Unrelenting beauty

27 04 11 - 11:11

There are a couple of schools of worldview regarding life itself. To one group, it is amazing and we need to get to know it; to the other group, it is imperfect and should be more like us.

I'm forever with the first group.

And around us, amazing things do occur.

Former Sony president Norio Ohga recognised the potential of the CD’s superior sound quality from the start.

In the 1970s, sceptics scoffed when he insisted compact discs would eventually replace records.

He insisted the CD be 4.8in in diameter, so that it could contain 75 minutes of music – the amount required to hold one of his favourite pieces, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in its entirety. - The Daily Mail

Some people experience a sense of transcendent clarity, where the ways of the world and the ways of the mind are in agreement.

They often become thankful, reverent, and dedicate their lives to praising and explicating it.

From this we get the great artists, the divine intellects, and the inspired leaders. They love life first, and only secondarily worry about themselves, so they make more objective and generous decisions.

INTERVIEWER: What is your definition of a Romantic?

HOUELLEBECQ: It’s someone who believes in unlimited happiness, which is eternal and possible right away. Belief in love. Also belief in the soul, which is strangely persistent in me, even though I never stop saying the opposite. - The Paris Review

And you find people bonding with life all the time, discovering an eternal happiness. They find it in the genius of life itself, and in having the ability to participate -- and if very lucky, to glorify -- this wonderful thing called existence, or consciousness, or even life.

A wayward otter turned on its would-be rescuers in Tulla on Monday as it was found wandering up the town's main street.

Farmer Joe Burke and shop owner Mike Hogan first noticed the animal as it passed by on the footpath outside Mr Hogan's window.

Concerned for its safety, they decided to come to its aid. However, the otter clearly had other ideas. - BBC

Perhaps, as Kant states and Plato intimates, we are viewfinders moving through a vast field of data, only some of which we can comprehend and through tripartite interaction (cause->effect/observer) can understand as time and space, and the objects necessarily within.

Perhaps the patterns of reality are greater than the sum of its parts, and that consciousness is not within the electrical impulses of our brain, but a pattern described by them. In such a world mythic imagination thrives, mainly because by finding metaphorical truth, it is more accurate than detail-oriented science.

At bidding of a Will, to which we bend
(and must), but only dimly apprehend,
great processes march on, as Time unrolls
from dark beginnings to uncertain goals;
and as on page o'er-written without clue,
with script and limning packed of various hue,
an endless multitude of forms appear,
some grim, some frail, some beautiful, some queer,
each alien, except as kin from one
remote Origo, gnat, man, stone, and sun.
God made the petreous rocks, the arboreal trees,
tellurian earth, and stellar stars, and these
homuncular men, who walk upon the ground
with nerves that tingle touched by light and sound. - Mythopoeia by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sometimes even it seems as if the world itself dreams and hopes along with us; or rather, is carved from the same dreaming and hoping monism that aspires to be self-consistent and self-adoring, a cycle of endurance that produces endless joy and interesting patterns, thus escaping itself to a higher plane of mathematical beauty.

These grey whales are so friendly that they even don't mind being kissed by adoring tourists.

The good-natured seafaring giants will swim right up to human visitors, who can dip their faces into the sea to plant a smacker on the heads of the huge 40-ton sea mammals, who can be found off the west coast of Mexico.

The whales love a pat on the head and a rub on their smooth and sometimes barnacle-covered 45foot-long bodies. - The Daily Mail

If you find yourself alienated by the stupid, short-sighted, brain-dead, callow, oblivious, solipsistic and crass in humanity, your hatred may be a form of love that is suggesting instead we praise the glory of existence and awareness.

It's easy to get caught in the hatred, and forget its parent, which is this love of life. Perhaps the two should coexist: a love of life, and a hatred of all that threatens it.

After all, that is how you treat anything you love, if you wish it to continue. In this light, burning bulldozers, detonating suburbs, eugenic extermination of idiots, etc. are all loving acts -- and the "loving" acts of tolerating these fools are blasphemy against the beauty of existence.

Things to ponder.

More unsecured machines

12 04 11 - 03:44

These are spam-spewing hoses, so there's probably room for others to victimize them:

The owners of these machines are probably thinking that WOW is running really slow for some weird reason, and they need to upgrade. Another $400 Dell, another spam nightmare for the rest of us.

You've been hacked

10 04 11 - 14:49

The follow IPs are being used to spam our forum. They are most probably compromised Windows machines:

Why is this here? (a) to out these IPs to our search engine friends, to apply pressure to the owners; and (b) to challenge "privacy advocates" (basement dwellers) who think that it's bad or unethical to out compromised IPs.

How do I know they are spammers? Our forum is about metal music. Every single one of these IPs: (a) registered multiple accounts; (b) created a username of the same generic format; (c) had in their signature and byline advertisements for products entirely unrelated to metal, including web hosting, timeshares, lingerie and free laptops.

Be sure to use these IPs anywhere you need sham data!

Where the debate on "race" being "real" gets confused

06 04 11 - 20:21

Humanity still isn't sure of the relationship between language categories and reality:

Universals are general or abstract qualities, characteristics, properties, kinds or relations, such as being male/female, solid/liquid/gas or a certain colour,[1] that can be predicated of individuals or particulars or that individuals or particulars can be regarded as sharing or participating in. For example, Scott, Pat, and Chris have in common the universal quality of being human or humanity.

There are three main positions on the issue: realism, idealism and nominalism (sometimes simply called "anti-realism" with regard to universals)

The realist school claims that universals are real — they exist and are distinct from the particulars that instantiate them. There are various forms of realism. Two major forms are Platonic realism (universalia ante res) and Aristotelian realism (universalia in rebus).[5] Platonic realism is the view that universals are real entities and they exist independent of particulars. Aristotelian realism, on the other hand, is the view that universals are real entities, but their existence is dependent on the particulars that exemplify them. - Pix of Dix

If we're going to talk about race, or any other category, this inherency debate is going to kick us in the nuts. Is race a category of observed traits? I can work with that. Others get hung up on there not being writing on the wall or a single race gene to make it clear to their overeducated peasant brains that race, indeed, is real and not a "social construct" like gender, blood type, eye color, IQ or colon diameter.

Retspih Redrum

06 04 11 - 20:01

These people need to be slaughtered so they can be reincarnated as Gojira's sex nutria:

The [transportation authority] sent Melissa Moorhouse a letter Feb. 14 seeking $650 for the "unanticipated clean-up costs" to rid the subway of any germs that Penelope, a Dumeril's boa, might have left behind....

"I'm in no position to pay for that . . . and if the T officials had given me any respect or listened to me in the first place, this wouldn't have happened," said Moorhouse, who lives on disability payments, and whose husband works in a warehouse. She said the transit authority did not take her seriously when she reported the missing snake, and that the non-venomous Penelope posed no threat to riders.

"It's far more likely that Penelope would have gotten sick from being on that train for a month than anything harmful coming from her onto that train," she said. - Boston Potato

Note the picture: blue hair, skinny, blank Eurasian face, tricked-out apartment, smarmy hipster boyfriend.

What should we do? Pitch her and her useless appendage into a wood chipper, and save the snake.

The space on earth can go to someone who's not a self-absorbed dipshit.

The right cause/effect relationship

04 04 11 - 18:58

Modern society is like a big cause/correlation error because it can't distinguish between human perceptions, the perceived events and the results of acting on them. We really fear looking into ourselves and figuring out how we work, because that leaves us with nothing but reality, and nothing but denial to keep us from facing the cold hard truth of insignificance, death, farting, etc. what-have-you.

So we invent these "profound" "truths" and enforce them like law, insisting that we're all equal and every decision should be beyond the oversight of others, lest someone derive our motivations, realize we're cretins, and treat us as less than the peasant-kings of the new realm. That would be totally unfuckingfair, man.

Every now and then though an honest cause/effect relationship burns through the cloud of lies. It's not the right social policy, accidental invention of gunpowder, or even political attributes that make a nation succeed; it's the quality of the people therein:

In the last 50 years or so, economists have started taking an interest in the value of human capital. That means all of the qualities of the people who make up the workforce. Heiner Rindermann, of the Chemnitz University of Technology, wanted to look more closely at human capital, and particularly the factor that psychologists call cognitive ability. “In other words, it’s the ability of a person to solve a problem in the most efficient way—not with violence, but by thinking,” Rindermann says. He wrote the new study with James Thompson of University College London.

The researchers collected information on 90 countries, including far-off lands from the U.S. to New Zealand and Colombia to Kazakhstan. They also collected data on the country’s excellence in science and technology—the number of patents granted per person and how many Nobel Prizes the country’s people had won in science, for example.

They found that intelligence made a difference in gross domestic product. For each one-point increase in a country’s average IQ, the per capita GDP was $229 higher. It made an even bigger difference if the smartest 5 percent of the population got smarter; for every additional IQ point in that group, a country’s per capita GDP was $468 higher.

“Within a society, the level of the most intelligent people is important for economic productivity,” Rindermann says. He thinks that’s because “they are relevant for technological progress, for innovation, for leading a nation, for leading organizations, as entrepreneurs, and so on.” Since Adam Smith, many economists have assumed that the main thing you need for a strong economy is a government that stays out of the way. “I think in the modern economy, human capital and cognitive ability are more important than economic freedom,” Rindermann says. - Psychological Science via Amerika

Gosh, life is so much simpler when you start with the idea that humans are a tiny part of reality, and the world we see in our heads is not equivalent to reality but one view of it, one visual representation of data. A nihilist becomes an idealist the instant he or she transfers from being a materialist who rejects anything intangible to recognizing that with time and other factors beyond proximate causation, we live in a world of invisible forces and patterns which are more real, even, than the tangible results of their incarnation. And in that, you have a point of view that can handle both gruesomely literal realism (IQ inequality) and a transcendental viewpoint (striving for clarity) in balance.

When fair is unfair

04 04 11 - 18:47

Interesting case from a couple weeks ago:

Barring more legal maneuvering, the proposed Google Books Settlement – which would have cleared the way for Google to scan, digitize, and distribute of millions of in-copyright but out-of-print works – will not stand as is. This afternoon, Judge Denny Chin rejected the settlement, agreeing with opponents that it would give Google an unfair advantage.

U.S. Circuit Judge Chin expressed his opinions in a court document refreshingly light on legalese. He wrote, “While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA [Amended Settlement Agreement] would simply go too far. It would permit this class action . . . to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of the copyright owners.” - Websexual

This is eminently fair in that it returns power to the individual copyright holders. As far as individuals go, it is fair.

But as far as humanity as a whole, on the level more profound than the individual, it's probably a loss. Google Books has its disadvantages, but it does something that no other mechanism in society will do: create a universal, searchable library of all published human texts.

If anything, we should suspend the law so it can carry on its good work. It's the ultimate library. It's an awesome thing to have. I don't know what to do about getting these authors paid, or allowing them "control." I wonder if authors even have "control" at all over what they publish, or should.

As a result, I see in this decision a real moral dilemma: when what's fair to each is unfair to all, we have a problem -- even if the way to the solution is murky and fraught with issues we fear.