log (2000/02/11 to 2000/02/17)

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Thursday, February 17, 2000

More Lao Tzu Haiku. These are drafts of the first three chapters of the book.

How can I say it?
The blooming, buzzing world
Silent in the void.

This coin has two sides;
Sitting and breathing the air
Let your hand open.

To rule the earth,
Fill the bellies, clear the minds;
Are you that simple?

Coming along, anyway. It's going to be challenging to make them flow together, rather than sitting as disconnected fragments on the grass.

Alamut suggests a grouping of Weblogs that share some common somethings (16 Feb 2000). Some are my favorites, some I've never visited before:

I wonder ... whether my awareness of the similarities between Alamut, NQPAOFU, Calamondin, Geegaw, Synthetic Zero, Bovine Inversus, David Chess, Abada Abada, Subterranean Notes and the Hotsy Totsy Club is enough to declare ontogroup status for these 10 sites?

Stroll about and admire the ontology!

I close by quoting more completely the bread-lover whose words I brushed past yesterday. A sentient after my own heart:

i love bread. not the bread that you buy in a store, but the bread that you make at home. that warm gooey sensation...

Wednesday, February 16, 2000

Went to a talk yesterday by Sylvia Nasar, on her book A Beautiful Mind, about John Nash. I was at Princeton when Nash was a common and (to us undergraduates) mysterious figure there, wandering the computer center and the Math and Physics buildings with his reams of printouts, writing odd but fascinating things on the blackboards in the hallways. Not really all that many sigmas away from the mean of eccentric absorbed scholars and grad students.

"That's Nash," someone would say after he'd passed. "The Nash?" Seeing Nasar's photos of him receiving the Nobel prize (for Economics, in 1994) stirred up considerable nostalgia in me; it was the same guy.

John Nash

Nash's autobiography on the Nobel website is definitely worth a read. Nash is a rare genius whose brain does that thing that we call schizophrenia, and that we know so little about. How much do we know, really, about anything our brains do?

So at the present time I seem to be thinking rationally again in the style that is characteristic of scientists. However this is not entirely a matter of joy as if someone returned from physical disability to good physical health. One aspect of this is that rationality of thought imposes a limit on a person's concept of his relation to the cosmos.

The talk was actually fifteen minutes north of here; I was watching a simulcast in the shiny new conference room downstairs. The quality was very good, and my seat had power and LAN connections, so I could sit there and multitask. On the walk back up to my office, I had the laptop power adapter in my pants pocket, and the LAN cord coiled around my shoulder with the PCMCIA card in my shirt pocket. I felt like such a geek!   *8)

Do you think I meant country matters?

Soft-core porn on the monitors at the Health Club this morning: Fiona Apple's "Criminal". Watching the hollow-cheeked waif writhing erotically and showing us her underwear, I have to admit my first thought was "someone buy this girl a cheeseburger!"; she must be twenty pounds underweight. Can we please have less anorexic role-models, here? Some of us have daughters to raise!

Crushes: there's still time to tell us what made your youthful heart pound! Stimulators cited by readers so far include Jet (from the UK show "Gladiators"), David Cassidy (from the old "Partridge Family" show), Annette Funicello (from the Mickey Mouse Club), bread (that person may or may not have been typing into the wrong form), and one "Shan't" (oh, come on: you have zero privacy anyway; get over it!).

Somewhere very recently I read a good thread on why many commerical web sites make it so hard to find product information on older parts of the product line: things that you've owned for awhile, and that aren't This Week's Hot Mover. One very insightful posting said that all too many companies consider their sites to be more like billboards (where you try to get the attention of passing strangers) rather than front offices (where you try to make your customers comfortable). I can't find the discussion, though! If anyone else read this and knows where it is, please drop me a line, or use the feedback box above and to the left there. I hate losing stuff...

Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Today, I think I shall do a mini-imitation of Jorn (Jorn before he started using images again, that is).

Phil Agre's "Networking on the Network" (eGroups copy):

I want to get "Networking on the Network" into the hands of every graduate student in the world. If you could help me out with this goal, I would much appreciate it.

Pranking President Clinton's IRC Chat: http://www.boredom.org/cnn/statement.html (cited all over)

Unfortunately, because the prank was unplanned and the user found himself in respiratory distress due to excessive laughter, he was unable to make any timely comments on US Politics or foreign affairs.

The Elephant is a quarter done: http://www.bovineinversus.com/elephant.html

Two Kings, desirous each of ridding the other of his sanity, construct a number of devices by which to lead each other to madness. A black tiger crawls from the mouth of a young girl sleeping amongst an array of blind sunset leopard machines.

The Ultimate PWC (personal WaterCraft) Repellent: http://www.west.net/~lpm/hobie/archives/v1-i2/humor.shtml (from the mysterious "HTML o' the Day" list that I seem to be on)

The missile is approximately 9 1/2 feet long, so care should be taken to avoid mounting it too far aft, as it will inhibit rudder movement.

RSA's security website hacked: http://www.theregister.co.uk/000214-000025.html

A subsequent visit to the same two channels on the more h4x0r-friendly efnet.org yielded the expected result, two rooms chock full of quiet, paranoid hackers and eager, chatty wannabes.

Speaking of RSA, their new paper on a possible means of slowing down denial-of-service attacks: http://www.rsa.com/news/pr/000211.html

During an attack, legitimate clients would experience only a small degradation in connection time, while the attacking party would require vast computational resources to sustain an interruption of service.

Day of the Obscure: http://www.metatronics.net/doto.html

Day of the Obscure is thus the World's greatest (though most obscure) Holiday for Normal, Obscure People. It's celebrated by doing or visiting something obscure, as you can learn about in the photo album.

Hm. No, I don't think this logging style is really for me. It was fun to play with, though!

Monday, February 14, 2000

One of the authors of Waiting for Bob (a good online comic) has started a Weblog. It's brand-new; I look forward to seeing all sorts of secret cartoonist wisdom revealed there. (I envy anyone, including the little daughter, who can just draw a convincing person, much less create interesting and amusing lives in three-panel pages.)

Waiting for Bob also has a very poignant goodbye strip; I'll cite it rather than trying to say anything profound about Charles Schulz myself.

Happy Valentines Day! M and I and the kids went up to Cold Spring yesterday and had dinner at the Depot and just sort of wandered around; nice and low-key. The Hudson is half frozen-over there, and the ice makes strange jagged sculptures between the land and the flowing water.

When I was a kid, and just beginning to figure out what it meant when my heart did that pounding thing and my hands got all cold, one of my fascinations was Iris Chacon; she had a musical variety show on Channel 47, and I would wait with thumping pulse for her own numbers to come on. The fact that I couldn't understand a word she or her guests said probably helped the erotic ambiance! (She's now apparently on the Nickeloden kids' show Gullah Gullah Island. I guess this means we've both grown up...)

I eagerly awaited the "Golddiggers" shows for the same innocent boyish reasons. I vividly recall one number done to the tune of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy"; on the other hand, I have no memory whatever of Dean Martin. Which isn't particularly surprising!

I know you're all fascinated by the early history of my libido!   *8)   It seemed appropriate for Valentines's Day somehow...

You have any interesting flames or crushes in your youth?  

Sunday, February 13, 2000

Just a buncha Nomic moves today. All of the following have been Applied:

proposal = Change rule 11 to state that: The King, or any other ruling body within the society to which the current Poobah resides, is a fink.
name = Gerph
integer = 2

I see a great future for Rule 11.

proposal = I Propose an additional rule: "If after any update the Sacred Piece of Paper contains three Prime Integers, the Names Inscribed shall each gain points according to how large their Prime: 1 for the lowest, 2 for the middle, and 3 for the highest."
name = D Fitch
integer = 48

Incentive to submit large primes?

proposal = The integer submitted with a valid move will become the number of the rule if the scribe decides to apply the move. For example, if a valid move is submitted with an accomponying integer of 17 and the scribe applies the move, the resulting rule will be rule number 17.
name = Bovine
integer = 96

A little ambiguous (what if a move creates more than one rule, or doesn't create a new rule at all?), but nice synergy. A Rule 6 event occurred at this point, giving "D Fitch" a ten-point bonus.

proposal = Use of Black Cats, Broken Mirrors, Dead Chickens, Voodoo Dolls or any other fate changing devices and/or methodologies is strictly prohibited.
name = Magister
integer = 759834

Admittedly hard to enforce, but appealing, especially since it creates Rule 759834. *8)

proposal = All valid moves must contain the letter "g".
name = Bovine
integer = 86

A nice simple constraint. See the main CEOLNN page for the current status, and the form for submitting moves of your own. The "Bovine" entity is still Champion and Poo-Bah; congratulations!

Saturday, February 12, 2000

Years ago, the friend at whose house we were having dinner thrust a recipe card at me and said "here, you make the bread!" This was absurdly optimistic of her; it was a real live yeast-risen from-scratch recipe, and I'd never done such a thing before. But it turned out pretty well, if a bit dense; I still remember the uneven grain of the bread, the thick sweet streaks of underrisen dough it was laced with.

I fell in love with bread-making that evening. Today I made my Nth loaf of Golden Bread, from basically that same recipe. I can't give you the details, because I was sworn to secrecy all those years ago, but if you take your favorite white bread recipe, use milk instead of water, and add lots of sugar and butter, you'll be somewhere near it. Today I accidentally used twice the normal amount of butter, but it didn't seem to mind. It's a lovely, sinful, pre-buttered loaf, and it won't last long.

Friday, February 11, 2000

Various people have written to say that they don't get the point of the Nomic game. That's OK! Participation is not required. Nomics definitely do not appeal to all cognitive styles.

Speaking of Nomics, Michael Norrish, the First Speaker of Agora Nomic, has started a Pitas Weblog, apparently inspired by Yours Truly. Yet another liver saved from the eagles!

Geek Link: webreview.com has a Tag of the Week column, about how to creatively (ab)use various HTML tags that you probably shouldn't be using in the first place (hee hee). (Seen on xblog.)

When I cited that report about the denial of service attack tools the other day, I should have mentioned HNN as the source. It's a reasonably interesting source of computer-security news; the apparent youth of the writers and occasional cluelessness of the items are parts of the charm.

Slightly more polished security news: SecurityFocus.com. They also host archives of BUGTRAQ and other useful mailing lists. Much of there material is copied from, or is pointers to, random elsewheres, so there's cluelessness here now and then as well.

It's a general problem in the security community, really. Because it's sexy, I guess, it tends to attract dimwits who don't really know anything, but want to impress people. Said dimwits can sometimes be seen on the TV news, with "computer security expert" under their heads. Phht!

I finally registered this here log with the "scripting news" site at weblogs.com. That site and LinkWatcher are both good places to go for brand-new freshly-updated stuff to read if there's some work you're trying to put off.   *8)

Random art link: aen.walkerart.org. From Steve, who says "Look around. Lots of odd stuff." A pretty accurate description. Presumably associated with the Walker Art Center, but who's to say? A Website should not mean, but be.

After recommending Ftrain the other day, I neglected to go back to it myself until today (due to a mention on Robot Wisdom), and found that there's lots of very cool new words there. He's now on the list.

Good Design: All snazzoid Web designers in fancy suits should go away and look into their souls, and not come back until they can make sites as nice to look at and easy to use as this seventeen year old girl's weblog / journal.

And that's really all! Take the rest of the day off...


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