The Longest Now


Bite-sized knowledge
Sunday May 29th 2005, 2:08 am
Filed under: poetic justice

Answers.com is sexy, corporate chic. But Factbites is extraordinary. I think I’m in love.

Bite-sized knowledge …



America
Saturday May 28th 2005, 6:12 am
Filed under: %a la mod

I love you, don’t change. At least, not in that way. I know I wasn’t there for you when you were growing up, and I regret that. But you don’t have to be biometric to be cool…

I don’t think I like the sound of Multispectral‘s “PAL650 Precision Asset Location system”, no matter how many personnel and high-value assets it tracks.

They were recently awarded a patent “…which permits the rapid acquisition of RFID tag transmissions enabling the monitoring and precise (centimeter) localization of large numbers of tags, even in severe multipath environments.” Centimeters, friend. That, apparently, is where it’s at.

America …



Dorothy
Saturday May 28th 2005, 5:03 am
Filed under: null

An old friend from another life died last month; brilliant, brave, full of remarkable dreams. Unrealized dreams. I hardly knew what to think at the time; we hadn’t been in touch for years. But in the weeks since I have despaired of it; I have lost myself. It has preyed on my thoughts, in a way my grandfather’s death, and even my father’s, have not.

I am not a person afraid of mortality. Death is a beautiful part of life; without constraints, freedom and art cannot flourish and find expression; without the stricture of language, we would have no spaceships. Yet there are shades of death… Recently I have slept dreamlessly, eight hours at a time, something I rarely do. There are those who might say this is healthy for anyone. I wake up each morning feeling refreshed; but as soon as I open my eyes, I feel a twinge of senseless fear which only exercise can suppress.

It is too strong and insistent to be simply fear for myself — for who am I? — but fear for continuity, for those I love, for the dreams I cherish. Or is it something beyond that? All I know is that for a while I had to resort to external hints to distinguish one day from the next; I held onto receipts, reviwed my posting and edit histories, sorted my papers and problemsets by last edit, simply to remember what I had been thinking the day (the meal!) before.

In the process I discovered two things: Wikaddiction is stronger than dirt (surely tapping the same primal urges that fuel Verant‘s success), and memorization is successful even when done as a background process. The last point I knew, but had all but forgotten.

I have neglected posting, and many of you. If I owe you apologies or regrets, please trust that I will send them. I have a small list of names here, and am working through them in roughly alphabetical order.



Amgine rocks the mike at Berkeley
Friday May 27th 2005, 3:47 am
Filed under: international

Wikinews, Int’l had a spokesperson field day today, with an energetic presence at a Berkeley citizen-journalism conference in the form of one Amgine S_____. The webcast was clear, and the audience response was enthusiastic. transcript

Amgine rocks the mike at Berkeley …



Forests are forever
Thursday May 26th 2005, 3:22 am
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory

I wrote once that being in a beautiful forest is like falling into a universe of high-definition color-enhanced photography. Fuji is what I took with me into my last cloud forest, and their vision of the world’s forests doesn’t disappoint. Magic to lift the darkest spirit.

Forests are forever …



Gratuitous Gaming
Tuesday May 24th 2005, 3:15 am
Filed under: %a la mod

Retro post week.  Here’s one from many, many moons ago.  I
couldn’t bring myself to post it at the time because it was just…
too… geeky.

On the insistence of my cousin’s
daughter, I made the mistake of peeking into the seamy world of Really
Bad Games Written by High School Kids and Played by Tens of Thousands
of Users.

As the LoL newspaper
suggests, a lot of people are spending a lot of time doing really,
really silly things. Like giving eachother six septillion gold pieces,
back and forth. Which is wrong on so many levels; for instance, our
silly arabic numeral system deprives players of even the redeeming
feature of teaching people how to spell “septillion.”

Some of the more popular games in this
genre, like the one my cousin insisted I check out, a) only let you
make a few moves a day, b) require you jump through all kinds of hoops
to prove you’re a human, and c) have absolutely no plot, graphics, or
gameplay. Yet *hundreds of thousands* of people play them. Tends of
thousands play them for hours and hours every week. Entire high school
classes are apparently addicted to these games, whose concept,
complexity, and execution are more or less on a level with a viral form
of Pong.

Oh, this is too precious. Here’s a transcript from the online chat:

– Lord CoolKat “how can I owe you if I have a 153sept hole?

– Support Woden “ehehe ck i have 1.83oct hole wanna compare notes?

The game creators, who use english so
colorfully in their game descriptions, came up with their own
abbreviations for large numbers, since they occur so frequently. “M1”
stands for million; “M2” for million million. So if you see that Duke
Omega the pseudo dragon has 91,080M4 Experience, you can quickly
convert that in your head to 91.08 nonillion Experience. To put this in
perspective, that is approximately one Wilt Chamberlain squared.


Gratuitous Gaming
Tuesday May 24th 2005, 2:34 am
Filed under: chain-gang

A good post from two months back:

On the insistence of my cousin’s daughter, I made the mistake of
peeking into the seamy world of Really Bad Games Written by High School
Kids and Played by Tens of Thousands of Users.

As the LoL newspaper
suggests, a lot of people are spending a lot of time doing really,
really silly things. Like giving eachother six septillion gold pieces,
back and forth. Which is wrong on so many levels; for instance, our
silly arabic numeral system deprives players of even the redeeming
feature of teaching people how to spell “septillion.”

Some of
the more popular games in this genre, like the one my cousin insisted I
check out, a) only let you make a few moves a day, b) require you jump
through all kinds of hoops to prove you’re a human, and c) have
absolutely no plot, graphics, or gameplay. Yet *hundreds of thousands*
of people play them. Tends of thousands play them for hours and hours
every week. Entire high school classes are apparently addicted to these
games, whose concept, complexity, and execution are on a level with a
viral form of Pong which made the mistake of interposing lots of text
and windows between episodes of actual action.



Requiem for Passion
Friday May 13th 2005, 6:53 pm
Filed under: %a la mod

…high on the lists of chinese tagging enthusiasts everywhere. Blogbus of the millennium, departing the station…

Requiem for Passion …



Blast from the past
Thursday May 12th 2005, 7:54 pm
Filed under: indescribable

“I spheterized this contest and turned this into my own personal barathrum! It was all about parabulia, baby! Take these other contestants, build them some feretories and throw them in my oubliette! It’s time to get badigeoned! It’s Buddiga time!”

This years-old review of a Spelling Bee championship reminded me somehwo of the asbestos / mesothelioma law adwords hype (asbestos, chronic pleural? mesothelioma [a kind of cancer], tax lawyers, criminal defense lawyers, insurance / auto accident / assault / new york lawyers [and all kinds of law?], and a few other terms were noted for being far more expensive than other adwords; with the assumption that the groups and people involved were skimming more than the usual amount of producer surplus off of the top of the stack… or that adwords was working oddly in their cases) and the asbestos-specific sites that started springing up. I will now never forget how to spell mesothelioma, or even pleural, things that were fully outside my vocabulary beforehand.

On the other hand, an honest blog by asbestos remediators about their work and field would be sort of interesting…

UPDATE: ESPN has pulled the archived story that was republished this past February; too popular? Only re-upped for a few months? I don’t know. But I’m naming one of my kids Buddiga. A little footnote on the certificate…

Blast from the past …



Latest request
Thursday May 12th 2005, 4:05 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire

Which is better, a ride on an Airbus A320
or one on a 757? I’ll be doggoned if I don’t know the answer now, for all kinds of interpretations of better.



Excruciating sadness of being
Wednesday May 11th 2005, 5:17 pm
Filed under: indescribable

… which brains and hearts do nothing to relieve. I need to spend a few hours with good books.



BBC Backstage
Wednesday May 11th 2005, 1:11 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire

…not what you think.

BBC Backstage …



Great garrulous grandfather, R.I.P.
Wednesday May 11th 2005, 12:11 pm
Filed under: indescribable

Is it right to wish that someone rest in peace when they never wanted it in this life? I suppose Rest In Dance has an acronym with overtones



The perils of careless analysis
Tuesday May 10th 2005, 11:58 pm
Filed under: %a la mod

Silliness through laziness:
Fusion is easy!

Silliness masquerading as efficiency:
Bloggercising



Eggshell memory
Tuesday May 10th 2005, 11:54 pm
Filed under: Too weird for fiction

Fragile and elusive, we depend on memory for so much of our understanding of ourselves, our loved ones, and the world.

Every week I encounter some truly flabbergasting quirk in memory amonth my dearest friends, family members, and loved ones. There is a very narrow selection of people who I deeply trust to preserve accurate memories over years and decades; off the top of my head, I can count five of them. If you dig into people I have only known sporadically, or who I know largely *because* of their excellent memories, you can perhaps make it to ten.

Of course memory is a double-edged sword. When I find that someone’s memory differs significantly from mine, even if there is a third party involved who agrees with one or the other of us, I could always be the one misremembering. Quite a frustrating dilemma. Only if you have at least two external sources who agree with you, can you feel confident that you are remembering correctly some disputed event.

Quite interesting to me, is the detachment of memory accuracy from mental acuity and brilliance. The people I trust to have perfect memories span the range of traditional ‘smarts’, and those whose memories change so often I’m certain they are unreliable, include two of the most brilliant people I have ever met.

In any case, I felt only deep understanding upon reading this story about Vietnam vets and their changing memories of spitting during their homecomings. It also reminded me a bit of a story I was editing not long ago…

Eggshell memory …



Amazing graceful art…
Tuesday May 10th 2005, 4:34 am
Filed under: %a la mod

…if only the statistics were better!

Icaro Doria, a Brazilian artist in Lisbon, has been working on a novel art project for the magazine Revista Grande Reportagem. It is a flag campaign called, even in Portugal, “Meet the World”. Various national flags are reproduced, with their different colors being interpreted as relative statistics (corresponding to the % of the flag’s total area? this is unclear). And they are beautiful.

But where’s the detailed data in fine print backing up these elegant and grand claims? Is this just a political statement based on the creator’s opinions on the matter? The statistics mentioned cannot possible be so precise as to reproduce the national flags so closely. An online report says that the magazine has been doing its own research into this information… but I doubt that is a very important part of this campaign, without better references.

Amazing graceful art… …



Julie Klein, unbearably hot soprano
Monday May 09th 2005, 5:41 pm
Filed under: poetic justice

Sorry, that would be Julieanne Klein, singer and now apparently a budding musicologist. Don’t get that wrong, or you’ll have a heck of a time tracking her down. I did, at least. Turns out she has been stowed away in Montreal, finishing research into the development of Modern . That’s not really my bag, but I figure any diva worth her vibrato can do as she pleases. Don’t take my word on the perfection of her voice; thanks to the miracles of modern technology, you can hear for yourself.

Through her site, I also discovered
the Alignment project, which introduces musical notation PDQ Bach would be proud of. Fleur’s fave Project for New Music around here is doubtless green with envy.




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