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Minor blog addition

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As an experiment, I've added to my blog system (lb) an extra element, only amounting to a small edition of code. This is an additional (more traditional) blog index page, which you can see here.

It's pretty simple and really just prepends new entries to the top just like the rest of the blog system does for your RSS feed and the rolling blog file. The titling by month is not automatic, so each month, you'd have to add a new heading though. Not sure if I want to bother automating that.

It does add the date to the title as well, which is automatic, but I didn't add it to older entries since I revising that would be a little more difficult.

I've pushed these changes to the Github, but they're still liable to change a little bit. You can feel free to update your local repo or not, as it won't affect the rest of the system whether you use this feature or not.

Sat, 11 Aug 2018 19:28:10 -0400

Podcast series to begin shortly

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I've been contemplating for a while to do a podcast series, partially at the desires of viewers and I think it's now going to happen. The general format is going to be on weekly topics, at the beginning focusing on particular books of political, scientific or other note. I originally was searching around for a co-host, but honestly couldn't find anyone I particularly liked for the job. I'm open to one in the future, but I think I'm setting myself on a detailed monologue format for now.

I've gotten specific requests for books and topics, but it's going to follow only my own instincts in the beginning, focusing mostly on unsung but potent works. The first week, I've pretty much settled on Julian Haynes' The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind followed by (in no particular order) Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Feyerabend's Against Method, Hutton's Race and the Third Reich and Nassim Taleb's growing corpus, typically called Incerto.

I'm also open to having non-book based topics or perhaps talking about fiction works. Say, the works of Lovecraft or Dick or Borgres. Now this isn't supposed to be a bookclub, or a learning experience for me though. I want to focus on works and topics I've been familiar with for years, otherwise it would be pretty silly to put out content. It would sort of like those people who do "distro" reviews after playing around on a Linux distro for 10 minutes.

Anyway, I'm still divided on what to call the podcast, but I might just call it No Relation as a joke and allusion to the now famous one episode podcast my roomate and I did last year, and considering it has No Relation to the original.

Sat, 11 Aug 2018 19:15:29 -0400

Now THIS is Bash AUTISM!

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A new brief video and follow-up to the last video. I correctly prophesied that there were more decent optimizations to the script from the last video. Specifically, I briefly talk about tee, a UNIX utility which is lesser-used, but allows us to take an input and output it to multiple places, potentially performing further modifications on each of the separate streams. We save DOZENS of milliseconds in our unrelenting autismal quest for efficiency.

Sun, 05 Aug 2018 19:50:12 -0400

Don't be a Bash BRAINLET!

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In a new vid, I talk about the importance of good design, and what that means in your typical shell script. I take the example of the shortcut-sync script I use to keep my bash, ranger and qutebrowser aliases synced and autogenerated. Originally when I wrote it, it was terribly designed, looping through a file and outputting to files six different times per line, adding up for a staggeringly long 1.5 second runtime for a 45 line script! The newer, better version (see the above link to Github), uses streams in the proper way to produce nearly instantaneous completion.

It's a pretty good example of how good (or bad) design principles can add up hugely on a system. It's almost mind-boggling to think about the difference that well-written and efficient code can make even for typical users as you add up the hundres of thousand or millions of lines of code we end up running every day.

A lot of people will repeat the typical mantra that we "need more programmers" for the modern economy. I have to say I've always hugely disagreed with this. A lot of the effort spent in the industry is maintaining the unmaintainable and playing whack-a-mole with the problems that bad design creates. We'd be better off with a smaller contingency of programmers and tweakers mindful of efficiency and machine resources. This is definitely something I've realized directly while I've started using UNIX operating systems.

Sun, 05 Aug 2018 13:08:53 -0400

Minor hack: Pausing all mpv videos on any screen

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For a while I had been looking for a command to pause all mpv video instances on my computer. I have a lock script which, while locking, automatically pauses the audio from my mpd, but I had wanted a way to pause all mpv instances as well, otherwise I would have to do the potentially annoying task of getting to the right workspace and hitting pause manually. I could find a lot more "complicated" solutions where you have to start mpv on a particular socket, but I ran across a much easier and universal possibility:

xdotool search --class mpv | xargs -I % xdotool key --window % comma

Which is a pretty funny command, but works exactly how I want. If you're not familiar with xdotool, this one-liner just searchs for all mpv instances and sends the key , to each of them, which by default moves the video back by a frame and pauses it. So now I've just added this line to my lock script, so if I ever am watching something and want to leave my computer and lock it, I don't have to worry about manually pausing mpv which may be on another screeen. Also, while I've always had Super+p mapped to "pause/unpause mpd audio", I've mapped Super+Shift+P to "pause mpd and all mpv instances", running this one-liner along with the true mpd pause command.

Sat, 04 Aug 2018 23:12:03 -0400

Video on cronjobs for managing my system

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I just released a brief video on cronjobs, how to make them for new users, including the syntax, but also some of the jobs that I have run on my machine (also about the minor annoyance of specifying displays for some graphical commands).

I didn't start using cronjobs until only a couple months ago, but now I've fully integrated them into my system. As I state in the video, I do my updating via cron by havine a pacman -Syuw --noconfirm command run every two hours to check for and download package updates (it also gives me a preview of the number of updateable packages on my i3blocks bar). I then finalize the update when I want, but don't have to watch the downloading happen. If you want, you could just as easily remove the -w and have the updating done all automatically if you don't feel like you need to see what's new.

Any suggestions on new cronjobs are welcome!

Sat, 04 Aug 2018 22:55:45 -0400

LARBS is about done

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Holy crap, I've probably installed and reinstalled LARBS 50 times in the past couple days as I've ironed out the last kinks. I've totally rewritten larbs.sh twice (arguably three times) this week, but the result is fantastic. The script runs smoother than ever on the user side (a full installation takes less than 10 minutes now) and I've autistically separated the code into functions for portability and customizeability.

And boy is it. Aside from the script now being composed of easy to manipulate functions, larbs.sh now reads in a separate programs file (in .csv format) and can take a custom dotfiles repo as well. You can feed it a .csv like this one and it can parse the list and install the programs in whatever way it needs to. E.g. in the setup now, untagged programs are in the main repo, programs tagged with A are AUR programs and G programs are git repositories installable with make && sudo make install. Depending on the tag, LARBS will run a different install command as needed. Note that the last column (which is a description of the program in a verb phrase) appears at runtime to describe the program while it's installed. A nice little addition.

So you can easily setup a your own LARBS now. Since I said I was going to do real-life videos on bash scripts, I might do an explainer on this one, since I'm sure it might be generally edifying, but also very useful for people who want to extend the scripts.

Check it out: LARBS on Github.

Fri, 03 Aug 2018 15:22:00 -0400

Scripting in action

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At the request of viewers, I might be putting out a series of videos on shell scripting in the wild. You can see the first video of this here. I cover a small script I use for mounting USB drives on Linux, as opposed to using some fancy (bloated?) daemon or other service.

It's probably part of my sense to not trust anything I didn't write myself ;-)

Wed, 01 Aug 2018 16:22:52 -0400

How let your root user use your main dotfiles

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When you have a single-user system, or one with only one user with sudoer access, I always used to hate that every time I became root, I'd lose the settings set in my bashrc and aliases, my vimrc and preferred directory shortcuts. About 6 months ago, I had the crazy idea to change the root user's home directory from /root to /home/luke so root would look in my main directory for all its dotfiles.

I was initially worried that this could cause some vulnerabilities, it might still, but I have to say that it's been hugely convenient and hasn't given me any problems in all these months, so I recommend trying it out. All you have to do is open /etc/passwd and change the directory on the line starting with root: to your typical home directory.

So whenever you log in as root, you'll still have access to all your rc settings, and will be in your familiar home folder. I didn't think of it before, but you'll also have fewer log files to have to sort through. For example, if I once worked out a compilcated shell command and am trying to look it up in my .bash_history, I used to have to check /home/luke/.bash_history and /root/.bash_history if I couldn't remember if I ran it as myself or root. Now, however, both accounts use the same history file for bash, and also other programs.

So anyway, I recommend trying it out. I'm sure I'll get a couple emails about how it could be potentially dangerous, but the convenience has been huge and I've had no problems, although I might not recommend doing this on your webserver to hedge against unknown vulnerabilities.

Mon, 30 Jul 2018 15:24:13 -0400

Download any Academic Article Free: A One-Liner

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You may know of Sci-Hub, an excellent service by Alexandra Elbakyan that opens pay-walled academic articles for free public use.

The typical use of the service is to go to the main site (right now http://sci-hub.tw, it changes often due to piracy accusations), give it a link to an academic article and it will pop up a new window allowing you to download it.

This is way too much keypressing and clicking for me, and I want an browser-free way of doing this. Instead I made a line like the following to put in your bashrc to run a link through sci-hub and automatically download it.

shdl() { curl -O $(curl -s http://sci-hub.tw/"$@" | grep location.href | grep -o http.*pdf) ;}

Then you can simply download an article by passing the link of its preview or abstract, e.g.: shdl https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40806-017-0133-5 and it will download to your current directory.

I have this as part of my linkhandler script, which I have my RSS reader newsboat run on desired entries in my RSS feeds. Specifically, I subscribe to many RSS feeds for academic journals, and now with this script, if I see an article I want to read, I can just run my linkhandler script and download them immediately without laboriously having to open the browser to copy the url and then paste it into sci-hub, etc. Note that in my linkhandler script, I have it detect if the link is of an academic publisher (which is a modifiable variable) and that the Sci-Hub link is also a separate variable because, as I said, it occasionally changes and I want it to be distinct.

Sat, 28 Jul 2018 10:55:04 -0400

Macs, "PCs" and the Power of Public Relations

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One of the strangest turns-of-phrase that Apple has tried to hoist on the public is the term "PC" to mean all non-Apple computers. Even without delving much deeper, this is one of the most bizarre choices; Apple Mac computers are not just PCs, but they were arguably the first PCs—you would think that Apple would be proud of more or less inventing the idea of a Personal Computer.

Regardless, what is the point of the term PC to Apple advertising? Why did they run that classic series of commercials contrasting Macs and "PCs"? At a basic level, PC is just a catch-all exonym, that is, a term for all computers outside of a designated group. In reality, there's really nothing common to computers made by Lenovo, Dell, Asus and every other company that aren't also held in common with Apple computers. The only thing in common, at least, is the lack of the characteristic Apple weirdness (no other company is going to get rid of all their computers' important ports, for example).

Regardless, I noticed the actual public relations use of the term "PC" after I did my video on Macs—this term works wonders in the mind of an Mac fan. That is, nearly every dogmatic Apple user would call me a "PC fanboy"! PC fanboy... what could that possibly mean?

At first I thought most hate mail was coming from people who didn't watch 10 or so seconds in when I said that I used Linux (deliberately to avoid inane comments like this). I assumed that "PC" meant "a machine running Windows", which is clearly not what Mac-users thought the term to mean: it was all non-Mac computers. I'd guess that my old TI-84 calculator is a "PC" by that metric. This is a total inversion of what the term "fanboy" means of course. You can be a Mac fanboy: Apple Mac products, while sometimes different, all share the exact same design principles and are all owned by one company notorious for its quasi-cult like public relations.

While on the other hand, "PC fanboy" doesn't really mean anything—there's no common denominator or design or principle behind all non-Apple computers (again, aside from the fact that they don't do the manifestly stupid things that Apple does). A "PC fanboy" in practice just means someone who doesn't like Macs, but that's where the magic is for Apple advertising—Mac users have always been lampooned as cult members, but the term PC is an attempt redirect the claims of irrational devotion backwards. It doesn't have to make sense generally, but it makes sense in the head of an Apple fanboy: non-Mac computers are all the same and if you don't like Macs, you must just have some terrible emotional problem with them for no reason (this is the gist of most of the hatemail I get on this anyway).

Since I made my video on Macs, I don't dislike Macs any more than I did before, but I am continually losing respect for Mac users. I could've just as easily done a video on why I don't use Windows, but God knows that Windows users don't have the same genre of pathological attachment to the brand they use. That's not to imply that all comments from Mac users even disagreed with me, but the vocal members of the hivemind have certainly put a smug anime girl face on me from time to time.

Wed, 18 Jul 2018 12:52:58 -0400

New st patches: Xresources and pywal compatibility

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When I did my original video on st, AKA the suckless simple terminal, a lot of other people decided to migrate over, but there are a couple of features that I hadn't added to my build, or people were confused how to add. Now, partially in preparation for LARBS, I've added some more features, including the fact that the terminal colors now use your Xresources colors by default, enabling the use of wal/pywal for creating universal colorschemes. (If you don't know what this is, I did a video on it a couple months ago.)

You can now check out my patched version of st right here, and it will have all the best patches applied by default now.

I think it's at the point where I consider st just about the best possible terminal for me (and probably for most all people). I occationally get requests to submit by build to the AUR, which I might do, but I can definitely say that you can safely use my build and get all the features you expect from a terminal while it still being bugless and minimal as any good suckless software should be.

Well actually, on bugs, there is one little, minor annoyance in the program and that's that ranger image previews disappear when you mouse away from the given window. While there is a patch for st 0.7 which gives it sixel compatibility, due to its *le bloat* it hasn't been accepted into the program, and aside from that, I don't think ranger is built to work with sixel itself either so far. Either way, I still consider st largely "the best", but being able to patch in something like this would make it closer to "perfect". With the features and bindings I have in my build, I find it a little sad when I have to use another terminal.

Mon, 09 Jul 2018 20:09:57 -0400

In Defense of "Pseudoscience"

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If you keep up with my random asides in videos and elsewhere, you might know that I'm extremely disappointed with the current state of institutionalized science. The post-war era was a disaster for scientific epistemology, in fact, epistemology and science commentary mostly became an exercise to exclude one's enemies by technicality. Academia became an enormous state-funded enterprise, and the best way to ensure that your research program got funding before your rivals was to develop advanced reasoning to exclude their methodology altogether from science.

Thus the term "pseudoscience". In former centuries, there was no such division between "science" and "pseudoscience". Researchers wrote tomes on subjects which were amalgams of hard analysis and what we would now consider baseless or unwarranted speculation. Each were understood for what they were, all ideas were on the table for analysis.

The thing is, all academics—at least all remotely intelligent ones—quietly harbor fringe beliefs. If you push any of them in private, or with vindicating evidence, they'll quickly bounce to support their deeper intuition. One example that comes to mind is geologist Robert Schoch, who after a little empirical prodding, became a vocal supporter of the idea of a prehistoric dating of the Sphinx, and then later other Mesolithic civilizations. Nowadays he brushes shoulders even with the ancient aliens crowd, and why shouldn't he? Once you've earned the designation of "pseudoscientist", you might as well go full-bore and have fun.

The other best-kept secret is that by definition, "pseudoscience" drives advancement in "real science". All new ideas start out as baseless speculation—Alfred Wegener's theory of continental drift, based on the trivial and child-like realization that South America sort of fits into Africa, was mocked as pseudoscientific by Americans for decades. Now it's science. I wouldn't doubt if Schoch's Sphinx water erosion hypothesis will be similarly vindicated, partially by the many Mesolithic constructions found since then.

In linguistics and archeology, we have a recent "pseudoscientist" in Marija Gimbutas. Gimbutas unearthed many female idols/dolls from pre-Indo-European Europe and jumped to far-reaching, "pseudoscientific" conclusions: Old Europe was a feminist utopia, there was no violence and complete harmony, etc. Because Gimutas's politics were socially unassailable, you don't hear "pseudoscientist" around her much, but that's certainly the word on everyone's lips. If pseudoscience is what Schoch is doing, it's certainly what she was doing. Regardless, this pushed her into making specific claims about the origin of Indo-Europeans, that they originated from the Kurgan (Yamnaya) culture, a claim that has now become consensus due to further archeological, linguistic and nowadays even genetic research.

I've seen first hand that there are really two types of personalities in science. On one had, there's the conventional and petty academic who is "detail-oriented" and "rigorous" in some sense that means religiously adherent to theoretical priors. These people will only truly fight for something when they're on the side of consensus or when the issue is of no social importance. On the other side are the "pseudoscientists", or in other words, the people who actually have something interesting to say.

Mon, 09 Jul 2018 11:41:49 -0400

Video on copying and pasting from Vim

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A quick little video on how to copy and pasting using the system clipboard in Vim. It's simple enough, but people ask me about this a whole lot. Some brief instructions about registers generally as well.

Thu, 05 Jul 2018 15:21:27 -0400

i3blocks reloaded

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I've put up a video expanding on my i3blocks status bar, partially in preparation for the LARBS tutorial videos.

I've implemented many new features, including signaling for a lower footprint bar, and some other bells and whistles. I also go through where everything is in the system for people using my configs.

Wed, 04 Jul 2018 13:15:30 -0400

Monetized with Super Chats

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I took a long (several hour) walk to clear my head this morning, and came back to a pleasant surprise: YouTube has finally (after five or six months of review) monetized my channel. I don't have the slightest idea how much money I'll actually end up getting from this, but I hope it's decent enough.

Of course, my studious core of viewers all will be using ad-blockers. The one I usually recommend is Ad Nauseam, which is not just a blocker, but a dazzler. If you don't like ads, don't feel like you need to permit them from my channel to get me more revenue. I'm sure there are plenty other who will be watching them without. I only monetized after polling my audience at the old forum (some 80% just told me to monetize) and if you're part of that remaining 20%, just block them as you usually would.

The other nice detail is that I can now allow "Super Chats" in livestreams. If you don't know, that's when users can pay money to have their chat message plastered prominently in the chat window for a period proprtional to their donation. I think chats in my livestreams are off decent enough size that people would be willing to get some of these. But then again, now doing le bloodsports seems like a much more appealling prospect. Any takers?

Thu, 21 Jun 2018 13:34:39 -0400

Redesign of Website

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I've reformatted my personal website a bit, and I've readded the video gallery page which I had on my last site. YouTube is terrible about showing older videos to users, so it's nice having my own archive of things displayed logically. If I don't do that, I literally get oblvious questions all the time asking me to do a video on things I did a video on last week. I can hardly even blame summerfriends for that since if you're a new viewer, you have no good way of knowing what kind of stuff I've made videos on on YouTube because they never recommend non-recent videos and they have no good UI for looking someone's video history.

That's actually one of the ironies about YouTube. For all they complain about there being a drought of advertisers, they put out all the incentives for people to put out more and more junk videos constantly. It's easy to see from my side the enormous bias YouTube gives to videos that are 72 hours old, but after those 72 hours, very few people will ever see any given video unless it absolutely goes viral.

Wed, 20 Jun 2018 22:11:47 -0400

A Journey to Athens

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I've still been looking for apartments in Georgia or thereabout and yesterday I took a full-day trip back to Athens (Georgia of course) to scout out apartments. After a full day and after seeing about a dozen places, I have to admit that I didn't find anywhere too much up to snuff, even given the fact that I don't need to be particularly close to the university.

I may be back there again within a week or so, but I'll concede that I was debating whether I actually want to live there again. I'm really not in the mood to put down a year's rent anywhere, even if it's only $5000 or so, unless I can get a really great place, but I suppose the real problem is a change in my mindset.

In brief, I don't feel like I want to put down money for something that isn't going to last; the bugmanhood of renting an apartment is extremely unappealing. The better alternative now seems like just buying a parcel of land with the little money I've saved up. My goal is 5+ semi-remote acres for less than $20,000, which is doable. I have a couple placing I'm looking at now, but am always looking for more. I just want land that I am extremely free in building restrictions and zoning (preferable none), and that I can have a permanent setup on: possible growing and self-sustaining utilities. I've done a lot of math and think that I can get a decent cabin built (my myself) for less than $5,000, probably closer to $3,000, but maybe with $2,000 of unforeseen costs ;-)

The other thing on the ledger would be me buying a car (or more likely, a pick-up) because I haven't needed a car since honestly 10 years (my old car finally died about two years ago). Granted, if anyone reading this around Georgia has a used pickup truck in good shape they're willing to get rid of, feel free to contact me ;-) Don't rip me off though, I have a YouTube channel!

Wed, 20 Jun 2018 22:04:34 -0400

First Imagemagick Videos

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I've put up two videos on imagemagick today and yesterday covering some of the basics from making canvases and composites and basic effects. You can check the first out here and the second here. Imagemagick is one of the most useful programs out there, and can be a huge boon for automated imageprocessing and also making little modifications (like resizing and minor adjustment).

I'll be doing more like this just because of imagemagick being such a huge and useful world. Specific ideas are welcome.

Sun, 17 Jun 2018 09:13:23 -0400

Updates about Money and Patreon

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First, as a reminder, I do indeed have a Patreon and encourage people to join. As stiff of a veneer I pretend to have when it comes to money, I won't pretend that there is a great psychological effect to getting new patrons and bigger pledges. Now that I'm dissertating, if I can start making decent money on YouTube, it will affect a lot how much free time I'll have if I can live with on part-time work. If you don't like Patreon as a platform, donate via Liberapay or Paypal.

I said so a couple days ago in a part of another post, but I'm switching my Patreon to being based "by creation" rather than "by month" so people get charged by content rather than time. As longer viewers know, sometimes I have to take several weeks off, while other times, I'm making videos every day. If you're already a patron on Patreon, you might want to change your settings. Specifically, everyone has been grandfathered in from the monthly donation scheme with those settings. If you want to pledge by creation now, you'll have to adjust the per unit donation and your maximum.

Of course my Liberapay is, by its nature set to on a weekly basis, so if you want a clearer time-based donation system, try them out. Liberapay, unlike Patreon, does not skim money off the top for themselves, so if you're thinking about using one of them for time-based donations and don't have any account yet, go with Liberapay.

By the way, Patreon says I'm making $180 per video, which isn't accurate. It's really more like $180 per month plus about $10 or so for the first few videos; it simply adds in the monthly donators to that number. If I could actually make near $200 per video or more, I could basically retire and do this full time ;-).

Sat, 16 Jun 2018 20:31:52 -0400

Video on GIMP basics

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I've put up a video on the basics of GIMP, which you can see here.

I may do more in the future, but even better, I'm going to be doing some videos on Imagemagick (I already have one recorded which I'll release over the weekend). For those who don't know, Imagemagick is a core system for image creating and editing that accessible on the command line. It's hard to full express how useful IM is, so the first video will be just on one of my implementations of it.

Fri, 15 Jun 2018 10:36:55 -0400

Consciousness, bicamerality and book reviews

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After a good bit more reading, I've given up on Hamlet's Mill, and not lightly. I usually view it as a kind of shame to stop reading a book before finishing, but I frankly don't feel like it's worth it at this point. The book is far too circumambulative to actually communicate its deeper point, but I get the feeling that it's that way out of a desire on the authors' part to avoid criticism with lack of clarity.

From what I can gather (after reading several hundred pages of deep, dank, quasi-poetic prose), it's a general argument that many classic mythological stories (those stories in different cultures that Hamlet is based on) are a kind of folkloric embedding of knowledge of axial procession (the fact that the earth's axis wobbles every several tens of thousands of years). This point is only alluded to or barely said, and only very circumstantial arguments are made for it, at the request of readers to squint their eyes to blurry the argument to make it sound more convincing than it really is.

Instead, I've started reading Julian Jaynes' The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind for the third time. It's one of my favorite reads, no so much because I find it so convincing, but because it's that pleasurable mix of ancient aliens-tier imagination and speculation with at least passable science, neurology, linguistics and other research. This was an enjoyment I hoped to replicate in reading Hamlet's Mill actually.

I've been hinted that I might start doing book reviews at the request of many subscribers, and I might pick Bicameral Mind to be the first candidate after I finish it again. I put up a poll of commonly requested books on the forum, and Taleb's Antifragile, Herrnstein and Murray Bell Curve and an unspecified book by Nietzsche got the most votes, but I'll probably end up doing everything on the poll anyway.

Thu, 14 Jun 2018 21:47:25 -0400

Linux is the Wild West! Talk is now out

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I've uploaded my Linuxfest talk at this link. Check it out. Southeast Linuxfest sends their apologies for not recording my face, but luckily I brought all the equipment for recording on my own machine.

Again, the talk was pretty packed with a lot of standers, especially considering the late time; it was great presenting and meeting all the people I did. I might be going next year as well if I have the time and hope to see all of you again (with many others).

Linuxfest also had set tables for lesser donnors to advertise their wares. At least one group was livestreaming throughout the event, and I figure that might be an option for me in the future. (I've also thought about merch, but it always strikes me as contrived and a little too consumerist.) I'm not actually sure how much they charge for the tables, but it's crossed my mind to crowdfund the money. That's probably something to think about in the future though.

Thu, 14 Jun 2018 13:54:29 -0400

Linuxfest 2018 review

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A brief video on my experience at Southeast Linuxfest, check it out here.

Wed, 13 Jun 2018 10:43:34 -0400

Syncthing video, also Patreon changes

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New video out on Syncthing for keeping files in sync.

I've said this on Patreon already, but I'm going to be moving to a "per creation" payout on Patreon rather than the "per month" payout. I figure that'd (1) be more fair to people when I go another month like the last one where I don't put much out and (2) give some incentive for me to put stuff out regularly when I'm not moving cross-country or something. I'll treat all contentful videos as "paid" videos, meaning that I won't charge patrons for meta-videos or personal updates. For example, I'll be putting one out today or tomorrow on Liunxfest, etc.

Tue, 12 Jun 2018 09:36:10 -0400

The Secrets in Hamlet's Mill

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A week or so ago, I heard about, for the first time, the book Hamlet's Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge and Its Transmission Through Myth. The subtitle should communicate the gist. After ordering it online, it arrived this afternoon and I've gotten five chapters in (barely a fifth of the way through the whole thing).

I was attracted to the book as part of my general sympathy for the idea that pre-classical and primeval knowledge and myth is, to use a silly word scientific, or at least true in a astronomical or quasi-metaphorical level. That's certainly the intended argument of the book, but it certainly labors under that Moldbuggian tendency to beat around the bush quietly, hoping that the deeper argument will eventually sneak up and hit its reader on the head. While the book is definitely designed to be a slow burn, one positive aspect is authors' repeated insistence of the imperfectness of translating early writings and myths, partially on linguistic grounds, but even more so due to the severely underestimated difference between the modern and primeval mindset.

I'll also say that in addition to this book, I've also bought Pandora's Seed (Spencer Wells) and the notable Forbidden Archaeology (Michael Cremo), both of which I'll hopefully be going through this week. The latter book I bought with not too much expectation of seriousness, but out of raw curiosity. It argues an extremely ancient origin of mankind based on reinterpretation of archaeological evidence, its author being what could be described as a Vedic Creationist. I don't expect to be convinced or even unannoyed by the book, but I'm always interested in circumstantial evidence for an earlier date for human evolution, especially given the constant pushing back of the accepted date.

Mon, 11 Jun 2018 23:40:48 -0400

Lol Linuxfest

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I've been at Southeast Linuxfest the past two days. I'll probably do a full review later, but here are some highlights so far.

Anyway, it's been nice meeting all of you who have/had come! Again, I might do a video update after the whole thing is over.

Sun, 10 Jun 2018 00:12:46 -0400

Exile in Suburbia

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While I'm looking for a new apartment or land to live on, I've been living in the Atlanta suburbs (or 'boondocks' in some people's definitions) again. After a couple days of rest after the grueling move/drive across country, I'm getting used to the 40 minute walk to the closest town and the extreme lack of people of my demographics (both age and race).

I found a local bookstore today and bought a copy of Cochran and Harpending's The 10,000 Year Explosion, a book I had read a while ago, but never bought. It's actually my style to only buy books after reading them and liking them at libraries. I'm rereading it now.

I've also been going thru A.J. Ayer's Language, Truth and Logic, which was largely one of the key books in spreading Logical Positivism to the English-speaking work. Intellectually-subtle viewers may know that I'm not a big fan of Logical Positivism—in fact I'm sort of reading it to have a strawman to attack in my dissertation. You never know though; I find it very difficult to enunciate my distaste of it. The vocabulary isn't quite out there to do so with a popular (or un-popular) audience.

Since I plan on my dissertation being in large part philosophy of science and then some, I'll have to overcome this lack of vocabulary, and might do so partially with the aid of my YouTube channel.

Thu, 31 May 2018 18:24:26 -0400

Whomst lives in Georgia?

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Friendship ended with Arizona; now Georgia is my best friend.

I just finished my move from Arizona, which is more relieving than I can possibly express. Classwork is done, and the only possible reason I'll ever be returning to that quite literal hell-hole is for when I defend my dissertation and my graduation ceremony.

The thing is, while I've moved from Arizona, I haven't really moved anywhere in particular; I'll be living with family and friends until I decided where I want to live exactly. Here are my options:

Other data:

Anyway, the title of the post is "Whomst lives in Georgia?" because I'm curious. I know some subscribers live in Athens, and if there are a lot there, or a lot in Kennesaw or another college town, that might be a reason to move there, so we can have IRL meetups or stuff or I can do stuff at university events, etc. Feel free to respond to the thread on this on the forum or if you don't want to dox yourself, just mail me (luke@lukesmith.xyz).

Sun, 27 May 2018 18:05:00 -0700

Series on Old Norse and Language Learning?

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One request I get a whole lot is to talk about how to learn a language, or one harder, a language using only a book. I could just "talk" about it, but I figure doing it real time might be a lot better. I taught myself Latin this way nearly 10 years ago, and now use my Latin knowledge all the time academically. Part of my knowledge of Chinese also comes from my particular method of learning.

Anyway, I want to record myself going through an introductory language-learning book, verbally externalize my thoughts to make it clear how I interpret what I see. Obviously I have a lot of initial knowledge about languages generally, but as it comes up, I'll mention and explain all the needed concept and why they're relevant.

The language I've chosen to learn is Old Norse/Old Icelandic, which, as it happens, is very close and mutually intelligible with modern Icelandic with some minor differences. WhyOld Norse? (1) It's an ancient language that can be useful for my own understanding of historical linguistics, and the development of Germanic languages, (2) it still has some older linguistic properties that will keep viewers informed of a more highly inflected language, but (3) it also has a vocabulary similar to English, which will minimize the rote memorization aspect of learning it.

The book I'll probably be going through is Old Icelandic: An Introductory Course by Valfells and Cathey. I'll either have a physical copy or a pdf of it, which ever ismore convenient for recording. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to give me them! Again, the point of the series isn't supposed to be just on Old Norse/Icelandic, but on language learning generally, so everyone is welcome to watch! ;-)

Wed, 23 May 2018 18:23:48 -0700

Stream soon

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I'll be doing a stream in a bit, probably within the hour. Keep your eyes peeled on YouTube.

Tue, 22 May 2018 10:23:59 -0700

Forum now has HTTP & SSL (Lunduke BTFO once again)

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I've finally put HTTPS on the forum for security's sake. I appreciate that people have been signing up already anyway. I'll probably reannounce it on the channel when I do a live stream probably tomorrow.

You may've noticed that there was also some server downtime, that was actually relevant to the SLL upgrade. I stupidly miswrote something and broke my Apache server for a minute or two. All fixed now though.

Sun, 20 May 2018 20:03:14 -0700

How I Write Accent Marks and IPA Characters in Vim

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I just released a brief video on how I put special characters into vim.. There is a built in system (with control-k) for inputting special characters, but it's not as manipulatable as I'd like. Instead, I have two little vim files that coin functions to enable/disable deadkeys (for diacritics) or extra shortcuts for characters in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

The deadkey function turns ', ", :, ` and other symbols into deadkeys that place diacritics onto different characters. The IPA function is similar, but allows a sequence of semicolon plus two letters to correspond to an IPA symbol. E.g., if I want to type 'ʃ', I just type ';sh.

The links are in the video description (the files are in the voidrice repository as usual). The system is pretty customizable, and you can easily add whatever characters you need, potentially imitating the toggling commands I have there already.

Sun, 20 May 2018 13:54:58 -0700

Video on the blog system

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I just put up the video on the blog system, if you're interested. Check it out here.

Again, the link to the Github repo is here. Enjoy!

Sun, 20 May 2018 09:43:03 -0700

Guests now allowed on forum; Perks for supporters.

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Now that the forum is being reborn, I've openned up one of the subforums, the tech support one to non-registered posters. This makes it so people without an account can come and ask questions.

Additionally, I'm going to give perks to people who support me/the channel on Patreon. For now, it's going to be for anyone who gives any ammount of money, but I make increase the required input in a bit. Perks will include a gold-plated name, access to a private forum, and possibly other abilities like bigger avatar size and such (that's not implemented yet).

Sun, 20 May 2018 09:14:04 -0700

More tinkering today

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I'm changing a couple lines in the blog script (lb) that beautify the standalone pages, giving them UTF-8 encoding, actual titles and the website's stylesheet. While the standalone pages were originally an afterthought, I'm sure someone will like using them. I'll also probably put a video up about the blog system anyway

I've also been working on the forum today, and I'll also be putting up an update to the mutt-wizard which will hopefully fix compatibility with certain sites. Originally, I made the apparently improper and pessimistic assumption that some providers don't use +INBOX as the inbox location, encouraging me to writing a very skiddie line in grep to filter out all non-inbox boxes to smartly guess the true inbox. This caused the system to detect people's "Contacts" or "SMS" folders as their inbox in some cases.

I'll be fixing this soon so that it always just assumes that "+INBOX" is the real thing, which I think will lessen the errors people have.

Sat, 19 May 2018 13:36:26 -0700

Check Github for the blog system

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I put my new blog system on Github. Again, just a little 70-ish line script that generates HTML and RSS/XML code automatically from a post; it'll get me a lot for very little, and obviously doesn't involve any silly databases.

Check out the link at https://github.com/LukeSmithxyz/lb. Play around with it if you're interested in it for your own purposes. I might do a video on it in a bit, and I'll be refining it as needed.

Wed, 16 May 2018 15:13:06 -0700

Excuse the RSS mess!

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As I said, in a post before, I'm figuring out a new blogging and RSS feed paradigm which has been 95% done for several days, barring those little annoyances. I've been moving things around, including the GUIDs for RSS entires, so you may be seeing double, triple or quadruple entries in your RSS feed reader.

Feel free to purge your RSS feed cache to fix this. You won't lose anything since I have everything on my RSS feed (I'm not one of those people who has a rolling 15 entry RSS feed).

Wed, 16 May 2018 10:38:11 -0700

New Forum Up and Under Preparation

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My subscriberbase has been pretty consistently dogging me to put the forum up. I figured I might as well just start a new forum with updated myBB software now. The old forum was a good trial run, but with newer software and now on my own server, there are more possibilities for a longterm forum.

So check out forum.lukesmith.xyz and go ahead and register the name you want and start posting if you'd like. As a minor warning, I don't have https for the forum yet, but that will come pretty soon.

Wed, 16 May 2018 09:23:55 -0700

On my new blog system

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For the past day or so, I've been "writing" a blog "system". Really it's only about 100 lines in shell script, which sure as hell beats installing WordPress and having huge databases on the server.

I want to have one rolling blog page, automatic RSS feed updates and maybe even standalone pages, so that's what I wrote. I also want to be able to link to individual blog entries on the rolling page, so I have it automatically label each header for the use of interior urls.

If you're reading this, wherever you're reading it, it's been successfuly.

Really all the script does is let you write a HTML draft entry, and when you're done, it appends it to the rolling page and converts its information into an RSS feed entry and appends it to your RSS feed. "Append" is probably the wrong word though, since it's not being added to the end, but in front of other entries.

Anyway, I hope to be able to have a fully functioning and synced blog and RSS feed, without the hassle or bloat, now I'm pretty confident that I'm right about at it. The only thing I haven't implemented (and might not) is the ability to change and delete posts from the RSS/rolling blog/standalone page directory. I'm the kind of person who doesn't believe in revision though, so maybe I'll slide without that.

Mon, 14 May 2018 15:09:10 -0700

New turbo-minimalist site

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I've decided to severely trim down my website, not in content, but in frills. We'll see how this works out, and if it does, I plan on keeping it this way with maybe minor beautification.

At a surface level, my site is just going to be two main HTML pages: the main page and a blog/updates page which I have made automatically (This also includes RSS updates).

One of the other things I've made use of is an Apache server's capability to display directory contents in and index page. You've probably seen things like this, see one of mine at talks/. You can also give these pages CSS and descriptions for the files, which I've decided to take advantage of. It seems like a much better way of organizing files on your website and making them accessible than doing it manually in HTML.

Mon, 14 May 2018 14:53:20 -0700