Other writings     Drawings gallery

Android ‘cannot play track’ error fix

The official online color is: #A4C639 . 한국어: 공...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently encountered a weird error when I wanted to listen to an audiobook on my Android phone. Some of the mp3 files, but only certain ones, simply refused to play. Most suggestions I found on Google consisted in clearing the cache, remounting the SD card, or downloading and installing a different mp3 player app.

None of that works. The files my phone was unable to play were consistently the same files across all apps. They were playable on my computer, on my girlfriend’s Android, and even from my own SD card in my girlfriend’s phone. I can only conclude that there’s a demon in my particular Ice Cream Sandwich.

If anyone knows what causes this problem and how to fix it properly, please let me know. Until then I did find a solution. Granted, it is a silly solution – but a solution nonetheless. And since I didn’t see this suggested anywhere else on the web, here it is for the sake of posterity and other frustrated Android users:

  1. Download and install Audacity
  2. Download and install the Lame encoding library (this will let you export files as mp3’s)
  3. Run Audacity
  4. Click File -> Open… and select the mp3 your phone is having trouble with
  5. Click File -> Export… and chose “mp3 files” from the “save as type:” dropdown menu
  6. Save the file
  7. Transfer the new file to your phone (be sure not to confuse it with the old file, even though they’re identical)
  8. Enjoy!

Note that this solution is obviously written for Windows users. If you’re running Linux or MacOS, I’m sure you can find some alternative audio editing program on your own. Just make sure it can save the file in a format your phone can read.


Don’t condescend to philosophers

…or this might happen to you.

YouTube Preview Image

Thanks to dynotoaqrimp for sharing this with me.

Freedom will be defended at the cost of civil liberties

Why do the prominent people I like keep munching on their feet? I’d only just finished dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ignorant condescension toward philosophers, (basically philosophers are bad scientists because Neil doesn’t understand philosophy) and now I discover that Sam Harris is proposing that muslims are profiled at airport security screenings.

Sam HarrisWe should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it. And, again, I wouldn’t put someone who looks like me entirely outside the bull’s-eye (after all, what would Adam Gadahn look like if he cleaned himself up?) But there are people who do not stand a chance of being jihadists, and TSA screeners can know this at a glance.

PZ Myers was, as is his habit, a little too fast on the draw and immediately jumped to the conclusion that Continue Reading..

Neil deGrasse Tyson makes a bad philosopher

Dr. at the November 29, 2005 meeting of the NA...

Dr. at the November 29, 2005 meeting of the NASA Advisory Council, in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A couple of days ago there was a minor kerfuffle between Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, and Neil daGrasse Tyson, the equally friendly astrophysicist, over the correct usage of the term ‘atheist.’ It wasn’t very interesting to me. Neil can call or refrain from calling himself whatever he wants. To me anyone who lacks a belief in gods is an atheist, but that’s how I choose to use the word. Some people use it differently. That’s fine. If they object to be called an atheist, I will respect their wishes even if I personally happen to think they are one. I share Neil’s disdain for arguing semantics. If both parties have Continue Reading..

To Hitch

I’ll just borrow this from the Friendly Atheist.

Plantinga’s Naturalism Defeater

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Way back in the distant past of 2010 Justin Brierly over at his show ‘Unbelievable?‘ moderated a discussion between philosophers Stephen Law and Alvin Plantinga. The topic of debate was Plantinga’s infamous argument that the conjunction of naturalism and evolution renders cognitive reliability improbable. The conjunction is therefore supposedly a defeater against believing in the truth of beliefs produced by our cognition; including the belief in naturalism and evolution. Naturalism, says Plantinga, thereby undermines itself.

Image of Alvin Plantinga released by Plantinga...

Alvin Plantinga - Image via Wikipedia

The discussion is interesting and well worth a listen. Although I think both sides could have made a stronger case. The moderation was mostly fair. However, I couldn’t help my bemusement that Plantinga was consistently ‘Plantinga; one of the world’s greatest philosophers of religion etc. ad infinitum‘ while Stephen Law had to make do with being just plain old ‘Stephen Law.’ I mean, sure, what do I know? Perhaps Plantinga just has these Übermensch qualifications to rival even The Stig while poor Law is inexorably left behind in the dust of mediocrity. But it did become increasingly comical in iteration as the show progressed.

The first part of the show was naturally dedicated to Continue Reading..

Philosophy Matters

YouTube Preview Image

The University of the West of England Bristol recently hosted a panel-talk about the importance of philosophy. It is well worth watching in its entirety if only for its sheer amount of zingers. Although the topic is an outright assertion (and not a question) the panelists balanced each other out very well in their approaches.

I’m considering simply sharing this video with the next person, who condescends to my chosen field of study. Or to the next person, who makes a crack at my expense about unemployability of philosophers. Apparently, according to Grayling, the least employable degrees at the moment are technical degrees. Humanity degrees are the most employable. Then again, Grayling cites no source, and I doubt it means much which kind of degree is most employable in light of the current economic state.

Foxtrot Goes Deeper


Foxtrot - Go Deep

In case you were wondering the answers to the questions are:

1. Omniscience entails fatalism. 1


2. No.

YouTube Preview Image

Recommended further study: Batman and Philosophy.

1Although whether that precludes free will depends on what you think “free will” is.


A Majority of Gawkers are Unable to Comprehend Percentages

Logo of website gawker.com, for use in article...

Image via Wikipedia

There’s this post over at Gawker with the shocking headline “A Majority of Icelanders Believe in the Existence of Elves.” What is the basis for this outrageous claim? Why, this study reported on Iceland Review, of course, which found that only 8% of Icelanders believe that elves definitely exist.

I must have skipped one too many math-classes in school and missed the one about 8% constituting a majority. Even if you add the amount of people, who believe in the likelihood of elves to the ones believing they definitely exist, that still only makes 25%

Gawker must have misread, right? The following, however, is part of their direct quote:

Only 13 percent of participants in the study said it is impossible that elves exist, 19 percent found it unlikely, 37 percent said elves possibly exist, 17 percent found their existence likely and eight percent definite. Five percent did not have an opinion on the existence of elves.

What the Hell, Gawker? Didn’t you even read what you were quoting? Okay, let’s be charitable. It’s true that a majority of Icelanders (62% > 50%, see how that works?) believe the existence of elves is at the very least possible. That’s fine. So what? So do I. Since elves aren’t, to my knowledge, logically self-contradictory there is a possible world at which elves exist. It might even be very close to ours.

I don’t really understand the questionnaire placing “possibility” between “unlikelihood” and “likelihood.” Unless the likelihood of something is either zero or one, it has no bearing whatsoever on the possibility of said something. Perhaps the researchers intended “possibility” in a more colloquial sense, but if so then they can hardly lament ambiguity in their results. In any case a majority believing in the possibility (no matter the sense) of something isn’t exactly sensational.

Let’s Flog the Anthropic Mare!

I just found this magnificent case of bad philosophy on Youtube. (Yes, I know! Who would’ve thunk it, eh?) While I would flatter myself unjustly were I to fancy myself a philosophical equivalent of the Bad Astronomer, (I wish!) my website is hardly about debunking bad philosophy. However, it is a guilty pleasure of mine because it gives me something to talk about. Especially when it’s a topic I’ve written about before.

YouTube Preview Image

I have no idea Continue Reading..