I now have a job, I now have an office (3502 Wean Hall), next to someone with whom I could have a fairly intelligent long political discussion. The usual handshaking of people who dabble in political philosophy - "I would have to kill you were you to come to power", said in a friendly voice. I've said it many times, I've heard it many times, and we all laugh although we know it's true. New job is still on the steep part of the learning curve - projects, people to meet, etc. Network connection should be go tomorrow, the office will take some time to feel like it should.
The software I'm working on is quite cool, both in what it's trying to do and some of the incidental stuff it does on the way - automated building of networks of machines with particular configurations is quite cool - in theory, the additional network characteristic simulation stuff should be very widely used by anyone curious how their applications behave under a variety of network conditions/configurations (MMORPG developers?).
None of this has helped my mental state whatsoever.
Current amusements: the Britcom "Armstrong and Miller" and more music by Мумий Тролль. Also:
- Armstrong and Miller also have a podcast. Unfortunately, my portable mp3/ogg player died a long time ago (hardware tends to die after a few weeks in my computer bag)
- interesting discussion on grammar in a groklaw article, containing a (british?) rule that I never learned - short-e "the" versus long-e "the" depends on the following word. In practice, I almost never use the long-e form.
- Idiom dictionary. I've always found these kinds of things neat.
- Nightmare Revisited: another set of mostly awesome-looking covers of the songs from Nightmare Before Christmas
- Quick thoughts about the Michael Reiss controversy - if it is true that the pressure for him to resign was based on a misunderstanding, that's unfortunate. However, it's not clear that his views are not problematic - he suggests that creationist views should be "seen as a worldview" rather than as a misconception, and that the job of education is to make sure people understand the content of science as a mass of data. This is a possible area of contention - should the sciences in general be taught with no confidence? Should certain areas which are just as scientifically accepted but rejected by creationists be taught with less confidence? I believe "no" is the answer to both questions - while it may be philosophically worthwhile to explore the philosophical origins of science, once that is handled, teaching every part of science wrapped in separate disclaimers is laborious, and giving special disclaimers to areas that happen to be controversial to some people (almost entirely outside the scientific community) is pandering. Science is not democratic, it should not be democratic, and creationism does not amount to even an alternative theory within any qualified/relevant communities. It may be worthwhile to cover as a "special topic" outside the main curriculum, but not out of the primary purpose of pre-university education, which is to provide all citizens to current dominant scientific frameworks/theories (and alternatives, if there are signficant alternative theories). Is that disagreement worth asking for a dismissal? Hmm..
- A well-phrased but ugly-titled statement on gender and intelligence someone else did - I can probably say that I agree with it entirely. The combination of that with a commitment to as much equality (as in same-role/privileges/status, not equal-but-different) as possible, in relationships and the workplace, constitutes the broad outline of my preferred notion of feminism/gender equity (to which I subscribe)
- Courtesy Isiah Berlin, a rather nice John Stuart Mill quote: "It is hardly possible to overrate the value, in the present low state of human improvement, of placing human beings in contact with persons dissimilar to themselves, and with modes of thought and action unlike those with which they are familiar... Such communication has always been, and is particularly in the present age, on of the primary sources of progress"
- A long term theoretical goal of mine has been to make a web"comic", which really is just a blog with pictures rather than words being the main content. My blog platform now supports this courtesy a different web-POST method for that kind of entry, thanks to a few sessions of codewrangling at the 61c. I suppose if I feel up to blogging regularly again and make enough content (maybe I'd want a scanner), I'll start doing that.
- Matzoh plus good hummus = food win