log (2004/08/20 to 2004/08/26)

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sur le Plage
Thursday, August 26, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

"They liked your ideas," she says to him across the table, "I think we've convinced them that the people will resist the Oversoul only if we can remind them of the things that it threatens. Our uniqueness, our pride, our history."

She puts her hands over his and looks at him. He is distracted, looking off to the side, gazing into space. Then his eyes turn to meet hers, and she seems something in them.

"I'm sorry, Caroline," he says, "but I have to tell you. I am an agent of the Oversoul."

Horror. She thinks of the meetings, the names, the lists. Meaninglessly, she thinks of standing beside him on the beach. "How long?" she asks.

"About sixteen seconds ago," he says. She looks down at the table. Where their hands are touching, she feels the tingle in her skin.

Yeah, I've been reading singularity fiction again. This time it's Singularity Sky, which came out a long time ago but which I for some reason didn't read (I think at first I was waiting for it to come out in paperback, and then I forgot about it). It's quite good so far. True, the author has once again placed most of the action in a comparatively low-tech setting despite the ambient ultratech, but at least people aren't disembowling each other with swords (yet, knock wood).

Happy Women's Equality Day!

The Doyens of Web Standards have given up on IE:

Once, long ago, IE was a great example of a modern browser. But those days have passed.

One admits to being puzzled about Microsoft's attitude toward the browser space.

"We destroy without qualm," Michael says. "This is the lemur motto!"

If I had the time, I'd (or would I?) type all the books I've read (or at least many of them into All Consuming, and see what else I ought to be reading. Or I could spend the time actually reading. Or for that matter playing video games.

The California Assembly commissioned a study, from the respected Public Policy Institute of California, on the economic effects of outsourcing jobs overseas. The study found that outsourcing actually increases employment in California. Now the Assembly is sitting on the study.

Guess they couldn't find a telephone book. (Get it? "Sitting on the study", "telephone book"? Ha ha ha!)

Do I want an Ambient Orb Device?

The Ambient Orb is simply plugged into any standard 110V power outlet and it is up and running on a nationwide wireless network - no internet connection required.

And then you can write programs to make it turn colors and stuff (or just use the built-in ones that reflect the stock market or whatever). Cool?

On some other day in history: What's all this?

Subject: ski lodge labyrinths around 08
Subject: traffic light cigars inside 73
Subject: stovepipe gonads about 1957
Subject: ballerina 9 pockets
Subject: salad dressing clodhoppers around 6
Subject: corporation maestros of 8

Isn't that amazing? "Stovepipe gonads". Random number generation r00lz 0k! I expect to see "Ballerina Nine-Pockets" on the Newbery short-list any time now.

I looked further into the headers of that "corporation maestros" one, and found some similar stuff:

X-Mailer: vacuum cleaner 2578 pockets
Organization: sheriff gypsies around 4

Sheriff gypsies!

Oh, and note that there will probably be no entries in the log here for a week or so; see you in September.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

"Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue that our family is very familiar with ... my general view is that freedom means freedom for everyone. People ... ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to."
-- Dick Cheney

Monday, August 23, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

On the way back from buying the bagels yesterday, on a marvelous clear cool morning with the steam rising off the ground into the sunbeams, and everyone back in the house still asleep as far as I knew, I stopped by Sylvan Glen and sat on a rock.

This is a little local park, maybe three minutes by car from the house, but I'd never been beyond the parking area before. A neighbor'd mentioned taking his mountain bike around in it months (years?) ago, and once I drove down just to see where it was, but I'd never been in.

It's a great little park, as it turns out, down in a moist and green glen with a green and scummy (in a verdant and healthy way) pond near the entrance, and a meadow, and a few small hills with big granite outcrops.

On Sunday morning I got only as far as the end of one trail, where the sun was shining down like a spotlight on one big grey-white rock in the middle of the trail. I sat on it, thinking of zazen and quieting my mind and all, enjoying the sounds and the air. Someone went by, walking three dogs, on the cross-trail a hundred yards down, and waved enthusiastically at me, and I waved back. And then I went home with the bagels, and people were just waking up.

Later yesterday, after dinner, we all four went to the park, and walked along the white trail and through the meadow and up the yellow trail and up the red trail, and the kids climbed up the huge rocks and counted how many different colors of mushrooms we found, and the red trail led back to the yellow trail which led back to the white trail, and then it was getting dark so we went back on the white trail to the car, leaving the blue trail (to the gas-line right of way, and I think to the quarry proper) for another day.

And that was nice.

Also I finished another book.

Friday, August 20, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

"I remember," says Anita Laplume, "when I was a kid the power went out once, in the evening, for no particular reason. There wasn't a match or a candle in the house. The only source of light was my brother's laptop computer. I remember us all sitting around the table while Dad read the Bible to us by the light of the screen. When he turned the pages, the book would rock on the keyboard, and the keys clicked. Quietly. Eventually, it ran out of power and shut itself off. The next morning, the electricity was back on."
-- from Voz

So we're not having a power failure (knock wood), but there is an enormous thunderstorm going on outside (lots of noise and flashes, and just now it started pouring rain), and so we've unplugged all the delicate electronic devices from the walls, including the DSL modem and the wireless router and NAT box, so we're Off The Net.

Which is like a power failure; what good is electricity if you can't plug your computers into it, after all?

Last night (I suddenly remember) I dreamed about the house flooding. There was a pump of some kind working away, but ultimately all it could do was pump the water from one place to another, and then when the pump turned off, the water would all flow back to the originally flooded place again.

I have these dreams comparatively often, of waters rising into the front yard, of holes in the house with water rushing in through them. They're nice to wake up from.

I've updated the list ("blogroll"), from the actual list kept in my feedreader (minus the things inside the corporate firewall that you wouldn't be able to see from outside). Lots of stuff there! I don't read them all daily by any means, but they're the general idea.

And having looked at the feedreader, here are some things I was fed:

From the mysterious del icio us, we have Nineteenth-Century American Children & What They Read, which looks interesting (although I can't actually look at it right now because of the storm and all; yipes that was a loud one!).

From the always astounding Hitherby, some more stuff.

Zombie pirates are not a main course. If you must indulge, slice them thinly and serve them on minitoast as an hors d'oeuvre.

From FafBlog, some FafBlog.

"Man," says Giblets, "I hate Crazy Templar Guy."

From amptoons, a metasurvey of surveys of electoral vote predictions (Kerry seems well ahead; inneresting).

From Long Story Short Pier, a piece on Why repealing the estate tax would be bad (or at least have some bad consequences). [In the ideal libertarian utopia there would of course be no estate taxes (at least none that I can think of); in the ideal communitarian utopia the issue wouldn't even come up, there being no "personal property" to "inherit". It's these bizarre mixed systems where things get hairy.]

From bookslut an interesting piece about a False Recovered Memories person, which I point to not because it's interesting but because of this sentence:

Loftus' Irvine colleague Michael Rugg, an expert in the physiology of memory, believes that physiologically the same brain regions are activated when someone answers "yes" to something that is true as when someone answers "yes" to something that he believes to be true but that is actually false.

Excuse me? This is like the oddest thing I've read this week. You mean my brain can't tell the difference between my true beliefs and my false beliefs? There's no magic oracle in my brain that knows more about the world that I do? What a surprise!

I hope and expect that Michael Rugg said something sensible, and that this reporter just muddled it all up. But what could the reporter have been thinking? Did e never read over that sentence after writing it? Or does e think it makes some kind of sense?

I became wildly annoyed by that sentence before I read this next sentence, shortly afterward:

Ultimately, perhaps, it is this blending of interior and exterior realities that creates uniquely human forms of memory that renders our minds forever different from those of the binary strings at the center of computer hard drives, that makes our vision of the world, our interaction with the world over time, so different from that of machines designed to manifest artificial intelligence.

Yeah, right, we're different from machines because machines do contain little magic oracles that can tell true beliefs from false beliefs. And, of course, we don't catch fire when asked to compute pi to the last digit.


Subject: CEO mastadons from 9218
Subject: gonad tea parties around 5655
Subject: senator piroshki for 7
Subject: asteroid toothpicks for 695
Subject: globule trombones from 5442
Subject: sheriff impresarios behind 7
Subject: submarine cowards living with 7

Lots of good NaNoWriMo challenge phrases in there! (Old spam subject line generators never die, they just go away for a month or two and then come back. Funny about all those sevens.)

"God is Not a Republican. Or a Democrat." God is, on the other hand, a playwright.

The storm seems to be moving off. Whew!

What's above your head?

my hair

I lied, I'm bald

paraconsistent logic

a ceiling



Your SATs. Damn. Mine were "only" 680/740. But my kid's are 760/800, so I guess that makes up for it. (For what? Hmm.)


Cirque Di Solei

Cirque Di Solei

Cirque Di Solei

Cirque Di Solei

Cirque Di Solei

Now that's a funny, if misspelled, coincidence; the little daughter has been cleaning up her room for the last couple of days, and today she found the jester's hat that she bought when we went to Cirque de Soleil the other year (hey look I misspelled it, too!), and when I got home from work she was wearing it on her head, so she had Cirque de Soleil above her head. Isn't nature wonderful?

Other readers notice other things, fleeting or eternal:

About that Hog. Also check out other interesting pictures.

Ashcroft bans books.

Ashcroft backs off. Whew.

Chickens are inherently funny.

Did I mention I got to Peak Three in SSX 3? (And I did it as a male person who looks vaguely like me, too, rather than as a slim young woman, oddly enough.)


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