Showing posts from 2019

“He has his own moral code“

I just overheard someone saying this in the park. Of course it is a common sentiment today, and of course it is complete nonsense: A set of rules you made up for yourself to follow are just a set of rules, not a “moral code.” Morality is universal, or it is nothing.

Did they put the wrong arms with T Rex?

Cause that’s what it looks like to me: like maybe that was some little chicken dinosaur he just happened to eat, so the bones were always next to him?

Docker advice

Every once in a while, make sure you run `docker system prune`.
Cause if you don't run it for a long time, and then you have to run it... well, let's just say I'm blogging because Docker has been busy the last five minutes or so.

The only propositions we should believe in are those scientifically verifiable!

Of course, the titular proposition is not scientifically verifiable.

So if we believe it, then we should not believe it.

"Multiculturalism" as Cover for Ethnocentricity

"All cultures are of course ethnocentric and few are genuinely aware of the degree of their own ethnocentricity." -- Alasdair MacIntyre, Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry, p. 28

I suggest that few people today are as blind to their own ethnocentricity as our current liberal, secularist, globalist elite. (And, of course, it is their occupation of the high ground in elite institutions around the world that partially protects them from the consequences of their own blindness.)

I contemplate this fact today after having just received a letter, from the leader of a global, elite institution, exhorting "every single member" of the community to support hey highly contentious point of view, one rejected by maybe 90% of the people on earth. And it was mandatory for everyone to support this controversial view in the name of... tolerance and inclusion!

The "multiculturalism" of our elites means that they will happily enjoy the "exotic" dress, food and…

GitHub is worried about bias against...

fashionable groups only!

Their new report on diversity is extremely concerned that they do not have enough "non-binary" employees, but...

their population is wildly "young-skewed"... but who cares! No one is awarding SJW-points for worrying about age discrimination.

And GitHub, why not report on the religious distribution of your population, or the political distribution? Aren't you worried that, say, Republicans or Orthodox Jews might be under-represented?

Of course you aren't! You are working damned hard to make sure that conservatives and the religiously orthodox are under-represented!

"Gender Identity"...

is now a research topic in... computer science.

And we used to be a serious discipline.

People who have nothing of importance to do...

tend to inflate the importance of the unimportant things they do.

We Are Appointing the Mindless to the Supreme Court

Here: 'Justice Elena Kagan remarked, "Whenever someone expresses moral disapproval in a legal context, the red flag of discrimination goes up for me."'

Of course, Kagan is here expressing here moral disapproval of "discrimination," and in a legal context!

We she really means is, "As a liberal, I only approve of moral arguments framed in the language of liberalism and relying upon liberal premises."

Transcendent Agnosticism

Look, the meaning of words change over time, and no language is ever permanently stable: I'm down wit all dat.

Acknowledging the above does not mean that one cannot judge certain language changes detrimental. So, for instance, the new, apparently required, use of "agnostic" as a substitute for "neutral" or "indifferent" is idiotic: we had those perfectly good words available to describe what people now mean when they say "Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is politics agnostic": they mean it is neutral between political stances. So, we already had a word that precisely says what is meant: why, then, should we pick a word that suggests that MMT advocates aren't sure whether politics exists or not? Writers choose "agnostic" over the more accurate words in such situations only because "agnostic" is now trendy!

Something similar has recently gone on with the use of the word "transcendent": sportswriters these days re…

I Struggled with the Decision

Andrew Sullivan has come out in favor of legalizing late-term abortions. The reason? "For all the women involved, this was unimaginably painful."

I've seen this before, and often on this very issue: they struggled with the decision, so therefore it is... well, what exactly? Not immoral? Immoral, but more OK than if they hadn't struggled with it?

But... what in the world does struggling have to do with the morality of the decision one reaches? So...

JUDGE: Did you rape those ten women?

DEFENDANT: Yes, your honor. But the decision to do so was incredibly painful.

JUDGE: Oh! Well then, off you go!

What complete, mush-brained nonsense Sullivan is spouting!


If you see your friend destroying himself with alcohol, and you tell him to stop, doesn’t that make you an “alcoholicphobe”?

God Is Not Another Program

People who are ignorant of classical theology often picture God as a creature among creatures. Thus, they feel that the possible existence of God would be an affront to their freedom: "How dare some very great creature order me about, and insist that this and that is forbidden to me! He wants that for Himself, I guess!" This is the picture of God as a "tyrant." (This sort of ignorance of elementary theology may be found, for instance, in the works of Phillip Pullman.)

That view is all wrong, and here's a metaphor that may help you understand why: Consider your computer. In it, programs vie for memory, disk, and CPU time. The programs are like creatures occupying the physical universe. If one program gets more CPU time, another program has less. In the common misunderstanding of what is meant by "God" I described above, "God" is the name for an especially powerful program, maybe one with root privileges, that can boss the other programs arou…

If You're Branching in Your VCS...

you are by definition not doing continuous integration.

Silly StackOverflow Questions

"How do I add a strong onion flavor to my biryani?"

Um... add lots of onions?

Lazy MFs!

Trying to login with my iPhone ssh app this morning, I get the message "Invalid argument."

I would like to wring a neck right now. Since the programmer who generated that message was processing that very "invalid argument" at the moment he generated the message, what about, say:

" is not a valid IP address: 282 > 255."

Or something like that? So I don't have to guess which of the 20 or so fields I get to fill in is invalid, and guess why?

New Human Right

Today I learned that office workers in interior offices have a “human right” to have sunshine in their rooms.

My review of

Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World is online at The British Journal for the History of Philosophy.

The problem with homophobia

With the term, that is.

The word 'homophobia' originated as a supposedly scientific description of a psychological malady. As such, it belongs in the same category as agoraphobia, claustrophobia, arachnophobia, hemophobia, and so on.

But its main usage, today, is as a way of denouncing someone as evil and worthy of being, say, fired from a job, denied the right to give a speech, rejected as a sponsor of a product, and so on.

But that's not the way we treat people with other phobias! We don't say, "Oooh, he's an evil claustrophobe: force him out of his job at Mozilla!" No, we offer the person sympathy for the psychological difficulty from which they suffer. We might, regretfully, decide that we can't hire an acrophobe to lead our mountain climbing expeditions, but that would not be because we hated him for his acrophobia, but because his acrophobia would render him unable to perform the job. Still, we'd say, "Great guy in all other respects, …

Callahan and Salter on Distributism


Please excuse the mangling of my bio!

Since I apparently banned myself from commenting...

on my own blog, let me respond to this:

"Since the idea for merge-sort first materialized in Von Neumann's brain in the 1940's and he wrote an algorithm for it on a piece of paper , the idea has passed from brain to brain via books lectures , bog posts etc, and from brain to various computer and other implementations. At no time has there been any non-material aspect involved in either the way the idea is transmitted , stored expressed or implemented."

With a post:

Because the statement is blatantly, obviously false: Von Neumann's brain had a certain material configuration, mostly carbon and water and other organic stuff. Then perhaps merge sort was written down on cellulose from trees using graphite. Then perhaps it was programmed into an ENIAC or something like that, which used glass vacuum tubes. Later, it ran in magnetic core memory. A while later, on silicon chips.

Each of these material configurations is radically different. They even involve largely diffe…

Algorithms Are Immmaterial!

I was talking to some who, to my great surprise, objected when I mentioned that algorithms are immaterial things. (And the person has an advanced degree in CS!) I had thought this was so obvious that no one could object to my statement. But maybe not... maybe it is worth demonstrating.

Consider: merge sort can be implemented on an Apple II, on a Cray, on an Android phone, on a vacuum-tube computer at the FAA, and in a human brain. (My students and I actually will run it in class using a deck of cards.) The "material composition" of the implementation is going to be wildly different in each case. And yet we can state with confidence (if we understand the algorithm) whether each is indeed an implementation of merge sort.

Furthermore, merge sort also can't be just a name for the collection of all of its implementations. First of all, if that were so, how could we tell what belongs in the collection and what doesn't? And we can actually use the concept of merge sort to …