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Wednesday, April 28, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

So there I go skipping a day again. I've been doing that alot, haven't I? Despite the eagles. I used to be so conscientious! Of course nowadays there are syndication readers and so on, so it probably doesn't matter as much; fewer people (I imagine?) checking in for their daily fix manually and going away disappointed ("and does she turn away, sad and dreamy there, not to see me there?").


Let's see. To belatedly celebrate Sir Tim's visit to the Lab the other week, I've added some Dublin Core RDF markup (the meta-tag encoding) to this here HTML file. I'm slightly undermotivated about this because I can't find anything near to hand that uses it at all, but there you are.

(Today Ralph Gomory visited the lab and gave a talk on his model of global trade. I don't entirely buy his argument; at least as presented in a one-hour talk, his model is too simple to support the recommendations he wants to draw from it, and gives too much weight (okay, too much weight for us radical libertarian types) to the notion of a "country". On the other hand he's written the book, and I probably won't even get around to reading it, so I can hardly complain. And anyway he was a great Lab Director back in the day.)

Subject: bowling ball cups for 337
Subject: mating ritual bonbons behind 3643
Subject: now that i am brutal depositor
Subject: The SECRET The IRIS is TERRIFIED you'll Learn!
Subject: tape recorder guardian angels defined by 0632
Subject: it hurts to tell you drippy tape

Quality stuff.

Recommended reading for today: Matthew 26:11 and context. Sheds new (to me) light on just what pushed Judas Iscariot over the edge.

I've pretty much stopped using Orkut altogether. Once in awhile I get spam (someone using the "send to group" or "send to friends of friends" feature to waste some of my time), and once in awhile someone declares me a friend and I have to try to figure out who they are (free suggestion to Orkut: include a "type something here to remind the person where they know you from" input field in the form where you declare a friend).

One thing briefly worthy of note: John Kerry (the actual presidential candidate) seems to have an actual (non-fake, although probably actually run by some campaign staffer) account on Orkut (belongs to the utterly predictable set of groups). I know this because I got some spam from him. How hip and cool!

Ah, so here's a Language Question that came up when we were in Austin. Let's see if I remember how to write forms in HTML, and take a Reader Poll!

If there's a meeting scheduled for next Monday at ten AM, say, and then the meeting is moved forward an hour, when's it scheduled for now?

nine AM
eleven AM

Ian and I both thought the answer was obvious, but we disagreed about what the answer was. I'll attempt to gather the replies y'all give and report back. (If you want to answer some third thing, use the input box in the upper-left, or engrave it on the Moon, or something.)

Monday, April 26, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Apologies for the long silence. I was in Austin for a week, and when I got back I was tired, and also the DSL line is barely working (around 50 kbps) so we're basically off the Net.

I was in the part of Airport, Hotel, and Meeting Room Land called "Austin, Texas" all last week. It turns out that, by a great coincidence, that part of AH and MR Land is near the actual city of Austin, Texas. But we were too busy with a week of ten-hour meetings to see anything of the city, except for a dinner of good Texas bar-be-que one evening.

The highlight of the trip was the Hertz Neverlost device in the rental car. We became completely dependent on it to get from airport to hotel to meeting site to restaurant, and we took out our shame at this dependence in petty acts of insubordination, turning not quite where the friendly voice told us to turn, going around loops in the other direction. But the voice was infinitely patient, in the constant implacable way of mechanisms.

A new copy of Wired came, and I gathered together a few old copies that were kicking around the back room, to put them up in the attic with their numberless kin. It occurred to me that someday all these Wireds will seem quaint and old-fashioned, like those old Scientific Americans that speculate about a day when messages can be recorded on wires no thicker than a human hair, or about whether people might someday walk on the Moon.

What will it be like in that future, when these Wireds are quaint? When will it be? When I think about the past, it divides somewhere around 1980; the seventies are quaint and old-fashioned, and the eighties are more or less modern times.

Not surprising, of course. In 1981 I finished college and got a permanent job, in 1983 I married. So before that was then, after that is now. In 2035, sitting around finally getting some reading done, will I still feel that the 1980s were more or less modern times?


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