Category Archives: Trivialities

Quantifier Domain Restriction In The Wild

“23 of the 39 respondents reported that government red tape is the biggest barrier to starting a new business” (From a survey of economics bloggers)

Although I can’t precisely rank the top four, I would suggest the following as among the biggest barriers to starting a new business:

  • Lack of capital
  • Lack of business acumen
  • Lack of ideas for a business
  • The crippling recession

One wonders what on earth they were comparing to government red tape as an obstacle for businesses.  Here are a few things that were probably not among the biggest barriers to starting a new business:

  • Debilitating apathy
  • Fulfilling job as a convenience store clerk
  • Motörhead concert on Thursday
  • Obligation to inform all people living in a 500 yard radius about status as a sex-offender
  • WoW raids can’t be rescheduled

Category Errors in the Wild

My soon to be three years old soon to be cousin opens her Christmas present and finds a Minnie mouse stuffed animal.  Shortly afterwards, she started to ask “Where’s Mickey?”

Missive From the Future

I must say that the dinner with Professor Blank, despite the agreeability of the location, was quite awkward.  He insisted on communicating primarily in gutteral sounds, gestures and animal noises.  This amused the children, but even our eldest, at five, realized that this was not how adults conducted a dinner. (–unidentified diarist)


Other people are focusing on the fact that this is the might be the most brazen political corruption that has come to light in the years that I’ve been alive.  I prefer to meditate on the hidden omens concerning the ascendency of new media. To be honest, this is actually the first thing that came to mind.

Technical Problems

I had an altogether novel problem with my macbook today.  I wanted to switch between Spaces (virtual desktops).  While I hit the ctrl-up and ctrl-down key combinations a few times (perhaps I was indecisive, or maybe I had alien hand syndrome–I can’t quite remember what I did or why).  That’s when the problem started:

The computer is switching back and forth between two spaces repeatedly. Despite some flailing at the keyboard, it lasted long enough for me to get my camera from the office.  I then hit the power button to restart the computer.  It sorta worked:

The quality of that video is probably too poor to tell, but that’s the shutdown dialogue that appears, then gets moved around with everything else.  After aiming carefully, I hit sleep.  When I woke up the computer, the problem continued, but this time I restarted, which thankfully gave me my computer back. I’ve not figured out how to recreate the problem.

I Really Hope This Argument is Sound

  1. If this were the beginning of a new Great Depression, I would be absolutely losing my shit.
  2. I am not absolutely losing my shit.
  3. Therefore, it is not the beginning of a new Great Depression.

Of course the argument is only as good as one’s confidence…

Narcissism of Small Differences

Conversation between me and Amanda:

Amanda: “We’ll be driving a truck when we’re at home.”
Me: “That’s fine–I’ll just grumble about having to drive one.”
Amanda: “It’ll just be a Ford Ranger.”
Me: “Oooh! I love Ford Rangers!”

The other kind (F150s and so on) are just too big, but I learned to drive stick on a 12 year old Ford Ranger.

Oh yeah, I’ve finally tuned in to the convention for Obama’s speech.  In 2004, I was so ennervated by politics that I couldn’t watch the conventions, either Kerry or Bush.  So I suppose the difference indicates my part in the liberal celebrity worship of Obama.

Oh Dear

Achewood has wandered into “I do what the voices in my head tell me to” or “I see dumb people” t-shirt territory with its newest offering.  Never mind that it’s an inside joke–the rest of the world won’t know that.

Surprisingly Appealing Advertisements

Surprisingly nice 1 & 2 bedroom apartments–a building on Atwood Street in Oakland.

Fun on the Tubes

So I’ll give my contribution to the best posts on the internet: John Holbo’s Comment spam, me? Ha! This must be one of your human jokes!, which is perhaps the funniest and most insightful thing about comment spam I’ve seen. The topic lends itself to repeatedly pointing out the obvious, but this post is quite good.

On another note, there’s a competition to come up with the best two word phrase that gets no results on Google when quoted. Entries should be ordinary words combined in an interesting way (so haeccitic kittens would be bad). I thought “nickelback masterpiece” was a good shot, but it instead was a googlewhack–it gets exactly one result until such time as this post is indexed (which will allow me to find out how much Google cares about me). Leave anything you find in the comment thread, if you don’t feel up to contributing in the big leagues at the original competition.

Update: If you came here by googling “nickelback masterpiece” what the hell were you doing? There’s only one interesting question about Nickelback. Bad band or the worst band? These are the sort of people who use the phrase “she’s just a woman” in a song about domestic violence.

Academic Acknowledgements

Apparently the style of the acknowledgments at the beginning of the book is the same in literature as it is in philosophy. Here’s the list.


If you want a scary movie that’s also good, I recommend Jacob’s Ladder.

Today’s Links

  1. Wikipedia is almost to 2 million articles. John Quiggin suggests that it is now about as profitable to complain about Wikipedia as it is to complain about the Internet as a whole.
  2. Anatomy as art! A few really cool pictures, from Neurophilosopher.
  3. Another reminder of just who it is that owns stock.
  4. Useless transformers.
  5. Most importantly, we have a graph of troop deaths in Iraq. The situation is pretty bad.
  6. More people work in services than farming for the first time in 10,000 years.


Coffee consumption and Migraines have something in common aside from the fact that the one can cause the other–it rarely pays to talk about how bad your habit/disease is. If you do, someone will quickly come along and you will be one-upped. Migraines range from minimal cases like mine (debilitating headaches no more than once every 2-4 weeks), all the way up to people who have them 4 times a week. Similarly, if you think I drink a lot of coffee, you should check out these folks:

Speaking as someone who starts each day with a full 12-cup pot of coffee (typically some sort of organic Peruvian), or about 1600mg of caffeine according to this handy CSPI chart, and often continues drinking the stuff till late in the afternoon, I relate.

I rarely top 600mg during one day.

Google Is Omniscient

Sexy Amanda thinks the search terms that lead people to her blog are better than mine. She also gets more readers, since she writes about food, and I write about boring stuff. That said, while “is baking sexy?” is a good search, I’m fond of a few of mine: I’m second in all of google if you’re interested in funny semantic paradoxes, though there’s nothing funny about my post on semantic paradoxes, which describes exactly zero semantic paradoxes, and ipso facto, zero funny ones.  It is however, extremely relevant to the project of translating english to urdu sentences. If you’re interested in ethical reflection, you probably shouldn’t read me, since I say that it won’t get you anywhere. Finally, I’m the most important person to ever say the exact phrase “I’m gonna hug you and squeeze you” on the internets.

A Worthy Opponent

My understanding is that Friday cat blogging used to be a thing. It looks like I’m late to the party, though.

When I got home from vacation, he was acting snippy, meowing when I petted him, etc. He’s calmed down, and is now taking out his aggression on the go board.

The initial high approach to komoku exhibits an aggressive stance, intended to show fighting spirit and take the opponent out of his game, as does sitting on three-quarters of the board.

Harry Potter

There’s a new Harry Potter book coming out. People are talking about it and predicting things. I have two predictions to make.

  1. Harry is a Tyranosaurocrux. You all know what that is and exactly how awesome it will be.
  2. Severus Snape is actually James Potter in disguise. It makes perfect sense: Snape/Potter is an expert in Legilimency/Occluthingy, so neither Voldemort nor Dumbledore would know it, and he had that memory in the thingybowl so that Harry would see it and “HAHAHA, lolz, look @ ur DAD PWN SNAPE!”

In any case, I’ll read Amanda’s copy while she sleeps.

I am feeling of low mind

I can’t quite understand how the Large Number Championship would work. A few key parameters aren’t specified by the description I have, such as what sorts of notations are allowed, and if the contestants are allowed to define new notations, what standards govern their introduction, but that’s not what’s confusing me, as far as I can tell.

My first thought was something using Knuth’s up arrow notation, and I felt pretty happy about that. It felt good, albeit not professional caliber, until I realized it was actually just someone else’s idea.

So, the problem is that the contestants know the ins and outs of not only Knuth’s notation but Conway’s much more powerful chained arrow notation and any other demoniacal inventions out there (non-computable functions!!!!). It’s quite plausible that they’ll have prepared something entirely new for the contest. If so, they’ll have to have a good method of determining which of the numbers is larger on the spot, which I find a mind-blowing task.

Modern man defined

Guy on cell: I’m only calling because I have to walk ten blocks, and I can’t stand to be alone with my own thoughts. overheardinnewyork

Japan and Kitsch meet, Kitsch “overwhelmed”

It sounds a bit like Busch Gardens.

Note: I am not that guy. I do not have a retarded fascination with Japan which centers around anime and guffawing over inventions such as shoes with umbrellas on them. These recent posts are just coincidences based on cute overload and gmail presenting me with links.