2016 — 19 April: Tuesday

Apparently it's Brenda's birthday this week.1 The Dame who is Poet Laureate is working on a poem celebrating not the Royal Bidet but the demise of electricity and gas meters, in (of course) the perfect metre. We shall all be digital — and thus crucially switch-off-able, remotely — by 2020. Whether such wireless control signals can make it as far as Technology Towers remains to be seen. As does the degree of hackability.

"Snap" sounds promising

I wonder if my nice UltraEdit will be on the list for migration?

Developers of paid apps have often been the most frustrated with having to manage dependencies and compatibility with various libraries, especially on older releases of Ubuntu. For this reason these applications are going to be migrated from debs to snaps by Autumn 2016.

Olli Ries in Insights

Pretty picture

Speaking as a eukaryote. (Link.)

I've just read...

... an entire column in defense (sic) of pretentiousness. I suspect that may make me pretentious. In my own defence (sic) I did sidestep to their story about the "Good Wife" season #7 episode #19 even though I've not actually ventured beyond the end of season #5. I found the show "glossy, slick, but profoundly undemanding" which was all I could cope with2 at the time. (Link.)

I cleansed my palate...

... with this interesting take on "scientific regress". By a software engineer, too. It quite shook my faith in Popper! Source and snippet:

At the same time as an ever more bloated scientific bureaucracy churns out masses of research results, the majority of which are likely outright false, scientists themselves are lauded as heroes and science is upheld as the only legitimate basis for policy-making...
Now, however, science and especially science bureaucracy is a career, and one amenable to social climbing. Careers attract careerists, in Feyerabend's words: "devoid of ideas, full of fear, intent on producing some paltry result so that they can add to the flood of inane papers that now constitutes 'scientific progress' in many areas."

William A Wilson in FirstThings

Domestic duties must now take precedence (if I want to eat, that is).


... the testimonial:

Timely submission, awesome paper, no corrections needed, received 148/150, 
better than what I would have done. Will order again!


... the disclaimer:

All the papers you get at [URL here] are meant for research purposes only.
These are sample papers that you may use to develop certain skills, but you
should refrain from submitting them as your own.

Blimey! (Link.)

I haven't played...

... "Miss America" for ages. I suspect Steve Gibbs ("Pinpoint Music", for any local readers) recommended it to me. Having read the adulatory comments about it, I do not find myself quite as convinced as others are of her genius. 'Twas often thus. But then nor did I read Ulysses at age 11. I had better ways of spending my time. Frankly "Don Camillo", HG Wells, John Wyndham, Fred Hoyle, and "Lord of the Flies" were all more to my taste, both then, and to this day.

My deputy headmistress claimed "Ulysses" was the best book ever written in the English language. I still have no idea what she'd been smoking. [Pause] There's an amusing letter written by Heinlein to his literary agent in 1960. It popped out of the woodwork (as it were) in the posthumous "Grumbles from the Grave":

I assume that you have sent The Man from Mars to Putnam, since they are 
entitled to first look. I have on hand, should we ever need it, a clean, 
sharp carbon of this ms. on the same heavy white bond. I am aware of the 
commercial difficulties in this ms., those which you pointed out — but, if 
it does get published, it might sell lots of copies. (It certainly has no 
more strikes against its success than did Ulysses, Lady Chatterley's Lover, 
Elmer Gantry, or Tropic of Cancer — each at the time it was published.)

A thought experiment...

... that's new to me (and more than a little disturbing):

Imagine you replaced every neuron in your brain with a conscious bug, which has its own inner subjective experience but behaves outwardly just like a neuron. Would those critters usurp your consciousness and leave you an empty shell of a person?

George Musser in Aeon

Thank you, Eric Schwitzgebel!



1  Her 90th, I believe.
2  I enjoyed the 4,700 minutes I binge-watched a year ago, but felt satiated after that, and thus unenthusiastic about going further. That said, Julianna Margulies is an amazing actress.