Emailed To: Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit
Subject: If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

Dear Glenn Reynolds,

You wrote: "I felt sorry for the poor students in the Bar Review course -- I well remember that studying for the bar combined stress and excruciating boredom in a fashion that nothing else has equalled."

I found your characterisation of what the students are currently experiencing quite moving, and I have no doubt that it is accurate. But I wonder, have you considered why such suffering still need exist in the most advanced civilisation ever? One would think much creativity would be devoted to reduce this suffering. But it is not. Do you know why?

-- Elliot Temple

UPDATE: If ya didn't know, the quote for a subject line is from 1984 by George Orwell. I hope Glenn knows.... *g*

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Elliot: David Carr wrote:
I keep thinking of the 350,000 or so British and Commonwealth citizens who sacrificed their lives in World War II. If only they could have known just how wickedly the freedom they died defending was going to be betrayed, they would have stayed in bed.
Elliot: *sigh*
curi: It's been betrayed now?? Hell, this always happens! I don't watch the news for one day, and the Nazis seize power!
curi: When was this? And is Blair alive?
Elliot: lol

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Two troubled turtles trotted to the temple. There they told the templekeeper their troubles. Twice they'd tried, twice trashed: transforming tricky tensors too tough. The templekeeper told them to travel to the true temple to try the tenfold tensor trial there. Three trials of transforming tensors, three tribulations to triple tempo, two to try triangulating, then turning ten tridecagons to two tensors, then throwing trigons through the target. Temple trial taken, tempo tripled, tensor transforming totally terrific, the two turtles travelled to the terrible trap: two tests Thursday.

If you want to continue the story, you can in comments. You could do a diff letter if you wanted. I might later, if I feel like it.

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from comments, woty wrote: A person has a sibling. What are the chances that the sibling is the same gender as they are? (it's not 50%)

and Gil gave this answer: MF FM FF and MM are the possiblities, we'll go with boys, so FF is out, and MM is once of the 3 options, so 1/3 chance. this is a well-known answer.

anyway, that's WRONG

it *is* 50%. the above answer does not take into account anything about the possibility of meeting either sibling. the MM option is really *two* options, meeting *either* the younger or older sibling.

another way to put it, is: if you've met the older sibling, the options are FM and MM which is 50/50 either way. and if you met the younger sibling, the options are MF and MM which is also 5/50 either way.

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I read somewhere about the incompatible pairs problem where you have a list of things, and a list of pairs that are incompatible (ie you can't pick both from a pair). You have to pick a certain number from the list w/out violating any of the incompatible pairs. It said solving with brute force (construct all possible answer lists ignoring the pairs, then go through and test them all) takes too much computing resources to be feasible (except with very small list and pair list). If you have to pick x things from n options with p incompatible pairs, brute force would take n! / ( x! * (n-x)! ) to get our lists and then *2px for worst case (our lists are size x and we gotta check p pairs and the simplest way is to scan list to find one half the of the pair, then scan for the other half ... not efficient but whatever). anyway, the important thing is that n!. factorial is evil and owns all the other numbers.

Anyway, I can do it using 2^p lists in the worst case, which is loads better usually (big n and not-insanely-big p), but still exponential resources use. my technique reminds me of MWI ^^ ok, start with 2 copies of the list of items. now take the first incompatible pair (1, 2) for any 1 and 2, and scratch 1 off one list, and scratch 2 off the other list, so they become differentiated. next up, take another pair, and for each list we have, differentiate it into 2 and mark off 1 on one list and 2 on the other. if a list has 1 or 2 missing, you don't have to split it this step, so we're not actually gonna use the full 2^p lists. not sure how to approximate how many we really will use. anyway, after you go through all the pairs, you'll have lots of lists with various amounts of items remaining. take all the ones with enough items, and for the ones with extra, use some combinatorics to get all the possible ways to pick x things out of them if you want. another way to save resources is if a list ever gets too small just delete it and never split it again.

anyway, anyone know a better way or another cool problem?

oh, umm, an example of an incompatible pairs problem: you have an apartment complex with space for x people and you want it full, a list of n applicants, and a list of p pairs of applicants who fight and thus you can't have both.

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Feels like I have't linked IMAO enough.

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Andrew Sullivan writes: One reason I find some of the grand-standing over WMDs increasingly preposterous is that it comes from people who really want to avoid the obvious: more and more it's clear that the liberation of Iraq was a moral obligation under any circumstances. People say to this argument that if we depose one dictator for these kinds of abuses, where will we stop? But the truth is: very few dictators have resorted to imprisonment or mass killing of children. Saddam's evil was on a world-historical scale. Ending it was one of the most prgressive things the United States and Britain and their allies have ever done.

Not that he's wrong, per se, but there's a better answer to when we will stop removing evil dictators from power: we won't! This isn't a slippery slope to something bad, it's a slippery slope to no more evil dictators. The only thing stopping us is what we *can* do, not what we'd like to.

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Reading an article on blogging I ran into the phrase, "the thrill of teaching a child to spell." That ought to be the thrill of a child learning to spell, and parents ought not try to take the credit.

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omfg (anti-Americanism)

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I took a quiz ^^

You're Perfect ^^
-Perfect- You're the perfect girlfriend. Which
means you're rare or that you cheated :P You're
the kind of chick that can hang out with your
boyfriend's friends and be silly. You don't
care about presents or about going to fancy
places. Hell, just hang out. You're just happy
being around your boyfriend.

What Kind of Girlfriend Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

To start, I think the Mercurial mark on the pic is a bit scary. The perfect gf is moody!? I'll translate loving to caring so it's fine, and wait on tomboyish.

It's also scary that the description isn't pretty normal. Many people (more than half for sure) ought to be able to hang out with their SO's (significant other's) friends, at least a fair bit, because most people have similar tastes to SO. Getting all hung up on presents, fancy places ..... can we say annoying hangups? Happy being around SO .... well that better be true!

WRT tomboyish, I have a theory that the stereotypes boys are supposed to follow are better (morally) than the ones for girls. Not all of them, and not in all spheres, but yeah...... I'm not going to defend this right now. I think I'll go look for online journals.

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I wrote a comment in this thread on The World. Actually several, but I mean the one at the bottom (right now, hopefully not forever) on the fungibility of human copies.

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I posted about children on LGF here.

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Worst Romance Story Ever
by Elliot Temple

Eric and Jane had been friends for as long as they could remember -- which wasn't very long given the amount of pot they smoked. Eric and Jane were always at the same parties, 'cause they had the same group of friends. One day, Eric got up the courage to ask Jane out. He'd had a crush on her for six months.

Jane liked Eric too, but she never said anything. She secretly hoped he would ask her out. Then, one day, he did, totally out of the blue. Jane went weak in the knees and said yes. They would go out Friday night, just the two of them.

Eric couldn't wait for Friday to come, he was so excited. Soon he would be with Jane alone! But on Thursday Eric got nervous. He worried he wouldn't be a stud and Jane would dump him. He worried Jane might forget the date. As a precaution, Eric didn't smoke pot all week. Except twice.

Jane did forget the date. But fortunately on Thursday Eric's friend reminded her. She was so happy, again! That night she dreamed that Eric would give her a rose and buy her a nice dinner, and they would talk, and then they would go to the beach and walk in the moonlight, and then Eric would kiss her. Then Jane woke up, a little embarrassed.

When the time came to pick Jane up, Eric was scared. But he liked her a lot, so he went. Jane looked beautiful, and Eric said so. Jane blushed and smiled. When they got to the restaurant, they were nervous. Eric said if only they were high, this would be easier, because he would be more relaxed and right now he was nervous. Jane was nervous too, but Eric's comment broke the tension. After that they relaxed and talked and had a nice meal.

Jane felt so comfortable with Eric that she completely trusted him and was really happy. Eric felt like he never had before. The date was going so well. The waiter even made a comment about young love, and Jane blushed, and Eric stammered for him to go away. But the incident only brought the young couple closer together.

After they finished eating, Eric stared at Jane for a while. And Jane stared at Eric. They wanted things to continue. Eventually, Eric got up the courage to ask Jane to go walk on the beach with him. In the moonlight, the beach was really pretty. Jane remembered her dream, and also she liked the beach, so she smiled and Eric smiled back. They held hands and walked and talked.

After they walked a while, they sat down on a big piece of driftwood. It was cold, so Eric put his arm around Jane. Jane snuggled closer to Eric. They felt like they were in heaven. Jane said she was so happy Eric had asked her out. Eric was encouraged and kissed Jane. The kiss was magical. It was even better than being high.

Eric looked into Jane's eyes. They were so pretty. Eric said so. Jane smiled and kissed Eric. She was happy he liked her. Jane said she liked Eric. Eric said he liked her too. They kissed again and Jane noticed Eric was hard. She touched the bulge in his pants. Eric took Jane's other hand in his and squeezed encouragingly. Soon Jane opened the fly and took out Eric's dick. Eric groaned happily.

Jane had never seen a dick before in the flesh. Eric had never had anyone else touch his dick. Next Eric took off Jane's shirt and caressed her breasts. Jane got wet and enjoyed the sensations. Eric rubbed Jane down there, and true bliss was known to Jane. It wasn't long before the couple was naked. Jane begged Eric to enter her. Eric was only too happy to oblige.

Fortunately Jane's hymen was broken doing gymnastics, so Eric entered smoothly. Jane's sweet love-hole felt so good around Eric's dick, he was in heaven. Jane got really hot, and her breathing came quickly. She had never felt like this before! Soon, she had an explosion of pleasure, and briefly lost touch with reality as she orgasmed. Eric orgasmed too, and it was so good it blew away masturbation. Eric told Jane she made him feel so good, and Jane said the same to Eric.

They lay on the beach, and looked at the stars, and held each other in their arms, enjoying the moment. Eric turned to Jane and said "I love you, Jane." Jane said "I love you too, Eric." And they drifted off to sleep together, in the moonlight.

Eric and Jane loved each other so much, that they stopped smoking pot, because they wanted to remember that special night for all their lives. Thirty years later, they still remembered, and still loved each other. And they lived happily ever after, in love.


Worst Political Thriller Ever

Eric and Bill were diplomats from different countries. They had been colleagues for as long as they could remember. They were always at the same international conferences, because they had specialised in the same sub-field of international relations. One day, Eric got up the courage to sound Bill out as a possible agent. He'd had been considering the possibility of such an approach for six months.

Bill respected Eric too, but he never said anything. He secretly hoped Eric would sound him out. Then, one day, Eric did, totally out of the blue. Bill secretly congratulated himself and said yes. They would meet at a secure location on Friday night, without even their interpreters present.

Eric couldn't wait for Friday to come, he was so excited. Soon he would be negotiating for a new agent in person! But on Thursday Eric got nervous. He worried he wouldn't convey sufficient authority and Bill would not wish to negotiate with him.

Bill dreamed that Eric would give him some important piece of intelligence as a mark of good faith, and they would discuss their speciality together, and then Eric would recruit him as an agent. Then Bill woke up, a little ashamed.

When the time came to go to the secure location, Eric was scared. But he had to trust his judgement, so he went. Bill looked serious, and Eric said so. Bill smiled enigmatically. At first they were nervous. After that they relaxed and talked business.

Eric told Bill an important piece of intelligence as a mark of good faith. Then Bill told Eric one, from his country. Then Eric told Bill another piece of intelligence. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one. Then Bill told Eric one. Then Eric told Bill one.

Eric and Bill formed an excellent working relationship. Bill became Eric's agent and Eric was Bill's handler and the arrangement they had together was mutually profitable for over thirty years.

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