Sunday, 25 September

The Days of Abandonment [Burton Library]

Elena Ferrante, 2005. Her masterpiece, I think. A very intense short novel, as intense and deeply felt as poetry and with a more adventurous form (changes in pace and punctuation reflect the narrator’s state of mind) than the Neapolitan novels. Those books are an exercise in long form narrative, whereas the events in this book take places over a couple of months, most of them on a single momentous day on which the narrator loses her marbles. A really beautiful book (what must it be like in Italian!). Megan and I were talking about novels and she said no novel is perfect, to which I disagreed. This is a perfect novel, in that it’s successfully true to its own intention. This is true even though the ending is rather weak (the same is true of the Neapolitan novels which, strangely, doesn’t dim their charm either.)


I stayed in a corner, vexed, while Ilaria, primping, tried on the dress her father had brought her, and Gianni sent a remote-control car speeding down the hall while Otto followed, barking. Time seemed to be boiling over, flowing in sticky waves out of a pot onto the flame.


In that area the city’s compactness seemed to me torn, wounded by a broad gash made by the shining tram tracks. Like the implacable base of a piston in motion, the black sky, held back only by a tall, elegant crane, compressed the low buildings and the dim light of the street lamps.


Frustration gave me a stomachache, I went back along the street, I felt as if I were about the lose my breath and sink to the ground. As if it were prehensile, my eye grasped the letters of a plaque on the building opposite. Words so that I wouldn’t fall.

Prometheus Rising [Burton Library]

Robert Anton Wilson, 2016. I read it to find out what he says about Reality Tunnels, in connection with my summer spent getting stoned and watching Flat Earth conspiracy videos. I don’t like his writing style much, there are far too many assumptions (ironically) and bald assertions that need backing up for this to count as philosophy of any real kind. Pretty interesting though. It has inspired me to follow through with an idea I was toying with during my FE summer — joining a cult! First stop Buddhism, but the way its taught in Brighton is more likely to a diluted series of relaxation techniques. I will have to wait for India and Kali for the real Kool-Aid experience.

Friday, 23 September

Family Theatre [Burton Library]

I visited my sister

to look after her boys

so she could fly to my father

who is dying

who she doesn’t understand

who never tried to understand her.


What a household!

What anguish and stress

what locking of doors

what hoarding

of all you can buy.


Love-hearts and motivational posters

in the war zone,

fear and doubt in the nephews’ eyes.

My mother hovers, too kind

to take in hand,

too worried herself,

and the beautiful boys

are hidebound, trained to retreat.


I envied their miserable lives

full of meaning,

full of conflict, lost, struggling,

where every angry outburst counts.

They participate, mauling each other

and I don’t have anything to do

but observe, refuse to operate

the burglar alarm, lose my moral high ground

by scolding the boys myself

and feel so sad that I don’t

have parent-place in the world any more.


They come back from my petrified dad

who has charmed them easily

and they search for the keys

and they lock the doors.

Saturday, 13 August

Pan [Burton Library]

Knut Hamsun, 1894. A Knausgaard recommendation. A very strange little book about pride and passion, featuring self mutilation, spitting in someone’s ear, chucking someone else’s shoe into the sea and the wanton murders of a dog and several people. As different to Hunger as that book is different to The Growth of the Soil. Hamsun is superbly strange.


It contains the sentence The day passes; time stands still, which moved me since it seems to encapsulate my summer.

Tuesday, 09 August

William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible [Burton Library]

Barry Miles, 2002. The last part (for me) of Miles’ Beats Trilogy. I think Burroughs’ writing is the least interesting of the three, although his cultural impact, which, after all, is what most people are interested in when it comes to those three, is  just as strong as the other two. I liked the idea that Kerouac owned the 50s, Ginsberg the 60s and Burroughs the 70s. After reading the other two books there aren’t any surprising facts to uncover about them or the era, so it’s a good thing that Miles pays more attention to the actual work than in the other two. In the Ginsberg book he doesn’t seem that well qualified to write about the work, and in the Kerouac book there isn’t that much to say about most of it. So the fact that he obviously admires Burroughs’ writing more than that of the other two works out, and he analyses the techniques, breakthroughs and influence much more thoroughly. (Actually, Burroughs is probably the most influential of the three, so that’s as it should be.)

Monday, 08 August

Let’s Play SanctuaryRPG #2 [ [v0.7a]]

Sorry this took so long to upload, there was issues with the toobnix. views: 2

Thursday, 04 August

The Story of the Lost Child [Burton Library]

Elena Ferrante, 2015. A really brilliant feat of storytelling. I felt a slight anticlimax in the last third of the book and the final reveal was a mistake, in my opinion. There are two competing interpretations of Lila’s actions throughout the story, that she is a Machiavellian genius who enacts her escape and control through others, mainly through Lenu, or that this is really Lenu’s projection, who explains her every success to herself through Lila’s hidden agency. The latter explanation is more convincing and the balance between the two is what gives the books their suspense; on the last page and a half Ferrante plumps conclusively for the less interesting explanation. A shame, but much too late to spoil the story.


It’s a very cinematic story and I looked to see if someone was already adapting it. They are, and its the production company behind the great film Gomorrah, so that should be good. Also, it isn’t a film, it’s a 32-part TV series. Even better — it’s great how TV has surpassed cinema for long form storytelling since, I suppose, The Sopranos.

Saturday, 30 July

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay [Burton Library]

Elena Ferrante, 2013.



Monday, 18 July

The Story of a New Name [Burton Library]

Elena Ferrante, 2012.


I made the dark descent. Now the moon was visible amid scattered pale-edged clouds; the evening was very fragrant, and you could hear the hypnotic rhythm of the waves. On the beach I took off my shoes, the sand was cold, a gray-blue light extended as far as the sea and then spread over its tremulous expanse. I thought: yes, Lila is right, the beauty of things is a trick, the sky is the throne of fear; I’m alive, now, here, ten steps from the water, and it is not at all beautiful, it’s terrifying; along with this beach, the sea, the swarm of animal forms, I am part of the universal terror; at this moment I’m the infinitesimal particle through which the fear of everything becomes conscious of itself[.]


But her husband was sleeping, he had fallen asleep as if wrapped in a magic cape.


I understood that I had arrived there full of pride and realized that — in good faith, certainly, with affection — I had made that whole journey mainly to show her what she had lost and what I had won. But she had known from the moment I appeared, and now, risking tensions with her workmates, and fines, she was explaining to me that I had won nothing, that in the world there was nothing to win, that her life was full of varied and foolish adventures as much as mine, and that time simply slipped away without meaning, and it was good to see each other every so often to hear the mad sound of the brain of one echo in the mad sound of the brain of the other.

Wednesday, 06 July

Novel with Cocaine [Burton Library]

M. Ageyev, 192?.Another recommendation from Knausgaard. Brilliant and very creepy. Set at the time of the Russian Revolution, supposedly written in the 20s and published pseudonomously in an emigre journal that no one can find any trace of…a self-centred and amoral Dostoyeskyian hero becomes addicted to cocaine.

Monday, 27 June

The Bricks that Built the Houses [Burton Library]

Kate Tempest, 2016. Dreadful, innit.

Monday, 22 February

Thursday, 11 February

Pasta e Fagioli [papa's cave]

by Julie Falsetti Source: 3/4 cup dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight 2 teaspoons salt, divided 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 stalks celery, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 cup spaghetti sauce or crushed tomatoes 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 4 cups hot water 11/2 cups small shell pasta or ditalini 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese Drain the soaked beans and add 21/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook covered for 30 to 45 minutes. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, celery and garlic. Cook until the onions are golden. Add the sauce and remaining teaspoon of salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add the water and beans with their cooking liquid, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes more. Stir in the pasta and cook uncovered until the pasta is tender. Stir frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking. Add the chopped parsley and serve hot topped with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Saturday, 16 January

Good Privacy Resource Information [The WA5PB Blog]

Summary of trusted privacy tools and information:
1) General file encryption: miniLock, Chrome App,
2) Steganography: steghide, application,
3) Full Disk Encryption: VeraCrypt, application,
4) Secure OS: TAILS, TOR enabled Linux Distro (live CD/USB),
5) Crypto Programming Library: libsodium, cross-platform,
6) Secure mobile Texting & Voice, Signal, Android & IOS,
7) Public Key Crypto: GNU Privacy Gaurd, cross-platform,
7) Learning About Cryptography: Ciphers by Ritter, website,
8) The definitive book on cryptography: The Codebreakers; The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet, by David Kahn,
9) Ongoing security information and teaching:  Security Now!, website/podcast,

quote: “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”,
Edward Snowden, Reddit, May 21, 2015

Wednesday, 06 January

Dietzgen No. 1767 Maniphase Slide Rule [papa's cave]

* Multiplication ** 2-factor 1. Set C scale left or right index over mulitiplicand on D scale. 2. Set indicator to multiplier on C scale. 3. Read product at indicator on D scale. ** 3 or more factors using C & D scales 1. Multiply first two factors as above. 2. Leaving indicator in place, set C left index under indicator. 3. Set indicator to next factor on C scale. 4. Read product at indicator on D scale. * Division 1. Set divisor on C scale over dividend on D scale. 2. Read quotient at C scale index on D scale. * Mixed multiplication and division (Alternate divisions and multiplications for each divisor and factor.) * Proportion (For a given slide position, adjacent values on the C and D scales are in the same proportion.) 1. Set C scale over D scale to known proportion/conversion factor. 2. Set indicator over C scale value for amount to be converted. 2. Read converted amount on D scale under indicator.

Sunday, 03 January

SUBJECT: Whitelist add requests [papa's cave]

Reply to this thread with your Minecraft user name to be added to the SDF Minecraft whitelist. After you've been added to the whitelist, either depost your reply, or I will purge the list when it gets too long. (All whitelist requests that were posted prior to Jan. 3 have been completed. Let me know if you still have trouble getting on the server.)

Wednesday, 16 December

SURVIVAL TECO [papa's cave]

You can perform useful editing with TECO, the venerable, line-noise- for-command-language Editor that Time Forgot, knowing just 3 rules and 16 commands. RULES 1. Pressing the Escape key (shown as "$" below -- NOT a dollar sign) twice executes typed commands instead of the Enter key. (A single $ terminates string arguments for some commands.)

  • Commands don't have to be executed one-at-a-time. You can type a long series of commands then "$ $" and TECO will execute the commands in order.
  • TECO is character-oriented, so it remembers the character position of your current location in the file, called "pointer". Most commands display or change the file's contents at pointer, or move pointer to another location in the file.
  • Commands

    1.ERfile$Y1Open file for input 9.JJump to beginning of file
    2.EWfile$1Open file for output 10.ZJJump to end of file
    3.EXSave and exit 11.T3Type from pointer to end of line
    4.^C ^CExit (no save) 12.VType current line
    5.C2Move character forward 13.D2Delete character at pointer
    6.R2Move character backward 14.K3Delete current line
    7.L3Move to beginning of next line 15.Stext$Search for text
    8.Itext$Insert text 16.FStext1$text2$Substitute text2 for text1
    1Some versions of TECO accept a file name as a command line argument, making 1. and 2. unnecessary. Some versions of TECO have a command EBfile$Y that does the same as 1. and 2. in one step.
    2Numeric prefix: move/delete multiple characters (negative reverses direction)
    3Numeric prefix: move/type/delete multiple lines (negative reverses direction); (T, K only) prefix H: type/delete whole file

    TECO on SDF

    SDF cluster<dt>
    TE is a port of the Ultrix version of TECO. It is actually a visual editor that displays file contents around pointer after commansds are submitted, so you won't need to use type/display commands as much (TE automatic display sometimes gets a little wonky, so you occassionally need a T or a V as a last resort). TE takses a file name as a command line argument, so you don't need ER/EW/EB commands..
    TECO on the TOPS-20 system at is one of the original implementations of the editor. No command line arguments, so read and write your file with commands ER and EW. And no wimpy visual stuff, so enter your own display commands if you can't remember where you left pointer.

    Using TECO seems unnatural at first, but with a little effort invested in learning the basic commands above, it's quite useful and fun! Perhaps the ultimate retro editor.

    "You can hack anything you want with TECO ..."

    Thursday, 10 December

    Greatness [papa's cave]

    America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    Wednesday, 09 December

    Tuesday, 08 December

    Low Tech [The Lonely Cabin]

    I enjoy reading the weekly posts over at The Archdruid Report [0]. Very thought-provoking. Last week's post [1] was on the aggression and anger many face by admitting to eschewing a "modern" way of life in favor of simpler, older technologies. The comments to this post are full of interesting anecdotes.

    As a child I read voraciously, in fact all through my 20s. Then the family happened, along with suburbia, a house, two cars and programming/sysadmin jobs, and somehow the digital screen took over my life, for a time. It's very easy to fall into that lifestyle, and in fact there is enormous social pressure to do so. I hear others describing the affects, and I've seen it in myself and in my own children - after many years of sound-bytes and feed-checking in a hyper-connected culture it becomes difficult to concentrate for long periods of time, particularly to finish books. I find myself constantly wanting to check my email or blog feeds. I have stayed away from facebook, thankfully. I grew up in the 70s, when it was common as a 10-year old to spend all day outside, running home briefly only for meals and then hurrying back outside to explore/play/fight/run/ride until dark. At night I would read in bed via flashlight. I still remember those days, and surely the experiences shaped who I am. Will my kids remember their childhood, spent in front of a screen watching youtube videos, playing minecraft or call of duty? Does the push for computer use in schools really benefit kids? Is it merely different today, sometimes good, or actually harmful?

    For myself, I find I feel better physically and mentally when I cut back on technology. I have been trying to roll back my own consumption of TV in favor of reading physical books. I keep my 'smart' phone in my office rather than at my bedside (unless I am on-call). I use a rake rather than a leaf blower. I still enjoy using older technologies like slide rules and paper journals. Since 2009 I have again been playing old-school tabletop pen-and-paper RPGs, albeit sometimes via google hangouts (technology is not all bad, especially when it enables real social interaction). I try to limit my kid's use of social media and TV. That's just me, and again, maybe the internet culture is all just different and won't be harmful at all as the current generation grows up and enters the workforce. Or, maybe we're creating a generation of chronically depressed, unfit, barely-literate uber-consumers. Time will tell.

    Tuesday, 01 December

    Welcome to acme, the editor/shell/window system hybrid. Acme is a [papa's cave]

    complete environment you can use to edit, run programs, browse the file system, etc. You can scroll the text this window by moving the mouse into the window (no clicking necessary) and typing the up and down arrows. When you start Acme, you see several windows layered into two columns. Above each window, you can see a ``tag line'' (in blue). The first thing to notice is that all the text you see is just that: text. You can edit anything at will. For example, in the left column is a directory window. If you look at the window's tag line, you will see that it contains /usr/glenda/ Del Snarf Get | Look (This might be truncated if the column is narrow.) That is just text. Each mouse button (1, 2, 3, from left to right) does a different thing in Acme: * Button 1 can be used to select text (press it, sweep, release it), and also to select the point where text would be inserted in the window. Use it now in your /usr/glenda window. * Button 2 can be used to execute things. For example, use button 1 to type "ls -l" before "lib/" in the window showing /usr/glenda. Now use button 2 to select "ls -l lib/" (press it, select, release it). As you can see, button 2 means "execute this". * Button 3 can be used to get things. For example, click button 3 on "lib/" within the "/usr/glenda" window. Can you see how a new window shows the contents of "/usr/glenda/lib"? Button 3 can also be used to search within the body of a window. Just click button 3 on the thing you want to search. Again, you can select something with button 1 and then use button 3 on the selection. You can double-click with button 1 to select words; a double click at the end or beginning of a line selects the whole line. Once you have text selected, you can click on it with button 2 to execute the selected text. A single click of button 2 would execute the word clicked as a command. Now let's pay attention to the tag line once more. As you can see, the left part has a path. That is the name for the window and shows also the directory for the thing shown (file/directory/program output). When you execute something using button 2, the current directory for the command is the directory shown in the left part of the tag (if the thing shown is a file, its directory is used). As you saw before in the example, there are windows labeled "/dir/+Errors", that is where Acme shows the output of a command executed in "/dir". Another thing you can see is that tag lines contain words like "New", "Del", "Snarf", etc. Those are commands understood (implemented) by Acme. When you request execution of one of them, Acme does the job. For example, click with button 2 on "Del" in the "/usr/glenda/+Errors" window: it's gone. The commands shown by Acme are just text and by no means special. Try to type "Del" within the body of the window "/usr/glenda", and then click (button-2) on it. These are some commands understood by Acme: * Newcol: create a new column of windows * Delcol: delete a column * New: create a new window (edit it's tag to be a file name and you would be creating a new file; you would need to click on "Put" to put the file in the file system). * Put: write the body to disk. The file is the one named in the tag. * Get: refresh the body (e.g. if it's a directory, reread it and show it). * Snarf: What other window systems call "Copy". * Paste: Can you guess it? * Exit: exit acme Acme likes to place new windows itself. If you prefer to change the layout of a window, you only need to drag the layout box at the left of the tag line and drop it somewhere else. The point where you drop it selects the column where the window is to be placed now, as well as the line where the window should start. You can also click the layout box to enlarge its window a small amount (button 1), as much as possible without obscuring other tag lines in the column (button 2), and to fill the whole column (button 3). You can get your other windows back by button-1- or button-2-clicking the layout box. This is mostly what you need to get started with Acme. You are missing a very useful feature: using combinations (chords) of mouse buttons to do things. You can cut, paste, snarf, and pass arguments to programs using these mouse chords. You can read this in the acme(1) manual page, but it's actually extremely simple: Select a region with button 1 but don't release the button. Now clicking button 2 deletes the selected text (putting it into the snarf buffer); clicking button 3 replaces the selected text with the snarf buffer. That's it! For more information, read /sys/doc/acme/ (you can just button-3 click on that string to view the file).

    Rio is the Plan 9 window system. [papa's cave]

    To read more of this window, the up and down arrows scroll the text up and down half screens. To effectively use rio, you need at least a three button mouse. If you only have a two button mouse you can emulate the middle button by holding down shift key whilst pressing the right button. Button 1, 2, and 3 are used to refer to the left, middle, and right buttons respectively. THE POP-UP MENU Pressing and holding down button 3 on the desktop or shell window will give you a menu with the following options: * New - create a new window * Resize - reshape a window * Move - move a window without reshaping it * Delete - close a window * Hide - hides a window from display (it will appear in this menu) *

    Tuesday, 17 November

    Faith [papa's cave]

    Our civilization was able to flourish, for all its sins, because God permitted it to flourish; becaus the Holy Spirit persistently intervened in response to the calling of real Faith. But where there is no Faith, there is nothing for Him to respond to. -- David Warren. "On candlelight vigils"

    Dumb Phones [The Lonely Cabin]

    I've noticed lately more and more people buried in their mobile devices in public or even while they are in supposedly social situations. While the former is understandable (the phone has taken the place of books or magazines in waiting rooms and airport terminals), the latter is downright rude.

    Perhaps it is generational, since I did not grow up with a "smart" phone in the 70s and 80s, it took me a long time to even see the need for one. I have one now because I must, as a sysadmin who is on-call it is expected. And I do amuse myself with it in public waiting rooms (although typically with FBReader). But I make a point to put it away and not check it when I'm with my friends or family. If I'm checking something on my phone while someone is talking to me face-to-face, I'm really telling them what they are saying is not important, compared to whatever is on my phone. Why engage in conversation with me at all if all you want to do is check your facebook feed obsessively or text someone?

    Ray Bradbury had it right, he was just a bit off as far as scale. Rather than flat-screen TV wall displays (although I notice those are proliferating quite rapidly in bars, restaurants and doctor's offices), the device has shrunk and we are being stupefied by a hand-held version of the interactive TV.

    Monday, 16 November

    Kingliness [papa's cave]

    What a splendid king you'd make of a desert island -- you and you alone. -- Sophocles, Antigone

    Forth Strings [papa's cave]

    In order to flexibly generate HTML, Forth requires the ability to construct strings of arbitrary length in memory by concatenating and nesting multiple string segments. There are several string-handling Forth modules available, but none are straightforward, so I'm considering a custom module. For string concatenation, my first idea was to allocated space for the combined string for each concatenation, but I'm afraid generation of a page of HTML in memory would require allocating several times the final page size as each string segment is combined and recombined several times into larger and larger sections or the document. An alternative idea is to allocate two buffers each of the estimated maximum page size. Then all concatenations are expressed as appending and/or prepending strings to the current pafe image. An appended string could simply be copied to the end of the page buffer. To prepend a string, the copy buffer would be initialized with the string, page buffer contents appended, then the resulting combined string copied back to the page buffer. Would have to track end of page image within buffer. This would limit memory usage to twice the estimated maximum page size, but would require a check for buffer overflow on exceptionally large pages. Current average size of *.html, *.txt, *.org files in cavenet green dataset is approx. 2500 bytes. Average word count per file is 24000. Another alternative: use an array of string addesses and one of string lengths. Concatenate strings by appending or inserting compiled string addresses and lengths in their respective arrays. This would avoid duplication of strings and memory for them. Would impose maximum on number of string segments that could comprise a web page. Taking as an upper estimate each word in a page requiring a start and an end tag would make an average of approximately 72000 string segments. Of course, must ask if complexity of building strings in memory before printing is justified versus just printing strings in sequence as they occur in processing.

    Monday, 14 September

    techonology vs ideas (BBOARD GENERAL) [papa's cave]

    TACKER: tidux (Jonathan Lane) SUBJECT: .. technology vs ideas DATE: 08-Sep-15 19:12:13 HOST: faeroes Part of the problem with us "IT guys" acting like people who don't understand computers are stupid, is that when we deal with people at work who don't understand computers, they're very often being idiots about things that they are *supposed to know* as part of their job description. Nobody faults an elementary school teacher for not knowing how to maintain a web server, but they should at least be able to copy and paste properly. Another problem is that we tend to cluster together with others in similar skill levels, like on /. or SDF. This means that our level of assumed basic skill for people we talk to is higher by default. Often it takes talking to beginners or outright technophobes to reset our expectations to normal levels. I think that the 21st century's great contributions to philosophy will come out of neuroscience, genetics, and computer science rather than philosophy per se. Learning more about the function and development of the human mind, or creating artificial ones in silicon, will provide definitive answers, not speculation. Even the age old "but what if the universe is a simulation?" question may be answered definitively by physicists. Philosophy as a discipline should stick to asking questions that science can't answer yet. TACKER: papa (David Meyer) SUBJECT: .. technology vs ideas DATE: 08-Sep-15 23:00:29 HOST: iceland tidux's second paragraph is a good description of the problem with contemporary Philosophy: it has ceded all its mind-space to science. # Is it a problem? What is a better situation for philosophy? Metaphysics has be consigned to religion. Physics has been ceded to science. Philosophy so longer has anything meaningful to talk about. # Metaphysics as a branch of philosophy has received less emphasis # since the Enlightenment for two reasons: # 1. Many metaphysical questions have been taken over by science. # 2. The belief that metaphysics without science is meaningless. # But there are other philosophical fields unaffected by the above # situation. Also, 1. does not include all metaphysical questions, # and not all accept 2. TACKER: framling (Pete Ley) SUBJECT: .. technology vs ideas DATE: 09-Sep-15 01:52:06 HOST: sdf There seems to be a lot of pseudo-philosophizing in this thread. Not all ideas are good ideas. If you think you have something important to say, you should be prepared to back it up with something. This is a public forum, not a philosophical echo chamber. You shouldn't expect anyone to agree with you without considering your position first. Also, let's assume that the dubious statement that metaphysics has been ceded to religion is true. (And I am assuming that physics is better left to science and mathematics than to the current incarnation of philosophy.) It doesn't follow that philosophy has nothing important left to talk about. What about the other branches of philosophy? What have ethics and epistemology been ceded to? What of the actual philosophies of science and religion? Philosophy isn't just physics and metaphysics, so even if it has nothing to discuss in those areas (which it most certainly does), it is still relevent. TACKER: papa (David Meyer) SUBJECT: .. technology vs ideas DATE: 09-Sep-15 13:46:04 HOST: iceland Ouch, framling! You caught me guilty of the same pseudo-philosophizing for which I was ragging on mjt. My post was a riff off of tidux's observation on the greater contribution to philosophical development coming from science and engineering than from the traditional field of philosophy to a lament on the secularization of philosophy (that has been going on since the Enlightenment. Yes, that horse has left the barn.) It boils down to a rant that I don't like contemporary philosophy because it is Godless. A sentiment, and just a sentiment I realize not everyone shares. But I tried for a clever comment instead of thinking it through and write something worthy of discussion. Sorry to have wasted the BBOARD bytes. TACKER: framling (Pete Ley) SUBJECT: .. technology vs ideas DATE: 09-Sep-15 17:07:23 HOST: sdf papa, can you elaborate a bit more on your feelings about the secularization of philosophy? I would be interested to hear it. ----- I sat down to think of an answer for framling, and realized that my problem with philosophy is more about me than it is about philosophy. Long, long ago when I was young I was very interested in philosophy because I wanted to answer the questions, "What is the meaning of my life?" and "What is good in life?" I didn't find answers that satisfied until I converted to Catholicism, which gave me the answers to those big questions on the far side of a leap of faith. It still takes reason to apply those answers to specific situations, but I am relieved of having to sweat figuring out the big picture. For a while, I thought philosophy might provide a way to communicate with those who hadn't taken the leap, but that proved mostly futile. After all, its not philosophy or logic that has led me to where I am, and most atheists and materialists I have encountered have reached their position not by logic, but by taking a leap of something like faith in the opposite direction. There are still interesting discussions in philosophy, but they will always be circumscribed by the beliefs that each participant holds to be non-negotiable truths. As for the secularization of philosophy, on reflection its not as big of a deal as I thought when I made my first post. It's true that around the Enlightenment, the collective Western mind made a big shift from religious to secular, which many orthodox Catholics still regret. However, there are certainly many philosophical fields that do not necessarily depend on theology, so the emergence of secular philosophy is natural and positive.

    Thursday, 03 September

    Journaling [The Lonely Cabin]

    I've kept a hand-written journal twice before for short periods. Once when I was 20 and on a NOLS excursion in the North Cascades, that was for 31 days. More recently, I had a written journal for four months in 2013, but never kept up with it. Reading through both recently made me realize the value such a journal can hold, not only for selfish reasons, but for future generations of family members, who might be interested in the personal details of their great-grandfather's life, say.

    So I'm going to try it again, with special attention made to legibility. Some of my older entries are quite sloppy as I've never had good handwriting when I'm in a hurry. So I'm trying to slow down a bit, and have picked up on 'cursive italic' handwriting, which is not only legible but aesthetically pleasing as well. The most-linked resource seems to be 'Handwriting Repair' by Briem. The PDF is freely available online [0]. I've also made the original available in my gopherspace, as the license prohibits only commercial sharing [1].

    Friday, 05 June

    Moving to Canada [The Lonely Cabin]

    Last year I discovered I was a Canadian citizen under their 'new' (2009) citizenship act. Although I was born in the US, my father was born and raised in Quebec. The new law allows citizenship by descent for the first generation born abroad to a Canadian parent. So my kids are not Canadian citizens, but I (and my siblings) are, retro-active to birth. I received my Canadian citizenship certificate in March of this year, and my passport in May.

    So I've begun the process of emigrating my family to Canada, from the US Northeast. Something interesting I found when I started looking at tax rates - you commonly hear how high the taxes are in Canada. This is true, as far as income and sales tax, particularly in Quebec, which is where we are moving. Food, gas and certain types of clothing are also more expensive. However, when you consider other essential family expenses, they are quite a bit less than in my home state of Connecticut. In particular, property tax, electric (hydro in Canada), car insurance, childcare, higher education, and equivalent home values are much lower in Quebec. Add to that a single-payer healthcare system, and the savings mean that for an equivalent salary, I'll take home a bit more money each year than I do in Connecticut.

    The tipping point turns out to be health insurance. Our insurance premiums have risen 10-15% per year for the past 10 years. Even with employer contributions, I still pay $800 per month for a 'family' plan, with a $5k deductible, and co-pays for doctor visits. Even without any additional healthcare expenses (which we have), that is about $10k per year. Sadly, the US had a chance to adopt a single-payer system and blew it. For us, this is a way to give our kids a decent future, one where they can afford to get healthcare for themselves and their future families and go to college without being in debt. I'd be interested in hearing from people who have moved to Canada and how it worked out for you, or from Canadian citizens in general about life in the Great White North.

    Friday, 08 May

    Books Read [papa's cave]

    2015/5/5-8	TUMI TO BATU by OSAMU TEDUKA
    2015/4/16-5/5	Supernatural Horror in Literature by H.P. Lovecraft
    2015/4/21-29	Architect of Aeons by John C. Wright
    2015/4/17	The Signal-Man by Charles Dickens
    2015/4/17	The Adventure of the German Student by Washington Irving
    2015/4/17	Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln
    2015/3/?	Awake in the Night Land by John C. Wright
    2015/3/2-4	UTYUU KYOUDAI Volume 25 by TYUUYA KOYAMA
    2015/2/7-3/2	The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a
    		Radical Pope by Austen Ivereigh
    2014/10/27	The World Turned Upside Down edited by Drake, Baen, and Flint
    2014/10/1	The World, the Flesh and the Devil by J.D. Bernal
    2014/9/26	UTYUU KYOUDAI Volume 24 by TYUUYA KOYAMA
    2014/9/14-25	Madouc by Jack Vance
    2014/3/31	The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen
    2014	The Judge of Ages by John C. Wright
    2013/10/24	UTYUU KYOUDAI Volume 22 by TYUUYA KOYAMA
    2013/5/28-9/19	Kim by Rudyard Kipling
    		Beautiful travelogue of India and paean to the
    		shared humanity of all.
    2013/7/13-17	UTYUU KYOUDAI Volumes 15-21 by TYUUYA KOYAMA
    2013/7/1-11	UTYUU KYOUDAI Volumes 6-14 by TYUUYA KOYAMA
    2013/6/19	Energy and Equity by Ivan Illich
    2013/6/6-13	UTYUU KYOUDAI Volumes 2-5 by TYUUYA KOYAMA
    2013/5/5-7	UTYUU KYOUDAI Volume 1 by TYUUYA KOYAMA
    2013/5/5	True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Monfort
    2013/4/5	The Game of Rat and Dragon by Cordwainer Smith
    2013/1/29-2/14	The Hermetic Millenia by John C. Wright
    2012/12/25-2013/1/28	I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson
    2013/1/5-11	Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright
    2012/10/29-11/5	That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
    2012/10/15-18	Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright
    2012/10/5-14	The Green Pearl by Jack Vance
    2012/9/16-28	Perelandra by C.S. Lewis
    2012/9/13	The World of Star Trek by David Gerrold
    		Valuable insights into science fiction, writing, and
    		television production. A little silly to read about a
    		46-year-old TV show, even if it was a great one.
    2012/6/12-18	Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
    2012/6/7-12	The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
    2012/3/22-26	Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
    2012/2/12-21	Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie
    2012/1/17-19	Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
    		(A masterly trip!)
    2011/11/17	The Crystal Crypt by Philip K. Dick
    2011/8/14	The Investor's Manifesto by William J. Bernstein
    2011/6/30-2011/7/6	The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
    2011/6/30	Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (TWICE!)
    2011/4/6	N or M? by Agatha Christie
    2011/4/3	The Crisis of Islam by Bernard Lewis
    2011/2/20	Far Eastern Tales by W. Somerset Maugham
    2011/2/9	The Languages of Pao by Jack Vance
    2011/2/8	Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    2011/1/10	Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel
    2010/10/5	The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
    2010/9/24	A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
    2010/7/7	This Crowded Earth by Robert Bloch
    2010/7/1	Sjambak by Jack Vance
    2009/5/18	The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
    2008/7/1	The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole


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