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Fresh baked bread

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.08.14

Today is my first attempt ever baking bread from scratch. I decided on this recipe because it looked easy, and because:

If I've got a day where I've really got to get some uni work done - I'll make bread. Because it adds structure to my day, without taking much effort. I make the bread, and while it proofs, get some work done. Take it out, punch down the yeast. And as it rises again, more uni work. While the oven heats up, more uni work. While it bakes, I dot my 'i's and cross my 't's. Then, as a reward for a solid few hours work, I get freshly baked bread.

seems just so trustworthy.


 

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Stay Away

Posted by Ogged
on 03.08.14

Slate has a pretty good piece up on Wolfram Language, which links to this fantastic piece by Cosma Shalizi on Wolfram's big book from a few years ago. I knew Wolfram was a raving egomaniac, but didn't realize he was such a litigious jerk. Shalizi's piece is slightly technical, but so clear that it was easy (and entertaining) to read the whole thing.


 

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Gimme Chocolate!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.07.14

There's a thing called "Baby Metal":

Things of note: 1) The chorus on this song is nefariously catchy; 2) This may be the best metal song ever written about how awesome it is to eat chocolate; 3) The people playing their backing music are dressed as skeletons; 4) If you show this to an actual metalhead, he or she will never forgive you.

Enjoy.


 

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I'll Show You Contrarian

Posted by LizardBreath
on 03.06.14

I think the study linked below, showing no significant health benefits from breastfeeding by using sibling pairs as controls, may have been misinterpreted here -- reading it as some kind of proof that the "perfect parenting crowd" is off-base seems to me to be exactly the wrong message to take away. Let's think about this systematically:

1) Prior studies of breastfeeding, many of which attempted to control for socioeconomic factors, showed significant benefits in health and IQ for breastfed children.

2) This study, comparing breastfed children to their non-breastfed siblings showed no benefit. Which means that

3) There are significant health and IQ benefits related to being a child brought up by the particular kind of parents who would breastfeed, even when you try to control for socioeconomic factors.

4) Another way to describe "the particular kind of parents who would breastfeed" is "the perfect-parenting crowd."

Therefore

5) The perfect-parenting crowd, despicable as they may be, are actually doing their children measurable, substantial good through some part of the perfect-parenting behavior. It might not be the breastfeeding, but it's something associated with how they parent, and it's fairly consequential. Better start home-baking those organic snacks and forbidding screentime, everyone!

Prove me wrong.


 

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On the road

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.06.14

We're taking our first major family road trip (to Florida) right after I get back from my glamorous HOLLYWOOD va-cay-cay. On the plus side, ipads exist, and our minivan has a built-in TV, and two of the kids are stably potty-trained. On the cons side, we'll be very strapped for time in properly preparing for a road trip and planning for snacks on hand, etc.

To be honest, I'm dreading this, but like I said elsewhere: jesus christ, travelling to visit friends and family is breaking our budget. At least the crazy I-10 swamp-bridge through Louisiana is awesome.


 

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Left turns

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.06.14

What I thought about on my commute today: Normally, if opposite cars are both turning left, they can turn left simultaneously, and their paths do not intersect. There is an intersection outside of Heebie U, however, where left turners quite often choose paths that pass in back of each other - they do-si-do, so to speak. This is a two-way stop. The cross street is relatively busy and wide - four lanes plus a turn land. The two stopped directions are both wide, unpainted country roads. Everything is big and roomy enough that inevitably, when there is a break in traffic of the cross street, simultaneous left-turners choose to do-si-do.

I like to wonder what kind of intersection is most likely to produce head-on collisions of simultaneous left-turners. A contender: two way stop, narrow-ish roads, and the two directions with stop signs are slightly offset from each other, such that the oncoming stopped traffic is slightly to your left. I think then you could get two drivers who make opposite choices and crash into each other.


 

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Antidote

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.05.14

Please, for the love of god, tell me about your love life. Or your bodily ailments. How's it going? Which one is worse?


 

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Guidance

Posted by Ogged
on 03.05.14

Programmers of Blog, the last programming thread was very helpful, and I've been reading stuff that gives me a better sense of programming as such. Now, a more practical question: my long-term plan (about a year out) is to get a regular paying gig as a programmer. I've been doing stuff with Objective C, and could keep doing that, but my question is this: is there a class of programming jobs that are reasonably interesting but still have family-friendly hours? And what's the smartest way for someone to prepare himself for that kind of job--in terms either of knowledge, or demonstrated experience, or a particular language...whatever. I thank you!


 

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Suck It

Posted by Ogged
on 03.04.14

This amused me.

a new study suggests that many of the long-term benefits attributed to breast-feeding may be an effect not of breast-feeding or breast milk itself but of the general good health and prosperity of women who choose to breast-feed ... The researchers recorded various health and behavioral outcomes in the sibling pairs, including body mass index, obesity, asthma, hyperactivity, reading comprehension, math ability and memory-based intelligence. The study, published online in Social Science & Medicine, found no statistically significant differences between the breast-fed and bottle-fed siblings on any of these measures.

I wish the corporate poisoners poison people again angle weren't salient here, because I really want to tell the sanctimonious perfect-parenting crowd to go fuck themselves. That's on a personal level (not that we've had any bad experiences ourselves), but more generally, one would hope that puncturing this ur-truth of aspirational overparenting would get people to chill out a little bit about what their kids eat/when they go to bed/what they read/see/hear, etc. etc. etc.

On the other hand! I shouldn't blame parents so much, who are themselves victims of the economic insecurity that makes people freak out about their kids' "opportunities." But a little self-awareness and two minutes thought about the importance of any given dictum wouldn't hurt.


 

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Duke

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.04.14

Belle Knox is paying for Duke by doing porn, and it's a big scandal.

[S]ince a frat boy at Duke outed Knox, 18, to his bros from the school's notoriously sexist Greek scene and the campus drama escalated into full-blown internet scandal, Knox's story has shed light, once more, on a double-standard--the person we jerk off to is not supposed to be the same person we take exams with. (Or do anything else with for that matter.)

...

Knox, who has been commuting to L.A. from North Carolina on school breaks to shoot a couple dozen videos since starting her career in November, insists that her work is a political act in line with a sex-positive feminist perspective. And with the reveal that Knox is a Republican, it turns out that doing porn is also in line with another ideology: Her libertarianism. Knox has used the publicity to draw attention to feminist libertarianism--marginalized within the pearl-clutching, religious, anti-sex and often anti-woman confines of Tea Party fundamentalism and the Christian right. In other words: If you believe in personal freedom, you shouldn't judge anyone for what they do with their bodies. And if you believe in personal responsibility, perhaps it's the right thing to do.

I have an almost nauseated feeling while reading this story, and I think it's the sheer intensity of the judgment, degradation, and misogyny that must be focused on Knox right now.

She sounds decently balanced about the whole thing, and not-exploited. I'm not concerned for her mental health in the making of the movies. It's hard for me to get a handle on what aspect of it bothers me - that a few rogue viewers will use it as an outlet for their anger towards women? That college kids can be assholes even if they're not harboring deep anger towards women? If she says she's fine, I'm not sure why I have such an awful reaction.


 

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Guest Post - schroedinger's rat

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.04.14

President Richard Nixon writes: Schroedinger's rat has some excellent rants about science. Most of it is about how the scientific community doesn't recognize good research: some papers get over-hyped, while others never receive the attention they deserve. Some of it is a bit technical, but that is also what makes it glorious... he is calling out specific papers and researchers, and a lot of them really do deserve to be dinged.

For folks who aren't in the Rat's particular area of theoretical physics, it's still a good rant about how science can turn into a popularity contest, and all the ways you can create the appearance of having made a major discovery, without actually having to make one. Plus there is bonus hate for the editors of Nature and Science!

Heebie: I am indeed enjoying browsing the site.


 

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More with the guest posts!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.04.14

1. Peepster peeps this with his peepers: this looked something you perfessors might enjoy discussing

Heebie's take: yes, yes, I should have posted this last week when Peepie sent it in. It's still funny except real.

2. Turgey-J has a theory:
Temperature ranges:
<20: No. This should be the temperature where I am *not* but where I
will visit for HUGE snow and/or awesome frozen lakes,
20-32: Snow is a distinctly likely possibility: hell yes.
33-40: Unpleasant and insipid,
40-59: Bracing; only I would not want tooooo much rain and wind;
proper temperature for sleeping outdoors, bonfires.
60s: This is the proper temperature for so much of the year.
70-75: Boooorrring; if I can't feel the temperature difference on my
skin I worry I might be dead.
76-84: Insipid, but nice.
85-90: Good! Warm enough to swim outside, not so hot I hate myself for
having skin.
91+: Only acceptable in the vicinity of pools and/or beers.

Heebie's take: we are currently in unpleasant and insipid, and the kids' daycare is delayed YET AGAIN - Dahlia Lithwick gets it right.


 

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This Is Just To Say, I Really Enjoyed The Purity Ball

Posted by Ogged
on 03.03.14

I have slept with
your daughter
who was in
her white dress

and who
you were probably
saving
for marriage

Forgive me
she was delicious
so sweet
yet so bold


 

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10,000 steps

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.03.14

In a burst of sanctimony, I rummaged up my old pedometer yesterday and clipped it on. Yesterday I walked about 4000 steps. Today I'm about 3000, roughly 1000 for each class I taught. (I didn't put in on until after I went to crossfit, got to school, showered, and sat down at my desk.)

I assume that 10,000 steps is only a marginally more scientific goal than 8 glasses of water. But still, it's a goal, and it seems to mean that you must be travelling by walking. I don't think I was particularly sedentary yesterday or today, but it wasn't purposeful walking to get somewhere two miles away.

I suppose I would rather not walk 10,000 steps a day over carving out an extra half hour to take a walk around the neighborhood.


 

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Guest Post - Assorted

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.03.14

DQ sends in: A recent incident of marketing consultant wearing googleglasses into dive bar widely known locally for patrons self identifying as "punk" (Molotov's), denouement as one would expect. Some hilarious opinion pieces in the local rag on it (sfgate.com). My favorite tidbit tho is this from a yelp review of Molotov's:

I may not be the target customer, in that I'm not male, and I have an aversion to germs.

See, that's high quality, valuable crowd sourced information there, super helpful for assessing different drinking locales, made available to us all through the wonders of tech!

Also, Toronado just across the street has better beer.

Ydnew sends in: From an analytics group: How Democratic is your name? (Yes, this is a terrible wording.)

It was linked in the Washington Post a couple days ago. My name gives dull results (not very predictive, I guess) but I ran "Chet" and get the following: 55.7% likelihood of being registered as a Republican, 47.9% likelihood Chet has a gun in his house, 57.2% likelihood he attends weekly religious services, and 54.5% likelihood that he has a college degree.

I played for a little while. It's pretty easy to find names that are highly associated with registered Democrats but harder to find names highly associated with the other three traits displayed. Also, I'm surprised at the high percentage or registered voters with college degrees. I don't think any name I tried was below 45%.

Heebie's take: Heebie was not in the database, which means I'm free to vote my conscience. Neither was my real name.


 

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Suddenly, suddenly

Posted by Stanley
on 03.03.14

Taking the Beatles down a peg or two is fun and easy:

Consider: This cannot have been a very deep relationship. He says something wrong and she leaves him and won't say why? What a drama queen. What kind of person leaves someone for a very good but unexpressed reason, based on something he said that was so subtly wrong he hasn't a clue as to what it was? Paul wants to talk about it -- but she is flouncing out the door.

Clearly, Paul is better off without her. She is a shallow, coldhearted jerk. But he still longs for their relationship; in fact, now, in her absence, he is half a man! This makes Paul a sap and a dip.

Paul's lady, we have established, is high-maintenance with a flair for the dramatic and punishing gesture, so nobody believes love once was, with her, an easy game to play. It's not easy for anyone, Paul, not even for a day. You were deluding yourself.

And now you need a place to hide away, even though she left you. This implies you no longer have a place. Are you getting kicked out? Did she pay the rent? Were you a sap and a dip and a freeloader?

The essential message of the song is that things were nicer in the past. Except, as the nonsensical timeline and shallowness of the heartbreak show, these things were not that great but only seem so because of nostalgia. Ahem.

Funny. But not as good as Steve Almond's explanation of Toto's "Africa".


 

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Eclectic

Posted by Ogged
on 03.02.14

-Kareem is great. Here he is giving advice to his younger self.

--Wolfram Language, thoughts? The demo video is impressive.

--Science journals have been publishing computer generated gibberish. As a humanities guy, let me say that I guess this means airplanes can't fly.


 

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Guest Post - Kareem Explains It All re: Best Picture

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.02.14

There's a bit of a queue of submitted guest posts, which is a nice problem to have, but I'm going to use the ones that are time sensitive first. Such as, I gather it's the awards show tonight?

Stormcrow writes: It is probably poor form to attempt a guest post about a scheduled event like the Oscars--especially as I don't generally give two shits about them--but a sharp bit of film criticism by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (taking time off from his co-pilot duties) fit well into my theme of black sports figures and the larger world. Plus his take aligns pretty well with mine. So here is "Kareem: The Oscars' Addiction to Lame Historical Drama".

Actually I don't think he is as harsh on Gravity as he should be. Saw a show this AM where they accorded it the status of favorite for best picture. If it wins it will plummet to the bottom of the pile of modern poor Best Picture picks, down there with Forrest Gump and Crash. I saw it in 3D, and sort of enjoyed it for what it was, but it just is not Best Picture material. Even one little bit. A steaming pile of poor narrative choices.

But actually, the whole event is going to turn out to be about Woody fucking Allen again, isn't it?

Heebie: Woody molested himself!


 

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