Religious Orders

import time

Posted: Friday November 20 2020 @ 8:13pm

Religious Order: Non-Sectarian

from rpi_ws281x import PixelStrip, Color

# LED strip configuration:
LED_COUNT = 64 # Number of LED pixels.
LED_PIN = 12 # GPIO pin connected to the pixels (18 uses $
LED_FREQ_HZ = 800000 # LED signal frequency in hertz (usually 800$
LED_DMA = 10 # DMA channel to use for generating signal ($
LED_BRIGHTNESS = 10 # Set to 0 for darkest and 255 for brightest
LED_INVERT = False # True to invert the signal (when using NPN $
LED_CHANNEL = 0 # set to '1' for GPIOs 13, 19, 41, 45 or 53

RIGHT_BORDER = [7,15,23,31,39,47,55,63]
LEFT_BORDER = [0,8,16,24,32,40,48,56]

# Define functions which animate LEDs in various ways.
def colorWipe(strip, color, wait_ms=50):
"""Wipe color across display a pixel at a time."""
for i in range(strip.numPixels()):
strip.setPixelColor(i, color)
time.sleep(wait_ms / 1000.0)

def theaterChase(strip, color, wait_ms=50, iterations=10):
"""Movie theater light style chaser animation."""
for j in range(iterations):
for q in range(3):
for i in range(0, strip.numPixels(), 3):
strip.setPixelColor(i + q, color)
time.sleep(wait_ms / 1000.0)
for i in range(0, strip.numPixels(), 3):
strip.setPixelColor(i + q, 0)

def wheel(pos):
"""Generate rainbow colors across 0-255 positions."""
if pos < 85:
return Color(pos * 3, 255 - pos * 3, 0)
elif pos < 170:
pos -= 85
return Color(255 - pos * 3, 0, pos * 3)
pos -= 170
return Color(0, pos * 3, 255 - pos * 3)

def rainbow(strip, wait_ms=20, iterations=1):
"""Draw rainbow that fades across all pixels at once."""
for j in range(256 * iterations):
for i in range(strip.numPixels()):
strip.setPixelColor(i, wheel((i + j) & 255))
time.sleep(wait_ms / 1000.0)

# Create NeoPixel object with appropriate configuration.
# Intialize the library (must be called once before other functions).
# start animation
print('Color wipe animations.')
colorWipe(strip, Color(255, 0, 0)) # Red wipe
colorWipe(strip, Color(0, 255, 0)) # Green wipe
colorWipe(strip, Color(0, 0, 255)) # Blue wipe
print('Theater chase animations.')
theaterChase(strip, Color(127, 127, 127)) # White theater chase
theaterChase(strip, Color(127, 0, 0)) # Red theater chase
theaterChase(strip, Color(0, 0, 127)) # Blue theater chase
print('Rainbow animations.')
print('Wipe LEDs')
colorWipe(strip, Color(0, 0, 0), 10)

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category icon CDC Propaganda

Posted: Saturday March 28 2020 @ 5:44pm

Religious Order: Photos

Wow! Look at what the CDC sent me today!

CDC Card Front

CDC Card Back

Yeah, good advice on the back, but the front?

President Trump's Coronavirus Guidelines for America

Jesus Fucking Christ.

Well, maybe that's what it takes to get the authoritarian segment of the population on board.

But, again, Jesus Fucking Christ.

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category icon Legacy Coding

Posted: Tuesday October 16 2018 @ 11:05am

Religious Order: Technology

The Internet Archive has a huge archive of C-64 games available, complete with an emulator that runs in your browser.

Back in the 80s, I sold four different programs/articles to Compute! and Compute's Gazette. Three were utilities, unsuitable for this archive. But one was a game, called Monte Carlo, that made it into this archive! I wrote and sold this to Compute! back in 1987. They ported it to a variety of systems for the magazine, but this C-64 version is the original that I wrote.

The idea is to pick pairs of adjacent cards, which will then be removed and the rest will move up, not vertically, but right-to-left, wrapping at the edges. It's an actual accepted solitaire game that's unwieldy to play with real cards.

You can also read the full text of the article.

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category icon Test

Posted: Tuesday October 16 2018 @ 9:20am

Religious Order: Books

This is a test.

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category icon A Nation Under Siege

Posted: Friday January 20 2017 @ 1:47pm

Religious Order: Politics

Was playing around with a tiny embeddable countdown clock to the next Inauguration. Here's what I came up with:

Countdown to Next Inauguration

It's just a chunk of PHP that generates a PNG containing the correct digits. Unfortunately, I was hoping I could add it to Facebook posts and comments, but Facebook fucks it all up trying to scale it to a thumbnail.

Feel free to embed it in something online, if it meets your needs.

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category icon The End of an Empire

Posted: Friday January 20 2017 @ 7:27am

Religious Order: Politics

And so it begins today, the dismantling of a first world country.

Make no mistake, Republicans today do not want a first world country. They look with envy upon countries full of uneducated poor working in sweatshops for the gain of a cadre of elites. That's where they're taking us. They've been taking the south that way for quite a while now.

Trump's cabinet picks show this. With the exception of DHS, they're purposely chosen as folks willing to dismantle the very institutions with which they are being charged.

Trump's budget shows this, cutting programs that help people and selling off public services to the highest bidder.

Will this bring folks together? Maybe. A colleague and I, who are usually on opposite sides of most issues had a great conversation, based on our dismay at Trump and what it means.

But I fear the opposite. I fear that the populace is too far gone, too enraptured with hatred of the other in place of self-pride. I fear people are too ready to accept whatever lies make them feel good. I had an interesting conversation with a relative who called me, out of the blue, just to talk politics. He was certain that Trump was actually, despite all evidence to the contrary, a good man. He was equally convinced that Clinton was, despite any supporting evidence, the "devil incarnate."

What's for certain is that we're at the start of a steep nose-dive. The only real question is whether we can pull out of it before we crash.

Someone once asked me what my political philosophy was. I answered that I'm a fatalist. I do think this country is doomed, but I'll go down fighting.

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category icon A Short ACA Rant

Posted: Thursday January 12 2017 @ 6:36pm

Religious Order: Politics

(Copied From My Facebook Wall)

So, there are really two groups with skin in the ACA game right now:

  1. People who couldn't get insurance before and finally could with the ACA.
  2. People who could get insurance before and are being hit with higher premiums after the ACA.

I have sympathy for both groups, although I have more sympathy for the first group because I don't value people based on the amount of income they generate. I think it's pretty shitty for some in the second group to clamor for getting rid of the ACA without any concern about the first group.

That said, again, sympathy for both groups. But I wonder, does that second group understand that the problem with the ACA is that it's, essentially, a love letter to the insurance industry? It's a Republican approach to health insurance. The actual solution isn't to replace it with something more draconian. The solution is to replace it with real socialized health care, like, gee, EVERY OTHER FIRST WORLD COUNTRY ON THE PLANET!!!

Oops, sorry, that was inaccurate. Saying "every other first world country" implies that we're currently a first world country. We're not. We were on our way, but that's fucked now. What we are are a bunch of cowboy wanna-bees, in love with a rootin-tootin quasi-anarchism founded on a shallow understanding of freedom.

I do have real sympathy for that second group, misguided as some of them are. I even have sympathy for the ones calling for a repeal of the ACA, but the solution isn't stepping back from the ACA.

You can't solve health care needs via a free market, folks. Consumers of health care are not free actors. This is a situation where we should be sharing the burden across everyone.

Seriously, take a step back and ponder why employers are responsible for providing health insurance. It's a half-assed solution to a problem. Other countries have figured this out.

And what's really annoying is that lots of those folks being hit with higher premiums are folks trying to achieve the American dream of building their own companies and businesses. So I understand their frustration. They're reached a level of success that now punishes them on health insurance.

The thing is, we as a society should be encouraging entrepreneurs by lessening these sorts of burdens. Frankly, there's no way I'd be a consultant without my wife's work-provided health insurance. I marvel at the folks I know who run small businesses and have to foot large insurance bills. If we want to actually encourage small businesses, and I think we should, we need to shoulder the burden of health costs across society, not on the backs of those folks.

I'm guessing part of the problem with the ACA is that the amount of backs across which the shared burden currently sits is rather small. So I understand those folks feeling put-upon. If only there was a solution...

Meanwhile, I have good affordable insurance. Why? Because the college where my wife works, and by extension the state, has greater leverage than if it were just me.

If only that leverage could be extended nationally...

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category icon Election Shit Show

Posted: Wednesday November 09 2016 @ 5:32am

Religious Order: Politics

Well, I tried to avoid the news, but we awoke at 3:30am, unable to sleep. Finally checked things at 5pm.

I'm angry, terrified, sad, disgusted, and ashamed.

This country is supposed to be better than this, but we're not. Clearly, we're not. We've elected a TV celebrity on the basis that he says the sexist, racist, homophobic things that so many people here want to say, but feel persecuted because they get criticized for it. Fuck those people.

And, yes, there's plenty of blame. We can blame the DNC for fighting against Sanders (who I don't think would have fared much better). We can blame Sanders for staying in as long as he did. We can blame third party voters. We can blame the media.

But the bottom line is that a majority of the American people want a sexist, racist, homophobic asshole for President. They revel in it.

I personally plan on calling them out at every opportunity.

Seriously, I'm terrified, and I'm a straight white cis male. I can't imagine how marginalized people feel right now. This is, literally, how Nazi Germany started. Literally. No exaggeration. No Godwin. Literally.

I've said it before, but it's true. White people are the problem with this country.

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category icon Voter Fraud: Not a Problem

Posted: Monday November 07 2016 @ 11:26am

Religious Order: Politics

On the eve of the election, talk of rigged elections and the need for tighter controls will continue. After all, some student here in Virginia recently tried to register multiple times in order for vote for Clinton, while there have been a smattering of Trump supporters caught mailing in a ballot, then trying to early vote a second time, with the excuse that they were worried the original vote would be thrown away. So how can we say that voter fraud isn't a problem?

Because the operative word above is "tried." They tried and they were caught. They almost always get caught.

But Tom, isn't it a problem that they tried? No. No it's not.

Let's look at an analogy. Suppose I set up an email system with spam filters. The system passes through 1.2 billion emails successfully, but 30 spam messages get through. Yes, more than 30 spam messages were sent, but only 30 got through.

If you looked at that system and told me I had a spam problem, I'd tell you to fuck off. The system works when it comes to preventing spam from being delivered.

If you further told me I had to tighten down my spam rules, even though it would result in many valid messages not getting through, and those rejected messages would mainly be to people of color, I'd hit you with a fucking baseball bat because it's damn obvious you're not worried about spam, but rather want to prevent delivery of messages to people of color.

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category icon Guns and Self-Defense

Posted: Friday October 14 2016 @ 7:40am

Religious Order: Politics

It would be dishonest of me to ignore those times when having a gun actually results in a person protecting themself.

Charges: Man With Permit To Carry Firearm Stops Potential Bat Attacker

Necessary vs Sufficient

It's interesting because this situation does fall precisely into the thin wedge where I think a gun is useful. My basic problem with guns as self-defense is that their use is rarely both necessary and sufficient. What I mean is that there are situations in which the bad guy is bad enough that non-gun options would not be enough. The gun is necessary. But usually in those same situations the bad guy is so bad that, even with a gun, I'd be totally out-classed. The gun isn't sufficient.

For the gun to be both necessary and sufficient, you need that rare occurrence of an adversary who is bad enough to justify using a gun, yet wimpy enough that the gun is enough.

That's pretty much the case here. The bad guy is wielding a bat, a medium range weapon capable of damage and not easily defendable by hand. They're in a parking lot, thus lacking in defensive areas. The bad guy has already shown a willingness to pursue. Arguably, a gun is necessary.

At the same time, this bad guy seems pretty hapless and unmotivated, is alone, and is armed only with the bat. Fending him off with a gun is an easy thing to do. The gun is sufficient.

Venn diagram showing small overlap between necessary and sufficient

Placebo Guns

Also interesting is that the outcome of this event doesn't change if the gun is a placebo gun, a real gun rendered inoperative. To me, a risk to benefit evaluation of guns leads to carrying a placebo gun.

In terms of self-defense, a placebo gun provides most of the benefits of a gun, with few of the drawbacks.


Lack of Drawbacks

Worst-Case Scenarios

But, wait, you can't actually shoot a person with a placebo gun! What about a worst-case scenario?

Yes, that's true. There's an even smaller section of that wedge, except just having the gun isn't sufficient. You would actually need to shoot someone. In that case, you're out of luck.

But if you're planning for worst-case scenarios without factoring in the rarity of the scenario and the risks of carrying a gun, then you're not really doing a rational risk to benefit analysis.

And note that none of us plan excessively for worst-case scenarios. If we did, we would all be demanding cars with 4-point racing harnesses. We'd be wearing flame-proof jumpsuits on our commutes. We would have fire extinguishers within reach of the driver in all our cars.

(Well, except for me, since my commute consists of walking down a flight of stairs. But I'd replace the carpet with rubber for traction, with extra padding at the edge of each step, and a big cushion at the bottom.)

Bad-Ass Motherfucker

But, wait, maybe you're a lot tougher than I am. Which, let's be honest, wouldn't be that difficult.

Ah, here's the thing. If you're tougher than I am, the circle on the right gets bigger, because you and your gun can handle more than I could with a gun. What about that circle on the left, though? It gets smaller. If you're a tough guy, you can handle more without having to resort to a gun. The gun becomes sufficient in more circumstances, but necessary in fewer. The overlap remains small.

Go back to the actual situation in St. Cloud. If you're really a tough guy, you could disarm the guy with the bat without yourself needing a gun.

It also works in reverse. If you're less tough than I am, the times where a gun is necessary would increase, but the times where it's sufficient would decrease. The overlap remains small.

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