GCU Dancer on the Midway
Paul Wright's blog
Recent Entries 
25th Aug 2020, 09:29 pm - Welcome to my blog
I'm Paul Wright, a software engineer based in Cambridge, England. You can now find my public blog on my own site: http://www.noctua.org.uk/blog/. I'll be crossposting from there to LJ but you'll only be able to comment on my site. See you over there.
fabricate – The better build tool. Finds dependencies automatically for any language. – Google Project Hosting
Make replacement in Python which finds file dependencies by using strace to work out which files the compiler reads.
(tags: python tools build make programming)
Falsehoods programmers believe about build systems
Things to bear in mind before starting on your quest to replace Make, especially if you’re writing your own replacement.
(tags: make build programming tools)
Redo implementation in Python
djb’s “redo” make-replacement done in Python.
(tags: make coding development programming redo djb python)
tup | Home
Another make replacement. This one looks quite neat.
(tags: tools build development tup programming make)
This Is What It Will Be Like If Scotland Votes For Independence
Yes, it’s Buzzfeed, but it’s quite funny.
(tags: funny parody news scotland indepedence)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Jazz Dance Film Fest 2014
Bunch of fun dancing films. I like the rubber ducky.
(tags: dancing lindy lindyhop balboa film jazz)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Implementing non-recursive make
Recursive makes are considered harmful. Here’s a recipe for a non-recursive one where you can still put project files in subdirectories.
(tags: make programming nonrecursive makefiles build software)
Embedded in Academia : Proposal for a Friendly Dialect of C
John Regehr and friends note that C compilers aggressive optimising around use of constructs the spec says are “undefined” can lead to unexpected behaviour. They propose a friendly C dialect where compilers would produce unspecified values in response to use of these constructs, but would not feel free to make demons fly out of your nose.
(tags: C programming language software-engineering)
The Left must reject the relativism at the heart of the Rotherham scandal | Left Foot Forward
This, from Al Razi of Ex-Muslim Forum, seems a sensible response, although as the worlds only impartial observer, I’d say that both the class of the victims and the race of both victims and perpetrators contributed to the horrors being ignored for so long. The Guardian will only talk about the former and the Telegraph about the latter, I suspect.
(tags: rotherham abuse religion islam news multiculturalism)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Postcards From the Edge of Consciousness – Issue 16: Nothingness – Nautilus
“Sensory deprivation goes from CIA torture manuals to a yoga studio near you.” Via andrewduck.
(tags: psychology meditation floatation deprivation consciousness)
TAM2014 – Carol Tavris – Who’s Lying Who’s Self-Justifying – YouTube
“Social psychologist and author Carol Tavris on “Who’s Lying? Who’s Self-Justifying?: Origins of the He Said/She Said Gap in Sexual Communications”. Discusses sexual assault but is mainly about discussions of sexual assault and dissonance.
(tags: sex sexism psychology scepticism cognitive-bias evidence)
Russell91/pythonpy · GitHub
Clever idea: quick way of writing per line loops to process files in Python. Via HN.
(tags: python shell programming)
Barely Legal Pawn, feat. Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Julia Louis-Dreyfus – YouTube
Spot all the Breaking Bad references.
(tags: breaking-bad comedy funny emmy parody pawn)
Pop Sonnets
“Young Thomas is a longshoreman by trade” Pop song lyrics turned into Shakespearian sonnets. Via Mefi.
(tags: funny shakespeare sonnets pop music lyrics)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
The Business of Fake Hollywood Money
When your prop money is too realistic, the authorities get interested. Via Mefi.
(tags: money counterfeiting films props)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.

1755 Lisbon earthquakeThe Problem of Evil is a pretty difficult one for Christians and other theists. One response to it is to say that atheists have a problem too, either because they also must cope in a world with so much evil and suffering in it, or because without a way to “ground” morality, they have no basis to call anything evil. As we’ll see, these are both Bad Arguments.

Bad argument: Atheists must cope psychologically with evil, and this is a problem for them

Stephen Law dealt with the response that atheists must also cope with the evil and suffering in the world (which actually came from an agnostic, not a theist, in the linked example). As Law says, this sort of response relies on shifting the problem we’re talking about to the problem of how to cope psychologically with evil and suffering (which is indeed a problem for both theists and atheists). But this is not the problem that the discussion was originally about, which is that evil and suffering make theism less likely to be true (i.e. they’re evidence against it), but are not evidence against atheism.

Bad argument: Atheists have no grounds to call anything evil and so cannot make an argument from evil

Wintery Knight and Cornelius Hunter are both Christians, and both make the second sort of argument: if there is no God, they say, there is no matter of fact about what is evil, it’s an entirely subjective judgement either of particular individuals or of human societies, and as such cannot be binding on God.

Firstly, both Knight and Hunter just assert that if there is no God, there are no moral facts1. But in fact the philosophical debate about whether there are moral facts is carried on largely without reference to God: there are atheists who say there are, and atheists who say there aren’t, and a lot of debate about just what it means for something to be an objective moral fact anyway. Apologists like to pick an atheist who says there aren’t moral facts and quote them as defining The Atheist View on Moral Facts, as if there were only one.

But suppose for the sake of argument that Knight and Hunter are right, and if there is no God, there are no moral facts. Conventional Christianity still faces a problem of evil as an internal contradiction. Here’s a little argument from evil:

1. If God exists, God is objectively morally perfect.
2. If God exists, it is objectively morally imperfect for someone to permit human suffering which it is in their power to alleviate (see the Parable of the Good Samaritan, for example).
3. There is human suffering which it would be in God’s power to alleviate, were God to exist.

Now, assume for the sake of argument that God exists. From 3, suffering which it is in God’s power to alleviate exists. From 2, God is objectively morally imperfect, but this contradicts what we get from 1. So God does not exist, proof by contradiction.

Any theist worth their salt will attack premise 2 (and probably say that there should be a “without good reason” after the “permit”, and then say that God either has good reasons or that we have no way of knowing that he doesn’t). But my purpose isn’t to present a comprehensive argument from evil, but rather, to point out the shape of the argument: notice that the argument does not rely on there claim that there are in fact objective moral values, only that if God exists, there are, something which Knight and Hunter agree with. In fact, more robust arguments from evil generally rely on putting together statements which theists should accept and showing that they lead to the conclusion that there is no God.

A couple of Knight’s commenters (1, 2) point this out to him (one even explicitly telling him that the Argument from Evil is what’s known as a reductio ad absurdem) but he just doesn’t seem to get it. I hope you do, but let me know if this could be clearer.


  1. Along with the claim that if there is a God, he’d provide a grounding for moral facts, which seems dodgy, see previous discussion 


Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
18th Jul 2014, 10:35 am - Dear Lazyweb: Chromebooks

Dear Lazyweb: do I want a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook? This’d be for taking to places where I don’t want to take my (heavy) old Macbook (e.g. on holiday). Does anyone have any experience with them?


Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
13th Jul 2014, 12:13 am - Link blog: cycling, sexism
Ride like a girl — Medium
“Cycling is awfully similar to being a woman.” A clever analogy.
(tags: sexism cycling)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Patching the Newton | Dadhacker
“So, how do you fix bugs in a ROM, if you can’t change the image? The basic idea is that you litter the code with indirect jumps that go through a jump table that’s been copied to RAM. When you need to patch something, chances are that you can do tricky and unnatural things to get control at the right spot, fix things up and continue.” This technique hasn’t gone away, of course. Tricky and unnatural = fun.
(tags: programming patch dadhacker rom)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
26th Jun 2014, 12:13 am - Link blog: funny, beauty, horror, queen
Not Everyone Is Beautiful | Mindless Productivity
“It builds the self-esteem, makes people feel valued, and spreads joy and happiness across the internet. It’s also bullshit.”
(tags: beauty society)
The Best Of The Queen Vs. “Game Of Thrones”
Best one: Windsor is coming.
(tags: game-of-thrones queen uk royalty)
Tony Blair, dread creature of the forbidden swamp | Idiot Joy Showland
Author does not like Blair very much.
(tags: funny horror tony-blair politics)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
The Fall Of Intrade And The Business Of Betting On Real Life
“There’s always been a thin line between investing and gambling, and one firm turned the concept into a multimillion-dollar industry until the government shut it down. As number crunchers like Nate Silver become cultural touchstones, how does Intrade’s fate predict the future of how we process the world?”
(tags: prediction gambling intrade law business betting markets elections)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
PETER DINKLAGE
Dinklage, Peter Dinklage…
(tags: dinklage funny peter dinklage game-of-thrones television tv)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
28th May 2014, 12:13 am - Link blog: politics, ukip, election
Not two UKIPs, three UKIPs. | The Yorkshire Ranter
“So, basically, we have a ramshackle coalition of the grumpy. The biggest single group in it would like to vent intestinal gas, and wants its NHS and its BBC and its institutions in general. The second-biggest group either wants to sell all of those, or doesn’t care as long as they get to be an MEP. The smallest group is either obsessed by the EU, or else by Alan Clark diary fantasies, and has the most seniority in the party’s organisation, but also the least professionalism.”
(tags: ukip politics election)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
19th May 2014, 11:45 pm - What I did on my Hullidays

A combination of notes on the lessons and general diary stuff about Hullzapoppin, a dance camp in Hull. I don’t always make these public out of a vague fear of the lindy blogsphere descending on me and telling me what I got wrong, but what the HellHull. Possibly only of interest to dancers, though the rest of you may be interested in the part with the blow up doll, I suppose.

Friday

u6EDiUp the A1 and over the Humber bridge to Hull. A nun walking in the grounds of the Endsleigh Centre welcomed us in and wished us a lovely weekend. We registered and got our wristbands: Intermediate Advanced ones were black, which goes with everything.

We stayed in Westfield House, which was great. It’s a big house in a leafy suburb of Hull. All of the 4 rooms were occupied by lindy hoppers, as it turned out. The landlady made the breakfast room available at all hours, which came in handy for late night toast parties. Unfortunately, the house is on the market, so we may not be able to stay there next year.

We ate in Fudge, which seems to be the subject of some sort of smear campaign on Trip Advisor but which was rather good.

Back to the Endsleigh Centre for the Friday night dance. It was crowded but manageable. I danced with once of the teachers without realising she was a teacher, so don’t technically deserve my Courage Wolf meme, but managed not to totally embarrass myself.

Read on: This one time, at dance camp...


Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Speeding Up Your Engineering Org, Part I: Beyond the Cost Center Mentality
Make investments in reducing latency rather than just comparing hours spent with value gained.
(tags: programming management latency speed)
Programming Sucks
“Websites that are glorified shopping carts with maybe three dynamic pages are maintained by teams of people around the clock, because the truth is everything is breaking all the time, everywhere, for everyone. Right now someone who works for Facebook is getting tens of thousands of error messages and frantically trying to find the problem before the whole charade collapses.”
(tags: programming code internet funny)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
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