April 2011 Archives

Words for keyboard symbols

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image

! : Common: bang; pling; excl; shriek; exclamation mark. Rare: factorial; exclam; mash; cuss; boing; yell; wow; hey; wham; eureka; [spark-spot]; soldier, control.

# : Common: number sign; pound; pound sign; hash; sharp; crunch; hex; [mesh]. Rare: grid; crosshatch; octothorpe; flash; square, pig-pen; tictactoe; scratchmark; thud; thump; splat.

@ : Common: at sign; at; strudel. Rare: each; vortex; whorl; [whirlpool]; cyclone; snail; ape; cat; rose; cabbage; commercial at.

Sometimes used in the hacker community. More available in the Jargon File.

Concerning Nature

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The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life


From an article at the guardian concerning the book Enhancing Human Capacities:

Drugs that affect our moral thinking and behaviour already exist, but we tend not to think of them in that way. [Prozac] lowers aggression and bitterness against environment and so could be said to make people more agreeable. Or Oxytocin, the so-called love hormone ... increases feelings of social bonding and empathy while reducing anxiety ...


A nice article in Mother Jones sums up the evidence.

Scientific evidence is highly susceptible to misinterpretation. Giving ideologues scientific data that's relevant to their beliefs is like unleashing them in the motivated-reasoning equivalent of a candy store.

Why we run

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Astounding video where a man literally runs down a kudu, chasing it for 8 hours until it drops from exhaustion.

There is also an episode of This American Life that discusses this phenomenon. I haven't listened to it yet.

The wikipedia article on persistence hunting offers more illumination.

Once again: a tip of the hat to tywkiwdbi for finding this.

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