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: "This suite is far more than it appears to be. And that's a good thing, because it appears to be quite lame."

: I tried peas with Pasta Roni once and didn't like it.

: I just realized that the Liar's Paradox could be embodied in a software license. You'd have a license that met all the open source guidelines but which said "This is not an open source license." (That's an Empirical Liar, by the way) Dan says that this isn't a Liar Paradox, it's just lying. Maybe. But what would be the legal status of such a license?

I guess it would only be a Liar's Paradox if the open source guidelines said that an open source license could contain no false statements.

: You know you've been using Lynx too long when you forget that Slashdot has a poll.

: ZDNet: "Somehow, the Linux doldrums seem to have little impact on IBM's Linux commitment." Yeah, IBM's usually so reactionary.

: Demon Dog almost makes an appearance in Today's After Y2K!.

: As long as I'm linking to articles that contain quotes I think are funny, I should link to Mike's latest:

"These actual-dog/sock puppet-dog relationships rarely go beyond the fling stage, and are in fact illegal in thirty-seven states."

: This kicks a large amount of ass per unit time. A guy (Carey Bunks, I assume, since he's the contact for the site) made an annotatable, searchable index of NASA, NOAA, and FWS graphics. Somebody should give this guy a million tons of bandwidth for his site and pay him to find new sources of copyright-free images.

: 24 hours to go!

: I've been going through On Certainty all morning looking for quotes so that I can piece together Wittgenstein's definition of "mistake" and paint him as an idealist. Here's the fabulous section 430:

I meet someone from Mars and he asks me "How many toes have human beings got?"--I say "Ten, I'll shew you", and take my shoes off. Suppose he was surprised that I knew with such certainty, although I hadn't looked at my toes--ought I to say "We humans know how many toes we have whether can see them or not"?

: I was going to have this horrible equivocation at the end of my paper, but then I realized that if I changed it around a little it would a) be a suggestion rather than an equivocation, b) be a good twist to end the paper, and c) bring Wittgenstein in line with my own philosophical preconceptions. Woohoo! I have to write a couple hundred words more near the beginning of the paper, nailing down a definition of "mistake". Then I'll probably have 1600 words, which is five pages. Any more I can add while tightening everything up will spill onto the sixth page, making my paper meet the length requirement (especially since my previous two papers were also too short).

: YES!!! Linux And Open Source Software Is Mentioned In Cynical Attention Ploy. Their only problem: they used an extraneous non-extraneous word ("is"). Technology reporters like words to be missing from press release headlines so that when they print the press release as news, they can put the missing words back in the headlines and get the feeling that they've done something.

: I'm pretty good at spotting terms that have been translated from Japanese or Korean, and thanks to Wittgenstein I'm getting good at spotting terms that were obviously originally in German. Case in point: "language-game". German words remind me of those big strings of sausages that dogs pick up in their mouths and run away with.

I'm obviously not as good at recognizing these terms as a native speaker would be. I wonder how much of a language I would have to know before I could recognize terms in it that are translations of English terms.

: I just found out that the guy who played Murdock on The A-Team was Dwight Schultz, who also played Barclay on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

: Paper's almost done. I've got about 1750 words. I just have to actually hammer out a good definition of "mistake". I have a lot of quotes I can use (which I got this morning) but I don't want to overrun this part of the paper with quotes, but I do need to get a lot of support from Wittgenstein on this because he never gives a definition of "mistake". Why not? He says he can't be done, the concept is too vague. Well looky here, pal:

mistake (n): A misapplication of the rules of one's current language-game.

That's my working definition.

: The paper's done. I just have to whip up a bibliography for it and print it out. Word count: 2038. (What the?!) Wow. First time in a long time that my paper has not been shorter than the recommended minimum length.

I'm actually pretty happy about the way this paper turned out. That can't be a good sign. I probably degraded into all sorts of sophistry in the paper. But I'll pass the class regardless of what happens (I have an A- average on the midterms, which counts for 60% of the class, so even if I get a C on the final I'll get a B in the class).

Woohoo! I'm done!

Tip to students: How can I be so confident that I'll get at least a C on this paper, even if the arguments are terrible?

  1. I answered the question. My paper has the following form: "The question is this. I answer it thusly. Here is my reasoning. All that reasoning was to justify my {positive,negative,whatever} answer to the question." All your papers should have this form. The thing foremost in the professor's (or the grader's, if it's a lower division course) is "Does this paper answer the question?" If they think "no", you're screwed. If they think "yes", there are enough "no" people that coming out on top of them means getting a pretty decent grade.
  2. I put in some arguments and suggestions bringing in stuff we didn't talk about in class at all. Professors like this because it relieves the boredom of grading papers by giving them new stuff to think about, and since we didn't cover it in class they're more lenient about whatever flaws in your logic there might be. Maybe.
  3. I write well.

I make no guarantees. All I can say is that this has worked for me consistently through four years of college, nine paper-writing classes, and about 25 papers.

Let me reiterate: Woohoo! I'm done!

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