recently noted quotes

a trick is a clever idea that can be used once, while a technique is a trick that can be used at least twice. -- don knuth [pre-fascicle 1a: bitwise tricks and techniques]

i demand a lawyer! i cannot be grounded for refusing to eat my dinner! -- eren yigit [my very own version of calvin]

A useful reductio, as we all learned in our first logic course, has just one bad premise that eventually sticks out like a sore thumb, but in this case we have an embarrassment of riches: four premises, all of them false. I will leave as an exercise for the reader the task of seeing if any presentable variation of Fodor's argument can be constructed in which some or all of these are replaced by truths. -- daniel dennett [fun and games in fantasyland]

religion: 1. boundless conceit concealed as utmost modesty. 2. justification for regulating one's own behavior and coercing others to regulate theirs. 3. an inexhaustible mine of meaning for the mentally lazy. -- thomas szasz [the untamed tongue: a dissenting dictionary]

I think George Bush has proved definitively that to be president, you don’t need to care about science, literature or peace. -- stephen colbert [i am an op-ed columnist (so can you)]

WAITER: And what might you be having this evening?

MCGRATH: Yes. Well, it’s important to distinguish between the various choices that a dinner menu offers. On the one hand, yes, there is a Chicken Cordon Bleu, and throughout the years it has been very satisfying to those who would choose to partake of it, as it is their right and wont to do so. I myself have been partial to such dishes, and I believe you would be too, were you to be one who enjoys partaking of such dishes as one is partial to. -- sexy secularist's alister mcgrath impression [watch alister mcgrath take a very long time to say very little - rotfl]

boxer: what was he doing in canada?
thomas: one place to go when you are having trouble with the law... plus the beer! -- women's murder club

angela: or just remind him of who i am, and ask him politely.
jack: what are you, a canadian? -- bones

imagine there is no heaven, my dear six billionth, and at once the sky's the limit. -- salman rushdie [portable atheist]



jonathan has responded to netapps idiocy, and what a sweet response that is:
So later this week, we're going to use our defensive portfolio to respond to Network Appliance, filing a comprehensive reciprocal suit. As a part of this suit, we are requesting a permanent injunction to remove all of their filer products from the marketplace, and are examining the original NFS license - on which Network Appliance was started. By opting to litigate vs. innovate, they are disrupting their customers and employees across the world.


from the nose of the buddha

daniel dennett's appreciation of hofstadter's i'm a strange loop and minsky's the emotion machine

dawkins's speech in honor of dan dennett

ian musgrave's open letter to dr michael behe

andy lewis's criticism of the society of homeopaths, now forced down with legal threats, and replicated as a result: the gentle art of homeopathic killing


dis-continued education

university of st michael's college in the university of toronto offers this amazingly magical course, delivered by an instructor with an intellect as sharp as meringue...

RSS7-F By Design or By Chance? An Introduction to the Intelligent Design Controversy

The intelligent design controversy is best understood as a conflict between materialist and non-materialist views of the origin and nature of the universe. Reputable scientists can be found on both sides. Because the two sides proceed from different assumptions, they do not agree, as Thomas Kuhn would say, on what would constitute a falsification of their premises. The controversy continues to grow because, while the materialism is prevalent in academia and the media, it is widely discredited in the population at large, including the professional classes.

INSTRUCTOR: Denyse O’Leary is a Toronto-based journalist, author, and blogger, who is the author of Faith@Science, By Design or By Chance? and co-author of The Spiritual Brain with Neuroscientist Mario Beauregard.


fodor's evolution from curmudgeon to crank

jason rosenhouse deals with jerry fodor's latest missive on evolution, why pigs don't have wings. [dennett's fun and games in fantasyland is a helpful introduction to fodor's current state of mind]


recently noted quotes

the raven snored gently on top of his skull, counting dead sheep. -- terry pratchett [soul music]

what answer will make socrates shut up? -- gregory house

traveling via plane is feeling more and more like the yearly exam with the doctor: remove everything, turn your head and cough. -- thom hogan [bythom]

note to our institutional review board: no undergraduates had their DNA sequenced in the writing of this essay. -- cozma shalizi [yet more on the heritability and malleability of IQ]

yakka foob mog. grub pubbawup zink wattoom gazork. chumble spuzz. -- calvin [explaining newton's first law of motion in his own words.]

hmm, my burp tastes like ice cream! -- eren yigit [my very own version of calvin]

don't buy this book. stick your brain in a blender first. -- p z myers [review of the spiritual brain]
[i have skimmed this peculiar collection of pseudo-random ink spots on tortured wood pulp, and i agree that it is mind-numbingly awful. it was, as if guided by some divine force, stacked next to another steaming pile of awfulness, coulter's if democrats had brains, they would be republicans... sigh]

atheism has no problems, to my mind, in being more interesting than religion and absolutely no problems at all in being truer or more dignified. But it's quite hard for it to deliver an equivalent to the consoling satisfaction many people find in a church service or friday prayers, in part because the withdrawal of false consolation is at its core. -- thomas sutcliffe [dawkins - what can't he be blamed for?]

ahh, this is microsoft, hiding the useful bits under an advanced tab! -- anonymous

so my final piece of advice to dembski is that he quits pestering the biologists. -- olle häggström, professor of mathematical statistics [uniform distribution is a model assumption, essentially a thorough dismantling of dembski's latests quasi-mathematical attempts to sustain "intelligent design" comedy]

love of new ideas is a myth; we prefer ideas only after others have tested them. -- scott berkun [the myths of innovation]

belief itself is the food of the gods. -- terry pratchett [small gods]


moronic babble of the year

author should be obvious. she often talks about her malodorous fantasies, and gives dumb blondes a bad name.
If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream, it's a personal fantasy of mine, but I don't think it's going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women.

story link: truthdig


sony ripples and friday's random albums

some lawyer at sony claims copying the music i own is stealing. well, certainly laws in this country [canada - for now, until conservative pawns get around to hugging the music industry - see michael geist's blog for the details] strongly disagree. i am happy to report that i have not purchased a single music track online, itunes or otherwise to this day. i only buy CDs, and I rip them the moment i get them. i think i have ripped [and re-ripped, because i was unhappy with some initial rip parameters] over a thousand CDs so far, and that is only about half my library.

here is friday's random selection of [ripped] albums from my library:


quick notes for september

redrawing the european map, or freudian slip of the union: lovely new euro coin, but carefully redrawn. turkey's real place in many european minds have been clear to observers for a long time, but never so pungent, and so idiotic. it is an urgent reminder to turks where the future lies, and what to do with the current government's deception about a future membership.

noir: author charlie huston has a cool site pulpnoir that includes chapters from his novels and other essays.
NEW YORK — I write pulp. I write noir. Open one of my books and you'll see I'm not lying. I write about people killing each other and suffering or not suffering the consequences. I write about the halt and the lame and the addicted. So it should come as no surprise that this site is for fucking grownups.

dezenhall and the art of fud: jim giles's new scientist article
on academic publishers and the PR skirmish over open access. [i label this a skirmish simply because academic publishers cannot win, only delay.]

important lens review: bjorn rorslett's review of the amazing nikon afs 24-70.

adjusting prices in real time: amazon.ca appears to screen-scrape chapters.ca as a competitive tactic. as soon as a book becomes unavailable to order from chapters, the matching amazon discount disappears. [i have caught this happen several times already, literally within hours...] amazon uses its US parent to source many books that chapters thinks it cannot source. i have no idea why chapters does not use a US partner to match amazon.ca in catalog depth...

on quotes: i have been noting my favorite quotes for quite sometime. i prefer original quotes previously uncollected in books or other blogs. if you notice a quote that was previously posted elsewhere, please let me know. [it is rather difficult to find previously unnoticed bits of wisdom from, say, terry pratchett, but i try. people often catch his obvious gems but overlook more subtle pieces.]

arithmetic, logitech style:
    Communicating with your Harmony remote
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