Headlines of note and other tidbits

 

“Tension Simmers in the Cheese Market” –  International Herald Tribune

 

“Busts, bail-outs and shotgun sales are re-drawing the banking map faster than you can say collateralized debt-obligation.”  – The Economist

 

Headline from Eurasianet.org: “Surprise Nuclear Power Plant in Kaliningrad” They’re popping up like mushrooms after a rain. 

 

“The sky grows dark with chickens coming home to roost” Wish I had a context for that one.

 

“Socialism means social justice and equality, but equality of rights, of opportunities; not of income.”  – Raul Castro. Hmmmn, sounds like compassionate conservatism to me.

 

Sait Halim Paşa (1863-1921), an intellectual and bureaucrat said: “In Eastern thought, our mind always shapes things; but things do not shape our minds.”

 

“Life is like this: first you are temporarily immortal, then you are dying.”  – someone.

 

“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business and eventually degenerates into a racket.” – Eric Hoffer

 

“A democracy will continue to exist until that time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.  From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by dictatorship.  Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence back again to bondage.”

                                                                                      – Unknown

 

 

Six snowmobilers found alive and hungry, which is good news for the most delicious looking one.

          – The Denver Post

 

Naomi Campbell, of all people, sits down with Hugo Chavez, proving once again that there aren’t too many fools on Earth, but rather that lightning bolts are improperly distributed

          -SF Gate

 

Aggressive coyote shot and killed near Colorado ski resort, rocket-powered ACME skis confiscated.

          -The Denver Post

 

Inquiry is a process of reaching a consensus on the best way of coping with the world and ‘truth’ is just a compliment we pay to the result.

          -Jim Holt in The New Yorker

 

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.

          -Kierkegaard

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NEED SARAH PALIN LOOKALIKE ASAP FOR ADULT FILM (LA)


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Date: 2008-09-10, 8:20PM PDT

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Pi

In the Greek alphabet pi is the 16th letter (and 16 is the square of 4).  In the English alphabet, p is also the 16th letter, and i is the ninth letter (the square of 3).  Add them up (16+9) and you get 25 (the square of 5). Multiply them (16 X 9) and you get 144 (the square of 12). Divide 9 by 16 and you get .5625 (the square of .75). Its no wonder they say Pi are squared.

 The first millenium CE in Europe saw the dark ages, which were filled with war and strife following the breakdown of the Roman Continue reading

Brits

The Times newspaper in London asked for readers to suggest new mottos for the British. Here are a few:

Best before nineteen-thirty-nine

May contain nuts

God Save Our Gracious Queen!

Wallowing in a postcolonial miasma

We made other countries great!

One nation under the thumb

Dentistry is not our forte

I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK

No problem left untaxed

Land of the… everyone, really

Over-priced, over-weight, over-crowded, over….

To thine own self be true

Hanging on in quiet desperation

Stout hearts through troubled times

Word power: thoughts on language

Verbal Overshadowing

Verbal overshadowing is a process by which a person’s memory of faces and other hard-to-describe perceptions becomes compromised by speaking or writing about the perceptions.  Witnesses to crimes are less likely to correctly identify the perpetrator if they have made a description than if they have not – especially if the description is made within the first ten or fifteen minutes.

Research on verbal overshadowing challenges the popular notion held by philosophers and psychologists that language lies at the core of thought.  Various forms of inexpressible knowledge may be best served by avoiding the application of language. Shall I abandon this blog? Continue reading

yuk yuk yuk

Rene Descartes is in a bar. At last call the bartender asks him if he’d like another drink. He says “I think not.” And he disappears.

 

Two Irishmen walk out of a bar.

 

An Irishman walks into a bar in Cork and asks the bartender: “What’s the quickest way to Dublin?”

          The bartender asks; “are you walking or driving?”

          The guy says “driving.”

          And the bartender says: “ That’s the quickest way.”

 

I’m for the separation of Church and Hate.

 

You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.

 

 War is terrorism with a bigger budget.

 

Fearful people do stupid things.

 

Get involved: the world is run by those who show up.

 

If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve.

 

Its hard to convince people that you’re killing them for their own good.

 

I’d explain it to you, but your brain would explode.

 

I like you, but I don’t want to see you working with subatomic particles.

 

A man walked into a bar, sat down and ordered a beer. As he sipped the beer he heard a soothing voice say “Nice tie.” Looking around he noticed that the bar was empty except for himself and the bartender at the other end of the bar.  A few sips later the voice said, “Beautiful shirt.”  At this, the man called the bartender over. “Hey, I must be losing my mind” he told him.  “I keep hearing these voices saying nice things, and there’s not a soul in here but us.”

          “It’s the peanuts,” answered the bartender.

          “Say what?”

          “You heard me. It’s the peanuts…. They’re complimentary.”

 

An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday did not happen today.

 

How do you torture an engineer?

          Tie him to a chair, stand in front of him and fold up a road map the wrong way.

 

Prosecutor: Did you kill the victim?

Defendant: No, I did not.

Prosecutor: Do you know what the penalties are for perjury?

Defendant: Yes, I do, and they’re a heck of a lot better than the penalty for murder!

 

A statistician is someone who is good with numbers but lacks the personality to be an accountant.  An accountant is someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand.  A professor is someone who talks in someone else’s sleep.  A schoolteacher is a woman who used to think she liked small children.  A consultant is someone who takes the watch off your wrist and tells you the time.

 

What if the hokey pokey really is what its all about?

 

Artists make lousy slaves.

 

A manager is someone who thinks that nine women ought to be able to produce a child in one month.

 

The fact that no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.

 

I’m not being rude; you’re just insignificant.

 

Sergeant: Private!

Private: Yes, sir.

Sergeant: You failed to show up for camouflage class yesterday.

Private: How do you know, sir?

 

Ole: I need to buy some boards there, Sven.

Sven: How long you want ‘em, Ole?

Ole: Long time. I’m building a house, ya know.

 

The difference between a comedy and tragedy in Russian drama is that in a tragedy, everybody dies; but in a comedy, they die happy.

 

A woman’s prayer: Dear Lord, I pray for wisdom, to understand a man; love, to forgive him; and patience, for his moods. Because, Lord, if I pray for strength, I’ll just beat him to death.

 

My husband is on a new diet. He’s losing five pounds a week. In a year and a half, I’ll be rid of him completely.

 

One good thing about having a woman for president: we wouldn’t have to pay her as much.

 

What’s the fastest way to a man’s heart? Through the chest wall, with a sharp knife.

 

“Run, Hillary, Run!” bumper stickers are selling like hotcakes in New York.

          Democrats put them on their rear bumpers and republicans put them on the front.

 

Did you hear about the dyslexic devil worshipper?

          He sold his soul to Santa.

Painter: I’d like to hear your opinion about my painting.

Critic:  It’s worthless.

Painter : I know, but I’d like to hear it anyway.

 

What do the letters DNA stand for?

          National Dyslexic’s Association

 

If you could have a conversation with someone, living or dead, who would it be?

          I’d choose the living one.

 

Why should Bill Lewis be buried 100 feet deep?

          Because deep down, he’s a really good man.

 

Did you hear about the new pill? It makes you feel good, but it has the side effect of making you dull. Its called Prosaic.

 

You know something? If Bill Gates had a nickel for every time Windows crashed….wait, he does.

 

 What’s the difference between Michael Jackson and a plastic grocery bag? One is made of plastic and is dangerous for children to play with. The other one is used to carry groceries.

 

“I would go to the end of the world for you.”

“Yes, but would you stay there?”

 

Men are like fine wine. They all start out like grapes, and then its our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something we’d like to have dinner with.

 

“Why are you scratching yourself?

“I’m the only one who knows where it itches.”

 

Once upon a time there was beautiful antelope who was getting ready for a wild date in the forest. She got all gussied up with a new dress, shoes and make-up, when all of a sudden a herd of wildebeests came stampeding over her. She was the first self-dressed, stamped antelope.

 

Don’t forget that half of all people are below average.

 

Lawyers get disbarred and clergymen get defrocked, so doesn’t it make sense that baseball players should get debased, politicians devoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, organ donors delivered,  and cleaners depressed, decreased and depleated?

 

If you ate pasta and antipasta, would you still be hungry?

 

If you’re going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

 

I always wanted to be somebody. I guess I should have been more specific.

 

Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way by myself.

  

Whimsical definitions


Here is the Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter – and supply a new definition.

1. Cashtration (n.):
The act of buying (or building) a house,
which renders the subject financially
impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus :
A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

3 Intaxication :
Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts
until you realize that it was your money to
start with.

4. Reintarnation:
Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.):
The substance surrounding stupid people that
stops bright ideas from penetrating.
The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little
sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy :
Any misrepresentation about yourself for the
purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti:
Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm :
The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit
and the person who doesn’t get it.

9. Inoculatte:
To take coffee intravenously when you are
running late.

10. Hipatitis :
Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis:
A degenerate disease.
(This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon :
It’s when everybody is sending off all these
really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes
and it’s a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.):
The grueling event of getting through the day
consuming only things that are good for you.

14. Glibido :
All talk and no action.

15. Dopeler effect:
The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter
when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.):
The frantic dance performed just after y ou’ve
accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.):
Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into
your bedroom at three in the morning and
cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.):
The color you turn after finding half a worm in
the fruit you’re eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

1. Coffee, n.
The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted , adj.
Appalled by discovering how much weight one
has gained.

3. Abdicate, v.
To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade , v.
To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-Nilly, adj.
Impotent.

6. Negligent , adj.
Absentmindedly answering the door when
wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v.
To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle , n.
Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence , n.
Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been
run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash , n.
A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n.
A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude , n.
The formal, dignified bearing adopted by
proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n.
A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster , n.
A person who sprinkles his conversation with
Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n.
The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto
the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent , n.
An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by
Jewish men.

Musings sept 07

*One thing that distinguishes a biological brain and its mind from a computer is the phenomenon of preferences and subconscious motivation.  Unless those things that obey logics that lie on various planes aside from the simple, common, day-to-day plane of the logic of logistics arise from complexity – emergence – a computer can not have a mind of its own.

 

*One researcher estimates that there are nearly five trillion spiders in the Netherlands alone, each of which consumes a tenth of a gram of meat a day.  Were their victims people instead of insects, they would need only three days to consume all sixteen and a half million Dutchmen. 

          The water spider, exhibiting what we should call intelligence, builds a web beneath the waves, anchored to a plant, and fills it with bubbles that it collects at the surface.  The bubbles coalesce into an air chamber, where the spider can sit safe from predators.  When hunger strikes, the water spider waits for a shrimp or a tadpole to swim by, then it pounces.

 

* The idea of a state in Newtonian physics shares with classical sculpture and painting the illusion of the Frozen Moment.  This gives rise to the illusion that the world is composed of objects.  If this were really the way the world is then the primary description of something would be how it is, and change in it would be secondary.  Change would be nothing more than alterations in how something is. But relativity and quantum theory tell us that our world is a history of processes.  Nothing IS, except in a very approximate and temporary sense.  How something is; what state it is in, is an illusion.

          The filtering lens of subterranean emotions leads us to believe that we – and the world we interact with – are in one state or another.  If we drop the lens, even for a moment, things become less recognizable and faintly menacing. When you start noticing your feelings as soon as they arise, like noticing and acknowledging thoughts in meditation, you may be amazed at the cacophony of emotion that is swirling around in your back-brain all the time; even on those boring, featureless days your subtext is busy and apparently unrelated to what’s in the text of day-to-day life.

 

*Are you sure you are really interested in the preservation of the human race once you and all the people you know are no longer alive?

 

*If you had the power to put into effect things you consider right, would you do so against the wishes of the majority?

 

*Are you convinced by your own self-criticism?

 

*Are you conscious of being in the wrong in relation to another person – who need not necessarily be aware of it?  If so, does this make you hate yourself – or the other person?

 

*In Multiple Personality Disorder there are numerous consciousnesses which are unaware of each other, and in an integrated personality, those consciousnesses are either aware or unaware of each other, but subject to their influences. Sometimes in dreams we experience those consciousnesses as various players in the dream. To experience a mood or emotion is to have the penumbra of a past experience shade one’s perception of the meaning of current events: one consciousness is influencing another.  The consciousness  which suffered from a past experience informs the consciousness presently encountering (remembering, experiencing or anticipating) a similar experience.

          Awareness of that subtle tug between different consciousness within is what precipitates enlightenment.  In this sense mood and emotion are equivalent to the Buddhist conceptualization of “thought”.  To control one’s mind; one’s thinking, is to recognize the tugs which blossom into desires and aversions. Before deciding whether or not one believes this, its important to remember that a belief is necessarily involuntary.

 

* functionalism is a theory of mind whose core idea is that mental states (beliefs, desires, emotions) are constituted solely by their functional role – that is, their causal relations to other mental states, sensory inputs and behavioral outputs.  Is a mental state equivalent to a state in Newtonian physics? If so, is it illusory in the way Lee Smolin describes a Frozen Moment? Or is a mental state a proclivity? I’m just asking.

 

*In the 17th century people didn’t distinguish between heat and temperature.  They might look at a brick heated in a certain fire for a certain length of time and they’d see how much ice it melted in a certain period.  By that test some substances were hotter than others, but when tested with thermometers other substances were hotter.

 

*Phenomenology, of course, is the study of how we experience the world on a subjective level: we all call the color red red, but do we all see the same red as we say red?

 

*”Free will” can mean that I’m the author of my actions in a way that is not explicable by science or it can mean that I simply could have done something different. Personally, I’d say that free will is somewhere between the two.  The influences on my decision are so myriad and numerous that free will is more of an emergent property.

 

* I just found out that “procrustean” means producing or designed to produce strict conformity by ruthless or arbitrary means. I estimate that 78% of the world’s problems would be solved if the underlying sentiments that required the coinage of the word procrustean were eradicated.

 

*Shame is a social condition and form of social control consisting of an emotional state stemming from the awareness of having acted inappropriately.  Shame differs from embarrassment insofar as it doesn’t necessarily involve public humiliation.  Also, shame is a response to actions that are morally wrong, whereas embarrassment can arise from morally neutral actions that are – or are expected to be – socially unacceptable. In shame-based cultures the social consequences of “getting caught” are more important than the individual feelings, whereas “guilt-based” cultures emphasize exactly those individual feelings.

 

* I am not an idiot. I am a person who suffers from idiocy.  No one knows what its like to deal with crippling bouts of idiocy while trying to lead a normal life.

 

*True patriotism as less to do with defending one’s country than with making it worth defending.

more ephemera

One researcher estimates that there are nearly five trillion spiders in the Netherlands alone, each of which consumes a tenth of a gram of meat a day. Were their victims people instead of insects, they would need only three days to consume all sixteen and a half million Dutchmen.

 The idea of a State in Newtonian physics shares with classical sculpture and painting the illusion of the Frozen Moment. This gives rise to the illusion that the world is composed of objects.  If this were really the way the world is, then the primary description of something would be how it is, and change in it would be secondary. Change would be nothing more than alterations in how something is. But relativity and quantum theory tell us that our world is a history of processes. Nothing IS, except in a very approximate and temporary sense. How something is, what state it is in, is an illusion.

Functionalism is a theory of mind whose core idea is that mental states (beliefs, deesires, emotions) are constituted solely by their functional role: that is their causal relations to other mental states, sensory inputs and behavioral outputs. Is a mental state at all similar to the idea of a State in Newtonian physics? If so, is it illusory in the way a “frozen moment” is illusory and not descriptive of the true nature of reality – change? In other words, is a mental state really just a proclivity?

Four questions:

1. Are you sure you are really interested in the preservation of the human race once you and all the people you know are no longer alive?

2. If you had teh power to put into effect things you consider right, would you do so against the wishes of the majority?

3. Are you convinced of your own self-criticism?

4. Are you conscious of being in the wrong in relation to another person – who need not necessarily be aware of it? If so, does this make you hate yourself, or the other person?

“Free will” can mean that I’m the author of my actions in a way that is not explicable by science, or it can mean that I simply could have done something different..

Shame is a social condition and form of social control consisting of an emotional state stemming from the awareness of having acted inappropriately. Shame differs from embarrassment insofar as it doesn’t necessarily involve public humiliation. Also, shame is a response to actions that are morally wrong, whereas embarassment can arise from morally neutral actions tat are – or are expected to be – socially unacceptable.

In shame-based cultures the social consequences of ‘getting caught’ are more important than the individual feelings, whereas guilt-based cultures emphasize exactly those individual feelings.

I am not an idiot. I’m a person who suffers from idiocy. No one knows what its like to deal with crippling bouts of idiocy while trying to lead a normal life.

ephemera

A variety of competing effects, including the moon’s tug on the oceans and the melting of glaciers, combines to slow Earth’s spin.  A day is now .002 second shorter than it was a century ago. Some 150 million years ago, dinosaurs had to jam a full day of foraging and killing into what is now only 22 hours.

Math is a product of human minds but not bendable to human will.

Everything is either impossible or trivial.

Mathematics underlies the world in a way that we normally don’t see. Zipfian distributions, the decay of radioactive atoms, the arrangement of sunflower seeds on a flowerhead – all these things and more are examples of how mathematics instruct the universe and everything in it on how to behave; how to become manifest.

A chemical famous as a constituent of red wine appears to boost the lifespans and increase the well-being of mice that haven’t followed the healthiest of lifestyles.  The compound known as  resveritrol can increase lifespans in yeast, worms, mice and fish. It works by activating the same genes that are turned on when an animal eats a severly limited number of calories.

In experiments of resveritrol‘s action, middle aged mice were fed an extremely hunhealthy diet, with fat comprising 60% of their caloric intake.  Fat rodents not fed resveritrol soon died from obesity-related diseases, while those fed the red wine compound became fat, but remained healthy. The resveritrol-supplemented fat mice had lifespans equal to those of slim, health control animals.

Merlot, anyone? The amount of reseritrol fed to the fat-healthy mice equates to about 300 classes of red wine per day for a human.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good an hard.

He had every quality that morons esteem in their heroes.

There will never be enough money in the world. Indeed, that seems to be the point of it.

Its funny the way your life is your life and you don’t know any other life. Its like trying to imagine what it would be like to be smarter than you are. It explains people who anger and annoy because they seem so thoroughly enmired in infantile rage: they are.  They have never moved beyond it, and have no way to imagine that life is life without it.

There were cases in split-brain patients (the corpus collosum, or the membrane that attaches the left hemisphere to the right, had been severed) when the patient had been reading a newspaper, and since it is only the left brain that processes language, the right brain gets bored as hell, and since the right brain controls the left arm, the person would find that his left hand would suddenly grab the newspaper and throw it to the ground!

In science a counter-intuitive result is prized more than an expected one, whereas in philosophy, if an argument runs counter to intuition, it may be rejected on that ground alone. Philosophy must produce or destroy belief. And belief, unlike utterance, should not be under the control of the will, however motivated. Belief should be involuntary.

Science is more interested in facts. A fact is nothing more than an agreed-upon observation made by qualified observers. Before Columbus, it was a fact that the Earth was flat.

If you can imagine a robot so sophisticated that it could do all the things we do – sit on park benches, play the flute and argue with its friends – then consciousness is not a physical thing.

It is not precisely true that I went for a walk this morning. What happened was that a walk was waiting to happen, and used me.

The meaning of any linguistic expression always depends on some other expression, and that other expression is also dependent on something else. Meaning is therefore always in flux and relative, part of a chain of reference that never ends.  What we think we understand right here and now also presupposes something else that is  not present.