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Snow Days

Today  is my third day off from work because of weather. It snowed Monday morning and froze over Tuesday. I have no idea why we got a day off today. Some have speculated the University doesn't want to get sued because someone slipped on an icy sidewalk.

My first day of classes was supposed to be yesterday. I have enjoyed the time off. I walked down to the coffee shop yesterday, as I am want to do on days when I don't have to work. I spent some time drinking coffee and chatting with the regulars about the broad array of topics that gets discussed when we get the right mix of people in there.

Somehow the subject of eugenics came up. I said to bastardx  that it seemed like all the objections I'd heard to eugenics were ethical ones, and that I wondered if it had really been scientifically discredited. He said " I can give you a scientific argument".

I was all ears.

He said the big problem with eugenics is that we don't know enough about genetics to know that it will work as advertised. We don't have enough knowledge to be sure we are not suppressing some beneficial qualities when we prevent certain people from breeding.

Wow. That could have come from Hayek (whom I don't think bastardx has read.) I am a little embarrassed that argument has never occured to me.

There was discussion of programming, and the various pros and cons of the object-oriented approach. BastardX, while an excellent PHP programmer, doesn't use all the object-oriented features because he doesn't feel comfortable with that paradigm. I  empathized, and told him there was a lot that confused me when I started. I pointed out that a lot of what's said in describing OO languages is purely metaphorical  (for instance, when you store an object in memory, you are just storing the data, not the member functions. That confused me a lot when I first was learning C++).

I said, as I usually do when wrapping up a discussion of idoms and metaphors "and boston cream pie is really cake."

Gilbert piped up and said "It's not?". Apparently all the boston cream pie he's eaten has had crust. I'd say that was a southern thing, except it's never been my experience.

He went on to say that  a better case could be made that bread pudding is really cake. I disagreed. He said that if you put bread pudding on a slope, it wouldn't flow like pudding. There was some discussion of the relative viscosity of bread pudding and cake. Much pointless debate ensued.

Esther, the barista, is a graduate student in philosophy, so I asked her what desserts were available in the time of the medieval scholastics. She said there weren't many, and people probably had to make do with plain sugar. After the previous divisions, it was nice for all of us to agree that if bread pudding and boston cream pie had been around in the middle ages, the works of the medieval scholastics would have been markedly different.