For a moment I am a thesaurus joining at a breakneck pace
misplaced ideas with corollaries, antonyms with alternatives, symmetry with simulacra.
and then I am back in the moment. recalling, lives ago, looking forward to this future, married to my (smart, lovely, mad) sweetheart. perennially fighting over homes and children and unmeant slights and trivia.
I chose otherwards, nor ever doubted that, though it would have been sane and not wrong. now she has colonies of frozen fertilized embryos waiting for the next wave; you have families to love and sweat and curse and laugh about; I have corollaries yet beginning. different paths are necessarily incommensurable; and to the extent they can be directly compared, they all come out to the same possibilities in the end. never demean where you are; find the joints and levers at hand and use them with confidence and joy.
Colin Thompson’s art and Gelaskin printing make sweet laptop covers
When I travel with my laptop, kids of all ages want to play with my cover. It’s full of books with wonderfully bad title-puns. Here’s a quick how-to for making your own form-fitting skins, for $20.
Start with your favorite high-resolution art from Colin Thompson — beautifully hued, full of word and visual tricks.
Pipe it through Gelaskins with your favorite laptop or phone model. End up with a thin, removable full-body sticker that will give you countless moments of joy. (I’ve tried covers for both top and bottom to fit my laptop; this was the best of the 3 skin-printing services I tried. The bottom skin survived being removed after 3 months when the laptop was sent in for repair, and reattached a week later, with no distortion.)
A ditty for Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane
Adapted from Bunsen,
via Pipeline’s Things I Wont Work With:
Even though the synthesis
is something quite insa-ane
If you cough too close to it
You’ll lose a window pa-ane
Dimple joust as sport: the perfect combination of skill and reflex
Dimple jousting is the purest form of duel. Everyone can play on equal footing, the winner is obvious, and there is no chance involved.
Aaron Swartz hackfests this weekend around the world: honoring his work
Friday November 08th 2013, 7:04 pm
Filed under: Aasw
,Glory, glory, glory
Help continue projects Aaron believed in, in person or online.
I’ll be at the Cambridge event and aftermath throughout the long weekend.
Related project summaries:
Inversionistas inmobiliarimos en Chile de hoy
En Puerto Varas, para ser precisos. Un articulo por Sebastian. ᔥmadre.
“Hay paisajes extraordinarios, pienso, y luego este. Esos campos y poblados guardan un centenario orgullo que emociona.”
Women hefting weight: a global physical meme of strength and focus
I ran across a random development conference today. It included a classic photo of a woman in a wrap carrying a load on her head. This was being used to represent the “members of the local community” in Bali, in political discourse about the use of their land. Even the little thumbnail image used in diagrams to represent community vs. industry showed men wearing typical clothing and women wearing typical clothing… and carrying 15kg.
The same thing happens in images from across Africa, where women more often than men are the ones carrying heavy loads to and fro; at least on their heads (rather than on motorbikes or other vehicles). This strikes me as a meme reflective of strength and work ethic, though so omnipresent it is simply taken as a fact of life and not worth remarking on. I wonder what other such memes are out there.
HT: Studie Rede via: IEEE Actionable Data Book
Aside: I mistakenly began to write something here about ‘development porn’. A concept worth discussing but riddled with untruth… and not behind this meme, which is widely present in media in all cultures, not just in the eye of ‘international development’.
Wikipedia The Movie: the maddest thing I’ve read in some time
Wikipedia The Movie, a wiki-amusement started by Mark Pellegrini during the Chrome Age of Wikipedia, is hard to describe, and not exactly what you might expect. It is a surreal cataclysm of in-jokes pretzled together into a tilable shape. Its pieces have been polished by those who appreciate it: editors with a sense of humor, reflecting on a larger community whose relationship with humor is more nuanced. In short Dalí-scented scenes, and the language of cafeteria gossip, it captures something about the projects in a way that is honest to the madness of humanity. Enough to make any committed editor wince/smile. It makes me wonder what a similarly frank slice of subtext would look like for other large-scale projects.
While I remember the original being written – not called ‘Episode 1′ at the time – I only discovered last year that it had been turned into a franchise, slowly unfolding year after year. And I can’t complain that I was cast as my favorite Shakespearean fragranceur.
And then there is the musical version. For you who have shared the private hallucinations of those who breathe too deep of lemony Huggle vapour, give over a few minutes of your day to a stroll down memory’s phantasmagoria:
That curious creature, the technicolor starling, illuminated
My power animal: Hildebrandt’s starling. Similar to some butterflies, these starlings are colored by the microscopic structure of its feathers, not pigment.
Putting peacocks (and the stray chalybaeus) to shame for 2,000,000 years.
HT: Gaia. via Wikimedia Commons. (this one is from Tanzania)
To “snub” you must find someone who can be made to feel inferior
“A snub,” defined Lady Roosevelt, “is the effort of a person who feels superior to make someone else feel inferior. To do so, he has to find someone who can be made to feel inferior.”
ᔥ Quote Investigator, ↬ Meredith Patterson
Cambridge doggerel in celebration of her glorious sunsets
140 characters, just like mom’s.
The sunset was pretty
in Cambridge. The ember
of Sun cast the city
in hues to remember.
When I tried to draw Rindge
and Latin, ’twas orange.
LOC is down. Archive.org remains up. What can this teach us?
Thanks to the US government shutdown, the Library of Congress website went down today. So did NASA, the NSF, the USDA, the FTC, and the National Park Service. On the other hand, privately-run websites such as the Internet Archive (and, thankfully, its glorious Wayback Machine!) remain online and unaffected by these sorts of government changes.
As we plan for making our Internet more robust in the future, we should make sure to avoid single (or small-group) points of failure, as even services run by major corporations or governments can go offline in a hurry. (People who live their lives on Google tools: I’m looking at you
Wikipedia itself should be sure to support a thriving mirror network, and should probably move towards a fully distributed cache-and-forward model where possible.
Desert canticles wrestle susurrantly, lithe behind quiet eyes
Sitting down today to write my first non-work letter in a few weeks. I’ve been enjoying poetry lately; here’s some Simon:
A man walks down the street
Dusty street in a strange world
Maybe it’s the Third World
Maybe it’s his first time around
He doesn’t speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterlings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen and Hallelujah!
Socrates Jones: Wow. “There are no limits on the extent of smiting!”
Noted game designer Chief Wakamakamu writes:
So, guys. I’m pretty sure that, whenever you played Phoenix Wright, you thought to yourself “Man, this game would be so much better if it was about moral philosophy instead of high-stake courtroom arguments.”
Well, I have come to make all your dreams come true. I’m currently looking for play-testers for Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher, so that we can make it as awesome as it could possibly be before we unleash it on … a starved market.
Sate your hunger. Interrogate antiquity’s moral philosophers for yourself.
On Miranda’s Rights: Intimidating the press through their families
Lord Falconer, Mark Weisbrot, Ben Daniel comment on the surprising 9-hour detention of Glenn Greenwald’s husband David Miranda, on a layover through Heathrow, under the unironically-named “Terrorism Act 2000“.
A New ‘Pedia: planning for the future of Wikipedia
Wikipedia has gotten more elaborate and complex to use. Adding a reference, marking something for review, uploading a file or creating a new article now take many steps — and failing to follow them can lead to starting all over. The curators of the core projects are concerned with uniformly high quality, and impatient with contributors who don’t have the expertise and wiki-experience to create something according to policy. Good stubs or photos are deleted for failing to comply with one of a dozen policies, or for inadequate cites or license templates; even when they are in fact derived from reliable sources and freely licensed.
The Article Creation Wizard has a five-step process for drafting an article, after which it is submitted for review by a team of experienced editors, and finally moved to the article namespace. 7 steps for approval is too much overhead for many. And the current notability guidelines on big Wikipedias excludes most local and specialist knowledge.
We need a simpler scratch-space to develop new material:
- A place not designed to be high quality, where everything can be in flux, possibly wrong, in need of clarification and polishing and correction.
- A place that can be used to build draft articles, images, and other media before posting them to Wikipedia
- A place where everyone is welcome to start a new topic, and share what they know: relying on verifiability over time (but not requiring it immediately), and without any further standard for notability
- A place with no requirements to edit: possibly style guidelines to aspire to, but where newbies who don’t know how the tools or system works are welcomed and encouraged to contribute more, and not chastised for getting things wrong.
Since this will be a new sort of compendium or comprehensive cyclopedia, covering all topics, it should have a new name. Something simple, say Newpedia. Scripts can be written to help editors work through the most polished Newpedia items and push them to Wikipedia and Wikisource and Commons. We could invite editors to start doing their rough work on Newpedia, to avoid the conflict and fast reversion on the larger wiki references that make it hard to use for quick new work.
Update: Mako discussed Newpedia (or double-plus-newpedia) in his panel about “Wikipedia in 2022“, and Erik Moeller talked about how the current focus on notability is keeping all of our projects from growing, in his “Ghosts of Wikipedia Future“. I look forward to the video and transcripts.
What do you think? I started a mailing list for people who are interested in developing such a knowledge-project. I look forward to your thoughts, both serious and otherwise 😉