bin

Karmway

I don't think I ever got around to posting about the philosophy of Karmway. So let's do that now.

Its basis is a concept not entirely unlike karma: good and evil deeds affect the state of your soul, and the sum total of these deeds affects what will happen to you after death. However, an important principle in Karmway is the belief that if you lead another person to begin doing good, then you are indirectly responsible for the good deeds they then go on to perform. The more good they do, the more good karma you acquire from having converted them.

(The converse applies to converting other people to do evil, but it is generally assumed that good karma is preferable to evil karma.)

This continues on indefinitely: if a person you've converted to good then goes on to convert someone else who becomes a great exemplar of goodness, then you accrue good karma for having converted the person who converted them. And so on and so forth: the successful adherent of Karmway is like the topmost point of an ever-expanding pyramid of good deeds.

Logically, this means that it's in your best interest to not only convince other people to be good, but to convince them to actively proselytize others into the philosophy of Karmway, so that they will in turn be motivated to convert others into the business of converting others to good. A purely utilitarian moral philosophy virally driven by unenlightened self-interest.
bin

New Vocabulary

I'm coining the phrase "cargo cult pedantry". (Write that in your dictionaries now.) A cargo cult pedant is someone who has seen or heard other people being pedantic about something and decides to join in (so that they too can experience that sweet, succulent feeling of superiority that we pedants enjoy all the time), without actually understanding the thing they're being pedantic about.

Example: Pedants know that the third millennium AD started in the year 2001. That's because the years 1-1000 were the first millennium, and 1001-2000 were the second. That makes 2001-3000 the third.

Some other folks heard this, and -- not quite understanding it -- extrapolated that this means that the new decade after the naughties (or whatever cutesy term you prefer to use to refer the period that ended with December 31, 2009) does not start until 2011. Despite the facts that A) any ten years form a decade, regardless of when they start, and B) the decades in question are specifically identified by the second-to-last digit of the year (the 80's, the 90's, the 00's, etc.).

It is true that the two hundred and second decade AD hasn't started yet (and won't start until 2011). But how many people actually care about the two hundred and second decade AD? The rest of us are still busy trying to come up with the correct cutesy name for the 2010's.

Does anyone have any other good examples of cargo cult pedantry?
bin

Writing Exercise Thingy #2: Result

Based on citizenpsmith's suggestion here:

Just listen to those violins. You can hear it in their voices: "We're the melody; we're the harmony. We matter. You don't. Nyeahhh!" They think they're so much more important than anything else in the orchestra. Whose idea was it to let such a whiny, egotistical, touchy, demanding, narcissistic and just plain irksome instrument have the main parts? They would have been insufferable even if there were just two of them. But to have two dozen of them -- two dozen! -- is madness. Pure madness.

Give me a cello any day. I have never met a cello who was anywhere near as high strung as your typical violin. Have you ever talked to a cello? I mean, really talked to one? There is depth there, my friend. Not like those shallow violins.

Remember the good old days? Back when "classical music" meant harpsichords? Well, alright, I admit neither do I. But it must have been glorious. I've always wanted to meet a harpsichord. I had been hoping that I might get to work with one this time around.

But no, what do I get instead? Violins. Violins, violins, violins. Throw them all out, say I! Replace them with woodwinds! Or brass! I'd even prefer a herd of pompous tubas (and truly, how can anyone be pompous when they're best known for playing "oom-pah-pah oom-pah-pah"? they're barely a step above accordions, and that's saying something) over these screeching banshees.

I have a dream, though. I dream that some day -- not necessarily right now, perhaps not even soon, but some day -- there will be a piece written for us. And it won't be the violins or the harpsichords or the tubas out there in front playing the main melody line. It'll be me.

I don't pretend it'll be easy! But I think, working together with my brothers and sisters, we might just be able to pull it off. And for now, we wait. We wait and dream and practice. We must be ready when the time comes for the "Concerto per il Triangolo".
bin

Writing Exercise Thingy #1: Result

Based on inkylj's suggestion here:

Nuclear Fusion
by Admiral Jota

A proton is a baryonic mass
Whose charge we classify with symbol "plus".
Electrons (which are in the lepton class),
Are opposite: that's negative to us.

Take one of each: an atom you'll create,
Called hydrogen (the simplest element).
Netrons are a means to add some weight,
But not its basic type to reinvent.

Inside the heart of any healthy sun,
Great pressures force two atoms to become
Alchemic'ly combined, a single one:
Great energy released, plus helium.

So on, so forth, from two to three to four:
Thus oxygen and iron and gold and more!
bin

Games that were never made...

...but perhaps should have been:

Where in You is Carmen Sandiego?

Carmen and her gang have been shrunken down and injected into your body! Now they're zipping around your bloodstream, swiping pieces of you that you've never heard of. Fortunately, you have access to a micro-miniature remote-controlled robot that you can use to investigate the thefts and track her down. Advanced A&P instruction, in a style that's friendly to elementary school students.
bin

rawrrrr!

Today, my car's gas tank was ripped apart from the inside by a tiny zombie dinosaur.

That's the last time I fill it with undeaded gasoline.
bin

A Question About The Slingshot Effect (Not Related To Visiting The 1980's To Collect Whales)

The stuff I've read about using gravity assists say that you fly in close to a planet, and if your angle is right, you'll swing around in a hyperbolic orbit and fly off in the opposite direction. And they also say that the reason you don't break any laws of physics doing this is because you're stealing some of that planet's kinetic energy from its own merry orbit around the Sun.

So what would happen if you attempted a gravity assist using a body that was, for all intents and purposes, stationary?