Archive for December, 2010

2010 Goals Review

11:51 31 Dec 2010

I once again had eight goals for 2010, and it’s not too likely that any more of them will be accomplished before the end of the year.

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Favorite Posts of 2010

09:53 30 Dec 2010

My best posts this year.

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Vim Golf

17:59 28 Dec 2010

That’s right, a competition to do edits in Vim in a few keystrokes as possible. I haven’t even installed it yet and I’m sure it’ll eat large chunks of my time.

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Justice Aphorism

18:51 27 Dec 2010. Updated: 02:24 28 Dec 2010

“The story is told of a Chinese law professor, who was listening to a British lawyer explain that Britons were so enlightened, they believed it was better that ninety-nine guilty men go free than that one innocent man be executed. The Chinese professor thought for a second and asked, ‘Better for whom?’”

I came across this in Eugene Alexander Volokh’s “n Guilty Men”, which I was reading as a result of a longer post I was writing about the problems of dealing with allegations of rape; the question that the apocryphal Chinese professor is disingenuously raising (i.e. whether it’s really better for a society to err on the side of innocence in such matters) is quite central to issues arising out of trying to deal with rape, in evidentiary terms. I bit off a little too much in that post, which is why you’re not seeing it now.

There’s also the question of whether any kind of enforcement mechanism solves more problems than it causes, but rather than ponder that right now I’m instead pondering the injustice of my having to get up in the morning to play Twilight Imperium.

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14:49 26 Dec 2010

There’s a lot to chew on in the WikiLeaks/Assange rape allegations issue, but here are the points uppermost in my mind:

  • While it’s certainly possible that the credibility of the WikiLeaks organization might suffer if Assange is in fact guilty of rape, the question of his guilt in that matter is entirely irrelevant to the morality of what WikiLeaks has done already and to its mission.
  • It’s impossible to tell at media distance whether or not Assange is guilty.
  • I strongly doubt the rape allegations are the result of a “CIA plot” (or equivalent). (Which is not to say that the allegations haven’t been put to use by similar actors, but that’s not the same thing.)
  • It’s wrong to vilify (or out) the accusers.
  • Regardless of the validity of the initial accusations, it seems clear that the legal machinery involved in pursuing Assange is operating quite differently than how it would if not for political considerations—clearly not every person accused of rape in Sweden is treated as he has been.
  • Assange fighting extradition to Sweden is not an indicator of his guilt or innocence in this matter; the same applies to other legal maneuverings his defense team might undertake.
  • Regardless of how this issue plays out, and of how central Assange may have been to the project so far, WikiLeaks clearly needs to decentralize its staffing; having one key figure who reputation is linked to that of the organization seems like too much of a weakness.
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Christmas Music Antidote

12:45 24 Dec 2010

I’m not a fan of Christmas music; it’s generally awful, but truly at its worst when you’re in a mall. However, the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s album A Very Scary Solstice works quite well as a remedy; this is probably my favorite track from it:

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Today’s Public Service Message

09:07 23 Dec 2010

I so so so wish this were satirical.

I’m really at a loss for words with this one. It’s like someone made the Platonic ideal of the “piss Tadhg off” video.

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Snowy Solstice

14:55 21 Dec 2010

Dublin is currently in the grip of one of its most severe winters. I’ve never seen quite this much snow here, or been in a Dublin quite this cold, before. The snow is absolutely beautiful, with a wonderful texture that’s not quite powdery.

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Self-Congratulation, CrossFit 26 x 5 Edition

07:35 20 Dec 2010

Yesterday I did a CrossFit workout (“12min Cindy Isolation Chamber”) that was the fifth of the week, and that week was the 26th in a row in which I’d done five workouts. Six straight months of doing some workout five days of every seven. I did workouts in San Francisco, Portland, Pescara, Manchester, and Dublin (and Bear Valley Mountain, i.e. Tough Mudder). I ran them in sun, rain, mud, dark, and snow, indoors and outdoors, at gyms and in hotel rooms.

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My Conveyance is Different and Superior to Yours, Sirs

10:00 19 Dec 2010

My Irish readers are doubtless highly familiar with this; other readers, here is what (fortune willing) may become the Irish Christmas #1 Single:

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Cat Versus Christmas Tree

09:00 17 Dec 2010

It’s not as good as “Cat Man Do”, but it’s still pretty cute:

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I Wonder if the Other Months Are Just as Bad

20:27 16 Dec 2010

Lots of video this week, partly coincidental and partly because I’ve been rather busy. I don’t usually post stuff like the following, but somehow found this one oddly compelling.

Given my upcoming trip, I’m not reassured by evidence that both ice and drinking can lead to painful consequences (as can skateboarding, bike tricks, jumping off things, driving at high speed, and motorcycles).

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Overthinking Star Wars

21:27 14 Dec 2010

In the spirit of the famous Clerks discussion, here’s “Think Tank: What do the Stormtroopers Think of Vader?”. Best excerpts:

Imagine you worked at the Pentagon as a personal attache to Colin Powell or McChrystal, and you hear over the PA “Alert! Alert! There is a Nazi Ninja Master loose in the Pentagon! Your orders are ‘Shoot to kill!’” You get up and walk around the corner, and there’s this 80 year old man with a Hitler moustache in a black outfit, and he and Donald Rumsfeld are circling each other ominously. Both of them have katanas drawn.

Do you shoot?



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Inception Berlusconi

21:15 13 Dec 2010

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“We Got More” Video

16:12 12 Dec 2010

This is a fantastically trippy music video by Cyriak:

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Friday Video: Auto-Tune

21:38 10 Dec 2010

This post is especially for Garret and Nora.

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“Strong is the New Skinny” Versus Bridalplasty

23:50 09 Dec 2010. Updated: 08:43 10 Dec 2010

I first came across the “Strong is the New Skinny” concept via CrossFit channels a few months back. The first thing I saw was just the original T-shirt image, and I thought it was a great slogan. I got a little carried away and thought it represented a movement coming out of CrossFit that had found a fantastic way to challenge prevailing norms of female beauty.

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Fitness Milestone: Bodyweight Ground to Overhead

22:32 07 Dec 2010

This seems like a significant milestone to me, even more than the bodyweight overhead squat I got a couple of months ago, and so it deserves a blog post of its own.

I weigh 185 pounds today; a little more than usual, probably due in part to some Thanksgiving-related overeating. Today I managed to get that same weight, 185 pounds, from the floor of the gym to locked out above my head via a clean and jerk.

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Fun and Games in the Land of the Free

23:00 06 Dec 2010

The FBI, one of the most prominent domestic secret police agencies here, habitually kept anti-war activists under surveillance—and remember that this report only covers the incidents that another arm of the state brought into the open. In case you thought this could only happen during the dark days of the Bush administration, give up that fantasy: it’s still happening now.

Ah, but surely the terrorist threat is so grave that any “material support”—that sound you heard was the First Amendment being locked in the trunk of a car—or hint thereof must be investigated without concern for legal niceties? Clearly, which is why they have to resort to trying to create terrorist plots that they can then claim credit for “thwarting”. And on the subject of “terrorist plots”, there’s a strong push to designate WikiLeaks a “terrorist organization”—and that, if it comes to pass, will sound like the trunk opening and the First Amendment being repeatedly shot in the head.

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A Brief WikiLeaks Comment

18:25 05 Dec 2010

I’ve been following the situation with WikiLeaks’ release of diplomatic cables fairly closely, and find it rather interesting as an effective use of the internet to fight government control of information. In that sense, it’s a hopeful sign, a demonstration that a relatively small group of people can still resist the forces of the powerful.

On the other hand, the reaction to the release, particularly in the mainstream press here, has been an appalling if unsurprising demonstration of the servility of our political culture.

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Friday Game Analysis: Pac-Man

22:35 03 Dec 2010

Chad Birch has written a fantastic dive into some of the guts of Pac-Man’s ghost behavior mechanics, and found it highly enjoyable and illuminating, despite not having played Pac-Man in years. Definitely worth reading. I’d previously read Susan Lammers’ interview with Toru Iwatani, which Birch refers to in his post and which I’m happy to see is available online.

If that’s not enough depth about Pac-Man for you, there’s also an entire “dossier”.

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23:54 02 Dec 2010

For whatever reason, I’ve always found it highly annoying when NFL players attribute either their own successes, or their team’s wins, to the divine. It’s annoying when any athletes do this, but for some reason it seems to happen more often with NFL players, and perhaps I find it especially annoying there because, despite my strong appreciation for the game, I despise such a greedy and corporatized organization wrapping itself in patriotism and piety—and players going along with it.

The obvious objection to the claim that “God was on our side” is that this implies God was against the other side, which seems somewhat at odds with both theology and the notion that skill and ability determine the outcome of the game (rather than divine favor). This never seems to occur to the players spouting off about how Jesus helped them win—which is part of why I was so delighted to see Bills receiver Steve Johnson, after dropping what would have been the game-winning touchdown pass, make the connection and tweet the following:


—Steve Johnson. “2:12 PM Nov 28th”. Twitter, 28 Nov 2010.


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