Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Extreme Hammocking

Extreme Hammocking pics

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Confusing an instance for the concept - in review of memes book

The other day I came across this negative review of the book on memes ‘Thought Contagion’ by Aaron Lynch. The review's main criticism is this: the book is far too freewheeling with the concept of memes, using it make fairly superficial explanations or anything and everything.

But the problem is, while the criticism is really about the book, and how it uses the concept of memes, the review presents the criticism as being of the notion of memes itself. But the review doesn't actually present any criticism of the notion of memes, beyond problems with the nature of Lynch’s particular account of them.

In other words, what the review does is confuse a particular theory of memes with the notion of memes. You could say that it's confusing an instance of a concept for the concept itself. I believe this kind of mistake is very common, though showing other examples is something for later.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Article About Somewhat-Complex Ecosystem Developed Within Second Life

Article about a somewhat-complex ecosystem someone has made for the game Second Life.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Michael Bloomberg's Speech, Defending Scientific Values

New York City major Michael Bloomberg's address to graduates of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, as mentioned in Slashdot. You wouldn't normally expect, from a political person like him, such strong defence of the scientific principles of evidence and truth.

Article on Music Recommendation Engines

After seeing this Slasdot article on music recommendation engines, I've just signed up with last.fm, which seems pretty good (see the article for info on the differnet options available). I wasn't really aware of these sorts of sites, and I haven't started playing with it yet, but it sounds pretty cool.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Robert Winston: the virtues of animal testing

A sensible-sounding article by Robert Winston. "Instead of being cowed by activists, scientists should trumpet the virtues of animal testing".

Matt Inglot's on Not Having a "Real Job"

Matt Inglot shares a short anecdote about people's attitudes towards an unconventional career path:

While I was busy learning about business in an unconventional way and doing so from the comfort of home, my friends were also in the process of getting their first jobs. I was then introduced to a mentality that I didn’t really understand, and still don’t. The moment they joined the workforce flipping burgers and stocking shelves they became really helpful in telling me that I should also get a job. When I insisted that I did have a job and enjoyed it very much the response was always “that’s not a real job Matt”.


The fear of somebody doing something different, something with an unsure ending, is so strongly built into society that virtually all the high schoolers I knew instinctively tried to tell me that I was on the wrong path. In reality they were scared, and trying to re-assure each other as a flock that their normal path was indeed the correct one.
I must admit that the way people prefix things with "real"--like "real job", "real music", "real world" etc etc--irritates me. It's usually a lazy, hollow way of criticising the things that are supposedly not "real" instances of the thing.