Monday, September 24, 2007

This weekened I was mostly without an Internet connection, and the question of the details of the Dred Scott v. Sandford case came up.

So I looked up Dred Scott in Encyclopædia Britannica, except it wasn't under 'Dred' or under 'Scott'.

Wikipedia, however, has it. Lots on it. And if you misspell it as 'Dread Scott' or 'Dred Scot', you get instantly redirected, and it's much faster than Britannica, especially since--did I mention this?--it's not even in Britannica.

If fools read this blog, they'd probably be thinking right now, 'Ah, but you didn't have access to Wikipedia because it's only online, whereas Britannica can be used anywhere!' But it's a lot easier to carry around a laptop with either the en cur articles only (~2.8GB compressed) or one of those cute 'use the mobile phone network' cards. Britannica was where I was, but if I had wanted this information elsewhere I'd be out of luck. Britannica is heavy. And bulky. Can't tote it around with me where ever I go.

(The online Britannica does have it, but the hard copy didn't, and the online version isn't free anyway.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

They're making a new Get Smart film. Yay!

With Anne Hathaway as 99.

Anne Hathaway.

May St. Genesius himself return to smite those responsible for this.


I hereby decree before turning something decent into a film, one must recruit Joss Whedon or Neil Gaiman to assist. Tim Burton or Peter Jackson may also be acceptable should the others be unavailable.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

For reasons I don't know, Blogger suddenly decided to put the occasional line in German:
'Blog anzeigen (in einem neuen Fenster)'
'Tastaturkürzel: drücken Sie Strg zusammen mit: B = Bold, I = Italic, P = Publish, S = Save, D = Draft'
'Fügt eine Schaltfläche auf der Symbolleiste des Post-Editors hinzu, mit der englische Schrift in Hindischrift umgewandelt wird.
Ihre Änderungen werden gespeichert, um Google bei der Optimierung dieses Tools zu unterstützen. Details finden Sie in den Datenschutzbestimmungen.'

'E-Mails sofort veröffentlichen
E-Mails als Entwürfe für Mitteilungen speichern
'Ihr Blog ist standardmäßig für alle Leser frei zugänglich.

Sie können das Blog auf ausschließlich ausgewählte Leser beschränken.
Diese Leser müssen sich jedoch vor dem Lesen des Blogs anmelden, was einen zusätzlichen Schritt erfordert.'

I changed no settings. Blogger still has my language set to English (UK). My browser is still English. (I thought I had German after English. *adds it*)

Doesn't really matter. I can manage in German. But why suddenly do German? Why only a couple lines? A setting description here, part of a footer there...what's up with this?

I made lasagne for supper.
Same recipe I always use, even though there are now four people instead of six.

However, though I used the same amount of dough, I think I used more cheese than usual.

We had no parmesan, so I used extra mozzarella. As in, more than half of a 2LB bag. The whole bag was supposed to be 32 servings, so I'm guessing I used about 20 servings.

Roughly 1.8lb of tomato sauce. (~13 servings). Basically, one large can.

Roughly 1.5lb of cottage cheese. (6 servings). One container.

We had a little lasagne left over (what I'd consider a decent serving), despite my probably eating over a third of it. Meaning I got about eight servings of cheese.

Friday, September 14, 2007

(2007-09-14 16:20:30) haiciM: Oh, the price of the ticket has gone down 3 DKK since I last checked. Cool.
(2007-09-14 16:21:04) haiciM: Even so, it is so close that I worry about it going up. I think that I'll just buy now.
(2007-09-14 16:21:13) lkbm: Saving you nearly $0.56. Whoohoo.

Someone elsewhere commented that 3DKK is nothing, so I was going to start a 'give me nothing' campaign using PayPal. Sadly, that may be against their AUP:

You may not use the PayPal service for activities that:
...relate to transactions that..(b) support pyramid or ponzi schemes, matrix programs, other "get rich quick" schemes or certain multi-level marketing programs'

So donate 3DKK (~0.56USD) to me because you like my blog, not because I want to get rich quick...from my three readers. (I use a sitename@wescnet.cjb.net email address for each site, so my PayPal account is paypal@...)

(Or support the ACLU, but they need more than 3DKK.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

[10] There was Motsognir | the mightiest made
Of all the dwarfs, | and Durin next;
Many a likeness | of men they made,
The dwarfs in the earth, | as Durin said.

[11] Nyi and Nithi, | Northri and Suthri,
Austri and Vestri, | Althjof, Dvalin,
Nar and Nain, | Niping, Dain,
Bifur, Bofur, | Bombur, Nori,
An and Onar, | Ai, Mjothvitnir.

[12] Vigg and Gandalf) | Vindalf, Thrain,
Thekk and Thorin, | Thror, Vit and Lit,
Nyr and Nyrath,-- | now have I told--
Regin and Rathsvith-- | the list aright.

[13] Fili, Kili, | Fundin, Nali,
Heptifili, | Hannar, Sviur,
Frar, Hornbori, | Fræg and Loni,
Aurvang, Jari, | Eikinskjaldi.

[14] The race of the dwarfs | in Dvalin's throng
Down to Lofar | the list must I tell;
The rocks they left, | and through wet lands
They sought a home | in the fields of sand.

[15] There were Draupnir | and Dolgthrasir,
Hor, Haugspori, | Hlevang, Gloin,
Dori, Ori, | Duf, Andvari,
Skirfir, Virfir, | Skafith, Ai.

[16] Alf and Yngvi, | Eikinskjaldi,
Fjalar and Frosti, | Fith and Ginnar;
So for all time | shall the tale be known,
The list of all | the forbears of Lofar.

Just thought I'd mention it. Of course, the original text is slightly different.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I was going to write to my representative (NC district 1) to say 'Support H.R. 811!' but he's a co-sponsor, so instead I wrote saying 'Yay! Thanks!'

But I mistyped my zipcode (resulting in one from NC district 3), and got this reply:

Your zip code indicates that you are outside of the 4th District of Pennsylvania.

Regrettably, I am unable to reply to any email from constituents outside of the 4th District of Pennsylvania.


Write your own commentary about code reuse, hardcoded error messages, or testing of edge cases here. I've not the time just now.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to paradoxes. I don't consider the most ingenious one to be one. (Autoplaying video warning)

Tem42 defines paradoxes roughly as 'when there are two reasonable ways of looking at something and they result in a contradiction'. I often find myself tempted to be exclusionary to the point of saying 'two [or more] sound arguments with contradictory conclusions' (in which case, paradoxes are logically impossible).

I'm happy to be less exclusive, of course. My main goal is to throw out the birthday 'paradox' and its ilk. (For those who don't know, the BP essentially says 'How many people do I need in a room for there to be a 50% chance that two of them share a birthday. Answer: only 23. That's so low! How very paradoxical!').

The Phantom Menace DVD special features contains a clip of some people asking Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker) how much he'd estimate the film costs to make, and the ten(?)-year-old Jake replies hesitantly 'Probably over 50 000 dollars?'

Would people say that this ten-year-old underestimating the cost of film-making to be an example of a paradox? Technically, this fits the Greek root (contrary to opinion/expectation), but we don't use it that way. So whywhywhy would it be a paradox that people with bad mathematical intuition are surprised by mathematical results? Stupid people get things wrong? PARADOX! No.

Yes, I'll even throw out the Monty Hall paradox. It's bizarre at first glance, but if you look at it correctly, you'll eventually realise it was confusing because you didn't understand it or math properly. Your fault, not the fault of the world, or of logic.

The Sorites Paradox (the heap) may be a paradox, though it's really just clumsy language. The surprise execution seems to be a paradox because, well, let's see you solve it if you think it's not. Same for the 'This sentence is false' and other self-referential paradoxes. If you can solve the paradox with 'People are stupid' I prefer not to count it. If you have to solve it by saying 'Language is broken', I consider counting it. If you can't solve it without saying 'Logic is broken', then we have something I'd consider a paradox.