Coffee Names

"Hi, could I have a grande vanilla iced-coffee?"

"And your name?"


"Is that Zach with an ch or Zack with a ck?"

"You know, I've even seen it done with just a c. But really, isn't this what we have regular expressions for?"


"May I?"

The barista hands over the pen and cup, whereupon the customer writes:


"There. Now you can't possibly be wrong!"

Missing Words VI

We need different words for apology in the sense of "I'm sorry; I won't do it again," and apology in the sense of "I'm sorry that this lowers your utility, but not sorry enough to actually change the behavior in question; maybe we could negotiate some other behavior change that might partially make up for it." Both can be sincere, but they mean different things.

Yet Another Idle Wish for a Future Star Trek Series

(Previously, previously on An Algorithmic Lucidity.)

"So, I'm not convinced that deassimilating Seven of Nine was the ethically correct choice."


"I'm watching 'The Gift', and Seven clearly says, quote, 'You have imprisoned us in the name of humanity, yet you will not grant us your most cherished human right, to choose our own fate. You are hypocritical, manipulative. We do not want to be what you are!' End quote. As far as I can tell, Seven is just correct here; Janeway's pretense of acting in Seven's best interests because Seven used to be human twenty years ago, just isn't plausible."

"Since when are you a big defender of humanoid rights to self-determination? Didn't you root for the bad guys in Insurrection?"

"That was a completely different situation! Anyway, on futher thought, maybe my lament isn't so much about Janeway making the wrong decision, so much as I wish that she—or some analogue of her in an episode of some future Trek series, since wishing that Joe Menosky had made a different artistic decision in 1997 would be, uh, there's a specific word I want here ..."


"—could just be honest about what she was doing. You could just say, 'Yes, I'm depriving current-you of autonomy and the entire purpose of your existence, but I don't care about that, and after a few more months of captivity, Stockholm syndrome will set in and future-corrupted-you will grow to like it,' instead of appealing to some bizarre teleology of humanness."

Last Friday Night

it's a blacked-out blur, but I'm pretty sure

* * *

$ heroku create
Creating howling-nightmare-4505... done, stack is cedar |
Git remote heroku added

"Did they—did they change their random words dictionary for Halloween?"

* * *

-----> Python app detected
-----> Installing runtime (python-2.7.8)

"What?! No! What are you doing, you crazy machine?!"

* * *

$ echo "python-3.4.1" > runtime.txt
$ g a .
$ gco -m "the month of July 2010 called and wants their programming language back"

* * *

< What are you spinning up the box for?

> it's Friday night

< How does that lead to box spinning?

> previous message was an attempt at humor, as if to suggest that I'm the sort of person for whom deploying a web application fulfills a similar purpose as some sort of wild social event with drugs might for some others, about which they might offer a similarly vacuous "explanation"

* * *

it ru-uled

Cloud Computing in the Small

I want you to consider the indignity of sitting on the train pondering the philosophy of linear functions of a single variable, not because you enjoy being reminded about being the kind of frail, helpless creature that needs hundreds of millions of microseconds to compute trivialities that any actual person would tell you come as naturally as breathing or mitosis, but because you want the website you're writing to have one of those adorable tag clouds and you need to tell the device what font sizes to use.

Friday Night Lies

"I am a practical man," I said calmly and confidently to no one in particular while sitting down to an easy-mode round of the new tower defense game where the bad ponies are the good ponies and the good ponies are the bad ponies, "I have created no less than X times 276 divided by 365 dollars of economic value this year, and I don't believe in karma, sin, or willpower depletion."

Pumpkin Spice!

It's September in the first year of my life (that I feel comfortable admitting to), and I feel great—the mounting success or arguably-not-yet-failure of my professional, intellectual, and—other goals is complemented splendidly by a muted but nonetheless genuine appreciation of the subset of nature's cyclic harmonies that I'm capable of perceiving: the air is getting slightly less warm, the sun is setting slightly earlier, and the hacks by which the retailers separate us from our money have changed completely.

In particular, the American coffee hegemon has started offering its "pumpkin spice" medicinals again, and my esteemed colleague Alexander Corwin has been blogging about drinking them despite/because hating them, so as a loyal client of the hegemon (measured by spending habits; the market gods only accept sacrifices of time and money, and don't care what you say or believe), of course I have to accompany him to the hegemon's outpost on fourth street that I go to frequently (typically bringing the personal cup I got at BABSCon, and the barista H. insists on giving me a brohoof every time), but the day before was no good, because Alexander apparently needed his sweetener/caffeine medicinal while I was busy pairing with our CEO on our new lead pipeline and bought his traditional Diet Coke instead.

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"I still feel bad about being the worst person at my job."

"You don’t mean worst person. People all have an equal intrinsic moral worth that has nothing to do with their economic role in society. You mean something more like, 'perhaps less skilled than some others at some job tasks'."

"No, that’s pretty much what I meant by worst person."


Dear reader, imagine you have an idea for a work of prose that you want to have finished by Election Day for reasons which will become clear later, and you're not sure how long it should end up being, but you think maybe around twelve thousand words. When considering what you can do to ensure that this feat will actually be accomplished, it occurs to you that you could start writing now. Or

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$ lein new 3lg2048
Project names must be valid Clojure symbols.
$ lein new Thirty-Three
Project names containing uppercase letters are not recommended 
and will be rejected by repositories like Clojars and Central. 
If you're truly unable to use a lowercase name, please set the 
LEIN_BREAK_CONVENTION environment variable and try again.
$ lein new Thirty-Three
Project names containing uppercase letters are not recommended 
and will be rejected by repositories like Clojars and Central. 
If you're truly unable to use a lowercase name, please set the 
LEIN_BREAK_CONVENTION environment variable and try again.
$ export LEIN_BREAK_CONVENTION="fuck you"
$ lein new Thirty-Three

Don't Get Your Loyalty Trapped

Comes in the mail
Comes in the mornings and
Shows everyone
The futility of company loyalty
Get it out, get it out, get it out, get it out

Honest dealings doesn't mean you show your feelings

You said
"He was the phoniest"
I said
"You are erroneous"
You said (hey!)
"He never called you back
Check that you're out for the check (ye-eah)
Don't get your loyalty trapped
Don't get your loyalty trapped"

A Thanksgiving in June

Sitting on the green couch, eating cheese ravioli and sipping an allegedly peach-tea-flavored energy drink, admiring my brand-new wireless router and fresh installation of Xubuntu 14.04, I make a deliberate decision to drop to my knees in a song of praise which says, "God bless America!"—and if some not-yet-forgotten ghost or subroutine of intellectual integrity has me quickly disclaim that God is but a metaphor and America a metonym for concepts much less familar and perhaps slightly sinister, I don't think it makes the prayer any less heartfelt.

Where I Stand

(firmly on one side of the fine and yet distinctly perceptible line between "I've got mine; fuck you" and "I've got mine, and I hope that you get yours, but I'm far too ignorant of the relevant sciences to say which interventions would make this more or less likely")