Friday, May 29, 2009

Online Anonymity

An inquiry has come to me as to why I don't use my legal name and claim authorship of this blog. There were insinuations that I am somehow hiding immorally behind a veil of anonymity. Some find it especially odd, considering my interest in the philisophical aspects of identity. I'd like to respond to this, if I may.

First of all, 'Lord Carnifex' is very obviously a [i]nom de electrique[/i]. I aknowledge that. Some of my favorite authors have written under various psuedonyms, and doing so is considered a legitimate practice in the publishing industry. Since this blog is, for me, a form of self-publishing, I fail to see why I cannot take advantage of the practice.

Secondly, 'Lord Carnifex' is an online handle I've used very nearly since the inception of networked computing in the home. I've used the handle consistently. With a very few exceptions, a google-search of 'Lord Carnifex' returns items of my work online. reaches me, as does I'm cybersquatting on variations of Lord Carnifex at these and other webmail servers as well. I don't believe I'm hiding behind online anonymity, but exercising a coherent, complete online identity.

Third, I'm sure that we have all heard stories of individuals whose professional lives have been ruined or made complicated by careless remarks made by [i]or about[/i] them online. By keeping my real life and online names seperate, I prevent such unfortunate crossovers. I'm not afraid of those ideas and opinions I post here, but I don't exactly trust those in real life to understand what 'ideas and opinions' mean.

Googlebombing for a cause: 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's Time for a Helmet Law in Minnesota

According to the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota [BIAM], "88 percent of bicycle-related brain injuries could have been prevented by helmets." So far, legislative efforts have focused on motorcycles and bicycles. But why stop there? Also from the BIAM, causes of brain injury include:
  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Assaults
  • Sports-related concussions
  • Strokes
  • Aneurysms
  • Diseases, such as encephalitis
  • Near drowning
  • Family Violence
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) /inflicted Traumatic Brain Injury
So far, legislative efforts have focused on motorcycles and bicycles. This just isn't enough. Our kids are hurting themselves on skateboards, snowboards, skis, strollers, big wheels, merry-go-rounds, stairs, and uncountable other places. How many motorists each year suffer brain injuries in accidents? How many pedestrians suffer brain injuries on our streets and sidewalks?

How many times, in kitchens all over Minnesota, are cabinet doors left open? These are vicious predatiors, just waiting to crack skulls. Consider slips and falls in the bathroom, especially in the shower.There are low rafters in the basement and the attic.Don't overlook hard headboards during bedroom antics. These are all dangers to cranial and phrenologic health. It's time to do the right thing.

Call your local legislatures and demand mandatory helmet use. All the time, everywhere, for everyone. Permit law enforcement to enter any building or structure in order to ensure 24-hour helmet compliance.

It's the only chance we have to survive as a species. Do it for the children.

Googlebombing for a cause: 

Monday, May 25, 2009

In Another Country...

"...and the wench is dead."

Normally I abhor autobiography, but I've been drinking, it's late. and it's Memorial Day.

Here's to the fallen. 1

But as important to me:

Here's to

Sarah: who taught me that there's more to life than blood and death and fear. 2

Katherine: Who taught - and fought - and in the process helped shape my thinking, strengthen my arguements, and helped me become the man I am today. 3

Alice: Who showed me that unlimited brilliance is nothing to be ashamed of or hide. Good luck in finding your Hapsburg.

Kat: We had a week together. Anything more would have had too much reality. "I'm hanging on your words, living on your breath, feeling with your skin," I don't know where I end and you begin. 4

Kit Fox: One night of unabashed joy and infinite gentleness. Thank you.

Beth: Thank you for your kindness and understanding. In the end, the darkness was too much for you, but at least you knew when to listen.

Jenn: I wasn't for you, you weren't for me, but it was fun while it lasted.

Carrie: I wasn't who you were looking for, but we opened new vistas together.

Emily: My fragile Amazon princess. No matter how dark the night, I always respected your strength and intellect. Though your voice may be silent, don't let anyone silence you. 5

Janet: You filled dark days with light, once. Now you walk in your own darkness, heedless. "All creation has the promise of Heaven/ but still you're walking the road to Hell/ I'm saying nothing for the good of myself/ but I'm still talking and you're not listening." 6

Kitrina: When I couldn't stand, you slept on the floor next to me. What more can I say?

Sam: You were a breath of fresh air, and chasing you kept me going on lonely nights. I hope you become everything you were meant to be.

1: VNV Nation, "Ascension"
2: U2, "Hawkmoon 269"
3: Depeche Mode, "World in my Eyes"
4: Apoptygma Bezerk, "Until the End of the World"
5: Underworld, "Cowgirl"
6: Apoptygma Bezerk, "Kathy's Song [VNV Nation Remix]"

Googlebombing for a cause:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A little late, but no less important

May 5th is just passed. This year is the 28th anniversary of the death of Irish political prisoner and hunger striker, Bobby Sands. I like to mark this occasion by refelecting on my Irish heritage, the long history of struggle on the Irish mainland, and the futre of Irish Nationalism as an observer from the U.S.

Between May and September 1916, W. B. Yeats wrote one of his best known poems, "Easter, 1916". It commemorates the Easter uprising of earlier that year, a failed attempt to ignite a general uprising, but an event that directly inspired the later Irish Revolution that would ultimately end in the formation of the Irish Republic, albeit without the northern six counties.

Some of the most memorable lines of "Easter, 1916" are its last:
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
Almost a century earlier an Englishman, John Keats, wrote in his "Ode on a Grecian Urn":

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
"A terrible beauty is born." "Beauty is truth." On that day in 1916, a terrible truth was born?

Googlebombing for a cause: 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Aphorisms, pt.2

You'll all have to forgive me if you don't hear from me much,

I'm a little hoarse.

Must be the equine flu.

But I've been trying to teach myself Java,

It's been keeping me up nights.
There is an insight to be had, though, from object-oriented programming. Object-oriented programming, in a nutshell, involves breaking a task into a number of more-or-less stand alone objects that complete specific tasks. A main application calls upon those objects to perform their tasks on the relevant data at the appropriate times. But the main application is also an object, and can be treated as such.

So there's no meta-object that defines and creates all of the objects. They define and create each other as needed. The reality of the program is self-created and self-sustaining without requiring and outside foundation.

The same is true of complete, self-consistent axiom systems.

Reality is itself all it needs to exist?

Philosophy is the main() object, of which the sciences are the other object classes? The philosophy of science and the philosphy of reality define how the individual sciences work and what the values they return mean. But philospohy exists as an object in and of itself, not dependent on the sciences.


Googlebombing for a cause: 

Four-fold division of Science

In the pursuit of discussions about the philosophy of science, I've found that I've come to rely upon a four-fold division of the sciences, humanities, and academic disciplines. This is mostly for science (and non-scientific academic disciplines) but might apply towards technology as well. The boundaries between these are fuzzy, and certain sciences or disciplines cross between the boundaries, but it makes for a starting place...

The life sciences:
Anatomy + Physiology (and medicine)
Biochemistry [which blends into the physical sciences]

The physical sciences:
Chemistry (including Organic) [which blends into the life sciences]
and so forth

The cognitive disciplines (some of these are not science - they don't rely on experimentation or empirical evidence, per se.):
Cognitve science
Computer programming (yes, I consider this a cognitive discipline)
Pure mathematics (while math informs nearly all of the other sciences, *pure* math is, IMO, a cognitive discipline.)
Game/decision theory

The social disciplines:
Cultural Anthropology
History (including Asimov-style predictive history)
Political Science
Literary theory and folklore studies
Cultural critical theory
Semiotics [which blends into the cognitive disciplines]