December 14th, 2008

Geek - serious

A has nothing to do with B

The other day I was reading something in the paper (I think it was a letter to the editor)[citation needed] from someone complaining about fancy expensive ostentatious Christmas displays, y'know, the kind that involve so many decorations and lights that you have to either hire workers to put them up, or have endless free time and energy. Now, fair enough, some people think those are ridiculous and pretentious. They don't really bother me, but hey.

The thing was, this person complained that such fancy decorations "have nothing to do with Christmas". Wait, WHAT? Is that bad? Because I've been doing lots of things that have nothing to do with Christmas! For dinner I had a tuna sandwich and some fries. What's that got to do with Christmas? Gee, nothing, I guess! And this past week I did laundry, and practiced solving Rubik's Cube as well as my higher-order V-Cubes, and drew some cartoons... and I'm hard-pressed to find a direct link between any of these activities and Christmas!

And somewhere on LJ recently, I forget where,[citation needed] someone was objecting to crossdressing at furry cons, and using as the main argument against it the fact that crossdressing "has nothing to do" with furry fandom. Again, what the hell, people? Lots of things that have nothing to do with furry fandom go on at furry cons. Like at MFF, Babs and I were amusing ourselves by drawing funny eyes and mouths on pieces of paper and holding them up in front of our faces. You might have seen me wandering the halls at some point with "angry eyes" or looking like that :awesome: smilie. But with only like one or two exceptions, these facial features we drew were human, not animal. (Well, cartoony human.) What does THAT have to do with furry fandom? Well, nothin'. Did anybody complain? Not that I'm aware of!

So c'mon, people, don't be dishonest. Don't misuse words like that. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with A "having nothing to do with" B. Ma'am, perhaps what you mean is that fancy Christmas displays are prideful and selfish and go against the Christmas spirit of charity. Dude, perhaps what you mean is that crossdressing is deviant behavior unfit for public display even at a "gathering of weirdos" such as a furry con. I happen to disagree with you on both those points, but I wish you'd just say what you mean.

In fact, I know an example of a group of people taking the whole "having nothing to do with = bad" logic to its ultimate extreme: the Taliban! I read an article about them in a magazine once.[citation needed] (Yeah, I know, I suck at citing references. Whaddya think this is, Wikipedia?) When the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, they started outlawing things, like drinking and gambling, and the list got longer and longer, covering such innocuous things as watching TV, listening to music, dancing, playing cards (even for fun), children's toys, cameras, etc. (And of course for women it was much worse.) And one Taliban official was quoted as saying, "Time should be spent serving the country and praying to God. Nothing else. Everything else is a waste of time, and people are not allowed to waste their time." IOW, they seriously believed that any activity having nothing to do with supporting God and country should be illegal.

So... yeah, yeah, I know, it's a figure of speech. But it's a stupid one! Another one that annoys me a bit is when people say "You don't need to be doing that" when what they really mean is "You shouldn't do that". Heck, there's a lot of things I don't *need* to do, but most of them are harmless. I don't have anything I need to write on paper right now, so I don't need to be picking up this pencil. [picks up pencil] There. Who did that hurt? Nobody! [accidentally stabs self with pencil] OWWW!! ...Okay, ignore that last part. But you get my point.

Oww, pointy...
I are smrt

What is Death by Chocolate?

I'm sure many of us have been to restaurants where they have something on the dessert menu called "Death by Chocolate". But what exactly is death by chocolate? What does it work out to, what's it equivalent to? To find out, I did a series of calculations.

First, we define a base 26 counting system:
A=1 B=2 C=3 ... W=23 X=24 Y=25
(This is my favorite such scheme.)

Next, we calculate the values of the individual words:

DEATH = 4 5 1 20 8 = 4x26^4 + 5x26^3 + 1x26^2 + 20x26 + 8 = 1916988

CHOCOLATE = 3 8 15 3 15 12 1 20 5 = 3x26^8 + 8x26^7 + 15x26^6 + 3x26^5 + 15x26^4 + 12x26^3 + 1x26^2 + 20x26 + 5 = 695412122657

Then we multiply the two numbers together:
     x 695412122657 =

And convert back to base 26:
                 13  13 M
                363  25 Y
               9443   5 E
             245528  10 J
            6383735   7 G
          165977116   6 F
         4315405031  15 O
       112200530829  23 W
      2917213801573  19 S
     75847558840919  21 U
   1972036529863901   7 G
  51272949776461427   1 A
1333096694187997116  14 N

(This process starts at the bottom, with each number being divided by 26, the quotient written above it and the remainder to the right.)

which is an anagram of FOGGY MENU JAWS.

Sooooo... there you have it.