August 20, 2019

For white conservatives, accepting that the United States wouldn't exist without slavery would mean acknowledging that the Founders were not the creators of an infallible civic religion, which sets the limits on all modern claims for justice. It would mean that liberty was, in practice, as much a matter of exclusion as inclusion, and that success and prosperity owe more to centuries of exploitation than to God's blessing of an exceptional people.

Giants 🤝 Strippers
Grinding men's bones to make their bread

parking lot butterfly

August 20, 2018

It's a gift to get to be anything at all.
Louis (who is a can of Go 2 Cola.)
Liz introduced me to this episode of "99% Invisible" helping to launch a new podcast, Everything is Alive. The podcast feels like a shadow of Shintoism, it gives inanimate objects voices and then interviews them. The premiere episode interviews a can of generic cola named Louis, and the unscripted dialogue ends up feeling like a very funny style parody of the "This American Life" genre - but it actually made me a bit verklempt.

(I remember I did a similar bit as a 9 year old or so, running around with a tape recorder and interviewing objects for some sort of faux radio program - but I didn't think to give them human voices, so I had to interview loud things like a handbell and an electric pencil sharpener.)

(Related: once you've heard the podcast see Margaret Davis' "Peas")
Law 1: Every program can be optimised to be smaller.
Law 2: There's always one more bug.
Corollary: Every program can be reduced to a one-line bug.
- oh wait Ken Arnold had
Every program has at least one bug and can be shortened by at least one instruction — from which, by induction, it is evident that every program can be reduced to one instruction that does not work.
that's what I was thinking of.

August 20, 2017

I can't say enough that the folks playing in the protest band today were HEROES, going (nearly) nonstop for a good 4 hours, elevating and uplifting the entire event, sounding like a million bucks. Anyone who knows any of these Honkers, feel free to pass along my heartfelt thanks.

Posted by Sarah Darling on Saturday, August 19, 2017

Random Memory: St. Patrick's School in Salamanca was changing "Fathers", and to the outgoing one they had us students sing "Hasta Manana / 'Til We Meet Again / Don't Know Where / Don't Know When / Father Our Love is Much too Strong to Die / We'll Find a Way to Make a New Tomorrow".

Turns out that's a slightly tweaked Abba song. But that's a... pretty generous translation by the second line of the first... guess they just went for the sound and not the sense of the Spanish.

These people are doing it right.

Violence allows Nazis to pretend to be victims.

Tubas just make them look like the dumbfucks they are.

August 20, 2016

I can say with some certainty that the most beautiful sound I know is the wobbly clink of a dinged-up air-hockey puck dropping into goal.

August 20, 2015

from untitled1point4
The other day Melissa and I played a little hooky to go see the Decordova and then after we collaborated on an interactive art piece.

August 20, 2014

"I'm going to start a bar and call it 'Pour Decisions'."
"That's almost as good as what mine's gonna be: 'Cocktails & Wifi'."
Me and Jeff F. on our company outing a few weeks ago

ALS Ice Water Challenge. I lost an Aunt to this, and it's such a terrible thing...

AK aug 6 - 3 flights, then wild berries and mushrooms

August 20, 2013
I realized I was a bit remiss in not posting photos during my Alaska vacation, so I will be posting them in serialized form, one day per day over the next week. 2 weeks late but making good time!
Ah, moving's peculiar existential silver lining... Life may be short, but (with Amber's help, maybe) there was certainly time enough to accumulate all this stuff I am taking to Goodwill.
Vine is an underrated medium:

(seems like it was some kind of best vines of 2013, found a replacement)

sunday evening sky

August 20, 2012

logo logic

August 20, 2011

--The people at Fauxgo share my love of fictional logo design. This one is from Toy Story.

we can sort it out

August 20, 2010
Making the rounds (JZ sent me a link but I think I saw a reference to it somewhere) is this eye and ear and mind candy for computer geeks: what different sorting algorithms (routines for ordering giant bunches of numbers) sound like... Not sure why Heap Sort gets its own, but here it is:
A bit more of a writeup at the article. So the sound is cool, but I admit I'm getting more information from the visual part-- it's the sound that makes it compelling, though... "The color? Always something tacky." - kind of a neat webapp to overlay big structures historical and present over a map of your zipcode.
The other night Alewife there was a guy with a Decepticon symbol on one calf, Autobot on the other. C'mon dude, pick a side!

catholic dogs go to heaven

August 20, 2009
From (Pity about the JPEG compression!)

According to Time's "Your Brain" special, a patch of brain consumes up to 10x more energy than equivalent patch of other organ. Why doesn't thinking make us hungry?
Note to decluttering self: "irreplaceable" does not mean "will be missed".

on the vinegar tasters

August 20, 2008
Lately I've been thinking about the following passage from the end of Tom Robbins' "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues":
In a place out of doors, near forests and meadows, stands a jar of vinegar - the emblem of life.

Confucius approaches the jar, dips his finger in and tastes the brew. "Sour," he says, "Nonetheless, I can see where it could be very useful in preparing certain foods."

Buddha comes to the vinegar jar, dips in a finger and has a taste. "Bitter," is his comment. "It can cause suffering to the palate, and since suffering is to be avoided, the stuff should be disposed of at once."

The next to stick a finger in the vinegar is Jesus Christ. "Yuk," says Jesus. "It's both bitter and sour. It's not fit to drink. In order that no one else will have to drink it, I will drink it all myself."

But now two people approach the jar, together, naked, hand in hand. The man has a beard and woolly legs like a goat. His long tongue is slightly swollen from some poetry he's been reciting. The woman wears a cowboy hat, a necklace of feathers, a rosy complexion. Her tummy and tits bear the stretch marks of motherhood; she carries a basket of mushrooms and herbs. First the man and then the woman sticks a thumb into the vinegar. She licks his thumb and he hers. Initially they make a face, but almost immediately they break into wide grins. "It's sweet," they chime.

I realize now, though, I was getting it mixed up with "The Tao of Pooh"'s telling of the story this drew from, "The Vinegar Tasters". Tom Robbins took out Lao-tse, gave his role to the couple, and added in Jesus Christ, with an interesting reference to the idea of divine sacrifice.

Something weirdly worldly in splitting a bottle of white w/ an old flame over dinner, later bar cocktails w/ my uncle. Like bad Hemingway.
Gee, how can I resist a come-on (in french) from a skype bot named "! sex - sexy gazelle ejaculation feminine sexe"?

gorgeous? sure, but stupid, random, blind.

(1 comment)
August 20, 2007
August is showing its cold side. It made me think of this poem:
I could compare you to a summer day -
No! Summer's beautiful, but full of doubt,
He smiles sweetly, but he'll never stay,
And Summer's cash is always running out.
He laughs with me, then he turns and burns,
He's cold for weeks, then he'll change his mind -

Fair? No, unfair! Unaware of my concerns,
Gorgeous? Sure, but stupid, random, blind.
Dear, when you say you'll stay, you always will,
And when you change, you always give a reason,
You're too fierce for time or death to kill!
How could I compare you to a season?

   You will shine, as constant as a star,
   When this poem is forgotten; most poems are.
I wonder what Romana Machado is up to these days... most of her online references are pretty old. She was profiled in an early Wired as a writer of encryption and Extropian who plans to live forever, or at least get frozen 'til she can be thawed out.

Great poem though.

Oddly enough I can search the second line up on Yahoo, but not Google. Wonder if it's slipping...

Diagram of the Moment

--Diagram linked from a Slate piece on a "physics" explanation of why poor nations stay poor. The core ideas are that A. rich countries tend to have a nice diversity of industries and B. it's easier to switch from related industry to another, so if most of your wealth is in outlier industries such as oil, it's going to be harder to diversify.

Huh. I would have guessed "textiles" would be closer to "garments" than "metallurgy".

truth + love = justice

August 20, 2006
Years ago I was grumbling about the Windows key, and it still strikes me as an invention of tremendous hubris on behalf of Microsoft. To leap across the software/hardware boundary for a bit of marketing in the guise of "usability"... that's really something. (On the other hand, it is a bit useful for me as a way of quickly launching programs without resorting to the mouse...)

Doesn't it annoy the heck out of people using other operating systems on PC hardware?

And FWIW, yesterday's doodle was a product of that Fujitsu Lifebook I was jonesing for and finally broke down and got, having reached my first goal of 20 lbs lost. I think the drawing/coloring style I "invented" on my Palm, using PalmPaint which seemed to lack a fill feature, works fairly well, and avoid the worst of the "made with Microsoft Paint" effect.

Geekery of the Moment
The fantasy computer game Ultima IV introduced a really interesting set virtues, setting the game apart from the "kill everything and take their money" approach of the earlier games, and of many other series.

The Avatar
Reading up on them at the Wikipedia Wikipedia page and this fan page I find I really like the "alchemy" behind. The basic principles are Truth, Love, and Courage (the pages go into greter detail about the symbols for each.) These are combined to form the 8 principles as follows:
Truth >>> Honesty
Love >>> Compassion
Courage >>> Valour
Truth + Love >>> Justice
Love + Courage >>> Sacrifice
Courage + Truth >>> Honour
Truth + Love + Courage >>> Spirituality
No Virtues >>> Pride, countered by Humility
Of course I had to really admire the Principles and Virtues of Mandrake the Bard.... the Principles are Wine, Women, and Song, and form the following:
Wine >>> Drunkenness
Women >>> Sensuality
Song >>> Harmony
Wine + Women >>> Lust
Wine + Song >>> Laziness
Women + Song >>> Dance
Wine + Women + Song >>> Indulgence
No Virtues >>> Sadness, countered by Happiness


August 20, 2005
Science of the Moment
There is a taste which is common to asparagus, tomatoes, cheese and meat but which is not one of the four well-known tastes of sweet, sour, bitter and salty.
...Wikipedia describes the sensation as well. Funny how it took so long to recognize it. Kind of like how Japanese recognize brown as a separate color more than they do green-blue. (It's not that their "blind" to the difference, it just doesn't feel as "strong" to them, and that might partially be a cultural construct.)

All that reminds me of a poem I read in like fourth grade where a blind girl asks the reader to describe the color blue.

big thumbs up

August 20, 2004
Tackiness of the Moment
A form of artistic political commentary in rather poor taste, (As "Evil Bastard" pointed out, parts are really REALLY tasteless; it's pretty bad even in a "edgey social satire" sense) people are invited to send in photos of themselves Doing A Lynndie: adopting the smiling, cigarette hanging, pointing-at-some-less-fortunate-person pose that Lynndie England had in the infamous prison scandal photo.

Musing of the Moment
I think that well-known phenomenon where you don't notice a recurring background noise until it stops tells us something about our sense of perception, and from there, what consciousness is and how it relates to the subsonscious. This morning I pulled into a parking space and turned off the engine...and only then did I notice that there had been an engine noise all along. But it's not quite that simple, because I wasn't just suddenly aware of the (relative) silence...for a split second I could hear the engine and analyze its sound, think about the components of it, make a quick check that nothing sounded out of the ordinary. I think it offers a tantalizing glimpse into the "tape delay" we live in, but that we fool ourselves into not perceiving. Without realizing it, I was travelling back in time, letting my conscious brain swim in the river of perceptions my subconscious brain has going along. But it didn't feel like I was "playing back the tape" was exactly as if I was perceiving things in the moment.

I guess that's as much about how much subconscious processing we do all the time as our fudged view of time, but the "tape delay"...the fact that it takes true, non-reflexive awareness of the outside world about half a second to kick in, but our brain purposefully fudges its clock so we end up thinking we're reacting in "real time" experimentally well-established. (Warning, popups for adware at that site). Our self-models are so over-simplified, and off-the-mark...I think that gives some creedencxe to the Zen view that consciousness is an illusion.

Incidentally, I have the hardest time visualizing the implications of the "zap the brain while poking the skin" experiment. I find it so difficult to really grok the idea of consciousness on tape delay, how sensations from, say, the skin must be re-encoded so it fits into our own personal subjective timestream...

Dialog of the Moment
"Pokey, are you drunk on love?"
"Yes. Also whiskey. But mostly love... and whiskey."

mouthful of fish

August 20, 2003
Animal of the Moment
Humuhumunukunukuapua'a - the (unofficial) state fish of Hawaii. Its name might mean something like "fish who comes out of the water and sounds like a pig." (I learned of this fish via Joy Sikorski's "How To Draw a Radish" page-a-day calendar, where she teaches you how to draw one of these beauties.)

Politics of the Moment
Slate comapares the public version of the Re-elect Bush website to the beta version that was accidentally exposed to the public. (They got rid of the delightfully informative link caption "See more Hispanic photos.")

Flash Toys of the Moment
Vectorpark has some great little flash toys. The Thomas page has a bunch of them...the one called Egg might be the coolest, as it morphs through many different structures, you can watch it for a long time. (Many of the little creations will follow the mouse pointer.) The Levers game is also kind of cool, make your own balancing mobile.

Plug of the Moment
My Sony Clié didn't come with a cradle, just a USB cable. Since a Sony Cradle new is $50 (what a ripoff!) I thought I'd see what I could E-bay up. What I found is a great $20 replacement by Moonlight Technologies...I decided to try my luck at the Ebay auction and got it for like $12.50. It seems solidly constructed, is reasonably cute, supports both USB and old school Serial, and is a great deal overall. I might try their foldout keyboard sometime for $40. UPDATE: I dropped them a quick e-mail saying basically what I said here, and got a human response in like ten minutes. Impressive!)

kicker of puppies

August 20, 2002
            photobook ii

I assembled part 2 of my online photobook. Photobook ii, hopefully an ongoing project, emphasizes photos that have a certain visual flair (relative to the first edition) since I'm taking so many more pictures these days.









Parenthetical Note of the Moment
(The other day, in a monastery, Phunsook pointed to a mural of an ogre, who was stomping on the head of a defeated enemy. "This is the Buddha of Compassion, in his wrathful form," Phunsook said. Again, this may require some clarification.)
Seth Stevenson writing from Kashmir, in this Slate piece about an appearance by the Dali Lama.
News of the Moment
It's official, al Qaeda kills cute little puppies. (I remember my tenth or eleventh grade history teacher joking about some terrible historical figure being labelled as a "kicker of puppies"...who knew such a line would end up having an overtone of menace.)

one two tree

August 20, 2001
Quote of the Moment
Talking and listening to the people in this marketplace is the best way to learn. The trees in the countryside can teach me nothing.
Socrates. I feel the same way about nature, nice to see the viewpoint backed up by such a big thinker.
Image of the Moment

I'm usually not a big "aww, isn't that cute" kind of photographer, but... "aww, isn't that cute?" Taken at a barbecue held by some friends. I love the concerned expression, the "stop with the cameraing and make with the drink-getting!"

About the Concorde disaster: that Tuesday the French killed more Germans than in 2 World Wars combined.
Unlike baboons, our butts aren't flaming red. As a consequence, humans have a harder time hooking up.
 --Dan Savage
"Give me a plant with a demonstrable sense of irony, then I'll be all over botany."
"Life sucks and then you keep living."
--BEK (New Yorker, Aug. 23 & 30, 1999)
"Every man is as God made him, ay, and often worse."
--Miguel de Cervantes
The first entry on the new PalmV- still sitting on its little charger. Very elegant looking unit. Still wondering if I was too hasty, but hey, time will tell.
I've left out the clich of how interesting it is to have the same data on two different physical units- alas, I'm still making plenty of graffiti-o's. (I'm vaguely worried about this new machine somehow "breaking" the KHftCEA- I doubt, though I should get a keyboard for this...)
I've been writing "random memories" lately- kind of a new feature. It brings to mind the "why am I writing this" question. On the one hand, it's writing for me. On the other, I do try to make it sensible and margially entertaining for other people to read. I guess there's always the faint hope that I'll end up doing something sufficiently interesting with the rest of my life that someone besides me will want to read it as a whole someday.

I like how the new Palm looks lost in my hand.
What a WEIRD day- up til 5am this morning playing through Star Control 3 then after 2 hours sleep I get a slighty enigmtic e-mail suggesting the love blender was reviewed in the New Yorker- between fatigue and exhilaration and severe meeting boredom I feel... name it.