Monthly Archives: November 2015

Links of Possible Relevance, Part 9

The Real Reason We Need to Stop Trying to Protect Everyone’s Feelings

Sic et Non, Souls and Pre-existence – I’m in the middle of reading Plato’s Phaedo, and the soul’s pre-existence was forefront. Instead of bumbling through a post about it, JT’s writing is much better.

A classic formula for pi has been discovered hidden in hydrogen atoms – Patterns. Someday I’d like to read a popular science article that doesn’t use the word “quantum.”

One Allegiance, Indivisible – “We cannot sustain a parceling up of our persons into the domain of Caesar and the domain of God – a house divided cannot stand. Either Caesar is Lord or Jesus is.”

Don’t Ask An Astrophysicist About Economics – “[Neil deGrasse Tyson] fell into the common trap of assuming just because he can’t imagine a return on investment one must not exist. Successful entrepreneurs are successful because they realized a return on an investment others did not.”

You’re Owed Nothing

10 Spiritual Gems From The Little Known Scottish Mystic Who Was J.R.R. Tolkien’s Guru

The Pilgrims’ Experiment with Communism Before the Second Thanksgiving – tl;dr version: people died when they didn’t have to.

The economic fallacies of Black Friday: 2015 Edition

You Are What You Read: 14 Thought Leaders Share Their Bookshelves – Guy is some kind of marketing guru, aka: a huckster (I mean, look at his domain name), and the bookshelves belong to others of his ilk. This article was labeled as the “smartest” people’s bookshelves, not “thought leaders” as the title suggests. I’m not sure which one is worse.

How to Ruin Your Band Name – This rules out every band name. Sorry, guys. At least my favorite band name, Breather Resist, passes all of these tests.

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“Pale Blue Scratch” Kickstarter is Now a Go

If the obnoxious image at the top of the front page here didn’t punch you in the eye, you can click here to donate.

I’ll be posting a Goodreads giveaway for my older book soon, too. I probably won’t be cross-posting things I put up on the Kickstarter page here, for your mental health.

Thanks in advance for all the thousands of dollars you will give me.

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That Julia Price Story is Suspect

I don’t normally comment on these “dawww that’s cute” type of stories, but I’ve been seeing this too much to ignore it.

Story here, original Facebook post here. I was about to write it off as another useless social media story with a gratuitous selfie of Julia for maximum attention generation, until I read that she was on her morning run and the catcaller was on his lunchbreak. So was it in the morning or noontime?

Maybe she works an odd-shift job and her “morning” is really the afternoon, or the guy was eating lunch-oriented food. Whichever…Julia may have just misreported it.

There are other elements that don’t quite add up, though I’m willing to give a pass to. There’s no photo of the mom, James, or the stroller. If this really happened, Julia may have wanted to replace the unnecessary selfie with a photo of her with the family. But there are privacy concerns, so maybe James’ mom said declined the offer. The timing is odd, as well: Julia was running, the family was walking, the man was almost certainly sitting (Julia said he “gathered” his lunch before leaving). The order of events and the position/movements are strange, but not impossible.

What really tipped me off was the actions of the boy and the man. The little boy (I assume this means he was no older than 10 or so) acted like kids do in movies—just a little too perfect with his bravery and response. The man, brazen enough to catcall a woman in a public place where there are families walking (not to mention his boss or colleagues lurking nearby), suddenly gets too embarrassed to stay and finish eating when someone points it out. Again, this seems too Hollywood to be genuine.

I don’t care either way if it’s real or not. Being catcalled is barely a ping on the radar of notable life events, unless you’re really seeking attention or validation on social media. The only value for me is the casual mental exercise in looking at it logically.

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Random Thoughts on the Syrian Diaspora Issue

1. “Refugee,” much like “slave,” used in this modern context, may be wildly different than mentions of “refugee” in some translations of the Bible. X doesn’t always mean x, especially when there’s a good few thousand years worth of linguistic, cultural, and technological differences.

2. Universal moral imperatives, especially for something so complex as this crisis, are more Kantian than Christian. A Christian is responsible only for that which God has placed under his domain—nothing else. If you are a Christian and feel you have this kind of specific moral authority over me, then feel free to make your case, since you do not have this authority over me by default.

3. I, personally, am not responsible for anything that has caused the current situation. I don’t vote, and since I have (and want) nothing to do with my nation’s rulers, I am not even implicitly responsible for their actions. Any support my nation’s government has gained from me (taxes), have come from compulsion.

4. I’m actually fine with any nation that decides to “open its borders” to the Syrians, as long as that nation’s government just does that, without lavishing them with gifts from taxpayer-supported coffers. Government bureaucrats are excellent at moral posturing since they will face none of the consequences from their decisions. That nation’s government also has a moral obligation not to tie the hands of its citizens in how they choose to interact or not interact with the Syrian diaspora. To disallow this autonomy is slavery.

5. Related to #4: As I’ve said before, diversity is a preference, not a moral command. As such, people have different preferences, and wishing they had the same preferences as you do is strange, wishful thinking. There are major, major consequences, nationally and internationally, when people with diverse (heh) preferences are shoehorned into one monolithic version. This isn’t an endorsement of what will happen, but a bit of descriptive foresight based on what has come before.

6. Memes, photographs, and videos are basically propaganda used to arouse emotion towards a certain sentiment. Doping yourself up with this kind of drug has consequences.

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Links of Possible Relevance, Part 8

It’s been a while since I did one of these!

The Medieval Mind and the Modernist Error – You might be dumber than a 12th century French peasant who makes $2 a year.

Academia’s Rejection of Diversity – AKA: A moral imperative for us, not for them.

The Latest Evidence That Helmet Laws Don’t Help Bike Safety

Science Doesn’t Work the Way You Might Think – “Facts are not autonomous. They gain meaning from the frameworks within which human beings interpret them.”

C.S. Lewis on Science, Evolution, and Evolutionism – “‘Just as my belief in my own immortal & rational soul does not oblige or qualify me to hold a particular theory of the pre-natal history of my embryo, so my belief that Men in general have immortal & rational souls does not oblige or qualify me to hold a theory of their pre-human organic history-if they have one.'”

Modern Educayshun – “Ignore that.”

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Humpday Movie – Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003 Series, HD)

This isn’t actually a movie proper, but a splicing together of all the Clone Wars episodes, which were of varying length. So it’s more a succession of vignettes than anything.

These are the episodes from the 2003-2005 series, not the more extensive CGI series from 2008 (titled, The Clone Wars). I don’t recall if that CGI series are still Star Wars canon after the Disney buyout, but I know the cartoon episodes are not. The narrative is too out-of-character for how the rest of the canon is delivered, anyways.

These episodes were directed and produced by Genndy Tartakovsky, who also directed Samurai Jack, among tons of others. You’ll notice this series bears the same minimalism as Samurai Jack did, both with the art direction and dialogue.

Regardless, this movie is an interesting bit of storytelling, even if you’re not familiar with the prequel/clone storyline.

EDIT: Looks like the original video I posted got taken down, but below is another video of the complete series. It’s not as good quality, but it’s all there.


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Another Site Design Update

I changed a few things on the site, to make things a little wonky. The biggest change were the drawer dropdowns I used for the navigation. The plugin seemed to take up a lot of the load time, and the experience wasn’t ideal on mobile, so I ditched it. There’s only one navigable page—the “About” page, where most of the meta site stuff lives. I also added a sticky menu and infinite scrolling on the main page. Pagination on blogs always irked me, so the infinite scroll option, in combo with the scroll-to-top arrow you see at the bottom, seemed an intuitive pairing.

A few more details on my UX page, down near the bottom. If anything looks weird, especially on mobile devices, leave a comment and I’ll check it out.

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