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 round squishy plush lobster bursts out of the blue. (cock lobster)
My work explores the relationship between first person shooters and the historiography of sado-masochistic religious homoerotica.

With influences as diverse as Robert Howard and Robert Halford, new paradigms are evolved through both noblesavage-pastoral and technocratic dystopias.

Ever since I was a little girl I have been fascinated by the transcendent hallucination of erotopathy. What starts out as sacrilege soon becomes fragmented into a sepulchritude of acedic lyser-jism, leaving only a sense of wounded schadenfreude and the remnants of a new culture of blasphemy.

As fractal spaces become synthesized through metallic and tellurinfernal practice, the viewer is left with a seedy aftertaste of the central lizard-brain impulses of our aspirations.


Meanwhile, [personal profile] furikku links to The World Peace Game, which is basically the polar opposite of the above link.
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: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
[EDIT: Overmind actually gave a cite:
About the quote itself – I remember reading it in Hayek’s “Fatal Conceit”.

He started one of the chapters in his book with this quote (but with "liberty" instead of "freedom") and later wrote:

The somewhat simplified quotation by Confucius that stands at the head of this chapter is probably the earliest expression of this concern that has been preserved. An abbreviated form in which I first encountered it apparently stems from there being in Chinese no single word (or set of characters) for liberty. It would also appear, however, that the passage legitimately renders Confucius’s account of the desirable condition of any ordered group of men, as expressed in his Analects (tr. A. Waley, 1938:XIII, 3, 171-2): `If the language is incorrect … the people will have nowhere to put hand and foot’. I am obliged to David Hawkes, of Oxford, for having traced a truer rendering of a passage I had often quoted in an incorrect form.
It is the same passage (and I think the same translation) that I found below, and my take on Hayek's take is similar (with a caution that I have not read the context of the passage and am not commenting at all on the "no word in Chinese for liberty" bit - for all I know Confucius might have avoided any such word because he thought it ambiguous).]

original discussion follows. )
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
I'm afraid nothing else I've posted this month is nearly as worthy of the P:MID tag.

"It's not a race, you won't lose." I would be able to get this, if only I could get around "the other guy might think it's a race, and even if I don't lose I can't let him think he won"...

(as linked on Cracked)

And totally unrelated.
Also unrelated.

And on the other end of things. I think Mystal is being a bit unfair - it should be pretty obvious to anyone paying real attention that, given their respective contexts, "shove it up your ass" is the mildest of the three quotes. o_O
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
Here's a thing about how our education system sucks.

Here's one attempt I've found to validate that east/west thing he mentions. It would certainly fit in with all sorts of east coast/west coast stereotypes, which is why I'm even more skeptical.

I also wonder about the whole "uses for a paperclip" thing. I see where he's going with the sheer numbers, but I'm not sure if the numbers tell the whole story: I personally can't come up with more than five four in five minutes - hold things together (including as a key chain), mark place in a stack of pages, conduct/resist elecricity, unfold to make a long pokey thing to poke things with, repair or temporarily replace a key chain - but a good chunk of that time was spent debating how many uses "hold things together" counted as. ("Things" could for instance include ties and sewing patterns and hair; and are we making a distinction whether we use the clip as is, or bend it into a new shape, or run the pointy end through the thing to be held instead of using elasticity+friction?)

As a side note, I don't think it consistently goes downhill with age, even with educated people. I've had plenty of times where I've ended up mentally stuck in a procedural tunnel and I (and implicitly the client and opposing party) had to be rescued by senior counsel who seemed to pull something out of their ass that despite not being spelled out in any relevant statute fit the parties' needs (needs, not wants) perfectly.

But then, this is often after I've previously come up with all sorts of remedies that have turned out to be illegal or unenforceable. :S

Which I suppose just takes us back to a point that Sir Robinson acknowledges but spends no time explaining in the vid: the distinction between valuable creativity and divergent thinking. Some of the stuff the kindergarteners came up with likely wouldn't work in real life: the clip might not be strong enough, or the use might create some sort of fire hazard, or something else just as easily found (say a toothpick or a string or even a hair) would have done better.

For creativity to be worth anything the creator has to start out with enough base facts and assumptions to establish a range of ideas that would be of value, and focus their creative divergent-thinking resources within that range. Education should focus on establishing these frameworks, letting students know explicitly that these frameworks are merely a means to solve problems later on and how the particulars of those frameworks function in that role, and helping students develop these frameworks on their own whether adding to pre-made ones or building ones from scratch (which can be two very different skills).

...come to think of it, the audio in that vid got cut off rather awkwardly. I suspect that this was exactly the sort of thing he then proceeded to talk about.


EDIT: And of course another rebuttal which is not at all inconsistent with the conclusions in the preceding two paragraphs above.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
I really can't beat [personal profile] pne's description for this link.

Yet another reason to homeschool your kids: school administration these days cannot tell the difference between an inanimate metal rod with movable bits stuck to one end and a cantankerous half-tonne animal that shits everywhere.

I see [staff profile] denise's point here. But if that's the reason why they couldn't just get rid of the gender field entirely or make it a write-in, why are the DW team only collecting gender data? (EDIT: [personal profile] willow has a point. A somewhat depressing one, its truth borne out by what I confess now was a bit of unconscious resistance to using toxic waste cleanup in my example below.)

And to make more use of my new tag, here's Rachel Maddow on the workings of the orcish spawning/regeneration vats. Though at this point I'm wondering if I should just rename it to "siege of Gondor"...


In other news, I want people's opinions as to whether the following scenes would pass the Bechdel Test:
  1. Woman X talks to her colleague man Y about an issue with one of the firm's clients. The matter is completely gender-neutral (say, toxic waste cleanup on development property), there is no reference to the client's gender, and the other party is a company. There's a bit of back and forth until Y admits he has no idea what's going on and asks X to talk to their mutual boss, woman Z. Y then wanders off and X discusses the matter for some time with Z. During this conversation X mentions points that Y brought up but does not actually refer to Y. (Note that X and Y's actual jobs are different enough that there's no rivalry issue here.)

  2. Two women discuss the fate of a city and all its inhabitants. "All its inhabitants" presumably includes a large number of men.

  3. A general asks her commander (also a woman) for advice on raising troop morale. The troops are previously established to be mostly men, but in the plot they're an unindividuated chorus.

  4. Mary and Martha haggle over a painting that is alleged to be a "potential" Jackson Pollock original. The alleger is never named and not presumed to be of any gender, and the story is not about Mr. Pollock but about Mary's hare-brained get-rich-quick schemes.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
In an odd bit of synchronicity, a very short while after [personal profile] lienne calls me out on my RAEG over an example of someone who fit every bad part of the trope and did just that much more to further the myth, someone posts on wtf_sexism about that very topic.

tl;dr If you ever see the name Eugene Kanin, know that
Which is not at all to say false allegations do not exist. But unless you know that the accuser was the right combination of desperate, crazy, and downright ballsy - and the story doesn't add up when compared to the null hypothesis - "true" is a reasonably safe bet.

And speaking of the wtf_sexism comm, here's a lovely example of taxes at work.
An appeals brief (pdf) filed by the ACLU last week demonstrates that "extremely flawed" even puts the situation mildly. What happened? Acting sans parental permission, in 2008 Principal David Dupuis used eighth graders as guinea pigs, switching students from coed to single-sex math and English classes. He pronounced the experiment a success, claiming that student scores and behavior improved, leading to school-wide segregation the next year. Yet an expert analysis found these assertions to be baseless; in fact, report cards show that test scores declined when students were segregated. The principal has since admitted to fiddling the numbers and that there were no behavioral improvements; he also destroyed evidence he claimed proved that student scores got a boost from being isolated from the opposite sex.

...

There are a couple other disturbing pieces to the situation: in a nod to the law that single-sex courses must be voluntary, consent forms were finally distributed, but the coed "option" was actually just a special needs class. Principal Dupuis called parents were elected a coed class to coerce them into changing their minds, since otherwise there wouldn't be enough students for his single-sex system, and in other cases parental wishes were simply thrown out the window.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
The Fate of Father Juvenaly: A story from Yup’ik history

It's a long but interesting read. I'd quote it, but it should be appreciated on its own and I'm really posting to elaborate on one idea within it.

Now I'm not going to defer to the oral account entirely the way the writer does (though practically without a dog in the fight and no better information myself I might as well), and by no means am I devaluing the worth of something fixed into a written document in case the information isn't passed on by other means. But the story does drive home a point that the simple fact of a fixed medium isn't by itself going to help preserve the veracity of an old account.

Rather, the structure of dissemination seems to be key: eliminate the option of any single person changing the story to suit their needs; treat the story as community property and thus subject to the conformational inertia of the group; have a few centralized sources as a reference point, but in a medium that allows for correction as necessary.

Much of the Internet clumsily apes this structure, but I don't see any way to rightly say they do a good or a bad job of it now - we need a few generations to pass to see what becomes of it, considering that we're all rebuilding in a world where just about every long-standing tradition on this planet has suffered some major demolition or restructuring in the past 200 years.

(hat tip: [livejournal.com profile] tungol)
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvellous, intoxicating. Therefore 'imaginative literature' is either boring or immoral (or a mixture of both). It only escapes from this alternative if in some way it passes over to the side of reality through the power of art - and only genius can do that.
I don't personally blame the school officials in the second case - the entire system works against any remedy short of pulling out of it, which is what they've recommended to a certain extent (the dad driving the kids himself).
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Hey [livejournal.com profile] tungol, remember our MSN convo earlier when I brought up our system's incentive to keep "normal" defined as something at a certain unsustainable distance from "healthy"?

Right after that I find this link... (warning: possible depression triggers, unless it doesn't in which case it's fucking hilarious)

And now I go flush the fuck out of my brain.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Self-esteem and self-respect on people. I agree with the commenters (and many of the comments I've seen provide higher quality criticism than the column itself) who say that while the distinction may be worthwhile Dalrymple completely missed the point about trying to get the perpetual doormat types to stand up for themselves. The very problem is that some people fail to apply "everyone is important simply by virtue of drawing breath" to themselves.

I've been thinking about this, and how to get the self-respect message right, but here's a possibility:
Whatever would be shameful to have inflicted on you, do not inflict on anyone.
but also
Whatever would be shameful to allow against your friend, do not allow against yourself.
Without that basic faith in human worth, anything can eventually be justified. It's laziness to make sure you hate yourself as much as you hate your neighbours and call it a day.


And with all that, for something totally unrelated: dew on insects.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
It is about people. And numbers.

Because America is not China or Brazil or downtown Vancouver. But may well be in the future.

I'm hesitant to summarize for the tl;dl crowd - there's some great analysis in this and you really should watch it. But as a preview only it seems to me the biggest bullet-point problems involve the following:
  1. real estate matters: getting "a house" being restricted to these huge mansions that have nothing to do with a family starting out.
  2. why I want the GOP to be driven into the sea like Lazarus's pigs: the erosion of the safety net that created the 20thC middle class to begin with.
  3. 99 hours of education and a math ain't one: K-12: 12 years, public money. Now it takes another 6 years (2 pre, 4 post) of highly expensive time-consuming whatever to even feel like one is competent enough for the middle class. While it's still not clear just what all that schooling does.
  4. debunking myths: people are in fact spending a lot less on non-necessary consumer goods than before, saving whenever they can. I've got shit around the house my parents bought 30+ years ago that works better than shit I bought five years ago.

And this was all, keep in mind, presented before the 2008 crash.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
Linking this to do my tiny part to counter Christofascist lies:
TAUNTON -- The story smacked of religious bias during the Christmas season: An elementary school allegedly suspended a second-grader, it went, and required the boy to undergo a psychological evaluation after he drew a picture of Jesus Christ on the cross.

...

She said it was unclear whether the boy -- who put his name above his stick-figure portrait of Christ on the cross -- even drew it in school.

"The inaccuracies in the original media story have resulted in a great deal of criticism and scrutiny of the system that is unwarranted," she said.

She said the boy's drawing was seen as a potential cry for help when the student identified himself, rather than Jesus, as the figure on the cross, which sparked the teacher to alert the school's principal and staff psychologist.

And with a dad like this douchebag I'm starting to see where he's coming from:
Amid the flurry of media attention, the boy's father held court today at his girlfriend's apartment here, demanding the school district compensate him for his family's pain and suffering.

"It hurts me that they did this to my kid," Chester Johnson, the boy's father, told the Globe. "They can't mess with our religion; they owe us a small lump sum for this.''
I'd love to see this go to court - it'd be just the sort of case that lawyers love to snark about over beer.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
Schools stifle creativity. Also, a certain tag of mine needs love.

There's more to it, of course, and do keep in mind he's talking about the sort of creativity that is clearly not just idle daydreaming but actual problem-solving - and the prescription is not to simply let the kids do as they please but to figure out the right direction for them and give them the tools, training and options that work for their passions and talents.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)

No, you pretty much got my point... and I should thank you for calling me out about inadvertently suggesting things by quoting with no context like this.

In context, the guy being reprimanded was countering another post where someone stated some very strong disapproval of this one (I believe justly detested) rhetorical device, and did so by completely talking past the OP's very point. The writer of my quote here saw no rational explanation for his opponent to have framed his discussion so dismissively, except in perfectly neurotypical response to someone getting offended about something and then prodding and concern trolling them repeatedly with that selfsame offensive thing. Once the guy was called out on it, he justified himself by wielding his home-made scarlet letter A like some talisman against such criticism... and that led to the quoted comment.

With that in mind, I submit that this should be basic pattern recognition... just with this vast array of patterns overlaid and connected through gigantic meta-patterns above, and underlaid and counterpointed with equally large, complementary patterns below. All geared towards subconscious observation, osmosis and practice, and sadly often falling apart if we ever dare apply any conscious systematizing effort.

I've had recent incidents that showed me just how bad I am with reading people, but also held out what I should do if I wanted to improve in almost tantalizing simplicity. Basically, I must become aware of, hone, and eventually learn to trust my initial gut feelings about people, and what sorts of behavioural trends we should look for when.

And when the best thing to do is to not try reading at all, but rather I should focus on clearly and unambiguously stating my own mind and inviting the other person to follow. After, of course, at least enough reading to know I'm not completely talking past them and rehashing points where they've already clearly refuted them by omission and choice of scope. :)


~*~


No, you pretty much got my point... and I should thank you for disputing a point I did not mean to but did in fact suggest by quoting without context like this.

In context, the guy being reprimanded was countering a post where someone stated some very strong disapproval of a (I believe justly detested) rhetorical device, in the form of completely talking past the very point the OP was making. The writer of the quote saw no rational explanation for the guy to have said what he said in the way he said it, except as a perfectly neurotypical response to someone getting offended about something and then prodding and concern trolling them repeatedly with that selfsame offensive thing. Once the writer called the guy out on it, the guy justified it by wielding his home-made scarlet letter A as a talisman against such criticism... leading to the quoted comment.

That said, I submit that it is basic pattern recognition... just with many, many patterns overlaid and connected through many gigantic patterns above, and underlaid with a complementary counterpoint of many equally large patterns below. All of it geared towards subconscious observation, osmosis and practice, and sadly to fall apart upon the application of any conscious systematizing effort.

I've had a couple recent incidents that showed me just how bad I am at reading people, but at the same time held out what I'd need to do to improve in almost tantalizing simplicity. Basically, I need to become aware of, hone, and eventually learn to trust my initial gut feelings about people, and what sorts of behavioural trends to look for when.

And when the best thing to do is to not try to read at all, but to focus on clearly and unambiguously stating my own mind and inviting the other person to follow. After, of course, at least enough reading to know I'm not completely talking past them and rehashing the point they clearly refuted by omission and choice of scope. :)
Both passages are written by me; one is the original, the other edited.

Here's the challenge: Without looking at anything else, which one is the original?


instructions )
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
It's exactly like that.

Here's the news rather than editorial version.

Principal McGinley, you are a traitor to all mankind. You are a disgusting waste of human flesh and I pray you get raped by a toad. A toad with AIDS.

And to all the police, the school administrators, the Crown who approved the charge, and anyone else who stood by and let this happen, that was not meant to imply by omission that you are not.

I can only imagine how I would've turned out had I been born ten, fifteen years too late and had to grow up in this zero-tolerance environment. Suicide? Heroin? Columbine? Adult life devoted to molesting children to get back the feeling of vindication for the isolation and helplessness of my childhood? Really, the best reasonable outcome of that shit would have been, short of my family moving out of the country, joining a gang and leading a life of crime well off the utter corruption and depravity of the state grid.

Back when I was tutoring at the kindergarten the teachers were very quick to step in and stop anyone who was playing soldiers, guns, or swords. They would be completely blind to who was acting up and where the real conflicts were appearing - which probably was for the better in the long run in that class, since the kids seemed to forget the whole thing ten minutes later, but in a less forgiving environment with older kids I can only imagine the damage done when kids are taught over and over again how unfair life is - and, by omission, should be.

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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