More Pablo

Making a living being an artist

:: essay, culture

This blog seems to have veered from code and cute whimsy to Paul Screed and Bloviation. Lets add one more post to that list, in part spurred by a post by Jason Robert Brown (writer/composer of Parade and The Last 5 Years, among others) that was making the rounds for a while. You should skim it, but he’s basically making his case for how it’s wrong that artists get cheated out of their royalties by technology by debating the issue with someone who is actively giving away and receiving his music.

First, a note on the post: it’s pretty awful. He picks an inarticulate opponent to represent the other side, to the point that it’s literally Master Writer vs. Opinionated Teenager. He doesn’t contest the more grounded, better- expressed arguments refuting his own position, or even really acknowledge their existence. It’s as if the only arguments there are are the ones this girl mentions, and he predictably takes her to town.

Life isn’t fair and Eat, Pray, Love

:: pablolife

One of the smartest people I know recently wrote a blog post on Eat, Pray, Love and the backlash against it; the post was something of a defense against that backlash.

She was speaking of a different type of backlash (namely women who’ve taken up Yoga and Spirituality and suffered dearly), whereas I belong to another group that’s pretty well known: guys who hate Eat, Pray, Love. Hate is probably too strong a word, allow me to elaborate.

Fooled

:: pablolife

Taken from this post, this passage hit a bit close to home:

Since TV was invented, critics have pointed out the dangers of watching the perfect people who seem to inhabit the screen. They are almost universally beautiful, live in interesting places, do interesting work (if they work at all), are unfailingly witty, and never have to do any cleaning. They never even need to use the toilet. It cannot be psychologically healthy to compare yourself to these phantasms.

So it’s interesting that social networks have inadvertently created the same effect, but using an even more powerful source. Instead of actors in Hollywood, the characters are people that you know to be real and have actually met. The editing is done not by film school graduates, but by the people themselves.

GADDAG and Capitalism

:: pablolife

I decided to revisit ScrabbleCheat (took a break for administrivia), and wrote my first Wikipedia article, on the data structure I’m refitting it with, to celebrate. It’s rare that you can write something on Wikipedia that isn’t there, so I had to pounce.

Hope I can keep editing it with diagrams and the like, as it’s a little lame at the moment. Against my better other judgment, I’m still writing it in Erlang ^_^

One of the more convincing arguments for atheism…

:: pablolife

… for me, anyways, was the size and scope of everything that has nothing to do with us. Statements like “If the whole history of the universe were as your arm span, you can eliminate the entire history of humanity with the scrape of a fingernail.” (I can’t find the official reference, but it’s used in the irrelevant introduction to this Ruby talk, until I can find the real one).

Ben Stein is an idiot.

:: pablolife

It’s my blog, so I’m free to feel smug and righteous as I like. Today, I’ll target Ben Stein, mostly because a few days ago he said:

The people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities. I say “generally” because there are exceptions. But in general, as I survey the ranks of those who are unemployed, I see people who have overbearing and unpleasant personalities and/or who do not know how to do a day’s work. They are people who create either little utility or negative utility on the job. Again, there are powerful exceptions and I know some, but when employers are looking to lay off, they lay off the least productive or the most negative. To assure that a worker is not one of them, he should learn how to work and how to get along — not always easy.

MAGNETS, HOW DO THEY WORK?

:: pablolife

Let this be a myriad post with some of the trends that currently come up in this blog:

Music. This was shown to me by a former roommate, and while acapella isn’t normally my thing, I found this pretty hip:

On Freedom of Speech

:: pablolife

Back in DC, my family is hosting an international student for a few days as part of a summer program, and she had a wonderful conversation with us regarding her faith and country. She’s a Muslim, and her progressiveness, eloquence, and intelligence really gives a jaded, disillusioned person like myself hope for the future.

That being said, she brought up Everyone Draw Mohammed Day, clearly unhappy with it, and attributing it to Muslim hatred, as this came up in the context of post–9/11 hatred in the United States.

Languages to describe Languages

:: pablolife

We’re in a beautiful, exciting, and unsustainable time in programming languages. For any combination of features you could want, someone’s made or making an interpreter/VM for you. Want dynamic message passing and objects (but Objective-C doesn’t give you enough functional features)? Try Newspeak. Want Ruby syntaxed immutable objects with Erlang’s concurrency model? Try Reia. Hell, did you Perl programmers feel left out of the JVM after the success of Jython and JRuby? Someone made a JVM-styled Perl called Sleep.

I remember wondering what my contribution could be and thinking I love Ruby programming, with true object-orientation, but miss ML/Haskell type systems and inference. What if I could make a concise, type-inferred Object-Oriented language? Then I found Scala had already been made.