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Showing posts from 2011

Welcome to Book Club

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Welcome to Book Club. Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else. Including books.


Fight Club film poster. Admit it: You saw the film before you read the book. You probably don't even know there is a book.


The first rule of Book Club is: You DO NOT TALK ABOUT BOOK CLUB!
The second rule of Book Club is: You DO NOT TALK ABOUT BOOK CLUB! You'll get teased.
The third rule of Book Club is: No condensed versions.
The fourth rule of Book Club is: Only 2 guys to a book. That's the maximum, and obviously it could be 2 persons of any gender matched in any combination of 1 or 2 persons to a book.
The fifth rule of Book Club is: One book at a time, fellas.
The sixth rule of Book Club is: No shirts, no shoes, no Kindle or e-book reader of any other variety. You're supposed to kick back with a Martini cocktail, or if you are a teetollar, a relaxing cup of tea or an invigorat…

Nerd rant: Gnome 3

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Background
I've been a loyal Linux fanboy since discovering that it's free, fast, and runs on most older systems. I've been less of a fanboy since being able to afford more modern hardware and attempting to do something other than playing mp3 or video files on my desktop computer, especially with the great job Microsoft did with Windows 7.


Albert Einstein, who may have enjoyed Gnome 3. I do not.

My main reasons for preferring Linux over Windows are:

User control and freedom. I could plug anything I want into anything else and it usually worked after a bit of tweaking and a few blue sparks.
Consistency and standards. This is part of the Unix design philosophy. I knew, if I had a document or a file from one brand of Linux, that it would run on a different brand of Linux too. It would mostly run on Windows as well.
Aesthetic and minimalist design. This must be because Linux comes from a command-line interface culture. There was no clutter on the desktop with prior versions of Gnome…

Media Appeals Tribunal has fallen and it can't get up

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If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you’re misinformed. - attributed to Mark Twain.

Since the last Media Appeals Tribunal update on this blog, the Press Council of South Africa held a few public hearings which are designed to garner the general public opinion on the role of the council. Public attendance was poor, as can be expected from any kind of public hearings that are held during working hours.


Mark Twain. I'm not sure what his ideology was, but it involved satire and drinking so I like it.

The Red Brigade has issued a warning regarding the ideology (or is that idle-LOL-agy?) I am propagating on this blog (they haven't managed to identify this ideology, and neither have I to be honest), but then only Red Brigade ideology and nothing else would make the Red Brigade happy. Due to their misconception that I am trying to advance an ideology that they do not approve, they have given my No Media Tribunal campaign a Cold War shoulder. …

Volunteer's Dilemma: Game Theory for Noobs

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The Volunteer's Dilemma in Game Theory is best described by a corny mathematics joke.

A mathematician, an engineer and a chemist are at a conference. They are staying in adjoining rooms. One evening they are downstairs in the bar. The mathematician goes to bed first. The chemist goes next, followed a minute or two later by the engineer.

The chemist notices that in the corridor outside their rooms is a rubbish bin that is ablaze. There is a bucket of water nearby. The chemist starts concocting a means of generating carbon dioxide in order to create a makeshift extinguisher but before he can do so the engineer arrives, dumps the water on the fire and puts it out. The next morning the chemist and engineer tell the mathematician about the fire. She admits she saw it. They ask her why she didn't put it out. She replies contemptuously "there was a fire and a bucket of water: a solution obviously existed.

What's the deal with the Volunteer's Dilemma?
If nobody volunteers,…

Chicken: Game Theory for Noobs

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Chicken in game theory refers to a game where opponents are heading towards each other on a narrow road. The first opponent to chicken out loses, while if neither chicken out both end up losing their lives.



Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachov having a staring contest.

Who is silly enough to play chicken?
Men, of course. Grown men. Chicken or brinkmanship is also used as a metaphor for contests where there is very little to gain and much to lose. It's basically the proverbial pissing contest or my dad is bigger than your dad, with bigger risks.

Many are of the opinion that an arms race is an example of chicken, though this is often not the case, as there may be more at stake than pure pride. During the Cold War, for example, the arms race was designed to bankrupt the Russian government, in addition to being a preventative measure against Russia's arms.

Game theory often analyses situations in terms of what could have been had different strategies been followed. In the case of an arm…

Free Rider Problem: Game Theory for Noobs

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The Free Rider problem is similar to the Tragedy of the Commons in that a common resource is shared. It's a game theory problem slightly in reverse, as with the Tragedy of the Commons, everyone kept exploiting a commonly held resource until it was spent. With the Free Rider problem, a resource is paid for by an entire community, but a few individuals do not contribute their required share. The free riders thus gain from the communal resource without contributing to the communal resource.

A few Free Rider examples
Chickens are kept on enclosed pastures, or free range. However, chickens do not contribute to the labour performed. According to Karl Marx's labour theory of value, chickens that do not contribute to labour are not a commodity that creates value. In the Marxist sense, labour is the only commodity with value that adds value. Chickens are thus not only free rangers, but also free riders.
Military protection and indeed any social security benefits are rarely used by those w…

Defining race and ethnicity in South Africa, part 2

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This is part 2 of a 2 part series. You may find the full series here:
Defining race and ethnicity in South Africa.
Defining race and ethnicity in South Africa, part 2.

Since my previous post, Defining race and ethnicity in South Africa, there's been a bull in the China shop. You can tell by the large amount of bull shit that has since gathered. Please consult the comment section of that post to get a firm idea of how we got here. This is a reply from Sentletse, who claims that We are not all Africans black people are!, to my post. I'll quote from him in bold and give my comments in plain text.


Neanderthals existed in Europe. If you say Homo Sapiens drove them to extinction, then you agree with me that it was Homo Sapiens that migrated from Africa, not Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Therefore the Out-Of-Africa theory is rendered invalid as it is premised on the view that it was Homo Sapiens Sapiens who migrated.

I'll see your multiregional model of the origin of modern humans and I'l…