Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

Helping the Angels Fall

Restaurant luck has been poor for the last few days -- yesterday I went with a friend to Pino's, the Mediterranean/Kosher place right by where I live, and after ordering, it took an incredibly long time for my food to arrive. Long after finishing off my meal, his meal showed up. Their food is always excellent, as it was that time -- the particular thing I got (veggie combo platter) may end up being one of my favourite things to go out and eat, but the service was awful. Afterwards, we went across the street to Roladdin's new location, which was also quite good (with much better service, including an extra gift pastry for both of us). Tonight, it happened again -- I went out to Aladdin's to have some Fatoosh (I appear to have regular cravings for it, meaning I should probably learn to make it), and the smoothie I ordered had negligible flavour, and while my waiter said he'd take it off the bill, it was still on when the bill arrived and I had to arrange to have it removed. It's not a big deal -- I'm pretty unflappable and super understanding when it comes to restaurants, but it's an amusing coincidence.

I am very happy to find out that another old DOS game I enjoyed, Master of Orion (and its sequels) has a group of fans who are working on giving us an opensource clone. FreeOrion appears to be more than a pipe dream -- it has downloadable binaries that already look pretty nice by the screenshots. Right now it's only Linux/Windows, but hopefully there'll be a Mac port at some point too.

I thought this article was kind of interesting, detailing some areas where, if the article is correct, there are some phonomena that current theories don't fit. I am somewhat skeptical aobut the article though, because its style is less scientific than I would like. It may be that New Scientist is one of those magazines like Popular Science that are designed for the extremely-lay person, available in most bookstores, which might explain it -- those sources often dumb things down and sensationalise them a bit to make them interesting to people. I think they're decent to get people interested in science, especially for middle to high-school readers, but as people achieve scientific maturity, they would probably be better off moving to more of a journal-summary source. Personally I like Science News, but I've grown to dislike the waste of paper and clutter involved in actually being subscribed to any paper magazine. I think there's something really cool about having all one's news soures (and as much of everything else) on a computer. Laptops still arn't great for casual reading, being too large, fragile, having too little battery life, and otherwise the wrong choice to take to a restaurant to read. I still envision a future where all the books of humanity, all the information one could want, will be available gratis to all humanity. We're not far from it.

On that topic, I've been cleaning my apartment, partly because I want to, and partly because I should in order to have less to do as my Ceilidh comes closer (reminder: 28th of this month) and I need to move all my stuff to the basement. All the things I own can be classified into very few groups:

  • Pet supplies
  • Books
  • Tapes/CDs/DVDs
  • Computer Equipment
  • Memory stuff
  • Games (Gamecube, board games)
  • Sporting Equipment (Snowboard, Rollerblades, swimwear)
  • Clothes
  • Misc "office supplies"
  • Misc "food supplies"
  • Furnishings
  • Personal effects (Laptops, Hygene stuff)
I threw a lot of stuff out today, and one my desks is almost completely empty. Combined with all the cleaning I've been trying to do gradually, my place is starting to feel kind of empty. This is probably a good thing.

I'm getting some nice nibbles on my car -- I got a lowish good offer of $3000 (that I think I'll probably pass on, because I think I actually can sell it for $4000, and because I may get a Segway with the money).

Someone posted a link to CMUBash, a list of theoretically-clever quips from CMUites (in reality, the CSLounge/KGB crowd). A good number of them are quips that are actually just being repeated by CMUites, but a number of them are nontheless amusing. CMUBash is apparently a knock-off of Bash.org, which is supposedly well-known. *shrug*

It should be no surprise, every moment I continue to spend on ePrime at work continues to make me more and more frustrated. They claim, on their website, to have acquired 10000 users over the 5 years they've existed. I feel sorry for each and every one of us. The language is primitive, the graphical tools worse. They also make the dinky and overpriced serial boxes that we attach to data gloves for user input.

I'm beginning to chew on the importance of elegance in writing, and the amount of respect people give to those who can express themselves clearly and effectively. I'm curious if this is seen as more important in American society than in European societies because there people regularly brush shoulders with people who are out of their linguistic element who must still be respected. I know lingual respect is not an exclusively American thing -- as an example, one of the things Ibn Khaldun notes about Arab society around the time of Mohammad was that calligraphy and poetic skill were a large part of what is necessary to be respected in Arab society, and that this was, apart from the highest levels of achievement, open to everyone. I personally respect people a lot more when their written word is coherent and well-styled -- I think that it's one of the more important things that schools should teach. Speaking of which, I wonder how difficult it would be, politically, to push the American schoolyear from ~180 days to about 240.

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