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19th May 2014, 11:45 pm - What I did on my Hullidays

A combination of notes on the lessons and general diary stuff about Hullzapoppin, a dance camp in Hull. I don’t always make these public out of a vague fear of the lindy blogsphere descending on me and telling me what I got wrong, but what the HellHull. Possibly only of interest to dancers, though the rest of you may be interested in the part with the blow up doll, I suppose.

Friday

u6EDiUp the A1 and over the Humber bridge to Hull. A nun walking in the grounds of the Endsleigh Centre welcomed us in and wished us a lovely weekend. We registered and got our wristbands: Intermediate Advanced ones were black, which goes with everything.

We stayed in Westfield House, which was great. It’s a big house in a leafy suburb of Hull. All of the 4 rooms were occupied by lindy hoppers, as it turned out. The landlady made the breakfast room available at all hours, which came in handy for late night toast parties. Unfortunately, the house is on the market, so we may not be able to stay there next year.

We ate in Fudge, which seems to be the subject of some sort of smear campaign on Trip Advisor but which was rather good.

Back to the Endsleigh Centre for the Friday night dance. It was crowded but manageable. I danced with once of the teachers without realising she was a teacher, so don’t technically deserve my Courage Wolf meme, but managed not to totally embarrass myself.

Read on: This one time, at dance camp...


Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Speeding Up Your Engineering Org, Part I: Beyond the Cost Center Mentality
Make investments in reducing latency rather than just comparing hours spent with value gained.
(tags: programming management latency speed)
Programming Sucks
“Websites that are glorified shopping carts with maybe three dynamic pages are maintained by teams of people around the clock, because the truth is everything is breaking all the time, everywhere, for everyone. Right now someone who works for Facebook is getting tens of thousands of error messages and frantically trying to find the problem before the whole charade collapses.”
(tags: programming code internet funny)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Speeding Up Your Engineering Org, Part I: Beyond the Cost Center Mentality
Make investments in reducing latency rather than just comparing hours spent with value gained.
(tags: programming management latency speed)
Programming Sucks
“Websites that are glorified shopping carts with maybe three dynamic pages are maintained by teams of people around the clock, because the truth is everything is breaking all the time, everywhere, for everyone. Right now someone who works for Facebook is getting tens of thousands of error messages and frantically trying to find the problem before the whole charade collapses.”
(tags: programming code internet funny)

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

The link posting script (which copies my bookmarks from Delicious to occasional blog posts here) has gone awry and posted the same link three times, so I’ve turned it off until I can fix it.

Last time this happened, it was because Delicious was feeding it the same link with different Globally Unique Identifiers, so maybe they’ve done that again. The obvious fix is just to use the link’s URL rather than the GUID from Delicious, so I’ll do that when I get a moment.

Apologies for spamming your feeds/friends lists/newsfeed/wherever else you’ve been reading the blog.


Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Men who post on “Women who eat on tubes”
The lackwits who post on “Women Who Eat on Tubes” now have their own group dedicated to them, “Men Who Post on Women Who Eat on Tubes”. Sauce for the goose, and all that. The best thread on it is this one, where they take it in turns to pretend to be one of the WWEOT posters: “Misandry privacy too seriously chill lad women only joke reverse, ironic turned silly time sport lift even do you. 2.2 Southampton beer banter opinonated BA Sports Science & Geography. Women rotten upturned collar hate women but Justin Beiber haircut and posh holiday photo. Hat look at my hat look in my photo I am wearing a hat probably. LAD” Indeed.
(tags: funny satire sexism tube london underground misogyny privacy photography)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Men who post on “Women who eat on tubes”
The lackwits who post on “Women Who Eat on Tubes” now have their own group dedicated to them, “Men Who Post on Women Who Eat on Tubes”. Sauce for the goose, and all that. The best thread on it is this one, where they take it in turns to pretend to be one of the WWEOT posters: “Misandry privacy too seriously chill lad women only joke reverse, ironic turned silly time sport lift even do you. 2.2 Southampton beer banter opinonated BA Sports Science & Geography. Women rotten upturned collar hate women but Justin Beiber haircut and posh holiday photo. Hat look at my hat look in my photo I am wearing a hat probably. LAD” Indeed.
(tags: funny satire sexism tube london underground misogyny privacy photography)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Men who post on “Women who eat on tubes”
The lackwits who post on “Women Who Eat on Tubes” now have their own group dedicated to them, “Men Who Post on Women Who Eat on Tubes”. Sauce for the goose, and all that. The best thread on it is this one, where they take it in turns to pretend to be one of the WWEOT posters: “Misandry privacy too seriously chill lad women only joke reverse, ironic turned silly time sport lift even do you. 2.2 Southampton beer banter opinonated BA Sports Science & Geography. Women rotten upturned collar hate women but Justin Beiber haircut and posh holiday photo. Hat look at my hat look in my photo I am wearing a hat probably. LAD” Indeed.
(tags: funny satire sexism tube london underground misogyny privacy photography)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
FOLLOWERS FIRST – Jazz As Movement
Nathan Bugh writes: “Not only is following active and difficult, it is also the prerequisite for leading. When it comes to learning and teaching basic, lead/follow skills, the follower’s technique is a much more immediate priority than the leader’s technique. Her dancing ability, her awareness, strength, balance, use of the floor, etc. are the elements from which spring her following ability AND the leader’s leading ability. She is the beginning of the logic in the dance. In class, the followers empower the leaders to lead and to learn. Leaders judge their progress according to the results that their partners embody. Followers are the focus of the lead/follow process, and they have to follow before the leaders can lead.”
(tags: jazz lindy hop swing dancing following leading)
OkCupid | Aithrobates / 29 / M / Detroit, Michigan
Scott Alexander uses his OKCupid profile to protest OKCupid’s protest of the appointment of Brendan Eich as Mozilla’s CEO: “You should message me if You have some kind of weird fetish for people who protest decisions made by online dating sites. Must enjoy long walks on the beach during which we talk about nothing except how terrible OKCupid’s decision was.”
(tags: okcupid brendan-eich mozilla homosexuality)
Why I’m cool with what happened to Brendan Eich
Chris Hallquist was in favour of Eich getting the boot: “The boycott / internal protest against Eich worked because lots of people agreed with it. The employees of OKCupid and Mozilla behind the effort have no power, not even de facto power, that they could turn against a less deserving target. Nor is Eich being cast out of polite society. Really people, get a grip.”
(tags: chris-hallquist okcupid mozilla marriage brendan-eich homosexuality)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
In Heaven We’ll All Be Sociopaths
“One question I see tossed around sometimes is how people could be happy in heaven knowing that their loved ones are suffering in hell. It may seem odd, but I never even thought of this problem as an evangelical. It wasn’t until later that I came upon it, already an atheist myself. Curious, I decided to look up how Christian apologists respond to this problem. I have to admit to being kind of horrified by the answers I’ve found.”
(tags: heaven hell religion sociopath christianity)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Fake Buddha Quotes | “Nope, I didn’t say that.” — The Buddha
Things the Buddha didn’t say.
(tags: buddhism quotes misattribution)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
zenicurean: The freshness of these ideas, it burns.
What’s new in the strategy board games world. Some of these do sound a bit familiar… (Via andrewducker).
(tags: games satire boardgames settlers germans)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Modern Microprocessors – A 90 Minute Guide!
Nice article about how modern microprocessors work.
(tags: microprocessor cpu hardware memory cache)
The Aural Majority: Do You Want to Swing, Virginia?
What makes music swing? With sound samples.
(tags: swing music shuffle rhythm)
Our quantum reality problem – Adrian Kent – Aeon
An article about quantum theory and the philosophy of science.
(tags: physics quantum research philosophy science everrett)
Printable True Bugs Wait Posters | natashenka
Abstain from strcpy! Wait for the string handling functions which are right for you.
(tags: programming funny security bugs C stdlib)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Why I’m speaking up for Islam against the loudmouths who have hijacked it | Maajid Nawaz | Comment is free | The Guardian
“I tweeted a cartoon of Jesus and Mo. My aim was to carve out a space where Muslims can be heard without fearing the blasphemy charge.”
(tags: mohammed islam jesus cartoon twitter maajid-nawaz liberal-democrats)
The Philosophers’ Mail
It’s the Daily Mail as if written by philosophers: “We look at the stories of the mass media, then put our own philosophical gloss on them, in the direction of truth, wisdom and complexity.” I’m not sure how long they’ll be able to keep it up, but currently it’s pretty good.
(tags: mail philosophy stoicism paparazzi daily-mail)
Disharmony at Bletchley Park | Gareth Halfacree
All is not well at Bletchley, it appears, with tensions between the two museums on the site and between the guides (who are excellent) and the management of Bletchley Park Trust. What a shame, it’s a great place to visit.
(tags: bletchley charity uk computing history museum)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Why I’m speaking up for Islam against the loudmouths who have hijacked it | Maajid Nawaz | Comment is free | The Guardian
“I tweeted a cartoon of Jesus and Mo. My aim was to carve out a space where Muslims can be heard without fearing the blasphemy charge.”
(tags: mohammed islam jesus cartoon twitter maajid-nawaz liberal-democrats)
The Philosophers’ Mail
It’s the Daily Mail as if written by philosophers: “We look at the stories of the mass media, then put our own philosophical gloss on them, in the direction of truth, wisdom and complexity.” I’m not sure how long they’ll be able to keep it up, but currently it’s pretty good.
(tags: mail philosophy stoicism paparazzi daily-mail)
Disharmony at Bletchley Park | Gareth Halfacree
All is not well at Bletchley, it appears, with tensions between the two museums on the site and between the guides (who are excellent) and the management of Bletchley Park Trust. What a shame, it’s a great place to visit.
(tags: bletchley charity uk computing history museum)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
The Millions : One Fixed Point: “Sherlock,” Sherlock Holmes, and the British Imagination
Why we love Sherlock.
(tags: sherlock sherlock-holmes britain television books)
13 reasons why I am taking the Daily Mail to the Press Complaints Commission | British InfluenceBritish Influence
The Heil lied about Romanian immigration to the UK. This isn’t that surprising, but it’s nice to see someone do the research to prove it.
(tags: dailymail fail journalism lies uk romania immigration politics)
The Descent to C
Simon Tatham introduces C to people who’ve only worked in high level languages, the innocent little darlings. You ‘ad array bounds checking? You were lucky!
(tags: C programming language)
The Liberal Democrats face a true test of liberty | Nick Cohen | Comment is free | The Observer
“The real scandal in the Liberal Democrats is not leading the news. Extremists are menacing the career and life of a Liberal Democrat politician and respectable society hardly considers these authentically scandalous threats to be a scandal at all. The scandal, in short, is that there is no scandal.”
(tags: islam libdems liberal-democrats nick-clegg islamism freedom twitter mohammed)
The Millions : Read Me! Please!: Book Titles Rewritten to Get More Clicks
Classic literature titles re-written as those click-bait headlines you see spreading around Facebook: “They Told Him White Whales Were Impossible to Hunt. That’s When He Went Literally Crazy.” Via marn.
(tags: creative funny literature parody)

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

Someone calling themselves “Neo” from the Skeptic Arena emailed me on the subject of my previous article, sending me a Word document with his replies in. I pointed out that emailing Word documents around is a bit odd, showed him where the comment box is, pointed out that he didn’t seem to have read the previous post properly, and went on my way.

Neo wasn’t content with that, and has now featured our conversation on his web site as a another Word document. Publically posting private emails is rude, but seeing as Neo has done it, he’s lost the right to complain about the following. I’ve replied to selected points below the cut, but you can see the whole thing in all its glory on Neo’s site, if you’re worried I’m being a bit too selective.

If you’re short of time, here’s what you can learn from this:

  • Atheists aren’t necessarily more rational than anyone else. Some of them write green ink emails to other atheists.
  • Arguments are not soldiers: it’s not rational to attack an argument merely because it’s for the opposing “side”.
  • Some people take this to the next level: they confuse mentioning an argument with using it, and attack the person mentioning anyway. Here’s a Christian example, and another atheist example, both directed at me. If both sides argue with me, I’ve achieved perfect balance in the Force! (edit: actually, one is directed at Yvain and I just pointed it out).

Cut for detail


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

God, yesterdayMetafilter wonders whether God exists, or more specially, whether that William Lane Craig chap has good arguments for the proposition1. I missed it all kicking off, so only contributed at the end.

By the point I noticed it, the thread had got into people talking bollocks about induction (mainly the sort of nonsense I examine below, but also including atheists who just don’t get what the problems are). I think the tactic Stephen Law calls going nuclear must be in some apologetics manual somewhere, because you certainly see a lot of it about. So, this is how I’d respond to that:

All this induction stuff is very interesting, but let’s go back to shivohum’s original comment.

This uses a standard Christian apologetical strategy (one that Craig has used himself) in response an atheist’s to use of a naive evidentialism to discount religious claims. If an atheist says “All reasonable beliefs require evidence, there is no evidence for God, therefore belief in God is unreasonable”, the clever apologist will ask “All reasonable beliefs? Really? What evidence could there be for your belief that all beliefs require evidence?” They will then go on to point out that it seems we all have to accept some unevidenced beliefs (induction is a good example for the apologist because it’s pretty hard to see how we would get evidence for belief in it without making a circular argument, as Hume knew, but Cartesian doubts about the external world are also popular). “Aha!” says the apologist, “you see, we all rely on faith, and my belief in God, angels, demons and whatnot is just an article of faith, like your belief in this induction thing you’re so fond of. We’re not so different, you and I.”

The atheist’s evidentialism is pretty naive and they probably deserve that sort of response, but still, there seems to be something wrong with equating the rejection of fairly radical sceptical positions with belief in God. I think Chris Hallquist has it right: “belief in the Christian God isn’t very much at all like most of the common-sense beliefs commonly cited as threated by Descartes & Hume-style skepticism (like belief in the reliability of our senses), but is an awful lot like beliefs most Christians wouldn’t accept without evidence–namely, the beliefs of other religions. That kind of response is very hard to reject without special pleading on behalf of Christianity, and doesn’t involve commitment to any potentially troublesome epistemic principles.”

That is, religious beliefs do seem to be the sorts of things that require evidence, as even Christians agree if you ask them what it’d take to convince them of the truth of some other religion. If a Christian were to say, “no, but, you see, it’s only Christian beliefs which are like rejection of Cartesian doubt”, we’d just say “riiiiight“. OTOH, if it’s not just Christian beliefs which are now OK because we all have to rely on faith sometimes, why not be a pagan, Muslim or Pastafarian instead?

I followed up with another comment explaining why Craig gets (admittedly grudging) respect from atheists2. I also talked about what I think is the shakiest point of the Kalam argument: where Craig needs to show that the transcendental “cause” must be something like a person: he says mathematical concepts don’t have causal powers (a recent Mefi may disagree) but then wants to argue for that the best explanation is a person who lacks several of properties of all persons we encounter (not material, not existing in time) and has properties unlike that of any persons we encounter. If we’re allowed to do that sort of thing, why not just say that there’s at least one mathematical concept with causal potency? Or even that there’s maybe more than 2 kinds of transcendental thing, for all we know? Someone must have written a paper about this, right?


  1. In reality, we all know God exists, otherwise who’s writing that Facebook page, eh? Checkmate, atheists. 

  2. You’ll see atheists explaining that Dawkins was right not to have a debate with Craig because Craig supports genocide (by which they mean the Biblical massacres like the one recorded in Numbers 31). This is silly: Dawkins will not debate with Craig because Dawkins would lose, horribly (note that one can concede this and still remain an atheist). Dawkins’s refusal to dance with Craig is prudent, but let’s not see it as some great moral stand. 


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

As you might have worked out from my previous post asking for solicitors, I had a spot of bother getting my deposit back from my former landlord. This is now sorted out to my satisfaction, but it was pretty stressful while it was going on.

With the benefit of hindsight, I would offer these lessons for tenants. This is what helped me, but isn’t legal advice.

  • If you have agreed to move out early and get the cleaning done ASAP because the landlords have new tenants they’re desperate to get moved in to the place (presumably because the new tenants might go elsewhere otherwise), you have leverage. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have agreed to surrender the keys and the tenancy until I got as much deposit back as I thought was reasonable. We took the landlord’s word for it that we could give have the agency do an inspection (where I gave them back the keys) and then get our cleaner back in the same day to resolve any issues the inspection found (which the cleaner’s guarantee provided for), allowing the new tenants to move in the following day. What actually happened was that the agency didn’t issue their report until the next day, and then the landlord said our cleaner could not go back in after the tenancy ended because of spurious reasons, and proposed to charge us for getting their own cleaner in instead.
  • Thanks to Sylv, I found out about Shelter’s helpline, which was useful.
  • If you’re told you have to dry clean curtains, check the tenancy agreement to see whether it’s an explicit requirement. In our case, it wasn’t. Shelter advised me that unless we’d specifically damaged the curtains (say by spilling something on them), we couldn’t be required to dry clean them.  We were also advised that the same applied to carpets, but had those cleaned before getting that advice.
  • I found that the agency’s final “checkout” report was much more detailed than the initial inventory. If I ever rent again, I will scrutinise the property much more thoroughly, looking for dust in hidden places (like behind the radiators and on lampshades), as well as any marks. The person who does the checkout will spend at least 2 hours over it for a 4 bed place. Do likewise when checking the inventory when moving in. If possible, get hold of the checkout report from the previous tenancy and see whether any of the items raised there still apply.
  • When you negotiate with the landlord in writing, remember to mark emails as “without prejudice” if you don’t want it to be admissible in court or in an alternative legal means of dispute resolution (note that “without prejudice” isn’t magic: check the conditions on it in the linked article).
  • If landlords take a deposit, they must use one of the tenancy deposit protection schemes, and tell you which one they used. These schemes have a dispute resolution process which you can make use of if as an alternative to court action (it’s both quicker and cheaper than using the Small Claims Court). In my case, the threat of this process was sufficient to get the landlord to considerably reduce the deduction. Actually using it looks reasonably simple, and you can do it online. The starting assumption of the dispute resolution process is that the tenant is innocent until proven guilty, so it’s up to the landlord to supply evidence that the deduction is reasonable.

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