Tuesday, November 22, 2011

UC Davis students pepper sprayed

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Imagine all the people...

So tonight on my way back from ACL, there were these insufferable street preachers yelling at people through megaphones telling them that we were all going to hell for listening to devil music and shit. They've been coming back there to the same spot for the past four years now.

Does anybody happen to know if Texas cities, or Austin specifically, require street demonstrators to acquire a license or anything of the sort?
Like ·  · 14 hours ago
  • Clint Mills and Beth Jurzec like this.
    • Luisa Lowry Oh geez.... :/ That is not the Gospel. Sorry you have to go through them.
      14 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson Oh they were quoting verses right out of Matthew. I recognized the words. Matthew is one of the Gospels alright.
      14 hours ago · Like
    • Carlos Ernesto Marin Well considering that fundamentalist Christians elected our governor and most of congress, even if there was a permit requirement, I doub't it would be enforced against them.
      14 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson There were actually uniformed officers (Austin PD) making sure that none of the crowds could get close to them. Plus they had legit 300 pound body guards. I am certain there had been violence before.
      14 hours ago · Like
    • Luisa Lowry Yes, Matthew is one of the books of the Gospels BUT their approach to Christianity is NOT the Gospel. Those people make me sad because that is not what true Christianity is about at all.
      14 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson ‎:-) Sorry, I love you Luisa, but I disagree. That's *exactly* what Christianity is all about. It's about trying to divide the world up into two different kinds of people -- the people who are going to heaven, and the people who are going to hell. That's all there is to it. Jesus said so himself.
      14 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson
      Luke 12:51 "Suppose you that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, No; but rather division: 52 "For from now on there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53 "The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law." That's Jesus talking.
      14 hours ago · Like
    • Jon Burgin
      You misunderstand Nels, It is about all the people. All Jesus is saying is that one cannot compromise one's faith. One cannot say I'll only follow 9 of the 10 commandments so that I don't offend my neighbor. In this, there will be conflict,because one's believe will cause division. However, Jesus does not say to go condemning, which those men in Austin appear to be doing. It is unfortunate that so many focus on other's sins instead of their own. For me, I've got enough of my own mess to clean up to worry about what music someone is listening too.
      14 hours ago · Like ·  2 people
    • Anna Nelson That must be what they were shouting about on Saturday night too...glad we didn't stop to listen.
      7 hours ago · Like ·  1 person
    • Nels Nelson Good morning, Jon! :-) I don't think I misunderstand at all. Either the biblical passages are open for fuzzy interpretations to content oneself, or they mean what they clearly say. I have never once seen any precise and reasonable criteria by which metaphor could be distinguished from literalism in the bible.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson
      Also, I understand the bible very well. I also understand Christian communities very well. And while I admit that such communities are well-meaning, it is an unavoidable fact that the exact same creeds that are used to bond such communities are also often used to attack, humiliate, and abuse people outside of certain communities. This is the way of religious dogmas of all stripes, including the gospel creed, throughout history. That is simply inarguable. I am not picking on your creed of choice, Jon -- Christianity. I am saying that I understand Christianity very well, and I see absolutely zero difference between its substance, and any other religion in the world -- including ones adhered to by hate-filled individuals. Religion is an enabler of good, but also very, very immoral behavior.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson Anna Nelson, last night, I stopped for a moment or two. I listened. They quoted scripture verses verbatim. From memory. Precisely. They were shouting them. With vitriol. They were passionate. They were true believers. Would everyone in the world be as passionate about what they believe -- the world would dine upon itself.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Jon Burgin
      If I hit you on the head with a candle stick. Is the candle stick evil? Is it designed for that purpose? Or am I the one doing wrong. I believe that the Luke 12:51 is merely stating that following Jesus is not without consequences. After all, none of the disciples died of old age. Nowhere there does it advocate conflict. Nor does it say that following Jesus is the cause of the conflict, nor does it say that others are the cause of the conflict. Any other interpretation is on your part.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Jon Burgin If you truly understand the bible well, I envy you. I don't think that it is easily understood. As far as the metaphor (or parable) and literalism, there actually is a method for distinguishing between the too. I am not a scholar on the topic, but I think it is pretty rigorous. If you are interested I can ask a more learned person and get the reference for you.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson I understand that is what you believe, Jon Burgin. I think that belief clouds your reasoning.

      I simply do not see how this can be interpreted in any other way: "Suppose you that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, No"

      Also, your namesake, John the Apostle, died of natural causes at the age of 94.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Jon Burgin Yup, I stand corrected. I don't dispute that he does not come to bring peace. But you said that Christianity advocates what those individuals in Austin were doing. You said that the Luke 12:51 says that you are suppose to go out and be hateful. It does not say that. It does not advocate an activity. It merely says that there will be conflict. What part of what I just said is 'clouded'?
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Jon Burgin
      I agree that we interpret differently. But I humbly suggest that it just might be not from difference in faith, but difference in understanding. By dismissing what I say with the clouded comment. You dismiss the possibility that you might be wrong. By claiming to understand well, you preclude the possibility of obtaining wisdom from the bible. The first step to wisdom starts with a question and and acknowledgement that there could be something we don't know.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson Now you are just misinterpreting *my* words, Jon. :-) That's what I mean by clouded.

      I never, ever, said that Luke 12:51 advocates hate-bringing and violence. What I said was that it clearly states that the world is divided up into two different groups of people -- people who are going to heaven from people who are going to hell.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Jon Burgin Louisa said "That is not the Gospel. Sorry you have to go through them." and you said that it was what Christianity is all about, meaning that there actions were gospel. Or am I misunderstanding something there?
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson Jon, that is exactly what they were doing. They weren't attacking anyone. Yeah, they had bodyguards. But they were just saying bible verses and telling everyone that they were going to hell unless they repented of their wicked ways.

      They were only doing what was commanded of them by their bible. The exact same bible in which you put your faith.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson
      Just because I state that I understand the bible, does not preclude wisdom harvesting from it. That makes no sense.

      When I was a young man, I had been a born again Christian for over a decade. My journey did indeed start with a question. That question was, among many, many others: why would the god of the bible, a supposedly infinitely loving being condemn billions perhaps trillions of souls to unimaginable suffering and torment for eternity in the afterlife?
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Jon Burgin In short he doesn't. But shoot, I got to work day job, lets talk sometime, I'd love to hear what you have to say on this.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson Oh, but he does indeed. Clearly you have not read the passages that state explicitly that he does. Either that, or you interpret them in a fuzzy way so that you can feel better about what you choose to believe.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson Not to mention the unimaginable suffering that is endured senselessly here in the real world. No loving interventionist god would allow such atrocities. It is illogical for a loving interventionist god to allow hundreds of thousands of innocent people to die in a tidal wave in the Indian Ocean in 2004. I could go on and on.
      3 hours ago · Like
    • Luisa Lowry Oh Nels... I'm still sorry that you had to go through them. And for all these questions and disagreements you have. Keep searching for the answers.
      2 hours ago · Like
    • Nels Nelson I'm not sorry in the least, Luisa. :-) I'm very sorry that you feel sorry for me. :-) That's such a shame.
      2 hours ago · Like

I think it is interesting that Jon uses the same argument (suggesting I might think a candlestick to be evil if he strikes me on the head with it) to defend religion that gun rights advocates use to defend their guns from wacko liberals who don't respect the Second Amendment -- that it is not the gun that kills, but the person holding the gun -- that it is not the religion that damns or goes on crusades, but the person adhering to the religion.

Similarly, the separation of the actor from the object, but with the opposite ascribed value: St. Augustine's famous phrase, "Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum" or, "With love for mankind and hatred of sins."

Why not take the sentiment all the way? Love for the gun owners, hatred for the guns. Love for the murderers, hatred for murder. Love for the religious, hatred for the religion. Obviously there is something amiss about this line of thought. Surely concepts such as "sin" and religion cannot be qualified in the same terms as murder and guns?

And yet, a person does "sin". Just like a person does damning. Just like a person does shooting. Sin does not do the sinning for the sinner. Guns do not do the shooting for the shooter. However, religions, dogmas, creeds, they do the damning through the damner. Religions are just people, telling people, that people other than themselves are damned.

Sort of like corporations -- yeah, they're people -- but they're a bunch of people worshipping at the alter of a giant stack of money, and not just capable of committing but wont to commit horrible atrocities.

Religions are exactly the same. Yes, religion is just people. But they are a bunch of people worshipping at the alter of a deity or creed, and capable of even worse.

However, when people do good things, I am to believe that it is somehow the religion doing the good things, not just the person. The people are still the actors, but their faith in a higher power is what is enabling them to act in a moral manner. But the opposite? When the words of religious dogmas turn ugly? The damnation? We are to believe that those words originate with the people speaking them, not their faith in the one true god.

I'm sorry, but this is wrong. Religions and corporations alike are examples of group-think. Because they are by definition group identities, one cannot dissociate the individual from the group when it comes to their actions. The action of one member of the group is in fact the action of many, and conversely, the action of the group is in fact the collective action or tacitly approving inaction by the individual.

Just saying, "Oh I'm not in that group" or, "Well, no true Christian would ever... do such and such" is not enough. Quibbles and endless distinctions of dogmas and interpretations will be made, but the words are still there clear as day, binding religions and sects together whether all of their followers are comfortable with those words or not. The fact is that most followers of a religion will not even care enough to notice the contradictions in their sacred texts, let alone try to rationalize them, but will instead blindly follow what they are told by the group.

Individual people own nothing except for their actions and words. Bad actions are forgivable, sure. Good actions are commendable, of course. But religions are just the collections of words spoken a long time ago by a bunch of people who insisted upon themselves (and adopted by people who continue to insist upon themselves) and who were intolerant of your reason as well as your forgiveness.

You are capable of great wrong, not only despite your religion, but because of it. You are also capable of doing good, with or without it. Religion, however, is the enshrined belief of your ancestors that you are incapable of living without their guidance. Religion demands that you place your faith in their lack of faith in you to do what is right all on your own.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Philanthropist Thieves

I think that we're well advanced into a corporate dictatorship.

My opposition to this began about nineteen-six or nineteen-seven when my daddy was a little boy, and his father had sent his tobacco crop to market, in Louisville, and we went down the next day to see it sold on the boat. And when he came back that night he didn't have a dime, because it had cost everything that the crop had brought to pay the sale commission on.

Now I was down at Duke University not very long ago. Duke University has the only medieval Methodist chapel in the world. And out in front is a statue where the saint would ordinarily be: a statue of James B. Duke. Standin' there with a cigar. And I walked all around that statue. On one side it said, "businessman". And on the other side it said, "philanthropist".

And I said, "Yes, you son-of-a-bitch, I understand exactly what that means: You steal enough money from people like my grandfather in order to be generous with it, and get the reputation of a philanthropist."
-- Wendell Berry

Monday, July 25, 2011

Re: Re: I the Person

For example when healthcare is nationalized everybody feels a need to control what others eat because it's costing society (who are referred to as taxpayers usually) money when an individual is overweight.

-- ChristopherBurg, in response to Wendy McElroy's piece at Mises Daily
I disagree. The enlightened citizen takes pity on the individual who is compelled to make decisions that not only damage the individual's own health, but also the economic health and ultimately the actual physical health of neighboring citizens. An over-consumer is a parasite, not an activist for personal liberty. The individual who acts contrary to self-interest (by choosing to routinely avoid moderation) is not a beacon of individualism, but rather, an aberration of the natural order of things. Were such an individual to behave in such a way in a more primitive tribal culture, the individual would be culled from the society -- for the greater good. Or, such an individual would easily be dealt with by nature itself, saving the tribe the trouble.

Unfortunately, today, it is impractical (not to mention morally dubious) for society to expel or eliminate parasitic or criminal individuals. So instead, we have to imprison, rehabilitate, or marginalize them. This is just one of the the many costs of an advancing civilization that can only be brought about practically by the shared sacrifice between members and the distribution of such costs amongst its peoples.

And so we can see that the utopia of anarcho-capitalism in a modern civilization is an unrealistic fantasy. Following such reasoning to its conclusion, the application of deified individual liberty can only result in a regressive reductionism that culminates in a reversion to primitive tribalism at best, and the extinction of the human species at worst.

True liberty arises from the enlightened projection of the primitive and natural morality of the ideal tribal society to the gross mass of civilization with all of its deviation and extraordination, tempered by the pragmatic morality of the equilibrium of universal self-interest.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pedantic libertarian is pedantic

In true capitalist fashion, this guy abuses Hans Rosling's beautiful gapminder.com animated statistical charts in a dubious attempt to support his reactionary rebranding as "market empowerment" of the first-world capitalist exploitation of people in developing countries.

What Davies fails to grasp, or (likely) attempts to conceal, is this crucial fact:

Life expectancy in countries throughout the globe would likely have risen at a similar rate regardless of a lack of any so-called "market empowerment". It certainly would have risen at a noticeably more stable rate without the dramatic roller-coaster dips and drops seen in Hans Rosling's animated charts (that are so casually hijacked in this theatrically-produced, yet low-rent, obviously bought-and-paid-for, capitalist apologism video from the YouTube LearnLiberty user channel).

Such adjustments and swings represent huge tolls on human lives and well-being, since they are only represented here in the aggregate. Do you have any idea what sort of death and despair are indicated by these handful of years' worth of negative deltas? We're talking thousands of people who suffered an undoubtably brutal demise (starvation, war/mass-murder, disease) in each of those dots (likely hundreds of millions in sum) that are being repeatedly yanked backwards and downwards on that innocuous-looking chart.

Those plunges have in fact been caused almost exclusively by exploitative colonial powers expanding their empires into foreign cultures, or by depressions caused by corrupt first-world financiers and ravenous industrial barons. It is a matter of historical theory whether the Two World Wars could have been avoided entirely had colonialism been restrained by the establishment of true liberal democracies earlier than the late 17th century. But it is very likely -- every single other conflict in history has a clear and direct line that can be drawn from it to some predatory and gluttonous capitalist colonial empire.

The only disasters to human civilization that even come close to the unfolding global catastrophes that are European Colonialism and Western Capitalism -- were plagues. (I only neglect to include Nazism, Fascism, Stalinism, and Maoism in this category because they have been resoundingly subdued by the dramatic imperial triumph of Capitalist Power.) But even most epidemics of influenza and cholera can be attributed to the uniquely capitalist/feudalist socio-political causes of industrialization and agriculturalization.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Mushy pacifist Germans

Anti-nuclear sentiment in Germany is just a result of "the mushy pacifist mindset that has taken hold of the German people since World War II", according to Uwe Siemon-Netto, in a World Tribune.com article editorial. Dr. Siemon-Netto currently directs Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life in Irvine, California.

The World Tribune.com is partnered with the following sites:
Middle East Newsline
The Washington Times
Hoover Institution
Hudson Institute
Int. Strat. Studies Assoc.

Here's a message to all you World Tribune, DrudgeReport, and Washington Times fascists from a mushy-mindset pacifist:

Fuck Uwe.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The police state

I am going to start collecting more and more footage like this. I will be storing it on my file server. If anyone ever challenges the notion that we live in a war-mongering country with a brutally oppressive police state, I will just dismiss them as a liar and a fool and an idiot, knowing that I have evidence like this to confirm my position.

Source: Adam Kokesh, anti-war veteran is arrested for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial. Dancing was banned at the memorial by US District Court Judge, John D. Bates.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Fuck the police state.

Monday, May 30, 2011


A summary of the social outlook of the Objectivist philosophy.

"I want everyone to get off my lawn, to leave me alone and just let me be, let me do whatever I want. If other people didn't get out of my way fast enough, or they didn't have the money to get out of my way thanks to pissing all their money away due to laziness, obviously it's their free choice to get hurt by me when I eventually steamroll some of the lazy and ignorant looters. Hell, in a way I am doing a service to society when I am culling the weak and the ignorant. Hell, I should even be paid for that service.

So I want all the freedom and I still also want all the benefits accorded by mutuality, society, good will, and cooperation.

I want all the benefits of cooperation and none of the costs.

I want to have a choice to cooperate or not to cooperate, while I certainly enjoy it when others overwhelmingly choose to cooperate with me. And if others think they are morally bound to cooperate with me, I won't do a thing to change that opinion! I just don't want to be bound by the same opinion myself.

It's OK for others to think they are morally bound to cooperate with me.

It's equally OK for me to think that I am not morally bound to cooperate with others, because after all, cooperation is meaningless if it's not of free will."

-- Nefandi, quoting a fictional representation of a Libertarian Republican, May 30, 2011

Monday, May 02, 2011


President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission to assassinate Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/5680724572/in/photostream/

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Image file size of the Earth

TL;DR The file size of a 72ppi PNG image of Earth's surface is 3.37 zettabytes, or 3,705,354,190,000 gigabytes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The surest sign that intelligent life exists

Reddit user dheretic nails it

In an article from Reuters, House Speaker Representative John Boehner suggested that oil subsidies "ought" to end. Reddit user dheretic indicates the reason why Boehner would swerve into such Republican contrary waters by quoting one sentence from the article. He then predicts what will most likely happen if Boehner's advice is taken seriously.

"Boehner also suggested that Obama could lose the 2012 election if gas prices do not decline."

Hi, I just explained this move with one sentence from the article.

1. Just threaten to consider cutting oil subsidies.
2. Oil companies bitch and moan and pitch a fit and the futures exchange goes insane about prices, sending PpB skyrocketing unlike anything we've seen since OPEC used the Oil Weapon in the 70s.
3. Gasoline prices in the US approach the world average.
4. Americans go nuts because they can't get their fix (oh, and incidentally, underfunded public transportation and public institutions like fire/police/municipal first responders take a big thick one up the behind, too-- unsustainable big government, right?)
5. Fox News gives it a fancy name like Obama's Oil Blunder and claim he's trying to create an underclass unable to resist his communist fascism or whatever. The rest of the idiot box crowd report on Fox News' outrageousness instead of doing any mental heavy lifting because, to be honest, they are completely unused to effort at this point.
6. GOP: Why does Obama hate industry?
7. Forbes Magazine and WSJ: Why u do this Obama?
8. Obama: "Completely reasonable response implicating GOP using facts and logic."
10. Obama caves in the name of bipartisanship. Oil prices stay high.
11. 2012 goes to whatever mouthbreather wins the GOP primaries this time around.

Welcome to American politics. Enjoy your stay, and don't mind that full feeling you have in your colon...that's a completely natural by-product of rich people fucking you in the ass. They know what they're doing, and they like it when you clench tight with impotent rage.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Take it with a grain of salt, of course, but...

I found Michael Ruppert's movie Collapse compelling.

He bases his superficially paranoid argument primarily on the mounting evidence supporting the Peak Oil theory from the 50s and 70s that was derided as leftist/environmentalist hysteria at the time.

He answers the questions about why it has taken so long for the predicted effects of Peak Oil to begin to become manifestly apparent in the world economies, and expounds on the implications of a world with the ostensibly diminishing instances of accessible oil reserves.

Friday, March 25, 2011

When life gives you snozberries you make Haterade

So I envy the Snozberry guy with Christina Hendrix
Looking at this photo reminds me of John Doe when he says, "Envy is my sin."

And then the disembodied voice of Teddy Long is all, "I know you been drinkin' that haterade, playa!"

That Gucci Mane song is the jam, though.

So I envy the Snozberry guy with Christina Hendrix
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,...


Monday, March 21, 2011

Re: Re: The PATRIOT Act is unconstitutional

On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 12:20 PM, Congressman Lamar Smith wrote:
The PATRIOT Act is vital to our intelligence community's ability to track terrorists. The three expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act are the roving wiretap authority, the authority to obtain certain business records held by third parties, and the definition of a "lone wolf" terrorist. These specific intelligence-gathering procedures comply with constitutional protections and have been consistently upheld by the courts. I am confident that Congress has crafted these laws to protect both our civil liberties and our national security.
You are incorrect, Representative Smith. The infringement of my constitutional rights as a citizen of the US to due process under the law in hopes of deterring a "lone wolf" terrorist, is not only foolish, it is a slap in the face of justice.

You clearly do not have any idea what is vital to the protection of our civil liberties.

I will no longer recognize you as my representative.

You must be recalled.

You, Mr. Smith, are a tyrant, and a traitor.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Temporary Google Groups post stand-in

Using Google Groups is frustrating.

I tried to reply to an earlier discussion on database switching in
Sequel, but it seems that I somehow sent an e-mail to the author,

I tried to post the following to the sequel-talk discussion group, but two days have passed, and I still do not see my post in on the group page.

Original post:
The following gist demonstrates my problem.


Please know that I realize that this will work if I were to just leave
the Test.db alone. But then the Test.db would still be left with the
original db, even though I explicitly set the Sequel::Model.db, which
is not acceptable.

Also know that I realize that the whole Sequel::Model::descendants
monkey-patch thing is god-awful wrong, but it's the only way I found
to access the db of every defined model. Again, this wouldn't be a
problem if setting the Sequel::Model.db would actually change the
database of the models classes inheriting from Sequel::Model.

Can anyone perhaps offer a solution to this dilemma?

Update: Alright! It posted!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ruby v. Python

I'm gonna lose 80% of my 10 readers with this.
$ uname -a
Darwin peregrine 10.6.0 Darwin Kernel Version 10.6.0: Wed Nov 10 18:13:17 PST 2010; root:xnu-1504.9.26~3/RELEASE_I386 i386
$ python --version; time (python -c "print ''.join([chr(int(x, 16)) for x in '54 59 20 66 6f 72 20 74 68 65 20 75 70 76 6f 74 65'.split()])")
Python 2.6.1
TY for the upvote

real 0m0.039s
user 0m0.014s
sys 0m0.015s
$ ruby --version; time (ruby -e "puts '54 59 20 66 6f 72 20 74 68 65 20 75 70 76 6f 74 65'.split.map{|a|a.to_i(16)}.pack('c*')")
ruby 1.8.7 (2009-06-12 patchlevel 174) [universal-darwin10.0]
TY for the upvote

real 0m0.012s
user 0m0.002s
sys 0m0.003s
Partially [ via reddit ]

Update: Well, my friend Chuck over at evilchuck.com pointed out that my original post is a completely pointless comparison, since both interpreters are doing practically nothing.

He is absolutely right. If this were used as a "benchmark test" it would be laughable. Well I included the time stats, so I guess I asked for it.

Here is a little test program for generating N sets of random hex strings 17 characters long and then decoding the sets one at a time.

Ruby code:Blargh:
$ time ( ruby test.rb 500 )
[ Large output elided. ]

real 0m0.051s
user 0m0.030s
sys 0m0.005s
$ [ With n = 5000 ]
[ Larger output elided. ]
Uh3 Wsg2 HUbAAe04J

real 0m0.461s
user 0m0.293s
sys 0m0.017s
$ [ With n = 50000 ]
[ Even larger output elided. ]

real 0m3.991s
user 0m3.238s
sys 0m0.136s
$ time ( ./test.rb 100000 -q )

real 0m6.531s
user 0m6.183s
sys 0m0.114s
$ time ( ./test.rb 1000000 -q )

real 1m42.502s
user 1m17.887s
sys 0m2.240s
And here's a test for some python code that I hacked together that is probably really crappy but seems to do the job.

Python version:Running it from my bash shell produces:
$ time ( ./test.py 500 )
lFy 7ZGqT1Oc BT31
[ Elision. ]

real 0m0.089s
user 0m0.047s
sys 0m0.024s
$ time ( ./test.py 5000 )
[ Elision. ]

real 0m0.345s
user 0m0.282s
sys 0m0.030s
$ time ( ./test.py 50000 )
[ Elision. ]

real 0m3.402s
user 0m2.647s
sys 0m0.108s
$ time ( ./test.py 100000 -q )

real 0m4.403s
user 0m4.241s
sys 0m0.064s
$ time ( ./test.py 1000000 -q )

real 0m43.506s
user 0m42.172s
sys 0m0.565s
Clearly, Python is much faster than Ruby for large sample sizes. At 1M, Ruby finishes in 1m43s real and 2.24s sys. Python finishes in 43.5s real and 0.565s sys.

Just for fun, I tried running the ruby code with Ruby 1.9. This isn't fair since I am not going to go to the trouble of installing Python 3.0.1, but it doesn't matter. Ruby 1.9 is significantly faster than 1.8.7, but still can't beat Python 2.6 for this particular test.
$ time ( ruby19 test.rb 1000000 -q )

real 0m49.606s
user 0m47.847s
sys 0m0.764s
I was curious, so I tried to isolate the decoding part of the two versions. Here's what I found:
$ ruby19 test.rb 1000000 -q
user system total real
16.750000 0.310000 17.060000 ( 17.843644)
$ ./test.py 1000000 -q
1 function calls in 14.241 CPU seconds

Ordered by: internal time, call count

ncalls tottime percall cumtime percall filename:lineno(function)
1 14.241 14.241 14.241 14.241 test.py:18(decode)
Looks like the decode method written in Python is executing at least 3 seconds faster.

These tests are not intended to be benchmarks of any kind. True benchmarking is a science in which I have not educated myself very well. I just wanted to get a feel for some of the differences in Python and Ruby idioms and a rough comparison of their execution time. My guess is that if anyone were to take a close look at the code used in this post, they'd be able to point out several flaws and mistakes that would affect the overall statistics.

Update 2: Thought I'd try JRuby, and...
$ time ( jruby test.rb 1000000 -q )

real 0m28.038s
user 0m29.531s
sys 0m1.310s

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Speaking of movie posters

I missed these when he posted them to his tumblr back in December, but just look at these gorgeous prints of Olly Moss' spin on Star Wars movie posters for each in the holy trilogy.

Missed this on Wired, too. Why didn't someone I follow tweet these? (Yes, I'm rolling my eyes at myself right now.)

I only just now found out about these from a rather well-done combo version linked on Reddit.

And speaking of Olly Moss, this:

New movies that...

...would be nice to see in a theater
but I live in San Antonio.

Maybe if I drove up to Austin? Ugh.Also, I really dig this poster for Love.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Adam Curtis' The Trap

Adam Curtis is a producer, writer, and documentarian. He is British, and he works for the BBC.

In 2007, Curtis produced a series of programmes called The Trap — What Happened to our Dream of Freedom for the BBC Two Television Network.

The series includes contributing interviews with a number of economists, writers, psychiatrists, philosophers, and political scientists.

These include John Nash, Friedrich von Hayek, Isaiah Berlin, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alain Enthoven, Alexander Haig, and Madsen Pirie.

The videos incorporate newsreel footage from the Cold War decades, the Reagan-Thatcher Eras, and the 1990s and 2000s. It does so to dramatic effect, mixing soundtrack music from various movies particularly, movies by John Carpenter. It also makes use of dramatic typeface in the titles of segments. One critic has even suggested that Curtis' work is "propagandist", presumably because of his employment of the dramatic typefaces and music found in his films.

The series seeks to shed some light on the sense of entrapment, ensnarement, imprisonment that many people seem to have in this day and age. The modern dilemma -- all this freedom, and yet, millions of Americans are being treated for depression. Millions are obese. Millions of people report having feelings of purposelessness. And so on. Some people attribute these feelings to a number of causes, including technology, urban over-population, widening generation gaps, divisive politics, increasing economic class disparity, etc.

According to Curtis, all of these explanations can be seen as symptoms of a greater problem -- the notion that our freedom is defined by the pursuit of our desires.

Curtis explains how out of the nuclear strategies of the cold war, along with a fundamental shift of academic psychiatry into empiricism, the notion was formed that the individual -- as modeled by the economic theories of John Nash and adapted by military strategists -- is nothing more than a self-interested autonomous desire-fulfilling machine. This notion became the pivot for a new political revolution that supplants the old methods of societal control with a sort of irrevocable auto-pilot.

He goes on to demonstrate how this model became a self-fulfilling prophesy through the feedback reinforcement of modern marketing, media, and a corporatist-warped version of democratic politics -- ultimately trapping our society in ever more rigid and stratified constraints imposed presumably without explicit intention by not only our leaders, but by our own collective decisions and actions.

It's a remarkably in-depth attempt to analyze and explain the historical context of our modern dilemma. I like this series because it has multiple facets, and ties in many seemingly separate threads in our recent history to make a somewhat coherent whole.

It explains many things, including this paper on economic class disparity by Piketty and Saez.

Our national credit ponzi scheme since 2000? Just a symptom of this sort of thinking on Ayn Rand steroids (and by that I mean to say, the Randian market stimulant/intoxicant/performance enhancer known as Alan Greenspan).

I find it interesting that in Curtis' worldview, Reaganism and Thatcherism are just outgrowths of the deeper set of perverted ideas about what actually makes up a human being.