Mindblown: a blog about philosophy.

  • Campaign Manager: Serializing Recursive Objects

    There’s an idea for a game that’s been rattling around my brain for a while, so I finally decided to learn enough Unity to birth it. To get an idea of what I have in mind, think Sid Meier’s Civilization, but for elections: you play a campaign manager, and your job is to get your […]

  • WFHing with Emacs: Work Mode and Command-Line Options

    Like the rest of the world, I’m working from home these days. One of the changes I’ve made has been to set up Emacs to work from home. I use Emacs extensively both at home and at work. So far, my method for keeping personal stuff and work stuff separate has been to, well, keep […]

  • Popular Vote: Majority Rule Is Disenfranchisement

    Here’s a rather breathless letter to the editor of the Brattleboro (VT) Reformer, promising dire consequences if we start electing presidents the same way we elect governors, senators, mayors, and school board members: The Los Angeles Times editorial (Feb. 17 in the Reformer) would like to disenfranchise more than half our nation by ending the […]

  • Counting Every Vote Will Nullify Your Vote

    An editorial at Fredericksburg.com warns of dire consequences if the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact passes: The House of Delegates voted to have the Old Dominion join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement that would force Virginia’s 13 electors to vote for the candidate chosen by the national popular vote. Joining this compact […]

  • Silly Objections to the Popular Vote

    Of late, I’ve been taking an interest in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. For those who haven’t heard about it, the basic idea is that the US’s system of electing presidents through the Electoral College is archaic and convoluted, and too often doesn’t elect the person who won the most people’s votes. Since the […]

  • Ansible As Scripting Language

    Ansible is billed as a configuration manager similar to Puppet or cfengine. But it occurred to me recently that it’s really (at least) two things: A configuration manager. A scripting language for the machine room. Mode 1 is the normal, expected one: here’s a description; now make the machine(s) look like the description. Same as […]

  • Buying Lunch with Bitcoin?

    This weekend, I had occasion to eat at a food truck that had this intriguing sign in the window: This intrigued me, because the way I understand it, it takes 10-20 minutes for Bitcoin transactions to go through. That’s why it doesn’t work everyday purchases like, for instance, lunch at a food truck. I asked […]

  • Ansible: Running Commands in Dry-Run Mode in Check Mode

    Say you have an Ansible playbook that invokes a command. Normally, that command executes when you run ansible normally, and doesn’t execute at all when you run ansible in check mode. But a lot of commands, like rsync have a -n or –dry-run argument that shows what would be done, without actually making any changes. So it […]

  • Pseudo-Numeric Identifiers

    Let’s say you’re a programmer, and your application uses Library of Congress Control Numbers for books, e.g., 2001012345, or ZIP codes, like 90210. What data types would you use to represent them? Or maybe something like the Dewey Decimal System, which uses 320 to classify a book as Political Science, 320.5 for Political Theory, and 320.973 for […]

  • Removing Magic

    So this was one of those real-life mysteries. I like crossword puzzles. And in particular, I like indie crossword puzzles, because they tend to be more inventive and less censored than ones that run in newspapers. So I follow several crossword designers on Twitter. Yesterday, one of them mentioned that people were having a problem […]

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