Archive for the 'Internet' Category

Why People Believe Invisible Agents Control the World

by Michael Shermer – Scientific American

I found this interesting read earlier this morning almost by chance on the RichardDawkins.net Twitter feed… I just finished reading it and although it doesn’t give the complete explanation about this so-called Agenticity it made me think different about certain ideas we have about some behaviors of beliefs.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=skeptic-agenticity

Souls, spirits, ghosts, gods, demons, angels, aliens, intelligent designers, government conspirators, and all manner of invisible agents with power and intention are believed to haunt our world and control our lives. Why?

The answer has two parts, starting with the concept of “patternicity,” which I defined in my December 2008 column as the human tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise. Consider the face on Mars, the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich, satanic messages in rock music. Of course, some patterns are real. Finding predictive patterns
in changing weather, fruiting trees, migrating prey animals and hungry predators was central to the survival of Paleolithic hominids.

The problem is that we did not evolve a baloney-detection device in our brains to discriminate between true and false patterns. So we make two types of errors: a type I error, or false positive, is believing a pattern is real when it is not; a type II error, or false negative, is not believing a pattern is real when it is. If you believe that the rustle in the grass is a dangerous predator when it is just the wind (a type I error), you are more likely to survive than if you believe that the rustle in the grass is just the wind when it is a dangerous predator (a type II error). Because the cost of making a type I error is less than the cost of making a type II error and because there is no time for careful deliberation between patternicities in the split-second world of predator-prey interactions, natural selection would have favored those animals most likely to assume that all patterns are real.

(Read on…)

[ Seen on RichardDawkins.net ]

[WordPress Tip] How to exclude children categories on a template

Yesterday I came across a problem while trying to get WordPress to show me only posts from the top level category without showing posts under sub-categories.

Let’s say I had a Category named Notebooks and under it there were Hewlett-Packard, Acer and Lenovo. Now what I wanted to do was to only display the posts that I published under Notebooks and not under Acer.

By default WordPress will show you the posts you published under Notebooks AND under Acer AND under Hewlett-Packard AND Lenovo, as if they were all posted under the same category (when I head to Hewlett-Packerd it will only show me posts under that category, of course).

After tens of hours of research (yeah), I found the function that could make my dream come true: is_category()

That function shows posts only from the category specified and NO OTHER ONE.

So if you want to modify a template to display posts only from the category you are calling and not display the posts from children categories (sub-categories), just change this:

<?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>

to this:

<?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); if (in_category($cat)) { ?>

Then you have to change your endwhile:

<?php endwhile; ?>

to

<?php } endwhile; ?>

There were no direct answers to my problem on the WordPress Codex or anywhere else (that I could find).

A complete example:

<?php get_header(); ?>

<?php if (have_posts()) : ?>

<div class=”post”>

<h1><?php single_cat_title(); ?></h1>

<?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); if (in_category($cat)) { ?>

<h2><a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>” rel=”bookmark” title=”Permanent Link to <?php the_title(); ?>” class=”title”><?php the_title(); ?></a></h2>

<?php } endwhile; ?>

</div>

<?php else : ?>

<div class=”post”>

<h2>Not Found</h2>
<p class=”center”>Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.</p>
<center><?php include (TEMPLATEPATH . “/searchform.php”); ?></center>

</div>

<?php endif; ?>

</div>

<?php get_sidebar(); ?>

<?php get_footer(); ?>

This was done using WordPress 2.6.5

Are you reaching your potential?

A really close friend of mine just sent me this awesome animated short-film.

So are you reaching your potential?

.-

Interview with Every Avenue

Every Avenue

Hey! Which member of the band are you and what do you do?
I’m Mike; I play drums for Every Avenue.

As you may already know, I’m a big fan of Every Avenue, a pop-punk band from Michigan. As simple (or non-complex) as they sound, they just change my mood. Here’s one of the few interviews I found with them.

I'm a fan of their music, not their looks

4th May 2008

Hey! Which member of the band are you and what do you do?
I’m Mike; I play drums for Every Avenue.

Is there a story behind the band name?
It’s band name that has been associated with our singer and myself since 2002. We honestly were too cheap to change our band name when the band changed up in 2004. Basically we didn’t want to pay for a new URL domain name for our website! “Every Avenue” originally came from my brother brainstorming countless band names when I quit my old band. I said something like “I’ve gone down ‘every avenue’ figuring out this band name.”

Please run through a little history of how Every Avenue came to be a band to what you are all about in 2008.
David and I are the only original members left in the band. We started in 2002 with a few other guys and everything fell apart. David played guitar, I played drums, and we had a different lead singer. We kicked our old singer out, who actually is our tour manager now, and asked David if he would try singing. He never sang before, so it was a lot of work. Since then we’ve added Josh, and due to member switch outs, added Jimmie (guitar) and Matt (bass). We’re finally feeling like a complete band.

You’re from a small town in Michigan – how hard did you find it to get noticed, especially bearing in mind the state is sandwiched between some pretty big states in terms of musical history…
Marysville/Port Huron, MI is really not a hotspot as far as the music scene goes. We had to rent halls to play shows. We learned a lot that way though. We had to DIY. We booked our own tours, started recording our own music in our homes. We left Michigan in December 2005 to record with John Naclerio at Nada Recording Studio. That when everything changed. We knew we wanted music to be our future.

How did you get picked up by Fearless? Did you have much label interest? What did you look for, as an unsigned band, in a label?
After we released our 2nd independent EP (‘This Is Why We Don’t Have Nice Things’), we got some of attention from major and indie labels. Fearless came around not too long after and they were exactly what we were looking for. They are really supportive of their artists. More than a few artists have taken off after signing with Fearless. They are more than we could have asked for. We meet so many artists who are unhappy with their label. It’s sad, because they are responsible for helping your music reach your audience.

You released the EP ‘Ah!’ and then just recently put out the album ‘Shh Just Go With It!’ – what did you learn from the two recording processes?
Be well rehearsed, but not too rehearsed, things change in the studio. That was the case for the full length. With a few songs, especially the b-sides, lots of parts will change. We practically wrote a song while we were recording; it’s just another way to create music.

What led you to re-record Where Were You and Think of You Later and how did the re-recording process work out?
Both of those songs are fan favorites, that made us think that maybe we still have a large audience who haven’t heard these songs yet. So we re-recorded them. These are songs we plan on playing live for a while.

Have you been surprised at the reaction from press/fans since the album came out? It’s had some pretty cool reviews…
There have been some great reviews, and some awful ones. The funny thing is, when you compare the reviews, they contradict each other’s. There is just difference of opinion. We don’t take the reviews seriously. Half the time people who shouldn’t pick up a pen write these reviews.

Did you have any expectations about how well the CD would do? As a band do you set yourself sales targets etc?
Not really, our job is to write and play music. Obviously, we want our CD to end up in the hands of fans. We want our live show to sell our CDs. We’ll hang out at our shows too, maybe with an iPod and introduce our band to kids; it’s a great way to make fans.

You’re obviously a band which has benefited from using the internet to spread the word but do you feel bands in the 21st Century put too much emphasis on working online rather than actually getting in the van and touring?
When we first started, the Internet and local shows were the only way to get our name our there. Bands must leave their hometown and home state if they plan on making it. In extreme cases, some bands make it without ever playing a show. Don’t count on it! There are too many bands that expect to get noticed by the industry just by making a myspace profile.

When will we see you touring the UK?
No official talk has occurred yet, but we hope soon!

If you could tour with any one band who would it be and why?
For me personally: The Police. I would just stand behind Stewart Copeland every night and wish I were as good a drummer as him!

If you could give three tips to anyone in a band from a small town what would they be?
Write great songs!! Songwriting is still important to fans and the industry. Promote yourself online, at your shows and other bands local shows; playing isn’t everything if you want to succeed. Touring is a must. It fuels fans that you meet online to become more into your music. And some labels won’t even bother with you if you’re not trying to do it yourself first.

From Punktastic

Longboarding at 100 Km/h

I was just browsing some of my favorite blogs when I came across this post. It reminded me of my own skateboarding adventures. Since I was 13 until last year I used to skate on this long 1/2 kilometer downhill I have near my house in Bariloche, my hometown. It’s part of the main route of the city so it has a lot of traffic most of the time, but I would wake up every Saturday (or Sunday) at 6 am and just went there to skate my little heart out for 45 minutes and then I would go back to bed or just start my day early.

That's my skateboarding spot

This is my skateboarding spot

I always wanted to have a longboard, that is like a regular skateboard but all flat and (duh) longer.

So here’s the article:

Cops in Berlin are looking for a speeder, who was caught on videotape blazing down a steep stretch of a highway at 62 MPH (~100 km per hour), way above the speed limit … on a skateboard!

A video of the skateboarder, broadcast on German television networks on Wednesday, showed a helmeted figure wearing a red and white protective suit building up speed by holding onto the back of a motorcycle before letting go and freewheeling.

“We put out an all-points bulletin and have received information that gives us useful clues to who the man may be,” Stoeckle said. “We are particularly concerned about copycats who may imitate the stunt, putting their lives at risk.”

Here’s the obligatory YouTube clip:

Link – [ via Neatorama ]

.-

Unsent letter to Espen and Carv

February, 2008

Dear Espen and Carv:
I’m writing this to congratulate you for the amazing job you’ve done. I’ve been on punkdisasters for at least three years now, and I’m so proud of witnessing how it turned from ‘a blink fansite’ to ‘one of those blink fansites’ and then into the greatest blink fansite amongst them all.

I remember how the layout changes that Espen performed almost regularly was one of the things that impressed me the most at first. How after moving to a better server the large amount of media came, although the monthly or weekly bootleg had already been a feature for some time. The Dreamhost times came and the site was often down… It all summed up just to get you almost where you are now.
I remember the We Don’t Need to Whisper leaking day, when the site got the most users online ever and how Espen wrote a news post with the songs and I couldn’t believe you were even corageous enough to do it.

I can’t believe that you, Carv, are the same guy I once offered hosting for his remixes, besides posting them on my then infamous Angels and Airwaves website that later turned into AlwaysFallingDown.com
Who would have said that you were going to get so big and important for the community!

Congratulations!
It’s awesome how you pulled it off. I can’t say I’m completely impressed, I mean, it was a matter of time. Maybe it all started with really small things that set punkdisasters.com apart from the other sites, just so it could become this great.

Once again, congratulations for your work, and thanks for bringing us punkdisasters.com

Keep well,

V

Espen is the owner of punkdisasters.com and Carv is the admin of the site.

.-

No, Mom, I wasn’t arrested

It’s been a year since we finally launched the site. After that it’s been 11 months and a half of Nic telling me how we should be working on the second version of the website.

A lot of ideas passed through our email accounts. Some of them may even have the potential for making great website. I’m sure Nic and RJ have forgotten about most of them.

Making this website, maintaining it and dealing with all the everyday issues we had to face in the way has been nothing but a pleasure. Well… Not always a pleasure, but you get the point.

We spent so many nights working on the site and enjoying ourselves. Oh it’s so good to have someone that laughs at your stupid jokes.

We had some really effective days when we would get as much as 10% of the whole website done in one night, and days when we would just mess around for hours and went to bed with only having lost hours of bedtime.

Now, here it is: TheresNoSolution.com v2