pyesetz: (flag-over-sunrise)

(Advance voting has already begun but my family *still* hasn't received our voter-registration cards.)

Parties: LIB = Liberal, PC = Progressive Conservative, NDP = New Democratic, GRN = Green

Source: CBC’s vote compass

Strongly disagree/
Much less
Somewhat disagree/
Somewhat less
Same as now
Somewhat agree/
Somewhat more
Strongly Agree/
Much more
When businesses make a lot of money everyone benefits, even the poor.
  me  NDP   LIB  PC  GRN  
Government should provide bail-outs to large corporations that are struggling.
PC me  LIB  GRN   NDP  
How much regulation should there be on business?
PC me  LIB GRN NDP    
How much should college and university students pay for their education?
  LIB  NDP me  PC  GRN    
Catholic schools should no longer receive funding from the government.
Full-day kindergarten should be available in all schools.
  me  PC   LIB  NDP  GRN  
Teachers' salaries should be tied to their performance, rather than seniority.
  me  LIB  NDP  GRN   PC  
How much of Ontario's energy should come from nuclear power?
  me  LIB  NDP  GRN   PC  
Ontario should build more wind farms.
  PC me LIB  NDP  GRN  
No new oil pipelines should be built in Ontario.
  LIB  PC me  NDP   GRN
Environmental regulations should be stricter, even if it means consumers pay higher prices.
People should be able to pay for faster access to medical treatment.
LIB  NDP  GRN PC   me  
People should have the choice to receive private or public health care.
LIB  NDP  GRN     PC me
Government should increase funding for health care, even if it means higher taxes.
  PC me LIB  NDP  GRN  
There should be no government funding for abortion.
me  LIB  NDP  GRN   PC    
Prostitution should be treated like any other commercial activity.
LIB  PC   NDP me  GRN  
Terminally ill patients should be able to legally end their own lives with medical assistance.
    LIB  PC  NDP  GRN me  
Marijuana should be legalized.
How much should be done to accommodate religious minorities in Ontario?
    me  LIB  PC  NDP  GRN    
How many immigrants should Ontario admit?
    me  PC  GRN LIB  NDP  
Drivers should be taxed more in order to pay for public transit.
PC  NDP me  LIB     GRN
How much money should welfare recipients get?
    me  PC LIB  NDP  GRN  
How much should government do to reduce the gap between rich and poor?
    PC me  LIB  NDP  GRN  
Social assistance should be provided by private charities, not government.
me  LIB  NDP  GRN     PC  
How much tax should corporations pay?
  PC me  LIB NDP  GRN  
How much should wealthier people pay in taxes?
  PC me  GRN NDP  LIB  
Workers should be able to opt-out of their workplace union.
Ontario should require workers to save more for retirement.
The minimum wage should be tied to inflation.
  PC   GRN me  LIB  NDP
Public sector unions should not be allowed to strike.
NDP me  LIB  GRN   PC  
pyesetz: (Default)
I should just pack it in and move to Blogspot.  This LiveJournal just isn't very furry.  Who am I kidding?  I don’t wear a fursuit, I rarely write furry stories, and the only fursonal drawing I ever bought got ruined during the move to Canada.  There is no place in this Fandom for “an anthropomorphized Homo erectus pretending to be a cat wearing a dogsuit”.  I never have any drama caused by my packmates’ unmentionably-disgusting fursonal habits.  And Wifey would have a fit if I ever did anything that would consider *typical furry behaviour*.  No-sir-ree-bob, we run a prim & proper household here; there is absolutely no reason for Child Protective Services to impound our geeklets “for their own good”.  Well, yes, we do have open-air piles of corrosive dihydrogen monoxide crystals at our homestead, but that’s the government’s fault.  Why don’t they clean these things?  Get that DHMO off my lawn!  It was only a few weeks ago that a fellow down by Sarnia was enveloped by DHMO crystals and died.  There outta be a law!

So, um, Objective Reality.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I think that Objective Reality actually exists, but is beyond our ken.  We live in a Subjective Reality that corresponds to the real world (more or less, sometimes a lot less) but is always separate from it.  In contradistinction to Plato, who believed that the material world is merely a shadow of the Real World of Ideas, I believe that the objects in the universe are just exactly what they are, but our finite ideas about those objects are mere shadows of the infinite ideas that would truly describe Objective Reality.  Unfortunately for our egos, our ideas about our ideas are also mere shadows of the True meta-ideas about how the universe really works.  And so on, to infinity.  There is just no way to think our way out of our sub-reality and into the real world.

I like this religion because it allows me to dismiss out-of-paw some of the wacky ideas that are floating around the noösphere.  Anyone who thumps his Bible as “the complete Word of God” is obviously deluded, because the complete Word of God must be infinitely long and so cannot be captured by any book of limited pages.  There used to be a lot of well-respected physicists who thought that Newton’s F=ma was Reality, but of course it could only ever have been Approximation.  Today, there are probably some scientists who think that Einstein's F=ma ∕ √1−(v²/c²) is Reality, but we *know* that this too must be Approximation because it is a finite formula with only a few variables.  In Reality, everything in the universe depends on everything else for each of its properties.  For practical purposes we can safely ignore most things most of the time—but occasionally something that we thought could be ignored will turn out to have been critically important, such as the effect of Hurricane Katrina upon President W.’s war plans.  This is the conundrum of our existence: we must approximate because we cannot perceive Objective Reality, but “Reality bites” and so we cannot approximate without risk.

Another nice feature of this religion is that it explains the existence of Magic.  As a professional computer programmer, I could hardly profess my Faith in any clockwork-universe philosophy that rejects Magic.  How then could I explain what it is that I do all day?  Arthur Clark said that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, which is sometimes paraphrased as "Magic is technology you don’t understand” (see Zekmalados’ comment here).  To connect this with Objective Reality, I claim that “Magic is useful activity based on approximations of the laws of physics that you don’t happen to know”.  Since the Real laws of physics are infinitely complicated, no one can know all of their useful approximations, so for each person there are things he can do that will be perceived by others as Magic.  With a little practice, you can learn to perceive your own activities as Magic even though you know the physics approximations that make them work.  Do you understand how the “quantum tunnelling” effect works?  You can use a cell phone anyway, but it’s Magic to you!

I’ll admit to a certain vanity in my thoughts about Magic.  I believe that I have more Magic in my right rear dewclaw than you could find in an entire conference room full of Harry Potter fans, but I realize that this belief is Approximation and some Potter fans actually do have the Talent.  Still, it is a useful thought because it helps me to feel superior to the Mundanes.

Regarding E₈ and string theory: Oh dear, this post is too long already.  Maybe I’ll get to those next time.  Meanwhile, here’s a random disconnected link to a certain author’s thoughts on similar subjects.

pyesetz: (Default)
Well, that meme-filling form seems quite popular—It's getting about 400 hits per hour right now.  So I'd better do an encore before the applause dies down.

Continuing with the theme of reusing stuff I had to develop for my job, I now present the Three-column Meme Generator.  It's just like the last one, only this one lets you type in your own items for others to respond to!  Amaze your friends, confound your enemies!  More fun than reading Death Note, whatever that is.

Below is example output from the meme generator.  This thing took me a day and a half, so *please* spread it around!  In this one case, the comment at the form-filling page about "I didn't write the meme content" is inapplicable—I *did* write this meme.

× Live to eat Eat to live Chocolate
Chocolate milk × Squid eyeball sockets  (The most disgusting item ever prepared on Iron Chef) × Tea  (Not so bad, but don't drink it much)
× Coffee Coffee ice cream  (What can I say?  I'm from Boston!) Mint chocolate chip ice cream
Brussels sprouts × Okra Cabbage
Read more... )

pyesetz: (mr_peabody)
[ profile] loganberrybunny discovered a bug in the LJ tagging system.  Usually, uppercase letters in tags are forced to lowercase, but not if your tag contains *any* non-ASCII characters.  Hmm... how can we subvert this bug into a feature so tags can be properly capitalized?  You can rename your existing tags at the tag-management page, which is not well-advertised.
1.  Add an invisible (zero-width) character to end of tag-name.
This would be perfect, but I can't find any zero-width characters that are reliably invisible in all browsers—they all seem to produce some whitespace.  Why can't anyone implement web standards exactly as written?  Snarl grumble gumble...
2.  Use a nonstandard hyphen character.
By replacing a hyphen in the tag with one of these alternative hyphens, we cause the tag to contain a non-ASCII character without changing its appearance much:
‐  ‑  ‒  –  —  ―  −  ﹣  -
This works, but there's little overlap between my tags that have hyphens and those that should have capital letters.  I changed “LJ-workings” to “LJ‐workings”.
3.  Use capital letters from other alphabets that look like English.
I grabbed my copy of the Unicode 4.0 manual (also available online) and looked for characters similar to English uppercase.
Α А Ꭺ,  Β В Ᏼ,  С Ꮯ Ⅽ,  Ꭰ Ⅾ,  Ε Е Ꭼ,  Ϝ,  Ԍ Ꮐ,  Η Н Ꮋ,  Ι І Ⅰ,  Ј Ꭻ,  Κ К Ꮶ K,  Ꮮ Ⅼ,  Μ М Ꮇ Ⅿ,  Ν,  Ο О,  Ρ Р Ꮲ,  ,  Ꭱ Ꮢ,  Ѕ Ꮪ,  Τ Т Ꭲ,  ,  Ѵ Ꮩ Ⅴ,  Ꮤ,  Χ Х Ⅹ,  Υ У Ү,  Ζ Ꮓ
Unfortunately, the level of similarity depends on what fonts are loaded into your computer, so some of these might not look good at your end.  Also note that Q and U are missing from this list (Q is unique to Latin-derived languages?  U is an italic form for И in Cyrillic).  But I used them anyway.  See the results on my tags page.
4.  Use lowercase letters from other alphabets that look like English.
Not good.  Depending on available fonts, these letters might appear more or less similar to English.  It looks really bad to have a differently-styled letter in the middle of a word; better to have a strange style for an initial capital letter.
5.  Úse Ŕandom Áccents
Sorry, no.  I want approximately-correct appearance for my tags.
This post was brought to you today by the letter Ѣ and the number 1010².  Additional funding was provided by this and other local PBS stations.
pyesetz: (Default)
Can we do it?  Yes we can!  It took me a couple of hours of twiddling to find a combination of hacks that works in Firefox.  I haven't tried it yet in other browsers, but —really now— who cares about other browsers?

For my next trick, I'll write an HTML document that describes some work I've been doing in XML.  The document will contain embedded XML examples; if I change the XML stylesheet, my examples will automagically display in the new format!  Thus proving once again the old adage that "90% of the stuff you do with computers wouldn't be necessary if you weren't doing stuff with computers."

My usual HTML editor is Mozilla Composer, but Mozilla requires that only XHTML and not HTML can have XML embedded inside it.  Composer refuses to edit XHTML documents, so I guess I'll have to use Emacs.  It's not WYSIWYG but it'll do.
pyesetz: (flag-over-sunrise)
My application has been sent to the Canadian Consulate.  They're a little backed up right now; supposedly it will be about four months before they send an acknowledgment of receipt.  Then it's 2–16 more months until a decision.  Maybe my passport will get stamped by next summer.

I really, really don't want to move to Canada and *then* look for a job, but the only jobs that can be obtained a year in advance are academic.  I've been trying to soften up the chairman of a certain Comp. Sci. department by writing analysis programs for a language he invented.  Here is my latest result.  Note the inscrutable underlying syntax that shines through all the pretty colors and boxes I've added.  His response to my previous emails has been faintly positive; I'm hoping for a "Wow!" for this work but I suppose I may have to be satisfied with an "interesting...".

I've spent the last month on this (in case any of you were wondering why my journal went silent).  The project ran into many problems—I'd be quite surprised to find out that anyone has ever suceeded with this approach before.  The very last problem I ran into today was that my result files are in XML, which is not an acceptable language for pages served from Comcast home-user accounts.  If you put an XML file on a Comcast homepage and then read it with your browser, Comcast's computer tells your browser that the file is plain text, so it looks like colorless gibberish.  Furtopia gets it right, but I didn't want to send him a URL that mentions "pyesetz" because (as explained by [ profile] bitch_phd) it's not a good idea to tell a prospective academic employer that you have a blog, even an innocuous nonfurry one.  So I looked around the web for a free hosting service for low-volume non-furry no-advertising web pages.  I almost picked, but their FAQ lists specific file types allowed and XML isn't on the list (must be a Windows-based site...).  So I went with  Like [ profile] porsupah, I tend to use the same name at every website, so those of you who know my RL name can easily guess what name my files are under at freewebs.  As for the rest of you, don't worry about it—this crap is all academic anyway.
pyesetz: (Default)
Among other Hanukkah gifts, I received America: THE BOOK, by Jon Stewart et al.  It was written by the staff of The Daily Show and has the same tone as that TV program, except that it is markedly more profane.  The presence on page 99 of full frontal nudity (M/F) makes this book unsuitable for coffee-table use in a household with kids in a country with a right-wing government.

There are some interesting tidbits in the Acknowledgments.  On page 219 the book implies that its own production was outsourced to Southeast Asia (despite the "Made in the USA" mark on page iv), and some acknowledgments are aimed at people with suitable names ("Moon Sun Kim"), but it's unclear whether they were actually in New York during book-production.
     Another acknowledgment: "To Dr. Maya Angelou, thanks for the dick joke on page 118."  Unfortunately, I can't quite figure out which joke is being referred to.

The book presents itself as political satire masquerading as a social-studies schoolbook, but actually it *is* a social-studies book, masquerading as political satire masquerading as social studies (with dick jokes).  For example, on pages 110-111 there is a cartoon depicting a graveyard of former US political parties.  It's done in a large-pixel style reminiscent of 1970's computer graphics; the people in the drawing look like Legos.  But wait!  Why are birth and death dates shown for parties with no current relevance and no other mentions in this book?  Why do we need to know that the Know-Nothing Party flourished 1850-1856 and was anti-Catholic?  Because this is a history book!  Why is the Bull Moose Party's grave strewn with teddy bears?  If you wonder, look it up on the web!
     The TV program engages in a similar masquerade.  They openly claim to be "fake news", but really they're fake fake news—that is, real news.  In the old Soviet Union they had two national newspapers and a saying about them: "In Pravda there is no news; in Izvestia there is no truth."  If you wanted to know what was really going on you had to read Krokodil, the "fake news" satire magazine.
     As an American, I am ashamed that my country has sunk to similar depths of censorship in which the obvious truth can be spoken only through a blurry mist of satire, but this is hardly the first time, as we see on page 137:
The founding fathers were so grateful to the media for their role in the revolution that the foremost inalienable right codified in the Constitution's Bill of Rights was the First Amendment which guaranteed freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  This right was revoked in 1798 by the Alien and Sedition Acts, but still, it had been a fun nine years.  So when the Acts expired in 1801, the government pledged to never again use legislation to censor the media, vowing to only use intimidation and coercion from that day forward.

I must however take issue with chapter 7's footnote 10:
Few could have imagined radio's influence based on the inanity of the first voice radio transmission: "One, two, three four.  Is it snowing where you are?"10
10Broadcast December 23, 1906, by Reginald Fessendon.  (Note: This is the book's only factual footnote.)
The humor here is drier than elsewhere in the book, so readers with a short clue stick might fail to get the joke.  At serious risk of driving all the fun out of it, let me explain (I'm an instant expert because I just looked it up):
  • The date was 1900, not 1906.
  • His name was Fessenden, not Fessendon.
  • There are other footnotes that are clearly factual, such as this one on page 62:
    What formula would determine the makeup of [the US Congress]?  Should the criterion be population with every person² equally represented?
    ²For the purposes of this chapter, "person" still means "white males" up until 1870, then "males" until 1920, then "all people but really still just white people" until 1964.
Indeed, one might be tempted to think that footnote 7‒10 is the only *non-factual* note in the book, but this too would be an error, as we can see from this doozy on page 36:
The 22nd amendment—passed in the wake of the Depression-ending, World War II-winning nightmare that was the Roosevelt Administration—means the president has no more than eight years, and possibly as little as one month,² to put his stamp on the office.
²Assuming the jackass plans on delivering an hour-and-forty-minute inaugural address outside in a blinding snowstorm, then succumbing to pneumonia.  (See Boorstin, Daniel, William Henry Harrison: Idiot of Tippecanoe, Viking Press, 1973.)
Whoa, Nellie, that's totally wrong!  Boorstin's 1973 book was actually called The Americans: The Democratic Experience.

So we see what a big problem it is to have to speak in code like this.  Without an independent source like Google it's impossible to know which statements are true and which are satiric.  Under extreme censorship, the true news ends up sounding like Nostradamus, worded so vaguely (to avoid official ire) that it barely says anything, and then only to people who sort of already know the answer.

Actually, I hate to break it to you folks, but has been caught making politically-motivated changes to their supposedly-objective database.  They have become a "big target" and have had to bend to avoid getting broken.  But I'll save that post for another day.  Are you sick of politics yet?  )
pyesetz: (Default)

A   u s e l e s s   s i d e b a r

ince it appears that I'll be writing an HTML renderer for my day job, you can expect to see even more CSS goodness in my journal posts.  The CSS standard specifies lots of ridiculous decorative touches that nobody ever uses, such as the drop-cap at the beginning of this paragraph.  I'm glad HTML supports inlined tables, for things like
fractions, but there's little real use for the
a b s u r d

you can do with that feature.  And how many nested boxing options do we really need for practical purposes?

Why, no, there really *wasn't* any point to this post.  Why do you ask?

pyesetz: (Default)

Thread 1: Dave S. posts often to and uses many names: "Dave the Dancing Hyena", "Dave the Rotating Hyena", "Dave the Emperor Palatine Hyena", etc. In this post (on 14-April-2004), I referred to him as "Dave the <adjective> Hyena".

Thread 2: I was told that this topic is an example of how mean the EatAwlFurrees people are. But it didn't seem as mean as I expected, so I looked elsewhere on that site and found some posts by a guy named "Dave the adjective". Is that a coincidence?

Merge: "Dave the adjective" has been a member of EAF since 18-April-2004, the same day that "Dave the Hatfull Hyena" posted a link to EAF on a.l.f. Like Dave the Hyena, "Dave the adjective" is British, thinks Karl Marx is a positive character, and likes snappish comments. Is it really the same person behind both 'nyms? Who cares? This is just idle gossip!

*edit* Still, I like to think that he has adopted a name I gave him.


pyesetz: (Default)

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