Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Proposal on Public Proposals

All public marriage proposals ought to be accepted, just out of politeness, even if the askee doesn't want to marry the asker.

You can imagine how devestating it would feel to go through all the trouble of arranging a public proposal, a magic moment, only to be rejected. In front of witnesses. It is something that would haunt you for the rest of your life. You certainly couldn't go back to the returant again.
It is far more compassionate to say 'Yes!', smile, and let the asker have their moment. Then later, even the next day, you can express rervations. 'Cold feet' and 'going so fast' are good phrases to remember.
If you still want to consider a future together, find a reason to set a late date. If you really think you want a future together, be honest.
If you were having fun, but were put off by the unexpected seriousness, then ask for a lot of space to gather your thoughts. Just don't take too long in breaking things off entirely.

What you should not do is be honest at the moment you are entrusted with someone's potential public shame and humiliation. That brutality should not be visited upon those whose crime is adoring you.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


You too can have a webcomic
xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. Simple art.
dinosaur comics - Philosophy, science and sexiness. Very simple art.

Giant In The Playground
Two comics about fantasy gaming:
Order of the stick
Erfworld:The Battle for Gobwin Knob

Inverloch - Mostly standard setting with Wizards, Elves, and, these other things...
Earthsong - Innovative setting, all manner of races, most notably planets and stars.

Gone with the Blastwave - Postapocalytic humor in a pointless war.
Something Positive
Buttercup Festival - This is dark in a bizarre, funny way. Sadly it hasn't been updated in a while.
Sinfest - God, Satan, Drugs, Sex, Books

This is an amazing and beautiful webcomic done in watercolors.
I was introduced to it with Minus 37, which changes meaning somewhat once you understand what the story is really about.

Monday, January 15, 2007


I was inspired by a fan to start writing my fictional blog Xenobiology again. I've let it go for the past three months, and worse, my last post made it look like I was stopping. In fact, it is going to be a novel length story when it's done, and that will take years. I started it thinking it would be a continuous serial with no major climax, but now I have a definite epic journey in mind, and I want to finish it. (Though even then it will be open-ended. There's always room for sequels.)

Xenobiology is a science fiction story about an andriod xenobiolgy professor. He started out as property, and has gained his freedom. It is written in real-time, which means covering up a three month gap in writing forced me to alter the plot slightly. It is also interactive; it is literally the Professor's personal blog, and he will respond to comments. I've been in character for over a year.

The next step is to have him get out of the system he is in now, get some traveling companions, and begin the main adventure.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Funhouse Mirror

90. Write a self portrait in which some aspect of yourself is wildly exaggerated.

James woke up, almost, but he got up in any case. A string of drool briefly connected his mouth to the arm of the sofa as he rose.
It couldn't be very late, the party was still going strong. He was just out for a few minutes. He had been talking with someone on the couch, some woman, when he passed out. He could remember asking her if she was shaved, but he didn't know how the conversation went from there.
James staggered gently accross the room, as always keeping his focus firmly focussed on keeping his cup firmly level, never mind that it was empty. It was the principle of the thing, if he could keep his cup level, then he could justify filling it again, at least to himself.

Monday, January 8, 2007

God was in the can

I stayed out with friends till 2:30am talking about theology, free will, morality, religion, consciousness, and philosophy in general. It was a very good conversation and we covered a lot of ground.
It started when an evangelist got on stage for open mic night at the coffeehouse. His first analogy was to compare religions to life jackets. He actually had a variety of life jackets on stage. Apparently when we get on a boat, it is our responsibility to make sure our life jacket isn't fake. Also, Jesus is made of foam.
Next he displayed a large tin can. I think it was a can of pineapples. He said that a human couldn't get into the can, but that that wasn't something to be ashamed of because we weren't designed for that. Then he said God was in the can, and I think the can itself represented sin. Jesus was the can opener.
We were not doing a good job at containing our disbelief, and after his set he came and talked with us. It's a very friendly coffeehouse, so this isn't unusual. I was used to talking to evangelists because I did it almost every week last summer, so I got tired of him pretty fast. CJ kept talking to him till closing time. We were on a roll when we left, so we ended up going to Denny's. I said they should put us far away from people, they asked if we were going to be loud and obnoxious and I said no, but I think that was a mistake.
They put us in a corner, but later in the night two men ended up seated in the booth next to us. They overheard us talking about logic at some point, and joined in briefly. It was cool to make a completely random connection over philosophy and computers.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

The Monty Hall Problem

You are on the game show Let's Make a Deal. There are three brightly colored doors labeled 1,2 and 3. Behind one of them is a brand new car, and you will win the car if you pick that door.You are standing next to the host, Monty Hall. He asks you to pick a door, and tells you that after you pick your door, he will open one of the other doors to show that it is empty, and give you the opportunity to switch your choice to the remaining closed door, or stik with your original choice. You pick door number 2, Monty opens up door number 3.

Is it better to switch to door number 1, or stick with number 2?
The result is counterintuitive, so most people answer this question incorrectly.


It is always better to switch. The most common initial response is that there is no benefit either way. The assumption is that since there are two doors, and the car could be behind either, the odds are even.

This is a mistake because it ignores the extra information gained from the opening of the empty door. In most cases (2/3 of the time) your initial choice will be an empty door, that means that the door Monty opens is the other empty door, and the door you would switch to will have the car behind it. Only 1/3 of the time will you lose by switching to the other door, if you happen to have picked the car in the first place.

The odds would be fifty-fifty, except that by opening one of the two unchosen doors, the show gives you a little extra information about the unchosen doors. Before the game starts, you know each door has a 1/3 probability of having a car. When you learn one of two unchosen doors does not contain the car, its share of probability is transferred to the remaining unchosen door. The probability of your initial choice remains unchanged at 1/3. Because it was not subject to being revealed, no information could be gained about it.

Monday, January 1, 2007


So you see, this Robot, it is sixty stories tall.
It has lasers, and missiles.
It can fly. It is indestructible.
It has cargo pods that can holds smaller attack vehicles.

It's just awesome.