Archive for February, 2011

Spam Break

23:21 28 Feb 2011

Since adding reCAPTCHA to my comment forms, the amount of spam comments I’m getting has dropped. Initially it dropped to almost nothing, but now it’s back up to several a day, which is annoying but not unmanageable. Still too high, and it’s one of the reasons why I don’t have email on my phone.

Before the current point of manageable spam was reached, however, I had accumulated 15,000 pending comments for my blog.

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Hypocrisy and “The War on Drugs”

17:12 27 Feb 2011

Just in case you needed more evidence, here’s a particularly good demonstration that the drug war is racist and classist: “Mitch Daniels’ Disappearing Felony”.

Also, you really shouldn’t miss this proposal for a new illegal drug classification scheme.

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“If It Bleeds We Can Kill It”

21:02 25 Feb 2011

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Recent Listening, February 2011

22:53 24 Feb 2011

I’m in a phase of appreciating music a lot right now, and thought I’d share some of what’s been looping through my playlists.

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Sprint Finish

23:30 22 Feb 2011

I don’t always enjoy running. Sometimes I’m sluggish and leaden. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes I feel agile and fleet. It’s difficult to predict which of those a run will bring.

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Consumer Temptations, February 2011 Edition

11:44 21 Feb 2011

I haven’t been tempted to buy any expensive items for a while now. I’ve been buying smaller stuff, and am hardly immune to the siren call of consumerism, but haven’t been inclined towards any major purchases; that seems to have changed this week.

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WordPress 3.0.5 Upgrade

22:07 20 Feb 2011

I upgraded this blog today, the first time I’ve done that in over a year. Everything looks okay.

I’ve become slightly less paranoid about it; I still back everything up first, but I no longer preview the upgrade in my development environment, instead being prepared to restore from backups if something goes wrong. This might not be wise, but I’ve been lulled by the smooth upgrades the past few times.

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How Much is Blog Shilling Going for These Days Anyway?

22:53 18 Feb 2011

I received a kind of monetization offer for this blog today, one that I hadn’t encountered before: a service that would pay me to put up articles that they would provide. The kicker would be the links at the bottom of these articles (no porn or gambling, they assured).

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Remixes All the Way Down

23:50 17 Feb 2011

I thought this was interesting (I preferred it to part one, perhaps because of my greater interest in film):

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

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“Do Not Mention That Dark Land in This Dark Land”

23:53 15 Feb 2011

I might have to read The Last Ringbearer, a Russian parody/response/fan-fiction piece set in Middle Earth around the end of the War of the Ring. See also: “Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002, for The Fellowship of the Ring (Platinum Series Extended Edition) DVD, Part One.”[*] and Bored of the Rings.

[*] Although note that it’s more parody of Zinn and Chomsky than of The Lord of the Rings, and that I admire their work and reject the piece’s implicit claim that their real-life analyses are of a similar kind to the reaching arguments made in the McSweeney’s piece.

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Happiness Progress

21:06 14 Feb 2011

Long-time readers of this blog will know that happiness is a recurring concern of my posts. Recently, I seem to have made some kind of significant step, or crossed some important line, towards happiness.

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Educational Flash Game: High Tea

19:44 13 Feb 2011
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On the Egyptian Revolution

21:26 11 Feb 2011

Almost the first thing I did this morning was watch Al Jazeera and the scenes of celebration over Mubarak’s departure. I listened to one activist speak of her joy at the victory, at the change, at the possibilities now open that had been closed off before by the security state. It was deeply affecting, and I’m happy for the Egyptian people despite a near-total lack of personal ties to the country.

The popular toppling of a ruler is a difficult and momentous thing, and quite an achievement, and they should be joyous (as they are) and proud. I hope they really keep it going, though, and push for as true a democracy as they can. In a sense that means never letting things get back to “normal”, because “normal” is where the leaders aren’t nervous about mass insurrection, where they are able to get away with serving themselves and their cohort instead of the people—where they act like “leaders” instead of truly being humble and temporary representatives of the people. I would also like them to be allowed to get to wherever they choose with minimal interference from outside agents (such as the United States, for example), but I fear that’s unlikely indeed.

Regardless of all that, though, whatever happens next, what they’ve achieved already is a tremendous accomplishment and a reminder of what the will of the people can do.

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sfmagic.org: Stepping Away

22:48 10 Feb 2011

I hate giving up on projects. Especially projects that I’ve spent a lot of time on, that have had some success, and that have come close to being finished without making it the final, crucial steps. I really wanted to get a new version of sfmagic.org written, in Python, with good web development practices from top to bottom, but it’s far past time to let that go.

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Tainting with Knowledge

22:32 08 Feb 2011

Wow, this is fascinating: a Florida judge has prohibited, pre-emptively, the distribution of leaflets on jury nullification near courthouses, claiming that it amounts to jury tampering. According to my understanding of the law, jurors in the US have the right to acquit based not purely on the absence of guilt but also on their sense of the justice of the law—however, judges are free to bar anyone in their courts from informing the jurors of this right. The notion that they’re free to do so outside their courtrooms certainly seems like a stretch to me, and seems to obviously violate the First Amendment, but that’s not necessarily worth anything in terms of appeals rulings.

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Astronomical Events Calendar

20:17 07 Feb 2011

Pretty cool: generate your own calendar covering a range of data from daylight and solar noon to the separation of Jovian moons.

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The “Dickwolves Thing”

22:43 06 Feb 2011

This is a post about humor, taste, rape, offensiveness/offendedness, and limits on discourse, all centered on a three-panel webcomic about video games.

It’s rather long; I meant it as a tighter, more abstract, discussion of the points above, but got pulled into a lot of the specifics as I went through them.

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I’ll Give You Outstanding

21:54 04 Feb 2011

“Dear Mickey,

We thought it would be interesting to learn from you what you consider your outstanding event at Yankee Stadium.”

“I got a blow-job under the right field Bleachers”

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Glenn Beck On Fire

23:40 03 Feb 2011

Comedy gold. I think this guy might be funnier than Colbert.

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Court Challenges to Obama’s Health Care Program

18:26 01 Feb 2011

I like the idea of public health care; in fact I think health care is one of the legitimate uses to which the state apparatus can be put. That being said, I consider Obama’s proposal to be a mockery of real public healthcare, and I find it reprehensible both in theory and in implementation. On top of that, in the context of American politics in particular, it’s also governmental overreach, and today’s court decision seems entirely reasonable to me:

If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain.

That seems quite evidently true regardless of what one thinks of the Constitution’s relevance (or of the proposition that the Constitution’s enumeration of powers has been in vain).

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