almost helpful

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:52 pm[personal profile] cellio
cellio: (house)

My (Android) phone alerts me when traffic is bad near me. This can be handy at the end of the day because I work downtown. Except... it's telling me about traffic on roads I don't use to get home. Sure, there's spillover so it's not unhelpful, but it'd be great if I could tell it -- maybe by gesturing on a map -- what paths I care about, so it could tell me about those ones.

Does anybody reading this know of an app that does that, or a way to get Google Maps to do it? It needs to be fire and forget; I don't want to have to open the map app to look for red lines on it.

It feels like all the information is already there, if only my phone were making use of it.

(This would also let me know before I leave in the morning if traffic is still bad at the other end. At that time I don't really need extra information about traffic near my house; I need it 3-5 miles away.)

embedded geek

Jul. 13th, 2017 09:58 pm[personal profile] cellio
cellio: (B5)

A friend shared this with me earlier today and I literally laughed out loud:


The second-last column is about a famous Zulu leader. The last one is about walled cities under fire.

"Shaka, when the walls fell" is a key phrase in a rather unusual episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, named "Darmok". The famous universal translator doesn't work when the Enterprise encounters these particular aliens, because their language doesn't work at the word level. They speak in what the crew calls metaphor. I've seen discussions of this over the years ("could that really work?" "improbable, because..."). The post about the Jeopardy episode links to this Atlantic article about the episode that argues that we're looking at it all wrong. I found it an interesting read.

Also, Atlantic does in-depth articles about episodes of SF shows? Who knew?

(I don't have a Trek icon. Here, have one from one of my favorite shows instead.)

daf bit: Bava Batra 172

Jul. 13th, 2017 08:56 am[personal profile] cellio
cellio: (talmud)

The mishna teaches: if there are two men in the same town and both are named Yosef ben Shimon, neither may produce a bond of indebtedness against the other. Further, nobody else may produce a bond of indebtedness against either of them. And if a man finds among his possessions a quittance showing that the bond of Yosef ben Shimon was discharged, it applies to both of them. So how should they proceed, since we want Yosef to be able to borrow money? When writing the documents (both bond and quittance) they should write the names to the third generation (e.g. Yosef ben Shimon ben Reuven). If their names are the same to the third generation, then they should add a description (e.g. Yosef ben Shimon ben Reuven, the tall one). And if those are like too but one is a kohein or levi and the other not, they should indicate that. (I can't tell if they keep the description in this last case.) (172a)

Neither the mishna nor the g'mara here addresses the case where Yosef ben Shimon was unique and then another one moved into town.

I assume we're talking about small towns here, where it's not implausible for names to be unique and for people to know that. I'm a little surprised that a description (which could be subjective or mutable) has higher precedence than kohein/levi status (which is neither).

When I shared this at minyan this morning, somebody told me that one of her family members has a last name that means "limp" (as in "has a", not as in "floppy"), which seemed peculiar to her. She said she was going to go teach him this mishna.

daf bit: Bava Batra 164

Jul. 6th, 2017 08:51 am[personal profile] cellio
cellio: (talmud)

The g'mara at the bottom of yesterday's daf relates two stories about Rabbi and R' Shimon b. Rabbi. In the first episode, R' Shimon presented Rabbi with a deed that has a flaw (according to Rabbi), and when Rabbi showed displeasure R' Shimon said "I didn't write it; R' Yehudah Hayyata wrote it". Rabbi rebuked R' Shimon for tale-bearing. (All he needed to do was disclaim it; he didn't need to call out someone else.) In the second episode, Rabbi has just finished reading a section of psalms and praised the manuscript. R' Shimon said "I didn't write it; R' Yehudah Hayyata wrote it", and again Rabbi rebuked him for tale-bearing. The g'mara then asks: in the first case it's obvious why he would rebuke, as the other person is being called out for something bad, but why is the second case tale-bearing when it's positive? Because R' Dimi brother of R' Safra taught: one should never speak in praise of his friend, because by praising him he brings about blame -- people will examine his other deeds more closely and thus come to see negative things. (164b)

There are people who hold this way (including the Chofetz Chayim, I believe), but this approach conflicts with another strong custom to give credit where it is due. We should always try to teach torah in the name of the person who taught it to us, for example, and you see this throughout the talmud (and later). And in modern times, the dinner or other celebration to honor prominent people in the Jewish community is common (usually as part of a fundraising appeal). I don't know whether there is some further nuance that makes "R' Ploni taught me this torah" and "Ploni has done these things for the community" good and "R' Ploni wrote this manuscript" bad, or if R' Dimi's position (shared by Rabbi) is a minority view, or what.

(Today's daf is 165.)


ironangel: (Default)

July 2013

1415161718 1920

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 20th, 2017 12:38 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios