Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

The sociopath next door

A disturbing but useful article that changed my opinion about people as a whole. Doing whatever you want with no guilt seems like it would be a kind of paradise, but it seems more like a trap.

Note that something this article doesn't clarify is that if someone lies chronically, it can be a symptom of a whole spectrum of mental or emotional problems, not necessarily because they are as morally corrupt as the people this article references.

Building virtual ambiance

The fascinating video creation of an interactive, almost welcoming room in an upcoming video game.

The Burn Notice formula

Though you shouldn't expect too much from a cable series, it happens. Unfortunately, one show in particular that really pulled us in fell into a stable format in its 3rd season:
  1. Recap of the current situation in the form of one of the characters explaining to one of the other characters already knows, but needs to have reinforced.
  2. Distant, overconfident spy entity contacts Michael and spars a little. Overall story of spy contact / big brother-ish observation furthered slightly
  3. A "job" comes up that either is or becomes a charity case
  4. Job has some kind of unexpected turn or difficulty. Never something that can't be handled.
  5. Takes on a new secret identity or "cover" in almost every episode. Not always necessary.
  6. Either juggle job with spy entity or wait until the end of the episode to 'top off' the episode with a little intrigue.
Each episode must contain:
  • Sexual tension and/or sparring with with female lead (Fiona)
  • Emotional situation or character-building moment thrown in there somewhere.
  • Banter. Lots of banter. This is all old hat for these veterans, of course.
  • Explosions, fights, car chases, etc. This isn't the show's fault. Anything on cable like this MUST contain this.
It isn't all bad:
  • The show doesn't focus on the sweet ingenue or lush, sensual daredevil. The women in the show are almost always in their 30s, self-confident and hot. This is sort of refreshing considering everything else on TV.
  • The format may be the same but the means to do so change almost every episode. You never get the sense that this is a "filler" episode.
  • The main character's mother character (Sharon Gless) has genuinely changed and progressed over the course of the series. I always love seeing this -- something that even multi-part movies can't do.

Seven dirty words for seven days of no cussing

California recently passed a "no cussing" week.  There are no consequences for cussing, so its an empty threat.

Whether or not you live in California, take the opportunity to honor George Carlin by saying Shit Piss Fuck Cunt Cocksucker Motherfucker and Tits.


Why piracy works so well

Finally someone said it: pirated works are often way better than the real deal even with the decreased quality.

That's not to say this justifies piracy, in fact it might be said that neither the pirate nor the producer are really solving anything.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hilarious parent

Maybe you used to think your dad was the coolest.  Now you know how he matches up.

(thanks silver)

A healthcare funny

Its hard to find jokes on the topic, but in a recent slashdot post on buying personal health care:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stewart answers O'Reilly

Having posted a video critical of John Stewart concerning his video fact checking, it was especially tart to find out that O'Reilly was not only wrong but edited out how wrong he was.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Results not parties

Although focused on Sarah Palin, a great overview of the current state of affairs in an ugly political landscape.  Republicans are trying to be the party of smaller government and the Democrats are still trying to be effective.

Further reinforces the idea that you should not vote for parties, but for individuals who can effectively govern.  As corporate spending on political campaigns balloons in the next few years, this is going to be critical.

From an actual package of Tofu

Please don't send me Microsoft Word documents

There are a variety of reasons, but one missing from the list is Word's utterly terrible formatting system that frequently breaks and never improves. Having used Word for years now in a variety of work applications, the inconsistency of formatting, the lack of portability Its strange what having a familiar interface, a grammar checker, and not much else can do to make a text-writing software a business necessity.

If ditching remains a wish and not a reality, some tips on coping.

Update: Found a grammar checker for OpenOffice.  Yes!

Batman vs. Ironman

This is really a video for last years summer blockbusters but its still just as sharp.

Cat-talk linguistics

Language transforms depending on people and situations. One such example is the baby-talk associated with animals and the sort of generated order and language that comes out of this. Although dogs understand far more actual words than cats, there is a rhyme and a reason behind what is ostensibly outright silliness. Nonsense talk for children and adults has an interest in communication, even if it is a complicated form of self-talk or personification.


Situation: Cat is not present

"No kittens for snuggles. Iss de sad. Meow. Kittens no for joo. Mow."

Translation: I am disappointed by the lack of cats here.

"Wants de pets and deshnuggles. Mow."

Translation: I would like to pet cats.

"And da kittenz. For de hugs and pets and wuv. Kittens no for joo."

Translation: Cats generally prevent me from feeling lonely but, again, there are none here.

"Want to hug. Pweeeeeze? Yes. For to luves and more hugs (kittens)."

Translation: I hope I can find cats to sate my desire to give and receive affection.

"Are for de snuuugglyyyy."

Translation: I enjoy petting cats as doing so is therapeutic.

Situation: Cat is present.

"Hello kittens! Yes hello. Hi hi hi."

Translation: Greetings.

Situation: Animal is available to petting.

"He's so soft. I loves him."

Translation: I enjoy petting this cat and have warm feelings for it.

"How are joo? How are joo?"

Translation: I am concerned for this cat's well-being.

"Are joo for sad? Huh snuggles? Done be sad. Iz for to snugle."

Translation: You seem lonely and should not be currently.

"Oh yes kittens! Hello! Meow!"

Translation: Its nice to have a cat present.

Related: Inanity and cats

Friday, February 05, 2010

Zombie survival flowchart

I've been working with flowcharts a lot so this was a delightful twist on something that's frequently pretty tedious.

Some zombie games I liked: