motto lotto

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

LDS revaluation

"Elders" who are children.
LDS missionaries (not the ones I met today)
As I walked out of my house this afternoon to read a few philosophy essays at the coffee shop, I ran into a couple LDS missionaries. I stopped and talked to them for a few minutes. One of them was from Canada and the other from Wisconsin (I think). I was struck by just how young these missionaries really are (usually 19-21*) as I spoke with them. I mentioned what I was studying and that I like to study religion but that I just really don't want to join any clubs.

I'm not really a club person.

They assured me it wasn't really a club but I couldn't be convinced. As I walked away they said, "well, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us". I said "Thanks, if you have any questions feel free to contact me, I may have done the relevant study."

Monday, February 23, 2009

wisdom through experience

Not to wish to see too soon.— As long as one lives through the experience, one must surrender to the experience and shut one's eyes instead of becoming an observer immediately. For that would disturb the good digestion of the experience: instead of wisdom one would acquire indigestion.

From the practice of wise men.— To become wise, one must wish to have certain experiences and run, as it were, into their gaping jaws. This, of course, is very dangerous; many a wise guy has been swallowed.

from Nietzsche's The Wanderer and His Shadow §297-298

Saturday, February 21, 2009

more tools from our googly overlords

Some friends passed along a few google projects of note.

Google Powermeter helps people measure their power consumption. It isn't ready for consumers yet but looks promising (although, like many googly things, I'm conflicted about giving them so much data).

Understudy is a tool for those of us who use Apple computers to use FrontRow with NetFlix instant and Hulu.

Friday, February 20, 2009

chewing on The Plague

It is in the thick of a calamity that one gets hardened to the truth—in other words, to silence. (p. 116)

His face still in shadow, Rieux said that he'd already answered: that if he believed in an all-powerful God he would cease curing the sick and leave that to Him. But no one in the world believed in a God of that sort; no, not even Paneloux, who believed that he believed in such a God. And this was proved by the fact that no one ever threw himself on Providence completely. Anyhow, in this respect Rieux believed himself to be on the right road—in fighting against creation as he found it.

"Ah," Tarrou remarked. "So that's the idea you have of your profession?"

"More or less." The doctor came back into the light. (p. 127)

[T]he narrator is inclined to think that by attributing overimportance to praiseworthy actions one may, by implication, be paying homage to the worse side of human nature. For this attitude implies that such actions shine out as rare exceptions, while callousness and apathy are the general rule. The narrator does not share this view. The evil that is in the world always comes from ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however isn't the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. The soul of the murderer is blind; and there can be no true goodness nor true love without the utmost clearsightedness. (p. 131)

"Forgive me, Rambert, only—well, I simply don't know. But stay with us if you want to." A swerve of the car made him break off. Then, looking straight in front of him, he said: "For nothing in the world is it worth turning one's back on what one loves. Yet that is what I'm doing, though why, I do not know." He sank back on the cushion. "That's how it is," he added wearily, "and there's nothing to be done about it. So let's recognize the fact and draw the conclusions."

"What conclusions?"

"Ah," Rieux said, "a man can't cure and know at the same time. So let's cure as quickly as we can. That's the more urgent job." (p. 210)

from The Plague by Camus

"Any philosopher's argument which does not therapeutically treat human suffering is worthless. For just as there is no profit in medicine if it does not expel the diseases of the body, so there is no profit in philosophy either if it does not expel the suffering of the mind." -Epicurus

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the philosopher-comedian

Every animal—therefore la bête philosophe [The philosophical animal], too—instinctively strives for an optimum of favorable conditions under which it can expend all its strength and achieve its maximal feeling of power; every animal abhors, just as instinctively and with a subtlety of discernment that is "higher than all reason," every kind of intrusion or hinderance that obstructs or could obstruct this path to the optimum (I am not speaking of its path to happiness, but its path to power, to action, to the most powerful activity, and in most cases its path to unhappiness). Thus the philosopher abhors marriage, together with that which might persuade to it—marriage being a hindrance and calamity on his path to the optimum. What great philosopher hitherto has been married? Heraclitus, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Schopenhauer—they were not; more, one cannot even imagine them married. A married philosopher belongs in comedy, that is my proposition—and as for that exception, Socrates—the malicious Socrates*, it would seem, married ironically, just to demonstrate this proposition.

Nietzsche GM 3.7 (Kaufmann *Socrates appears in Aristophanes' comedy The Clouds)

All I have been concerned to indicate here is this: in the most spiritual sphere too, the ascetic ideal has at present only one kind of real enemy capable of harming it: the comedians of this ideal—for they arouse mistrust of it. Everywhere else that the spirit is strong, mighty, and at work without counterfeit today, it does without ideals of any kind—the popular expression for this abstinence is "atheism"—except for its will to truth. But this will, this remnant of an ideal, is, if you will believe me, this ideal itself in its strictest, most spiritual forumlation, esoteric through and through, with all external additions abolished, and thus not so much its remnant as its kernel. Unconditional honest atheism (and its is the only air we breathe, we more spiritual men of this age!) is therefore not the antithesis of that ideal, as it appears to be; it is rather only one of the latest phases of its evolution, one of its terminal forms and inner consequences--it is the awe-inspiring catastrophe of two thousand years of training in truthfulness that finally forbids itself the lie involved in belief in God.

(The same evolutionary course in India, completely independent of ours, should prove something: the decisive point is reached five centuries before the beginning of the European calendar, with Buddha; more exactly, with the Sankhya philosophy, subsequently popularized by Buddha and made into a religion.)

Nietzsche GM 3.27 (Kaufmann)
All philosophers are single unless they're comedians.
I'm married. I'm a philosopher.
Ergo, I'm a comedian.

Mike (of Church of Mike) is a comedian of the latter variety.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

variety, the spice of the afterlife

When author David Eagleman thinks about the afterlife, he sees endless possibilities. In his book, Sum: Forty Tales From the Afterlives, he imagines a variety of scenarios.

Eagleman's imagined afterlives range from the perfectly mundane — an "infinite airport waiting area" — to the fantastic, like a visit with the "big face" of this universe's creator.

'Afterlives': 40 Stories Of What Follows Death
I heard Eagleman interviewed on NPR today. I've wanted to do a similar project because so much thinking about religion is reductive and unimaginative.

One of my favorite afterlives he talks about is one in which only bad people get immortality. The idea being that God is so tired of time that he sees temporal existence as a gift and living eternally as a punishment. So God spends eternity with the bad people and the good people get an end.

brilliant sermon

The best sermon I've heard in years.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bon Iver

It wasn't planned. The goal was to hibernate.

Justin Vernon moved to a remote cabin in the woods of Northwestern Wisconsin at the onset of winter. Tailing from the swirling breakup of his long time band, he escaped to the property and surrounded himself with simple work, quiet, and space. He lived there alone for three months, filling his days with wood splitting and other chores around the land. This special time slowly began feeding a bold, uninhibited new musical focus.

This slowly evolved into days filled with twelve-hour recording blocks, breaking only for trips on the tractor into the pines to saw and haul firewood, or for frozen sunrises high up a deer stand. All of his personal trouble, lack of perspective, heartache, longing, love, loss and guilt that had been stock piled over the course of the past six years, was suddenly purged into the form of song. The end result is, For Emma, Forever Ago, a nine-song album comprised of what's been dubbed a striking debut by critics and fans alike.

Bon Iver bio
A few different friends have recommended I listen to Bon Iver. Good stuff. There's also an abc interview and a couple higher quality versions of songs (the ones he recorded at the cabin) to play from his site. I must be late to hearing about him, there are already a number of youtube covers.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I have a new ringtone

This might be a little juvenile, but Mike's not on gChat and I need to show him this.

Barack Obama is tired of your motherfucking shit

Oh black Jesus you make me proud.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) is a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative information designed to undermine the credibility of their beliefs. An individual firm, for example, might use FUD to invite unfavorable opinions and speculation about a competitor's product; to increase the general estimation of switching costs among current customers; or to maintain leverage over a current business partner who could potentially become a rival. FUD techniques may be crude and simple. Alternatively they may be very subtle, employing an indirect approach.

The term originated to describe disinformation tactics in the computer hardware industry and has since been used more broadly. FUD is a manifestation of the appeal to fear.

Fear, uncertainty and doubt (

FUD /fuhd/ n. Defined by Gene Amdahl after he left IBM to found his own company: "FUD is the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that IBM sales people instill in the minds of potential customers who might be considering [Amdahl] products." The idea, of course, was to persuade them to go with safe IBM gear rather than with competitors' equipment. This implicit coercion was traditionally accomplished by promising that Good Things would happen to people who stuck with IBM, but Dark Shadows loomed over the future of competitors' equipment or software. See IBM. After 1990 the term FUD was associated increasingly frequently with Microsoft, and has become generalized to refer to any kind of disinformation used as a competitive weapon.

From The Jargon File circa 2001 ( latest


Some old monopoly card illustrations.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Camus on soccer (football)

When he was asked, in the fifties, by an alumni sports magazine to write a few words about his time with the RUA [Racing Universitaire Algerios] his piece included the following words:
After many years during which I saw many things, what I know most surely about morality and the duty of man I owe to sport and learned it in the RUA.
People have read more into these words than, perhaps, Camus would want them to. He was referring to a kind of simple morality he wrote about in his early essays, an ethic of sticking up for your friends, of valuing courage and fair-play. Camus believed that the people of politics and religion try to confuse us with convoluted moral systems to make things appear more complicated than they really are, possibly to suit their own agendas. People may do better to look to the simple morality of the football field than to politicians and philosophers.

Albert Camus and football (

Thursday, February 5, 2009

google translation bots

A friend pointed out Google's translation bots to me a while ago but I forgot about them until today. I believe it only supports the jabber protocol (google talk - Winderz, jabber is an option for iChat or Pidgin as well). If you do use jabber and want easy Spanish to English translation (my case) then you just add (English to Spanish) and (Spanish to English) as buddies in your chat client.

yeast excrement

I spent most of the day yesterday getting ready to brew tomorrow. We cleaned a bunch of 5 gallon kegs and racked beer into them. We also bought ingredients. We're brewing another porter and if we manage to do two batches we also have the ingredients for something IPA like. I'm trying to keep better track of recipes. So I don't forget, the grain we picked up yesterday:
3/4 lb Weyerman German Rye Malt (4.0 Lovibond)
2 lb Dingemans Belgian Special-B (140-155 Lovibond)
2 1/4 lb Weyerman German Carahell (10-15 Lovibond)
1 lb Briess American Organic Roasted Barley (300 Lovibond)
1 lb Briess American Organic Chocolate (350 Lovibond)
1 lb British Torrefied Wheat

Random beer trivia: a black and tan is a pale ale with a dark Porter (often a Stout Porter) poured on top. It supposedly originated in British pubs so British ales are preferred.1 We usually make black and tans with Bass and Murphy's (or Guinness) when we don't have homebrew available. We make half and halfs when we have lagers around. Mmm... Harp and Guinness:

Harp and Guinness


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

writing routine

I've been following the Daily Routines blog and reading about the habits of people like Barack Obama, Stephen King, Immanuel Kant and Ingmar Bergman.

Instead of the routine of a successful writer, here's the routine of someone who might end up becoming a full time writer if he's really lucky but will likely remain primarily a technology worker. But why would someone want to read about probable failure when they should be trying to learn about and mimic success? Let it serve as a warning.
I don't write every day but when I do write I stumble out of bed around 8:30 or so when I hear Sarah close the door on her way to work. I don't take a shower or eat anything and I usually just put on the clothes I wore yesterday or whatever is lying on the floor next to the bed. I slip on $8 Walmart shoes I bought years ago and throw on my yellow Fat Tire baseball cap. If it's cold I put on my stocking cap instead. I grab my pen, keys and wallet off the coffee table and put them into my pockets. If I'm lucky I remember to bring my notebook before I'm physically outside the apartment. I then head out the door and walk down the block to the coffee shop. I find my way groggily to the counter and mumble something to the barista that she recognizes as an order for a regular 12 oz cup of coffee to stay. I remove the coffee from the counter, sit down at a small table by the window and begin to wake my mind by reading the nonsense I wrote on previous days.

About 10 to 15 minutes later I actually start writing. I start by thinking about how I want to work on microhistorical fiction or the sci-fi novel but by then I'm already thinking about philosophy so I write just to get it out of my head. I keep thinking about or writing philosophy until I finish that first cup.

I go up to the counter and get a 50 cent refill while internally rededicating myself to writing fiction or sci-fi. I sit back down and start to write in earnest. When I really get into writing I don't drink the coffee as fast but I always start getting hungry and shaky somewhere in the middle of the second cup. I keep working in spite of the shakes. Sometimes I start getting anxious and just down that second cup of coffee and head home. I generally get back sometime between eleven and eleven forty-five. Depending on the day the second session ends up being wasted thinking and writing philosophy as well. Today I was lucky and actually got four journal pages solely devoted to the sci-fi novel.

"The Stranger"

priests in Rome
I was pouring out on him everything that was in my heart, cries of anger and cries of joy. He seemed so certain about everything, didn't he? And yet none of his certainties was worth one hair of a woman's head. He wasn't even sure he was alive, because he was living like a dead man.

The Stranger p. 120
I read The Stranger by Camus while we were in Mexico. I didn't like the writing style as much as The Rebel or The Plague. Chris seems to think my perspective amounts to sacrilege. Everything I've read by Camus so far is stunning. I wish I started reading him sooner.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I'm a man who likes to be alone. I'm a man who likes to think alone.

The song Eclipse by The Beta Band was stuck in my head when I woke up this morning (listen on Lyrics:
The people asking questions to the people with the answers
The people with the answers ire the people with the questions
So the people with the questions asked the people with the answers
The people with the answers won't tell the people with the questions the answers

So the people with the questions they ask the people with the answers
But the people with the answers won't speak to them
Because the people with the answers give
the people with the questions just a little bit too hard a time to speak to

I'm a man who likes to be alone
I'm a man who likes to think alone
I don't have too many answers, but I got a whole heap of questions
I got a whole heap of questions that I won't hide from you

So the people with the books they went and stood up on the mountain
To get away from the people with no books
The people with the books they started reading on the mountain but
they couldn't see a thing because the sky went dark
I don't know where the cloud cover came from
I'm just sitting here rocking on the station

I don't want to be the type of guy
who lives alone, reading books, and never eats a pizza pie
I don't want to be the type of person
sitting alone with a book on my own

With a book on my own

The people with the questions got together
with the people with the books and left the people with answers out
So the people with the answers started to
make their way over the hill
to meet with people with the questions
and the people with the books

And we all live together on a little round ball
We all sing together when the cuckoo calls

I'm not the type best living alone
Could we live together? Well, I don't know..

I'm not sitting here giving you a lesson
So I'll just keep my mouth shut for the next few minutes

Can't keep quiet for long
I'm a human being
Can't help help singing this song
I'm a human being

You won't listen to me
I'm not an authority

So the people with the answers met the people with the questions
and the people with the books sat down
They finally decided to sit around to talk about their problems
to see if they come up with some answers to meet the questions
and some questions to meet the answers

well, the leaves on the trees are green
[ok we're agreed on that]
and the roads are not very clean
[ok we're agreed on that]
and the food we eat is not very healthy
[ok we're agreed on that]
and the music we make is not particularily good
[ok we're agreed on that]
and the planets sort of revolve around the sun
[ok we're agreed on that]
and the moon is a big ball with nothing on it, and I
don't think anyone's ever been there
[ok, so we're kind of agreed to that, so what are we arguing about?
Well, I don't know..
Ok. so let's get together and smoke that pizza pie]

Some people with a pizza pie made me very high
The people with the questions smile
And the people with the answers lie
They lie

So no pizza for them


I'm still confused. Is this asking if your choice of operating system is of a moral type or is it asking if your particular choice in operating system is a moral one?

Mankind may never know.