Archived News for October 2007

Radiohead - In Rainbows

Holy fuck:


The digital downloads come out on October 10 - the same date as the Orange Box and the new Winamp. God damn. That's the whole 10/10 thing I guess. Up until yesterday the rumours said the release would probably be March 2008, due to the semaphore-like 'Worm Buffet' code on Dead Air Space that read "MARCH/WA/X" (apparently, to wax means to print a vinyl).

The digital downloads are priced at £x, where x is a number (greater than or equal to zero(!) that) you determine. Yes, it's up to you. Yes, it's really up to you.

The disk box contains the digital download, the album CD, a bonus CD, and the vinyl version of the album, on two 'heavyweight' 12-inch records, plus the album art, lyrics booklets and a 'hardback book' to keep it all in. It's £40. Trav, Tom: get this one.

I'll hit the bottom and escape.

A lot of references to Faust. Mephistopheles etc.

Bodysnatchers is a Pablo Honey throwback. With better production. I want to know what they're doing with the two guitars that aren't doing the constant fuzz in the background; they're very in-your-face. Nice. Someone on one of the fan boards mentioned there might have been an EBow in there (certainly used in other albums). Which reminds me: Mark Bell was using one at the Blam Blam Blam concert two weeks ago.

The first few seconds of Faust Arp sound like Lennon's solo stuff. Both Yorke's voice, and the guitar. Like something between Blackbird and Working Class Hero (I refuse to acknowledge a cover of that song ever took place. Isn't it Yoko's job to pout and stop that sort of thing happening?).

There's no doubt it's Radiohead though. I think they might have their own little harmonic thing they do, but I have yet to isolate it. I all seems very familiar.

Nude is a very nice song. I like how clear the clean guitar, sitting above the simple bass line is. Reminiscent of HTtT, but the noise (orchestra, acoustic, drone) is held off and restrained. Nice.

Ride rhythm at the end of Reckoner is cool. Something I heard at first, then forgot about: at 2:50, we have "in rainbows", drawn out, in the background. Awesome. Also, all the lyrics you'll find on fan sites are wrong, because they refer to the old version of the song. I'm 90% sure Thom is singing "ripples on a black shore", not "it ripples our reflections" (final 10% certainty due in December).

House of Cards is electro-reggae. But nothing like dub. I just mean the slow offbeat groove, the delay on the vocal track, and the lyrics (global warming?). Echoes of Whispers by Coldplay in one part.

Videotape is my favourite track so far. They have a habit of putting the a good song last on their albums (Kid A, Amnesiac, HTtT). It bears a passing similarity to Neon Bible (the song). Chart Pwnage

Hilarious. Especially considering the album was released half-way through the week. I also love how the tracks are in the order they appear on the album. Kanye West didn't stand a chance.

Over on the blog they have a comparison between the listening chart and the official UK downloads chart. That's disgusting. It might as well be payola. If the charts don't reflect downloads, and they don't reflect what people are listening to, and they don't reflect popularity, then what do they measure? What's their purpose? [Other than to measure what you should be listening to. Or what the most money is going into]

Skepticism and Subjectivism

When I get time, I'd like to do a more full fisk of "The Death of Skepticism", by Steve Pavlina. This exam season, when I really should be doing other things, might work. In the meantime, here are some quick points:

If you want to be a true skeptic, then you also need to be skeptical about skepticism. You wouldn't want to be so gullible as to swallow a whole thought system without proof, would you?

No, you certainly wouldn't want to be so gullible. It's a good thing, then, that there is proof that materialistic skepticism works. Hint: it's called Science.

If we truly live in an objective universe, then skepticism is an intelligent choice. If external reality is completely independent of our thoughts, then we can safely study it from a position of doubt.

These propositions are probably true. But Pavlina quickly goes on to deny the antecedent, which is an invalid argument form.

That is, he asks us to accept p ⊃ q [ p : "external reality is completely independent of our thoughts", q : "we can safely study reality from a position of doubt" ], but then uses ~p to claim ~q.

To see why this doesn't work, consider:

  • If I'm nice to everybody then I'm nice to you
  • I'm not nice to everybody. (I'm only nice to some people)
  • Therefore, I'm not nice to you. (Invalid)

Another way to talk about this argument's invalidity is using the concepts of necessity and sufficiency. Pavlina claims independent external reality is sufficient for us to be able to safely study reality from a position of doubt. We'll accept that claim. But that doesn't mean being able to study reality from a position of doubt is neccessary for an independent reality (objectivism), and it doesn't mean that subjective reality is sufficient to say we're no longer able to study reality from a position of doubt.

If we harbor thoughts of doubt, and they manifest in some way through the physical world, then we will end up co-creating a reality that is far more limited and confusing than necessary. And when we go to study it, we'll merely be observing the results of our skeptical attitude rather than what's really out there.

This begs the question. Here's a breakdown to make it clear:

  • If the world is subjective then we won't be able to study it.
  • If we can't study it then skepticism doesn't hold.
  • So, the world is subjective.
Unfortunately, testing for subjectivity is an oxymoron. You can't actually test for a subjective universe.

If we assume you can't test for a subjective universe, then we have to assume you can't test for an objective one either. For, consider if you could test for an objective universe: say, by repeatedly checking the height of Mt. Everest to see if it's changed because you shut your eyes. Well, then subjectivism could be falsified. And if something is falsifiable we can test for it. So, this statement doesn't actually argue for (or against) subjectivism.

As previously noted though, if you take skepticism far enough, it eventually leads you to question the nature of reality, and that's where it finally self-destructs. Most skeptics don't go nearly this far, however.

Previously noted, yes. But previously noted just means "I said it earlier". That's a long way from previously shown or previously proved. So, Pavlina is just saying this, without giving us a reason to accept it.

Pavlina's arguments for the death of skepticism are lazy. You would at least expect he could come up with valid arguments, that require us to refute premises, rather than ones we can discount by just examining their structure. I think I could come up with arguments against skepticism that are at least valid, and I don't even believe in subjectivism.

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