haggholm: (Default)

Novum cingulitis (“the new belt blues”) is a psychogenic condition generally contracted on obtaining a new belt in a martial art, such as BJJ, where the patient’s abilities are constantly tested against those of their peers. Typical symptoms include tenseness, a sense of guilt and unworthiness, and constant low-grade nervousness, and may include a period of mild depression. Other common symptoms include paranoia (though this is controversial as some argue that everyone is, in fact, out to get the patient).

Novum cingulitis has no cure, but the condition is self-limiting and will resolve on its own, typically ⅓–½ of the way to the next belt (when a new outbreak may occur). Common home remedies include sandbagging (q.v.) and practicing martial arts without hard sparring, where the additional measure of “pulling rank” may also be employed. Modern medical science recommends against these extreme measures, however, and suggests a healthy diet, vigorous exercise, plenty of rest, relying on your teammates, and colloquially, “manning up”.

Though poorly documented in the literature, novum cingulitis is a very common condition. If you yourself practice BJJ and have never suffered from the new belt blues, you probably know someone who has.

haggholm: (Default)

I love Mitchell & Webb in general, but I have a particular fondness for their brain surgery sketch, because I think it displays an extremely high skill at the craft of comedy (as opposed to the art of inventing the jokes in the first place). The idea, though good, is fairly obvious, and the gag is set up in a deliberately predictable manner; you see it coming a mile away. Nonetheless, in spite of giving away the punchline in advance, they manage to perform the sketch with perfect timing and aplomb, taking a good but predictable joke and rendering it brilliant.

haggholm: (Default)

1. Nihilism

There are no values. Everything is meaningless.

Dismissal: If that’s true, then it is ipso facto pointless to believe in it.

2. Relativism

There are no absolute values. Any set of values is equally valid in its own context.

Dismissal: Including, presumably, my set of values—viz., that it is important to apply universal standards.

3. Derrida-esque post-structuralism? post-modernism? deconstructionism? drug-induced dementia?

There is no absolute truth. Even the words true and false stem from misapprehensions of the world.

Dismissal: Clearly, that cannot be true. If you even assert that it is true, you are contradicting yourself. (I have seen someone attempt to defend this with a straight face; I do not understand how.)

haggholm: (Default)

I’ll start this game:

  1. The Nervous Shark (Carcharhinus cautus), though there are other odd shark species (Bignose Shark Carcharhinus altimus, genus Negaprion Lemon Sharks, &c.).
  2. The Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis).
  3. The Fiddler Crab (genus Uca) beats outs its decapod relative, the Hermit Crab (superfamily Paguroidea); I couldn’t include both.
  4. The Climbing Perch (family Anabantidae), with the unusual habit (for ray-finned fishes) of occasionally walking on land.
  5. The Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus).

Now it’s your turn!

haggholm: (Default)

Season’s greetings from Jeremiah 10:2–8:

2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
4 They deck it with silver and with gold…
[…]
8 …They are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.

haggholm: (Default)

When you read this, it may be helpful to know that Biblical literalists believe the world to be about 6000 years old. This is deduced from reading the Bible and adding up the begats—that is, read the tedious geneaologies, figure out how old people were by the time they begat whomever they begat, and add all the ages up. Exact results vary a little (I think because different geneaologies in the Bible aren’t quite consistent). The most famous estimate is one produced by a 17th-century archbishop named James Ussher, who announced that the universe was created at nightfall preceding Sunday October 23, 4004 BC.

This sounds rather improbable to most of us, but as The Onion brilliantly points out, it must have been particularly surprising to some:

Members of the earth's earliest known civilization, the Sumerians, looked on in shock and confusion some 6,000 years ago as God, the Lord Almighty, created Heaven and Earth.

According to recently excavated clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform script, thousands of Sumerians—the first humans to establish systems of writing, agriculture, and government—were working on their sophisticated irrigation systems when the Father of All Creation reached down from the ether and blew the divine spirit of life into their thriving civilization.

[read on]


On a side note, I have a book that quotes a Sumerian poem, apparently about a thousand years older than the universe (the poem, not the book, which was printed in 2005), praising the bliss of drinking beer. In fact, beer was possibly invented by 9000 BCE and certainly by 7000 BCE; if the universe is indeed about 6000 years old, then God must have invented beer at least 3000 years before he bothered creating anything.

If I had invented beer, I’d be in rather more of a hurry to create water, yeast, hops, and barley.

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