vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
Cost of precaution: 100
Cost of verification: 101

Doing the precaution indiscriminately: 100

Verify, precaution needed: 201 (more than twice as inefficient)
Verify, precaution NOT needed: 101 (still less efficient)
Verify, error in verification, precaution not needed but done anyway: 201 + cost of embarrassment of failure (including loss of goodwill+trust of client or other party)
Verify, error in verification, precaution needed but not done: 101 + cost of whatever clusterfuck the precaution was designed to avoid

Factors to consider:
V Cost of verification
P Cost of precaution
N Chance that the precaution is needed
F Cost of failure of precaution when needed

If F itself implies ruin, then always go with the precaution and no other calculations matter: ignore the below.
The average cost of failure is F/N.
Our main 3 factors are then P, V and F/N.
If P is the smallest, then always go with the precaution.
If F/N is the smallest, then never go with the precaution.
It is only worth verifying if V is the smallest.

In this we are assuming:
This situation will play out enough times that F/N is meaningful.
Verification is not infallible.
When we say "smallest", the margin by which it is smallest exceeds the chance of the verification giving false comfort.

Of course, usually the work in doing the verification right significantly overlaps with the precaution itself (and sometimes the precaution is verifying something), minimizing the savings and leaving the temptation being to either say "fuck it" and skip both or doing a sloppy verification and increasing the risk of error.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
In response to this comment:
I’d be very interested in the atheist-to-orthodox “take” on this sort of discussion.
I'm not even sure if I count, since I was brought up as a Christian before I became an atheist (de facto in my teens, explicitly in my twenties), but it did get me to try to articulate just what might've been going on in my head in the months leading up to my visit of St. John of Shanghai Orthodox Mission on the evening of February 1, 2014.*

Read more... )

*a date that I've always remembered as January 30 or 31 until I checked the day of the week just now. The reading of the life of St. Brigid I remember more distinctly.
vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
And so we trudged along the frozen waste.
We found a wall of stone, ten feet in height,
Rough from wear and carelessness, easily clomb.
Stains, and a great stench, covered it--
Rotting, sulfrous protein, slime and shell.
Bubbling I heard: not below, but unseen.

Read more... )
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
It occurs to me that we've just passed the 5-year mark for when we moved to Burnaby and my parents finally ceased living under the same roof.

Also, I really should get that notary they used (now retired IIRC) a big gift basket or something out of both thanks and apology for us having subjected her to a back-to-back purchase/sale at the end of April. I would never, ever have agreed to such a thing myself now.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
This is a profound psychological violence here.
How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment. Yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way, as in the case of the fish-fryers, to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work. For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well.
--"On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs", Strike! Magazine, August 17, 2013
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who had an inordinate amount of money, far more than anyone knew or could imagine, and for which he had no use. And there was a tiny island nation where he did some business, and there a great multitude ended up owing him much money, though he had no use for these debts and did not care to collect on them; and yet The System these many debtors slaved under could not forgive these debts, and though the man thought they were worthless paper this multitude could not save, or buy or sell or trade, for their debt was great and all that they earned was siphoned off by collectors who charged exorbitant fees and interest, and interest on those fees, and fees for calculating that interest, and so on, such that the man never saw any money from the multitude while the collectors grew in power.

And one day this man said, Enough! and purported to breach his contract with the collectors, and they sued him, and he filed a reply that admitted all the facts and contested none of the relief sought, and the collectors won default judgment and added him to the list of debtors. And at the first payment hearing that man agreed to pay, and received void cheques for a direct deposit; but when the payment came, the amount was so enormous that the flood of cash destroyed the entire nation's economy and sent it into chaos, and there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth, and many fled in vain to the outer darkness; but the man took hold of the entire System in his hands, and ruled as a benevolent tyrant, such that any who believed and switched over to his new system should never be in debt again.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
Motivations for changes
The problem is the continuing arms race between the sides as the law and technology develop. Cases are huge and sprawling precisely because the system allows it, with no corresponding qualitative improvement in the results.

Further, the current system looks increasingly like a case of the blind tying up the astigmatic and kicking them over a precipice and calling it leading, an uninformed attempt to micromanage what was intended to be a self-regulating system. I've noticed in my own practice that the formalism and delays lead to a significant amount of posturing, bullying, evasion and generally lawless behaviour to try to force a settlement when neither side wants to be dragged through the process of getting an actual adjudication.

Discard the perfectionism and trust each party to get their own case as good as they can.

Focus is on getting one's case ready for trial, subject to a brief opportunity to formally canvass settlement possibilities.

Keep the onus on the plaintiff to prove its case.

Very limited discovery of opposing side's documents. A party should not be forced to aid the other side in proving its case.

Relatively draconian time limits intended to keep things moving. (NB: Our statute of limitations has a default of 2 years from the discovery of the claim, to a maximum of 15 years from the act or omission.)

No oral examination for discovery. Impeachment by prior inconsistent statement can be done the old fashioned way.

Left undefined: chambers and requisition procedure; costs consequences of offers. These can be left for the court to fill in, or the current systems can be used (however uncomfortably).

Overriding rule
Subject to these rules and the applicable law, the court has unfettered discretion and inherent jurisdiction to make any order or direction and conduct any hearing in any manner it sees fit, with the aim of ensuring as just and speedy a resolution of a matter on the merits as the circumstances allow.

Read more... )
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
There is nothing not beautiful about this.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
The Up-Goer 5 Text Editor

Attempting to rewrite this was an unmitigated failure, but I did manage to get most of my will (the only omission is that my boss gets my law books) and the Standard CBA Real Estate Undertakings letter.

And, of course, my job description, which in retrospect I've got a much easier job of writing in this thing than a lot of people.

(h/t: [personal profile] steorra who got into the hall of fame EDIT: and featured on io9 with her much superior work than mine)

EDIT: it occurs to me that, in glossing over just what papers need to be signed (3 out of 4 of them dealing with tax issues and the 4th being an instrument to effect a change in a government registry) and in focussing on the "bank" sense of "institutional chargeholder", I've conveniently avoided the entire issue of referring to government institutions or taxation. I'm actually kinda scared of what stark, awful admissions must be made about our society if I did have to make explicit references in compliance with UG5TE standards.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
In a recent WoW roleplay event I had my guild captured and tortured by the Scarlet Crusade (canon religious fanatics modeled partially on the Spanish Inquisition). In my events I often give everyone links to pieces of music to play in the background to enhance or change the mood. In this case, I had people play an incredibly awful kitsch elevator music cover of 'The Lord is My Shepherd', and described it as actually coming from a crude phonograph type device set up in the torture chamber. As the terrified players were strapped down to racks and chairs by goons, I had the chief torturer close her eyes and mouth along to the words of the song in seemingly heartfelt emotion until it ended.

Related. And since, for one of the links below, we've got the not-a-vegan tag already, have some of this as well.

And now for some shit that's been sitting in the linkdump backlog since the dawn of man (for certain working definitions of "dawn", "man" and "of"):

Here's a decision that doubles as a handbook and field guide for helping the Technocracy win dealing with special secrets of the law:
[73] A critical first point is an appreciation that the concepts discussed in these Reasons are frequently a commercial product, designed, promoted, and sold by a community of individuals, whom I refer to as “gurus”. Gurus claim that their techniques provide easy rewards – one does not have to pay tax, child and spousal support payments, or pay attention to traffic laws. There are allegedly secret but accessible bank accounts that contain nearly unlimited funds, if you know the trick to unlock their gates. You can transform a bill into a cheque with a stamp and some coloured writing. You are only subject to criminal sanction if you agree to be subject to criminal sanction. You can make yourself independent of any state obligation if you so desire, and unilaterally force and enforce demands on other persons, institutions, and the state. All this is a consequence of the fact gurus proclaim they know secret principles and law, hidden from the public, but binding on the state, courts, and individuals.

[74] And all these “secrets” can be yours, for small payment to the guru.

When someone asks for an essay for something, this is always the proper format for it.

Glorious White Knight Jon Blyth saves womenkind from all the horrible nasty things in the world. But can he truly wipe out misogyny and sexism with just a cuddle? And why won't you let him cuddle you? Stop squirming, you're just making this more difficult. Oh God mother it's happening again get the towels.

And something to get away from, or at least beyond, all that crap.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
A single screenshot of the game was worth the just under 300 words it took to describe what was infringing.

(And for those who'd rather read an article than a judgment, here's one.)

Funny thing is, I tried to imagine a game that had all the function of Tetris and none of the look and feel... and just could not. (I did, however, end up playing an actual Tetris game in my head. In black and white and no score or "next piece" display.)

Also got me thinking about Freedoom as well... with the brown imps and pink demons and vaguely similar music and all those textures explicitly made to resemble Doom I can't help but think the basic concept of a non-infringing free IWAD is, well, doomed (however technically and unenforcedly) by its current implementation. :/

But is it even possible to do an IWAD that has none of the look and feel of Doom at all? Or do the constraints of the game mechanics require a (technically) infringing level of semblance?

And still look decent on custom maps designed for the Doom IWAD?

This looks like a pretty decent article on the merits of that Obamacare lawsuit.
Differences in labeling do sometimes matter in legal—and especially constitutional—analysis. In most instances, however, and most certainly when the issue is taxes, it is the substance that matters, not the form. In this column, I will discuss how the dissenting justices in the ACA case became overly obsessed with a matter of labeling, in their analysis of the taxing power. In the course of doing so, I will also explain how Chief Justice Roberts’s controlling opinion clearly—and even elegantly—dealt with the dangerous red herring that so distracted the


Even the most casual observer understands that the words used in the Constitution and the statutes must be understood in context. For instance, the First Amendment’s guarantees of free speech and the press are correctly extended to “speech” that is more than simple oration, and to a “press” that now typically involves no printing presses at all.

Moreover, the meaning of the same word differs in some statutory situations, as compared to its meaning in the context of seemingly similar constitutional wording. For example, there are several important international treaties (which are the law of the land under the Constitution, and which are enacted into law through enabling legislation) that use the word “arms” as a reference to thermonuclear weapons. Even the most expansive reading of the Second Amendment, however, has never said that any rights of the people to “bear arms” extend to such weapons.
As someone who is not a practising lawyer in the USA, I can safely and freely say that I have nothing but contempt for the dissenters in this case, but this author can explain why a lot better than I can. (hint: I'm posting this so I can finally use the is-ism tag again)
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
[137] If a s. 1 analysis were required, a point not argued, no s. 1 justification could succeed. The goals of the CDSA, as I have stated, are the maintenance and promotion of public health and safety. The Minister’s decision to refuse the exemption bears no relation to these objectives; therefore they cannot justify the infringement of the complainants’ s. 7 rights. However one views the matter, the Minister’s decision was arbitrary and unsustainable. See Chaoulli, at para. 155, per McLachlin C.J. and Major J.
A point of light in a darkening world.

Also, a post about people which should be read (and just very incidentally involves ants). And for those who can read Spanish (or skim a few lines of Latin and fake it... or just piece together what you can from Google Translate) here's a more indepth look at the subject linked from the comments.
vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
I was about to respond to this with a sarcastic comment.

I got up to
It's a well known fact that God's miracles work by Them retroactively remaking the entire universe instantaneously so that the miraculous event would naturally happen.

It's so powerful and amazing and subtle that the event is perfectly woven into the events of the world and natur
and it occurred to me that the thing presupposed here too, without sufficient personal knowledge to such effect, may be an article of faith based on hearsay and opinion.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
Not a lot of dudes can stand up against a crowd like that, so good on him. For further clarity, I am not talking about his shirt.

'In the United States, people tend to view names and identities as absolute things—which explains why I agonized over deciding on an English name—but in China, identities are more amorphous. My friend Sophie flits amongst her Chinese name, English name, MSN screen name, nicknames she uses with her friends, and diminutives that her parents call her. "They're all me," she says. "A name is just a dai hao." Dai hao, or code name, can also refer to a stock's ticker symbol.' For what it's worth, it's not quite anarchy - our clients from what I can tell expect and insist on a Chinese name only on any legal document, notwithstanding that adding the name people actually call them by would help make things a lot smoother. x_x

also my next RPG character is totally going to be named Sniper King Kong.

And speaking of Chinese naming nuances, how does this guy consistently get a free pass from being made to conform to English naming order. (also good on him coming out.)

"The End Of Gender?" A bit unreasonably optimistic of course, but unreasonably optimistic is how people ever take the next step.
vaecrius: A round squishy plush lobster bursts out of the blue. (cock lobster)
I was just at a restaurant for an office dinner.

One of the dishes was raw shrimp tails. The rest of the shrimp was served deep fried later. While we ate the tails they (the rest-of-shrimps) were displayed on the plate bound in this basket. I thought they were bled dead. Then I removed one and allowed them a bit more space and they started thrashing. The one that came out turned its eye to look at me.

I'm a lot less not okay with this than I might have been yesterday.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
Quote of the day:
Eugenics is alive and well amongst angry virgins that hate poor people.

In kindergarten we were given several potentially educational activities. I spent all my time at the Legos. The teacher said I should do something different so I started building stuff with the big wooden blocks. She stopped me again and told me to do something different. The blocks were big and smooth, without any elastic grip mechanism and held together only by gravity, requiring new design skills and aesthetic limits. I contemplated the unknown implications of "different" until she went away, and turned back to the Legos.

I think it was around then that I started not actually registering what words other people are using when they talk to me.

The Globe and Mail called this a "clash between liberal and conservative factions". I am hard pressed to say which is which.

Two kinda super-long things about Tolkien and racism. The more I see of this sort of thing, the more I think we should all move away from thinking there are racist people, only racist ideas that can discredit another idea by association or we can enjoy an associated idea despite.

In other news, I ended up digging through [personal profile] steorra's roommate's LJ archives...

This is the first time I've ever heard of this Florida guy. If he's anything like what I've seen so far, he's done an amazing thing: he's caused me to empathize with social conservatives, because I suspect that's what we look like to them.

And a thing about a thing that was but should have been re-read:
Apparently, it is traditional to tell the story of Abraham and Issac during Yom Kippur. You know, the story of God coming to Abraham and demanding his son Issac as a sacrifice, then an angel coming down and stopping Issac's death, proving Gods kindness.

For a Humanist-leaning church such as the one Mark was attending at the time, there are several glaring problems with this story.
Read the rest. Not a word needs be changed, and yet I never read this story before.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Another on Pascal's Wager. Sometimes, when you stomp that dead horse, you'll find a gem in the smelly green goo that bursts out of the bloated gut.

In other news, [personal profile] innerbrat links to a thing about breastfeeding and more horrible guilt-tripping bullshit (on top of the uncritical appeal to nature etc.).

And meanwhile...
The boss has lately been expressing her exasperation with some of the family files we've got.
Our newest assistant has this as her ringtone.
vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
Does a seller have an obligation to disclose to a purchaser with young children the fact that a person convicted of child pornography lives across the street? That was the issue in a court case which came before Justice Alexandra Hoy in March of this year.

The plaintiffs were Jason Dennis and Rebecca Bound, a husband and wife who are the parents of two young children. After they purchased a house in Bracebridge from William and Helen Gray, they discovered that a person convicted under the child pornography provisions of the Criminal Code lived across the street and that this was common knowledge in the neighbourhood.

The Grays were aware of this, knew the buyers had young children, and did not disclose it to them. The buyers have not lived in the property and do not intend to.
This thing hits my bleeding-heart-liberal everyone-deserves-a-second-chance buttons, it hits my boorish cry-more-you-privileged-whiner buttons, it hits my classist quasi-territorial shut-up-you-don't-even-live-here buttons, it hits my small-c-conservative litigation-is-for-assholes buttons, it hits my bland Pollyannaish can't-we-all-just-get-along buttons. Don't mind me if I just sit here and hope against all reason the vendors get whatever passes in Ontario for costs on a full indemnity basis.

EDIT: For what it's worth, I finally got around to reading the judgement re: dismiss for no reasonable cause. I agree with the judgement - while I still think it would be unmitigated judicial and commercial horror if the plaintiff were to win, the logic of the claim itself is not a total wash.

The National Post has more details here.
One lawyer familiar with the case said the latent defect principle was really meant for physical problems with a house. “Where do you draw the line?” said the lawyer, who asked not to be named. “What if your neighbour displays psychiatric problems? Do you have to disclose that as well?”

Arnie Herschorn, the buyers’ lawyer, conceded that the suit stretches the current law, but suggested it is not so different than the case of the house four doors down from a property contaminated with radioactive material, a scenario the courts did accept as a hidden defect.
That right there is what's at stake. (I also like the way this person thinks, though there are good reasons why that is not the prevailing law. This person too. ...really the comments are fascinating and I had no idea how easy it is for several people to reach the same conclusion each for reasons that the others would find abhorrent.)

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.


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