Steel City Comic Con 2017 Photos (December)

Warning: tons of photos! Click here for the photos from the comic con earlier in the year.

Jyn Erso, in the Scarif disguise:

Dr. Doom:

Daughter DiNitto on the left, as Keith from Voltron, with Pidge:

A blurry photo of yours truly with R2-D2. See way at the end of the post for a video I took of him (it?):

Bob and Linda Belcher from Bob’s Burgers:

Kylo Ren and Rey. I can tell their costumes were homemade but they were pretty accurate:

Loki with the Tesseract, someone I forget, and Thor:

A queen from something?:

Kylo Ren in disguise as Matt (Matilda, in this case), the radar technician:

They are Neegan from The Walking Dead:

Someone from something and a Deadpool:

Aquaman and Boba Fett without his helmet:

Jyn Erso in her standard outfit:

Deadpool. Her costume was impeccable:

A Dr. Who:

Wonder Woman and Green Arrow. Two more great costumes:

Cruella DeVille:

Wonder Woman and Snake from Escape from New York/LA:

Kira from Death Note, third from left, and people from things:

Jabba the Hutt with slave Leia:

Inuyasha. The sword was even bigger in person:

Master Splinter and Shredder:


Festive Shoretroopers (I think):

Deadpool. He had the boombox on every time I saw him:

Batman and a Star Trek person:

The Green Ranger:

A bowless Green Arrow:

Captain America:

A Mandalorean (Star Wars) soldier:

A Ghostbuster:

Two Sith Lords:

Silent Bob:

The Flash:

Princess Mononoke:

Captain Jack Sparrow. Dude was always in character…i.e., tipsy and rakish:

Harley Quinn:

Logan and Deadpool, best friends:

Darth Vader. One of the best costumes:

Princess Zelda and Link:

Mario, Luigi, and Koopa Troopa girlfriends:

A Sith Lord:

Jason Voorhees:

Barf from Spaceballs. She was going to put the Pepsi’s down but I told her to hold them, since the drinks are fairly in character:

A battle-worn Goku:

A Sailor Moon and Wonder Woman:

Finn, Spiderman, and a guy from a thing:

Ed from Good Burger, another guy who was always in character:

Something from Star Wars:

A nurse from Silent Hill:

Leia in the Hoth base uniform:

A Voltron mini-convention:

People from Stranger Things:

Freddy Krueger/Santa Claus:

People from things I don’t know:

A video of the functional R2-D2:

Gay Jesus Cake

One of the beating hearts of material philosophy is the strain to derive universals from particulars: i.e., what could we derive about phenomena, a posteriori from experiencing instances of observed phenomena? This goal might be a good fit for science but in ethical philosophy its application can get dicey. “How ought we to live?” is a question that presumes there’s a universal answer waiting to be discovered.

What if the answer isn’t so certain? It feels wrong to reduce Jesus to mere situational ethics, but it helps to consider we might be asking the wrong question—or rather, we may be thinking of the question incorrectly. There’s ample material to show that Jesus’ response to rather precise questions were answered in kind, with equal precision, tailored to the man posing the question; literally ad hominem. To Him, context isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. His answers, when He gave them (is silence an answer?), were dangerous Machiavellian dodges. “Dangerous” because people from a wide range of pedigrees were posing these questions to Him, and many of them were people in power waiting for Him to say the wrong thing. Sparking confusion in the minds of those who wanted to entrap Him may have led to His demise more so than charges of blasphemy.

Would Jesus be down with baking a gay cake? The only answer I can give is the maddening return question of: “Who’s asking for it?”

Thought experiment time. Here’s how it might go down if He slung flour instead of fir*.

The gay couple they came to Him, requesting a cake to be made for their wedding. He agreed to it and took their order.

When the day came to pick up the cake, the couple found Him at the bakery’s counter, eating leftover scraps of their cake.

“Is that our cake?” they asked Him. “Have you eaten it all?”

He put down his fork and spoke. “Why are you surprised? Just I am eating these rejected scraps of cake, and have thrown your actual cake away in the garbage, so my Father selects from the most humble and repentant among us, and condemns the self-righteous from His presence. Here, you may have the scraps.”

* As in, the tree. There probably weren’t fir trees in 1st (“fir”st?) century Galilee, but despite being the son of a 20th century woodworker, no other carpentry “f” terms come to me.

The Perfect Pop Metal Song

Don’t be deceived, children—”pop metal” shouldn’t evince audible visions of Fred Durst in JNCOs. The title doesn’t refer to nu-metal but to a certain aesthetic of songwriting. By “pop metal”—or “pop” anything—I mean a song in a specific genre that can easily be translated into a standard pop song…one that can easily be translated into other genres. It doesn’t have much to do with a standard verse-chorus-verse format, but basic modern songwriting, from melody and rhythm to more subjective aspects like dynamics, “feel,” the place where it detaches from, or effectively connects to, genre convention, etc.

I picked this song because I feel it can be stripped down to an acoustic song and still retain its appeal, not an easy feat for some metal subgenres. That it can be reduced to a minimalist instrumentation, or “music base zero,” is a excellent clue that it can be then pivoted to other genres.

Other reasons:
1 – Good rise-and-fall dynamics, melody
2 – The rougher screaming parts, which don’t translate well, or at all, into pop, can be replaced
3 – Rock song deviation: it doesn’t end on a bang but a whimper. Usually rock songs end
4 – The dueling guitar solos at the end aren’t don’t overshadow the structure; the solos aren’t the focus
5 – Decent lyrics, open to interpretation

Net Neutrality Is Still Retarded

It’s the calculation problem. Always has, always will be:

By arbitrarily changing existing markets for internet service, regulators risk corrupting the fragile preconditions necessary for firms and consumers to calculate rationally, and the incentives necessary to lure investment and risk-laden innovative enterprises. The result could be excess demand in the market for internet service if regulations force prices too low, excess supply if regulations force prices too high, or stilted innovation in ISP technology altogether.

tl;dr version: Corporate stakeholders spend their lizard-brain lives nailing the range of right price(s) at any given time. They don’t know much, but bureaucrats know even less. I would even argue their knowledge of right prices is always approaching zero, since their knowledge is downstream from price determination; they know what corporations are doing only after stakeholder calculations are complete, and how markets (aka: consumers) react to them.

Therefore, all policy regarding prices is arbitrary, and given a long enough duration and holding all else constant, policy will cause higher prices or massive supply shortages—probably the latter. If you though the gas shortages in the 1970’s were bad, wait until millennials can’t post a drunk selfie to Instagram during SXSW, or binge-watch the latest edgy one-hour drama on Netflix, because of inevitable bandwidth restrictions.

Photo: Thanksgiving Sunset

Taken from the front door of my brother-in-law’s house. Pretty sure those are stratocumulus clouds. Click photo to embiggen it.

Trivia: my son’s first model rocket launch landed the rocket into the top of that tree you see on the right.

Blog About UX Has Really Bad UX

I recently subscribed to a bunch of blogs that deal with UX trends and best practices. One of those blogs is one on the Mockplus product site, which is a prototyping tool for web apps.

Normally I access my subscriptions on my phone, through the Feedly app. 90% of the those times, I don’t hit the actual post URL in a browsers since most blogs set their RSS broadcasters to deliver all of the post content. Mockplus only broadcasts a summary, so I have to load up the URL.

Here was the first post from the Mockplus blog I saw in Chrome for Android. Note the paradox when you compare the experience to the post title.

Also note there is no way to close the imposing ad, so you have to scroll through the entire post while the ad persists. I squinted so hard trying to read the post that my eyebrows popped off.

Here’s my experience on the desktop version of Chrome. The interstitial ad is still there, and though it covers a bit of the content, there’s a way to close it.

I’m in the UX camp of “no interstitial flow” unless the user prompts it, and less than 30 seconds would normally be spent inside it. No surprise ads while the user is reading; that would never happen if I had full decision-making—especially no full-page ads. I’m waiting for the news story about one of those causing a heart attack.

I’d also like to make it clear to the user that they’d be launching an interstitial, but I don’t think there’s good iconography language around that. The language that does exist for meta-navigation is currently being taken up by communicating external links, uploading and downloading, etc. That sort of thing would have to come from a big UX influencer if it were to catch on at all.

Really Old Newspaper Clippings

These clippings are from a newspaper called The Boston Sunday Advertiser, from February 15, 1931. It was a small society-type newspaper that had articles on theater shows and various local events, stories, comics, contests, etc. The front page story on Washington and Lincoln seemed out of place.

I had thought this was the Sunday version of the The Boston Daily Advertiser, but that stopped publication a decade earlier. So I have no idea really what this is.

Here’s the front page. I guess Lincoln was asleep for this portrait:

An ad for weight loss. I’ll bet this never worked, but at least they let you try it out:

An other scammy product. The only thing these were lucky for were sticking things onto your refrigerator:

To give you an idea on these prices, $10 in 1931 is roughly $155 in 2017. So really, these prices aren’t too different now:

One of the most poorly-conceived company names:

I think “rupturing” is an old term, relating to a woman’s monthly friend. I Googled around for but I didn’t feel like going too deep:

“Piles” is a polite term for “hemorrhoids.” God help you if you maneuvered that twisty thing up there:

An illustration that accompanied a short story. It’s a great picture, de-contextualized:

Microfiction existed back then:

And more:

Unintentional Name Glyph Length Accuracy

Original, cringe-worthy, video here, about some limp noodles from BuzzFeed and their t-count test results.

But the important thing is that the UX design centers of my brain were delighted that the width dimension of their names matched their comparative testosterone level results with ridiculous accuracy:

Links of Possible Relevance, Part 29

Jay DiNitto – LinkedIn Profile
Don’t click that link—it’s broken. I took my deleted my profile since I saw no point in it.

“Old Life In Your Way stuff” YouTube playlist
I uploaded a bunch of old material from my old band, with varying production quality. The videos I play on are the “Skies Broke Open” one and The Heart and Flesh Cry Out EP. My wife and I also do the claps on the last song on their 2006 demo, but that isn’t an official track.

Expert: Don’t wait until AC unit breaks
Thanks to Graham for the link. Even professional philosophers need proper UX design.

SUPERVERSIVE: The Missed Opportunity of “Jessica Jones”
Why Death Note takes the cake in the cat and mouse crime genre face-off vs. Jessica Jones.

Free State explains R40m website
38 websites that cost about 40 million Rands ($2.8 million). I could do it for half that amount in the same time; they are all WordPress-based. Little to no backend coding needed.

Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank: Robots will have an IQ of 10,000
I get what he’s saying, but I don’t think IQ tests really measure that high. After, I don’t know, a 200 IQ or so, does it really matter how high it is?

Anti-togetherness: The Virtues of Disunity
“On ideological grounds we imagine a world that cannot exist, and try to move into it. When it doesn’t work, we try to force it.”

Wigle Tasting Room
I walk by this place often on the way to work. Lord help us if this is the new bourgeois hipster trend; whiskey is fermented garbage juice. But I also like black bitter coffee that will grow hair on a baby’s backside.

An Islamic “Reformation”? – Pseudo History meets Politics
Current status: satisfied that the snobbery of moderns in thinking we are the “greatest because we’re the latest” is an actual fallacy—The Whig Fallacy. Sometimes I think Victorianism is worse than the Enlightenment as far as intellectual eras.

Hipster Miyazaki Hated Weinstein Before It Was Popular
“Miyazaki sent him a samurai sword in the post. Attached to the blade was a stark message: ‘No cuts.'”

Human Minds Prefer Survival More Than Truth

1. Per Plantinga, and some forms of natural selection, ceteris paribus, life selects for organisms that adapt towards survival cues, not for truth. Plantinga frames this as an argument against evolutionary naturalism. This is not false, but could be true in other cases than have nothing to do with theism.

2. The survival vs truth dichotomy is exaggerated, however, since there are many, if not most, factors that both satisfy survival and truth criteria. Bartering the correct number of bushels of strawberries for the correct quarter of cow ensures my survival because it involves food and mathematically falls within the going rate of strawberry-bushels-to-meat in the local market—both survival and (arithmetical) truth criteria are satisfied.

3. Additionally, in this bartering scenario, there is a runoff benefit of social stability because both sides of the transaction are gaining something, don’t feel as though they are being cheated, etc. This nudges the even more towards survival benefits than truth benefits.

4. The “meat” of the survival vs truth Venn diagram is biggest when we can confirm phenomena that are falsifiable, which favors first-hand sensory accounts over most other ways of gaining knowledge. I may make a habit of relieving myself in Swamp A instead of Swamp B because my parents told me there are hungry alligators in Swamp B. I definitely survive by gracing Swamp A with my unwanted matter, yet the truth of Swamp B’s alligatorness is undetermined until I begin to take frequent slashes into Swamp B and determine there are no alligators at all. I still survive and know a bit of truth, though the truth was irrelevant to my survival.

5. The “meat” gets skinnier and skinnier—the truth and survival protocols (diagram circles) separate more and more—as the epistemic certainty of an event goes down. News of civilian unrest a village over from Town A would more likely cause folks to prepare for possible conflict, though its likelihood of conflict spreading to Town A is not likely or impossible.

6. To continue with this analogy, those in Town A who are epistemically convinced that they are safe from a spreading conflict may “join in” in preparing for a defense on the border, since not doing so could cause internecine conflict in Town A. In such a case, survival cues can be met over truth cues at multiple levels.

7. However, adherence to truth cues can overcome survival cues, if the person holds to a certain truth (with its consequences) to such a degree that it acts as an epistemic defeater for survival. This is most notable in political and religious martyrdom. The saint or revolutionary holds his truth and its consequences strongly enough to maintain them through bodily harm. Thus, there can be some truths that can produce great enough sentiment to risk not just social ostracism but death. This is seen in a less dramatic degree in the conservative professor who has to keep his political beliefs hush-hush to avoid being targeted, or the atheist going to church with his highly-religious family on Sundays.

8. Truth, therefore, is less important to individual survival than survival cues—though that is tautological. In cases where interpersonal social bonds are more crucial to survival—probably more in societies where there is less labor-saving technology. Thus, we can see that beliefs of remote phenomena, like national politics, are more oriented with interpersonal agreement—”we vote party A in this town because party B is xyz and that’s not in our best interests”—even though party B is not xyz at all. The social bonds created in voting for part A and maligning party B are stronger than the bonds created in voting according to the truth.

9. This phenomena is likely more prevalent the further away the people and events in question are, and unrelated to the technological level the society enjoys, since the truth about the phenomena after a certain epistemic distance is unknowable. Example conclusion from this: 100% of any news report of a national political event or politician have nothing to truth but can be used a social bonding mechanism.