Normally, I try to stay away from politics, except in SL, but recently I posted about the lack of history education in this country. I'd like to tell you about another amusing incident in recent politics.
Imagine, if you will, a political candidate who is asked to speak at an event of a different political party than his own. The event commemorates the birthday of one of the most famous members of this other political party. This political candidate frequently speaks out against what he feels are the biggest moral atrocities in modern America, porn and prostitution, and he is asked to speak out on his favorite talking points. Whatever your opinion of his views, this probably sounds like a decent speaking gig, a place to spout his opinions to a different audience and possibly win some converts to his own political campaign from this other party.
Afterwards, the press asks him why he spoke in front of the other political party, he replies, "I'm keeping my promise. I'll speak to any group." When asked if he thought it would hurt his political career, he said he was willing to take that chance. Finally, when asked whether he sympathized with this other political party and their positions, he replied that he didn't know enough about the group to either favor it or oppose it.
Curious, I wonder why he didn't research this other political party before he went to speak in front of them. I know its a bit of a small political party now, but at its peak, it was fairly famous.
And now, as Paul Harvey would say, it's time for the rest of the story...
The political party he was asked to speak in front of was the Nationalist Socialist Workers Party (stop giggling those of you who already get the joke - it gets better :)
For those of you who don't know, the Nationalist Socialist Workers Party it is often known by the abbreviation of its name, Nazi.
When asked about this, the political candidate remarked that he didn't believe the event he attended included people necessarily of the Nazi mindset, pointing out the name isn't Nazi, but Nationalist Socialist Workers Party.
Let's see if this political candidate had enough information at hand to determine what was going on...
First, he was speaking at the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday.
Second, he was standing in front of a big picture of the mass murderer himself.
Third, he was flanked with Nazi flags displaying the swastika.
Fourth, the guys on either side of him we wearing armbands with swastikas.
Look for yourself, do you think you could figure it out?
I don't know about you, but it looks pretty obvious to me. I like how the news article helpfully points out to everyone reading that, "The German leader was responsible for the genocide of millions of Jews and others during World War II." I'm glad they told me that, otherwise I wouldn't have known, I would have went on thinking the German's bombed Pearl Harbor.
Although, he did say in his speech, "...fight America's economic collapse and reinvigorate the white working class."
It sounds like he may telling a small lie when he said he doesn't know enough about them to know if he supports their views or not. But then, we all know Nazi sympathizers are very truthful people.
The original article has a few more bits, but I covered the bulk of them.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Normally, I try to stay away from politics, except in SL, but recently I posted about the lack of history education in this country. I'd like to tell you about another amusing incident in recent politics.
Linden Lab's Public Works Department is planning on building more roads. I'm of mixed feelings about this. One of the routes, Route #2, goes right next to three of my properties in Mournful and Hummingbird.
Is this a good thing? I've become used to the big, green empty sward with the weeds growing in the middle of it next to my palace. Will it make the land look better or worse? Probably worse since, now I'll have a road next to my gardens. I don't really care about any potential boost in the sale value of my land, since I don't plan on selling anytime soon. I always knew this day might come when they would build more roads, but having lived here for over a year, I've become used to how it is.
Granted, the road would have an awesome view of the protected ocean I reside next to. The view is one of the major reasons I own the land I do.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
It seems that a number of people have taken exception to Lillie's article about men and why they go to prostitutes. It's weird, all of this controversy over an article that basically boils down to "Show appreciation for what he does and don't use sex as a weapon."
I don't know how anyone can argue with that. I wonder if they've even read my assertion that blow jobs are useful relationship preservers? That'd really get them going.
They also seem to have problems with the word "training", probably because it's an ego issue, but we train children, we train people for their jobs, we train each other all the time. This is just raising the awareness that you could also be inadvertently training men to respond in ways we don't want.
Evidently, some psychologist got his nickers in a twist and posted a blog post about it calling Lillie a whore - on his professional blog. Yes, he definitely looks pretty professional after that.
Let's look at his argument's against Lillie's article. His argument against her has many holes, all of them common logical fallacies. A logical fallacy is an argument that commits various fundamental reasoning mistakes.
Perhaps his inability to form a coherent argument is why he is writing on a blog instead of doing meaningful psych research. That kid's is an example of an ad hominem attack or a genetic fallacy, the same sort of fallacy that Dr. Grohol uses when calling Lillie a whore. I called the argument into question, by disparaging the person giving the argument.
Using a disparaging term to call into question your opponent's judgment is a tried and true tactic of people with little behind their own argument. That dear readers was an example of a sweeping generalization, similar to his assertions that her observations must be flawed because of the nature of SecondLife.
If he had anything to his argument, he'd have better proof, that is a moralistic fallacy, stating how things should be and using that to convince people, like he does with his appeal about how men and women should be acting and appreciating each other, thereby she must be false, because as we know people always act out of selflessness and honesty.
Finally, we get to the meat of his argument, a list of papers and research, purportedly backing up what he says. That is an appeal to popularity as well as an appeal to authority. By giving a series of articles that he knows no one is going to go read and refer to, he is giving a false sense of authority. I have no idea what those papers state or if they even exist. He could be making them up or they could already be discredited in the psychology community.
By throwing a bunch of various theories around, he's trying to muddy the waters a bit to show that all of those other ones are more credible, more likely, etc. Rather than addressing the question, he is saying that since those other arguments are possibly true, Lillie must be wrong. That's actually a rather interesting fallacy, sort of a, "We already have enough theories, we're all full up here and don't need any more. There's no room for your argument."
He ends up with more moralistic babbling about how things ought to be.
His entire argument is a false dilemma, though, he is saying, "You can either believe Lillie or you can believe me, and only one of us can be correct". Hold your horses, there are only two options? No "door number three"? No compromise? No synthesis of the two?
Finally, my own argument here is entirely a fallacist's fallacy, I'm stating that his conclusions must be wrong because his argument is wrong. In reality, all I'm really trying to point out is that we have no idea if his assertion is true because he provided no credible evidence to support it.
I bet you didn't know I was a Master Debater ;)
Monday, April 21, 2008
I don't normally comment on politics or things outside of SL much, but this photo is too wonderful to miss. It's from a free Tibet rally in San Francisco.
Good intentions, poor execution. At least they got the spelling right...
I can see this person leading the protest yelling, "We have to keep fighting for Tibet! Did America stop fighting when the German's bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell No! No Blood For Yak Butter!"
Reminds me of the protesting philosophers:
"I am Majikthise!" announced the older one.
"And I demand that I am Vroomfondel!" shouted the younger one.
Majikthise turned on Vroomfondel. "It's alright," he explained angrily, "you don't need to demand that."
"Alright!" bawled Vroomfondel banging on an nearby desk. "I am Vroomfondel, and that is not a demand, that is a solid fact! What we demand is solid facts!"
"No we don't!" exclaimed Majikthise in irritation. "That is precisely what we don't demand!"
Scarcely pausing for breath, Vroomfondel shouted, "We don't demand solid facts! What we demand is a total absence of solid facts. I demand that I may or may not be Vroomfondel!"
"But who the devil are you?" exclaimed an outraged Fook.
"We," said Majikthise, "are Philosophers."
"Though we may not be," said Vroomfondel waving a warning finger at the programmers.
"Yes we are," insisted Majikthise. "We are quite definitely here as representatives of the Amalgamated Union of Philosophers, Sages, Luminaries and Other Thinking Persons, and we want this machine off, and we want it off now!"
"What's the problem?" said Lunkwill.
"I'll tell you what the problem is mate," said Majikthise, "demarcation, that's the problem!"
"We demand," yelled Vroomfondel, "that demarcation may or may not be the problem!"
"You just let the machines get on with the adding up," warned Majikthise, "and we'll take care of the eternal verities thank you very much. You want to check your legal position you do mate. Under law the Quest for Ultimate Truth is quite clearly the inalienable prerogative of your working thinkers. Any bloody machine goes and actually finds it and we're straight out of a job aren't we? I mean what's the use of our sitting up half the night arguing that there may or may not be a God if this machine only goes and gives us his bleeding phone number the next morning?"
"That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"
Suddenly a stentorian voice boomed across the room.
"Might I make an observation at this point?" inquired Deep Thought.
"We'll go on strike!" yelled Vroomfondel.
"That's right!" agreed Majikthise. "You'll have a national Philosopher's strike on your hands!"
Friday, April 18, 2008
Lillie has a great post on "Men: The Missing Manual". She talks about how to keep a man from straying in a long term relationship. In essence, she gives suggestions on how to drive her out of business.
A quick summary would basically, go: "reward men for the things you want them to do, and not for the things you don't want." She makes a good argument for how we train men to stray in a relationship, rather than train them to stay. How sex and our moods train men to behave in certain ways and not always to our benefit.
Even though I'm not in a committed relationship right now, I do have a number of "friends with benefits" relationships going in RL. And I can offer my support for her thesis.
It's nice to have all of what I do naturally explained to me ;)
Generally, I reward the men around me when they please me. I flirt a lot with them and all men like attention. I flirt more conspicuously when they've done something extra, like flowers, presents, extra-nice dinners, etc. I make it obvious to them that they've pleased me and that I appreciate that. I touch them more, look at them more, laugh more, and basically give off all of the "signals" more. Consequently, I get *lots* of presents, flowers, and invitations to nice dinners :)
I don't live with anyone and I suspect that "the daily grind" causes some of this to wear off after a while.
However, we expect men to notice when we do something for them and reward us with appropriate attention. I suspect a lot of this is just lack of attention to what he is doing and a presumption that he *should* be doing things for us. I bet it rankles if he expects you to cook, clean, and pick-up for him without appropriate reward. The same is true for him, don't take anything for granted, he probably dislikes that feeling just as much.
If he has problems picking clothes up off the floor, one of Lillie's examples, try noticing it once when he does, stop to comment, "You know, I really appreciate it when you help out and keep the house looking clean, thank you, you're wonderful." Follow that with a passionate kiss and you've begun to train him to do the things you want since you showed physical appreciation.
Finally, never disregard the positive benefits a blow job. I know, some of you are "ewww", "ick", "gross", or "only on special occasions". Even when I am not in the mood for sex, the occasional blow job for "being so great" is a quick and easy way to keep his attention and show appreciation. It doesn't take long, can be done fairly impromptu, and satisfies his sexual urges, while giving him a big ego boost and a Pavlovian reward. It's amazing what taking a few minutes for a quick blow job can do for a relationship.
I bet if he's getting a couple of blow jobs a week, an investment of less than an hour of your time, the relationship will stay much happier. He won't go off to have cybersex with a trollop like our Lillie :) if he's just gotten a blow job for picking his clothes up off the floor. He'll be running around trying to clean the house more.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Yes, you heard me right, an Apple IIc. Joshua Linden spent some time over a weekend to get the SecondLife client displaying to an Apple IIc via his Windows Laptop streaming the data. He says he gets a little over one frame per second. That sounds about right for the client's performance.
The is one of the more wonderfully nerdy things I've seen in a while.
I've been telling people not to count too much on the performance gains of mono over the current LSL engine. It will probably be better, but not much. Also, the 64k memory is to make up for the fact that some of the data types are 4 times as big as in the 16k memory model, thus, in the degenerate case, a current 16k script will use 64k. One nice thing though is that scripts only have to allocate memory in mono in 4k blocks, meaning that small scripts will take up less memory, because the current engine always allocates 16k for a script no matter how little it uses.
People who like to be argumentative with me and disagree point to the blazing performance of mono for math operations with demonstrations like this:
While indeed an impressive demonstration, I would like to point out that not many scripts do tons of internal math calculations as their primary function. Most of them update objects in various ways, for which mono is actually a bit slower than the current engine for object updates:
While very close to the current engine in performance, it is still slower. For the bulk of operations, mono will be about the same performance as the current engine, perhaps faster. For some operations it will be much faster. For memory consumption, it will most likely be a wash, since there are lots of tiny scripts, but any substantial script will use more memory, and more communications bandwidth.
To quote from some empirical trials done by claudio pacchiega:
What surprised me was that the simple sequence:
(this mono is going to heavily surprise me :(
list lst=; integer i;
appeared only 4-5 times faster in mono than in lsl2 (total iterations divided by total time),
I also did something like
str="18 characters"; list lst=; integer i;
appeared only 2 times faster in mono than in lsl2.
To which the reply from Argent Stonecutter was:
These shouldn't be surprising. In this kind of code copying data dominates, and LSL is already doing that part in native code.
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and benchmarks. Mono is going to be massively faster for raw arithmetic, which is well understood and heavily optimized in Mono and completely un-optimized in LSL. Conversely, LSL code that's mostly copying data and calling back to Havok or doing communications, that's not going to be much if any faster.
So, in short, while a 2-4 times improvement in script performance is a great achievement and I can't wait. Don't sit around and expect the 200 times performance some people have bandied about.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
There have been many reasons cited in the past for why voice is good or bad. This is one weighing in on the side of bad:
I witnessed a talk between some people in Waterhead - one of them as black in real life as his avatar in virtual reality. Some others were ganging up on him, trying to make him lose his cool, teasing him with questions like ‘Why is the hair of black people so dirty?’ or ‘Do you have a Jheri curl?’
I am not sure what they were trying to do, but part of it is probably because it is pointless to send abuse reports about things said in voice. There is no proof, there is no record, and so all of a sudden it is safe again to play such silly games. To say stuff to a black guy that you don’t dare say to him in public, face to face. Or typed out in text chat with your avatar’s name attached to it. And so I can only conclude that it is the cheapest form of cowardice - a comparison to gangs of men in white hoods is a gross exaggeration, but the basics are there. You pick a nigger and you go after him, hiding behind a mask or an avatar.
That is just so wrong. I don't think voice is bad because some people will abuse it like this, but the inability to force accountability for actions is definitely a problem. In the Abuse Report, you can provide text and pictures. Perhaps, if there was a running 10 minute audio buffer that you could click a button and it would be attached to the AR along with the names of those nearby would be useful for stopping this sort of nonsense.
A number of prominent blogs are "going on strike" against the new policies Linden Labs has made about use of their trademarked material. This is the post I made to the blogger's community. Edit: Woo Hoo! Someone else thinks the same as I do about not being silent.
I won't stop posting, depriving the world of me for three days would be a crime worse than anything Linden Labs has done.
But seriously, I plan to continue to post - the more we rabble rouse and actually post using terms, names, and icons that Linden Labs has stated they will not tolerate - the faster we will force them to take action. The faster they take action, the better - it will cause *something* to happen, which is better than a silent stalemate.
If both sides are silent, Linden and us, that isn't helpful. People don't notice voids, they notice activity. In real world strikes, the strikers picket and make noise. They stand around and force the world to take notice of the inequities of the situation. In the virtual world, silence is the *opposite* of what picketing and participating in a strike in the real world is like - it's like all of the workers went home and stayed in bed, it's more like a "sick out" than a strike. No one would notice because no attention was being drawn to the situation. The only ones hurt are those who actually go out and picket and have no support.
We should raise our voices in a cacophony of violations against their new terms, forcing them to speak up or risk losing their ability to enforce their new terms. Imagine if they started to send out Cease and Desist letters - and we ignored them. Then they would be forced to act on their own policies and suspend people.
Imagine the press that suspending well known and popular avatars would bring to this. It would bring more attention to this than being silent ever could. However, being silent incurs no risk.
If we don't force them to act and act decisively, they can be quiet about it and enforce it whenever they feel like it or hold it over our heads. This situation does not call for inaction, it calls for *more* action.
I plan to continue to stick my virtual neck out and continue to post. If the rest of you want to do what LL wants, which is to obey their new terms and not use "infringing" material, go ahead and don't post.
But then, I'm a rabble rouser who tends to be mouthy towards authorities.
Wow, a lot of people clicked on the page link to the Eudeamon post, I bet it's because its such an unusual word that people were curious what it was, perhaps I should title more of my posts with obscure Greek words and see how that drives traffic. Hmmm, I think I already did :)
To explain the word above, lesbiazo, if you guessed it had to do with the Isle of Lesbos, you are correct. However, unlike what you may think, the Ancient Greeks did not associate that Isle with female homoeroticism, but instead with using the lips to induce pleasure during sex, specifically, the act of fellatio. So, that word above, contrary to what you may have first thought, is in fact the Greek word for blowjob.
The Ancient Greeks also referred to blowjobs as "playing the flute", a tradition that I've still heard today. Who said the Greeks only gave us useless things like math, philosophy, medicine, drama, humor, natural science, and engineering - more importantly they gave us crucial slang for sex.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Veyron gave me a story late Sunday night, Eudeamon, it's available for free from the author at that link. It's over 75,000 words long, but I read the entire thing in one sitting and stayed up far too late. The story is very well written and I highly recommend it to anyone. It made me laugh and cry, but most of all, it made me think. In other words, an excellent book.
In the story, a reporter investigates a new method of criminal punishment being used, Banishment. Exclusion from society is an old form of punishment, but this had a new twist, the criminal was placed in a special suit that prevented all forms of contact and interaction with others, an AI in the suit monitored the criminal and punished them if they violated the rules, then, the criminal was allowed to roam free wearing the suit. Isolated from society, but forced to be amongst it, the criminals, called a Bane while in the suit, were able to watch others enjoy their lives and yet be unable to participate. When their sentence was over, they were released. Nearly no criminal relapsed.
A very spooky kind of punishment. The reporter was trying to find out if it was inhuman. Were the makers of the suit subjecting the criminals to permanent mental and emotional harm? The program was only a few years old, so little was known of the long-term effects. She wanted to find out. The only problem, no one, not the makers, the city council, the police, not even the ex-Banes themselves would talk about it. She kept trying to interact with the Banes themselves, but they were unable to communicate with her and usually ran away since they were punished if they tried to interact.
Then, she discovered two things that drove the rest of the story of the book and made all the difference. First, some of the Banes who had been in the suits the longest, for more than a year, were beginning to commit petty crimes, lengthening their punishment and requiring them to stay in the suit longer. Second, in a park, in the middle of the night, one of the Banes communicated with her, writing a few words in the mud with a stick, replying to her questions about why it didn't want to be let out of the suit.
She cleared the silt and wrote slowly and carefully. You cannot understand. Only bane understand. Beauty beyond words. My perfect Eden. She stopped writing for a moment to hug herself again. Pleasure you’ll never know. Love you’ll never know. She underlined ‘love’ several times.
The story is good with action, excitement, humor, romance, and drama. A good plot, solid characterization, and numerous twists, turns, and surprises to keep you interested.
Now, if you've stuck with me this long, you're probably wondering what this has to do with Second Life. A few people have made their own Bane suits and one person has set up a Banishment program in Second Life, trying to replicate the book as well as possible. The suits in the story, made of a black latex like substance, along with the isolation appeal to certain types of subs and they have tried to duplicate the experience in Second Life. A few who have tried it, not knowing how it would affect them, have written about their Bane experiences.
As for me, while I'm curious, I'm more curious about how much of the experience of the book they have been able to replicate. I naturally isolate myself enough on my own and I don't want to make it more complete by doing the Banishment program for a week or more. Part of what I like about quiet and solitude is being able to watch the world, and I don't think SL has enough depth and detail to keep me from being bored.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Over on Eshi's blog, she tells how, on the anniversary of her husband's death, she spent some time 'with him' by changing her avatar to look like him.
The power and uses of SecondLife stun me at times like this. I would never have thought of doing this, but I'm glad she could spend some time with good memories of her husband in such a very powerful and deep way.
This is the true transformative nature of virtual worlds; they allow us to grow and become more human.
As I've mentioned before, I periodically browse my site stats and see if anything interesting turns up. One recent search that led to my blog struck me as funny, "how to campaign for governorship". I pity the poor political hopeful that tries to follow my example of running for governor.
1) Make a political speech based on a twisted version of a famous Shakespeare speech. Check.
2) Make a political speech based on a twisted version of a famous Lincoln speech. Check.
3) Disappear from sight for three months. Check.
I think this person has the governorship of their state in the bag. I bet the electorate is filled with literate Shakespeare lovers from the Union, who love a good laugh and no action.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
After taking a spirituality in SL survey, Kean reflects on how she makes SL relationships work.
One thing I found that works very well is the 'no promises' frame. It would be so easy to cheat, run away, make another alt. But all that is not needed if you really set the ones you love free. It takes balance, honesty and huge buckets of empathy to make it work. And it takes refraining from scheduled meetings. 'No promises' has the good point that you won't get disappointed because there’s no promise to be broken, and when you meet up its just icing on the cake.
Another benefit is the presence. When you don't know when you will meet again, all you really have is the present moment. And to be present together is really the greatest gift...
I agree that this model of relationship seems to work well in SL. While I try to be on during a regular set of times and I coordinate with a few other close friends times to meet, I do have RL things that come up and I won't make it online. Moving to a "I'll see you when we are both on." seems to work well.
These virtual relationships remind me most of phone/email relationships. I have a number of people I've moved away from over the years that I keep in touch with via phone or email. While we may try to have regular conversations and times, what often happens is that RL intrudes and we end up calling "whenever we have time" or exchanging emails "whenever something happens."
What I need is a quick way to interject a message to friends in SL, the "I'm running late, but will still meet you at the restaurant" phone call that you do in RL, but that I find hard to do with SL meetings since I can't fire up the client "on the run".