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Last Visit 2012-11-09 18:06:58 |Start Date 2005-09-01 15:28:14 |Comments 1,246 |Entries 866 |Images 935 |Sounds 4 |Videos 95 |Mobl 173 |

Category: culture

12/09/08 07:09 - ID#47009

Gay Marriage for DBA's

"Y2GAY" & "gaytabases"


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Category: culture

11/08/08 09:14 - ID#46601

An Evil Good Book

I'm reading a book, "The 48 Laws of Power".

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It is by turns interesting and disturbing. Each law has it's own chapter, with historical anecdotes and analysis.

Some are fairly neutral:

Law 5: So Much Depends on Reputation -- Guard it with Your Life.

Others, not so much:

Law 17: Keep Others in Suspended Terror -- Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability. Or, Law 33: Discover Each Man's Thumbscrew.

Now, part of my enjoyment of this book is that it appeals to the inner dictator in me, a side that I never knew that I had. But, hmm... I do. Hate to admit it.

Generally, it's an interesting look at the 'pack of monkeys' part of our brains and culture. Everything I have read so far I can relate to experiences and situations that I've been in. I'm hoping to keep my eyes more open to this side of human interaction, without using it to scheme and plot.

If I ever start to seem unpredictable, though, cower in terror!
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Category: culture

10/28/08 11:58 - ID#46384

ALL MUSIC VIDEOS EVER

MTv just posted an archive of all music videos in their archives:

Check it out here:

Super-sweet. And embeddable.

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Category: culture

10/25/08 02:47 - ID#46321

Equal Opportunity

An interesting essay by Will Wilkinson: which also keyed off some things that I've talked to James about recently, in his job search.

[W]hat little I know of economic sociology tells me that access to economic opportunities is deeply network-relative. -- Will Wilkinson



I find this to be very true. It's the adage that it's not what you know but who you know -- opportunities come through communication, not based on merit. Merit is what allows you to take advantage of the opportunity. You don't have a chance of showing off your skill unless you can talk to the right person.

At work the positions I've helped to hire for have been filled based on me knowing the people we were hiring. I vouched for and championed them because of their personalities and communication skills in addition to their technical chops. The thought of posting those jobs in public and hiring strangers off the street unnerved me greatly.

It's not a perfect system, but we'd only hire a programmer who doesn't come to us through either personal recommendation or by coming to the Ruby meetups we host only as a last resort. Hiring someone is a huge decision that can make or break a team, as I've seen from a few different sides.

It's a tough problem. There are people who are perfectly capable of careers that they can't get into because they don't know who to talk to. Networks limit choices, but also minimize risk and maximize chance of success, if you start out with the right mindset.

If you're looking for a job, don't look in the want ads, look for smokey back rooms and referrals :)

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Category: culture

10/11/08 08:54 - ID#46067

The Wrongest Thing Ever

You can take a class field trip to an Apple store:

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This sucks so much. They must have had actual requests from schools that caused them to set up an official program. Yuck.

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Category: culture

10/02/08 08:30 - ID#45903

Yak Shaving

An awesome term, for when you find yourself doing some task at 8 removes from what you meant to be doing, each step along the way seemingly utterly necessary...

You start out deciding to tidy your room and you realize that in order to do that you'll need some more trash bags, so you need to go to the shops, which will involve you getting out the car, but the car needs gas, so you'll need to go to the gas station first, which means you should probably find your gas discount card, which involves finding your keys, which are in the room somewhere... ( )



And ultimately, in order to tidy your room, you somehow end up shaving a yak.

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You know it's happened to you too!
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Category: culture

07/27/08 11:56 - ID#45162

Ignosticism

Ah, a new word (to me): ignosticism. I am not sure how I've missed that so far in my life, considering how much I've thought and researched about this sort of stuff. I am more accurately ignostic. God doesn't matter to me, and my strong atheistic streak seems to flow from ignostic roots.

Pondering the recent discussions about what it means to have faith as a Christian, I've admittedly been more concerned about what it means to have faith as Jim, so let me summarize my thoughts so far, as discovered over the course of 30 or so years.

I have faith that I am a human being, that this life is real, and that anything before or after it is too nebulous to worry to much about, in a personal sense. I didn't mind not existing before I was born, so I aim to be cheerful when faced with my deathbed.

I have faith that human beings can learn from their mistakes. And more specifically, that I have been and will be able to learn from my own mistakes. My many, many mistakes.

More importantly, I have faith that human beings can learn from the mistakes of other human beings. This is the key to human culture. I don't think a culture needs a God to look to to get stuff right, human beings are capable of introspection and examination on their own.

I believe that we are tied to the past, and future tied to the present, but that being tied to this continuum is not a form of bondage, but of progression. Culturally, before and after my life is of a lot of importance to me (as opposed to personally, as above).

The foundations of my beliefs are as minimal as I can make them: buy into existing, into consciousness, into trial and error, and into broad human culture. Anything beyond those 4 pillars is extraneous, and everything I have ever managed to make better within myself is based on those simple statements. I've tried to brutally reduce the dependencies in that chain and that's as far as I've been able to cut. For consistency's sake if I could find a simpler way to state it I'd cut more out.

This faith is based on personal experience, but it's also personal experience that I can observe mirrored in the lives of other people. It's faith based on as much sense and definition as I can give the terms involved.

I've known lots of people who've lost or never had belief in God and they seem better off for it. Some seem worse, too, true.

The people I know who believe in learning from trial and error and not repeating their own mistakes would not be the same people if they give that up or didn't have it.

That's why I believe what I do and consider it essential, and could care less about God. When people can't agree on what the word God means, much less what 'he wants', it's a giant sink for me to spend time to even consider it (and I've personally spent much time considering).

We've got millennia of rich human history of to learn from, and that's plenty to keep me busy.
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Category: culture

07/16/08 06:30 - ID#45039

That's How I Roll

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Category: culture

07/07/08 11:47 - ID#44893

Cute USB Owls

From Japan of course:

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Category: culture

06/17/08 04:51 - ID#44694

Teach the Controversy



I'm afraid the main weakness of evolutionary theory will be "it leaves out Jesus."

Actually, most modern scientists believe that Jesus evolved over time from more primitive religious figures, such as Mithras and Enki.



- to the comment above

Which was talking about these t-shirts:

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Also awesome? SCIENCE!



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And more (Amorphia)

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Hmmm. Ordered a couple. Had to!

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