Perceiving is (the start of) creating?
A thought somewhere between improv comedy and visual art (specifically
Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and Betty Edwards' Drawing on
the Right Side of the Brain) made me think: maybe a first step towards
being good at any art form is learning how to see past the brain's
posted at: 01:46 Fri 10/May/2013 |
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Cake Day reflections
One of my previous employers had a monthly tradition of "Cake Day", a
day in which some employees would bring cake (store-bought or homemade)
and then everyone would eat it. I'd guess maybe 80% or more
participated in the eating and maybe 15% in the providing. I fell into
the eating-only group most of the time, but at least four times I can
remember, I brought something.
Well, actually, I never made cake. I don't actually like making cake,
and as far as eating it goes, it's nice but pie is better. I actually
made dessert items instead. The ones I can remember are (not in order):
Momofuku's crack pie, my 'baconated tarte tatin' (a tarte tatin with
half-slices of bacon studded inside), chilled red bean soup with sago
and coconut milk, and black tea ice cream.
To be honest, most people wanted cake. Or maybe pie. The majority of
people didn't want weird stuff like red bean soup, and the tea ice cream
wasn't a big hit either. (Even if the baconated tarte tatin was good,
it was much better hot than cold. That was on me.) I mean, if I
wanted to be popular via dessert, I would have bought ice cream cake, or
made, say, a cheesecake.
That said, I didn't want to turn anyone off, either. I genuinely really
liked everything I made for Cake Day, and I wanted people to like it
too. But it made me happy to make something a little idiosyncratic and
weird. I guess I wanted to make something that I liked and that at
least a few people really liked. Would it have been nice if everyone
liked it? Yes, but not if my heart wasn't really in it.
posted at: 02:09 Wed 13/Feb/2013 |
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My opposition to the HST in BC is based on two simple reasons.
The BC Liberals flat-out lied about their plans not to introduce it.
(see below) When Ontario did it, they did it the right way: the plan was
introduced to the public before the election, and people voted with
The BC Liberals have not operated the province with any fiscal
restraint. (Seriously, $600 million for a new roof for BC Place, and it
can't even close up while it's raining?) Instead, they've had to rely on
at least two major one-time sell-the-farm gambits (the BC Rail sale and
the HST coming with a crucial $1.6 billion one-time gift from the
feds) to make ends meet.
The BC Liberals in 2009, right before the election:
"The harmonized GST would make it harder for future provincial
governments to lower or raise sales tax rates, which reduces
flexibility. In short, a harmonized GST is not something that is
contemplated in the B.C. Liberal platform."
Just to be sure, the restaurant association asked whether it would be
consulted if the Liberals changed their minds. "We do commit to engage
in consultation with industry prior to any potential future tax changes
that affect food," was the reply.
A few months later, when the election was over, they turned around and
implemented it so quickly it was clear they'd been planning it before
the election. As further documents revealed.
Come to think of it, the lies about the sale of BC Rail - from the
state of its finances to whether it even was a sale or "merely"
a 990-year lease, remind me a lot about the similarly dishonest
post-facto fearmongering about turning over the HST.
Put it this way: I don't care whether the HST is better or worse for the
province than the GST/PST. The important things to me are that a
democracy cannot be run by lying to the electorate, and that the BC
Liberals must stop selling the future to pay for today.
posted at: 00:29 Fri 27/May/2011 |
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From comments in this Crooked Timber post, a somewhat overlooked
part of "evolutionary psychologist" Satoshi Kanazawa's extraordinarily
crap article for Psychology Today:
For example, because they have existed much longer in human
evolutionary history, Africans have more mutations in their genomes
than other races.
As comment #30 points out, this is staggeringly stupid:
Does he think that other "races" were created from scratch more
recently than Africans with no deleterious mutations? Even using his
assumptions they will have inherited harmful mutations from their
ancestors in just the same way as Africans have.
And as you say, all this ignores the fact that harmful mutations will
be selected against. In reality we expect a balance between natural
selection (lowering the frequency of harmful mutations) and new
Seriously, saying something this dumb ought to be grounds for your alma
mater to revoke your PhD.
Considering they've stood by him as he's made
other scientific and methodological gaffes, I expect LSE and
Psychology Today will probably promote Kanazawa instead.
posted at: 21:04 Wed 25/May/2011 |
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Premiums and 'Obamacare'
As the one year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act nears, The New York Times notices that health insurance
premiums still haven't gone down. Just the opposite, in fact:
We know, for example, that benefit mandates drive up the cost of
insurance. This ought to be self-evident to anyone who's ever
purchased, say, car insurance: A bigger benefit package means more
expensive premiums. The same is true in the health insurance market.
Now, is there anything in that NYT article that Reason left out?
Some insurance industry lobbyists say the new federal health care law
is driving up premiums. But Vincent Capozzi, senior vice president for
sales and customer service at Harvard Pilgrim, said that only one
percentage point of the increases here was attributable to the federal
law, mainly its requirement for free coverage of preventive services.
Another percentage point results from new state laws requiring coverage
of hearing aids and certain treatments for autism, Mr. Capozzi said.
Most of the remainder, he said, reflects increases in the use and cost
of medical care by small-group customers, with adjustments for
demographic characteristics like age.
This in a story that's talking about increases this year of 20-40
percentage points! Perhaps mandates are not, in fact, the main driver
of costs, hmm, Reason?
posted at: 04:01 Tue 08/Mar/2011 |
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