Monthly Archives: March 2014

But It’s Also a Sex Manual

I was flipping through the Kama Sutra yesterday and turns out to be much more than a sex manual! It’s a guide to etiquette and custom in many areas of life and offers really interesting glimpses into a culture very different from ours. Though some of it is practically timeless, for example:

The following are the kinds of friends:

  • One who has played with you in the dust, i.e. in the childhood
  • One who is bound by an obligation
  • One who is of the same disposition and fond of the same things
  • One who is a fellow student
  • One who is acquainted with your secrets and faults and who’s faults and secrets are also known to you
  • One who is a child of your nurse
  • One who’s brought up with you
  • One who is a hereditary friend

I hadn’t realized, but it’s also very Talmudic in its approach.

  • Here is the rule or custom.
  • The followers of X add an interpretation.
  • The followers of Y disagree.
  • [a digression about the theory and history of the legal principle used by the followers of Y.]

Highly recommended. The edition linked above is especially nice and uses the Richard Burton translation — I’ve also enjoyed Burton’s translation of the Arabian Nights which is a book you can dip into again and again as you please, all through your life. John Barth is a big fan of the Arabian Nights as well.

Become Interesting

Do you know someone who always has interesting things to talk about? They have a secret, but it’s probably more mundane than you think. I’d bet they just subscribe to a cool email newsletter. (Classic fundamental attribution error alert!) Here are my current favorites:

wearable computers, drones, biohacking, geoengineering, rockets, digital mapping, coercive feedback loops, autonomous everything, representing the Internet in art, synthetic biology, machine logic, weapons, artificial life, the future of work, corporate surveillance

independent art, weird events, strange happenings, unique parties, and senseless culture in new york city

Any that I’ve missed?

SF’s Finest

Last night I was looking through a list of SFPD radio codes. Here are the best ones:

203 Mayhem

212 Strongarm

266i Pandering

402b Abandoned refrigerator

819 Rolling of intoxicated person

909 Citizen requests interview

910 Check on well-being

10-07M Out of Service (meal)

10-12 Visitors are present (be discrete).

10-61 Miscellaneous public service.

10-62 Meet a citizen.

10-91B Noisy animal.

11-26 Abandoned bicycle.

Code 7 Mealtime.

Don’t Hold Your Breath

Our ape-brains boggle at the vastness of time.

“At 15:30:08 UTC on Sun, 4 December 292,277,026,596 64-bit versions of the Unix time stamp will cease to work, as it will overflow the largest value that can be held in a signed 64-bit number. This is not anticipated to pose a problem, as this is considerably longer than the time it would take the Sun to theoretically expand to a red giant and swallow the Earth.” (From Wikipedia)

Reminds me of a great quote from this interview:

Well, you might think that [a human] extinction occurring at the time of the heat death of the universe would be in some sense mature.

Physics is second only to Latin American authors in helping us understand the weirdness of time.