Monday, July 30

Note to self: stop surfing and logging so compulsively. You should have seen the number of windows I had open surfing MetaFilter today.
Slow Down for Sloths (via dj at Random Walks (note the near rhyme)).
New look and new address over at The Labs. I'm glad John and Jennifer finally pulled the trigger on the URL. It was time.
Nice Nathan links (does 'nice' modify 'Nathan' or 'Nathan links'? You be the judge!): Miss Charlotte Brown, Librarian, Goes Mad cool flash poem.
Meg's right (again). Our national security is not in decline. Our ability to respond to certain things might be down. There might be problems with morale that should be addressed. But it's ridiculous to suggest that our national security, realistically speaking, is in jeopardy. Sure, someone could hit us with a missile, but that's pretty tough to protect against anyway.

(Meg also talked about 'V' (the sci-fi tv series), movies, and the tax 'refund'. Go read her.)
More thoughts on hope and wisdom (more below): Definitions are often a moving target. Context matters a lot. So I was thinking the other night as I was drifting off to sleep, that maybe hope is simply not despairing, allowing that tomorrow might be different, or the next day. I tend to despair, and that's no good. I don't accept denial, though, either. We want to be someplace in the middle. And, maybe, in that regard, wisdom does lead to hope. Wisdom doesn't give into despair. Wisdom realizes things can change or be different and our predictive powers are seriously limited.

So did Scarlet O'Hara have it right when she said at the end of 'Gone with the Wind' 'Tomorrow's another day.' Was she hopeful or just stubborn? Was she hopeful or in denial? I tend toward thinking she wasn't properly hopeful. She'd done a lot of stupid things. It's not real hope if there's not some self-awareness in there.

I'm not doing this systematically. It's more stream-of-consciousness. Do you understand what I'm trying to say?

'Tomorrow's another day' can be an expression of hope or it can be something else.
I've been taking in a lot of media. I'm through 'Castle of Llyr' in Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles. I read 'Sea Fighter' by James Cobb - a UN force in West Africa in 2007. Interesting. And we watched 'House of Mirth' last night. Pretty depressing and long, but nice to see a movie about someone living by principle. No mirth in sight.

Friday, July 27

I enjoyed everything recent over at ...nothing: Keanu kickballing, Lance Armstrong, and Starbucks density. Go check it out.
More disgraceful behavior:

The United States is threatening to skip an upcoming U.N. conference on racism if the agenda includes discussions on reparations for slavery and Zionism as racism, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

I haven't read much about the reparations for slavery issue, though it seems impractical and long gone. Israel is keeping the Palestinians in a form of apartheid, though, and it should be addressed.

Wednesday, July 25

Lonnnng but interesting article on David Kaczynski, the Unabomber's brother who turned him in (via Lia).
Another cool MetaFilter thread, this one about undersea cable. I haven't read it yet, but I plan on reading Neal ('Snow Crash') Stephenson's Wired article.
Since it makes me nauseous, I'll just quote The Web Today and leave it at that:

House Passes Foreign Aid Bill: $2.74 billion to Israel's 5.5 million residents, $1.9 billion to Egypt's 60.7 million, $554 million for 34 million people suffering from HIV/AIDS
Here's a cool MetaFilter thread I found via Jason: the discussion is interesting, but, more than that, the discussers are interesting. Someone puts up the link and eventually the author (with a pretty low user number, though not as low as mine :-) comes along and adds his two-cents. Then someone else comes along and dishes what the inventor of email is working on from a recent personal conversation. Cool. That's what you get sometimes on MetaFilter.
We had our much-needed, normal, uneventful night at home. I knocked out 'The Book of Three' in a couple of hours. It was nice enough, though not a revelation.

Tuesday, July 24

Interesting insider view on Honeywell's 'acquisition' by AlliedSignal and the dog-eat-dog world of high finance (via Eric).
I'm wiped out. We've had family in town for about a week, and we had a book study at our house last night. Therefore, I'm exhausted. We're supposed to go to a different book club tonight to discuss 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and our 'beach reading'. But I can't take it. I need a normal, uneventful night at home.
Matt cheers for the mass availibility of information online.
Well, Bush got an arms control agreement on his trip. Good for him, I guess. I don't like the other stuff that went down, though, as I've written below.
Hello, John Morse (the greeting is here because of no apparent contact info on the site. found in referrer log.).

Monday, July 23

If you're in the mood for a Bush, G-8, Genoa rant, go read what Scott wrote.
Successful first mission out of ISS airlock
World Clinches Climate Deal Without U.S.

Shameful. It's shameful that the US pulled out.

Although the United States does not intend to ratify that agreement we have not tried to stop others from moving ahead as long as U.S. interests are not threatened.

US interests trump world interests. Gag.
I think the Pope has a pretty good head on his shoulders. Excerpts from his speech yesterday:

In a strong voice, the 81-year-old pontiff warned Bush of ''evils such as euthanasia, infanticide and, most recently, proposals for the creation for research purposes of human embryos, destined to destruction in the process.''

``A free and virtuous society, which America aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate human life at any stage from conception until natural death,'' he said.

During Bush's six years as governor of Texas, the state carried out 152 executions, the highest rate in the United States.

Under his presidency, U.S. federal authorities resumed executions after a 38-year hiatus. Two men have been put to death.

The Pope warned that many were excluded from the benefits of globalization. ''The church cannot but express profound concern that our world continues to be divided, no longer by the former political and military blocks, but by a tragic fault line between those who can benefit from these opportunities and those who seem cut off from them,'' said the Pope.

The Pope on Sunday condemned the violence in Genoa, saying it was not the right path to justice.

His view boils down to the brief statement above: valuing human life at every stage from conception until natural death. You may not agree, but it's certainly a cogent, coherent view, and one which avoids the excesses and pitfalls of some of our technological dreams.

Friday, July 20

Take On Me (Version 2)

I watched this video today and it makes me really happy. Not sure if it's 'good' or not. Can't be objective. But I love it.
'weltschmerz' was Jason's word of the day a couple of days ago. I wasn't going to log it, but I keep thinking about it, so I guess I will.

mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state

I have this theory that some of the most cynical of us have come to it by way of idealism. We have an idealistic concept of the world, and get jaded. This is very true of me.

Sometimes I think the most optimistic I can get is trying to hope. But, principally, I don't believe that's positive enough.

For example, I'm reading Lloyd Alexander's 'The Foundling'. At the end of the first chapter, which is Dallben's origin, it says something like: at the end of knowledge comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes hope. Nice sentiment, and those things are all important, but I think he got the relationships wrong.

The definition of wisdom that I took from my DandD days is 'knowledge put into action' or something like that. It's different from knowledge, which is content, and intelligence, which I think of as processing power and speed.

Okay so far. Proverbs says 'the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom'. I think that's right. According to the Bible, nothing is really wise unless it begins with God.

And hope is something different. In Christianity, hope has content. Alexander's hope seems vague: optimism that isn't really based on anything. It reminds me of the Geoffrey Rush character in 'Shakespeare in Love' who keeps saying that something good will happen, but for no good reason. Very postmodern, but it's a bunch of baloney. That kind of hope belongs to Pollyana, Helen Steiner Rice, Dale Carnegie, and Hallmark.

The very popular 1 Corinthians 13 (that you hear at weddings, beginning 'Love is patient, love is kind...') ends 'these three remain: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love'. The proper interpretation here is not that Paul is commending fuzzy virtues. Rather, they all have content. And, since this is Christianity, it's not surprising that the content is Christ: faith/trust in Christ, hope in Christ, and love for Christ that expresses itself best in love for other people.

So, back to hope. Christian hope looks forward to Jesus' ultimate victory over evil, the consummation of the coming of His kingdom, His return, and the redemption of Creation. That's part of what Christians, properly, should live for.

That's why I say, principially, that I should have more hope. I believe these things.

But I don't see them, and that's the problem. I can't believe my eyes, but I tend to. Paul said in 2 Corinthians that what is seen is temporary, and what is unseen is eternal. I get focused on what I see, and it gives me weltschmerz (were you wondering if that would come back around?). I forget my hope, the only real hope (if you're going to follow the teachings of Paul and Jesus about it).

(preemptive rejoinder: This is where some critics of Christianity will accuse us of waiting for 'pie in the sky when we die' and letting the world go to hell around us. No question some do that, but it's not the Jesus way. Instead, we should do both: We care about the future and eternity and live with those things in mind (Store up your treasures in heaven). But we also care about things and people here ('Love your neighbor as yourself.' 'Rule over the earth (ie, be good stewards of Creation).'). Ya' dig?)

Thursday, July 19

Also inspired by Steven, I looked up The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (the world's longest suspension-type) . First, a map of the Honshu-Shikoku bridges. Next, the Akashi Kaikyo itself.
Steven reasons that Adobe has made themselves a hacker target. Interesting.
Lance Armstrong is a pure machine.
I wrote down my favorite quote from 'Almost Famous':

The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with somewhen else when you're uncool.

Right on.

Wednesday, July 18

Hey, Matt was on TV.
Amazing. Some Caltech folks raised an almost 7000 pounds block with a kite to prove the Egyptians could have done it too (via Queso).
Lia had this interesting link to the work of Santiago Calatrava, specifically the ALAMILLO bridge & CARTUJA viaduct. I enjoyed clicking through his other bridges. I cycled through his public buildings as well. Interesting. (Flash warning: some annoying use.)

Tuesday, July 17

I think domain names are cool. If I had more money, I'd buy a lot of cool domain names. '' would be first. I'd probably buy some with funky 'TLD's at

So tonight, having seen somewhere in passing, I thought 'What cool word could I register that hasn't been taken yet?' I tried and felt smart right away. It's being used by some guys at Xerox PARC (of course, they're not using it very effectively, but hey, that's their prerogative, in the immortal words of Bobby Brown.) Then I thought 'Okay, pick one nobody has yet, no chance (well, little chance).' So I picked my favorite word from 'The Sound and the Fury': 'polyphiloprogenitive' - tending to produce many offspring. So if I was in the domain-buying business, I might buy that one, too.

'' is also not taken, not to mention ''. Variants would include '' and ''. Without trying them, I'm guessing they're available, too. (These last thoughts were inspired by the link on presurfer. Confession: friday the 13th came and went and I never thought of the myth one time. Seems strange. A little head-down? I think so.)
Hey! John 13 put up the pics from our dinner a little while ago.

me and Christine (most flattering. Note: I'm holding the 'Chicago' magazines that John kindly brought from his place of employment.)

me and Christine (less flattering)

me and John (both looking a little goof - me with eyes squinting, John looking up, but you get the idea.)

So now you can know what I look like.
I enjoyed this article on Beowulf clusters (networking otherwise 'useless' off the shelf consumer PCs into parallel supercomputers) (from Jorn).
Jason has this link to a famous map of Napoleon's 1812 Russian campaign with an explanation. Then some guys used it as a source for the map of their road trip to see baseball games.

Monday, July 16

Leaks in Space - innocuous ones on the space station, in the new air lock and on a spacesuit.
I started 'Shadow of the Hegemon' last night. It is great. I'm already 179 pages into it.

The plot is really engrossing. Also, it's a book about ideas and values. I think Card handles these really well.

One of the engrossing parts of the plot is that it's about child geniuses - the smartest children in the world. I think we like to see ourselves in these kids, I know I do. I think it's all a little overwrought. I don't think even the smartest children work this way but, hey, it's good reading.

One of the interesting values in Card's novels is family. This isn't surprising, since he's an observant Mormon. Although Card does a good job of fairly representing all of the different ideas and values and the complexities of characters along with them, I guess that this family value in the mouth of Mrs Wiggin is closest to his own. And the first Ender series has a strong place for family beginning with 'Speaker for the Dead'. I think the exploration of this family value and its dynamics is really valuable. And it's interesting to think about how families can be in adventure novels. And you almost can't say enough about commitment to spouse and children. Except then Card does. He takes it that last bit too far, in my opinion. It almost becomes 'We live on through our children and their children (and that's why we have to have a lot).' and I can't go for that.
My friend, Stephanie, and I are going to do Who's on First? for our church talent show. Should be fun.
Time to go back and reread some of the books I enjoyed when I was a child. I was in two conversations last week about Lloyd Alexander's Taran books, so I checked those out from the library. Also, I checked out 'The Great Brain' by John D Fitzgerald. I read all of it in a couple hours on Saturday. It's about some boys growing up in Utah in the late 19th century. I enjoyed it (though I don't know that I'll keep reading in the series).

I will say this much: reading 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'The Great Brain' have me pining for simpler times. This is not typical for me. I'm famous for saying 'There were no good old days.' However, some of the simplicity of their lives, though they were harder, is attractive to me. Then again, it's probably only the leisure of my complicated life that gives me time or inclination to even think such things.

Friday, July 13

I had an extensive dream about 'Top Gun' last night which I can assure you was far better than the original.
Interesting articles read today:

Amelia Earhart Plane Possibly Spotted By Satellite

No Sex for Two Years, Moi Urges Kenyan People in an effort to fight their AIDS epidemic.

Wednesday, July 11

If you like Radiohead, note that Jason saw them in concert and go read what he wrote about it.
Neither Spain nor Britain should be models of the German expansion, but the Nordics of North America, who had ruthlessly pushed aside an inferior race to win for themselves soil and territory for the future.

Adolf Hitler

Like Nathan said, 'chilling'. Go see the other comparisons between Hitler and Thomas Jefferson.
The International Space Station's coming along. It seems to me that they will cross over into an almost entirely different existence now that they have their own crane and airlock. And when the Shuttle's there (with the same facilities) they should be able to do double the work. Cool.
Wholey Mackerel. Get mentioned by Matt, get 103 hits in one day. Most ever (like 250% of the previous high). Thanks for another thing, Matt.

Tuesday, July 10

Here's something I looked up when I was in Chicago: Luther's third 'sort' of Divine Service (page down about twice to Arabic Numeral '3'). This structure of faith might surprise you. What do you think?

Monday, July 9

Update on the Microsoft trial by the guy who's writing the book. Good, looks like they're still going to get it. (and I think he also wrote the very good cover story for Wired (but, sorry, I forgot where I got this. You know, the usual sources, probably. If it was you, I'll happily update and give credit.).
Go read Textism. Good stuff, especially regarding visual design. Among other things, he had the link to The Art of Turboing, how to skip radically forward in the customer service process, and when. I really enjoyed reading it. So I went on reading and ended reading Rob's incredibly detailed description of his experiences with his Saab. I don't know why I read the whole thing, but I did.
When the WTO General Director blamed 'dot-com types' for violence at their recent meetings, dj had this funny retort:

We thought "dot com" types were too busy braying into mobile phones and snorting enormous quantities of Bolivian marching powder as they vandalised a communication infrastructure created at great public expense for research purposes, with marketing plans that would get a six year old suspended from kindergarten for frivolity.

(And read on today for two more interesting links.)
I almost always like Nathan's political commentary. You know that since I link him everytime he writes some. He's got a nice entry the on Hamilton and Jefferson, Republicanism and Populism. You should read it.

Sunday, July 8

Matt said he guessed this was the first stop on the MetaFilter Summer Tour. I'd forgotten about that. Cool.

Saturday, July 7

Just got back from dinner with Matt. I had a nice time. I picked him up at the Embassy Suites and we went to dinner at The Full Moon Cafe (on the way we drove through the fifth most dangerous intersection in America - see above). He had the veggie burger, tortilla soup, and Pepsi and I had Teriyaki Salmon, salad, and Sprite. I enjoyed the conversation. Then I dropped him back off.

It's cool. Matt's integrally responsible for two of my favorite Internet applications. And the best part of it is that all but two of those guys in the friends column are friends I've made on MetaFilter. The best part of all of this stuff is the relationships. So thanks, Matt.
I'm rereading 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and it's delightful so far. So, here's a Harper Lee website. 'To Kill A Mockingbird' is her only published book. An interesting story from the site:

Tom Williamson and I have been writing. He is sixteen. He lives in a small town outside of Adelaide, Australia...

Tom was given the assignment of choosing a character from Mockingbird, analyzing the person, and orally presenting the results. He had chosen Mayella Violet Ewell, and wanted suggestions about how to proceed. We ended up sending notes back and forth, he as Mayella, me as her pen-pal... Today he did his presentation in class. He took flowers in with him, four tins cans of lavender, geraniums, and just some weeds that looked good, not too many in each, and he made them wilt with a little poison. He lined the tin cans up in a row, talked about how he felt as Mayella, and then, as he recounted Mayella's Paw telling her that Tom Robinson was dead, cut the heads of the flowers off, deliberately, slowly, one by one.

Tom's teacher told him she reckoned the class was his and he could do with 'em what he liked.
Looks like meadenet is back up and running, including email. Good.
Two Tulsa intersection are on State Farm's worst in the nation, at numbers 5 and 6. All 5 of the top 5 most dangerous intersections in Oklahoma are in Tulsa. Look out! Maybe I should change the name of this weblog to 'intersect'.
Ugh. It's 98 right now, will be 100 today, and may not get below 80 tonight. Welcome to Tulsa. Christine and the kids, blessedly, are in cool, north central Iowa.
If you read here regularly, you will have gathered that I have an addictive personality (that is, I get addicted to stuff. I don't know of anyone who's addicted to me. I'm playing Civilization as I write.) I was once addicted to FreeCell. Did you know you can select games '-1' and '-2' and they're impossible to win? Check it out (Props to Jason Streed for the info.).

Friday, July 6

Since I'm sure you're waiting breathlessly to find out, Matt called and we're going to try to do something tomorrow night. Cool! More later. (Man, that makes John 13 and Matt Haughey in span of 17 days. Pretty sweet, aye?)
Hmmm. I also took out the hitbox code. Now, with BlogVoices, hitbox, and ads gone, loads nice and fast, aye? All in the service of my faithful public.
I'm totally pumped! Matt is in Tulsa right now! I sent him a message to call me so I can buy him dinner or a drink. Wish me luck!
Ai yai yai. I finally had a chance to call Domain Direct and ask them what was up with meadenet. Turns out, in trying to renew it and move it from Network Solutions to Domain Direct it expired! Yikes. But Chris at DD was very helpful and meadenet, including email forwarding, should be back up and running in 48 hours. One possible good side effect is cleansing my system of some spam.
Well, I finally took the BlogVoices code out of the template. I'm looking at other options. If you know something killer, let me know.
That's right, it's Science Friday! These articles caught my eye:

Voyager to Reach Distant Milestone Sooner Than You Think

Hubble Views Mars at its Closest to Earth
For your viewing pleasure, and as a service to my loyal readers, I just paid to rid interact of blogspot ads. You're welcome. (Hope it's okay, Christine. It was only 10$.)

Thursday, July 5

The French miracle: Official study finds that France's 35-hour week has boosted the economy and proved a hit with both employees and their bosses (via the web today).
I was reading in Sports Illustrated about football camps for hs students put on by colleges and their real focus on recruiting, even though it's against the NCAA rules. It prompted me to go further with the ideas about professional sports that I logged below. We need to go ahead, I think, and just make a semi-pro league at that level, sort of the way minor league baseball works. Somewhat akin to legalization of drugs, at least from the economic side, the money is there and it's going to try to find and outlet. It could help some kids, too. Maybe this would just push the problem down to hs. That could be hairy. I don't know. Ideas...
You know those email rules I logged below? Well, I live by them at home, but when i send email from Outlook at work to Outlook at home, it kicks the text into an attachment that I have to open. I hate doing that every time I send a note. So can anyone tell me how to change Outlook 2000 so that won't happen? I've looked and looked.

Adbusters rules (click the flag for more). (I got this from Matt.)

Monday, July 2

Just spent some time getting caught up on Kottke and I really enjoyed it. Here's NextDraft. Also, read his glowing review of fast food as it should be at In-N-Out Burger.

And, in this entry, rules for email (from Dan Gillmor):

Informative subject line, good opening paragraph, no attachments (the world doesn't need any more Word docs when plain text will do), and no HTML.
Eric has a funny account of talking to Dell Tech Support (at least you can get them and they send you new stuff, but it's still funny).
Also via Matt, the greatest roadsign ever.
(begin goofy joke)Speaking of howlers, it sounds awfully close to 'Haughey', doesn't it? Coincidence? (end goofy joke. Don't get the wrong idea. I love Matt. I adore Matt. I care too much what Matt thinks. And, okay, I'm a little obsessed with Matt, but not in a stalking sort of way.)
I have no more commentary to give on the Israel/Palestine conflict because I'm commented out. I'm sickened by the whole thing. But if you aren't yet, or don't know much about it, keep an eye on The Web Today.
Scott and Ryan are talking about doing a film festival here in Tulsa of protest/critique type stuff. So far they're thinking about 'Roger and Me' and 'This is What Democracy Looks Like'. I thought of doing protest music and videos, like Rage and Public Enemy. Any other ideas? (My meadenet email isn't working.)
You'll be happy to know that our air conditioner is fixed for now - loose breakers that the repairman insisted would 'kill me dead'. I had to pay 90$ to find that out and still have to get an electrician to come out. At least it's cool.
Forgiving debt for poor nations seems like a good idea. The World Bank and the IMF are holding things up. That's no surprise.