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Topics - chaotic neutral observer

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Discordian Recipes / Jagertee
« on: January 14, 2020, 11:55:33 pm »
Suitable for cold weather.

1 cup black tea
1 cup orange juice
1 cup plum juice (or, syrup from plum preserves)
1 cup wine
1 cup rum
3 cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick

Combine ingredients in pot, and bring to light simmer for five minutes; do not boil.  Remove cinnamon and cloves.  Serve hot.

2
Literate Chaotic / The Scrapyard --or-- CNO's brain dump
« on: August 26, 2019, 12:20:11 am »
This thread is for me to dump half-baked, disjointed, or otherwise unsatisfactory ideas or fragments that I don't think deserve their own thread, and don't want to leave in the open bar, but which I need to get out of my head anyway, before they are lost like tears in the rain or some shit.

I don't expect more than a 10-15% yield rate.  You don't need to tell me if something is crap; I already know.  I'm going to try not to spend too much time editing, either.

Maybe I'll post here regularly.  I probably won't.  But, I've got three to start with.

3
Someone put a notice on the employee bulletin board.  They probably intended it to be motivational.  I had thoughts.  I'm just posting them here to get them out of my head.  Don't expect to be entertained.


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11 Commandments for an Enthusiastic Team

There are at least four things wrong with that title.

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1.  Help each other be right, not wrong.

What the hell is that supposed to mean?  Am I supposed to alter reality around someone so their mistakes aren't mistakes any more?

Software guys say "fail faster".
Hardware guys say "I screwed up somewhere. I need another pair of eyes on this."

We know we're often wrong.  If our egos were so fragile that we couldn't handle being wrong, we wouldn't be able to survive in this job.  Fighting the laws of physics is always adversarial.

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2.  Look for ways to make new ideas work, not for reasons why they won't.

Can you help me with my free energy machine?

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3.  If in doubt, check it out!  Don't make negative assumptions about each other.

Engineer A:  From checking your work, I've come to suspect you are an idiot.  But I thought I'd check in person.  I don't want to make assumptions.
Engineer B:  Well, duh.  Of course I'm an idiot.  I'd have to be, to work here.
A:  Yeah, that's what I thought.
B:  You work here, too.
A:  ...shit.

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4.  Help each other win and take pride in each other's victories.

When business development started talking about a certain new project, I laughed to myself, and thought "It's a good thing no potential customer is dumb enough to sign a contract for one of these.  We have nowhere near the manpower or organizational capacity needed to execute this."

I was half right.  We won the contract, and are now into our third year of sunk cost fallacy.

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5.  Speak positively about each other and about your organization at every opportunity.

I'm pretty sure that kind of blatant dishonesty would be in violation of that ethics certification I signed without reading.

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6.  Maintain a positive mental attitude, no matter what the circumstances.

One of my co-workers is looking at pornographic webcomics.

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7.  Act with initiative and courage, as if it all depends on you.

It all does depend on me.  You're desperately short on manpower, so you moved the other logic developers off my project, and onto projects that were even more short-staffed.  At least you've stopped complaining about how I don't like to delegate.
Each time I try to show initiative I get overruled by the marketing weasel.   Now, I just make sure the shotgun he has aimed at his foot is always loaded and in good working order.

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8.  Do everything with enthusiasm -- it's contagious!

The secret to enthusiasm is...enthusiasm?  Holy tautology, Batman!

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9.  Whatever you want -- give it away.

At my whining prodding, the department purchased a set of new high-current bench power supplies; one of them was assigned to me.
Someone asked to borrow it for a couple weeks, and I acquiesced.  When I went to get it back over a month later, it had become a permanent fixture in a manufacturing test rig.
A few years later, a co-worker went on maternity leave, and bequeathed me a replacement unit.  If you want to borrow it, come to the disused loading dock at sunrise.  I'll be perched on the antenna tower with a crossbow.

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10.  Don't lose faith -- never give up.

Fuck you.  Have you seen the faces of anyone on project D?  Or project R?  That's stress-induced depression.  You signed them up for way more work than they could handle, and they're suffering for it.  I'm okay, but that's only because I'm quite, quite mad. :evil:

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11.  Have Fun!

I am.  I mean, come on.  I'm getting my brain challenged, and I get to watch everything around me burn!  I'd do this for free:lulz:

4
Apple Talk / Addition
« on: May 27, 2019, 02:24:11 pm »
1 + 1 = 2 (decimal)

1 + 1 = 10 (binary)

1 + 1 = 11 (unary)

I + I = II (roman)

"one" + "one" = "oneone" (string concatenation)

1 + 1 = 1 (boolean algebra)

1 + 1 = 0 (addition over GF(2) )

1 + 1 = 1.99999... (:p)

1 + 1 = 2.0000001 (malfunctioning floating-point unit)

1 + 1 = 3 (experimental error)

5
Apple Talk / IMPORTANT NOTICE
« on: May 18, 2019, 02:28:32 pm »
This message (including any attachments) is CONFIDENTIAL.  If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender and delete the message immediately.

Then, disconnect your device from the internet, power it off, and immerse it in peppermint oil.  Bake at 350 F for two hours, or until toothpick comes out clean. 
Spread meringue evenly over the top, then sprinkle cinnamon and orange zest to taste.  Enjoy!

6
Techmology and Scientism / Electronic Engineering
« on: March 30, 2019, 01:38:45 am »
  • If you haven't tested it, it doesn't work.
  • If you have tested it, your test coverage is inadequate.  You haven't tested the part with the problems.
  • Instead of testing to prove the system works, test to prove it doesn't.  You haven't succeeded until you've failed.
  • Don't be clever.  Cleverly designed systems are complicated.  They break easily, and are hard to repair.  When you do have to be clever, pretend that a complete idiot is going to have to make changes to it later, and document accordingly.  That complete idiot is a future version of yourself.
  • The key to success is the diligent application of basic principles. (see #4).
  • If it fails once, it's going to fail again.  Maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, but it will happen.  Turning it off and on again to make the problem go away is a temporary solution, and it will screw you over (see #8).  Problems never go away on their own.
  • There's no such thing as temporary code.  There are no prototypes.  Those hundred lines you hacked out for a one-time experiment?  Someone will drop by, ask you how to do X, you'll give them that code as a "sample", and it's going to end up in a production system, unaltered.  That prototype board that was exposed to potentially destructive ESD as part of a test?  The marketing ferret is going to send it to a customer as a "demo unit".  It won't come back.
  • Tweaking things at random is a good way to find problems.  It is a horrid way to fix problems.  If you change something at random, and the problem goes away, do not stop investigating until you understand exactly why your change fixed the problem.
  • The salesman is lying.  If you don't know who he's lying to, he's lying to you.  If you do know who he's lying to, he's either incompetent, or you are now his accomplice.
  • The smell of burning plastic is an invaluable diagnostic tool.
  • Assume the problem is your fault, because, 90% of the time, it is.  And when it isn't, then in the process of proving it, you'll learn something by extending your investigation into the parts of the system that you aren't normally responsible for.
  • Stay on good terms with the manufacturing staff.  They can do stuff you can't.
  • If it works, don't change it.
  • When in doubt, throw everything out and start again, especially the parts that work.
  • You are doing it WRONG.
  • YOU are doing it wrong.

7
Or Kill Me / Balance
« on: March 01, 2019, 01:55:24 am »
We all seek balance in our daily lives.  Life-work balance, a balanced diet, balancing the needs of family and friends, balancing exercise and relaxation.

Balance is also needed in the world at large.  Balance between order and chaos, right and left, liberal and conservative, light and dark, good and evil, peanut butter and jelly.

What a crock of crap.

Balance between good and evil?  That's like asking for balance between being punched in the balls and not being punched in the balls, or a balance between being disease-free and terminal tuberculosis.  Good and evil don't need to be balanced.  That's a bunch of cosmic yin-yang hippie bullshit.

Star Wars said there needed to be balance between the light and dark sides of the force, but what was the real choice you were being presented with?  Between a bunch of pretentious weirdos in funny robes and a guy who thought it was smarter to blow up planets than to conquer and tax them.  They don't need to be balanced, they need to be institutionalized.

"Work-life balance"?  That's just code for "I hope my company understands that I need to leave the premises sometimes."  You're not taking time off from your job to rest, you're taking time off from your life to work.  You don't need to balance the amount of work you do, you need to minimize it.

You think "smart" and "stupid" need to be balanced?  You think both sides of the argument always deserve equal time?  No, if you're asking for balance, you probably just mean "the other guy is winning and it's making me feel bad so please listen to me".

Nobody seeking balance ever achieved anything notable.  You want to be somebody, you want to do something, you gotta go to the limit.  Balance is for flywheels, gymnasts and chemical equations.


In loving memory of Noble.
He sought to balance order and disorder, but went astray when he failed to balance speaking out with SHUT UP.

8
Apple Talk / Planning
« on: December 05, 2018, 11:25:31 pm »
When the water rises to your chest, the "two-week rule" comes into effect.  You don't make any plans beyond two weeks.  You think you can hold out that long, but you're not sure what's going to happen after that.  There's no point in starting anything you won't be around to finish.

When the water is up to your neck, the very idea of plans becomes meaningless.  If you could think about it, you might say you're living by a "two-day rule", but even that seems like a stretch.

When the water drains a bit, you start making plans again, thinking about what you want to do, now that you're not in immediate danger of drowning.

This is a mistake.  You shouldn't be making plans.  Plans are the enemy.  Skip the planning, and go straight to action.

If you leave plans in your head for any length of time, they'll twist into hideous shapes, grow teeth, and graw on whatever they can find.  You don't need that kind of stress, you've already got enough.

I'm not saying that if you think about taking a road-trip, you should immediately jump in the car and race off to Canmore, to see if that Chinese restaurant you liked still exists.  Instead, book vacation time, and get an oil-change.  Start the sequence.  No-planning doesn't mean no-preparation, but it does mean you need to take a first step, instead of sitting on your couch and marinating in plan-apple juice.

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Literate Chaotic / Avoiding the trap
« on: November 28, 2018, 11:20:47 pm »
(If you're squeamish, maybe skip reading this.  This is another artifact of "the post stuff to get it out of my head" thing I've had going on recently).


The woman shrieks.  She was checking the cabin air filter as part of the oil change package, and found a dead mouse.  "So that's what that smell was," I think to myself.  I apologize to her for the unpleasantness.  She says it's not the first time.  The replacement filter is suitably overpriced.

A few weeks later, I smell something in my car again.  Less cloying, more acrid.  I check the filter, and find a mouse nest.  This has got to stop.  How are they even getting in there?

I set a trap in the garage, and find a mouse the next day.  Elation!  Vindication!  Extermination!  It is done.  I remove the mouse from the trap, and reset it, just in case.

Soon, there's another mouse in the trap.  Well, better in the trap than in my car.

But then there's another.  And another.  And another.  I do my best to seal the garage against entry, but it's an old house, and things don't line up anymore.  Anything that could conceivably attract mice is removed, and still they come.

I'm tired of dealing with furry little corpses, cute faces frozen in death.  I dread going into the garage in the morning, but I grit my teeth, and speak my new mantra: "nodeadmouseplease."

It happens different ways.  Sometimes they bleed out.  Sometimes the trap disappears altogether.  Sometimes I am visited by a ninja mouse, who eats the raisin, and escapes without setting off the trap.  Sometimes, there's a dead mouse, but no raisin left.  "The second mouse gets the cheese" may be intended humorously, but it's not funny anymore.

Two of them survive, caught by a leg.  I drown the first one in a bucket of water.  The second one won't drown, and I get tired of waiting, or maybe I just don't have the stomach for it.  I put it in the back alley.  It doesn't run away, but just sits there, shivering.  When I check later, it's gone.  Maybe it recovered, maybe it got eaten by a crow.  I wonder if mice suffer brain damage.

And then the real horror.  I get used to this.  It becomes a mechanical exercise.  I get my gloves, open the spring with a screwdriver, dump the mouse in the garbage, replace the raisin if needed, and reset the trap.  It doesn't bother me anymore, and that bothers me.

Last Monday was mouse #70.  I've become accustomed to killing.  I've become a bit less human.

It hasn't occurred to me to stop setting the trap.

10
Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Simulated reality
« on: November 24, 2018, 03:08:06 pm »
So, you seem to have become a fan of the idea that this reality isn't really real, but is in fact a simulation being run in a different reality.

I can see the appeal of such an idea; you've got the rudiments of a modernized religion, there.  It involves computers (something you have daily experience with, unlike all those fishing, farming, and hunting metaphors in those musty old religions), it has the air of being "scientific", it isn't trivially disprovable, and it explains why the universe is here (or at least, adds another turtle to the stack).

The good news, is you're right.  The bad news, is that this reality isn't a product of some future version of our civilization, simulating their own past for research purposes.  Nor does it exist for some other meaningful reason.

It's a goddamn video game.

You've played Warcraft 2, right?  Think about your relationship with the "people" in that game.  They are discrete entities, with a certain amount of autonomy; left to their own devices, they carry on with their jobs, collecting resources, defending the town, and fighting back when they're attacked.  But you wouldn't think of them as intelligent.  They're just a few dozen lines of code, and when you give them an order, they follow it, even if it leads to their death.

Your relationship with "God" (the gamer) is just like that.  "But", you say, "the universe is far too big and complex to be simulated just for a game." Sorry, that's just an artifact of your perspective.  Try to imagine things from the point of view of a peasant in Warcraft 2.  Could you comprehend, or even imagine a pocket calculator?  Wouldn't three dimensional Newtonian physics be completely beyond you?  Well, that's the position you're in.  The next universe up is so far beyond ours in complexity, that you're nothing more than a small amount of code, and a data structure, and you have no possibility of understanding it.

Have you noticed how people sometimes act in completely irrational ways, often against their own interests?  Notice how humans have a very strong tendency to do what they're told?  That's what happens when the gamer exerts manual control, and overrides your AI (because you are just an AI).

Annoyed at the way events in the world are unfolding?  Blame the scenario writer.

Having difficulty reconciling relativity and quantum physics?  Maybe it's because there isn't any consistency to begin with.  The guy programming the physics engine took a couple shortcuts, maybe to conserve CPU cycles, maybe just because he ran out of time and budget to do it properly.  I'm sure complaints about the wonky physics engine showed up in the reviews.

This is all just a game, so try to have a good time.  But don't get any funny ideas about your place in the cosmic hierarchy, or "God" might just reload from her last save file.

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Literate Chaotic / Offensive words
« on: November 24, 2018, 02:12:18 pm »
Don't use these words, or I'll hit you.

1.  Recalibrate
You meant to say "modify" or "reconfigure".  When the Vulculons invent a new deflector shield technology that is immune to your phasers, the solution does not involve recalibration.

Recalibration is for adjusting things to make them accurate.  For example, when your phasers are shooting two miles to the left, it's time for a recalibration.  Another case requiring recalibration would be when Kirk's tricorder measures Yeoman Rand's vital statistics incorrectly, he gets her the wrong size lingerie, and she hits him.

2. Critical mass
Critical mass is when having too much of a certain type of stuff in one place makes things go boom.  "Approaching critical mass" is not a generic term for your space engine / reactor / widget getting dangerously close to the boom point, except maybe if too much phlebotinium got into it (and in that case, it's the phlebotinium approaching critical mass, not your space engine).  If in doubt, just say "approaching critical", and I won't have to hit you.

3. DNA
I can't believe I have to say this about stuff written in 201x.
You don't understand DNA.  DNA is not who you are.  It does not contain your memories, skills, or personality, anymore than the blueprints to your house tell you the contents of the refrigerator.  If someone gets a sample of your DNA, they can't make another you, no matter how much science they have.  The best they can do is make someone with some physical resemblance, who maybe shares a couple of mental disorders.  Sort of like an "identical" twin.
Screw this one up, and I'm gonna punch you in the gut. Hard.

12
Or Kill Me / I'm not racist
« on: October 29, 2018, 03:06:03 am »
I consider myself a fairly tolerant, open-minded individual, but at the same time, I don't want the wrong sort of people moving into the neighbourhood.

I mean, I'm okay with foreigners, immigrants, and people of different ethnic origin in principle.  I have co-workers who are Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, some sort of middle-eastern, and even British, and we all get along fine.  I think the Chinese store signs that are starting to pop up here and there add to the atmosphere.  More immigrants means more interesting restaurants; I went out for shawarma last week.  My doctor is Nigerian.  My next-door neighbours on one side are Sikhs, and one of the renters on the other side is Sudanese.  These people aren't a problem.  As far as I'm concerned, if you survive your first Canadian winter, you can stay.

But I have to draw the line somewhere.  For example, I wouldn't want one of you morally degenerate Americans moving into the area.  You people are twisted beyond belief.

You think that a few school shootings a year is justified as long as you get to keep your damn gun hobby.

You are so ingrained with the idea that it's normal to identify with a political party, that you need a special category, "independent", for people who don't.

Not only do you pollute the globe with your abhorrent excuse for "culture", but you support its stagnation, by pushing your absurdly extended copyright laws on everybody else, just to preserve the legacy of a diseased cartoon rat that nobody under the age of forty even recognizes.

You introduce your Pax Americana to countries that don't need it, want it or ask for it, and then leave once your arms merchants have met their profit objectives, while complaining about how ungrateful everyone is for your help.

You voted for Trump.  You voted for that boorish troglodyte with the intellect of a caecotroph.  No, don't nod and smile apologetically.  I'm not talking to the other Americans.  I'm talking to you.  Maybe you-personally didn't vote for him, but you-collectively did, and you-collectively are responsible for him.  And now you-collectively haven't refused to follow his orders, haven't overthrown his government, haven't dragged him from the White House by his feet.

Being born American isn't like being born brown-skinned, or Asian, or Catholic.  You can change what you are.  You can leave the country, and renounce your citizenship.  You can start a revolution.  Or, you can change what it means to be American, so that you aren't that thing I hate anymore.

Maybe, once you've built your border walls, locked out all the nasty immigrants, and the apocalypse you are set on causing has destroyed all international commerce, this will be different.  Maybe a thousand years of inbreeding will turn you into a distinctly identifiable race, and anti-Americanism really will be racism.

But for now, I'm not racist.  I'm just angry at a bunch of people.


P.S.
Present company excepted, I guess.  The general idea of this has been stuck in my head for a few weeks, but this sorta pushed a button.

13
Apple Talk / Predatory instinct
« on: September 02, 2018, 03:47:01 pm »
Sometimes, I'll see someone walking with their head down, focused on their smartphone, oblivious to their surroundings, and I'll feel the urge to pounce on them.

It's not as if I wish them harm, or want to beat them up and take their stuff.  I'm not even particularly irritated at their inattention; there's no rational thought process here.

Perhaps this is an attribute of my inner six-year-old, who still thinks it's funny to sneak up on people and make Sudden Noises.  Maybe, dozens of generations ago, one of my ancestors survived by hunting via stealth, and some of his genes persisted through decades of domestication.  Or it could be that this is my way of saying, "Hi.  Safety is an illusion.  You're a wild creature out in the wild, and you've dropped your defenses.  I might be a flabby little geek with low threat potential, but the next thing you meet could be a stray coyote1, or a wandering cultist2.  You should take better care of yourself."

I've never done anything about this, of course, but perhaps someday I'll work up the nerve to stand in their path, adopt a Ginyu Force pose, and see what happens.

Unrelated note:  A couple days ago, I had just left work, was looking down at my phone to make a call, and got whapped in the face by a low hanging tree branch.  The grounds staff should probably trim that.

If I'm a hypocrite, then recognizing I'm a hypocrite doesn't make me less of a hypocrite.  It makes me a double hypocrite.  But knowing I'm a double hypocrite doesn't make me a triple hypocrite.  It has to end somewhere.

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1Coyotes wander into the city, now and then.  They're after the jackrabbits, I suppose.
2Jehova's Witness.  They're not as bad as they used to be.

14
Discordian Recipes / Ginger Beef
« on: July 30, 2018, 02:10:36 am »
Components:

1 pound stir-fry grade beef, sliced thin, but not too thin.  (beef hip works well)
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 cups carrots, julienned
1/2 cup some kind of onion, chopped
3ish cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (for cooking)
3 cups vegetable oil (for frying)

Sequence:

Coat the beef strips in the cornstarch.
Put 1/4 cup of oil in a pan, and cook the onions for a minute or two, until they're a bit translucent.
Add the carrots, and cook until they soften slightly (2-3 min)
Add the garlic and ginger, and stir.  Cook for another minute.
Add the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil, and then the brown sugar, black pepper, and sesame seeds.  Stir it a bit, then turn the temperature down to a low simmer.  Don't worry about reducing the sauce, overcooking it just diminishes the flavour.

Put the 3 cups of oil in a deep pot, and heat the oil to 350-375F.  Put the beef into the oil, a few strips at a time.  Remove each piece just after it becomes slightly crispy; this will coincide with a reduction in the effervescence surrounding that piece of beef.  It depends on the size of the piece, but this shouldn't take more than three minutes.  You'll need to adjust the batch size and cooking heat in order to keep the oil temperature between 350 and 375F.

Combine the beef with the sauce, and consume according to the customs of your people.

Disclaimer:  I plagiarized this from some guy's web page.  By following this recipe instead of his, you're stealing his advertising dollars.  But, his recipe doesn't have anywhere near enough ginger, it's too salty, he doesn't really explain the frying process, and you have to wade through a thousand word essay.

As a relative n00b at cooking, here are some things that should be obvious, but weren't (to me):

Use a sharp knife to chop the onion.  A serrated knife probably isn't the best choice.
Wash your hands after working with the garlic.  Immediately.  You don't want to marinate your finger-meat.
Don't turn the heat on the frying oil up to maximum right away, it will get spattery.
Do the deep-frying in short sleeves.  If this results in flashes of pain, you're doing something wrong.

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