Bits & Pieces 2012-07-12

Links and things that I’ve run across recently.

Are You a Twitter Bot?

I ran across this site while searching for statistics on Twitter bots: will take a Twitter username and predict, based on that user’s public timeline, whether he’s a bot or a human.

As it turns out, I’m a human—Phew! And so is Neil Shurley (ThatNeilGuy), of the blog This Week in World Robot Domination, so that’s comforting news. (I’d hate to think he was actually a saboteur whose raison d’être is to plant pro-robot agitprop into our resistance efforts!)

However, my fellow author Missy Frye is apparently a bot! Oy! As are Guy Kawasaki and Robert Scoble. Hmm.

So I’m beginning to doubt the statistic that 31% of Twitter users are “probably bot.” (However, 15% may be bots.)

Dominos, Dominos, Dominos

You may have heard of FlippyCat and his thousands and thousands of colored dominos. I had not, until one of my friends shared this video of Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” made with over 7,000 dominos. The second attempt took about 11 hours total to build.

Browsing through his other videos, I think his Angry Birds one is my favorite. Compared to all the versions of the game that Roxio has published, this is the best one ever! (Be sure to watch the “extras” video, too, to see how they did it.)

Warning, Bad Software Ahead

This is a heavy technical item, not heavy because it’s technical—because it isn’t—but heavy because it challenges the habits of the common programmer. Andrew Binstock recently posted on Dr. Dobb’s— And I think I still have some old paper-and-ink issues of Dr. Dobb’s lying around here somewhere. Andrew Binstock recently published a right-on-the-nose editorial on what makes bad programmers.

His conclusion, which ought to serve as a lesson for all of us, programmer or otherwise: ‘at the core of bad programming is invariably a lack of curiosity… Their happiness within their lack of ambition is well encapsulated by the vaudeville gag line, “Three years ago, I started in show business at the bottom — and I like it here!”‘

Maybe I Just Don’t Play Nice with Others

Last week, I received the first 2012 issue of The Human Givens Journal, and I discovered that I had not finished reading the last 2011 issue. So I took some time and caught up. This magazine is a wonderful source of character insight, both personally and for my fictional characters.

One of the items that stuck out at me was Vivienne Marsh’s review of Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, a book by Shari Y. Manning.

I often discover a sensitive spot in my heart for those who have trouble adjusting or relating with others: the backwards, the addicts, the misbehavers, the distant. I despise comedy made at their expense. I wish there were something I could do, but alas, most of them will never listen to me. One of my dreams as an author is to shine a light that might lead some of them to a better life.

Here’s one possible reason for that soft spot:

She shows how people with BPD are quick to get emotional, then quickly become emotionally intense and then take a long time to cool down again. But, while all that is debilitating enough, it is not sufficient, according to Manning, to cause BPD. The other necessary ‘ingredient’ is what she terms an invalidating environment. This can range from continually having your feelings denied… and feeling unsupported… through to sexual and/or physical abuse or neglect. The result is that a child learns not to trust his or her emotions and so grows into an adult who doesn’t understand them and can’t regulate them. (Human Givens, Vol 18 No 4, p 45)

I was never sexually or physically abused or neglected as a child. But the rest of that general pattern, that could almost be me. Because it describes the struggle I face continually. The strategies I use to cope have changed over time, and some of them have allowed me to continue on after a blow, but I don’t think any of them have really made me any more fun to interrelate with.

And until recently, I never even considered that others might not feel those same things.

Today’s Quote

If you’re going to post an inspirational quote on Facebook, at least Google the thing and make sure the person really said it!

(Thomas Jefferson)

No, Seriously: Today’s Quote

One technology doesn’t replace another, it complements. Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.

(Stephen Fry, on Twitter)