company of three, black peppermint tea

Tag: webcomics

mer du japon

by cloudier

brb; being a chrome extension junkie (for three days).

by cloudier

This article puts you in an asylum seeker’s shoes in a stunning way. Although we should definitely accept more refugees into our country, this shouldn’t be done without some planning. I guess the first priority of supporters is to change the public opinion that refugees should be turned away.

On 30 November the Attorney-General’s Department referred the matter relating to the publishing of United States (US) embassy cables containing classified information on the WikiLeaks website to the Australian Federal Police.

The AFP examined material relevant to potential Australian offences to determine whether an official investigation was warranted.

The AFP has completed its evaluation of the material available and has not established the existence of any criminal offences where Australia would have jurisdiction.

=D

Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

The thing I got out of this talk was the difference between the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere. Taylor likens the right hemisphere to a parallel processor and the left hemisphere to a serial processor: The right processes aspects of your environment simultaneously, for example sound, light and movement. The left makes you feel like an individual and is concerned with the past and future, for example it will remind you to pick up bananas on the way home. When Taylor recounts her stroke, she switches between personalities. Her stroke affected the left hemisphere, so she was constantly switching between her normal self and a very spiritual and holistic self.

I saw a variant on mrflip’s post title recently. It was in a discussion pointing out the massive proliferation of phrases such as ‘I, for one, welcome our new X overlords’ on the internet. (For those who don’t recognize, it is a Simpsons® quote). There are lots of phrases like this that people have tweaked and put on their weblogs or in the entertainment section of the newspaper. Examples include ‘X is the new black’ and ‘Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor not a X.’ Well, some language nerds decided to give the phenomenon a name: snowclone.

The first systematic study of the VT effect employed British sailors as subjects (Warren, 1961a). Stimuli were prepared by recording single vocal statements which were then spliced to form a loop of tape. Each loop was played back and rerecorded on a conventional reel to give a sitmulus which could be played for 3 minutes. […]

The subject listened to the repeated stimulus through headphones, tapping on the table and calling out what he heard as soon as he could […]

An example of one subject’s responses to […] TRESS, played loudly and clearly for 3 minutes is as follows (all responses listed in the order reported): “stress, dress, stress, dress, Jewish, Joyce, dress, Jewess, Jewish, dress, floris, florist, Joyce, dress, stress, dress, purse.”

If homosexuality is OK, why is incest wrong? Well, they are firstly very different types of issues. Homosexuality is entirely natural – for example, in Ancient Greek it was acceptable and it is rampant in the animal kingdom. Inbreeding has a high chance of producing unfit offspring (children who have disabilities), so incest is naturally prevented (through the Westermarck effect).

One point the article raises is that incest was banned because inbreeding produces unfit offspring. The article states that this can easily be circumvented through sterilisation (e.g. a vasectomy) or gay sex (which…doesn’t result in babies). Using this reason to ban incest is also unfair since there are other groups who have a significant chance of producing unfit offspring. Older women are allowed to have sex, even though they have a higher chance of producing children who suffer from Down Syndrome. Those who suffer from heritable diseases are also allowed to have sex, even though they may produce children who may also end up suffering from that disease. Even if you find incest icky, this doesn’t mean you’re allowed to raise double standards in a mostly unrelated issue. (Okay, so that’s assuming that you agree with current accepted views on eugenics. Sorry if you don’t.)

This article claims that incest should be banned because it confuses and potentially destroys family relationships. By this logic, alcoholism, gambling, high-commitment jobs and divorce should also be banned, because they can also confuse and destroy family relationships. Note how all of these can actually benefit those involved if used correctly – this includes incest. For example, alcohol can be consumed by healthy adults without those people becoming addicted to drinking. Similarly, two people related by blood can have healthy, consensual sex.

It is definitely true that in a relationship between a parent and child can easily become abusive, since while the child is dependent on the parent for survival the child is usually not emotionally and mentally equipped to deal with abusive relationships, especially one where the parent can easily blackmail the child. However, this shouldn’t stop adults who happen to be blood-related from having consensual sex especially since the issue is addressed in child sex abuse laws – it’s like saying, because homosexual relationships may be abusive, we should ban all homosexual relationships, whether or not they are abusive.

Also, that (via) link is one of the most interesting discussions on reddit I have read in a while.

Over the years, Russell had at least 14 known aliases. During his escapes he masqueraded as a judge, a physician, a police officer and a handyman, among others.

On May 21, 1993, Russell escaped from Harris County Jail in HoustonTexas, wearing civilian clothes he had obtained. Afterward he fabricated bogus credentials and obtained a job as CFO of North American Medical Management. He proceeded to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company. In 1995, his crimes were discovered, and Russell was imprisoned for insurance fraudand again placed in Harris County Jail, where he met future lover Phillip Morris.

In 1996, while in Harris County Jail (Texas), Russell impersonated a judge and ordered his own bond decreased from $900,000 to $45,000, which he paid, securing his own release. He was arrested ten days later in Florida, and was subsequently transported back to Texas. That same year he began participating in art classes provided by the prison. Each time he attended a session, he stole a greenMagic Marker and hid it under his bed. Eventually, he had enough markers to dye his white prison uniform green. Since all the medical professionals in the prison wore green uniforms, Russell was able to walk out of the prison disguised as a doctor.

In 1998, he was again at the Harris County Jail, serving a 45-year sentence for stealing $800,000 from North American Medical Management, that manages physicians’ finances, plus 20 years for the previous escape. He later managed to have Phillip Morris transferred to the Dallas County Jail and tried to have him released.

It was while in prison that Russell began to plot his most daring escape. In the prison library, Russell read extensively on HIV and AIDS. He began taking laxatives to mimic the symptoms of AIDS, and used a prison typewriter to forge a medical document stating that he suffered from the disease, and used it to convince doctors of his “condition” on February 24. He fooled the prison doctor into believing that a ‘special needs parole’ to a Houston hospital had been authorized on March 13. Once free, Russell posed as a doctor and informed the prison staff via telephone that Russell had died from AIDS.[2]

On March 20, 1998, Russell posed as a Virginia millionaire in an attempt to legitimise a $75,000 loan from NationsBank in Dallas. When bank officials became suspicious and alerted the police, Russell feigned a heart attack and was transported to a hospital. While in hospital, Russell was placed under guard by FBI agents. However, Russell managed to impersonate an FBI agent on hiscellular phone and convinced those guarding him to leave. He was then able to leave the hospital unimpeded.[2]

When traveling towards Fort Lauderdale he was detained by a state trooper for reckless driving. When back up arrived, Russell was able to impersonate the state trooper. Back up then fatally wounded the initial state trooper leaving Russel with a gun, badge, and cop car. He then used the police vehicle to cause noise disturbances in middle class neighborhoods at the middle of the night.

On April 5, 1998, Russell was again arrested in Fort Lauderdale while walking to his car. He was again shipped back to Texas and tried, receiving a 144-year prison sentence.[citation needed]

As of 2010 Russell, Texas Department of Criminal Justice# 00760259,[3][4] is located in the Michael Unit.[5] Due to cumulative crimes, his maximum sentence date is to July 12, 2140.[3]

obsequious

by cloudier

  1. attempting to win favor from influential people by flattery
  2. attentive in an ingratiating or servile manner

gravitas

by cloudier

n.

  1. Substance; weightiness: a frivolous biography that lacks the gravitas of its subject.
  2. A serious or dignified demeanor: “Our national father figure needs gravitas, [but] he’s pitched himself as the kid brother” (John Leo).

There are some good jokes in there, but most of them didn’t make me laugh out loud.

Somewhere inside Apple, there’s a guy who is receiving untold, nay, unspeakable pleasures by inflicting on the development community a kind of suffering that is as acute as it is pointless. That pain comes in the form of a series of hoops that one is forced to jump through in order to turn your phone into a development handset. There’s provisioning profiles, ad-hoc builds, certificates, and countless screens that I clicked through, not really caring what they did, because they brought me closer to being able to run my code on my phone. On Android, you check one option in preferences. That’s it.

Android’s downfall is the experience of the user – it’s not as reliable as the iPhone and on top of that, the interface doesn’t seem to be intuitive nor satisfyingly responsive (as in, there’s a lag between touching and dragging an element and that thing actually moving). For many consumers, this is frustrating.  Also, there are many excellent apps in the Apple App Store as well as the Android, making the difference between developing on each platform seem non-existent.

more places to find interesting links

I had an arterial problem for a couple of years, which reduced blood supply to my heart and brain and depleted B vitamins from my nerves (to keep the heart in good repair). Although there is some vagueness as to the mechanisms, this made me forgetful, slow, and easily overwhelmed. In short I felt like I was stupid compared to what I was used to, and I was.It was frightening at first because I knew something wasn’t right but didn’t know what, and very worrying for my career because I was simply not very good any more.

However, once I got used to it and resigned myself, it was great. Even though I knew I had a worrying illness, I was happy as a pig in mud. I no longer had the arrogance of being frustrated with slow people, I abandoned many projects which reduced a lot of stress, I could enjoy films without knowing what would happen (my nickname before this used to be ‘comic book guy’ if you get the reference), and I became amazingly laid back and happy go lucky. I got on with people much better. I developed much more respect for one of my friends in particular who I always considered slow – it turned out he is much deeper than I thought, I just never had the patience to notice before. You could say I had more time to look around. The world just made more sense. The only negative, apart from struggling to perform at work, and having to write everything down, was that I no longer found sci-fi interesting – it just didn’t seem important. (I’m not joking, although it sounds like a cliché.)

Eventually after more physical and life threatening symptoms developed I got the right tests and they found my arteries where blocked up (2 out of 3 of my main coronary arteries 100% blocked – they couldn’t work out why I was alive – it later turned out that I had unusually good peripheral circulation from my intense cycling). I’ve since had stents to open up the arteries again and made a full recovery.

After a year or so I am almost as ‘clever’ as I used to be, although I tend to ignore distractions more than I used to and focus on a smaller number of projects. I’m still more laid back than I used to be though, and have more patience with people. Most people still find me more socially competent. I also enjoy sci-fi again.

So an unusual perspective, from a fairly unusual circumstance, but that’s what it feels like to be be stupid when you used to be fairly bright. In some ways it was a great learning experience, although obviously in other ways it is a life changing fact I have to live with. Not many people get to walk about in other peoples shoes, and then pick up where they left off. Plus it’s obviously nice to still be alive.

In short I would say that the frustration of dealing with slower people is worse than being one of the slower people, even if you know you are slow. Obviously most people who are relatively slow, don’t know it, but I think I’ve glimpsed how they experience the world.