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: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
When one undertakes to examine Scripture in an idle, intellectual way, he creates hatred and quarrelling. Why? Because the intellectual approach to Scripture does not help us turn and reflect on our sins, but instead makes us focus on problems and concepts related to the study of Scripture – as a result our logical and intellectual faculties are aroused to no real purpose. “Knowledge” by itself adds nothing. On the contrary, it encourages the cultivation of the individual and his private sense of things; it fosters the self-sufficiency of his own personal opinions, which he then seeks to justify and impose on others. This kind of approach to Scripture immediately places you in conflict with others; it opposes your will and opinion to theirs, prompting you to disagree and argue with them, and to make enemies of your brothers. Filled as I am with my own opinions about things, I am not able to receive anything from God.

[…]It’s one thing to read Scripture because you want to collect information, and another thing to read it because you want to acquire its true content, that is, the Holy Spirit. This kind of knowledge is the life of God (cf. Jn 17:3), the entry and extension of God into our life; it is God’s descent and dwelling among us. We can judge whether or not our study of Scripture is authentic based on the number of tears we shed when we study. To be sure, I can also read Scripture without shedding tears, and without a strong sense of my sins, but with the hope that God’s grace, through my reading of Scripture, will break open my hardened heart. Read Scripture, then, but don’t forget about your sins and reduce Scripture to an object of intellectual inquiry, for at that point it ceases being the word of God and you start seeing it as something human. The criterion for your study should be this: the way you read the Bible should bring peace to your heart, communion with God, love of neighbors, and the consciousness of your own sinfulness: the recognition of how unworthy and ill-prepared you are to stand before God.
Elder Aimilianos, On Abba Isaiah


Bonus link: The Star by Arthur C. Clarke.

At first I thought it was a refutation, then a hypothetical refutation, a what-if. Then a story, if the ramifications are read backwards from what is implied (and there is no inherent reason in the facts presented to go in either particular order), of redemption. On further contemplation I feel this to be nothing less than an icon of the Cross.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
I take back certain things I may have said about Ground Branch a while back. actually coming along quite nicely given what is trying to be done.

On panopticons and when terrorists win.

Here, have some more imaginary evil.

...


Dumped by phone call. Asked if I still wanted to go visit her friend with her as we originally planned. Struck me as less than ideally unawkward.

Over the year I'd thought of her as a lifeline, or more aptly a possible final straw that would tip the balance.

Timed something wrong and was not listening to loud music through earbuds while Joel Osteen was on in the other room. He spoke of Zacchaeus, and I was reminded, and became at peace.

Then I called.

She wasn't angry at me. There wasn't hate in her voice. I could have kissed her for that alone, but obviously this was not the time for various reasons.

There was an Interruption, and now I'm posting this pending her return call if she makes it. If not, then some other day.


And now I wonder whether this would get me working on NML again by the end of tonight.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
So I'm looking at the expanded view of this and the crazy depressio part of my brain mumbles something about it all drifting apart and ending and even if we all got there it would fry us into plasma anyway. Then somehow I just let that thought continue, that it's all supposed to end that way and the point is to work out what becomes of us in the meantime, and for a brief moment all was forgiven - all, even the completely unrelated stuff. (Even the fact that re: plasma, it is just as true that if you jumped off the Grand Canyon you might hurt yourself.)

I've added it to my wallpapers.


Also, why simply virtualizing the entire machine is a bad idea and the requisite hardware remains a necessity.


And then I leave this open until morning, thinking there must have been some major thing I missed. It seems the complete lack of need for such a step was the thing missed this time.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
In the beginning of our people's story there was the World, in all its shapes and sizes and layers and forms, and it is the World that is the source of all life and happiness.

The World was created by He-Who-Provides, the great Father to all living things. Through His omnipotent grace He builds layer upon layer over the World, creating food and living-space for our people as we live and have children and die content. He rules over us with a usually gentle but careful hand, and though occasionally a disobedient or greedy tribe is eliminated by His command, the World remains bright and happy for those who live within.

But our people also speak darker legends than this. )
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying by the guy who gave you the Monkeysphere article.
So "anyone can get rich" isn't just untrue, it's insultingly untrue. You can't have a society where everyone is an investment banker. And you can't have a society where you pay six figures to every good policeman, nurse, firefighter, schoolteacher, carpenter, electrician and all of the other ten thousand professions that civilization needs to survive (and that rich people need in order to stay rich).

It's like setting a jar of moonshine on the floor of a boxcar full of 10 hobos and saying, "Now fight for it!" Sure, in the bloody aftermath you can say to each of the losers, "Hey, you could have had it if you'd fought harder!" and that's true on an individual level. But not collectively -- you knew goddamned well that nine hobos weren't getting any hooch that night. So why are you acting like it's their fault that only one of them is drunk?

...

You're intentionally conflating "anyone can have the moonshine" with "everyone can have it." And you are doing it because you're hoping that we will all be too busy fighting each other to ask why there was only one jar.

And on that note about manipulating those you believe to be your lessers for your own aesthetic satisfaction, here's some microbe art.

(h/t as to both: [personal profile] conuly)


On designing artificial limbs. I like this presentation a lot, for various reasons.

Related: dynamic wearable cat ears. Perhaps a bit more nuanced demo is with live passerby. And a demo in JapanExpo in Paris.


Here's a robot recognizing itself in the mirror. And the same robot recognizing a not-itself not in the mirror. More info here.

The following commentary is fragmented, disorganized late-night fuckery and may be safely disconsidered.

The way this is talked about I'm reminded of an earlier thought I had this week about parenting (and atheism). It occurred to me just how huge a responsibility it is, if humanity is the measure of value in the world, when at once the mere fact of bringing that child in the world you are creating value by creating that which values (with the tradeoff that you've just increased the value of yourself), and everything that child learns contributes quite directly to the nature of human value in this world.

We are nowhere near being able to do this by coding an AI. But I do not see theoretically why we will never get there - and by "there" I mean, at least for the first couple hundred years, something far more primitive than the dullest human mind.

Should we trust ourselves and each other with the power to create minds that attribute value to ourselves? What would that - the mere power as well as actual abuse - actually do, both practically and philosophically? How would the industrialization of such abuse compare with, say, anything we're doing right now besides scale?

Right now it takes about umpteen thousand man-hours of variously skilled and unskilled labour of hundreds of people spanning a period between ten and twenty years, depending on some very exact and arbitrary circumstances of the original unskilled labour to get thing started, to build a generally applicable full-featured problem-solving machine. If we can shorten this process, cut out some of the middlemen, streamline the methods at the expense of mere procedure, make it more results-oriented, make it more efficient for a truly modern economy...

(side note: "R2"-ro. There, now you can't unhear it either, you're welcome.)

Meanwhile, I am also reminded of a snippet of some sermon I oveheard while the TV was left on a Christian station. Something about humanity being a social animal as confirmed by some scientists studying apes and other mammals, the implicit rationale being we must follow similar mechanisms as we are also made by God. I find this sentiment impossible to fit in good faith into any of the usual Internet Arguments on the matter.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard, of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Be a tree. Be a happy tree.

On the evolution of signifiers. (The signified being assumed to have already been there)

This has just beat out Strife! as my favourte Homestuck album ever.

Heard this on the drive home. Lightning struck just as 4:27 came on. While driving home from dropping off the girl I'm seeing... after I told her about this. (The lightning literally began right after I dropped her off...)

EDIT: For want of a better place to put this. Or this.


Locked because things involving relationships should always be locked for at least a year. [2015-06-22: I don't and then I'm interrupted by a reminder of who this was. Welp. No need to worry.]
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
"In the year or so I've had one girlfriend and a half, been in two(?) affairs, had a girl break off contact with me because she couldn't bear to risk her current boyfriend. When I said I'd wait for you, that hardly meant I'd just be passively lingering around, dear God no, I just meant I wouldn't be horrified if you came back again."

And now back to rewriting these encumbrance rules.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
Why go to Wal-mart when I can go somewhere else where the cashiers actually know the fine art of small talk?
So asked The Tiny Ouroboros rhetorically.

Rhetorical questions, of course, deserve answers. I'll adapt my comment to a hopefully less shittily thought out post here.

blah fuckin' blah )
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.)
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
oh my god this game

Best played in a dark room with headphones little else to do. Contains no sudden screamer shit.

(Rather vital playing tips: When you see text move onto a spot on the screen, click on it immediately. "Scan" EVERYTHING at least once.)
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
[2011.05.09 EDIT for typoes and holy crap did I just accidentally a whole analogy there]

I'm going to have to make a disclaimer for the following link. When someone has a thing in their personality and someone finds a piece of their brain that is different and therefore may be causally connected, that says nothing to the effect that this personality thing is a more fundamental part of their "nature" or whatever. It is merely an attempt to find some kind of underlying mechanism for it, no less than wondering whether Bob from accounting is walking funny because of the Olestra incident or because of the stomach flu going around.

With that said:
A study at University College London in the UK has found that conservatives' brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other "primitive" emotions. At the same time, conservatives' brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate -- the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism.
With that said, from the description in the (badly twisted) Telegraph article linked therein, the entire study may be fatally flawed. :V

But it does mesh very well with my own subjective feeling of what's happening when I hold on to various ideas on either end of the spectrum.


A thing to remember about your unemployed friends. I've been in both positions, as the get-a-job-nagger and the get-a-job-naggee, and I should know that feeling well. Maslow's hierarchy ought to explain it enough, I think, but compared to the actual feeling it is grossly insufficient in its level of abstraction.
A lot of people seem to think it’s as easy as working your butt off and striving for something better. I can tell you from personal experience, it’s not that easy. You have no hope, so why even try? And yes, it does hurt to try. Every ignored application is another reason to just end it all. It hurts. It kills you. It just furthers your belief that you’re a worthless pile of shit that doesn’t even deserve looking at. And of course, everyone tries to help. “Call them up, you have to follow up on the application.” “Send your transcript.” “Go over there and talk to the hiring manager.” It’s all snake-oil…none of it works. And it just makes you feel worse. And it runs up the phone bill. Don’t even get me started on transcripts.
For what it's worth, the only jobs I've ever gotten were based largely on who I already knew.


Which is why even the drafters of the American Constitution seriously contemplated a social safety net.


And now, Richard Dawkins reading his hate mail in a dramatic voice.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
[personal profile] steorra links to a thing about people, which should be read.

There's a money quote in there, but I think it works best if you don't know what it is until you've read the article and reached it. It is just before the heading "What’s the most important take-home message for readers?" if that helps any.

Am I being pessimistic in not believing that a thousand years from now it will be better, or that we're no better than a thousand years past? Am I desperately seeking hope when I'm tired so horribly tired of raging against the dying of the light? Am I merely fascinated at the parallels between their age and ours and half-assedly trying to develop a new historical narrative out of it? Am I about to become even more pessimistic when I take Brown's positive representation from a position of neutrality rather than traditional smug modernism, and begin to lament how things a thousand years later are actually so much worse? Am I about to become somewhat less pessmistic at the promise of the current coming chaos being supported, fueled and eventually forced into a new order through modern communciations, however fragile that infrastructure might be in the hands of capricious hundred-billionaire corporations that answer to the state only when the rich and connected threaten to take the money away?

Yes.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Day One: Ten things you want to say to ten different people right now.
Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight ways to win your heart.
Day Four: Seven things that cross your mind a lot.
Day Five: Six things you wish you’d never done.
Day Six: Five people who mean a lot (in no order whatsoever)
Day Seven: Four turn-offs.
Day Eight: Three turn-ons.
Day Nine: Two images that describe your life right now, and why.

Day Ten: One confession.
More of a sudden realization than something I've been holding back:

I'm one of those crazy angry rude customers that people who work in the service sector complain about.

I suppose now is as good a time as any other to consider why this is, while the memory of my thought processes is still fresh on my mind. Generally, by the time it occurs to me that I need to contact a human being to address a problem I've already exhausted all nonverbal avenues including (as applicable) the website, the voice-mail labyrinth the company sets up to deter people from contacting any actual person, and physically trying to fix the thing myself. By that point, my focus is entirely on my own problem while at the same time I've gotten simultaneously a) warmed up to cussing a blue streak into a faceless machine (which the telephone receiver also happens to be) and b) largely disconnected from the parts of my brain that let me interact with other members of my species without getting arrested or ostracized.

There is one bright side though: Since when stressed and angry I drop the usual habit of constantly second-guessing the other person's potential reaction to what I say, I'm less disfluent in actually articulating the nature of the problem.

I wonder which is worse, though: An angry rude client whose occasional problem is resolved quickly, or a happy polite one who is constantly calling about stupid crap.

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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