Archive for the Blogging Category

Unpleasant Discoveries

Posted in Blogging on February, 2014 by melendwyr

A few days ago, I felt bad about having so little content here.  So I thought I’d throw together a quick post about a particularly funny panel series in a favorite comic and its philosophical implications.  (Because there’s no kind of funny like heavy funny.)

But when I went to the webcomic’s site to link to that particular gag, I found that its author had deleted the entire thing.  It seems he’s releasing a book (good!) and doesn’t want its material freely available on the Net (not so much!).

This made me realize that many of the links down the right side of the blog didn’t work or were outdated.  And even more of the private links to people and sites I’d built up here have become invalid with time.

So, I’m going to be making an effort to trim away all of the dead links, and be more timely in drawing attention to the good stuff I find out there.  Before it’s gone forever.

Who really killed Star Wars?

Posted in Blogging, Fantasy, Fiction, Reviews, Things You Should Read with tags , on January, 2014 by melendwyr

Stumbling blindly through the alleys and darkened streets of the Internet, I came across The Caffeinated Symposium, a site full of analysis and opinion on certain aspects of nerd culture, written by David Cesarano.

The tone is a bit more strident than I would prefer, but I found several of the articles quite thought-provoking and well worth the reading – not least among which is “On the Devolution of the STAR WARS Franchise“.  I also found his analysis of why he didn’t like D&D 4th Edition to be useful, if not nearly as polished or sophisticated as the above.

Take a look.

Regarding Star Wars:   I’ve heard many, many people complain about how the prequels (and elements of the original movies, such as the Ewoks) reduced the quality of the series and fell away from what they expected.  The point that they represent Lucas attempting to re-establish his original vision – one that the series moved away from starting with The Empire Strikes Back – is one I’ve come across before. Many people have noted that TESB is dramatically more sophisticated than the first film, and that this was in large degree due to Lucas getting other people to work on the screenplay.  But the link with the “secret history” establishes just what massive fame – and the resulting creative control – caused to go so terribly wrong, rather as happened with Steven Spielburg and his attempts to extend past franchises and even alter the existing versions of past successes.

Curious Choices

Posted in Blogging with tags , on June, 2013 by melendwyr

One of my favorite authors, Lois McMaster Bujold, recently found that she couldn’t access her blog on MySpace.  So she sent out a message to a fanbase discussion list warning that the site might have been hacked and asking if anyone knew what might be going on.

Turns out the explanation was something completely different.  MySpace just decided to delete all of the old content.  Not abandoned things, not accounts that hadn’t been logged into.  Entire content groups are just… erased.

Intentionally alienating the few loyal users of your old services doesn’t strike me as a way to get lots of enthusiastic users of your new services.

A response to James

Posted in Blogging, GIGO on June, 2013 by melendwyr

From the thread about Bertrand Russell and the Ship of Fools; I’ve decided to expand my response to James into a thread of its own.  The quoted and italicized parts are from James, formerly of the comment thread.

“You believe that Bertrand Russell presented this argument.”

No, I’ve read the argument attributed as being presented by Russell.  Whether he originated the argument, or repeated a pithy formulation he encountered from someone else, I don’t know – and I don’t care.  I do care whether he ever used the argument, but only because I’ve said he did (and can’t find the attribution, which I had on-hand at the time I wrote the post).  If I hadn’t said that, I’d care only to the degree that it affects the perceived reliablity of the source.

One of the big problems I have with ‘philosophy’ is its focus on WHO instead of WHAT.  I care about the prepositions, not the individuals who happened to speak them first.  Identities provide academics with a deep fund of arbitrary information that cannot be logically derived – and thus they can profitably develop expertise that others can’t easily duplicate.  But that doesn’t make the information useful or valuable.

Forget me and my claim.  Let’s say we can demonstrate beyond refutation that Russell repeated the argument instead of creating it.  Now:  what difference does that make to its validity?  What strengths does it create or destroy, what weakness?

As far as I can see, absolutely none.

“Understanding the origin of an argument and its context provides tremendous help in the proper interpretation of the argument.”

It really doesn’t.  It can give insight into whether there were layered arguments – for example, Newton’s famous statement about standing on the shoulders of giants develops some interesting implications if you know he used to taunt his rival about his height, but those implications lie in the relationship between the primary meaning and a possible secondary one.  It changes the main meaning of the statement not at all.

If Hooke had been a very tall man, perhaps Newton would never have made that famous statement.  But would the statement have been any less, or any more, true in itself?

What a great comment!

Posted in Blogging, Things You Should Read with tags , on May, 2011 by melendwyr

Ooh, ooh, take a look at this comment left by ‘ohwilleke’ – odd handle, that – whose blog is Wash Park Prophet.

I don’t suggest that the points it contains are correct or incorrect. But they’re presented intelligently and clearly – it’s a cogent argument made well, and it is likely to induce thoughtful examination in readers (at least, those interested in the subject in the first place). As I hadn’t come across ohwilleke’s writings before this, I can’t say to what degree the comment is characteristic. A quick read of the top pages of his blog suggests that it may be.

This is the sort of stuff I always wish there were more of the Internet. I plan on keeping his site in my view in the immediate future and suggest you do the same.

I’ve had it…

Posted in Blogging, GIGO, Science! with tags , , on April, 2011 by melendwyr

I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with Razib Khan’s combined failure to apply the standards of scientific reasoning and basic courtesy on his blog.

Recent posts, which ended once again in Mr. Khan’s closing of the thread, have annoyed me past the point of endurance.

Starting Again

Posted in Blogging on November, 2010 by melendwyr

I haven’t gotten around to writing anything for… well, months. Far longer than is probably a good idea.

My apologies to my readers – all five of you. ;c|

At least I’ve hopefully generated some topic ideas in the fallow interregnum.