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(conversation in the grad room)

S: My wife always says "you're not *really* sorry, you're only sorry you got caught".

Me: I think you can be genuinely sorry if you did something by accident, but not on purpose.

E: ..or if you did something deliberate that had unforeseen consequences.

Me: Right. But if you intended it.. by the time you've made the decision and acted on it, you're not sorry anymore.

We missed the case where someone has to prioritise tasks such that someone is unavoidably harmed in pursuit of a more important goal. In that situation you can easily be sorry that there wasn't an otherwise-identical action that didn't cause that harm. Did we miss anything else?
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 (slightly paraphrased, for clarity and faulty memory purposes)

*someone has left a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet on the table in the break room*
Coworker: I hate Jehovah's Witnesses. You shouldn't push your beliefs on other people.
Me: I don't agree with them but I have sympathy for their position.
Coworker: Why?
Me: Well, if you genuinely believed that people would go to Hell for not believing what you believe, wouldn't you try to convert them?
Coworker: What do you mean?
Me: ok, if I believed that there was a man outside this room who killed everyone with blond hair, and you had blond hair, then wouldn't it make sense for me to try to convince you to dye your hair brown so that you won't get killed?
Coworker: Huh?
Me: If I was about to kill myself, you would try to stop me, right?
Coworker: Why would you try to kill yourself?
Me: Maybe I was really depressed, I don't know.
Coworker: Of course I would try to stop you, but what does this have to do with religion?
Me: *gives up*

This was a particularly frustrating conversation for me because so far this is the only coworker who's shown even the slightest glimmer of intellectual curiosity. In fact, 10 minutes before this conversation she loudly declared herself to be 'philosophical'. Seems like being 'philosophical' isn't quite enough to separate beliefs about the world from facts about the world.
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For anyone who cares, the author in question is Carol Berg. I'd just read an excerpt from one of her novels after Zhe told me that he borrowed a book of hers from the library. The following conversation ensued.

: there was far too much exposition in it though, and i really hate it when authors come up with arbitrary units of measurement to make hteir world feel more foreign

17:38 Zhe:
i would prefer if authors used metric units of measurement
 Zhe: like
17:39 he wielded a huge sword of 95 cm
 me: actually i lie, the excerpt i read before was also in first person
  lol i don't mind imperial that much
17:40 at least we're somewhat familiar with both imperial and metric
 Zhe: that's true
 me: whereas i don't have any idea what a quant is and it just makes one more thing you need to explain to me before i can start appreciating the parts of the story that i care about
17:41 Zhe: u sure it's not a real unit of measurement?
 me: considering that she defined it immediately afterwards, almost certainly not
  apparently its the length of a knucklebone
  or somesuch
 Zhe: to make it extra difficult, they should use a logrithmic unit if measurement for lengths and weights
17:42 me: or obsolete ones like links and chains..
 Zhe: or to the power of some irrational number
  like e
 me: his sword was 3 times the golden ratio phi in units
17:43 or the new way they like to measure metric, in terms of vibration of caesium atoms or whatnot
  or the amount of time it takes light to travel X distance
 Zhe: or in terms of mythical creatures that they themselves invented
17:44 like "it would have taken a gobberwookie three seconds of the fourth moon's lunar time to travel it's breadth
 me: heh i think you're onto something
17:45 i had to wait thrice the fourth moons orbit before meeting her
17:48 Zhe: i had to wait thrice the eclipse of the third and seventh moon, whereby the third moon has an orbital frequency 1/pi of the second second moon, and the seventh moon had an orbital frequency of 1/e of the fourth moon, and the second and fourth moon eclipses when the jabberwokkie migrates across the great plains of elih
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(Context: I went to this discussion group thing at uni which is mostly filled with academics, and afterwards ended up going with them to the local pub for dinner.)

Me: They were all really cool though, even though they're up there and I'm just an undergrad. Although now I think about it I'm not sure why I thought it would be so bad.
Mia: You forget that academics are just students who get paid to stay at uni.

And then there was the random person who rang me up today to inform me that my daughter kicked her dog and the dog now couldn't walk properly or something. The weird thing was that she seemed to know my name, but that might have just been due to the tendency to try to make sense out of garbled static-filled nonsense.
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Me: Maths isn't really a science anyway, because in science there's only theories and then evidence, you can never prove anything completely, and maths is all about proving things..
Alex: Yeh ok Maths isn't really a science then, it's something different to everything else. Because Maths is all about absolutes
Me: Can you imagine if maths really was treated like a science though?
Me: "If I put this 1 next to this other 1, do you think they'll combine and make 2?"
Alex: Observe and see what happens..
Me: Of course, then you also have problems with shitty equipment that you always have with science, so sometimes you'd observe 1 and 1 adding to make 3. But then you could safely discard that result because of error
Alex: I have an imaginary number in this hand *indicates left* and an imaginary number in this hand *indicates right* If I add them together *brings hands together, palm to palm* what do I have?
Me: *looks at lack of space between hands* ...something.. imaginary, clearly..

And we never even got into the fun of observing interactions between functions on a multidimensional plane..


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