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Subject:Apology
Time:01:57 pm
A comment on this post reminds me that I meant to say something about this and never did. I made this post about the Old Testament God a few months ago. It was a copy of a comment from an ongoing discussion between a current believer in the Jewish religion and various former believers. In context, therefore, the focus on problems with Judaism specifically made lots of sense. However, when I yanked it out of context and posted it here, it sounded like something very different, and set lots of people's antisemitism alarms off. It was a mistake for me not to see what a difference taking it out of context would make and I apologise!

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/360469.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:Pills puzzle
Time:10:15 am
The following puzzle appears on Futility Closet:

My doctor wants to establish a dosage for a new drug, so he gives me a bottle of 48 pills and tells me to take them throughout the month of June. I can take as many or as few as I like on any given day, so long as I take at least 1 pill each day. Show that there’s a sequence of consecutive days during which I take exactly 11 pills.

You can click through that link for their solution. Here's what I want to know. SpoilersCollapse )

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Subject:Going to the Bay Area in three months!
Time:08:46 am
In the afternoon of Thursday 19th July, I'll be boarding a plane that will ultimately take me to SFO airport. I'll be attending the Center for Modern Rationality minicamp, then staying in the Bay Area with the marvellous [personal profile] shevek for at least some of the time until my flight back in the afternoon of Sunday 5th August. EEEEEEEEEE!

Three days after I return to the UK, I leave for BiCon. I'll be spending two of those days in the office. So I'm going to have to have everything totally lined up for BiCon before I go!

Todo:
  • Renew passport
  • Sort out forms for the visa waiver program
  • Book post-flight hotel
  • Travel insurance
  • Order a credit card
  • Book for BiCon
  • Plan what I'm wearing for BiCon - find it all now
  • Book hair dye, haircut, leg wax, eyebrow threading appointments before trip
  • Add hold luggage to my flights - do I need to do anything here? Email says "Baggage is 1PC + 7Kg (Hand Baggage)" but Delta's page on checked baggage seems to indicate I get one free 23kg bag...
  • WHAT HAVE I FORGOTTEN???


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Subject:Imagine you're a young Midianite woman.
Time:09:57 pm
Discusses Numbers 31, a particularly nasty Old Testament passageCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/359474.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:Rant I wrote in IM
Time:01:26 pm
I never post, so here's a rant written in IM I want to preserve. Edited somewhat.

here's how it seems to me
there's an argument for the singularity that goes like this
"A, B, C, D, and E all seem likely"
"E says that A + B + C + D = Singularity"
and then people say "No, the singularity is rubbish"
and we say "do you disagree with A, B, C, D, or E?"
and they say "You're all a bunch of wild-eyed dreamers"
and we say "Err, so is that C you disagree with?"
and they say "It's religion for geeks, man!"
and we say "Err, but..."
and ... they just DON'T FUCKING ENGAGE AT ALL.
That's why I keep pointing at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/357313.html
it takes the contrapositive, and says "If not singularity, then either ¬A or ¬B or ¬C or ¬D or ¬E"
No-one said "oh wait, you forgot F"
but none of ¬A or ¬B or ¬C or ¬D or ¬E got a lot of support.

I am willing to accept that this misrepresents singularity critics horribly - you certainly don't all call us names for example! But I hope the broad form of my frustration is clear and if I'm confused I hope it makes it easier for you to clear up my confusion :-)

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/359382.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:Valentinr
Time:08:36 am
My Valentinr - ciphergoth

I ignored all these because I hadn't set one up. Now I have one, I'm worried about all the ones I missed. What if they've all sent me mutual love notes, and I never receive them because I didn't click at the time? I encourage you all to re-link to your Valentinr entries this weekend to be on the safe side :-)

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/359043.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:Phone buying advice
Time:07:22 pm
The time is coming for lovelybug to get a new Android mobile phone. My feeling is that it should be at least the same resolution as my HTC Desire (ie 480x800), and should be able to be a USB host - ie it should be possible to connect things like digital cameras to it and copy off the photos. Apart from that the most important consideration is cost, though a better battery life would be nice.

Any recommendations? Should we get a phone with a contract, or buy the phone separately and get eg this £10/month deal from 3?

Thanks!

Update: damn, very sorry to hear the USB host thing isn't going to work :-(

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/358750.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:Rationality
Time:01:22 pm
As many of you know, I'm part of a website whose purpose is to discuss how to think and make decisions more rationally; we also meet face-to-face. Leaving aside the specific characteristics of that website and group, what's your immediate reaction to the whole idea of a group for discussing how to be more rational?

(edited to make clear that it's at least in part how the idea makes you feel that I'm interested in!)

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/358551.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:What will happen to the newspapers?
Time:11:15 am
Newspapers everywhere are finding it progressively harder to make any money, and their future is in doubt. Lots of people have opinions on what should happen next, or what newspapers should do. I'm interested in a different question here - leaving aside all normative discussion of what we might like or not like, what do people think is actually going to happen?

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/358287.html. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:Pinker on statistics
Time:08:08 pm
I think that a failure of statistical thinking is the major intellectual shortcoming of our universities, journalism and intellectual culture. Cognitive psychology tells us that the unaided human mind is vulnerable to many fallacies and illusions because of its reliance on its memory for vivid anecdotes rather than systematic statistics. Yet pundits continue to hallucinate trends in freak events, like the Norwegian sniper (who shot all those young people on an island) and make wildly innumerate comparisons, such as between Afghanistan and Vietnam, or between today's human trafficking and the African slave trade. It's a holdover of the literary sensibilities of our science-flunking intellectual elite, who would be aghast if someone didn't know who Milton was, but cheerfully flaunt their ignorance of basic science and mathematics. I lobbied – unsuccessfully – for a course requirement at Harvard in statistical and logical reasoning.
-- Steven Pinker
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[icon] Paul Crowley
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