Tuesday, February 19, 2013

An Atheist's Glimpse of God

An Atheist's Glimpse of God

One of the benefits of working for a startup like C42 Engineering (where I help build rubymonk.com -- the name is a coincidence) is the broad range of... ... Read more

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Pair Ducking

A few times a month, I'll look up at one of my colleagues and say, "hey, got a sec? I need to talk to the duck," and they know this means I'm going to talk to their head but they can basically keep doing what they're doing and nod occasionally.

This serves several purposes:

(1) It's less insane-sounding than actually talking to an inanimate object in an open work environment.

(2) It actually feels better and forces me to think more clearly when I'm talking to an actual person -- the cognitive focus is higher when the object of conversation can actually, in theory, think and talk back (YMMV).

(3) And finally, although it does require some focus on the part of the other coder, it's not nearly as taxing to them as actually helping me solve the problem or pairing up with me.

So it's a good compromise somewhere between pair programming and talking to an actual rubber duck. Again, YMMV. Maybe I'll call it "Pair Ducking."

the web has almost caught up to...1997

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Differentiating porn from pandering

In most states, producers of adult entertainment face possible charges of "pandering," or paying persons to perform sexual acts (a charge ordinarily levied against "pimps" and other coordinators of prostitution services). But the California Supreme Court's decision in People v. Freeman (46 Cal. 3d 419 [1988]) held that a person does not commit pandering if the purpose of the payment is the production of a legal entertainment product rather than the sexual gratification of an actor or observer. A New York district court recently reached a similar result (People v. Paulino, 6687/04 [2005]), but the production of adult entertainment in other states continues to present significant legal risk.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Excel is Everywhere

"I've seen Excel used in amazing ways.

Yes, I've seen it used as a spreadsheet, to crunch numbers. I've also seen people sit down with a calculator and compute cell values themselves, blissfully unaware that the software could do it for them. Excel is a tool for lining up numbers.

We've all seen Excel CSV files used for reporting and data interchange because they're easy for programmers to generate. I've seen an application's configuration managed by tweaking a CSV file in Excel and uploading it to a server. Excel is a tool for separating labels from values.

I've had screenshots pasted into Excel and attached to an email. Excel is an ubiquitous file format.

I've received an entire application wireframed by the accounting department, with each screen drawn with filled-in ASCII-art columns on its own worksheet and every button hyperlinked to a worksheet showing the next application state.

That really threw me off when I saw it. But when I look back, I realize just how clever it was. Front-end developers are always praising grid-based design, aren't they? That's exactly what what Excel was being used for. Excel is the first layout grid many people encounter."


Tesla's robots uncover New York Times Journalist Jon Broder's deceit.

"Cruise control was never set to 54 mph as claimed in the article, nor did he limp along at 45 mph. Broder in fact drove at speeds from 65 mph to 81 mph for a majority of the trip and at an average cabin temperature setting of 72 F."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wikipedia: Xenu, the highlights

Within the Church of Scientology, the Xenu story is part of the church's secret "Advanced Technology",[7] considered a sacred and esoteric teaching,[11]and normally only revealed to members who have contributed large amounts of money.[12]


In 1988, the cost of learning these secrets from the Church of Scientology was £3,830, or US$6,500.[10][32] This is in addition to the cost of the prior courses which are necessary to be eligible for OT III, which is often well over US$100,000 (roughly£60,000).[14] Belief in Xenu and body thetans is a requirement for a Scientologist to progress further along the Bridge to Total Freedom.[33] Those who do not experience the benefits of the OT III course are expected to take it (and pay for it) again.[27]


The broad outlines of the story—that 75 million years ago a great catastrophe happened in this sector of the galaxy which caused profoundly negative effects for everyone since then—are publicly admitted to lower-level Scientologists. However, the details are kept strictly confidential, at least within Scientology.


The Church of Scientology forbade individuals from reading the OT III Xenu cosmogony without first having taken prerequisite courses.[35]Scientologists warn that reading the Xenu story without proper authorization could cause pneumonia.[35][36]


In a letter of the time to his wife Mary Sue,[42]Hubbard said that, in order to assist his research, he was drinking alcohol and taking stimulants and depressants ("I'm drinking lots of rum and popping pinks and greys").


Writing in the book Scientologypublished by Oxford University Press, contributor Mikael Rothstein observes that, "To my knowledge no real analysis of Scientology's Xenu myth has appeared in scholarly publications. The most sober and enlightening text about the Xenu myth is probably the article on Wikipedia (English version) and, even if brief, Andreas Grünschloss's piece on Scientology in Lewis (2000: 266–268)."[20] Rothstein places the Xenu text by L. Ron Hubbard within the context of a creation myth within the Scientology methodology, and characterizes it as "one of Scientology's more important religious narratives, the text that apparently constitutes the basic (sometimes implicit) mythology of the movement, theXenu myth, which is basically a story of the origin of man on Earth and the human condition."[20]Rothstein describes the phenomenon within a belief system inspired by science fiction, and notes that the "myth about Xenu, ... in the shape of a science fiction-inspired anthropogony,explains the basic Scientological claims about the human condition."[20]

LSD Thumbprint

On a normal large dose of LSD there is the high visual activity, sensory alteration, synesthesia, ego loss, etc, etc. On a thumbprint it feels like you completely short circuit your brain. All cognitive function stops. Like pouring water on a breaker panel it pops, then all connections and activity are fried. The cognitive filter is shut off and eternity is able to creep in. Obviously all brain activity doesn't stop because you keep breathing and your heart keeps pumping. The brain stem, hindbrain, medulla, pons and cerebellum are probably not affected. read on ...

Some Interesting Featured Articles from Wikipedia

Featured articles are considered to be the best articles Wikipedia has to offer, as determined by Wikipedia's editors. They are used by editors as examples for writing other articles. Before being listed here, articles are reviewed as featured article candidates for accuracy, neutrality, completeness, and style according to our featured article criteria. There are 3,800 featured articles out of 4,164,078 articles on the English Wikipedia. Thus, about one in 1,090 articles is listed here. Articles that no longer meet the criteria can be proposed for improvement or removal at featured article review.



Brown Dog Affair


Isaac Brock

CSI effect

Execution by elephant

1 - 2 + 3 - 4 + ...



1987 (What the Fuck Is Going on?)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Friday, February 08, 2013

what have you achieved today?

jeremy ashkenas created coffeescript, backbone.js, and underscore.js. Currently, he works at the NYT. He is 26 years old.
He designed coffeescript in, oh, about 10 days. It's now the 11th most popular language on github
and backbone? Well, these guys built their sites with backbone:
Groupon Now
LinkedIn Mobile
NewsBlur [5]
Pandora Radio
USA Today.com
I've spent days learning backbone. It's hard. I write coffeescript almost every day. It's awesome.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

the caffeine tree

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Sunday, February 03, 2013

A Brilliant Parody of DRM

This is all rather funny. I definitely recommend reading the comments on the ipwatchdog post 

A Brilliant Parody of DRM
Gene Quinn, the proprietor of the IP Watchdog website, has never struck me a thoughtful commentator on public policy issues. He tends to devote the bu... Read more

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Fermented tea in boy's lunchbox brews trouble at school


3d printed success kid time lapse


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Saturday, February 02, 2013

Men in High Heels

"One of the best ways that status can be conveyed is through impracticality"