"Grimoire" fonts

Sunday 26 June 2011, 10:15

Here's a project that provides, among other things, free vector fonts of magical glyphs from the Lesser and Greater Keys of Solomon. I found it by way of sourceforge.jp's flagging it as a similar project to Tsukurimashou.

Stimulants

Friday 10 June 2011, 09:53

I wonder: what percentage of current agricultural capacity is devoted to stimulant drug crops? I mean tea, coffee, tobacco, khat, areca, coca, cacao, yerba mate, and so on. It seems like it must be a pretty large percentage. I wonder how much food could be grown using those resources, and how that amount of food compares to the size of the food shortage.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it would be possible or desirable to make such a substitution. It seems like there must be a reason that nearly every human culture has a tradition of using stimulant drugs. Also, I'm well aware that different plants grow under different conditions, so the land and resources currently used for non-food crops can't necessarily be used for food crops. But it would still be interesting to know the answers to the questions.

Plaid code

Thursday 19 May 2011, 15:45

Fans of my fiction writing will doubtless remember my theory that in the Future, girls' school-uniform skirts will be made of "smart fiber," capable of changing colour under computer control to act as a sort of display screen, and the wearers will use that to encode personal information into the plaid stripes of something like a present-day 2D barcode. Such technology already exists today (it's closely related to "e-paper"), though it isn't cheap and rugged enough yet for serious use in clothing.

Well, in one of my nefarious projects I recently had occasion to actually use a data-to-tartan encoding scheme, and you might find the results interesting. Here's a sample:

[Plaid code swatches]

See if you can reverse-engineer the encoding that generated those swatches. It's quite simple, and has an historical basis.

Tarot spread generator

Saturday 14 May 2011, 11:26

Here's a simple online Tarot page I wrote a few years back. Very simple: choose a spread, you see the cards face-down, click on each card in turn to flip it face-up. You're on your own for interpretation. I'm taking the opportunity of the transition to the new site code, to add a Project Wonderful box - but if I'm not pleased by the bidding on that, I may remove it.

The card images used in this system are scans from the edition of the Waite deck published in 1909 that collectors call "Pamela-A," and they are public domain in Berne Convention countries. See John B. Hare's comparison of the Pamela-A deck with another popular deck.

Gas prices and the Conservative tax on everything

Friday 13 May 2011, 07:04

I've been hearing a lot of grumbling about gasoline prices recently. People who ought to know better on my social-networking friends lists circulated that asinine one-day "boycott" message a little while back. My alarm clock wakes me with CBC Radio every morning, and today they were talking to someone from Consumer's Union who was hoping to pressure the Federal government to Do Something. I'm of the opinion that the Federal government has already Done way too Much in this matter, and they ought to butt out already.

One of Harper's talking points in the recent election was to accuse the Liberals of pressing for a "tax on everything" (a scary renaming of the carbon tax that anybody who cares about survival of the planet, including a clear majority of Canadians, actually supports). But when you fill up your car's gas tank and pay today's prices for it, you are paying the Conservative tax on everything, which they implemented without a vote and which never received proper discussion or coverage. Let's put the blame where it belongs.

Disclosure: I don't own a car, and I do own units of a real-return bond index fund, which makes more profit in nominal terms when the price of everything (including gasoline) goes up. I don't think that really means I benefit from higher prices, only that I lose less than some other people. I've written about inflation-indexed bonds before. I'd rather have prices stay low and my bonds not make so many dollars.

Top three ridings I'll be watching

Sunday 1 May 2011, 17:07

This is going to be a heck of an election. It already has been, in fact. I'm not going to do an astrological thing - and in fact I took down the one I posted for the 2004 election - because I care too much about the outcome to do it properly. I'm also probably not going to post a whole big thing about the issues and how I feel about them; by this point, anybody who could be swayed by my writings on that stuff already has been. But tomorrow night I'm going to attempt to sit back and watch the proceedings as entertainment, and for anyone planning to do the same, here are my top three picks for ridings to watch.

Updates

Sunday 24 April 2011, 15:02

Here are a few notes on the current state of my life.

Dream: a box of cards

Monday 18 April 2011, 08:06

Dream transcript from the morning of May 2, 2009. I posted it in my Dreamwidth journal at the time, and I'm pretty sure I know what it meant because it tied into events in my life at the time, but I felt like posting it again today.

4月17日の日記

Sunday 17 April 2011, 13:01

久しぶりに日記を書きました。日本語の勉強したいので、ここによく書くようにしています。しかし難しいです。たいていな友達は日本語をよめません。読まなかったら、書き物の意味ありませんか?

On expectations

Saturday 16 April 2011, 11:45

Planned Parenthood is an activist pro-abortion organization. No matter which side you're on yourself, you're stupid if you seriously expect that someone who strongly opposes abortion should support PP, and the government should fund PP, because PP spends less than 90% of its budget on abortion and does many other worthwhile things. That is not how human behaviour works. It's like saying someone who supports GLBT equality should support the Boy Scouts of America, and the government should fund BSA, because BSA spends less than 90% of its budget on discrimination and does many other worthwhile things. One showstopping issue can and routinely will override others; that is what "showstopping" means.

Both sides of the abortion debate agree that abortion is a matter of overriding importance, something that really matters. If abortion didn't really matter to Planned Parenthood, then PP could and presumably would forget its abortion advocacy and have a lot more support for its other activities. Since they don't do that, their opponents should be expected to similarly treat the issue as important. That is basic human behaviour, and anyone who can't form and act on reasonable expectations about human behaviour will certainly lose in any effort that involves human beings, regardless of the moral high ground they may think they stand on.