Day by Day Daily Cartoon by Chris Muir

The Mad Scientist... Mwahahahahahahahaha

Friday, December 19, 2008

A GeekBlogger Interlude

Having finished a fun time of the US elections, being slightly disappointed that Mr BHOmbastic won, and moving towards the end of the year (thus having done even less work than usual), I thought I would switch my blog reading focus from the conservative blogs to the tech blogs instead.

Now, obviously, part of it is simply the fact that just reading political blogs can lead to a bit of a burn out (not that it's a real excuse), but really I just happen to be a geek. One who is overweight, nay, even obese, sure, but a real geek nonetheless. So I find myself perusing Shark Tank and The Daily WTF (What The Fuck!). Sharky, unfortunately, updates once a day only, whereas Alex over at TDWTF updates more often - but more importantly, I haven't read all of Alex's blog, and I've read all of Shark Tank.

What can I say? The comments are funny beyond belief, especially if you grok code (even pseudocode), and there are some posts that cannot be believed. :) More to the point; even though I'm a lurker (by choice; most people there code in C, .Net or Java or other OOPs and I code mostly in Ada) there's a sense of connection to the whole software development community (Raymond Chen, for instance, hangs out there every now and then, aside from his own blog).

One of the best posts I came across was on the abuse of the C preprocessor. For those of you who may not know what is going on, the C programming environment includes a pre-processor, which takes your source code (plain ASCII text, mostly) and applies some pre-defined transformations to it. This, amongst other things, allows you to abstract some of C's rather terse syntax and operators. For example, you could do something like

#define TRUE 0
#define FALSE 1
#define FILE_NOT_FOUND -1

in your code, and when the pre-processor swept through your code, it would automatically replace every instance of TRUE, FALSE and FILE_NOT_FOUND with the integers they were defined as. Hence, you could say something like "return TRUE" and it would be the same as "return 0".

Now, it goes without saying that the preprocessor is a pretty powerful tool, and while C is not the only language to have it, it is one of the languages that often gets seriously wacky evil code written, where the evilness depended on the preprocessor.

Well, you can read all about it yourself, but suffice it to say that someone beat up on C badly enough to turn it into a variant of Pascal or Ada. The true punchline for me, though, was the comment on skinnable programming languages. Don't like a specific language? Don't use it! Find one that you like, and skin the old language to meet the new one.

Maybe you need to be a geek or a nerd to appreciate the humour. It nearly killed me laughing. The thought of someone beating up on C++ to turn it into Visual Basic (while still using the C++ compiler and other tools) was bad enough, but even worse was my remembering that the IOCCC once had a winning entry that used precisely this method; the best thing was, it was a perfectly compilable program on two languages, but it did something different depending on which language compiler you used.

I'll stop boring you lot now, but the whole idea of skinnable programming languages greatly appeals to me. Just one last thought; a compiler converts your source code (in human readable text, however complicated it can seem at first glance) to machine language (binary bits of 0s and 1s). Compilers for different languages convert different source code to the same machine language. Won't you call that the ultimate skinnable programming language?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blog update

Yes, the Big G is still around. Just haven't had much time to update my blog much; regretfully, real life is interfering somewhat.

No matter, I have some vacation days coming to me around Christmas, so that's when you'll get a whole slew of stuff from me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Big G is Joe too! A Moronblogger Rant

Going around the conservative blogs today is the idea that we are all 'regular Joes' and we should say as much to the effete political elite... whoever and wherever they may be. This idea strikes close to my heart and the American dream is not restricted to citizens of the USA, so here's my go at it.

Alright, listen up, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, and you motherfucking dickheads and cuntlicking bitches in the press, and in Washington, and in the so-called halls of power everywhere governments exist; I AM JOE!

I am the offspring of an engineer and a stenographer, who were civil servants when civil service was still an honourable thing to do. While I don't mind office wear, I'm most comfortable in a tee and briefs - boxers if I have to. I eat in coffeeshops and not cafes most if not all of the time. Plain water from the spigot does me just fine. I buy regular eggs and cook regular chicken and dump a whole lot of garlic and pepper into my food. I do my own washing, iron my own shirts, air-dry the laundry, hand-wash the dishes and take out the garbage. Hell, I even download my own porn.


I want lower taxes, less government interference, and every newspaper can go FOAD and DIAF for all I give a shit. I want transparency and accountability from the assholes in Parliament, or Congress. I want freer markets and dammit, I want you bastards to keep your hands off my guns!

I AM JOE! And so are many of my friends. So just go away and let us do our stuff. Or we will throw you out of office and into obscurity, if your luck does not fail you.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

F&SF - the genres for the anal-retentive

So, I was reading about an interview conducted by Terry Goodkind (writer of the Sword of Truth series), and in the course of this interview, he says this...

Throughout the series, my goal has been to steer the covers away from
traditional fantasy covers because I'm not writing fantasy. I'm
accidentally published by a fantasy publisher so I get thrown in with
that genre, but my books are no more fantasy than a detective novel is
a "gun book." What makes me nuts about the fantasy genre is that,
unlike any other genre, people become obsessed and focused on
irrelevant things. For example, in a detective novel, if a detective
has a Snub Nose 38, no one asks him questions like "Can we know more
about the Snub Nose 38?" or "Have you ever thought of doing some kind
of special story just about the Snub Nose 38?" It's a distraction.

Now, it is no secret that Terry Goodkind is an objectivist, at it shines through every single page of his books. As a Christian, I can take about half of the stuff he's talking about - after all, I'm not a Randian, but I am conservative - but amongst the other things I can't take is that drivel quoted above. Terry, you ass, whether you like it or not, you are a writer in the F&SF genres. And here's why.

You notice other genres don't have people obsessed and focused on irrelevant things as in the fantasy genre? You dimwitted knucklehead, what about Science Fiction (SF)? Or do you consider them one and the same? You dyslexic amoeba, you wanna know why this is the case? Let's enlighten you...

F&SF are parts of a larger genre known as 'speculative fiction'. Yes, you can argue about it if you like, but most people intuitively 'get it' about what spec-fic is. The other fiction genres (not in speculative fiction) all have one thing in common - they use our current space/time continuum as the backdrop to their stories, and assume the same (or broadly similar) historical events up to the moment of the fiction's start. That means to say, using the example as given above, if you really wanted to know about a snub-nosed .38 Special, you could actually look it up. Now that I come to think about it, in the USA, it's entirely possible that you have an Uncle Andy who was once a PI, and you can ask him about it. Long story short, the piece of fiction does not have to deal with so-called 'irrelevant' details because they are details assumed in knowledge of the reader - or easily accessible to the reader.

In speculative fiction, especially the F&SF parts of it, the only information you can assume the reader knows about your world is human nature (perhaps, and only if you're dealing with humans in the first place). That, and what you decide to reveal. Now, how you do these reveals, obviously, is up to you. Most SF place these reveals as part of the storyline (take Stargate: SG1, for instance, where Col O'Neill is forever never understanding what Carter and Jackson are explaining, so they have to slow down and dumb it down for his benefit - and ours); others in footnotes, endnotes and God-notes aka 'authorial asides' (George Lucas does this somewhat with his prologue bits in Star Wars). Still others weave it into the whole story in bits and pieces, so that after you've read the whole thing, you get the idea.

Now, many authors will say that it's really the storyline that matters. It's the character development and the plot that are the drivers for the story, and not the 'details'. But have they, and you, ever considered that this is only true if the 'details' don't jar the readers out of their suspension of disbelief? The alternative is what I call Japanimation syndrome - 'Anything Goes!' But the only reason they get away with it is because anime is often so over the top it's expected, and written off. I mean, where else in the worlds of fiction would it be so hard to get plane tickets from Japan to China, so that you can dunk yourself in some hot springs? And yet that is the entire premise of Ranma 1/2. Or to become so hideously overpowered that even after you die, you can come back to life every so often and kick the ass of anybody? Dragonball ring a bell? And then there's the card game whose rules always favour the storyline progression, or Yu-Gi-Oh! could not have been so lucky. If you wanna go that route, then do a Discworld-type story - but even then, you know.

Incidentally, this is not true for 'shared universe' stories. If you're writing a Dragonlance series, or a Forgotten Realms novel, you can dispense with all of the details, but only because Wizards of the Coast has done the hard work for you. Why do you think that Tolkien's considered the father of epic fantasy? Because he fleshed out his world so completely, you can translate the Bible into Sindarin or Quenya.

Hence, Terry, F&SF are genres where you supply the details. And because the people who read F&SF are the kind of people who like details (hence the title of this post), you'd better make sure the details are as correct, as detailed, and as logical as necessary. And if you think you've got a problem, you haven't met my sister yet. Working in the microbiological sciences field, she constantly nit-picks CSI for its magical PCR machines that can do stuff in that time-compressed manner TV is so good at.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Conservatism Big G Style - Introspective Series part 3

With the Nov elections in the US coming up soon, it may be instructive to see why I, a non-American, self-identify so closely with the conservative Republican framework. It certainly is true that my take on the matter is uniquely my own; however, it does track quite closely to that of the typical right-winger.

However, before we get started, let's have a look at the framework I work off - Christianity.

- Religious Belief - Christianity
Now, all kinds of people have all kinds of ideas about what religion is. I prefer to think of it as your fundamental life axiom. Regardless of your upbringing, everything around you - your social interactions, the world, events, information, life itself - in short, all you think, all you sense, all you experience - feed into your sense of how things 'ought to be'. You can call it metaphysics if you like, but really, it's just your platform, your foundation, upon which everything else is built.

By this working definition of mine, atheism is a religion. Naturalism is a religion. Marxism, even, can be a religion. And certainly, if you see everything through a political lens, then Leftism is a religion too.

You can't run away from this, by the way. Axioms are unprovable assumptions; first principles, upon which everything else is derived. Even if you say you are a freethinking rationalist, you are working off the assumption that everything has an rational explanation, the vast majority of the time, such an explanation will involve only that which is bound by space/time and matter/energy. Which you can't prove. Ever.

For me, that framework, the foundation and the lens through which everything else is experienced and interpreted, is called Christianity. God, in the Persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, created the universe and all within it ex nihilio (out of nothing), and in 6 days (the 7th being Their day off). Mankind was given great responsibilities and unbelievable freedoms, but managed to screw up a pretty sweet deal anyways. Throughout history, God has been hard at work doing things both behind the scenes and in open view to reverse the effects of Man's screwups. This work got focused through the children of Abraham, known as the Israelites, and later on also known as the Jews, who God does not give up on even though they, like the rest of mankind, kept messing things up. It culminated in God the Son coming down to Earth, dwelling amongst us, and we now know Him as Jesus Christ.

See, this is what I'm all about. The Christian framework, in my case, was arrived at through reason. Now, God chooses many ways to initially hit someone over the head with the truth - in my case, He used my thinking. In other instances, He uses dreams, visions, even implants convictions. It matters little - the end result is that eventually, we put our faith in Jesus. And we start using our heads, our hearts and our bodies to live for Him.

What are the implications? Why would conservatism work hand in hand with Christianity so nicely?

1. Mankind is innately sinful; hence, in a world that has abandoned Judeo-Christian values, it is best to appeal to enlightened self-interest. Hello, free markets!

2. God is a personal God, and He demands personal commitment from His children. Hence, no letting the 'government' handle charity - this is meant to be our work, done in private enterprise.

3. Jesus said to render Caesar's stuff to Caesar, and God's stuff to God - creating the very first separation of Church and State. This was true during Israelite times, too, after Saul became King. But it wasn't 'Church' then. :)

4. God created us in His image, hence human life is of great value because God values us. Therefore, death is a very serious issue, to be used as a form of punishment and deterrence only when absolutely necessary.

5. We march inexorably towards the end of history, but we do not know when that will be. Hence, we should continue to be watchful, alert and vigilant, ever-ready for whatever may come. This is a very short distance to having strong and well-trained, well-educated military, and disaster preparedness.

These are just a few of the things that I will be looking at over the next few posts, but it should give you the idea that Christianity and conservatism go together quite well. Not that you can't be a Hindu conservative Republican, of course - look at Tushar D! :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bailout

Okay, so a little primer on how stuff works (in this case, money), which no doubt everybody already knows, but anyways, let's examine how bad the credit crunch situation really is.

The first thing people need to realise is that 'the economy' is not a monolithic thing. The very word itself can be quite misleading - most people associate 'economy' with low-prices, or money-saving. And some people have a vague notion of a cloud-like thing called 'national economy'.

If you were truly self-sufficient; you grew, raised and hunted your own food, you made your own buildings, you designed and manufactured your own furniture, cutlery, utensils, what you wore , etc etc etc, you had your own oil well, doctored your own cuts... well, if you could really live like that, then you won't need to be part of any exchange or trade transaction. But because this is not the case for the vast majority of people, we tend to stick to doing what we're best at doing, and trading with someone else (exchanging of goods or services) for what we need. These transactions, taken as a whole across a particular area, is what constitutes that area's economy.

Let's look at the process of exchange. The fundamental exchange is one of barter; I have chickens which you want, you have goats which I want. We negotiate and haggle for a bit, but eventually we agree that I will give you 10 chickens in exchange for 2 goats. Putting aside such complications as perhaps I would have been willing to trade 12 chickens for 2 goats or that if I threw in another chicken you would have given me 3 goats (price elasticity of demand/supply), this is an economic transaction, and again, the economy is made of all of these transactions taking place over a given location.

Believe it or not, our current economy can still be simplified into barter exchanges. The only difference is, we have all more or less agreed that by and large, ONE side of these exchanges will involve a common commodity - money. When a person is exchanging money for something else, we call him the buyer. The one receiving the money, we call him the seller. Only, this hides the reality that we are both buying and selling - I am selling my money for a product, and the other dude is buying my money with his product.

The thing that happens with a money economy is this - because money is now the fundamental and common form of value exchange, the size and health of the economy can be tracked through the amount and velocity of money. We'll get back to that.

Banks are strange companies. They buy and sell money, much like moneychangers, but instead of giving you a service in return, they buy and sell money with... more money, or the promise thereof. You see, when you deposit money into a savings account, or a fixed/term deposit, you're actually selling your money to the bank for 8% (or whatever rate your bank offers) more of your money back in a year's time. They go out and sell that money for even more money, which is what we call loans. But where does that money eventually end up? Right, either in that very same bank, or a different one. It is exceedingly strange, isn't it? Wealth and money appear from nowhere, seemingly. You can even calculate the theoretical amount of 'come from nowhere' money generated in this way - it's called the money multiplier.

Or rather, it appears from the future. And the perception of the future. And regardless of whatever had happened to cause people's perception of the future to change (i.e. there isn't enough money in the future), the credit crisis means this;

1. The amount of money decreases as people withdraw their funds from the banks; once because actual currency is being withdrawn from circulation, and a fair bit more due to the loss of the multiplier effect. This shrinks the economy.

2. The velocity of money reduces, as people start hoarding their money; this reduces the number of transactions out in the marketplace, and shrinks the economy.

Is the bailout needed? My gut feeling says yes, but it is more the idea of the bailout that is needed. If you can restore confidence in the future, the problem that is to come won't be so bad. Again, we have made money the common form of value exchange. We need it to continue circulating, and in similar quantities as before.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

FLAMING SKULL UPDATE - A Moronblogger Expose

No, not gonna steal it. However...

Barack Hussein Obama (hereafter referred to as Mr BHOmbastic) is A. BIG. FAT. FUCKING. LIAR. And so is his campaign team.

You can follow the chain of proof from these following locations;

MyPetJawa (primary link and from which all others derive)
Ace of Spades HQ (and followup)
Patterico's Pontifications (and followup)
Michelle Malkin
Little Green Footballs

Waiting for...
Hot Air
Pajamas Media (oh well, Insty's part of PJM, isn't he?)
Rush Limbaugh

The essence of it all? I, being in Malaysia and in little trouble of getting into any libel / defamation / slander trouble, will spell out what seems to be the main thrust: David Axelrod, Mr BHOmbastic's chief media strategist, quite possibly under direct orders, has hired a notorious PR firm to conduct an absolutely despicable astroturfing campaign against the current Governor of Alaska, and Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. Not only against her, but against her whole family. Worse, they not only did this campaign, but they tried to cover up their tracks after this story, this expose broke on the right-wing blogosphere.

Expect every single moronblogger on the Moronosphere to be carrying news, and the larger ones to be constantly updating, about this one. Me, I'm just gonna sit back and let the big guns handle the show.

The absolutely craziest thing? They fucked up the campaign in such elementary ways - like using their own names and initials.

Karl Rove, You Magnificent Bastard. You've managed to do it again. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Life Update

Well, so I got paid last week and did the usual round of stuff that I do after getting paid.

1. Transfer funds from payday account to working accounts.
This is a boring, but utterly necessary thing. I have an account with an international bank, because this is where my employer maintains its business accounts. But foreign banks in Malaysia don't connect to the MEPS (interbank ATM network), so withdrawing money from a local ATM costs RM10 each transaction. Enough to buy a Big Mac meal and then some. So, have to shift money into a local bank account, where there are far more branches and ATMs all over the place, and if it I use another local bank ATM, it's only RM1.50 per transaction. And into my Visa debit card, of course. I love those things.

2. Pay off bills.
Now, usually, this is done by my parents but this week, they're off on 'vacation', so I gotta do the dirty job.

3. Buy computer stuff.

Yeah, this is what I really wanna talk about. I got myself a new router (a DLink DIR-300), as well as a UPS (some cheapo local brand), and the Microsoft Wireless Desktop 3000. And suffice to say, I'm enjoying the latter purchase immensely.

The keyboard is a ridiculously light affair, and means that I can practically type lying down. Which I am, sort of, on my bean bag, at least.
The media/web function keys are a cool addition which I never had on any of my keyboards before, so I'm having fun playing with them. About the only thing is that it's really too light - I'm a heavy typist, so I'm having to relearn my skills.

The mouse is a different afffair. It's solid and heavy enough to have a bit of heft, and the middle click key is, well, you know it's been clicked. However, I could do with a more tactile scroll wheel - most mice I've had gove you that 'click' sensation when you've moved the wheel a notch, which I find tends to improve my accuracy when scrolling.

How about the router? Well, I got it expressly for the ability to do heavy bit-torrenting. I spent the better half of today trying to get my ADSL modem back to bridge mode, however, only to find that it's hellishly difficult. So I have up on that. But so far, the router itself seems to be standing up to some punishment - it's my modem that's playing up. I'll have to see what I can do about that.

My next paycheck is gonna go into upgrading my graphics card. And then, some RAM to push my system to 3GB. After which, it will be time to upgrade my processor. At this point, hopefully I will have sufficient funds to buy another system, which I will turn into a server/router on its own.

Yup, I really don't have much of a life beyond this. I certainly hope I can find a girl whose interests sort of fit my own.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Linking policy

It's a really simple one.

1. Whenever I'm not too lazy. Search engines are your friend. Don't believe some of the stuff I wrote? Check me on it! Then come back and tell me what I messed up.

2. Not and never to Excitable Andi, RAWMUSCLESGLUTES himself. This is a Moronosphere-wide ruling, promulgated by the Moron-in-Chief himself. There are no exceptions. Same thing with all lefty sites and blogs, unless they're rational. I'm sure there are rational lefties out there who can discuss stuff in civil discourse.

3. Not to Wikipedia unless absolutely necessary (there are NO suitable links found elsewhere to illustrate my point). Wikipedia is filled with lefties that don't believe in ANY of the constitutional amendments.

4. There is no 4. Really. If there are any other sites that are crappy and I shouldn't link to, I'd appreciate knowing.

Bonus! Plagiarism policy

1. This is the Internet. Your copyright I will observe insofar as attribution goes. Otherwise, I'm gonna dump in as much of your post as I deem necessary to work with it.

2. Iowahawk is the sole exception, due to a clearly stated request of his NOT to publish whole posts. This is the Burge For President Clause, and supercedes all other clauses. A similar exception exists for Bill Whittle - have you ever seen how much verbiage each of his posts is? Good verbiage, but still!

3. This policy is only when I intend to dissect, rip, or otherwise tear to shreds or parody and make fun of a particular blog post. Otherwise, I'll just write up a link and tell everyone to RTWT. I'm fundamentally a lazy guy; cut and paste is too much hard work unless I really got worked up about it.

4. I'm in Malaysia, even if Blogger is not. There ain't no such thing as copyright as it applies to the individual. I can own and use pirated stuff, as a person. But I will observe the niceties; a link, as per policy, definitely attribution no matter what.

5. What are you so worked up about, anyway? It's not as if I have a million readers or something.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Game theory - a moronblogger introspective

Okay, so this is inspired by Ace going just a little off the reservation (go ahead and read it, he's in my blogroll on the sidebar, and I'll try to link to it when I'm not as lazy or off work) and wtfhesaskingabouthowmanyabortionstheobamashad!!!!

Right. Except, this is not normal nor usual behaviour. Not even for Ace. So, what's led to this?

That's where game theory comes in.

Basically, game theory tries to predict how rational 'players' will act in given scenarios. The most appropriate one referred to here is the Prisoners' Dilemma. But I'm not here to explain how it works (you can read up on it). In this instance, we're dealing with a multi-iterative version that maintains state (we remember what actions were taken in the previous iteration). And the 'best' strategy is called 'tough-but-fair'. We didn't start the fire, but we will surely end it only when the other guy does.

Remind you of anything?

Right, MAD. Mutual Assured Destruction. Where both parties have so much to lose in starting something, this practically assures (a scary, tense, and none too stable, as each party strives to gain the advantage) peace. But what happens when one side pulls the trigger? Not if, but when. Once that decision has been made, and the ICBMs are flying, and your SDI systems have been activated, what do you do? You pull the trigger yourself. You take out your nuclear card, read the appropriate code groups off, and authorise the launches. And God have mercy on us all.

This is what Ace proposed.

Thing is, though, rational beings usually shy away from this kind of tactic. At the real MAD level, the risks were simply too high to contemplate 'cheating', the payoffs too low. The Soviets knew this - their game was survival as well, and while the USA kept upping the odds, it never got to the point when the Russians went "Ah, bugger it, let's end the world".

Problem: What if the 'opponent' knew you would not use the 'tough-but-fair' approach, and you would continue to (in the classic Prisoner's Dilemma language) keep silent?

Problem: What if the 'opponent', regardless of what he knew, did not act rationally? IOW, did not follow the expectations of game theory?

Well then, you're in for a world of hurt. Because in the first instance, you are not willing to 'punish' the other 'player' for escalating, and the risk/payoff matrix suddenly becomes far more favourable for him. And in the second instance, the risks no longer guide his decisions while they still guide yours. In any case, you are suddenly on the defensive. And a defensive game is not often a winning game, especially if the other player had seized the upper hand.

Now, I grant you that this is game theory - it's very nice on paper, but acting it out always entails more complexity. Nevertheless, the basics, the fundamentals of game theory, do seem to underpin a large number of decisions we make. Which makes the dichotomy really, really strange.

The right-wingers, by and large, grasp the second problem quite well - especially when it comes to Islamic terrorism. They do not act rationally or according to the Western playbook. Accordingly, we have to play by their understanding - overwhelming power, shock and awe, not only showing them the iron fist but using it, and demonstrating an instant willingness to use it, and succeeding time and time again, before displaying the velvet glove.

The left-wingers instinctively use the first problem against us too - whatever else they may say, they know deep down somewhere we would rarely stoop to their level of mudslinging and rumour-mongering, and generally acting like primordial slime - so they feel safe in deploying all of these against us, confident that we would not react by pulling the same tricks they did.

Well, I for one don't like being fucked in the ass, even if it was figurative and by proxy. I have absolutely no problem acting like an ass (or a Democrat, same thing really), and while my dick is not so big, it's still gonna hurt when I ram it up your shithole. I know this is an un-Christian attitude. I will have to account for it someday. That didn't stop me from sitting on a particularly obnoxious girl who was bugging me all through recess. And even as a kid, I was fairly hefty.

And it's not going to stop me from pulling out all the stops. Ace has inhibitions - blunted and blurred by Val-U-Rite as it often may be; I don't. Or rather, my inhibitions are intellectual. I won't say I was a sociopath, no - but it comes close. But I will say this much:

I've seen pictures of Obama's kids. I won't have asked the question posed in the first link, nor what it implied - because in my opinion, the only possible answer is not only a 'No', but a 'Hell, NO!' Take that any way you want.

And then, you have Ace in his truly fine moments. We don't actually have to descend to the level of the Libtards, because we can surmount them. Bear in mind that this is Ace on maybe 75% max of his theoretical output of awesomeness (he's sick, as in using Nyquil and some concoction of monkey-brain and amniotic fluid, but mostly Nyquil).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Give us Day by Day (our daily bread)

Or in this case, our daily read.

Chris Muir needs help. Give generously, my children, and blessings be upon thee*.

As for me, I'll scrape some funds up from somewhere and send it over to him. Somehow. And hey, I'm in Malaysia, so you Americans don't have any excuse.

* The two or three of you who read my blog, anyways.

Edit: Well, well, the power of capitalism at work. Within 5 hours, apparently, he's got his target. And then some. So, it's off until Nov 2009. And I haven't even been able to send the moolah yet. But you bet I'm gonna do it tonight. And although Chis probably doesn't want this, the link above is still active, and you can still backdoor in and sneak some money to him. And yes, the download link (for the Sam level, at least) is still active too.

Edit 2: Holy cow! 58MB! Now that's value for money :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Blind See - Introspective Series part 2

No, this is not a post about a vision-impaired Pope*, although that in itself might make an awesome post. This post is instead about blindness, and how there are none so blind as he who would not see.

Now, there are all kinds of congenital conditions of blindness, and for the purposes of this thought experiment, I want to pick one where the entire optical pathway does not exist. At least, insofar as the eyes as well as the optic nerves are missing from a man's physical makeup. Here's the experiment; how do you explain sight to such a man? In a way he will truly understand?

This is a serious question, and one I can find no answer for. We take sight so much for granted - indeed, of the world's 6-billion-plus people, approximately 50 million are totally blind (well, have been found to be, at any rate, the true number may be more, let's say double), and of that figure, ~12% are congenitally so - we would be hard-pressed to explain it to someone who has never experienced light. Let me put it this way. 12 million people out of 6,000 million is 0.2%. Now, remember (or be enlightened, heh heh) that sighted people receive 70-80% of information concerning their surroundings from vision. Hence, 99.8% of us rely on (or have at some point relied on) light and sight to give us 80% of the information we use to be situationally aware.

So go on. Such an overwhelming majority of people surely should be able to answer this question as posed on Yahoo! Answers, right**? But do you know what the best answer was, as rated by viewers? "You can't." I like the further response here...

I would wouldn't bother to attempt to describe something that the blind have no concept of. They would have their own map of the world using their remaining senses, such as sound and touch.

Now, you gotta figure, vision is crucial to sighted humans. I would go so far as to say that it is fundamental to everything we do. The slightest impairment of our vision can have a devastating impact if we're not careful. But none of us can explain something so simple, so obvious, so... ubiquitous, to someone who has no concept of it.

Let me go further. How do you describe red-hot chilli peppers to someone who literally cannot see red i.e. someone with protanopia (red-green colour blindness)? You can't, because they don't have the referents.

So, I hope this has got your brains spinning. Because the last series of questions I want to pose on this topic is taking this issue, and turning it entirely around. On what basis should a congenitally blind man, lacking eyes and optic nerves, believe any of us when we speak of the concepts of light and vision? What is he to make of us when we speak of light as both wave and particle? What meaning would the double-slit experiment have for him? And of what particular use would light be to a blind man?

Why these questions? Well, I thought it'd be apparent to anyone by now where I'm going. But just to clarify, I am speaking of spiritual blindness. I don't even want to talk about adherents of other religions besides Judaeo-Christianity; they're like the colour-blind people. But to the atheists and agnostics who may somehow stumble across this blog (yeah, right, but God does work in mysterious ways), think very long and very hard about your own preconceived ideas and skepticism. Aren't you acting a great deal like a blind man, who never having either the equipment or the experience, cannot conceive of such a thing as vision and does not believe in it? Indeed, the blind man has it far more right when he says, "Sight may be true and right for you, but not for me".

All throughout my life as a Christian, I guess I have always been wondering how best to share the Gospel. Only last week did I come across this tactic - throw the question back at them. How would you explain something so fundamental to your life to someone who has no personal or rational reason whatsoever to believe you? Aren't congenitally blind men believing us about sight pretty much on faith? Aren't we in effect saying "Take my word - and the word about ~99.8% of the world who can see or once could see"?

The good news is, once we were all blind like that. But Jesus came into the world to make the blind see, and so He does - both the physically blind, and the spiritually blind.

* One of them would be Clemens XII.

** You can read the full list of responses here. There are some truly strange answers, like asking them if they dream. Uh, would they dream in vision? Why would they?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Normality - A Moronblogger Article

So, I get to thinking about normality. I get cheesed off, you know, at LGF nowadays. I shouldn't, really - It's Charles' blog and money that's keeping it, and obviously a huge number of commenters and readers like him adding more of the anti-ID, anti-creationist stuff that he's doing right now. As a creationist, this obviously doesn't quite fit my bill, but I'm not gonna complain on his blog. I'm not really even gonna complain on my own - how many people actually read what I have to write?

But here's what gets me going; evolution, you see, is an upward transitionary path. You get from something less complex to something more complex; from a single-cell creature to a multi-cellular creature, to invertebrates, to vertebrates, to warm-blooded vertebrates and so on. But we all know the unthinking universe does not work like that. The Laws of Thermodynamics pretty much guarantee that the inevitable result of time, and even energy, into any system, is disorder. You know what the only way to reverse this is? Intelligence. Intelligence, and information, and energy, and time, can equal increased order or more complexity. It doesn't guarantee it, but it does make it possible.

This, by the way, is really what Charles and most every conservative knows. Because conservatism requires intelligence, and hence it's hard. The default (or normal) position of just about everyone on the face of the planet is to be lazy, ignorant, stubborn, self-centred and stupid. We start out like that when we're kids, and we have to be educated and trained out of it. Don't believe me? See what's happening now in the public school system in the States. Why is the usual tagline that you're more likely to be liberal when young and conservative when old? That's because the older you get, the more work you're likely to have done (or have to do), and the more mental power you have to exercise. Conservatism is a thinking man's game, and it is not the default. Democracy, or at least the truly useful type of democracy, is also not normal. Why are autocracies the major form of government throughout most of history? Because people are lazy, and prefer to have someone else do their thinking for them.

Remember when I said that intelligence is necessary but not sufficient for order and increased complexity? There is a great deal of intelligence in our cellular makeup (in fact, in cellular makeup, period). How the immune system recognises 'normal' cells and goes after everything else that doesn't belong, how the sensory organs transmit messages back to the brain, how our metabolic functions regulate our temperature, how our whole body struggles to preserve life at all costs - these are not simple tasks and require the dense information carried by our DNA, and the autonomic systems.

To get to what we call 'normal' or 'healthy' human physiology requires a lot of coordination and meshing together of interconnecting parts. And sometimes, it is not enough. We end up with blind and deaf and dumb people; autistic people, folks with allergies, haemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and a whole host of other congenital diseases. As if that's not enough, during our lifetimes we have to put up with arthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatism, cancer. Let me tell you, we are losing ground just trying to maintain our current states!

This, by the way, is why we say the price for peace is eternal vigilance. And why we have to fight to preserve our civilisation and our culture every generation. Because the 'normal' for us is actually an ideal situation, and that ideal situation requires a lot of effort to maintain. The actual 'normal' is war, poverty and barbarism.

Which brings me to the real point of my post. You know that there are militant deaf people out there, and also people who amputate (I call it mutilate) themselves because their mental 'idea' of themselves do not include a particular limb or other body part. In other times and other circumstances, we would try and counsel them out of it, won't we? We would think that a deaf person, given the opportunity to hear (maybe through artificial cochlear implants, or nerve regeneration, or whatever) would be crazy not to accept with gratitude, won't we? And someone who chops his right leg off because he though it didn't fit in with the rest of his body, even though it was physiologically sound, we would think needed to be put in the asylum, true?

And yet, such people and others like them do exist, and we put up with them - more, we encourage these insanities.

It does not give me much confidence.

EDIT: Yes, I am talking about SRS folk. For those of you who think this is some kind of sonic enhancement scheme, it also stands for Sex Reassignment Surgery, the let's-chop-of-your-balls-and-invert-your-dick-to-make-it-a-pussy-instead kind of surgery. But, the parallel situations I mention above are in fact real situations - not some twisted shit I dreamed up just to illustrate my point.

This one thing I don't know, though. Are there actual psychologists who recommend that a person who just feels wrong with a right arm get it amputated? Or who defend the militant deaf family's right to keep their daughter deaf or something?

If there are not, then I fail to see why there should be any difference between that and issues involving your genitals. If there are... words will fail me at that point. But let me just point out that a mere 5 decades ago, homosexuality was categorised and defined as a mental disease - and still is, in many parts of the world. Psychologists don't necessarily know everything, and I wouldn't appeal to their authority.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Life, Youth and Death - Introspective Series part 1

And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the
garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
for when you eat of it you will surely die."

Genesis 2: 16-17 tells us that death is the result of a single act of disobedience to God, what we call sin. And what brings this post about? One of my church members has recently passed away of a heart condition; she was a member of my parents' cell group as well, so there was a certain degree of closeness there. And she was also close to my parents' age, so you can imagine that mortality is very much on my mind right now, selfish man that I am.

Our Catholic brethren would have it that this immortality or undyingness that existed in the Graden of Eden was preternatural; i.e. given by the grace of God and withdrawn from the baseline 'natural' man when he committed sin. A form of 'plug-in immortality', if you will. I don't buy it. Because nature is also by the grace of God; if He did not create the universe and all that is within it, we won't be here to discuss anything. Besides, we know God created Adam and Eve and endowed them with exactly what He wanted them to have, so it was part of Man's nature to be immortal right from the start.

And we blew it. Big time. Because of this one action of Adam in not restraining either himself or his wife, all of nature itself is blighted. We do not usually notice the blight, because we too are blighted. But it can be guessed at; our killing for food (NTTAWWT), the constant (and I mean constant, even in our own individual lives) swapping of wrong for right, the struggle for supremacy between races, religions, tribes, tongues, sexes even.

But the greatest blight of all is death. It is NOT in our nature to face death as we face all other adversities. We run and hide from it like from no other threat. We deny it, we fight it, we do everything in our power to delay its oncoming onslaught. We react like no other living creature does in the presence of death.

It is said that men are at their greatest, physically speaking, at around ages 18-21. This is when the muscles are at their best tone, when the fertility is highest, well, everything is all good withal. It must be true; otherwise why would men of all ages beyond this try everything in their power to return to that age? Maybe God created Adam to be around that age (I don't know). Certainly, however, I don't feel all that different from 21.

I do not fear death for myself. Although I don't want it either. I have HOPE in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, through whose Spirit my process of CHANGE from carnal man to regenerate man is enabled and expedited (although it's until an end-of-life process).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Public Transport - Bah, Humbug! - A Moronblogger Rant

So I wasn't going to do one of these so soon (wanted to do posts on youth, life and death, you know, the light stuff), but RapidKL (a damned oxymoron if ever there was one) has finally pissed me off beyond all recognition. So, here's a moronblogger rant to start the day off with.

The definitive list of why Public Transport sucks

1. Timing and scheduling

There are countries in the world where, whatever you think of the politics, socio-economic milieu, or whatever else, they actually make the damned trains run on time. Germany, at least as of 10 years ago, was one such place - to the extent that should a train run later than normal, even by as little as a minute, they actually give every passenger a fucking excuse letter to show their boss!

Then, you also have countries where the variation is ~5-10 minutes. Still within acceptable parameters, really - Australia is one, Singapore is another.

And you have UTTERLY FUCKED UP places like KL, Malaysia, where they can't even get the crummy, shitty buses to run once an hour when they're supposed to come every 20 mins! You've had two years to come up with a timetable that's even halfway accurate, and all you can say is "Natch"?

2. Comfort

Listen up, you motherfuckers, we the customers of your public transportation system (whichever one it may be), we are Homo sapiens. Thinking Man, comprende? Do we look like sardines to you? No? Then why for the love of all that's holy do you INSIST on PACKING US INTO YOUR BLOODY TINCAN TRAINS like we are?

3. Professionalism

That's assuming you cocksuckers can even read! Half of the bus drivers are stoned off their ass on some shit or another, possibly crack; the other half are perverted dickheads, and in neither case do they actually have a damned license to operate a 10 ton vehicle other than a ballistic missile. I actually, on the day of my college exams, saw a bus crash into a Land Rover RIGHT OUTSIDE MY HOUSE! The bus was sloghtly dented, and the people were fine (so was the bus driver, may he spend 10,000 years as a female camel in Saudi Arabia), but the Land Rover was smashed to all hell and the driver bled all over my college mate's car on the way to the hospital.

4. Maintenance

Look, this is not so hard. Clean the damned trains, trams and buses. It's not rocket science, for fuck's sake. We're not asking for scented towellettes and orange juice everytime we get on board. Just common, decent cleanliness, so that we don't step on someone's leftover gum, or spooge left there from two minks banging each other. Or sitting on such.

And for crying out loud, regular checkups of the equipment, OK? "Dear valued customers, due to technical difficulties the duration between each train is now 7-10 minutes. We are sorry and apologise for the inconvenience." The HELL you are and the HELL you do! If you were really sorry, you won't let it get all FUBAR and SNAFUed in the FIRST PLACE!!! And don't fucking apologise, assholes, FIX IT!!!!!

5. Pricing

Do you know, to get from London to Blackpool by British Rail, and this was 15 years ago now, could cost up to GBP1000 for a group of four? Oh, but buy our yearly family discount pass for GBP200 and kids below 16 can ride for GBP1! WTF?

And why is it that to ride ONE station costs RM1.00 but to ride TEN stations costs RM2.50? Are you serious? Do you bozos (RIP to the original and best Bozo, who was easily 100x smarter than these other clowns running the show) even sit down and plan your pricing strategies, or do you just get stoned and make it up as you go along?

And this is not even to mention the corruption and nepotism going on in tender exercises!

Rant over.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A introspective on youth

So, my boss' birthday was on Monday. He was born on the same year that I was. Which makes him 28, and in some few months I will be also. Which got me thinking about youth, and the aging process.

Aussies for some reason make a big deal out of their 21st birthday (okay, that one I kinda get), as well as their 30th (this one I don't get). Even as a kid I knew that schooldays were gonna be the best days of my life. Think about it; only half a day in an institution, half of that time goofing off and the other half bullying the teachers. Was so successful that one year my class made each and every teacher cry and run out of the classroom, except our Biology teacher. Who was 6'6", 250lbs and looked like a former Marine DI. (As an aside, he looked like he could not only tear us a new asshole, but do it with his hands tied behind his back, too. Our little antics didn't faze him at all). Compare that with working 8-6 Mon-Fri with a noose around your neck every day (except Casual Fridays, which is alright). And maybe 1 month of vacation, including public hols.

At 28, people will still say you're young. But you're not young young. And part of the problem is when your mind doesn't catch up with your body. This is perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of aging, I find. That, and finding out that many people you know are already married with children. Where does the time go?

See, here's the thing. No surprise to know that adolescent boys are attracted to adolescent girls, right? Of course, it is true that adolescent boys are attracted to females, period. And they're a perpetually horny lot too. Brash, crass, do stuff without thinking, generally acting the way you'd expect a teenager to act.

What happens when that fellow grows up, though? You'd think some degree of maturity would set in. But I find to my dismay this is not the case. I still exhibit, to a large degree, the same characteristics I did 10 years ago. Which, when I think about it, means I haven't grown and changed much at all; now tell me this is all right. You won't, right?

Specifically, I am still perpetually horny, girls in pinafores can still get me going (let's not talk about Japanese schoolgirl uniforms here, okay?), I still play computer games, my parents still get on my case, I'm still tactless and impulsive - you know, nothing much has changed from 10 years ago from my perspective. Except I have a job that I like and I'm good at and I get paid a halfway decent amount for.

Now, what does that all mean? I can conjecture one of two things; either I was already pretty mature back in '98, or I'm a highly-functioning retard with the mental age of 18. Or 15, for that matter. Considering that I call myself a moronblogger, of course the latter is far more likely. Still...

And I am not alone. In certain European countries, people my age still stay with their parents, and are still jobless, and are still acting like the typical teenage punk. I'd love to tie the liberals into this as well, associating govt with parents and nanny-statism and whatnot, but I'm talking about individuals here.

I don't wanna grow old! And I don't want to stay a perpetual youngster either! Life is indeed a complex affair. And you know what? I love it! Because in my mind I'm still a teenager, it's hard for me to grow old. But even as a teenager I was a pretty conservative and world-savvy fellow, so it's not as if I'm still naive.

Over the next few weeks I think I'd like to explore several aspects of my youth, mostly concentrating on my school years.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Investiture: A New Moronblogger

Right, so I've decided to take on the moronblogger status. And why not, after all? I drink vodka, I can outswear drill instructors in four different languages, plus hobo-hunts sound like fun. And, while not exactly in the basement, still live with my mom and haven't had any sex in ages. Isn't that the exact requirements for the AoS Lifestyle (tm)? :)

In all seriousness, group identity seems to be crucial, whether on the Internet or off it, and people tend to feel more secure when part of something bigger. So, why go nuts alone when there is plenty of craziness around?

Of course, there's plenty of scope for individuality. All my posts are rants, pretty much, so they tend to be wordy. And hey, it's just me sounding off; it's nice to know somebody's reading it, but not really a major issue.

Therefore, for the duration of this rant (and all others that are moronblogger-labelled), the swear filters come off. OFF, I tells ya. My Christian brethren who visit from my real life, apologies. The instant you see the phrase 'A Moronblogger Rant', just skip it. You're not missing anything important, really.

That being said, let's do my first moronblogger rant. Not much in the way of factual content, but hey, I don't pretend to be an intrepid fact-finding journalist (talk about an oxymoron)

Homosexuality, or as I like to call it, gayism. I'm against it.

Approx 1-5% of all people are apparently wired differently in terms of their default sexual orientation. I don't know the real figures; most likely in a place like Berkeley (Gay Fuckfest Central, it seems to me), the rate is closer to 50% and in a place like Iran, where they get executed on discovery, the rate is closer to 0%.

So, what contributes to it? Well, does it really matter? Some people are apparently wired to like humping animals; Ace himself once linked to such a video (how the hell does he find these perverted shitty things? Of all the crap on the Net and he digs up Donkey Fucking Festival somewhere in Central America). Doesn't make it right. Guy on guy is not right, regardless of whether you find it hot or not. Same thing with girl on girl. Even if I find it hot. Hermaphrodite on hermaphrodite? The jury's out on that one. Ask me after I've reviewed more evidence.

Again, here's the thing. Some things are objectively right and objectively wrong. In an absolute sense. One can argue that for a time, incest (for which there seems to be quite a strong universal taboo) was not wrong (cf Cain, Abram etc); but homos screwing each other is always wrong.

Let me talk about love. It's not sex. It's not 'feeling'. It's a commitment to another person's welfare before yours (although, of course, reason does play a part in human love relationships). Jesus says greater love hath no man than he lays his life down for his friends. Soldiers in the field know this; which is why they are called 'band of brothers'. Plenty of stories of GIs throwing themselves on grenades to save their comrades; the ones quicker to think on their feet will try to minimise the impact of the explosion on themselves. And we all know what the armed forces think of gays. Indeed, we all know what a large number of military personnel think of active duty women in uniform.

Guys are notoriously known for being unable to commit long-term to a relationship. It takes religion, ideology, common goals and team objectives, or a strong personal reason (and liking the other guy's hot bod ain't it). Gals, because they're designed to form emotional bonds much easier, can make longer term relationships. But again, it does not necessarily need to involve sex.

I don't agree to physical gay-bashing. It's not what we should be doing. But insulting, denigrating, viewing with extreme contempt, yeah, it's not the best solution either, but rub me up the wrong way and watch me unleash my fury.

That's all.

New stuff

So, I've been away for a good year now, but it's not as if I haven't done anything. I've been running around (mostly lurking) the Moronosphere, the milblogging community, anti-jihad areas, and generally run-of-the-mill conservative/libertarian sites.

But today I decided to have a look at my own blog, and see what I could do with it. Oh, but has Google done a load of upgrading to Blogger! So come around and have a look! I plan to make it a bit more appealing in a while; can't do everything in a day after all.