Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Humorous (Apocryphal) Scripture

Acts of John

[John] had hardly lain down, when he was molested by bugs. But as they became more and more troublesome, and as it was midnight already, we all heard him say to them, “I say to you, you bugs, be considerate; leave your home for this night and go to rest in a place which is far away from the servants of God!” And while we laughed and talked, John fell asleep. And we conversed quietly, and thanks to him we remained undisturbed.

Acts of Peter

But Simon was in the house and said to the dog, "Tell Peter that I am not in the house." And the dog answered him in the presence of Marcellus, "You most wicked and shameless man, you enemy of all that live and believe in Christ Jesus. Here is a dumb animal sent to you, taking a human voice to convict you and prove you a cheat and a deceiver..." Having said these words, the dog ran off...So the dog came to Peter...and the dog reported his dealings with Simon.

...Peter turned round and saw a smoked tunny-fish hanging in a window; and he took it...there was a fishpond near by; so he said, "In your name, Jesus Christ, in which they still fail to believe," he said to the tunny, "...be alive and swim like a fish!" And he threw the tunny into the pond, and it came alive and began to swim.

Now the child whom she suckled was seven months old; and it took the voice of a man and said to Simon: "You abomination of God and men, you destruction of the truth and most wicked seed of corruption...A dog reproved you, yet you were not shaken; now I, an infant, am compelled by God to speak, and yet you do not blush for shame..."

There is also the part about Simon zipping through the air until Peter calls on God to make him crash, whereupon he is stoned to death.


Thursday, November 17, 2005


I donated blood again today

It turns out I am A negative negative.


Saturday, November 12, 2005


A pictorial account of my life of the last few days


Friday, November 11, 2005


Dante - Inferno, Canto V

Nessun maggior dolore
che ricordarsi del tempo felice
ne la miseria

No greater grief than to remember days
Of joy when misery is at hand.


Is it better to burn out or fade away?

Given the choice, I think I would choose to burn.


Jeff Shallit and Bill Dembski

I have wanted to comment on the feud between Jeff Shallit and Bill Dembski for a while now, and Ed Brayton's recent braying on the topic finally motivated me to do so.

Shallit's criticisms* of Bill remind me of a nasty dispute that occurred while I was an undergraduate. One professor tried to get another professor fired because the latter made a mistake in a posted solution set. A third professor whom I used to go fishing with told me about this and suggested the reason behind it was because the first professor did not get the recognition he thought he deserved, whereas the second professor received recognition for his work in mathematics education (for the record, I believe math ed is worthless, but I am not inviting that particular parallel here).

I believe the same kind of envy motivates Jeff Shallit. Shallit cites his publications** in computational number theory (or whatever it is called; it is just as vapid by any other name) as opposed to Bill's lack of publications in probability (a far superior branch of mathematics), but Bill is better known and more successful with his books.

Indeed, I suspect if Shallit is known for anything it is for his defense of bare-breasted women in public or his disputes with alleged Holocaust revisionists.

As Dante wrote in Purgatorio:

Non è il mondan romore altro ch’un fiato

di vento, ch’or vien quinci e or vien quindi,

e muta nome perché muta lato.

Fame is fleeting, and grasping after it is pointless (especially if it involves a fixation with a former student who possesses greater notoriety).

*Actually, some of his criticisms are tag-teams with Elsberry. I can only assume that Elsberry was tapped in a fit of hubris by Shallit to serve as a handicap (e.g., "I can beat you with one hand tied behind my back!") because Elsberry has absolutely nothing of substance to say about any aspect of probability (although, Shallit is no authority on probability, either).

I should note, however, that at the very least Shallit does not question Bill's mathematical ability. By way of contrast, Mark Perakh, the Rasputin of anti-ID has suggested Bill is inept as a mathematician by misrepresenting the statements of others.

**Ed previously wrote, "It's particularly amusing when [Bill Dembski] aims that criticism [i.e., parasitism of his work] at Jeff Shallit, who has a far more significant track record of scholarship in his field than Dembski does." Yes, as a social studies drop out (excuse me, that is an honors social studies drop out; I have to give the man his props) turned washed up comic turned usurer, Ed is eminently qualified to comment on the significance of publications in any branch of mathematics.


Thursday, November 10, 2005


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - The Light of Stars

The night is come, but not too soon;
And sinking silently,
All silently, the little moon
Drops down behind the sky.

There is no light in earth or heaven
But the cold light of stars;
And the first watch of night is given
To the red planet Mars.

Is it the tender star of love?
The star of love and dreams?
O no! from that blue tent above,
A hero's armor gleams.

And earnest thoughts within me rise,
When I behold afar,
Suspended in the evening skies,
The shield of that red star.

O star of strength! I see thee stand
And smile upon my pain;
Thou beckonest with thy mailed hand,
And I am strong again.

Within my breast there is no light
But the cold light of stars;
I give the first watch of the night
To the red planet Mars.

The star of the unconquered will,
He rises in my breast,
Serene, and resolute, and still,
And calm, and self-possessed.

And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art,
That readest this brief psalm,
As one by one thy hopes depart,
Be resolute and calm.

O fear not in a world like this,
And thou shalt know erelong,
Know how sublime a thing it is
To suffer and be strong.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Hymn to the Night

I heard the trailing garments of the Night
Sweep through her marble halls!
I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light
From the celestial walls!

I felt her presence, by its spell of might,
Stoop o'er me from above;
The calm, majestic presence of the Night,
As of the one I love.

I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight,
The manifold, soft chimes,
That fill the haunted chambers of the Night
Like some old poet's rhymes.

From the cool cisterns of the midnight air
My spirit drank repose;
The fountain of perpetual peace flows there,--
From those deep cisterns flows.

O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
What man has borne before!
Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,
And they complain no more.

Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer!
Descend with broad-winged flight,
The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair,
The best-beloved Night!


Saturday, November 05, 2005


Response to Ed Brayton

Ed Brayton wrote:

I doubt my friends are going to go whining to him wondering why he doesn't like me.

My friend was not "whining."

They're too busy laughing at him.

Your friends are losers and morons--the sort of company a mediocre intellect is bound to attract.

By the way, I am still waiting for you to retract this falsehood:

The irony is that while Dembski bans pretty much anyone who disagrees with him, no matter how politely they do so, he has two mouth-breathing sycophants - DaveScot and Robert O'Brien - who have made repeated comments on his blog complaining of being banned from here.


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