Being anal about analogies

Feb. 13th, 2016 08:03 pm
gerald_duck: (combo)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
I wrote before about analogies; it's time, I feel, to revisit the topic.

Christianity is full of analogies. which means I've had to grapple with them quite frequently. I still view analogies with suspicion. They still seem fraught with danger. But I'm beginning to see their uses, and to focus more precisely on what bugs me about them.

Firstly, I'm probably more mathematically inclined, more autistic-leaning, more used to abstract and non-verbal thought, more familiar with Zen and similar philosophies, than the average person. I've been meddling with concepts that are hard to visualise or verbalise for well over thirty years. This makes me about the most hostile possible audience for analogies. I've seen them be more useful, and less troublesome for other people than they are for me.

Secondly, to repeat something I said a year and a half ago: "I think it matters a great deal how they're used". Possibly, I'm now ready to put some flesh on those bones.

Analogies are not inherently convincing. If Jesus says "the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard" a non-believer can retort "no it's not" and we're back to square one. Or, worse, we have the additional hurdle that the non-believer now thinks Christians are prone to woolly thinking and can safely be ignored.

Analogies do not constrain or delimit. If I compare thee to a summer's day, while I may be commenting favourably on thy loveliness and temperance, I'm only describing some of your attributes. Unlike more rigorous constructions such as isomorphisms, the analogy doesn't deny your humanity, fleshiness, sentience, ambulation, longevity, or whatever.

Some analogies, even if sort-of true, basically suck. There is a perception that Christian preachers will try to use anything and everything as an analogy for something divine, and it's perhaps fair. Mark Steel mocked Radio 4's Thought for the Day on QI back in 2004 [video] and he does have a point.

And yet…

Having recently been made aware of the notion of alief as distinct from belief, I suspect analogies are a powerful tool in turning a belief into an alief. The person is already convinced the thing is true, but wants to accept it more subconsciously, reflexively, instinctively. Our minds are machines for forming associations, for spotting symmetries; shoehorning something into that form can help embed it.

Similarly, even within the realm of the conscious mind, an analogy can help with understanding. The most recent XKCD what-if is a useful example: why can't you use a magnifying glass and moonlight to start a fire in the way you can with sunlight? The first answer Randall gives is pretty straightforward: if you could, energy would flow spontaneously from a colder thing to a hotter thing. That's robust, unarguable and therefore convincing, but it doesn't give any real insight into why it's true. His later explanations, though not precisely analogies, do that. (But am I the only person who's spent enough time around the Banach-Tarski paradox and chaos theory to find his lens-reversibility argument less than rigorous?)

Finally, if trying to explain the mystical and divine, we rapidly run out of alternatives. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field? Why can't Jesus just come out and say what the Kingdom of Heaven is rather than using simile and analogy? Well… um…

So, I've made an analogy between God and the author of a novel, when discussing the relationship between His omnipotence and our free will. I've made an analogy between the dichotomy between mathematical and physical notions of truth, and between either of those and theological notions of truth. I will make more analogies. While I retain deep reservations, I'm beginning to accept that, used carefully and sparingly, they can assist understanding and alief.

Festivids Reveal!

Feb. 13th, 2016 09:29 pm
such_heights: silhouette of eliza hamilton from the broadway musical (h: eliza [shadow])
[personal profile] such_heights
Festivids reveals are up! Thank you SO much to [personal profile] purplefringe for Gonna Get Through This World (An Adventure in Space and Time) and [personal profile] heresluck for Independent Women (Hamilton).

I made two vids this year! Less than I'd originally been planning, but I did end up making two other vids during the festivids period, so what can you do.

Comedy Tragedy History (Hamilton, for [profile] gwenfrankstein)
I'd been working on a Hamilton vid since before assignments went out, intending to use it as a treat, but happy days, I got assigned to [profile] gwenfrankenstein who wanted a Hamilton vid! I ended up ditching my first project and switching it out for the amazing Akala song, 'Comedy Tragedy History'. Genius has a good breakdown of the lyrics.

I worked so hard on this vid! I found it challenging in a great way - I had to cut a lot faster than I do usually, work with a bunch of different kinds of source, and work with really brilliant, intricate, quick lyrics. I think I just about did the idea justice, and I'm so proud of the end result, I think I levelled up a little as a vidder through making it.

You're My Best Friend (RPF - Ian McKellen/Patrick Stewart, for [personal profile] purplefringe)
For once, I thought I was getting one up on [personal profile] purplefringe! She's made me treats the last couple of years, but this year I would surprise her and get one up! ... so obviously this is the year I was her assignment, ha. Still, this was a delight to make, a goofy vid about best friends for my best friend. I'm glad other people enjoyed it too.

It was fun to work with non-standard source for both vids this year, with lots of scouring youtube and working with photos. Thank you, everyone who left kind comments during the anon period, they mean a lot! <3

(no subject)

Feb. 13th, 2016 07:21 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Died on this day in 1530 aged 56 Eleanor Percy (my toy,wikipedia). Wife of Edward, son of Catherine, sister of Elizabeth Woodville. Eleanor had four children with her husband before he was beheaded for alleged conspiracy against the King, he was attainted and so the Dukedom of Buckingham was forefeit and her children lost their inheritance (her son did win back some of the land, but not the Dukedom). She remarried, to a man about whom wikipedia is silent except for his name.

Born on this day in 1602 William V, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (my toy,wikipedia). Father of Charlotte, wife of Charles, grandson of James VI and I. William inherited during the thirty years war, and things didn't get much better for him.

New car

Feb. 12th, 2016 11:56 pm
gerald_duck: (car)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
I have a new car. But I'm not as excited as by rights I ought to be.

For starters, I got this far once before, a couple of years ago, and the deal imploded. I ended up buying a cheap Lexus LS400 to tide me over. So I'm waiting until I actually have the keys in my hand and a V5 in the post.

More significantly, I'm worried I may have stretched a point in getting it. Under normal circumstances, I would likely have continued looking.

I'm still completely knackered a lot of the time, thanks to post-viral fatigue. Finally, I had a day when I felt up to going and test-driving. So I did. The MOT on my current car expires at the end of next week, and I have a hunch that the exhaust and the headlamp height adjustment sensor could fail it in ways that would be expensive hassle to fix. This meant getting a new car was becoming pretty urgent.

The car I've bought is a Series III LS430, the kind of thing that's been on the wishlist for years. The price felt a little steep, but it was a nice colourway and basically on my doorstep. Unfortunately, there are some wrinkles:
  • A scrape on the rear bumper (£125 to ChipsAway)
  • Steering wheel reach automation not working (I guessed £100)
  • Sunroof tilts but doesn't slide — it sounds like the motor strains so probably a mechanical linkage (also £100, perhaps)
  • Until 80k miles/2013 there was FLSH, but after that there's a gap in the papertrail for the following 14k miles/2.5 years. But the car doesn't feel like it needs an oil change, so possibly an independent garage just forgot to stamp the service record.
  • The tyres are a brand I've never heard of, but that problem seems to be endemic to second-hand Lexuses.
  • It's 6k miles shy of needing a new timing belt.

Frankly, I may not bother getting the sunroof fixed unless it's trivial — I can go years at a time without using it. All sorts of other known problem items such as the rear aircon, the parking sensors, the traction control and missing keys are non-issues.

I'm worried that fixing the steering wheel might be pricey, though. Google has given me estimates of US$2,500 , US$1,000 , US$300 and US$0 depending on where you look and precisely what the problem is. It's something that really needs to be done! And I'm also worried about the thing I've overlooked… whatever that might turn out to be.

I guess what's really worrying me is that I've just spent several thousand pounds while only feeling 80%, tops. I wish I'd been able to wait until I was well again!

Fingers crossed.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
[personal profile] kaberett posting in [community profile] white_lotus
Title: To My Chagrin
By: anonymous until reveals!
Size: 1088 words
Rating: Teen and up audiences
Characters/Ships: Korra/Asami, Bolin, Zhu Li Moon
Content notes: none
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
[personal profile] kaberett
[personal profile] cesy is hosting a contributor event the 20th and the 21st of February, the weekend after this one just starting. People are welcome locally and remotely -- I'm looking forward to getting things done in company, and I do hope you'll join us!

(no subject)

Feb. 12th, 2016 03:16 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Died on this day in 1517 aged 29 Queen Catherine of Navarre (my toy,wikipedia). Great-grand daughter of Charles, father of Catherine, wife of Henry V. Catherine became Queen after the death of her brother. Her Uncle claimed that Salic Law ought to apply and started a civil war (Catherine's Grandmother had been Queen, it is clear that Navarre did not hold with Salic law! but I guess, any reason to start a war!). Catherine had 13 children.

Born on this day in 1932 to King Olav V of Norway and Princess Martha of Sweden, Princess Astrid of Norway (my toy,wikipedia). Great-grand-daughter of Edward VII. Princess Astrid is still alive. She married a divorced commoner (wikipedia does not note there being any problems with this), he died last year. She is the older sister of the current King of Norway (so they hadn't fixed gender-neutral inheritance, in 1991 then... dunno if they have now). She knits.


Feb. 11th, 2016 07:47 pm
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
[personal profile] kaberett
no but look at this Korra/Asami vid I got for the [community profile] white_lotus Lunar New Year Exchange


LNYE vid: Harbor, for me!

Feb. 11th, 2016 07:35 pm
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
[personal profile] kaberett posting in [community profile] white_lotus
Title: Harbor
By: anonymous until reveals!
Rating: General audiences
Character(s)/Ship(s): Korra/Asami
Content Notes: none

(no subject)

Feb. 11th, 2016 03:49 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Died on this day in 1484 aged 51 George of Baden (my toy,wikipedia). Grandson of Charles; grandfather of Margaret; wife of Henry VI. Bishop of Metz.

Born on this day in 1466 to King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York (my toy,wikipedia). Wife of Henry VII.


Feb. 11th, 2016 03:20 pm
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
[personal profile] kaberett
The Graun is running a livestream of the LIGO press conference due to start in ten minutes, expected to make some exciting announcements about gravitational waves...

eta and the livestream on youtube

Reading Wednesday, uh Thursday

Feb. 11th, 2016 10:06 am
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Tropic of Serpents, a Memoir by Lady Trent; Marie Brennan

continuing this fictional memoir. This is Victorian Naturalists BUT WITH DRAGONS, it's set in a different world one main difference is that THERE ARE DRAGONS but also everywhere has different names and the main religion in the not-Europe seems more Jewish than Christian in influence. This installment adds a second woman to the main cast (which is quite a *small* main cast, of Intrepid Naturalists)

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen; Bujold.

This is a Cordelia novel. YAAAAAAY for Cordelia. It is less... hectic than a Miles novel and vastly less FULL OF STUPID than the Ivan book. My favorite thing so far is finding out that (spoilers) Pbeqryvn vf n yvne, naq gur zbfg boabkvbhf guvatf fur fnlf va gur jubyr frevrf vf n gbgny yvr, ba obgu pbhagf.

Question thread #39

Feb. 11th, 2016 12:09 am
pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
It's time for another question thread!

The rules:

- You may ask any dev-related question you have in a comment. (It doesn't even need to be about Dreamwidth, although if it involves a language/library/framework/database Dreamwidth doesn't use, you will probably get answers pointing that out and suggesting a better place to ask.)
- You may also answer any question, using the guidelines given in To Answer, Or Not To Answer and in this comment thread.

LNYE fic: Pieces, for woggy

Feb. 10th, 2016 09:35 pm
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
[personal profile] kaberett posting in [community profile] white_lotus
Title: Pieces
By: anonymous until reveals!
Size: 1068 words
Rating: General Audiences
Character(s)/Ship(s): Pema, Lin Beifong, Tenzin, Asami Sato, Korra/Asami, Lin/Pema/Tenzin
Content Notes: none

BSL notes

Feb. 10th, 2016 06:07 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
  • 4 types of placement in syntactic space: topographical (literal), abstract (most common - e.g. choosing between two things, place them in space); hierarchical (top-down; indicates power/status; used to indicate e.g. family structures, or conversations with superiors/inferiors, via where sign/eyeline/etc are placed); numerical
  • proforms and classifiers (placing things within space; types of thing; the evolution of the sign for "telephone"!)

Politics. Mostly about sign song: it's of necessity SSE rather than BSL, and ends up being incredibly unidiomatic (SSE of "cross the river" is CROSS [the generic object]-RIVER rather than RIVER-CROSS [the proform/topographic placement]. Not of any particular interest to d/Deaf culture, and sometimes seen as patronising/appropriative in addition to irrelevant; but can be a very useful practice tool for people learning BSL because it makes you sign faster (than you think you can), learn a lot of vocab, and helps cement vocab (in the same way that learning words to music is generally easier than learning words in isolation). We did also watch a brief video clip about the youngest child of two very-famous-in-UK-d/Deaf-culture people (at least one of whom is involved in Deafinitely Theatre IIRC), whose name is given on her birth certificate both as it would be written/spoken and in the notation used for transcribing signs.

Vocabulary )

  • sign along to Abba's I have a dream every other day or so
  • pick a song to sign along to; work out as much of it as possible, and bring it along next time
  • practise describing things on a table (record self to make sure using eyeline/getting consistent surface)
  • practise describing a picture (ditto)

(no subject)

Feb. 10th, 2016 04:27 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Died on this day in 1479 aged 61 Catherine of Cleves (my toy,wikipedia). Mother of Mary, wife of James II of Scotland, and thus ancestor of James VI & I. Also brother of John, great-grand-father of Anne, wife of Henry VIII. Catherine acted as regent for her husband while he went on crusade, and later helped their son overthrow his father.

Born on this day in 1637 to Frederick Prince of Orange and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, Henriette of Nassau (my toy,wikipedia). Sister of William, father of William II and III. She married a German prince as part of her father's plan to maintain peace with Germany, the marriage seems to have been successful.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
[personal profile] kaberett posting in [community profile] white_lotus
Title: so delicately wrought
By: anonymous until reveals!
Size: 1899 words
Rating: Teens and up
Character(s)/Ship(s): Mai, Toph Beifong, Lin Beifong, Asami Sato, Korra, Aang
Content Notes: Toph is a terrible parent.

(no subject)

Feb. 9th, 2016 03:44 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Died on this day in 1503 aged 69 John II, Margrave of Baden (my toy,wikipedia). Son of Catherine, sister of Isabella, mother of Margaret, wife of Henry VI. John was archbishop of Trier, during is reign the university of Trier was founded in 1473, it's still a university (although it was not for 172 years in the middle)

Born on this day in 1274 to King Charles II of Naples and Mary of Hungary, Louis of Toulouse (my toy,wikipedia). Great-grand-son of Ramon, father of Eleanor, wife of Henry III. Louis was cannonized in 1317, and his cult was mostly relevant in Hungary.

(no subject)

Feb. 9th, 2016 12:34 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Ahahahaha you *liar*. I love it. (bookspoilers)
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
[personal profile] kaberett posting in [community profile] white_lotus
And now posting starts. :-)

Title: Royal Gallery Portrait
By: anonymous until reveals!
Rating: G
Character(s)/Ship(s): Fire Lord Izumi
Content Notes: none