What Are The Civilian Applications?

Boingboing contains some interesting stuff today. There’s an article defending Ikea against that Fight Club scene: “If your life is mediocre, I promise you, Ingvar Kamprad didn’t make it that way”.

Spammers are apparently getting other people to solve captchas, the little puzzles you have to do to get free email or LiveJournal accounts, using the lure of free porn. There must be other ways we can harness the pornotropic lusers on the Internet for good rather than ill, in a human parallel to distributed computing efforts like SETI at Home.

Meanwhile, the author of the DeCSS Haiku is unmasked, and says “I set myself a strict rule against using hexadecimal constants, because they seemed unpoetic.” My own slim volume, entitled unsigned long letters;, will be available soon.

It’s snowed here. There may be pictures later.

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Fate Amenable to Change

Intelligence from my logs, and from CDC‘s Special Circumstances operatives behind the enemy lines, shows a fair few CICCU people are finding the losing my religion article while out looking for CICCU information. Apart from cackling, stroking my white cat and polishing my monocle, I thought I’d say how I feel about this. I’m also linking to this from the article itself.

I wrote that page partly for catharsis, and partly because I hoped to help anyone in the same position as I was in back then. I didn’t anticipate the amount of Googlejuice I seem to have. Even so, I’m not overly concerned that the page is getting a wider audience. I do wonder what the current CICCU members who read the page take from it, though.

I imagine some of you will take it as a cautionary tale. Some of my CICCU readers will have heard speakers warning them about life after university, telling dire tales of keen CU graduates who didn’t get into a church “where the Bible is taught”, or got into a relationship with a non-Christian, and shipwrecked their faith. Neither of these things applied to me. Rather, if you want my recommendation for Christians graduating from university and wishing to avoid the slide into atheism, I must advise you to avoid thinking too much.

CICCU produced a hard, brittle faith. For those happy few who have not read Part 1A Materials Science, something hard and brittle is strong, withstanding applied force without giving very much, up to the point where enough force is applied to break it, at which point it will snap.

With hindsight, there were the beginnings of this even while I was in CICCU. If you are already wondering about biblical inerrancy, substitutionary atonement, the wrongness of homosexuality, genocide in the OT, whether your non-Christian friends really deserve to go to Hell, whether God really will answer your prayers to evangelise China or heal your auntie’s cancer, and so on, then as you are now, so once was I. And possibly, as I am now, so you shall be (you may say it won’t happen to you, but you should probably bear in mind that I did too). Therefore, at the risk of patronising you, I will say what I would have liked someone to say to me when I was a student:

If you want to prepare yourself for the graduate afterlife, cultivate the things that will be valuable there. Among these are your friends, your education (not quite the same as your academic results), and a sense of your own self. That last one is the hardest: when you’re in search of your self, pre-packed selves look like a good deal. It is very easy to go along with a crowd, especially a crowd of nice, supportive people, but do use your (assuredly excellent) brain to examine what you’re told: the most important question to ask is “How would I know if this were wrong?”

Do not listen to anyone who tells you that you and everyone else deserves to go to hell, or anyone who implies that the most important thing about a person is what they do with their genitalia. These people have exactly as much power over you as you are willing to give them.

You are at a powerful, almost mythical, place for 3 or 4 short years. They won’t, I hope, be the best years of your life (what a horrible weight that idea puts on them), but still, we don’t call them formative for nothing. Don’t get stuck within circumscribed bounds of a society whose only purpose is to gain more members. Who knows, that way, your faith may even survive after graduation 🙂


If you’re wandering in from the link in the article, feel free to comment. There’s a “leave a comment” box kicking around at the bottom of this page somewhere.

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Very Little Gravitas Indeed

Very much so to you all. I’ve had a good weekend. Watched Pirates of the Carribean and thought it was a good silly film. Explored Milton Country Park and took some photos. Links to follow.

The dancing is back in full swing. GD on Friday was packed, but packed largely with nice people who it was good to see again. I also tried Clive’s lessons last night, which were hard but fun.

Had tea with Safi beforehand. The subject turned to Old Testament prophecy and how the prophets predicted JC, hence the Bible is miraculous in predicting stuff before it occurred and I should reconvert at once (I exaggerate a little). I said I thought that things like Isaiah passages referred to by Matthew show that Matthew thought Jesus was the Messiah, but they don’t constitute “prediction”. There’s another opportunity to ask my Jewish readers here: what do you think Isaiah 8 and Isaiah 53 are about? (I need a Vim macro to link to gospelcom’s site for references under the cursor, to go with the Google one).

I would like to big up (and also give mad propz to) the combined Spamhaus SBL+XBL blacklist, which is catching stuff which slips by the Distributed Checksum Clearinghouse (this does mean I miss out on my daily dose of poetry, but it’s a small price to pay). Windows people who collect email using POP3 or IMAP can use the list via Spampal. I’m passing stuff through rblfilter as well as dccproc.

Now that, as a paid user, I have the full power of LiveJournal’s S2 style system at my disposal, it might be time for a revamp round here. I’ve not yet decided whether to change the format to dark blue text on a black background (and go on about how goth I am, naturally) or merely to have a sodding huge picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar occupying most of the screen with the text in a small strip down the right hand side (I’d need to increase the font size, too). Vote now.

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Wisdom Like Silence

Apparently, I never write about what I’ve been up to. So:

My week off between Christmas and New Year was quite relaxing, apart from when we decided to go to Ikea during the sales. Ikea’s desire to guide the mooing herds along their pre-determined paths is always a little unnerving to me. I keep expecting to round the corner and face the rotating knives. Anyway, I’m now further along in my mission to make the front room look like that bit out of Fight Club. It’s good to have some time off without having to go anywhere in particular.

I spent New Year’s Eve at Dr Liz’s, which was fun. We seem to have split the party this year, but it’s also nice to meet new people.

The AD&D game resumed last night after about 6 months in abeyance because there was no time when we were all free. I expect the next one will be sometime in the next Easter Vac, given that the tides of our lives are still coupled to the University’s cycle. jwz mentioned an interesting expansion set for AD&D (you cannot use an Unseen Servant for erotic purposes: who knew?). But there was none of that. Zombies in sewers were the order of the day.

Tonight I’m off dancing.

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