Environmental Influences

June 27, 2007

Over the course of the last few years I have unintentionally ran into a number of sources proclaiming the power of the situation and how strongly our environment impacts us. I have already posted about one of these sources, the Metal Gear Solid series (notably the 2nd game), and the excellent discussion about it here (Gene and Meme), which is definitely worth a read and even more so to those familiar with the material it covers.

Another excellent source of information on the reasons why the situation must be considered when analyzing a problem is the book The Lucifer Effect, which reads as a case study on the power of the situation. It is an excellent read, showing that although the situation does not provide an excuse for the actions of individuals, its effect must be taken into account.
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Calling Matlab from Java: Now 20% Less Painful!

June 6, 2007

UPDATE: The follow-up to this article can be found here.

Normally I’m not one to rant about programming or computer science stuff here (despite that degree I have in it), as I like to keep this more about philosophical crap (which I don’t have a degree in). However, I’ve spent quite a while on a research project and had a couple problems that all boil down to one thing: Matlab’s Java interface sucks. Bad.

If you don’t care for Computer Science stuff or when someone says “Java”, you think “Coffee”, this probably isn’t for you. In fact, it’s probably only really for me to bitch about randomly since I’ve wasted so much time on this.
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Dubious Ethics in Atlantis?

June 4, 2007

After watching all ten seasons of Stargate SG-1, I have seen the characters on that show exhibit an unusually high sense of morality, perhaps to an unrealistic extreme. They constantly put themselves in harm’s way to save the lives of those around them and attempt to negotiate at every chance they can. This is particularly true of Daniel Jackson, who has repeatedly tried to convince various hostile alien races (and numerous human factions) to take a peaceful approach.

Seeing this sets a high standard for the characters in the spin off series, Stargate Atlantis. However, there have been numerous occasions in Atlantis when the main characters take approaches that are difficult to justify in an ethical sense. Many are done with the standard aim of security and survival in mind, yet there are occasions when a perverted sense of ethics comes into play and has a surprisingly little impact on the other characters.
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