second best photos of 2017

January 5, 2019
talk about a day late and a dollar short - the second best photos I took in 2017...

You don't own the atoms in your body. It's just your turn to use them.
u/Prof_Alchem (reminds me of the quote from the movie Avatar: "She said all energy is only borrowed, and one day you have to give it back" )

January 5, 2018

I guess Republicans are all for states rights and small business and jobs except when they have a chance to overturn something Obama's administration set up.
I <3

All stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.
Ernest Hemingway

January 5, 2017

The AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it can use for something else.
AI theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky, via Gizmodo on The Worst Lies You've Been Told About the Singularity - the reference is in part to the "Paperclip Maximer", an AI that is instructed to have an inordinate love of paperclips might not have the same assumptions about what else in the solar system is worth preserving that we do...


January 5, 2016

Nice piece on the history of sporting beards in Western Culture...
Snoopy may be shallow in his way, but he's also deep, and in the end deeply alone, as deeply alone as Charlie Brown is. Grand though his flights are, many of them end with his realizing that he's tired and cold and lonely and that it's suppertime.

January 5, 2015

Lutherans are people who hate superman, right?

ice skating is like walking in cursive
deair (tumblr) - I like this set of day-planning and willpower-managing tips. Some of them I've already been applying to life. "It's not about time. It's about energy." -- or as it was called in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, "gumption" I made a rough tool for making text overlays - (technically I kind of recreated something I made like ten years ago, but in a new form)

January 5, 2014

Why marketers fear the female geek. I like explanations of the world like this one, that refer more to a law of unintended consequences rather than presuming that it's large scale bad intentions that lead to ugly situations, like we have now with the extreme gender-splitting and "hardcore us vs everyone else" culture building.

Blender of Love

the retirement of major betty israel

(1 comment)
January 5, 2013
Today is my Mom's retirement ceremony, marking (if not quite concluding) 42-odd years of service in The Salvation Army.

For the ceremony, my mom assembled a bunch of photos, picked some music, and Amber used that beastly iMovie program to assemble a terrific slideshow:
(You might need Chrome or Safari to see; Firefox is angry about the video format, and IE is terrible. Sorry for any inconvenience but Chrome is easy to get)

I was asked to come up with the "Word from the Family" speech for the thing. Here's what I came up with, it has a lot of family anecdotes and describes life for an "OK" (Officer's Kid) in The Salvation Army. Some of the jokes are a little forced or corny but over all it was well-received.

I noticed the program lists this as "A Word from the Family" and lists me as "Kirk Logan Israel" and at first that gave me pause, because- growing up, when my mom busted out all three names, "KIRK LOGAN ISRAEL"- I knew someone was in hot water, and that that someone was me. But back to the names thing in a second.

As many of you know first hand, Officership is a family affair. Like you saw on the slide show, I came on the scene when my folks were stationed in Philadelphia, the city of brother love. I'm sure I enjoyed many of their famous cheese steaks before being whisked away to Cleveland at the tender age of 3 months.

Cleveland! The Land of Cleves. My folks were stationed at the Booth Memorial Hospital there. My mom tells me it was convenient being a new parent working at a maternity hospital! She got to borrow a bassinet and I became a fixture in the gift shop where my mom was doing some supervising, so Baby Kirk was a kind of a coming attraction feature for the pregnant folk there.

Our quarters were very near the hospital... this came in handy one night in particular -- I had been sleeping between my folks, and somehow I had rolled onto the floor and I banged my head-- I still have a scar over my eyebrow from that night. My dad threw on a jump suit (hey it was the 70s), my mom threw on a zip up nightgown and that's how they ran over to the hospital.

so the doctors did their thing, but on the way home, my mom was concerned... it was kind of a suspicious looking blow, and my parents had no idea how I managed to roll all the way over my mom to get it to happen... what should they say if Child Services came knocking?

My dad thought a moment, and announced there were three possible tactics they could use:
1. Indigation: "HOW DARE you accuse us of doing this to our child??"
2. Explanation: calmly describe the circumstances as they understood them, and hope for the best.
3. Or, he said, we can bring 'em to the basement and show them where we buried the other ones.

This kind of humor is about par for my family's course.

Our next appointment was our most interesting -- not to mention the warmest. St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. St. Thomas had more than its fair share of wildlife, like these little lizards ---- that our cat would hunt.... And catch..... And put in our shoes. Thank you cat!

There were also flying cockroaches. Island kids would make little cages for them and sell them to tourists as quote "mahogany birds". These tourists would then wonder why they couldn't bring their new cockroach pet back through customs... the first night my parents were on the island, in fact, one of those cockroaches flew into my dad's t-shirt. My mom always said that if it had landed in her nightgown, they would have been on the boat back to Puerto Rico that very night.

[I learned to talk there, and had a calypso accent for a number of years... they tell me my first words to my grandfather were a phone call, "Heyee, Pop-pa Samm". They talked really fast there, so if I'm talking fast during this speech, that's my excuse.]

After St. Thomas, it was back to Ohio: Cincinnati this time. Cincinnati had its own wildlife too-- tiny peeper frogs. I would catch these little frogs and carry them around everywhere in old kool-whip containers with holes in the lid. one family story is the time my mom was driving, with me napping in the back. My mom figured I was napping pretty soundly til about 20 minutes later I piped up with "Got 'Em All Back Now, mom!" -- looks like I had been studiously REcapturing my little minions the entire trip.

"Got 'em all back now, mom!" became my family's catchphrase for situations where you don't find out about a problem until its been safely resolved.

Time to move again. My parents were told the Army needed them again as corps officers, this time in the city of Salamanca. Their first reaction: "Where's Salamanca?" That would be a small town in Western New York... the only town built from land leased from an Indian reservation. My parents developed a close relationship with the people of the Seneca tribe, even being adopted into it. They also had good working relationships with several of the other churches in the area, often filling in as guest ministers. The Catholic school, St. Patricks, was just down the street... my mom volunteered at the music program sometimes, and I was one of the few kids who got a "clergy discount" from a catholic school.

I think Salamanca was where I most clearly saw the interesting gender role balance of the Army. I like telling people that the famous song only goes halfway--- I'm not just a sweet talkin' son of a preacher man-- I'm the sweet talkin' son of a preacher woman! My mom remembers how I used this as material when I had to write about gender roles for an essay contest; it was an interesting symmetry! One week, my dad would preach, and my mom would be doing the dishes. The next week, my mom would have the pulpit and it would be my dad's turn at the sink- there was a balance to it. (Plus, this kind of scheduling led my dad to astonish his friends with an ability to count forward and backwards by 7s, so he'd always know what date was what.)

And then 9PM one winter evening, a call. Glens Falls, another Empire State town, needed us and fast- we were there 3 weeks later.

then Finally, it was time to go back to Cleveland. As a form of weird, pre-teen protest at all the moving I started going by my middle name, Logan. This made for some confusion, and even now some Army folk know me as Logan, but others call me Kirk. At the Cleveland Temple corps, then-Captain Shenk said "Aw just call him Butch", and it stuck, so my full church name was Kirk Logan Brother Butch Israel Brother. Maybe you had to be there.

My dad passed away during our time in Cleveland, and the support of the community there was a blessing. Once I finished high school and my mom got her masters in social work, she was tapped to go to New York City. Her quarters where at the Williams Residence. It was still my home, even though I was at college, and she asked for a small room for me... it turned out to be down the hall from her 3 or so rooms, and it had its own little bathroom. Looking back, I realize that at this point, I had my own New York city micro studio apartment that overlooked Broadway... the gas stations of Broadway, but Broadway none the less.

But I had come back to the family stomping grounds of Boston for college , and stayed for the hot dogs. Meanwhile, my mom got to London, back to her roots in Boston, and finally down to Virginia. But now she'll be at my my family's placein Ocean Grove New Jersey -- God's Square Mile, they say, and she'll be finally free to be the true (gasp) blue-state Democrat that the family has always been at heart.

Thank you and happy retirement mom!!!

cats. yawning.

January 5, 2012

Amateur programming might save your career! (Wish "recreational programming" was more of a thing.)
Marilyn Monroe was tiny. No wonder we're depressed in a world of ubiquitous cameras that add 10 pounds! The article has some interesting thoughts and even some tips. if you need a quick laugh. (Warning: makes noise.)
So iPad connected to Windows offers oddly half-assed file system support; deletes failed w/ misleading error. Feel disempowered, but they probably don't care much because they want everyone trusting The Cloud anyway.
Ebert's take on movie laws and cliches, ala TV Tropes. -- latest in my devblog, the juicy(ish) bouncy topicgrid!

from and on "extra lives"

January 5, 2011
From Tom Bissell's essay "The Unbearable Lightness of Games":
I wrote in my essay that art is "obligated to address questions allergic to mere entertainment... In my humble estimation, no video game has yet crossed the Rubicon from entertainment to true art." Here I was trying to say that what distinguishes one work of art from another is primarily intelligence, which is as multivalent as art itself. Artistic or creative intelligence can express itself formally, stylistically, emotionally, thematically, morally, or any number of ways. Works of art we call masterpieces typically run the table on the many forms artistic intelligence can take: They are comprehensively intelligent. This kind of intelligence is most frequently apparent in great works of art created by individuals. Unity of artistic effect is something human beings have learned to respond to, and for obvious reasons this is best achieved by individual artists. Many games--which are, to be sure, corporate entertainments created by dozens of people with a strong expectation of making a lot of money--have more formal and stylistic intelligence than they know what to do with and not even trace amounts of thematic, emotional, or moral intelligence. One could argue that these games succeed as works of art in some ways and either fail or do not succeed in others. "True" art makes the attempt to succeed in every way available to it. At least, I think so.
That essay is in his book "Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter". I noted that this was exactly what I was getting at with my "Theory of Multiple Intelligences for Art".

Overall Bissell does a good job explaining some things about narratology vs ludology -- the story of the game vs the play of the game.
Stories are about time passing and narrative progression. Games are about challenge, which frustrates the passing of time and impedes narrative progression. The story wants to go forward and the "friction force" of challenge tries to hold the story back.
I liked this parenthetical aside:
Even forms of creative expression that do include story use it in a way that leaves no doubt that the real art is happening elsewhere, as in, say, opera.
Anyway, he points out the obvious truth that few other forms have a mechanic: a novel doesn't have to explain the first chapter explaining how it should be read. (Though I can think of some art installations that do.) Still, it's the idea of having a mechanic, a novel interaction, that makes me love games, and excited about making my own. -Wow. Teapartiers understand their fetish object The Constitution as little as most Fundies know the Bible.
Still, it can get lonely. One of the perks of the job is that I get to use the mini-wormhole generator in my unit for personal purposes, so long as any distortions I create in the fabric of space-time are completely reversible. I modified it slightly to pry open really tiny temporary quantum windows into other universes, through which I am able to spy on my alternate selves. I've seen thirty-nine of them, these varieties of me, and about thirty-five of them seem like total jerks. I guess I've come to terms with that, with what it probably means. If 89.7 percent of the other versions of you are assholes, chances are you aren't exactly Mr. Personality yourself.
Charles Yu, from "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" - so far a nice blend of Italo Calvino and "Einstein's Dreams", with a 50's sci-fi flavor as well. - I like how Starbucks logos gradually use zoom to mask that - dude, it's a mermaid spreading her tails for you!

flutey loops

January 5, 2010

--via JZ -- cooler than some previous examples I've heard, love that little thwp-thwp-thwp sound-

Realize I really get bugged by people and programs who say "those are inch marks, not proper quotation marks!" Who cares? If it were so important, keyboards should be set up to type them without relying on "Auto-Correct"... (and yeah "proper" quotes always break things in programming-land)
I keep forgetting how useful my "psyched" playlist of energetic music (so familiar to me that it's absolutely not distracting) can be.


January 5, 2009
Really pushed for time and content so here are two photos that didn't make the last batch...

I (once again) made myself a phone cradle out of Legos. This time it was for my work phone, and I challenged myself by only using the pieces there, mostly remnants from an old Lego Advent Calendar and a few trips to the Lego Store "Pick-A-Brick"... about the only non-"ordinary brick" I used was a pair of backyard fence pieces I used to wrap and secure the power cord inside the base.

For some reason I am amused by the graffiti on this billboard. (In part it reminds me of this college T-shirt I saw at Tufts, proably dating from earlier days when Jean Mayer was President there... it was "Air Mayer" and had a caricature of the guy dunking ala Michael Jordan and saying "Just Dew Eet".)

Gen. I toss the paper up the stairs to the 2nd floor. Baggged newspaper has a satisfying flight, esp. when I get it around the coffin corner
Maybe the part of the brain that makes dreams is just dumb. HYUK LETS MAKE A WEATHER FORECAST, 93 DEGREES FOR TUESDAY. WOUDN'T THAT BE COOL.
OUTLOOK YOU SO SUCK. The way that I can't copy an address, paste as text, and then copy and paste that back in is world-beating retardedness

poli wanna tick

January 5, 2008
So Obama took Iowa.

I was wondering why I had heard Edwards as the possible front runner? Before a few weeks ago it was all Hillary vs. Obama (sidenote: is it sexist we use Clinton's first name but the last name of most of the other candidates, or just to make more distinction from husband?)

How does pop culture play in this... is the Huckabee campaign helped by the movie "i <3 huckabees"? Is Obama aided by "24" and its portrayal of an African American president?

Electability, including my cynical view that physically appealing candidates have a huge edge, is foremost in my mind. I think Hillary Clinton has been too much of a rallying figure for the Republicans, and also voters are more sexist than they are racist. And Hillary has this Lieberman-esque way of playing the Won't Someone Think of the Children type card, so while I admire her previous work on single player healthcare, I'm kind of hoping she isn't the Democratic candidate... and that she doesn't turn the campaign too negative.

Quote of the Moment
"This Culture War bullshit is starting to drive me nuts. I'd go live in a cave somewhere if I thought I could find one with DSL."
-Tycho, "Penny Arcade"

nyack filler day 4

January 5, 2007
You know why critics love Elvis Costello and hate Van Halen? Because critics look like Elvis Costello
David Lee Roth, quoted by Kiss' Gene Simmons in an AV Club interview

There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Tradition is to human beings what instinct is to animals.
Eric Erikson, via Mr. Rogers

I bet the human brain is a kludge.
Marvin Minsky

you'll not only be hip

January 5, 2006
How To of the Moment
"Be cool, start a new trend! Start eating fruits and vegetables for lunch and as a snack. Don't forget to bring an extra helping for a friend. Before you know it, you will have started a trend. And guess what? You'll not only be hip, but you and your friends will be healthy, too!"
--The 5 A Day program (servings of fruits and vegetables displays a certain lack of understanding about the psychology of kids.

Image Searching of the Moment
A while back I posted KrazyDad's flickr-based color pickrs...the bottom of the page has more specific searches. Today BoingBoing linked to another cool search, retrievr, where you can make a sketch and it will try and find things that look like that sketch. Technically more impressive but somehow less aatisfying than the pickrs. (Incidentally, the KrazyDad site has a lot more cool toys and a blog and what not...I really need to learn Flash one of these days...)

a year's worth of media

January 5, 2005
One annual tradition I follow on this site is to post a list of all the books, movies, and games I "finish" in a year. (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003) I keep an database every year which also includes if I saw it before, the date, the author, and a few notes to either remind me what it was or how I felt about it.

Compared to last year, I watched more movies at the cinema (I think this is a Evil B. influence, often our darts night would get changed into darts plus movie night), around the same amount of videos (fewer at Jim and Sam's movie night, more with Ksenia), far fewer movies on TV (I think those were a bit of a Mo thing), completed only half as many video games (who has the time...) read somewhat fewer books (which concerns me a bit, though I guess 32 isn't that bad) and a few more Graphic Novels (thanks to a reinvigorated friendship with FoSO and the FoSOSO and a bit from Evil B.)

Anyway, without further ado: the Media Kirk Consumed in previously, the really good stuff I put in italics:

Movies at the Cinema: (18)
LOTR: Return of the King, Lost in Translation, 21 grams, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, You Oughta Be In Pictures (5), Kill Bill Vol 2, Troy, Life of Brian, Spiderman 2, The Bourne Supremacy, The Corporation, Without a Paddle, Napolean Dynamite, Nicotina, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The Incredibles, Meet the Fockers
Movies on Video/DVD: (42)
Donnie Darko, Frida, Better Than Sex, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Happy Gillmore, Super Troopers, Conan the Barbarian, Fletch, The Animatrix, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Perfect Fit, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Day of the Dead, Horror Hotel, Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, Voices of a Distant Star, Lilo and Stitch, Kill Bill Vol. 1, This Is Spinal Tap, Resevior Dogs, Blown Away, Spirited Away, Club Dread, Cybercity (Shepherd), Castle in the Sky, Porco Rosso, Kill Bill Vol. 2, The Back Lot Murders, The Ice Pirates, Star Wars, Henry and June, You Got Served, Drop Dead Gorgous, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Nausicaa, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 9 1/2 Weeks, Clerks, Fish Called Wanda, Run, Lola, Run, Dirty Pretty Things
Movies on TV (5)
About Schmidt , Groundhog's Day, Revenge of the Nerds, Finding Nemo, She's All That
Video Games (9)
Crimson Skies, Grand Theft Auto:Vice City, GTA3, Mega Man, Mega Man 2, Gigawing, Katamari Damacy, Katamari Damacy, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,
Books (32)
Moving Pictures, Beowulf, Farewell Campo 12, 101 Poems to Get You Through The Day And Night, Effective Java, How to Heal the Hurt by Hating, The Shifting Realities of Phillip K. Dick, How Can I Get Through To You?, After the Quake, Let's Pave The Stupid Rainforests & Give School Teachers Stun Guns, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, C.L.U.T.Z., Stardust, The World According to Mister Rogers, Einstein's Dreams, Notes from a Small Island, Mark Twain On the Damned Human Race, Complete Idiot's Guide To The Art Of Seduction, Starfish, Maelstrom, They Have A Word For It, Hey, Nostradamus (on CD), Tex and Molly in the Afterlife, The Dictionary of Failed Relationships, God Debris, A Certain Chemistry, Patriot Reign, The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge, The Bug, Isaac Newton, The Tenacity of the Cockroach, Why God Won't Go Away
Comics/Graphic Novels (16)
Sandman: Brief Lives, Kingdom Come, American Splendor, Fury, Too Much Coffee Man's Guide for the Perplexed, The Kingdom, Surpreme: the story of the year, Hellblazer: Freezes Over, Hellbalzer: Highwater, Ronin, Zot!, Red Son, Get Your War On II, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13, Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz, The Man Who Grew Young

new year filler day 5 (backlog flush #40)

January 5, 2004
Random Observation of the Moment
My Aunt's cat likes to hang out in bed. Not on bed, in bed. Under the covers. Like, all day long. It's the oddest cute or maybe the cutest odd thing I've seen all week, maybe more, just this sometimes moving lump in the middle of the bed...

I once had a girlfriend who would go to sleep with the covers over her head. That struck me as odd as well.


January 5, 2003

media madness

January 5, 2002
In the spirit of obsessive neurotic geekdom, I've been keep track of what media I've consumed over the past year: movies I've seen (at the cinema, on video/dvd, or on HBO or cinemax), books and graphic novels I've read, and video games I've played through. I just hated how I'd forget what I'd seen months later...

Movies at the Cinema: (16)
Snatch, In the Mood for Love, O Brother Where Art Thou, State and Main, O Brother Where Art Thou, Bridget Jone's Diary, Bridget Jone's Diary, Moulin Rouge , Memento, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, K-PAX, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Amélie , Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Movies on Video/DVD (48)
American Beauty, La Blue Girl 1+2, La Blue Girl 3 + 4, La Blue Girl 5+6, The Pornographer, Gladiator, Bound, Fight Club, American Psycho, Cecil B. Demented, Better Than Chocolate, Quills, Shaft, Shaft, American Pie, Big Kahuna, Charlie's Angels, Six String Samurai, Slayers 1 , The Usual Suspects, Hamlet (2000/Ethan Hawke), AntiTrust, Idle Hands, Evil Video, Battle Queen 2020, Unbreakable, Pecker, Hannibal, Traffic, Snatch, High Fidelity, Chocolat, La Blue Girl 1+2, Crash, Evil Video, Cool Devices, The Mummy Returns, Cool Devices (6-11), shrek, Tank Girl, Green, Planet of the Apes, Star Crash, BackBeat, Henry & June, The Castle of Cagliostro, Tron, The Killer
Movies on TV (55)
Passion Fish, Meaning of Life, Virtual Sexuality, Flirt, Glengerry Glen Ross, Mother, Juggs, and Speed, Canadian Bacon, Wild Wild West, Armed and Dangerous, Terminator 2, House on Haunted Hill, Boys Don't Cry, Bang, Oxygen, Another Stakeout, Batman: The Movie, The Replacements, Time Code, Robocop 2, Scenes from a Mall, Pushing Tin, Ed Wood, I Love You to Death, Bringing Out the Dead , Loser, The Prophecy, All the Right Moves, Hollow Man , Steal this Movie, Whiteboyz, Welcome to Hollywood, Tommy, Space Cowboys, Birdy, Chris Rock: Bigger and Blacker, 28 Days, The Lesser Evil, Bill Cosby, Himself, Star Trek Generations, Batman Returns, Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature , Moscow on the Hudson, sex,lies,and videotape, Love & Sex, The Dao of Steve, Blood and Wine , Center Stage, Me,Myself and Irene, Blaze, Almost Famous, Arthur, Bootmen, Sparkler, The Fly
Video Games (14)
Driver, Mario Kart 64, Yoshi's Story, Mega Man: The Power Battles, Quake 2, Turok Ragewars, NFL Blitz 2000, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Unreal Tournament, Battle Tanx, Metal Slug, Warhammer, Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader, Super Smash Bros Melee
Books (47)
What It Felt Like, The Meme Machine, Uncle John's Bathroom Reder Vol 11, 24 Hours in Cyberspace, Chaos, Machine Beauty, When I'm Dead All This Will Be Yours!, Prozac Nation, The Difference Engine, Game Over press start to continue, My World and Welcome To It, How to heal the hurt by hating, Bridget Jones' Diary, Pursuit of Happiness, X-Men, penn & teller's cruel tricks for dear friends, The Great Fires, The Domination Trilogy, The One Minute Manager, Owning It: Zen and the Art of Facing Life, Just For Fun, Rendezvous With Rama, Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason, Feet of Clay, Andy Kaufman Revealed: Best Friend Tells All, The Cuckoo's Egg, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Four Blondes, Soul of a New Machine, Perv - A Love Story, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, Drakon, Zen Computer, Interesting Times, We Are Still Married, Nine Crazy Ideas in Science: A Few Might Even Be True, The Truth, got milk?, Carpe Jugulum, Small Gods, Hogfather, Fight Club, The Fifth Elephant, Jingo, The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death
Comics/ Graphic Novels (20)
X-Presidents, Astro City: Life in the Big City, Astro City: The Varnished Angel, Dykes to Watch Out For, Hot, Throbbing Dykes to Watch Out For, Love and Rockets 3, DreamToons, Whack Your Porcupine, The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book, JLA earth 2, Old Boot's Private Papers , Seven Years of Highly Defective People, Jar of Fools, All About the Mayas, Perfect Summer, What Is This Thing Called Sex, DC vs Marvel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again (1 of 3), Ethel and Ernest

memes and bugs

January 5, 2001
Quote of the Moment
"What is so wrong with culture that it should be really conspicuous in only one species?"
--Richerson and Boyd (via Susan Blackmore's The Meme Machine)

I'm reading Blackmore's The Meme Machine, I'm roughly halfway through. The first part wasn't too convincing, where she defines memes strictly in terms of imitation, but now she's bringing up some good points. Seeing the conflict between our memes and our genes is interesting: the ideas we have and patterns of behavior we follow are no longer certain to be good for us in terms of reproductive capability. While clearly there's been some benefit, or otherwise wouldn't be the force that we are on the planet, it's wise to keep in mind that biomass-wise, the insects are more than holding their own 'against us'-- in that sense, their genes are 'better' than ours. (Arguably. "Insects" forms a much more diverse group than "People", and I'm not sure how Insects are against all Mammals, say.)

Still, our meme-laden brains like to think we're the best thing going. There's some quote out there (couldn't find it on Google, drat) along the lines of "I used to think that my brain was my best organ...then I thought about what was telling me this." Same goes for our brains and method of making it as a species in general.

KHftCEA 1998-01.1 January

So many friends of mine are bulking up... Jen, Juj, Erica, Dan... Hope I'm not next.
She cannot hide
the anger that rages
Fiercely against
all forms of cages