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Showing posts from August, 2009

The Taff at Night

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I Arrive at the Reading Train Station...

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just in time to meet the crowd coming from the Reading Festival:








Charles de Gaulle Airport, 5:30 AM

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I'll Ber Doggone

On the news I heard the sad story of a woman whose dog died in the car because she had left it inside, with the windows up, for four hours. The explanation, she said, was that she didn't know her dog was in the car -- "my husband put it in there earlier in the day."

So her husband would store the dog in the car?!

Science Versus Religion

I've been listening to a series of lectures by Professor Frederik Gregory. One of the interesting points he makes, a number of times during the lectures, is that research by historians of science has shown that the idea of a long-standing conflict between religion and science is something that has been read back into the past by modern intellectuals. Of course, there were incidents where some particular scientist ran afoul of some particular religious body (like Galileo). But, basically, until the mid-19th century, just about no scientists or religious people understood the two to be at conflict in some fundamental way. Most scientists talked of how their findings "showed the glory of God" -- and for the most part, this was not just for show, as most of them were genuinely devout. (Newton, for instance, spent more of his life on Bible studies than he did on physics or mathematics.)

Furthermore, Gregory notes, the change in this view did not originate with science, but wi…

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Actual transcript of a text message conversation I had this afternoon:

UNKNOWN NUMBER: Yo nigga whats up

(Time passes... I have not looked at my phone.)

UNKNOWN NUMBER: What nigga u cant text me back

(Time passes... I have not looked at my phone.)

UNKNOWN NUMBER: Ave G

(I look at my phone.)

ME: Ave H

UNKNOWN NUMBER: Ave g nigga

ME: No. Ave H.

UNKNOWN NUMBER: U want to meet at ave h now

ME: No make that Ave G

UNKNOWN NUMBER: U know who this is?

ME: No u know who this is?

UNKNOWN NUMBER: Yeah roger kelly this jesse nigga

ME: This ain't no roger kelly!

JESSE: Who is it then

ME: Jo

JESSE: Jo who

ME: Jo mama

In any case, it turns out I owe Jesse $30, and I have to go meet him in Matamoras now to pay up, so I've got to run!

How Did I Get All This Stuff?

I'm running verify disk on my Mac right now, and I see my hard drive has 183,231 folders, and over 700,000 files. Now I used to now my way around a UNIX volume to the extent I could say what almost every directory (folder) was for, but no one but no one can keep track of 183,231 folders.

Extremely High Time Preference Is... Holy!

Hans Hermann-Hoppe and his followers try to equate morality with low time preference. Consider, for instance, this quote from here:

"As such, decadence is antithetic to moral values, which are rooted in orientation towards long-term prosperity and happiness. Such values are the conceptual embodiment of low time preference, which is manifested in characteristics of thrift, diligence and long-term self improvement, all of which involve forgoing immediate satisfaction in anticipation of gains in the future."

Now, obviously, this is a pretty juvenile and debased sort of "moral philosophy," if one even wants to call it that: it's evil to enjoy yourself as much as possible now because if you hold off you'll be able to really, really enjoy yourself later! But it still amused me to learn, while listening to a lecture series on the High Middle Ages, that what Hoppe and his horde consider the essence of morality would, in the Middle Ages, have been considered positivel…

Mrs. Hymn Tries to Make Us Honest

Home Drug Testing

I was struck by the fact that the gas station I stopped at today had a big rack of these at the checkout counter. I anxiously picked up a kit and rushed home with it. I eagerly tore it open and immediately put it to use.

Now I am anxiously awaiting the answer to a question that's been bugging me for some time: Have I been secretly doing drugs all these years?

Terrible Home Depot Mistake

I reached for the slug repellent without paying much attention, went home, and applied it. Next thing I know, the slimy little bastages are all zooming around the yard at 50 miles per hour. I take another look, and, what do you know... I had grabbed the "slug propellant" instead.

Someone Read My Novel!!!

A Review of Jon Scieszka's Smash! Crash!

The details are here.

A Roman Naval Battle...

to be held in Queens, courtesy of my friend Duke Reilly.

Properties of the Wine Tasting Sequence

Properties of the Wine Tasting Sequence................. wb ........090723 - 090810

1. Introductory notes.

1.1. Since I can't conveniently represent uppercase Greek pi, the usual symbol for a product (as uppercase Greek sigma is the usual symbol for a sum), I'll use bold uppercase P.

1.2. By an unfolding sequence, we mean a sequence derived from an initial string (or digit) by repeatedly applying a production which appends to the sequence thus far a specific transform of the sequence thus far. Let f be a string function. If s is a string in the domain of f, &f denotes the function &f(s) ≡ sf(s). The unfolding sequence derived from function f and initial string s in the domain of f is U=&f^∞(s).

1.3. Trivially, any sequence can in fact be seen as unfolding by a sufficiently perverse choice of f: f(d(0)d(1)...d(i)) ≡ d(i+1), 0 ≤ i < ∞.
We shall simply ignore this, looking at sequences that can usefully be defined by unfolding processes.

2. Unfolding sequences. The Wine …

Kalt und Köstlich

While dining with my friend Michael Bischoff in Zurich, I saw the above heading on our menu. "Ah," I said, "given we are in Zurich, I know what that means: those are the dishes that are cold and costly, as opposed to the others that are 'warm und köstlich" or others that are "heiss und köstlich."

What I Miss Most about Switzerland

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It's using this damned indifferent oil here in the States:




More Switzerland

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Click on a photo for a larger image: