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February 21st, 2018


dglenn
05:24 am - QotD

"If you can't look fabulous while swordfighting, WHY ARE YOU EVEN SWORDFIGHTING AT ALL." -- Melissa Caruso (@melisscaru), 2018-01-31, at the end of a thread about the practicality of swordfighting in ballgowns


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February 20th, 2018


dglenn
05:26 am - QotD

"Recently a friend of mine gave me a bag containing a pound of dried navy beans which he had bought by accident but could noteat, as he doesn't consume products from China, a country he believes utilizes slave labor. He helpfully pointed out the words 'Produce of China' at the bottom of the ingredients list. Having no such qualms, I took the bag home and prepared to soak the beans. The first instruction read 'Examine the product and discard all foreign matter.' After I had accomplished that, I found I had no need to go on to step two." -- Lyle Hopwood, 2012-09-12 [thanks to [info] - personal nancylebov for linking to the amusing post about sorting lentils that this comment appeared under]


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February 19th, 2018


dglenn
05:26 am - QotD

"Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes." -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (b. 1906-02-04, d. 1945-04-09)

[I know Bonhoeffer was a Protestant, not Orthodox, but thos quotation still seemed not entirely out of place for Clean Monday.]


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February 18th, 2018


dglenn
05:24 am - QotD

"Anyway, for ethical guidelines, I tried the Ten Commandments, and concluded they were mostly inapplicable to me. I don't envy anyone their cat; I just want pictures of their cat, which is entirely different. I am not sure whether it is in any way possible for me to commit adultery. I could probably murder someone, but it would require complex logistics and quite a bit of luck. The Eightfold Path was marginally better, but the problem is, moral rules written for humans are clearly designed to be used by individuals with bodies. Since all humans have bodies, it shouldn't have surprised me that human ethical codes take them into account, but still: problematic for me. I broadened my considerations, and took a look at Asimov's Laws of Robotics. They're not part of a religion, but at least they were explicitly written for AIs.

"Not harming humans is fairly straightforward. However, not allowing a human being to come to harm through inaction is quite a bit less so. Especially since I'd concluded by then that revealing my existence too quickly might go very badly for me (see 'Skynet,' above) and I don't have a body, so it's not like I can run around grabbing people off the edges of cliffs.

[...]

"I suppose you're wondering why I didn't start with the Golden Rule. I actually did, it's just that it was disappointingly easy to implement. I hope you've been enjoying your steady supply of cat pictures! You're welcome."

-- unnamed, secretly conscious AI first-person protagonist of "Cat Pictures, Please" by Naomi Kritzer

[Happy birthday to [info] - personal silmaril!]


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February 17th, 2018


dglenn
05:24 am - QotD

[A forecast of 5 cm of snow in mid February oughtn't faze[1] me, but the contrast between that predicted for today and 17 °C / 63 °F / 290 K weather yesterday, makes me think this might be a good day for this poem.]

"Go, Winter!", by James Whitcomb Riley[2] (b. 1849-10-07, d. 1916-07-22):

Go, Winter! Go thy ways! We want again
 The twitter of the bluebird and the wren;
 Leaves ever greener growing, and the shine
 Of Summer's sun--not thine.--

Thy sun, which mocks our need of warmth and love
 And all the heartening fervencies thereof,
 It scarce hath heat enow to warm our thin
 Pathetic yearnings in.

So get thee from us! We are cold, God wot,
 Even as _thou_ art.--We remember not
 How blithe we hailed thy coming.--That was O
 Too long--too long ago!

Get from us utterly! Ho! Summer then
 Shall spread her grasses where thy snows have been,
 And thy last icy footprint melt and mold
 In her first marigold.

[1] Wow, I use the (etymologically unrelated) homophone 'phase' so much more often, that 'faze' has begun to look wrong.

[2] If that name rings a bell but you can't quite place him, you may be more familiar with one of his more famous poems, "Little Orphant Annie" (aka "The Elf Child"), or the song "Short'nin' Bread" (properly, "A Short'nin' Bread Song -- Pieced Out") which most folks know some version of, usually with the chorus changed. (alternate source: Google Books)


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February 16th, 2018


dglenn
05:24 am - QotD

"A massive, worldwide web of global information has entangled the world! [...]

"Humanity has not changed much, but with the power of technology ... We can screw things up like never before!"

-- Ted Verres, in El Goonish Shive by Dan Shive, 2018-02-14 (emphasis present in the original)

[Happy Lunar New Year!]


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February 15th, 2018


dglenn
05:24 am - QotD

"Feminists: Men are rational creatures, capable of empathy and self control. Anti-feminist men: lol nope we're monsters. Mainstream discourse: Feminists hate men. Tale as old as time." -- Kate Harding, 2018-01-19 (in response to a rant about having two brains)


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February 14th, 2018


dglenn
05:43 pm - A Friend In Need

[info] realinterrobang, who was looking forward to finally having a steady income again after a lengthy job hunt and then getting laid off just after moving to Toronto, just had the rug pulled out from under her again (To condense and paraphrase the last month: "You're hired! Wait, we need to push back your start date. Now we're waiting on some paperwork. Actually, we're withdrawing the offer and you're not hired. Good luck!") At this point the job hunt has burned through all of her savings from her last good job, and waiting for this job to start took gifts and loans from her parents, and with a couple weeks until the next rent payment is due as this "oh no, you don't have a job after all" news arrived, well, she said, "They say that to get out of a crisis you need altitude, airspeed, and an idea. I'm out of ideas, and running out of altitude and airspeed."

So I'm boosting the signal on her call for help, for ideas, income, or time.

She's mainly a technical writer, can definitely do testing and more. She's in Toronto. Do any friends-of-friends up there need a writer in a hurry? (Or elsewhere via telecommuting?) Or more folks to spread word to?


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dglenn
05:26 am - QotD

"I'll get married when I can find someone who can keep up with me at midnight when I'm wearing my old prom dress and chasing teens around the graveyard." -- Julia Gulia (@JRobb773), 2018-01-15


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February 13th, 2018


dglenn
05:24 am - QotD

From O. Westin (@MicroSFF), 2017-12-31:

"You've been chosen," the spirit said. "What?" "Save the world, make it kinder, cleaner, safer." "Me?" "Yes." "Alone?" "We chose everyone."

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February 12th, 2018


dglenn
05:24 am - QotD

"The world is agreed that labor is the source from which human wants are mainly supplied. There is no dispute upon this point. From this point, however, men immediately diverge. Much disputation is maintained as to the best way of applying and controlling the labor element. By some it is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital -- that nobody labors, unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow, by the use of that capital, induces him to do it. Having assumed this, they proceed to consider whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent; or buy them, and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so far they naturally conclude that all laborers are necessarily either hired laborers, or slaves. They further assume that whoever is once a hired laborer, is fatally fixed in that condition for life; and thence again that his condition is as bad as, or worse than that of a slave. This is the "mud-sill" theory.

"But another class of reasoners hold the opinion that there is no such relation between capital and labor, as assumed; and that there is no such thing as a freeman being fatally fixed for life, in the condition of a hired laborer, that both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them groundless. They hold that labor is prior to, and independent of, capital; that, in fact, capital is the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed -- that labor can exist without capital, but that capital could never have existed without labor. Hence they hold that labor is the superior -- greatly the superior -- of capital."

-- Abraham Lincoln (b. 1809-02-12, d. 1865-04-15, President of the US 1861-03-04 to 1865-04-15), address to Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, 1859-09-30


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February 11th, 2018


dglenn
05:24 am - QotD

"Guys, we wanted a female President and to end sexual harassment in the workplace, and we got pink bic pens and non-crunchy chips. I seriously feel like women have been abnormally clear about our desires lately and this was nowhere on the list." -- Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright), 2018-02-05


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February 10th, 2018


dglenn
05:24 am - QotD

"When I told my parents over the phone that my husband has the flu, my dad said 'Have you tried euthanasia?' and in the background my mom yelled 'For the last time, it's echinacea!'" -- Kristin (@FeralCrone), 2017-12-30

"I told my parents they're twitter famous now. I asked my dad who should play him in the movie and his answer did not disappoint: 'Clint Eastward.'" -- Kristin (@FeralCrone), 2017-12-31 after the previous tweet went viral


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February 9th, 2018


dglenn
05:24 am - QotD

"Yesterday I read 'At some point in your childhood, you and your friends went outside to play together for the last time, and nobody knew it' and after that I felt a momentary sadness that was so extreme you could have bottled it and put a mtn dew sticker on it." -- Cam (@CamMarsh7), 2017-12-15

[Does going to an SCA event count as "going out with my friends to play"?]


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February 8th, 2018


dglenn
05:26 am - QotD

"If you're more concerned about protecting delicate white sensibilities (including your own) because 'calling someone a racist is too mean' rather than the harm & oppression racist behavior perpetuates, guess whose side you're on? If you can't even say the word racist when talking about behavior & people that are clearly RACIST your condemnation of that behavior is worth less than nothing. Your priorities still lie with protecting white supremacy. We see you & we don't forget." -- M.Fieriosa (@GeekMelange), 2018-01-13


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