Playpen

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 19:36 on 03-05-2012, Michal
That may be so, I'm only 40 pages in. But still, even if it turns out sour--just 345 pages! At least Mieville isn't just wasting my time with bitumous smoke stacks.
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at 19:20 on 03-05-2012, James D
Interesting, I'd heard it was even more pretentious than his other books, with the central big concept apparently eclipsing the plot and characters and sucking the book up its own asshole. I might've even read that here, but probably not in quite those words.
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at 19:06 on 03-05-2012, Michal
Mainly, I prefer not having to go through six pages describing bituminous smoke stacks. This is definately an improvement.
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at 19:02 on 03-05-2012, Michal
So I'm reading Embassytown and I far prefer this older, less rambly Mieville than the Mieville that wrote Perdido Street Station. I mean, this one's just 345 pages! That about how long Perdido Street Station should have been!
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at 06:12 on 03-05-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi
AH. Same here, you only have to deal with it, if you're self-employed.
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at 22:54 on 02-05-2012, Shim
Taxes here for salaried people are Pay As You Earn, i.e. employers handle it and I just get a payslip every month. The only time I've ever had to do anything was taxes when I was temping and had wildly variable income. Then I had to send in a breakdown of my employment for the year so they could correct their massive over-estimate and send me a cheque :)
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at 20:45 on 02-05-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi
xkcd is still good at times, when it focuses on math and other wonderful things I understand too little about, but find fascinating to read about. I prefer irregularwebcomic.net, though. Lots of horrible puns and the essays that ostensibly comment on the comic are wonderful.

I remember that Swedish always seemed such a drag in school, but it's really neat to know it nowadays, after I took the effort to learn it. Also, taxes are cool, but I guess this depends on where you live.
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at 20:33 on 02-05-2012, Ibmiller
I still rather like XKCD, and read it because it 1) hasn't really made me mad; and 2) it takes so little time. Every now and then, he'll either make me extremely angry, or extremely happy, so I consider it a fair trade.
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at 20:03 on 02-05-2012, Wardog
They speak scary French in Canada anyway - the accent is largely impenetrable to me...
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at 19:56 on 02-05-2012, Michal
The only time I read xkcd any more is when it's linked here.

*grimly remembers stumbling through about a decade of Core French classes to little success, continues meditating on folly of choosing to live in a city where a fair chunk of the civil service jobs require bilingualism*

Considering the latest massive job cuts in the civil service, it probably ain't so bad. As for me, I'm going to be doing my MA in Montreal and my Latin is far better than my French.

My Latin isn't very good. This will be... interesting.

(I am bilingual, it just happens to be in the wrong langauge! Unless there's a sudden influx of Polish immigrants who will make their own province. But that's not likely to happen.)
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at 19:24 on 02-05-2012, Arthur B
In my case it's the fact that it isn't quite worth the effort to unsubscribe from it in my RSS reader...
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at 19:21 on 02-05-2012, Wardog
Why do you guys keep reading XKCD anyway? Even if it's out of masochism at this point, there's far better thrills to be had elsewhere.

I have often wondered this (from the perspective of someone who has never read XKCD) .... is it the pleasure of pissing on a fallen idol?
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at 19:03 on 02-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Why do you guys keep reading XKCD anyway? Even if it's out of masochism at this point, there's far better thrills to be had elsewhere.

Plus, it's factually wrong. I don't have to do taxes. Probably a high proportion of the world population don't have to do taxes. And plenty of people don't have to earn a living neither.

I hate you so much right now. :) Besides, you don't need algebra for taxes. At least in Canada, all you need is basic arithmetic and an understanding of how percentages work. And a bunch of slips of paper. And the ability to stomach the whole arbitrary nature of how your final bill is calculated.

I do wonder sometimes if it's a source of frustation for Randy that despite the fact he clearly puts a very high value on scientific and technical pursuits, his main impact on the planet is a goofy stick figure webcomic.

Maybe he thinks lives without algebra are sad, blighted things because he craves the algebra his own life isn't giving him.

If that's the case, the dude should quit sneering at the liberal arts majors and take himself an art class. Study some Greco-Roman classicism, learn about perspective, and he'll get all the math he wants, and we might get the first Davidian neo-classicist web cartoonist in the world, so win-win.

Also, people complain about foreign languages too and music and everything, if someone says you have to do it. Some places have compulsory foreign(or second domestic) languages and kids moan about them all the time.

*grimly remembers stumbling through about a decade of Core French classes to little success, continues meditating on folly of choosing to live in a city where a fair chunk of the civil service jobs require bilingualism*
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at 18:22 on 02-05-2012, James D
SMBC is far superior to XKCD anyway.
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at 18:03 on 02-05-2012, Ibmiller
Ah, music. Funny how sports have about as little value to your later professional life, but people don't complain about them. Except for those stupid nerds. But we showed them in high school, so their opinion doesn't matter.
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at 16:53 on 02-05-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi
Also, people complain about foreign languages too and music and everything, if someone says you have to do it. Some places have compulsory foreign(or second domestic) languages and kids moan about them all the time.
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at 16:12 on 02-05-2012, Arthur B
I do wonder sometimes if it's a source of frustation for Randy that despite the fact he clearly puts a very high value on scientific and technical pursuits, his main impact on the planet is a goofy stick figure webcomic.

Maybe he thinks lives without algebra are sad, blighted things because he craves the algebra his own life isn't giving him.
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at 16:06 on 02-05-2012, Shim
Plus, it's factually wrong. I don't have to do taxes. Probably a high proportion of the world population don't have to do taxes. And plenty of people don't have to earn a living neither.
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at 14:48 on 02-05-2012, James D
I love the alt text too. Yeah man, if you're not doing algebra in your spare time, you're totally missing out on one of the great joys in life.
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at 14:35 on 02-05-2012, Dan H
Moving on from Rand, today's XKCD is equally shitty.

Let me count the ways.

One, it is not a joke.

Two, it is another of his awful bits of observational pseudocomedy.

Three, it is a textbook example of Affirming the Consequent (the fact that all interesting things are optional does not imply that all optional things are interesting).

To answer Randy's question, the reason people make a big deal out of never having used the math they learned in school is that when they asked, in school, why they had to study all this math, people said "because you will need to use it in your everyday life."

Suggesting that people are wrong to complain that math is useless on the basis that other things are also useless is like suggesting that it is wrong to complain that your blueberry muffin does not contain any blueberries, on the basis that many other things also do not contain blueberries.
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at 11:45 on 02-05-2012, Arthur B
Texts From Edward. Like Texts From Bennett except with less HUSTLA DA RABBIT and more sparklypire.
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at 09:48 on 02-05-2012, Arthur B
Ah, I wasn't paying attention to the words because I was concentrating on the dakka. :)
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at 09:34 on 02-05-2012, Shim
@Arthur: the beginning of the quadcopter video.
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at 08:24 on 02-05-2012, Arthur B
@Adrienne: I don't follow - beginning of what?
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