Year: 2008

I am informed by my disc jockey friends of whom I have none

Posted by – December 8, 2008

Your child porn update for today:

cartoon child porn is just as illegal as actual child porn in Australia
This raises the question of who is being protected from whom and why. We’re talking about drawings of something here. I mean, if you’re just fantasising about kids, shouldn’t that then be a crime too?

most of the UK is censoring Wikipedia because it has a picture of a Scorpions album cover from 1976
This is especially stupid because the block is (of course) implemented in such a braindead way that besides from being easy to circumvent, the block causes the entire UK to appear to be from a couple of IP addresses on Wikipedia. This makes preventing vandalism rather difficult, so basically the UK has banned itself from editing Wikipedia (the addresses became autoblocked quite quickly because inevitably some vandals are from the UK). Good going, dumbasses.

This was amusing:

“When we asked the Internet Watch Foundation why they blocked Wikipedia and not Amazon [which also shows the album cover], apparently the decision was ‘pragmatic’, which we think means that Amazon had money and would sue them, whereas we’re an educational charity.”

Of course, Scorpions aren’t the only disgusting, inhuman, kiddie-molesting filth-troupe that should have its testicles pounded with a steak tenderizer.
Click here to see child porn

The sex-filled world

Posted by – December 6, 2008

While I’m probably at least as sexually inhibited as the next guy, I do sometimes feel there are certain obvious extensions to the way we think about sexuality. I think the official story right now is this: most people “figure out” their sexuality at some point during or after adolescence. A person’s sexuality is either straight, gay or bisexual (or “it’s a continuum” as some people are fond of saying). There are also some unusual cases, but they’re practically more like identities than sexualities. (If you don’t like sex at all, you’re pitiful and funny. If you want sex with animals, you’re strange and funny. If you want sex with children, you should be murdered.) Your sexuality can change later on, that’s ok, but it brings peace of mind to be “something”.

I always felt that this was a somewhat backward way of looking at the whole thing because I don’t feel sexual attraction to the majority of people of either gender. If you think you’re straight, ask yourself this: would you rather get with a hot member of your own gender or with a disgusting member of the opposite one? If your answer is the latter, you probably didn’t imagine a sufficiently disgusting person. Do a google image search and try again.

So rather than “I like girls” or “I like boys” it’s more like “I like hot people”. Of course, that’s not a sexuality extension. More like a… contraction? Let’s call it a generalisation.

The extension is that I think a lot of sexuality is really directed towards non-humans. Go to the opera sometime and see the middle-aged, slightly weird-looking guys spring up at the end to applaud and shout, red-faced, often with tears in their eyes and tell me that’s not a sexual climax of some kind. Or just listen to almost any symphonic classical music; abstract sexuality is never far. People get attached to all kinds of things with the kind of intensity that looks more like romatic love than anything else. Somewhere deep in the brain these emotions are connected with the procreation drive, but the brain is not an intelligently designed thing; things get mixed up.

(There’s also the matter of solitary sexual fantasising which I suspect accounts for a supermajority of human sexuality but I’m not going to get into that now.)

As for me, I’d say I experience a lot of this kind of non-human sexuality. Here’s a medium-difficulty representation of what I’m trying to say: PJ Harvey and Nick Cave performing Henry Lee.

1) If this does nothing for you, you are a cold fish.
2) I don’t think most people’s interest in this video will be directed towards whichever person is of the opposite gender to them. It’s the situation, the tension, how they behave that’s attractive.
3) I’m sexually attracted to this youtube clip.

They call me the Sturgeon Surgeon

Posted by – December 1, 2008

(The New Yorker) John Cassidy: Anatomy of a Meltdown – an in-depth look at Ben Bernanke and the people behind the ongoing disaster in world finance

For programmers: some interesting ideas about readable code

The ad hominem fallacy fallacy. A guide to the ad hominem argument. Highlights:

A: “All rodents are mammals, but a weasel isn’t a rodent, so it can’t be a mammal.”
B: “This does not logically follow. And you’re an asshole.”

B is abusive, but his argument is still not ad hominem.

Lecture: Stephen Pinker on whether Jews really are smarter

For people who like computers: a perspective on what computers spend time on. Highlight: when you look something up from L1 cache, your processor has time for ~3 cycles. L2 cache, ~14 cycles. RAM, ~250 cycles. Reading from the disk, ~41 million cycles. Reading from the Internet, ~240 million cycles.

For people who have time on their hands: one of ye olde webcomic classics, the long defunct Sexy Losers. It has sex.

For those with less time on their hands, a digest:

#7 (Suicide prevention week)
#83 (highlight: Good God, she sucks some mean cock for a 72 year old transsexual.)
#22 (highlight: Your fuck is shit, dickass.)

Gaze long into the abyss, and the abyss gazes into you

Posted by – November 28, 2008

A conversation I had yesterday evening revealed something about computability and mathematics that hadn’t occurred to me. First, some preliminaries.

Consider a computer running a program written in a language with a finite number of symbols. The computer proceeds step by step through a string of instructions, some of which may tell it to execute commands from another location in the string of instructions. Some programs like this will run forever (for instance a program that simply enters an infinite loop) and others will do some finite number of things and then stop executing. Call these two groups of programs “non-halting” and “halting”, respectively. Defining these things suitably it is possible to prove that if a program is halting, its length determines an upper bound on the number of steps it takes. If the length of the program is n, call the maximum number of steps f(n).

Now consider a mathematical statement about the natural numbers, the unproved Goldbach’s conjecture for instance. The conjecture says that every even integer greater than 2 can be written as the sum of two primes. 4 = 2+2, 6 = 3+3, 8 = 3+5, 10 = 5+5, 60 = 7+53 etc. This is a claim about every even number there is, so presumably there isn’t any way to just do calculations to prove the conjecture: we have to prove it for all of the infinitely many even numbers at once.

Now consider a computer program that goes through even numbers, checking whether each can be written as the sum of two primes. This program is either halting or non-halting. If it is halting, Goldbach’s conjecture is false (because the program would only halt if it finds a counterexample). If Goldbach’s conjecture is true, the program is non-halting – but we can’t exactly wait forever to see that it never halts. But because we know that a program of length n will either halt by step f(n) or never, we only need to wait until the machine has taken f(n) steps. This means that it is sufficient to do finitely many calculations to find out whether Goldbach’s conjecture is true.

Unless I or the guy who explained this to me missed something; I haven’t actually read about this in a book or anything.

And of course this doesn’t make for a very feasible way to solve the problem because f(n) grows very quickly indeed.

Machine translation not yet solved

Posted by – November 25, 2008

This is the dream

Posted by – November 25, 2008

On my planet, every day is technology appreciation day.

I get to cheaply do the best things I know of and want for practically nothing. Some people get extra pleasure from flying to Thailand every year, owning a nice car and generally out-affluencing at least half the population, but for me every day in my high-tech, information-cheap society with my computer and Internet is about as good as it gets. I don’t even like going to restaurants.

Let’s hope it lasts for at least a little while longer.

edit on January 16th 2009: it only lasted for a little while longer. The rather excellent video is no longer available due to a copyright claim.

Onko meiltä kuulunut ääniä?

Posted by – November 25, 2008

Oli tarkoitus jo aiemmin jatkaa Halla-Aho -lätinää, mutta motivaatiota laski toisaalta seuraavan päivän pettymys jo kirjoittamaani ja toisaalta havainto siitä että asiasta on kuin onkin kirjoitettu ihan järkevästi. Jos on näistä asioista kiinnostunut, kannattaa lukea esimerkiksi tämä Saija Jokelan kirjoitus. Minua huvittaisi kuitenkin jonkin verran tarkemmin käydä läpi Halla-Ahon argumentteja ja erityisesti rasismin käsitettä, joten palaan asiaan myöhemmin.

En lähtenyt eilisiltaiseen Vanhan valtaukseen. Siellä kuulemma keskusteltiin opiskelijatoiminnasta (siitä miten voidaan järjestää parempaa toimeentuloa opiskelijoille sekä tiloja asumiseen ja bilettämiseen) ja biletettiin. More…

Pelkoa, vihaa, lietsomista ja kiihotusta #2

Posted by – November 21, 2008

Ennen kuin jatkan keskustelua keskustelusta, haluan hieman perustella ryhtymistäni siihen.

Pelkoa, vihaa, lietsomista ja kiihotusta #1

Posted by – November 21, 2008

Kunnallisvaalien jälkeen poliitikot ja toimittajat ovat kääntyneet sille kannalle että maahanmuutto ja monikulttuurisuus ovat “tärkeitä asioita” joista pitää “puhua avoimesti”. Tämä liittyy Perussuomalaisten menestykseen yhtä paljon kuin samojen poliitikkojen ja toimittajien ympäristökiinnostus liittyy Vihreiden menestykseen, eli täysin. Sekin on tullut selväksi että “ääripäiden ei pidä antaa kontrolloida keskustelua”. Tässä olisi sekin etu, että kun mukana on vain keskipää, koko keskustelu voidaan unohtaa tarpeettomana.

Chess as rape

Posted by – November 21, 2008

I was actually saving that title for my cultural studies (yes, this really exists) thesis but the cover of the newly released Deep Fritz 11 (a computer chess program) was just too evocative for me:

Is it just me or is this a gang rape?

Is it just me or is this a gang rape?

Also, Nigel Short:

Ample evidence of [Short’s lack of subtlety] is on the record, not the least of which was his response to a question posed by a French journalist that “France represents everything I detest most in life. Your country’s only useful products are porn films.”

In addition, and as many other Grandmasters seem to, Short has a tendency to describe this apparently (to us patzers) docile, if cerebral, game in largely sexual language. And it’s rough sex Nigel seems to be looking for.

Dominic Lawson’s book The Inner Game has the slight, rather imp-ish Short quoted as saying about a particular opponent: “I’m going to give it to him good and hard. I’m going to give the guy a good rogering. I’m going to give it to him good and hard, right up him. I want to rape and mate him.” Tyson language in spectacles.

Lawson also reports that in Barcelona in 1987 he first heard Short use the acronym TDF, which he imagined to be a contraction of some arcane chess strategy. Short and the American Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan kept using the expression while poring over a board and discussing tactics. Finally Lawson asked them what it meant. In unison, and with evident pleasure, they growled back:

“Trap. Dominate. Fuck.”