My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

10 Articles in August 2006

  1. Western society

    Ben: I blame the church Lauren: lol Lauren: For what? Ben: Everything. Ben: No, think about it. Ben: The Church's only major opponents throughout history have been educated people. Remove the desire to learn, and you remove the potential for educated people to undermine your grip on the world. Ben: In fact, all of Western society is essentially a sinful existence purposefully manufactured by the Church for the Church. It reinforces laziness, and offers so many decadent temptations (reality television, celebrity scandal, capitalism, etc.) that it's quite hard not to sin. And then who steps in to absolve you? The Church.

    Just thought I'd share. :angel: Society these days is so complicated that it is hard to believe there's not someone behind the scenes pulling the strings.

    Conspiracy theories are great, aren't they? ^_^

  2. *huggles Portable Apps*

    Nearly a year ago, I first blogged about Portable Apps. Now I'm going to once again declare: Portable Apps rock! :drool:

    They are an excellent way to carry your favourite programs with you on your USB key (or other portable method; I just prefer that). I love Firefox Portable, which is just want it sounds like. I've also got FileZilla Portable, Portable GIMP, Portable OpenOffice.org, and Portable Gaim. :jay: Although I haven't figured out how to use it at school yet (and might not be able to, thanks to the restrictions they put on the computers), it's useful for anywhere else that I don't have my computer with me.

    I wub Portable Apps! :wub:

  3. Get over it

    Pluto is not a planet anymore.

    Get over it.

    It's still orbitting the sun; it is a "dwarf planet", and it is not going to go away any time soon. So unless you happen to be an astronomer whose doctorate depends upon a study of Pluto's planetary characteristics--does it really matter? Honestly, we spend way too much time talking about semantics--it's maddening! Did everyone turn into lawyers overnight?

    So if you're upset over all this nonsense about demoting Pluto, don't be; it hasn't really been demoted. It's a "dwarf planet", and thus is still important. It's just been recategorised.

    We now have 8 major planets and a heretofore yet undetermined number of dwarf planets. Don't like it? Tough. The Earth is still going to orbit the Sun (shocking, yes, I know) and your bills are still going to arrive, you'll still have to pay them too.

    Deal with it.

  4. VSNS Lemon 3.2.2 released

    I've been working on VSNS Lemon 3.3 for a little bit now. My major focus was improving it so that it wouldn't be so buggy (sucky). There aren't that many more features I'd like to add to it--the point is, after all, to keep it simple and avoid feature creep or feature bloat.

    So those of you who like simple will hopefully like this upgrade. It contains numerous bug fixes:

    • Security: Added session_name() to differentiate between sessions
    • Enhancement: User interface for emoticon management
    • Enhancement: Redesign for admin CP interface
    • Bug Fix: Major header() errors no longer appear (I hope!)
    • Bug Fix: Quotation marks in headings caused form to break
    • Bug Fix: Comment editing not totally effective
    • Enhancement: Ability to give preview of article in archives/index

    But wait, Ben! You said this was all supposed to be v3.3! Why are you calling it v3.2.2?! :huh:

    Well, because v3.3. would actually need some more improvements to be called a major step up from v3.2.1. There are really only two more features I would add: a simple search engine, and (as I've been saying forever) some properly-integrated AJAX to make editing/admin stuff easier. I'm hoping to include the search engine in v3.3. The

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  5. Back to school resolutions

    These things never work. I don't bother making New Years resolutions, so I don't see why back to school resolutions would work anyway. But it is early enough in the morning and I haven't had any tea yet, so who knows?

    Depressingly enough, school does start in about two weeks for me. It's not that I dislike school--I enjoy it and will welcome the change from working every day--but I don't feel like I've relaxed at all during my vacation, and it went too fast. I'm afraid that I'll start freaking out, stressing myself out, and generally having a bad time again once school starts unless I apply some brakes. So here are my resolutions.

    t: 1. Get more sleep d: I don't sleep as much as I should, and it's entirely my fault, so let's fix this one. I should be going to bed at 11 PM (maybe midnight at the latest) if I want to be able to get up at 7 AM. It isn't so much that I dislike sleep as that my body seems to be fine naturely attuning its Circadian rhythms to a 4 AM - 1 PM cycle. The rest of society isn't that…

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  6. Get your "fash on"

    Okay, this is the last straw. Old Navy, you have gone too far.

    For the record, breaking up the word "fashion" into two separate words, "fash" and "on", in an attempt to make a cute pop-style song for your latest advertising campaign, cannot be described by any of the following adjectives: clever, cute, funny, interesting, effective, original. And many more.

    Those commercials with their idiotic repeating refrain of "Get your fash on / fash, fash on" annoy me to no end. I must commend your marketing people in their creation of such an evil slogan. Not only is it stuck in my head, but it is an unacceptable and pathetic slaughtering of the English language. Considering that no one at Old Navy--neither the people who sew your jeans nor the marketing gurus (who speak Weasel)--actually speaks English, this probably should not be surprising. I never said I was surprised; I'm just outraged.

    In fact, I am fairly sure that if such stupid and asinine commercials disappeared from television, crime rate would drop dramatically overnight. I don't know why the terrorists even bother anymore. Between reality television and commercials the Western world is already going to kill itself before…

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  7. I'm bad at conversation

    In general, I'm not that great at it. I tend to kill conversations (or start them so badly that both parties are grateful when they lapse into silence). I think it's that naturally I am not much of a chatty person, although if you get me started on a subject, it is hard to get me to stop. :D

    But no, this is more of an apology to any of you out there who have been unfortunate enough to have an IM conversation with me. I am so brutal. Firstly, let me establish that I seldom IM other people--they IM me. Most of the time though I feel like I'm not holding up my end of the conversation. They try so hard to talk to me, but all I do is contribute non-committal acknowledgements. Usually it's because I'm just tied up doing 6-10 other things at the same time. I still feel bad though. :(

    So this is an apology to all those whom I neglect via IM. I don't really mean to ignore you; you just aren't as interesting as the other stuff I'm doing! :D

    Er, I mean . . . the other stuff has kidnapped me and…

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  8. Is Pluto a planet?

    The short answer: yes and no. (You can tell when science and politics mix.)

    The long answer. Heck, I don't want to bother explaining it. If I did, would I really be writing it in a blog? Wikipedia sums it up nicely, as does this Washington Post article. Pluto is in trouble, but not of losing its planetary status--not quite.

    You see, the problem with Pluto is that it's puny. It's the runt of the litter; it's the planet that other, bigger, manlier planets bully in the solar schoolyard during celestial recess. And this size has recently become an issue as more and more planet-like objects are being discovered orbiting that star out there we call the Sun, which hundreds of years ago some guy named Copernicus tried to convince everyone all the planets orbit.

    You know, if we had stuck with geocentrism, this probably wouldn't be much of a problem, now would it? Alas, heliocentrism is a cold and unforgiving solar model.

    So basically, the International Astronomical Union has to finally decide if Pluto is a planet or not? Unfortunately, no. It isn't that simple. Because we've never really had a good idea of the definition

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  9. When people tell you to

    ...don't bother asking for directions.

    Muwahahaha. No, it doesn't bother me that I spend my spare time mapping out directions to Hell using Google Maps. Or that Hell is in Michigan, only 1721 km away.

    Wouldn't it be neat to visit Hell and then when people say, "Go to Hell", you can truthfully tell them that you've "been there, done that"? :w00t: And for residents, it would be amazing to be able to say, "I live in Hell" or, for former residents, "I'm from Hell."

    For those more interested in Hell, you may want to check out the Wikipedia article or its fairly superior (eg; humorous) BBC counterpart.

  10. August is upon us

    Look, I'm blogging! Yeah, I haven't done this in nearly two weeks. I figure that I need to, since even my dad complained (or at least "observed") that I have not blogged in a long period of time.

    You know what they say though: "Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly-so." Good old Ford Prefect. :D

    Of course, when I don't blog, I have to do these annoying catch-up posts that don't have a single "central theme" and are just a medley of trying to tell the imaginary readership what I've been doing since I last blogged. I can save you a lot of wear and tear on your eyes with the answer of "not much".

    Should you care to continue reading, however, I might as well start with my job. Unlike Nicola, who has not been having the best experiences (aww :console:), my job is going smoothly. ^_^ I shall first regale you with the tale of Floor Spinach!

    It's kind of short. Basically, my friend Vivike, who is working there with me, was eating a salad for lunch, and a piece of spinach randomly fell to the floor. We designated it the Floor Spinach and started to attribute…

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About Me

I’m a 26-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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About this site

I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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