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Archive October 2004
Thursday 28 October 2004
I hate Seinfeld. I have always hated Seinfeld, ever since I was first subjected to it. I hate Seinfeld with a passion most people reserve for hating George Bush. The show is not funny, the stand-up comedy is somehow even less funny, and the perpetual "boingy boingy boing" scene-transition music is annoying even though it's the funniest part of the show.

Today, pondering sitcoms, I realised something which makes Seinfeld even more annoying than it was before. It makes a big deal of being very special because it's a show about nothing. But the show is, in fact, exactly the same as every other sitcom. There are four people, approximately sharing an apartment building. They go to a diner/coffee shop and have conversations about things in their lives. One of them is an actor, one of them works in some sort of vague financial-seeming place. It's exactly the same setup as Friends, with the exceptions that it's short two females, and none of the characters are amusing or attractive. The only way it seems any more a show about nothing than Friends is that the actors don't bother to act. So the characters are "just some git reading lines" instead of being actual characters. Reading lines and smirking because they think they're funny. [09:30] [24 comments]

Friday 22 October 2004
Moving Windows users home directories is a pain in the arse. Lots of applications seem to have put related paths in the registry, meaning even if you manage to move the directory it still causes trouble. The only application which broke completely as a result of the move, however, even after the appropriate registry-mangling, was Firefox. Reinstalling it didn't fix it either. Deleting its contents from the user-directory was the only thing that did, meaning annoying reconfiguring and such. Tsk to non-relative data locations. [06:29] [3 comments]
An SQL query - ho ho, usually that would mean "a query written in SQL" but I am using it to mean "a query about SQL", thus it is an hilarious pun. Laugh! Laugh now!

Anyway, the question - is it possible (and if so, how) to get one entire table row of your choice from a group selected in a GROUP BY clause? By which I mean something like
SELECT name,MAX(value) FROM table GROUP BY groupid;
But such that the selected 'name' is the name from the same table row as the selected 'value'. It seems like something for which there should be a function, but I can't find one. Obviously it could be done with two queries or one nested query, but I don't want to do that. Anyone familiar with an answer? [02:51] [7 comments]

Monday 18 October 2004
Allegedly, 1,049 federal rights depend on marital status in America (where 'federal rights' is extremely loosely defined to include 'entirely non-federal non-right things that are benefits available to married couples'). Which is of interest because these are benefits that are not available to couples who can't marry, such as homosexual couples, showing just how discriminatory it is to refuse homosexual marriages or civil unions. It's not just the lack of recognition, it's a whole pile of other things.

But that's not really why I'm posting it. My reason for finding it interesting is more amusement - that my game-theorising brain sees this:
"A spouse who dies may leave an unlimited amount of property to the surviving spouse without paying any state or federal estate taxes. Without the benefit of marriage, any amount of property over the federal or state exclusion amounts is taxed."
And it wants to see the loophole exploited. Partly because loopholes being exploited is fun, and partly because the mechanism by which this loophole would be exploited is amusingly insane. Here's how it works: to pass on an inheritance to your children tax-free, the parent who outlives the other parent (or who is already divorced) remarries a trustworthy friend of comparable age when their (the parent's) death seems imminent. When the parent dies their trustworthy friend (and now spouse) inherits the estate tax-free. The friend, then, being not blood-related to the child, marries the child, thus allowing the inheritance to be passed on again without tax when the friend dies. Best loophole ever. Any loophole which requires at least two deaths in the exploiting is worth at least 50 points. [10:37] [10 comments]
Retro spam! Today I got an actual ponzi scheme "send someone $10 then send out 200 letters in the hope that other people will send you $10" in the mail, on real pieces of paper, made of tree. The envelope was addressed by hand. With a pen, or maybe a quill. It's like a crazy trip into history. I look forward to receiving telegram and smoke-signal spam as my unexplained slide backwards in time progresses. [06:32] [2 comments]

Saturday 16 October 2004
And now, a corollary to yesterday's medieval question - but not about being dropped in future-world because that would be a silly question. Instead, how would your daily life be different if you were infinitely rich?

I feel quite Buddhist in my contentment, in that my answer is "not very much". There are some differences, but they're mostly differences of quality rather than of activity. I'd still eat toast and watch A-Team episodes, but it would be more varied toast and on a bigger, faster, stronger television. I'd still play computer games, but with a bigger screen, better speakers, faster computer, thicker bandwidth. I'd still stay in the house and never go anywhere, but it would be a more bionic house.

The big difference for me is not really things that I would do, but things that I wouldn't do. Grocery shopping, dishwashing, cooking, cleaning. I'd still make computer games, but as an infinitely rich person making games means "explaining to other people what the drudge work they must do is" rather than doing all that drudge work yourself. Also slapping them when they do it wrong. All the fun, none of the drudgery.

But there isn't really anything I want to do that I don't already do. I suppose I'd quite like to play games on trampolines and assault courses, and would do so if infinitely rich because I'd have one somewhere in my crazy house of games, but it's not like I'd actually go out of my way to trampoline. If I could do so now at the cost of just a twenty-minute walk, I might do it once or twice but it's not like a craving I have. There is no "if I were rich I'd do all these fun things". I like what I do already.

So, other than replacing time-consuming boring things with more of the things I already enjoy, and minor enhancements to the things that I already enjoy, the only other things that I'd change would be situational. I'd put myself somewhere closer to good friends or vice-versa. I'd put myself somewhere that has congenial weather. Sure, I'd throw money at things I approve of, too, like research into space travel, but that wouldn't change how I live at all. In the end, if I were infinitely rich my life would still consist of eating, sleeping, playing games, watching movies, reading books and thinking thoughts, same as it already does. And that's the way I like it.

Recapping the original question - how perpetually dissatisfied with your life are you? Or you can go with how I phrased it the first time if you'd rather.

(Sideline: actually being infinitely rich would be amusing because you'd destroy economies by your very existence. You'd earn infinite moneys in interest on your infinite balance, and then you'd pay infinite moneys in taxes on your infinite interest, causing instant infinite inflation, rendering all currency worthless.) [06:33] [11 comments]

Friday 15 October 2004
If you were suddenly dropped into a low-tech society, let's say medieval England or worse, with only the clothes on your back, how well equipped would you be to set yourself up with a decent life? What would you do?

Many people's first thought in that situation would be "invent gunpowder". It's not a bad idea, but are you sure you could? Do you know what the ingredients are? Do you know what they were called in medieval England? Will you be able to get them or make them in medieval England? And having done so, what are you going to do with it? Gunpowder is pretty crummy for demolition, it's mostly good for launching projectiles, and you don't have a gun. Are you capable of making a rudimentary gun, or explaining to a blacksmith what to do? The original rudimentary guns had a habit of exploding because they were made from inferior metals. In medieval England, all you can get are inferior metals. Is your exploding gun actually going to be better than a crossbow or longbow? The only things that you can really do valuably with gunpowder, assuming you can make gunpowder, is make cannons, which are feasible with inferior metal if you can persuade someone to let you use that much, or impress people with your magical bright flashes and smoke. And are you sure you really know how to make and use cannons?

What else can you do with science that you have in your head? You might be able to make a rudimentary steam engine, if you had something worthwhile to do with it. Maybe use it for a powered battering-ram? Maybe you have enough science in your brain that you could use it to generate electricity - but what would you do with electricity? You could make magnets, I suppose, or separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. With collected hydrogen you could maybe make an extremely vulnerable oilskin zeppelin. Perhaps that would have some value. Assuming you can manage to finagle all the requisite materials.

After some thought, I came up with a much better answer for what I would do in medieval-world (which would also work in significantly lower-tech societies) - glass. I know how one makes glass. It only requires temperatures of around 1000°C, which are relatively feasible. The only ingredients you need are sand, lime and potash. Sand and lime are both readily available; decent potash requires a wee bit of chemistry (okay, I'm cheating slightly in that I didn't know this until I looked it up, but I do know it now). It's little more complicated than burning some wood and boiling some water. None of the ingredients are at all hard to come by.

But what good is glass? Well, for a start it's probably pretty valuable stuff in your low-tech society, so if you can find a buyer you're sorted without having to do anything else. But that's not where I want to be. No, my idea is that with my glass I can easily make mirrors. Once again, with a buyer for those I'd be made, but no, that's still not where I want to stop either. You see, once I have access to mirrors, I can make a solar furnace. The first use of a solar furnace is that I can now get those 1000°C temperatures without having to use any fuel. The even better use is that with a big solar furnace you can easily make temperatures higher than that - high enough that you can melt iron, and thence make steel, largely unavailable at that time because burning things didn't offer sufficient heat. There's also other related options, for example, a couple of thousand individually-aimed one-foot-square mirrors provides enough heat to crack stone or near-instantly ignite wood at a distance of 100 feet, for which I'm sure some military use could be found.

Once I've provided myself with glass, another thing I'm pretty sure I can make with my little flimsy bit of scientific knowledge is a distillery. Like the glass, that's an excellently dual-purpose item. Well, single-purpose - making extremely strong alcohol out of rudimentary materials. The alcohol, though, is dual-purpose - you can get people extremely drunk, for which ability people will likely pay handsomely, and you can (using the alcohol and the glass together) make Molotov cocktails, another lovely weapon with which to endear yourself to the monarch of your choice.

So, back to the original question - if you were suddenly dropped into a low-tech society with nothing but the clothes on your back and the knowledge in your head, what would you do? [04:31] [13 comments]

Thursday 14 October 2004
I've just participated in another gun-control argument, which was the usual waste of time. The funny thing is, I don't care about gun-control. I have essentially no preference one way or the other about whether guns are legal, in current-day first-world English-speaking society. So why do I participate in the argument? Because the arguments people give really get on my tits. I try to tell them I'm not arguing against what they're saying, just with their argument, but no matter which side I'm arguing with they think I'm on the opposite side.

The problem is that both sides argue like they're right. Here's a tip - if you're arguing in that argument like you're right then you're not fucking right. The only exception is if you're not arguing whether guns should be legal, but whether they must be, and you're in America, and you're making the Constitution argument. In that one instance, you are right. And not if you use the Constitution argument as a 'should' rather than a 'must'. Other than that, neither side is right, stop arguing like you are, it makes you look like a big jerk, both of you. Here's why.

What's Wrong With Pro-gun Arguments

Nearly every "I am right" argument that's in favour of legal guns can be easily extrapolated to be a reason to legalise privately owned suitcase nukes. Freedom? Guns don't kill people, people kill people? Right to bear arms? Not dangerous if you're not a criminal? An armed society is a polite society?

The only arguments I've seen that stand the 'nuke' test are those of home defence and personal defence, for which a nuke is clearly not appropriate. There is nothing outstandingly wrong with those arguments, they aren't wrong like the others, but neither are they right, for reasons I'll come to later. The other way to withstand the nuke test is to state that you are in favour of privately owned suitcase nukes. That's a flawed argument in that you're a fucking nutjob.

What's Wrong With Anti-gun Arguments

Nearly every "I am right" argument that's in favour of criminalising guns can be easily extrapolated to be a reason for criminalising cars. They are used in crimes? They kill people on purpose? They kill people by accident? Cars kill more people than guns do, and almost certainly would continue to do so even if guns were available over-the-counter as easily as cigarettes or alcohol. "But cars are also useful," you then counter-argue. So are guns, for home-defence or hunting. "But cars are more useful," you insist. Not for me they're not, I never go anywhere in a privately owned car.

"Guns are designed to kill and maim people" is another argument. Then do we also illegalise bows and arrows, swords and martial arts? You can withstand this counter-argument if you answer "yes", but then that's a flawed argument in that you're a fucking nutjob.

What Do These Flaws Have In Common?

Both sides argue with arguments that will show that they are right. For an argument to be right, it must hold true for all possible values. So if something should be banned because it's dangerous, everything that dangerous and beyond should be banned. If something dangerous should be legal to own because of freedom, everything dangerous should be legal to own because of freedom. What both sides all too frequently fail to understand is that it's a fucking grey area.

Guns shouldn't be banned because they're dangerous, they should be banned if they're too dangerous. "But," you think, "cars are more dangerous than guns." Yes, they are, but the value of "too dangerous" for cars is higher than the value of "too dangerous" for guns, because cars are much more functional than guns are. Not only does "too dangerous" vary by person, it varies by object as well. As I see it, for each individual an item's ideal legality is determined by a combination of its utility, its fun-factor, and its danger. For people who don't like guns, gun ownership has zero utility or fun factor (since they won't own one) and is a bit dangerous. For people who do like guns, gun ownership has (zero plus a large number multiplied by the very small probability of encountering a criminal while access to the gun is readily available) utility, a high fun factor and is a bit dangerous. When it's broken down like this you can easily see why there is no agreement. Both people recognise that legal gun ownership is a bit dangerous - that value probably doesn't vary much by person. What varies, instead, is the boundary value "too dangerous". (This has also covered the earlier 'home defence' argument - that's additional utility for people who like guns, but it's still no utility for those who don't.)

The Practical

So, what determines the legality of these things? Approximately, it's the median value of public opinion. This is part of why both sides argue their cases so vehemently, if ineffectually. So let's say you, as a pro- or anti- gun person, want to try to convince some people away from the other side, to make what minimal difference this might eventually make to the position of that median-value "where the line is drawn" (or to prevent the other side from making their difference). How should you argue your case? Well, first things first, don't use any of those fucking 'absolute' arguments. You are not right. That's the most important thing in this argument, as in many others of politics. Grey areas are common, absolutes are not.

What you need to do, to convince people to change their minds, is alter their opinion of one of the motivators - change how fun they think guns are, change how much utility they think they have, or change how dangerous they think they are. Bad news for the anti-gun advocates - you'll have difficulty doing any of these. I can't think of one functional approach, short of getting a gun and shooting the pro-gun advocates' family members. For the pro-gun people there's the relatively easy approach of persuading people to go out target-shooting with you - if successful, you won't just be changing how fun they think guns are, you'll be changing how fun guns actually are, for them. Which then feeds back in to also potentially increase the utility rating. Another possible approach is to make mention of the utility that results even if you don't own a gun yourself - the populace being armed has the useful effect of making armed revolution against government oppression possible. I wouldn't put money on that argument getting you any ground though - the only people likely to be convinced by it are people who are already on the side of firearms.

There is one other factor which I haven't mentioned - the slippage of freedom in general. If people who don't like guns get them banned, maybe the people who don't like dogs will get those banned, and the people who don't like cars will get those banned, or archery equipment, or fencing swords. There's a live-and-let-live element there which might factor in to make people raise the bar on "too dangerous" if they're otherwise borderline. It's that which puts me very slightly more in the pro-gun camp than the anti-gun. That and Switzerland.

This has been a public service announcement. In summary, stop fucking arguing grey areas like they're black and white. Gun ownership is not universally good or bad. Taxes are not universally good or bad. Really stupid arguments packed full of catch-phrases everyone's already heard, however, are pretty bad. [04:42] [13 comments]

Tuesday 12 October 2004
Tax is weird. There's a recent-ish news story in which Oprah Winfrey gave away cars, but the recipients ended up having to pay $7000 in taxes or forfeit the cars. That's not very nice, obviously, to win something and be unable to keep it. But then, I thought, if the prize people were nice they could cover the tax too. But they couldn't, could they? Because if they also gave you the $7000 to cover the prize tax, you'd have to pay another $1750 or so in tax. And if they gave you that too, you'd have to pay another $450ish. And if they gave you that as well, it'd be another hundred and a bit. All very Zeno's paradox.

The article also suggests that you could sell the car and pay for the tax with the profits. Surely that's not the correct way to model what happened? If you sell the $28000 car and only get $12000 for it, then your 'stock' of the car has earned less than expected - your total profit is then only $12000, meaning you should be paying tax on that amount, not on the $28000. If you bought the car for $28000 to sell, and sold it for $12000, you'd certainly be able to write that off as a $16000 loss, so 'buying' it for $0 and selling it for $12000 must surely leave only $12000 taxable. (Or maybe you pay the $7000 original tax and write off the $16000 loss later?) [18:37] [1 comment]

Sunday 10 October 2004
Funny thing - the movie Collateral Damage, though it appears to demonise terrorism, actually glorifies it. Sure, Schwarzenegger's character is enraged by the actions of terrorists/freedom fighters, but how does he react?

Well, some people from another country came to his country, killed his wife and kid and a bunch of other people, and called it collateral damage. His response is to sneak into their country illegally, and kill a bunch of people in unilateral retaliation. The hero of the movie is, essentially, doing the very same thing the villain is. But he's a hero and they're a terrorist, because we see it from his point of view. Or maybe because he's American - try doing the exact same plot with the man from the small country as the hero and an American soldier as the villain who killed his wife and kid, and see how people feel about it.

To be fair, it does give a nod to the idea, with a "how are you different from me?" conversation with the baddie 'terrorist', but that's shrugged off with an "I'm only going to kill you!" answer, despite the fact that our hero has caused lots of uncontrolled explosions and fires by then which might well have killed other people, and he kills several other people later, not to mention that he has only one person who killed his wife and kid so he can afford to kill only one, where the other guy has probably had friends and family killed by several different groups of people, who are promising to keep doing it, and who he has no way of identifying individually. And that doesn't change the fact that the same plot with the countries reversed would horrify most people and would almost certainly be impossible to get distributed in America. [15:07] [7 comments]

Saturday 9 October 2004
This morning, before I went to sleep, I checked Adelaide's online TV guide to see what would be on later. "Australia Decides: Election 2004", it informed me, because Australia's voting was today. "Ooh," I thought, "I should click on that to get the plot summary, to see who wins."

Damn TV guide - the plot summary would only tell me the actors, no actual plot summary at all. [11:58] [1 comment]

Friday 8 October 2004
Tsk, more political foo. Nothing else in my brain has been interesting for the general public recently. You don't care that Robobeasts does more clever things now but still isn't released, or that IE's Javascript behaves insanely if you have clicked yes on a "stop running this slow javascript" dialog-box at some point earlier in the session, so I'll not talk about those.

Today's political ponderings are purely abstract, on the subject of taxes. Nobody likes income tax or sales tax. There doesn't seem to be any reasonable excuse for the government mandatorily taking a percentage of everything you do. Conversely, relying on people paying willingly would obviously be a mistake. Hardcore Libertarians want the government to essentially butt out of everything, with everything owned by individuals, which I believe would rapidly result in irredeemable poverty for the non-landowners, swiftly followed by violent revolution.

While I like the idea of owning your own 'stuff', the idea of owning space, be it land or sea, seems a flawed one. If all the land is owned, and the population increases by one, where does that new person live? They have no choice but to rent from a landowner. What gives the landowner claim to the land? Nothing really. They might have bought it. Probably an ancestor bought it. Who did they buy it from? What gave that person claim? In the end, individual land ownership boils down to violence. That's probably not the best basis for a harmonious society.

Thus we come to my idea for an alternative system. Instead of taxing income or expenditure, and instead of individual land ownership, what would be the effect of a government assuming title over all the land, and leasing it out? I envision a system such that land is 'zoned'; more expensive to lease near population centers, less expensive in the boondocks. The zoning, ideally, would be calculated automatically - land lease prices settling for an area as whatever people will pay for that area. Areas would have zoning laws similar to how they do now - multistorey buildings generally limited to city centers, good arable land being ineligible for being built upon, national parks being ineligible for any sort of lease.

As I envision it, you would be allowed to build on your land (within zoning laws), and you would own the building, but you would still have to lease the land. Multistorey buildings would increase the land lease value. If you don't keep up the lease payments on the land, you would also lose ownership of the building, such that the government (and the next leaseholder) gets free 'value' from defaulted payments. If you own a building and are the valid leaseholder of that land, you can let out your building to others, for any price you want; however, if the price you set is higher than the land lease value, the land lease value is increased proportional to the difference. So you can make a profit, but the more you do so, the more the government collects by it.

Also convenient with such a system is that the requisite amount of socialism to prevent crimes of desperation (including violent revolution) is relatively easy to justify. You don't have to take anything off anyone to support the people who are unable to support themselves, which is a thing that most taxpayers object to. Instead, you have an amount of lease-free unleasable land (like the national parks) dedicated to people who can't or won't lease land for themselves. Minimal living conditions provided at no cost to them, and no cost to anyone else. Not comfort, of course - we're talking shared bunkrooms and DIY food from the 'Social Security' farmland. Mostly anyone who can afford to lease some land of their own would rather do so than live in the Social Security zones.

Normal taxation systems make poor people cross ("those people have much more than me, they can afford to pay five times as much tax proportional to their income and they'd still have more, so they should have to") and they make rich people cross ("why should I pay more when I don't get as much more in the way of benefits?") There is no inequity in a land-lease alternative. If a rich person is living in the same conditions as a poor person, there's no reason they should have to pay more. But why would they? They'll live in nicer conditions, and they'll pay the greater charges for it - living better is the whole point of having more money.

The only other thing in such a system that would be 'taxed' would be the usage of non-leasable land. Tagged vehicles usage being tracked to cover road-usage tolls, for example, to cover road maintenance. What's the hypothetical government spending all this money on? Eh, who knows. Same stuff as usual.

Obviously this wouldn't work as a change from an existing system - the landowners would be very angry, and non-landowners would be freaked out by their rent suddenly going from $500 to $2000, even though their take-home pay would be going up by $1800 over the same period (not $1500 because the landowner's profit has been largely cut off the rent). What I'm interested in is people's takes on what's wrong (or right) with this system, if it were implemented in a magically created new land. What do you think?

Edit, addendum: How are land-lease prices set? When you secure a lease on a land, your price is locked in for one year. After that, if someone is willing to lease the land for at least 20% more than you are paying (and give you money to cover the cost of improvements you've made to the land (for which you have documentary evidence) minus depreciation), you have the choice of either raising your lease price to 83.3% of what they would pay, or moving elsewhere and transferring the lease. When land is not being leased (because the previous leaseholder is deceased or defaulted on payment) the lease for that land goes up for auction, so the starting one-year-term price is set to whatever someone is willing to pay. This way the government has no say in what the lease price of land is - it's whatever the market will bear. This also deals with subleasing to tenants - you can't charge them more than 20% above the base land rate, or they can just take on the lease for themself (assuming they can also afford to cover whatever you've put into construction). It's very self-correcting. [15:54] [22 comments]

Tuesday 5 October 2004
I had just written several paragraphs of a rant about the best democratic system possible, combining Instant Runoff voting with proportional representation (not using Condorcet voting because, while that's the best for picking a single victor, it's not very good for combining with proportional representation). I was half way through explaining all the complicated mathematical intricacies of the system I envisioned, and then I thought "hm, Australia uses Instant Runoff, and has proportional representation in its senate - how does it do that?"

The answer is it does it exactly the insane complicated way I was about to propose and explain, which rather put a damper on my plan for being the origin of an insane complicated (but very fair) democratic system. It's described here in Appendix 1, in a way that I don't understand even though I just invented the same system for myself. That's how insane it is. Prerequisites for understanding include understanding Instant Runoff voting and Proportional Representation.

In conclusion, boo for being preempted, but hooray for Australia using the very political system I would propose, albeit only for its senate and not for its house of representatives where I would rather it be. And ha ha, silly retarded big-brother America, using stinky old First-past-the-Post plurality. Ten out of ten game-theorists, economic theorists or political theorists agree, plurality is shit. [22:22] [3 comments]

Monday 4 October 2004
Conspiracy news! Bush might have been prompted during the recent debate. There are some reasonable arguments for that not being the case, and some reasonable arguments for, but these aren't why I'm posting. Rather, I'm posting because someone in the comments on that article suggested "why use a detectable interferable radio earpiece when you can use tight-beam audio which couldn't be intercepted?"

But then, my own brain suggested, if you can transmit audio directly into someone's head without them knowing where it originates from or having to wear a device, using this hypersonic sound technology, why would you use it to prompt your own speaker? Surely the ideal political use for such technology is to distract the opposing speaker and make them seem insane?

How would the victim complain about such activity? "My opponents were putting voices in my head whenever it was my turn to speak"? There is absolutely nothing the victim could do about it unless they could somehow spot and indicate the source, and any complaint they make would only seem to confirm their insanity. Depending on what's transmitted, it seems like there'd be a reasonable chance that the victim wouldn't even be certain themself that they weren't going insane and hearing voices. There are lots of nice non-specific distracting sounds one could transmit, too. Fill the speaker's head with coughing, or laughing, or the sound of mumbling political audience. Fill their head with zombies saying "braaaaiiins" or leprechauns saying "burn them all".

I look forward to the day when politicians, advertisers and protesters all adopt this idea, and it eventually reaches the point where everyone just ignores the voices in their heads, like spam. Take that, consciences - there'll be no whitelists for brain-voices. [11:25] [2 comments]

Friday 1 October 2004
I imagine nearly everyone knows of NaNoWriMo by now, so only a very quick summary - the idea is that lots of people take November to write a 50000 word novel in a month. The website stresses quantity not quality, because they're jerks. Anyway, I already did that (though I didn't stress quantity over quality), and so did lots of other people, and it wasn't really very fun the first time, and would be even less fun to do again. However... A picture is worth a thousand words!

So wouldn't it be much more fun to draw 50 pictures in a month than to write 50000 words? Let's do that instead. I'm not sure whether it would be more fun with the stress on quantity not quality or not, so take your pick - draw 50 stickmen if that's what you fancy. It's important, however, that the 50 pictures not work together to form a graphic novel or anything, since we wouldn't want to actually be inadvertently creating a novel in our cunning avoidance of writing 50000 words to create a novel. The whole point is to be beating the system, not just feeding it with different materials. So, 50 disconnected pictures. They can be thematically connected, mind - you could draw most of a tarot deck, or do something like Spamusement, the only restriction is that you can't be making a novel.

I call it NaNoWriNoMo - even though it's not national. In fact, let's have it run from the beginning of November up until November 25th, too, so it's also not a month, but instead gives us a nice round number of pictures to draw each day. And now I call it NoNaNoWriNoNoMo. [19:13] [4 comments]