2013 — 13 March: Wednesday

I could reveal what made me laugh during a bout of web-browsing moments ago1 as I supped the initial cup. Or I could get on and make some breakfast before turning my attention to the next, waiting, empty crockpot-to-be-stuffed. It seems to be a lovely, sunny morning out there and is already (09:01) a heart-warming +2C.

You can't keep...

... a strange book down, it seems. Last time I mentioned Julian Jaynes' 1976 book "The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind" was to note that a whole bunch of stuff from it that had initially been sneaked into the excellent Season #6 episode2 of "Bones" ended up on the cutting-room floor as "audiences were yawning". Pity. Now I learn there's finally a two-volume book about Jaynes and his frankly strange theory.

It doesn't take much...

... to be a researcher these days. Shock, horror:

We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender. The analysis presented is based on a dataset of over 58,000 volunteers who provided their Facebook Likes, detailed demographic profiles, and the results of several psychometric tests...

Kenneth Wachter in PNAS

Let's see: straight (though I do like to tease my gay cousin by telling her I'm a lesbian trapped in a male body), Caucasian, agnostic, wishy-washy liberal (complete with sandals and beard), mildly obsessive, quite far from the shallow end of the IQ pool, always looking for humour to help mitigate my loss of Christa, tea (and low-sugar orange marmalade from Waitrose — you should see what's the major item in my glass recycling crate), only by death, early 60s, male (last time I checked).

Not too tricky, and I don't even use — or contemplate using — Facebook.

I briefly mentioned...

... a Comic Book lettering "WildAndCrazy" font I bought (in Forbidden Planet) a while back — well, a little over six years ago but, who's counting? Since that seemed to be the only font on the CD-ROM I just tucked it away on a shelf and got on with my life. However, on a whim, I reloaded the CD today to see if I hadn't managed to overlook anything more interesting. Turns out it also has a range of vector art speech and thought "balloons" in EPS format that I can load into Xara:


Why the bold italic initial letter? Not my idea, I assure you.

Nothing says...

... "remember, you are mortal" quite like a young Mr Postie delivering your Last Will and Testament to you for amendment. Even if he did sweeten the pill with both Uncle ERNIE's £50 and my evening entertainment options:

Book, DVD, BD

Speaking of "WildAndCrazy", the book is by the chap who first introduced us to Major Harold Hering, who (in 1973) asked a forbidden question (during his missile launch training). Namely, "How can I know that an order I receive to launch my missiles came from a sane3 president?" Golly! Talk about putting the cat among the pigeons... just to question the sanity and legality (or otherwise) of the premise on which rests the USA's nuclear deterrence strategy is a 'major' career-limiting move. And I have had occasional nightmares about that strategy ever since my brief stint in the UK Civil Defence in the mid-1960s.

I first watched the first 'Twiglit' film in June 2009. I've just finished watching the final one, twice — first straight through, and then with dialogue subtitles on while listening to the director's commentary. Although some of my chums have chosen not to understand my admiration for the saga (their loss, in my opinion) I've thoroughly enjoyed the books, the music, and the films. So there...

Bite me, Bella! :-)



1  But then, as they say, I'd have to kill you.
2  "The Doctor in the photo", in which our heroine undergoes some awesome mental and emotional upheavals, and gains some fascinating insights into herself, as perception and reality clash fiercely within her usually über-rational skull.
3  Trainees who asked questions were supposed to be weeded out by the Air Force's "psychiatric consideration of human reliability" requirement... which defined sane and reliable as being willing to kill 10 or 20 million people with the twist of a wrist, no questions asked. Not my definition of sanity, but what do I know about the inner reaches of the military mind?