Among the Lozi of Zambia, Max Gluckman discovered a culture focused on debates with a rich vocabulary to describe the quality (or lack thereof) of someone’s argumentation:
kuyungula —to speak on matters without coming to the point
kunjongoloka —to wander away from the subject when speaking
kubulela siweko —to talk without understanding
muyauluki —a judge who speaks without touching on the important points at issue
siswasiwa —a person who gets entangled in words
siyambutuki —a talker at random


So guessing I'm at around 150lbs without my gear

My hikikomori life

So this is what the kids call "feels." I've been thinking of Ranma 1/2 recently, maybe because it's summer.

So ESL teaching on Skype is ramen profitable, though somewhat precarious. Nose to the grindstone, save up some money. Need a better laptop, though probably not anytime soon.
I liked Scott Alexander's Unsong and thought it was very clever, but I fell off the update wagon a few months ago. Been waiting for it to finish so I could get a complete epub. Googling around, there’s a bunch of versions out there that still haven’t caught up to the ending, but here’s a complete download in variety of formats.
In my head, I keep Spoonerizing the name of the guy who wrote The Quantum Thief. Get it through your head, Hannu Rajaniemi.

Paramore: Feeling Sorry (Audio)

I've had this song stuck in my head the last few days, only yesterday realized that the lyrics are calling me out.
3Jane stepped from behind the bathchair. “Where? Describe the place, this construct.”

“A beach. Gray sand, like silver that needs polishing. And a concrete thing, kinda bunker. . . .” He hesitated. “It’s nothing fancy. Just old, falling apart. If you walk far enough, you come back to where you started.”

“Yes,” she said. “Morocco. When Marie-France was a girl, years before she married Ashpool, she spent a summer alone on that beach, camping in an abandoned blockhouse. She formulated the basis of her philosophy there.”
-William Gibson, Neuromancer

Test blog from phone

I can't get past how Wordpress won't let you customize templates; if you're a free account peasant, take what we give you and like it, or pay up, loser.

But writing could be a good way to clear my head. So coming back to blogger as a kind of mental scratchpad.

Timog Avenue wheelchair symbols

If you look at the ramps along Timog Avenue going from west to east, it’s the story of a guy figuring out how to do the wheelchair symbol.

That took about 20 frustrating minutes, but confirmed no loans on my SSS

Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King attributes "the bungled and the botched" to Nietzsche

Googling "the bungled and the botched" gets you the Wikipedia page on a drone doom album by Nadja. I posted on the Talk page, no mention of Nietzsche?

Found this thread, seems Bertrand Russell came up with the phrase in his History of Western Philosophy, so not original to Nietzsche himself.

From Nietzsche's Beyod Good and Evil: "O you fools, you presumptuous, pitying fools, what have you done! Was this a work for your hands! How you have bungled and botched my beautiful stone! What a thing for you to take upon yourselves!"

But the above Reg Hollingdale translation was from 1973, 27 years after Russell's AHOWP. An independently invented meme-phrase back-translated into the attributed author's body of work.

One step forward, three steps sideways

Ok, so put the Asus X200MA notebook on Ubuntu. LAN and wifi drivers work fine right after the install. But the screen's stuck on max brightness, hard on the eyeballs, and changing brightness in settings does nothing. Wasted some time looking for a dark theme, but Ubuntu's got 3 free themes and that's it. (One of the the reasons why I switched back to Windows, I love HiContrast yellow on black.) Googling, this blog post looked promising, so edit in some grub code and brightness keys should work. But "You do not have the permissions necessary to edit this file." Sudo gimme a break. So apparently gedit doesn't have root user powers by default anymore, I'm missing something else. Hello yak, I am here to shave you.

Asus X200MA install error, BIOS not fully ACPI compliant

Been looking at the Asus X200 notebooks for a couple of months. I loved netbooks when they first came out, went through a few. I still think it's the sweet spot between portability and fuctionality, but there's not much in that zone now, market split off into tablets/phones vs full-function laptops. 14-inch laptops have gotten pretty cheap, but they're harder to lug around, you need a dedicated bag for that. There's a couple of different versions of the X200 out there, but I just wanted the basic, not-touchscreen one.
So yeah, small, cheap, go for it. No OS but I can deal with that. External CD drive, Win7, and then
Dealing with bluescreens isn't how I wanted to spend my downtime, but Murphy's Law never sleeps. Googling around, this Microsoft Support page said press F7 when the drivers are loading to disable ACPI.
Go ahead and delete the partition, then the FreeDOS will be gone, but you don't need it anyway and might as well get the 13 gigs back. (whybackinmyday, DOS was one 5-inch floppy...)

Win7 installed, but can't detect wifi, hardwired ethernet doesn't work either.
Nice. Cmon techsupport monkey, figure something out. So smartphone's connected to the shin bone, err, wifi. Connect phone with USB cord to notebook, turn on network sharing, ok, online without network controller. Download what you need.

TL;DR Don't buy the no-OS, DOS-only Asus X200 if you want something that just works right away. Thought I'd post this in case anyone else is stuck or panicking at that bluescreen.

Last belief standing

Takei's point is made and certainly I agree. Then my mind wandered off to other things. Of course this is why we have joke religions like Pastafarianism, the Church of the SubGernius, Discordianism, etc. The religious reply is that stuff's just made up, while our beliefs are eternal truths hallowed by tradition. Got me thinking, what would it take to craft a memeplex that lasts hundreds or thousands of years, with traditions, rites, observances, symbols recognizable across millenia?

Neal Stephenson's Anathem seems divisive among nerds, but it's one of my all-time favorite books for its sense of time, and yeah I love the idea of Long Now Foundation too. I've been doing the LessWrong/atheist thing of marking the solstices and equinoxes.

More than words

A long time ago, I thought wouldn't it be interesting to have an entire love story that never once uses the actual word "love," the most overused and misused word ever. Show, don't tell.

A Youtube comment mentioned that no one ever says love (or any of the related Japanese words) in Mamoru Hosoda's Wolf Children, a film that is entirely about love.

For a more directly romantic version, the other "next Miyazaki" guy Makoto Shinkai never uses the word love or anything like it in my all-time favorite love story, 5 Centimeters Per Second.

What's it got in its pockets pockets pockets preciousss

This vest thing wins all the utilons. Been playing with it for an hour and I'm still finding pockets.

Jacked in

[Oscar Chichoni cover for Neuromancer]

After almost 2 weeks of back and forth calls, SkyCable finally got me hooked up.
The standing desk makes my ankles hurt, but I'll give it another week.

Falcon Heavy would be a great band name

I love the soundtrack, I want more, who did the music? No attribution on Youtube, I asked in the comments, checked Reddit, nothing. Tried SoundHound, which misidentifies it as Dawn by Kenichiro Nishihara. Rockin guitar =/= mellow piano. :\

Brand X supervillain lair

Bought some shelf things. Trying to work out a standing desk and regular desk combo.
Jill was born into an inner-city home. Her father began having sex with Jill and her sister during their preschool years. Her mother was institutionalized twice because of what used to be termed “nervous breakdowns.” When Jill was 7 years old, her agitated dad called a family meeting in the living room. In front of the whole clan, he put a handgun to his head, said, “You drove me to this,” then blew his brains out. The mother’s mental condition continued to deteriorate, and she revolved in and out of mental hospitals for years. When Mom was home, she would beat Jill. Beginning in her early teens, Jill was forced to work outside the home to help make ends meet. As Jill got older, we would have expected to see deep psychiatric scars, severe emotional damage, drugs, maybe even a pregnancy or two. Instead, Jill developed into a charming and quite popular young woman at school. She became a talented singer, an honor student,and president of her high school class. By every measure, she was emotionally well-adjusted and seemingly unscathed by the awful circumstances of her childhood.
-John Medina, Brain Rules, Chapter 8: Stress

Great lines, mostly poetry

This is the school in which we learn/ that time is the fire in which we burn.
-Delmore Schwartz

I want to do to you what Spring does to the cherry trees.
-Pablo Neruda

Our father who art in heaven, stay there. And we will stay on earth, which is sometimes so beautiful.
-Jacques Prevert

I didn’t say "I love you" to hear it back. I said it to make sure you knew.

To see her in sunlight was to see Marxism die.
-Harold Brodkey

Sifting through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way.
-Charles Bukowski

 I am a bow in your hands, Lord. Draw me, lest I rot.
-Nikos Kazantzakis

 The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
 -Martin Luther King, Jr

All cities are mad, but the madness is gallant. All cities are beautiful, but the beauty is grim.
-Christopher Morley

I have no parents. I make the earth and sky my parents. I have no home. In the depths of my soul I make my home.
-samurai creed, traditional

Almost No One is Evil; Almost Everything is Broken

 Everything that rises must converge.
-Teilhard de Chardin

He told her about the Afterglow: that brief, brilliant period after the Big Bang, when matter gathered briefly in clumps and burned by fusion light.
-Stephen Baxter

"You've a good heart," she told him. "Sometimes that's enough to see you safe wherever you go." Then she shook her head. "But mostly, it's not."
-Neil Gaiman

Death the Kraken waits to drown you/ In the sea of earth.
-the Skolion of Seikilos

Beautiful sentences are harder than I thought

So there was that Buzzfeed article, 51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature. Some great ones in there, some dull ones. Some odd choices, the T.S. Eliot is lovely, the Yeats, some bits of Shakespeare that are nowhere near the best. But if we allow that, then poetry should overwhelm the entire list. (Poetry bits, that would be fun and easy, file for future use.)

I sat down and tried to come up with my own prose list, and it's surprisingly hard. My quotes file and favorite sentences are clever or deep, not pretty: I seek Truth, not Beauty. But here's a few.

"Her kimono was printed in a design of irises and violets. The skin beneath it was like a dying man's dream of skin."
-Bruce Sterling, Schismatrix Plus

"He slept curled against her back, a dark comma against her pale elegant phrase."
-A.S. Byatt, Possession

"As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."
-John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Requires Hate, punching up, trying to do good

So there was this blog, Requires Only That You Hate. (Trigger warning... all of them) Somewhat Internet-famous, once memorably described as "performance rage." It was kinda amazing, in a horrible way, savagely slagging sf books and authors, playing the sexist or privilege card on everything within range. Apparently some people have been tracking this anonymous troll/drama queen since back when LiveJournal was a thing.

I've been on the Internet a long while, I like to think I'm as jaded as the next guy. But this trolling was weapons-grade, it wound me up, it was infuriating and made me want to engage. I mean, I'm not white, that's worth something isn't it? Sanity prevailed and I stayed out of the fray, but I kept reading and put her blog in my RSS feed reader. It was a great vaccination, because truly, afaik Requires Hate is the ne plus ultra of trolling.

Requires Hate got doxxed, outed as Thai blogger and Campbell Award nominee Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

So what's the point, what's the lesson to be learned? Hateblogging is counterproductive. Hateblogging is stupid. Maybe not a stretch to say that hateblogging is evil. Here's Laura J. Mixon's compendious rundown on Requires Hate's attacks, one of which apparently caused a suicide attempt. Another lesson, social justice rhetoric is easily weaponized. RH bounced around for a while, but settled on social justice language as the perfect vehicle for the vitriol. Vicious righteousness, what more can you ask for?

Sriduangkaew's public apology says "I believed I was doing good and was punching up." How's that? Requires Hate is forevermore my touchstone for radfem #killallmen fuckery. Performance rage indeed. Performance and posturing, take a tough stance and shout over everyone, instead of discussion and engagement, or God forbid, compassion and empathy.

Burn rate bragging

That last 10k did it, Vibram heel worn through. Call me Merrell-killer. Bought these 4 Aug 2014. I wanna get up to 15k before xmas.

William Gibson's The Peripheral

Quarter of the way through The Peripheral, no fucken clue wtf's going on. Halfway through, starting to make sense. Seems to be a feature, not a bug. But not sure this nut's worth the effort to crack. I love all of William Gibson's books in approximately descending order from Neuromancer on down, and even given that, the last trilogy was pretty damn good. But this last one, ehhh, I might just finish reading for the sake of finishing and never come back to it again.

Life and Death

Read the rest of the 5-panel webcomic at constructionpaperandtears.tumblr

Of course I don’t agree, Death is The Enemy. But there’s some resonance in the poetic feeling that deserves unpacking. Death is not the eternal archive of remembrance; Iain M. Banks, Sagan, Feynman, Heinlein, Asimov, they don’t look down upon us from any kind of afterlife, they’re fucking gone, annihilated. Cherishing their memory, legacy, and ideals mitigates the tragedy somewhat, but the keen agony of loss is still real and every bit justified.

We who honor the dead, we are all there is that stands between history and oblivion. If humanity were wiped out, the ecosystem woudn’t care a whit for our legacy, as vines grow over our works. Socrates, Einstein, all would have been for nothing.

Pawns and queens in the game

Quora analysis of chess piece survival rates

Only 6 out of 16 pawns have lower survival rates than queens. And if you're a knight, you're screwed.

Reminds me of The Wire:
"Pawns, man, in the game, they get capped quick, they be out the game early."
"Unless they some smart-ass pawns."

Ambition the film

Ambition, a film from the European Space Agency, with Aidan Gillen being awesome as usual. Headcanon: they're transhuman benders.
Scientists Compete to Hide Bob Dylan Lyrics In Their Research Papers

I should be able to play this game. "Her profession's her religion?" Or "Here comes the (double) blind comissioner?"
Thinking of making this my avatar
The arc of TH White's The Once & Future King parallels Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide books: starts off fun, gets increasingly grim.
Watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. So there's an orangutan who's a sort of... Librarian. Clicked just now. I am not a clever man.
Online stuff correctly identifies the background setting of The Pit prison in The Dark Knight Rises as Mehangarh Fort, but I haven't seen anything that mentions the distinctive terraced staircases were inspired by step-wells like Chand Baori.

A tree falls in QC

Typhoon Glenda was pretty intense for a couple of hours. Power went out, I went out in the driving rain to try and get supplies, but I was low on cash and all 3 nearby ATMs were dead. Got by on bread and canned corned beef, read books on my phone, slept.

Canvas Cycle 8-bit HTML5

Wish I chould make these wallpapers, very soothing and Zen.
It only took me 3 months to wear a hole through Merrel Vibram soles. Runkeeper says I ran 123.8km since April, not including the ~15km or so I walk every week.
Story prompt: Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged hears Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and takes it as a challenge, a bucket list.

What would Norman Borlaug do?

Walmart: Say NO to Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Sweet Corn!

Some hippie Luddite posted this petition privately on Google+ (Why post a petition privately? The point is to maximize impact, no?) and I'm posting it in public so I could mock and heap scorn on it properly. Snopes has a good takedown, the studies that purportedly show dangerous side effects are flawed or retracted. Here's Wikipedia on genemod corn:
Broad scientific consensus holds that food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food.[32][33][34][35][36][37]

Online coding resources

Khan Academy programming

A friend asked me if I know any how to code online sites, so I pulled up an old file and I'm posting the stuff here. Caveat emptor, I've played around with Codeacademy but haven't tried any of the rest; Treehouse seems to be a pay site. There's more, but GitHub and Stackoverflow are past introductory level, certainly beyond my rudimentary understanding. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Edited to add the TESDA Online Program. 12 computer courses, tried the first one and it's rudimentary "This is a keyboard, this is a mouse" stuff. The other courses are things like diesel engine tune-up, massage, etc.

Code School
Bad dream. I was on a street near the old place. Then the sudden, choking smell of gasoline and burning plastic. A truck with kana writing was up ahead, fumes pouring out. Tried to run away, but the black cloud overtook me. Fell down, the sensation of trying to crawl forward, away from the death cloud.

Then I woke up, breathing hard, panicky. Think the dream was from bits of Hunger Games 2 and Godzilla.

Rememebering the Silver Walks

...and then they'd gone out walking, just ghosting the rainy streets together in what felt to Mona like some perfect harmony where you didn't need to talk. And that voice had been right, there was no jangle to the rush, no tight-jawed jitter, just this sense of something, maybe Mona herself, expanding out from a still center. And they'd found a park, flat lawns flooded with silver puddles, and gone all around the paths, and Mona had a name for that memory: the Silver Walks.
-William Gibson, Mona Lisa Overdrive

Seems "the silver walks" is from a song, "I'm So Free" by Lou Reed:
Do you remember the silver walks
You used to shiver and I used to talk
Then we went down to Times Square
And ever since I've been hangin' round there 

Maybe someday I'll have someone who'll feel for me the way you feel for him. Yeah, that's the core of it. Not that I need someone, the road alone is my oldest friend.

Kingdom of isolation

Remembering who I am. Pretend middle-class games aren't for me. It's an enthralling thing, staying with an idea or a book for hours or days on end. I've missed it.
Been putting off too many things because they'd be too much of a time investment. 47 books in my to-read lists. Now I wanna accomplish something difficult.

"As the crowd stomps the floor for a curtain call, we sneak through the back door and make off like superheroes." -Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

I always wanted to believe that the mundane work is just the Clark Kent stuff, or Peter Parker paying the rent. There's a need for that, pays the bills, keeps a roof over your head. But then you clock out, take off your mask, be who you really are and get some real shit done.

Citation provided

He had one eccentricity; after our first time, in my apartment, he insisted on getting a motel room for each assignation. 'Maureen; he explained, 'if you are willing to make the effort to come where I am, then I know that you really want to. And vice versa, if I go out and rent a motel room, you know that I am interested enough to make an effort: When either of us stops making an effort, it is time to kiss and part, with no tears.'
-Heinlein, To Sail Beyond the Sunset

Glasses Can Be Cheap

Glasses are actually much cheaper than many people think. Some people think glasses are expensive, costing $300 or more, because the big brands (Oakley, Ray-Ban, Persol, etc.) are all really the same company, Luxottica, which uses their monopoly power to distort the market. The major retail glasses stores (Sunglass Hut, LensCrafters, Pearle, etc.) are all owned by Luxottica, as are “vision insurance” companies.
Fortunately, we can now use the Internet to fight back against monopolists. Below, I have posted Tilia Bell’s guide to getting high-quality glasses cheaply. Continue reading at The Rationalist Conspiracy


Just over three months of walking/running wore right through the soles of my old shoes. Upgrade time.

Let's see how long Merrells last.
'Why do Men fear the dark?' I could tell he thought the question wise, though I felt no wisdom in asking it. 'Because darkness,' he told me, 'is ignorance made visible.' 'And do Men despise ignorance?' I asked. 'No,' he said, 'they prize it above all things—all things!—but only so long as it remains invisible.'"
-R. Scott Bakker, The Judging Eye

5 Centimeters Per Second

5 Centimeters Per Second is undoubtedly a masterpiece. I despise love stories as a rule, but this one is bafflingly wonderful. I love the understatement, the restraint. Two intelligent, fairly articulate, preternaturally responsible kids falling in love. No Romeo and Juliet drama, no jealousy or suicide pacts or plans to run away and elope. Makes it even more sharply heartbreaking. Mamoru Hosoda is great too, but Makoto Shinkai is the next Miyazaki.