Go Figure

So there have been some really stupid articles making the rounds about a joke in an episode of a sitcom named Roseanne. A leading actress for the show is named Roseanne Barr, making the title of the show a somewhat peculiar form of self-reference (her character is also named Roseanne). After waking up from sleeping, Roseanne's husband says, "We missed all the shows about black and Asian families." Roseanne responds, 'They're just like us. There, now you're all caught up!'

This isn't a particularly funny joke. On the one hand, it's a family in a sitcom saying families in sitcoms are just like them. On the other hand, it's writers of a show acknowledging their show is just like a bunch of others. Again, this is the same sort of self-reference the show's title shows. It shouldn't be surprising, and it certainly shouldn't be offensive.

Yet with society being what it is, a lot of people have taken offense. The person most responsible for this is one named Kelvin Yu, who said of it things like it:

implies that the point of any show about a minority family is simply to normalize them. That's it. The stories, the humor, the characters... not important.

Which iis all kinds of dumb. A sitcom about a black family is not special and unique simply for having a black family. Saying that black family is just like a white family in another sitcom should not be offensive. In fact, it should be viewed as a statement of equality, seeing people as being the same as one another despite any racial differences.

But as dumb as people complaining about that joke have been, I didn't want to write about it. Then I saw an even dumber response, a response to the reactions to the joke. And well, I can't resist talking about it. Be warned, it centers on a much less important issue than racial equality/discrimination.
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Restricting Medicine for Your Safety

Today I was unable to buy albuterol, standard medicine for treating asthma. I was, however, able to buy racepinephrine, a type of adrenaline which is bad at treating asthma and is dangerous.

So under United States law, I can't buy a safe and effective treatment. I can, however, buy an ineffective and dangerous treatment. Say what you want about Obamacare. The medical industry in the United States is screwed up. It really ought to be fixed.

Twenty Bucks

So today I shoplifted twenty dollars worth of stuff from Wal-Mart. I had quite a bit of difficulty. It wasn't that I had trouble not paying. In fact, the opposite was true. I probably could have stole $200 in goods without the employees noticing.

The difficulty was with the self-checkout machine. I tried to scan every item correctly and pay like I was supposed to. It just didn't let me. I didn't even know I hadn't paid for some of what I bought until I got home and looked at the receipt.

I feel a little bad, but hey, free pizza!

An Open Letter to Stephen MCIntyre

This is probably the hardest thing I've ever written. I've thought about it time and time again. I've tried to write it a hundred times, and I've deleted it for a hundred different reasons. The thoughts and emotions I want to convey are so great no words I could ever come up with could suitably express them. The words I type today will never be adequate.

To Stephen McIntyre, I want to say something. Above and beyond anything else, I want to say this. Thank you.
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Without Snark, no Matter How Much is Deserved

I've been mulling over how to write this post for a couple days now. The problem I have is what I want to talk about is so ridiculous there is no amount of snark which would be appropriate for it. I was considering writing a post about it without any snark, but I feel like doing that would give a misleading impression about the severity of what I discuss.

After weighing my options, I've decided to write the body of the post without snark while adding this disclaimer to warn people the neutral wording of this post should in no way be taken to indicate what I discuss is not ludicrous. Because it is. This post by Steve McIntyre is, without a doubt, the most absurd thing I've ever seen him write.

And make no mistake, this is no small feat. To this day, McIntyre has refused to acknowledge that Russia invaded Crimea. Russia sent military troops to occupy cities in Crimea, capture government buildings and hold its parliament hostage until they voted to secede from Ukraine.

McIntyre has not denied any of that. He doesn't admit it either. He simply ignores it and says none of that could qualify as an "invasion" because Russia had a treaty with Ukraine which allowed it to have a naval base in Crimea with some troops thers. The United States has military bases in many countries. I am certain he would McIntyre would not say the same if the United States sent troops from one of those bases to a region to occupy cities, capture government buildings and hold the government hostage,

I hope you'll forgive the segue here, but I believe a certain amount of moral outrage is appropriate for Russia's actions and the defense for them given by people like McIntyre. Plus, while today's discussion is about something nowhere near as heinous, it is somehow, more outrageous. And with that, I will refrain from any further rhetoric or snark.
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A Question of Randomness

I've been pondering a question for a while, and I can't figure out the answer. Because it's odd and analytical, I thought I'd talk about it here. It comes from a digital card game I play a bit, but the question applies more broadly.

Suppose you have a deck of cards which has been properly shuffled and dealt from. Some effect or game mechanic instructs a player to look through the deck and pull out any one card whose suit is Spades then shuffle the deck.

Now suppose you are playing the same game on a computer. The same effect or mechanic is used. Because it is on a comuter, the game can show you the player his or her options without revealing the order of the deck. Because the player does not gain any information about the order of the deck, the game does not shuffle the deck after. The deck's order is left exactly the same, save one card has been removed.

The question I've been pondering is, are these two approaches effectively the same? In terms of effective randomness, does removing a card from a randomized deck have the same effect as removing the card then shuffling the deck? If both approaches were used many times in many games, would there be any difference in the overall effect on games and the order cards are drawn in them?

Strangest Problem I've Ever Seen

I think my computer is haunted. I've spent several hours examining it today, and here is a small sampling of what I've encountered. On any webpage in Chrome, typing Ctrl+C like you would to copy something is interpreted as typing "". Ctrl+V, used to paste things, is interpreted as "". Backspace isn't recognized as being pressed at all,* but if I hold Ctrl down, it functions as the Delete key. If I open the same page in Firefox, no keys work *unless* I hold down Ctrl, then Ctrl+whatever works like normal.

And that's just the web pages. Firefox has the same problem if I type in its address bar as if I type on a webpage, but Chrome has something different. In Chrome, if I try to type in a web address, Chrome activates the Ctrl-command associated with any key which has one. So if I type the letter a, it uses Ctrl+A to highlight all text. If I type v, it pastes whatever I last copied. So forth and so on.

This is, without a doubt, the strangest thing I've ever experienced on a computer. There's a ton more to it too. The strangest part is it only affects programs which use Javascript (and possibly similar coding languages). Other programs, like Notepad, have no issues at all. It is baffling, and I think I should set my computer on fire. Or just reinstall Windows.

*For any programmers out there, the key is actually recognized as being pressed down and let up, it just isn't triggering a keypress event to do anything. I have no idea how that's possible.

How Do You Mess That (Much) Up?

I am not perfect. Nobody is. I get that. I have made plenty of stupid mistakes in my life. Even so, I don't understand how some mistakes get made. It's even more confusing when those mistakes get included in a publication. For that to happen, the author needs to make the mistake and not notice the mistake while drafting the publication. Then any editors and reviewers have to not notice the mistake. Then usually, readers have to not notice the mistake either.

For some errors, I understand how that might happen. For others, I don't. Today's post is going to discuss an example where several inter-related errors in a publication caused the paper to have dramatically different results than it would have had otherwise.
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I'll Be Back

Visitors to this site will have noticed I've been absent from it for quite some time. The reason for this is simple. I got fed up with the global warming debate because no group, side or organization involved in it I could find has the slightest bit of integrity. I couldn't even find many individuals who did. The result was nothing I said or did seemed to matter since the overall dialogue is nothing but partisan punditry.

I started doing other things with my time, and I had way more fun and got way more out of them. As time went on though, I missed some of the things that had attracted me to the global warming debate in the first place. I never really cared about the debate itself, but I always liked studying, analyzing and learning that came with it. And to be honest, I loved seeing the many absurdities one could find.

As a result, I recently started examining things again. I thought it'd be fun to go back to my original method of reading and studying, without commenting. It was. But as I did it, I once again found things I need to talk about just to "get them off my chest." Because honestly, some things are too good not to share.

I debated about coming back for a couple weeks, but the latest discovery I made is such a doozy it sealed my decision for me. From here on, I'm not going to try to "make a difference." I'm not going to worry about sides, groups or anything tied to society. I know some people will get annoyed at me for saying this, but everyone participating in the global warming debate sucks.

But that doesn't mean people can't have some fun looking at parts of the debate. That's what I plan to do. Tomorrow I'll be back, refreshed and reinvigorated, with a new post that contains what I think may be my most hilarious discovery to date. I won't say it is important, but god, is it funny.

The Chutzpah

I'm trying to get a bunch of work done on a couple gaming-related projects by Christmas so I'm not spending much time keeping up with things in the blogosphere, but a person drew my attention to a tweet and I had to highlight it:

It's really quite obscene. If you don't know why it's so outrageous, read my response to it:

Lewandowsky and many of his compatriots of his field of study have completely misused simple correlation tests by applying them to highly skewed data sets, violating basic requirements for the tests. The tests require data have a symmetrical distribution (which you can't have in a heavily skewed data set), and because of that requirement, the relationships their results represent will be symmetrical.

Lewandowsky has amazing chutzpah to violate the requirement his data have a symmetrical distribution then turn around and say his results prove there is a symmetrical relationship.