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Prosthetic Conscience

Jason McBrayer's weblog; occasional personal notes and commentary

Thu, 12 Feb 2009

identica-mode.el update

I’ve written a little update of Gabriel Saldana’s identica-mode.el, which wasn’t working on identi.ca as it currently stands, or at least not with a current Emacs. The updated version is posted on EmacsWiki. Expecting some updates from Matt in Chicago to fix @links, and planning to add support for !groups and #tags, maybe some more faces.

[ Posted: 11:22] | [ Category: computing] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Wed, 04 Feb 2009

Anarchy We Can Believe In

Obamacon of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

An Obamacon of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon by Neverfox.

[ Posted: 13:07] | [ Category: politics] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Sun, 25 Jan 2009

Links for Jan 25 2009

I promise to write something that isn’t just a link collection one of these days.

[ Posted: 20:00] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Tue, 20 Jan 2009

Links for [2009-01-20 Tue]

Again, some of this has been piling up.

[ Posted: 18:00] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Sat, 10 Jan 2009

Links for 2009-01-10 Sat

[ Posted: 11:55] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Response to Brad Warthen’s 2009/01/09 The State Editorial

As of yesterday (2009/01/09), IDF officers have admitted that there was no gunfire or mortar fire from the UN school that was shelled by an IDF tank. This has been reported in the UK Guardian, and in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. This means that the sole source for that claim – the IDF – has admitted that it was a fabrication. Of course, the UN has denied since the beginning that there were any Hamas militants shooting from the school. It is unfortunate that you chose to privilege a CYA claim from the Israeli military over information from the agency actually present at the school.

This is not an isolated incident, but part of a disturbing pattern. The IDF has also shelled UN relief convoys, forcing the UN to end humanitarian aid to Gaza civilians. What’s more, the UN gave GPS coordinates of all UN facilities in Gaza to the IDF, presumably so that they would know not to target those coordinates. They also made it known that civilian refugees were taking shelter in the school, which makes it clear that the shelling was an intentional act of state terrorism.

It is highly disturbing that The State‘s official editorial position is in favor of state-sponsored terrorism.

[ Posted: 11:51] | [ Category: politics] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Tue, 06 Jan 2009

Links for Tue 2009-01-06

[ Posted: 22:01] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Fri, 02 Jan 2009


[ Posted: 09:19] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Mon, 29 Dec 2008

Links for 2008-12-29 Mon

Again, these are delayed a little bit.

[ Posted: 19:00] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Fri, 12 Dec 2008

Links for 2008-12-12 Fri

Again, some of these have been piling up for a while.

[ Posted: 17:30] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Thu, 04 Dec 2008

Links for 2008-12-04 Thu

[ Posted: 20:00] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

The perfectly symmetrical singing bell

The perfectly symmetrical singing bell used by the Crbcyr of Gvorg is a remarkable and truly beautiful artifact, albeit one that is quite disturbing to many people encountering it for the first time. An ordinary bell, when rung, produces a tone which is symmetrical in space. The vibrations of the chime spread out evenly in all directions from the bell, diminishing as they travel away from the source. Likewise, as the vibrations propagate through time, they diminish as they get further from the source, but you will note one difference: they spread only forward in time, not backward. The Crbcyr bell produces fully symmetrical tones. You will hear the tone ringing in the edge of your hearing, getting slightly louder second by second, until it peaks at the instant the bell is struck, when it again begins to gradually fade away.

For the Crbcyr, the implications of these bells for causality are not problematic, as their culture helps them place their actions within the totality of the universe, and does not burden them with such notions as intentionality. For one of us, on the other hand, the rationalizations we go through when faced with a ringing bell can be both upsetting and humorous. Suppose you are alone in a Crbcyr temple, and you come upon an unattended bell, which begins to ring. Do you step up to ring it, trying to hit the bell at the exact peak of its ring? Or do you wait and hope someone else will show up and take care of it? And if you panic and give up on waiting, and strike the bell right on time, what does that mean? Did you have to hit the bell? What if you hadn’t? What if no one had? What if you had a bell in your hand, and decided to ring it, and it began ringing, and then you changed your mind, and resolutely decided that you would not ring it no matter what? When you give in and ring it, is it weakness on your part? Fear? Curiosity? Destiny?

Many philosophers have siezed upon the disturbance of the mind when faced with these as evidence that consciousness is something special, that is not quite compatible nor at ease with the material universe. Others look at the fact that the thought process someone deciding whether or not to strike the bell goes through looks very much like a post-hoc rationalization to prove that consciousness and the mind are very much a part of the same universal web of consequences as the bells. The Crbcyr that are willing to discuss the matter maintain that holding either side in the debate is indicative of a profound lack of perspective, and, indeed, of common sense.

[ Posted: 08:00] | [ Category: writing] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Fri, 28 Nov 2008


[ Posted: 13:19] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Thu, 20 Nov 2008

10th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is set aside to remember those who have been killed because of hatred towards transgendered or gender-variant people. Please take a moment to go to the website and spare a thought for them.

I’m aware of this mostly due to the Day of Remembrance Web Comics Project, in which webcomic artists dedicate a day’s words and art to remembrance.

[ Posted: 08:00] | [ Category: ] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Wed, 19 Nov 2008

For Wal-Mart, a Christmas That’s Made to Order

From For Wal-Mart, a Christmas That’s Made to Order - NYTimes.com

“In my mind, there is no doubt that this is Wal-Mart time,” H. Lee Scott Jr., the company’s president and chief executive, said recently at a meeting of analysts and investors in Wal-Mart’s hometown, Bentonville, Ark. Referring to the discount chain’s founder, he added, “This is the kind of environment that Sam Walton built this company for.”

Of course, through aggressive union-busting, operating particular stores at a temporary loss to drive competition out of business, and use of their position as an oligopsony buyer to force manufacturers/producers to cut prices, Wal-Mart has been one of the major forces in lowering real wages in the US since their founding. The transformation of the US into a low-wage country where most workers can only afford to shop at Wal-Mart, or believe they can, is a positive feedback loop for Wal-Mart’s success. I say “or believe they can”, because of course, Wal-Mart does not have lower prices than its competitors overall on a comprehensive basket of common goods; it has lower prices on a selection of goods for which shoppers are especially aware of the prices, and often slightly higher prices on everything else.

[ Posted: 20:47] | [ Category: politics] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Tue, 18 Nov 2008

Links for 2008-11-18 Tue

Some of these have been stewing for a while.

[ Posted: 22:00] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Tue, 11 Nov 2008

Links for 2008-11-11 Tue

[ Posted: 18:30] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Mon, 10 Nov 2008

The November 5 Movement

November 5. 2008 from Tarek Milleron on Vimeo.

[ Posted: 08:00] | [ Category: politics] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Sun, 09 Nov 2008

Links for 2008-11-09 Sun

Some of these have been piling up for a while.

[ Posted: 23:00] | [ Category: web] | Permalink | Comments: ]

Wed, 05 Nov 2008

2012 polling statistics

2012 polling statistics

[ Posted: 12:14] | [ Category: politics] | Permalink | Comments: ]


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