Kodi Arfer


These pages mirror my Facebook status updates.

#771 |

"On two occasions I have been asked 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?'… I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." —Charles Babbage (1864)

#770 |

What's the difference between being trapped in an airport and being in prison? Prisoners are occasionally allowed to go outdoors.

#769 |

"he is gay, guys. only he doesn't talk about it all the time, on account of having interests outside of being gay?" —Ryan North (2007) on his character Utahraptor

#768 |

"…much violence was done to the word violence, which it appears can be used to describe almost anything you do not care for." —A Daily Telegraph reporter (1984)

#767 |

Standard practice with respect to research ethics is, in a word, queer, and one of many examples is how prisoners are paid. The thinking is that, first, prisoners are especially vulnerable to exploitation. Fair enough. It's then pointed out that prisoners have very limited access to money, so a given amount of money could be a much larger incentive for prisoners to enroll in a research project than for the general population of the same country. Quite true. The conclusion is that prisoners must be offered much smaller amounts of money than normal so as not to effectively coerce them into participating. This, uh, curious line of reasoning implies that prisoners are so thoroughly exploited that we shouldn't offer them any real relief from exploitation in exchange for their labor, or else we'll be pushing them too hard. I'm not sure what to call this, but it sure ain't ethics.

#766 |

The tone of a lot of subway and street advertisements can be characterized as "How do you do, fellow New Yorkers?"

#765 |

C. S. Lewis (1952) tried to make a point about how modern sexual behavior is different from modern food-related behavior with this comparison: "You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act—that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you come to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?"

The argument probably felt more convincing before the massive popularity of gustatory pornography, in the form of food photography, cooking shows, and mukbang. To be sure, I'm not going to tell you that lust is the same thing as appetite. But its voluminous associated entertainment media is not what distinguishes it.

#764 |

Q: What did the behaviorist say to the cognitive psychologist?

A: These "cognitive processes", are they in the room with us right now?

#763 |

"Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture." Why not go ahead and say that it cures baldness, fights racism, and factors large integers while you're at it?

#762 |

A 2019 paper concluded that "No evidence was found to support the claim that vaginal jade eggs were used for any indication in ancient Chinese culture." It's the kind of paper that makes you glad it exists, but sad you live in a world that needs it.

Gunter, J., & Parcak, S. (2019). Vaginal jade eggs: Ancient Chinese practice or modern marketing myth? Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, 25, 1–2. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2018.06.026

#761 |

A career in psychological science has revealed to me that nearly all human unhappiness comes about in the same way:

1. You expect somebody to do something reasonable.
2. The somebody does something patently unreasonable instead.
3. You feel disappointed.

Thus, the key to happiness is to presume that everybody will behave like idiots all the time. Then, when somebody gets something right for once, you can be pleasantly surprised.

#760 |

The N-word has became much more taboo around roughly the same time that the F-word has become the most socially acceptable it's been in centuries. I guess that American urge to lend words a quasi-mystical malevolent power had to get channeled into something.

#759 |

Witches of the past:

Witches of today:

What the hell happened?

*Aspirationally, I mean. They are temporarily embarrassed rich-person-eaters.

#758 |

Mad cow disease has mutated to create violent outbursts in some animals, which have led a new agricultural regulation (code 34) mandating the use of particularly goofy-looking pens in certain dairy farms. You can see examples by searching for "feral udders rule 34" on Google Images.

#757 |

I'm told that nudists carry towels to put down so as not to get skid marks etc. on the furniture. It sounds inconvenient. Imagine if, instead of carrying around a piece of cloth under your arm, you sort of slung it around your body in some comfortable and practical arrangement. Maybe even cut holes in it so you could thread your limbs through it. Sounds weird, I know, but I think this idea has real advantages.

#756 |

The best part of having a doctoral degree is that when somebody calls you something like "Mr. Spoilsport", you can say "That's 'Dr. Spoilsport' to you."

#755 |

Cowardice is underrated. He who does not choose to run away from the battle, may not be able to walk away from the battle. Being scorned in life sure beats being honored in death. And the only thing we have to fear is the fear of fear itself.

#754 |

Causal sex has consequences.

#753 |

It's correct to be nice, but it's nicer to be correct.

#752 |

Why does the largest Pokémon, Snorlax, not simply eat the other 150?

#751 |

I found myself wanting to use the phrase "all right-thinking leftists" and did a double-take. Gotta say, we got the short end of the stick when it comes to associations with the word that describes our side. No wonder so many people think the left is sinister.

#750 |

The thing about how nobody is allowed to die in Disneyland is just an urban legend. The real problem is that if you ever have major surgery there, all your future X-rays will show the hidden Mickey they put in you.

#749 |

The problem with political slogans is that saying them enough times can give the impression that the person you're really trying to convince is yourself.

#748 |

In the acknowledgments section of my next book, I'm not going to thank anybody. I owe you people nothing. Instead, I'll reel off all the haters and losers who tried to stop me from putting my genius to paper.

#747 |

"There are some people who always find beauty makes them feel sadder, which is a very mysterious thing." —Dodie Smith (The Hundred and One Dalmatians, 1956)

#746 |

They say you should cut all the toxic people out of your life, but when you get down to it, there's only one person in my life, and however toxic he is, I think I'm stuck with him.

#745 |

The fun part about watching fictional characters invade people's dreams is that it also lets them do that to you in real life. Uh, for a certain sense of the term "real life".

#744 |

One function of birdsong is to declare territory. This must be exhausting. Imagine if, to make your ownership of a piece of land official, it wasn't enough to file the deed with town hall. Instead, you'd have to repeatedly scream "I live here!" at your neighbors for several hours a day.

#743 |

Seeing the usernames people choose on the Internet helps you realize why people are traditionally named by their parents instead of by themselves. If that's not enough evidence, just look at the ridiculous first name I gave myself.

#742 |

Carrie Fisher (2015) on how to explain Princess Leia's gold slave bikini to children: "Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn't like it."

#741 |

When I see the word "underserved", I always have to look at it carefully to make sure it's not "undeserved".

#740 |

If you're getting a dental cleaning in the afternoon, be sure to have something for lunch that really sticks to your teeth, so you get your money's worth.

#739 |

It's called "behavioral economics" to distinguish it from regular economics, which is less about how people behave than about how economists wish they would behave.

#738 |

Today I saw a passer-by with a shopping bag labeled "SIX 02", which immediately gave me a flashback to my sixth-grade homeroom teacher yelling out my class's number in frustration, "six oh-two!". Middle school is a trauma from which we never truly recover.

#737 |

It's fun when you Google about a software problem and then the first result is one guy asking about the problem and another guy chewing out the first guy for asking instead of Googling it.

#736 |

I'm egotistical, pedantic, and a little impolite. I jump at shadows, I fume at inconveniences, and at times, I forget other people exist. But if you can't handle me at my lulziest, then you sure as heck don't deserve me at my dankest.

#735 |

Today's adventure in New York City reinforced my impression that these last few months, New Yorkers have been angrier and more cantankerous than I'm used to. I ran past a woman sitting on a stoop and she called out to me several times.

I turned and said "What's up?"

"Stop doing that so much." she said.

"Doing what?" I said. "Running?"

"Fuck you!" she said. "I hate you!"

"Okay." I said, and ran away.

What happened to us? You'd understand if COVID-19 worsened people's moods, but these odd confrontations have been happening to me just as the restrictions have been easing. Maybe everyone just misses Bill de Blasio real bad. He was, after all, beloved.

#734 |

Jersey girls don't pump gas, but they do put their own restaurant leftovers into styrofoam boxes, so it balances out.

#733 |

All social-justice discourse over approximately the past century: "What you fail to understand is, I'm more oppressed than you are. In fact, you might not be oppressed at all and just making up your own victimhood in order to distract people from real oppression. If you are actually oppressed, it's only as a side-effect of the way I'm oppressed, which is the root of all evil and always has been. In summary, sit down and shut up."

#732 |

One of the many small weird things about the pandemic was that, because of the interest in providing touch-free restaurant menus, there was a brief period during which QR codes had a purpose.

#731 |

Don't brag to me how novel your scientific study is unless it's a work of fiction over 40,000 words, or, better, it has an accompanying novelty song.

#730 |

What genius decided to start using the word "experience" in place of "interface", anyway? "To try the new experience…" — Gosh darnit, I'm trying to use your stupid banking website, not to have a life-changing experience. The less of an experience using your interface feels like, the better. Now, trying to get images and tables to stay in the right position in a Microsoft Word document, that's an experience, and one I hope to never revisit.

#729 |

JFK (1962) discussing the question of airstrikes on Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis: "It isn't the first step that concerns me, but both sides escalating to the fourth and fifth step—and we don't go to the sixth because there is no one around to do so."

#728 |

I saw an ad for women's sex toys (on the subway, no less, ugh) with the testimonial "I felt as if a flower were blooming inside me." I'm not an expert on sex toys, but my advice is, if you feel as if the roots of a plant are tearing through your flesh, consider removing the toy.

#727 |

Why is social science considered softer than natural science and mathematics? I think it's partly a self-inflicted problem. Consider the archetypical geek: smart, and passionate about one or more technical subjects, but socially helpless, with an attitude towards other people ranging from indifference to contempt (the chief exception being people he wants to have sex with who haven't rejected him yet). If psychology and sociology departments push these kinds of people out whereas physics and math departments welcome them, then no wonder we have a shortage of psychologists who aren't frightened of matrix multiplication.

#726 |

DID YOU KNOW? Fog appears when the earth's core gets too hot, forcing it to reduce draw distances.

#725 |

Marvel Studios has announced that to better reflect the distinctly diverse life experiences of its audience, the superhero Black Panther, formerly portrayed by a guy named Chad (RIP), will henceforth be played by an incel neckbeard.

#724 |

A single half-pounder Cinnabon cinnamon bun has 1,080 Calories—every one of them delicious.

#723 |

One of my old favorite jokes is "What is gray and comes in quarts? An elephant." But is it biologically accurate? FACT-CHECK: No. For example, Kiso et al. (2011) obtained ejaculate volumes from African and Asian elephants on the order of 50 mL, well under a cup.

In search of the true bukkake champion of the animal kingdom, let's consider the blue whale. Simmons and Jones (2007) state with no citation that a blue whale ejaculates 4 gallons. But I think 4 gallons may be exaggerated. Some back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that humans emit .02 mL of semen per kg of average male body weight, and African elephants .01, but blue whales .15. A ratio of .02 for blue whales would give 2 L instead. If anything, I would expect absolute seminal volume to be about equal between species, even ones of vastly different size. Syngamy only requires one sperm cell, and bigger animals are bigger because they're made out of more cells, not because they have bigger cells.

Is that more than you wanted to know about this topic? You're whale-cum.

Kiso, W. K., Brown, J. L., Siewerdt, F., Schmitt, D. L., Olson, D., Crichton, E. G., & Pukazhenthi, B. S. (2011). Liquid semen storage in elephants (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta africana): Species differences and storage optimization. Journal of Andrology, 32(4), 420–431. doi:10.2164/jandrol.110.011460

Simmons, M. N., & Jones, J. S. (2007). Male genital morphology and function: An evolutionary perspective. Journal of Urology, 177(5), 1625–1631. doi:10.1016/j.juro.2007.01.011

#722 |

Heard joke once. Man goes to psychologist. Says he's confused. Says life seems short and intimidating. Says he feels perpetually unsure whether he is doing right thing. Psychologist says "Treatment is simple. Great JDM researcher Arfer is on Facebook tonight. Go and talk to him. That should clear everything up." Man bursts into tears. Says "But doctor… I am Arfer."

#721 |

Call me old-fashioned, but I just don't think it's healthy for people to spend so much of their lives staring at glowing rectangles. Get an e-ink screen instead.

#720 |

Alabama has historically allowed otherwise illegal slot machines if they actually work as interfaces to bingo. The gambler sees a one-armed bandit on a computer screen, but the payout is determined by an instantaneous game of bingo with other gamblers. Maybe these casinos, I mean "bingo halls", could also get more Jewish customers during Hanukkah if they offered dreidel-backed slots.

#719 |

There are video games that make you "feel like Batman" and "feel like Spider-Man", but what about a game that makes you feel like Superman? Rushing to the scene and beating the bad guys would be trivial. The challenge would be to not punch a thug so hard that his head explodes, and to swoop Lois out of the way of an explosion without sending her flying off into space. That's how it feels to live in Superman's world of cardboard.

#718 |

DID YOU KNOW? Erotophysicists have found that so-called vanilla sexual relationships are actually BDSM relationships that undergo role reversal thousands of times per second, which is too fast for human genitals to detect.

#717 |

Heartbreaking: The Worst Person You Know Just Made A Great Point

"[Imre] Lakatos distinguished appraisal from advice, and said that the task of the philosopher of science is to issue rules of appraisal, not to advise scientists (or grant-giving agencies) about what they ought to do. The Demarcation Criterion can evaluate the current state of play but it does not tell anyone what to do about it.… Feyerabend argues that a Demarcation Criterion that cannot tell anyone what to do or not to do is scarcely distinguishable from 'Anything goes'. To revert to Feyerabend's political analogy, what is the difference between an anarchist society and a 'state' where the 'police' can appraise people for their 'criminal' or 'law-abiding' behaviour but can never make an arrest or send anyone to jail?"

—Musgrave, A., & Pigden, C. (2016). Imre Lakatos. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (summer 2016). Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2016/entries/lakatos

Okay, so Paul Feyerabend isn't quite the worst person I know. But he's up there. Point is, a philosophy of science, not unlike a hypothesis of science, needs to stick its neck out a bit more than "appraising" things to be meaningful.

#716 |

The culture that has risen up around emoticon reaction buttons is bizarre to me. One person says something in a Discord chat about snakes, so ten other people "react" with the "emoticon" that's a picture of a snake. Why? Are they all preschoolers who are immensely proud of their new skill in matching animal names with animal pictures? I suppose we should also have audio reactions, so if somebody talks about pigs, everybody can show off that they know that pigs go "oink".

#715 |

Hey guys, did you know that Vaporeon can turn invisible when it's in the water? Google "hey guys did you know" for more fun facts about everybody's favorite water-type Pokémon.

#714 |

SOCIAL-SKILLS TIP: If somebody tells you their dog is a "rescue", show polite interest. Say "Oh cool, what did you rescue it from? A burning building? Or maybe an avalanche?"

#713 |

Who is a Jew? In my case, it depends on who wants to know if I'm Jewish. If a normal person is asking, the answer is no: my mom is a shiksa, and I'm not observant anyway. If a Nazi's asking, the answer is that I'm Jewish AF, and proud of it! If a Jews-for-Jesus missionary is accosting me to inquire "You Jewish?" when I'm just trying to get somewhere in this blasted city, the answer is that I subsist entirely on ham-and-cheese sandwiches and my name ends with a Roman numeral.

#712 |

Asking how many there are of something leads to counting. Counting leads to measurement. Measurement leads to psychometrics. Psychometrics… leads to suffering.

#711 |

I've made a list of some more backup career ideas in case this whole "science" thing doesn't pan out.

#710 |

In Pathfinder, all wizards, regardless of language or region, write spells the same way, and yet, it can require considerable study to read another wizard's spellbook. Does this sound strange? Consider that in real life, mathematical notation is language-independent, but God help you if you're trying to understand another mathematician's notes.

#709 |

I'm sick of unrealistic beauty standards in emoticons and The Simpsons that tell us that white people should have sunflower-yellow skin.

#708 |

Are you sure you want to save? Are you sure you want to quit? Are you sure you want to run this program that you downloaded from… [scare chord] the Internet? Are you sure you want to look at this picture of a cat on a website with an expired TLS certificate? Oh my God, !!!SECURITY ALERT I REPEAT SECURITY ALERT THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!, you signed into a website from a different Wi-Fi network from the one you usually use!

Thus computers relentlessly cry wolf and train us to ignore all the warnings, so that the few times a warning could be useful, we barely notice it.

#707 |

SOCIAL-SKILLS TIP: If somebody announces they're having a baby, show polite interest. Ask "Why?"

#706 |

I was in a discussion on a furry Discord group and it turned out that four people there, me included, had gotten a head injury at a young age. I'm not a psychologist, but… oh wait. I am a psychologist. Yeah, in my professional opinion, furries are loopy.

#705 |

JRPGs have two kinds of enemies:

1. Elderly giant rats that give your characters' toes a perfunctory nibble before dying in ten seconds.
2. Superbosses with eight billion hit points that you can beat with an encyclopedic knowledge of mechanics that aren't explained anywhere in the game, so long as you have four hours to kill.

#704 |

In 1964, Donald Knuth proposed a test of an ALGOL compiler's support for recursion and references to variables in nested calling scopes. He called it the "man-or-boy test". This antiquated terminology promotes outmoded gender roles and toxic masculinity, so for a modernized and empowering alternative, I suggest calling it the "virgin-or-Chad test".

#703 |

Why are people so afraid of being canceled? You have to puzzle your way through like three phone menus and then get past two agents trying to sell you more stuff in order to cancel anything. If people are still canceling you despite all that hassle, maybe it's because you deserve it. Especially if you're a cable-television service.

#702 |

FACT-CHECK: The first use of the line "Whoa, we're halfway there." is actually only 38% of the way through the official music video of "Livin' on a Prayer".

#701 |

I have sadly been obliged to terminate my employment at Femboy Hooters. The so-called cleavage window in the new uniform is undignifying, and in light of the continuing pandemic, the dessert menu really should no longer have an option to tongue-kiss your waiter.

#700 |

In tonight's episode of Justice League, Grodd tries to sell off the entire population of Gorilla City as NFTs.

#699 |

Logic is just a scam to sell more theorems.

#698 |

The logo for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is so extra. Does it need that little lighting bolt inside the "o" when there's already a giant lightning bolt smack-dab in the middle? They should've spent the budget on an apostrophe instead.

#697 |

If 2020 was so bad, then why did they make a 2020 Two?