About Geoff Arnold

Expat Brit. Software engineer. Traveller. Music lover. Mac user. Liberal. Atheist. Dreamer.

Recent Activity

  • Geoff shared from The Inheritance Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin
    Note: I'm mesmerized by "The Inheritance Trilogy". Wonderful writing, a richly imagined world. I've just finished the second volume, and I'm embarking on the third. The first two had quite different voices; I'm looking forward to this one.
  • Geoff shared from No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald
    Just like the supposed rule against leaking, the “rule” of objectivity is no rule at all but rather a means of promoting the interests of the dominant political class. Hence, “NSA surveillance is legal and necessary” or “the Iraq War is right” or “the United States should invade that country” are acceptable opinions for journalists to express, and they do so all the time. “Objectivity” means nothing more than reflecting the biases and serving the interests of entrenched Washington. Opinions are problematic only when they deviate from the acceptable range of Washington orthodoxy.
    Note: Exactly.
  • Geoff shared from What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
    If you set out a cup of warm water on Mars, it’ll try to boil, freeze, and sublimate, practically all at once. Water on Mars seems to want to be in any state except liquid.
    Note: Neat!
  • Geoff shared from What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
    While researching this answer, I managed to lock up my copy of Mathematica several times on balloon-related differential equations, and subsequently got my IP address banned from Wolfram|Alpha for making too many requests.
    Note: It's tough being xkcd....
  • Geoff shared from What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
    Our cube would, briefly, contain more astatine than has ever been synthesized. I say “briefly” because it would immediately turn into a column of superheated gas. The heat alone would give third-degree burns to anyone nearby, and the building would be demolished. The cloud of hot gas would rise rapidly into the sky, pouring out heat and radiation. The explosion would be just the right size to maximize the amount of paperwork your lab would face. If the explosion were smaller, you could potentially cover it up. If it were larger, there would be no one left in the city to submit paperwork to.
    Note: Classic xkcd
  • Geoff shared from Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts by Stanislas Dehaene
    If you had any lingering doubts that your mental life arises entirely from the activity of the brain, these examples should lift them. Brain stimulation seems capable of bringing about virtually any experience, from orgasm to déjà vu.
    Note: You may think that this is a bold claim. The data is clear, however.
  • Geoff shared from Caught in The Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind by Daniel C. Dennett, Linda LaScola
    I got out of seminary, then into the priesthood, and then back out in the pews, where it’s the popular theology, where everyone’s just like, “Whoa! It says here that God destroyed Sodom, so gays are bad.” And you’re like, “No, no, it’s all about hospitality, and the real sin was that they didn’t welcome the homeless person and the alien from another land into their house, which really has all these effects on what we say about social justice in our country, and we really shouldn’t be having open borders,” and all this kind of stuff. And then they’re like, “No, it’s because...
    Note: I imagine it can be quite a shock when a new priest leaves the seminary and encounters the laity:
  • Geoff shared from Caught in The Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind by Daniel C. Dennett, Linda LaScola
    I find the parallel between embarrassing Bible stories and no-longer-presentable Disney films personally enlightening, since I remember how much I loved the Disney films as a child (and still do), and hence how mixed my emotions are today as I applaud, on the one hand, the progress we’ve made while deeply regretting that one price of that progress is the tarnishing of the treasures of my youth. I feel a touch of shame when I recall how oblivious I was to the racism in those movies—but then I reject that guilt; I was responding naturally and naïvely, as children do, to what is presented to...
    Note: Dan Dennett reflects on the mixed emotions that arise when we think of our cultural history.
  • Geoff shared from The Paranoid Style in American Politics by Richard Hofstadter
    The pseudo-conservative always imagines himself to be dominated and imposed upon because he feels that he is not dominant, and knows of no other way of interpreting his position. He imagines that his own government and his own leaders are engaged in a more or less continuous conspiracy against him because he has come to think of authority only as something that aims to manipulate and deprive him.
    Note: The Tea Party, captured perfectly.
  • Geoff shared from The Paranoid Style in American Politics by Richard Hofstadter
    I am aware, for instance, that wealthy reactionaries try to use pseudo-conservative organizers, spokesmen, and groups to propagate their notions of public policy, and that some organizers of pseudo-conservative and “patriotic” groups often find in this work a means of making a living—thus turning a tendency toward paranoia into a vocational asset, probably one of the most perverse forms of occupational therapy known to man.
    Note: Koch and Fox, 1950s style
(San Jose, CA, USA)
Geoff Arnold