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Mar. 17th, 2012

Friend: Have I got a story for you!
Chelsea: What is it?
Friend: What a story! I can't wait to tell you!
Chelsea: What? What is it?? Tell me!
Friend: No, I can't. I'm on the bus and it's somewhat risque. 
Chelsea: Oh?
Friend: Oh yes. QUITE risque, and quite scandalous, too!
Chelsea: Oh?? Come on, tell me!
Friend: No.
Chelsea: What?? But--
Friend: You'll have to wait until I'm off the bus. 
Chelsea: Goddamnit!
Friend: SUCH a story.
Chelsea: Yes, yes okay. I'll wait.
[15 minutes later]
Friend: SUUUUCH a story. Seriously, scandalous almost beyond the telling.
Chelsea: aaaaah come on!
Friend: It is beyond the telling on a bus though. 
Chelsea: Are you at the bus stop yet?
Friend: Not yet.
[15 minutes later]
Chelsea: Now?
Friend: No.
Chelsea: Come on, tell me!
Friend: I'm almost there.
Friend: Patience! It's worth it.
Chelsea: Aaarrrrghh! 
[10 minutes later]
Friend: Okay, this is my stop!
Chelsea: Yes!
Friend: Okay, so the main element of the story is ACQUAINTANCE.
Chelsea: *gasp!* OMG no way!
Friend: Oh yes!
Chelsea: You're talking to Acquaintance again?!
Friend: OH YES. And-- Oh, look at that, it's hailing. 
Chelsea: It's... What? No! I don't care about the weather!
Friend: I'm walking along here, and it's hailing! 
Chelsea: But what about--
Friend: I'm walking in the hail. So crazy, hail!
When I was an undergrad, my boyfriend asked a grad student to write a letter of recommendation for him. Grad asked Boyfriend to just write one for himself, which Grad would sign his name to. Boyfriend wasn't sure what to write, so he asked (read: bullied, demanded) me to write it for him. I finally caved and wrote a two page fawning commendation, so complimentary that it was embarrassing to read. I began with, "[Boyfriend] possesses a razor sharp wit, capable of leveling the intellect of any lesser man he might encounter," and ended with "He has the very heart and soul of a proud lion, and makes love with talent more masterful than DaVinci and Rembrandt painting together while listening to Beethoven's 5th."
Boyfriend said, "Are you kidding? Grad can't say he wrote this! And on top of that... he's going to think I wrote this about me!" Exactly, jerk.

Jan. 15th, 2012

This reminds me of the attitude that the OWS protesters were supposed to have:

"But why, if you are so clever, do you lie here like a sack and have nothing to show for it? One time you used to go out, you say, to teach children. But why is it you do nothing now?"

"I am doing . . ." Raskolnikov began sullenly and reluctantly.

"What are you doing?"

"Work . . ."

"What sort of work?"

"I am thinking," he answered seriously after a pause.

Nastasya was overcome with a fit of laughter. She was given to laughter and when anything amused her, she laughed inaudibly, quivering and shaking all over till she felt ill.

"And have you made much money by your thinking?" she managed to articulate at last.

"One can't go out to give lessons without boots. And I'm sick of it."

"Don't quarrel with your bread and butter."

"They pay so little for lessons. What's the use of a few coppers?" he answered, reluctantly, as though replying to his own thought.

"And you want to get a fortune all at once?"

He looked at her strangely.

"Yes, I want a fortune," he answered firmly, after a brief pause.

- Crime and Punishment, somewhere in the third chapter. I don't have a page number because i decided I wanted to read it NOW and NOW means i have to get it online, which works out well since its an old book and open source. Anyway, I thought it was interesting that the allegedly modern affliction of over-educated, poverty-stricken, "too-good-to-work"* trope appears in classic literature. Not so modern. 

*not even going to bother defending or attacking the justification of this characterization, just noting it as recognizable.

On the way home from the grocery store I walked past a rottweiler. Dogs around here often get out from their gates and wander around, but it was pretty clear that this guy was not just skipping out for the day. He was a nice looking dog... except for the fact that he was starving to death. He looked like he'd crossed the street and decided the grass was as far as he was going to go. He would open his eyes every now and then and blearily look around like he was trying to be alert, but then was too exhausted. 

I called a bunch of animal shelters, none answered. While I was trying another one, a USC campus patrol vehicle rolled by and they told me they'd called and reported the dog, and that I didn't have to worry about it. Relieved, I figured I would stick around a few more minutes to make sure he got picked up.

An hour rolled by. 

It started to get dark. 

A crazy homeless person walked up and tried to 'rescue' the dog by savagely kicking it to its feet to help get the devil out of it. I managed to get between him and the dog, but for a second there it looked like either i'm going to either be stabbed by a crazy homeless dude or else get bitten by a scared rottweiler. I am happy to report that neither of these things happened. 

At this point the rottweiler just looks miserable. It staggers away from the place where it was attacked by the homeless dude... it can barely walk. i can't tell if its because its too hungry to walk right or because something happened to its back legs. it makes it half a block away, and i follow at a safe-ish distance so I can flag down the rescue people when they show up. It finds a patch of grass and stumbles over to it and curls up again. I get the feeling that this was someone's pet until very recently, when he was either lost or abandoned. He had these huge, scared, sad eyes, and even as messed up as he was, he still seemed like he had a really gentle disposition. he hadn't snapped at anyone and didn't try to fight back when he was attacked.  I even tried calling to it at one point and it walked towards me a little, but then hesitated. I didn't want to scare him off, because I didn't want to miss out on getting him to the rescue people, so I didn't press the issue. 

I call a shelter, and they connect me to another person, who tells me that they already dispatched someone and that they were on their way already. I wait. Another fifteen minutes go by. I call my mom, who says she's in Burbank, but that I should sit tight and she'll come get us both, and I shouldn't worry too much about sitting there after dark if I've got a rottweiler with me. No one will mess with us. 

Another half hour went by before someone finally showed up, except it wasn't a rescue center, it was LA animal control. The dog didn't resist being caught and walked up to where the guy wanted him to go, and didn't fight or struggle once he was in the cage. He just looked at us with huge, sad eyes. The guy was nice enough, but he told me the reality was that, being a rottweiler, there was a 70% chance they would just euthanize him that night. He then recommended I get home before I got stabbed, being out in that area after dark.

The highlight of the ordeal was being treated to a scalding lecture by the crazy homeless dude with crackpipe burns and questionable hygiene about how MY priorities are out of line. Really. I'M the one making poor life decisions.

So... now I'm sitting here... thinking of the hundreds of little ways I could have done things differently, and better... or at least one way I could have done things differently so that I could be sure he would have lived.

I don't really have a neat, clean why to sum all this up. that's what happened. i'm completely spent, and very, very crushed. it just killed me to have that poor dog look at me with those eyes for almost two hours. it makes me so sad to think how long he must have been wandering around, wondering where his owners were. was he scared? was he sad? did he know he'd been abandoned? will he at least have something warm to eat tonight, and someplace warm to sleep? even if its just one last time? will he feel relieved, even just a little?


Deontic Logic is a branch of logic that attempts to provide a systematic way to describe what sorts of claims follow from deontic claims-- claims that have normative content. Basically its an attempt to describe the logic that underlies our moral beliefs and guides our moral decision making. It mostly deals with Ought/Obligatory claims and with claims about the Forbidden, but also with claims about the permissible and the omissible. Mally tried to to cobble up a logical system from scratch in the 1920s; this early attempt didn't go well. Nothing made any sense and the systems could be used to general all sorts of ethically nonsensical claims, and it relied on a lot of unintuitive implications. Deontic logic as patterned on modal logic by Von Wright in the 50s got a lot more mileage.

φ stands for some action an agent might perform.
O(φ) means ought [that action]
O ~(φ) means ought not [that action], or [that action] is forbidden

(1)     "A ought not murder B" in logical notation: O~(Mab)
So now we have shorthand for a normative/prescriptive statement. Very useful! The problem is, even with the modal logic structure, you can still generate problematic conclusions.

Suppose we say that Anna ought not murder Bernice, but Anna tells us that she is dead set on it (Anna is a funny person. See what she did there?). As a last resort, we say, very reasonably, that if Anna does murder Bernice, Anna ought to murder Bernice gently. 

(1)     O~(Mab)
(2)     Mab --> O(Mab ^ G)       "If A murders B, A ought murder B gently"
(3)     Mab     Anna murders B
(4)     O(Mab ^ G)

Murdering Bernice gently implies murdering B. You can't murder someone gently without murdering them. So throw that underneath the fourth claim:

(1)     O~(Mab)
(2)     Mab --> O(Mab ^ G)
(3)     Mab
(4)     O(Mab ^ G)
(5)     (Mab ^ G) --> Mab     "A murders B gently implies that A murders B"

Generally speaking, if one ought to φ, that implies that one also ought to do the things necessary to φ. If you promised to meet me at the movie theater, and you ought to keep your promises, prima facie, you ought to meet me at the movie theater. And, assuming you are not now at the movie theater already, there are a few things (call them x, y, and z) that you'll need to do in order to realize this end; and insofar as you ought to meet me at the movie theater, you ought to do x, y, and z, too. That is, if you ought to φ, you also ought to x, y, and z, in order to φ. Likewise, if you ought to φ and ψ, then you ought to φ. you also ought to ψ. This is logical entailment.

O(φ and ψ) --> O(φ)


O(φ and ψ)
(φ and ψ) --> φ

Back to the gentle murder business above:
(1)     O~(Mab)
(2)     Mab --> O(Mab ^ G)
(3)     Mab
(4)     O(Mab ^ G)
(5)     (Mab ^ G) --> Mab 

(4) says that It ought to be the case that A murders B gently. (5) says that A murdering B gently implies that A murders B. Since ought is closed under logical notation, what is implied by an ought claim is also obligatory. Thus:

(1)     O~(Mab)
(2)     Mab --> O(Mab ^ G)
(3)     Mab
(4)     O(Mab ^ G)
(5)     (Mab ^ G) --> Mab 
(6)     O(Mab)     "A ought murder B"

(6) contradicts (1). (6) is also a claim that you ought to murder someone (full stop), generated from the claim that if you murder someone, you ought to do it gently. This is a problem.

Maybe there is an easy fix? there seems something fishy about the logical entailment business. there also seems to be something suspicious about the way the notation is given here. "G" is not a stand alone sentence, for instance. and it doesn't make as much sense to say that you "ought gently," which we can break off from "A ought murder B gently" just as well as we can break off "A ought murder B." It seems like there is a different kind of relationship between murdering gently than is portrayed above by the 'and' relation. Maybe the solution has to do with the time at which the prescriptions are offered? O~(Mab) is given at a time before Mab is true, and O(Mab ^ G) is true after Mab is already true. Maybe the claims need to be affixed to certain agents to more accurately describe what's going on here?

I've seen the gentle murder paradox attempted in a bunch of different ways, and none of them really fly. The whole thing is a mess. I think that it is a mess right from the start. I think there is a fundamental mistake at play in the way that Von Wright conceived of normative concepts. Modal logic deals with what things are the case. A claim like O(φ) is also a claim about what is the case: "True: A ought φ". But normative claims are claims about what agents have reason to do, not about what it is true that they ought to do. A claim about what should be done should reference the agent and her reasons for action:
Raφ     A has reason to φ

I think that is a step in the right direction. 

Nov. 18th, 2011

I think baby kitty just shed her summer coat? Like, all of it, at once. On me. Ew.

Also I think baby kitty is PREGNANT. I don't know anything about pregnancy but I know my friend is pregnant and she is very suddenly tired and uncomfortable all the time, and my baby kitty is also suddenly tired and uncomfortable all the time. She's also slightly bigger, and I can't tell if that's because she's a growing kitten or because she has worms or BABIES. I have expressed my concerns to my parents, and my mom says she's going to get her fixed soon. 

Totally Going To Be An Astronaut.

Chelsea: i see you're calling in references for friends looking for jobs
Sam: of course
Sam: i want to help them and i want referral bonuses 
Chelsea: thats awful nice of you
Chelsea: i could probably use some unshifty friends who were willing to vouch for me
Sam:you need less shifty friends. shifty friends arent good
Sam: its hard to find stuff, and this is a rad place to work
Chelsea: oh, i'm not applying there
Chelsea: http://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/302967000#TopofPage
Chelsea: i'm going to be an astronaut
Sam: nice!
Sam: bring me back a spacepig
Chelsea: i was going to bring you some moonrocks but spacepigs is doable
Chelsea: i'm so excited

Chelsea: i'm going to be an astronaut
Chelsea: i'll bring you a spacepig
Duane: mmmmm, delicious spacebacon
Chelsea: >:[
Chelsea: you get a moonrock.
Duane: jen is supportive of this plan, and i think also wants a spacepig
Chelsea: ask her if she's going to eat the spacepig
Duane: she said maybe.
Chelsea: she also gets a moonrock.

Duane: Do you actually meet any of the qualifications for this?
Chelsea: well...
Chelsea: my resume is a little bare
Duane: uh huh
Chelsea: i'm attaching my CV, a document called "25 things about me," and a short story called "Chelsea-Anne: earth-explorer, steward of all spacekind"
Duane: you should definitely include the work you've already done protecting and preserving spacepigs
Chelsea: two saved to date. 2 for 2!
Duane: I kind of want to write a short story now of someone who manages to become an astronaut, get put in charge of a multibillion dollar rocket, then once they're in outer space is like FU gov't I'm driving this thing into space just to screw you
Chelsea: "I don't know nothin about birthin' no babies!"
Duane: rofl, that is a valuable skill for an astronaut, surely
Chelsea: its from gone with the wind
Duane: my lack of culture is amazing :P
Chelsea: whatever dude you speak greek. shut up.

Chelsea: "From an early age, Chelsea-Anne wanted to grow up to be an astronaut. She learned all she could about the stars and the solar system, even going so far as to take an astronomy course in community college to meet her science + lab requirement. She was a very big fan of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity.’"
Chelsea: the rest is basically the plot of "Men in Black"
Duane: It would be an epic feat if you could leave them not sure if you're trolling them or deeply, deeply confused
Chelsea: hehehe
Duane: oh man, this is going to be amazing if you end up on a government watch list

Chelsea: Ask me a driving question.
Alexei: What do you do if the road conditions are VERY FOGGY.
Chelsea: drive slowly and turn on your low beams, unless you can barely see, then you should pull all the way over
Chelsea: also if you have a friend in the car with you, have them lean out the window and shout like a siren or novelty horn, so people know where you are.
Alexei: CORRECT, although you actually want to make your friend make a noise like a foghorn or a moose.
Chelsea: Ooooh
Alexei: Except not like...a sexy moose or foghorn noise, if you're near their habitats.
Chelsea: wait, why "except not like," and not "especially like"?
Alexei: Hilarious, but damaging to your car.

Alexei: Okay, here’s another driving question.
Alexei: You are driving a 1976 Dodge Dart, that was chopped together by a group of unscrupulous leather merchants in the ruins of San Diego.
Chelsea: I run them over.
Alexei: …
Chelsea: Sorry
Chelsea: /run over unscrupulous merchants
Alexei: Chelsea, why do you always have to kill my quest-giving npcs?
Chelsea: Sorry, lets do it again
Chelsea: /start new
Alexei: You are driving a 1976 Dodge Dart, that was chopped together by a group of WELL PROTECTED and unscrupulous leather merchants in the ruins of San Diego. You have been working as a courier/caravan guard for the last six months. During an especially tense run, a mutant land-whale breaches the last freeway ahead of you. You have been assured that the harpoon installed on the roof of the Dart has enough grip to fix in the whale's stony hide. What do you do?
Chelsea: /stop vehicle 15-50 ft from breach trajectory
Alexei: You make your driving roll and stop on a dime.
Chelsea: /rummage through cargo for drugs
Alexei: Your cargo is full of a wide variety of exotic narcotics.
Chelsea: /give exotic narcotics to whale
Alexei: You quickly imbibe a variety of substances, offering several of your more potent and debilitating concoctions to the whale. The two of you while away a pleasant afternoon together tripping your brains out. As the sun sets and you sober up, you realize that you now understand the speech of land-whales. You and the whale go on a transnational murder spree/cabaret show, which is well received in most major post-apocalyptic urban hovels.
Alexei: Congratulations, that was the right answer.
Chelsea: SCORE. i'm so ready for this test! I'm going to take it in Whale.

Oct. 28th, 2011

Mom: we're not leaving this house until you wash those bruises off!
Chelsea: you're no fun!


on the bus
Chelsea Anne

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