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.”

The Internet is the new Academy

Posted by – November 19, 2008

Some interesting presentations I’ve watched of late:

Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel on why societies collapse (18:21).

Martin Seligman, psychologist, on the state of psychology and especially the “psychology of happiness” or how to make people happier (23:41). If you’re interested in finding out whether you’re really happy you may want to do some of Seligman’s questionnaires (registration unfortunately required).

Barry Schwartz, psychologist, on the paradox of choice or why more choice isn’t always a good thing (1:04:07). If this is too long for you there’s also a 20:23 TED talk by the same guy on the same subject.

This was perhaps the most interesting one to me personally: Luis von Ahn on human computation (51:31). You really have to watch it to understand what it is. I’ve tried to get some of the old fogeys at the language technology department to watch this but they haven’t been interested; it’s truly their loss.

Nyt mä spyttaan, vapisen ja vaikeroin

Posted by – November 18, 2008

Rupesi jostain syystä mietityttämään ylipaljon pätkä sanoitusta eräässä Tuomari Nurmion kappaleessa. Transkriptoin Kuu-levyllä olevaa Maanantaita seuraavasti (ääniotteessa oleva pätkä lihavoituna):

mä hikoilen jalat kylminä kuin jää
darra meinaa halkaista mun pään
se on kuin pesukone joka pyörittää
edestakaisin likapyykkiään
perjantai, lauantai, sunnuntai
mä annoin mennä putkeen tottakai
ansaitsen mä sen tai en, nyt mul on kankkunen
kun kello soi ja on taas aamu maanantain
mä vietin viikonlopun huolella
kännissä ja viihteen puolella
kupille ja kopille mä juoksin edestakaisin
poikki pihamaan kuin koira narussaan
join mitä join, söin mitä voin
nyt mä spyttaan, vapisen ja vaikeroin
tein mitä tein, sain kai mitä hain
kun kello soi ja on taas aamu maanantain
se joka keksi seksin, viinin ja musiikin
löi meille raudat ranteisiin ja nilkkoihin
orjuutti meidät nautinnolla
pani koukkuun hedelmään
jota ilman ei voi olla päivääkään
illalla taas kipin kapin kapakkaan
duunin jälkeen dokaamaan ja bailaamaan
pakko painuu urkkiin (?) baanalle ja ??
tänäänkään mä en jää nurkkiin nyhjäämään

Osaakohan joku sanoa miten ?-kohdat menevät ääninäytteen perusteella?

Lawless and incertain verse

Posted by – November 18, 2008

This is a repost of an earlier Finnish entry.

A Shakespeare question came up recently regarding the following:

Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling: ’tis too horrible!

(from Measure for Measure)

The question concerns the interpretation of the last two lines (I kept the rest to give some context). What is the subject of imagine in the last line? At first glance it would appear to be those from the penultimate one, but if so, what were the things thought lawless and incertain? And if imagine is just an exhortation to the reader, what does the penultimate line mean? Some suggestions:

-how lawless and incertain to imagine one’s own future to be “worse than worst” of those in the aforementioned scenario; imagine the howls of those who end up in Hell

-it is too horrible to endure even worse than the imaginings of those of lawless and incertain thought which manifest themselves as howling

-it would be too horrible to imagine the howling of those who, when they lived, were of lawless and incertain thought

-to suffer worse than those who according to people’s lawless and incertain thoughts howl in Hell; something altogether too horrible

The last is perhaps closest to the mark. The picture becomes clearer if you replace “thought” with “thoughts”. I guess it was possible to contract like that in Shakespeare’s time, the expansion being “lawless thought and incertain thought”.

The prime-finding spiral

Posted by – November 18, 2008

The programming problems on Project Euler are almost always fun to do, but the mathematics behind the (early) ones have mostly been unsurprising. But this was something I hadn’t heard about: if you arrange the natural numbers in a counterclockwise square spiral and look at the diagonals like this

you notice that
1) the odd squares are on the lower right diagonal (easily proved and not so shocking)
2) 8 of the 13 numbers (~62%) on the diagonals in this 7×7 square are primes.

If you keep extending the spiral you find that primes end up on the diagonals surprisingly often. The programming task was to find what size the spiral has to be for the proportion of primes on the diagonals to be less than 10%. The suprisingly large answer: 26241×26241, by which point the numbers in question are obviously already quite big.

And of course if one discounted the lower right diagonal there’d be way more primes yet.

edit: apparently this is called the Ulam spiral.

Jätkä luuli oikeesti

Posted by – November 17, 2008

Osmo Soininvaara kirjoitti blogissaan lauantaina että maahanmuuttajilta pitäisi ottaa geneettinen näyte jotta raiskauksiin syyllistyvä vähemmistö saataisiin kiinni ja syytöntä enemmistöä ei näin tarvitsisi enää epäillä raiskausalttiiksi. Olin tästä ajatuksesta aika hämmästynyt – tosin en yhtä hämmästynyt kuin siskoni joka arveli ettei Soininvaara ollut oikeasti tuota mieltä, mitä pidin puolusteluna.

Keskustelussa ko. postauksesta eilen eräs ihmetteli miksei tästä kirjoitettu nettihesarissa tai missään lehdessä sunnuntaina kun muutoin Soininvaaran merkittäviä kannanottoja uutisoidaan aika kärkkäästi. Totesin sen johtuvan siitä ettei Soininvaara ole Perussuomalainen. Identiteettipolitiikka takaa sen ettei Soininvaaran ulkomaalaisuuteen perustuvaa epäoikeudenmukaista vaatimusta uutisoida, koska Soininvaara kuuluu hyviksiin. Substanssiin ei saa julkisuudessa mennä; kansaa on suojeltava helposti tunnistettavilla naamaviesteillä.

Kun Soininvaara tänään ilmoitti bluffanneensa aiemmalla mielipiteellään paljastaakseen blogiaan kommentoivat rasistit, uutisoi asiasta jo kello 12:57 eli käytännössä heti postauksen ilmestyttyä. Sekä Soininvaaran että Halla-Ahon julkiset mielipiteet päätetään heidän puolestaan. Journalismi toteutetaan Suomessa turhan usein propagandana.

So what if Obama’s the Antichrist

Posted by – November 13, 2008

Slate has an article about the next minority to make US president. The part about atheists is pretty funny:

The atheists: When the lion lies down with the lamb, when the president is a Republican Muslim and the Democratic speaker of the House is a vegan Mormon lesbian, when the secretary of defense is a Jain pacifist from the Green Party, they will all agree on one thing: atheists need not apply. A 2007 Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans would not vote for an atheist for president. (By contrast, only 43 percent wouldn’t vote for a homosexual, and only 24 percent wouldn’t vote for a Mormon.) As Ronald Lindsay, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, told me in an e-mail: “Atheism spells political death in this country.”

Indeed. Only one current congressman has confessed to being an atheist: Rep. Pete Stark, a Democrat from the lefty East Bay region of Northern California. If he ever ran for president, he would need God’s help just as surely as he wouldn’t ask for it.