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Paul Wright's blog
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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.
Maybe the Internet Isn’t Tearing Us Apart After All | WIRED
People don’t actually just stick to sites which match their political views, and their Facebook acquaintances don’t always share their politics.
(tags: facebook society politics internet)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Strange Horizons – Freshly Remember’d: Kirk Drift By Erin Horáková
A lengthy essay arguing that the popular image of Shatner’s Kirk isn’t what the original episodes of Star Trek portray (but that the reboot has picked up the stereotype and run with it).
(tags: star-trek kirk james-t-kirk science-fiction television)
BENDOCKERY.COM: The Anatomy of Swing
A series of articles with examples. The bit about “laying back” was new to me.
(tags: swing music jazz)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
The Science Behind “The Expanse” – 1/25/17 – YouTube
A panel with Caltech scientists and people from the show.
(tags: tv the-expanse science science-fiction sci-fi physics astronomy)
Abigail Nussbaum — Person of Interest – The Good Bits Version
If you want just the SF bits of Person of Interest (which are great, see Peter Watts’s review) without the police procedural/victim of the week stuff, Abigail Nussbaum has a useful list of episodes to watch.
(tags: person-of-interest artificial-intelligence science-fiction television)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Acing the technical interview
Do read the comments.
(tags: programming funny lisp linked-list interview)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Conversion via Twitter – The New Yorker
Megan Phelps – Roper on leaving Westboro Baptist Church, the church notorious for picketing funerals.
(tags: religion culture Twitter homosexuality Christianity de-conversion)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
1st Mar 2017, 01:13 am - Link blog: toys, teddy, iot, bear
Internet of Things Teddy Bear Leaked 2 Million Parent and Kids Message Recordings – Motherboard
Best Hacker News comment: “The ‘S’ in IoT stands for Security.”
(tags: iot security toys bear teddy hack)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
CAN GOD’S GOODNESS SAVE THE DIVINE COMMAND THEORY FROM EUTHYPHRO?
Koon’s paper in response to Alston’s response to the Euthyphro dilemma. tl;dr: if God is the exemplar of goodness, his goodness is not explained by his virtues (rather, vice versa). But, bracketing the virtues, why would we then say he was good?
(tags: Euthyphro euthypro-dilemma philosophy good religion)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
The Last Question – Album on Imgur
Asimov’s classic short story, illustrated.
(tags: asimov science-fiction sci-fi art comics)

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

Where’d Trump get the list of bad countries from which none shall pass (except if they have a Green Card and a court order)? From legislation passed on Obama’s watch, we’re told by various people defending Trump’s latest omnishambles. As Seth Frantzman says, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), the legislation referred to in the Executive Order was signed into law under Obama. However, Frantzman’s commenters make a few interesting points, which I summarise below.

Under the legislation, if you’ve visited one of those countries or are a national of them, this will prevent you from getting a visa waiver.

How’d those countries get into the visa waiver banned list, and is that Obama’s fault? Some of them appear to have been added by a Republican sponsored bill which failed to pass, but became law by getting tagged on to a larger spending bill. This letter is a complaint that Obama had weakened the provisions of that Bill, which, in passing, gives a history of how it became law.

From my extensive viewing of The West Wing, it seems that tagging stuff on to a spending bill is a way to force the point: if you refuse to sign the bill, other important stuff will not be funded. So, it’s not clear how much Obama’s administration approved of the additions (since they apparently went on to weaken it when it was implemented, perhaps they didn’t and their hands were forced, but I haven’t seen any public statements either way by them). Either way, they certainly didn’t ever put that list to the use that Trump has. To use a list to exclude people from getting visa waivers is quite different from using it to bar people outright. Implying that the list of countries in the Executive Order came from Obama is disingenuous.

What about?

Presidents Carter and Obama have blocked visa applications from nationals of certain countries at certain times (Obama in relation to Syria). Pointing out that the other lot did something similar and therefore can’t argue that Trump is wrong to do it is called the tu quoque fallacy.


Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
24th Jan 2017, 01:13 am - Link blog: funny, aliens, brexit
Brexit As Expressed Through The Medium Of Aliens Quotes.: gonzo21
“Newt: We’d better get back ’cause it’ll be dark soon and Theresa May mostly comes at night. Mostly.”</p>

Via andrewducker
(tags: aliens funny brexit)


Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Scott Aaronson on order and chaos
Via Luke M’s blog, for the added cartoon.
(tags: entropy thermodynamics order chaos)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
World War Three, by Mistake – The New Yorker
The author of “Command and Control” on the cheery topic of the degradation of the USA’s control systems and the possibility of cyber attacks. Also touches on Trump/Putin.
(tags: war history nuclear ICBM donald-trump vladimir-putin cold-war)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Twelve Hundred Ghosts – A Christmas Carol in Supercut (400 versions, plus extras) – YouTube
YouTube supercut of a LOT of Christmas Carol versions (there’s Scrooge slash fiction? Of course there is), including the definitive Muppets version, Quantum Leap, and a bunch of over stuff.
(tags: dickens christmas supercut ghosts)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
The Secrets Of Cornwall – Part 1 – Communications – YouTube
Blokes drive around Cornwall looking at manhole covers and work out the landing points of undersea cables, and where the GCHQ intercept points disclosed by Snowden might be.
(tags: cornwall cables telecommunications gchq internet edward-snowden porthcurno)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Who Will Command The Robot Armies?
Funny and worrying talk. Pinboard is always good for “Internet of shit” stories, but has a wider point here.
(tags: robots facebook twitter amazon work po politics surveillance technology automation iot)
Ur-Fascism | by Umberto Eco | The New York Review of Books
What are the common features of anything worth calling Fascism?
(tags: history politics fascism italy world-war-II)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Why Stop Funding Hate deserves answers – Creative Review
“The Stop Funding Hate campaign is gaining traction and giving brands difficult decisions to make.” If you want something you can do, this is something you can do.
(tags: daily-mail newspapers hate daily-express politics)
Why the economy can’t explain Trump or Brexit – OpenLearn – Open University
Authoritarian social attitudes and the rate of change of minority population in an area are better predictors of Trump/Brexit voting than poverty.
(tags: trump brexit psychology authoritarianism politics)
Responding to Tim Keller’s “Making Sense of God” Talk
A shorter and better version than my own rebuttal of the book the talk was based on.
(tags: tim-keller Religion philosophy Atheism)
The President and the bomb | Restricted Data
The US military won’t stop a president from using nuclear weapons, the system is designed to make sure they can do so, not to prevent them.
(tags: politics military nuclear president)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
14th Nov 2016, 01:13 am - Link blog: eu, politics, brexit, ukip
Blue Lines Revisited – Obsolete Units Surrounded By Hail
An A to Z of Brexit.
(tags: brexit politics eu UK ukip)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Charles I, Brexit and the Royal Prerogative
A Queen’s Counsel on recent court decision and the royal prerogative. The post has the QC who wrote it answering questions: it sounds like the Government’s referendum leaflets promised something they didn’t have the power to deliver without Parliament’s approval.
(tags: brexit law court prerogative)

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