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Robert Fischer
Thinker with a Penchant for Action
Thinker with a Penchant for Action

Robert's posts

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A discussion about why and how we do Agile development at Webonise Lab.

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My response to the recent Salon piece on white belly dancers.

"Once upon a time back in divinity school, my ethics professor was making a point about ballet and its particular physical ideal. The professor suggested that perhaps ballet should be supplanted by belly dance. As a fan of Lieber and Stoller, this struck me as an odd recommendation. Belly dance has more than its own share of ethical problems, especially around feminity, sexuality, and minority/modernity issues. I can make my entire argument in one YouTube video."


"For Americans, this problem is bigger than just belly dancing. Gershwin is a klezmer, who jacked the melody from a Jewish blessing over the Torah for "It Ain't Necessarily So". Elvis made his name off of white-washing black spirituals. Contemporary rock, which is as American as apple pie, owes its musical identity to British bands. General Tso's Chicken was invented in New York. Our formative political documents are all but plagarized from French revolutionaries. As the song goes: "It's a French kiss, Italian ice, margaritas in the moonlight, just another American Saturday night." Since Columbus landed on the shore, everything American has been a derivative from someone else.

But don't light the torches and sharpen the pitchforks just yet..."

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Hardcore Quakers worship in Necromancer's house.

<<In his Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, written in 1830, Sir Walter Scott, noted: ‘It is certain that no story of witchcraft or necromancy, so many of which occurred near and in Edinburgh, made such a lasting impression on the public as that of Major Weir. The remains of the house in which he and his sister lived are still shown at the head of the West Bow, which has a gloomy aspect, well suited for a necromancer. At the time I am writing, this last fortress of superstitious renown is in the course of being destroyed.’

The property has been used by the Quaker religious community for around 25 years.

Anthony Buxton, manager of the Quaker Meeting House, said: ‘This was the first time I had been told Major Weir’s home was actually here.
‘I thought it had been demolished by people who didn’t want anything to do with it.

‘That said, one of my staff some years ago said he had seen Weir walk through the wall. If Dr Bondeson is right, Weir’s house is in our toilet, which seems appropriate.’>>

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If you ever were curious about how general relativity works, and how it's confirmed through experimentation, then check out this article. It's shockingly readable.
Here's a new article I've written for +Universe Today. It is on the experimental evidence behind general relativity, and how we know that space and time really are curved.

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"He who doubts, but seeks not to have his doubts removed, is at once the most criminal and unhappy of mortals. If, together with this, he is tranquil and self-satisfied, if he be vain in his tranquility, or makes his state a topic of mirth and self-gratulation, I have not words to describe so insane a creature." (Pascal)

This paper on consciousness and materialism is one of my favorite pieces of work that I have ever done.

I had an interesting post written. And then I made a typo, hit "backspace", and Chrome went to the previous page and lost it all.


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"Interestingly, what was related to how attractive a target appeared to be were her values.  Those targets who were seen as physically attractive reported placing greater personal value on traditionalism and conformity to societal expectation.  Which makes some sense, since it’s certainly easier to be seen as good-looking when one adheres to various social norms regarding style, beauty, and the like."

I'm suspicious about the methodology here: self-reports of traits are infamously bad at reflecting reality. But it's interesting nonetheless.

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If anyone was still suffering from the delusion that weddings have anything to do with religion in America,  then this should put the nail in the coffin for it. I wish people would stop expecting to hold weddings in churches and be presided over by ministers, though.

As far as I can tell, you get to pick between two popular conceptualizations of weddings in the United States right now: 

1) A public statement by two people in front of (hand-picked) people that the two people are currently planning on being really serious about not breaking up.

2) A ceremony required by the state and scripted by tradition, resulting in getting a diploma making it okay with God if you two to have sex.

You can mix-and-match, if you'd like.

I'd like to see the church have something to say about that, but I fear it's too busy being inclusive.
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