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the fane's pinnacle
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in hédonisme libertaire's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
12:01 pm
I knew there had to be a catch! [MATH]
Multidimensional Gaussian functions and sums thereof: extraordinarily convenient for differentiation, integration, Fourier transforms, etc...

But parameterized paths through intersections with other functions can get ugly. At least I think I can wrestle this into a simple enough shape to use the standard "turn one ugly calculus problem into a metric fuckton of arithmetic arranged in an array, then have to computer do most of the work" approach. Then it's time to see if I've made a better CT scan!
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
12:47 am
Wednesday, August 14th, 2013
12:07 am
I could crush a man!
OK, so I took a few minutes to make the calculation and look up the numbers for comparison, but the result is definite:

I can produce more torque than my car's engine does. With my thighs.

To be fair, I drive a Mazda 2 (/Demio), but my thigh-torque is out of subcompact-car range entirely and respectable among basic compact cars.

(Power is another matter, unless I suddenly gain the ability to do dozens of reps a second. And diesel torque is right out. Still...)
Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
9:37 pm
Slash Thought of the Day:

Holmes/Watson, therefore Data/La Forge.

Discuss. (And/or tawk amongst y'selves.)
Saturday, November 3rd, 2012
10:58 am
Yet more eternal-student stuff...
So it seems that the American Board of Radiology may not require that medical-physics residency applicants have a B.S. in physics specifically, but they have decided to require a B.S. of some sort. Which means that my B.A. in comparative literature won't cut it no matter how many physics classes I pile on top of it.

On the bright side? Finishing a B.S. in physics would require less than a year of coursework (equivalent to about two quarters full-time). Mostly lab courses and upper-division electives. And a chunk of it could be done through my internship. I'll probably have to commute to Riverside two days a week starting next fall (UCR is the only place accepting second-baccalaureate students anywhere near me), but I can deal with that.

I'd kinda thought that I'd start my degree collection after finishing grad school in a field that would let me make a living; I'm just getting a jump start on the process.
Sunday, September 30th, 2012
12:35 am
I guess that's how it goes when most of the cast appears as themselves for an episode...
Misha Collins: most entertaining actor in Supernatural, sure -- and the most entertaining character in the same series. Go figure.

(Yes, I'm still catching up. Yes, I still have very mixed feelings about the series. Less so about Misha Collins, especially since I've been following his exploits on fandom_wank.)
Thursday, September 27th, 2012
4:21 am
Slash goggles: Supernatural edition
It seems that my slash goggles are, as should be expected, of an idiosyncratic-by-fandom-standards state of tune. In terms of Supernatural, which I'm only now catching up on, they seem to be barely functional at all.

OK, yes, I understand that the main ship of the series is one that (as a male viewer with a brother) I'm rather inclined to recoil from. But I really, really don't see Dean/Sam. And I could hardly care less about RPF (nothing against it, just not my thing), so the Jared/Jensen angle does nothing for me. So I'm basically apart from the major parts of the slash fandom for this series due to personal taste.

On the other hand? There are certainly a few ways I could see bringing some slash up in here. Dean/Castiel, sure -- that one even seems to have the actor behind one of the characters on board, if in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner (which is how I'd tend to see Dean/Cas working anyway).

More seriously than that, though:

Bobby/Rufus and/or Bobby/Crowley. Much more tension to work with, IMNSHO. (And, of course, Crowley/anyone, but that pretty much goes without saying.)

Now, at the same time, none of this really takes away from the general air of machismo and Eurocentrism that so many people have pointed out. So call Supernatural a guilty pleasure.
Sunday, August 12th, 2012
7:22 am
Ah, slashy buddy comedy...
Note to the writers (and main characters) of "Common Law": "smooth jazz" is not jazz.

That is all.
Thursday, July 26th, 2012
9:51 pm
Privilege &c.
"Being a feminist is much more central to my identity than being a man."

It's still true (of course!) -- but it's also an expression of male privilege. The "man vs. feminist" dynamic just doesn't have anything like the moral convolutions of "woman vs. feminist" -- in no small part because "man" is a position of privilege in a whole range of really noxious ways. Every state of privilege (male, white, middle-class, etc.) carries with it a corresponding moral obligation to subvert that state of privilege. Only "subvert" isn't quite enough -- I'm just not sure what a better term would be. In any case, a principled failure to formally embrace one's own position of privilege is rather undermined when one expects cookies for it.

And it's even worse when one gives oneself cookies for what should be a minimum baseline for "not totally failing," not any particular accomplishment. So, yeah. Something I need to pay more attention to in the future if I want to engage in less fail.
Saturday, July 7th, 2012
6:06 am
Less than a week until Ascendio!
I'll be presenting my regularly-scheduled every-three-years Harry Potter fandom-related paper, "There's No Such Thing as Canon," at Ascendio 2012 next Saturday from 11:00am-12:00pm. Scheduling this time around isn't quite as depressing as it was at Azkatraz 2009 (where I was scheduled at the same time as the other heavily slash-related presentation, which not only meant I had to miss the presentation I most wanted to attend but also suppressed attendance at my lecture), but I'll still have to miss the panel devoted to LGBTQ characters and themes in YA fiction (which I seriously could have contributed to, and will miss dearly...). I'll also miss one of the Joseph Campbell-fetishist presentations, but I'll survive that -- especially since any urge for trolling not satisfied by my own presentation (...and its title) can be addressed by attending one of the wide variety of "ZOMG guize I ttly found the real transcendental signified of the Harry Potter series!!!!one!" presentations and panels.

So, yeah. Literary theory plus fangeekery! Presentation on the 14th at 11:00! Blatant trolling of fandom in attempts at encouraging more than seven people to show up! (...in defense of that last bit, I'll insist that it helps that I'm right. There really is no such thing as "canon" in any meaningful sense.)
Thursday, April 26th, 2012
6:43 am
How many times am I allowed to change career plans, again?
Why, exactly, did I think that trying to specialize in physics was a good idea? I mean, sure, money, but let's get real here -- I'm not Einstein, I'm Leonardo da Fucking Vinci. If there's anything that I always kinda knew about myself, and if there's anything that's been reinforced by finally considering and navigating my (ragingly severe) ADHD, it's that I'm not a specialist -- I'm the Platonic ideal of the Jack-of-all-trades. There are very few fields I couldn't be a mediocre professional in (anything relating to visual arts or theatrical performance is in that category), but there also really aren't that many things that I'm spectacular at. And the things in the "stuff I'm actually kinda awesome at" category are mostly things that are more meta-disciplines than disciplines (critical theory and cultural studies, anyone?). I have the opportunity to be a frustrated half-assed medical physicist...or I can take my humanities training and my science training and make my jokes about wanting to be the next Donna Haraway something more than jokes. Sure, the first option might pay better (so much better...), but I'm quite aware that the income point beyond which I'll be happier with improvements in how well my work suits me than with increases in pay is actually relatively low. And sure, I do pretty well in my physics courses compared to the actual physics majors, but my best work in the last few years has been about the interactions between science/technology/medicine and human subjectivity.

Well, my next round of grad-school applications isn't until this fall; maybe it's time to re-evaluate my priorities and apply to a range of programs both in and out of medical physics based on whether they support my goals for eventual domination of the intellectual world.

(Hey, it looks like I might be able to apply for grad school at UCSC after all...)
Friday, March 9th, 2012
7:13 pm
Getting into physics, especially in terms of understanding the symbiosis between theoretical and experimental physicists (Big Bang Theory fans: that's Sheldon vs. Leonard) has helped me figure out some of what bugs me about the "free-market"/"Austrian"/"Chicago" continuum of economics.

It's the branch of the field that has kicked out the experimentalists.

Now, I know that's not quite precise, but it relates to the research cycle in model-intensive disciplines like physics (and like some branches of economics are and others pretend to be). The theorists come up with a brilliant, elegant, must-be-true-based-on-basic-principles model for how everything must work...and then the experimentalists hammer on it until they find where it breaks down. Then the theorists come up with a newer, shinier model that fixes all the mistakes that were obvious in the previous model but which nobody noticed until the experimentalists started, y'know, testing the model.

With the general conservative side of economics, though (and much of the not-so-conservative parts of the field), there seems to be a sort of contempt for data when the data diverges from the elegant, perfect models of economic theory. To these types, "free-market" capitalist approaches to economic policy are by definition the right approach, so any data that suggests otherwise must be a product of confounding factors (i.e. stuff that happens in the real world) veiling the perfect Platonic purity of the theory.
Sunday, March 4th, 2012
4:56 pm
Acafen geekery!
So far, I've presented two talks on literary theory as related to Harry Potter fandom -- one at Lumos '06 in Las Vegas (regarding liberal vs. radical political self-conceptions in popular media, comparing the HP novels to V for Vendetta), one at Azkatraz '09 in San Francisco (regarding interactions between the body and the self in HP slash fanfiction, drawing on cyborg theory).

Now, to continue the "every three years" pattern, my paper proposal has been accepted for Ascendio 2012 (put on by the same people as the other cons/symposia) in Florida. Now, I've been disappointed in the past with the number of people showing up at my presentations/lectures (10-20 the first time, 7 the second; partially I blame being scheduled at the same time as the other slash-related quasi-academic presentation), so I decided to try to put more asses in seats by offering a deliberately provocative title which will show up on schedules and programs.

I'm calling my paper/lecture this time around "There's No Such Thing as Canon".

I still have to work out some of the details (like whether I can afford to go to Florida this July and whether I can overcome my distaste for Slavoj Žižek long enough to quote the worthwhile and relevant bits of his work in what is, after all, supposed to be a paper on "practical literary theory for HP fans"), but I'm hoping to draw in a lot of indignant fans and convince them to move in a fanarchist direction.

Also -- I'm going to have to manually crosspost this between LJ and DW. Does anyone know a program to help with that process in the future? I used to have such a program a computer or two ago...
Friday, February 3rd, 2012
10:29 pm
I feel so powerful!
OK, so one of my classes this quarter is Buddhist lit. (It's the only comp-lit class offered this quarter that doesn't conflict with the physics classes I need, and I figured, what the hell -- I've heard a few critical-theory people talking up Nagarjuna in the past.) It's actually cross-listed with Religious Studies -- the prof is the head of the RS department (and has been great fun, actually -- like her continued speculations about which of the two subjects of our "scary things" weeks, ghosts or women, was the "scariest" for early Buddhist philosophers), and about three-quarters of the students in the class are taking it as a RS class.

So anyway, one of our texts is Burton Watson's translation of the Lotus Sutra. The parts that we're focusing on are the parables (and how they're all first given in prose and then repeated in verse), but I find myself more amused by some of the other chapters. In particular, there's one bit about which people monks, boddhisattvas, and anyone else who wants to teach the Lotus Sutra should be careful around. Other than women and children, there are "the five types of unmanly men"; and while women and children are acceptable to teach as long as they're the ones who seek instruction, the "five types of unmanly men" are apparently such a problem that monks/teachers/etc. aren't even supposed to come near them. Now, Watson says in a footnote that these "five types" are men who are "impotent" or subject to other "sexual disabilities" -- but in the context, this makes less than no sense. I poked around a bit in other writings by classics and anthropology types about contemporary references to such "unmanly men" who were such a danger to good Buddhist behavior.

It seems I'm at least two or three of the "five types", if not six or seven.

I think it's perfectly in character that I take a bit of pride in how many religions will, in their more orthodox factions, start freaking out at the very thought of my existence.
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
3:36 am
Paper proposal time!
Every 2-3 years, I present a Harry Potter-related paper at a certain demi-academic series of symposia. It's time for me to come up with my paper proposal for next year's event.

I may not have the whole thing together yet, but I'll be able to get an appropriate abstract together before the submission deadline. After last time's disappointing turnout (8 people; it didn't help that I was scheduled opposite the other slash-centric lecture), though, I'm going to have to go with a more provocative lecture title:

"There's No Such Thing as 'Canon'".
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
8:11 am
Me? In a new MMO?
It seems I'll be playing Star Wars: The Old Republic when it launches. Probably playing an RP character. Jedi Consular, but more than a bit of a heretic -- because Jedi dogma is full of George Lucas-style neo-Manichaean phallogocentric Joseph Campbellesque crap.

Also -- my BF and a few friends have plans to form a casual guild. Given that this guild will initially be composed mostly of gay men, and given the naming conventions of the SW universe (and the "galaxy-wide closet" policy of the bulk of the corporate-approved "official" texts), I've suggested that we call ourselves the "Friends of D'ro-Ti".

(I've made it clear -- I hope -- to certain friends-of-friends that I will not be joining the Penny Arcade-affiliated guild. Ever.)
Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
12:00 am
Monday, September 19th, 2011
5:38 pm
On QUILTBAG YA characters...
Some of us who would like to be published -- particularly in the YA field -- don't expect to rely, any time particularly soon, on our income as writers to pay for rent, groceries, etc. Those of us who are in that group (thanks to salaries, student loans, etc.) are the ones who have the luxury (and, thus, the responsibility) to insist as a condition of selling a manuscript that our QUILTBAG characters remain who they are.
Monday, August 15th, 2011
5:36 pm
OK, word around the Internet was that the role of Rex in the current season of Torchwood was initially written for a white guy (as in, the casting sheet asked for a white dude). Seriously, though...

cut for TW:MD spoilersCollapse )
3:33 pm
Need parts!
OK, so it's time: I need to build a Michelson interferometer, so I can carry it around and talk about measuring fluctuations in the lumeniferous aether. One problem, though -- I have sources for the appropriate lenses, prisms, and half-silvered mirrors, but I need the hardware to make the necessary fine adjustments.

So, basically -- I need a source of something like small retail-sale thumbscrews with associated inlaid sockets, or something along those lines. I'll probably go for a vaguely steampunk theme with the design (my BF is an underground tailor/costumer/couturier who's starting a steampunk line, and I'd like to contribute to his project with some period-appropriate experimental physics apparatuses), so a brass finish would be a plus. Cheap is also a plus -- with the appropriate hinges and springs I could make the sort of thumbscrews included with your average computer case at least pretend to produce interference patterns against an appropriate screen, but I'd at least need the bolt-and-nut combo.

Anyone know a good source?
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