Content-Type: text/shitpost


Subject: Not as funny
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!gormenghast​!extro​!forbin​!berserker​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-27T17:55:33
Newsgroup: sci.math.not-as-funny
Message-ID: <f6965d298229fab4@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

“You're not as funny as you think you are.”

“I disagree, I think I'm exactly as funny as I think I am.”


Subject: Mystery recruiters
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-27T15:13:39
Newsgroup: alt.mjd.mystery-recruiters
Message-ID: <6872113df0c81e85@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Today I got email inviting me to "an invite-only recruiting event" where I would be able to speed-date fifteen to twenty local tech companies, for five minutes each. It wanted me to RSVP, but it didn't specify a location, so obviously I couldn't commit to attend.

At first I attributed to the run-of-the-mill incompetence that affects everything having to do with tech recruiting. But then I got to wondering about it. Sometimes those 419 scams are just the front end of a kidnapping scheme. Maybe something similar is going on here: invite a number of professionals to a “recruiting event” at an undisclosed location, and when you hook a big enough fish, reel them in.

Probably not, for many reasons, but sometimes it can be really hard to distinguish incompetence from malice.


Subject: Life hack
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-26T16:55:52
Newsgroup: rec.food.cooking.life-hack
Message-ID: <15b4f2b8ab2faf51@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

AirBnB wants me to write reviews of the places I've stayed. For whatever reason, I find this painful. Writing is hard work for me. The breezy online-review tone does not come naturally to me.

But a happy inspiration: I can skim the previous reviews to find one that says the appropriate amount of cheerful nothing, and copy it verbatim.

Problem solved!


Subject: Conference room scheduling
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!wescac​!berserker​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-26T16:42:18
Newsgroup: alt.sex.conference-room-bidding
Message-ID: <41f399fea43a9287@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Say there are N conference talks and M attendees. How can we have a system where attendees bid on which talks they want to attend, with 1. Larger rooms allocated for talks with more demand 2. Attendees more likely to get into talks for which they bid more 3. Talks most likely to be attended by the highest bidders

One idea that might become part of the whole thing: if you bid x points on some talk and don't get in, the x points are automatically reallocated to your other bids proportionally.


Subject: We want your feedback on a recent Wells Fargo visit
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!wescac​!berserker​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-26T16:42:18
Newsgroup: alt.sex.corporate-feedback
Message-ID: <41f399fea43a9287@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

So I was invited to fill out a form asking about my customer service experience, and since it wasn't good, I went to fill in the form. There are several thing about the design of these surveys that always perplex me.

  • They always ask something like “how likely would you be to recommend Wells Fargo to a friend?”

    “Hey, Joe, how ya doing?”

    “Hi, Chris! I'm pretty well, I'm reading this neat book called All the Birds in the Sky, you should check it out. How about you?”

    “That is good to hear Joe! Lately I am really enjoying banking with Wells Fargo! Give them a try next time you need a national provider of licensed financial services! I assure you this endorsement is from a real human being who is not in any way a remote-controlled cyborg covered in living human tissue!”

    The only thing worse than this question is that they sometimes ask a followup: “Why did you say you would not be likely to recommend Wells Fargo?” Well, Joe, it is because I am not a remote-controlled cyborg, etc.

    Who even designs these surveys? If they are not some sort of artifical lifeform, possibly one wearing a human skin, then perhaps they are someone who went to university and spent four years studying the properties of human interactions without ever actually having one.

  • Usually, the survey requires that one answer all the questions. If they ask an irrelevant question, you have no option to skip it. Attempting to leave it blank just presents the form again, with an angry red message. How dare you leave one of our questions blank! You are required to tick every box, whether or not you intend a speech act by doing so.

    You'd think that they might at least include a not applicable response. Nope. Better a random result than no result at all!

  • Then similarly there is no way to skip a question that is so packed with artifical lifeform gobbledygook that you cannot understand what it means.

I am in a bad mood today. This morning I spent ten minutes along in the kitchen monologuing about what a great idea it had been for us to invade Afghanistan, because every country knows that when your country is feeling a little down it can get an easy win and a little quick cash from stopping in at Afghanistan. Hey, it worked for the Russians!


Subject: Infinity is too a number
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!wescac​!berserker​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-26T16:42:18
Newsgroup: alt.sex.infinity-is-not-a-number
Message-ID: <41f399fea43a9287@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I used to know a guy who, whenever someone said “an infinite number of…” would reply primly with “infinity is not a number”. Which, if you are speaking mathematically, as this guy was, is complete bullshit.

As I mentioned elsewhere, “infinity” in mathematics refers to several different ideas. For example, transfinite cardinal numbers. Oops, I said “numbers”. Transfinite numbers are not numbers. Um. I mean, “transfinites are not numbers”. Just because you can add them and multiply them and raise them to powers and they mix together with finite numbers and they are a generalization of finite numbers and the addition and multiplication and exponentiation are consistent with the way thouse work for finite numbers does not mean that transfinites are also numbers! No no no!

Think of this analogy. Suppose there was some entity that was halfway between two and three. And suppose we could add with that entity and multiply with it and compare it with numbers and so on. And suppose there was a notation for it, I don't know, something like “!!\frac52!!” or something. You wouldn't consider that strange entity to be a number, would you? I mean, how could you possibly have !!\frac52!! children or !!\frac 52 !! automobiles? Ridiculous.


Subject: Machine Translation in Gibson's “Idoru”
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!wescac​!berserker​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-26T16:42:18
Newsgroup: alt.sex.chinga-tu-madre
Message-ID: <41f399fea43a9287@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

William Gibson, Idoru, chapter 16:

Chia began the story of Maryalice and the rest of it, while Zona Rosa sat and peeled and sharpened her stick, frowning.

“Fuck your mother,” Zona Rosa said, when Chia had finished her story. The translation rendered her tone as either amazement or disgust, Chia couldn't tell.

“What?” Chia's confusion was absolute.

The characters have never met in person; they are interacting in a virtual space. Zona Rosa lives in Mexico, and is speaking (or writing) Spanish. She has actually said “chinga tu madre”, which in this context is an idiomatic expression of amazement and disgust. The machine translator that has been automatically rendering all her dialogue into English has mistakenly opted for a literal translation.

Wikipedia reminds me that:

The seven-note musical flourish known as a “Shave and a Haircut (two bits)”, commonly played on car horns, is associated in Mexico with the seven-syllable phrase ¡Chinga tu madre, cabrón! … Playing the jingle on a car horn can result in a hefty fine …

In William Gibson's Idoru, Two of the characters meet only online, in a virtual space. At one point they are conversing. The first character says something innocuous, and the second remarks “Fuck your mother.” She is Mexican, has been speaking in Spanish the whole time, and everything we have read has been an automatic machine translation.


Subject: Books I thought were funny
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!wescac​!berserker​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-26T16:42:18
Newsgroup: alt.sex.funny-books
Message-ID: <41f399fea43a9287@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Zuleika Dobson The Cyberiad Great Expectations


Subject: Git Merge website fail
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!wescac​!berserker​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-26T16:42:18
Newsgroup: alt.sex.git-merge-website-fail
Message-ID: <41f399fea43a9287@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Thex Git folks are sending me invitations to their annual conference which is in Brussels next February.

The 2018 conference year it was in Barcelona and I considered going. Because it seemed possibly useful, and also who doesn't want to go to Barcelona? Or rather, I wanted to consider going. But the invitations went out before the program was announced, so I had no way to know if, once I got to Barcelona, I would actually learn anything of interest.

Okay, no problem, I could look at the 2017 program to get an idea of what is typical. Except no, I couldnt find it, and looking again now, I still can't find it. Here's what I found:

Git Merge is the pre-eminent Git-focused conference: a full-day offering technical content and user case studies, plus a day of workshops for Git users of all levels.

Great, and the technical content consists of what exactly? It doesn't say. There are links on that page that purport to go to “General Sessions” and “Pre-conference Workshop” but they go nowhere. There's a list of 14 speakers, some of whom I know are generally interesting, but there is no hint about what topics they might be speaking on.

There is also a “2017 recap video”. No thanks.

Now they have invited me to 2019 and I am in the same position. Brussels is no doubt lovely but I am not going to haul my ass across the north Atlantic in February, in the hope that when I get there the conference will be worth attending, and I am not going to request that my employer foot the bill unless I can plausibly imagine that they will get something out of it. Okay, maybe they have information online about what happened at the mysterious Barcelona conference I skipped?

This time they're doing better! Last year's schedule is actually on the web site!. I could attend a


Subject: Sentences I wrote that I like
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!wescac​!berserker​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-26T16:42:18
Newsgroup: alt.sex.quotes
Message-ID: <41f399fea43a9287@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Git has multiple, distributed repositories. To abandon that feature would be to go back to the dark ages of galley slaves, smallpox, and SVN.

If you find yourself chasing an endless series of definitions, that's because you're trying to learn mathematics from a mathematical encyclopedia. Well, it's worth a try; it worked for Ramanujan.

This version is !!O(n^2)!!, but who cares.


Subject: Fishy
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!wescac​!berserker​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-26T16:42:18
Newsgroup: alt.sex.fishy
Message-ID: <41f399fea43a9287@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I had assumed that the term “fishy”, meaning suspicious or unlikely ((for example, “ I always heard he was fishy about money matters.”)


Subject: Oculus
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-25T17:48:54
Newsgroup: news.groups.oculus
Message-ID: <3f1ec9e49869ed19@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

An oculus can also be a hollow stone.
According to Church-Lore Gleanings:

In some cases buried hearts have been accidentally discovered little or no trace being left to identify them with any certainty. At Waverley Abbey Surrey in 1731 there were found in a stone oculus two leaden dishes soldered together containing a human heart well preserved in pickle…

(Thomas Firminger Thiselton Dyer, 1892. p. 133))


Subject: Time travel
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-25T14:23:36
Newsgroup: rec.food.time-travel
Message-ID: <721a44f2134e585e@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

On the trolley a couple of days ago Toph and I were discussing the problem of what happens if you travel back in time and murder your parents before you are born. I rather thoughtlessly said she should try it and see, then decided to withdraw the suggestion.

“Maybe we can find a less bloody way to figure this out,” I said, and suggested the following variation:

On Monday, make a peanut butter sandwich and put it on a plate in the refrigerator.

On Wednesday, open the fridge.

If the sandwich is there, eat it, and then get in your time machine, return to Tuesday and eat the sandwich on Tuesday. But if there is nothing but a plate with crumbs, go do something else.

Much simpler, fewer complications.


Subject: Obvious claims
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!central-scrutinizer​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-25T14:12:22
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.obvious-claims
Message-ID: <b006350f3b8213df@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Katara is taking geometry this year, and is having the usual problem of someone studying axiomatic proofs for the first time: the theorems are all obvious, but to understand what is a proof you have to detatch your spatial intuition from the statements.

This is something mathematicians have to learn to do. “Why is this not obvious” is a legitimate mathematical question, one that mathematicians often ask.

Yesterday Katara mentioned the theorem that a line, and a point not on that line, determine a plane and asked why this is something that has to be proved.

Well, I said, you have this postulate that any three non-colinear points determine a plane. So you have a point and a line, and you pick two points on the line, and with the third point, that determines a plane. Now you pick two different points on the line, and with the third point, that also determines a plane. But it's the same plane! It doesn't matter which two points you pick, you always get the same plane. That's interesting, and it's a special property of the particular siutation. There's this rather complicated relationship between all the parts.

Another way to approach this kind of thing, hard to do at this stage but easier later on, is to learn that many things that seem obvious to the senses turn out to be false in more complex situations that our senses are not accustomed to. Katara was excited yesterday to learn about skew lines. This is a great example of something that does not exist in lower dimensions. I said “suppose you were a two-dimensional person, and someone told you that there could be two lines that are not parallel, but they don't intersect. You'd be puzzled, right? But to a three-dimensional person, it's clear.”

She agreed.

“Okay, and you know that any two planes intersect in a straight line, right?”

Obviously.

“In four dimensions, that's false. You can have two planes that intersect in a single point.”


Subject: Zulip asks…
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!hardees​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-20T17:14:41
Newsgroup: rec.food.cooking.zulip-asks
Message-ID: <a4e142556002453e@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

A screenshot of the Zulip chat
system.  The user has opened a window for reviewing private messages
to theirself, and Zulip announces “You have not sent any private
messages to yourself yet!  Why not start a conversation with
yourself?”

Because talking to yourself is a sign of impending mental collapse.


Subject: Shrunken heads
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!uunet​!asr33​!gormenghast​!hal9000​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-06T14:45:55
Newsgroup: alt.mjd.shrunken-heads
Message-ID: <04df360f0fc0ef36@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Today I got to thinking about how amusing it would be to have a shrunken head (presumably fake) of the current president of the United States. Then I thought, why not a whole set, say back through Reagan?

Shrunken heads of Ford and Carter seemed less amusing, so I was willing to stop at Reagan, until I thought about owning a shrunken head of Richard Nixon, which would be too good to omit. But then a Lyndon Johnson shrunken head would be good to have also, I could look at it and think about the Vietnam War and ballot stuffing. And Kennedy, famously young and handsome, would make an excellent shrunken head.

So I decided that the best thing would be to have a complete set of the shrunken heads of all the presidents, starting with Washington, and the question that always comes up in such situations is: what do you do about Grover Cleveland? In this case the answer seemed clear: you include him twice.

Then I didn't get any work done for a quarter of an hour because I was laughing.

That conference attendee who wrote on their evaluation “thinks he's funnier than he is” really had my personality figured out.


Subject: MAD Magazine Super Special, Summer 1620
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!skordokott​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-05T21:16:45
Newsgroup: sci.math.mad-magazine
Message-ID: <b14950598a5aba45@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Today on the way to the trolley I thought of how if MAD Magazine had been published in the 17th Century it would have had a parody (illustrated by Angelo Torres) of Don Quixote or maybe Hamlet.

Other than that I suppose it would have been pretty much the same. The Fold-In might have been a woodcut.

Also, the Dave Berg feature would have been something like “The Lighter Side of… Sumptuary Laws”.


Subject: East Coast?
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!uunet​!asr33​!hardees​!triffid​!gormenghast​!qwerty​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-05T19:15:25
Newsgroup: news.groups.east-coast
Message-ID: <e1a194621839135b@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Philadelphia is universally considered to be an East Coast city.

However, it is not on the coast. It is not even near the coast.

Pennsylvania's sole water border is a short stretch of the shoreline of Lake Erie, 400 miles from here. It does not touch the Atlantic Ocean. To get to the coast, you have to travel from one side of New Jersey to the other, a distance of at least sixty miles.


Subject: Dream
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!central-scrutinizer​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-02T21:07:23
Newsgroup: sci.math.dream
Message-ID: <40419e0f8ac50fb3@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I dreamt I was in a restaurant. On the menu, there was a little note attached to the second-from-last item, explaining that what would be served was only a picture of the actual dish. (The listed price was $24, roughly in line with the other dishes.)

In the dream I was completely perplexed. Who would order such a thing? But when I woke up it was easy to think of an answer. Suppose that it's traditional to welcome an honored guest by serving a certain rare and expensive dish, let's say baked Alaska. This demonstrates to the guest that you take them seriously, and also demonstrates to them (and to your associates) that you're wealthy and powerful enough to command the traditional dish.

Now suppose that baked Alaska is out of season or otherwise unavailable. No problem. You symbolically serve them the traditiona l dish, and if it costs just as much, or more, then so much the better, because the dessert itself was never the point.


Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-01T19:56:24
Newsgroup: rec.food.today-i-learned
Message-ID: <de33ea3ece185aa2@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

The content of G. Spencer-Brown's Laws of Form (1969) was almost entirely anticipated, almost exactly the same, by Charles Sanders Peirce's existential graphs in the 1880s.

Is there anything that C.S. Peirce didn't invent before everyone else?


Subject: Category theory thought for the day
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-09-01T19:50:54
Newsgroup: misc.monic-epic
Message-ID: <26c9a0b45828ee54@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Non-monic arrows are those that destroy information that was present in the domain.

Non-epic arrows are those that introduce worthless non-information into the codomain.