About dating

September 5, 2011
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I don’t know where I found this. Maybe Evi.

http://travelogue.betacantrips.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Dating-Guidance.jpg

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Analysis of U Chicago graffiti

September 4, 2011
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Seen on Slashdot: Crescat Graffiti, Vita Excolatur.

The graffiti preserved in Pompeii after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius provided unique insights into Roman street life. The Mayan graffiti found in Tekal and the graffiti left by Vikings also give us small glimpses into the past. What kind of insight might a longitudinal study of the graffiti on the walls at the University of Chicago’s main library provide into the lives and minds of this community of college students?

The objects of student love vary widely, with "Puerto Rico," "this silence," "Tiramisu," and other miscellanea appearing alongside the usual references to people, school, and life in general.

Each phrase is linked to a photo of the graffito in question on Flickr.

It looks like the project itself has a website of the same name.

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Sam Shapiro — Saving Ghandiah

April 30, 2010

I just learned of the passing, last summer, of Sam Shapiro, half of the dynamic duo behind Force Monkeys. His family has been erecting memorials: samshapiro.org and Saving Ghandiah (Ghandaiah being his best-known handle). Here is some of his writing:

WITHOUT PERSONAL EXPRESSION, WE BECOME STATISTICS. WE ARE NO LONGER PEOPLE, BUT INSTEAD MACHINES, BODIES MOVING ABOUT AND FUNCTIONING ONLY TO ASSURE OUR BASIC SURVIVAL.

WITHOUT PERSONAL EXPRESSION, WE LOSE PART OF OUR HUMANITY, AND WE LOSE PART OF WHAT MAKES US SENTIENT.

FOR THIS REASON, WITHOUT PERSONAL EXPRESSION, NOTHING ELSE IS POSSIBLE. AS AUTOMATONS WE WOULD LOSE OUR HAPPINESS. AS AUTOMATONS WE WOULD SHED ALL VARIETY AND BLUR TO A SINGLE SHADE OF MONOTONOUS GRAY.

PEOPLE CHERISH THEIR DIFFERENCES, AND YET, SIMOLTANEOUSLY [SIC], TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM. WE OFTEN DISCARD THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS AS INSIGNIFICANT MERELY BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT OUR OWN.

IF PEOPLE REALIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF EXPRESSION, THEN PERHAPS CONFLICT WOULD NOT BE SO COMMON.

A lot of his art is really stunning. Here is one that I’m fond of. Look at the eyes in particular.

http://travelogue.betacantrips.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/wpid-dsc00011-copy1.jpg

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Marriage

March 21, 2010

I realized recently that my impression of the sanctity of marriage has been damaged most by anti-gay activists attempting to limit marriage to heterosexual couples. The message seems to be, "Marriage isn’t for EVERYBODY who is in love, since some people who are obviously in love can’t be married. Ergo, what else can it be besides a legal mechanism, a tax break/health insurance arrangement we give to some couples but not others?" Of course, as the child of an open marriage maybe I’m predisposed to think something like that.

So then what to make of this story about a man marrying his body pillow in Korea, via Suzanne? One commentator writes, "As long as the guy and the pillow are happy together who cares? I suspect that this is just another ‘look at stupid johnny foreigner’ photo opportunity. If the pillow had a Ph. D. they never would have published it."

Or how about the related stories I found when I was digging up that one: man marries a Barbie doll to appease the spirit of his dead wife, man in Japan weds video game character?

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Cottage Computer Programming

November 19, 2009

Via Suzanne: a fascinating autobiographical article by Paul Lutus.

You may have heard about me. In the computer business I’m known as the Oregon Hermit. According to rumor, I write personal computer programs in solitude, shunning food and sleep in endless fugues of work. I hang up on important callers in order to keep the next few programming ideas from evaporating, and I live on the end of a dirt road in the wilderness. I’m here to tell you these vicious rumors are true.

Personal favorite line?

Also, I’ve been told that good programmers rarely have mates. This is usually offered as evidence of how asocial we are. Without fail, we’re pictured as disheveled cyber-hobos hanging around computer centers, shunning serious relationships, coding for the sake of coding. I can’t really disagree with this view, but there is something interesting behind it-at least for me. I began to notice, as I got more involved with computers, that acceptance by the machine required absolute precision on my part. The slightest misstep caused the instant erasure of many hours of work; the machine would reject everything with perfect dispassion until each detail was just right. Then the program would suddenly function beautifully, and never fail again… The result of this strange relationship was that for a time I became too spoiled for the flesh-and-blood women around me. I got tired of hearing, "If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times-the answer is maybe!"

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Suck it, Astrology.

November 13, 2009

As a data collection/data analysis fanboy, I have no choice but to love the OK Cupid data-mining blog, seen via this post on JWZ.

Here are the grouped match percentages for a random pool of 500,000 users. Astrological sign has no effect whatsoever on how compatible two people are.

http://travelogue.betacantrips.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/wpid-Match-By-Zodiac-Title.png

As one of the commenters points out, the stuff about race and response rates is super-interesting.

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Rubbernecking

November 8, 2009
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Seen on Sumana’s blog: a post on Reddit about huge family secrets and a post on Making Light "celebrating" Dysfunctional Families Day. Be warned: if you start reading these threads, especially the thread on Making Light, you’re basically kissing 8 hours goodbye, and committing yourself to having a shitty day. That said, there’s an incredible ratio of signal-to-noise here, particularly incredibly wise comments on the nature of life, family, etc.

One thing to remember, though, is that hate is still a kind of involvement.

Huh, how interesting. This is something I’ve known intellectually for a long time, but when I read your comment, it suddenly clicked for me in a way it never has before:

Hating my mother in a strange way kind of fills the void where my love for her (and hers for me) should have been. This goes some way in explaining why I have been so completely unable to let go of it. It’s not just that I’m a judgmental, passive-aggressive, little victim.

And:

Forgiveness is the act of ceasing to expect repayment of something that is owed.

You have given me something to think about for a long time. Normally I hate it when people talk about forgiveness, because it always seems to mean "letting that person continue to behave badly." But that’s a totally new perspective. Thank you.

And:

If it gives you pain, it counts. If you were afraid, it counts. Period.

And:

Teach children under your care basic social interactions. Teach them, teach them, teach them. Model everything and gently guide them. Telling a kid, "You need to get along with other people" is like telling a clumsy person, "You need to be more graceful." HOW? Children who grow up alternately ignored and terrorized need remedial work in this kind of thing!

No, children just plain need work on social skills. It’s really enlightening watching how some parents deliberately and carefully teach the details of social interaction, and others don’t.

And:

Some 15 years ago, I saw a magazine article that expressed our relationship perfectly: I was Not The Child They Had In Mind. I wish I could find it again, but I don’t even recall what the magazine was. But it was like having a light bulb go off in my mind; they had wanted a child, they just didn’t want ME. They wanted a child who would be just like them, share their interests and activities and worldview, consider the kind of life they had to be the pinnacle of happiness. They wanted me to voluntarily want what they wanted for me, so that there would never be any arguments about my friends or interests or activities — because of course, no friend or interest or activity they disapproved of could possibly be good for me. One of my friends once commented that she didn’t understand why they had bothered to adopt a child in the first place; they would have been much happier with a miniature poodle, especially if they got one that was crate-trained.

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American woman marries auto-rickshaw driver

November 8, 2009
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An old but extremely fascinating look at a love-at-first sight marriage in Jaipur. Thanks Suzanne!

It was just another hot day in Jaipur when Harish, an autorickshaw driver, sees Whitney, a University of Chicago student, in the distance and was awestruck. He asks her out for a cup of tea and she says no. He asks again, and she says no again. But Harish’s persistence pays off, by the fourth time she comes around and they both grab a cup of tea. He shows her around Jaipur and, at the end of the day, he proposes to her. She accepts.

It’s interesting to see the commentators on the article, particularly now that a month has passed. Some are claiming this to be a stupid promotional stunt for something, but that seems unlikely at this point. Then there’s a lot of armchair marriage counseling, as though anyone in this world understood what made marriages work.

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