Namely, the misguided notion that one person has any sort of justified authority over another.

(In case you missed it, North Carolina passed legislation banning gay marriage and civil unions.)

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On the Demarcation Problem

Posted April 27, 2012 @ 7:01 pm | Filed under: Floor It To The Next Stop Light

The Demarcation Problem is a formalized name for the problem of how to draw a line around science. That is, what separates science from studies of philosophy, history, economics, mathematics, religion, and from pseudoscience/folk science. As a Christian, this problem is important to understand because there is a whole lot of hand-waving out there going on that says science disproves and/or has nothing to do with religious beliefs. I tend to take the position that the Demarcation Problem is, itself, a problem: That it asks a question that we don’t need to ask. Instead of demarcation, I’d like to propose a continuum approach.

“What is truth?” – Pontius Pilate

Science, philosophy, historical studies, economics, math, religion, and even pseudoscience are all after the same thing*: figuring out what’s true and what’s false; what does and does not happen, and what has and has not happened. They all make an underlying assumption: that truth exists. All studies of reality have to embrace the axiom that the universe is real and that the things we study actually happened and are actually happening, and there is a whole realm of events and objects that don’t exist. In fact it’s so axiomatic it’s hard to define; I like to say that an axiom is something that had better be true or we’re all completely insane. :) This goes to show that the new-agers and existentialists who say that “what’s true for you might not be true for me” are just using the word “true” incorrectly because what’s true for one person must necessarily be true for another (or else it wouldn’t be true at all). That said, I will eventually write another post on the importance of subjectivity as part of the human experience.

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Getting Into Trackers

Posted April 12, 2012 @ 9:15 am | Filed under: Geekery,Soundblogs

I’ve been wanting to get back into writing music more regularly, and to that end I’m exploring a particular type of music composition tool called a tracker. It’s about as close as you can get to writing music by editing a text file. Actually come to think of it, you can do that… maybe I’ll try that someday.

Anyway, trackers got their start on 8-bit computers, and as a result they’re a great way to really extract all the capabilities of the classic sound chips. They accomplish this by letting you create your own collection of instrument patches which can each combine all the available waveforms, envelopes, and filters. On the C64, for example, this means you can create your own bass drum sound by combining a white noise sound with a low triangle wave, or perhaps a sawtooth note with an intense volume envelope. Then, you take those instruments and arrange them in a pattern editor, which to the untrained eye looks like a nonsensical grid of letters and numbers. There are several C64 trackers out there, but there’s one I like in particular which is both powerful and relatively easy to use, called Cybertracker.

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A winding road to a tasty signal chain

Posted March 13, 2012 @ 3:01 pm | Filed under: High Fidelity

Amplifiers has been working on tracking at my place over the last few days, and last night we did some vocals. Ultimately, the signal chain was one I’ve wanted to try for a long time, but for various reasons I didn’t get around to really trying until now. The setup was:

Shure KSM-44 –>
Auditronics 110B Preamp & EQ –>
Universal Audio LA-3A (vintage) –>
Computer input (Layla 3G).

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Suitcase PC, finally done after 2 years

Posted January 11, 2012 @ 9:43 pm | Filed under: The Workbench

The lovely community of folks over at have a regular feature in which they describe their Bro Caves, which are the dark, comfy rooms they set up their gaming PCs in. More importantly than the rooms though, are the specs of their actual PCs. Which all blow mine out of the water. Thus, this post won’t make it onto their site, but I have been doing some finishing touches on the suitcase PC lately, and I think I can finally say — tentatively as usual — it’s finished. So here’s an attempt at writing something in the same spirit.

Bro Cave from an Alternate Reality

In some alternate universe, the fashion and decor tastes of bygone eras might still be with us today. And instead of laptops, we might have desktop PCs that are “luggable” like the old Commodore SX-64. And not only that, but we might all be using the Ubuntu operating system instead of Windows.

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