Wednesday 15 Oct 2008
Our next President: Barack Obama.
Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
And I have to wonder: are you an expert, privy to special information that justifies your opinion? Or are you just placing your trust in different sources? Do they deserve that trust?
— traveler_ on reddit
Questions we should all ask anytime we find ourselves believing anything controversial.
Your April Fool’s Joke Sucks: wise words from Anil Dash.
The only truly funny April Fool’s joke I saw today was that a company is planning a Bob Ross video game. It turns out it isn’t a joke. (It’s being planned for the PC and Nintendo’s DS and Revolution systems.)
The “War on Christmas” has been won. (Flash)
A unicorn is just a more violent form of horse.
With all the King Kong hoopla of late, I think a good movie would be one with a similar premise but starring an abnormally large computer panda bear instead of an abnormally large computer gorilla.
They could call it “Really Giant Panda”.
Remember what the doormouse said:
“Feed your Head
Feed your Head!”
— Jefferson Airplane, “White Rabbit”
One of the best things about using Wikipedia is stumbling upon pages of lists.
Sometimes they’re of things you’d have never thought to list. Such as “List of films by gory death scene”.
Ever needed a list of movies containing scenes of “Death from slicing by such a sharp object, that it takes some moments for victim to fall apart”?
The idea of teaching this in science class in a public school is astonishing to me.
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
[For this post, all links open in new windows.]
Look at graphs of the intensities of several light sources—LEDs, flourescent and incandescent light bulbs, sunlight—across the spectrum. (400 nm is around where violet begins to be visible to humans, 600 nm is orange, 800 nm is about where red stops being visible.) Consider how the differences between the shapes of the graphs correspond to your imaginations of the differences in appearance of an object under those different types of lights.
“Color stubs” at Wikipedia. Read the name of a color. Try to imagine that color, then click the link for that color’s entry. Consider how the color you see compares to how you had envisioned it. (Different experiences will be had with differently calibrated displays; for best experience, calibrate first.)
Consider that it is likely that some very small set of humans are “tetrachromats”—their eyes have four distinct types of cone cells, each type of which responds more strongly to particular wavelengths of radiation. The vast majority of people have only three types of these cells. Consider that no extra brain mechanism is thought to be needed simultaneously with the occurrence of the extra type of cone cells for the processing and integration of the extra sensory data from those cells to occur. Consider what the implications of this might be for the relationships between our sense organs and our experiences of sensations. Read about “qualia”.
Consider what it is like to be a bat. Consider what it is like to be a dog. Consider what it is like to be a computer… or whether attempting to consider such a thing is even rational. If not, why not? Can the rationality possibly change in the future if computers and the software that runs on them continue to become increasingly powerful?
Consider why you were born “as you” rather than as someone else. Is that question rational?