log (2000/11/03 to 2000/11/09)

older log
newer log


site news

What do you know?
Thursday, November 9, 2000  permanent URL for this entry

I have to admit I'm rather Getting Into this Presidential Election stuff, it being so deliciously chaotic.

Responding to yesterday's Election Special, a reader writes:

Or the major candidates might be essentially different, but in many ways, and the voters might be essentially different, but in many ways, and if there were enough essential differences, you'd expect the vote to be split evenly.

For that effect to cause the vote to split this evenly, I think the value of "many" above would have to be pretty enormous, eh? But it's true there are mechanisms besides "identical candidates" that could explain the extremely even split. It's relatively easy to make a model of a very low-friction and poll-responsive political environment that leads to the same fifty-fifty division even if the candidates do have real differences. (If Steve doesn't get around to logging the model we were talking about yesterday, maybe I will.)

Talking to Ian yesterday, I've decided that the simplest reason I prefer Gore to Bush (not that I voted for either of them) is that the people Bush panders to worry me more than the people that Gore panders to. So that's a real difference.

On the other hand, a reader points us to a very relevant (and widely blogged) Onion piece:

This is one of the things that's being blogged everywhere, and normally one of the things I like about CEOLN is that it blogs things I wouldn't find in other blogs, but this is funny and appropriate enough that it might be worth mentioning anyway: Bush or Gore: 'A New Era Dawns'

Of course, the party that I voted for didn't get a whole lot of votes! *8) I was rather peeved to note that Browne wasn't even mentioned once in the time we were watching CNN and so on on Election Night. They were showing numbers for Gore and Bush and Nader and Buchanan and Hagelin, but not Browne. Sheesh! Hagelin? They saw fit to list the candidate of the "government via confused analogies to quantum physics" party, but not the Libertarians? Grumble, grumble!

So who makes this sort of decision, anyway? For that matter, why is it that all the networks simultaneously decided that Gore had won Florida (and then that it was too close to call, and then that Bush had won, and then that they were clueless again)? Apparently the answer to both is the "Voter News Service", formerly the "News Election Service", an organization run by a consortium of news agencies, presumably to get economies of scale in collecting all the vote data from the County Commissioners of Elections and such, and to avoid having different networks saying confusingly different things (anything to cut down on them support calls!). Maybe also to have someone to blame when projections turn out to be wrong.

The VNS has an extremely close-mouthed Web site, at which you will learn nothing about them. A Web search will turn up lots of fringies convinced that the VNS is part of a big conspiracy to rig the elections. It's not clear whether the "VoteScam" people are simply confused and think that the VNS is the official body that counts the votes for the government, or if they're positing a deeper conspiracy in which the VNS and the official vote counters are both puppets of some further-back Illuminati. Most conspiracy theorists I've encountered could use a course in Writing for Clarity.

Orvetti.com's current headline is "Election Night: Day Three"; I like that! Phil Agre has sent out a very good list of pointers to information on the Florida recount and related matters, for anyone who hasn't heard enough about it yet. Dad says that in his Florida county they voted by marking ovals with a pen, not by punching holes. I grew up thinking that the whole world used slightly rusty blue voting machines that went ka-thunk when you moved the big handle to register your votes. Given how long we've been doing this voting stuff, why is it that random county election officials are still making up brand-new ballot designs from scratch? Seems kinda odd.

In other election news, it looks like the vile anti-gay Measure 9 has lost in Oregon. (Note the rather unusual entries from the Special Righteousness Committee in the section of the Voter's Guide nominally devoted to arguments in favor of the measure.)

From the referer log: Man, if you want hits from people using search engines, just mention NakedNews in your log! Not a gazillion hits (most people probably went directly to the URL rather than searching for it, eh?), but more than I get for anything else.

OK, so I'm not younger than the Net: my conscience requires me to correct my erroneous claim the other day. I'm younger than Sputnik, but older than anything that could be taken as the first incarnation of the Internet. (For instance I'm ten years older than this noteworthy very early map of the Net.)

From the Internet's past, we move to its future. I haven't actually read The UCLA Internet Report: "Surveying the Digital Future", but I do intend to:

To achieve this objective, we surveyed 2,096 households across America, comparing Internet users with non-users. Each year we will contact the same individuals to explore how the role of Internet technology evolves in the lives of those who are continuing users, those who remain non-users, and those who move from being non-users to users. We will also be noting changes as continuing users move from modem to broadband.

Speaking of the future (oh, I'm full of the clever segues today!) here's a nice set of online Tarot card interpretations. I've always liked these attempts to divide up the universe into meaning-laden symbolic chunks, and then look into the future with them. Tarot, I Ching, all of that.

Part of becoming an adult should consist of designing your own Tarot deck, reflecting the categories and energies that you've noticed in the world so far.

Form spam: (no segue there) Has anyone else started to get Spam in their forms? The oddest thing! I've always gotten the occasional URL typed into my input box, but I'd just assumed that they were passersby manually trying to promote their own sites. But now something (a bot, I assume) has been submitting my input-box form with fields it doesn't even have, typically "title" and "URL" and (bizarrely) "email". Very strange indeed.

Fancy Cellphones: Cellphones, in particular, with built in PDAs. So before long you will be able to get a virus in your cellphone. Oh, boy!

And speaking of security, this recent Microsoft Security Bulletin turns out to be an important one; there are malicious programs out there to help bad guys exploit the bug to make your computer do arbitrary things. If you ever use IE, or the Microsoft Java Engine, or even have it installed on your machine, I'd urge you to read the FAQ and upgrade to build 3319 or better; it's not very hard (or at least it wasn't for me).

Fun stuff site of the day: re-vision.com (don't let the silly front page fool you; just click on anything). Sort of reminds me of davidchess.com, in some vague way. (But with more art, and no log.)

Wednesday, November 8, 2000  permanent URL for this entry

Special U.S. Election Edition!

So imagine just for a moment that the major candidates, and for that matter the major parties, were essentially indistinguishable. People would of necessity vote pretty much at random, and the Law of Large Numbers would apply.

Given, say, 100 million voters and two major parties, you'd expect to find almost exactly 50 million votes for each party's candidate, and you'd expect the various legislative bodies for which the parties put up candidates to be split almost exactly in half.


Tuesday, November 7, 2000  permanent URL for this entry

A thought-experiment to gain insight into the True Dynamics of your family group: imagine that you and whatever appropriate immediate family or housemates or SO are relevant arrive home from a long drive, all needing very badly to use the bathroom ("use the bathroom"), and for the N of you there are only N-1 bathrooms working. Which of you would end up waiting longer? Why?

(Apologies to singleton readers; take comfort in the fact that you never have to wait for the bathroom...)

If you enjoyed...

life, you might also enjoy dreaming

Halloween, you might also enjoy sucking souls from little children

hamsters as a child, you might also enjoy pet rats as an adult

political advertising, you might also enjoy a sharp stick in the eye

Hallowe'en, you might also enjoy Halloween

(Do I spell "Hallowe'en" funny? Isn't that apostrophe supposed to be there? It's "All Hallows Evening" or something, eh? And speaking of politics here's something truly scary: www.halloween.com.) If you enjoyed...

nethack, you might also enjoy ADOM

guilt, you might also enjoy quilt

(I like the multiple layers of meaning there, as well as the allusion to a thread from September.) If you enjoyed...

capitalism, you might also enjoy free market globalization

sex, you might also enjoy more sex

which are really both saying the same thing, more or less. Eh, what?

From Gordon Joly, Hobbes' Internet Timeline. All the way back to 1957! Nice to know I'm younger than the Net, if only slightly...

Monday, November 6, 2000  permanent URL for this entry

"But why would you want to be blue?"

"It's not a big deal."

"But Jenna you'll look like a smurf!

"Lighten up, Mom. Everybody's doing it."

So we're doing a land-office business ("a land-office business") in blog farewells. I have such good ideas!

We'll start out with a couple brief unsigned ones, representing the "shock treatment" approach:

Dear Reader,

Get a life. Why are you reading this?

A concerned citizen.

And still more succinctly:

Dear Reader,
Fuck you.

which certainly addresses the (well, a) core issue. Two from the "incomprehensible" school (it may be that Some People simply can't resist a big shiny input box):

Dear Reader,
  I just recently found out that I lost a web page, oh it's true, it's true and now I can't even find the freakin site and I am totally lost. What do I do to regain my sanity.


Dear Reader,
  I now who you are, I've seen you and I remember where I last seen you and it was in my dream and you were like chasing me and stuff through the burkitsville forest and when you where gunning for me I attacked you and broke your arm... the end
  your friend,
    the game!

Next, we are very honored to have a few submissions that are, or at least claim to be, or seem to be under the obvious readings of the words (words being so inherently ambiguous) sent by the owners of some real-live and very good weblogs:

Dear Reader,

Due to the recent misuse of certain alleged documents, "we" are no longer considered suitable for the variety of indecent acts that "we" have proposed to a certain individual who may or may not have submitted his or her opinion to a certain unnamed board of trustees and associates thereby resulting in the expulsion of certain principal components in what would seem to be the vast scaffolding on which "we" base our beliefs, mental constructs, and collected investigations, including but not limited to certain perverse acts allegedly performed by certain purveyors of the aforementioned documents with which perhaps, who can say, a certain position has been taken by those amongst the allegedly involved which would cause certain actions to be, righteously or otherwise, imposed upon the very fabric of our beliefs and dispositions. -ahem- Needless to say, "we" cannot be held accountable for the actions, or lack thereof, of such vague figures, much less of the motivating forces behind them. Thusly "we" have been forced into the position of bringing our actions to a temporary halt. Kiss kiss. X's and O's. Ciao.

Bovine Inversus Delictus Absurdum

(which reminds us of Bovine) and

Dear Reader,
As I explode into the transhuman realm inhabited by vast sums of information whose balance is essentially zero, I am led to the zone. Within this attentive focus, my 'blog was a happy stone to keep me high above the torrent of banal-evision. However this calculus of support has eroded of late and it is time to cross the event horizon of modus arcanum into an as yet undreamt field of understanding.

abuddhas memes
beyond the pail...all the way to the outhouse

(which reminds us of abuddhas memes), and (markup as supplied by the author):

December 18. -- Yesterday I was in a retrospective vein -- to-day it is prospective. I see nothing but clouds, clouds, clouds. Lupin is perfectly intolerable over the Daisy Mutlar business. He won't say what is the cause of the breach. He is evidently condemning her conduct, and yet, if we venture to agree with him, says he won't hear a word against her. So what is one to do? Another thing which is disappointing to me is, that Carrie and Lupin take no interest whatever in my diary.

I broached the subject at the breakfast-table to-day. I said: 'I was in hopes that, if anything ever happened to me, the diary would be an endless source of pleasure to you both; to say nothing of the chance of the remuneration which may accrue from its being published.'

Both Carrie and Lupin burst out laughing. Carrie was sorry for this, I could see, for she said: 'I did not mean to be rude, dear Charlie; but truly I do not think your diary would sufficiently interest the public to be taken up by a publisher.'

I replied: 'I am sure it would prove quite as interesting as some of the ridiculous reminiscences that have been published lately. Besides, it's the diary that makes the man. Where would Evelyn and Pepys have been if it had not been for their diaries?'

Carrie said I was quite a philosopher; but Lupin, in a jeering tone, said: 'If it had been written on larger paper, Guv., we might get a fair price from a butterman for it.'

As I am in the prospective vein, I vow the end of this year will see the end of my diary.

(from old school blogger Mr. Pooter)

which simply reminds us; and also:

Dear Reader,

my life stopped being interesting. I got a job at a dotcom, married my childhood sweetheart and am pregnant. no reason to keep this silliness up anymore, i've got a normal life to lead. Thanks for helping me prolong the inevitable.

Love, jessamyn

which reminds us of Jessamyn. And finally one more unsigned, but clearly optimistic, contribution:

Dear Reader,

There has been, as I've been hinting over the last couple of days, a really major event or change in my life recently. And I've come to realize while trying to decide how to reflect that event here in my online face or whatever it is, two things: that the most important parts of my life are no longer (if they ever were!) really any of the world's business, and also that now every second that I spend in writing for this site is a second that I could be spending in bed making love.

So this is good-bye! Everyone, take a second to look away from your screens at what might be passing by. Or more than a second!

What fun! I started to design a page to collect these on, but then it occurred to me that I was designing a page, so I stopped. But maybe I will later on. In any case send yours in; it's good therapy...

Lex in 2000!

U.S. Election stuff: the season of stupid political ads is almost over. Finally! For USians still at a loss as to who to vote for for some important office, there are various noteworthy n-th party candidates about, including movie villans, comic book villans, comic-strip villans (well...), and unspeakable horrors from the abyss.

More seriously, the vote swapping idea has been getting lots of press coverage and otherwise impressing itself on the collective Thing. (I need a phrase here meaning "I observe this development with interest" that doesn't sound quite as much like I'm a space alien observing Earth from my secret base on the dark side of the Moon.)

Catherine has rereredesigned her site yet again, just to keep us alert. As usual, it's well worth the slight effort to relearn where everything is.

Alice's NNTP Server

He said "What were you busted for?", and I said "unauthorized hardware modifications". And they all moved away from me on the bench there, and a hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, 'till I said "to set up an NNTP server which could bring potentially-offensive newsgroups censored at my local site and grant full news access to my friends". They all came back, shook my hand, talkin' 'bout crime, underground FTP sites, promiscuous NNTP servers, what to do about Barney the Dinosaur, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the bench. And everything was fine, we was trading wares and all kinds of things, until the Commissar of Information Access came over, had some paper in his hand, and said...

I think that will do nicely for now...

Friday, November 3, 2000  permanent URL for this entry

They call me:


the cow spaceboy

Mr. Tibbs


far far too often.

Mr. Pibbs!

the game

The space cowboy. The gangster of love. Maurice. Tim. Mr. Tibbs. Dr. Love. They call me Katrin who do talk of me.

(That last one really was typed all at once into the little box! That Katrin; so multifaceted.)

Some late-breaking Angel Angles:

"Morning mourning" gives us "morning doves" (that's what I thought they were called when I was a lad), "mourning glories", and "mourning coffee". Also in my eventful youth, I composed some extra words to Reveille; they included "This day has died aborning / and we are all in mourning". Or perhaps "morning"; it was a pun.

"Friend / fiend" yields up "fair weather fiend" (a short story by John Morressy, as it turns out), "fiend or foe" (a poem), and "friend from hell". Also "friendish", which has some promise.

"Field / filed" is tough, as the parts of speech don't really match. "I got my tax return field just in time"? Anyone with a better imagination than mine, drop us a line!

"Anonymous / unanimous": hm. "The motion passed anonymously." "We are in anonymous agreement." I sort of like that. The other way? "I just got a unanimous love letter!" That'd be cheering, eh?

"Breath / death" deals with vital things; I don't know if I'm up to it. "Until breath do us part" has a nice ring to it, whatever it means. "And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty breath." Cough, cough! "Let me stop and catch my death." Whoo, almost Helenistic in flavor there.

The New Champ

Russia's Kramnik Is New Chess Champ:

LONDON (AP) - Chess has a new world champion after 15 years of domination by Garry Kasparov, who had fought off five previous challengers with his bold, brilliant moves and intimidating stares.

From Bovine Inversus, here is something I hesitate to describe. Just go admire it (Flash-heavy).

"You have the right to an attorney. You have the right to hand over all your hardware"; the FBI goes a tad overboard about this cybercrime stuff once again. See also ZDNet article.

And finally, (I really need to do one of those randomly boldfaced days again sometime) a washing machine that can download new wash cycles from the Internet. It was only a matter of time!


earlier entries