GCU Dancer on the Midway
Paul Wright's blog
Recent Entries 
St James Infirmary – Primus Motor (harmonica, mandolin, doublebass) – YouTube
Soulful harmonica version of the blues standard.
(tags: blues music st-james-infirmary)
The Porn Block Fiasco goes mainstream « Complicity
“The knowledge that attempting to block porn on the internet is bound to backfire has now gone mainstream. (BBC News, Telegraph) Well, there’s a temptation to say “we told you so”, because we did. Repeatedly. So far, sites we know that are subject to overblocking on either TalkTalk and BT include BishUK (a sexual education site for teenagers), LGBTfriend, Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, Sexual Abuse Scotland, Doncaster Domestic Abuse Helpline and Reducing The Risk (Another domestic abuse help site).”
(tags: porn internet censorship talktalk sex filtering david-cameron)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.

Can anyone recommend one? One of those free 1 hour consultations would be nice.

Also, if anyone’s got any experience in taking action to get your deposit back, I’d welcome the benefit of your experience. I’m not going to give details in a public forum, but you can get in touch privately (paul AT noctua.org.uk or Facebook PM me or something) if you want to get into specifics.


Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
The science and magic of Lindy Hop | Andy Connelly | Science | theguardian.com
“Great partner dancers may not know it but they are masters of space, time and Newton’s laws of motion.” Of course we know it: for example, I’ve decided my “dance name” is “The Oncoming Storm”. (I also suspect I know who the Alistair credited at the end is, as he’s a Cambridge person).
(tags: lindy physics dancing lindyhop guardian newton mechanics)
liv | Against Dawkins
Is the gene centred view (of which Dawkins is a major proponent) the best one?
(tags: genetics genes richard-dawkins selfish-gene biology science genotype phenotype)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
25th Nov 2013, 01:14 am - Link blog: sound, cow, dmca, copyright
Striking Back Against Censorship — Blog — WordPress.com
WordPress files suit against two people who misused the provisions of the USA’s Digital Millenium Copyright Act to suppress speech about them they don’t like. Bravo to WordPress, though as the miscreants are in the UK and India, I’m not sure how much good a California court will do.
(tags: wordpress dmca copyright law legal censorship)
Find the Invisible Cow
cow cow cow cow COW COW COWCOWCOW!
(tags: games sound cow funny)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Uncertain Biological Basis of Morality – Robert Wright – The Atlantic
“Squaring recent research suggesting we’re “naturally moral” with all the strife in the world.”
(tags: morality science evolution utilitarianism joshua-greene trolley-problem)
Djina Unchained
A social justice blogger. I think it’s a parody, but it’s hard to be sure.
(tags: sjw social-justice privilege tumblr patriarchy feminism)
The cult of Cthulhu: real prayer for a fake tentacle | The Verge
Someone published a Necronomicon. I never knew that.
(tags: necronomicon h.p.-lovecraft fiction magic horror aleister-crowley)
Waterstones’s social stories · Storify
Turns out Twitter is useful for something after all. Waterstones (the bookshop) in Oxford Street have been writing short stories with theirs. I liked “Quantum Leap”.
(tags: twitter waterstones oxford-street books bookshop funny fiction storify)
Burkhard Bilger: Inside Google’s Driverless Car : The New Yorker
The engineers behind Google’s driveless car.
(tags: google cars robots automotive driveless artificial-intelligence)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
What Long Hours Really Mean | We Are Mammoth
Via Hacker News, where there’s the usual debate about all this. Previously I’ve read research which says you can get gains out of doing it for short bursts but must then rest: longer periods of overtime end up producing less, not more. This article is more about the cultural impact, though.
(tags: work programming hours overtime business productivity)
Questions to ask your potential employer | Hacker News
Linked to the Hacker News thread rather than the original post as the commenters at HN came up with some good additional ones.
(tags: work software jobs interview interviewing)
Lies, Damned Lies, And Facebook (Part 4 of ∞) | Slate Star Codex
Scott at Slate Start Codex points out that there’s no good evidence that those “Don’t be that guy” posters have reduced the incidence of rape.
(tags: society crime advertising posters rape statistics)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
NSA files decoded: Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations explained | World news | theguardian.com
The Guardian’s summary of the story so far. Nicely presented.
(tags: politics snowden nsa surveillance encryption guardian privacy edward-snowden government gchq)
Attenborrowed
David Attenborough’s commentary on the mating habits of pop stars on MTV. “Spectacular wattles”. Via jwz.
(tags: mtv twerking nature miley-cyrus funny documentary robin-thicke david-attenborough)
The Right Match: A Short Documentary – YouTube
“Drs. Dorry Segev and Sommer Gentry are innovative researchers who connect the complexities of mathematics with the intricacies of organ transplantation.” They came up with using graph theory and integer programming to match up reciprocal kidney donors (that is, where someone wants to donate to their family member but they aren’t compatible, so they swap with another incompatible pair). These guys are also swing dancers, so this came via /r/SwingDancing.
(tags: transplant graph lindyhop swing medicine kidney mathematics science)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
31st Oct 2013, 01:13 am - Link blog: iss, chris-hadfield, space
Chris Hadfield: out of this world | Science | The Guardian
The Guardian interview with Chris Hadfield, on going into space and getting on with life aftewards. Via Mefi.
(tags: chris-hadfield iss space)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
The Course of Their Lives – JSOnline
A fascinating series of articles on the experiences of medical students dissecting a body during their training, interspersed with the reflections of someone leaving her body to the medical school. Via Mefi.
(tags: body anatomy death medical-school dissection medicine)
What Can We Learn About Human Psychology from Christian Apologetics? – Less Wrong
Chris Hallquist tries to work out what’s going on with apologetics. It’s Less Wrong, so *do* read the comments.
(tags: religion christianity less-wrong psychology apologetics chris-hallquist)
DanceSport DJ Ice
This chap has made ballroom remixes of various popular tunes. Epic (or something).
(tags: music dancing remix ballroom)
Joe Pass & Ella Fitzgerald – Duets in Hannover 1975 – YouTube
Great stuff. Via Mefi. Ella’s on about half an hour in.
(tags: singing jazz duet joe-pass ella-fitzgerald video)
Solitude and Leadership – William Deresiewicz
William Deresiewicz on the necessity for those who would lead to find time alone to concentrate their thoughts.
(tags: army leadership solitude william-deresiewicz)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang
Ted Chiang’s short about memory, time and loss. It’s also an alien first contact story.
(tags: heptapod story science-fiction time ted-chiang sci-fi language first-contact memory)
Cambridge: Poles apart Why Warsaw beats Cambridge Blog Mike Levy
“A weekend in Warsaw made me think about Cambridge at night. In Cambridge after 6pm the city centre empties ready for the only true night time economy: binge drinking. The Market Square alive with stall holders and shoppers at 5pm magically transforms into a ghostly empty space one hour later. It is a Cinderella midnight moment that never fails to astonish. By dusk the Cambridge ball is over and the Prince has gone home to watch T.V. Only a lonely burger van takes up residence creating a sad and soulless image that realist painter Edward Hopper could capture.” Yeah, it’s crap.
(tags: night-life drinking alcohol night cambridge warsaw)
Why You Shouldn’t Support Operation Christmas Child | Mymumdom
…unless you want to contribute towards evangelical Christian evangelising, of course. But apparently some schools in the UK are collecting shoeboxes of gifts for the Samaritan’s Purse organisation without fully realising what they’re about.
(tags: religion samaritans-purse christianity christmas-child christmas evangelism)
www.me.uk RevK’s rants: Censoring the Internet
Chap who runs an ISP goes to dinner with some MPs and discusses filtering.
(tags: politics uk porn filtering censorship isp internet)
Unreliable research: Trouble at the lab | The Economist
“Scientists like to think of science as self-correcting. To an alarming degree, it is not.” Talks about the problems with reproducing research.
(tags: economist journals research statistics science)
Warning Signs in Experimental Design and Interpretation
(tags: significance experiment maths probability research mathematics statistics science)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
The 29 Stages Of A Twitterstorm
Tells it how it is.
(tags: twitter controversy funny storm satire)
Age-ism, Transhumanism, and Silicon Valley’s Cognitive Dissonance — Better Humans — Medium
“If you’re irrelevant at thirty, why live forever?”
(tags: silicon-valley ageism transhumanism aging)
Ken Auletta: Can the Guardian Take Its Aggressive Investigations Global? : The New Yorker
The NYT looks at the history of the Graun and its recent scoops (the NSA files). Apparently the paper is running out of money. :-(
(tags: journalism nsa surveillance guardian edward-snowden internet gchq newspaper)
Hard Sci-Fi Movies (HardSciFiMovies) on Twitter
Hard SF plots from Twitter. Via AndrewDucker.
(tags: science-fiction scifi movies funny space)
Saint Paul says shit
Although you won’t find many English translations admitting it (try the Vulgate).
(tags: philipians paul st-paul bible language shit)
Reverse Engineering a D-Link Backdoor – /dev/ttyS0
Interesting post on using a disassembler to find a backdoor someone left in a bunch of D-Link routers.
(tags: dlink backdoor programming hacking router)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
▶ Jazz Fever – Rachel Bloom ft. Seth Green – YouTube
It’s the fever that you get from too much jazz.
(tags: charleston seth-green rachel-bloom jazz funny video)
Spartacus Educational: Ralph Miliband and Lord Rothermere
The man Heil got the diary quote from explains why Miliband senior might not have felt so welcome in the UK: “The Miliband family were Jews living in Belgium who had arrived in May 1940 after fleeing persecution from the Nazis who had recently taken over western Europe. Ralph was shocked by the level of anti-Semitism that existed in England at the time. Ironically, much of this anti-Semitism and dislike of Europeans had come from the propaganda campaign that had taken place in the 1930s. The man behind this campaign was Lord Rothermere, the grandfather of the current Lord Rothermere, the owner of The Daily Mail.”
(tags: hitler antisemitism miliband ralph-miliband daily-mail facism rothermere)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
29th Sep 2013, 05:03 pm - Elsewhere: Atheism and objective rights

Back in August, Clark at Popehat did a slightly confusing posting on how some atheists are confused about rights because they speak as if rights exist while also saying that nothing but matter exists. Clark seems to be one of those theists who thinks that gods are be required to exist for objective rights to exist, but he doesn’t really say why he thinks that. (The real trick in all these arguments is specifying quite what you mean by “objective”. I enjoyed John D’s quote from Richard Joyce: “So many debates in philosophy revolve around the issue of objectivity versus subjectivity that one may be forgiven for assuming that someone somewhere understands this distinction.”)

I argued that Clark had got materialism wrong. Someone asked how any atheist can avoid the conclusions of Alex Rosenberg. I slightly facetiously replied “by not being an eliminative materialist”, but I can do better than that, I think. Rosenberg gets a lot of counterargument from people who are avowed naturalists and philosophically respectable. It doesn’t seem unreasonable for an atheist, especially one who isn’t an expert on philosophy, not to share Rosenberg’s conclusions.

Typically, Christian apologists ignore any distinction between varieties of naturalistic worldview (see Luke M’s interview with John Shook) and go with something like “if atheism is true, we’re nothing but matter in motion, chemical fizzes like soda spilled on the ground”. They then make an argument which uses the fallacy of composition to “show” that properties which matter and energy don’t have can’t be real on atheism (by which they mean some kind of materialism). This is all bunk, but pretty popular bunk, at least in the blogosphere, if not in philosophy journals.

Finally, I got into Yudkowsky’s belief in moral absolutes, which is interesting as Yudkowsky’s an atheist. Massimo P had a post about that back in January, where he sort of disagreed with Yudkowsky but then actually seemed to agree with him if you stripped away the layers of words a bit. My most significant comment on that is here. Yudkowsky’s transition from what looks like mathematical Platonism to the claim that morality is absolute deserves a post of its own, which I might get around to at some point. There’s a lesson for atheists, though: atheist appeals to evolution as a moral justifier are confused. Evolution might be a (partial) answer to “why do I care about X?” but not “why should I care about X?”


Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
29th Sep 2013, 04:59 pm - Elsewhere: Cambridge vintage night

I haven’t had much time for proper blogging lately, but I’ve been commenting elsewhere a bit, so I’m doing a series of short posts about that in an attempt to get back into the proper blogging habit.

Cambridge Vintage Night

I went to the inaugural Cambridge Vintage Night recently, so I was interested to read what Anthony thought of it and to stick my oar in:

One odd thing about this event was that I wasn’t quite sure what it was trying to be: it wasn’t quite advertised as a lindy event, but it was advertised to the local lindy hoppers (on Facebook) and it started with an introductory lindy lesson. There was a reasonable contingent of people from the various lindy scenes around Cambs, but we were outnumbered by muggles. I think everyone complaining about the music being too fast is a lindy hopper and so they mean “too many fast songs for (sustained) lindy” (which I’d agree with). I’m not sure what the non-dancers thought of it. The other Paul (who, if he’s who I think he is, runs a fun local event outside Cambridge, he’s probably too modest to say) has some good points on how you welcome in newbies at lindy events. There are plenty of people in Cambs who know how to do events like that if that’s what you want your event to be.

Playing for lindy hoppers is a different thing from playing from people who’ve come to bop around while wearing flapper dresses (there’s nothing wrong with the latter, of course). Lindy hoppers do turn up to things where there might be suitable music and make what we can of it without feeling hard done by if it doesn’t work out. But if you’ve sort of positioned it as a lindy thing and then it doesn’t work, the people who came thinking it was a lindy thing will be annoyed (hi Mark!)


Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Swing 101 — Etiquette & Floorcraft | Swungover*
Mr Darcy gives some etiquette tips.
(tags: dancing lindy floorcraft etiquette lindyhop)
The Slow Winter
A lament that the low hanging fruit in processor design has gone, but done in a crazy discursive way with SENTENCES IN CAPS. Fun.
(tags: moores-law hardware funny usenix digits processors)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Making Light: Victory to the People
A history of the development of the Biblical canon, recounted as if it were fan fiction.
(tags: canon religion bible nicea)
Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath? – NYTimes.com
No, but you can note that some of them are Callous-Unemotional and may grow up to be psychopaths.
(tags: psychology sociopath children brain psychopath)
Russell Brand and the GQ awards: ‘It’s amazing how absurd it seems’ | Culture | The Guardian
Russell Brand on being ejected from the GQ awards for making a joke about Hugo Boss, the sponsors. He’s a good writer.
(tags: russell-brand comedy awards hugo-boss gq)
Putting Time In Perspective
Nice little timelines zooming out from the day to human history to evolutionary history to the history of the Universe.
(tags: time physics universe evolution)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
The Core of ‘Mind and Cosmos’
Thomas Nagel wrote a short outline of his book "Mind and Cosmos" for the New York Times. He attributes a lot of the criticism he’s been getting to people worried that he’s giving comfort to theism. If so, that reflects badly on the critics, because arguments are not soldiers, etc. etc. Via Massimo Pigliucci.
(tags: nagel philosophy consciousness thomas-nagel science)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
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