Saturday, April 22, 2006

(Potentially relevant link)

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?

Poor Mr. Richardson is being given gay rights. :-(((

(Anyone remember the days when constitutions were articles about increasing personal rights?)

Friday, April 14, 2006

(Potentially relevant link)

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:

Intro to the meaning of 'Universe'

There are two ways of thinking about the universe .One is that it's everything, as the good Toilet1 said. The other is the big blob of space expanding outwards from the point of the Big Bang.

People usually don't distinguish between the two, because usually we say they are the same thing.

Getting a grasp on the concept of 'space'

Imagine two things as close together as possible. There is no room between them at all. They are touching--at the subatomic level if you need think of it that way.
Now imagine: There's a large solar system in between the two things.
That's right, a large solar system between two things that have no space in between them. So the solar system isn't in space. Does that make sense? For the moment, let's say no. After all, 'in' or 'next to' or 'between' are all in spacial terms: if something is between two other things, it is in the space between the two things.

Now think about the 'edge' of space. Beyond that is just like between the two touching things: there is no space past it, because it's the edge. Now, does it make sense to say there's another thing past the edge? No, there's nowhere for it to be. It's just like being between the two things. And we said that makes no sense. (But maybe we lied.)


The problem most people have is that they can't think except in terms of space. They can't imagine something (like the universe) not being somewhere. So they tacitly and unconsciously make up a 'metaspace' that contains normal space. If you do that, the normal big bang space is at some metalocation and there could be another big bang space at another metalocation. This makes it all very easy to talk about such things. Unfortunately, it makes it easy to talk about them incorrectly, because people don't notice that they've gone from normal space to metaspace.

Suppose you have a nice big metaspace*, and inside it there are two big bangs. One of these big bangs is fortunate enough to have us in it, and the other is a bizarre place filled with tree frogs (but no trees, sadly). Suppose we wanted to rescue these unfortunate tree frogs by flying our infinitely-fast spaceship to their space and supplying them with lots of trees. Where do we fly to?
This ship is just like your car. Sure, it's faster and can fly, but it's the same in that it only travels through normal space. It can't take you to the solar system between to touching objects, because that's somewhere in metaspace, not in our normal space. And it's the same with the frogspace: you can't fly off the edge of normal space, because then you're flying in metaspace, which is an entirely different thing.


Our happy big bang space is in metaspace, riding on two strange creatures, known as metaspace turtles. We know they're turtles because they have shells on their backs and go really slowly, but don't look at all snailish.


So we can't leave our normal big bang space, and things outside our normal big bang space can't come in.
So what is it that makes the other things real?


* Of course, if we really truly need a metaspace, then we also need a metametaspace, and a metametametaspace, and so on. How irksome!


General Wesc: better than Hawking and twice as pompous.2

Blogspace Footnotes

1 The user Toilet of Doom posted earlier on the topic.

2 I originally posted this on eCritters using my 'Isaac Asimov' account rather than my Wescian account.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

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 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.

I could explain another way:
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'.

I've tried asking them if they went up to total strangers in real life and asked such things. They told me 'yes' and continued to bug me.

So explaining is a bad thing. Just 'no' then? That works, but they ask why and they get offended and, anyway, I'm not opposed to being their friend. I just think it's stupid to do it this way.

But the best answer is one you might not expect. If you want to be left alone, say 'yes'. Okay, sometimes they'll try to talk to you then, but very often they'll say 'ok', list you as a friend, and never speak to you again. Hallelujah!

Also, it's worth noting that these requests are often sent directly to me, but sometimes are posted on the forums as an open request for friends. Once when somebody posted 'I'll be friends with anyone' I created the account 'Adolf Hitler' and replied to test their resolve.

Friday, April 07, 2006

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.)

2b Doubleshot!

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.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I was in the public library earlier today and I spotted a couple books which I am now ordering everyone on the Internet to read:
Alan Apostrophe Quincy Question Mark

Meet the Puncs or suffer my wrath!