Kodi Arfer


These pages mirror my Facebook status updates.

#867 |

I always thought empirical sex research was underappreciated. The closest thing there is to a dedicated journal is Archives of Sexual Behavior, which also has a fair number of more humanities-oriented papers. I'm tempted to start my own journal now that I've thought of the perfect title: Sexual Experimentation.

#866 |

"…it must be confessed, that the terms, which they employed, were not chosen with such caution, nor so exactly defined, as to prevent all mistakes about their doctrine." —David Hume (1748), describing a lot of philosophy

#865 |

People criticize the mainstream news media a lot, but I think it often does a good job of reporting on a bad world. The news holds a mirror up to society, and society finds its reflection unflattering.

#864 |

"Adult industry"? Isn't it more like a baby industry?

#863 |

"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion." —Francis Bacon (1612, "Of Beauty"), describing the appeal of weird fetish porn

#862 |

The feature of augmented reality that I look forward to the least is people using emoji and reaction images in person. I'll ask some teenager born in 2050 whether he really thinks marrying cannabis should be legalized, and instead of saying "yes", he'll project an image of the Yes Chad (which will have been brought back ironically by aging zoomers in 2062 but will then be used unironically by kids who don't know how old it is).

#861 |

I wonder if there's a desperate youth pastor out there who's said "Think sigma males are cool? Guys, Jesus Christ was something more: a stigma male."

#860 |

As a teenager, I slogged through Bill Bryson's Short History of Nearly Everything (2003) even though I wasn't interested and I didn't enjoy it, because… man, I dunno. I guess I hadn't yet realized that you could just put down a book. Anyway, the one bit that I thought was interesting was a passing mention that glass is technically a fluid, and flows very gradually over the course of centuries, which has led to warping in really old cathedral windows. Later I found that this particular claim happens to be wrong (see e.g. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-fiction-glass-liquid ). That'll teach me. (There's a metaphor here about publication bias.)

#859 |

"I have often wondered… how it comes to pass that so many heads, on which Nature seems to have inflicted the curse of barrenness, should teem with voluminous productions." —Washington Irving (1819), concerning the Internet

#858 |

One benefit of creative work, like making art, is that it provides some palliative treatment for your impotent anger at all the things going wrong with the world that you can't fix. For the one thing you're making, you get to call the shots. So you can say to yourself: here's one small corner of the world where things are as they ought to be.

#857 |

10 fun facts about animals! Wow!

1. Animals were invented by George Washington Carver in 1916 after he discovered satay sauce and thought it would go well with something, quote, "meatier" than tofu.
2. The best animal was Paraceratherium. It's all been downhill from there.
3. If you put all the animals in the world end-to-end, then 1 + 1 = 2. No, seriously, that's how logical consequence works. If the conclusion is tautological, then you can use any premise and get a valid argument. Wacky!
4. Animals are blinded by their eukaryotic privilege to the lived experiences of archaea.
5. There are over 4 different species of insects.
6. Bottlenose dolphins have been observed—no, wait, sorry, that fact is definitely not fun. Moving on.
7. Technically, humans are animals, but longstanding culinary tradition keeps human flesh out of the meat aisle of your supermarket. You have to go the back room and ask the queer old man with one eye for "something a little more simian".
8. Overall, animals like being pets. They wish you wouldn't masturbate in the same room as them, though. They think it's tacky. They started licking their genitals in front of you to show you how it feels, but apparently it hasn't had much of an impact.
9. If you had one puppy for every nontrivial zero of the Riemann zeta function, then a lot of mathematicians would really want to know whether you had a nonzero number of puppies.
10. Animals are… um… there's over… if you imagine… uh… they're just amazing, huh?

#856 |

At this point, I think dropping out of grad school at Stanford may be worth more Silicon Valley street cred than completing your degree. Elon Musk, ever the true visionary, dropped out after only two days.

#855 |

Confused by all the different ticket classes for commercial air travel? Here's a quick guide to how each class differs from the next most expensive one.

#854 |

For a people who are constantly patting themselves on the back for how smart they are, programmers sure do bristle at the prospect of being made to think.

#853 |

Now that "autistic" has been euphemized to "on the autism spectrum" and that in term has become "on the spectrum", I can't wait for the word "spectrum" to become a playground insult. Kids will be calling each other prisms. Or maybe somebody will remember the word "spectral" exists and they'll be calling each other ghosts instead. Spooky.

#852 |

All the edits that a user makes on Wikipedia can be seen on his or her contributions page. Which articles a user chooses to edit can be revealing. For example, here are my most recent articles (or article talk pages), in reverse chronological order:

#851 |

Interesting argument, but:

#850 |

Some Internet people have a habit of saying "my country" instead of the actual name of a country, as if the country they lived in was personally identifiable information. I'm reminded of juror #11 from Twelve Angry Men, the vaguely foreign (and ambiguously Jewish) guy who's only defined as "from Europe" and having "an accent". Perhaps such people are actually from Latveria. Or Elbonia.

#849 |

I'm not very politically active. I vote and I talk about politics; beyond that, I just hope for the best and dread the worst. You could say I'm a social-justice worrier.

#848 |

Me, reading any novel written since 1950 that isn't a children's book: "Gee, this narrative would be easier to follow if it was presented in chronological order and from a single character's perspective."

#847 |

The weirdest thing about large language models right now is the developers' belief that filtering is a safety issue. Like, the official position of OpenAI is not only that they're developing artificial general intelligence, but also that the part of ChatGPT that hamfistedly (and largely unsuccessfully) tries to stop you from getting porn out of it is also an important step towards keeping superintelligent computer programs from turning the universe into paperclips.

#846 |

Real women have curves. Fake women have an uncanny reverberating voice and mysterious runes inscribed on their shoulders.

#845 |

There have been a lot of rumors about me, so let's clear the air a bit. Here are the facts:

#844 |

Some rich people act embarrassed of being rich, which is kinda weird, but admittedly, it beats being proud.

#843 |

In trying to avoid off-by-one errors, we should take as our role models landlords, who are quick to remind us that ascending to a sixth-floor walk-up that they're trying to let will require climbing a mere five flights of stairs.

#842 |

The expression "he doesn't have a racist bone in his body" is oddly specific. Are you insinuating that his hair attends the occasional KKK rally, or perhaps the cartilage in his nose doesn't want a Dominican family moving in next door because of what it will do to the property values?

#841 |

I was once surprised to find that some of my laundry was still warm despite having left the dryer over a day ago. It turns out that clothes are good insulators; who would have thought?

#840 |

Proposed slogans for food:

#839 |

Considering that Supreme Court justices are effectively accountable to nobody, it's not surprising when they make awful decisions or take bribes. What's surprising is that they're not even more brazen. Why bother with the charade of respectability and impartiality? If I was a Supreme Court justice, I'd wear Biden 2024 T-shirts to oral arguments and ask lawyers questions like "As a patriotic defender of Second Amendment rights, what would you say is an acceptable number of school shootings per year?" and publish one-sentence decisions like "No, an unrestricted ability of corporations to saturate the airwaves with political ads is not the kind of speech worth protecting, you absolute imbeciles."

#838 |

DID YOU KNOW? Cyclists are born with an extremely specific form of colorblindness that leaves them without the ability to see red lights. Traffic lights are provided on some of the bike paths in Central Park as a joke.

#837 |

It's understandable, but still kinda funny, that society has decided that people and organizations can choose what they're called, and that choice should be more or less respected. You can make an organization dedicated to some truly evil cause, like stealthily removing all the toilet paper from Taco Bell bathrooms, and call it "the Concerned Citizens for Puppy Wellness", and the news will call it "CCPW" at worst.

#836 |

The best evidence against Lamarckism is that a hundred generations after Abraham, Jews still need to get circumcised.

#835 |

If somebody says "I don't work for the CIA.", he's telling the truth. A real CIA agent wouldn't be able to stop himself from saying "I don't work for CIA."

#834 |

"I don't appreciate poetry—I don't mind admitting that now; I don't understand poetry. We studied it in high school and college, but they never told us why it was good. I got 'A's on all the exams—'Hail to thee blithe spirit, bird thou never wert'—what the hell does that mean? I have no idea."

—Tom Lehrer (1997)

#833 |

I remember laughing to see a somewhat macabre skull table decoration in a Halloween issue of Martha Stewart Living. That particular item was probably included by mistake and had been meant for the sister periodical Martha Stewart Dying.

#832 |

It's ironic, but telling, that many people feel threatened by pacifists.

#831 |

Maybe the reason certain people are so sure that machine superintelligence is right around the corner is that they're not very bright, so ChatGPT feels like superintelligence by comparison. At any rate, seeing as artificial general intelligence has ostensibly been five years away every year since 1960, I'm not holding my breath.

#830 |

Things that you really don't have to say in scientific papers:

#829 |

Support for the idea of there being more than two genders might be on the rise, but it remains the case that according to a lot of social statistics, there are two ethnicities: Hispanic and not Hispanic. Which I guess explains why supermarkets put all the Hispanic foods in the "ethnic" aisle.

#828 |

Wookiepedia, the Star Wars fan wiki, is both very comprehensive and insistent on the use of the past tense, which leads to amusing phrasing such as "The color of an object was its property of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way it reflected light." Remember when color existed? Those were the days.

#827 |

Conspiracy (2001) sounds like an interesting movie, but quite heavy in its subject matter. I'm not sure if I Wannsee that conference.

#826 |

The humble sponge is the Jesus of kitchen utensils. It becomes the filthiest thing in the house, getting all kinds of weird bacteria into its pores, by taking on the filth of everything else.

#825 |

If you think Descartes is overrated, consider: he's the only philosopher who's been definitively proven to exist.

#824 |

"In Yerusalom everything has a price—not even the air you breathe is free. Though at least it is unmetered: since it would not have been cost-effective to implant oxygen-usage monitors in every citizen, a flat breathing-tax is incorporated into the baseline living fee. Panting and gasping come at no extra charge."

—Yves Meynard ("In Yerusalom", 2015)

#823 |

An excerpt from my 2070 book The 2020 US Presidential Election: A Poorly Recalled Retrospective:

"During negotiations for the following debate, President Turnip demanded that Mr. Bidet (then better known by his first name, 'Brandon') have sex with his eighth wife, Melancholy. Sounds silly, I know, but cuckoldry was a really big thing at the time. Brandon refused, saying the Turnips both stank of beer, specifically Corona. The press was harshly critical of Brandon's rudeness, contributing to the tension that finally erupted in the January 6th attack on capital letters, which in turn caused a nationwide shortage of Shift keys. To this day, we use the word 'shiftless' as an insult."

#822 |

John: "And I'm not going to live forever, you know, even though I'm going to die trying."

Michael: "Do you want to?"

John: "Why not? Even when sad. What else is there?"

Michael: "When are you sad?"

John: "When I remember I'm not going to live forever."

—Joseph Heller (Closing Time, 1995)

#821 |

The guys in the EU who came up with the "protected designation of origin" regulations must've been scandalized when they learned that McDonald's french fries aren't actually from France.

#820 |

"Nevada was discovered many years ago by the Mormons, and was called Carson county. It only became Nevada in 1861, by act of Congress. There is a popular tradition that God Almighty created it; but when you come to see it, William, you will think differently. Do not let that discourage you, though. The country looks something like a singed cat, owing to the scarcity of shrubbery, and also resembles that animal in the respect that it has more merits than its personal appearance would seem to indicate." —Mark Twain (1864)

#819 |

Kids these days call themselves hemophiliacs, but they can't even name three types of blood cells. Posers.

#818 |

The God of the Old Testament: "Lads, I spent six entire days making this universe from scratch, so if y'all can't behave in it, I'll murder you in spectacular fashion. Simple as."

The modern God: "Guys, please, stop doing all that stuff I told you not to do! Please! You're ruining it! C'mon, guys, seriously, stop! If you don't stop I'm totally gonna punish you so bad, any day now!"

#817 |

I know that Bill Gates didn't put microchips in the COVID-19 vaccine because there's no way Microsoft would put their hardware in your blood without a EULA giving them the right to harvest your kidneys.

#816 |

Say what you want about spherical geometry, you've gotta admit: it's unparalleled.

#815 |

One underappreciated piece of medical equipment is the humble stick, often a simple tree branch. Medical professionals use this tool as part of end-of-life care to determine whether the patient has ceased all vital activity. Proper technique involves poking the patient with the stick from as far a distance as possible while either holding one's nose or saying aloud "Is it dead?". If complete deanimation is confirmed, best practice is to then shout "Gross!"

#814 |

I'm a pretty big deal, you know. So big that I have more GitHub followers than Facebook friends.

#813 |

"I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department." —Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963, "Letter from Birmingham Jail"), demonstrating the use of understatement

#812 |

Today I saw somebody with a cat on the roof a building across from me. I've seen people walk their dogs on rooves, but this, I have no explanation for this. The cat was on the tubby side, as cats go, so perhaps the owner felt confident she could grab it if it got rambunctious before it jumped off the roof.

#811 |

Why is agricultural labor so widely demonized? The Devil is depicted with a pitchfork, the Grim Reaper uses a scythe, and anybody who consorts with hoes is considered morally suspect.

#810 |

When somebody first described to me the plot of Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, I thought they were probably making the whole thing up and no such sequel existed.

#809 |

Pathfinder 2e mentions that "velociraptors and deinonychuses, like their bird cousins, enjoy keeping sparkling baubles in their nests", which suggests the delightful mental image of a (realistically turkey-sized) velociraptor approaching an adventuring party only to grab the wizard's crystal ball in its teeth and dash away.

#808 |

Silly combinations of adverb and adjective that I've seen:

#807 |

People these days use the word "dopamine" as if it was something they snort lines of: "I got a hit of dopamine when…". Yes, I know you think this makes you sound educated, but actually you're revealing that you barely know what dopamine is or does. Heightened dopaminergic activity is neither necessary nor sufficient for pleasure; ask all the Parkinson's patients on L-DOPA if you don't believe me. It would be more honest to say that you got a hit of one of the four humors, because then the casual listener would more easily apprehend that you're talking out of your tuchus.

While you're at it, stop using the word "DNA" to mean "character". You're not misinforming people about physiology with that one, but it's a no less buffoonish abuse of a scientific term.

#806 |

I was deep in the archives of an obscure mailing list the other day and I saw an argument in which one guy said "First, to be clear, I do not support" a proposal, without elaborating, so the other guy said "It's hard to respond to an objection without a rationale." That's a mood.

#805 |

I think it's a tad hypocritical when people who are urinating in public get mad at you for looking.

#804 |

No man is an island. In fact, in today's highly interconnected world culture, no country is an island, either. Even the island countries aren't islands. Especially the island countries.

#803 |

"You know, that might be the answer—to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of. That's a trick that never seems to fail." —Colonel Korn (Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, 1961)