[iippo]'s diary

1163506  Link to this entry 
Written about Sunday 2013-12-01
Written: (326 days ago)

Micro-diary entries:

-Yay second draft of Geoffrey's book is here! :) Can't wait to read it.

-The wind out there tonight sounds like it's made of madness (12 meters per second! And I'm supposed to go cycling in there!)

-"the star of our tree is dead" - sometimes there is poetry in text messages intended to be totally mundane. It kinda broke my heart.

1163496  Link to this entry 
Written about Friday 2013-11-29
Written: (328 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163497
1163480  Link to this entry 
Written about Friday 2013-11-29
Written: (328 days ago)

My ESTA expired :O
*is no longer welcome in the United States*


Well yeah, it probably expires because my passport expires this year.

1163467  Link to this entry 
Written about Thursday 2013-11-28
Written: (329 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163469

Trying to copy episodes of the Aristoteleen Kantapää podcast onto my work phone (a Nokia) to listen to at work, and having a massive hassle of it -_- Lesson learnt: Finnish things suck -_-

1163466  Link to this entry 
Written about Thursday 2013-11-28
Written: (329 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163483

Another RadioLab diary!
First the cool thing: they did a short about quicksand, and they started it with how kids these days don't think quicksand is scary. They had these school kids say what they thought of quicksand, and they all tended to be of the opinion that quicksand is something that was scary in the olden days but not anymore. And when asked what they thought was scary now, they said things like zombies, ghosts and stuff like that. Then in the episode they analyse this "why was quicksand scary back then and not anymore" (like, 3% of Hollywood movies had a serious quicksand scene in the 60s, quicksand was used as a rhetoric term in politics to describe the Vietnam war, there was actual worry that what if they land on the moon and it's all lunar quicksand etc...) And they kind of throw this suggestion that maybe bak then there was this anxiety about exploration and new places and such. The world wasn't quite as small then as it is now, there was some serious Other-ness in those "over there" places. And that made me realise (though they didn't pursue this avenue, they went on with quicksand) that if you think of this mood of the times as the source of the scary things in our culture at any given time, that would make it really exciting to study horror media. And it got me thinking about zombies and vampires and all this stuff that right now is a huge part of our culture. I think it's kind of fitting to think that maybe our current collective global greatest fear is Other People: other people acting weird, other people infecting us, other people being a massive crowd moving as one, other people masquerading as normal people but in reality being some kind of bloodthirsty monsters, other people being the Other. It's like, we feel that we can go anywhere in the world, but we don't feel like we can trust all other people.

The less-cool thing: In the long episode "Blame" they talked about how hard it is to put blame on people in the legal system now that we are learning all this stuff about the brain and how tumours and stuff can mean that You are not totally in control of You or your actions, that it's Your Brain making You do things, but also scientifically there's no separation between You and Your Brain so Your Brain is actually making You do everything You do, so how is that different and why should having a brain problem be an excuse if You (or Your Brain) have committed a serious crime, etc... It was really really fascinating, and you just listen to the reporter trying to ask a question of the scientist and really struggling to not use the sentence structure "your brain makes you do..." And so the point was, maybe the legal system shouldn't care at all about who is to blame for the crime, and simply focus on re-offending. And then they talked about that and how pure data with no human gut-feeling is more accurate at predicting reoffending in sex offenders' cases (70%) than expert people who know the cases and the people are (50%). The uncool thing came when this other scientist person said that "oh but if you start doing that then maybe it'll happen that someone commits a small crime like forging a check and they discover in the process that the data says that this criminal is likely to commit a more serious crime like rob a bank in the future, so then they could keep that person locked up before a crime was committed and therefore this is an unjust system." And nobody called the scientist out on the slippery slope argument! >:C They kind of went along with it and couldn't think of a way to counteract her point. But I see no difference in what she said and with the argument "if you allow gay marriage then you'll end up having to allow zoophilia and paedophilia and people marrying objects!" Which is also a ridiculous slippery slope argument. Grrr...

They did end on a cool note though, saying that maybe the legal system's point isn't really to prevent crime, maybe it is to enforce this collective moral code that we as a society have together. And I think it's always cool to ask questions "what is the real purpose of this system that we have?" I like how the gay marriage debate is doing that ("what is marriage really for? Is it just to make children? Or is it something else/more?") and to a point the extreme politics in USA are doing that ("what is the role of government, is it to just protect people and stay out of their way, or is it to help citizens succeed?") And lately I've been thinking of what is the real point of church. So what is the point of the legal system? Is it to punish, or reform, or do this moral code enforcing, or something else? That is a really cool question I hadn't thought of before :)

1163441  Link to this entry 
Written about Wednesday 2013-11-27
Written: (330 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163443

I wanted to find some ideas on upcycling the little metal tins you are left with after using tealight. The only thing I found was this thing http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2008/11/reuse-tea-light-holders-for-holiday-decorations/ and it's not one that I want to do. There are so many really cool things you can make if you have millions of poptabs (seriously, who has that many poptabs?!) but nothing for tealights, which make massive amounts of little tin cups :/

However, this dress made of ties is really awesome and I really want to make one :O
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/278238083200690670/

TP rolls is another material I have tons of that I'd like to upcycle in some way.

1163382  Link to this entry 
Written about Monday 2013-11-25
Written: (332 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163384, 1163385

So I think everyone has heard me talk ad nauseam of the fact that I work nights. So I'll do it a little more.

Last night I was listening to a podcast as I was merrily biking along the streets of my town. It was cold, dark, and the podcast was really loud (bless you loud Southern SMNTY ladies). And its good to realise that while I am now quite comfortable with being out there at night, it is not by any means a work environment that ever feels safe: streets of a town are scary at night, even though I don't constantly feel scared. A man walking came from my right, and I noticed that he said something to me, but because it was a loud podcast and he was kind of not right next to me, I couldn't tell what it was. So I just biked past without stopping or looking at him or anything. Afterwards I felt a little bad about blanking the guy, but after a long internal monologue about it I came to the conclusion that not everyone is entitled to access to my attention at all times. And this time - really dark and scary middle of the night, while I am working - does qualify as "I don't need to talk to you" -time. Though it is also a little bit bad, because what if he'd needed help? :/ (I can only hope that if someone does need help they will speak loudly and gesture wildly >_> )

But it is interesting to think why I had to have a long think before I could feel okay about regulating the attention I give to strangers in the middle of the night...

1163352  Link to this entry 
Written about Sunday 2013-11-24
Written: (333 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163353

Pre-face to rambly
So I'm really aware of words and meanings and stuff.

And you've probably heard people express annoyance at the phrase "new and improved". Like "how can it be new if it's improved, yadda yadda". And I get that, because of the meanings of the word, if something is new, how can it also be a result of improvement. But I realised that that is a totally stupid thing to say when you consider how things actually happen, both inventions and even in evolution. And I realised this connection when the word R&D caught my ear. Research and Development. That is what makes new and improved things! Both new and improved things are implied by the words research and development. So I kind of assigned it so that research results in new things and development results in improved things. And then I realised: sometimes new things are the result of old things being improved upon. Like all of evolution, basically. A human being is a new creature, but it's also an ape that's been improved (to be overly simplistic about it). And then after that I was thinking that if development can also lead to new things, can research lead to improvements. And of course it can, it feels a little bit obvious. Lots of research goes in to making the next number of iPhone or whatever. And I realised that practice-based research fits just fine inside all of this, since innovation doesn't have any one set way which innovation flows. Because research can lead to new things, and development can lead to new things, and research can lead to improvements, and development can lead to improvements. And at least one of those is practice-based (probably the development-leads-to ones).

Anyhoo, as reward for reading that (or being so clever and evolved that you skipped the tl;dr), you can have http://ikeaordeath.com/

1163348  Link to this entry 
Written about Sunday 2013-11-24
Written: (333 days ago)

So I watched the 50th anniversary something episode of Doctor Who.
I don't have much to say, except a little bit, but if you haven't watched it, consider not reading the thing below the hide, since it's a spoiler:

Show content

I was pretty stoked when they made the lady sit down with the shapeshifting aliens and not know who were aliens and who were humans, and then suss out a deal. That's basically John Rawls' "veil of ignorance" at work :D And I really like that idea in his theory of justice.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rawls#A_Theory_of_Justice
1163320  Link to this entry 
Written about Friday 2013-11-22
Written: (335 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163323, 1163324, 1163332

As a rule, I don't want to kill insects just because they are inside my house, unless there is a serious infestation. But this one fruit fly in my bedroom is really pushing it... >.< If it would just stop landing on me, we could coexist in a mutually unbothersome way!

1163200  Link to this entry 
Written about Sunday 2013-11-17
Written: (340 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163201

Filterkeys is the stupidest thing ever.
*is in murderous rage*

1163198  Link to this entry 
Written about Sunday 2013-11-17
Written: (340 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163207

There's kind of two art worlds (at least two). There's the contemporary art and art school world where huge slabs of concrete are awesome and paintings of beautiful things are not, and where everybody pretends that words like "notion" actually communicate something. Then there's the other one, where people paint pictures that are clean and shiny and inoffensive, they bemoan the state of contemporary art where slabs of concrete sell for millions, and insist that beauty is the only thing art is supposed to be/do. So basically they both disdain the other. The first is going head-long off to some la-la land where a lot of the art doesn't work for people who don't have a degree in art, and the other one hates all progress done in art since the Impressionists and want to turn back time to the 1800s. -_-; And I disdain them both for these attitudes.

But I've been thinking about this beauty thing a lot, because I currently make beautiful pictures (despite being from the art school side of things). And this may be a trend that is particular to Mormons (there's a lot of "we shall beautify the earth" talk among mormon artists), but it strikes me as odd how people have come to the conclusion that nature, women and art have something to do with beauty. I find the relationship totally incidental and inconsistent: some things in nature are beautiful and some are not, some women are beautiful and some are not, some art is beautiful and some is not. Surprisingly enough some men are beautiful too, as are some not-natural things, and some things that are not art are beautiful too. The parts of nature that are ugly as shit (such as shit, for example) are not any 'less nature', an ugly woman is just as much of a woman as any other woman, and ugly art is still art.

1163150  Link to this entry 
Written about Thursday 2013-11-14
Written: (343 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163151

When I was coming home from work this morning, and the podcasts had finished so everything was quiet, I was thinking of how nice and comforting it is to see Orion in the sky. It's like he's a person you know or something. And then I was thinking how I associate Orion with the cold weather, and started to think if there's some weird rotation that goes on where he goes away for the summer -- until I realised that the reason I don't see Orion during the summer is actually because I see no stars at all during the summer, the sky doesn't get dark enough. And I had a little "oh. Right >_>" moment there.

Anyhoo, last night's podcast test drive was the Sinica podcast. And I kind of have to flaunt this a little, I feel really really cool listening to that podcast, because it's all about contemporary China, and this makes me feel like I have broadened my horizons and am all cool and stuff :3 The hosts Kaiser Kuo (half American half Chinese rock star) and Jeremy Goldkorn (South African business man), both of whom have lived in China a really long time, have guests and usually talk about a specific topic. So for example, at work I listened to episodes about sex in China (the guests were the author and the publisher of a recent book about sex in China), humour in China (guests were two expat comedians who were studying the Chinese cross talk comedy thing), healthcare in China (healthcare specialists as guests) and the Chinese internet (much more than just the Great Firewall, the guest was the Economist reporter who had recently done the special report on the Chinese internet). It's really cool. They talk about China as their everyday thing, but they also do pause at times and say "let's explain in case someone listening hasn't heard of this" when events or terms come up. So it's a little like listening in to a conversation of people who are smarter/cooler than you are, but with the added bonus of sometimes they acknowledge that you are listening and they help understand. I think it's much more effective way of crossing that gap of cultural understanding than it would be if someone just explained all the bits that make China so different in some kind of "China for beginners" kind of way. The Sinica way is slower perhaps, but more effective, I think.

The kind of weird thing about Sinica is that in iTunes the episodes are sort of mushed in with the Popup Chinese podcast episodes (Sinica uses Popup's studios). But you can figure them out quite easily, Sinica episodes are 40 minutes to an hour long, while the Popup ones are shorter, and the Sinica podcasts begin with the guitar theme music and Kaiser saying "Welcome to the Sinica podcast..." But it did take me a bit to figure that out :P

1163143  Link to this entry 
Written about Thursday 2013-11-14
Written: (344 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163144

New Wes Anderson short film: "Castello Cavalcanti" <3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWnKRJ4c8xY

I just have to say that the simple fact that Wes Anderson makes short films (and sometimes has a short before the main feature film) makes him immediately better than any film maker who doesn't do that C:
And the colours! <3 There needs to be a shade of yellow named Wes Anderson Yellow.

1163101  Link to this entry 
Written about Tuesday 2013-11-12
Written: (345 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163102

"But let us not confuse what will surely be financial success with brilliant business acumen on the part of the Braves. At least not the sort of acumen which usually gets lauded as the genius of capitalism or whatever. MLB owners live in a world with basically zero risk in order to get their billions. As stadium financing shows, baseball owners live off of other people’s money. Usually public money. And no one ever seems to call these already rich men and corporations out on accepting millions from the government the way poor people are called out on accepting a few hundred or a couple of thousand because they can’t feed their families or get basic medical care."

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/11/11/the-braves-moving-to-a-new-park-is-understandable-but-perverse/

Don't misunderstand here: I don't care about sports. Just wanted to make that clear.
:P

1163099  Link to this entry 
Written about Tuesday 2013-11-12
Written: (345 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163100

Drawing a thing that turns out really cool is such a hit of happy it should be classified as an illegal drug :3
Photo will happen later, I don't want to ruin my happy feeling by taking a picture of it that just doesn't capture it right.
But suffice to say that I have just inserted five different pokemon into a Goya etching like a boss :D <cue success kid meme>

1163057  Link to this entry 
Written about Sunday 2013-11-10
Written: (347 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163059, 1163065

[Teufelsweib] and I were talking about science stuff (like publishing and repeating experiments and such) in the Junk forum the other say, and then I found this today :)

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/11/science-and-its-skeptics.html

1163034  Link to this entry 
Written about Saturday 2013-11-09
Written: (348 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163036

http://julianpeterscomics.com/page-1-the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock-by-t-s-eliot/
Haven't read that yet but it looks awesome and also Prufrock.

1163021  Link to this entry 
Written about Saturday 2013-11-09
Written: (348 days ago)
Next in thread: 1163035

So I work for the mail service, and in Finland the postal service used to be owned by the nation, then it was turned into aprivatised company where the government/nation owns a majority of the shares. So kind of a half public/half private thing going on here. And ever so often there are negotiations between the unions and the bosses, and this is currently going on. And there's a lot of complicated things of course, but for the area of work that I do - early morning delivery - the biggest beef we have is the way our wages are tied to the amounts of newspaper the employee has on his/her route. Which is of course dependent on the people who subscribe to newspapers, and therefore it's out of the employees control. So the union wants to change that to an hourly wage, so that the employees wouldn't have to worry about their wage fluctuating so much.

Anyhoo, at the moment the union is telling us all that we are doing some mild industrial action to exert pressure during the negotiations: no overtime, no extra work of any kind. Also no surprise time off/holiday requests, that would be unfair too. We have a promise to the customers that we will deliver newspapers by 6am. If for some reason I am not finished by that time, the industrial action dictates that I need to stop and not finish my route. And the papers were late today, and I was thinking "what if it comes down to that today, the clock strikes 6 and I'm not finished? I'd feel pretty bad leaving people out and paperless, after all it's not their fault, but it's also really bad to be a rikkuri (strikebreaker), and the whole point of industrial action is that you demonstrate that the work we do is important and influences everybody..." 

My dilemma was solved in two parts. First, I saw the office guy (every night there is one guy - not exactly a boss, but sort of? - in the office who you call if something happens during the route, like bike breaks down or you drive into a ditch etc... and s/he'll come help) and asked him about it, and he explained that since his official time ends at 7am, he would have to finish my route if I don't. And I was like "man that would suck, I do not want to do that to you. I thought the point was that the customers will complain to the newspaper company and they will complain to the mail company and the mail company will feel the pressure to listen to the union." So I reckoned it's a little pointless to do industrial action that only hurts the other workers. And the second way my dilemma was solved was that I was finished by quarter to six :P

1162994  Link to this entry 
Written about Friday 2013-11-08
Written: (349 days ago)
Next in thread: 1162997, 1163001

The Google-Doodle today shows different Rorschach tests every time I open a new tab. And to me, they all look like various spaceships from Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, etc... >_> Analyse that.

1162975  Link to this entry 
Written about Thursday 2013-11-07
Written: (350 days ago)
Next in thread: 1162978

So apparently I have a bit of a pet peeve with media talking about science and making statements about research that upon closer inspection are dumbness and not actually getting to the heart of the matter.

So I was listening to a Radiolab episode at work about whether animals have feelings like humans do. And they were talking about the idea that dogs feel guilt. A lot of dog owners say that their dog gets a guilty look when it has done something wrong. So there was an experiment on a group of dogs and their owners. Half of the dogs in the group did something naughty, the other half didn't, but all the owners were told that their dog did do something bad. So the owners went in and scolded the dogs, you know, angry voice and face and say "bad dog" or "no" or something. And all the dogs did the face of ":C I sorry". And they then concluded that it doesn't matter what the dog thinks it has done, what matters is that it is being submissive to the alpha in its pack.

But the whole thing is just wrong if you know dogs >.<
Firstly, the scolding. Now I admit that dog training advice evolves and changes just like all things we know, but the last I heard was that you do not scold the dog unless you catch it in the act of doing something wrong. So for example, if you come home and find that the dog has chewed every single pair of shoes there is, or that the living room looks like a localised hurricane struck there, you do not scold the dog if you don't catch it in the act of destroying things. Because the dog won't connect the dots of "something I did several hours ago" and "human really mad". So it just thinks "human comes home and is mad :C" and that makes a very negative connection. So of course a dog that is scolded out of the blue will express submission, it doesn't really know how else to cope with this random aggression directed towards it. :/ It has a very limited bag of tricks.

Secondly, when you have been with your dog for a while and you are used to each other and stuff, and the dog is now trained and it knows what is bad behaviour - it will sometimes still do it (depends on the personality/breed of dog, probably). And when it does, it can have a look on its face (before the owner realises what has happened and scolds the dog) that clearly indicates "I did something I was not supposed to". My dog usually has that face when something has forced him to poop inside. He knows poop goes outside, and usually he doesn't poop inside except when it's just impossible to stop it. But in the time between his pooping and my discovering the poop his face is totally different than his normal face. It looks guilty, or sorry, or embarrassed, or some such. I can look at his face and know that he has done something that he knows he shouldn't have done. And I'm pretty sure you couldn't create test conditions to make this face happen, because it's so dependent on context.

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