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

Ben Babcock

8 Articles in September 2007

  1. Disney has ruined my life

    I have to hand it to Disney. Few corporations can be great at being both good and evil. My hat goes off to you, Disney, for achieving that fine equilibrium. You bring us quality programming for kids--and manage to ruin their lives in the process.

    I speak, of course, about the sick and twisted travesty that is Disney television shows. Case in point: Kim Possible. I ranted once before about how Disney ruined Kim Possible by giving it another season. What will Disney do next? Recess: The College Years?! "Will T.J. and Spinelli work things out? While Gus struggles with his sexuality and Mikey with his drug addiction, Gretchen debates: Caltech, or MIT?! This time, on Recess: The College Years..." It's just...wrong! :( And don't even get me started on what passes for children's programming these days. Disney's poor attempts to subscribe to the subcultural "slang" dialect of the pre-adolescent is just another example.

    I'm just getting old...

  2. 18

    Is there something special about turning 18?

    Heck yes.

    Normally I'm not one to get excited about birthdays. One year older ... but the 18th is special since it's the age of majority. Apparently on September 19, 11:59:59 PM, I am not mature enough, but one second later I have magically matured to just the right amount. I am now mature enough to participate in the democratic process by ticking boxes on a piece of paper. I am now mature enough to die for my country if the need should arise. I am now mature enough to make my own decisions, or so they say. But who are "they" anyway? And let's face it--any of "them" have probably not been 18 for a very long time.

    I don't really want to grow up. Growing up is scary. It means responsibility, leaving the safe world of adolescence behind. It means a different sort of arena for relationships, interaction, and criminal justice. Being an adult (that sounds very weird) is good in some ways though. Much less troublesome when it comes to doing the nitpicky stuff like conducting online transactions or signing legal forms that donate my soul to a needy demon.

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  3. Universal warming

    As I've said previously, I'm tired of the repetitive fearmongering being done in the name of our "global warming" crusade. It's another example of herd mentality exacerbating a crisis that it is supposed to be solving. Last century it was nuclear weapons, this century it's global warming.

    Well wake up people, and stop being so selfish! After all, we are not the only planet in this universe. There are many other planets out there that are heating up. In fact, I've "discovered" a dangerous new phenomenon that must be stopped! Universal warming.

    Here's how it goes. We constantly produce information. Information is useless without transmission; it only becomes usable when conveyed from one state to another (i.e., from person to person). Transmitting information requires energy. As energy is used, entropy in the system increases. To demonstrate, take talking for example. If you talk about something, you are transmitting information. This means you are increasing the net entropy of the universe. Everything you do increases entropy, unfortunately.

    Why is entropy bad? Because entropy is the tendency of a system toward increasing disorder. As entropy increases, the amount of usable energy declines. Eventually we'll suffer the heat-death of the universe and the…

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  4. VSNS Lemon 4.0 RC 2 released

    VSNS Lemon 4.0 RC 2 is now available for download. It contains two changes. The first, and largest, change is that it no longer uses sessions to store the configuration variables. This makes it easier to integrate your blog with another page on your site. Secondly, because file_get_contents() generates a warning if allow_url_fopen is disabled, the RSS feed on the Admin CP index and the update checker will both fail gracefully if your host has allow_url_fopen disabled. In plain English, that just means that you'll need to come here to check for updates because your host won't let the script contact my site and check for you.

    Otherwise, there's no other changes. If I don't learn about any major bugs in the next few days then this should be the last release candidate.

    Download VSNS Lemon 4!

  5. Contents may catch fire

    We've got this bottle of whiteout in the drawer at the front desk of the art gallery. Regular whiteout or whatnot. I was bored one day and read the tiny printing on the back of the label. After resting my eyes from the strain of trying to read the subatomic type, I considered the implications of this warning: "Contents may catch fire." :huh:

    It's very ambiguous. What do they mean, "contents may catch fire?" So this liquid might just decide to spontaneously combust while it's sitting in the drawer? o_O Or does it mean that if I expose it to a heat source then the contents might catch fire, but on the other hand, they might not. I half-expected the brand name to be Schrodinger's Whiteout.

    I could expand my reading of the label to create even more interpretations. For instance, prior to the warning about quantum flammability, it says, "Keep out of reach of children". Let's concatenate that. "Keep out of reach of children; contents may catch fire." Let me get this straight: the whiteout company is implying that today's average child is some sort of pyromaniac who will light whiteout on fire at any chance he or…

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  6. Obsess much?

    Tomorrow is my first day of my first year of university. I'm both excited and nervous. Today I went shopping for school supplies. Notebooks, pens, that sort of thing.

    I have two math classes, so I'll be doing a lot of pencil work. I love wooden pencils and have eschewed their mechanical counterparts up until now. However, since the spacial organization of lecture-style seating makes pencil sharpening more of an Olympic sport than useful utility, I've decided to make the leap to mechanical pencils. But, being who I am, I couldn't just stop there. Oh no. It's never that simple. :D

    Wal-Mart presented me with a good, but not dazzling, selection of pencils from which to choose. Being a last minute vulture meant I only had the leftovers, but they still presented me with a poser. Firstly, mechanical pencils come in different diameters of lead! So naturally I had to buy one type of pencil that uses 0.7 mm lead and one that uses 0.5 mm lead in order to compare the two. :shifty: Secondly, if I'm going to be using the same pencil for hours a day, I want one that's comfortable; I ignored the cheaper mechanical pencils and…

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  7. VSNS Lemon 4.0 RC 1 released

    Finally! It feels good to have VSNS Lemon 4 out, but I still have lots of work left to do.

    I've turned my scripts repository into a wiki (DokuWiki, specifically) in order to better handle documentation and modification. Yes, that's right: documentation. It is by no means complete, but it is there, and I will continue working on it as much as possible. Since it's a wiki, you can contribute too, if you register.

    What does "RC 1" mean? Not much. In my mind it designates this release as more stable than a beta, but not the final release yet. That will come after I upgrade this blog and had a chance to use it for a few days and iron out any more bugs in it. I haven't upgraded this blog yet because I'm waiting to finish my full site redesign before I upgrade. :)

    Download VSNS Lemon 4!

  8. The times, they are a changin'

    Six days and I enter a whole new world. The summer went by really fast. Yesterday my friend Cortney left for the University of Guelph; today Vivike leaves for OCAD. I'm sure they'll have lots of fun down in Southern Ontario. :) And I will miss them terribly. :bye:

    I'm pretty much ready for university--sort of. It'll be an interesting few weeks, just getting into the new routine and figuring everything out. Once I've done that I think I will be okay.

    VSNS Lemon 4 is pretty much finished. I want to redo my entire site before I release it, but it doesn't look like that will happen. However, I definitely want to put out more rigorous documentation with this release. So look for the beta release sometime next week, along with complete documentation. Site upgrade should happen sometime the week after, and 4.0 final should be out by the end of the month unless an unforeseen number of bugs get discovered. ^_^

About Me

I’m a 27-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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