le_bebna_kamni: (Dalek)
...With help from Professor Weird Al!

le_bebna_kamni: (Metal)
From time to time I've tried to tackle the backup/conversion of my audio CDs into a more lasting and portable format than the heavy zippered case that hosts my music collection. I've been searching for quite some time for the perfect ripping software for my particular needs, and I think I have finally fulfilled my quest:


This is a Ruby-based CD ripper that focuses on quality rips -- it makes a test rip of the file twice, and then compares them before making the final rip to minimise the errors. Even better, it's got a very intuitive interface that lets you choose the desired format with radio buttons, and set your own file naming conventions (with the options right on the screen that lets you set them, so you don't have to wade through online help files).

It's also very easy to edit track information before ripping. The only bad thing I've found so far is that it doesn't know how to rip to an already existing folder without overwriting it -- if you want to put two CDs into the same folder (e.g. a 2-disk set) you have to create a separate folder for the second disk, and then copy over the second set of files after ripping.

The application itself can either be installed, or run directly from its folder. I chose the latter and stuck it into an Apps folder on my hard drive, then created a shortcut to the main executable (rubyripper_gtk2.rb for Linux or rubyripper_cli.rb for Mac). To get the most out of this fantastic application, I highly recommend installing more than just the bare minimum requirements. The one downside to this application is that it doesn't have a Windows version...but I'm sure all the poor Windows users out there will make due with the numerous rippers already available to them. ;)
le_bebna_kamni: (Default)
Two gold stars to the first person who can figure out the *huge* underlying assumption that is just wrong here, and explain why it's wrong with modern day examples. No, I'm not talking about the first sentence that says all animals reproduce sexually. I'm not even talking about the bad conflation of evolution with atheism. I'm talking about the blatant science mistake that obviously comes from believing the second creation story in Genesis, and which forms the entire basis for the article.

Pulling the Plug on Atheism: The Atheist's Problem With Females

le_bebna_kamni: (Goth)
The Turning from Victor Ramses on Vimeo.

It's probably one of the most erotic PG videos I think I've ever seen...Enjoy!
le_bebna_kamni: (Dalek)
Imagine for a *brief* moment that you're really, really clutzy. Now let's just suppose for a moment that in your clutziness you bumped a tray table so hard that you sent a glass of water toppling over onto your nearby laptop.

Pretend that you let it dry overnight, and the next morning some of the keys on your keyboard don't work. You know you need to get it repaired (and let's just suppose that it's really hard to do it yourself because your laptop is a Mac), but you're not handing your precious laptop over to an untrusted stranger without some serious backup.

But you can't type...heck, you might not even be able to log in, because the particular configuration of non-working keys includes some of your password letters. And worst of all, you're far away from home and don't have your collection of USB keyboards that might work in a pinch.

What do you do? Based on a True Story(TM) )
le_bebna_kamni: (iCthulhu)
Be sure to stick around past the credits for the additional "geek" commentary....

Or if the embed above doesn't work:
le_bebna_kamni: (Default)
Life in Lubbock, Texas taught me two things:

one is that God loves you
and you're going to hell;

the other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth
and you should save it for someone you love.

-- attributed to Butch Hancock, The Flatlanders
le_bebna_kamni: (Samurai)
Over the past week or so I've been talking about my server that I've been setting up to run Bespin and a custom hack to link it to subversion and run the edited code in a test environment. Unfortunately, that's fallen through. While Bespin is pretty spiffy in demo, I don't quite think it's ready for production deployment yet, so I think I'll wait for a more mature version before I try to use it again.

So I've been playing around with some other ideas to get this puppy up and running. The Tragedy of 9.04 )
le_bebna_kamni: (Dalek)
It has annoyed me for a long time that Thunderbird puts your email folders in the order in which you added the accounts, and there's no way to drag and drop them into a different order. Well, I've finally found a way to change that.

hacking it manually

Note that for Ubuntu users the file is '~/{username}/.mozilla-thunderbird/{string-of-numbers}.default/prefs.js'.

as an add-on

I wasn't particularly impressed with the add-on -- it made my inbox look a bit strange so I disabled it -- but I'm sure it will do the trick for people who aren't fond of manual editing. :)
le_bebna_kamni: (Knight)
Thoughts and an Article to Read )
le_bebna_kamni: (Sleep)
I'm a bit of an insomniac at the moment (I've been obsessing about how to undertake the next phase of my server project), so I thought I'd post a little more on something I mentioned in my blog post yesterday in passing.

It's a fairly common belief that men are evolutionarily suited to be both hunters and protectors. While there is some very interesting research to support the former (including speculations that the male form of ADHD/ADD may have been an adaptive trait for hunting), there is actually more biological evidence to support women being more evolutionarily suited to be protectors, and not men.

For those of you who didn't plow through my rather long article, here are a few of the characteristics of women that make them particularly well suited to being protectors:

  • Women have better senses of smell and hearing, making them faster and better at detecting danger. In fact these heightened senses, combined with a thicker bundle of connecting tissues (the corpus callosum) between the two hemispheres of the brain to allow faster/more complete processing of subtle stimuli, may make up what we often think of as "women's intuition"1.

  • They have faster reflexes than men, and their lower center of gravity make them more difficult to knock down in a fight.

  • Women have higher pain tolerances. Yes, this is obviously a necessity for childbirth, but it also serves to keep them going longer in a fight when the stakes are high.

And the big one that I mentioned in passing but didn't elaborate on was the adrenaline patterns:

  • Men release adrenaline like hunters; women release adrenaline like protectors.

Men's bodies release adrenaline almost immediately, which peaks and then drops off almost as quickly. This is a pattern conducive to hunting: spot the prey, react quickly, and then it's over. Women's bodies take slightly longer to release adrenaline and to hit the peak, then adrenaline levels remain elevated for hours afterward. This is a pattern geared to protection: get weaker members out of harm's way, then hit an adrenaline peak in time to turn and fight off the threat. Remain alert for a long period afterward to ensure that the threat (or a similar threat lurking nearby) doesn't return.

It's interesting to me that our bodies don't always match what we've come to believe is true culturally. Now that's not saying that biology is or should be determining -- we're an incredibly adaptive species, and as many studies have shown, the genetic differences between males and females are still relatively small2.

So really, guys should be allowed to be protectors if they really, really want to...but they'll always have to live with the fact that they're biologically inferior for the job. ;P

1 I actually remember a great example of "women's intuition" from my childhood. I was out riding my bike, and I took a somewhat nasty spill about a block away from our house. My mom hadn't known what had happened, but something had just "told" her that something was wrong -- perhaps it subtle sound of children a block a way stopping their playing momentarily -- and she was sure it was me. She dashed out of the house before my dad could even ask where she was going, and was there before I could pick myself up off of the ground. She told me later that she didn't know how she knew -- I'm going to blame it on the heightened senses and corpus callosum. ;P

2 Most studies find more variation within the genders than between the genders, and while differences are still statistically significant, they are generally small (for example, the paper that said men were better at math than women based on SAT scores, also found that the difference amounted to about one correct answer). It also gives a slightly different view from other nationalized or state testing, which shows that girls outperform boys in math up until junior high/high school -- and there are several social factors (like the perception that females who are good in math aren't attractive to boys) that have been noted to contribute to the switch. In fishing communities where girls can go to college but boys are expected to stick around and run the family boats, this switch doesn't occur.

Boys test slightly higher than girls on visual-spatial reasoning in Japan, but Japanese girls outperform American boys and the gap is wider between American boys and girls than it is in Japan. So it's a lot more complex than simply "boys are better at X, girls are better at Y" (or is that the other way around? ;P) For a good overview of children and gender testing, I recommend the book "Same Difference".
le_bebna_kamni: (CS)
Today I stumbled across a post called "Where the men are" that got my hackles up a bit. As I'm sure many of you know, mention the phrase "gender role" and I'm likely to go on a rant, because I've spent a good chunk of my life feeling remarkably ill-suited to the roles generally attributed to my gender. Likewise, I've met a remarkable number of men whom I respect and like who would never fit the typical "manly" roles and struggled with the same issue growing up.

I generally expect a certain amount of sexism from conservative people. I grew up among such people, and as a result I have a lot of maladaptive conditioning that I've been trying to break for years -- reflexes like feeling uncomfortable in the presence of nudity, even though it doesn't ideologically bother me, or feeling rude for winning at a competitive game, even though I enjoy winning. (That last one has a funny story behind it. I used to play soccer on a team that was almost entirely boys because there weren't enough girls in the league to form a girls' team. I was more aggressive than many of the boys on my team and a good player because of it, but I took a lot of flack for it because I was a girl, and girls aren't supposed to be aggressive. So to make up for my "non girly" behaviour, I adopted the habit of saying "I'm sorry" every time I took the ball from someone -- this was when I was about 10 years old. :D )

But I've noticed that sexism in the form of advocating gender roles is also fairly prevalent among strong libertarians, which seems a huge surprise to me. I've always thought of libertarianism as the ultimate "I can choose to do/be what I want and I respect your right to do/be what you want", but today I realized that there is a nuance in libertarianism I've been missing for quite some time. Insights from an unexpected source... )
le_bebna_kamni: (Metal)
It's like a video game, except inode entries are getting bumped around instead of pinballs. Yay! :D

I'm a little goofy at the moment, because I've been trying like crazy to get Bespin running on a server under a hybrid custom application that I'm slapping together so that Matt and other members of the CREM development team can edit, test, and make commits to the repository from the web.

Don't ask me how I'll do it...I'm not even sure it will work. Perhaps some of you will be visiting me in a local insane asylum in a week or two.

However, while I take a break and ponder the futility of my undertaking, I wanted to share a thought regarding file location (or relocation), which seems to be the bulk of my troubles for the particular part of the task I'm working on. They're coming to take me away, haha hoho heehee... )
le_bebna_kamni: (IndianaJones)
**Sings** At the Red House, where black people and white people buy furniture...

le_bebna_kamni: (Monk)
I've found my new religion:

It even has an octopus, so I don't have to give up my worship of Great Cthulhu! Just say the prayer, and you're a Tarvuist!
le_bebna_kamni: (CS)
I just got a Wii Fit, and fortunately I didn't have to pay for it. Instead, I received it as repayment for helping a friend wrack up a bunch of points on a chain store gaming card.

"This is awesome!" I said, as I opened the package and proceeded to pop in the disk. I carefully read the instructions and synced the platform with my Wii console. Then I waited for the fun to begin.

And then I waited some more. And I'm still not sure when the amazing fun is supposed to begin. On the contrary, I'm beginning to believe that Wii Fit was a heinous plot to force people into unusually sadistic scenarios that they feel they have to endure because the word "Fit" is on the outside of the box.

Dog collars, riding crops, and latex suits )

All in all, the Wii Fit experience is very aptly summed up by this parody commercial:

I love the Wii console -- it's fantastic. But Nintendo really bombed on this one. Anyone want to buy a Wii Fit off of me?
le_bebna_kamni: (MIB)
It's kind of weird -- and fun -- the things that you learn when you stop to ask questions about people around you. I called my granny up for Mother's Day, and we got onto a conversation about some of her old hobbies. She used to tape record books for blind people long before books on tape were readily available. Come to find out, she also used to be certified in braille.

Even cooler, my granny transcribed two books into braille that are in the Library of Congress.

Kick ass! That beats the story of my aunt who starred in a Jello commercial. :)
le_bebna_kamni: (Dalek)
Well, except that "Dr. Who" is more like a photographer who travels the world instead of a Time Lord who travels through space and time, and "Tegan" is far cooler than the original, in my opinion.

Yes, I just came back from the most awesome wedding. I have two phrases for you: "Dalek cake" and "Tom Smith live". "Clergy in kilt" is also a good one.
le_bebna_kamni: (Sleep)
I just came back from a trip to the Washington, DC area, and I had a remarkable experience at one of those extended stay hotels that are set up as small suites with kitchenettes. Here's a brief excerpt from their promotional material:

"We make sure that your stay with us is as perfect as you imagined it. That's why we provide our guests with extra service and extra amenities..."

...Including a sleeping naked stranger waiting for me in my bed, apparently.

As I walked into the room, I noticed something distinctly odd about the table: it held a pack of cigarettes, some keys, and loose change. "How odd," I thought. "Someone must have forgotten to take their things when they left this morning."

Then I turned as a bleary-eyed man suddenly sat up from the bed nearby and stared at me with confusion. He wasn't wearing much, and with shock and embarrassment I beat a hasty retreat to the front desk. Apparently my reservation had accidentally been given to someone else.

I asked for a new room with fewer 'amenities'. ;P
le_bebna_kamni: (Dalek)
I recently read a story by Tim Pratt called A Programmatic Approach to Perfect Happiness. I'm not sure whether to walk away from it with an overwhelming feeling of excitement, or a bit of a shiver (given the last few moments of the story).

However, reading this story also sparked another thought when watching the Star Trek:TNG episode "11001001". I won't give spoilers about the plot itself, but after an upgrade of the Enterprise's systems, the holodeck manages to generate a female character that is so real and believable that Riker falls in love with her. He mentions several times that she is unlike any holodeck character he's ever met before, because she's remarkably perceptive and has more spontaneous, human-style responses.

And then the thought occurred to me: if it's okay to marry sentient androids, why not someone from a holodeck? Obviously the holodeck isn't real in any physical sense, unlike embodied human-level AI, and I think that tends to make us dismissive of whether or not such a relationship could genuinely be real. Before reading the story mentioned above, I don't even think I would have considered it.

I know it's the classic Turing test, the "If it walks like a duck and looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, is it a duck?" question. But if an android can be credited with sentience, why can't an individual character on the holodeck also be sentient and capable of forming a human-style relationship?

What would such a relationship be like, I wonder? [And in the case of a female holodeck AI, it might even be possible to have holodeck children! Heck, the holodeck can simulate some pretty interesting physical experiences -- could a human female get the experience of being pregnant and have holodeck children as well?]

...Oh! Apparently the latter is possible: "Simulations can also be projected inside living organisms, including that of pregnancy." -- from Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki.


le_bebna_kamni: (Default)

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