Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hitchens tears Obama apart

Hitchens never fails to amaze me. He has torn Obama apart.

But is it "inflammatory" to say that AIDS and drugs are wrecking the black community because the white power structure wishes it? No. Nor is it "controversial." It is wicked and stupid and false to say such a thing. And it not unimportantly negates everything that Obama says he stands for by way of advocating dignity and responsibility over the sick cults of paranoia and victimhood.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Iraq, five years since the invasion

Like most libertarians, I have a knee-jerk reaction against staying in Iraq now. I don't really remember what I thought of invading Iraq back in 2003. I think that I vaguely thought it might be a good idea to take down Saddam Hussein, but I was mostly just accepted that it seemed natural for the U.S. to invade Iraq. The media totally failed. They didn't question the politicians substantively, and they really neglected to ask any of the hard questions.

Anyway, if anyone could convince me that invading Iraq was a good idea and that we must remain there now, it would be Christopher Hitchens.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Alcohol Use vs. Marijuana Use

One of the topics of conversation that comes up with me when I discuss the legalization of drugs is about consumption patterns, that people can, and do drink alcohol without getting drunk, but the only use for marijuana is to get high. Jacob Sullum argues that indeed, people do get just a little bit high, in the same way many people drink alcohol.

Does Bush have a disorder?

I caught this video from Radley Balko. Radley eloquently puts it,

Is it me, or after seven years of daily speeches, is President Bush actually getting worse at public speaking? He’s fine when he’s reading off a teleprompter. But when he speaks extemporaneously, he’s more cringe-inducing than ever. My point here isn’t to mock the guy. We’re way past that stage. I think we’re actually to the point where you can’t help but wonder if he has some sort of disorder. Watch this video.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Important illustration for a critical point

It drives me crazy when "activists" on the far left call for ridiculous measures. They should remember that nature has no intrinsic value without humans, so our policies should reflect how best to continue development, but carefully, so as to preserve the environment in ways for our own best use.

Kerry Howley calls out mainstream feminists

Kerry Howley calls out mainstream feminists. It always seems bizarre to me how mainstream feminists deal with the cognitive dissonance from the collectivism they espouse.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Freedom in markets and the Internet

What do free markets and Wikipedia have in common?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Avoiding Dr. Leviathan

Here's an insightful proposal to solve the problems of health care.

Airborne is pseudoscientific garbage

Luckily, a court has ruled that Airborne is garbage, and the sellers are fraudsters.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Stylish Blight

This place is awesome.

Read The Atlantic

I just read voraciously through mostly the entire issue of The Atlantic this month. It has some really fascinating pieces. My favorites were about China's censorship of the Internet, Christianity and Islam competing in Africa, and Hitchens on anti-Semitism.

The Atlantic has really great stuff. I've tried to subscribe by RSS to Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish over the past few weeks, but he posts so much that it's hard to keep up, even if he brings fascinating stuff. Maybe I'll try again later.

Monday, March 3, 2008

9027 KM

OK Go's album Oh No has a hidden track, which Wikipedia says is "a 35-minute track of singer Damian Kulash's girlfriend sleeping." Wikipedia has this bizarre information.

"9027 KM", which is not listed on the album sleeve, is a 35-minute track of singer Damian Kulash's girlfriend sleeping, included on the US version of the album. He says there is good reason for it, but as of now, fans do not know why, except for a discovery by sherib on the official OK GO forums, which showed that the distance between Los Angeles, California and Malmö, Sweden was 9027 Kilometers (KM).[citation needed] It has been rumored that the track was added to pad out the CD so that their label could not use the extra space to add DRM.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

New Internet Forum

I'm experimenting with a new forum. These things usually get popular for a while, then die from apathy. Especially now with Facebook, this may never even get off the ground, because time is a precious resource. Anyway, check it out. Maybe a community can pop up, even if it's small.

Jihad Bunny

The pure hate with which young Muslims are indoctrinated is truly awe-inspiring, in the worst kind of way.

Big Think

Big Think is a really cool site. It's a new medium for doing what humans have been doing since the beginning of their existence, just talking to one another. What's cool here is the intuitive design and categorization of the topics. Sam Harris and Ayaan Hirsi Ali have popped up in the section Faith & Beliefs, and I'm sure there are plenty of other experts in the other fields. It's hard to describe why this is cool without seeing it for yourself. Go check it out. It seems like a wonderful manifestation of everything free speech is meant to be.

Short Review of No Country for Old Men

It would have been excellent, except the ending was an abysmal failure. Why is this currently ranked 94% on Rotten Tomatoes? Why is this considered the best film of the year? It's profoundly depressing if this is the best Hollywood has to offer. The movie should have been one of the best ever, but the ending totally and utterly ruined it. The ending of a strong film is far too important to forget in assessing a film's quality, and potential viewers should realize when something isn't intentionally artsy, just rushed and awful. I see the emperor's new clothes in the inexplicably overwhelming popularity.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Primary and secondary sorting in iTunes

I had no idea that I wanted this feature of primary and secondary sorting in iTunes, until I was trying to listen to a playlist containing all the tracks from one genre, sorted increasingly by play count. I'm quite attached to the notion of trying to balance and smooth out what you listen to, trying perpetually to listen to the tracks with the lowest play counts. This only works if you've filtered out the songs from your library that you don't like, those songs that you added when you first got an iPod, just because you wanted to fill up the library with as much as you could, and stupidly resorted to importing anything you could get your hands on, even music you didn't like. Maybe they were CDs that you used to like, but didn't like anymore, but you still had them on hand, and you had a library to fill.

Anyway, I have this playlist that sorts by play count, and it plays the songs of an album in reverse order. Often, this manifests itself if I have an album in which the first few tracks with a higher play count than the rest of the album. In the playlist, the fragment of the album starts playing backwards. What I want is for the album fragment to play in order starting at the start of the fragment. When I say fragment, I mean the block of songs of the album that has the same play count. I don't mind if the album is broken up into more and smaller fragments, which most likely would be from an album with lower and lower play counts later and later in the album. In my playlist, those small fragments of an album generally show up in between larger fragments of other albums.

So, the problem is that the fragments, in this playlist that sorts by play count, play backwards. What I need then, is primary and secondary sorting, so that I can sort first by play count, and then by album. When you just sort by album, iTunes of course puts the albums in the correct order, so this would solve my problem.

When I went looking for help with this on Google, I found other uses for such a feature as well, that would also help me, but I didn't even realize that a different problem could be solved with the same feature. Many artists have a "Greatest Hits" album, but when sorting by album in the main library, iTunes jumbles the artists together of a Greatest Hits album. To try to solve this, I even tried making each separate Greatest Hits album separate compilations, to no avail, so indeed a primary and secondary sort here would by quite useful. I guess I'm not fully aware of what compilations are, but in my experience in playing with them, it helps when there are two-CD albums to import. In practice though, you can filter different "Greatest Hits" albums by typing in the artist name into the search field along with "Greatest Hits," so my original quest for a primary and secondary sort is more esoteric and more necessary for the purpose; there is no such manual fix. In my case, a manual fix might be just to look at the playlist that sorts by play count and then go manually play the fragment of the album in the correct order in the main library. This really isn't the same, because that means you can't just let the playlist run. There is no automatic workaround though.

Apparently this feature of a primary and secondary sort isn't technologically difficult, but I fear that it's probably just so esoteric that Apple hasn't given it much thought.

Song Charts

Here's a pool on Flickr of song charts.