Friday, January 16, 2015


1/16 - squats, calf raises, rocking bench pistols

White/Pinkman 2016.

Money is the New Morality | Scott Adams Blog: "Today, morality is not limited to what your neighbors are doing. Now we look at the entire globe and see that morality is subjective. In ISIS-held territory it means beheading innocent people. To you it might mean donating time at a homeless shelter. Those are the extremes, but the point is that your neighbor has a different idea of morality. He’s hitting the bong and climbing on top of his friend-with-benefits while you’re in church. The Internet allows us to see just how subjective morality is. Or to put it another way, morality is mostly magical thinking that had utility in earlier times but now seems quaint. 

Luckily we have a better substitute for morality in 2015. It’s called capitalism, social media, and the Internet. Now if you treat others poorly you lose customers, lose job prospects, and lose social options. Capitalism is doing what morality once did — keeping people in line. So when you accuse me of putting money above morality (which I do all the time) it’s not because I’m possessed by Satan. It’s because you get a better result in the year 2015 by being smart in business than you do by being morality-driven. "

Empirica: On lard (from Gary Taubes): ""Take lard, for example, which has long been considered the archetypal example of a killer fat. It was lard that bakeries and fast-food restaurants used in large quantities before they were pressured to replace it with the artificial trans fat that nutritionists have now decided might be a cause of heart disease after all. You can find the fat composition of lard easily enough, as you can for most foods, by going to a U.S. Department of Agriculture website called the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. You'll find that nearly half the fat in lard (47 percent) is monounsaturated, which is almost universally considered a "good" fat. 

Monounsaturated fat raises HDL cholesterol and lowers LDL cholesterol (both good things, according to our doctors). Ninety percent of that monounsaturated fat is the same oleic acid that's in the olive oil so highly touted by champions of the Mediterranean diet. Slightly more than 40 percent of the fat in lard is indeed saturated, but a third of that is the same stearic acid that's in chocolate and is now also considered a "good fat", because it will raise our HDL levels but have no effect on LDL (a good thing and a neutral thing). 

The remaining fat (about 12 percent of the total) is polyunsaturated, which actually lowers LDL cholesterol but has no effect on HDL (also a good thing and a neutral thing). "In total, more than 70 percent of the fat in lard will improve your cholesterol profile compared with what would happen if you replaced that lard with carbohydrates. The remaining 30 percent will raise LDL cholesterol (bad) but also raise HDL (good). In other words, and hard as this may be to believe, if you replace the carbohydrates in your diet with an equal quantity of lard, it will actually reduce your risk of having a heart attack. It will make you healthier. The same is true for red meat, bacon and eggs, and virtually any other animal product we might choose to eat instead of the carbohydrates that make us fat. (Butter is a slight exception, because only half the fat will definitely improve your cholesterol profile; the other half will raise LDL but also raise HDL.)""

Man in dress who talks to invisible friend says other stupid things.  Pope Francis Supports Free Speech, Unless It Offends People - Hit & Run : "Today Pope Francis aligned himself with those who, after witnessing a massacre in retaliation for cartoons, say freedom of speech should be protected as long as it does not upset people too much...

Censorship based on an audience's anticipated emotional response is highly subjective and hard to distinguish from a heckler's veto, which encourages violence and gives hotheads the power to squelch speech that offends them. In effect, Pope Francis expands the misbegotten (and apparently obsolete) "fighting words" doctrine from its original context of in-person, one-on-one encounters to published words and images that make people mad. Because that anger can be expected to result in violence, he says, those words and images cannot be tolerated. Call it the terrorist's veto...

Francis also "said religion can never be used to justify violence," but his analogy suggests otherwise: If a punch in the nose is a normal and understandable response to an insult directed at one's mother, surely violence is a normal and understandable response to an insult directed at one's faith. It is what you would "expect," and therefore the blame lies with the one who issued the insult. Because certain messages predictably elicit a violent response, according to the pope, those messages should not be legally protected."

What Pope Francis Got Wrong About Free Expression - ""Every religion has its dignity" is Francis' arguable contention. "One cannot provoke. One cannot insult other people's faith. One cannot make fun of faith." If those who kill are not members of a religion, surely Francis is offering us a non sequitur. If you can be provoked to kill, you are not a person of faith, right? 

But then the vicar of Christ went on to explain that those who mock faith should expect to be punched in the face. "If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch," said Francis. The pope is unimpressed by provocateurs. He wants them barred. Someone should ask him whether provocateurs should expect an asymmetrical response. For instance, if Gasparri uttered a curse word against the pope's mother, should he expect to have his family blown up? That would be a more pertinent analogy. 

But let's take it further. Where are the limits? Why does "mockery" hold a special distinction in our debate? And what constitutes contemptuous language or behavior toward another faith? For instance, can we intentionally criticize another person's faith without expecting to be punched? What if that faith is in direct conflict with the beliefs of our own set of beliefs—beliefs that deserve, according to the pope, the same respect as any other? Is it ever worth getting punched in the face?

...What if one of these faiths is unable to live in free and open society because the principles of the faith conflict with those of others? What if one religion feels mocked by the things that other religions put up with in society—such as wearing skirts above the knees or eating pork sausages or failing to accept that Muhammad is God's prophet? What if those of a certain faith feel this is ridicule toward them? What if they believe it worthy of retaliation? Should the rest of us avoid these things so as not to upset anyone? 

Obviously, I comprehend there's a distinction to be made between secular debates and the way people of faith conduct themselves. I get that there are religious reasons for not mocking others—and I also imagine people of faith avoid this because they do not want to be mocked themselves. The pope himself defended free speech as a fundamental human right and claimed that Catholics have a duty to speak their minds for the sake of the common good. But then he also asserted that this fundamental right should not extend to faith. Any faith. Any government."

sharemycosplay: #Cosplayer @GinaBCosplay kicks... - APE IN A CAPE: "#Cosplayer @GinaBCosplay kicks off today with this awesome #Redhood #cosplay #comicbooks "

Thursday, January 15, 2015


1/15 - bench, pushups, seated rows Interview: Erko Jun |: "Train more, complain less."

"'s - going - down."

Japan Wins Hard. Amazon Japan Is Selling A Build-Your-Own Mech Starter Kit: "You know how it is when you're browsing Amazon - books, games, Blu-rays, even your groceries, the occasional giant mech. Wait, what? The Kuratasu Starter kit lets you build a four-wheeled mech that is almost 4 metres tall, and fully piloted by a human. Think of it almost like the world's most ridiculous car. Speaking of ridiculous, it's available for the low low price of ¥ 120,000,000 - that's just over a million dollars worth of mech. But shipping for only 350 yen? BARGAIN."


Always frame your discussions.

Today's soundtrack.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


1/14 - pullups, bw rows, floor knee raises, hang/holds, stretch

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way | Mark's Daily Apple: "It doesn’t have to be – that the ship has sailed on your health, vitality, physical appearance, or enjoyment of an active, vibrant and fulfilled life. No, it doesn’t have to be this way. That said, things will continue to be the way they have been until something changes. That change begins with you – today. Right now you have the option of turning it all around. You can say goodbye to this way of being. You can shift the whole trajectory of your health, weight, strength, fitness, aging, life balance, personal well-being."

Bonus points for the Superman shirt.

"Computers are drugs. But drugs are computers."

Ivy League Grads Can’t Pass the New GED - The Daily Beast: "A corporation privatized the test, made it four times more expensive, and made it almost impossible to pass...

 The number of people who passed the GED—the high school equivalency test long seen as a “good enough diploma”—plummeted this year. About 86,500 people passed the new test in 2014, compared with 540,535 in 2013...

Part of the reason the GED is so hard is that it tests what you learn in high school, and most of what you learn in high school simply does not come up again in real life. Today I mostly use math to figure out the tip at a restaurant or divide bills among my roommates. And while I write for a living, I don’t often talk about specific verb tenses or perform close readings on 19th-century literature. Plus the test is aligned with Common Core, a set of standards not in place when I and nearly all my fellow test-takers were in high school...

I spent nearly seven hours taking the test, wracking my brain for details I haven’t thought about since 2005, when I graduated from high school. When it was all over, I felt exhausted and dumb. I did well on one test (social studies) and got about 60 percent of the questions right on two more (math and science). The test in which I thought I’d shine brightest—language arts—was my worst subject: I got just over half the questions right. If this were the real GED, I’d need to retake at least one of the tests...

But the new test is also significantly more expensive than before. One test costs about $120, up from costs closer to $30 (the specific price varies from state to state). Since it’s harder, test-takers are more likely to need to take the test again to pass all four sections, and a new scoring method means a high score on one test will no longer buoy a lower one on another. That high sticker price seems likely to keep test-takers from returning a second time: 85 percent of people who failed the cheaper, easier test already didn’t come back to try again, Turner said. And while results of the old GED just gave a score, the new computerized test comes with a customized study guide showing exactly what test-takers should study before trying again. There’s money in that, too. Pearson also sells test prep books and courses for all four new GED tests."

Next week!

The Meaning of Life: Finding Your True Identity - Tony Robbins Blog: "Identity is the strongest force in human personality. We all have a deep and abiding need to remain consistent with how we define ourselves. Any transformation you make within yourself will depend on your ability to expand this identity. By building a new, empowering set of beliefs, you can create a lasting transformation within yourself and in your life...

The fastest way to expand our identity is to do something that’s inconsistent with our current self-image. For example, complete a physical challenge like surfing or sky diving as a way to shake things up...

Our personal identities are in a constant state of evolution. We all contain the power to reinvent ourselves and create a new, empowered identity that expands what is possible in our lives. The key is to take conscious control of the beliefs we are creating about ourselves, so they can propel us toward what we desire most."

Shades of Morris Day, which means all sorts of James Brown funk.

 New Documentary Shows The ‘Moderate’ Klan of North Carolina - The Daily Beast: "The Tarheel State had a reputation as the most progressive in the country on race relations. But it also had the biggest Klan chapter in the South. If you were driving through North Carolina in the mid-1960s, chances are you’d see this billboard: “You are in the heart of Klan country. Welcome to North Carolina. Join the United Klans of America, Inc. Help fight integration and communism!” Klan support in the South was not exactly breaking news. What made these highway signs stand out was the fact that they were fairly common in what had long been considered the most progressive state in the region, where the civil rights movement had been met with a minimum of bloodshed and violence. But the fact is, by 1966 the Tar Heel State had over 10,000 KKK members, more than all the other Southern states combined...

So why North Carolina? As it turns out, the strength of the Klan was a response to the Tar Heel State’s relatively smooth transition from segregation to integration. “White people in North Carolina could not count on their politicians to resist integration like the politicians in Mississippi and Alabama,” Cunningham told the Daily Beast, “so there was this opening the Klan could step into.” It also helped that North Carolina had a Klan organizer like Bob Jones, a former lightning rod salesman who had been discharged from the Navy for refusing to salute a black officer. Jones began organizing in 1963, claiming to be a voice for poor whites who felt threatened by black progress and who were left behind by the state’s economic upturn...

Eventually, however, Jones and his Klan movement were brought down by a number of factors. Following the violence in Selma, Ala. and the murder of white civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo—all recounted in the current film “Selma”—the FBI, which had been indifferent, if not openly hostile, to the civil rights movement, was forced to take on the Klan. That, plus a Jones confidant turned informant and Jones’ conviction on contempt of Congress charges after he refused to turn over the Klan’s bank accounts to a congressional committee, reduced the North Carolina KKK to a shell of its former self. Yet racial and economic anxiety, the forces that made the Klan a player in North Carolina and the South, still existed. In North CarolinaCarolina, they were channeled into support for hard-right racial demagogue Jesse Helms, elected five times to the U.S. Senate."

Inside the final season of 'Parks and Recreation' | Inside TV | "...Parks dug itself out of that pit, found its own jaunty, homespun rhythm, and grew into one of the sharpest and warmest comedies in years. Laced with a savvy, topical wit with just right amount of bite, it has birthed two of TV’s most indelible characters, Poehler’s dare-to-dream liberal Knope and Offerman’s keep-your-dreams-between-you-and-your-pillow libertarian Swanson; their ideal-clashing friendship served as the show’s bread and butter—or, rather, steak and waffles. It has become a cultural reference point on college campuses and on social media. It has expanded Pawnee into a richly detailed folksy-weirdo universe almost as colorful as The Simpsons‘ Springfield.
...the sheer idiocy of Chris Pratt’s happy-go-dopey Andy Dwyer. “He may be mentally stupid, but he’s also emotionally stupid,” mock-defends Pratt. “IQ is just a number, and his is really low.”

Andy’s persona as children’s entertainer Johnny Karate has landed him his own kick-ass public-access program called Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show. You’ll also meet another deadly serious Andy character, Johnny Karate’s brother—named… Jonathan Karate. “He wears a black karate gi, so it’s different,” explains Pratt. “When he wants to teach a kid a lesson about not talking to strangers or not holding in farts, that’s Jonathan Karate. He’s the true sensei. He’s a total Miyagi.”"

Random Thoughts: "Our schools and colleges are laying a guilt trip on those young people whose parents are productive, and who are raising them to become productive. What is amazing is how easily this has been done, largely just by replacing the word "achievement" with the word "privilege.""

Koch Bros to Bankroll Prison Reform - The Daily Beast: "The Koch brothers are turning their attention and resources to reforming the criminal justice system...

The libertarian-leaning billionaires who funded an endless stream of anti-Obamacare ads against Democratic candidates in 2014 are turning their focus to a new mission: galvanizing conservatives to pass meaningful criminal justice reform. Their policy wish list includes securing more money for public defenders, lessening sentencing disparities that affect the least well off, reforming mandatory minimums, and aiding prisoners so that they can re-enter society after serving time behind bars. It’s a counterintuitive push for the Kochs, known for more than bankrolling Republican campaigns than bettering the lives of ex-cons, with an unusual coalition of supporters...

Quietly over the past decade, a Koch Industries spokesman told The Daily Beast, the Kochs have poured seven figures in donations toward criminal justice reform, mainly through the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. As a point of comparison, the Kochs spent at least $8.5 million on political campaigns in 2014 alone—to the benefit of Republicans across the country, and the dismay of Democrats. The Kochs say they’re concerned about mass incarceration, too many criminal laws, and a system that disproportionately weighs on the poor and minorities. And over the next year, they promise to refocus on criminal justice reform."

Simulated Reality: Are We Living in the Matrix?: "The Simulation Argument presented by Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom is ambitious in that it that it does not stop by merely suggesting that we might be living in a simulated universe, it argues that we probably are living in a simulated universe! 

The argument uses evidence gathered from the world around us (about the rapid growth of our computer technology) and solid scientific reasoning to show that a rational scientific person has to take seriously the possibility that we are already living in a computer simulation. The basic principle behind this theory is that the human civilisation will one day have access to sufficient computing power capable of running simulations of their ancestors (us!). Maybe in a few thousand years in the future we might actually make a re-appearance (as Sims) in those advanced simulations. That doesn't sound too far-fetched, does it? But what if it is the case that human civilisation has, in fact, already reached that advanced state and is already running those simulations? That would mean we are living in a simulated world right now! 

In fact, the future human race could easily create simulations containing astronomical numbers of simulated beings (this has the ring of truth to it: when you run The Sims there's only one of you, but the program contains thousands of Sims). There is therefore a possibility that the number of conscious, simulated humans will one day become very much larger than the number of real humans. The Simulation Argument then goes one step further by stating that with the number of simulated humans inevitably outnumbering real humans, the computer simulation scenario is actually the most probable situation (unless you think the human race is going to become extinct pretty soon, or we're going to get bored with The Sims and start playing Tetris again - both of which seem quite unlikely). 

To sum up, the Simulation Argument is a rigorously-presented argument which means that a rational, scientific person considering the extraordinary recent increase in computing power available to us, now has to treat seriously the possibility that we are already living in computer simulation. "

Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch - New York Times: "Dr. Bostrom assumes that technological advances could produce a computer with more processing power than all the brains in the world, and that advanced humans, or “posthumans,” could run “ancestor simulations” of their evolutionary history by creating virtual worlds inhabited by virtual people with fully developed virtual nervous systems. 

Some computer experts have projected, based on trends in processing power, that we will have such a computer by the middle of this century, but it doesn’t matter for Dr. Bostrom’s argument whether it takes 50 years or 5 million years. If civilization survived long enough to reach that stage, and if the posthumans were to run lots of simulations for research purposes or entertainment, then the number of virtual ancestors they created would be vastly greater than the number of real ancestors. There would be no way for any of these ancestors to know for sure whether they were virtual or real, because the sights and feelings they’d experience would be indistinguishable. 

But since there would be so many more virtual ancestors, any individual could figure that the odds made it nearly certain that he or she was living in a virtual world. The math and the logic are inexorable once you assume that lots of simulations are being run. 

But there are a couple of alternative hypotheses, as Dr. Bostrom points out. One is that civilization never attains the technology to run simulations (perhaps because it self-destructs before reaching that stage). The other hypothesis is that posthumans decide not to run the simulations. “This kind of posthuman might have other ways of having fun, like stimulating their pleasure centers directly,” Dr. Bostrom says...

Dr. Bostrom doesn’t pretend to know which of these hypotheses is more likely, but he thinks none of them can be ruled out. “My gut feeling, and it’s nothing more than that,” he says, “is that there’s a 20 percent chance we’re living in a computer simulation.” 

My gut feeling is that the odds are better than 20 percent, maybe better than even. I think it’s highly likely that civilization could endure to produce those supercomputers. And if owners of the computers were anything like the millions of people immersed in virtual worlds like Second Life, SimCity and World of Warcraft, they’d be running simulations just to get a chance to control history — or maybe give themselves virtual roles as Cleopatra or Napoleon. It’s unsettling to think of the world being run by a futuristic computer geek, although we might at last dispose of that of classic theological question: How could God allow so much evil in the world? For the same reason there are plagues and earthquakes and battles in games like World of Warcraft. Peace is boring, Dude."

Why Make a Matrix? And Why You Might Be In One: "The so-called Simulation argument, which I introduced a few years ago, makes this line of reasoning more precise and takes it to its logical conclusion. The conclusion is that there are three basic possibilities at least one of which is true. The first possibility is that the human species will almost certainly go extinct before becoming technologically mature. The second possibility is that almost no technologically mature civilization is interested in building Matrices. The third possibility is that we are almost certainly living in a Matrix. 

Why? Because if the first two possibilities are not the case, then there are more “people” living in Matrices than in “real worlds.” As a “person” then the chances are that you are living in a Matrix rather than in a “real world.” The Simulation argument does not tell us which of these three possibilities obtain, only that at least one of them does. The argument employs some math and probability theory, but the basic idea can be understood without recourse to technical apparatus...

The third possibility is the most intriguing. If the vast majority of all people with other kind of experiences live in Matrices then we probably live in a Matrix. Unless we had some specific evidence to the contrary, we would therefore have to conclude that the world we see around us exists only by virtue of being simulated on a powerful computer built by some technologically highly advanced Architect."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"Everyone creates the thing they dread."


UVA reinstates frat after police find no proof of rape described in Rolling Stone article | The Rundown | PBS NewsHour: "The Rolling Stone story detailed an account by a woman nicknamed “Jackie” of being gang raped at Phi Kappa Psi and described a culture of violence against women at the university. The story led the university to suspend all fraternities from Nov. 22 to Jan. 9 while police investigated the allegations. Rolling Stone came under fire for the story after contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely seemed to sidestep questions about whether she had contacted Jackie’s alleged attackers. This, along with doubts over the identity of the men Jackie described and disputes about the timeline of events, led critics to doubt the veracity of the story. Rolling Stone said they no longer stood behind the story in a Dec. 5 note to readers. Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana wrote: “In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced.”"

Cops Say Nothing Happened at UVA Frat Accused of Gang Rape, But Who Really Cares? - Hit & Run : "No apology? No sorry about our huge mistake and rush to judgment? Keep in mind that the false accusation had consequences for the Phi Psi house, which was vandalized by angry students after Rolling Stone's story broke. UVA President Teresa Sullivan caved to public pressure to make some display of force against the frat; I would think she should be more contrite, since she was dead wrong."

"Jake: Did she say where they went? Eve: She said they passed the dynamic something project and then turned behind the blobbity-blah-blah math theory thingie. 
Jake: Two lefts, then a right. 

Morgan le Fay: You’re a Librarian? Oh, Guardian, sorry. I’ll talk slower."