log (2008/11/07 to 2008/11/13)

Old Man with the Ladder!
Old Man with the Ladder!
Tkkki Tikki Tembo No Sa Rembo Chari Bari Ruchi Pip Peri Pembo has fallen into the well!

End of Day Ten: 19,088 (1K below goal)
End of Day Eleven: 20,100 (one day behind!)
Goal for Today: 22,000 (at least no backsliding)

So last night I got up to twenty thousand words of novel (i.e. caught up to my target for Monday), and then rather than advancing toward the next couple thousand words I went into SL for the party celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Extropia, the very nice utopian-future community where I have a little rental just 'cause I like the neighborhood.

I was nominally planning to just put in an appearance and then log out and get to writing, but I think I knew all along that that wasn't really all that likely to happen. *8)

A group of five Izwit entered the tube from a side-branch, and (apparently upon seeing the Human) raced toward the six on their silvery locomotion scooters, but at a subtle gesture from the transcend wheeled and vanished back the way they had come. But not before the Human saw them, and started.

"Those! Those there, they are..."

"Yes," said the slatesh's hovering machines, "Izwit. Those are the species of the one that brought you to this part of the commity. They do that."

"What do you mean by they do that?" the Human asked, now having, occasionally, presence of mind enough to utter two connected statements in a row.

"They perturb. They find value in the entropy of the body, in various circumstances," said the slatesh, using its characteristically frustrating idiom. "To balance this, in the commity, they operate under various rules and restrictions. That is why they were so careful to question you, before bringing you here. To establish the forms."

"The holders of legitimate violence, they would have been taking action if the Izwit had not asked the questions and," the Human paused, apparently to think. An encouraging sign, the Greater Klite thought, stopping herself to sniff after a notable scent in the air. "And established the forms?" it concluded.

"We will have to discuss," said the transcend, "your notion of the holding of legitimate violence. The ways of the ship and the ways of planets are most likely quite different."

End of Day Three: 6,032 (on track)
End of Day Four: 7,021 (distracted by election)
End of Day Five: 9,525
End of Day Six: 11,402 (very sleepy!)
End of Day Seven: 13,065 (struggling to get to 2K/day)
End of Day Eight: 16,375 (yay!)
End of Day Nine (now): 18,017 (yay also!)
Goal for Tomorrow: 20,000!

So that's going pretty well. The election went pretty well too, in that that Obama guy won an' all (woot woot!), and I'm feeling pretty proud that we managed to overlook his non-whiteness; my country is more mature than I thought! I mean, clearly a Democratic victory was pretty likely as part of the Bush Legacy, but I was afraid there was enough stupid racism around that even given a strong desire to get rid of anything Bush-like, and a smart and classy Democrat running, we might not be able to do it. But we did!

Unfortunately we also (for instance) passed Proposition 8 in California, which is pretty depressing (the first time a state has amended its Constitution to take away people's rights). Not exactly puzzled, but something like bewildered, that so many people could have voted both for Obama and for Prop 8.


But anyway, enough of politics. *8) The Novel progresses, with the alien invasion of Earth coming along nicely. Let's do an excerpt!

On the planet below, in the underground room in Manhattan, the UNOOSA Director is standing at the bottom of the stairs that connect the operation floor to the observation level, watching the tense back of the dark man, who is speaking into his earpiece. They have made contact, finally, with three other observation points that are still operating, through parts of the telephone system that are also still operating. The fleet, it seems, has reached atmosphere.

"The center of mass of the group is decelerating. Still no reaction signatures." He speaks in clipped tones into the phone, and exchanges quick words with the earnest young people in remarkably clean shirts who sit in the chairs.

"No reaction signatures?" she asks, in a low tone, of the pale man, who is now standing at the back of the operations floor, a clipboard in his hand, just looking up at the two large screens where the lights move. "So they're using... anti-gravity?"

"Or something," he says. The greens and blues from the screens color his face. She looks at the screens herself, and sees a scattering of reds. "Some of them aren't slowing down."

The pale man nods grimly. Some of the ships, the Objects in the Group, have cut into the atmosphere at full speed. They may just have better heat-shielding than the others, or different tastes in atmospheric entry style. Or they may be weapons, missiles, large rocks lobbed at the Earth any reason or no reason, aimed at cities, or aimed at nothing.

"That's odd," the pale man is moving forward, conferring with one of the operators at her small screen. The dark man is speaking into his phone. On the large screen, all but a few of the red dots seem to have vanished.

"Not just us," the dark man says, "the other stations are reporting the same. Most of the fast incoming --"

"Looks like it was the rocks," says one of the earnest young persons.

"Was it?" says the pale man, something like relief in his voice.

"Most of the fastest incoming objects, including the ones we had identified as possible inert-mass weapons," that is, she said to herself, really big rocks, "have vanished from tracking. We don't know what they were, or what has happened to them."

"Those were our ships," said a voice, with some slightly proud emphasis on the "our", "and they have reached their destinations."

Suspenseful and gripping, eh? I wonder what's going to happen!

Here's a random link (remember when I used to link to things now and then?): Clearly not very good chat program nearly passes Turing test. Honestly (as most of the blogging on this story says) the judges who were fooled by this thing (yet another primitive Eliza-style table-lookup chatbot) must have been asleep or something. Or not English speakers, maybe.

Here is five sentenc dot es which is amusing and you might want to look at. I vaguely think some of the obvious variants exist as well.

And to close, here is some fun anti-Bayes text from some recent spam:

Some good people approved this message Conatct has been verified Verified and OK Scanned Approved for this email. is Passed for the following and OK.Great opportunity Transaction approved and valid Allowing for processing above for authorization.Complies with SecurityRemember to ask to qualify.This is a verification of the email process.Validation approved.Sentence is followed by the ID Register This is a Reminder.Today is a good day.Some good people approved this message Pass Virus Scan

I especially like that today is a good day, and some good people approved the message. I hope you good people will approve this one as well!