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: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
First, a fable:

And now some links.

Because sometimes, some things are just more right than others.

An even ambitiouser campaign against shitty game interfaces. The "Basic" ones, I think, I will make a condition for any payment of money for a video game to constitute a non-void contract; as for the "Advanced" ones...
> Provide a pingable sonar-style audio map
> Use distinct sound / music design for all objects and events
> Simulate binaural recording

holy crap imagine an FPS you could play without being able to see the screen. O_O

Things about money. (TW: Talking about money is inherently depressing.)

And a thing about how the colonizer will always be the colonizer.
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 little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
Hollywood movies generally do a horrendous job of portraying musicians plausibly. (One exception is Katharine Hepburn playing Clara Schumann in Song of Love.) In Gattaca the director has gone to the extreme lengths of picking a piece that requires large hands (Schubert’s Impromptu in G-flat) and then adding several notes to it, such that it could not be played by an ordinary hand. Not only are most audience members unaware of the extent to which the director has strived for authenticity, but even most pianists are unaware of the change, unless they have Schubert’s Impromptu completely memorized.

Slow day at work. Been thinking in circles all day, between periods of form-signing and reading this (which sparked my interest after seeing this protest a while back on my way to work in the office building just across the street from this development), about one "deceptively simple" question:

Do people have to be shaped like humans? Two arms, two legs, head up high, eyes straight ahead, all else is commentary?

Tried last night to come up with something else - came up with something kinda like a roadrunner with a Cthulhu face and a pair of arms that can hoist a thing onto its back to carry it. Real good at fine manipulations and bearing individual loads but I couldn't for a moment imagine two of them moving a bookshelf through a door - and you can't build anything big if you can't have two people taking it (or at least a reasonably large part of it) where it's needed.

Only non-human model I can think of that passes the bookshelf test is an ant, but you scale that up and fill it with books and their heads snap clean off. Anything big that carries things in its mouth, it's either small or dragged along.

The bird-feet thing seems like a popular variant in sci-fi but I've always wondered how much strain those could take.

Maybe there are plenty of speaking-people in the galaxy and we're one of the very few that pass the bookshelf test at all... in which case if anyone's building the hyperspace drive and initiating first contact it'd be us.

Then again... how'd that passage go about Ransom wondering how else he could've expected a boat to look?
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)
Artist wanted. For what I have seen to be a quite worthy cause.

In other news: it's "watch Matt clear out half the tabs he's left open in the browser" time again! I'm going to deliberately leave out anything that would normally catch the Helm's Deep* tag for my own sanity - the way things are now I'm sure everyone reading this has seen their share of the heads catapaulted into Minas Tirith already.

Time to slow down and sail on the river...

*(that said, speaking of Helm's Deep... which I have just read with this overlaid.)

Note that I list each tag only once in the descriptions below.

On a better empathy )
personal: matt is dumb: many stories, political: sex and gender stuff: manly!, pyxolytical: clothed ape

In which a man is more legitimately sure of his own humanity than most of us can dream )
linkdump: aural masturbation focus, linkdump: death by awesome, political: hoplophilia, pyxolytical: not a vegan, pyxolytical: is-ism

On the everyday life of our everyday lives. )
pyxolytical: evolution, pyxolytical: evolution: ants
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: A round squishy plush lobster bursts out of the blue. (cock lobster)
Do I generally approve of hooliganery? Not particuarly. But is this progress? Absofuckthelute yes.

Now I'm even more mixed about this. Who was filming? How were the actors in this sordid play all connected? There's got to be a catch.

I shall turn away from this distressing affair and enjoy that which is happy and pretty at face value.

That said, speaking of faces, a thing which is to be read, and which is about people.
The beauty of this work is not in the subject, but in the work itself. The sublime divinity that artists never could touch by rendering Christ or the saints or anybody else as a wax mannequin, unblemished by any earthly vulgarity, is warmly embraced when creating, as Lee says, "a beautiful picture out of an ugly man."

That’s all I have, but I just love Lee’s descriptions so much that I’m going to leave you with one more...
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
An interview with the heir of another recently late symbol of the zenith of American civilization.

A more cogent argument as to why Mary Sue characters suck balls. This and the comments (which need not be avoided) should be news to no one who's had me for a GM and paid any attention.

[personal profile] steorra partakes in the joy of binaries, in contrast to the "everything is a chaotic heterogenous mess and everything is pretty but kinda nasty" that those of us working in the muck of things like law or the biological sciences are used to. Or the linguistic sciences, come to think of it. :V

And now, because it goes with everything (and I lold):
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
"I've had it up to here with you lot!" screamed Brie Bristletail as she stormed out of the communual log, antennae waggling with indignity. "I'm running away to join the circus!"

Every day for eight days, post something that made you happy, and then tag someone.

Playing this to this.

Tagging [personal profile] helarxe since absent Fal on here he's the only one who comes close to appreciating this.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
This picture was at once hilarious and terrifying until I read the background. But still, considering the sheer volume of that food...

TV shows Republicans watch but not Democrats, and vice versa. On the glass-still-half-full side, both sides' lists seem generally politically innocuous after the first item.

(Speaking of that metaphor, congratulations for [personal profile] brainduster for solving that question rationally.)

Another blog for me to scour the archives of until my eyes bleed.
Of note:

  • A somewhat more lucid description of the first known primarily-plant-eating acacia spider. Here's a video of it in action - make sure you go fullscreen to really see what's going on.

    Like Deus Ex meets Pac-Man, all in full 3-D.

  • Not only that, it seems even parasitism can be an evolutionary pressure to make an organism "higher"-like. o_O fuck you nature stop messing around with my societally ingrained postcolonial hegemonic expectations

  • To get that horrible, uncomfortable, a little bit rude deconstruction out of all our minds, here's some females doing some housecleaning while raising their young.

  • There needs to be a video game based on this. EDIT: And this.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
Pratchett forges a sword of native star-metal, hides it deep within a secret lair to be kept until England meets its true hour of need cleans up its bassackwards knife laws.

For the longest time I never really thought much of V. Van Gogh. Then I saw this.

Nothing was spilled... but blood blood. (also if anyone can justify why CSS property names are so fucking arbitrary I will buy them an entire bottle of beer. Like, the kind that comes in big multi-portion bottles that you drink out of cups with tall handles on the bottom, I'd be that amazed.)

Spoiler behind cut )

Meanwhile, David Malki gives us a glimpse of the future where apparently I've got a kid.

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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