Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 04:56 on 15-12-2015, Michal
Who'd of thunk two more people on Ferretbrain have encountered The Dilbert Principle? I read it in elementary school, back when the only comic books available in the public library were collected newspaper strips and I read them all on principle.

I remember being really disappointed by the book's almost complete lack of humour.

Huh, I even read The Dilbert Future now that I think about it, though I can't remember much about it at all. I believe that was shortly before I grew personally offended by how poor Scott Adams's artwork was.
at 22:46 on 14-12-2015, Bill
Bell Curves themselves are perfectly OK, but the use of the phrase "Bell Curve" in the US is a dog whistle for the infamous 1994 Charles Murray book, "The Bell Curve," an attempt to put forth a hard version of the inheritability of intelligence as the "scientific" truth. It was liked by the sort of people you would expect to like the idea that everyone in society is in their proper place.
at 19:00 on 14-12-2015, Janne Kirjasniemi
What in the name of hell cats is the Bell curve of rational thought supposed to mean anyways? Sounds smart I guess. But a cooler cat who would like to impress people with their knowledge of statistics could do better with the Gauss curve or normal distribution.
at 18:57 on 14-12-2015, Janne Kirjasniemi
I've tried to avoid Adams's prattlings, but I guess I'm a sucker for "educational" comics. So he actually said: "... regular readers of the Dilbert blog are pretty far along the Bell curve of rational thought, and relatively immune to emotional distortion."

Wow. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that a guy that's made a career of engineer themed office humour and for some inexplicable reason, of books on management based on the deep wisdom of said humour, could be so arrogant, but it is exactly the sort of delusional intellectual posturing and bias, that stops him from questioning his own thinking. Ironically, such arrogance and lack of humility are as much emotions as the ones he so quickly ascribes to others to explain away their complaints toward his scribblings. Someone claiming to be relatively immune to emotional distortion sounds a bit like someone claiming that they are perfectly sober while trying to start a car from the passenger side. I men, why does he even think the scientific method even exists, if not for the fact that even the most gifted scientists are not immune to emotional distortions, even if they would claim to be.

When I was 12 or so I remember buying The Dilbert Principle to my dad, because I thought Dilbert was very funny and since my dad was an engineer, who wored in an office, he would find it funny as well. He was polite about it, but after he read some of it, you could sense his disapproval towards Adams and his theories. Principle was about how management is always the incompetent people wasn't it?
at 00:28 on 14-12-2015, Melanie
I'm going to bring up that "Mister Rational" there wrote a book[1] with an entire chapter devoted to "affirmations", i.e. where you write a sentence a certain number of times a day and then the thing happens, somehow. So, basically The Secret. I mean, I can't prove that wasn't a huge joke but it sure seemed sincere. He had this whole bit about how he used it to pick stocks and it totally worked.

[1]I think it was The Dilbert Principle... maybe The Dilbert Future. I don't know, it's been a while.
at 21:06 on 13-12-2015, Arthur B
So, Dilbert's Scott Adams says some ragingly MRA-ish shit these days. How to make Dilbert funny again? Answer: put Adams' nasty MRA talking points into the comics.
at 21:20 on 30-11-2015, Craverguy
Today was a good day. We went to Churchill's War Cabinet Rooms, toured Westminster Abbey, and watched about 40 minutes of debate in the Commons and another 20 in the Lords.
at 22:36 on 28-11-2015, Robinson L
Sounds like you're having a great trip - good to hear. Have fun in London!
at 18:50 on 28-11-2015, Craverguy
So, we punted the Cam with a guide, visited the Wren Library (where we saw, among other things, a Shakespeare First Folio, a page from the Gutenberg Bible, and an alleged lock of Isaac Newton's hair), and saw most of the ground floor of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Tomorrow, we travel to London.
at 07:15 on 28-11-2015, Craverguy
We arrived in England on Thursday and spent the rest of the day riding the Tube to King's Cross, hustling to find and catch the train to Cambridge, and sleeping off the jet lag.

Yesterday, we did a walking tour that included the Eagle Pub, Cavendish Laboratories, Queens' College, and the King's College Chapel.

Today, we plan to punt the Cam and see either the Fitzwilliam Museum or the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.
at 09:10 on 24-11-2015, Janne Kirjasniemi
Oh, and next to St. Pancras is the British Library. There's usually something interesting there and the building is nice. And the St. Pancras and Euston station area is very interesting. It is such a Victorian neighbourhood, even if it is kinda busy traffic-wise.
at 09:07 on 24-11-2015, Janne Kirjasniemi
I'm not a Londoner, but I've spent a lot of time there, so: If you are at all into art, Tate Britain is right on the other side of the river from the MI6. It has a lot of 19th century British art like Turner, Millais and other pre-raphaelites. Also Tate Modern and the National Gallery are wonderful. There're several famous Van Goghs and Monets in the National Gallery. I've always been partial to Camden and Brick Lane markets, plus from Brick Lane, it's a nice walk to the City, where lot's of nice churches can be found, or then towards the Tower where on the way there are lots of interesting buildings, like the erotic gherkin and Lloyd's of London. If you're into architecture, that is. And I suppose markets. I don't know if Camden town is pásse for a native, but I guess a tourist doesn't have to mind that sort of stuff.

If you're going to the British Museum, it might be worth your while to walk from the Museum to St. Pancras via Russel Street station and Russel Square, where the Senate House is. Nowadays it's the HQ of the Uni. of London, but it was also the building chosen by Albert Speer for the headquarters if the Nazis had ever occupied the UK as well as a model for the Ministry of truth in Orwell's 1984.

The nicest place I can think of in London is Greenwich and the Royal Observatory(through which the Greenwich meridian goes), Queen's House and Naval College there, with a nice view to the Isle of Dogs(which whether one likes it or not is quite a significant development) on the other side of the River. It's a bit further away, and now is probably not the nicest time to be there, but it's nice, still.

I kinda hope I was going to London as well.
at 01:38 on 24-11-2015, Arthur B
If you go to see Parliament make time to see Westminster Abbey too, it's right next door and stuffed to the rafters with history.
at 22:00 on 23-11-2015, Craverguy
Whereabouts in London are you likely to go? It's a big place so don't want to recommend anywhere too out of your way.

We're staying near the MI6 building, and we're definitely planning to go see Parliament and Buckingham Palace, and probably also the Tower of London.
at 16:54 on 23-11-2015, Ronan Wills
If you're into museums the British Museum and the Natural History Museum are both excellent. The former has a really cool atrium thing with a glass roof that I thought was the absolute bee's knees and possibly worth the trip by itself.

at 11:32 on 23-11-2015, Arthur B
Whereabouts in London are you likely to go? It's a big place so don't want to recommend anywhere too out of your way.
at 11:10 on 23-11-2015, Craverguy
I'm flying to England on Wednesday. We'll be staying for about three days in Cambridge, then off to London. Any local knowledge of things to do/places to go/restaurants to eat in would be appreciated.
at 23:29 on 22-11-2015, Arthur B
To be fair, "wading through piles of books" is exactly what the Reading Canary theme is about. And I'm entirely happy to publish reviews of stuff that isn't presently available in English.
at 23:20 on 22-11-2015, Shim
Now that Ferretbrain has risen again, I'm a bit sad that I don't really do anything here any more.

GOGathon is kind of stymied by not having time spare to play games, let alone be snarky about them on the internet. And my reading these days mostly a) takes the form of trying to wade rapidly through enormous piles of books, and b) is in Japanese. And I moved hundreds of miles away so podcasts aren't very practical now, or at least lack atmosphere.

I mean, I still read everything, but I've kind of regressed into a lurker.
at 08:30 on 21-11-2015, Jamie Johnston

In my excitement I unwisely tried to use an emoji...
at 08:29 on 21-11-2015, Jamie Johnston
Yay, the 'Brain is back! �� Nothing like an unexpected hiatus to make one appreciate a thing. How's everyone been?
at 02:50 on 21-11-2015, James D
That's one of the creepiest things I've read in a long time.
at 15:04 on 18-11-2015, Arthur B
So the author of Hemlock Grove has ostentatiously outed himself as a terrible person.
at 05:30 on 06-10-2015, Craverguy
I am somewhat nonplussed to discover, given what a huge part of British pop culture the show is, that only one actor who played the Doctor has ever been knighted.

(It was
John Hurt
, if you're curious.)