Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Lisa, I Would Like To Buy Your Rock

Th1sWasATriumph
Th1sWasATriumph
Tue May 25, 2010 5:35 pm by Th1sWasATriumph

It goes like this:

[Item] or [practice] nullifies or negates the effects, presence, activity or consequences of [entity], [energy], or [phenomenon]. How can you tell? Because absolutely nothing is happening, and so the [item] or [practice] is a legitimate success. This stone keeps away bears. You can tell because you don’t see any bears around here . . . yes, this stone IS for sale. How expensive? Completely. (more…)

A Hitherto Unheeded Level Of Tact

Th1sWasATriumph
Th1sWasATriumph
Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:40 pm by Th1sWasATriumph

Usually I refrain from pouncing on superstitious or irrational beliefs for entirely selfish reason. If a woman mentions an interest in astrology, I’m more than likely to tone down or censor entirely any strident protests along the lines of “You what? ” unless I have no superficial manly interest in her at all. For the record, it would take a brick wall in a dress before I stopped wanting to make with the penis.

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Another pointless evolution program

rabbitpirate
rabbitpirate
Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:12 pm by rabbitpirate

So I get bored easily and seeing I have no life to speak of I end up writing pointless programs that demonstrate arbitrary points of evolutionary theory that only people who don’t understand it actually argue with in the first place. The first program I wrote, which attempted to show how mutation and natural selection could make a “bug” better suited to its environment, garnered a number of great comments as well as some helpful constructive criticism and as such my initial plan was to go back and rewrite that program taking those issues into account. However I ended up doing away with that idea and starting completely from scratch.

 

The most common complaint about the original program was that it took too long to run. Even sped up to run at around a generation a second it could still take a number of minutes to get anything approaching a definitive result. As such when I started writing this new program I put considerable thought into this issue and, well how can I put this, decided to ignore it completely. This new program is, I am afraid to say, a good bit slower than the last one. In fact it can at times take several hours to run, which believe me makes bug testing it a real pain. On top of that both selection and reproduction work differently in this program and as such there is no simulated predation or mating in this one. Yes people that’s right. I have written a sequel that is vastly longer than the original and which contains no sex or violence. Clearly I must be mad!

 

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Panspermia, Which Is Sperm In A Pan

Th1sWasATriumph
Th1sWasATriumph
Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:19 pm by Th1sWasATriumph

I’m a great fan of sperm in a pan. However, I’m also a fan of panspermia, if you can be a “fan” of a scientific hypothesis. I suppose I like the additional romantic element that panspermia brings to hypothetical speculation on abiogenesis and the origin of life. If that makes me unscientific, well, that’s because I’m not a scientist and took my degree in Wordification and Filmazement.

Panspermia describes the possibility that life on Earth was seeded, catalysed or in some way influenced by material entering its ecosystem from space. And what with various organic compounds being discovered in the chilly depths of space, far beyond the reach of human hands, it’s a hypothesis that is, at the very least, plausible.

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Getting Woo for Christmas

rabbitpirate
rabbitpirate
Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:00 pm by rabbitpirate

As the vast majority of the readers of this blog are skeptics I have a question for you all. What do you do if a well meaning relative, who honestly doesn’t know any better and who is very excited about it, gives you woo for Christmas? There you are, Christmas day, sitting with your family. You are handed a lovingly wrapped present by an exuberant relative who smiles at you with excitement and proclaims that “when I saw this I immediately thought of you, I just know you will love it.” Full of anticipation you tear off the wrapping paper to find ear candles/homeopathic remedies/a magnetic healing bracelet/a book by Deepak Chopra. What do you do?

 

Now of course your immediate reaction is to lie through your teeth. You love it, it is just what you were looking for, you have always wanted one. Anything but tell your loved one that, not only have they got you something that you don’t like, they have been taken in by a steaming pile of horse hockey. You can only hope it didn’t cost them too much money.

 

But of course the problem doesn’t end there. Once you have convinced them that you do actually like your vouchers of a free Reiki session what do you do then? Do you just throw it out or try and pass it off to someone else? But what happens when your relative turns up and asks how you are getting on with it? Maybe they have got you something that they expect you to display in some way, what then? Do you hang the unicorn power mural on the wall to show your relative that your do in fact like it? Or do you make up some excuse as to why you can’t do so?

 

Or are you all just completely honest and just tell them the truth from the start? I’d be interested in your thoughts, not that I got a present like this, no sir.

And now for something completely different

rabbitpirate
rabbitpirate
Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:02 pm by rabbitpirate

Ok firstly, seriously people am I the only person posting on this blog at the moment? I mean one more post and the entire first page will be nothing but posts from me and I’m pretty sure our readers don’t want to just be hearing from me all the time.

 

Secondly I have to acknowledge that there is a very good chance, judging from the reactions of people I know, that no one else is going to find this as remotely cool, interesting or hypnotic as I do. I completely expect that many of the comments on this one will be along the lines of “erm ok then” or the ever popular “WTF!”

 

So a while back, inspired by similar things from the likes of CDK007 and Thunderf00t, I decided to try and write a little program that would visually demonstrate the principles of evolution by natural selection. I know, my life really is that exciting. I decided to create a little population of computerised bugs and by simply applying selection pressure to them show how they could evolve over the generations to be better suited to their environment. The main difference, between my program and those of the afore mentioned YouTubers, is that I wanted to make my version interactive so that people could play around with it to their hearts content. With that in mind I made a whole host of changes to the original version of the program I had written before so that it is now possible to play around with a number of different selection pressures and change the environment in which the bugs live at will. Finally I made the decision to share it with the rabid horde here at the League of Reason. So with no further ado, and with some trepidation, I give you:

 

Bug Evolver 2.0

 

For more details of exactly what is going on in this program check below the fold.

 

 

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Speaker’s Corner

Th1sWasATriumph
Th1sWasATriumph
Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:06 pm by Th1sWasATriumph

Some of you may have heard of Speaker’s Corner, in Londonbox – an area of Hyde Park where, for over 100 years, people have turned up (generally on Sundays) to speak their brains about whatever they feel is important. The majority of this consists of religious nutbarness, as you might expect, but with a smattering of political, social and ecological viewpoints.

You’re not protected by law, as many people seem to think – but police do tend to steer clear, so as long as you don’t try to wash the colour off a black man or anything similarly importunate you’re probably ok.

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The Illusion Of Choice, Or Maybe It’s Not An Illusion, Who Knows

Th1sWasATriumph
Th1sWasATriumph
Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:47 am by Th1sWasATriumph

Ever made a decision?

Of course you have! You chose to visit the League today. And for this, I salute you. Except that, by visiting the League today . . . maybe you’ve killed us all. You bastard.

When you actually think about the choices, decisions and actions you’ve taken that led to your current life, many of them will probably seem unbelievably haphazard. I got to know one of my closest friends because, on my first evening at uni, I happened to go to the student bar and hang around. Crippling isolation compelled me to strike up hesitant conversation with a couple of people. I nearly didn’t go to the bar and there were dozens of other people I might have talked to instead. The last 5 or so years of my life could have been entirely different if I’d taken a second more or less to think about what I was going to do that evening.

Likewise, I got to know my other closest friend through a series of more or less random happenstances, but again things would have been very different had I not been looking to stay around for another year and he hadn’t been looking for a housemate (and I hadn’t happened to see his advert for a vacant room.) For a start, I very likely wouldn’t be here writing this.

The relationships you hold with your closest friends and loved ones are probably all based on tenuous interconnecting circumstance. Go out, or stay in? Go here or there? And maybe you meet someone pretty randomly and it becomes something special. But all the events, the choices that led to you being where you are at that moment discovering that you both love Bon Jovi, become so fractured and multiplying as you go back in time . . . it’s odd to think about.

Another example. I’ve been with my girlfriend for about a year. We met because I went into a salon where she worked. I courted her, won her and then BROKE DOWN HER FAITH. If another salon had been cheaper, I’d have gone there. Would I have met someone else? If I hadn’t been fired from my previous job, I’d never have met my girlfriend at all. And me even being in London in the first place directly results from a decision\action I took some years ago (I won’t give details) that, had I taken it 30 seconds later, would have affected nothing. I’d have never known, of course. I might still have come here, but it would have been very different.

The thing that gets me is that, if you can so easily form a complex and meaningful relationship with someone through a chance meeting informed by countless decisions (by both parties involved, who have in themselves been affected by countless decisions of countless other people) then how many relationships are we missing? If I decided to strike up more conversations with a customer, who would they turn out to be? Is that girl there, the one who sort of smiled at me as I got off the tube, is she the One? Is she another One? How many people are there walking around that have the potential to deeply change my life that I never met thanks to some tiny choice that I probably wasn’t consciously aware of?

It’s enough to drive a man insane. Maybe my decision to write this blog will cause something to happen. Maybe Patrick Stewart will read it, be impressed, and adopt me as his son and protege.

Anyone who’s seen “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” will know that it’s not a great film – but it’s one of the only films I’ve seen that actually spends time trying to grapple with the headwrenching concept of cause and effect. A lengthy sequence details all the countless tiny interconnected things that, had just one been different, would have resulted in a character not getting hit by a car. When your future can be decided by something a complete stranger does or doesn’t do, on a whim in the space of a second, that can affect many other people and events sequentially and exponentially, doesn’t life seem a bit shaky?

Since we have the glory of retrospect, it’s tempting to look at the consequences of all the things we do and think how easily different everything could have been – and to extrapolate from that all the potential pathways we can lead ourselves down. Such thinking can drive you mad, of course, because while we may have the power to make our own choices it is ONLY in retrospect that we can see the full effect of them. I could engage every one of my customers in detailed conversation today, but it was a more or less desultory comment to a customer recently that revealed him as a fairly successful award-winning musician. Do we really have any choice if we only know what we did after the event? Sure, I could do a great many things today, and all of them are possible – but it only becomes real when I DO them. All the previous branching chances collapse as soon as you do anything at all.

And it’s thinking like this that tends to lead to speculations on parallel universes, where everything gets played out, that every choice or non-choice sends the universe spinning down some different route. I personally reject such thinking, unsupported as it is by anything other than wishful thinking. My adopted philosopy is Didactylos’ “Things just happen. What the hell.” I recommend this stance to everyone.

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