katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2011-07-21 11:56 pm
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Google plus

If anyone wants a Google Plus invite, let me know.

So far I like its style and uncluttered look -- unlike Facebook.
katsaris: Drawing of my face (face)
2010-09-16 02:20 pm
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Methods of rationality

Last couple weeks I ended up seeing one particular piece of fanfiction mentioned in three different places (LJ friendslist, tv tropes, hatrack.com forums), so I'm guessing it's the new sensation that's taking Internet by storm.

Thankfully it's a really really good one, so let me add my own recommendation to the bunch: "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" by Less Wrong (Eliezer Yudkowsky)

The only known AU fic in which Harry systematically tries to figure out the logic behind magic.
The only known AU in which Voldemort was intelligent enough to ...small spoilers )
Also the only known fic in existence in which Voldemort ends up ...small spoilers ), without it being a crackfic!

A warning though: Harry Potter is a horrible and arrogant little jerk in this fic, not the sweet and humble kid of canon -- to me it only makes those few moments of sweetness that remain (e.g. his annoyance at having Hermione's genius not recognized by her parents) all the more potent. But even so: if you can't tolerate jerk protagonists, the fic may not be to your liking at all.
katsaris: Drawing of my face (comics)
2010-07-30 06:27 pm
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So looking forward to this...

Sequel series: Avatar: Legend of Korra

"Avatar: the Last Airbender" is one of my two favourite animated series EVER (the other one being "Gargoyles")... so, yeah. Definitely looking forward to the spinoff. Especially since it seems it'll be slightly different in style with a bit of steampunk thrown in for good measure.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2010-07-13 02:55 pm
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The octopus was right and I was wrong.

Curse you, psychic cephalophod, curse you.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2010-07-07 11:16 pm

World Cup predictor.

I've discovered the perfect predictor for the knock-out stage of the FIFA world cup.

A>B>C with:
Group A supports same-sex marriage.
Group B offers civil unions, registered partnerships or some other kind of recognition to same-sex couples.
Group C offers no recognition to same-sex couples at all, atleast not on a national level.

GROUP A: Netherlands, Spain, Portugal
GROUP B: Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, England
GROUP C: South Korea, United States, Ghana, Slovakia, Chile, Paraguay, Japan

A defeats B or C: (Netherlands-Brazil, Netherlands-Uruguay, Spain-Germany, Netherlands-Slovakia, Spain-Paraguay)
B defeats C: (Uruguay-S.Korea, Brazil-Chile, Argentina-Mexico, Uruguay-Ghana)

When (A) faces (A) or (B) faces (B), earliest recognition means victory.

So Spain (SSM since 2005) defeated Portugal (SSM since 2010) and Germany (registered partnerships since 2001) defeated England (civil partnerships since 2005) and Argentina (unregistered cohabitation since 2008)


This gives us the world cup winner: Netherland (SSM since 2001) rather than Spain (SSM since 2005).

It also proves beyond a doubt that the God of Soccer supports same-sex marriage.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2009-12-08 03:19 am
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A diagram

A diagram I made a week or two ago, to help clarify some of my political thinking:

Some political thoughts explained further... )

It's getting late, ended up writing up only about one third of what I planned. Will complete this in a future post, with possibly one more diagram.
katsaris: EU map with reddish sea, and lyrics "it is the music of a people who will not be slaves again" (European Union)
2009-11-03 02:47 am

Two events of great political significance tomorrow

Two important decisions tomorrow: First, the Czech Supreme Court has to decide whether the Treaty of Lisbon is consistent with their constitution. If their decision is negative, I'm guessing the European project will be stalled for a decade or so -- both in its enlargement and in its integration (widening and deepening).

The second is the referendum on the state of Maine in the United States regarding same-sex marriage. It has the best chances of affirming SSM from any of the referendums that have taken place so far -- and it'll be a first for the USA if the people of Maine so maintain SSM.

Here's hoping.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2009-10-30 02:14 am
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Dreaming mythology and zombies

Had a dream last night, about a war between zombies and the leftovers of humanity. It also included some gender-related commentary: the chief defender of humanity was Wonder Woman, and the battle started turning in favour of humanity when a friend/mentor of hers (at the cost of her own disappearance and possible death) summoned Goddess Athena via a portal. Athena subsequently took charge of the war and routed the zombies, but there was simultaneous commentary that some few of the "boys" had defected, because they couldn't tolerate both the leaders of the war being female.

My point of view alternated between being a reader (I remember figuring out like a reader that in this alternate universe Batman never existed, and Superman did exist but he seems to have been originally a villain and so was generally mistrusted and thus incapable of leadership) and a participant (being instructed how to distinguish between zombies and simply "angry people" :-) Some details I'm also forgetting. I'm pretty sure there were some other deities in there, some in the opposite side. Hecate on the side of the zombies? I don't really remember much more.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2009-10-23 11:20 am

an old blood donation, and a future laser surgery

I was searching though some old medical papers, and was somewhat amused to discover that I had donated blood on the morning of September 11th, 2001.

Of course it had nothing to do with the twin towers -- the morning of 9/11 on Greece was still the previous night in the United States. It was about my grandmother's leukemia, instead.


I've pretty much decided that I am gonna have laser-eye surgery done. I'm gonna meet with my ophthalmologist this evening after work to discuss it with her, though am probably not gonna set a date for certain yet.

Anyone with personal experience out there, who can advise me regarding any non-obvious questions I should ask?
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2009-09-20 08:28 pm

Gunnerkrigg court fanart.

Gunnerkrigg Court has become my favorite web comic by far. Though art and storylines begin off very simply in the first few chapters, these keep improving -- and the increasing set of characters and ever-developing plot and art all have something unique to offer.

The SP Studio is a lovely site that allows you to create South-Park style characters.

I decided to use the latter to make some fanart tribute for the former. )
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2009-06-16 08:34 am
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Temporary style/icons change

Temporary colors/icons change in solidarity to Iranian protests.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2009-05-18 08:03 pm

Dreamwidth and Worlfram Alpha

I have created a dreamwidth account for myself -- thank you very much [personal profile] giandujakiss for the invite code! I had started to get displeased/annoyed with LJ for a long time, and I decided to follow everyone on the mass exodus. Useful crossposting feature. Very useful importing feature: If nothing else, it'll serve well as a backup of post and commentary.

I haven't set it up fully yet, mind you -- there's hardly anyone in my subscription list yet, for starters. Still learning about all the features.

I now have two invite codes to give out as well, if anyone else wants an account. Let me know if anyone's interested. First come, first served.


I tried out "Wolfram Alpha" a bit :
Question #1: "kirk vs picard"
Response #1:'Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input'

I decided to try out something a bit less fannish:
Question #2: 'murder rates in the united states'
Response #2: 'Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input'

Too many words I thought.
Question #3: 'abortion rates'
Response #3: Basic dimensions: '[time]-1 [abortion]', Standard unit for abortion rate: abortion per year

How very utterly useless.

Is there anyone out there who has discovered anything useful (even infinitesimally so) to do with Wolfram|Alpha?
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2009-03-21 06:17 pm
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Watchmen and Dollhouse

Yesterday's Dollhouse (1x06) was both the first good and the first EXCELLENT episode of the series -- the first episode that made me feel I was getting two episodes' worth for the price of one, rather than a 10-minute idea stretched to hourly lengths.

5 bad-to-okay episodes followed by an excellent one. Let's see how the 7th one goes.

Saw Watchmen last Sunday. Minor spoilers )
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2009-03-01 10:10 pm
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Scans Daily, and the strife of the classes

I was actually was about to write a post about how the impermancy of the Internet is depressing: my main instigation for this feeling, was that I was no longer able to locate what's probably my all-time favourite fanvid, "Higher than Hope" by Freddo, which beautifully chronicles Willow's magical, psychological and romantic arcs in seasons 4, 5, and 6. (I have it saved in my hard disk, but I can no longer locate it on the Internet)

Then just so as to make my thoughts even more relevant, Scans_daily is now taken down, after Peter David notified Marvel about copyright violations of its "property".

My comment in Peter David's blog )
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2009-02-09 05:16 am
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Writer's Block: Know by Heart

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I'm still surprised that every lyrics page I've ever seen claims that Tanita Tikaram's "Twist in my sobriety" says "timid smile and pause to free" rather than "timid smile and poised to flee". I'm even more surprised that Tikaram actually does seem to sing "pause to free" rather than "poised to flee".

I have no clue what the former is supposed to mean. I like my heard version lots better.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
2009-01-26 01:15 am
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Things i've been watching and reading

The past year I started watching many series that previously I had only been hearing about: preeminent among them Battlestar Galactica and Supernatural, but also Farscape, Medium, Jonathan Creek, and the more recent Mentalist and Sarah Connor Chronicles.

In December I saw the whole of "Death Note" and the first three seasons of "Dexter" (only the first two seasons of the latter were any good, btw). Both these series were vaguely depressing, with the serial-killer protagonists and all, so near the end of December I decided to switch to something lighter and checked out "Kim Possible" instead. But Kim Possible won't be the one animated series to stick to my mind from this past season.

Avatar - the Last Airbender )

Digital Rights Management annoyances )

City of Ember )

Fanvidding )
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Politics)
2008-11-03 10:36 pm
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final thoughts before election

I have detailed commentary on the "Prince Caspian" movie which has been a few paragraphs away from posting for the past half month... but honestly now is not the time, just before the US elections.

Random thoughts about the election:

- Obviously I support Obama. Not because I'm certain he'll be a good president (nobody can be sure of that about any candidate), but because I am quite certain McCain/Palin would be horrid ones (and that's something one can be reasonably sure about -- certainly Palin at least seems to WANT me to consider her a terrible candidate).

- I expect many exit polls to wildly screw-up at the beginning: Too much early voting done by Democrats. I'm guessing some exit polls will hand states to the Republicans (e.g. North Carolina) that may very well go to the Democrats once the actual votes are counted. So, please, nobody panic if some exit polls show a much closer election than it's likely to be.

- I like reading conspiracy theories. My favorite one this time around was not the "Obama's birth certificate is a forgery, he was really born in Kenya, and thus is ineligible to run for president", (which is a rather lame conspiracy theory as conspiracy theories go) but rather the "Obama is actually the son of Malcolm X, and his mother married Obama Sr. as a mere ruse to hide that fact" which has it all: secret romance, hidden bloodlines, political drama, etc. Not to mention that it cancels out the importance of the former conspiracy theory (as the child of two citizens is a natural-born citizen no matter where it was born). It's fun when conspiracy theories cancel each other out. :-)

- Recently Adam Cadre posted an article which pretty much epitomizes the reasons I read his articles -- when he makes observations that combine psychology/sociology/mythology/current, medieval and ancient politics and elucidates points of history in a unique way. http://adamcadre.ac/calendar/12682.html One minor point I'm not certain I agree with (Medicine as a "Mercurial" profession? Mythologically that doesn't make much sense to me - Asclepius was the son of Apollo) but on the large: YES.

This essay provided datapoints which support my position and which I wish I knew about when a few months back I was arguing with my brother about the role of Jewish communities in America and Russia. (My brother was basically arguing for a religion-related POV which claimed that Protestantism and its focus on the Old Testament was one of the reasons the Jewish community prospered in America.

This was making less than zero sense of me. It was making NEGATIVE sense. I was making the class-related argument instead: it's very reasonable for a highly educated class of people to thrive in a new land which didn't deny them opportunities -- same as it was reasonable for such a class to strive in Russia for the overthrow of the old older which had them as perpetual 2nd-class citizens.)

But I lacked datapoints to further support my view -- this essay provides them, by referencing similar success stories by the Indians in East Africa, the Lebanese in South America, the Chinese in Southeastern Asia, the Armenians -- and framing them with the Apollonian/Mercurial division of professions -- which once upon a time were divided between the insiders of the community and the outsiders.

- Which reminds me also this -- how the older Olympians seem like forces of nature (Zeus - sky and lightning, Poseidon - sea, Hades - death, Demeter - earth and the circle of seasons) while the younger Olympians seem more related to professions and human behavior: Ares for the warriors, Dionysus for drunkenness and maniacal destruction, Apollo for sober toil, Hermes for services. Hephaestus for the smiths, Athena for all craftsmen.

The article I linked to notes the decline of the Apollonian professions, and their replacement by Mercurial ones as the backbone of current society. But it seems to me that as the Apollonian professions declined with industralization, most Mercurial ones will also inevitably decline with sufficient computerization. What will remain then?

Athena - for the scientists and teachers (and programmers :-)
Hercules - for the athletes
The Muses - for the artists
Aphrodite - for the sex workers and supermodels.

- Which brings me back to the topic of the current elections. I bet a small amount of money in Intrade -- it's one of the longshots, Obama winning Georgia, so I fully expect to lose it, but that's okay, I didn't bet much. But in retrospect, as I turned it around in my head, I didn't much like it either way. It's not wealth-creating toil, it's not artistry, it's not craftmanship. It's not even a Mercurial "service" in the sense of actually helping someone out, it's Mercurial in the sense of "god of thieves and gamblers". I still hope I'll win the bet, of course, but it feels distasteful even as a principle.

So the main thing I learned? Though I have nothing against Hermes, I'm definitely not his. I still belong to Athena.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Politics)
2008-10-03 05:53 am
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VP debate

Stayed up late to see the VP debate.

Up to now I hadn't seen Palin speak. As such I had thought that the SNL/Tina Fey sketch was a caricature of her. But no, the caricature is actually nicer and more intelligent than her actual self. When she started with the "doggone it" and such stupidities, I couldn't believe my ears.

I hope I'm not totally off-base but I think Obama/Biden just secured the victory -- not because of the Palin-stupidity thing: half the American population seems to have a great fondness for stupidity after all (they elected Bush not despite it, but because of it). But rather because the whole "liberal are so aloof and can't connect" thing was the Republicans' sole remaining card on the table, after they chose to ditch the "experience" thing.

And in this debate, you get Palin being almost contemptuous towards Biden and Obama while performing some sort of elaborate comedy sketch, while on the other hand you get Biden choking up in memory of his own dead family. I'm sure it'll make Palin look like a complete ass in retrospect -- and even she seemed to figure it out since her behavior in the remainder seemed to me to be slightly more serious afterwards, less comedy routine-like.

Anyway, enjoy: