jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
So I just read an article from #MetroNewsCanada. Here's a quote:
Since it’s release in the U.S. and Australia last week, hundreds of Calgarians have found a work-around (that we can’t legally explain here) to download the mobile app and begin hunting in popular areas like Kensington or the Bow River.
Wait... what? They can't legally explain it? What exactly is the relevant law here? Was it the Nintendo Media Non-Disclosure Act of 2015 (aka the Gotta-hide-'em-all act)?

I get that they might not want to publish a technical how-to for assorted reasons (it's likely long, dry, and not pertinent to most of their readers), but why are they blaming the legal system?

IANAL, but I'm pretty sure I can describe illegal things in public. That includes such facts as "breaking someone's windshield with a sledgehammer is vandalism", without people misinterpreting my level of detail as instructions. There might be a few exceptions - court-ordered publication bans for example, but I'm pretty sure Nintendo's terms of service don't qualify.

Maybe - maybe - you could argue that Metro News was under some kind of contract not to release the information (in which case, they need better lawyers), but then they say this in the last paragraph:
"The game isn’t officially out in Canada yet, but there are plans to roll it out eventually. Until then, players are going online to find a work-around at get the game."
Ok, got it - if you want to play the game, go online and ask how. Thanks for the explanation that you're not legally allowed to give.

Murder is illegal. Somebody violating the terms of service of a video game by using a proxy server to download it (I imagine - haven't checked) is also illegal, technically. I wish we had a term to differentiate between those extremes. I guess we have summary conviction offenses (roughly what an American would call a misdemeanor) here, but even that seems harsh compared to this level of "crime". Is there a term even more damp and milquetoast? Maybe the Latin phrase for "you've got to be kidding me".

I'm really curious what prompted them to write that disclaimer.

As to Pokémon GO, not me thing. But hey, if it sounds like fun, have at 'er. Just watch you don't get hit by a car, and be mindful that there are people around you not playing the game.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
Some time ago, I finally figured out the conservative definition of "liberty." For years I had no idea what they meant by it, because they usually used it in the same breath as they advocated denying someone life or a reasonable expectation of participation in society. Then one night, during a long, long discussion with a right-libertarian, I finally understood. While I define liberty as the right to life and societal participation, when we strip things down to the bones, conservative thought defines liberty as the right to control and retain ownership of property.

It is when these two definitions of liberty come into conflict that we get the biggest liberal vs conservative clashes. Slavery is the most irreducible example of this - conservatives were fighting to not be deprived of their property, while liberals were arguing that the right of the human being to live and participate in society overruled the property thing. Jim Crow is only one step removed from that - conservatives argue that the right of property owners to do whatever they want with their property trumps the right of other people to live and participate in society. Modern conservatives argue that the wealthy should have the right to prevent the poor from having access to voting, and call that liberty... because their definition of liberty prioritizes property rights over human rights.

This has helped me understand a lot of things I previously thought were just insane or stupid. The most conservative conservatives believe that the oligarchy their policies seek to bring about is the apotheosis of liberty... a world where the property owners have absolute control, and almost all of the country is private property. To them, that isn't a bug, it's a feature. A property owner having tyranny over anyone who lives or works on the property he owns is "liberty." If one of his "subjects" doesn't like it, they have the right to go find another property owner to control them, or they can attempt to buy their own property... if they were lucky enough to have a previous property owner who payed them well enough to allow them to do so, of course.
An interesting observation on a Making Light open thread by Leah Miller. It's comment 617, and has subsequently spawned a big sub-thread I've barely touched. But I wanted to share.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
Two quotes that I've been thinking about recently:
“I have a friend who's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. Then he says "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing," and I think that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.” - Richard Feynman
As an aside, I actually know someone like that. She occasionally make cutting remarks about how she's an artist, so is somehow morally superior to me, since I basically write logic all day. Obviously I disagree with her - not that I think I'm better than her, but that I don't think she's any better than me. Thankfully she's not like that all the time, so I generally get along with her.

Next quote is from Terry Pratchett's Hogfather:
“All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

"They're not the same at all!"

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"

MY POINT EXACTLY.”
I think truth and the search for knowledge are important, but in the end that knowledge is there to serve us, to make a world we want out of the world we've been dealt. We can't play the cards right if we don't know what they are.
jamesq: (Groucho)
I'm not a big fashion guy. I have neither the eye for it, nor the body for displaying it. As with most things, that doesn't stop me from having an opinion on it.

I do, however, enjoy dressing up. That's one of the appeals the SCA has for me (even though my garb ranges between inauthentic-scottish to generic-sca-t-tunics). If I had the talent for making costumes, I'd be right into cosplay. I bought a nice suit primarily so I can wear it to the theatre. I certainly didn't have to - most people don't dress up for the theatre anymore. I raised [livejournal.com profile] somejauntypolka's eyebrows when I declared that I needed at least a dress shirt for seeing Xanadu. Apparently Vancouver dresses up even less than Calgary does for these sorts of things.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to someone ([livejournal.com profile] somejauntypolka? [livejournal.com profile] othelianna?) about fashion, cosplay and steampunk. I suggested that cosplay trends are now hitting mainstream fashion. They're toned down in some ways and refined in others, but the influence is there. I predicted that we were going to be seeing Victorian-style outfits coming back, with lots of brass accessories. Not obviously steampunk, unless you're familiar with it, but the influence will be obvious.

Given the timing of Prada's latest offerings, my "prediction" actually comes after the fact.

This is definitely some Victorian-via-steampunk inspired stuff:



Oh to be rich and good-looking, I would happily wear most of that stuff. Hell, good-looking is optional: Willem Dafoe is one of the models and he rocks that stuff. Sadly, even if I did lose the additional forty pounds it would take for me to fit that stuff properly, it's still not built for my frame (not one of those guys have shoulders as wide as mine).

Still, it is proof that menswear doesn't have to suck. Greta Christina has a good article on why it largely does suck though and I agree with a lot of it. Let us say that it mostly sucks because men are hidebound into traditional gender roles, but we don't have to be.

Now to find a seamstress who can make me a cheap knock-off of some of this stuff. I really would like a nice steampunk costume, and Prada is as good a place to start as any.
jamesq: (Lyle's Constant)
Alternate Title: Yet More Things That Women Just Know That I Didn't Have a Clue About

I've sometimes asked my female friends what the sizes in women's clothing mean. i.e. what is a size 10, and what is the unit for ten such that a size 10 has ten of them?

Men's sizes are more straight forward - my pants are currently a 38/34. Meaning the waist is 38 inches around and the legs are 34 inches long. Men's pants are often in "relaxed", "regular" and "slim" fit, which seems to be a measure of how baggy they are. Given the same waist circumference and leg length, they can still range from "zoot suit" to "emo", but generally the main two numbers are still measuring something a tailor would recognize and correspond to on a tape measure. I have encountered vanity sizing for men's wear, but not often. 90% of the time, I can simply grab clothing off the rack and buy it knowing that it will fit correctly. No woman I know would do that unless they were very confident in the manufacturer, or buying a second piece of something they already knew fit.

Explanations for how sizing work are often vague and include equal amounts of guessing and exasperated sighs. The collected wisdom of the women I asked boiled down to this:
  • Sizes are statistical averages.
  • They vary by manufacturer.
  • There is a high degree of vanity sizing in the system since there is nothing regulating what the sizes mean.
Complicating things is the simple truth that if you try to combine four numbers (bust, waist, hips, height) into one number (size), it's going to lose significance. In terms of computers, this is a form of lossy compression.

Then I discovered that a hacker in the UK decided to actually enumerate all the data and visualize it! She comes to several interesting conclusions, which I'm not going to repeat here. Go check it out, it's fascinating stuff.
jamesq: (Default)
A libertarian tried to educate the good people over at Slacktivist. That led to the following exchange I wanted to share:
Ron paul is the 21st century candidate, the others are still living in the 80's and 90's. that style is over. it may go one for a while longer but it's done. Why are we sending 33% of our paycheck to washington so they can subsidize corn and start wars in counties none of us will ever likely visit?
Because I like living in a fucking civilization instead of being a bondsman of the local fief.

Because I don't care to owe my soul to the company store.

Because I have a fucking job that takes up a sizeable chunk of my time, so I don't really have enough left over to research every product I buy to make sure that the meat is made of actual meat and the milk is made of actual milk and the peanut butter contains only a modest amount of insect parts.

Because I have a chronic medical condition and when I ask "How much do my pills cost," there is no reason on earth that a completely free market wouldn't answer "Well, how much is your life worth to you?"

Because I successfully completed 10th grade history, and therefore know that without the civil rights act, the only reason african-americans would not still be sitting in the back of buses is that there would be no buses.

Because I think buses provide a useful service.

Because there are many women I care about, and I think it's nice that they have legal recourse when their boss decides that his position entitles him to the occasional grope.

Because I can do basic math, and know that if I had to separately pay for my roads, my schools, my fire protection, my police protection, to have my air cleaned enough to be able to breathe, to verify the safety of the food, drugs, and products I buy, to lay sidewalks where I might like to walk, to have my trash hauled away, if I had to pay private companies for all those things, it would cost pretty much every dime I make.

So I'll happily pay 33%. Because I'm not a fucking moron.
Source is a very long thread.
jamesq: (Default)
Let's pretend for a moment that I was a professional illusionist. I have a trick I want to show you that involves my garage.
"Behold," I say, "inside my garage is a green Ferrari."
I open the door and my garage is sadly empty.
"Hmm. I must have messed up something - let me try again. Abracadabra - a red Ferrari."
On closer inspection there does appear to be stuff in my garage. Camping gear mostly, some junk, but definitely no vehicles.
"Green and red didn't work. I guess it must be blue. Alakazam, feast your eyes on my blue Ferrari."
My garage remains devoid of sports cars.
"A yellow MG?"
Nothing.

Now how long would this charade have to continue before you concluded that the problem wasn't the colour it was that the trick didn't work at all? And also that I was a piss-poor illusionist.

In unrelated news, the end of the world has been rescheduled for October 21st.
jamesq: (genius)
Holy crap - my house is on Failblog!


Check out the comments they're evenly divided between "bad assumptions" and "that's some funny shit".

In case you're curious, it was a deliberate attempt to be funny, though I might rip the gate down if it gets in my way while mowing the lawn. Of course, my master plan is to have [livejournal.com profile] nosarious do the yard work this summer. If he's the one who submitted the photo, it'll be his just desserts.

Here's an entry from about 5-6 years ago showing the fence intact.
jamesq: (Jabba)
A study of the old Weight Watchers program and the newer Points Plus system suggests that there is no difference between the two. What the points represent doesn't matter as long as people track them and the numbers correspond to healthy portions for the day.

Which goes into my theory that Weight Watchers is more successful than most diet plans because it promotes healthy eating, tracking/portion control and cognitive therapy techniques; not because the math is better.

The post above does point out in an oblique way that the new system may be psychologically better (Fruits and most non-starchy vegetables are now free), but there is no intrinsic advantage to tracking carbs/protein/fat vs tracking calories/fat.

Meanwhile it continues to work for me based mostly on the fact that I can use my phone to track now. I always have my phone on me so I haven't missed tracking a day in over a month now. I haven't been this diligent since the first time I joined (and lost 60 pounds).
jamesq: (Default)
They caught the Bellagio Bandit that I talked about back here. The biggest thing I got wrong in my analysis? I asserted that he was smarter then average, but thought he was smarter. I only got the second half of that right - turns out he's actually about as sharp as a sack of wet mice.
On Dec. 11, Carleo allegedly told the [poker] dealer he needed quick money and said, "Man, how easy would it be to rob a casino?"

The dealer told police Carleo dismissed the notion that it would be difficult, allegedly saying, "All you need is a black mask and a motorcycle, and I have a motorcycle."
Later, after the robbery, he went on a gambling spree at the Bellagio, proceeded to cash a bunch of those chips (any cash transaction over $10K in the states is tracked) despite having no means of income, and blabbed about it to people in person and on the net.
During subsequent talks on the phone and more e-mails — from cranberrykid25@yahoo.com, a reference to the color of the $25,000 chips, and signed "Biker Bandit" — Brooks told Bellagio investigators the subject allegedly confessed to the Bellagio robbery.
Source.

And to top it all off? The kid is the son of a Las Vegas Municipal Judge and allegedly owed $250K to the mob.

Clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
jamesq: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] lihan161051 and TED

It's 20 minutes long, but well worth a look. tl;dr version: You need to allow yourself to be vulnerable to achieve happiness.

I had a big damn post partially written about this, but I find my thoughts are in too much of a jumble to make the post coherent no matter how much I hammer at the edges. So I'll just leave the Powerpoint version:
  • I fail at every item on her checklist for success.
  • While I believe intellectually that she's right, my every instinct screams not to do it.
  • That being said, I have no idea how to begin - even if I could stomp the demons into submission.
Until such a time as I achieve a spine, I'll stick with plan-A: Fix my physical shortcomings and trust that some success in that venue will translate to better romantic success and/or general confidence.

Keeping this from triggering an incident is taking a lot of mental effort. I'll be happy when Valentine's Day is past.
jamesq: (Default)
For dealing with depression:
* find one beautiful thing, however small, and pay close attention to it
* promise yourself that everything will be easier to face in the morning, and clear the way to going to bed as soon as possible
* remind yourself of a past success, and tell yourself if you did that you can do the next thing on your agenda
* break big challenges into small steps, do one or two of the small steps, then give yourself credit for "starting on the big thing"
* stagger your big-thing struggles so that you've got different ones finishing at different times; success at one will give you momentum for one you're partway through
* try to eat right, sleep enough, get exercise, get daylight
Source.

Thankfully not depressed right now, but it's been skulking around the corners of my mind of late. I blame lack of exercise. Normal coping strategies have been effective thus far. Still, I read the above and thought "Good advice".
jamesq: (Groucho)
Someday I will find a girl who will love these Valentine's Day cards as much as I do.

Behind the cut, just because... )
jamesq: (Default)
Found a funny bit of chat while looking up a Jeff quote I used on FB yesterday. I thought I should share it:
massacre: Rosti, can I ask you something as a close friend?
Rosti_LFC: you could ask me something as a complete stranger, but go ahead
massacre: Do you reckon Emma would go out with me if I asked her?
Rosti_LFC: errr....
Rosti_LFC: ask her yourself?
massacre: no fucking way until I get a second opinion
Daz: dude she's in the channel
massacre: no she isn't
Rosti_LFC: yeah she is mate, look up
Rosti_LFC: she got op'd yesterday
massacre: fuck
massacre: PLAN B
massacre: spam the channel
massacre: with text
massacre: so it goes
Audia: hi
massacre: off her scrollback
Rosti_LFC: ahaha
massacre: FUCK
* massacre has quit (PLAN C!!!)
Audia: I'm going to go install Windows 7 right now
Audia: so I'll be offline for a bit
Audia: if he gets the balls to come back in here in the meantime tell him the answer is yes
Rosti_LFC: rofl
* Audia has quit (QUIT)
Rosti_LFC: that was some hardcore nerd courtship ritual right there
Daz: Oh man, I wish I could fuck up asking a girl out that badly and still succeed
Beware, the source is the infamous TV Tropes.
jamesq: (Default)


My fear is that a Malthusian collapse will break this trend. I hope not.
jamesq: (Default)
This line stood out for me:
is that engine held on with duct tape?

Wow! Tape really can do anything! Right now, it's making us crap our pants!
From the boys at Cracked.

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