eXTReMe Tracker WARNING: The opinions expressed and linked to in this blog are not necessarily mine (anymore).

My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Sunday, December 26

Sources of Ignorance - Truth is Manifest

I've been re-reading the introduction, "Sources of Knowledge and of Ignorance", from Conjectures and Refutations by Karl Popper.

I think it's a useful perspective to think about how ignorance can actually be created, generated, or encouraged by particular ideas. It seems that sometimes an idea can both help to generate lots of knowledge growth and ignorance at the same time.

Popper starts off by talking about the idea that Truth is Manifest. In other words, truth, although possibly difficult to unveil is "obvious". This contributed to knowledge growth by giving people new hope that knowledge of truth was open to human reason.

It contributed to ignorance somewhat indirectly. Sometimes people didn't see the "truth" as obvious. One explanation for this failure to see the obvious was a sinful nature - that people were actively refusing to see truth. As I remember it, Popper further discusses the problem with this belief and how it contributes to ignorance.

I look forwad to reading the rest very much.

Thursday, December 23

Developing Interest - CogNews

I've thought a lot about various career fields over the years and still have yet to find anything that really holds my interest for long. I can get totally absorbed in a subject and trying to solve some problem about it at times, but once the problem's solved, I'm sick of the subject.

I've decided to approach this from a different direction. Instead of looking for something to interest me, I'm now attempting to interest myself in something and keep myself interested in it. Programming AIs is one possibility that I've mentioned before. I'm told there's not much money in it and it's rather tedious. That's definitely a danger signal, but maybe there's some angle or aspect of it that really would hold my interest. I have managed to stay interested in learning and how it works for a long time without much effort. It seems related to modeling the mind, so I decided to start browsing in that area first.

One of the first sites I found was CogNews. It's where I found out about the "Lying" article. All of the headlines looked appealing, so that's a good sign. I'll be curious to see how well this approach works.

The truth is easy

The real story is that Lying Makes the Brain Work Harder. It fits with my experience. When I was a child, I'd get myself into all kinds of trouble by telling the truth. My parents and teachers didn't understand why I didn't try to get away with things. I didn't know how to explain it at the time, but it just didn't occur to me to lie. It was wrong, it took lots of effort to do it, and I tended to not be believed.

Tuesday, December 21

Comments about morality

A friend told me recently about a guy he knew at university who dodged train fares about once a week for 2 years. (He had studied the movements of the ticket inspectors and worked out an effective system).

So the train operator must have been defrauded of a few 100 pounds. But the trains would have run anyway, with or without him on board.

He wasn't caught. Did he 'get away with it'?

I say no. The reason is, in order to maintain self-esteem, everybody has to see themselves as a good person.

Most people do this by learning not to steal.

But the fare-dodger must adopt a false moral theory: "stealing is OK, even though I'm relatively well-off".

This theory cannot be mentally firewalled, it will skew his worldview and lead to mounting problems in other areas of his life.

Unrefuted, it may even cause him to do greater wrong, or be attracted to wrong-doers, for which we can expect him to suffer later on.
Tom Robinson | Email | 12.21.04 - 4:01 am | #


Originally, I was wondering about these ideas because I found it difficult to put into words for a small child. Saying something like, "It's wrong to steal", might not be enough information. Saying, "If you steal, someone might get upset and want to hurt you for taking their things", isn't really enough either. A child might think otherwise when they are not caught or when people don't punish or hurt them for it. (At least, not the way they might an adult.) It felt to me like something was missing from both explanations. It seemed to me that one ought to be able to make a much more convincing argument.

I am familiar with this theory - how going against principles of goodness hurts oneself - from Objectivism. I think the idea was that there's only so much of reality that one can keep in mind, so having rules or principles that cover what to do in a large number of situations is good. Working out when to steal and when not to steal is much more difficult and time consuming than simply having a rule not to steal. One could then focus all that time and energy on a way of getting what one wants in other ways that don't involve the risks of either being caught or harming a person unintentionally. In a way, it's deciding to focus on better things.

I got an interesting email on this subject a while back and really liked the direction it took. I had been using an example of more extreme uses of force, like killing someone:

I thought it might be because, at best, people need good relationships with others around them to be happy. So if an individual uses force, even without being found out, then they will know at some level that they have damaged another person. Even if they attacked someone they would never see again then the knowlegde that they were capable of an act like this would still affect their other relationships. Knowing this deadens sensitivity in their important relationships.

This still doesn't explain how one would discuss this with a small child, but it's a bit easier to get started if one is clear on the ideas involved.

Morality - Comments - Individuals and Society

I have been pretty busy and tired the last few days, but I wanted to post something so I started digging through old drafts to see if I could turn them into something. I really thought I'd shared these comments before, but I can't find them. Either I never remembered to post them to the blog or it's been so long that I can't remember. They seem like interesting ideas, so I thought I'd go ahead and post them. I had been asking, basically, why an individual shouldn't be "selfish" whenever they could "get away with it".

Maybe because the growth of any human individual is invested to some extent in the growth of everyone else on the planet. Goodness is like money, it grows as it spreads. One person being hurt causes the creativity of the whole planet to go downn a little immediately, and more as the hurt is spread.
Alice | Email | Homepage | 02.12.04 - 7:23 am | #


So it's not self v. others, we just think that is a deep polarisation: actually it's an extreme *situation* that comes up less and less.
Alice | Email | Homepage | 02.12.04 - 7:24 am | #


I particularly like this response. Somehow it sounds more serious and important to think that one is either increasing or decreasing the creativity of the planet.

A society is made up of individuals. It seems arbitrary to ignore the rest of the society... so long as you live within one, you need to take it into account.

Within that framework, I don't see how you can disregard the fact that initiation of force is simply not good for YOU, regardless of actual repercussions. The sort of post-apocalyptic every-man-for-himself society that would create is not a place anyone strives to live.
Dan | Homepage | 02.14.04 - 1:15 am | #


I'd say a bit more, but I can hardly keep my eyes open....

Random thoughts about video games

After all the hours I spent leveling a character in DAOC, I was amused to find that people were paying up to $300 for a virtual character. It seemed silly to miss out on the experience of leveling. Thinking back on it, though, the leveling stopped being fun in itself early on. After that, most of the fun was in exploring the game and interacting with people. There were some activities (relic raids) that weren't really possible until a character was completely leveled. If one considered the number of hours it took to get to level 50, the amount of time one would save might be well worth the money.

Paying $26,500 for virtual land, though, seems a bit excessive.

Then again, it seems that the purchaser is already getting tenants and might make back the money in the long run. Also, if the person can afford $26,500 to play a game, maybe he doesn't really need my advice anyways.

I have sometimes thought that video games might someday take the place of sports. I'm not sure if that's the case, but I don't know that even the best season tickets for a football team cost as much as that virtual land.

Friday, December 17

Cheese Sticks and Creativity

I used to think I hated cooking. It was boring and repetitive. I was sick of it. I wished I never had to cook. Then one day I realized that on occassion, I really did like cooking. I liked cooking when I was making something new and it turned out well, or I at least came up with some good ideas for making it turn out well next time. Still, there's a risk involved with experimenting. It might not be edible and then I've spent time, used up food, and am likely still hungry.

Today, as I was cutting up cheese into sticks for a child, I got to thinking that it might be nice to have cheese sticks (cheese fried in a sort of batter). I hesitated, though. I had lots of other things to do that seemed important. I've attempted to make them from scratch a few times and hadn't been very happy with them. I thought it might end up being a lot of time used up doing something piddly and unimportant instead of good, useful things.

I talked this over with a friend who asked some questions about them. What are cheese sticks? How are they made?

Usually, I cut up all the sticks. I get a bowl of flour, one of milk, and one of egg. I season the flour and cut up the cheese. Then the cheese sticks all get dipped in milk and flour. Nex, I put them all in egg and then flour. Finally, I fry them all. Somehow, the flour always ends up sliding off and some of the cheese escapes and gets fried too. They're still pretty tasty and edible, but they're just not as pretty as the ones you can get in restaurants.

I had shown this same friend how to make chicken nuggets one day and was amazed at how he went about becoming a chicken-nugget-frying expert. He tried it without eggs, with bread crumbs, with different seasonins, with differing amounts of oil. He'd do a few at a time in different ways to find the ways that worked better. He still hadn't quite found something like my favorite HEB chicken tenders, but he managed to get some very good ones. He'd also figured out a lot about what did and didn't work.

I thought of this and realized that maybe I could change the recipe too, but I wasn't sure I wanted to stand around cooking for that long with possibly bad results. He suggested I do a few at a time and stop if I wasn't enjoying it anymore. It sounded a lot more promising that way. No huge waste of time plus some better ideas for making it work.

I suspected the milk might be part of the problem. The flour just doesn't stick to it well. I didn't particularly want to deal with eggs either. I settled on mixing the flour and seasonings together and adding milk until it was something like a thick pancake batter. I messily coated ONE cheese stick and fried it. It didn't look anything like the restaurant cheese sticks. It was flatter and smoother, like a pancake, and the cheese came out a little on the sides so that it looked a bit more like a toasty cheese sandwich finger. It tasted really nice. I thought I might experiment more with the pancake style since it seemed promising. I experimented strictly with varying batter thicknesses.

I had a great time doing it. It wasn't boring and repetitive. It was more like an interesting science experiment that I could eat. I have some ideas for next time - using egg, bread crumbs, baking powder, different seasonings. At some point, I'll probably come up with some really nice ones and want to make them again. I've often experimented with. It seems so "obvious". Why didn't I think of it?

It's something I run into a lot. I can be flexible and creative, but it doesn't seem to happen enough to be really useful. It seems easier to move onto something easier or seemingly more important. Then again, I've noticed a decided improvement in creativity when I systematically LOOK for a solution. It didn't occur to me to look for a better way to make that food right then. Maybe because I didn't think it was important. As it turns out, though, it was VERY important. It inspired a lot of learning - about cooking cheese sticks, cooking in general, and generating creativity. I think writing helped with this quite a bit too.

www.theory.org.uk Resources: Media Effects

When a friend send me a link to www.theory.org.uk Resources: Media Effects and I knew the friend tended to think that media is good for children, I thought it was "just another article" about how media affects children. I have a habit of not finishing articles like that because, I think I know what they're going to say, and I'm not interested in more of the same. I looked at the introduction and then didn't finish the article. I bookmarked it, though, because I thought that maybe I shouldn't assume I knew what it said and sometime when I wasn't feeling inspired about a particular topic, it could be good to read and think about again.

I'm glad I did because it actually does have something new to say about it.

To explain the problem of violence in society, researchers should begin with that social violence and seek to explain it with reference, quite obviously, to those who engage in it: their identity, background, character and so on. The 'media effects' approach, in this sense, comes at the problem backwards, by starting with the media and then trying to lasso connections from there on to social beings, rather than the other way around.

At this point, I'm thinking, "blah, blah, same old, same old." I'm slightly interested though in how the media effects approach is backwards, but really, I'm not expecting much.

"Criminologists, in their professional attempts to explain crime and violence, consistently turn for explanations not to the mass media but to social factors such as poverty, unemployment, housing, and the behaviour of family and peers. In a study which did start at what I would recognise as the correct end - by interviewing 78 violent teenage offenders and then tracing their behaviour back towards media usage, in comparison with a group of over 500 'ordinary' school pupils of the same age - Hagell & Newburn (1994) found only that the young offenders watched less television and video than their counterparts, had less access to the technology in the first place, had no particular interest in specifically violent programmes, and either enjoyed the same material as non-offending teenagers or were simply uninterested."

Wow! I hadn't realized how the difference in approaches matters. I am surprised by the results a little. I thought that TV likely had NO correlation and certainly didn't "cause" violence.

Even if there were some sort of correlation, it wouldn't be right to treat TV watching as a cause since it could just be an effect caused by the same factors that actually do cause or contribute to people being violent. For example, an uninvolved parent might lead to emotional problems and also leave the child with more time to sit and watch tv. TV watching could simply be a neutral other effect of uninvolved parenting. The results of this study are very interesting. I wonder what explanation there might be for violent teenagers watching less tv.

I think what I've learned from this is to read the wording of things more carefully. A slight shift in wording can significantly change the meaning of something.

Thursday, December 16

Occam's Toothbrush

When I found the telegraph article, I also ran across Occam's Toothbrush. *smile* I love the title.

I'm a fan of Occam's Razor. Roughly, it's the idea that if you have two theories about the truth and you aren't sure which is right, the simpler one is better. There are complicated arguments for it that I don't remember right off. I think it can be misleading, though, because sometimes the truth is complex. Then again, it might be easier to knock out simpler false ideas if they're wrong.

A toothbrush, though, reminds me of something else. I love digging through ideas to find the core ones that are essential and true. It brings to mind this image of a giant toothbrush scrubbing away the grime and uncovering the truth, err tooth. *self amused giggle* (Did I mention I love puns? Even almost puns?)

Moral Handicaps

I'm feeling particularly interested and inspired about the subject of morality lately. When I was a teenager and contemplating becoming an atheist, I worried that becoming an atheist would mean that I wouldn't be moral. I thought I could just live according to the Bible, but I wasn't sure it would be very inspirational if I thought it wasn't true. I'd have to figure out what parts were true or not. I wondered what would make a good morality. I thought that an ideal world might be one where each individual was responsible for himself - for taking care of himself and doing right - and any "extra" energy/time they had could be used to help people who had genuine hardships with meeting their basic needs. It was a slightly different focus than the heavy push I got to "help people" when I was a child. I thought each person had the responsibility to do their best for themselves, economically, without expecting help. Giving help (I meant monetary) should only be for those with a genuine hardship - physical or mental handicaps.

I think now that people can also have moral idea handicaps. They might be so impoverished of knowledge of good that, although it seems like they are resisting good, it's actually the case that they don't even know what it is. Even if they do have some idea of what it is, they are totally lacking in the knowledge of how to do it. They can't sacrifice - they don't want to hurt themselves - and they don't know how to think of good as not a sacrifice but as so exciting and good and fun to do that nothing actually is a sacrifice. (By sacrifice, I mean feeling that one has forced oneself to do something).

Moral Goals - Violence reduction

While looking up the subject of moral goals, I ran across an interesting article from the Telegraph.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, yesterday urged America to recognise that terrorists can "have serious moral goals".

Flights & Hotels

He said that while terrorism must always be condemned, it was wrong to assume its perpetrators were devoid of political rationality. "It is possible to use unspeakably wicked means to pursue an aim that is shared by those who would not dream of acting in the same way, an aim that is intelligible or desirable."


This might be so. I'm not sure what the point is exactly.

"Violence is not to be undertaken by private persons," he said. "If a state or administration acts without due and visible attention to agreed international process, it acts in a way analogous to a private person. It purports to be judge of its own interest."

Who should judge what's in one's best interests? My best guess would be oneself although it might be good to consult good/better people one knows about this. When it comes to violence within America, though, when and where to use it has been mutually agreed to be best decided by an independent jury. The "necessity" for violence is determined by an impartial jury and carried out by a select few who are also constrained by laws and culture to deal out forceful or violent means of stopping badness. One benefit, I think, is to allow most people to generally avoid violent behavior and focus on doing better things. It also allows those permitted to use violence in the prevention of badness to become very skilled at both violence and at using the least violent methods of stopping badness.

This really struck me when I was starting a new job a while back and the security person spoke to the new group of employees I was with. While watching some video footage of various shoplifters and of the security team forcefully restraining people, he mentioned the care required and that he happily applied to NOT injuring or harming the person. This put him at greater risk, but he seemed pleased that this was part of the job. It amazed me how this person who spent his days looking for badness in people and trying to stop it seemed to feel a genuine sort of kindness toward even the people who would have harmed him. I thought it was a good thing. It seems that even people who make their honest living with violence are finding ways to avoid it.

Truth and Goodness

When I was a child, I thought it was obvious that one should try to do good. I wasn't quite sure, though, what it really meant to be good. I was told the Bible explained how to be good and that it was written by God. I asked how we know whether the Bible was written by God, and I was told... the Bible says so. I didn't find this very convincing. I thought that before I could do good, I had to figure out what was true.

I think now that giving myself this task was misleading. There's a lot of information out there to sort through and a lot of it doesn't actually have much to do with goodness. It might be useful to good people, but I think it's a tool, not an end in itself.

I think the task should have been a much narrower one - to find out the truth about what it was to be good. Of course, in my pursuit of knowledge, I kept my eyes open for ideas about good, but I wasn't very broad in my search and stumbled into the first alternative suggestion I came across - Objectivism. To quote Ayn Rand, the founder of the philosophy:

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

Actually, before that, I had acted as if what I read in the Bible was mostly true. When I was 10 or so, I wanted to do something really good with my life - to help people. I wanted people to all get along and cooperate about helping each other. I thought that no person was born bad and anyone, if treated right, could learn to be good. I wasn't sure what it was, but I thought it was very important to figure out some way of helping people to be better to each other in general. I thought maybe I should write a book about it. I didn't know what ideas I would need to write such a book. I also thought a good person wouldn't hold onto material things that others could benefit from using.

I had a hard time with this part of being good. My family was pretty poor, and I was often hungry. Not that I starved, but I had a big family, and since I ate rather slowly, I didn't often get a second helping. I was thin, but not unhealthy. I wondered if it would be good still, if I wrote a great book that helped lots of people AND made plenty of money, would it be ok to keep enough of the money to enjoy myself... to have foods I liked and nicer clothes and ac (I grew up here in Austin, Texas, where most consider air conditioning a "necessity").

Anyway, back to the story, err.. point. I was trying to get at the idea that aimless knowledge seeking can be a distraction from doing what's good. I'm a bit tired and having trouble focusing on this subject now, but I'm sure I'll get back to it soon.

Tuesday, December 14

Java AI Blog of AI4U Textbook Artificial Intelligence

I've been working on programming a bit, and I think I might like to get into AI programming. I'm a very beginner on the subject and not a very experienced programmer and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the mountain of stuff I need to learn to actually do anything useful. Piddling in writing Hello World just seems so far from real programming. It was fun when I managed to make a really simple blog program that was connected to a database. I had some help with that, though, and I didn't fully understand all of what I was doing. I've been trying to go back and study basics more before attempting another bigger project.

I was hoping that browsing around and reading about the subject would inspire me more. I found this Java AI page, but I think it made me feel even more overwhelmed. Maybe I need to do a bit of heavier programming every day to keep feeling like I'm actually getting somewhere. It's just that I'm such a perfectionist, I want my projects to have some brilliant design before I start. Then I never start. I've been thinking maybe breaking apart some more complex programs would be fun and interesting. I could modify it to do something slightly different and learn a lot and actually make it DO something useful. But first... I think I need to go outside and run about in.. err, I mean rake some leaves... *smile*

an Answer

My real life is stranger than fiction. Ok, maybe not, but it's crazier. Anyways, I haven't had much time to focus on writing. I've been thinking plenty trying to work through solutions to my problems. I've come to realize over time that I'm very prone to getting discouraged and giving up on problems. Never definitely attempting to actually solve them. I've been working out strategies for keeping going. There are multiple things that can instantly boost my mood and make me feel encouraged - warm hugs, working in the yard, listening to music, singing, taking a long bubble/salt bath, doing various tasks that I've been putting off.

I realized yesterday that I'd been neglecting the music and singing part quite a bit, so I reset up winamp and have been listening to music. It's been great. I can't resist singing along loudly and making my voice crack. It's really annoying to me that I've finally worked out that I can sing (ok, so I need lots of practice, but it's possible for me, with lots of practice, to sing pleasantly), but I can't seem to sing loudly or for very long without wearing out my voice. I hope it's just a matter of needing to warm up and practice more. I don't have time to do a lot of steady practicing right now.

Anyways, it's amazing how a bit of music can make even the worst problems seem solvable. I'm listening to one of my favorites for singing. "Answer", by Sarah McLachlan. I do ok at it, I think. Unfortunately, my recording set up got all messed up when XP was installed on my 'puter, so I can't make one right now. It could be fortunate, too, because I have a hard time with a few notes and my voice gets squeaky on them. It seems romantic and melodramatic in a way, but I think that sort of stuff inspires me at times. I need all the encouragement I can get lately. Here's the lyrics:

"Answer"

I will be the answer
At the end of the line
I will be there for you
While you take the time
In the burning of uncertainty
I will be your solid ground
I will hold the balance
If you can't look down

If it takes my whole life
I won't break, I won't bend
It will all be worth it
Worth it in the end
Cause I can only tell you what I know
That I need you in my life
When the stars have all gone out
You'll still be burning so bright

Cast me gently
Into morning
For the night has been unkind
Take me to a
Place so holy
That I can wash this from my mind
The memory of choosing not to fight

If it takes my whole life
I won't break, I won't bend
It will all be worth it
Worth it in the end
'Cause I can only tell you what I know
That I need you in my life
When the stars have all burned out
You'll still be burning so bright

Cast me gently
Into morning
For the night has been unkind

Sunday, December 12

More on Parents Not Breeders

In browsing through my blog, I noticed something in the Brats! post that bothered me. I suggested that the people spending their time venting about "breeders" and "brats" would do better to encourage people to become parents not breeders. I think I missed explaining the point of the site and also failed to mention a particular problem I have with their views.

First, the point of the site, it seems, is to complain about the idea that people generally "expect" to have children and expect other people to have children. I think I can agree with that part of it. I think people shouldn't assume they're going to have children but should only do so after carefully considering and preparing for being parents (for example, they should have a nice chunk of money in the bank and have spent time working with children). That's not what I did, but hey, hindsight's 20/20. I think it's reasonable to want people to be a bit more sensitive about people who don't have children.

Second, I think the posters have some wrong ideas about what they should be able to expect from other people and what should be expected of them. It doesn't matter what their opinion is about whether certain people should have children or not. It does matter that the children exist, are relatively innocent, and that it is good to help and be patient with innocents. Regardless of what it says in the FAQ, some of the people on the site seem to have more compassion for animals than young humans.

I think one of the things that especially bothered me about the site was the snearing at the suggestion that "children are the future". Ok, so maybe it gets overused, but that doesn't make it false.

DAOC

I stumbled across some interesting examples of authority and morality a few years ago when I spent quite a bit of time playing DAOC (Dark Age of Camelot). I want to talk about those examples, but I think first it might be fun to devote a post to giving some background about the game and my characters.

DAOC is modelled after D&D, but with 3d animation and the computer to calculate hit points, armor factors, damage, etc. You choose a character, its attribute points, appearance, race, and type. Then you take the character out to kill beasts and monsters. Killing beasts gets you skill points and gets them to drop little trinkets that you can either use or sell. You can then use the money to buy armor, weapons, or even equipment to "make" your own armor and weapons. With enough skill points, you "level" and become a bit stronger, smarter, faster, skilled at fighting, and/or skilled at casting spells. Another important option in the game is to form groups with other characters. Groups can take on much stronger beasts and monsters and get you skill points much faster.

There are also areas of the game where you can fight against players of another realm. Each of the 3 realms has multiple keeps that can be raided and taken over. Each realm also has a special keep where it stores a few magical relics which give everyone in the realm some bonus abilities. To take such a keep involves hundreds of players all being coordinated to take over all the other keeps. There are extra non player guards at the special keep for every regular keep the realm holds, so it's good to take the other keeps over first.

My first character was an eldritch. I liked that my character could do massive damage from pretty far away. I didn't like that I had very little in the way of hit points and a slight mistake meant instant death.

I very much liked playing a druid. I liked being able to "help" other characters - by healing or casting spells to enhance their abilities. It could be easy or very tricky to play a druid, depending on what was going on. One had to balance keeping everyone alive with NOT drawing the attention of the beast or enemy or running out of power (needed to cast spells of all kinds, healing or otherwise). Still, sometimes (rarely), I found myself without a group or just wanting to be able to actually attack a beast. A druid could do a bit of damage on a monster and could take getting hit much better than a spellcaster, but it couldn't kill anything that would give significant skill points. It also had no combat style abilities. Sometimes I wanted to do something more active.

I tried a hero next. He was a huge Firebolg (ugly, huge,). I loved battling monsters hand over hand, figuring out which "combat style" to use at a particular moment, and being able to take hits without immediately dying. I loved playing a male character. People tend to assume the actual player is the same sex as their character, so I got to see a bit how it was to be treated like a guy. I got frustrated sometimes that I could do any magic at all and had to fumble around with a bow and arrow to do weak long range attacks.

Next I tried out a champion. I didn't know much about how to best roll out a character, so at first I wasn't very effective. It was fun, though. I could take hits almost as well as a hero, I could hit hard/well enough to keep the beast's attention on me (and away from the spellcasters and healers), and I could cast some limited spells. Better yet, they were instant spells that I could cast even while moving. No waiting 2 to 4 seconds to cast a spell, and no having my spell cast interrupted by an attacking monster. I did a bit of research and then rolled out my champion, MoonPi. I made her look a bit like a prettier me - red hair and blue eyes, but she's thinner and fitter than me. With some help, I eventually got her to level 50 (highest level one can get with a character).

Friday, December 10

Tantrums

Ok, here's some really yucky stuff from that Brats! page.

"Well I had two sons with a long gap in between them. My first one had the terrible two's tantrums, stomping of feet etc.,

my younger child didn't get a chance to do it. My mother was visiting and we were cleaning in the kitchen when number two son stood in the doorway and went to stamp his feet. My mother said "oh no you don't, we had enough with your older brother young man," and let him have it with a pan full of cold water right in his face.

He never completed that tantrum and he never did it again. sharp cold shock cured him.

Seems like some of these parents now need to do a similar sort of thing to stop these monstrous brats we are subjected to these days.

Rainboweagle "

Hopefully someday there won't be parents who treat their children like that.

Brats!

Some years ago, I was a regular reader of a parenting forum when a random stranger posted to criticize one of the members for having her dog put down (killed, presumably with a drug to make it painless). One of the parents found a forum that the stranger frequented and we were a bit shocked about the content. It seemed to be all about how awful breeders (parents) and their
brats (children) were! (I don't remember if this is the same forum, but it looks like the same author/designer). Some of the parents posted angry messages and criticisms and got themselves banned from the forum.

The bits that I initially read turned my stomach. I tend to have that reaction to the level of hatred and venom that I found at that site. However, I have an incredible curiosity when it comes to people whose views seem to be the opposite of mine. It fascinates me. I want to know how they could possibly think such a way. I've found that the results are often surprising and interesting and that there are usually some real truths - often overlooked ones - behind such views. I tried to see things from their point of view.

To avoid being banned while I satisfied my curiosity, I refrained from posting and did a lot of reading. One of the first things I read was some bit about "read this first". It specifically outlined what was or was not allowed. From what I remember, technically, my very ideas prohibited me from even reading the forum. I didn't think they could actually complain to my ISP for merely reading their site, and I didn't think I was doing anything morally wrong by trying to understand them, so I read on.

While I strongly disagreed with much of what such people had to say, I could see some legitimate grounds for complaint. I think a lot of people do become parents without really thinking it through and then go on to expect other people to help them (public schools, welfare, etc.). Some parents also expect that other people won't mind the tendency of some children to destroy/damage other people's property and be inconsiderate (noisy, run around and accidently run into people/things, etc). It's true that adults do such things too sometimes, but people won't generally think it's cute or nice or ok. They'd think the adult was being rude and might even make the adult leave the premises (in a store, for example).

Another interesting thing I discovered while reading is that the group uses the abbreviation PNB to mean "parents - not breeders". There are posts sometimes praising people who, in their view, are actually taking their responsibility as parents seriously. It seems that parents and children aren't all hated in this group. From the FAQ:

"What I "hate" is the irrational expectation that all adult humans must adore all children, regardless of the facts and behavior of the child in question."

I never did get around to posting on it. I don't now whether I could really get in trouble with my ISP for posting, but I didn't want to find out. Also, I decided that I just didn't really have the stomach for it. I don't much like discussing or arguing with people who stick mean labels on other people instead of trying to understand and help them or to find some positive way to get their reasonable complaints understood.
(Like a campaign to encourage people to be PNB).

Thursday, December 9

Authority and Morality

I have what I think might be a slightly irrational fear of authority. It's not just a fear of security personnel or people in positions of socially recognizable power. In fact, I can be oblivious to that at times. I think what commands this "fear" is a certain personality - the authoritarian. The one who is confident, in charge, and I can't see anything wrong with what they're saying.

As a child, I tended to view most adults as authority. I figured even if they were mistaken sometimes, they had more experience and knowledge of the world than I, and I had much to learn from them. At some point, I began to notice that some adults seemed to have a set of rules they followed. They could be quite wrong (in my opinion) about something, but they were predictable in a way. Some adults just did whatever they felt like. Sometimes they stated or yelled about rules, but they didn't follow any that I could recognize. They were unpredictable, dangerous, and, I thought, immoral.

I respected a person who, although fallible, consistently did what they said they were going to do. If I acted in a way that conflicted with what they said was good, I could expect problems with them. If I didn't, I could expect that they'd leave me alone or even get along well with me. This didn't make being forced to do certain things any more pleasant, but I think I found it comforting to know clearly what to expect.

As a child, if I'd been asked, I would have said that I preferred to be around the former type of person. The ones who were predictable.

Since then, I'd come to think a bit differently. Being consistent is no good if the person is consistently bad. An inconsistent person may well be working very hard at changing their ideas to better ones. They may be having difficulty working out how to act on these new ideas and make lots of mistakes. In other words, confidence and consistency does not mean a person is better or good at all. Unfortunately, if I relied on my "instincts", I'd tend to be persuaded by a person who is confident over one who is not. Fortunately, I try to look at arguments based on their reasonablness - not who presented them or how they were presented. Still, when it comes down to issues I'm unsure about, it seems like I still would tend to think the confident person was right.

I have a lot more thoughts about this I'll probably post on later. They're not very organized, but I'm trying to let go of the idea that posts or thoughts have to be (or even can be) perfect.



Tuesday, December 7

Privacy International, I'm home

Privacy International(PI) is a human rights group formed in 1990 as a watchdog on surveillance and privacy invasions by governments and corporations. PI is based in London, England, and has an office in Washington, D.C. PI has conducted campaigns and research throughout the world on issues ranging from wiretapping and national security, to ID cards, video surveillance, data matching, police information systems, medical privacy, and freedom of information and expression.

A fellow at a pub in Frome (Somerset, England) mentioned an organization that was opposing the national ID cards in England. (I just had to throw that bit about the pub in because it seems so cool and exotic and I don't recall seeing a pub like that here in Austin). It seems that the organization is for protecting privacy in general.

I was trying to find some way to make this related to my being back home. Then I remembered my little blunder at the airport in the UK. I set off the metal detector thing. The security guard said not to worry, asked me to hold my arms out, and proceeded to pat me down. As she was patting me down, I realized I had forgot to empty my pockets. She noticed but didn't seem bothered about it. Later, I realized it was probably the little zipper thing on my change purse. Anyways, I'm not sure what to think of that violation of privacy. Maybe the site will have some useful ideas about it.

Friday, December 3

Do no harm, do good

Ideas are powerful. True ideas can give great power to the people who hold them. True ideas combined with bad ideas can give people the power to do great harm... and great good simultaneously.

I've been puzzling over a couple of seemingly conflicting ideas lately. One is the idea that one should be cautious and try to DO NO HARM. The other is to DO GOOD.

Of course, there's always the risk that one is wrong about whether the doing is good or harmful. Some people seem to focus mostly on avoiding harm. Others prefer to do more with the argument that one can only learn more about what's good by doing and either succeeding or by making mistakes and learning more about how to "do" better. They would view people who "avoid harm" by being more passive as somewhat bad since passiveness also possibly involves "failing to do good".

I think both theories are problematic. Some really awful things have been done in the name of doing good. It's hard to think of them as being worth the risk of action - like millions of people being killed in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. On the other hand, what one might not "see" are all those who have lived and enjoyed their lives exactly because people have done good.

Do such people have a right to that enjoyment and life at the expense of the pain, suffering and deaths of other people? I suspect this question may be misleading, but I've got too much to do right now to figure it out. More later.

Thursday, December 2

More on Bhopal

I was curious about the claim by Union Carbide of employee sabotage. It seems like the only defense, if true, for Union Carbide not being morally (if not legally) liable for the accident.

From what I've been able to gather from reading, methyl isocyanate is a liquid at room temperature. Water mixed with the chemical creates a chemical reaction which involves a lot of heat and turns the liquid into gas - which is extremely hazardous/fatal to inhale. It seems that a large amount of water got piped/sent into a container of methyl isocyanate. The container was never designed to deal with such a chemical reaction and so leaked and exploded. The company claims that there were safety systems in place to keep water from ever mixing with the chemical and that the large amount of water that caused the accident can only have been introduced into the container deliberately (sabotage).

"The UCC sabotage theory did not explain how several other simultaneous failures contributed to the accident. In addition to water entry, there were failures in four safety devices - the vent gas scrubber, the flare tower, the refrigeration system, and the water spray. There were failures in design, operating procedures, and staffing, as described earlier. The positive-pressure systems in the MIC tanks had failed, four to eight weeks before the accident.

The deliberate introduction of water into MIC storage tanks might have taken place without any intention to commit sabotage. A small quantity of water from pipe washing could have initiated the accident. Operators on duty might have been alarmed by the sight of a rumbling hot tank and could have introduced water to cool it. Such a scenario was hinted at by some witnesses and it accommodates most of the claims raised in the sabotage defence."

The scenario offered here does seem very plausible and reasonably fits with the company's claims that the introduction of large amounts of water could only have been done deliberately and the criticisms about the company's failure to maintain the equipment safely.

If this is really what happened, then it was actually employees who were trying to contain the accident who actually multiplied the harmful effects and even possibly caused them (perhaps the container would have been able to keep the gas, or at least more of the gas, from escaping with an introduction of a small amount of water but not with a large amount of water).

This might still be considered the responsibility of the company - to educate its workers - at the very least to make sure its employees knew not to add water to methyl isocyanate!

It does seem that if the company had solid evidence about the identity of a sabotager, it should be presented or the company be held liable.

Bhopal

Several years ago, I worked doing computer support and network administration for a company called Praxair. One day, during a discussion, I think about the dangerousness of some of the gasses/chemicals in the plant, a co-worker mentioned a particular gas that had some very gruesome and fast acting effects. He mentioned that it was what killed the people in Bhopal. He was surprised that I hadn't heard of the incident and told me a bit more about it.

Originally, the company had been part of a very large international corporation called Union Carbide. Thousands of people in Bhopal, India died when a poisonous gas leaked out into the nearby area. He said the gas wouldn't have killed so many people if it weren't for the fact that people had moved very nearby to take advantage of the company's fence posts to stabilize their homes. It wasn't actually legal for them to do so, but the company ... whether out of pity or indifference... allowed it.

He said after the incident, that the company had made a deal with India's government paying millions of dollars in exchange for ending the corporation's liability for the incident. Apparently, the amount of money wasn't enough to help all the victims and clean up the area completely, so many people think it was a corrupt deal. The CEO of the company was in permanent hiding and the company had broken up into smaller parts and reorganized. Praxair was a large portion of the original company.

At the time, I looked into the incident a bit online. I couldn't immediately verify some of the information - like the bit about the people taking advantage of company property to make their homes or about the breakup of Union Carbide. (I wondered if Praxair was actually still a part of it).

Anyways, apparently Dec. 3rd is the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal incident. I was browsing around about it and found a few other interesting bits of information. Union Carbide is claiming that there was deliberate sabotage. The company who owned the plant was actually owned partly by Union Carbide (slightly more than 50% of the shares) and the rest by the Indian government and other Indian shareholders. In the comments section of the BBC pages, a person complained about Indian people moving to the site deliberately in order to be able to make a claim. Another person mentioned that it was actually illegal for the people to live where they were (at the time of the gas release), but the Indian government didn't enforce it.

There's no particular point to this except maybe that it seems hard to find anything in the news parts that seriously supports the idea that the people put themselves at risk in the first place and that Union Carbide might not be directly responsible (that it was sabotage).

Thursday, November 25

Setting The World To Rights

I just added a link for Setting The World To Rights.

"...we believe in liberty as an essential human value, and would like to see the abolition of victimless crimes (especially the fun ones)."

"...we are not barking mad idiotarians who think that everything any government does is by definition wrong, or that the US government is just as bad as every mass-murdering aggressive dictatorship in sight – or, for that matter, France."

"We believe in the right of self-defence, including the right to kill someone who is about to kill us or who puts us in serious danger..."

"...we do not believe in increased ‘discipline’ in schools"

"...we are in favour of abortion rights, we think Bill Clinton should not have been impeached, we are enthusiastically in favour of stem cell research, and we are nauseated by the very idea of insisting that children be taught the Creationist myth as if it were fact."

"We hate... communism, fascism, Islamofascism, Wahhabism, Eurofederalism, nationalism, idiotarianism, anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism, terrorism, racism..."

Tuesday, November 23

Halfbakery: Spouse-Swapping for Mideast Peace

I wouldn't advocate forced spouse swapping, but I couldn't help thinking it would make for an interesting TV show..

Friday, November 19

Cards, Yu-gi-oh, and Dvorak

First, there's Yu-gi-oh. It actually came after Pokemon as far as I know, but I don't feel like talking about Pokemon. There are literally hundreds of different Yu-gi-oh cards that a player can choose to use. Basically, though, there are 3 main types - monster, magic, and trap cards. Monsters have what equate to "hit points" for offense and defense and can also have special properties. Each player starts with 8000 Life Points and points are deducted and added to it during battles between monsters or by special properties of magic, trap, or monster cards. The object is to either make your opponent run out of cards or points or to draw all 5 cards of Exodia (somewhat rare, so this is likely the most expensive approach). Anyways, it's a fairly complicated and interesting game. Amazingly, 6 and sometimes 5 and 4 year olds manage to learn to play it. Since they can't read very well yet, they do this by memorizing hundreds of cards and what they do and a bit of help with the math. (And some just learn to read and do the math themselves). Anyways, it used to be quite common to see a large group of kids playing with them at the park.

One day, after the Yu-gi-oh craze had died down quite a bit, I noticed the kids playing a new game. They took pieces of paper and drew pictures and numbers on them and made up their own card games. I joined in one and found it very entertaining - and a bit confusing. The abilities of the monsters weren't apparent. The child would explain whatever abilities or magical properties a card had. Sometimes he'd forget and sometimes he'd encourage me to make up an ability. I wasn't very good at it, but he seemed satisfied with my attempts and we had a great time with it.

I was thinking Dvorak was something like this. A very nice person I know showed it to me. I didn't look at it too closely at first because it reminded me of playing that child-created game and I assumed it was something like that with some premade rules. It seems, instead, to be a sort of online card game that allows the players to make up themes but provides a basic structure and rules. I'll look at it more later, but I wanted to bookmark it here for the time being.

BTW, in my excitement at being reminded of the made up card game, I hunted down a place where you could get genuine blank playing cards. There were actually lots of places. It never occurred to me that such a thing existed. Apparently other people are way ahead of me on this one.

Thursday, November 18

World Reacts to Hassan Murder

I hadn't heard about this
murder until I saw the headline. In case you haven't seen my previous posts on news and politics, I tend to find them boring.

I was thinking about this boringness when I came to realize that it's not so much boring as that there's just too much going on to keep track of it all and to even know what to think of it.

Murder is easy though. It's easy to think of murder as bad. I'm not sure what good it does to point to the news article and say that. I don't think it's controversial. Apparently some do though, otherwise this murder wouldn't have happened. That, or some people don't mind being bad.

Anyways... onto the quote:

Political leaders and relatives expressed shock and anger over the fate of Hassan, who was renowned for her 30 years of work in Iraq, distributing medicine, food and supplies to Iraqis suffering under the sanctions of the 1990s.

This statement was a bit confusing. It says she worked in Iraq for 30 years, but also mentions the 1990s. It's only been 14 years since 1990. I guess they mean that she's worked for 30 years including the time when sanctions were imposed. Regardless, it sounds like she'd been doing a lot of good, nice things for Iraqi people.

British officials say they believe Hassan was a blindfolded woman seen being shot in the head by a hooded militant on a video obtained but not aired by the Arab television station Al-Jazeera. She would be the first foreign woman to die in the wave of kidnappings in Iraq. No group has claimed responsibility.

This is definitely not good. Well, it could be if there was a mistake and the blindfolded woman was actually a mass-murderer. Even then, it's hard to feel like it's "good". Necessary, maybe, but not good. It might be "good" that a murderer was stopped from harming more people, but bad that there was a murderer in the first place... Overall, things aren't good if mass people have been murdered. And now I'm just rambling off topic...


Monday, November 15

@ Bristol

Visited @ Bristol today. Some of it was closed to renovation, but it was still fun. It seemed like a really large and well designed children's museum.

Saturday, November 13

American in London

Well, ok, it's not quite London. It's a teeny weeny little village in England called Frome (rhymes with broom). It's lovely. I suppose one could get tired of the nearly constant grey skies and drizzle, but, hey, I'm from Texas... Austin, Texas. Clouds and drizzle are actually a nice break from the mostly sunny, dry weather I've had all my life. At least when it rains here, one doesn't tend to get totally soaked.

One thing I really like here is the service... or lack of it. I can walk into a store and be totally ignored! I love it! I've always hated being pestered with "Hello!" and "May I help you?" Saves me from losing my train of thought.. which I've now forgotten. Oh yes, if I do want help, I can ask for it. I can think of only one shop in 10 where that was necessary and maybe one shop where someone actually greeted me. That's 8 unwanted interactions avoided!

Tuesday, October 12

My favorite time of year

It's a beautiful day. It's sunny, just at that temperature where you could wear jeans or shorts depending on how active you are, and fairly dry (not humid).

As a kid, I looked forward to this time of year because it followed Summer, and Summer meant drowning in your own sweat. See, in a place where air conditioning is considered a necessity, my family was too poor to have it. Believe it or not, it is possible to survive 103F(39.4C) without air-conditioning - one just has to wear fewer clothes ("nothing" is best, but generally I'd at least wear a bikini). A good fan helps too. And not moving much. Luckily, it rarely got quite that hot. Somewhere between 95F (35C) and 100F(37.7C) was more likely.

Then, near September, school would start. The weather didn't cool off much in September, but pants were required. I dreaded the long bus rides. Still, even with the lack of air-conditioning and the stress of wondering whether I'd be able to get a seat or get picked on by bullies (I did live on the wrong side of the highway, after all), I looked forward to school. Most of the kids and teachers were nicer than my family, and summers in the middle of nowhere when you have nothing are BORING. Ok, we didn't quite have nothing. I remember week long games of Monopoly, uncountable games of solitaire, headaches from spending 12 hours at a time reading, and hours and hours of Soaps. A break from school was nice, but I was ready for summer to be over after a few weeks.

October, though, was better. That's when the weather finally cooled down a bit, the teachers had possibly moved onto something besides review, and I'd probably had a chance to bring home a few dozen library books. What I was thinking about most, though, was moving. It suddenly became comfortable to move - to be active without risking heat stroke (or at least being very uncomfortable). I loved weekends when I could run around out in our field - pretending to be animals hiding in the tall grass, playing soccer or tag or just running for the sheer joy of feeling the cool air.

Even now - years after I have become used to air conditioning and being comfortable most of the time - I still look forward to this time of year. I still associate the coolness outside with energy and excitement and learning.

Lately, though I also associate it with pumpkins (try the seeds roasted with a bit of garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper if you like - mmmmmm). They're also pretty fun to test out one's artistic talents... or just make something goofy and fun.

Wednesday, September 29

More singing - Only One (Lifehouse)

I've just started working on Only One by Lifehouse. It's just one verse so the size is 1.56MB - not too big. Honest comments (favorable or not) only, please.

Saturday, September 25

Self-discipline

What does it mean? Is it a good thing? If so, how does one develop it?

Here's my attempt at what it means:
The tendency to consistently do things one considers good (to consistently be what one thinks of as good).

I had some other ideas about what it means:
-The tendency to do good things consistently.
-The tendency to do good things even if they are boring or unpleasant.
-The tendency do unpleasant and boring things because one thinks they are good/important to do.


The latter two definitions seem to imply that doing good things is likely or might have to be boring and unpleasant. The last doesn't really seem like a viable description of self-discipline, but it seems like something that people confuse with self-discipline.

I changed it to what a person THINKS of as good because people might have different ideas about what is good, but the concept of self-discipline can sometimes be used to refer to actions of people that most would consider very bad and yet the person thought was good at the time.

Saturday, September 4

Cleaning House - Today's findings

I'm trying to sort things out so my house can be put up for sale. It's fun running across the weird things I've picked up over time. Today I found a set of 5 1/4 floppy disks for Microsoft QuickC. I was tempted to keep them just in case I have a computer that could use them some day, but I'll be, *gulp*, throwing them away.

Songbird

I've been experimenting a bit with singing. I'm not saying I'm any good, so listen at your own risk. Criticism welcome.

Tuesday, July 20

The best state

I've been thinking a lot about choices I need to make in my life and some of them are pretty hard. It might seem like one alternative or another is better, but none seem sufficiently better to make me feel strongly convinced about acting on them.

It occurred to me that making choices in this way reminds me a bit of "states" in logic circuits. It's been a while since I've thought about such things, so I might have my terminology wrong. The thing is, a computer is limited by certain factors - a set of choices where each choice consists of two options - one or zero. On or Off. There is a definite and known or at least knowable set of alternatives. Real life, though, isn't limited to zeros and ones. There is always the possibility of yet another alternative being created - one that solves the problem even better.

Should one continue looking for such alternatives for a certain amount of time before choosing (putting off choosing is an alternative in itself)... or whether it's better to go with some "active" best option while continuing to try to create even better alternatives? It could be that moving in any direction will change the "state" of things sufficiently that other alternatives would be more readily available. Then again, certain directions might be generally preferable - better for helping one generate better and more preferable solutions. Is it generally preferable to change directions? (vs. generally staying in one state until another becomes very clearly preferable) Is this even a useful way to think about solving problems?

Monday, March 8

One Hot Mama

We got cable turned back on a few weeks ago. I don't quite remember how the channels are arranged, so I was flipping through them to figure them out when I got to the one with country music videos.

It struck me as odd because it starts off with a woman working out on an exercise bike. She looks pretty normal, but then you see the (male) singer, also dressed pretty normal except his cowboy hat.

I didn't watch long enough to see the name of the song, but he sang about her wanting to fit in the jeans she had when she was 17 and how she feels like she is just the woman with the kids. There are scenes of her dealing with the kids and being a bit frazzled mixed in with scenes of her (I think) in skimpy/revealing clothing or lingerie and acting sexy. He sings about how he sees her as being "One Hot Mama".

Friday, February 13

Morality - Comments

That's really interesting.
Thanks! :)

But I think you could hold a self-interest based morality system and still be against killing people. Be against most initiations of force, really.

Why? One of the most basic ethical concepts. Ever. Virtually every culture has created it. Something like the 'Golden Rule'.

If you initiated force whenever you could get away with it, so would everyone else. Then things would be very bad for YOU. Thus, it's immoral. Live in a society where no one does that, and you will be better off than in a society where everyone does it.


Actually, it's not true that if you initiated force whenever you could get away with it, everyone else would. People have different ideas about morality and the initiation of force. Few of them would be persuaded to begin routinely initiating force because one person decided to initiate force against them. This is why, although there are criminals, MOST people don't go around knowingly initiating force against others.

I suppose with a small child who hasn't experienced being treated forcefully against his will, it might give the child the idea that force initiating is a good thing to do. Then again, the child's personality might be such that he become fearful of other people and become LESS inclined to initiate force.

It is people's ideas that ultimately affect whether they initiate force or not (or do anything, for that matter).

Granted, it does seem that a society of people who do not generally initiate force is better than a society of people who do routinely initiate force, but that still doesn't adequately explain why an individual shouldn't try to "get away with it". Aside from the risks of defensive uses of force against them, the initiation of force by an individual isn't actually likely to have much impact on society, is it?

Personally, I like to think there's more to it than self-interest, but, that's not relevant to my point here.
Dan | Homepage | 02.12.04 - 6:03 am | #

Thursday, February 12

Morality Part II - Self-Interest Based Morality

A few of the comments anticipated some of what I was going to say. I'll respond to them in time, but I wanted to go on with what I was going to say first.

Just as I had set aside puzzling over the problem and decided to stick with my original Christian based morality, for the time being, I happened to see a flier for an essay contest based on The Fountainhead. The book made it seem to me that it was at least possible that the self-interests of people were mutually compatible such that initiating harm against others was actually harmful to the person initiating the harm (even if no one else found out). The argument wasn't fully given in the book, but I felt optimistic that Ayn Rand's other books would give extra support to this idea. In the meantime, I agreed that the idea of self-sacrifice as an ultimate virtue, as encouraged by many religions, was harmful and wrong.

I didn't see how it could make sense for "good" people to sacrifice themselves - and leave less good people to live on.
Morality
I'm probably getting in over my head here, but I don't see any way around it.

For the last several years (until very recently), I've held to a self-interest based morality. It came about at about the same time I rejected religion and began looking for better explanations about morality.

It seemed obvious that it wouldn't be best for people to go around killing each other randomly for survival. Cooperating and trading seemed a much better alternative for most or all people. However, I couldn't really see a reason why a particular individual should refrain from initiating force against others if he could do so without retribution. I didn't like this idea of morality, but I couldn't find a rational or logical problem with it.

Wednesday, February 11

Sunday, February 8

My comments are broken, but I wanted to share this one:

Comment: One good thing about posting views publicly is that it opens you up to a potentially wider range of criticism.
Name: fr0ggE

Thursday, February 5

Rapidly Changing Ideas
One of the reasons I have had trouble getting around to writing much here is that my ideas change quickly as I find and correct mistakes and encounter new ideas. Sometimes, the very act of writing will inspire me to completely change my mind about a subject and disagree with what I've JUST written! That means, many of my posts get deleted before I can even post them. Is there any point in posting such a thing?

As for the ideas that survive me hitting the "post & publish" button, it bothered me that people might be misled by such mistakes and it was frustrating to fix them on the blog.

I've changed my mind about that. I have made no claim to omniscience or infallibility here. Even if Ihad, people should be responsible for their own thoughts.

I am still a little wary of posting some of my views publicly and part of me hopes not too many people ever notice this blog.