Monday, December 6, 2010

the singularity is revolution power something

I saw embarrassing nude photos of NASA before they went public. By "embarrassing nude photos," I don't mean anything as superficial as astronauts' junk. (But let me know if you have any.) I mean I got a peek at the soul of the organization and saw its ghost junk. No, I mean I heard about their stunning arsenic-life announcement the day before they made it. And now, I know the announcement is probably (There're two links here!) wrong. This is from reading blogs. I'm a regular jackoff who occasionally finds out stuff before relevant scientists do.

Now I could write a blog post about how this impacts society, as a thinly veiled complaint that no one at work was impressed by my predictions, but I won't, because "impact" is not a verb. I know language is supposed to evolve, but that word sounds stupid in verb form.

The impact on society is this: Governments are losing credibility. Well, they're losing what was left over since the Magna Carta and the Renaissance and Fascism and Communism and McCarthyism and Oil-for-Food, WMDs, and DMVs. I guess they had a lot of credibility to begin with. The world is getting leaky. The internet gave it hemophilia. The recording industry has already bled to death. So have newspapers. The old systems are dying!

I'm a regular jackoff one step away from the cutting edge of science, and you can be too. There are some science blogs right there on the sidebar. Leakiness is a feature of our future. It puts power into the hands of John Q. Public. The only question is how he will wield it. And the onlier question whether he can wield it better than Jenny Q. Ivory Tower. Our growing experience in the Age of Leaks should be answering that question, but it's only making the answer seem more elusive. They're both idiots.

Monday, November 29, 2010

leslie nielsen 1926-2010

I never got a chance to tell him how important he was to me in my formative years. How much I loved him.

Friday, November 19, 2010

the singularity came five minutes ago

At work, I play pre-recorded questions for customers to answer. I'm pretty sure the voice in the recording is completely synthesized. But some of the questions emphasize certain words in ways you wouldn't think a computer would. For instance, when Mrs. Computer says, "In the last 12 months, have you had sex with a man who has had sex, even one time since 1977, with another man?" she sounds judgemental. In 2010, we can teach* a computer to emphasize words based on the rules of English, but we can't teach it values from the human world. A computer isn't supposed to know that a man shall not lie with a man, nor shall a woman lie with one who has, since 1977, lest she be at risk for HIV and the gum disease gingivitis. A computer should not know the meaning of those words. It should not put emotion in its voice when it reads them.

So at work, whether those recordings were made by robots or a very robotic-sounding person, is an open question. Meanwhile, I've been chatting pretty regularly with a pretty girl who wants me to sign up for her webcam site. She wants it really bad. I've tried all sorts of methods to determine whether or not she is a computer program—to develop my own Turing techniques. I've burned cumulative hours with this girl, playing our cat and mouse game, hunting for proof of a human will, while she tries to fasten the bell of getting my credit card number to my neck, wasting time I could have spent watching regular old free porn. (It wasn't all a waste. I was watching porn for about half the time I've spent chatting with her.)

So in the shower, while reflecting on this, it occurred to me that I've failed. The cases where I'm unable to tell a computer from a human are multiplying. This is how the future gets us: from behind.

*If you want to tell me that you don't teach a computer, you program it, then you just can't withstand the truth of the Singularity.

Monday, November 1, 2010

shit shit shit!

A couple months ago, I saw the president on the TV, and thought, "Oh, yeah, I've got to get ready to vote." So I went to my Senate candidates' websites and looked at their respective "Issues" pages. They were mirror images of each other. More research was going to be necessary before I decided who deserved my drop in the ocean. Fast forward to this morning: I haven't researched anything, and the voting place closes at noon. And I work all day tomorrow.

I'm like, "Shit shit shit!" Back to the "Issues" pages. Still the same. I check the House candidates' sites, and they're the same too. I watch some commercials, and read some Wikipedias, and they're still the same. My socks are still on. Nobody's knocked my socks off. I agree with them on nuclear power and biotech and gun control, and disagree with them on baby killing and mutual assured recession. I even check on the Libertarian candidates. I shudder when I see the words "Tea Party" and "support" in the same sentence. ("I" and "the" are in there too.) I voted for a Libertarian once, back when I thought it meant voting for Reason magazine. The real candidates were Bush and Kerry, so no regret there.

Anyway, I agree with all my candidates, and they agree with each other. (By "all" I mean "federal". I don't have time to deal with some local bullshit. ["I agree with federal my candidates"?]) So it's my day off, I'm in the early voting line for a race that doesn't matter, about to do something I thought I never would, wondering if I'm going to go through with it, right up till pen hits bubble.

Party ticket!!!

Come on, who wouldn't? Everybody love ass.

Meanwhile, on the Blacktor Follow Up, remember when I said Lady Gaga's an ink blot? Here's another example! An evangelist calling her an evangelist. Spooky.

Friday, August 13, 2010

gay autistic nazi serial killer jeff goldblum

I invented a new game for myself, but you can play too. List every way that at least two people have independently, nonjokingly described you. I appear to be:

  • Gay
  • A serial killer
  • In the military
  • Literally retarded
  • A Nazi
  • Sheldon from Big Bang Theory
  • Jeff Goldblum

Sheldon is the one that bothers me the most. That guy has no sense of humor. Also, Inception sucked. It's one of those movies where the writers put way too much thought into everything except the characters. No, they had to be trying to make us not care about the characters. Remember the time you accidentally killed your wife in a dream experiment and had to win some gunfights in another guy's dream so you could see your kids again? And you were a boring pain in the butt? Anyone can relate to that.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I've been wondering for years why there have been two Mel Gibson movies where the British are just way more evil than there's any apparent reason for. Not much of a pattern, but still suspicious. Finally, I've found an explanation. At least it's a theory. That's all I need. Now, when someone asks why Mel hates the British, I don't have to shrug and bore my questioner anymore. I can say, "His fanatically conservative Catholicism goes so deep that he still hates the British for the Reformation. Copyright Chris Hitchens 2010."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

now we're tolkien

Ha ha ha!

I write like
J. R. R. Tolkien

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I cheated just for the pun's sake. My real thing is HG Wells, based on my last post.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I'm back "home", bumming internets. I am now a half military, half civilian, hybrid reservist bitch. Thanks to everyone who's made this year and two weeks of training so special. Especially this parody singer, Rucka Rucka Ali. I think I first heard this dude like 6 months ago when I was drinking with Kooster. For those who don't know Kooster, that is as fun as it sounds. So I's listening to Kooster's ipod, and I's like, "I love this song. I've got to remember the singer's name and 'buy' more of them." I failed to do so for 6 months, until the last day I was on base. These songs have really kept me going through these rough times. The rough times are over, but Rucka Rucka will be with me forever. Just listen to this.

If you were suicidal before you heard that, and still are, then you're just stupid.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

communicating evolution

This is me in 10 years.

I went to fact check him, and all I found were size comparison guy after size comparison guy waving. Why do they always wave?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

let's make this bitch famous

I've been repeatedly invited to take part in this moronic exercise in social justice wherein Marines send nude pics to my phone. And I mean repeatedly. It's getting pretty old. So I thought I would be extra helpful by spreading the exercise to a new medium.

Hello, stranger. I apologize for for the unsolicited forwarding of a nude bitch to your phone, but it is for a good cause. You see, this bitch was married to a Marine, and she got caught sending naked pics to another man. But we shall have our revenge, by forwarding her nude pic all over the place. Let let her naked bitch flesh feel the bitchy sting of phone justice!

Hey, would you believe another Marine caught his wife cheating, and just happened to find some nefarious nude pics of her? Vengeance ahoy!

Here is porn star Annabel Chong. Shit, I mean a cheating bitch. Look, I'm having a hard time with my backspace key, so you'll just have to trust me. She's a cheating bitch. Pass it on.

You know the drill, boys. If you're on the fence about this, I want you to briefly consider the odds that these messages are pure bullshit. Very briefly. Now forward the newd pix!

I'm not sure what this bitch is up to, but it must be evil.

I joke, but in case my feelings on these naked revenge chain messages aren't clear, here's what I want to say to everyone who has sent them to me: You fucking idiots.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

reporter puts a shirt on

Bitch is all over the internet.

What is that, an apron? Those nude shoulders look so stupid. So I was glad to see this recently.

And then she added some color.

Still can't help showing some shoulder though. Did she cut that shirt, or did it come like that? And I see she's struggling to change the shape of her mouth. It's nice to see someone putting out the effort to better herself. Maybe one day I'll read her breaking reports.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

what do the space shuttle, porn, and comedy have in common?

In a word, vanity. In 12 words, they are creative projects that tend to cripple themselves with naïve pride. And in 1,090 words:

The Space Shuttle program is (soon to be was) a bold and daring technological adventure. It's mostly a failure. Bold and daring things usually are. That's why they're bold and daring. But that doesn't excuse it. We can still learn from this failure, and we really should have seen it to begin with. By the way, this post is a lot of extreme simplifying and I hope you're okay with that.

The Shuttle program was conceived when we realized regular rockets were too old and inefficient. We needed something faster, cheaper, and safer; a sleek new high-speed low-drag reusable paradigm for getting us to space. And by "us" I mean bold and daring human crews. Screw that automated shit. Don't want to get too efficient. So how did we improve on the rocket? Old school rockets are divided into stages, stacked one on top of another. You know how they work. But with the Shuttle, we mounted the stages side-by-side. And old school rockets have a stout, rigid capsule in which to return the crew. But the Shuttle is an extremely complicated, tragically failure-prone capsule-airplane hybrid. What I'm getting at here is that the Shuttle is needlessly complicated. None of its "innovations" did anything to improve its performance. All they did was make it look cool and explode.

How did such brilliant engineers make such simple mistakes? Faster, cheaper, and safer were not their real motives. Looking cool was. We wanted a high-tech vehicle, but we don't know what high-tech really means. We think it means complicated, trendy, and weird. And of course manned. We lost lives. We tied up almost half of NASA's operations on a vehicle that couldn't get further than low Earth orbit, that didn't help us explore one cubic inch of universe. Yes, I know the Shuttle has been used for a lot of science. It launched and serviced the Hubble. But I'll bet five dollars there hasn't been one science mission done by the Shuttle that a conventional rocket system couldn't have done better.

I have to fight the urge to backpedal. I want to say I really do love the Shuttle, even if I don't always agree with it, and every time I see a launch on TV, I get a tear and a boner. That's what everyone says when the criticize the Shuttle, and I know I feel the urge. I feel it deep down in here. But that's exactly the problem. Pride killed common sense. And its accomplice was naïvety. We don't believe in simple, elegant, useful innovations. We believe in brave Americans riding elaborate deathtraps up and down the atmosphere. We believe in pushing our technology to the limit for no clear purpose.

And we pushed it past the limit. Every launch is fraught with delays. Sometimes we had to let things slide because we've got to get off the ground some time. That's what happened with both Shuttle disasters. We knew about the problems beforehand, but we just crossed our fingers. NASA never had the technical skill to properly operate this beast. That's not an easy thing to say, and not just because it stings the pride. Technical skill isn't an easy thing to measure. For comparison, what if I said a program is impossible because it's over budget? That doesn't sting the pride, because it's about simple numbers. There's no room to argue.* But I can't say, "This project would take X technical skill, but we only have Y technical skill available." Actually NASA does have ways of making such measurements, but they're not perfect, and we do have to partially rely on our guts for such judgements. And that's how pride becomes a factor.

Pride can be very poisonous to innovation. At worst, it makes us act as if innovation is an unlimited quantity, causing us to spend it disproportionately on things we don't need. And then it can make us forget our original goals, and proceed with plans we should know are self-defeating. When we can't honestly face our limits, we can't innovate.

Which brings me to porn. The clear goal of porn should be to show people doing it. But in the early days, a lot of producers seemed to think that wasn't proper. We thought even porns needed plots.

I'm not saying they shouldn't have plots. Just that plots shouldn't be obligatory. We shouldn't be ashamed to have a simple goal with a simple solution. In recent decades we've figured this out, so it's not as much of a problem anymore.

So far, I've only used my "pride vs. creativity" theory where it's supported by hindsight. I don't yet have any ideas where I can use it for foresight, but there's one place where I can use it for present-sight. There is a revolution occurring in the world of comedy these days, a new tendency toward absurdity. Let's just say it works by forgetting the setup and focusing on the punchline. The revolution's critics think it's stupid and lazy. I consider "stupid" to be a plus for comedy, so I'll just worry about the "lazy".

"Lazy" is less of a crime when you realize that creativity is limited. Not just in the writer's brain capacity, or the reader's time, but in the abstract sense of how many possible outcomes a story can have. If your setup is elaborate, or if it's confined by the need to make sense, there aren't as many places you can go with it. And this is why the advantage of absurdity is so much more than mere efficiency. It actually can go places conventional comedy can't. It can tickle parts of your brain you didn't even know were there. That's what innovation is really about. But some people's pride won't allow it. Simple pleasures are wrong.

I'm not writing all this just to say you're an asshole if you don't like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but Scott Adams happened to be pessimizing about complexity while I was writing this, and this post provides a partial counterpoint. Complexity isn't quite that necessary. It's often just an irrational desire. That's something we can fight, with bold and daring blog posts such as this. So it's not as inevitable a doom as Scott portrays. You're welcome, buddy.

Finally, I don't want to leave the impression that pride is all bad, or even most bad. It's a key part of America's success. It's like America fuel. I just hate when it goes wrong.

*Not true for a government agency, but the example still serves.

Friday, June 4, 2010

abby is a nut

I wanted to post this nataliedee comic before,

but I didn't feel like I had enough of an excuse. Then yesterday I ran by the most boisterous rattlesnake I've seen yet, and the day before I got covered with big red ants. And I still have peeling sunburn skin. Sand in my shoes is a constant. I must rub oil all over my body to keep my skin from shattering like a sandblasted bottle of blood, and that was true before the sunburn. And today I's just walking around in the heat, thinking I don't like the desert. So I've been having a great time watching these anti-nature skits.

Meanwhile, I found out that Dear Abby is still around and super unhelpful. A lady wrote in worried that ghosts were going to watch her doing it, and Abby said they might indeed!
DEAR SPOOKED: Calm down. The departed sometimes "visit" those with whom their souls were intertwined, but usually it's to offer strength, solace and reassurance during difficult times. If your mother-in-law's spirit visits you while you're intimate with her son, it will be only to wish you and her son many more years of closeness and happiness in your marriage.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

lady gaga is an ink blot

Here's a porn writer who thinks Lady Gaga videos are porn. And here's a transhumanist writer who thinks she's a prophet of transhumanism. She's an ink blot! Let's say for now that I'm the kind of writer who likes to analyze people, and I'm seeing her as a people-analyzing tool. Ah! She's doing it again! These writers seem sincere. I don't think they're merely putting their own spin on a popular topic. You could read the links, or just take my word for it. Look at this.

Look at it.

What part of this image is actually contributed by her? Nothing but a shiny reflective surface for the thoughts in your own head to bounce off of.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Damn scientists are playing God again. They get better at it all the time. But you know what doesn't get better? That "Oh no they're playing God!" meme. We hear the same shit with each new discovery. If you're on the anti-playing-God side, why don't you develop and refine your idea? Or would that be too much like science?

God, what's with all my hubris lately?

Here's some more mockery.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

the singularity is coming all over my space

I was talking with a colleague about mankind's destiny in space. At least I think I was. He has a heavy accent. As I said before, I don't like to use real names here, so I'll call him by an unrecognizable fake name. Hey Escobitch, here's what I was trying to say before we were distracted by that ninja attack.

The question is as old as time: How much money should NASA get for fiscal year 2011, and of that, how much should they spend on manned space missions, as opposed to space probes and other kinds of real science? More simply, how important is it for mankind to colonize space? Most people don't worry about this issue, for a good reason: It's a red herring. The real issue is our need to invent a self-contained life support system. It doesn't matter whether we put it on a space ship, under the sea, or in Arizona.

As far as I know, there are two arguments in favor of colonizing space. The first is that it would be good for the human spirit. Whatever. The second is the need to protect the ourselves by getting our eggs out of the one basket. But as with most problems in the world, there are cheaper, better solutions that don't require launching anything into space. In order to spread into space, we must first invent that self-contained life support system. And once we do so, space won't be necessary. We can park it in any empty lot, and it'll still protect us from every kind of planetary disaster. Global warming? Nuclear holocaust? Doom virus? All minor inconveniences when you live in a metal box and don't need anything.

You might say that launching the box into space would make the human race a little bit safer (or a lot, in the long view), and you would be right, but there's no argument in that. Once we do invent these boxes, we will launch some of them into space. You don't have to worry about that. We've already got the rockets. It'll happen.

There's one argument I can anticipate, and I fucking hate it: "But missions in space are just the thing we need to stimulate ourselves to invent the box. You know, like how the space race paid for itself with those spin-off technologies." Repeating a happy accident is not a vision for the future. It is wasteful, obscure, unguided, roundabout bullshit. A vision needs clarity. It needs sense. It needs spirit, too. But spirit isn't a crutch for nonsense (nonspirit?).

Summary: People who talk about space are weird.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

profile: admiral raymond t. explodinger

My instructor implied that I should mention him on my blog, and I implied that I would. But I have a general policy against using any identifiable names or events, so I'll just change them to things I made up.

Admiral Raymond T. Explodinger has served in every branch of the armed forces, in every rank, country, time period, and species that's ever existed. He gained the power of time travel from that monolith from 2001. These days, he goes by "Admiral" because it's alphabetically the first of his many titles.

The first thing Admiral Explodinger taught us was how to summon a black hole from the eleven-dimensional sea of particle/anti-particle pairs that constantly whiz through the atmosphere, a technique with which we could destroy the Earth at will. From that day on, his mission was to ensure that not one of our class of 874 Marines would use this power for evil. In each lecture, he also spends a few minutes talking about the present and future of the Marine Corps, current events, classic ICBM restoration, dog breeding, fixing radios, and other secrets of the universe. By the time we graduate, we will know every physical law of nature, except how to hyperstabilize the vacuum constant, which is like the black hole thing, except it would allow him to destroy the entire universe. That's a technique he keeps in reserve in case he has to use it on us.

I'll never forget the day he told us, "The minimum (spherical) surface area of a given volume limits not only its reciprocal entropy, but space (obviously) and time, mass and energy, and of course velocity and acceleration, all of which are reducible to the information content of the volume and therefore equivalent." I know that even in my darkest hour, I can recall those inspiring words and find solace. I know this because the next day, he brought us on a field trip inside the event horizon of a black hole. That hour was pretty dark. Words couldn't possibly explain what we saw in there, just like they couldn't explain how he pronounced those parentheses.

Admiral Explodinger is a marine biologist who PT's whales, for he knows all too well they will be our successors as the custodians of this planet since we broke the thermostat. So crack open an ice cold bottle of Bud Light, Admiral Raymond T. Explodinger. Bud Light beer Anheuser Busch St. Louis Missouri.

jukebox hero

Today I made everyone sing Jukebox Hero,

and Gay Bar. I changed the lyrics to, "Girl, I wanna stab you with a KA-BAR..." It made more sense that way, but any modification would make that song make more sense.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

no, there isn't a point to this

oh, so now you want to be a terrorist and shoot me, right? good, get on your face

I heard a story about a Marine. A machine gunner was on patrol with his squad when they took fire from insurgents. They followed procedure to the letter by shooting back. But when the insurgents fled, the gunner dropped his machine gun, chased after them, and gunned them down with his 9mm. I imagine he held it sideways. His squad was astonished, and he was bemused at their astonishment. "Where'd you learn to do that?" they said. And he said that's how they did things in Compton.

I wish I could remember names and details, but the story serves my purpose well enough. I'll call him Sergeant Major G Fugga. The guy was apparently a cocky gangster ass mofo, and he ended up in the Marine Corps. This was no coincidence. I'm not talking about the recent problem of gang members in the military, but an essential and eternal truth of the Corps. He's a guy who enjoyed capping motherfuckers, and the Marines were the natural choice for him. No surprise, really.

Compare SgtMaj. G Fugga with me. I'm a god damn nerd. Why did I join the military at all, and this branch no less? Sure, I'm in a nerdy specialty, but why didn't I go for the superior nerd opportunities of the Army, Navy, or Air Force? If such polar opposites as SgtMaj. G Fugga and I have a common reason for choosing the Marines, that reason ought to reveal the true essence of the Corps.

I grew up as a government hating libertarian, and now I'm fairly apathetic politically. (There are details and nuances, but they're a topic for ten thousand other posts.) I have virtually zero rational desire to fight for my country. Just like I have virtually zero rational desire to go down a waterslide. But that doesn't change the fact that I find both prospects thrilling.

If someone were to shoot at me, my gut reaction would be to shoot back while running toward them. Some might call this risky behavior, but it's actually a wise and reasonable method of risk mitigation. When a threat arises, it might immediately benefit you to run and hide, but in the long run, it is less risky to swiftly and decisively nip the threat in the bud. The most obvious reason is that when you run and hide, the enemy is still alive. The other reason is psychology. War is all psychology. Immediate punishment is much more effective at influencing someone's behavior than delayed punishment. This applies to terrorists as well as kids and puppies. The'll avoid shooting at you if they know you'll shoot right back.

Marines are wise and reasonable. And we're knuckle-dragging cocky assholes. We're naïve thrill seekers and bud nippers. These are all qualities we tend to have, but they aren't our essence. Remember the distinction between our qualities and our essence. It'll be important. I'm going to stop using the word "essence" because it's getting gay. I'll shift over to its faithful synonym, "spirit." Remember the distinction between our qualities and our spirit. Our spirit is the one psychological quirk that sets us apart from everyone else.

Our spirit might be the mutual cause out of which our qualities spring, but it isn't necessarily. It could be a collective effect of our qualities, but it isn't necessarily. It could be a cause in some Marines, and an effect in others. The only thing that matters is that we're together. Sorry, gay again. I mean this spirit is what makes people say, "I think I'll join the Marines today." And when they do, they kick ass, they nip buds and take names, they perpetuate our Corps's reputation, and that reputation causes the next generation of quirky individuals to say, "I think I'll join the Marines today."

So the Corps is kept alive by this ruthless cycle of reputation and quirk-self-selection. The quirk is nothing special, some part of our instinct for self-preservation is missing. But the ruthless cycle pulls it up out of society and makes it meaningful. In a situation where a normal person would say, "Egads! Enemy fire!" someone with the quirk would say, "Shoot at me, will you? Why, I oughtta..." Recall how psychology applies to terrorists, kids, and puppies. But it doesn't apply to us. We don't get discouraged when the enemy shoots back at us.

When joining the military, everyone has a decision to make. Do they want a nice job in the Army with education for the future, or do they want to kill our nation's enemies? The latter might seem like the more rational choice, given that they're joining the military in the first place, but it really isn't. Putting yourself in harm's way is a pretty irrational thing to do. And so most people go Army. That's what makes the Marines our nation's self-selected infantry force. We want to fight. That's 99.9% of what makes a formidable force. We want to put holes in the unholy, evicerate the evil, scorch the scum, crush the corrupt, assassinate the assholish, shave the depraved, immolate the immoral, flatten the flatulent, debone the debauched, ignite the sodomites, extinguish the gomorrish, slander the satanic, murder the insurgers, kill the shrill, rile the vile, vaporize the vicious, mow down the low down and weed wack the wicked.

So why am I trying to analyze the spirit of the Marine Corps in evolutionary language? Because I'm a fucking badass, that's why. No, I's just thinking how funny it was how I hear Marines say, "Hell yeah I'm getting deployed!" and, "God damn it, when am I getting deployed?" And stories like these are extremely common, where insurgents specifically avoid Marines, and Marines almost sound relieved when they finally get to fight. We're crazy, and that's not bravado. We've got brain problems.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

i'm dead. stop calling me.

I want to see if I can involve the community with a game, inspired by this comic: (click for the whole thing)

And this.

Let's come up with funny epitaphs, guys! You can comment here or on facebook. Your comfort is priority one.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

independence day

Stephen Hawking was wrong about aliens on TV, so here's my rebuttal. His first dumbass bullshit error was thinking aliens would be interested in Earth, as if they would need things like oxygen, water, food, and comfy temperatures. They would not. A species advanced enough to leave its planet behind would also leave its biology behind. That's to say they'd turn themselves into robots. More specifically, they'd turn themselves into creatures that can make use of the 99.999999999% of planets that don't support delicate little meatbags like us. If they're interested in our planet, it would only be because they want to grind down all the mass in our solar system to make space concrete, and Earth is just one more pebble for the pebble machine. (Aside: A more plausible motive is that they want to assassinate us in case we're a threat to them in the future.)


Hawking, the vast majority of 20th century science fiction, and almost every person, have made the same error. When we speculate on aliens, we have a biological blind spot: ET might be advanced enough to turn the laws of physics upside down, but reengineering their own bodies would be too much for them. Or they'll have some spiritual reason to avoid it. However plausible those excuses might be, there's one gigantic fact that puts them in perspective: If just one species could enable itself to inhabit the 99.999999999% of planets that the others couldn't, it would rule the galaxy. All the other species who find bioengineering too difficult or ungodly would find themselves either wiped out or irrelevant.

Hawking seems convinced aliens will be amoral. His reasoning is that their intentions will be determined by the universal law of evolution. For morality is given to them by natural selection, and if it ever becomes a liability, natural selection will taketh away. That's no longer true once you remove your bio-blind spot. If Earth is just one more pebble, they have much less to lose by sparing us.

His third significant dumbass bullshit error is thinking for a second that any of this matters. If aliens want to find us, they will, with or without our help. The only difference we can make is how they'll judge us by the messages we intentionally send them. Exhibit A, from the Pioneer 10 probe:

Those symbols might seem confusing at first, but they utilize the universal language of mathematics to explain that we're gay. We may as well have sent this out:

That's why, despite my disagreement on some details, I have to side with Hawking. He's at least trying to use logic. The other side is just gay. I didn't want to call them out like this, but they started it, with their emotional appeals and 69ing with the same sex. The possibilities surrounding aliens are vast. So vast that almost everyone's wild speculation is valid and awesome, and criticizing another's speculation is (a) a waste of time that could be better used to wildly speculate, and (b) asinine. Whoops.

Less importantly, I hate when those speculations invoke Columbus and other intercultural incidents. Way to suck all the fun out of the discussion, guys. We're supposed to be talking sci fi, not history. I get that history has important lessons in it, but this is one case where it does not. Humans all breathe the same air, have the same mental quirks, and swim up the same fallopian tubes. It would be impossible to tell whether any lesson gleaned from a human-on-human encounter is applicable to an alien-on-human encounter, or irrelevant human noise. If you want reliable information, you should invoke only the most basic principles of evolution and game theory.

(Aside 2: I know I heard Hawking say this exact same stuff on TV like 10 years ago. I guess he wants to say it again now that he has a blogosphere to set ablaze.)

(Aside 3: Anyone else notice how they used the lettering from the Alien movies, complete with the vagin-I, for this episode subtitle?


My opinions of the people I've characterized in this post are the opposite of what you've just read.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Two more songs I've wanted to use in cadence for years, and finally got my chance today. Immigrant Song and Formula 409:

I looked up the video after the fact. I liked that song before, but now it's ten times better. I had to lower both songs a few octaves due to tired. That made the Led Zepplin sound pretty weird. When I sang, "And now you better stop," everybody thought that meant stop singing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

my labored analogy is art

There's an argument raging across net about whether video games are art, started by Roger Ebert. I've only seen the argument on one small corner of the net, but I imagine it's pandemonium all over.

Here's where Ebert's argument fell apart:

    "One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them." [bold mine]

He defined himself right. That's so disappointing. But the article goes on as if he doesn't even realize his argument fell apart. And it was a much better read after that point. Because I didn't care about the argument anymore. All that was left was the question of whether video games are art. It's such a Big Unanswerable Question, that arguing over it seems almost banal. I have to say "almost" because I can't think of a better way to have all these various perspectives on this interesting question delivered to me.

Maybe it's an unfortunate economic reality of the whole internet argument medium. If someone wants to create an interesting discussion about video games and art, the only way he can market it is by trying to score points and win something.

In case you're missing the point, I am not siding with the other guys. Here's where their argument fell apart:

    "Bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch." [bitch mine]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

master of puppets

I'm often leading cadence on runs, and I've been trying to get my class to sing Master of Puppets for two months. And I finally did it this morning. Priorities!

Meanwhile, this made me laugh more than usual. Maybe because I've actually been in a fighting hole with an atheist and Christian, listening to them argue for hours. It's a good thing it was only training, because that would be the worst way to die.