Welcome back my friends
To the show that never ends!
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside, come inside!

— Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression, Part II)

Hi there!

If you're reading this, you're probably just looking at my journal, perhaps even thinking about adding me as an LJ-friend; or alternatively, perhaps I just added you as an LJ-friend, and you're curious about me now. In either case, I'd like to use this opportunity to say a few things.

Trevor: You're skating the edge.
Æon: I
am the edge.

— Æon Flux

First of all, I tend to write freely about topics everything that matters to me; more distanced, "professional" entries may directly be followed by more personal ones (and vice versa), and I will, generally, openly write about all sorts of things, including philosophy, sexuality, politics and more. Some of my entries will be friends-only, others will be publicly viewable, too, and unlike other people, I don't use <lj-cut /> tags or specific "topic filters" (i.e., custom friends groups dedicated to specific topics) to shield people from things they may not want to see.

Well, as long as it's text, that is; I will cut images that aren't safe for work etc. (at least if I remember, which I might not always do!), since I wouldn't want for people to get in trouble if their boss happens to be shoulder-surfing at work. Text, though, is a different issue, and if you'll get into trouble for reading about certain topics at work, you probably shouldn't be checking your friends page at work to begin with.

He said, "I am told that when men hear its voice, it stays in their ears, they cannot be rid of it. It has many different voices: some happy, but others sad. It roars like a baboon, murmurs like a child, drums like the blazing arms of one thousand drummers, rustles like water in a glass, sings like a lover and laments like a priest."

— Mike Oldfield, Amarok (liner notes)

Second of all, concerning friending me: feel free to. There is no need to ask if it's OK to do so; everyone's welcome to, as well as to post comments etc. (as long as they're genuine: spammers etc. will not be tolerated, but that goes without saying, anyway). I may add you back if your journal looks interesting or if I know you, too, but this isn't automatic. If you do want me to add you back, engaging me and talking to me is probably the best way to go about it.

Please don't ask about being added back if I didn't do so on my own, either, unless I already know you well and you want to be able to read my non-public entries.

If I already friended you but you don't know who I am and haven't been in contact with me before, that most likely means I became aware of your journal somehow, took a look, and decided I wanted to keep up with what you're writing — "I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter", as it were. I don't expect you to friend me back or otherwise take an interest in me, but if you do — all the better.

If what it is to be furry you still don't comprehend
Then consider this advice, my curious friend
If you're willing to respect that which you don't understand
Then come take my paw and I'll take your hand.

— from "Furry", by Croc O'Dile of TigerMUCK with help from Tony DeMatio, June 1995

Regarding commenting, BTW, I'm always happy to receive comments. However, things like "lol" are not proper punctuation, and correct spelling and grammar would be nice as well. And of course, I expect people to not be insulting or rude, but that, again, should go without saying.

That's about all I can think of for now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.


Do go no to

The following is by, and was shamelessly stolen from, Brent Yorgey's Math Less Traveled:

do go on
do no harm
do to others
go do likewise
go-go music
go no further
goto considered harmful
no can do
it’s a no go
a big no-no
say no to drugs
what to do
here or to go
to no avail
I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto

I thought this was too neat not to reproduce. :)


Floating point issues

Just a recent reminder that we still haven't solved the issues with floating-point arithmetic on computers:

(The problem here is, of course, that FP arithmetic is not the same thing as the usual operations on the real numbers, which is what I think most users (myself included) would expect.)


Firefox for Android

BTW, if you find yourself wondering why Firefox (on Android) is taking up a huge amount of system space (a gigabyte, say) even after you clear all browser data, cache etc. …

… then I can't tell you why, but I can tell you that removing and reinstalling it will help — though you should jot down your settings, extensions, bookmarks etc. first, since you will of course have to set these up anew again afterward.

More German jokes

More groaners:

F: Wie nennt man einen Cowboy ohne Pferd?
A: Einen Sattelschlepper!

F: Was liegt am Strand und ist schlecht zu verstehen?
A: Eine Nuschel!

F: Wo wohnen Katzen?
A: Im Miezhaus!

F: Wie nennt man einen Keks, der unter einem Baum liegt?
A: Schattiges Plätzchen!

F: Was ist grün und sitzt auf dem Klo?
A: Ein Kaktus!

F: Was macht man mit einem Hund ohne Beine?
A: Um die Häuser ziehen!

F: Was hat ein Vogel, der auf einen Misthaufen fällt?
A: Kotflügel!



Lying to students

The concept of lies-to-children, referring to a simplified explanation of a complex topic that the explainer knows isn't strictly true but intends to augment later on, i. e. an intentional untruth intended to help with the learning process, is often said to have coined by the Science of Discworld authors – Wikipedia certainly makes this claim, writing that "[t]he "lie-to-children" concept was first discussed by scientist Jack Cohen and mathematician Ian Stewart in the 1994 book 'The Collapse of Chaos: Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World'", but unsurprisingly it's actually a lot older than that. Here's an earlier example I came across, from Donald Knuth's TeXbook:

Another somewhat unique characteristic of this manual is that it doesn't always tell the truth. When informally introducing certain TeX concepts, general rules will be stated, but later you will find that they aren't strictly true. The author feels that this technique of deliberate lying will actually make it easier for you to learn the concepts; once you learn a simple but false rule, it will not be hard to supplement that rule with its exceptions.

Definitely agree with Knuth there, and on a side note this serves as a good reminder that you cannot trust that Wikipedia will provide accurate, unbiased information. (Unbiased as in not biased towards, among many other things, the present, anglophone nations, and things that nerds are into.)


German jokes

A couple of groaners:

F: Wie nennt man eine Polizistin, die ihre Tage hat?
A: Red Bull.

F: Was ist weiß und guckt durchs Schlüsselloch?
A: Ein Spannbettlaken.

F: Wie nennt man einen Bären, der auf einer Kugel sitzt und schreit?
A: Einen Kugel-Schrei-Bär.

F: Wie nennt man Licht auf Drogen?
A: Highlight.

F: Welche Handwerker haben den größten Appetit?
A: Maurer, die verputzen ganze Häuser.

F: Was braucht ein Blinder im Schwimmbad?
A: Einen Seehund.

Ironie ist, wenn …
… ein Nazi in einer Rechtskurve stirbt, weil er zuviel Gas gegeben hat.

Tip the veal, try the waitress!