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09 Dec 15:40

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Irrational

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry.

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07 Dec 15:42

Still Life

by Greg Ross

john fulton

After each of his victories as a matador, John Fulton would paint a portrait of the bull he had slain using its own blood, after the manner of the hunter-painters who had decorated the cave walls of Altamira.

Fulton grew up in a Philadelphia rowhouse but became captivated by the bullring after seeing the 1941 Tyrone Power film Blood and Sand. “The movie so stirred his sense of gallantry and romance that he decided on the spot to become a bullfighter,” reported the New York Times. “If a Rita Hayworth was the reward, he told friends years later, it was worth the effort and the risk.”

He spent a year at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, won a scholarship to a Mexican art school, and began to study bullfighting. In 1956 he went to Spain, where he became the first American to qualify as a matador and spent 40 years fighting professionally in the ring.

The paintings were decidedly a sideline, as he regarded bullfighting itself as an art. “It is the most difficult art form in the world,” he once said. “You are required to create a work of art spontaneously with a semi-unknown medium, which can kill you, in front of one of the most critical audiences around. And it all leaves only a memory.”

07 Dec 15:27

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Ice Cream Novelties

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
I'm kicking myself for not having Pumpkin Spice Atrocity.

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Wednesday Book Reviews!

 

The Victorian Internet (Standage)

A delightful quick history of the telegraph, which shows that much of the things we think are unique to the Internet were present about 150 years ago, including “online” communities, and predictions that connectivity would free information and bring about peace. Whoops!

Mind Children (Moravec)

I guess you’d categorize this as an early work (late 80s) in the modern futurology movement. The book is somewhat about the particular idea of creating superior robot descendants of humanity, but a more appropriate title would be something like “A brief history of computing up to 1988, followed by a bunch of stuff Hans Moravec thinks about.” On the whole, it’s pretty good! A lot of the speculations are obviously a bit out of date, and in some ways this is very interesting when we think about modern futurologists.

For example, Moravec thought that by the year 2000 we’d have a general purpose robot assistant. This wasn’t just a blind guess, either. He made estimates comparing neuronal and computer processing power, and thus guessed we’d have a robot assistant computer brain within 10 years of when the book was written. This not only hasn’t happened, but the closest thing we’ve got is the Roomba (or, perhaps the Baxter industrial bot). Makes you wonder about these people predicting full brain emulation by the 2030s or so.

Ethics in the Real World (Singer)

This is a collection of short essays by the great utilitarian philosopher, Peter Singer. I found it enjoyable and stimulating, but I find I am just not prepared to get onboard this form of hardcore utilitarianism, which says “Action X would increases total human happiness. Thus, not doing it is unethical.” Partially, this is because this sort of statement at least seems non-obvious to me. But, more importantly, I think it’s often hard to know the consequences of actions, especially in the longterm. I’m willing to buy the idea that a dollar I spend on cake would bring more pleasure if given to a starving poor person overseas. But, it’s not clear to me that this sort of thing is true in the big picture. For instance, if it’s true that buying Chinese consumer electronics will ultimately raise the Chinese living standard, is it unethical for me not to buy them?

Another for instance - is it obvious that $50,000 buying meals for poor people overseas is more ethical (in a consequentialist sense) than spending that money on a scholarship for someone who will improve renewable energy, thus benefiting everyone, including the hypothetical overseas poor? Now, in fairness, these are short essays meant for public consumption. Singer can’t address every possible objection, and for all I know he handles these sorts of complaints elsewhere. On the whole, a worthy read.

Humpty Dumpty in Oakland (Dick) I’m getting to where I can’t take any more Philip K Dick non-scifi works. They’re not bad, they’re just all the same. Narcissistic men and flighty women have difficulty getting along in a post-war consumerist society. It’s not bad, and the characters and scenes are good, but there’s just no core here. In fairness, most of these books weren’t released in Dick’s lifetime, so there wouldn’t have been a public to get tired of him repeating the same plot elements. But, as I try to read his entire corpous, it gets a bit tiresome.

Atomic Accidents (Mahaffey) This book. It’s a treasure, really. Sometimes, pop science books are written by people like me - interested non-experts who can turn a phrase. That’s fine, and I like those books. But, now and then you get a book where someone pours a lifetime of expertise and stories beteween the covers. That’s what Mahaffey has done. This book is mostly a sequence of discussions of exactly what happened at particular nuclear accidents (ranging from nuclear power to nuclear bombs). The depth of his research is sometimes staggering. He also has funny stories, and he provides insights into the psychology of disasters in general.

That said, it’s thick. It’s thick and although it CAN be consumed by people who aren’t well-versed in nuclear power, it’s gonna send you to wikipedia a lot. And, especially in the middle of explanations about nuclear plants, it can get really tough to follow. Here’s a sample sentence from page 344, which I wrote down to illustrate the point: “In the 177FA design, B&W had replaced the troublesome Crosby PORV with a Dresser 31533VX30.”

One gets the idea that there exists some nuclear engineer who reads “Crosby PORV” and bursts out laughing at the very idea of such a thing. Personally, I found I just had to accept that, as someone without a graduate degree in nuke stuff, there were parts that flew over my head. That said, Mahaffey is such a charming writer, so obviously in love with his subject, it can be enjoyable even when it’s hard to follow.

07 Dec 15:26

an uncharted desert isle

by kris

20161206_desertisle

true story: in castaway, tom hanks spent the movie hallucinating his pet turtle wilson as a volleyball, which was his favorite food

07 Dec 15:26

Never Seen Star Wars

If anyone calls you on any weird detail, just say it's from the Jedi Prince book series, which contains so much random incongruous stuff that even most Expanded Universe/Legends fans collectively agreed to forget about it decades ago.
06 Dec 14:57

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - A Better Family

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
But seriously, if you know anyone who could deliver that, I still have a few days to live.

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06 Dec 14:56

Settling

Hpecker

especially for the mouseover text

Of course, "Number of times I've gotten to make a decision twice to know for sure how it would have turned out" is still at 0.
02 Dec 15:25

The Lycurgus Cup

by Greg Ross

Roman craftsmen made a remarkable coup around 300 A.D. — they produced a cup that is red when lit from behind and green when lit from the front. The effect occurs because the glass contains tiny proportions of gold and silver nanoparticles that reflect light of certain wavelengths. The workers themselves may have discovered the technique by accident, and may not have understood it fully; only a few pieces of 4th-century Roman glass display this “dichroic” property. Art historian Donald Harden called it “the most spectacular glass of the period, fittingly decorated, which we know to have existed.” It now resides in the British Museum.

02 Dec 15:22

US State Names

Technically DC isn't a state, but no one is too pedantic about it because they don't want to disturb the snakes.
01 Dec 14:14

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Greatest Possible Superhero

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
I too am creeped out by the facemask.

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01 Dec 14:09

Photo



01 Dec 14:07

Curtain Call

by Greg Ross

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Lady_Eve_(1941)_trailer_3.jpg

In a review for the New Yorker in 1959, film critic Kenneth Tynan mistakenly referred to “the late Eric Blore,” and the magazine’s famously vigilant fact-checking department failed to note that the English comic actor was still alive.

Blore’s lawyer demanded a retraction, and a chastened Tynan prepared an apology, which was scheduled to appear in the following issue.

After that issue had been printed, though, the actor really did die … so while that day’s newspapers were reporting Blore’s death, the New Yorker was apologizing for saying he was no longer alive.

(Thanks, Johnny.)

28 Nov 15:49

shout out to rural whites: trade deals suck because they exploit foreign workers for american interests, they don't fuck over you. its 2016 and the world has already changed, you need to figure out how to take care of yourselves and take care of your own problems, not even fascists can do that for you.

And also, the extent to which those manufacturing jobs are “good jobs”? That’s because of fucking UNIONS you shitheads, the same organizations you just voted to continue to attack.

28 Nov 15:46

Client: Have you done a wedding video before?Me: Yes! I am working on one...

Client: Have you done a wedding video before?

Me: Yes! I am working on one right know, as a matter of fact.

Client: YOU’RE AT A WEDDING RIGHT NOW?

Me: (awkwardly laughing) No, no, I am editing one right now.

Client: Oh, okay, cool.

28 Nov 15:44

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Eat My Body

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
You know what? We are NO LONGER best friends.

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Wednesday Book Reviews!

 

The Cartoon History of the Universe (volume 1) (Gonick)

I vaguely remember reading this as a kid, but I picked it up again on a friend’s suggestion and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s really not so much a history of the world as a bit of illustrated info on a bunch of really interesting points in time. The one strike against it is that it’s often, well, a bit wrong. Some of this is because it’s simply out of date, but (for example) at one point he mentions the infamous Aquatic Ape hypothesis, and it wasn’t (I don’t think!) as a joke.

Born on the Fourth of July (Kovick)

One of the great Vietnam memoirs, which I hadn’t yet read. This book is a bit more dreamlike than some of the others, dealing not just with war stories, but with his attempt to adjust back to society afterward despite an injury that leaves him paraplegic. In a sense, that makes this book a bit more unique (and perhaps timely) than a lot of other Vietnam memoirs, in that it’s really more about what war does to you *after* you get home.

The Attention Merchants (Wu)

This is A+ non-fiction. This book is a history of the idea that you can sell attention for money, using content as merely the attractor of the attention. Wu traces the whole history of this concept from early newspaper sales tactics, through war propaganda techniques, on through Google, Facebook, and so forth. One thing I really appreciate is that Wu isn’t explicitly arguing that the paradigm of attention sales is a bad one - he’s asking us to deal with what it means. I wish everyone in tech would take a peek at this book.

28 Nov 15:43

meat is murder

by kris

20161123_meatismurder

and for vegetarians who just hate animals, try our “meatless murder” (field roast, but we also kill a cow elsewhere)

28 Nov 15:42

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Unappreciated

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
I mean, technically we're only using the top half of the adjunct. Why do we have to pay for the whole thing?

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28 Nov 15:42

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Games for Humans

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
BEEP BEEP BEEP

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23 Nov 16:30

As a poor straight white man from a small, deeply conservative town, I get pretty fucking pissed at blue state liberals saying we need to understand voters and "economic anxiety." It's racism, I don't need a lecture about factories closing, I'm from there and I know those people. And they are racist because they are too lazy and too cowardly to critically evaluate their inherited beliefs. Fuck the lot of them.

I agree with this white man.

23 Nov 16:29

Newsflash: the founding fathers were racist as well. Think slavery racist.

Make America Good Even Once Jeez

23 Nov 16:28

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Biology

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
Nah, I'm kidding. You'll mostly be filling out grant applications.

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21 Nov 18:51

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Rubber Duck Method

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
Someone needs to invent a USB rubber duck that just tells you that you're garbage.

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21 Nov 18:51

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Nerdy Kids

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
Okay, try wrapping it in duct tape.

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21 Nov 18:50

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - A Solution for Global Warming

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
Or we could throw up mirror particles to reflect sunlight to space and our shameful reflections back at us.

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18 Nov 15:04

Yo, regarding the inevitable Muslim registry: while I support and love the sentiment behind the whole "white ppl will register and shut it down via nonviolent co-opting of the system," don't think for a minute the fascists are going to ask Muslims to show up voluntarily and register. Look at WWII - the census bureau illegally and secretly provided info to authorities for internment. The 1st you'll know abt it is when the jackboots show up. White Ppl: get real and plan some actual resistance.

Probably a better point.

18 Nov 15:04

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Sex Talk

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
I'm suddenly wondering if I should've cut this one off after panel 4.

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17 Nov 15:04

My political pitch to racists is already, “hey, if you chill with hating people of color, I...

My political pitch to racists is already, “hey, if you chill with hating people of color, I will do my best to get you health care and financial help” so maybe chill with telling me I need to be nicer to them.

16 Nov 19:12

Sunrise, Sunset

by Greg Ross
Hpecker

interesting if somewhat terrifying idea

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States.jpg

Is it unjust to adopt a constitution that binds both ourselves and future members of our society? We need a set of fundamental laws to regulate ourselves, but is it fair to extend that to future citizens? Shouldn’t they have the right to choose their own rules?

Thomas Jefferson thought so. In a 1789 letter to James Madison, he held that “the earth belongs in usufruct to the living”: He thought a constitution (or any law) should expire automatically when succeeding generations make up a majority of the population. “The constitution and the laws of their predecessors extinguished … in their natural course with those who gave them being,” he wrote. “This could preserve that being till it ceased to be itself, and no longer. … If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right.”

There’s a tension here: In order for a constitution to be successful, it has to define the organization of its society and the freedoms of its citizens, and these rules need to remain in effect for at least several generations in order to produce a healthy liberal democracy. “But those born under a perpetual constitution are expected to acquiesce to the foundational norms approved by their predecessors with neither their consent nor their participation,” writes McGill University political philosopher Víctor M. Muñiz-Fraticelli. “If a constitution is discussed, negotiated, and approved by citizens who are, necessarily, contemporaries, what normatively binding force does it retain for future generations who took no part in its discussion, negotiation, or approval?”

(Víctor M. Muñiz-Fraticelli, “The Problem of a Perpetual Constitution,” in Axel Gosseries and Lukas H. Meyer, eds., Intergenerational Justice, 2009.)

16 Nov 18:01

Who do you think Nancy Drew voted for

I don’t even want to speculate how a weird white kid with a fetish for law enforcement voted.

16 Nov 17:56

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Troll Toll

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
How does this never come up in fairy tales?

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