Doing in Prolog this year. I am a rank beginner at Prolog but I'm already getting noticeably better at it each day.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas and TMBG's The Bells Are Ringing are basically describing the same phenomenon

Computer programmers often come up with "esoteric programming languages", which is to say, systems that are in theory capable of anything you can do with conventional languages, but are in some way deliberately bizarre, purely for amusement's sake.

What's the equivalent of that in other fields? Do physicists invent deliberately bizarre theories with the same explanatory power as conventional ones? Do mathematicians come up with esoteric alternative axiom sets? If they do, can you tell?

It always leaves me cold when I see something in fiction (usually amateur fiction) described as feeling evil or having an aura of evil about it. All that sort of phrasing tells me is that the writer doesn't understand evil, that they're prone to ascribing evil to things that just make them personally uncomfortable.

True fact: If I were the sole programmer on a project, and you offered me the choice between hiring another programmer to help me out or hiring a good QA lead, I'd pick QA without hesitation.

My scrollwheel develops problems -- sometimes I'll turn it a notch and nothing happens. I figure there's probably some dust in the works, so I put it to my mouth and blow into the gap around the wheel. This makes it worse. It hardly works at all now.

So do try again, this time inhaling. Now it works perfectly.

Lesson learned: Scrollwheels stop working because of the buildup of air. To fix them, you need to remove air from the device, not add more.

Specifically, it's a way to avoid being wrong. If the thin you're asserting turns out to be false, well, all you actually said is that you *believed* it, which was true, right?

Except of course that by hedging, you're showing that you *don't* believe it. Not fully, anyway.

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I'm always a little skeptical when someone asserts something with the words "I believe". If a person genuinely believes that (for example) right will triumph over wrong, they won't say "I believe that right will triumph over wrong". They'll just say "Right will triumph over wrong". Stating it in terms of belief is a hedge.

As someone who was raised to revere books, and to keep them pristine when possible, the whole phenomenon of "signed by the author" has always bugged me.

I just watched the season 1 Jojo intro for the first time in a while, and this time noticed that the first couple of seconds rapidly flip through scenes of all the Jojos through Stone Ocean in reverse order, probably as a way of signalling "We're going all the way back to the beginning" to Jojo manga fans. I personally didn't have the context to parse this stuff on first viewing, so it just slipped by me as a jumble, but now it's a jumble with Giorno recognizable in it and stuff.

In the film Project Nim, a documentary about a failed primate intelligence experiment that involved raising a chimp among humans, there's a bit explaining the chimp's sudden turn to violence during adolescence: He instinctively knows that the alpha male beats up everyone else; he observes that no one is beating him up; he concludes "I must be the alpha male! That means I should beat everyone up!"

Sometimes politics reminds me of this.

This is shaping up to be one of my most popular tweets ever, so I might as well toot it as well:

A nonogram/picross puzzle where the solution is a QR code. I can't be the first person to think of that.

So, let's talk about Helen's eidolon for a moment. I've long had this suspicion that the whole idea was a result of shifts in mores -- like, suddenly you've got an audience who thinks adultery is the gravest dishonor, so you bend the story to make Helen faithful, even if the entire point of the war is lost as a result.

But I don't really know if that's how it happened. Anyone else here have better knowledge about this?

If this were a JRPG, Biden would immediately turn out to be far worse than Trump. He'd be, like, laughing maniacally as his unstoppable ghost gestapo rounds up every single person in the country for forced labor in salt mines on the moon or something.

So it's a good thing he doesn't take office until January because I could totally see 2020 pulling something like that.

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