January 2015

Another reason to repeal blasphemy laws

by Limbic on January 31, 2015

USACE employees receive flu protection

From the Sydney Morning Herald comes this, “Anti-vaccination group encourages parents to join fake church“:

A controversial anti-vaccination group is encouraging people to sign up to a fake church because it may help them bypass Australia’s emerging “no jab, no play” childcare laws.

…children who are not fully immunised are unable to enrol in childcare unless their parents declare they have a medical reason or personal, philosophical or religious objection.

…But with some doctors refusing to sign the documents, the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network Inc (formerly known as the Australian Vaccination Network), is spruiking 1 the “Church of Conscious Living” as a religion that is opposed to vaccination.

Now imagine how this could go down here in Denmark, where according to the Blasphemy laws

“Anybody who publicly mocks or insults any in this country legally existing religious community tenets of faith or worship, will be punished by fine or imprisonment for up to 4 months.” –  § 140 of the penal code

A  pseudo-science believing loon can simply join or establish a religious community. They declare these claims to be tenets of faith or worship. They declare they are insulted by any disputation of their tenets of faith. Anyone arguing with them publicly commits a crime.

[Note: Fleming has a response to this characterization in the comments below]

The Onion nails it, as usual:

I Don’t Vaccinate My Child Because It’s My Right To Decide What Eliminated Diseases Come Roaring Back | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

(Thanks Farren for the heads up on Danish blasphemy laws)


 

  1. New word to me, means to promote

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Africanized Deep House

by Limbic on January 30, 2015

Jody Wisternoff just dropped his latest Intensified Mix for January 2015 [MP3] .

Track two is a “Mr Raoul K – Sena Kela feat . Laolu”.  I absolutely love this track. It sounds a bit like early Deep Forest , but don’t let that put you off.

Here it is….

Here is the whole mix….

Intensified – 5 January 2015 – Jody Wisternoff by Chemicalgroove on Mixcloud

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The Fatalism of Names (or a tale of two Barrys)

by Limbic on January 29, 2015

I never cease to be tickled by name <–> profession suitability.

Two recent examples

Barry Mapp the Mind Mapping Expert

This is from Barry’s Udemy course. Nice guy and great course, but oh how he must get mocked for that name.

Barry_mapp
Barry Sample the drug tester

This one comes from This American Life’s “I Was So High” episode:

 Ira Glass: Sean, are there surveys measuring how many of us are high all the time?

Sean Cole: I mean– [SIGH] There’s not a lot of data. There’s workplace drug tests that show 3 and 1/2% of workers test positive for drugs. But obviously, that’s only in workplaces that test for drugs in the first place.  One of the experts on this data, who’s wonderfully named, Dr. Barry Sample from Quest Diagnostics told me drug use is a couple percentage points higher in places that don’t test for drugs.

From http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/524/transcript

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Personal Wikis and Link Autosuggestion

by Limbic on January 26, 2015

I absolutely love wikis and have used them personally and professionally for years.

I was not surprised to learn recently that the US intelligence community uses them extensively 1. As does the UK’s GCHQ 2.

I think I started out with Wikidpad as my personal wiki before it was even open sourced. It was (and is) a phenomenal wiki. Windows native, but Python based so with some effort you can get it running on Linux and OS X too.

When I started using OS X both at work and personally, I moved my Wikidpad notes to nvAlt, another stupendous personal information manager that combined near instantaneous search with the ability to create a note right out of your search and super easy note linking with link autocompletion.

Confluence nvalt

A killer feature for me is the ability to get link suggestions/autocompletions as you type. Just Type [[ and start typing a name and if it exists you get a list of matching linked notes you can select and link to. Confluence, Wikipad, naval and SahrePoint Wiki all have this natively. You can get it in MediaWiki with plugins like LinkSuggest, but it only starts to suggest after the first three letters. This feature is missing from OneNote, although linking via [[ is supported.

Whilst I loved nvAlt for my personal wiki / notebook, I also wanted a public notebook or wiki.

I tended to find myself using one of two wikis for pubic wikis: MediaWiki or Confluence .

I had been using MediaWiki for several projects (e.g. the Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club wiki) and found it a phenomenally powerful platform, especially when you extend it with plugins like Semantic MediaWiki. I also greatly enjoyed Confluence. I used it for many years in a former company, where it was an indispensable tool for us. We used to for all our internal documentation, but also for external facing user documentation.

Confluence is hard to beat on features, especially the much loved link autocompletion feature.  It is a full on Enterprise wiki, but it comes at a price. Unlike MediaWiki, you need a dedicated VM / computer to run it. It is Java based and needs loads of memory to be performant. The license is dirt cheap for individuals and small teams ($10 for 10 users) but as soon as you exceed this you are paying big bucks for the software. You also need to be fairly technically proficient to operate a Confluence instance, but it is very well supported too.

These days I am mostly using OneNote for my notes and personal wiki. It is an absolutely superb piece of software that “just works” on every platform I uses (Windows, OSX, iOS, Windows Phone). I have filed a feature request (internally) with the OneNote team for them  to support link autocompletion. If you like the idea, please vote for it on  the OneNote team’s Uservoice.

I have been tempted to OneNote as a public wiki too. It is trivially easy to share a notebook with the public. The only problem is that the URLs are ugly and the notebook cannot be styled to look unique to you.

If I can find a way to easily shuttle my OneNotes to Confluence, I may have a winner. I can do all my composing in OneNote, then just publish to Confluence 3.

I am already considering doing this for blogging now that OneNote for Windows has a blogging feature now.

If you are looking for some resources to get started with your own wiki, here you go….

See also:

Transclusion – the inclusion of the content of a document into another document by reference. In Confluence, for example, you can mark up some text in one page and call that text into another page with a placeholder variable. This is super useful for avoiding duplication of content.

  1. “Structured analytic techniques for intelligence analysis by by Richards J. Heuer, Jr., and Randolph H. Pherson (2011)
  2. One of Edward Snowden’s leaks was a copy of the “Internal Wikipedia” used by GCHQ
  3. Plugin writers, I beseech you!

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“Man is ready to die for an idea, provided the idea is not quite clear to him”

Paul Eldridge

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One of the panels from a series by The Oatmeal on “How to Suck at your religion


mormo-jews

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Mass murder in Paris…

by Limbic on January 7, 2015

..and within minutes the pious ninnies were warning that it is…

important not to rush to false conclusions now. Despite the history of earlier attacks on Charlie Hebdo.
— Wolfgang Blau (@wblau) January 7, 2015

Yes Wolfie, forget the victims, outrage at mass murder and disgust at the assault on free speech, the important thing is not to rush to “false conclusions”.  The real threat is the backlash from the terror, not the terror itself. The real problem is racism on social media not mass murdered cartoonists*. Remember, the worst crimes are thought crimes…

i_am_charlie

* Of course Wolfgang was not saying all of this, but reactions from Human Rights Watch and others were so predictable I was cringing for them:

human-rights-watch

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