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scrambling for packages

I am working on something for a class that has so far involved python programs implementing ecological models (space based, disease based, structured by age groups, etc).  My final project involves modeling something different, a physics-based thing.  I can explain this later.

The professor has approved a plan to use an existing physics engine when preparing my model, so I'm working on my model itself rather than just working on implementing the physics myself. 

Problem: I am having a hell of a time trying to get a functioning physics engine and 3D graphics engine installed.


convoluted attemptsCollapse )

Solution: Seems that Fedora's package for Crystal Space still has Python bindings, and Crystal Space is in the repository. So... the hand-me-down spare laptop is now dualboot Fedora and Plan9 instead of Trisquel and Plan9.


leaving Pittsburgh

Hello, the Internet!

I'm leaving Pittsburgh on the 22nd.  If anyone wants to hang out before I go, let me know, and we can figure out lunch or dinner or something.

I'd usually just go for picnics, but there are various gift certificates tail-ends to burn, so, yeah. 

Breakfast on Monday, anyone?


Writer's Block: Six-Word Story

Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” He is believed to have called it his greatest literary work ever. Can you write a story in six words?

"I'm going to sneeze!"  "Gesundheit!"  "...Nevermind."

My mother likes to "steal sneezes," because she knows if she says "bless you" before I get around to sneezing, sometimes I'm trapped and unable to sneeze. Ugh!

Writer's Block: Six-Word Story

Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” He is believed to have called it his greatest literary work ever. Can you write a story in six words?
"Quick! Abort!"  "It... broke."  "Oh shit."


I figure I should make a public statement, in case people are thinking I've simply vanished:

This journal has become friends-locked.

If you'd been reading, don't think I've noticed, and wish to continue reading, feel free to drop a comment here. They'll be screened.

Journal it out... fuss fuss...

The numbering no longer makes sense. There was supposed to be, at some point, division between general questions and then some different sides I could see the arguments taking.

1. Define "evil." --- See conversation with A.A.
2. Define "moral."
3. Where does conscience come from?
4. How can/does one reconcile individual interest with community interest?
5. Does one need to?

Value in Art (See previous post.)
1. How is what people value in art changing in the face of technological media?
2. How is what people value in art changing in the face of increasing globalism?
3. Are there tariffs on art? Should there be?
4. What possible routes can arise from the intellectual property arguments?

1. skill in execution vs. skill in design, handcraft vs. digital
2. rarity of idea - harder in global context
3. rarity of physical manifestation - counter to digital context, sides with live performance
4. cultural rarity prior to globalization : exoticism
5. value as an exercise and practice:
Purpose of Art
1. semantic, political (shock, critique, monument)
2. aesthetic
3. self-expression (some say outlet for Id, can't remember article)

Purpose of Society/Civilization
1. If perpetuation of the human race with higher standards of living is the goal of civilization, in what ways can war be justified?
2. How does the early civilization concept of specialization of labor relate to global patterns of outsourcing and manufacture?

1. Perpetuation of one's segment of the human race, making use of division of labor a la Mesopotamia, etc.
2. Build off collective achievements, greater than those possible on an individual, subsistence basis.
Then what the hell is war for? -- Giving home group advantage over another by seizing resources of physical or political nature.

1. In a society where digital technology makes an overabundance of information readily available, in what ways is it more advantageous to teach heuristic research methods and critical thinking than fact based knowledge? In what ways should fact-based knowledge be incorporated?
2. How can one teach critical thinking? (Appeal to the cynicism of today's youth! Channel it into application rather than apathy.)
3. Teaching the history of philosophy is one thing. Teaching argument analysis is another. How can one teach the process of philosophy?

Individual Approach
On one side, there's passionate drive to do things, seek meaning even if there isn't any, create meaning...
On another, Tao says let it be, don't be a busybody, enjoy the moment, act according to your nature.
But what is that nature?
Buddhist/Hindu Karma- ++ by acting in accordance with the dharma, duty, associated with that role, that self nature.
But isn't that active acting?
And the nihilist... If nothing has a point, enjoy the moments? Same conclusion?
Epicurus in the old sense.

So... Better not to know of the world's problems, to focus small? Simple joy of subsistence, not harming others?
Or better to engage with civilization, which has so much potential, if gathered up and cast forward in a great heave?

Better to ponder as a hermit, finding thoughts and lessons from experience, picking one's own way?
Or in a community, to strengthen arguments by beating them up against the counterarguments of peers?
Or to seek from the page?
Or to seek from experience?
Or to investigate common wisdom, questioning its source and the source of its strength or failing?

A lesson learned on one's own may stick better.
A lesson book-based on those centuries of tomes... Lacks the individual inspiration... But builds a foundation for new progress. And so on, ever upward, and so on, more broadly...
There are more available perspectives than will occur to any single one.

Nothing new under the sun? Repeat and repeat?
But if it is new to me, mayhap new enough.

Fizz fizz. Fuss fuss.
To a mvsevm, to see the glory of natural and created items of Earth!
To a library, to see the sculpted dreams and treatises of so many souls.
Letterpress letterpress, press with such weight.

And who will hold the media to task?

I am aware of things such as FAIR, but I am fussy because I think there should be a group with as much visible presence as a major news network whose sole purpose is to keep commentary on the responsibility, ethics, and accuracy of mainstream news. Could be funded by taxing advertisement.

I also think critical thinking and source-caution should be taught from a young age.
Never let education get in the way of learning.

Nor, apparently, sleep.


I've been taking on small writing assignments from people.
Zack's task: a koan.
Below are my two attempts.

"Share your ice cream with me."
"I have no ice cream. The bowl is empty."
"You can give me all your ice cream, but you can't make that bowl empty."

"I tried to write a koan.
I failed.
I gave up.
I succeeded."


Tea, words... Who needs sleep?

Someone said I resemble Bruno, a webcomic character.
Reading through some of the archive, I guess that's a compliment.

I think I'll stay up all night reading Kerouac in my underpants until I run out of pages, decide to take a bath, or collapse into sleep upon my book.

I am drinking tea EGA brought from China. KM is in Japan. RS is in New Zealand. My family is in El Salvador. My uncle just got back from years of living in Thailand. My apartment mates are from India. My roommate of the last year is moving to Italy.

Small world?
Maybe it's time for some traveling.
Still have that Boston ticket...


g33k i+ up, y0

Several hours of coding ---> Break time!
Break time ---> Tea + web zipping.
Web exploration ---> NERD EXPLORATION!

Laptop upgrade impending, so I haven't upped from linux Fedora Core 6 to the new Fedora 7.
Might not go with Fedora 7 on the new machine, after all.

News: Fedora 7 DOES work with the AMD Turion 64 X2 processor.
...But so does a new Slackware-based distro called slamd64.
...And the highly-customizable Enlightenmen 17 window manager/ desktop environment (also pretty speedy, they say) does work for Slackware, and some people are working on fixing a slight bug to get it to work for slamd64.

ALSO: Mathematica exists for Linux now. Just so you know.

Belated Fathers' Day Post

This is a photo of Dad from when I visited home in May.
My dad is pretty awesome, not just because he's my dad.