Clever Humans


Clever Humans do the darnedest things!


31 May 2008

Friday Recap May 30, 2007

by Patrick

On The Sugarhill Gang

See, I am “wonder mic” and I’d like to say hello.

What a great song. Remembered it today and goggled it up and, sure enough, the video is on YouTube. I love YouTube.

On Movies

This week I needed a movie to watch. I chose Jumper.  Surprisingly,I liked the movie. I say “surprisingly” cause the opinion of the world is that the movie was awful. They’re wrong. It wasn’t. In fact, I would like to see a sequel. I think it would be cool if SciFi picked it up as a TV series ala StarGate. The “world” they created is certainly rich enough for that.

If you haven’t seen the movie, it is good. Better than that Kate Beckinsale vampire flick with the family of vampires and the family of werewolves and they have to fight. And I enjoyed that movie too.

I will say, though, that Mr. Samuel L. Jackson was completely underutilized. He could’ve been any random actor. But that is the only real complaint.

On Lewis Carroll

I have always loved sorites, even when I forgot what they were. I wish every puzzle was a sorite. Lewis Carroll was famous for them. Ok, actually he wasn’t. He was famous for writing Alice in Wonderland and Jabberwockyand some other things like that.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

But if more people knew about sorites he would have been famous for those instead. I had forgotten them. I had even forgotten their name. Though at times the idea would tickle the back of my head like an annoying five year old, but refuse to come around to the front. Today Charles Petzold’sblog mentions them. Here is an excerpt of his blog that contains an excerpt of one of Lewis Carroll’s Sorites:

Despite its forbidding title, Symbolic Logic was intended for a general audience—perhaps not for every reader of the Alice books but maybe some of them. It is a peculiar mix of difficult concepts in the field of mathematical logic enlivened with examples that are pure Lewis Carroll. The book culminates with a collection of 60 whimsical logic puzzles known as sorites(se-RYE-teez). The first one goes like this:

(1) Babies are illogical;

(2) Nobody is despised who can manage a crocodile;

(3) Illogical persons are despised.

Not all of the statements in a sorites need necessary be true. These certainly aren’t. (Most of us know likeable illogical persons and can easily imagine a despicable crocodile wrangler.) But the idea here is to assume that all the statements are true, and then to arrive at an overall conclusion. This a fairly easy sorites, and after mulling it over for awhile, most people are able to come to the correct solution:

Babies cannot manage crocodiles.

How fun! Like a far more complicated syllogism. How is it more complicated? Here is the last one from Carroll’s book:

(1) The only animals in this house are cats;
(2) Every animal is suitable for a pet, that loves to gaze at the moon;
(3) When I detest an animal, I avoid it;
(4) No animals are carnivorous, unless they prowl at night;
(5) No cat fails to kill mice;
(6) No animals ever take to me, except what are in this house;
(7) Kangaroos are not suitable for pets;
(8) None but carnivora kill mice;
(9) I detest animals that do not take to me;
(10) Animals, that prowl at night, always love to gaze at the moon.

On Computers

Smart people don’t understand computers. This week Ken Levineposted about his problems with computers.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I’m a complete computer retard. I have this very real fear that I will press the wrong key or make the wrong menu choice and it will crash every computer in Europe. I call this Y-2Ken. I also panic whenever anything goes wrong because I don’t know if it’s a computer problem, a server problem, a “me” problem, or residual payback for having co-written MANNEQUIN 2.

I consider Ken Levine smart. And funny. He was a script writer for M*A*S*H and Cheers and Frasierand other insanely funny and brilliant sitcoms.

 Computers are too complicated. Most users do not even understand the file system. If a shortcut disappears from their desktop, that entire program may as well be gone.

I try and tell developers that people don’t understand the file system. Any time a developer wants to add a feature that makes people have to browse to a file or choose a location for a file I always come back with “that’s too hard.” It just is. Normal people don’t get it. I don’t know why. I can’t understand it… but it doesn’t matter. They don’t. It isn’t intuitive.

I don’t know what a better interface is.

On Cops

Damn it is hard to be a cop.

tags: oldposts - recap