vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
The power of Christ compelled him.

beside a stream there was a dwelling. Blackened by time and rain, the hut was piled up on all sides with taiga rubbish—bark, poles, planks. If it hadn’t been for a window the size of my backpack pocket, it would have been hard to believe that people lived there. But they did, no doubt about it…. Our arrival had been noticed, as we could see.

The low door creaked, and the figure of a very old man emerged into the light of day, straight out of a fairy tale. Barefoot. Wearing a patched and repatched shirt made of sacking. He wore trousers of the same material, also in patches, and had an uncombed beard. His hair was disheveled. He looked frightened and was very attentive…. We had to say something, so I began: 'Greetings, grandfather! We’ve come to visit!'

The old man did not reply immediately... . Finally, we heard a soft, uncertain voice: 'Well, since you have traveled this far, you might as well come in.'

Also, hell o. aka the best thing ever

(really the entire blog is certainly not unworth your while.)
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
First, to soften you up for the link that follows, proof that there is a God.

First the parted stream of ants, now the River of Fire.

In which someone finally explains a non-retributive model of Hell to me in a way that doesn't feel like a copout. Incidentally, it occurs to me that it is precisely the stakes posed by Pascal's Wager that I am far less inclined to believe in God than I am to believe in, say, electrons. (Actually I've often gone by the reverse Pascal: if such a God really did exist and I am damned, I'm happy to let my one lasting achievement be the eternal defiance of such a manifestly evil tyrant.)

tl;dr (and it really quite tl): I was brought up with the idea that God made Hell to punish God's creation for disobeying God's rules and that God had to kill Jesus/himself as a proxy to save us from Hell because our disobedience was so horrible that someone had to be killed to satisfy the blood debt; I thought this was either bonkers or barbaric (a Christian might use "pagan" here) and am happy to learn that there's an entire tradition of Christianity that feels similarly and has a coherent alternative.

See also: and comments thereon

Also: Curiously, wonderfully optimistic quote of the last week:
If we, the faithful, who are sinners, who are unworthy and who with our frequently ungodly lives give reason to people to criticize and fight Christianity for two millenia have not yet managed to destroy it, then I am confident that no outsider really stands a chance.


Even though we drink nothing but tainted milk powder, we still must kill all the Japanese.
Even though we consume gutter oil everywhere, we still must brandish our knives and slay the dwarf pirates.
Even though all we eat is meat laced with clenbuterol, we still must send troops to destroy [those who inhabit] the Eastern Sea.
Even though every day we are "represented", but we still must regain the Diaoyu Islands.
Even though in our old age there's no one to take care of us, we still must occupy Mt. Fuji.
Even though are old homes are forcibly demolished, we still must capture Ai Fukuhara alive.


And speaking of pirates, here's a small but hopefully important and lasting victory against corporate raider scum.
[42] Mason says TELUS is participating in a smear campaign. It does not matter whether Mason’s primary purpose is to exit profitably from its arbitrage plan. Shareholders invest with a view to a profit and it matters not how Mason intends to profit.


[109] Mason argues that the problem of empty voting is irrelevant. The question of conversion ratios is a legitimate issue that affects all Common Shareholders and is something that should be discussed. Mason’s interest is aligned with the interests of the other Common Shareholders, in that both Mason and the Common Shareholders have an interest in being compensated for the historical premium paid for Common Shares. Mason further argues that s. 167(2) leaves no room for the court to look behind a shareholder’s voting interest in shares into their true economic interests or purposes.

[110] I cannot agree with Mason’s submissions on either point. While the issue of conversion ratios is indeed a matter of legitimate concern to all Common Shareholders, it is of overriding concern only to Mason. Only Mason stands to profit if the price differential between Common Shares and Voting Shares increases. And only Mason is indifferent to the overall value of TELUS itself.

[111] The fact that Mason shares some interest with other Common Shareholders does not mean that its interests align with those Shareholders in a broader sense.

[112] Nor does s. 167 oust the power of the court to consider the reasons underlying a requisition. Section 167(7)(d) specifically contemplates an investigation into the motivations behind a requisition. And s. 186 gives the court broad discretion to make orders relating to the calling, holding and conducting of meetings “for any ... reason the court considers appropriate.”

[113] That said, in light of my findings regarding the validity of the Requisition, it is unnecessary to consider whether the Court ought to exercise its jurisdiction in this case.
Appeal to be heard in a couple weeks. In barbaric South Nation terms, let's hope the appeal result is more Roe and less Kelo.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
ANTS. The pictures say it all.

also weasels.

Evil empires! (actually depressing as fuck until one realizes that this is the beginning of a thing)
The problem of a thriving enthusiast press is wrapped up right there in its name: games are an industry that survives on consumer loyalty nearly as much as hard-won cash. And it may be virtually impossible for a journalist or critic to be a journalist or critic without a background as a gamer, and thus to one extent or another a fan or games. But surely that doesn't have to be the final word. No one would suggest a film critic must uncritically support the financing or marketing decisions of major studios; why should game critics be held --on pain of blacklisting-- to such an improbable standard?

"Fan" is not synonymous with "slavish devotee." "Criticism" does not silence the conversation. "Freedom of speech" is not a magical shield intent to protect the user from any and all reproach, and if anyone's going to use it to derail the conversation, let it be the attacked, not veteran journalists rushing in to defend a billion-dollar industry.
The beginning of something new. Something better.

EDIT: I would say related, except that I'm quite sure with a thing like this I would have seen relation no matter what I had previously linked to (with the proviso that "things I link to" is already quite a narrow, pre-vetted band of possibilities).
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
This particular total opposite of the ME3 ending has been sitting in my background tab for too long.

Crayon Dragon from Toniko Pantoja on Vimeo.

vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
The photographs in this picture gallery may look like they been Photoshopped or assembled with dead insects, but the ants in these images are very much alive. Russian photographer Andrey Pavlov spends hours setting up fairytale scenes. He studied ants, and saw that they all follow a very specific path when they’re working. So he put his props on their trail, and photographed the insects interacting with his miniature 'stage sets'.

Every summer he moves to a cottage in the countryside to photograph red forest ants in fairytale settings. He says: "When I had children and started reading them fairytales, I realised it was something I never did as a child. That's when I decided to make up for it and start creating some fairytales of my own."
More here.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
It must be against some institutionally deemed natural order of the universe for anything parasitic to be this cute.

(from [personal profile] innerbrat who has way more interesting links than I'm willing to reblog)
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
A game which should be played. It is about everything but robots. (Mild-moderate trigger warning for Mike?)

Gotta catch 'em... both? (from Go Make Me A Sandwich)
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
So there's this Facebook meme where everyone's changing their profile picture to a cartoon from their childhoods.

GIS gave me this as well as this and this.

So that got me thinking...

So here's Matt spending his Saturday night overthinking a cheezy ploy to get young children to make their parents buy a lot of cheap plastic, purporting to be a television show. )

EDIT: And now, to make up for that massive nerd-out, here's some dinosaur animation that is not embarrassing to re-watch as an adult:
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
"Anyway, we talked about vitally important things that need not concern your decent hard-working little head. Suffice to say we are extremely clever and the things we do are so breath-takingly important that we have to keep them a secret or someone with a codename will be strangled by a man in a turban.

"Do not argue with me, for I am Sir Malcolm Rifkind."
The most sympathetic thing about the "fathers' rights" "movement" I've read that didn't come from it.

(For what it's worth, I think the family law in the jurisdiction I practise in is quite good, with a few quirks in the income tax scheme, and it's mostly just waiting for the culture to catch up.)

(Making new tag: [personal: matt is dumb: many stories])

A simple example of how scientific knowledge can be tainted by how it's framed by surrounding institutional facts: there've been a few studies that say that there's a part of the brain that's similar in het men and gay women, and similar in gay men and het women. Often this is framed as a gay man's brain being "feminized". Why not just say that that part of the brain governs what gender we're attracted to?

And while thinking about the whole legal awkwardness around custody and access being theoretically the rights of the child and not either parent, while looking up that old Screwtape quote about "my" whatever I end up finding this which is curiously timely when I've just had to deal with several properties in a row with long litanies of unremovable charges on them. (At the very least, it wouldn't exactly be "helping" the client to remove them.)

At which point I stay in the office for about half an hour longer than I should have, reading the following:

Stuff White People Like is bad because it pushes us towards that latter possibility and encourages racialism. The white identity that emerges from the website is more or less an educated, emasculated, liberal yuppie. The fact that this does not describe most white people is not a problem, as a commenter on the website demonstrates. After all, black stereotypes may not describe most black people, but a young black man is still expected to “act black.” Of course, Stuff White People Like alone does not have the power to propel us anywhere (despite its unfortunate popularity), and I doubt the stereotype that emerges of white people came as a surprise even to readers unfamiliar with the website, a sign that it is already taking hold somewhat in our collective consciousness. But there is no doubt that Stuff White People Like is not helping.
I just thought they were annoying, really.

The punchline of this little anecdote is that we owe veterans a debt that can never be repaid—now not only did they defend our freedom, they in fact gave us our freedom in the first place, and it is no stretch to infer that they (or their self-righteous representative Martha Cothren) can take it away whenever they want to teach us a lesson about gratitude.

We hear this idea all the time, but rarely do we note its basic incompatibility with the values of the Enlightenment, modern conservatism, and, yes, our own Constitution. Freedom is not given by one man to another, or by a group to another group; freedom is a—the—basic human right. Entire ethical systems have been constructed around the premise that “wrong” is that which restricts freedom. If we must be grateful to veterans for our freedom, veterans are truly elevated to a spot rarely held by anyone other than God.
Jesus Anty-Christ!

In other news, this is a puppy.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)

In other news, nothing quite like stumbling across this picture while listening to this song.

In the unpredictable intermittent breaks from being tempted to set "See You In Black" as my ringtone and deliberately maximize my own chances of being interrupted by incoming calls while negotiating with husbands' lawyers, I have slowly begun dying my brain to death in tiny, barely noticeable bursts.

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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