Archive for October, 2013

“In your mind’s eye you see pentacles”

I recently discovered Portland-based band Pure Bathing Culture. This tune, “Pendulum”, is a single off their first full-length album Moon Tides. I love the blend of New Wave synth hooks with lazy Shoe Gaze vocals and guitars. Awesome stuff. The album itself is a little uneven, but there’s enough excellence there that, if you like this, you should definitely pick up a copy.

A Note on Spam Filtering

So I’ve recently had some problems with my spam filtering. Rather than letting too many comments through, as has happened a couple times in the past, my combination of Akismet and CleanTalk started shit-canning every comment, spam content or not. After a little differential diagnosis, I figured out that CleanTalk was the culprit, so I’ve uninstalled the the plugin for it. If anyone thinks they’ve lost comments to the over-zealous spam detection engines, please let me know by post or email.

“Thanks, Markets!”

The inimitable Amanda BillyRock gave an excellent speech at Porcfest X this year. Alas, I wasn’t able to go (though I am planning on attending PorcFest in 2014!). Fortunately, we Live In The Future, so you can check out her speech on YouTube. Her talk, entitled “Cab Drivers Say the Darndest Things”, is a warm, human tour through markets and the state as they actually impact our lives. Come for the pro-market parables, stay for the story of Amanda faking her own death:

The PNW and the UN Fallacy

Anyone interested in an object illustration of the UN Fallacy1 could hardly do better than Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA. Seattle and Vancouver are so similar in culture, climate, architecture, arts, and culture that it would take a non-trivial familiarity with both to be able to tell them apart. And yet the two cities are bound up into entirely different political compacts which are, in both cases, populated by cities and peoples significantly different than themselves. Or at least much more different than the cities are to each other. Vancouver has far more in common with Seattle than it does with Montreal; Seattle has far more in common with Vancouver than it does with Savannah.

To the fan of competitive governance2, this is a clear indication that the current political compacts that bind the two cities are deeply flawed. Why should people in Seattle be, in part, controlled by people in Savannah, when a political association with Vancouver makes much more economic, cultural, and political sense? If the people of Vancouver and Seattle have more in common and decide that their futures are more strongly entwined than they are with the rest of their current countries, why shouldn’t they be permitted to form a new political compact between them?

And yet, the idea that the people of Vancouver and Seattle should voluntarily band together and throw off their existing national arrangements is seen as radical, insane, or naive. How could it be any crazier than the idea that Vancouver and Montreal should be legally, politically, and economically bound, due simply to an accident of history?

1 The UN Fallacy is the idea that a geographical area is sensibly considered as a whole, just because it is surrounded by a recognized national border, and that peoples and places so defined can be sensibly and trivially compared to one another.

2 We really ought to come up with a catchy name for ourselves. Sopharchists? Scientarchists? Let’s workshop it a bit.

BRB, Making a Chandelier

“It’s a dangerous business, you know”

I’m fair obsessed with MØ’s new single, “XXX 88”. I posted the audio awhile back, but you should really do yourself a favor and watch the video as well:

‘Murica, Fuck Yeah

“As officers pulled up, they saw the man ripping the tree limb from limb. But the tree soon got the better of the man, who suddenly fell forward into the tree, landing face-first on the ground.

When police handcuffed the man—who appeared to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol—he informed officers he loves America.”


Samsung Galaxy S3 Keeps Going into Car Mode / S-Voice

Executive Summary: Power down the device, remove any case you may have on it, and clean USB ports on both device and case with canned air.

I had an annoying problem with my S3 tonight. I was sitting on my couch, playing some GTA, when my phone started going crazy-go-nuts making a bunch of noises I’d never heard it make before. When I checked it, the device was going in and out of car mode and randomly launching S-Voice. Since I never use either function, this was equal parts baffling and annoying. I tried rebooting the phone, which didn’t fix the issue. Since I hadn’t updated software recently, I thought it was unlikely to be a software error.

The fact that it involved car mode (which can be triggered by USB docks) lead me to believe it might be caused by scuzz (technical term) in the USB port. I pulled off my Duracell case and gave the USB ports on both the device and the inside and outside of the case a few good blasts of canned air. Put it back together and powered it on: hey presto, phone is back to normal.

Creepy Mythos Fragment of the Day: The Tenome

The Tenome:

This story takes place in Shichi-jo, Kyoto, in a graveyard by the riverbank. A young man entered the graveyard, taunted by his friends to prove his courage by visiting a graveyard at night. Out of the darkness, an old man who appeared to be in his 80′s approached the young man. When the elderly figure got close enough to see in detail, the young man realized that it was actually a bakemono with eyeballs on the palms of his hands, and it was coming to get him!

The man ran as fast as he could to a nearby temple, and he begged the priest for sanctuary. The priest helped the man to hide inside of a long chest, and then hid from the monster himself.

Shortly afterwards, the bakemono entered the temple and hunted around for the young man. The noises got closer and closer to his hiding place, until they stopped right next to the chest he was hiding in. Then, there was a strange slurping sound, like the sound of a dog slurping and sucking on a dinner bone. A little while later, the slurping sound vanished, and all was quiet. Later, when the priest opened the chest to let the young man out, all that was left was the limp skin of the young man. His bones had been completely sucked out of his body.

For wonderful depiction of a Tenome-like creature, viz. “the Pale man” from Pan’s Labyrinth.

Life Hacks

A small-n demonstration showing that the Internet is approximately 50% full of shit, courtesy of John Greene:

To restore your faith in the Internet, here’s Merlin Mann giving you a bevy of potentially-NSFW around-the-house life hacks.

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Magic Blue Smoke

House Rules:

1.) Carry out your own dead.
2.) No opium smoking in the elevators.
3.) In Competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
4.) A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place.
4a.) Penalty one stroke.
5.) Pilsner should be in Roman type, and begin with a capital.
6.) Keep Calm and Kill It with Fire.
7.) Spammers will be fed to the Crabipede.