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Competitive Snorodynamics
leashed un 2019-01-19 1403


Fine, the rest of this story will not contain shouted words, although the use of CamelCase at the start of sentences may be preserved; anyway, it pertains to a multiple-choice exam sat by the author recently, where the primary hindrance presented to the students consisted of FAA-compliant noise. Noting that nobody needed even a single muff, the proctor glanced at my choice of seating.

"You're left-handed?"

I nod, scattering allergens to assure the poison sniffers that the correct ghola had showed up for the Mentat Bowl, and prudently leave my cheating machines concealed yet readily accessible. Another proctor kindly wished me good luck, although the whorls of spacetime conspired me to think of the all-too-recent practice wherein children were forced to conform to seating limitations regardless of neurology. Ah well, we all bleed our age one way or another.

"Good luck!" said just about everyone, whether aloud, to themselves, or just to pretend they hadn't run out of mere politeness (quite the scarce resource).

Eventually, I notice a unital (as opposed to unitary, i.e. dimensional) discrepancy. These buggers are pernicious, especially when the exam purports to pertain to the physical sciences, but in truth does not contain a single SI-qualified value, opting instead for alphabet soup interspersed with "happy particles". I flag down a passing professor.

"You have a question for this one?", he mimes, doubtlessly thinking of the overworked teaching assistant.

"YES, YOU SILLY GOOSE, WHO ELSE?" I shout at nobody in particular, while nodding silently to respect the silence theater quivering at the brink of metastability. He walks over, punts my question at the nearest underspecified constant, and wanders off to give polite hints to less helpful questioners.

I guess it's time for me to eat more rotting fructose, since competitive thermodynamics is an awfully energy-consuming game: time is in finite supply, proportioned according to the Cayley-Hamilton nulleph (if you've got that sphere mapped; if you don't, please do: see Poincare's cut if you've already passed Dedekind). I don't blame that professor for my inevitable failure at this exam, as he'd actually given quite a helpful hint: he could tell I was asking for him to make a public clarification regarding a sloppily-worded question, the correct answer to which was painfully obvious, so he instead reminded me that the Grand Canon controlls how many ells deep drinks the spider.

Teacup - empty; birdseed - messy; orange - too flagrant a juicy snack, and there's still half the alloted time left! What could I possibly do now, other than start to actually work out the silly little calculus exercises? Maybe asking the proctors to unplug the noisy desktop computer fanning itself for no apparent reason, or at the very least tell us which prion it was busy refolding for the good of humanity, although somehow I suspect the answer to that would've been closer to:

Hush, little baby; don't say a word!
... never mind that noise you heard.
It's just the wormholes in your ear,
crawling thru that strength we fear.

At which point, the student to my right gets up, hands in his papers, and moves to leave.

"No! Stay!" quoth an audience member, who had elected to sit the exam undercover, out of true respect for the process.

"Sorry, honey, I've got a plane..." he replies, politely ignoring her "Can't it wait?" as he glides out, better than the most professional of bettors.

At least the desktop had decided to continue cooking its motherboard in silence by the time our friendly noisemaker began running his own fans overhead.

How Not To Run A Museum
leashed un 2018-11-03 07:12:45

TRIGGER WARNING: Vital escense is not absorbed by the kidneys!

Hokay, so: there's the sun, which is active matter of one sort.

There are planets, or overgrown, well-behaved comets, or aggregated, annealed, aquatic asteroids, or whatever you call the rocks. You can kick them quite hard, cut your teeth on them, eat them, smash them at eachother to make more or less of them, but as far as I can tell, they're the kind of stuff the turtles swim above.

On the better-civilized parts of some rocks, are a bunch of... museums. I use that word in the Wolfeian sense, and expect audience familiarity with everything I can recall during the acts of creation, editing, auditing, and reliving, so a "museum" is not quite what you'd expect. Perhaps you know me better than I do myself, and you could define the concept more accurately than my feeble effort, so I'll let you do that yourself as an audience exercise.

One of my earliest memories involves a dispute about who'd visit which parts of a museum, under what conditions (note the omission of unpriced admission). When museums grow large enough, these disputes can heat so vigorously as to cut costs on central heating, and soon enough the tearily nostalgic demand for a thermostat gives way to the much more interesting challenge of climate maintenance. Control, as you may be aware, is naught but the name of a button or two on various antiques littering this museum; maintenance, whether by hand, foot, or nail, is a fucking career.

The incorrect way to express displeasure about museum administration is by amateurly executing the chief executive amateur.

RIP Yitzhak Rabin (b: 1 March 1922; d: 4 November 1995; c: trauma, kidney failure, life)

Travellers, Engineers, and the Meaning of Justice
leashed un 2018-08-29 09:10:11

(cum apologia papae)

Now I send me out to ride... trust the Lord protect my hide;
If it gets lost in a far-off land: I trust my steed to cope unmanned;
and if I find some garbage cute: please forgive my smash and loot.

Should I swallow a suspect weevil? Brace yourself to purge that evil!
Forgive my calling grapeshot puts, (I hope that won't cost me a foot)
but if I die in a combat zone: gather what's left and ship it home.
And if I die of likely cause, let me lie and hold your applause.
And Here We Test Our Powers of Remembrance
leashed un 2018-03-31 22:18:37

Content Warning: This post may contain renovated memories. It is an attempt to collect things said during my military service which I consider today, several years wiser, as the greatest compliments received, although they may not have been intended as such by the speakers; others may simply be moments which I do not wish to forget.

+ Good work.
+ Adlai, go there.
+ "... and then fire the missiles!"
+ Do you know who I am? I am your captain.
+ Adlai, your problem is that you are a technocrat.
+ Yes, we can stay friends... what a stupid question!
+ Of all of us, the last I expected to become thus is you.
+ I envy the woman who wins your heart,
    because you are a wager of peace.
+ Of all the sergeants in our company,
     you are the only one after whom
         I'd charge under fire.

It's been years since I met some of those who spoke those words. Some of them weren't in good shape back then, and some of them are in worse shape today, and that's quite a flexible word being used to its full range of meanings. I hope they're in better shape than I'd expect. I have forgotten the full name of the third speaker, and that makes me sad.

This Mortal Solicitor
leashed un 2018-03-31 17:38:23

Trigger Warning: This post may have been produced in a facility that also processes lucidly-written prose.

Though some might consider this rebellious streak merely some idiotic "looking for trouble", I actually enjoy getting asked by complete strangers what I did during my military service: this being nearly 36 months of forced Israeli defense. I've parroted much nonsense in answer to such questions, always avoiding barefaced lies and never quite cutting to the matter's heart, but it's about time I set down the definitive story, if only for my own sanity.

Artillery battalions are funny beasts. They consist of dozens, if not hundreds or thousands - let's settle for "myriads" - of autonomous agents, each with its own specific task; and a well-designed battallion can function even with its head cut off and impaled, dripping blood, sweat, and bile, at the entry gate, for every man to witness. The agents can run about like headless chickens, hardly hearing each other's plea, as long as the most important guidelines are followed. The responsibility of those commissioned "Officer"'s to make sure that nobody gets hurt. My job was to lobby for the continued execution of enemies. It's that simple.

Horror Haiku, Jargon-Style
leashed un 2018-01-14 05:13
Pop taught me: to think
Ma land: how to sew mine fields
Lots to think about!
On the Stat-Arbitrary Loch-Freedom
leashed un 2017-12-31 09:37

This will not be a lucid post, yet not quite "S-o-C" either. The system must be laid out clearly, for any interested child to decipher with the assistance of a bored yet educational adult (or at least, adult-ascendant), yet they should not need the use of any tooling other than deft hands, and perhaps a jeweller's loupe (or one of those magnifying glasses from the olde dictionaires, the kind they just don't make anymore).

Who is the audience? As a writer on vacation from the stage, or an actor cut off from the scheduler's queue, I am not the one to answer that question. Perhaps you, Dear Reader, are a member of that illustrious category, or at least aware of its existence, identity, form, or functional; mine pleasure would be all encompassing should you inform me of its return value under the simplest fixed-point process, yet I try not to delude myself that truth can be so easily raped from the bowels of our shared simulator.

When is the now? You may glance upwards, recall your Catholic Consensus Clockology, and see that there are no more days left for this message to be broadcast from this window so fictitious as to elicit week-long street-orgies of public-drunkenness -- a grand time, indeed! Yet perhaps not the one appropriate for so clear a message, no, that's why the speaker is muffled, the meaning so shuffled, the rules bent and twisted prose so far that even before the first key stroked, hands knew to tag it "verse".

"Hello" - world
leashed un 2017-04-05 14:50:55

Less than twelve hours into this site's public availability, this entire server got visited by the lazy, skiddy sister of the pentest fairy. Though I don't presume to fathom the murky art of flooding webservers with garbage in the hope that some magic phrase will trigger their undressing and enlistment in your servitude, perhaps some bored entomologist might:

[EDIT: Due to Coleslaw choking when trying to compile a mere two megabyte preformatted block from markdown into HTML, the full log has been removed from this post. If you're still itching to read it, ask for a copy directly.]

My guess is that Hunchentoot is immune to tricks that seem better suited to PHP, and I also suppose that successful intrusion would be followed by purging of evidence; yet the most devious invader might leave only the evidence of failed attempts, cultivating a sense of false security in the gullible admin. Perhaps someday, I may be so flattered as to have this level of attention on my case, but my gut tells me this script wouldn't even know what to do with a REPL if it managed to squeeze one out.

A cursory study of the above material reveals that Hunchentoot, as currently configured, leaks whether a user exists in the system. Doing anything with this information beyond noting it in a blog post is left as an exercise, as is the configuration and deployment of better ramparts.

My Port's Fifth Digit
leashed un 2017-04-03 20:27:31

Should yous and company wish to achieve constructive interference in joint action, one will likely count aloud so all beg in sync. Counting down in Hebrew runs the risk of whispers or stress amplifying the already likely false positives from confusing the unvoiced fricatives closing "shesh", "hamesh", and "shalosh" with the natural element that concludes the count: "esh", the igneous; the others do just fine.

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