Are you an extrovert or an introvert? If you've ever done a Myers-Briggs test, you are familiar with the questions: Do you prefer being in a crowd when you are stressed, or would you rather retreat? Do you have lots of friends, or just a few, very deep ones? Do you prefer a loud party of 100 or an intimate gathering of 4?

While in parts of the business world the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is almost a religion, it was originally meant as a tool to explain that different people think differently, and that these differences of manner shouldn't be read as differences of attitude. It's not that a Perceiver is indecisive - it's that a P needs data to form an opinion. It's not that a J is impatient, it's that until the thing is finished, it may well not exist to her.

The I vs. E dimension, introversion vs. extroversion, is something many people easily identify with, much more so than the other three. In fact, while all other ones require explanation just for anyone to understand what they mean, with this dimension it's the other way around: people identify first, and then they usually need to be explained what the dimensions mean.

The problem with this dimension is that many people that aren't on the ends of the spectrum don't quite know what to make of the classification. They feel neither introverted nor extroverted, but they don't particularly identify with other "zeros". What's going on?

Primary human emotions are few and powerful. Research tells us there are six of them: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. They are very distinct and come from different places in our brain, having evolved out of reactions to external influencers. Fear, for instance, is an emotion meant to deal with threats. Disgust is supposed to prevent us from doing things (usually: eating them) that could be dangerous for us. Surprise is the way we deal with the unexpected and opens us up for new information.

Read more: Extrins, Intrexes, and the Wonderful World of Being Semi-social

missionbayMeet Shasta. Shasta is a cat. Shasta is ancient by cat standards, at almost 15. She is a typical cat: cuddly and affectionate when it suits her (which includes 3a with surprising frequency), uninterested and aloof when it feels like one of those days. She plays fetch, she hisses at other cats but loves all humans, and she has long lost interest in all play that doesn't end in her being fed a treat.

In short, she's adorable. She's also very, very docile: even on the roughest of days, she doesn't scratch. She'll occasionally bite as a warning when she's done playing, but never to hurt. She hasn't met a stranger she didn't like better than me, probably because I insist on harnessing her when she's in public.

Yet, there are people that hate her. Hate all cats. I am not talking about those that are allergic to cats, I would understand that. I am talking about people that hate the psychology, such as it were, of cats. Cats, you hear, are perfidious, odious, traitorous. Sometimes it feels like half the negative character words in the English language are kept around just so that cats can be insulted.

Yet, cats rule. The Internet has declared them the winner in the universal cuteness contest, way ahead of dogs. Which is really odd, since there are actually more dog and puppy videos available on the Internet than cats and kittens. As a sort of response, cat haters have gone to great depths to expose the horrifying conspiracy of cat love. Even scientists, documentary film makers, and journalists have been enlisted to expose the tragic horrors of cat worship.

What follows is a series of negative cat myths and my comments about them. Enjoy! (I should mention that I absolutely love dogs. In fact, I've been looking at getting a Goberian for the past year. Who can resist a Husky/Retriever mix?)

Read more: Cats and Dogs - Why Do So Many Americans Hate Cats?

DislikeYou probably noticed if you follow me on Facebook: I've barely been on there in the past two years. I'll log on, once in a while, mostly because I remember it's someone's birthday and I wish them well on the channel I know they use. But for myself, I am over it. Why?

There was a time when Facebook was cool. That was, of course, before I was on it. It's when you had to have a .edu address to be on it, it was when college students from Ivy Leagues got an account and nobody else.

I was in the first wave of externals, before the thing exploded into becoming the social hub of the known universe. When people were trying to figure it out and were excited about the ability to share with those they loved or at least cared about.

Then something happened: Facebook wanted to grow, and it wanted money. The relentless pursuit of both is what killed it for me, as Facebook's wish to grow and make money started getting at odds with my interests, desires, and passions.

First came the desire to grow. Trying to avoid the fate of sleep towns like Orkut and later Google+, Facebook made it way too easy to overshare. Some of it was just poor design, like the option to send messages (and especially game invitations) to All Friends. Some of it was downright shady, like updating the privacy policy and then changing the default sharing options to an ever-wider audience.

Read more: Why I Gave Up On Facebook

What do you know, it's been quiet on here for a while. What happened was a merely technical problem: I knew that the software I use to write this blog, Joomla, was shifting from the version I used (2.5) to a completely new 3.x. That meant that a lot of the things I rely on to provide additional functionality wouldn't work anymore. Plus, the old software would eventually not be updated any longer, making this site a potential security risk.

That ended up happening. A few days after the last update, I received a message from my hosting provider (Linode, great guys) telling me that this blog was used as an open spam relay and that they would have to shut it down if I didn't do something about it, soon.

In a moment of wisdom I had moved the site to version control, so it was a breeze to clean it up. What had happened was that the server itself had not been compromised. Instead, security holes in one of the Joomla extensions I used had allowed hackers to push a hidden site update that was used to spam third parties.

I didn't have the time or inclination to find out what extension it had been, whether it was a known security hole I hadn't patched fast enough, or whether it was simply my own configuration mistake. I narrowed it down to JDownload and Kunena Forums and just removed both components from the site. Nothing happened after that.

But... I just didn't feel like pushing something new until I had the site transferred. Since I had been waiting so long for the move, it was probably going to be painful, too. I didn't want to do it, so I neglected pushing out new content (there are numerous articles that aren't finished yet, though).

Read more: Site Update!

As you may know, among the many languages I speak there is Esperanto. When the average American hears the name, the reaction is probably either Huh? for those that never heard about it, or the general notion of a failed project for those who have.

Also, in general, you'll find that those that have an active opinion will say that nobody needs a made-up language as a form of communication any longer, since everybody speaks English. Those that do not speak English should just learn it!

So, let me back up and talk for a moment about the two reasons auxiliary languages (like Esperanto) were created. One is that they are nobody's language - they don't belong to a particular nation or group. As a result, they remove the inherent superiority of the group that owns the language (i.e. is native in it).

The far more important reason, though, is that auxiliary languages are generally easier to learn. They certainly were designed to be easier, and they generally use regularity and predictability to ensure that you'll know what they mean.

Each auxiliary language has a slightly or largely different approach to ease of learning and understanding. Some focus on being understandable to a complete novice, others on being easy to parse for people that have had an introduction. Some focus on being easy to learn for a speaker of a particular language or groups of languages; others focus on being fair to everybody.

Read more: What Auxiliary Language Should You Learn and Why


I've had an unusual life, to say the least. My family and background are constant sources of amusement and stories, and I tend to be myself a little on the eccentric side...

You know all the crazy stuff that happens every day? Dealing with banks, insurance companies, even the local grocery store? Well, I'll record some of that here.

 Ka `Olelo Hawai`i - the language of Hawai`i.
News about the site: new content, new images, new templates, new functionality, etc...
Research for my writing as it is ongoing.