recently noted quotes

the god of design is the diminishing god of the diminishing gaps. -- alan dershowitz [blasphemy: how the religious right is hijacking our declaration of independence]

spock: doctor, you are an essentialist.
mccoy: you bet your pointy ears i am, mr spock! -- star trek [arena]

green lantern: some things can't be taught. some things can only get through experience.
hawk girl: like?
green lantern: clarity.

he lives in france, the place where all good americans go when they die. -- bugs bunny [on pepé le pew]

an active prefrontal cortex is a happy prefrontal cortex. -- brain age

liberty is not divisible; a society's members do not have it if they have only some of it in some spheres. -- a. c. grayling [freedom of speech]

when we have sufficiently drunk in the beauty of the vista that spreads before us on these heights, and start thinking about returning home and actually building such a parser, it will come to us that there is a small but annoying problem left. -- grune and jacobs [parsing techniques: a practical guide]

so may i take this opportunity to beg pamuk, anyone who writes about pamuk, and indeed, anyone who writes about Istanbul, to retire forever the phrase "caught between east and west"? -- claire berlinski [from her rather amusing dismantling of pamuk in her globe and mail review of other colors, the tedium existence - istanbul and elsewhere]

[yes, i have other colors and i agree with berlinski's review. in fact, she is being rather polite. i too have lived in pamuk's istanbul...]


daily rotfl

found this lovely bit in the national post [canadian printed simulation of fox news] christmas eve editorial "room for god" [i glance at this rag on occasion to get a dose of adrenalin, or laughter, or both.]:
a society that has no place for the supernatural, the metaphysical and, yes, the religious, is closing itself off from the most profound questions. there has to be room for the things of god.

[insert laughter soundtrack]

sigh. the editorial author must have just finished reading roger scruton's latest "political philosophy" dump.

[it is really just a coincidence that i decided to make note of assorted daily inanities after reading scruton's uproarious [late onset] paradox on how "the falsities of religious faith" are supposed to "enable us to perceive truths that matter".]

doctorow's alice

cory doctorow just posted a two and a half hour long reading of alice in wonderland. what a wonderful present for the end of 2007!


earth to flew, earth to flew...

i finally had a chance to long-skim a copy of that new book attributed to antony flew. i was particularly interested in seeing how and what, a philosopher, going from a methodist minister father to uncompromising atheism, and apparently coming back, would discover. intelligent poly-theism? tao? allah? some other philosophically sound riff on cosmic consciousness [eg. see smullyan]? no. one finds, with considerable sadness and not much surprise, that flew can only discover a christian god, and goes on to discuss, with all the seriousness of a mediocre philosophy undergrad, the resurrection fantasy. i have to say that this book, if indeed was written by one, is an embarrassment for a professional philosopher [regardless of his/her religious affiliation], and especially so for someone with flew's credentials. [if he is mentally fit, and not contractually obliged, he should give his advance back, donate the royalties [no doubt would be pouring in from evangelicals in the US as a part of their wish-fulfillment fantasy reading] to a non-religious charity, and disown this worthless piece of pulp attributed to him.]

update 21/12/07: when i wrote this blog entry, i had just returned from the bookstore, and had not seen richard carrier's ongoing update on flew's overall philosophical [in]coherence and the mysterious authorship of this sorry volume. my earlier, naively optimistic note.


404 haiku

encountered while visiting a link at vivtek.com


You step in the stream
the water has moved on
page not found


how to write a computer book review

i just came across Tv's 2005 review of twisted network programming essentials by abe fettig. this is a textbook example of how to write a carefully detailed and rigorous technical book review.
And, in case you didn't read the review above and don't know me, let me restate this: I am not going to write a glowing fluffy review, give a link to amazon and increase sales -- even if I was bribed with a shiny book, which I do appreciate -- but to really dig into this book, see how good it is. Blame it on me being an average pessimistic Finn, or something. Take it this way: everything I don't complain about is just perfect.

[he actually keeps notes while reading the book. how cool is that?] such a lovely contrast to most hand-wavy [glowing fluffy] technical book reviews found in login;, slashdot and elsewhere...


recently noted quotes

open source zealots don't mix well with real life. -- sam leffler [sane 2006]

i think that to achieve true adulthood is to understand the simplicity of things . -- peggy noonan [on speaking well]

In the next version we plan on integrating back scratching and toast making. -- omni group [OWF description in omni group developer resources]

in the future we will all have shaved cats. -- charlie stross [japan: some impressions

if the stakes aren't high, then neither is the audience. -- joss whedon [geek blog interview]

you have to gird your loins. my loins are notably ungirded. -- joss whedon [geek blog interview]

We have a technical term for any business plan that relies on making life difficult for customers and easy for non-customers: we call it "circling the drain". --charlie stross [why i don't like amazon's kindle]

love is never having to read miranda rights. -- ncis

nobody else with the possible exception of Michael Moore has cajones this big. -- acidrain71 [review of penn jillette's sock]

garbage golem are the creation of the truly desperate. -- gurps magic items 3

And so here I am, writing a Python SOAP server and getting all Arlo Guthrie on your keister. -- vivtek [python soap server]

charlie on kindle

charlie stross has an excellent assessment/critique of kindle: why i don't like amazon's kindle

Do I think Kindle is destined to succeed? Well ... this reader's a turkey, but the Kindle service might succeed, if they can iron the bugs out. But they're going to have to make a whole lot of changes, and some of those aren't up to Amazon — the publishers need to change their minds about DRM, and (perhaps more controversially) to accept that it's necessary to renegotiate their rights splits to permit a true worldwide English language ebook market to evolve.

[i categorically refuse to buy anything that comes with kindle-style DRM, so i watch the discussion over this bit of cybercrud with great amusement.]

related reading: mark pilgrim's the future of reading (a play in six acts)


mother's gumbo, jambalaya ...

in a related note to my rather disappointing nawlins experience: i am very pleased to find that one of my favorite restaurants in new orleans, mother's restaurant is still around and appears to be doing well. this is where i had the best jambalaya of my life. they were kind enough to send me a typed up copy of their recipe some years later, and now it is online for everyone to enjoy, along with their gumbo, beans and bread pudding recipes.