Topic: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Most of the stuff I gravitate toward discovering and learning more about is, naturally, film-related. I'm certainly interested in other topics, but I don't always find them just due to the circles I run in and websites I read.

So, this is the thread to post cool or interesting sites or articles on topics not related to films or filmmaking. Let's introduce each other to new and exciting worlds of knowledge.

With that in mind, try to make posts/links educational. Don't just post a picture of a cool building, for example -- link to the architecture site explaining who designed it, what their thought process and goals were, etc. I don't want to just see something cool, I want to learn something cool.

Annnnnnnnd GO.

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

I love political theory and Mike Oakeshott has been keeping me up at night.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Oakeshott

He has what might be my favorite argument in favor of conservatism (it should be specified that Oakeschott is not your standard, modern American conservative. Political theory has weird rules as to who gets labelled what - both Ayn Rand and Obama count as "liberals", for example):

"In short, if the man of this [conservative] disposition is asked: Why ought governments to accept the current diversity of opinion and activity in preference to imposing upon their subjects a dream of their own? it is enough for him to reply: Why not? Their dreams are no different from those of anyone else; and if it is boring to have to listen to dreams of others being recounted, it is insufferable to be forced to re-enact them. We tolerate monomaniacs, it is our habit to do so; but why should we be ruled by them?"

You get the impression that all he wants is for the rest of us to STFU and let him get a bagel in peace.

By this point Oakeschott finished establishing (or trying to establish) that conservatism fundamentally amounts to a certain character disposition, not a set of predefined, portable policy prescriptions. He also finished establishing that for a conservative in any society, change is inherently suspect, although at times appropriate. Finally, he also tried (without saying so) tried getting the reader to identify as conservative.

So what's he's really saying is "Hey, reader, aren't people who try to impose abstract visions on society terrifying nutjobs?" The important things are (1) that's he's suspicious of any a priori scheme that someone comes up with, including schemes with what we would consider in modern parlance "conservative" content, and (2) that what's socially appropriate in one society may be terrible for another one. It makes no sense (for him) to "export freedom and democracy" to societies where such impositions would be radically divergent from established social patterns.

^ that's copy/pasted from my notes tonight. ...or did I do it wrong?

Everybody, get up. It's time to slam now. We got a real jam going down. Welcome to the Space Jam. Here's your chance. Do your dance. At the Space Jam. Alright?

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

I like the fact that he is skeptical of many different points, whether they be identified as "conservative" in modern lingo or not. Conservatism, for all the rhetoric out there, can leave a bad taste in many people's mouths, so I find it interesting that he is not a "evangelist" of conservatism, who insist that conservative ideals must be spread across the world. That, to me, is a bit refreshing.

I certainly lean towards a conservative points of view, but the idea that one person has all the answers is something that I am skeptical towards.

Thanks for sharing! smile

God loves you!

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

I would rather this thread not fall into being political -- we should start another thread for political discussion if so desired -- but I will just say I'm still not clear on what "conservatism" means, or what the "good" version is that people insist the modern American right-wing does not represent.

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Well, I'll not delve more in to my point of view, then. Hit me with PMs if you so desire for my quick version of conservatism smile

As for cool ideas, one I stumbled upon at the book store today that is edited by George R.R. Martin and is a collection of stories about "old school Mars," and the golden age of science fiction style. This, of course, is referencing "Princess of Mars" and other books where Mars is not a barren dust bowl but a exotic planet of canals, aliens and the like: http://www.amazon.com/Old-Mars-George-R … s=old+mars

One of the reasons I enjoy books like this so much is because it really is a look back in to human history and how we viewed the world. The process now of trying to write science fiction can be laborious indeed due the need and expectation of more realistic technology, the hazards of space travel, the length of time it would take, etc. Instead, the style recalls more of a sense of adventure, rather than the technical aspects of technology.

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

While party politics is a consequence of any theory (as all philosophy tends to be incremental/logical conclusion-y) this isn't a POLITICAL topic. It's more in-line with ideas like, say the Hobbesian view of state of nature versus Rousseau's (lolhippie). It's about figuring out the starting point of our behavior, the inherent problems, and the solutions we seek by "forming" government. You know. Philosophy. But fair 'nuff.

Everybody, get up. It's time to slam now. We got a real jam going down. Welcome to the Space Jam. Here's your chance. Do your dance. At the Space Jam. Alright?

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

I once read an essay (years ago, so no hope of naming the author, sorry) that suggested the true difference between conservative and liberal worldviews is that liberals believe everyone should be happy, and conservatives believe everyone should have the opportunity to be happy.

PJ O'Rourke actually expressed the same idea in a different way when he said conservatives believe in God and liberals believe in Santa Claus.  (Not necessarily literally in either case, but as ideals.)

Of course nothing in life meets such a binary definition, but I often find that political arguments really can be boiled down to one side wanting to give X to everyone and the other wanting to make X available to the people who deserve it.

But since we can't give everything to everyone, we're stuck with defining who "deserves" X over and over again.  And that causes all the trouble.  smile

Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Good job with that whole "not turning this thread political" thing guys. Thumbs up.

http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/thumb-is-up.gif

Last edited by BigDamnArtist (2013-11-07 08:07:17)

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Trey wrote:

IOf course nothing in life meets such a binary definition, but I often find that political arguments really can be boiled down to one side wanting to give X to everyone and the other wanting to make X available to the people who deserve it.

But since we can't give everything to everyone, we're stuck with defining who "deserves" X over and over again.  And that causes all the trouble.  smile

A more succinct and true statement can't be found.

Exploring the permutations/jazz of the binary is fun. For example, in theory circles I'm classified as an "anarchist." Once again the colloquial understanding of the word doesn't apply (I'm a registered democrat and liberal). But I don't believe I have *any* moral obligations to the state. I do my tributaries; I pay mah taxes, obey traffic laws, and I don't stab Teague for white text on black background. You and President Man get my cooperation because I like the arrangement - but if he tries to send me to war by appealing to a moral duty to state... GTFO. My morals are always independent of the State. Or my gf. You. Inherently as far as I see it.

EDIT: Stanford is clearer than I am - http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/polit … aChaPolObl

Last edited by iJim (2013-11-07 08:19:20)

Everybody, get up. It's time to slam now. We got a real jam going down. Welcome to the Space Jam. Here's your chance. Do your dance. At the Space Jam. Alright?

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

White text on a black background is the only thing that separates man from the animals, bucko.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

BigDamnArtist wrote:

Good job with that whole "not turning this thread political" thing guys.

I'm fine with it in terms of philosophical discussion. Just, you know, I want to read about hummingbirds or something too, and politics have a tendency to overpower.

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Hummingbirds aren't real.  RON PAUL 2012

Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Trey wrote:

Hummingbirds aren't real.  RON PAUL 2012

http://i.imgur.com/Kvn5veS.gif

Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Ok, this is kinda sad, but the first thing that came into my head was something professional.  I still remember as clearly as if it were yesterday being told this in like day 3 of Linguistics 110: Introduction to Linguistics, and it's part of why I'm doing what I'm doing now.  (This will generally work for only native or near-native speakers of English, so apologies for the people that this leaves out.) 

To start with, consider the following question, taken completely in isolation and without any context whatsoever:

Which relatives do you want to visit?

Without any context, this question is actually ambiguous.  There are two different situations/actions/states of affairs that this question could be asking about.  In actual normal use, the context will tell you which question the speaker is asking, but without that context it could be either.  So the first question is: what are those two readings/interpretations for the question?

SPOILER Show
The ambiguity is to do with the directionality of the visiting.  Completely without any context, the question can either mean "Which relatives to you want to go and visit?" or "Which relatives do you want to come and visit you?"  So, to put it another way, either one of these question-answer pairs would be appropriate:

"Which relatives do you want to visit?  I want Grandma and Grandpa to visit, because they always bring nice presents."

"Which relatives do you want to visit?  I want to visit Grandma and Grandpa, because they have a big house with a swimming pool."

It may be in that people may have a preference for one reading or the other, but both are possible.

So that already raises an interesting question:  how do you know that?  I'm 100% sure you weren't taught it at school.  And because context almost always tells you which interpretation is intended, I'd be surprised if you'd ever noticed the ambiguity before. 

However, it gets more interesting.  In 'fast' speech or 'sloppy' speech, want and to are frequently contracted to wanna.  Given the preceding discussion, how does that affect the question?

Which relatives do you wanna visit? 

SPOILER Show
For all speakers of at least American English that I've encountered, this question is NOT ambiguous.  This question can only mean "Which relatives do you want to go and visit?"  With wanna, it just can't mean "Which relatives do you want to come and visit you?"

Now for people who share the intuition (which is hopefully most of you), that's really weird.  I'm really sure that at school or in a grammar class or something, nobody ever told you anything about wanna, or if they did it was just "don't use it writing" or "it's sloppy" or something.  So how do you know the fact in the spoiler, instantly and without any prior training?  And how do we all know it, given our different background, linguistic experiences when acquiring English, etc.?

So the intuitions are themselves interesting, but where do they come from?  The explanation also raises interesting issues.  The standard explanation for the ambiguity goes something like this (in a somewhat simplified form):  the rule for forming English wh-questions (questions involving who, what, how, when, etc.) requires moving the "wh-word" to the front of the sentence (among other things, which we'll put to one side).  And this requirement erases a distinction between two different "underlying" structures.

You want which relatives to visit --> Which relatives do you want to visit?

You want to visit which relatives --> Which relative do you want to visit?

So the first one is the underlying source for the "which relatives do you want to come and visit you" interpretation, and the second one is the underlying source for the "which relatives do you want to go and visit" interpretation.  But the distinction is erased in the surface question; hence the ambiguity.

The phenomenon of wanna-contraction, as it's called, then provides striking evidence for the reality of these underlying structures.  If we say that want and to can only contract to wanna when they're next to each other in at this underlying level, we explain why "which relatives do you wanna visit?" is not ambiguous, and specifically why it only has the "go and visit" reading.  Once you do wanna-contraction, only the second underlying structure is a possible source for the speaker's question.

So anyway, I don't mean to have a little mini-lecture or anything, but I thought that was really cool when I was 17, and still do actually. Perhaps no one else does, but that's the risk one takes I suppose.

For the next hour, everything in this post is strictly based on the available facts.

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Interesting, although any language is going to be full of these, due in great part to the inate laziness of speakers and the inevitability of omitted words. In fact, the second meaning you prescribe to your example is actually derived from omitted words and isn't accurate (the full sentence being something like "which relatives do you want to have visit?"). It's a contracted sentence that could mean the same but really just reflects poor grammar. The reason why when wanna is used, the meaning is clearer, is that it is a contraction of the original meaning, and is not also a contraction of the secondary meaning (which as above is a misreading).

Much of language works on subtle clues here and there, and regardless of the isolation of a spoken or written statement, there would always be a context that would lead us to read or hear a certain meaning. Indeed, I would argue that it's impossible to not have context of some kind.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. - Carl Sagan

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

redxavier wrote:

Interesting, although any language is going to be full of these, due in great part to the inate laziness of speakers and the inevitability of omitted words. In fact, the second meaning you prescribe to your example is actually derived from omitted words and isn't accurate (the full sentence being something like "which relatives do you want to have visit?"). It's a contracted sentence that could mean the same but really just reflects poor grammar.

Well, I guess there's a couple issues here, although I think they boil down to the same observation:  the fact that these phenomena are pretty systematic.  If it were just laziness, or a result of individual speakers just idiosyncratically doing whatever, I don't think you'd expect the intuitions/judgements to be as uniform as they seem to be.  (And I should say that I cut out a slight hedge in the original post which I should have left.  My students, who are speakers of British English, don't always have the ambiguity, and that may be relevant here.  As far as I know, it works for American English though.)

Here's another contrast which might work better (where the leading asterisk indicates that the sentence is claimed to be ill-formed/ungrammatical):

The child seems to be sick/The child seems sick
The child seems to be sleeping/*The child seems sleeping

I suspect if we did a 'proper' study, and polled everyone on the site, virtually everybody would agree with the indicated intuitions.  So I'm not sure that the laziness or "delete stuff that's clear from context" story is going to work.  Clearly there's some difference between 'to be sick' and 'to be sleeping', but now you're going beyond the "just laziness" story and starting to build up a theory of what's actually going on.  And, again, I'm not sure "laziness" explains the (I suspect near) uniformity of judgements.

(Notice too that the ungrammatical one is completely comprehensible.  If a foreigner or something produced it you'd have no difficulty understanding what they meant.  So comprehensibility doesn't entail grammaticality.) 

redxavier wrote:

Much of language works on subtle clues here and there, and regardless of the isolation of a spoken or written statement, there would always be a context that would lead us to read or hear a certain meaning. Indeed, I would argue that it's impossible to not have context of some kind.

I see where you're coming from, and sure in terms of actual language use you'll always have some kind of context.  But I wouldn't agree that it's impossible to remove sentences from any (relevant) context.  I think the example does exactly that.  Sure there's a meta-linguistic context "here's a neat observation about English", but there's no context that bears on the choice of interpretation.  Again, if it's a fact that one or the other interpretation is preferred, that's also interesting and something you'd want to explain, but you want to make sure that that explanation doesn't wrongly lead to the prediction that the other interpretation should be impossible.

Last edited by sellew (2013-11-07 14:00:51)

For the next hour, everything in this post is strictly based on the available facts.

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Nicholson's Joker speaking the thread title has been removed from youtube.
I'll have to settle for this one:

(UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

iJim wrote:
Trey wrote:

IOf course nothing in life meets such a binary definition, but I often find that political arguments really can be boiled down to one side wanting to give X to everyone and the other wanting to make X available to the people who deserve it.

But since we can't give everything to everyone, we're stuck with defining who "deserves" X over and over again.  And that causes all the trouble.  smile

A more succinct and true statement can't be found.

Exploring the permutations/jazz of the binary is fun. For example, in theory circles I'm classified as an "anarchist." Once again the colloquial understanding of the word doesn't apply (I'm a registered democrat and liberal). But I don't believe I have *any* moral obligations to the state. I do my tributaries; I pay mah taxes, obey traffic laws, and I don't stab Teague for white text on black background. You and President Man get my cooperation because I like the arrangement - but if he tries to send me to war by appealing to a moral duty to state... GTFO. My morals are always independent of the State. Or my gf. You. Inherently as far as I see it.

EDIT: Stanford is clearer than I am - http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/polit … aChaPolObl

You need this shirt:

http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0250/1197/products/Startrek_Federation_01_large.jpg?12762

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

While many of us don't have the kind of free time most writers have, there's still a lot of good resources here.
http://24.media.tumblr.com/f686e59fda4188364fdd1481ec335937/tumblr_mtfvt4ClJS1s1buyfo1_r2_1280.jpg
http://31.media.tumblr.com/c67b39c940429c13d974666789043570/tumblr_mtfvt4ClJS1s1buyfo2_r2_1280.jpg

Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Well, you know me.  Fighting, films, cooking, parenting, buddhism, nerd shit, Civil War History, and Polynesian culture are pretty are pretty much all I do.  So with that in mind, here's a little untold tale of World War 2 that I've been adapting into a Historical based Graphic Novel Script.

http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetective … -incident/

Eddie Doty

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

redxavier wrote:

...the inate laziness of speakers...

Language exists solely for our benefit. Any inefficiency is a deficiency in the language, not ourselves.

Also, you spelled "innate" wrong. big_smile

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

iJim wrote:

While party politics is a consequence of any theory (as all philosophy tends to be incremental/logical conclusion-y) this isn't a POLITICAL topic. It's more in-line with ideas like, say the Hobbesian view of state of nature versus Rousseau's (lolhippie). It's about figuring out the starting point of our behavior, the inherent problems, and the solutions we seek by "forming" government. You know. Philosophy. But fair 'nuff.


Speakers up

http://lolkant.ytmnd.com/

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Zarban wrote:
redxavier wrote:

...the inate laziness of speakers...

Language exists solely for our benefit. Any inefficiency is a deficiency in the language, not ourselves.

Also, you spelled "innate" wrong. big_smile

Or a deficiency in the speaker, since what one says doesn't matter, only what someone else hears.

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Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Bringin' it back.

Long story short, wireless electricity is close to becoming a thing. And when that happens, it'll change the world. Forget just never having your cell phone run out of charge. We'll be able to drive all-electric cars with charging stations placed regularly along roads, with no need for gasoline at all. We'll be able to have drones deliver mail constantly recharging from stations below. The implications and possibilities are damn near endless. Of course, it won't happen without corporations doing their damnedest to stop it, but still. Fuck that's cool.

Re: Let's broaden our minds: the non-film-related cool stuff thread

Darth Praxus wrote:

Bringin' it back.

Long story short, wireless electricity is close to becoming a thing. And when that happens, it'll change the world. Forget just never having your cell phone run out of charge. We'll be able to drive all-electric cars with charging stations placed regularly along roads, with no need for gasoline at all. We'll be able to have drones deliver mail constantly recharging from stations below. The implications and possibilities are damn near endless. Of course, it won't happen without corporations doing their damnedest to stop it, but still. Fuck that's cool.

Something along these lines ALREADY HAPPENED. Watch the documentary, "Who Killed The Electric Car?" These people had to go watch their recently purchased electric cars get destroyed, basically because big oil didn't want them to have them. Imminent Domain in full effect. Get this: In that documentary, there's a car show featuring a man from France who invented a vehicle that RUNS ON FUCKING AIR!!!

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