September 26th, 2003

Semiformalishmaybe

Bad Wig Day

Topic has nothing to do with anything (and no, I don't wear a wig)..Tonight, at Coffee Tree, among other things, I implemented 80% ofthe code to leave comments in my BLOG from the web. Now, if you'relogged in, the reply button is live, and if not, it tells you thatyou need to log in to use it. Clicking on it takes you to a nicelyformatted reply screen, where you can type stuff in. And submitting..takes you to a screen that catches what you provide, and doesn't doanything with it. All I need to do to finish it is to write code tofilter out the HTML and other stuff people are likely to try to insert,and then write the code to toss it into the database. Yeah, it's maybe15 minutes more worth of work, but I'm at home now, and I'd rather makemyself a snack and some tea, and find something mindless to do or go tobed than program, for now. Perhaps I'll play final fantasy tactics fora bit, or do some pleasure reading. A package from Amazon I've been lookingforward to arrived today, along with my Pretty Good Race T-shirt. It'sfunny -- the shirt is recursive. If you see it, you'll know what I mean.Anyhow, the Amazon package is firstly a book that traces the relationshipbetween the German form of gothic script and german nationalism, and secondlya book by an autistic person describing their life. The second is actually formy psych class, for a mid-term paper, but, like my classes in general, itmight as well be pleasure reading or recreation. Heh.. that's how you knowyou're in the right field :) I tell you again, CMU is the best thing that'sever happened to me. Oh, a little tidbit from the script book from myglance at a page near the middle -- apparently it was actually Hitler thatkilled gothic script in germany during the third reich -- he dismissed itas being "Judenscript", and so it was swept away along with other things thateither had actual jewish connections or other things that were politicallyconvenient to connect to jewish culture to prepare for its purge. Fascinating.I didn't get the chance to poke my eyes at the other book yet.. but I lookforward to it.

There's a second beta of the latestand greatest redhat release out. But this represents a shift of directionfor redhat too. Oh, and be carefulwhen you write papers that they don't offend the powers that be.

Semiformalishmaybe

Playing chess in the dark

An interesting split of values -- business interests versus a certainconception of individual liberty. Another move in the game of chess..One game or many, depending on perspective. I hope they just chop the exceptionfor charitable groups -- I don't want the Salvation Army calling me any morethan I want RandomCorp calling me.

Yesterday, in Psych class, while covering perception, there was a short videowhere they demonstrated certain features of selective attention. It was reallyinteresting -- many trivial details of the film changed from shot to shot,and unless one looks specifically for the changes, they're not easily percieved.Imagine a film, where from shot to shot, each character is played by someonedifferent, but strongly resembling the previous actor. An analogy for politicson the larger scale, or perhaps even continuity of the illusion of self.

Yeah, yahoo's gone from gaim, and for the time being, I'm using the officialyahoo client for Unix. And, as I suspected all along, it really sucks. Not onlyis the window big, white, and ugly (a Tk app would be prettier, if you get mymeaning), but it also cares about my yahoo email account. Hell, I forgot thatI even had a yahoo email account, and this blasted little window pops up inthe corner of my screen (the main window being on another workspace) telling methat I have X new messages. Looking through the preferences, there isn't away to turn that off. Nice design, yahoovians. Hell, if there were an easyway to do so, I'd paypal some money to the gaim developers to get yahooworking again. And to those who are curious, I think it's different to donatemoney to get something you want to happen, and to support the IP system. Ibuy CDs and books, just like you, I just have no qualms about copying themor anything, should someone ever ask. I've been keeping an eye on the gaimIRC channel to see if/when there's news on the yahoo front.. Mhh.

Oh, turns out that I'm the one who made a mistake on the most recent homeworkfor philosophy class -- I was looking at the homework due next week, whichI stopped by the library yesterday to get the materials to do, and turned inat classtime. So, the homework actually due yesterday I didn't turn in. Oy,what a mess. How the heck did I misread the due dates for each assignment?I must have been to that page 5 or 6 times, working frantically on nextweek's homework, each time indexing by due date. Either the prof has beenmessing with it, or .. well, I just don't see how I could make that erroragain and again. I guess maybe the brain can be funny like that.

Yesterday was a good day for conversations. I first spoke with an ...acquaintance that I don't speak with too often, and although it wasn't along conversation, it did bring up some interesting things for me to chewon. Hopefully for them as well. Then, at Coffee Tree, I met up with aninteresting couple I sometimes see there, and we talked for about 2 hours.It was a bit odd though -- they fought a little bit, and I got profoundlyuncomfortable. It reminds me of another conversation I had a few days ago withan old friend I haven't physically seen for years, on the nature of friendshipand relationships. I've always been frightened by the fragility I percieve insuch things, and like some other social phonomena, I just don't see how theymanage to sustain themselves as much as they do. Oh, and then I saw two peoplewalk by that I know from Zets... one of them being the person I had seriousbeef with for how they treated another member of Zets in a relationship.Thinking about it, maybe I overestimated how much I should judge her --my judgement was based on information that was rather limited, on how shethinks about the whole thing, and so I really should back off and take await-and-see attitude again.

An old hornet that I thought I had driven off is back, and I must confess thatit has me stressed.

Oh, yes, I'm *so* sure you want to hear about some more news, eh?How about this?In summary, the Israeli military is dismissing some military folk who refuseto take part in some actions they consider unjust. Let's look at this apartfrom the actual actions, where my opinions are probably already sufficientlyclear. Should a military boot people who disobey orders because of moralconvictions? There are at least two lines of reasoning here. Thefirst is a concern for practicality -- a military where people are permittedto choose what they'll get involved in has less personell-efficiency, andrequires them, perhaps if the practice becomes widespread, to ask around forpeople willing to do X to get it done, rather than making a topdown decision.A second, that the milfolk are voluntarily making themselves less useful tothe military. A third, opposing, that not permitting such demeans the characterof the military, making it into an area where people are just machines, devoidof the capability of moral choice, either driving off the folk capable ofacting on their convictions (bad) or removing conviction from them (worse).I guess it really depends on how we view the military, what we considerimportant in it, and whether keeping good character of the milfolk is moreor less important than having high efficiency. I've made it sufficiently clearthat I dislike the military, from what I know of its structure. I think I likelysuggest that dissent be permitted, within certain bounds, with consequencesbeing present to discourage frivolous 'no's (pay differences or something else).But I'm not really certain on this. One thing I am sure of, though, is theattitude of "I'll do anything my country asks for, even if I think it's wrong"is one of the most disgusting personal philosophy positions I've heard outsideof some of those inspired by religion.

One of the things I love about CMU ... $4 lunch at the trucks. Tasty.Speaking of which, time to go partake!