4 Rules of Computer Programming

Saturday, March 24th 2012

The Four Rules of Computer Programming:

  1. Out of simplicity, find complexity;
  2. From harmony find discord;
  3. In the middle of opportunity lies difficulty;
  4. Whatever you are doing now your Future Self won't understand it.

(With apologies to Einstein.)

Cosmic Stockholm Syndrome

Friday, March 23rd 2012

On August 23 1973 there was a bank robbery in Stockholm that turned into a siege that lasted 6 days. The captives grew emotionally attached to their captors. Once they were freed, they even defended their captors publicly.

The psychiatrist Nils Bejerot appeared on TV and referred to their behvaiour as "Stockholm Syndrome". Frank Ochberg went on to define it in more detail.

The Universe has a lot to recommend it. Beautiful scenery. The stars. Falling in love. Poetry. Music. Adventure. Or whatever things appeal to you.

But it has a lot of bad things about it, too. I won't detail them. It's too depressing.

And humans don't have much choice about it. We are born into a world over which we have little say. We are, in a way, Cosmic Captives.

But humanity spends a lot of time rationalising the quite appalling state of things to itself. Some people say you're here to learn. Some people say humans are born crooked and need to repent. And so on.

I think anybody who rationalises the situation is suffering from bad case of Cosmic Stockholm Syndrome.

Cultural Fiction

Thursday, March 22nd 2012

The Urge to the Narrative

Humans need stories. I don't just mean Dr. Suess stories or the Lord of the Rings. I mean something wider. Sequential narratives that fit into the brain.

Personality Test

Wednesday, March 21st 2012

There are many types of personality test. This is one I have concocted after at least 20 mins of deep research.

You see an Llama walking across the street. What do you do?

(1) Greet it.

(2) Launch a thermonuclear strike against it.

(3) See it as a conspiracy.

(4) Become sexually aroused.

Select an option and then click "more".

Heroic Humour

Tuesday, March 20th 2012

When everybody finally stops laughing and it's just not funny anymore? Keep going. That's when it's hilarious.

Super Dominant Cultures & the Black Switch

Monday, March 19th 2012

Jared Diamond (The Third Chimpanzee, p.207)

[...] one New Guinea highlander recalled his life before first arrival of whites in 1930, 'We had not seen far places. We knew only this side of the mountains. And we thought that we were the only living people.'

Some of the tribes of New Guinea lived in terrain the surrounds of which were so inhospitable they remained cut off from the outside world until well into the last century.

The cultural diversity was amazing. Diamond writes that:

New Guinea, with less than one-tenth of Europe's area and less than one-hundredth of its population, has about 1,000 languages, many of them unrelated to nay other known language in New Guinea or elsewhere!

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