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The Story of Something (Chapter 1 and a Half) [Apr. 27th, 2014|04:04 am]
[Current Location |Laptop at Diner (Maeve)]
[mood |awakeawake]
[music |Local Radio Station]

But there's more!
Now, some people think there was a giant ice shield over the world that kept the hotness out of the air, which makes sense because ice is clear like air is so you could still see the sun and stars, but they're choosing to be wrong, because the Something always gives us a choice and they decided to choose the bad bitty devils. What really happened is the air was heavier because it was full of water. That meant big lizards could walk better because they were almost like they were swimming, and even bigger ones could fly. That's why you can find stone skeletons of flying lizards.
Now before you tell me they were carbon dated or were found deeper than other things, you have to know the truth. Adam and Eve had to fight big lizards and all kinds of things they named, along with lions and bears and cancer and gigantic birds that existed before the flood, while their kids did bad things like be gay and do bad things to kids. They made bad choices because Adam and Eve made bad choices, and because the bad little devils would tempt them to do bad things. At the same time, they were getting bigger and smaller and fighting big lizards that could fly and stuff like giant birds and giant armadillos that were big like cars. They didn't have cars yet, but Ezekiel would see a very special car in the air later, so cars are in the big book about the Something, but they're special cars.
The air with lots of water was different than our air now. It was a little harder to breathe and walk, but that was okay because it was thicker and there was more of it, so we were okay. When the Something wanted to kill everybody, though, he decided the water needed to fall and kill everybody with it, so he changed the way the air worked! The air wasn't able to hold all the water anymore, so everybody died from the water!
This made big clouds that blocked out the sun and made everything real cold, which is why there were ice ages, but they were a lot shorter than people think. There was also a lot of storms, and the storms made a lot of zaps, and the zaps make ozone, so that's how we got the ozone which is why we don't have the bad hotness. But the ozone's running out now because the Something is ending the world, which is good.
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The Story of the Something (Chapter 1) [Apr. 21st, 2014|04:58 am]
[Current Location |Grace (desktop computer)]
[mood |boredbored]
[music |Dear Esther OST by Jessica Curry]

It was a special day for a lot of people, and a lot of those people wanted me to believe in Something that came from nothing. I'm going to write down what I've heard about the Something they want me to believe in.
Read more...Collapse )
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Chance Encounter [Jul. 6th, 2013|10:30 am]
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[Current Location |Elhaym]
[mood |morosemorose]
[music |Xenoblade Special Soundtrack]

( You are about to view content that may only be appropriate for adults. )
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Snowden's Secrets [Jun. 10th, 2013|01:52 pm]
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[Current Location |Home (Maeve)]
[mood |amusedamused]
[music |snoring baby]

Yay, a Catch-22 pun. A clear indication that I'm in a super good mood.
Is there anyone outside the intelligence communities who doesn't think of our relatively recent rash of idealistic hackers -- Edward Snowden (leaked intelligence gathering from cell phone and internet metadata), Bradley Manning (leaked airstrike videos and questionable diplomatic e-mails) and the Anonymous branch what leaked HBGary's collusion with Bank of America to take down Wikileaks -- as heroes? I'm interested in other perspectives on this, but I confess I'm a bit of a fanboy.
We're living in a world which is becoming darkly interesting. Wealth and power are being concentrated at the top, so the power wrested by those not in the upper class is largely that of certain kinds of expertise and the leverage of numbers and wits against an elite who are not as competent as they'd like to think they are. I want to say our world is becoming more cyberpunk, and it probably is, but it's a genre of which I've read depressingly little.*
Meanwhile, of course, our government continues to secure power over us which it may use at any time to determine, very possibly in error, that we are threats and to neutralize us with explosives from the air.
Now we just need orbital laser satellites to fall into the hands of terrorists, and we're set for a truly horrific and fascinating future.

* I've read Idoru and Bad Voltage, and well, that's an odd pairing.
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Exhaustion [May. 17th, 2013|02:39 pm]
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[Current Location |Home (Souichiro)]
[mood |depresseddepressed]
[music |Guar Plains - Xenoblade Chronicles Soundtrack]

Bias may well play a role in my lack of concern over allegations against the Obama administration, but I really think a lot of it is simple exhaustion. We're swiftly coming on 20 years of incredible amounts of political bullshit, and I don't think "incredible" is hyperbolic here. When one really considers it, one can hardly help but take a dim view of the whole of American federal politics.
So we have some possible political bias in prosecution and enforcement, and we have a scandal of incompetence which led to tragic and unnecessary deaths.
I mean, it's not like this is new. In the context of the Bush administration, honestly, it's almost miraculous how few such disasters have taken place. If we take the perspective there are many but they are underreported, we then must reckon with the fact the AP was caught with their hands in the news story cookie jar during the Bush administration, taking many articles without even a glance at content or honesty and printing them as fact, so underreporting would be... not new.
So how do I feel about all this? Exhausted. Bored, even. Yes, people are occasionally getting assassinated by drone strikes. It makes for good comedy, but again, not news. Yes, extraordinary rendition is still possible, and there's still no great likelihood one could expect upon such occasion to get a fair trial. Yes, women serving in the military still get raped, and their rapists still get let off scot free. That doesn't make good comedy, to my knowledge, though I confess I'd like somebody to lighten me up a little.
When I voted for Obama in the primary and general elections in 2008 and 2012 (insofar as a primary took place in the latter), I wasn't expecting miracles. I might've been hoping for better, but not expecting.
I got what I expected. Maybe even a few things I didn't dare hope for.
Whatever. I live here. I do what I can to improve things, but I'm poor, probably always will be poor, and that makes a difference in influence. *shrugs*
So fuck it.
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How Can One Be Good To Himself? [Oct. 25th, 2012|06:30 pm]
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[Current Location |On mobile ]
[mood |melancholymelancholy]
[music |Harry Chapin, "Taxi"]

I am many.
There is a part of me which probes myself for praise. It is strange to think of it in this way, but it is so. My image of myself is something sculpted and refined from metrics inaccessible to my conscious mind except by mulling over that image, a model of my whole self, and tasting it.
I fear pride. Pride makes fools of us.
It is rational to do good if you believe in a positive-sum scenario (apologies for abusing terminology above my pay grade) as one shouldn't shit where he eats, and we eat almost everywhere in this meaning. (It may help to think of this as an argument for certain approaches in the inevitable struggle against local entropy.)
It sucks to do good but feel inherently bad, though. Yet how do I do good consistently without holding myself harshly accountable?
How does one acquiesce to the demand from one's logical side and actually like oneself at all? And if one can, how does one not use that emotion to justify wrongdoing?
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What the shit? [Oct. 23rd, 2012|03:30 pm]
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[Current Location |Juno (laptop)]
[mood |irritatedmystified]
[music |Jonathan Coulton - Redshirt]

I saw a couple getting out of a car that had not one, but two brands of Support Our Troops magnets on their bumper. I'd long been curious on a number of points. I found my question to them hard to articulate, so it came out perhaps a bit overly brief:
What's the alternative?
Being spit upon. Being told after you return from war that you're worth less than dirt. Strong feelings there. He immediately jumped to the (correct) conclusion that I'd never served, though I suspect he'd have been surprised to discover my mother is a veteran and that I'm passingly aware of the risks taken up in the name of our country and its people by our servicefolk. I say this because he seemed surprised how little of these factors needed explained, and perhaps a little at a loss for words not directly related to my ignorance. In purely practical terms I know little from experience, but come on, don't we all have a friend or relative who has served or is actively serving in the military? Haven't we all heard stories about common duties taking on serious risks, or where even doing everything right still meant somebody died? It's a hell of a job! Hardly matters where you're stationed, whether any fighting is involved, etc. You're automatically a military target (USS Cole), you must assume you'll be going into situations where you are on the front line (anybody who joined for college money before September 11th, 2001), and there's a good chance even in peacetime you're stationed near or serving fairly dangerous equipment and chemicals. Accidents happen. Anybody who serves in the military, at any time, is putting his or her life on the line, and for surprisingly little return.
This was a strange point the guy made. When he spoke of feelings, I brought up medical care, and he responded, "That's not why they join up!"
What on earth does that mean?
Getting him to admit it doesn't matter their motive for joining, they deserve the best medical care they can get, was like pulling teeth.
So, I offered, they'd avoid voting for a candidate who would undermine veteran's care/benefits.
"Well, that depends on their stance on other things," said his wife, with this strained look on her face.


Okay, sure, not a one-issue voter, but that look. Was this a frequent point of contention? What the hell is going on here? Two stickers that say "support our troops," and all I can get out of this couple is feelings. Anything practical I brought up struck them as missing the point. It was all about whether or not we're nice to them.
Yes, of course we should be nice to them, but this should impact our damn voting for goodness sakes, and not just in who offers the nicest platitudes. I'm not saying we never encounter angry Vietnam throwback twits who deride military personnel for doing their duty, but I can't honestly think of any time I heard the term 'babykiller' when it wasn't out of the mouth of some angry reactionary putting up a strawman argument. I once saw the argument in different words, and that person was overwhelmingly shouted down for bringing up such a stereotype of American soldiers.

These people aren't living in the real world. They're imagining constant slights against their dear soldier brethren without realizing or participating in the sacrifices we all must make to see to the health and well-being of those who served.
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Gain and Loss: Another Cat-Related Post [Jul. 1st, 2011|11:49 am]
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[Current Location |Sophia (home computer)]
[mood |depressedgrieving]
[music |Lost Children Street, by Rosalie Sorrels]

Being aware of the process of grieving is sometimes a very strange thing. You go through the stages anyway. Awareness of the stages doesn't always confer a perfect understanding of one's position in them, of course.
Read more...Collapse )

For now, I suppose this will do. Stay tuned for further anguish.
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(no subject) [Apr. 18th, 2011|06:09 pm]
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[Current Location |Sophia (home computer)]
[mood |mellowmellow]
[music |Regrets, by Ben Folds Five]

Let it be known I am no expert in religion, philosophy or psychology. I'm also one of those people who feels expertise counts for something. (Yes, one of those people.)
I'm also no expert in politics, though, and that doesn't stop me from writing on the subject. It just makes me a layman.
Heck, I don't even have a styles manual on hand, so I'm probably going to do a terrible job of citing sources.

For quite a while now, I've been troubled by the frailties of my mind. The popular subjects have been cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, and the Dunning-Kruger effect.
From their paper on the subject in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the authors state:
"People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it."[1]
Confirmation bias is, as I understand it, the tendency to disregard evidence that pass before our senses but are at odds with what we already believe, while granting sometimes too much credit to evidence that supports what we already believe. I'm too lazy to cite a source here. That makes me a bad person.
The easiest example of the damning effects of poorly resolved cognitive dissonance is the fable of the fox and the grapes, from which we derive the phrase, 'sour grapes.' For reference, see the appropriate story. I recommend Project Gutenberg, and this URL: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21/21-h/21-h.htm#2H_4_0210

I've not been entirely comfortable with the fact that not only could I be wrong, but I may not even have the freedom of will to accept that I am wrong. When I'm wrong, and when evidence states that I'm wrong, I'd very much like to be able to know it!
For what it's worth, though, Dr. David Brin says through his character Dr. Jen Wolling in the book Earth (Brin, David, Bantam Spectra, 1990), "Look at the happiest, sanest people you've known, Nelson. Really listen to them. I bet you'll find they don't fear a little inconsistency or uncertainty now and then. ... They are content to be many."
I am many, and a good deal of what I am, I do not admire. However, those parts of me do not say "I." Those bits and pieces of me are the foundation of a small part of me which does say "I am," and for now I have the presumed ability to choose my actions freely.
A part of my troubles derives from my impression that, as Sartre put it in Being And Nothingness, "Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does." That's right. I'm suffering the classic problem that I am comprised of things many of which I do not admire, and that I find myself wanting to be admirable! Of course I recognize that there are admirable motives in be that likewise fall below the threshold of conscious decision, such as the guilt I feel when I do not help a person and the relief I feel when I do. These can be reinforced by culture and upbringing, but they have potentially as much to do with our nature as our nurture.
However, the same philosophy dictates that even as I am responsible, I am also free. I have no choice but to be responsible for my mistakes, but I am allowed to value that which says "therefore I am." Only collectively can we decide what we value anyway, and I say, let us value that! If there's hope for us, if there's hope for me, it lies as much there as anywhere.
I may or may not be a good person.
I arbitrarily determine that the part of me which thinks itself rational is valuable and meaningful, even if it is sometimes confused. Now and then, I should decide to listen when it says it's okay.

1. Kruger, Justin; David Dunning (1999). "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77 (6): 1121–34. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.77.6.1121. PMID 10626367. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi= Accessed Monday, April 18th, 2011.
2. Brin, David (1989). "Part XI: Planet". Earth: 690. June 1991. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 90-4. This citation protected by Fair Use doctrine as commentary on the cited work.

External resources:
* Brin reads a snippet from Earth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJXXab5ITpM
* The Fox and the Grapes: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21/21-h/21-h.htm#2H_4_0210
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Wikileaks, Anonymous and HBGary: Miscellaneous Commentary [Feb. 11th, 2011|02:55 pm]
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[Current Location |Sophia (home computer)]
[mood |amusedmystified]
[music |Bob Dylan, "I Want You"]

Cached by Yahoo! on the 10th of February, 2011, HBGary had this to say:
"HBGary, Inc and HBGary Federal, a separate but related company, have been the victims of an intentional criminal cyberattack. We are taking this crime seriously and are working with federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities and redirecting internal resources to investigate and respond appropriately. To the extent that any client information may have been affected by this event, we will provide the affected clients with complete and accurate information as soon as it becomes available.

Meanwhile, please be aware that any information currently in the public domain is not reliable because the perpetrators of this offense, or people working closely with them, have intentionally falsified certain data. HBGary, Inc and HBGary Federal are committed to a comprehensive, accurate, and swift response to this crime."
This substantiates in part the articles which have been written about the documents supposedly, and in this half-assed blogger's opinion probably, leaked from HBGary and such regarding a planned espionage campaign against Wikileaks.
Can anybody explain to me why the HBGary site on the 11th did not have this quote anywhere within its domain? I can't imagine why they'd want to back down from this line, whether it be true or false, nor why they would not want to address any questions the public may have about the documents.


That's all I've got for now. I don't fully understand or stand by these sources, any of them, but substantiating part of the article seemed simple enough. It was, for reasons which mystify me, more complicated than it should have been because HBGary removed the blurb from its site, and necessitated cache-diving on the part of a creative friend. Props to Ntchwai.
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