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Thursday, October 18, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

Thursday again. This sort of thing keeps happening!

I finished "Pride and Prejudice", and then "Emma"; both happy and soothing books. And distressingly full of assumptions about class and gender, and the importance of buying into the whole social hierarchy thing. I like to feel that Austen is subtly criticizing the system in the subtext, but I'm not sure.

And now I'm reading Iain M. Banks' Inversions, which came in the mail yesterday along with Your Name Written on Water (ref the other day), and another set of rechargeable batteries for the camera (am I brave enough to use them in the charger and the camera even though they're a different brand?). The Lileks book came the other day (it's Very Silly), and I'm still expecting this libertarian space opera, although I find it's generally a bad sign when Amazon downgrades a book from "usually ships right away" to "maybe three to five weeks".

So that's books.


(It's funny how prudish kids are. "Your Name Written on Water" was lying on the bed in a toppled pile, and the little daughter saw the cover and went "ewwww!", and the little boy went "ewwwww!", and they both giggled wildly. Now I like to think that ours is a house where the most common reaction to the human body is not "ewwwww!", but they've picked it up anyway. Dunno what this younger generation is coming to.)

Walking randomly through the List, we get to various noteworthy links::::

Michael Norrish has some interesting thoughts and pointers about computer games and gaming, including this article about how to avoid running out of things your players haven't yet used up, on a very intriguing-looking site about storyteller games.

Michael also links to a Salon review of Le Guin's recent Earthsea books (I didn't even know there were any recent Earthsea books!). I like Le Guin's work very much. Hafta read these new things.

From Mouth Organ, What Falwell Really Meant.

From Pursed Lips, the Porn Bomb:

This would be an international effort. Danish, German, Thai, Japanese, American and other countries contributing their best porn for the cause. The Taliban wouldn't know what hit them. Their men would flee the front lines for some time alone in their cave with some paper towels or an old sock. The best part about this plan is that no one dies.

From abuddha, Counterpunch's Homeland Insecurity.

From Come to My Senses, today's Really Disturbing Quote:

I think it's a true sign that you're really close to someone when you let them pop your pimples.

From Medley to rc3.org to the ACLU on just how badly screwed we are.

Speaking of which, Governor Calls for 'Cyber Court':

A government anti-terrorism commission will recommend that Congress create a shadowy court to oversee investigations of suspected computer intruders.

Gov. James Gilmore (R-Virginia), the commission's chairman, said Wednesday that federal judges have been far too sluggish in approving search warrants and eavesdropping of online miscreants.

Down with sluggish judges! Shadowy courts rul3 OK!

It's probably important, but it's really really hard to stay awake while reading:

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 16, 2001
Executive Order
Critical Infrastructure Protection in the Information Age

For a bit of relief (or not), Ray reminds us of dagmar chili.

From Geigeaux to Rebecca to follow me here to If Not Military Force and War, Then What? (A Quaker recommendation on what to do instead. No mention of porn bombs.)

And speaking of The List, here's another list that we find we are on. Lots of good reading in there.

And speaking of the referrer log, I gotta say it's really impressive how many hits you can get by just mentioning Asia Carrera or Tawny Kitaen now and then.

(I also note that the Google Image Search engine is pretty confused, and sends you to the main Log page if you click on the cute "boobynap" picture that I blogged some time back.)

And not to forget brazil triplets nude...

Wednesday, October 17, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

So I'm sad. I'm sad for purely personal and selfish reasons: my ancient leather vest (extreme close-up about two thirds of the way down this page) is missing. I suspect I left it on the back of a chair after a Department Tea yesterday. I'm hoping that (say) some cleaning person found it and put it aside and forgot about it. I'm afraid that (say) someone swiped it and I'll never see it again.


A dumb thing to be sad about, eh? I'm grateful for having such small friendly things to be sad about.

I'm also happy, in that I found the bug that was causing the latest version of Pattan to hang, and fixed it, so now I can present the result to you: the latest version of Pattan. It now knows a teensy bit about modulation.

One of my favorites among the things it's produced recently is Cow-Coo, which (a) is very silly, (b) was composed before I fixed the bug, so I don't really know what the code was doing, and (c) probably owes most of its merit to the way the General Midi "Melodic Tom" patch sounds on these two computers here. But hey...

"Metamute meets Echelon -- A literary competion".

Participants should utilise words from the Echelon dictionary http://metamute.com/echelonlist.txt to produce an original literary work. Any literary genre is admissable - from short stories to drama to poetry to speeches to the epistolary form. Fictional company memos and e-mail exchanges are admissable, as are IRC and SMS conversations, or any other form.

Bio-Surveillance System.

How bad is this Anthrax thing, really? Anthrax As Disinformation: A Biologist's Perspective. And, on another page, we read that nonimmunized workers in animal-hair mills have been shown to inhale 150-700 infected particles/hour <=5 microns, but are rarely affected.

I got those links from a BB thread started by a co-worker of one of the Florida anthrax victims. People talking.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

If I think it's wrong to force beliefs on others then how can I force that belief on those who don't think it's wrong to force their beliefs on others?

I got to that by following a link that came in the mail, informing me that someone had posted an answer to my question about woodchucks. Funny old world.

That in turn started me reading (once again) various creation / evolution debates on the Net; a potentially endless, and not generally terribly edifying, occupation. I eventually tore myself away again, but if you'd like to fall into the same black hole, I recommend the Talk dot Origins site (which is mostly pro-evolution but has a good set of pointers to other views) and the "True Origin" site, which is an explicit counter to it.

People on both sides of that debate get carried away (into irrationality) 'way too easily! We have, of course, talked about these issues previously.

Speaking of tearing myself away from unproductive web-surfing, I dreamed last night that I was getting a Big Award from the CEO, in recognition of my contributions as a dancer in the IBM Ballet Company.

And speaking of bosses, we note that Steve is back from Maine (we like Maine), and has all sortsa pretty pictures and wise thoughts to share about the war and the human condition and all that other stuff that we're mostly suppressing any mention of in the log recently, still being mostly overwhelmed by it all.

Can you tell Certain Christian Fundamentalists from Certain Islamic Fundamentalists? (Link from this person with a licorice wig.)

did he who made the lamb, make thee?

Bill and Steve both pass along this cheery chapter on the technical details of anthrax (including really gross illustrations): army.mil copy, NBC-med PDF copy.

Which sort of brings us full circle; what's this nasty stuff doing here, and how can I make other people believe that it's bad to force other people to believe stuff?

Monday, October 15, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

I have a nosebleed.


When I was little I'd get pretty rip-roaring nosebleeds; I have fond (not entirely pleasant, but still on the whole fond) memories of sitting there for long periods of time with tissues pressed against my nose.

They don't last nearly as long now as they used to back then. What do blood vessels learn over the years?

A spammer writes:

Why WAIT??? Refiance NOW!!!

Should that perhaps be "refiancée"? But I'm already order-one happily married, thanks.

Speaking of spam, I often wonder idly what's behind a particular bit of it, and what would actually happen if I called that phone number, or sent my $19.95, or whatever. I never do, but I think it'd be cool if there were a magical website somewhere that you could paste your spam into, it would look it up in their Extensive Files, and tell you what was actually behind it.

Of course I expect most of them would be "if you send your money to this spamster, he will take it and disappear, and you will never hear from him again".

There isn't any such website, but now and then some Intrepid Reporter does the experiment in a particular case, and tells us the results. That Salon piece about 419 scams has copies of a couple of replies received from the scammer when the writer wrote back sounding slightly curious. That'd be a fun website: What I Wrote to the Scammer, and What He Wrote Back.

Along the same lines, a reader suggests the elegantly-named Crimes of Persuasion dot com, which has a section on 419ish scams, including a long page with sample letters back and forth with people who led the criminals on for awhile to see what they'd do.

In a somewhat more benign part of spam-space, TechnoDyke Headquarters does similar yeoman's work (hmmm) in a recent piece on "female viagra" (a product prominently featured in a fair fraction of the spam I've gotten lately). Apparently the stuff actually exists, and may actually work (at least as a placebo); read this gripping account of the hard work of the test teams.   *8)

Tom Paine dot com and SpinSanity on this whole complicated Afghanistan and Oil question.

And "Your stolen Passport", on (in)security in Microsoft's all-in-one Web Password thing.

Friday, October 12, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

Nobody likes me,
  Ev'rybody hates me,
Guess I'll go eat worms.

Big fat juicy ones,
  Little tiny slimy ones
Boy, how the big worms squirm!

So finally a few more comments have appeared on some of my photo.net pictures (my ego is insatiable). On the other hand, the person that we bought something from on eBay last week (using the aptly-named "Buy It Now!" button) still has failed to tell me where to send the check, and the person from the Club hasn't called about possible tennis lessons for me and some subset of the kids. It can't be my breath; I've never met these people in person.

(Since I wrote the complaint down, the person from the Club called, and we discovered that he has no openings that fit at all well into our busy schedule, sigh. Isn't this fascinating?)

If your Mommy is a Commie,
  Then you've got to turn her in.

blade runner

So I watched Blade Runner last night. It was a good film, if dark and brutal and nasty. And with a bizarre happy ending sort of masking-taped on.

Impossible not to see the ending of Brazil (viewed way back in Feb 2000) as directly poking fun at the ending of Blade Runner. Now I'll have to rent the Director's Cut DVD of Blade Runner, which is said to have a more convincing (which almost certainly means more miserable) ending.

The movie has lots of echoes about power and identity, collaboration and complicity, life and death. I imagine it's mostly recent events that have me hearing the main message of this and similar dystopian visions as: Don't Do This; if the world starts looking, feeling, tasting, sounding anything like this, you've made a mistake; draw back and try something else.

A very useful function.

On the creation of life (of artificial life, of androids, of "replicants", of clones), I'm sure there are lots of people who'd hear "don't mess with life, don't use technology to create life". But it's equally possible to hear it as "if (when) you do create life, make sure you act morally toward the life you've created."


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