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

Ben Babcock

9 Articles in December 2006

  1. Little injustices

    Imagine shooting a film of your life using two cameras. One is set to a permanent closeup of you. The other one is set to the widest possible angle, covering the span of the entire universe, although still focused on you. There are reasons why we can't fathom the entire nature of existence.((Panasonic just doesn't make a big enough lens.))

    No one is perfect--no one can be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. And everyone sees everyone else make mistakes. And everyone sees everyone else seeing everyone else make mistakes. Everybody is always watching you watch other people. YouTube, MySpace, and reality television haven't changed any of that; they've just made it more overt. It's always been there.

    But what happens when you consciously commit yourself to being imperfect? Is it laziness? Or is it a slip from one rung of the ladder to a new low? That is, what happens when you see a little injustice--nothing big or earth-shattering, nothing life-destroying--and let it slide? What happens then?

    This happens all the time. People see other people making these little mistakes, and for one reason or another, consciously let it go (as opposed to the mistakes no one notices). Little choices spiral…

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  2. My Kubuntu adventure continues

    Yesterday I took it upon myself to try and fix my wireless in Kubuntu (as it was broken). It eventually boiled down to plugging in an ethernet cable and upgrading to Edgy. Once I did this, KNetworkManager decided it would work again. :D

    With wireless working I was much more amenable to playing with Kubuntu. The next step was to get Firefox up to snuff--however, this proved to be a harder task than I first thought it would be. Several of my extensions did not seem to install properly, and they caused Firefox to behave oddly. I finally managed to bludgeon them into working, with the unfortunate exception of ColorZilla, which apparently does not work with Ubuntu. Suffice it to say that after that frustration, I finally have Firefox working. I'm keeping my bookmarks synced amongst Windows, Kubuntu, and my USB drive with Google Browser Sync.

    My printer is still working without any problems! ^_^ That means less frustration for me. And I have no trouble accessing our desktop from my computer, although I've yet to get the desktop to be able to see this computer while it's in Kubuntu. But one step at a time. DVDs and music…

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  3. Merry Christmas

    Merry Christmas. :D

    I had a pretty good Christmas, all things considered. Excellent turkey ... enough candy to hospitalize me ... good movies. I got Star Trek: Legacy and Sid Meier's Civilization IV.

    If you were thinking of buying Star Trek: Legacy, let me save you the time: don't. I am not overreacting. In the short time I played the game I found it to be utterly dissatisfactory. Firstly, there is no intro scene, no exciting opening cinematic, except for an overly-long one for the developer, Mad Doc. Secondly, the mouse behaves with jerky movements on the menu, making any action twice as hard to execute. In missions (which can't be saved while in progress) the controls are confusing, the graphics are lacklustre, and any good things were siphoned from Star Trek: Starfleet Command III. There is no coherent tutorial, just a series of hint screens that inconveniently disrupt gameplay during the mission--so I have no idea what I'm doing. Incidentally, there's nothing to indicate that the game is paused after I press "Pause" except the fact that the Romulans stopped shooting at me.

    Civilization IV, on the other hand, looks exciting. I only tried out the tutorial before…

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  4. 200

    I just watched Stargate SG-1's 200th episode, "200", and it was simply incredible!

    With ten years and (now) over 200 episodes under its belt, Stargate SG-1 has crossed the threshold from science fiction series to phenomenon. Part of the key to its success was that it has never taken itself too seriously; the show makes references to pop culture and even itself in semi-fourth-wall breaking moments. The 200th episode takes this and delivers it a hundredfold. It's a gift to the fans, of course, those who have been with the show from its inception right to the present.

    The show ended with a really poignant quote, however, of Isaac Asimov:

    Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today--but the core of science fiction, its essence, the concept around which it revolves, has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.

    And that's basically why I love to read and write science fiction.

    So Stargate SG-1 remains cancelled. Or sort of. The issue is more that Sci-Fi, the channel which airs Stargate SG-1, isn't renewing it. There are rumours MGM, which produces…

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  5. I respectfully disagree

    It's very interesting to look at the people I admire and then ask myself why I admire them. What did they do, or say, to put them in that column? Often it's because I think what they say is so eloquent, so much more intelligent than anything I could say, and that's how they win me over to their side.

    And of course, that's probably it. Part of the way we strengthen our own convictions is by latching on to someone who shares them and saying, "Right on!" every time that person makes a good point for our side of the argument.

    But too often, we lose sight of the other side. We start to brand our opponents "idiots" or "stupid" for arguing for the other side. We fail to acknowledge that many of those people are just as, if not sometimes more, intelligent as some of the people on our side.

    I originally intended to make this a short list of people with whom I disagree on one issue or another but are nonetheless very smart. Ironically, I had trouble trying to come up with such a list. Those people exist, but I just can't bring them to mind…

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  6. I'm an idiot

    The integral of f(x) over [a,b] is equal to the integral of f(x) over [a,c] plus the integral of f(x) over [c,b]

    Note that f(x) must be the same over this interval. Silly me. :D

    (My only consolation is that not only did my two classmates fail to spot this, but the student teacher was the one who tried to do this with different functions and led us into the incorrect solution. :r)

  7. Well that's *brilliant*!

    The Ninth Doctor's catchphrase was "Fantastic!", but I think that the Tenth prefers to say variations of "That's brilliant!" I really like the Tenth Doctor; David Tennant is doing a brilliant job at portraying his character, and the writers have done a smashing job with the plot.

    I just finished watching "The Impossible Planet" tonight (yes, I know the CBC is behind on the shows...). Wow. Part of the reason I love the Doctor, of course, is because he's one of the last action heroes on TV who is fun for the entire family. He doesn't swear and spit as he shoots a massive laser gun into the hordes of rampaging aliens. In fact, when the chips are down, he is usually seen admiring the work of his enemy and attaching adjectives like "brilliant" and "stupendous" to things.

    Like in tonight's episode, the Doctor and Rose end up beyond the range of the TARDIS' knowledge--smack on a base on a planet that is orbiting a black hole (as opposed to being ripped apart by its gravity). And the Doctor, upon hearing the story of why this ship full of humans came to the planet, hugged the captain. He even…

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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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