Saturday, October 27, 2007

The nightmare begins anew...

So non-existent fans today marked the day of my latest project. I began work on a story set in "The Night Lands" but as of right now I don't have a title, place to begin, name for the protagonist or a real ending.

Hence I just started on it. Without going into detail I'll say that it relates to the classical error in judgement that imperfect people will ever create a harmonious society. There's also some sure fire military blunders hardwired into the whole philosophy and stance of the novel.

For the 99.99 percent of people who haven't read the night lands here's a quick primer. Several million years in the future the sun goes out *wrong!* a big valley opens up in the earth *wrong!* and it becomes habitable incrementally to eventually be settled by people. However the place gets overrun by monsters and 'eaters' who chow on psychic energies of people. All 500,000,000 people left alive kick it out in the great redoubt, a giant pyramid surrounded by a force field that repels all sorts of evil.

People do go out and bash in some monster skulls now and again but there are so many degrees of horrific butt-fuckery stomping around in the alternating cold and volcanic regions that nearly everyone dies with tremendous flair.

In just about every story someone goes out or stays out or knows someone that talks about going out. I am slightly more interested in the looming and painfully obvious question. How the FUCK do you get that many people all in one place (and no noah's ark apologies please) AND not only are they all crammed into the house they get along greatly and murders are super rare if not absent for decades and centuries.

Now I know even as late in the game as star trek the future is believed to be neat and tidy and everyone gets along just dandy. Well that seems a little shady to me. More likely the future is like the new battlestar galactica involving the black market. Its ugly and dirty and human whims remain the shameful and base things that they are. Maybe the night land future people have their brains scrubbed of such things, maybe not. I think not.

More likely, if the late author had ever bothered to address it, there would be the same sort of defense against corruption from within as without. What I am talking about is a single impenetrable layer of defense and then...


That's right. No defense in depth for the siege of humanity. Seems a little scary but thats how it was set up. Therefore it will be my goal to slip a tiny little person past that wall of culture/technological ignorance. Its been twenty million fucking years where the hell are the badass computers!?!?!? In such a chilly environment they wouldn't even need active gods think of all the YOTTAFLOPS and scary-ass data storage potential!!!!

Oh no, 1912, best calculator in the world was...I dunno some savant or one of the japanese abacus wizards. Who knows? The point is they weren't even close to computational viability and that totally FUDGES up the whole story. How would the pneumavores react to a Matrioshka brain? Can you suck out the soul of a personality upload?

Well give me a month or so and we'll find out. I'm going to post a few excerpts only, maybe some descriptors of how its going. To the pit of despair!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007


You probably won't believe me if I just told you that I did something scary today so here's the proof.

Look down dummy!!

If you don't see the amazing part of the above picture I direct you towards the text under the black blob (good information hygiene pays off!!) You'll notice the relevant info with some unusual characteristics. The chip in question has a nominal clock speed of 2.6ghz ([FSB 13x] X [200 Cpu Clock]) Oh and if anyone asks I didn't get the black box version.

But it don't say that!!

By increasing the CPU mulitplier in small increments I was able to crank it out to 3.93 ([FSB 13x] X [302 Cpu Clock]) Now as you may guess there were some thermal consequences.

Here we can see a screen shot from my main PC of Beebe (aka Build II, AKA the over clocked PC)
Notive the Speedfan CPU temp at the bottom right near the time. In the foreground we see a nice breezy 26c but in the background its 64c. The chip isn't rated to fry until about 75c but that's still a good ways away. Bear in mind this is at full load. In case you can't see it the red icon immediately to the left of the time on Beebe belongs to the Folding@home distributed computing project.

Also remember that Beebe is used almost exclusively for FAH and file storage. I champion FAH because its a hell of a lot more practical than SETI bullcrap or GIMPS. Whether you have a decent PC or not you can always configure it only to run when your screen saver is running. Even a few work units will help in the long run. Just one may help to save the life of you or someone you love. Science is NEATO!!

Crazy Sexy Cancer...that's the name of a show.

So the old ball and chain made me sit through the tail-end of this lifetime wanna be show about some ladies and their dealings with breast cancer. It caught my attention because one of the closing arguments of the show was that 'cancer can be a catalyst for something wonderful' or some such hokitude.

In typical Seth fashion I remarked 'It's not the cancer, its the fear of death that motivates people to change' and of course Jonesy told me that one of the girls had already said so.

Boo hoo on that. Fear is a powerful motivator, it certainly starts a lot of people on a path towards jogging. However it is amazing to me how complex fear reactions can become when people and culture mix and mingle at certain densities.

Consider the following problem: Billy gets three dollars a week for allowance. He wants to save up for a bike that costs fifty dollars. however Billy also spends 1 dollar a week buying candy. If he starts with ten dollars how many weeks will go by before he can get the bike? How much faster could he get the bike if he stopped buying candy every week?

Now I didn't bother to actually answer that problem. For one thing word problems always struck me as stupidly simplistic. There are ALWAYS outside variables to consider. Billy might find some cash lying around or pilfer the loose change from his dad's change dish. He could steal some dough or loan out his ten bucks to a weaker kid and charge interest. Maybe he gives up on candy for a few weeks but snaps one day and spends five dollars on candy instead of one. Hell its more likely he'd give up after a while and just buy a shit load of candy to forget about the bike.

All that's just silliness of course. However its interesting to look at a simple money problem and expand it just a little bit. Doing simple dollars and cents arithmetic is a good learning tool for kids but trying to extrapolate some of the more arcane financial complexities? That takes genius, or evil, or probably both.

Fear strikes me as a similar feature of human life. Consider the effects of fear as a survival tool. You see something that can eat you, you run away. Case closed. Well not so fast, there are other things to fear. Hunger, thirst, cold, heat, disease, boredom and [lump of social fears] are all pretty terrifying to most humans.

But like money, fear can become very interesting if we manipulate it just a little. Back to the original example. Maybe you are afraid of something that can eat you. Maybe you're so afraid you just crap yourself and freeze up (thus you get eaten.) Consider still that you are afraid enough to run away and save yourself but the fear remains with you. That eater is still out there somewhere. I must kill it to truly be safe, one might think. Now if you were an ancient human who managed to kill something that could eat you there is also a BONUS!!! Odds are good that the eater was an animal. And animals are made of meat. Meat is food. Food is good.

Now man has the option to gamble with his fear. If he wins, he kills a predator thus protecting himself and getting some nasty carnivore meat. If he loses, the carnivore gets some tasty human meat. So it all balances out.

However the more people that are killing dangerous animals the few animals there are to kill. SO the prey becomes stronger and can multiply more freely. But that means that people need more food. People are afraid to run out of food so they more actively hunt but this still only leaves enough food for a small number of people.

Enter agriculture. Hey guys, some one says. Lets stop chasing these stupid animals around for food. We can just plant this stuff, stay here and keep an eye on it, and we'll have ten times the food we could get otherwise. No doubt some laughed at the early attempts at agriculture. It was probably a gradual enterprise but for this case we'll pretend a group of people tried it and another very similar group did not.

It is tough work growing food. I couldn't do it without hating a good part of my life and something tells me most people couldn't either. But Group A grows their grain and Group B does not. One hundred years later Group A's descendants have become twenty times more numerous that the descendants of group B.

[Human history up to this point]

So that turned out really choppy and I don't even feel like going back to edit it into some semblance of coherent thought. It all made sense in my head but oh well. Next post I will just tell another swimming story.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The quest for enlightenment...

All to often we, as Americans and as people, consider only what we want. The emphasis here is not whether or not the things we want are good or proper, but that we want them in the first place.

Take these three things, all of which I want.

A big ass case fan.

Guilt-free leisure time.


Why do I want these things? Well reasons vary but of course I can narrow them down to my own desires. Let's take a closer look shall we? The answer is YES.

You may ask yourself "What good is a 250mm case fan?" and if you even have to ask then shame on you. 25cm is about 9.8 inches!! You could move literal tons of air per day with such a monster. The net gain in airflow would be simply huge. That would save me money because it would allow me to push back investing in a new processor for at least 2 weeks *from when the time comes, for now, muahahaha*

I like my PC's. I also like progress. Therefore I can simultaneously enjoy my dinky little p4 dell AND look forward to the day when I can scrap it for a better folding at home box. Likewise while Build I maintains my livelihood and Build II helps me further my microscopic inklings about graphical linux they will one day mean no more to me than the PIII gateway from so many years back.

Hopefully ATX specs will still be in fashion so I can scallop out the guts and keep the case.

The point is that life's fundamental character has changed dramatically from the early years up until right...NOW. Certainly I miss having enough time to swim for 20 hours a week thus keeping myself fit and freakishly warm during the year. However I don't miss living at home, being limited by age restrictions (I can FINALLY rent a house, huzzah!) and walking around with the smug affect of one who has not come to terms with either his own mortality or certain matters deserving consideration.

Next item: Leisure time.

It was once the ill-fated belief of most Americans circa mid twencen that the future held miraculous fortune for the middle class and that leisure and not material gain would be the goal of technology. There's just one problem.

Leisure time is economically incomparable to sweatshop labor, machine automation and good ol' fashioned slavery. Well god dammit if people didn't study their psychology!! Greed may was well be genetically hardwired into the psyche. I know some people say 'well i'm from xxxxxx and we're not like americans' or back in xxx2 things were different.

That is possible of course. However we didn't have wikipedia back in xxx2 (or xx33 either) so there's no telling and if you're from xxxxxx well then you're obviously jealous or don't understand the american mentality.

You can't sell time well spent with your kids or kicked up on the couch. And if people have that time well guess what. They get bored eventually and when they do they want some type of entertainment. Well guess what people with leisure time are also people with MONEY so they buy various things to entertain themselves. Now people that sell entertainment know damn well that you don't sell good shit by sitting on your butts. No no you work hard, or better yet con others into working hard for you, and then rake in the cash.

Since the human appetite is infinite and varies greatly capitalism will never run out of steam until perhaps we run out of stuff to burn for steam (and therefore electricity - the foundation of modern industry and all that)

That stinks but it also means that there will be more entertainment in the world than any human can consume in the conventional lifespan.

Hence, IMMORTALITY!! The only way to get everything you want is to live long enough to run the entertainment world into exhaustion. However this would also mean crushing enough of the entertainment industry to get some type of restriction on the quantity of new entertainment so you could actually progress towards a positive rate of consumption in regards to the whole range of entertainment.

However even as I write this I forgot about one simple detail that will prevent a shortage of entertainment for all time.

And thats the way life goes.

I couldn't resist a quote from the final link " Myth: But everyone's doing it! Reality: Surveys have repeatedly shown that up to 5% of Americans don't Masturbate."


Sunday, October 21, 2007


Behold, the true atheists nightmare video.

This is not for the faint of heart.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

In regards to Kirk Cameron...

I open with an excerpt from my last telegraph to Kirk. It reads:

Kirk Cameron. Stop.

That's it. Last night at a wholesomely interesting dinner at the Lynnwood Estate Lucas mentioned a certain video featuring a certain former star of growing pains and a prime example of Musa sikkimensis

I literally could not believe what I was hearing and seeing as Kirk's sidekick opened with "Behold the Atheist's nightmare!" My heart fluttered for several thousand nanoseconds before I realized this nitwit was holding a piece of fruit.

There is no shame in admitting wrongness right away Mr. Cameron and your reverend dinglehop. Atheists are not shy when it comes to eating fruit, nor vegetables nor any sort of carbohydrate whether simple or complex. If there is anything unique about an Atheist's diet it is that he or she can't seem to choke down on bullshit.

Now over the span of one full minute Ray Comfort goes onto explain how a 'well made' banana is ergonomic, convenient and delicious. Indeed its remarkable that it comes with a 'pop top' and a biodegradable wrapper.


Only its not. Before I could even finish the video I noticed a nearby response that summed up nearly everything I had planned to say. I would like to it but its not working now. More on that later.

Then I made the mistake of watching some more stuff with Ray Completelyfuckingsanefort. What idiocy. The additional material in question was from the rational response debate in which the amazing duo prove 'scientifically' that god exists without mentioning faith at all...except that he does pull out the usual nonsensical 'this coke can didn't create itself' spiel and then ties in to the ten commandments.

What got me is how he insisted all you need to understand are 'eyes that can see and a brain that works.'

Well, dear sir, my eyes need a little correction for true visual acuity by my brain is mono fucking filament and your argument, well its not a ceramic spindle so I just can't stick with it. If you don't get the reference well our book lists just differ like that.

Why don't people get it? Really I can't believe sometimes how people fall for the same old swindlers and bullshit reassurances so blissfully. I remember 7 years ago or more sitting in a big room at NCSU with a cadre of wide-eyed students laughing about how a modern building would never occur in nature.

I laughed because the speaker, in the course of the metaphor revealed that his knowledge of electricity is less than sterling. Granted I am no expert but I do know that you need more than one wire and a switch to make the lights come on (the current needs to come from somewhere, he just sort of left that detail out)

Similar strains of arrogance and presumption haunt my everyday life. The more I think about it the more I realize how often the nutcases are 'informing' the level-headed types. It's like hearing a chiropractor lecture a brain surgeon on treating something severe.

Anyway this is fine and dandy, the church in all its form and grace, has been making a mockery of reason and intelligence since long long ago. Do I fear for Atheism as a cause or choice in life? No. Do I despair that people will stub out rational thinking in the world? No I do not.

This is why. Geeks, nerds and whatever archetypal thinking people reign in the land of tomorrow will be more and more necessary to maintain and expand our infrastructure until the end of time. I've never met a christian coder, i'm sure they do exist but by and large whatever faith, color or background if you give a nerd the chance for some booty I guarantee they'll take it 1100011 times out of 1100100. Think about it.

Society does not depend on religion anymore. The morals and values flung from 'the mountain' are supposedly essential to an orderly society but have no place in a technical one. Life is different. The closet light is on and guess what, world, no monsters! Huzzah!

No sexy mermaids or forest nymphs either, drat!

Now as a young lad and quite literally a child of science fiction I always harbored a healthy respect for the prevalent notions of mid twencen science fiction. Notably that people would, in more or less current form, take to the stars with great ships of war and exploration and that society was being ordered into ever neater tiers of understanding. Great sentiment but that notion doesn't even carry past the atmosphere.

What now seems obvious is that as a technical society we will be forced at some point to deal with all the debris in the fishing net. By net I mean technology and by debris I mean nut jobs and con-people without scruples or sense enough to do something useful in the world. After all as the world becomes ever more tame and quantified it becomes less threatening.

Long has it crossed the gray matter that we really don't think beyond the tip of the iceberg unless we really have to. I am speaking of humans in general now. True most people know that meat comes from animals which have to be grown, slaughtered and processed *butchered if you're up for it* and then packaged so that we can eat them safely. Logically people know that this happens to pigs, chickens and cows but seeing the 'early stages' still makes people queasy.

It is very easy for things to seem possible or rational without understanding their origin or root cause. At Computer Stupidities the constant vexing almost unbelievable stories are the ones where people file, drill, bolt or chop up some component 'to make it fit.' Granted people are becoming more PC literate *I say nothing for the Macs and their goddamn tyrannical hardware!!!* but it took time for that shift to occur. Absorbing the new norms and functions associated with personal computers took some time. I imagine if early auto mechanics were taking notes they had some HUMDINGERS about people's abuse to their cars.

Strange as it may seem as our technology takes away the rigors of physical life (replacing one tedium with another as capitalism sees fit) we do not aspire to better understand our world we just soak up the goodies it has to offer. Sure people produce and construct but most of us just regurgitate and filter feed to get along. There's a really good quote from Firefly where Mal says something like "most people are the middleman and they don't take kindly to being cut out of a deal" It's truer and truer everyday.

Being a lamb is much cozier than being a lion. Lions get to travel more.

I don't lay blame heavily since I crossed the line back and forth around the same time as ol' Kirky did. Granted we started and ended on opposite sides but I like to think my transition was a little purer. Kirk relates a story of hanging out in his sports car, at age 17, and wondering if his transient popularity isn't a little fleeting and lame. It was fear, you see, that lead him down a sad path. Reason is a far greater compass.

Granted there are tripwires and land mines all along the way between any two wildly different belief systems but if your faith is smote to ruin or your logic spins out of control one day you are always free to try again. It took years of consideration, hours and days of studying, thinking, introspection and inspiration to settle it for me finally.

Thomas Paine rightly said "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly." People often say I seem angry or defensive about my beliefs and I am quick to agree *with a caveat or two*

I was raised in a more or less religion neutral environment. Say what you will or will not about those you disagree with but I gave faith every chance and benefit of the doubt that I could muster. I felt my brain bend and stretch under the weight of self-contradiction and ideas that I couldn't quite get behind but couldn't oppose outright either. The words and ideas just weren't there yet. Most of my high school swimming periods, and these were EPIC were spent in such contemplations. From Junior year in HS to freshman year at NCSU I struggled and raked at what really deserves to be listened to.

When I made up my mind it wasn't some awesome cacophony of ethereal music and epiphany. It was just the cold breeze of the men's locker room and the slap of my wet feet on the little tiles. The exact day or month I cannot tell you because I was there for weeks before I realized it.

So what caused me great effort and heartache to achieve is dismissed in mere seconds as cocky or shallow does not offend me it enrages me. How dare some pissant former child actor with convert zeal dripping out of his smug shaved head say "I used to think just like you did" No you didn't, Kirk.

If you had you would have realized what a twisted nest of recursive bullshit arguments upholds your faith. You probably think that I, as a neutral type meandered to faith and recoiled after a careful exploration am wrong for opposing reasons. Well guess what, dick you're wrong about that too.

Also Ray Comfort is a fucking idiot riding on your coat tails to glory.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Does this look like a nipple to you???

It sure looks like it to me, the hand kind of makes it appear to be one GIANT boob but oh well. Its actually *I hope* a woman holding a swollen baby cocoon, natch.

I was thinking about my helium posting habits and decided to cut back on volume in favor of a slightly better output. After all in these days quantity takes a back seat to quality...ha!

Actually, as per usual, my thoughts have largely dwelt on tech and swimming.

Specifically the progress I am making with my moderate weight loss strategy in its current form. All in all I have dropped a few pounds, maybe 5-10 but without 20 hours to devote solely to exercise per week I am just not seeing the same dramatic hoohah of the olden days.


But there could be hope. I did some checking on the wide and dubious internet recently and found a slew of conflicting caloric info. Consider the examples I found for differences across a plethora *no pinatas* of sites. For each site I tried to gauge the benefit of 1 hour of swimming at various activity levels. I put an hour because while I usually swim upwards of 1.5 hours I rest and stretch and slack a little when my brain goes off on some long tangent and before I know it I am rambling on about caterpillars liking socks over shirts or...SHIT! It just happened.

Anyway here are the results. 60 minutes and weight remain more or less constant.

Light - 572
Moderate - 667 (Ram Speed!!)
Vigorous - 1048


Light - N/A
Moderate - 690
Vigorous - 960


Light - N/A
Moderate - 720
Vigorous - N/A


Light - 580
Moderate - 756
Vigorous - 932

Diet and Fitness Today

Light - N/A
Moderate - 756
Vigorous - N/A

Calorie Count

Light - N/A
Moderate - 476
Vigorous - 680 (that's 22.7 carrots!!)

Health A to Z

Light - N/A
Moderate - 725
Vigorous - 908

Averaging all this out equals...

Light - (572+580)/2 = 576 (I did that one in my head)
Moderate - (667+690+720+756+756+476+725)/8 = 599 [=617 without the Calorie Count]
Vigorous - (1048+960+932+680+908)/5 = 905.6 [=962 without the Calorie Count]

I don't really care enough to get standard deviations and all that but its a pretty big difference at first glance. Sadly I don't really feel any more educated I am just frustrated because there's a shit load of variables and unknowns. Consider the relevant factors.

Stroke Composition: Percentages of relevant strokes IE freestyle, breaststroke and all that.

Stroke Efficiency: Poorer swimmers burn more calories by distance because they waste energy flailing around, self correcting and

Buoyancy: Fat people drag more but have to spend fewer calories propelling themselves upwards so at a given rate of speed a chunky butt like myself is skimming along while the denser person tends to sink and constantly has to adjust for it.

Water viscosity: This is probably fairly constant but you never know. Someone does I am sure.

Water Temperature vs Waste Heat: Swimmers are water-cooled athletes. Sure landies can sweat which evaporates and pulls heat away but swimmers get direct heat dispersal via convection. Naturally being cooler helps muscles last longer and work harder but you're constantly churning up waste heat which has to be replaced to maintain your body temp. Naturally at 80 degrees you'll lose heat much more slowly than at 60 *it would be almost unbearable to swim at this temp, I know.

And finally there's the Hot Girl Factor: Something I noticed *but NEVER did myself* being around male swimmers and girls in bathing suits is that pacing and timing can be shot straight to hell by the arrival and actions of sexy people. Its distracting and you might miss a breath or bang your head during a flip turn or just try and crank out a higher speed to keep up (I hate getting passed by anyone but if its a girl that's just sad) To put it without the brazen clang of misogyny the other people at the pool will affect how well you swim. Maybe not during a meet but during practice its always a factor.

Sadly there's just no good way to measure all these variables, none that I can find on the internet anyways.

More on that later.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I might have to rename the blog...

Lately instead of my rantings and ravings falling out of my head bonking off my keyboard and winding up here I have been spending time with the lightest of the noble gases.

Its been a truly gaseous day at work and I am glad to finally get back to the Y since last week I was only able to swim once.

Thrice it is and thrice it must be!!!

I leave you now to sow my aquatic seeds (not really that's super gross when you think about it) so that I might reap a healthier tomorrow.