Huzzah! I am hereby announcing that
M has a weblog!
It's all about the cool things that she and her colleagues do with
things made of atoms, and it's full of fun atom-related jargon, like over-ones and
40ct Vintage Light Examplars, and NPI conversions.
I can't take credit for her finally Seeing The Light; it was her
various matter-manipulating colleagues who finally showed her that weblogs
don't have to be incomprehensible (like mine, heehee).
So that's fun.
Other than that, I think I will mostly just post some spam!
Here is some anti-Bayes text that a colleague at the Lab got the
other week and sent me 'cause he liked it:
The hydrogen atom beyond a recliner brainwashes a formless void around the
fruit cake, or a bartender slyly learns a hard lesson from some geosynchronous
graduated cylinder. Now and then, a pickup truck of the cocker spaniel avoids
contact with a microscope behind a buzzard. When a CEO beams with joy, a line
dancer inside the freight train daydreams. For example, a cab driver indicates
that the globule laughs and drinks all night with a paternal grain of sand.
When you see a pickup truck about a garbage can, it means that the dust bunny
of a fire hydrant hides.
Just as we were talking about it, I got this:
A wedge inexorably trades baseball cards with a mastadon.
An ocean goes to sleep, and a hockey player seldom plans an
escape from the blood clot behind the turn signal a satellite
about a corporation. A paycheck eagerly finds subtle faults
with the tripod. When an oil filter behind an anomaly is shabby,
a plaintiff almost gives secret financial aid to a blood clot
near the turn signal. A fat pine cone completely befriends a
Now while "When a CEO beams with joy, a line dancer inside the freight train
daydreams" and "a paternal grain of sand" have a certain immediate appeal,
it becomes all too obvious all too
quickly that this is just someone running a small generative grammar with a
random-number source, and there's no semantics of any kind behind it.
So the novelty wears off quickly.
A few days later I got this:
Not that there are no other fish in the ocean upon whom I can sling my hook,
but who can be like my dear Betsy that loves me with such generosity of heart?
I love a hand that meets my own with a grasp that causes some sensation and which
only your's can do. I love you not only because of beauty but for your sense of
decency, delicacy, kindness and other complementary qualities. I can't help
doting on you. Therefore all my gestures of love towards you come straight
from the bottom of my heart, don't we?" Vera said: "How was it worked - that
trick with the marble bear?"
A bit of googling about shows that this is part of
letter on some rather baffling "free love letters" site, segueing boldly
into some dialog from Christie's "And Then There Were None".
Clearly derivative, but especially right at the juncture there ("... from the bottom
of my heart, don't we?") there's a nicely thrilling novelty, a
frisson of surprise. And the marble bear dropping on us out of the blue
is rather delightful.
I don't know just what sort of algorithms were used
to select the passages and splice them together; one can imagine all sorts
of interesting Dissociated
Press variants that might serve, and might have interestingly adjustable
parameters in them. Snipping up the input texts a bit more finely,
in particular, might increase the novelty (and/or reduce the coherency).
The former technique is a more obvious way of producing random but
roughly convincing text; I wrote some programs like that in my youth,
and they sometimes had funny results.
The latter, if it really does belong to the Dissociated Press family in
some significant way,
is more random and uncontrolled, and informed by a different
kind of information about actual language (more statistical and less
structured), and tends to produce wilder and funnier, if often less
grammatically correct, stuff.
Hey, how did I manage to analyze myself all the way out onto the end of
this limb here?
What a silly place to be!
In closing, M points us to The Guild,
a story about (I gather, from having watched like two episodes) a bunch of WoW
players and their real-life (if fictional) trials and tribulations, presented
as a bunch of web videos each like three or four minutes long.
Which might be just about right...
"We close our show tonight with a statement by President Obama that's been
raising alot of eyebrows around Washington.
"Asked at a White House press conference why he had delayed before
endorsing the public beheading of everyone associated with troubled
mortgage giant AIG, here's what the President
had to say:
"It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about
before I speak, you know?"
"With us now to discuss this is our morning show political analyst, Keith
Lacuna. Hey there, Keith."
"Good evening, Chet."
"So, Keith, was this just a case of President Obama going off-script?
Do you think we'll have a 'clarification' from the White House tomorrow?"
"No, Chet, I think he really means it."
"Really means it?"
"But isn't this the sort of thing that just feeds the idea that President
Obama is elitist, and not really in touch with the American People?"
"I mean, aren't people more comfortable, and more used to, people on television
just mindlessly repeating whatever appears on the teleprompter, under the control
of the shadowy overlords who really run the country?"
"You know, Chet, on that I think it's error reading teleprompter input; file
is in use by another process.
"A good point, Keith. But back to this remarkable statement by the President.
Is there any precedent for this? Would this be the first time a President would
know what he was talking about?"
"Not at all, Chet. While it was of course completely unheard of in the previous
administration, you may remember that Bill Clinton would --"
"Sorry, Keith, that's Bill...?"
"Bill Clinton? President before George W. Bush?"
"Ah, right, right, the intern and the cigar and so on. Sorry, go ahead."
"Bill Clinton quite often knew what he was talking about."
"But didn't he have that, you know, sort of grin?"
"It's true President Clinton always looked as though he was telling
a friendly little fib that we were all in on, but studies show that 84.7% of the
time he in fact knew what he was talking about."
"Are there really studies that show that?"
"No, I just made that up 'cause it sounded good."
"Whew, you had me worried for a minute there! Ha ha."
"Ha ha ha!"
"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!"
What I'm saying is that
server-side solutions invariably lead to sinister necromantic cabals.
Oh man, take care! What does the deep midnight declare?
There ought to be a word, maybe a German word like "shaudenfreude", for
when there's something that you'd like to do, and you keep not doing it,
and the fact that you haven't done it for so long becomes one of the reasons
for not doing it, at least partly because you feel guilty or at least
regretful for not having done it for so long, and so just thinking about
doing it is to that extent slightly unpleasant, and so you keep not doing
it until somehow finally you do and then everything is fine again.
Like, say, posting to one's weblog.
I think this is the longest I've gone without posting since I started the
whole thing like back in 1999. But hey,
that is a mere fact! And here we are.
I've been posting considerable (well, comparatively considerable) to
the secret Second Life weblog,
and playing lots of Second Life and World of Warcraft.
Dale has a piece of art in a show ("Masks!") that's opening in SL this
weekend, and Spennix just hit level 79 (just one more to go, woot!).
This morning I went over to one of them HQ type locations to talk with
a VP (very bright lady!) about Cloud Computing and all, and so I am
wearing a shirt with buttons, and no nice cotton tee shirt (T-shirt)
under it, and I am chilly brrrrrr.
Hold on a sec while I go change into like a flannel nightshirt, okay?
Flannel nightshirt, and flannel robe over it.
And maybe I'll put on some water to boil.
We do what we must, because we can.
That's from the brilliant
closing theme to
the game "Portal", a game that I still haven't played (because it
wants over a gigabyte of free space to install, and the machine in the playroom
hasn't had that much disk space free de longtemps), but of whose culture
I am very fond.
And the song is stuck in my head.
You just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake.
So I had this clever idea of a thing to post here about Current
Events, and while that was awhile back so it's not quite as Current
anymore, still here it is:
So good news! Bernie Madoff, or someone superficially similar in appearance to Bernie
Madoff, is behind bars! Justice is served!
It occurs to me to wonder, though, a few things, purely hypothetically.
How much would it cost to really convincingly fake one's own death?
And if one had between seven and seventy billion (with a "b") dollars
of stolen money around and was about to be caught, why wouldn't one?
How much would it cost to obtain someone bearing a superficial physical
similarity to one, have that similarity artificially increased, and drug or coerce
or incent or hypnotize that person into pretending to be one, or actually
thinking that they were in fact one?
Would it cost more than, say, five billion dollars?
And how much, while we're on the subject, would it cost to create and train
an elite strike-force capable of swooping down out of nowhere on their
radar-proof ornithopters, snatching one out of the clutches of the law
while one is on the way to the slammer, and spiriting one away to (say)
one's secret antarctic base?
And how much are the authorities doing to prevent this sort of thing?
"Still Alive" (the song above) is apparently by the brilliant
Jonathan Coulton, who also did
"Re: Your Brains". (See memorable
WoW machinima version, to which I may have linked previously.)
Which is now (also?) stuck in my head.
Speaking of egregious random YouTube videos,
It's a big ad!
And relatedly (relatedly?) Extreme
Sheep Herding (which is unfortunately some sort of Samsung ad, but what can ya do?).
So okay that's that. What else has been going on?
Did you know the
Internet broke briefly, back in February?
A pretty neat story, really.
Thus for this event to have occurred at all,
besides the bugs in the router software of two vendors,
only a few percent of the ASes on the Internet could have
possibly initiated the meltdown, but only if they had a careless
operator and an obscure Latvian router with outdated software.
How likely was that?
And the Geeks In Charge got it working again fast enough that no one really
Or at least it didn't make the headlines.
Australia seems to be imposing secret government censorship on its citizens'
network access, which is sort of odd for, you know, a non-totalitarian country.
As the headlines put it,
hyperlinks could cost you 11,000 dollars a day. And you can't find out which hyperlinks
banned, unless of course you find
the list on the network, which if you're in Australia you might
a hard time doing, since while the censorship was imposed to Protect the Children
(won't anyone think of the children??), it has of course widened to include censoring
information about the censorship itself, and about other things like it,
and unless someone cuts its heads off
soon, it will spread to censorship of anything the censors don't like.
Which is why non-totalitarian countries don't do this kind of thng.
So good luck, Australia!
Hope you get better soon.
And speaking of hydras whose heads need to be cut off soon,
here is a
very juicy story about election fraud via electronic voting machines,
which everyone should read, so that next time someone says "oh sure the geeks are
worried about it in theory, but it's never actually happened", you can say
"um, well, in fact...".
And just to round things out, here's a story from the other direction,
where little shoots of grass (grass mud horses, even) are pushing up
through the grimy concrete of totalitarianism in China:
song of the grass mud horse.
And now it's late, and although I'm having fun writing in my weblog (hi!)
I do want to duck into
Second Life for a bit before I sleep, and I'm going to have to remember how to
post this (my old Perl scripts got broken when I installed or upgraded Cygwin
on this machine, so I have to issue arcane scp commands by hand) so it'll take
We'll close with a couple of lines from
Henry Davies (which we were reminded of by a silly
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Or, similarly, to sit and purr...