
It really irks me when people don't tow the line when it comes to the English language. It really begs the question of where they went to school when they can't get simple things right. Admittedly, they'll do the lion's share good, but there are always a few things they'll mess up alot. Occasionally, someone will just do stuff wrong as a joke or something but, most grammatical errors are on accident.
There are some who could care less about grammar, and I wish they'd learn, though I'm not going to take the time to educate them on this. I guess this means I just want to have my cake and eat it.
I could of sworn we had books to teach people English. There's one entitled Essentials of Grammar. Read it. You sound like an idiot right now. I realise we're all equal, but apparently I'm more equal than you.
So I just continued developing for Firefox.
This, of course, means that many more IE nonworkinesses have appeared, and since I don't keep detailed version history, it will be painful to identify them all. But I've finally found the original idiocy.
const variable_name[ = value];. This works just fine in Firefox and Opera, and probably in most others. But In IE, it doesn't. And when it doesn't work, it doesn't complain 'You wrote "const" on line 42 and I don't know what that means'. Instead, it pretends everything is all right. Suppose you have this in your header:
No error message will occur. Yet should you comment out
const c = 3;
const c = 3;, the alert will run, so there's no question that IE is doing stuff in the right order here. Same thing if you do
No error message. Just silence. Commenting out the const (or doing s/const/var/) will make it work fine.
const c = 3;
And you don't need to call the 'erroneous' function:
const c = 3;
<p onclick="foo();">Get an error message</p>
const c = 47;
var c = 42;
<p onclick="bar();">Get an error message</p>
When writing papers for school, I always tried to add humorous elements. Writing about philosophy can be serious, but there's always room for a good joke.
And as we all know, a joke directed at the professor grading the paper is the best kind.
At one point, I had a professor who held one very unorthodox view regarding the validity of one of the most basic logical structures. As in, he considers modus ponens invalid in certain situations. No, really, he did. Very well-known, highly-respected philosopher. Someday perhaps I'll write an entry on his argument. Not right now.
The point is, he thought modus ponens wasn't always valid. So after providing a M.P.-based argument in my paper, I commented,
It seems pretty clear that it is perfectly valid, and so the only way to respond to such arguments is to deny one of the premises. (Or to deny Modus Ponens, but only a crazy radical would do that.)I don't remember my exact grade, but it was an A, as always.
When I was young, when I'd try to write a story, I wouldn't know how to start. I knew 'Once upon a time' was lame. So what to do? I could start out by introducing the character: 'Bob was a lawyer who wanted to be a carpenter.' But that sounded clumsy. The only way to make an opening line like that would be an almost Carrollian commentary discussing Bob with us. Very lighthearted, and very narrator-talking-to-the-reader.
Eventually, I realised the easiest way was to start in the middle of something. 'Bob looked around nervously. This was his first time using a hammer and if he broke his fingers, he didn't want the nearby construction workers to laugh at him.' It worked.
If I was a better writer, I'd do something in between. 'It was a sunny day in middleton. The leaves fluttered in the breeze, and Mrs. Andrews was hanging up laundry to try. Down the street, a construction crew was breaking for lunch.' But the transition over to Bob's stealing a hammer and then smashing his fingers requires magical writing skills only held by brilliant writers.
So I usually stick with the 'jump right in' approach. Bob's holding the hammer. Ambulance needed presently.
But I can only write a few paragraphs of this scene. I then have to jump over to Fred who is in another country but will hopefully tie in sometime later. Fred's an orthopaedic surgeon. Yeah, that's right. Oh what fun he'll be, what with the cutting and sewing and gushing blood!
Two paragraphs later, though, I have to leave this scene to go to another. And it can't be the Bob scene. That one hit a dead end. I have to start yet another.
Perhaps next November my Nanowrimo will consist of 49 000 words of brief, unrelated scenes followed by a three paragraph conclusion that pulls them all together. That, I can do.
From time to time, I'll create a 'hit-and-run website'.
My first one was Mr. Worf's Homepage (which was deleted for unknown reasons, but I've now reposted it at the original location). A link to an parody anti-Trek website was mentioned on alt.tv.star-trek.enterprise, so I wrote a page with a similar style as 'Mr. Worf', and signed the guestbook as him.
Then in 2003, a Foxtrot strip featured Eileen Jacobson complaining about Mandy Berwick who things she's so popular. At the end, Eileen shouts out 'Zero matches on Google, Mandy! Zero!' So I threw together Mandy Berwick's homepage. Sadly, though blog posts and such appeared on Google that very day, my new site didn't for a while. Oh well.
I've since written three fan sites for people I know. There may be others around, but if so, I don't remember them.
It's a fun thing to do. Advice: Freewebs is probably better than Tripod. Of course, you could use your own host,but then it's less anonymous. Blogger also could be used, but blogs are less cool than normal hit-and-run sites.
Juan Tripp Airline decides business people are both richer and more likely to want to return home on Friday, while the cheaper vacationers are happy flying home on the weekend. So they charge more for the Friday return flights. Bob Vacationer, however, is both cheap and works weekends, so instead of having his lovely consumer-surplus-filled vacation, he has to stay home and watch Monty Python DVDs.
Result: inefficiency/waste caused by price discrimination.
The textbook and Wikipedia articles I've read never seem to mention this--though I'm sure it's covered somewhere in papers and cleverer textbooks. Does competition deal with this somehow? I guess it must not or else we wouldn't have imperfect price discrimination, eh?
sp + ',' + mp + ',' + dp + ',' + type + ' ' + x + ',' + y + ' (' + done + '/' + total + ')'
That's ugly. Even more than it's ugly, it's a major pain to type out.
$sp, $mp, $dp, $type $x $y ($done/$total) is slightly annoying, but almost incomparably better.
sprintf could help, but is still majorly annoying. I want interpolation.
Yahoo! Answers is funner than Google Answers because it has points. XP like E2, essentially. Unfortunately, it sucks big time. This is for several reasons, most of which boil down to lack of accountability. If you look at ten random questions, you'll likely find at least that many incorrect answers, and probably a fair number of 'i dont know'/'look it up's. The people posting such answers get two points for it, and lose nothing for being wrong or unhelpful. You can't downvote the person claiming only three countries ban flag desecration or the morons claiming allosaurus or tyrannosaurus rex as the largest meat-eating dinosaurs or claoming infinity is the largest prime number. Only occationally will you find the incorrect answer being chosen as best answer (an exta ten points), but posting an obviously incorrect answer shouldn't gain you any points.
In addition to the idiots giving and voting for incorrect answers, there's a more prevelant problem--though perhaps a less troublesome one: multiple (often ten+) people will post the same (correct) answer to a question. And I don't mean nearly at the same time so perhaps they didn't see the earlier answers. They can be hours apart, and the same one-word answer will be posted again and again. It's essentially spam, but not considered so by Y!A.
A third problem is that there's little to no community cohesion. On E2, I knew the people and they were--for the most part--friendly. On Y!A, people are relatively unknown and more often trolls than anywhere but Usenet.
Y!A's moderation is this: major abuses get deleted and good (and some bad) answers get extra points. But I could probably gain thousands of points a day just by doing what most people do: post the same, one-word, useless answer as everyone else on simple questions. The primary thing Y!A needs to change is moderation. Punish incorrect and repetetive answers instead of rewarding them.
Oh, and while I'm complaining, it's filled with useless/poorly-formed questions. But that's not quite so bad since you don't gain points for posting questions. (Actually, you lose them, but then regain them when you pick the best answer)
A book by Brigid Brophy, Michael Levey, and Charles Osborne.
I haven't read it, but I've read the E2 node a few times. Summary: here're fifty books that have been parodied and rehashed and made tribute to so many times that we recognise any references to them without needing to read them.
Is it true? I don't know. /Hamlet/ is on the list, and you don't need to have read that to be very familiar with it, but I don't recognise many of the titles on the list. I guess its about their being alternate works to which to redirect the references, not there being common knowledge about them.
That's all. I just felt like posting something here, and that's what I came up with. Sorry.
My Intro CS textbook--Computer Science: An Overview (6th ed.1) by J. Glenn Brookshear--described, among other things, the GIF image format. According to it, GIF compression consists entirely of limiting images to 256 colours (as opposed to BMPs which aren't compressed). Of course, as someone who wasn't completely clueless, I knew essentially how GIF compression worked and that BMPs can use 8-bit colours, or even 2-bit colours.2
What I didn't know until today was that GIFs can in fact be more than 256 colours. That's amazing. (Note for people like me who have animations deanimated: the true colour GIF at the above link is an animation.)
1 I think 7th ed. was recommended, but those of us who'd bought the used copies had 6th ed. and that was fine too--so long as we noted this one error in this one table we used. I later got a 4th ed.
2 My professor, of course, was fairly clueless. He was in IT, and while he may be a good IT person, his C code would contain lovely keywords like 'If' and 'While', he told us i/5 + i%5 would give us i/5.0, and probably other nutballish things. A nice guy, though, and I believe fairly competent at his job when it doesn't consist of teaching courses outside his area.
People who say the above are wrong.
Beaufort Country's favourite racist is running for the NC Senate. I just received word through the mail. Begins the letter, 'Dear Fellow Republican'. (I am not a Republican. I'm a registered Independent.)
He also includes a page titled 'Part of an Interview with The N.C. Conservative'. The last question is:
8) Senator Basnight was a strong supporter of Julia Boseman in her race for the 9th Senate District. Does Basnight support gay marriage (Boseman's key issue)?
From where I'm sitting, Basnight's behaviour supports gay marriage. He supports Julia Boseman who supports gay rights. He does not support the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The constitutional amendment is the only way to keep activist judges from giving us gay rights. Boseman is a lawyer. Scary isn't it?
People are always having such trouble thinking about space, so during a debate once I wrote this introduction (very slightly edited). It's not super!well written, but it's something. Enjoy:
Suppose you're walking down the street one day and someone you've never met comes up to you and asks 'Want to be friends?' With what do you respond? 'Yes'? 'No'? 'Define friends'?
If you haven't frequented the right websites, you may think this is a fanciful situation, but it happens daily on sites like eCritters.biz. Actually, I haven't gotten one of these requests for over a week, I think. Amazing. I used to get several each day.
For a while, I was explaining to them why their question was stupid, with something along these lines:
One doesn't become a friend by fiat. You have to get to know the person. If you like them (and they you), you'll become friends over time.Problem: they respond by asking 'asl' and upon receiving an answer, deciding they now know enough about me to be my bste buddy ever.
It's stupid to just decide to be friends with some total stranger. You could be a mass murder. I know nothing about you.Problem: These idiots think I just called them stupid and a mass murderer. I could put it on myself:
You don't even know me. What if I'm a mass murderer?Problem: Apparently saying anything like that is 'meen'.
If you said 'no', you're probably one of those annoying pseudo-intellectuals trying to sound smart (and failing). Please stop.
When I say 'yes'--the correct answer--people assume I'm being all naive and not understanding the point they're trying to make. The truth is their point is stupid. Lemme asplain:
Sound is not in your head. I know, you think you're super-clever for pointlessly redefining this common English word (and scientific term) in terms of qualia1 instead of the physical phenomenon it really is, but you're really not. Crack open a dictionary, or an encyclopaedia, or a physics textbook. It will tell you that sound is vibrations. Physical. Not mental. Stop redefining this word. You're not Locke2.
Some of you more clever people may object, 'Oh, no! you misunderstand: I'm an idealist3'. Tell me, then, Mr. Idealist, if no one is around, how is there a tree to fall? You could, of course, explain that God is always in the Quad, but now you seem to be arguing that God is deaf. I don't buy that.
1 Being an annoying pseudo-intellectual, you probably don't know what 'qualia' means. Well, it's what you're redefining 'sound' to refer to. The 'what it's like' in your head.
2 Locke annoys me so I take cheap shots at him whenever possible. (Anyway, I'm sure he did something immoral at some point in his life so it's okay to treat him like a rabbit wolf and off him2b.)
3 The less clever of you probably think I mean I-think-things-should-be-perfect idealist. I don't. I mean Barkley. Imagine The Matrix without the computers. The entire world is nothing but ideas or perceptions in our minds. Yeah, you think it's a stupid idea (or maybe you've decided to believe it because it'll make you sound clever). Please go read something by Barkley before doing either of those. It's a lot more sophisticated than you or Sam Johnson take it to be.
Some time ago I came across this formula for checking if an integer is a power of two:
((n & -n) == n)
Upon seeing this, of course, I noticed that it was wrongwrongwrong. So I popped into IRC to ask my brother to agree with me, which he did:
(17:00:58) lkbm: One thing iss telling me that '((n & -n) == n)' will check if n (a signed integer, I assume) is a power of two, but wouldn't 0 & -0 == 0?
(17:02:30) Miciah: Absolutely.
(17:02:40) Miciah: Why don't you write some C to try it?
(17:02:49) lkbm: Doing so right now.
(17:02:55) lkbm: Haven't done C in a year.
(17:03:50) Miciah: It is easy stuff.
(17:04:07) lkbm: 'var n = 0;' is wrong.
(17:04:16) lkbm: Let's try 'int n = 0;'
(17:04:17) Miciah: C wants types.
(17:04:39) lkbm: It also wants my "s to match.
(17:04:50) Miciah: If they aren't escaped or quoted,
(17:04:56) Miciah: ...or commented.
(17:05:00) lkbm: Right. Looksl ike we're right though.
I got a digital camera for Christmas. Canon PowerShot A520. I don't like it as much as the Kodak EasyShare I had.
The Canon is slightly smaller, which is good, but I have to keep it on fast shutter in order to prevent excessive blurriness. The batteries aren't Lithium, but I suppose that's okay. The UI, however, seems considerably worse. Icons do not replace text. I would rather be given text in German or Italian or French than just icons. I also have some trouble getting it to shoot sometimes.
But it's a good camera, for the most part.
Anyhoo, this means I now have new photos to post rather than lesser images from my archive of un-uploaded pictures.
Also, I've added a 'Request species information' tag to my images for which I want help identifying the species pictured. If you're a botanist, or just someone willing to take two minutes to look this stuff up, please help me out. My photos are CC-Att, so people can use them if they can find them. Correct labels help everyone.