Saturday, May 31

Have you seen BookCrossing? Release your books into the wild. Looks interesting.
I'm such a geek, I'm on the 37signals email list even though I will never use their services. Sure would be fun to get their express service for this weblog.
Straight Talk About Graduate School will take the enamel off your teeth. I have certainly been fighting the advice and inclination to go.

One of my biggest beefs: it's not educational. Go find any teacher, and DEd, and they will tell you this is not the way to teach people.

Let's all agree to try to make our way outside of graduate school. There are ways to learn and to teach people outside of the Academy.

Friday, May 30

Changed the tagline again. Just a whim. The most true one really is 'a synapse fired'.
You know what I wish? That there was a way to keep your weblog archives in the template you were using back in the day. Of course one could do this by posting the HTML output from the template before changing templates and publishing or republishing archives, but I am far too lazy for that.
Dorothea Salos of Caveat Lector (GREAT title!) has the most amazing post about phonaesthetics. I have thought about this kind of thing a lot as I have thought about my future fantasy work and have tinkered with the names. I may very well be stopping by her site more often. I'll go ahead and put her in the BlogRoll.
I am not really Neo (and I mean in personality or anything else, though I bet I could out-act Keanu), but that's what I got on the quiz:

You are Neo
You are Neo, from "The Matrix." You
display a perfect fusion of heroism and
compassion.


What Matrix Persona Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

How about you? Post it in the comments!

Thursday, May 29

Hmm, while reading that slashdot thread I see that Infogrames (maker of my addiction, Civ3) has become Atari.
That Sony PSX looks pretty boss (via kottke).

If you've got the bandwidth, interest, and time check out Sony's pdf.

If you're REALLY interested, you may check out the slashdot thread.

For my not-too-educated part, I see all of this headed toward convergence of home media servers - TV, TiVo, DVD+R, broadband, CD+R, mp3 (etc), wireless home network, gaming system... What did I miss? For my part, I say 'Bring it on!'

Wednesday, May 28

How'd you score on The Geek Test? I got 'Total Geek' - 29%. Not bad. My list of suggested additions:

weblog
LOGO
edit other people's email before deleting
regularly synchronize timepieces with the atomic clock
--have a computer app to do this automatically
have subscribed to a Word of the Day email list
watch Battle Bots
sent in suggestions for this list
Scott's got a funny post about grandmas who hold up garage sales (but, as usual, his permalinks are not working right).

Tuesday, May 20

Vintage John 13:

I visited a snack machine today. I considered a bag of Cheetos. While making up my mind, I noticed that the drawing on the front of the bag pictured Chester Cheeto on a mountain bike doing his extreme sport thing. The kicker was that Chester is sporting some disc brakes on his bike! Freaking cheetahs have better brakes than I do! This cannot stand!

Monday, May 19

I'm so glad the Lakers are out of it. I'll really be fine with any of the four teams left. Mild preference for the Nets and Dallas with the win for Dallas.

Sunday, May 18

Remains of the day('s links)

  • Learn Classical Greek or Latin on Textkit (via Language Hat)
  • Robert Johnson donated a million ucks for a new YMCA in West Charlotte at the intersection of West Blvd and Donald Ross Road
  • Reading about Athanasius
  • kottke continues his crusade against PowerPoint by linking Edward Tufte’s essay The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint.
  • Not your typical carnie

    For the last three days I've been selling Dippin' Dots at Bell's, a small, local amusement park. It was occasionally fun, and certainly a different experience. That's mainly why I haven't posted in a couple of days.

    Thursday, May 15

    Wednesday, May 14

    Today's Saudi Arabia can't last much longer--and the social and economic fallout of its demise could be calamitous.

    In the air in Riyadh and Jidda is the conviction that oil money has corrupted the ruling family beyond redemption, even as the general population has grown and gotten poorer; that the country's leaders have failed to protect fellow Muslims in Palestine and elsewhere; and that the House of Saud has let Islam be humiliated--that, in short, the country needs a radical "purification."

    The kingdom's mosque schools have become a breeding ground for militant Islam. Recent attacks in Bali, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kenya, and the United States, not to mention those against U.S. military personnel within Saudi Arabia, all point back to these schools--and to the House of Saud itself, which, terrified at the prospect of a militant uprising against it, shovels protection money at the fundamentalists and tries to divert their attention abroad.

    For a surprising number of Saudis, including some members of the royal family, taking the kingdom's oil off the world market--even for years, and at the risk of destroying their own economy--is an acceptable alternative to the status quo.


    from The Fall of the House of Saud by Robert Baer

    And the rest is a pretty grim picture of the House of Saud: dysfunctional and in bed with our government, and especially the Bushes.

    Monday, May 12

    Not much fact checking out there in the media these days: some guy fakes a bunch of articles for the NYT and then this Klingon language myth perpetuates to CNN. Funny!

    Sunday, May 11

    Remaindered links (a la Kottke):

    Senior U.S. Official in Baghdad to Be Replaced. Is this a good idea?
    Israel Should Ease Life for Palestinians-Powell. I hope this is good news...
    Drug company watch
    Tools are the revolution, Kevin Kelly (via Kottke)
    Stop the FCC
    I missed the big to do when MetaFilter got added to the Google Ad Network. You go, Matt.
    I hope all of you mothers saw your Happy Mother's Day on Google





    (No, not you muthas.)
    This is totally over the line, but I got to thinking maybe I could rewrite the whole thing. (I tried to find an mp3, but couldn't. Sorry.) Whadda ya' think?

    I remember readin' kottke.org
    when kids were tradin' for Pikachu
    I remember writin' on MetaFilter
    (my number's 252)
    and I was readin' Robot Wisdom
    when all my friends
    were still groovin' in their Hondas to Jewel
    I was loggin' when loggin' wasn't cool.

    I remember sayin' 'Not really'
    when people said 'You're a geek.'
    I remember talkin' bout' y2k
    with my tongue firmly placed in my cheek
    I was surfin on the Web
    not goin' to the mall
    when everyone was groovin to La Vida Loca
    I was loggin' when loggin' wasn't cool.

    Oh, I was loggin' when loggin' wasn't cool.
    I was loggin', though some thought we were fools.
    I still act and look the same:
    What you see ain't nothin' new.
    I was loggin' when loggin' wasn't cool.

    [instrumental bridge]

    Now Google's bought our Blogger, Microsoft's in line
    some say it's noise, not signal, but we're all still doin' fine
    I was loggin' when loggin wasn't cool.

    Saturday, May 10

    The new Wired has a thing about the largest G7 multinational companies and the top non-G7 multinational companies. That got me thinking. I did some research. The most interesting site I came across was Oligopoly Watch.
    The comments on Palestine/Israel on the thread below got a little more involved than normal. Check them out.

    Friday, May 9

    The more I read about Microsoft, like about Longhorn and, forbid!, them getting a slice of the weblogging pie, the more I think it's time to go MS free, to move in that direction. I'm thinking seriously about my next laptop being a Lindows machine running OpenOffice.org.
    For some reason I spent a lot of time yesterday reading Paul Graham. It looks like he's really fighting the good fight against spam. Jon Udell writes about one application called SpamBayes. I'm testing out MailWasher, which is free, and I like it pretty well. Fight spam!
    I wish I'd kept track of my taglines somewhere.

    - a synapse fired
    - don't let all of the Tolkien stuff scare you off
    - Lord have mercy (post 9/11)
    - at least as good as kottke (and maybe a whole lot better)
    - the way to a man's heart is through his weblog

    Remember any others? Suggest any others? One that I found in my search was 'I've said this before.'

    Anyway, all of this because of the new one, inspired by this article by Andrew Grumet.

    update: two more from John in the comments:

    - all lagado all the time
    - out of control, but holding out for sanity

    Thanks, John!

    and the subsequent ones:

    - I was logging when logging wasn't cool. (Do you get the Barbara Mandrell reference? :-)
    - sean@meadenyet.com
    Why have I been updating 'interact' so faithfully these days? Two words:

    No Civilization.

    Thursday, May 8

    Mike Roth says that he judges an author's weblog, preliminarily, on their first post and their 9/11 post (via kottke).

    Mine: first 9/11

    I feel pretty good about those. I feel like they stand up to the kottke and A Whole Lotta Nothing posts he cites. Comments?

    Wednesday, May 7

    Cody asked why I've said I couldn't work for the government, specifically the State Department. I gave him a brief answer, but I was thinking more about it today.

    Because government is political, and our political system creates a false dichotomy that marginalizes intelligent discourse. Instead we get polarized rhetoric. And I can't go for that at all.

    Now I said in my reply that part of this is my problem. I really don't take direction very well at all, especially form people I think are wrong or I don't respect. And I don't respect people who engage in 'politics' that demonizes the other side. Most elected politicians do this, maybe even have to do this. Enough said?
    Christian Right Talks of Bolting GOP in 2004

    Wouldn't that liven things up a bit.

    I think it's good news. I think the Christian Right is way too in-bed with the Repubs.

    For the record, I don't share their view on Santorum.

    On the other hand, the major point of what he was saying is that we do want the government in the bedroom when it comes to certain things. I don't necessarily agree with his list: bigamy, polygamy, incest, adultery. You don't have to. We differ on what should and shouldn't be legislated. 'Consenting adults' is the typical legal language. That seems like the right direction to go, legally. Legislating morality is a tricky thing.

    Most of us agree that we want pedophilia and rape to be against the law.

    As the Atlantic points out, 'it was indeed offensive to so casually associate the millions of decent people who happen to be gay with practices almost universally condemned as immoral.' But Santorum has a point, legally.

    ('decent' is a tricky word. More about that below.)

    Heads up: this kind of legal principle does open the door for things we find distasteful: bigamy, polygamy, necrophilia, adultery, etc.

    All of this is not to say that I find these consensual acts to be moral ones. You know I don't.

    But the basis of morality is very difficult to agree on, too. What is 'decent' (cf reference above)? My basis for morality happens to come from two-millenia old Christian faith. I don't expect you to agree with me all the time. But, for me, right and wrong ultimately hinges on what God says about it and why. Ultimately I think God says that all of the behaviors in question here are harmful to us and to others. That's why they're immoral (in a historically informed Christian view). Does that mean I make laws to inforce them? No. Does that mean that I hate people and fight people who practice them? No.

    We have to be careful. I think the Christian standard for sexuality is 'loving marriage between a man and a woman'. Most sex falls short of that. Most marriages need to grow in love.

    You might say this definition is too strict, but that's exactly my point: When we get into law and logic, the Christian Right tends to go to war against homosexuals. They 'turn the other cheek' to 'healthier' heterosexual peccadilloes like premarital sex and heterosexual adultery. I know the underlying, unconscious reason is because at least those sins are 'natural'.

    What is 'natural' is totally not the point when it comes to morality and sin. I have made this argument before [1] [2]. I am naturally violent and promiscuous. That's what I'd be if I let my 'nature' go unchecked. But most of us can agree that that wouldn't be good.

    The point of what is moral and good is love. Anything else is sin. It's a tough standard. It takes God's help to even want to do it. I fall short of that kind of love all the time.

    Monday, May 5

    Yeah, Steven's probably right. The 'Right of Return' for Palestinian refugees from the 48-9 war probably has to be given up. It's not about justice, but about what's possible, and if there's going to be peace in Palestine/Israel, the 'Right' probably has to be given up.

    On the other hand, peace comes best when it's founded on justice. That's a bumper sticker you can actually put a little credence in - 'If you want peace, work for justice.' Any unjust peace sows the seeds of future conflict.

    Unless there's truth-telling and reconciliation. I hope South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission succeeds in lancing some of the poison without unrealistic reparations.

    I wonder if something like that could ultimately work in Palestine/Israel - telling the truth in exchange for amnesty.
    The most hated sin of this day and age is hypocrisy. Let alone if you're trying. Let alone if you're repentant. If you're someone who holds up moral values of any kind, and you stumble in any way, real or perceived, you will be the target of hatred. We already hated your supposed virtue before, but it's harder to criticize. But, oh, the joy when you fall. It's far worse to be a hypocrite than to be amoral or immoral and have 'integrity'. WYSIWYG, that's the highest virtue.

    So, everyone pile on Bill Bennett.

    Seems to me like there are some discrepancies in the 'facts'.
    The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
    Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
    LevelScore
    Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
    Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
    Level 2 (Lustful)High
    Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
    Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
    Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
    Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
    Level 7 (Violent)Low
    Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
    Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

    Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

    Sunday, May 4

    Check out the new sidebar. I went nuts tonight. I added BlogRolling, Mitch's trusted weblogs search, GeoURL, and an RSS feed.
    I finally put my lon/lat in and registered with GeoURL. Folks around me.

    When we move to Columbia, my coordinates will be: N 34.000554 W (-)81.035009. Folks around there.

    The farm's coordinates are N 41.68752795 W (-)91.70255385. Folks near there.

    So, basically, most everywhere I have connections is the hinterland for cool cats. But that's OK. That's why we have the Web, right? So us lonely cool cats can connect virtually.

    I am cool, right?
    Scott also posted Which Country of the World are You?. I was the USA. Care to comment?
    Scott posted a fun world geography quiz. My results:

    Europe - 95/111
    ME - 68/87
    Africa - 95/147
    CA - 30/42
    SA - 36/39
    Asia - 77/84
    Canada - 37/39

    You should be able to beat those easily. Let's see your scores.

    Friday, May 2

    Went sailing with some friends last night. You probably heard me. I was the one hanging from the lifeline singing 'Rio'.