Monday, August 31, 2009

3E Presents: A Top 21 Things on the Internet: #11 Falling Sand Game

Here, although there are a whole bunch of different kinds. There's also a forum. A very zen entry, I think, that is my favorite example of a pointless timewaster -- at least, pointless besides the enjoyment of it (and isn't that why we're all here?). It's very relaxing but also very addictive.

I like to create a never-ending cycle of fire/plant. But others may have a different approach.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Women in foreign places

Here is what happened to her in Kabul—and it’s essential to remember this occurred decades before the Taliban made life for women completely intolerable. Chesler’s American passport was confiscated at the airport: she never saw it again. Her young “bohemian” husband became, as she notes, “another person”: cold and distant, a sometime defender of polygamy (his father, to Chesler’s surprise, had three wives) and champion of the veil. Chesler quickly discovered that “Afghans mistrusted foreign wives”—and her walks around the city, invariably barefaced and without the long coat or gloves urged on her by her in-laws, made her the target of lewd advances and crude insults. When she fled to the American embassy, “the Marines would bring me back home every time,” she recalls. “I was the wife of a foreign national. I had lost my citizenship.”

Her in-laws were deeply unhappy with their son’s decision to bring home an American bride. She lived in perpetual fear that she might become, as her husband intended her to be, pregnant. That would have been the end of the narrative, for, as Chesler points out: “You’re then going to be trapped in the country you’re in forever because you’re carrying Muslim property. The child.”

When her mother-in-law quietly stopped boiling her drinking water, Chesler developed hepatitis. She weighed 90 pounds on her arrival back in New York City. Her father-in-law, delighted to be rid of her, paid for her ticket home. Because of her experience, the occasional young American woman who is thinking of marrying a Muslim with an urge to return to his own country visits Chesler for advice. And she tells them what she knows: “This man you love will change overnight before your eyes. You will live but you will wish you were dead.”
Twice Branded: Western Women in Muslim Land

Thursday, August 27, 2009

what's that jerking? oh, it's my knee!

So, this just happened. Here's how (between hearty gulps of MGD) Tha Captain reacted.
  • How on earth did the English teams avoid all three of Real Madrid, Internazionale, and Juventus? Chicanery.
  • Speaking of the English teams, Manchester United and Arsenal should sashay to the knockout stages. Liverpool and Chelsea have a eurotrash discoteque fight on their hands.
  • Group G: baby soft.
  • Most interesting games: Milan v Real Madrid and Barcelona v Inter because they're all huge teams. Bayern v Maccabi Haifa because it's always a cracker when Germans and Jews get together.
  • I don't know how else they would do it, but going by UEFA coefficients makes for an uneven draw. Sevilla is a 1 seed but Real Madrid is a 2 and Wolfsburg is a 4? Nonsense. Alkmaar is a 2 but Fiorentina and Atletico are 3's? Infuriating!
  • In depth prevues, coming soon, blogfans!

The future of news

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I thought this song was called "You Got What I Need"

Hump day etc

Ted Kennedy

I kind of noticed it with Michael Jackson: is it weird how the media is heaping unqualified praise on controversial people who are recently deceased, as they're doing with Ted Kennedy right now? People are calling him the most effective senator or the most influential Kennedy (or more: see here, especially the kind of creepy comments) without mentioning, at least that I've seen, the numerous problems with the legislation he supported.

I think this kind of postmortem celebration started with Ronald Reagan, but maybe it goes back farther; someone needs to write an article about that.

it's like my soul drew this itself.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tortoise Tuesday

Lonesome George (Spanish: Solitario Jorge) is the last known individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise, subspecies Geochelone nigra abingdoni, one of eleven subspecies of Galápagos tortoise native to the Galápagos Islands. He has been labelled the rarest creature in the world, and is a potent symbol for conservation efforts in the Galápagos and internationally. It is thought that he was named after a character played by American actor George Gobel.

George was first seen on the island of Pinta on 1 December 1971 by American snail biologist Joseph Vagvolgyi. The island's vegetation had been decimated by introduced feral goats, and the indigenous G. n. abingdoni population had been reduced to a single individual. Relocated for his safety to the Charles Darwin Research Station, George was penned with two females of a different subspecies, Geochelone nigra becki from Wolf Island, in the hope that his genotype would be retained in the resulting progeny. Any offspring successfully hatched from George and his consorts would be intergrades, not purebreds of the Pinta subspecies.

George is estimated to be 60–90 years of age, and is in good health. A prolonged effort to exterminate goats introduced to Pinta is now complete and the vegetation of the island is starting to return to its former state.
Lonesome George

Health care

I’m a businessman, and in no sense a health-care expert. But the persistence of bad industry practices—from long lines at the doctor’s office to ever-rising prices to astonishing numbers of preventable deaths—seems beyond all normal logic, and must have an underlying cause. There needs to be a business reason why an industry, year in and year out, would be able to get away with poor customer service, unaffordable prices, and uneven results—a reason my father and so many others are unnecessarily killed.

Like every grieving family member, I looked for someone to blame for my father’s death. But my dad’s doctors weren’t incompetent—on the contrary, his hospital physicians were smart, thoughtful, and hard-working. Nor is he dead because of indifferent nursing—without exception, his nurses were dedicated and compassionate. Nor from financial limitations—he was a Medicare patient, and the issue of expense was never once raised. There were no greedy pharmaceutical companies, evil health insurers, or other popular villains in his particular tragedy.

Indeed, I suspect that our collective search for villains—for someone to blame—has distracted us and our political leaders from addressing the fundamental causes of our nation’s health-care crisis. All of the actors in health care—from doctors to insurers to pharmaceutical companies—work in a heavily regulated, massively subsidized industry full of structural distortions. They all want to serve patients well. But they also all behave rationally in response to the economic incentives those distortions create. Accidentally, but relentlessly, America has built a health-care system with incentives that inexorably generate terrible and perverse results. Incentives that emphasize health care over any other aspect of health and well-being. That emphasize treatment over prevention. That disguise true costs. That favor complexity, and discourage transparent competition based on price or quality. That result in a generational pyramid scheme rather than sustainable financing. And that—most important—remove consumers from our irreplaceable role as the ultimate ensurer of value.
How American Health Care Killed My Father

Monday, August 24, 2009


Sunday, August 23, 2009

3e Movie Reviews: District 9

What's most important to keep in mind about this movie is that the elevation of Johannesburg is 5,751 feet! There's your Rocky Mountain High, bitch!

Also too, there's something about black people.

So to summarize, the aliens learned a little something about themselves and finally achieved all their goals through hard work and their advanced endocrine systems.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Chiefs

Pam and Angela get high marks.

Friday, August 21, 2009

no comment

3E approves


3E Presents: A Top 21 Things on the Internet: #12 I Just Want Bang Bang Bang

Man, what an awesome video. You can do anything with computers these days.

Ok, Annie, listen. I don't want to make sex, eat chocolate, look at animals, take walk. No. You come home and you say, Hashmir, touch me down there, I like that. I don't think so, Annie. Don't have time, want to drink, cigarette, you know.
You know something Annie, I tell you what, I just want BANG BANG BANG.

Whenever someone says you're going to do something that you don't want to do, if you say WRA-ON-ONG like Hashmir does, you will be fine. Also call people "idiot."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

broken glass

"3E does not know extinction, all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of 3E after graduation."
-Wernher von Braun

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Slower traffic keep right

I am glad there is finally a website dedicated to this issue, although I'm afraid that most of the people who cause traffic problems like this won't read that site. I like this, in reference to the animated image you see there: "Remember that milliseconds can add up to gridlock."

Do you know what I see a lot of around here? People driving very slowly, five or ten or fifteen miles per hour under the speed limit, running red lights. Not only do they drive slowly and make everyone else wait, but they then break the law to avoid the consequences (i.e. the delay) of their inability to drive like a normal person.

not even I think this is cool or important or relevant

I hate math.

John, do you get this a lot?

PFSC blog

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quarterback accuracy


We need some of these around here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Check it, Bs

Tigers Corner

Baby thinking

Gopnik's own view is a clever and counterintuitive twist on James. She argues that babies are more conscious than adults. Her conclusion is based on the study of how attention and inhibition—the capacity to block out distractions—evolve over the course of development. Adult attention is willful and endogenous. Although it can be captured by external events—we will turn if we hear a loud noise—we also have control over what to think about and what to attend to. By sheer will, we can choose to focus on our left foot, then think about what we had for breakfast, then focus on ... whatever we want. Adults are also blessed, to varying degrees, with the power to ignore distractions, both external and internal, and to stay focused on a single task.

This is all harder for babies and young children. They are largely at the mercy of the environment. Simple experiments demonstrate that babies are, for the most part, trapped in the here and now, a conclusion supported by the finding that the part of the brain responsible for inhibition and control, the prefrontal cortex, is among the last to develop. Gopnik uses the example of an adult being dumped into the middle of a foreign city, knowing nothing about what's going on, with no goals and plans, constantly turning to see new things, and struggling to make sense of it all. This is what it's like to be a baby—only more so, since even the most stressed adult has countless ways of controlling attention: We can look forward to lunch, imagine how we would describe this trip to friends, and so on. The baby just is. It sounds exhausting, which might explain why infants spend so much of their time sleeping or (like some travelers) fussing.

For Gopnik, this lack of inhibition and control is a gift. It makes babies and children ideally suited for the task of acquiring information about physical and social reality. When it comes to imagination and learning, their openness to experience makes them "superadults"—not just smart but smarter than we are. She's particularly interested in the power to think about alternate realities, other possible worlds. In several fascinating chapters, she explores how this power is manifested in children's play and in their creation of imaginary companions, plausibly arguing that the capacity to reason about worlds that do not exist is crucial to children's rapid learning about everything from cause-and-effect relationships to human behavior. Gopnik suggests that their neural immaturity gives them greater imaginative powers than adults have: She proclaims, "Children are the R&D department of the human species—the blue-sky guys, the brainstormers. Adults are production and marketing. They [children] think up a million new ideas, mostly useless, and we take the three or four good one and make them real."
The Philosophical Baby

Friday, August 14, 2009

again, a master at his craft

Staggering. Heartfelt. Watch out for the ass.


Me? I thought it would be Caudle. But, apparently, there will have to be a literal or metaphorical bus crash for him to ever start at Auburn.

Chrissy's back and oooh he's gonna give you such a slap

Seriously? This guy's football career is harder to kill than Rasputin.

I am surprised. I have publicly stated I thought the job would go with Kodi Burns, because of (in order of importance) his mobility, strong arm, and experience. Maybe Todd is entirely healthy, then. Burns said he isn't going to transfer, which makes sense; if he can't beat out Neil Caudle and Chris Todd, where's he going to play? UAB? Huntington? I do like the idea of Todd, Burns, and Mario Fannin on the field at the same time. Maybe that's the real reason for picking this quarterback from among some equally good/bad options, because it still lets Burns play a big role in the offense.

School's starting back

Thursday, August 13, 2009

open your mind. open your miiiiind

My Halloween costume: set.

I might order one for the wife to put a small dog in.

UPDATE: 80 bucks! Not likely. I can make one out a trash bag or a fleece blanket if necessary.

Peekaru original

actual student work

Dear Computer,
Why the balls is this on you?
Sincerely, Tha Captain

An issue I could get behind

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Heisman winners

Some highlights:
1959: Billy Cannon (LSU) - Orthodontist in Baton Rouge, LA (age 72)

1965: Mike Garrett (USC) – USC athletic director under fire for possible NCAA violations by football and basketball programs (age 65)

1968: O.J. Simpson (USC) - Serving at least 9 years in Lovelock, NV prison (age 62)

1969: Steve Owens (Oklahoma) - CEO of real estate company, Steve Owens & Associates, in Norman (age 61)

1978: Billy Sims (Oklahoma) – Owns chain of Billy Sims BBQ restaurants in Oklahoma, most recently apologized in December for screaming "Boomer!" 11 times after Sam Bradford won Heisman (age 53)

1987: Tim Brown (Notre Dame) – Owns Tim Brown Racing LLC in NASCAR and lives in DeSoto, TX (age 43)
"Where Are They Now?" Heisman Trophy Edition

no comment

The Flowering of Jal Sparks

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mario computers

Someone wrote a Flash game that creates infinite Mario levels. Someone else made a program that plays Mario levels. The end is near.

See more at CollegeHumor.

The inner workings of the math department at a major research university

in spreadsheet form.


His biographer, Billy Reed, says Hornung “led the Packers, and maybe the NFL, in chasing women, hanging out in bars and nightclubs, and generally trying to circumvent the strict rules of Vince Lombardi.” And famed sportswriter Dick Schaap, who spent a week with Hornung leading up to a game vs. Cleveland, summed up an average Hornung day: “At three (after practice) he’d come home, mix a pitcher of martinis, and drink martinis with Ron Kramer and the others. Then they’d go out an have dinner, a group of players. Scotch before dinner. Wine with dinner. Brandy after dinner. Then back on scotch. Every day. I lost count by the time it had reached more than 60. Also, he never went to bed before four in the morning and he never went to bed alone.”

Modern Drunkard Magazine

Monday, August 10, 2009

pre dick shuns!

Everybody's doing it. By the way, I thought about putting links to the You Can't Spell EPIC FAIL posts, but I didn't. Fuck you.

1. Chelsea - I'm on the trolley again. They lost nobody and gained one wily Russian whose last name sounds like 'jerkoff.' I thought they would do it last year. They didn't. I'll probably be saying that same thing next year. Will this blog be around then? YES!

2. Manchester United - Topping the table four straight years would be xtrakrzy. Ronaldo was a dickweed but he was a brilliant dickweed who won countless games singlehandedly. Rooney isn't selfish enough to pick up the goalscoring slack and their midfield is apallingly mediocre.

3. Liverpool - Arbeloa out Glen Johnson in is an upgrade. Xabi Alonso out Alberto Aquilani in is not. If either Gerrard or Torres misses any significant time, they'll be lower than this. Thinner than my hair. And that is fuckin' thin.

4. Arsenal - More Russians. I'm convinced Andrei Arshavin is really, really good. Having him for the whole season will mean Arsenal will finish less than ten points back of the top three.

5. Everton - Con.Sis.Tent.

6. Manchester City - A real wild card. In the sense that everyone other than their fans wants to see them fail spectacularly but nobody really knows how good they will be. They've outspent everyone else and will likely be able to score shit tons of goals. However, your big defensive upgrade was Kolo Toure? Get outta here.

7. Aston Villa - No cockteasing this year. They flirted with the top four last year but ended up at home jerking off to facebook.

8. Tottenham Hotspur - They can't possibly start as bad as they did last year, can they? They can! But won't.

9. West Ham United - Proving that even if all your players kinda suck you can still field a pretty good team. I'm convinced that no player on their team has scored or ever will score a goal.

10. Fulham - See above.

11. Sunderland - See above above.

12. Wigan Athletic - See above above above.

13. Blackburn Rovers - See above above above above.

14. Birmingham City - Why am I so convinced that they will be the safest of the promoted teams? Birmingham pride, baby.

15. Bolton Wanderers - I actually grew to like them last year. Their new jerseys are grody croyle.

16. Stoke City - How are they still here? They'll hack their way to another season of safety.

17. Wolverhampton Wanderers - Good name, bad team.

18. Portsmouth - Financial worries. Relegation will not help that.

19. Hull City - If they're anywhere near as shitty as they were in the second half of last season, they'll be relegaed by mid march.

20. Burnley - I really, really want these cute little country guys to make it in the big city. I don't see how it could happen. They'll be lucky to have a merely bad season and not an epic Derby County 2008 style train derailment.

Football schedules

This is really magnificent, and with football season nigh upon us, it's good to remind ourselves of the tools at our disposal.

Comic book headlines

Dateline: Silver Age

Saturday, August 08, 2009

'bout to get my Pynch-on!

Narration by the man himself.

comics I like

Not new to readers of this site, I am sure.


Friday, August 07, 2009

3E Presents: A Top 21 Things on the Internet: #13 Chocolate Rain

As Tha Cap'n put it, it makes sense that a guy who sounds 50 and looks fourteen should be 27. Some people don't like him.

Since two years ago, when it was popular, "Chocolate Rain" has had over 40 million views, which is a lot. Also Mr. Zonday got paid to make this.

The reason this is on my list is because about once a month the song randomly gets stuck in my head, and it stays there for about three days. This has not declined in frequency, that I can tell, which I think is a bad sign about how much more empty space my brain has left for learning new things.

But overall, I guess that whole internet fame thing pretty cool, right? A talented guy gets popular on the internet and then rightly makes at least a little money as a result of that talent.

But that is a fake story, the same way that poor black kids leaving the ghettos to become NBA All-Stars is a fake story. The fact that it may have happened before in no way makes it less true.*

*This totally makes sense if you think about it in typical (in the sense of "a type or model for one's life") terms.

For at least one of us, this is very good news.

I know what all of 3E will be doing at 6:45 AM every Saturday this season!*


Thought he was a goner

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

toats bsc's year

d3 preseason top 25. Millsucks and Trinity just barely on the outside looking in. Down year in the SCAC? Actually I think it's just a shite conference. Also note LaGrange receiving un poco amount of votes. Remember, they're just one year ahead of BSC in this 'starting a football program' tutorial.

Cake Tuesday II

So, I like the band Cake. This is mostly because of their music. But they seem like pretty good guys, too. Like right now, their website plays a Chinese version of "Wheels," which is not a song I'm particularly crazy about but I like the Chinese (maybe it's Japanese -- I am not good on languages) one. Also, I like their "News" section. Some of the things you can learn there:
Two logical fallacies that we must avoid: The naturalistic fallacy (what is natural is good) and the moralistic fallacy (what is good is natural).

The English language makes a distinction between blue and green but some languages do not. Of these, quite a number, mostly in Africa, do not distinguish blue from black either, whilst there are a handful of languages that do not distinguish blue from black but have a separate term for green. Also, some languages treat light (often greenish) blue and dark blue as separate colors, rather than different variations of blue, while English does not.

Even "pure" or "filtered" honey contains tiny amounts of bacteria that can lead to botulism if fed to infants, although the bacteria is usually harmless to older children and adults.

Salt contains two elements, sodium and chloride, crucial to existence. Excessive avoidance of salt, especially in hot weather, can be damaging to the body and drain energy.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell

A Malcolm Gladwell article about Jim Folsom and To Kill a Mockingbird and mentioning someone from my comps committee?

I think I understand what Gladwell is saying, but he's chosen terrible examples to do it. For example, in discussing the famous court case, Gladwell asserts that Atticus Finch was making an argument using class-based prejudices to discredit the alleged victim.
We are back in the embrace of Folsomism. Finch wants his white, male jurors to do the right thing. But as a good Jim Crow liberal he dare not challenge the foundations of their privilege. Instead, Finch does what lawyers for black men did in those days. He encourages them to swap one of their prejudices for another.
Problem: has their been a major southern politician since WWII that this works less well for than it does for Jim Folsom? The man became successful, after all, for his willing embrace of ultra-populist causes. They didn't call him the little man's big friend for nothing. Folsom didn't attack the poor as trashy; he urged them to demand more from their government.

And "the Supreme Court’s landmark desegregation ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ended Folsom’s career" isn't really true. It was enormous corruption, his own well-publicized alcoholism, and the all-out attacks from the Alabama political establishment that ended Folsom's career. A comeback was already quite unrealistic for Big Jim before the civil rights movement and George Wallace came into the picture.

We could demand that Folsom had never made any concessions to racism or Jim Crow, and reject any apparently admirable traits he had because of his failure to totally devote himself to overthrowing an evil system. I don't think that's terribly realistic, though. Of the people who were actually capable of winning the Alabama governorship between 1945 and 1960, who would Gladwell have rather won? Who, of those actually possible, would have been better for blacks (or, for that matter, poor whites)?
The argument over race had risen to such a pitch that it could no longer be alleviated by gesture and symbolism—by separate but equal inaugural balls and hearty handshakes—and he [Folsom] was lost.
So, gesture and symbolism had no value in challenging Jim Crow? That's wrong, obviously so when one considers how much of Jim Crow was dedicated to symbolism and appearance.

And Folsom wasn't lost because he didn't understand the legal and social and political changes going on around him. He was lost because the time when a moderate liberal could win votes by appealing to large numbers of southern whites without enthusiastically embracing segregation came to an end.

And Atticus Finch. Gladwell criticizes (or says some people criticize him, or could criticize him -- he's vague as ever) Finch for being friendly toward his neighbors, despite their racism, and for his insistence that these people are wrong, not evil, in their hatred of blacks. I'm not quite sure how this is entirely worthy of criticism. Does Gladwell know anyone who is racist? Does he automatically assume that person is in every way evil? If so, that means (to throw out a number) two-thirds of all Americans had evil grandparents.
Finch will stand up to racists. He’ll use his moral authority to shame them into silence. He will leave the judge standing on the sidewalk while he shakes hands with Negroes. What he will not do is look at the problem of racism outside the immediate context of Mr. Cunningham, Mr. Levy, and the island community of Maycomb, Alabama.
That's a fairly tall order, Mr. Gladwell, for someone living in Alabama in 1959. Risking life and livelihood alone is, apparently, not enough. Gladwell is not just saying that Finch's approach fails to advance civil rights; he seems to be saying that it's actively harmful. I don't know what to make of that.
That her father and the Sheriff have decided to obstruct justice in the name of saving their beloved neighbor the burden of angel-food cake? Atticus Finch is faced with jurors who have one set of standards for white people like the Ewells and another set for black folk like Tom Robinson. His response is to adopt one set of standards for respectable whites like Boo Radley and another for white trash like Bob Ewell.
Boo Radley saved the life of a small child and, in doing so, killed her attacker. Should it come to court, it is obvious what the outcome of a trial would be. He also has some sort of social disorder that makes it difficult for him to leave his home or interact with people (which he rather courageously overcomes to save the life of a young girl who has never been particularly nice to him). Assuming that a prosecutor would even take action against a man who killed an attacker while saving two children (and one wouldn't), in light of Radley's mental problems, the sheriff decides to falsify his report. This is unfortunate, not to be taken as an example. But it's only obstruction of the law, not obstruction of justice.

But I think I get what Gladwell is saying, or at least the point he is trying to make. A certain brand of vaguely-populist southern liberalism didn't sufficiently address the problem of racism in southern society. Where he goes wrong: using Jim Folsom as the best example of this, when Folsom was actually pretty good on racial issues, certainly better than was politically wise; trying to say that Atticus Finch had the same politics as Jim Folsom (!) or at least is somehow comparable in the way he addressed racial issues (!!); implying that class-based prejudices had something to do with this, although it's not clear what exactly, and saying that Folsom wanted people to embrace this class prejudice (!!!) instead of racism (!!!!).

Historically and logically, this gets a D. I won't even get into Gladwell's apparent acceptance of Klarman's backlash thesis or his (apparent) simultaneous, contradictory conviction that law-oriented activism was the only legitimate way to improve race relations in the South.