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Danny Hillis (who's done some of the more interesting work in AI) tells stories about working with Richard Feynman. I haven't read the whole thing yet, but what I have read is great.
[via Matt Jones] _
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05:02:55 PM, Monday 6 January 2003

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An obituary of James Ferman, film censor of Britain, in the Economist.

Joseph Conrad's "The Censor of Plays -- An Appreciation" _
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04:55:19 PM, Monday 6 January 2003

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My local news feed seems to be doing its job: it brings me local news. (And now I've crontabbed it, so it will be updated regularly. I thought I had before, but it seems not.) _
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04:29:18 PM, Monday 6 January 2003

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Got back from the airport okay. Didn't fall asleep at the wheel or anything. Not even a little bit. Need to sleep now, though. It's been quite a couple of weeks. I have so much to tell you... later. _
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10:33:42 AM, Sunday 5 January 2003

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I suspect pessimism would also be one of the principal virtues of a programmer, if only a programmer could be found who would display it sufficiently. _
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08:54:07 PM, Friday 3 January 2003

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J.R.R. Tolkien is eleventy-one today. _
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03:52:57 PM, Friday 3 January 2003

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Tiny horses for blind people. _
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02:12:35 AM, Friday 3 January 2003

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Need to talk to Kerne. Silly conflicting sleep schedules. _
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08:15:54 PM, Thursday 2 January 2003

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Oh, and: happy birthday, Liz! (It still is your birthday, here in California, anyway.) _
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01:06:29 AM, Thursday 26 December 2002

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I'm going to Texas, so I'll be quiet for the next few days. As opposed to the last few days, when of course I've been blogging up a storm. I'll be back on Monday. _
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11:34:16 PM, Wednesday 25 December 2002

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Going to this. _
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05:25:55 PM, Sunday 22 December 2002

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But sooner or later they'll all guess. _
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02:30:13 PM, Saturday 21 December 2002

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A correct response:
PlatonismElbow: How now, yo?
Rams In KMart: werd, brown cow-diggity. _
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12:42:35 AM, Saturday 21 December 2002

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Huh... teasmoke.net seems to be kinda fuxx0rated at the moment, and one of the less obvious results is that it's not picking up BLT entries from here, so for now you might want to use m14m blt. _
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01:43:49 PM, Friday 20 December 2002

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So, so right. _
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04:37:05 AM, Friday 20 December 2002

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The great thing about listening to classical music in the office is that nobody can ask you to turn it down without sounding like an uncultured churl. _
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06:26:54 PM, Thursday 19 December 2002

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I like this. _
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06:24:03 AM, Thursday 19 December 2002

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"It's all wrong. By all rights, we shouldn't even be here."

So I saw a reasonably good movie tonight. It borrowed a title and some characters from a book I once read.

"Sit at peace! And be comforted, Samwise. If you seem to have stumbled, think that it was fated to be so. Your heart is shrewd as well as faithful, and saw clearer than your eyes. For strange though it may seem, it was safe to declare this to me. It may even help the master that you love. It shall turn to his good, if it is in my power. So be comforted." _
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02:26:48 AM, Thursday 19 December 2002

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This article conflates the causes of moral behavior with the causes of moral understanding. As Aristotle would say, it mistakes efficient cause for final cause. It touches on some interesting points along the way, but that one mistake is so deep as to ruin the whole argument. I'm not quite sure how people fall into these traps, which we've known about for thousands of years. It's a bit unsettling. My guess would be that some philosophers see how science has advanced by focusing on efficient cause over final cause, and try to imitate this shift when presenting their own ideas. The original insight may be quite reasonable (in this case, that our moral instincts have been formed in part by the historical development of our species), but, by presenting it in terms of this imaginary conflict, it is rendered incoherent. _
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08:29:45 PM, Wednesday 18 December 2002

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Also: I'm very, very happy that Tom Bombadil wasn't in the first LOTR movie, and my biggest worry about the second one is that it will fuck up my idea of the ents. _
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05:56:02 PM, Wednesday 18 December 2002

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I think I'd be happy if two hours was an unusually short length for a movie. _
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05:52:18 PM, Wednesday 18 December 2002

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I'm sure Bush is just bluffing. We're not actually going to go to war with Iraq. _
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01:25:28 PM, Wednesday 18 December 2002

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This is perfect. _
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12:45:58 PM, Wednesday 18 December 2002

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I can't for the life of me remember what I was about to say. _
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01:26:22 AM, Wednesday 18 December 2002

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We're all our own fiercest critics. But I suppose someone has to be, and who else would? _
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12:55:59 AM, Wednesday 18 December 2002

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I know what I want. I want to have a little store selling books and music, in a college town, Berkeley, or maybe Boston. I'd have a small but excellent selection, new and used, chosen to attract the sorts of people I'd enjoy talking to. It would open at 11 am or so, and stay open till some ungodly hour of the night (just 10 or 11 officially, but I'd stay open as long as there were people there, or if I was doing something that held my interest). I'd have an espresso machine in the back, with which I'd make various nice hot things to drink, like mochas with Mexican hot chocolate, and there might be a bottle of good whiskey under the desk, that I'd share with people who deserved it. There would be great comfy chairs to sit and read in, and a couple of tables. And I'd have a small apartment in the back, or maybe upstairs--not much, just a place to eat and sleep. I'd have a good fast internet connection in the apartment, with wireless access that people could use if they wanted to. The only phone would be a great old fashioned one with a dial, towards the front of the store. People could use it to make local calls, and I'd try to avoid answering it whenever possible. I'd sit behind the desk all day, reading or hacking on whatever programming project was interesting me that week, and keep out of people's way most of thetime, unless they asked for help, or they seemed about to get almost the right thing. Occasionally I'd call out random facts--the Sumerians had over 3000 gods, and their language 13 cases; J. L. Austin wrote Sense and Sensibilia; you still can't get a proper translation of most of Aristotle--just to see who would respond. I wouldn't make much money off it, but it'd be enough to live on, and to go to movies now and then. I'd close for a couple of weeks in the spring or fall and go travelling, but not every year. People would drift in off the street, and they'd be taken by surprise, and stay browsing for hours; in the end, they might even end up buying things. There would be a bulletin board towards the front. It would have only the best posters, and they wouldn't be taken down regularly enough. _
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11:33:00 PM, Tuesday 17 December 2002

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An RSS feed of Sonoma County local news from the Press Democrat. Made by scraping this page with Jamie Zawinski's Cheesegrater. Local news is all I'm going to do, as the rest of the world is covered by other, better, already-syndicated papers. _
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09:03:54 PM, Tuesday 17 December 2002

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"Best" does not imply "good". _
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02:35:47 PM, Tuesday 17 December 2002

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I wish Kerne was here. I'm trying to figure out how to tell if a parameter is set from a bash script. _
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12:48:23 PM, Tuesday 17 December 2002

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Iguana Bondage - Not a victimless crime. _
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11:27:04 PM, Monday 16 December 2002

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Some further references both on the original Luddites and some of today's self-styled Neo-Luddites. _
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03:09:41 AM, Monday 16 December 2002

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We shall have the elder gods for our umbrellas! _
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02:16:58 AM, Monday 16 December 2002

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A bit of a Luddite, in spite of, you know, the programming job and all. I more than half suspect that any good programmer will end up being a Luddite sooner or later. _
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01:45:50 AM, Monday 16 December 2002

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Formatting oddities due to copying previous post directly from my AIM logs, HTML and all. _
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12:17:59 AM, Monday 16 December 2002

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[20:59:13] PlatonismElbow: Now orries.
[20:59:18] PlatonismElbow: There will be other chances, I'm sure.
[21:00:42] Rams In KMart: hmm. a scenario forms in my head.
[21:00:49] PlatonismElbow: Oh?
[21:01:36] Rams In KMart: imagine, if you will, a bridge, just constructed and just opened to the public.
[21:01:53] PlatonismElbow: How structurally sound is it?
[21:01:58] Rams In KMart: what you don't know, because i haven't told you, is that the bridge is in australia.
[21:02:15] PlatonismElbow: Ah sou.
[21:02:36] Rams In KMart: funny you should ask. not exceedingly. they are in fact adding extra supports even as they open the bridge to vehicles.
[21:03:35] Rams In KMart: so a big truck drives up, and asks one of the construction workers "will this bridge hold the weight of me truck with all me kit in?" they're australians, you see.
[21:03:53] PlatonismElbow: Of cours.
[21:04:35] Rams In KMart: "no lorries, mate!" the construction worker shouts over the din of the construction equipment. mishearing, the driver proceeds, the bridge collapses, and everyone dies. the end.
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12:16:39 AM, Monday 16 December 2002

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25 verses of Bedlam Boys. That's a pretty good quantity of Glorious Weird Old Ballad. Can anyone find some more? _
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04:03:08 AM, Sunday 15 December 2002

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