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Archive December 2008
Tuesday 30 December 2008
Here is an interesting thing of cognitive dissonance - some time ago, when I briefly had a job, before I left over a contractual dispute, one of the issues I had with it was that I had been led to believe the hours were half an hour shorter than they actually were going to be according to the contract. When I said that I was not happy about this, but it could be remedied with money, they immediately offered a pro-rata amount. So if, say, the error was an increase from 8 hours to 8 and a half, they would have offered a 6.25% increase in pay to compensate for that.

Consider that for a moment, without reading any further - would you accept it?

I would not. I wanted quite a lot more than that, which they thought was really weird and unreasonable of me. But now think about it more - if, say, you were working 8 hours a day for $30000 a year, would you really be willing to work 16 hours a day for $60000 a year? If you're totally crazy, and answer that yes, how about working 24 hours a day for $90000? Now you're definitely not answering that one with a yes unless you work in some sort of sleep-research field.

So where is the line? At what point does a proportional increase become obviously nonsensical? I think for most people it is well before a 16 hour work day - if all you do is work and sleep then what use have you for money? But I also think that most people wouldn't notice the wrongness of increasing the work day by half an hour and offering merely pro-rata. (Certainly people at that job didn't follow my objection at all without the 16 hour day analogy.)

For me, the hourly rate has to go up significantly at the point at which the work starts making me unhappy in a way that extends outside of the work hours. There are amounts of money that can offset it, but the further you impede my happiness the more money I want in exchange (for me to exchange for future happiness). [03:59] [0 comments]


Friday 19 December 2008
There was a thing on Q.I. a while back about "how many senses do we have?" They were saying many, citing, eg. hunger, where-your-limbs-are, and balance. Today I have been pondering what there is that actually are distinct senses. Balance is really just touch in the ear-tubes, where-your-limbs-are might not even be a sense so much as an expectation that they'd be wherever you last tried to put them (combined with touch for correction). Hunger could just be internal touch things, though that seems unlikely.

One fairly unambiguous one is that 'touch' should be at least two senses, 'temperature' and 'pressure'.

I think the key to determining if something should definitely count as a sense is that there should be no way the same thing could be detected using the senses already listed.

I think carbon-dioxide-sense is a strong candidate - if you hold your breath there is no movement or pressure to inform you that you need to breathe, but you pick up on it nevertheless. (This makes me favour hunger as a sense too because it seems similar.)

I wondered about the feeling of caffeine-buzz, but consideration suggests that's a tingling (touch sense), a withdrawal headache (touch?), and not feeling tired (which you don't really feel), so caffeine-buzz is detected purely with other senses. However, that does bring up sense of tiredness as another chemical-based sense.

Then I was thinking endorphins, as from having eaten really spicy food - there's a different feeling there, that isn't just surface, and has no identifiable symptoms - I call that one sense of well-being.

What else do you think qualifies as a distinct sense? And are there some of mine that you think don't? [22:39] [1 comment]
A personal ad spotted in the paper in the curry-house:
"Eclectic, 40 year old football, loving book reader..."

There must be a collection of amusing personal-ad mispunctuations somewhere. [02:50] [0 comments]


Thursday 18 December 2008
Since I first saw the title, I have been vaguely irked by Quantum of Solace, because it seemed a nonsensical title. Today I realised it's because I was reading it in the common title structure, like "Sword of Damocles", but that it does make sense when read the other way, like "Smidgeon of Salt".

I had to ask the internet "I bet you'll make it 20 miles before you consider drinking that" (the dialogue), to figure out what it was that the guy might not consider drinking while dying of thirst. The obvious candidate was urine, but that made no sense with there having been no "urinating in a brightly coloured container" scene. Then looking at it from the observation side rather than what would fit, the container looked to me like a Starbucks coffee cup, which would almost make sense. (Idea: product non-placement, where you get companies to pay you to not feature their product in your movie in a context of horribleness?)

It turned out, more boringly, to be motor oil. The movie as a whole was full of things like this - car-chases where the cars looked the same to me so I couldn't tell who was shooting at who, people with the same hair doing parkour-fights so I can't tell which is which, camera not pointing at the person who's talking, whose voice is the same as someone else's. It's not a bad movie, but it's not a good movie either, and this sort of lousy attention-directing made it lean badwards for me, like uncontrollable awkward cameras in Tomb Raider style games.

The movie "Chocolate", from Thailand, is a fun Ong-Bak-style movie, whose main character is an autistic martial arts prodigy. Doesn't really need more description than that, does it? [05:45] [0 comments]


Monday 15 December 2008
Fantastic - a lengthy survey about burglar alarm products ("no my house is not very secure"), which opened with an indirect question of "what expensive electronic devices do you own?" and concluded with the question "and finally, can you please confirm your full postcode?"

Convenient that it asked it that way rather than "what is your postcode?" so the answer "no" is actually a valid answer to the question. Though in hindsight "hell no" might have been more accurate. [14:29] [0 comments]
The logical conclusion to equality-feminism - now we can be retarded about men's bodies too.

"These boxers are constructed to give an invisible lift to your butt making it rounder, perter and more youthful." [01:35] [0 comments]


Wednesday 10 December 2008
Mince: is made of meat.
Mincemeat: is not made of meat.
Discuss. [13:52] [5 comments]


Monday 8 December 2008
Here is the finest song about nipples you will ever hear. [04:22] [0 comments]