Monday, June 25, 2007

marketplace of ideas

this guy's blog, which he himself was brave enough to post on /. on a thread about Britain ruling intelligent design "not science" (duh), got me thinking about the marketplace of ideas.

generally, i'm a fan of the marketplace of ideas. This guys ideas though, or at least his writing, is incredibly self-centered and egotistical, and looks to use big words with no clarification in the hopes that by being very confusing he'll come off as intelligent. i read a rather long post and really have no idea what the hell he was trying to get across, other than that he's a genius. get over yourself man.

well i should rephrase. he's arguing for the existence of god and it would seem some other conservative ideologies, again in the most obfuscating way possible. just.. read a paragraph and you'll see what i mean.

so what? we should let him profess his ideas, in as unclear a fashion as he wants (or is capable of) even consider them, in the way we should consider all ideas, and choose the best ones based on merit, right?

well, yes, assuming we're capable of judging ideas on their merit. it seems to me that not everyone is truly capable of doing that, they're too prejudiced towards irrational beliefs (ie, religious), too egotistical to accept the equality of others (racists, classist, etc)... the list goes on. these people, either willfully or not, will not pick the best choice out of the marketplace of ideas. not everyone can tell which fruit are bruised.

but they all get to vote!

so we end up with assholes like this One Cosmos guy, and a bunch of idiots agreeing with him for whatever reason, and then they all run off to the polls to save america from teh gayz, meanwhile the rest of us have to deal with the consequences (war in iraq and general incompetence) of ther utter lack of abilities with respect to reasoning.

i'm not proposing anything here... just food for thought. and yes, i do realize i come off at least as egotistical as the guy in that blog, saying that some people can't judge ideas on merit, yet i can. hey, just because i can, doesnt mean i always do. and at least i'll admit these faults.

but really, i'd love to believe that most americans aren't idiots, i just dont get that impression. someone please clue me in if i'm wrong here.

Update 1: BLECH just look at the header under that blog's title.... this guy loves to make up stupid ass words. who the fuck does he think he's impressing with that childish nonsense?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

USA 2 - 1 Mexico

The USMNT won the gold cup about an hour ago, 2-1 over mexico. some thoughts i had on the game:

Benny Feilhaber (sp?) completely owned the second half. he played great.

how the fuck did Beasley miss that chance in the 82nd or so minute? my grandma could have finished it. and shes dead. i could have dropped her on the field in the right place at the right time and the ball would bounce off her and go in. incredible.

Ching played ok, did well to draw the penality, unlucky to hit the bar. Really did nothing else besides those two chances, but if we can get one forward who can consistently come up with two or three chances like that a game, it will be a step in the right direction for us.

Dempsey did nothing. Landycakes played ok.

I'm liking Bradley's coaching style so far. he's got some young guys and he seems to know them realy well. He's not afraid to make changes in either the system or the players when its not clicking, and moving landy to the right wing was a good move. I think he's going to be a good coach for us.

thats all really, fun game to watch. Action packed, both keepers made some very nice saves, etc.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I've never given much credit to Dinesh D'Souza's mental faculties, but in two recent blog posts he falls victim to a complete and utter breakdown in logic. one could argue that all his points of view suffer from such breakdowns, but whatever.

First off, double D claims that Newton is the greatest scientist ever, because Einstein only "modified" Newton's theories and gave them "a deeper and more elaborate context". By this arguement the worlds greatest scienist should be the guy who invented the wheel, since all Newtown did is explain rotational mechanics in a "deeper and more elaborate context". I mean, is he serious? thats completely absurd. Newton was a great scientest.... in the 1600s. we've come a long way since then, baby. I mean Leibniz developed calculus indepedently and at the same time, so you can't use that to argue for Newton's case. And yes, he came up with some great laws and big breakthroughs in mechanics. but mechanics these days is physics for dummies. anyone can understand mechanics. Einstien talked about converting mass to fucking energy. i think thats a bit more impressive than explaining how things move (it goes faster when somethings pushing it! WOW!!).

But none of this is relevant anyway. Atheists don't hold up Darwin and go: "look! this guy was really smart! he's like, the smartest guy evah! and he's an atheists!! we'll all be atheists too!!!". Atheists only point to Darwin when someone says "God created man". then we get to say "well, theres a fuckton of evidence that shows that thats not the case. Check out this dude Darwin and all he did". Darwin provides a pertinent argument to a specific debate (where did people come from). Newton is doing nothing of the kind.

Newton derives his prediction on when the world's gonna end FROM SCRIPTURE. He doesn't have any scientific evidence for the proof of God or anything else religious he may have happened to say. last i checked scripture was not a very good place to get your science. D'Souza's coming to battle equiped with a large baguette. It may, if your mostly blind, look like the right kind of thing to bring to a fight, but its not going to hold up once things get started.

Apparently Newton once said:
"This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and compets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being."

thats not an argument. thats "I don't understand how this system got started, so i'm going to make up an answer, and claim its the only one". Anyone who cant see that is decieving themselves. not to blame Newton, he was operating with very limited knowledge.

the big DD says:
"If the atheists are right that there is some great conflict between science and religion, how come Newton didn't experience this?"
4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727. thats why. Newton had no other knowledge to work with. Once he got to the edge of his understanding, he held up his hands and said "well, thats all i can figure out, God must have done the rest". BUT JUST BECAUSE HE SAID IT DOESNT MEAN ITS TRUE, and thats what DD seems to fail to understand.

You wouldnt take the cavemen who invented the wheel and ask him to build you a car. Just because someone has a good idea at one point doesnt mean 400 years later they're still an expert. Hell, i wouldn't even ask Bill Gates for advice on a piece of software today. i mean he had two good ideas (money in software, pc's everywhere), and thats it. he may, in fact, not be a genius. if he had't had the idea, someone else might. same is true for Newton. just cause he figured out how a ball on a string rotates above my head as i swing it, doesn't mean i trust him to expound on the order of the entire fucking universe. Nor should I. nor should DD.

Darwin is brought up by people because he's relevant to a specific debate (or rather, proves there should be no such debate). Newton isn't, because he's not.

Update 1:
Thats right! i missed the full article and in DD's paragraphs that i only just now read he brings up what Hitchen's said about Newton. Hitchins reminds us that Newton spent a lot of time with alchemy, trying to turn lead into gold. SERIOUSLY. then DD says "I'd set Newton's knowledge of science and religion against that of Hitchens anytime.". Yes, you would, and you're a fucking idiot to do so. Hitchen's has the benefit of ~300 years of scientific development since Newton's time. We've learned an awful lot since then DD, or at least, most of us have. you apparently are stuck in 1700.

Update 2 for grammer, syntax. its hard to write coherently when faced with such outragoues idiocy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

i do love technology...

posting from work at 7:45pm because i'm a large idiot who left his keys in the apt, locking himself out. I'm not on the lease (or the key card, which i didnt know existed, but need to get on) so they won't let me in. which is good. they shouldn't be letting me in. My cellphone is dead (why they don't make cellphones that turn off 5 minutes before their batteris die so you can still get some emergence use out of them, like getting a number from your contacts? i would love this feature). My roommates out of town until thursday.

20 years ago (ok, maybe 25-30) I'd be fucked. i dont know where my roommate works, so i can't get in touch with him through his company. (I actually dont even have his cellphone number on my phone i will after this experience, howewver). With no real way to contact him, i'd be stuck waiting it out til he got back thurs and could let me in.

As it is, i have his cellphone number in a gmail conversation. all i need is internet access and i can get at it. luckily, all of my friends have internet access (altough i wound up going back to the office since i couldnt get in touch with them). with it i've already reached my roommate who will hopefully be able to find a fax machine at the airport in seattle, otherwise i'll have to crash somewhere and be let in tomorrow.

so yay for the internet. and boo for me being stupid.

Monday, June 18, 2007


i found this on fark: - Breaking News - Diageo mulls options for Guinness brewery

they'd better not sell it! i will be much anger and swift vengence should it be sold! actually, the coolest part about this is that Arthur Guinness took out a 9000 year lease. i mean, thats awesome. and i hear its for something stupid like, $3 a year.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

this is interesting..

131 - US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs « strange maps

new jersey's GDP is roughly on par with russia's.

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i hate viral advertising

Kooky: Halo 3 Viral Marketing Campaign Begins; Everyone Confused - Kotaku

the link above is kotaku linking to some other site that has photos etc about apparently a viral marketing ad campaign for halo3.

I hate viral ad campaigns. after their last one failed so horribly, i doubt sony will be trying them again any time soon. google "all i want for xmas is a psp" for some stories about that one, apparently the url ( now links to haagen daas ice cream. go figure.

In any case, viral ad campaigns, particularly of the sony variety, rely on duping would be consumers into believe they are authentic. as a result they're fundamental insulting the group of people they're advertising to. someone must think they're smarter than i am if they think they'll be able to trick me into believing that some schmuck is gonna start a blog completely dedicated to how he wants a psp for christmas. you could make enough money to buy one in half the time required to set up a polished blog. nevermind registering the domain name, site hosting, all that shit costs money.. the whole premise was utterly stupid, and you were supposed to believe it was genuine, which would make you even more stupid. there you go, thats a great way to get me to want to buy your product, calling me an idiot. the only thing they succeeded in doing was pissing a lot of people off.

so i don't really know what the halo3 people hope to accomplish with this one. they want you to go to this site: its clearly designed to make it look like it was the second of third page on the internet (i mean only 12 year old girls think flashing backgrounds like that are a good idea). they offer no way of contacting the "society", other than joining a mail list. great. cause i love signing up to recieve emails about god knows what from people of have as yet not identified themselves. its a thinly veiled hoax. and with a completely stupid premise.

i mean i just don't get it... no rational person is going to follow the "logic" they propose:

1) we don't know how or why they build stonehenge

2) therefore, the "simplest" explanation is that they had help

3) who could have helped them but technologically advanced aliens?

what?? i mean they actually invoke Occam's razor in their "argument". how does that work... since in order for aliens to be the simplest explanation to stonehenge or the pyramids, you have to explain where the fucking aliens came from and how they got here. thats a whole lot more fucking difficult.

so what's the point? i mean clearly this isnt meant to be taken seriously? how is it going to get anyone to buy halo3 who wasn't already going to? if it isn't, why the hell are they paying people to stand around times square and annoy passersby with this horse shit?

i just dont get it, and it bothers me. because i pride myself on my intelligence, and even the implication that they think i might fall for this shit is insulting.

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Annals of National Security: The General’s Report: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker

A dozen government investigations have been conducted into Abu Ghraib and detainee abuse. A few of them picked up on matters raised by Taguba’s report, but none followed through on the question of ultimate responsibility. Military investigators were precluded from looking into the role of Rumsfeld and other civilian leaders in the Pentagon; the result was that none found any high-level intelligence involvement in the abuse.

Who the fuck can hold these people responsible, if the main vehicle for investigation can't? This is a republic, we the citizens should be able to hold the people working for us, like Rumsfeld, responsible, and the army, who works for them, and thus us, should be able to investigate. this is crap.

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

BofA's sitekey

one of the most ridiculous pieces of "security" ever. more to come when i get home from work.

ok... getting back to this more than a week later, the sitekey is designed to foil phising attacks. phishing attacks are when i design a web page that looks just like bank of americas, give it a url along the lines of, and then fake an email to you joe user from bank of america with a link to my version of the page. i want to get you to enter your username and password, so that i can later empty out your account.

Sitekey is supposed to foil this attack. you don't put in your password right away, just your username. then bank of america proves that its ok to enter your password by showing you a picture associated with your account. now that you know who you're dealing with, its ok to enter your password, right?

wrong! this is just creating an extra step for a would-be phisher, who now has to impersonate two sites instead of one. the main method of attack is the same. once you're on the phisher's version of the site, you enter your account name. the phisher takes your account name, goes to the real BoA site, gives them your user name. BoA gives the phisher your sitekey picture. the phisher gives you your sitekey picture. you give the phisher your password.

so there's no real added security here. sure its making things more difficult for the attacker, but the same attack is still possible. and if you've managed to convince your customers that they're safe because of this so-called security feature, they're more likely to trust it, and may even be more susceptible to attack.

but really its just another annoying page to load.

so, stupid sitekey.


this ( is a very good post on why DRM will never work. more on this later when i get home from work. Essentially i'll be tying it to why publishers need to give up on the whole "copyright" idea for content and just embrace free distribution.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

evolution of the species

facebook apparently came out with this little gem; Facebook Diaries: Busted.

now, before we get into the particulars, i'd like to reiterate a few things. i don't like where facebook is going. the more crap they add to their site, the less inclined i am to use it. i want to scope out hot sales chicks from work (ie, find out if they're single), maybe post something clever to some group or some picture or something so i feel good about my own intelligence, browse through photos of people i knew in high school and think "how weird is it that they're still friends with each other??" and thats really about it. i don't want to "RoShamBull" you. online rock-paper-scissors is just about the dumbest thing i've ever heard of (or any asynchronous version of the game, but sponsored ones are even worse). i don't want to paint on your wall with graffiti. i don't give a shit about your horoscope. or mine. the list goes on.

But i fully support this idiotic web-video-confession thing. please, please submit something about that one time in high school where you got totally smashed and drove over your neighbors shrubbery. not only will i laugh at your stupidity (ok i wont really, i'm not wasting my time with that shit), but i'll rest safe and sound knowing that people like me are going to have an easier time getting in to schools and landing jobs because idiots like you are posting yourselves at your most moronic on utterly public sites where such screening most certainly does occur.

i've gotten calls from recruiters because of my facebook profile (not that that means a damn thing about my abilities, i happen to work in a field thats currently pretty highly sought-after and went to a good school). you, after making your gastrointestinal pyrotechnics available for all to see, won't make it past the first round. and thats fine with me. getting into school in particular is such a crapshoot anyway, i'm all for giving the good kids a leg up over people who think anyone else gives a damn what they did that one time they got really high and their parents came back from florida a day early. if i was into that kind of stuff, i'd watch a damn sitcom.

so well done on this one, facebook team!

Volleyball is good times

i had forgotten how much fun it was. Hurt my back though, so i couldnt jump very well and hit a couple balls into the net as a result. Also the guy in front of me in the rotation just loved to play defense right in front of where i was standing, leaving a huge whole where he's supposed to play and me with nothing to do. oh well, at least i have something to do on wednesdays this summer. soccer may be thursdays, i have to look into it.

now if only there were pick-up fencing bouts right outside my apt. that'd even be worth buying equipment for.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

a couple thoughts....

I'm too tired for a real post, but a couple things worth mentioning:

Read an article on "Radical Honesty" in my roommate's esquire magazine. It is, as you'd expect, the idea that you should always tell the truth. always. Its a pretty cool idea, i dont think i'll subscribe to it completely (which i believe means not at all, its a sort of all or nothing thing), but being more honest probably couldnt hurt.
it should be required of politicians.

uhh the facebook as allowed users to create applications and post them. this has resulted in a couple good apps, a couple dating apps, and a bunch of thinly veiled advertisements as apps. i'm not against free content in the form of advertising but i am wondering how the user base will react. when i joined facebook was only at harvard, brown, and maybe one other school. now its so ubiquitous i wonder if some of the appeal won't be lost. probably not. i'm just condescending.

i guess thats all. radical honesty is cool stuff and i'm gonna try it out. i dont have much to lose here really anyway. i just hope i can distinguish between "honest" and "jackass for the sake of being jackass".

Sunday, June 3, 2007

publishing in the public domain

this slashdot story got me thinking again about publishing content in the public domain. A couple weeks ago there was news about tv companies suing the likes of youtube for posting copyrighted content and all that jazz. Its a very interesting problem without a clear solution (well, we'll see about that anyway).

Say you produce content. You're ABC and you make Heroes, you're EA and you make FIFA 07, you're some record label recording Led Zeppelin... whatever. Doing this costs you money. You have to pay people to do this. You yourself are only doing this so you can make money. that's only natural, most people won't do work if they don't get paid for it.

The rise of the internet has made it impossible for content publishers to prevent people from stealing said content. Its not feasible; the crack only has to be applied once, distribution is widespread and if not untrackable, not worth tracking. Once you release it, people who want to are going to get their hands on it without paying for it. except in some fringe cases (MMO's, basically) thats the reality of the situation.

Most users are good people. Many pirate content not because they're upset about paying for it, but because its its just a lot easier to access that way. That used to be the reality anyway... i could head to my local music store and stive in vain to find a copy of Lakeshore Drive by... well whoever its by (part of the point that), or i could just search for it on napster and have it in minutes. theres a clear winner there. CD's themselves were another reason, no one wanted to pay 20 bucks for a cd when only one song was any good (remember melancholy and the infinite sadness? fucking $40 double cd and all i wanted was Tonight Tonight. bullshit).

TV companies have started to catch on, posting some of their shows streaming online. its a good start in the right direction, but not quite there yet; i can find HD-quality versions with no commercials on other sites. I wouldn't mind watching an ad or two at the start of the show, but they break them into like 5-6 minute chunks and do one in between each. not happening.

you can use something like itunes, but believe me, apple doesn't deserve to be making any money selling music. that they are is more a testament to how idiotic the music distribution companies were not getting in that market first. or you could just get it free.

back to that slashdot story, now apparently music (like, sheet music) publishers are pushing on sites that post guitar tabs (free sheet music, except you don actually have to be able t read music to read a tab). Thats insane; if i figure out a way to play my favorite song without ever reading any sheet music, i should have every right to share that method.

So we're faced with a widespread problem. The internet has provided pretty much unstoppable free distribution of copyrighted content. As a user you may not care (you get the good deal, right?) but remember that if there's no money to be made distributing this content, it won't get made. guaranteed. what's the solution?

Well the tv companies have the right idea; the producers of the content should publish it, for free, themselves. money lost in sales can be recouped in advertising, and users will be fine with that if its done right. i'm talking music, movies, tv shows, sheet music, books.... its going to happen whether publishers want it to or not, so they should ditch all this copyright lawsuit bullshit and get on board. hell, you can even ask for donations. Public broadcasting has been following these models for years now and while they aren't exactly huge financial successes (neither are they mainstream), and they're all still around and doing ok. but if you just do the advertising right...

i mean, say i sign up at a website that distributes tv shows, and i watch a lot of heroes and firefly. you can definitely direct certain ads at me and charge a lot more for those ads. just use google's model of advertising, its a perfect fit for this model. its how webcomics like penny-arcade thrive and i dont see why it cant work just as well for a music label. product placement is another excellent way to go (video and video games), as long as its well done, since at that point the advertising will directly impact the quality of the product. In short publishers need to give up their outdated ideas on how they can "sell" their product and adapt to the changing landscape of technology or go extinct. and this evolution is awesome for the consumer, since we'll get a ton of quality content, on demand, legal, and free.

or they can keep spinning their wheels in this stupid "content goes up, lawsuit goes out, server moves to switzerland" cycle, and attempts at DRM will continue to plague honest users and have no effect on the bad guys.

in the mean time, i'll continue to support worthy products in ways i think are fair. i will of course, err on the side of free (to me, suckers).

Friday, June 1, 2007

glenn greenwald clearly the man

link here (

Glenn is, as usual, on point. I can have only very little to attribute, and highly recommend you read his post yourself. Two things, though.

Glenn says:

"Beltway pundits are so easily fooled, because they are so eager to be. Their brains and emotional reactions -- and thereafter their political statements -- are dominated by these shallow and inauthentic symbols of masculinity and piety which overwhelm reality. They search so desperately for these attributes that they find two-dimensional cartoon images which are just archetypes -- really caricatures -- deeply satisfying."

I fear that not only do the pundits suffer this disease, but their audiences to as well. In fact, what a pundit actually thinks is irrelevant, if he's crafted his message specifically for his audience. I fear that this is in fact the case, and is a result of the infantile obsession we have as a nation with security, as i discussed in an earlier post.

Later Glenn says:

"It's always a great mystery how people who are on their second or third wives with children from each marriage can stand up with a straight face and proclaim themselves to be believers in "traditional marriage" and -- far worse -- to insist that the laws be structured so as to allow and endorse their own highly untraditional and un-Christian marriages while prohibiting other citizens from entering their own. And it's even more of a mystery that individuals such as Thompson are able to spout (though, with vigor, personally contravene in their own conduct) such platitudes and still be taken seriously."

Its an excellent point, and in a rational world, this would be a great mystery. But again, the audience to which these posturings are targeted don't care whether or not they're true. they just want to feel safe, and as long as someone plays the part, what matter that person's real life dealings? These people aren't going to fact check, they don't care if someone's actions reflect their words. they just want a nice and warm, fuzzy feeling when they see their "decider" on tv. as long as their getting that they don't care. once someone who they disagree has an affair, however, well, thats another story entirely.

in the mean time, i really do have a very negative opinion of the general population of america, particularly the red states. someone please, prove me wrong to hold it.

this (youtube) is Fred Thompson's video response to something michael moore apparently said to him. i dont know what. Thompson recommends Moore think about a mental institution (sigh... i always liked his character on L&W too).

but thats not the point. read the comments. go ahead, read them. how many of those people can vote? in swing states? apparently they'll vote for anyone who points michael moore down, because moore is fat and deserves to go to hell. or something, i mean you explain it to me if thats wrong.

oh, apparently moore challenged thompson to a deabte on health care. hence the "i don't have time for you". now the "you should look into a mental instituion", that, to me, seems a little uncalled for.

Google's Mission

Google's new street view is kinda cool. you can zoom around the street and look at stuff. neat right?

well, sorta. its also kinda creepy. and the trend it demonstrates is even creepier. Google is the first to admit their goal; have all the data. they want every piece of data, ever, and they'd like it now if possible. Their business model is as follows:
1) get lots of data
2) ????
3) profit.

and its worked well for them so far. But their never-ending quest for more information is in direct conflict with their "do no evil" philosphy. Lets take google maps for example. Initially it was how most people probaby still use it, just maps, with directions, etc. then they added satellite imagery. "Hey cool, i can see my car parked outside my house!". now apparently they've sent a van to drive around select cities and take pictures of everything that happens to be going on in that street on that day. Naked person in the window? woops. Now you're online for millions to see! check out this ( for some funny photos people have found so far. The logical next step for this is to put live cameras up there and make it all update in real time. Horrifying. Then you can store and index all that data and... well forget about getting away with running any red lights. or anything else for that matter.

it comes down to a privacy issue. i mean, i dont really have a problem with google street view. but whats next for them if they keep going down this line? google interiors? google people? those are all downright frightening. google blueprints seems completely feasible. do you really want the blueprint of your house/apt available online at a moments notice to anyone?

Can google possible stay "not evil" while continuing to hoarde every piece of data they can get their hands on? i don't think so. I'm not really paranoid over this, i'm not gonna lose any sleep over google street view. i was probably at work when the pictures were taken. but its still pretty creepy, and continuing down the "more data more data!!" line it only gets worse.

Someone's apparently already sueing over it, claiming that her cat can be clearly seen in her window. i dont have the link, but whoever it is said something along the lines of: if it was the government doing this, people would be outraged. And she's right, if the feds were doing this (or telling us about doing this anyway), wouldn't you be pissed? shouldn't you be just as, if not more, pissed now? i mean its not just the feds who can see this, everyone can.

in the mean time, you just try to catch me sunbathing outside on the street, suckers.