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What's on top?

Caring? They left out the 's'.
Thursday, February 10, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

So I was sitting down talking about stuff with some people the other day, and I looked at the bottom of my shoe, and there on the bottom of my shoe it said "U.S. Patent D440,746" (and also "air cushion", but that's not germane).

I went to the patent office and looked it up, and sure enough there was the bottom of my shoe.

Design patents are odd things. They aren't like regular ("utility") patents, in that they protect how something looks rather than what it does. Here's a FAQ from the patent office, and a random article about them.

The test for infringement with a design patent is whether or not a typical consumer familiar with the covered design would be confused by the putatively infringing design. This sounds an awful lot like trademark to me, and I don't really understand why you'd want to design patent something rather than trademarking it (and for something that couldn't be trademarked I'm not sure why you'd want to protect it at all; just to make sure your competitor can't save money on expensive designers by copying your design, maybe).

Are there lots of design patent infringement suits that aren't at the same time trademark infringement suits? I wonder.

But anyway, since you can also search by keyword you can while away the idle hours finding patents for diverting designs of various kinds.

- 4 for "webcam"
- 2 for "iris chacon"
- 2 for "mia"
- 2 for "number of chromosomes in an anaconda"
- 2 for "tanya harding"
- 1 for "5000 naked people can t all be wrong"
- 1 for "helen naked pictures"
- 1 for "naked helen pictures"
- 1 for "naked pictures of helen"
- 1 for "view yahoo webcam without permission"

Are you frightened by words starting with "b"? Do words starting in "p" make you think of mounds? Go and reveal your phonosemantic intuitions! And in general see this site and the related Dictionary of English Sound. Learn why "strap" just had to mean something long (as in "string" or "stream") and flat (as in "cap" or "flap"). Gain valuable insights into how you evaluate novel belief systems!

Tuesday, February 8, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

What's underneath?

Modalfa defeats De Lombard 183 to 144

Three Roads to Quantum Gravity by Lee Smolin



下 (shita)


So I think that's a bridge score, a book that a reader is perhaps recommending in response to my complaint about "The Elegant Universe", a color, a game, the Japanese word ("word") for "underneath", and a link that I should probably warn you about but I won't. *8)

What's underneath?

This made me think of you. Click on "TOP RATED" and go to video 265 [link] also, video 314

I think those change over time; at the moment it's "Seal Tennis" and "Groovy Flat Eric".

What's underneath?

If, by under, you mean to the south, then Port Talbot

It took me quite a bit of googling around to discover why that's witty; extra points for this reader.

What's underneath?

Do not use by childrehd (Google it)

Google doesn't know from "childrehd" (although it will soon). The generous reader probably means this; so there you are.

What's underneath?


Adopt a Sniper. "Assistance from a Distance". Catchy, eh? [link]

What's underneath?

she said, and before he could say or do anything, she'd whisked away the ivory silk throw printed with the sutras (the fabric was so fine, it appeared to flow like water, or more accurately a heavier-than-air-gas) and there revealed to their two pairs of eyes - one pair stunned, disbelieving; one pair in rapid transition from a look or apprehension to one of horror - was his extensive collection of Iris Chacon porn: the rare Japanese import magazine in pride of place on the top of the garish pile.

Nice paragraph. So now we'll start to get visitors googling for "Iris Chacon porn"; yay us!

What's underneath?

Dirt, mostly, in my experience. Wet dirt. And leaves, decaying since last Fall. And bugs. Pill bugs. Worms, Ants, sometimes. I always wonder how they got there, and where they will go now.

bugs and worms and rich soil that grows vegetables really well

And finally What's underneath?

PANTIES! (No really, I'm not perverted!)

'course not! It would never have occurred to us!

We have the best readers.

Ian points out the new Google Maps, which is extremely cool (wildly more interactive than Yahoo Maps), but doesn't work in (my present installation of) Opera.

From that Google weblog, a very cool story:

Using trucks equipped with digital cameras, global positioning system (GPS) receivers, and proprietary software and hardware, A9.com drove tens of thousands of miles capturing images and matching them with businesses and the way they look from the street.

(Odd to hear A9 referred to as a "Google competitor".)

Also Google Video!

Thomas was shunting freight cars in the yard when Sir topham hatt came to see him. "The fishermen are celebrating "their biggest catch of fish ever. Thomas, you must help Arthur take the fish to the docks." Thomas was fed up. He didn't like the smell of fish.

We got him from genomex. He was supposed to be the ultimate astronaut. But he got sick. The genetic modifications created some kind of virus that started changing him. It was not bad enough that you ruin his life, but you gotta create a plague, too? It's not like that.

Ok, the science project. What's it going to be? Let's see... Flesh-eating bacteria? Diet habits of South sea cannibal tribes? Fun with bog fungus? The effects of motion sickness? Eww!

Heh, look: Reason magazine has a weblog. Why was I not informed? (Shoot, even the Ludwig freaking von Mises Institute has a weblog.)

Sharp Blue has some questions. If you know the answers to any of them, send them to me and I'll pass them along.

From the Dynamist, the EFF's Endangered Gizmos; stuff that we wouldn't have (or that we won't have) if the Content Cabal gets its way.

This one's for Steve:

Every day, I show up at Globules Inc. and go through an elaborate ritual. First I check to see if I have any phone messages, and, if so, delete them without listening to them. My policy is, Best Not to Know.

From Alamut, today's Obscure War History: Origami Warfare:

The balloon bombs were, of course, an offensive weapon. They were also designed to be a weapon of terror, a silent menace from the skies that would land, undetected, to kill Americans and set fire to the mighty forests of the west coast. Japanese propaganda broadcasts boasted of tens of thousands of deaths and huge conflagrations caused by their unique weapon but in point of fact no fires were reported, a few horses died after eating one of the acid battery packs, and six picnickers were killed in May 1945, largely by accident, when they pulled a downed balloon out of a tree.

So that's lots of linkage and reader input, and very little thought from me, tonight. Which is entirely proper.

Sunday, February 6, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

So, except for reading a lovely book of short stories, I've been mostly playing the ingenue on alt.zen and friends. For your entertainment and edification I therefore present the book report on the Diamond Sutra that I posted there yesterday:

So okay, I've been imbibing this Sutra for awhile, and I thought I'd post some thoughts about it and see if any discussion ensues. Then I'll go off and read commentaries and listen to MP3s about it and stuff.

(I've been reading mostly the A. F. Price translation, here:


or at least that's the version I'm going to talk about in this post. Some of the other translations are noticeably, maybe even significantly, different, but I'll save translation comparisons for the next part of my studiosity.)

The fundamental theme, it seems to me, is that language and concepts are just language and concepts, and don't touch reality. For many values of X, the Sutra teaches that the things we call X aren't really X, "X" is just a word that we use. This is stated specifically for a bunch of things (material characteristics, non-returners and other categories of the wise, enlightenment, the mind, words, the thirty-two marks of a Buddha, a perfectly formed body, living beings, and so on), and also said more or less directly and generally a couple of times ("As to any Truth-declaring system, Truth is undeclarable; so 'an enunciation of Truth' is just the name given to it"; "words cannot explain the real nature of a cosmos; only common people fettered with desire make use of this arbitrary method").

On the other hand, although words and concepts (including these here very ones) don't touch reality, Buddha's still sitting there talking to Subhuti in words, using words to teach about the limitations of words. This gives a certain validation to (for instance) my sitting here using words to talk about words that talk about the limitations of words, and related writings. It contrasts with (for instance) a certain strain of Zen stories (Student: "Why did Bodhidharma come from India to China?"; Master: [squashes an overripe strawberry on student's nose]).

So if words and concepts aren't It, what should we do? Much of the rest of the Sutra is all about good (and not so good) habits of mind and ways of proceeding. It's not clear to me whether these are suggested for people in general, or only for bodhisattvas, or some of each. But the good things are f'rinstance practicing charity without regard to appearances, without regard to sound, odor, touch, flavor or any quality; leaving behind all phenomenal distinctions; being insentient as to the rewards of merit; and like that.

Not so good things are falling back to cherishing the idea of an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a separated individuality; allowing the mind to grasp and hold on to anything; being fettered with desire for rewards; announcing "I will liberate all living creatures" (to the extent that this is a symptom of cherishing the idea of a being); and like that.

This is all very good, and (as Julian suggested) feels nice and familiar to me from my Zen practice. It's also quite likely that I've been fooled by that familiar feeling into overlooking some places where the teaching here is different from, say, the Mumonkan.

There are various pieces of the Sutra that I haven't absorbed yet. These are the places where the Sutra talks about itself and how profound and important it is.

"Subhuti, if on the one hand a good man or a good woman sacrifices as many lives as the sand-grains of the Ganges, and on the other hand anyone receives and retains even only four lines of this Discourse, and teaches and explains them to others, the merit of the latter will be the greater."

My instinctive suspicion about these is that they are later interpolations by some PR flack, but I realize that's a pretty naive reaction, and I will continue to ponder them.

One thing that isn't covered in the Sutra, at least as far as I've found, is advice about how to achieve a pure, lucid mind which does not grasp and hold on to anything. I gather that other Sutras do contain such advice.

So do I get my Diamond Cutter Sutra badge? *8)

The reception has been pretty friendly and helpful (although the occasional cream-pie battle has broken out among the onlookers). Now I'm ready to go off and read some of the written commentaries and listen to those mp3's that I downloaded on the subject and stuff.

I'm also reading "Nothing is Hidden", which consists of Dogen's "Instructions for the Cook" (about fourteen pages) and various commentaries thereupon (about 130 pages). There also I started by reading just the text, then reading the text and the footnotes, and next I'll read some of the commentaries.

This is quite fun; I internalized "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones" as a kid, and I've read most of the Tao Te Ching several times, but I've never stepped much outside that circle into the vast and tangled wilds of other Zen writings, and Buddhist texts in general. There's an amazing amount of stuff out there.

Quote of the day: "Truth is a Pathless Land". That's Krishnamurti, and it turns out to be the title of a talk he gave when disbanding the Order of the Star of the East that he was raised to be the head of. Fascinating story (now I'd like to read a biography of him), but not directly related to why I liked the quote; somehow it just grabbed me. The image of a land without paths, spreading vast and unknown and untrampled in all directions. And being Truth and all.

Various pointers to more Zenny things, mostly found on alt.zen and family, or while Googling around for material to use to simulate wisdom therein:

Not about Zen at all (well, maybe not anyway), some of the more amusing of the hundreds of recent search strings that got people to david chess dot com:

Surprised? No demons with pitchforks, no lake of fire. Hell isn't something other. It's something intimate.

+"model railroad" +"red light district"

How should I paint my basement stairs?

anything naked

pictures of naughty ladys doing naughty things


Isn't that fascinating? Try to imagine why someone would type "anything naked" into Google. What a world!

And I think that's all for tonight. Sleep well!

Friday, February 4, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

The Pajama Game
  is the game I'm in,
And I'm proud to be
  in the Pajama Game.
I love it!

Hey, there

Unaccountably, iTunes doesn't have the soundtrack of "The Pajama Game". Maybe it's just an obscure Doris Day movie to the rest of the world, I dunno, but it's deeply engrained in my psyche. We had the record when I was little, and I would lie there and listen to it, and picture Hernando's Hideaway, and wonder what was up with that key and with Hinesy and his jealousy, and picture all those people singing "Steam Heat" and dancing around (you can tell from the music that they must be dancing around), and so on. It was great.

And then when I got one of the songs stuck in my head for some reason the other day, and decided I wanted it, I had to wait like a week for the CD to arrive in the mail from some random Amazon used-CD store! But I was patient, and it did come, and now all those familiar songs are on my iPod.

(Then today I ordered a copy of "Tales from the Leather Nun" from some Amazon used store, on a similarly random whim. The 'net makes everything just too easy, eh?)

In more recent media news, we just watched a "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" DVD from NetFlix on the iBook over there. As I'm sure all the other reviews have said, in ambience and effects it's a wonderful homage to old comic books. And the plot is too, to some extent, in that it makes not the teeniest tiniest most minute amount of sense at any point. ("Not a whit; not a jot.") Which in this case I consider a flaw.

"Diebold to market paper-trail e-voting system; 'It's about time,' says one e-voting paper-trail backer."

One danger of picking a cool domain name for your private warez site is that someone might stumble across it. ("HandmadeStarvation.com" is still available! Act now!)

And relatedly, from the referer log: random web site dot com.

Also from the reflog, a couple of pages that I'm sure there's some sort of story or business model behind, but that are in my present state of ignorance quite baffling: look for davidchess dot com links here and here, and wonder how these pages got created and what they're for. (I do rather like the fact that a "home decor" site has a page about "erotic bondage art resources".)

Lots of random Zen and Buddhist activities. I read (and wrote up) an ancient Alan Watts book on the subject. I've downloaded (but not yet listened to) a bunch of lectures on the Diamond Sutra. I've also been reading that Sutra in various translations (this is one, and there are like six more, as well as a zillion other Sutras, here). Sacred texts dot com also has sutras, and you can even buy the whole enormous collection on CD. (Although it costs more than "Tales from the Leather Nun".)

(Just to write them down for myself, more sutras.)

So the Diamond Sutra is pretty neat. One thing it's about is how words and concepts don't touch the real reality (or, as I put it awhile back, how language cannot express truth). For various values of X, Buddha says in the Diamond Sutra "That which we call X is not really X, we just call it that" (or more paradoxically, in other translations, "That which we call X is not truly X, which is why we call it X"). And then he comes right out and says "as to any truth-declaring system, truth is undeclarable; so 'an enunciation of truth' is just the name given to it". But on the other hand there he is in the Sutra, talking to his buddy Subhuti in words, which sort of validates me sitting here and talking about it too (in contrast to, say, the approach in some of them Zen stories, where the student says "What is fundamental reality?" and the master squashes him in the nose with an overripe strawberry).

Buddha also says in the Diamond Sutra that he has nothing to teach, and that one should keep a clear and lucid mind that clings to nothing and depends on no concepts and like that.

Which is all good, and very Zenny (modulo the overripe strawberries).

The Sutra also contains some swaths (swathes?) of what I call to myself "commercial announcements", all about how terribly important and wonderful the sutra is, that how anyone who explains even four lines of it to someone else will gain incredible merit, and how any place that even four lines of it are taught is a sacred place that should be consecrated and stuff. Which seems pretty silly, given that not far away he says more or less that wise people aren't concerned with merit and all.

I can't decide if the commerical announcements are interpolations stuck in there by some later PR flack, or if Buddha's being funny, or if it's some cultural thing, or if it's something profound that I'm just not getting.

(Some other Sutras have even wilder commercial announcements, spending many many pages on how many hundreds of millions of people and dragons and gods and stuff were gathered on a particular occasion to hear the Buddha speak, and how this is the Best Sutra, and on and on and on. I have the same doubts and wonderings about those, only moreso.)

And I've been hanging around on alt.zen and family considerable (someone posted a "top posters this month" list, and I was like number nine or something, yow). Various of the sutra links above were found there. Also some very cool modern Zen stories that I've only read a few of and want to read more.

I also wandered, by virtue of cross postings and looking at other postings by some posters, to alt dot christnet dot christianlife. I've never particularly visited the Christian newsgroups, and had the vague feeling that they'd be full of Christians and non-Christians flaming each other. Turns out there is indeed some of that, but mostly it's Christians flaming other Christians; internecine strife is always the bitterest.

(Relatively typical was this great signoff, from one Christian to another: "perhaps when you stop serving satan, you will understand.")

The Buddhist groups are no better, of course, as I pointed out the other day. These humans...

I vaguely feel like I was going to say something else, but I've forgotten what. So, Good Night!


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