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Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 09:30:49 PM EST) Reading, Listening, Me, Web. (all tags)
Reading. Listening: "Soul and the City. Me. Web.


Listening
Latest TTC course was Soul and the City: Art, Literature, and Urban Living. Eight 45-minute lectures taking a brief tour around the literature, art and sociology of the city.

Might have worked better in the video version: he talks about paintings a certain amount, pointing out various apparently interesting features. But even with the literature, this kind of a analysis seemed a bit shallow, removing the authors from their context. I don't think you can't fairly analyse Blake's view of the city just in terms of social issues: it was a metaphor for the physical world as opposed to the Kingdom of God. Similarly, I don't think you can understand Voltaire's rose-tinted view of London without realising he was using it as a stick to beat the French ancien re´gime.

Also the globalization and virtual reality stuff seemed a bit dated: dates from the early Nineties. Not a terrible course, but don't really recommend it.

Not Writing
Oh God, not again. I have one crappy unpublished novel from a decade ago sitting in a box somewhere: really don't need another. But I've got an Idea floating in my head, one that's too big for a short story. Must resist the urge.

Me
Going to see the parents this weekend, so no weekend diary.

Web
Pics. Naked ape

Tech. Coding Horror: Don't waste time arguing about the character select screen. Don't write maintainable code.

Semi-repeated article: Social networks

In our empirical work so far, we have found substantial evidence for the latter mechanism, the spread of norms, more than the spread of behaviors. It is a bit technical, but I will tell you why we have some evidence for norms. In our empirical work on obesity, we found two lines of suggestive evidence for a spread of norms. The first line of evidence caught everyone's attention, and frankly it caught our attention when we noted it. It showed that it did not matter how far away your social contacts were; if they gained weight, it caused you to gain weight. This was the case whether your friend lived next door, ten miles away, 100 miles away, or 1000 miles away. Geographic distance did not mater to the obesity effect, the interpersonal effect.

Why? Because for a behavior to spread, typically, you and I would have to be together. We would have to go running together, share meals together, or copy each other's behavior in some way. And that should decay with geographic distance because the farther away you are, the less time we can spend together. But a norm can fly through the ether. I might see you once a year and see that you have gained a tremendous amount of weight, which resets my idea about what an acceptable body size is. And minimal contact might be enough.
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We also have found in our work that things beyond obesity and smoking cessation spread in networks. Happiness spreads in networks. If your friend's friend becomes happy, it ripples through the network and can make you happy.

< Sooner or later, | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Leave this city | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Funny thing about maintainable code article by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:56:12 PM EST
Writer sounds like Russian.  In self's experience, Russians worst offender for code that too clever for own good.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
I've worked with two Russian programmers by R Mutt (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 12:19:33 AM EST
Both of them wrote good solid code.

One of them was also pretty good at pissing people off though.

[ Parent ]
So your OBCL is making us ALL thinner? by priestess (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 02:45:23 AM EST
Thank you!

Heh.

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Chat to the virtual me...

OBLF by priestess (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 02:46:28 AM EST
Both a transposition error AND a transcription error in the same acronym. How annoying.

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Chat to the virtual me...

[ Parent ]
"douchebaggery" by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 07:01:42 AM EST
I almost left a comment on that site but thought better of it. I do agree that David Heinemeier has been a bit of a douchbag in his attitude. Calling people stupid because of the tools they choose is dickish behavior.

That said, in my long experience with Windows and Microsoft "technologies", I strongly dispute the idea that the differences between the various platforms is inconsequential. It isn't. Programming with Microsoft tools is more difficult and more annoying than using Linux tools. I only ever use their stuff if someone pays me too and even then, I try to push for other alternatives.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

DON'T RESIST THE URGE by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #6 Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 03:16:52 PM EST
Some good advice I read recently was to write a few paragraphs a couple of times a week, a set (but short) amount of words if you like, and don't beat yourself up about it if sometimes you don't do it. You'll be finished in a year.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

Leave this city | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback