I have been kept very busy with my Bioinformatics homework, although it has been very enjoyable working on it. I think I haven't played enough with mind-stretching puzzles recently, because I found myself needing to resort to pen and paper while debugging it. Of course, I could blame the matrix math, as it's been thankfully rare that I've needed to think in terms of matrices while programming. To take breaks, I've been playing a bit of good ol' 20-year-old Legend of Zelda. I am reminded, among many other good old memories, of how irritating Wizrobes are. The orange wizrobes are not so bad (although they still are *very* irritating, but the blue wizrobes move diagonally, shoot spells in machine-gun-like fire, and walk through walls.. They've killed Link more times than I can count (although the game counts for me, embarassingly). Argh.
Today (Sunday), I went with Eric out to the shopping area around IKEA in search of a hat and some other things. The hat part was a failure -- the store that we knew was out there turned out to have just baseball caps. I'm looking more for a southern-style hat store, which feels a lot like a shoe store in that you go in, get measured by some people who know what they're doing, and have a nice selection of classy styles. Places with an ugly and fat person dressed in a mesh sports shirt there to show you cheap sports caps are right out -- I didn't even really look. Meh. At least I got a sewing needle and some thread at Jo-Ann Fabrics (as loathe as I was to go in there (I have 3 sisters, and my mom would take all four of us into Jo-Ann Fabrics every so often when I was younger)). After getting back, and taking a substantial nap, I fixed my coat. I apparently need to work on my sewing skills but it went ok and should hold together. On the hat thing, I have instead been considering something quirky -- maybe I should wear a turban. Of the types on the page linked above, I like the Sikh and the Indian turbans best.
It has come to my attention, courtesy of some discussion on the Wikipedia IRC channel, that the most prominent marginal users on Wikipedia (by marginal I mean that they give good content, but have severe behavioural problems), as a group, have a *lot* of Aspergers-syndrome people in their ranks. This is in accordance with my experiences in real life -- they are almost always undersocialised, and fail to understand emotional connotations in what they're saying. MSK, a certain long-term problem user on Wikipedia (who is at the present blocked for a month), for example, started calling people fascists and called a project leader the fuhrer (Hitler's traditional designation during the Third Reich), and failed to understand why this provoked a strong reaction. In general, people don't seem to understand that Wikipedia is at least a little bit like a workplace in that normal rules of human interaction apply. Name-calling and limitless self-expression don't have a place on the project. Unfortunately, being on the internet does not cure people of having Aspergers either. Not all people with the syndrome are impossible to deal with, but because they're undersocialised and "flying blind" in social situations, they have an even tougher time with the inherent difficulties in interacting well online.
(Update: Fixed the link of total awesomeness above)
It seems that the consensus among the muslims who are talking in a calm voice on the cartoons controversy is that Islam will only be compatible with open western societies is with guarantees that the holy elements in their religion will be protected against disrespectful protrayal. With apologies, and trials against those who made the cartoons of Mohammad, they promise a calming of the storm. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the discussion is about, from a Western perspective -- it is not about the cartoons, which are by and large obviously attempts to offend, it is instead what is acceptable in society. This puts both conservatives and liberals into interesting positions -- some conservatives who object to Piss Christ are no doubt in interesting conflict with conservatives who hate Islam, as are the more multiculturally minded liberals with the more traditional liberals. Speaking as a liberal, I care little for the multicultural liberals -- they too often end up supporting illiberal systems in the name of diversity, allying with Muslim political movements. Historically, no doubt this comes from guilt over the evils of capitalism, but to move from that to supporting each and every movement that would undo the bonds of capital, even at the expense of other important values, is a foolhardy betrayal of the liberal cause. Liberal societies should not move themselves to be compatible with Islam, Christianity, or any other faith.
I have been thinking about how some social moves, done at a particular time, take on a radically different character than the same move done at another time. Several years ago, I recieved some advice from someone to do something that I instead did much later, and I think it didn't work out very well because I was so slow to follow the advice. I don't know why I didn't listen at the time, but then, I suppose even now I don't know if the same problems I'm seeing now are things I would've seen then. I think it probably would've been better then now though -- if people "have a time" in life to be part of something or otherwise have things well-oiled, I think I certainly missed that boat on this matter. It's humbling to see that it was placed into my hands and I threw it away without even looking.
I have been playing around with my camera again.