Milestone, Monkeys

This is my 100th post. I used to hate writing 500 word essays in high school as homework assignments, the last 100 words usually contained lots of filler phrases like "Furthermore, in my not so humble opinion, I think that it is somewhat reasonable to believe that in certain circumstances the chance might exist that... Smurfette was capable of procreation... at least, in so far as she found any of her cobalt comrades sufficiently attractive." Now my problem is trying to find time to write and then trying to write something intelligible.

Today I'm writing about Intelligent Design, education and... the manipulation of the proletariat by evil, conservative overlords. Please keep in mind while reading this that I don't really fault anybody for beleiving what they do and that by "writing evil, conservative overlords" it's a jab at lefties and their equally emotional views. In fact I have that problem a lot, I try to be funny a lot of the time just to amuse myself and my words are sometimes misinterpreted. People who try to promote the teaching of Creationism in public education do so because they believe in God and think they are doing a good thing. Commendable if not misguided.

Before I get into some possibly unused arguments against creationism there are some themes that people seem to grab on to when trying to manipulate public perception. Labelling is a big one. Creationists weren't getting very far with curriculum because it's pretty easy to see a link between State - > Public Education -> Curriculum -> Creationism -> Church. So what did they do? From a Wired Article:
"The institute doesn't need to impress Woese or his peers; it can simply co-opt the vocabulary of science - "academic freedom," "scientific objectivity," "teach the controversy" - and redirect it to a public trying to reconcile what appear to be two contradictory scientific views."
The problem isn't ignorance, who really has the time to learn about all of the issues these days anyway? Who is going to object to the supposedly uber patriotic Patriot Act? I bet McCarthy wouldn't. The problem is that school boards and representatives in general aren't doing their homework. What is the moral of the story? I guess it's that "know your enemy" and "if you can't beat them, join them" have a lot in common. Here's a new quote "If you can't beat them, understand them then misuse their language to confuse the hell out of everybody at which point you're more able to gain power in a democracy."

I keep getting back to some big picture themes that come from the basic understanding I have of chaos theory. "While most of the motion types mentioned above give rise to very simple attractors, such as points and circle-like curves called limit cycles, chaotic motion gives rise to what are known as strange attractors, attractors that can have great detail and complexity"So it just hit me that I can look at politics, media etc. through the lens that the chaotic motion is perception and society is a chaotic system. So what can I infer about behavior from that perspective? Well I think that these big picture themes I keep hoping exist do exist in the form of strange attractors rooted in human instincts that evolved to give us a better chance at procreating, not to aid our search for some kind of truth. I'm assuming that the search for truth doesn't have anything to do with the ability to procreate. Based on my recent adventures in local bars I think that's a reasonable assumption.

Our brains are now big enough that we're able to understand inequity. Inequity according to a lot of people I agree with is the cause of war, not religion. Inequity is also a problem because when I go to the bar with my tall good looking friend I know he's going to get "the girl" That is of couse a double standard, how can I be pissed of at the system when I'm equally shallow when it comes to women? The whole game is rigged. These strange attractors, things like high cheek bones and height are in place because of natural selection. The cold, heartless laws of evolution have created a system of inequity if you assume that there is more to life than health. We're like 2nd generation slaves that finally recognize that there is more to life than the salt mines but we're still unable to break free. Disaffected single people have a saying something like "You can take the player out of the game but you can't take the game out of the player".


Self Important Theme Song

A member of the Chomsky Chat board replied to my post:
PS, am a longtime follower of and appreciative of various technolgies, but fundamentally we need to *organize*. This statement may surprise some who
mistake my organizing efforts, which include spreading the word about technologies, with a view (which I do not have) that technology alone is the answer. Please see, http://economicdemocracy.org/projs.shtml

He's a math professor at a university which is a good sign. The thing I worry about when contemplating donating my time to one of these projects is the issue of demand. "If you build it they will come" is a pretty tenuous assumption when you're dealing with topics like Parecon. Is the goal really to compete with the mass media? If so you have to assume that people are going to want to watch whatever it is you're producing. Maybe a better goal is to make information readily available to those who seek it in the form of documentaries, etc.

My thinking is that in the future we'll have cable boxes that can grab video via the Internet sort of like how Movies on Demand currently works. You will be able to add a channel in the same way that we currently bookmark our favorite websites. But the whole issue of the media monopoly boils down to ratings. Is programming based on ratings or corporate pressure? And if it's both do people even know of care that they're watching an ad and not pure entertainment? Sometimes I grab the sports page and just read ads from the local computer warehouse. Is product placement really that bad? Seinfeld and his Junior Mints didn't seem to think so.

I see a parallel between the production of a successful game and a successful "channel". The games industry is shifting towards a focus on artists and content creators instead of coders and infrastructure people. Maybe the production of documentaries and professional looking, consumable news would be a better direction than the creation of infrastructure. If you build the content the distribution infrastructure will materialize around it. That said, he makes a good point. The focus needs to be on manging whatever direction the new media wagon heads. I think I'm going to email him, what the hell.

My point? We have bloggers which supposedly offer an unbiased alternative to the traditional written media but there is nothing to compete with the stage makeup and self important theme songs of the nightly network news. I emphasize compete because nobody wants to look at a festering pimple on the forehead of their toothless news anchor. If an attractive young woman explains the news to us it doesn't affect the content just the ratings. Fortunately, once the new media realize that concessions need to be made in order to preach beyond the chior, there is room for the dissemination of ideas that might lead to change for the better.

EDIT: Interesting hybrid video news site here http://demandmedia.net/


Theatrical Crooning

"As the lead singer of the Smiths, arguably the most important indie band in Britain during the '80s, Morrissey's theatrical crooning and literate, poetic lyrics -- filled with romantic angst, social alienation, and cutting wit -- connected powerfully with a legion of similarly sensitive, disaffected youth"

Morrissey is one of my favourite weirdo musicians. I think his more mellow jazzy songs are a lot like something on an Andreas Vollenweider CD. Bjork is to Vollenweider as Vanilla Ice is to David Bowie. She completely ripped off one of his songs. Maybe it was just a cover. I was watching that new show LAX with my roommate. It's really good, and I don't really like TV unless people are being painfully eliminated. Most shows grab a theme and stick to it. LAX has a weird but good mix of comedy, drama, aerobatics. Sort of like Morrissey's music. He almost repels would-be fans because of his over the top self pitty but if you listen to it for a while it grows on you. Louder than Bombs is a great CD.

Speaking of repelling would be fans, I've noticed a trend in the media. People criticize the politicians when they make bold, hollow promises. They have to because it works, we the voters are the problem. Every once in a while the reporters remind themselves of that fact on air. I like Bill Oreilly, he just sqirms when he reports on the soap opera that is the Lacy Peterson trial. He can't stand it and he makes it clear to his boss and viewers. A guy from the Chomsky Chat forum asked me to get in touch with him about the idea I had the other day re. alternative methods of media distribution, trying to figure out if I have enough time to make more than a half assed attempt at it. If I wasn't working on the simulator I'd consider it. I bet Oreilly would be glad to man the anchor desk as there wouldn't be much in the way of Lacy coverage, or ratings.


Human Tetherball

UPDATE: I have an early version of my cone finished. I made a nice demonic smiley face. I didn't intend it that way but the headlights make it look a little creepy.

I've been posting a lot about politics which I guess I look at as the natural byproduct of ugly side of human nature. Human nature is what I guess I'm really interested in. I was thinking about perspective and how I look at the world. I think I live too much inside my own sheltered, comfortable world. As I get older I'm realizing that by not looking at the truth I'm missing out on a lot of the good stuff too. The truth I'm trying to look at is the relationships I have with friends and family. It sucks that it has taken me 26 years to figure that out.

I broke down and finally bought some clothes. It's nice to go to work without fashion guilt. Water heater is broken again, not looking forward to my early date with a cold shower. I'm in a good mood, New York coming up in a couple weeks, progress on the simulator. It's kind of fun watching the development unfold. The older guys impart their wisdom our young promising coder. We've got a graphics guy that hangs out regularly a guy from Germany that has a ton experience that keeps an eye on the project. We've got a guy from a FormulaSAE team that helps out with the car physics, and a few of us general purpose idea people. It's nice to see the equivalent of the wise tribal elders stopping by with words of wisdom every once in a while. Everybody has this kind of quiet positive attitude about the project that I don't think I've ever witnessed before. If I ever start a business that is what I want the atmosphere to be like.


If you can't catch me...

This guy would be kind of hard to book without a face or fingerprints. I'm teaching myself how to create 3d objects so I can build odds and ends and maybe a car for Motorsport. This gingerbread man is my first creation. I'm also hoping to create images to accompany my blog posts instead of stealing them. I guess that means this post should be about the cruel nature of the stand up comedy business.

It's kind of funny, I spent $50 on a book that teaches the use of free software. You can download the tools I used to create the bread-man at blender3d.org. My first real contribution is going to be an extremely fancy cone for use on race tracks. I want to have the most accurately modelled cones availible on the face of God's green earth. It'll be my sole lasting contribution to humanity. I'm going to release it under the Creative Commons License so it can be used by anybody anywhere.


Capitalism, Hope, Tribal Sovereignty

Maybe Chomsky was just ahead of his time and it's taking the eyes of thousands of bloggers to point out to the masses what he already knew. From Reuters:
"But Goldstein, Miller and Tyndall all questioned CBS News' judgment in going with Rather's report in the first place, even if the documents had turned out to be authentic. "It's another WMD, another weapon of mass distraction. That's what this whole campaign has turned out to be," Miller said, adding that "somebody out there is trying to keep this running."

That's a great point, I was watching Fox news over the weekend and the talking heads were all asking, "why are we even discussing this?" I saw that sentiment on more than one occasion. So who is the "somebody out there?" If Chomsky is right it's the government and corportations.

If he's wrong, it's just ratings driven fluff presented to a scandal hungry viewership. And that seems to be the major criticism of Chomsky, he claims the media is manipulating us but maybe we are on average naturally apathetic and not conditioned to be that way by the powers that be.

Chomsky is known for being cynical but hopeful. But by being hopeful is he overlooking the possibility that some people simply won't care to know the "truth" even if the media was not bent by corporate interests? He doesn't believe that capitalism and democracy are the emergent resultants of human nature unlike Reagan and Thatcher. I guess I'm hopeful too but for different reasons. Chomsky said in reply to my question "I'm an innocent as far as the internet is concerned." His problems with democracy lie in the fact that the media holds a distribution monopoly. The Internet, in my opinion, is the answer to that monopoly. Bloggers and BitTorrent are the catalysts needed to break it down. So what happens when news isn't biased anymore? Will people even care? I guess we'll find out in the next twenty or so years.

Unfortunately I think conservatives tend to watch Fox News because they like the bias, same goes for liberals and CNN. The danger is that TV will turn into talk radio. No journalists, just one person re-inforcing the juicy, misguided bits of human nature. Is it possible that the media monopoly could actually work if it had an army of critics in the form of bloggers fact checking? It worked with the Rather flap at CBS. This is also the theory behind the belief that Open Source software is more secure. "Many eyes make all bugs shallow" the quote from the Cathedral and the Bazaar might apply here. The many eyes aren't coders they are the bloggers, bugs aren't software problems but false information reported by the media. The many eyes theory might just work for journalism though, there aren't hackers looking for security flaws in a weekly column.

Speaking of Thatcher, here are a couple of interesting quotes.

"It is always important in matters of high politics to know what you do not know. Those who think that they know, but are mistaken, and act upon their mistakes, are the most dangerous people to have in charge." -- Margaret Thatcher,

"Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a — you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2004

Forget for a minute that he's talking utter nonsense. To say that tribes were given sovereignty was a slap in the face to Native Americans because "
American Indian tribes hold their status as sovereign nations with an almost sacred reverence; an inherent standing as self-governing, independent bodies dating back millennia, something that's always existed."

Bush thought he knew what sovereignty meant but he was mistaken. He then acted by opening his mouth which was dangerous to his re-election bid. Bush does not know what he does not know.

Noam, Torrent, Game

"The resultant `mistrust of the mass media' would at best be a political hunch or at worst a loose accusation, if it were not for the relentless and unswerving media analysis of one of the world's greatest minds. And this is only one of the ways in which Noam Chomsky has radically altered our understanding of the society in which we live." Article HERE

Believe it or not, Chomsky just read my blog post on blogger/media and replied to my question...

I found a website I can relate to politically and as I was poking around I noticed that Noam Chomsky contributes to a blog and in the forums. I made a small donation which gave me access to a discussion board in which Noam and some of the other progressive brains congregate and discuss the issues. Now I have a problem. What do I ask him next? It's kind of intimidating because you can find him listed in philosophy textbooks next to names like Plato, Galileo, Descartes, Marx, Rocker, Freud, etc. Not that Freud and Marx weren't crazy but they were pretty damn influential. So what do you ask a guy that's a living legend among people like me that are into philosophy? I'm going to ask him what he thinks about the fact that his documentaries are available for download over the internet. What is more important, profit or the spread of his ideas? If he gives the OK to release his documentaries, I'm going to buy the DVDs, rip them into an Internet friendly format and start uploading them with BitTorrent.

I'm also going to ask him about his theory of language in relation to AI because he seems to be sort of an expert...
Here's a weird linkage of ideas I just came across.

"In a much more radical way, philosophers in the tradition of Wittgenstein (such as Saul Kripke) argue that Chomskyans are fundamentally wrong about the role of rule following in human cognition. In a similar way philosophers in the phenomenological/existential/hermeneutic traditions oppose the abstract neo-rationalist aspects of Chomsky's thought. The contemporary philosopher who best represents this view is, perhaps, Hubert Dreyfus, also famous (or notorious) for his attacks on artificial intelligence."

His critics attack AI which means he probably has some interesting theories on it. Reference the article on deaf kids inventing a language. I'm going to ask him about my code that builds a vocabulary for research. It's really strange how all of these ideas are linked. Just had a crazy good idea that I'm going to propose to the guys at Wikipedia. They need to install bit torrent servers to make high bandwidth content available. I bet someone has already thought of it.

Just found the less than exciting reply from Noam...
" I'm an innocent as far as the internet is concerned. I
don't even know what blogger.com is. Better raise the
question with others.

Noam Chomsky"

How can a guy that smart not wonder about how the Internet is influencing the mass media. There are constant debates these days on the major news channels about the influence of bloggers. It's a little disappointing frankly. I think I need to spend a little more time clarifying my next question to him. Should make for some interesting blog posts in the near future.

In other news, our driving simulator is on the cusp of it's first basic release. We haven't got sound working just yet but almost everything else works. The highschool interns I work with are interested in this project and my boss gave me the green light to spend working hours using it to teach the kids about how technology and software work. It's pretty nice being able to get paid to work on this thing.



God, Coffee, Japanese War Lords

I don't know if there is a God or not but I think it's human nature to want to believe in some greater order of things. That idea of intelligent design is at odds with my belief in evolution and the fact that our brains are made of chemicals which are subject to the laws of physics. There is a PBS show called the Sacred Balance that I identify with because it explains our existence in relative terms. We're not an island unto ourselves according to the narrator, we're all part of one interconnected planet. It seems to have some Ludditite undertones which I'm sceptical of.

Emergence sums up my take on why I'm sceptical of the existence of a soul.
"According to an emergent perspective, intelligence emerges from the connections between neurons, and from this perspective it is not necessary to propose a "soul" to account for the fact that brains can be intelligent, even though the individual neurons of which they are made are not." Ironically it's the same theory that leads me to believe that someday I might accept some kind of spirituality in my life. "Emergent structures are patterns not created by a single event or rule. There is nothing that commands the system to form a pattern, but instead the interactions of each part to its immediate surroundings causes a complex process which leads to order... What distinguishes a complex system from a merely complicated one is that some behaviours and patterns emerge in complex systems as a result of the patterns of relationship between the elements."

So what about the preceding quote appeals to me? Well, the maddening complexity of the interactions that are abstracted from the relative simplicity of the laws of physics that govern the components of the object in question, the mind in this case. It's a loophole in my argument against dualism. The coffee is wearing off, I guess you could argue that a lack of caffeine lowers my ability to think by an order of magnitude because the components of the brain increase by at least an order of magnitude by virtue of the fact that there may be some truth to the idea behind the butterfly effect. Coffee being the butterfly in this case. I have a good book called the Essence of Chaos I bought a long time ago, interesting read if you're into this stuff.

I saw The Last Samurai last night. It got pretty bad reviews but I liked it. Now I'm not sure if it idealized their way of life but if not, that life seems pretty close to perfect. It's hard to have guilt and no one repent to. I wonder if Japan will ever ease their immigration policies. I'd like to find a job that encourages tellecommuting so I can live in a small village in Japan with a good Internet connection and wise old people to keep me in line.


Back to tech.

I think I've learned more in the last month than in my entire extended tour of duty in college. I've got ideas piling up in a draft post, don't have time to get it all into a legible form.

Had an idea on the way home from work today while listening to 1984 on CD...

  • User clicks a dowload link that is mirrored by Universities, misc other bandwidth benefactors.
  • Server checks to see if the user has a bittorrent client available.
  • If no torrent client exists, the data is sent via a traditional FTP like system. If it does exist, it can take advantage of the aggregate bandwidth of the active neighborhood.
  • All downloads would work via the bt:// protocol similar to how you can download a file now in IE or Firefox via ftp using ftp://server/filename.exe

Here's the good part though. The hybrid servers are able to dynamically shift load priority based on demand. Not demand for the files on that particular server though, the server is aware of demand on all of the servers in it's neighborhood. A neighborhood could be a bunch of Universities in collaboration. Now if there is a sudden spike in demand for lets say a 3GB breakthrough video documentary the server that is getting swamped by requests can send a copy of the video to one or more of its network neighbors and then add the other server(s) to the "tracker" so that there would be a seamless increase in bandwidth. So how's that different than just adding a torrent client to all of the servers? Well the difference is that the seed files would be handled separately based on an awareness of load. A file could be added and removed almost instantaneously to the other servers. Its a client server system but weird in that the servers are actually the main part of the distributed network because of their huge bandwidth. If the server has surplus bandwidth then it doesn't care if the client isn't sharing bandwidth unlike the current incarnation of BitTorrent. Initial client installation would be provided by the java wrapper being used by bannedmusic.org.

The beauty of it is this: You don't need overworked sys admins to upload files to University servers. The file would propogate (like DNS) to all "neighborhood" mirrors within an hour or two of the release of the MHBF (must have big file).

I was thinking of using the theory behind DHCP to create flexible work schedules for businesses with limited parking availability or even based on home locations and traffic data. Maybe I need a hobby.


Manufacturing Consent

Some ideas while I'm watching a Noam Chomksy documentary called Manufacturing Consent. I'll update this when I get a chance.

I read that as many as 30,000 Iraqi civillians have died since we went into Iraq. "As many as" means that the number is probably on the high end so lets say it's half that, 15,000. Five times as many people (not including US soldiers) as in 9/11. That's some interesting food for thought.

Chomsky's theory is that media is controlled by advertising dollars and therefore the corporations that advertise. The government/elite then use the media to leverage the flaws in Democracy to retain their power (they call it "stability"). Here's my theory: Wouldn't the emergence of the Internet and then blogging as a source of news for the masses be a threat to the establishment? And if that was the case wouldn't a corporation try to buy Blogger.com? (Google just did) And if the content can only be manipulated by independent users wouldn't the advertising model be imposed on individual users similar to the way it works with traditional media? (Blogger is now partnering with Adsense).I don't believe that I'd be lucky enough to come up with an original idea linking Chomsky's theory to new media but I just noticed some text from the Blogger.com homepage that really freaked me out...

AdSense Invite
Did you know that you can turn your blog into a source of revenue with Google's AdSense program?
Would you like to sign up? Yes, please.

A quote "Previously there were AdSense ads embedded in all of Google's free Blogger sites, but the bloggers didn't get any of the financial action." So what made blogger all of a sudden decide to pay users? "Blogger.com wants to make its customers rich" Why? What happened to Capitalism? Who owns google? Google recently had privacy protests due to their email scanning system.

Another quote "Another piece on Google's bizarre no-hate-ads policy, but this one suggests it is applied with a conservative bias. The author had a political commentary website which included an article which called the President "secretive, paranoid and vengeance-filled". His site was taken down." I'm not the first with this idea apparently...

From http://www.perrspectives.com/articles/art_gagorder01.htm
"Far more important to American society, Google's pervasiveness has given it a unique and privileged role as the information gatekeeper of the 21st century. “To Google” someone or something has become synonymous with using the Internet to find information, images or news. The New York Times has detailed the emergence of Google as an alternative to the traditional library for research. As individuals, businesses and publishers leverage its search, email and advertising tools to reach readers, sell products and assemble communities, Google is on the verge of becoming the Internet arbiter of the First Amendment.

As I learned this week, however, Google may be playing a darker, more sinister role in American society: corporate censor. On June 15, the Google Adwords team informed me that it had discontinued all advertisements placed by Perrspectives.com due to “unacceptable content” on the site that includes “language that advocates against an individual, group or organization.” As we’ll see below, this may or may not be blatant bias against liberal viewpoints. There can be no doubt, though, that the current Google editorial guidelines, evenly applied, would bar almost any newspaper, magazine, opinion journal, political party, advocacy campaign or even religious organization from advertising on its site. And that puts Google dangerously at odds with core American values of free speech and assembly."

Another idea. Google results are based on an algorithm. Talk about the perfect method of shaping people's world views.

Audiobooks, Fahrenheit 9/11

Weird quote of the day: "Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things." - George Carlin

Couple of thoughts today. I've found a new way to stuff even more stuff in my brain. Books on tape. You can download a whole book in the form of a bunch of MP3s(chapters) and burn them onto CDs. I think this might be a good time to get an MP3 player. My commute is 30 to 40 minutes a day so I figure I can "read" my current book, 1984, in a few weeks. I can't read normal books because of my short attention span so this is a good compromise.

There are obvious licensing issues here so I was thinking that someone should setup a website and convince James Earl Jones to read the classics. Nobody owns Shakespeare's works, the only cost involved in producing Hamlet in the form of a book are the printing and distribution. Those costs evaporate when you can distribute digitally. Maybe I'll setup a website. Needs a catchy name though. Project Gutenberg has a few Sherlock Holmes books read by a human as well as a bunch read by computer which sound like Steven Hawking. The few sites that aspire to do the same thing are all offline, most likely due to the bandwidth requirements. That's where Bit Torrent comes in.

It has to be inevitable that Bittorrent will be seamlessly embedded in to the KDE and Gnome windows managers for Linux and into the Longhorn Windows Shell. That way if you clicked on a .torrent link you would get the usual "file downloading" dialog box but with the file coming from multiple users instead of just one server. Maybe I should look into coding that. The only problem is that people would have to configure their routers for port forwarding. Not something to be taken lightly. Great blog post about this idea here. UPDATE: Looks like the minds and ears of BannedMusic.org have created a nice Java based wrapper(not a musician) that simplifies the download process. Should be interesting to watch. Another good blog discussion about it here.

I used BitTorrent to dowload and watch Fahrenheit 911 last night. I wasn't that impressed with the movie to be honest. It's a good documentary but his whiney, patronizing voice narrates you into insanity. I may just dislike Moore as much as Bush. The movie fits on two CDs and it is very nearly DVD quality. How you ask? Because DVDs use an old crappy compression mechanism, MPEG 2, and computers are capapble of better compression (MPEG 4). If anybody I know that reads this wants to borrow it just let me know.


I think a lot of people have different motivations for writing, mine wasn't very clear until recently. It was strange reading the following snippet from The Age of the Essay because it explained my though process almost exactly.

"An essay is something you write to try to figure something out.

Figure out what? You don't know yet. And so you can't begin with a thesis, because you don't have one, and may never have one. An essay doesn't begin with a statement, but with a question. In a real essay, you don't take a position and defend it. You notice a door that's ajar, and you open it and walk in to see what's inside.

If all you want to do is figure things out, why do you need to write anything, though? Why not just sit and think? Well, there precisely is Montaigne's great discovery. Expressing ideas helps to form them. Indeed, helps is far too weak a word. Most of what ends up in my essays I only thought of when I sat down to write them. That's why I write them.

In the things you write in school you are, in theory, merely explaining yourself to the reader. In a real essay you're writing for yourself. You're thinking out loud.

But not quite. Just as inviting people over forces you to clean up your apartment, writing something that other people will read forces you to think well. So it does matter to have an audience. The things I've written just for myself are no good. They tend to peter out. When I run into difficulties, I find I conclude with a few vague questions and then drift off to get a cup of tea."

But what the hell am I trying to figure out? I sit down to write this thing, maybe with an idea and that's about it. So this stuff you're reading is just a glimpse of what goes on inside my head all day, scary as that may be. In fact, when I go to bed I have to consciously force myself into a vegetative state or I just won't sleep. Sometimes I read my old posts and can see where I was wrong, I learn more about how I think. For instance, my dad always claimed I had a fear of success. Looking at it now it's clear that I simply have a fear of hiding from reality behind piles of "work." A quote from The Underground History of American Education.
When a Colorado coalminer testified before authorities in 1871 that eight hours underground was long enough for any man because "he has no time to improve his intellect if he works more," the coaldigger could hardly have realized his very deficiency was value added to the market equation."

Automation has changed things, the majority of the workforce is now knowledge based. So if the author of the above quote is correct(I'm not entirely sure he is) then my hatred of school was a logical response to the outdated, industrial era bureaucracy that is K-12. If I ever have kids I'm going to seriously consider home schooling them, I just need to find a weathly lady with child bearing hips first. Maybe I'll just get one of those robotic vacuums and re-program it instead of homeschooling a real person.


I bashed my head on some office furniture and aside from the gash I think I may have a mild concussion. If this entry trails off into nonsense you'll know why, for instance, the dogs have no relevance to the post but in my haze it looked like they were aquapedal, waking on water.

Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks has some theories about the future of digital content distribution. "Well hopefully you'll be able to buy or rent a hard drive with 5, 10, 20 movies on it. And you'll use your DVR, your PC, or your Media Center PC, and just through a 1394 port or a USB 2.0 port, you'll connect the hard drive. Or we might do a deal with Netflix or Wal-Mart where every month you get a new hard drive loaded with movies, and then you ship back your old ones, just like you do now with Netflix, when you ship back your DVDs when you're finished watching them. Why not just ship back the hard drive?"

I had NetFlix for a while and there was a major problem. Spontaneity. I don't want to wait a week or two for the mail to arrive so I can watch a movie. In fact I may have lost interest by then. Cuban is obsessed with high resolution. Now I have a HDTV so I know how much better it looks than the old 480i signals that have been around for over half a century. The problem is that at some point it's good enough. At some point people trade quality for convenience.

Michael Moore admitted he wasn't bothered by the fact that people are downloading his movies. “I do well enough already and I made this film because I want the world, to change. The more people who see it the better, so I’m happy this is happening.” I'm a software guy so I know all of the tools available to get big files off the Internet. Kazza can't handle files this big very well but there is an interesting, relatively unknown tool used in conjunction with a website for this sort of thing. I downloaded a surprisingly high quality copy of Roger and Me, Moore's first documentary, in about two hours, Fahrenheit 911 is slowly making its way onto my computer as we speak. What the hell is Cuban thinking? Who's going to want to plug in an external hard drive to watch a movie?

Right now, few people have heard of BitTorrent. It's finikey and hard to use but it works very well as my flickering router lights can attest. Actually, now that I think about it, I have a biased point of view. I download documentaries, ideas with a video backdrop. I don't need 5.1 surround sound to get Noam Chomsky's critique of the Media. Lots of people want sensory immersion especially when watching Art Films and the like. Don't watch Fahrenheit 911 if you're squeamish by the way, there was just footage of a guy getting his head lopped off. Some things are better left low-def.


Unforutunately intelligence and insanity aren't mutually exclusive. Osama bin Laden has a degree in Economics. Supposedly part of the reason he hit the World Trade Center is because of the Trade that would be disrupted. Here's a lovely quote from Stephen Flynn's essay The Neglected Home Front "The Bush administration is spending more every three days on the Iraq war than it has in three years on the security of all U.S. commercial seaports" The articles quotes the Bush admin as saying that critical infrastructure will be protected because it's in the interest of Business to prevent it from happening which is as stupid as saying that the creation of the Interstate Highway system would have been done by a few corporations because they would have seen the need for it. Some things are best left to the government. National Security comes to mind.

We're rebuilding Iraq and we can't even protect ourselves. Of course Bush is up in the polls right now because he's claiming he'll protect us all. Osama is smart enough to exploit our weaknesses, the author of the article points our our infrastructure weaknesses and how Osama could create panic by attacking our food supply. Not panic in the sense that people will run around screaming and burning fridges, but longer term panic in that the average joe will vote for a guy that starts hacking up the constitution so we've got a better chance at finding a handful of terrorists among the billions of inhabitants of earth. Again, I'm not a Democrat and I don't think Bush is evil, just incredibly incompetent.

Osama wants to create fear in Americans to disrupt our economy. Bush wants to create fear in Americans to get re-elected. So isn't Bush then helping Osama by fueling the paranoia? I'm pretty convinced we're going to get nuked in the next ten years because I've read a dozen or so non-partisan critiques of Bush's flawed agenda. I haven't heard any real numbers but today on CNN some guy said "It is more likely than not." CNN is going to have a big report on this on September 12 by the way if anybody is interested.

Next Time: Human Capital, applying capitalism to democracy.


OK prepare to be depressed. I'm not sure I sould even be writing about this but here goes. I was at an open house type event for a major defense contractor. No classified information was on display, just your run of the mill carnival type kiosks except for one booth. I was leaving and noticed out of the corner of my eye what looked like a bomb going off in a city on their big LCD display. I stopped, turned around and went back to ask the guy what this was all about. He said that it was a demonstration of explosions, stuff they couldn't do in real life any more since nuclear weapons testing was banned. He had a very high resolution 3D map of what looked like a major city. on one of the streets, a virtual bomb went off. I've seen a bunch of documentaries on this stuff, Blinding Horizon, Trinity and Beyond, etc. and what I saw in this booth was scarier than anything in those documentaries. I know a lot about this stuff, it always interested me so I was able to hold a fairly intelligent conversation with the guy. He said they run the simulations at Sandia National Labs which didn't surprise me, they have some of the biggest super computers know to man. Looking at the explosion on the screen just tearing apart buildings in a huge radius, I knew it wasn't a truck bomb I was looking at so I asked the guy if I was looking at a nuclear bomb. A one kiloton a-bomb is the equivalent one thousand tons of TNT. He said that it was a ten kiloton bomb that I was looking at in the simulation.

Now here's where it gets weird. George Will is probably my favorite writer, he's the only reason I read newsweeek. I was reading one of his articles and it struck me...
"In December 1994, Czech police seized more than eight pounds of HEU in a parked car on a side street. A senior al Qaeda aide's proclaimed goal of killing 4 million Americans would require 1,400 9/11s, or one 10-kiloton nuclear explosion — from a softball-sized lump of fissionable material — in four large American cities...In 1993, U.S. officials used ordinary bolt cutters to snip off the padlock that was the only security at an abandoned Soviet-era facility containing enough HEU for 20 nuclear weapons."

HEU is highly enriched Uranium. The guts of one of these bombs. So what I was looking at was a 3D, birds eye view of the most likely scenario of what's likely going to happen over here in the next few years. Reading Foreign Affairs isn't helping my nerves either because most of the people that write about this stuff are convinced that this is inevitable. Even the articles that claim to explain how to prevent it debate how we should respond and what the world will look like afterward.

I wish I knew what city I was looking at in the simulation. It didn't look like San Diego which is kind of nice I guess.
There is an equation used to predict the existance of life on other planets. One of the major factors that decreases the odds is a variable for the likelyhood of a civilization blowing itself to pieces with nuclear bombs.

It makes me wish I hadn't seen that simulation. Ignorace is bliss right? Sorry for ruining your day.

UPDATE: Lockheed Martin just visited my blog. Now it's sorta scary because they've never visited and now I post about defense contractors and here they are. The weird bit is that my post was today and Google hasn't updated yet so how the hell would they know to come check it out?


Well I was mid way through this post and I saw an article on CNN about how scientists have discovered a weird signal coming from what could be little green men on another planet. It's probably a mistake but if not, it would be the biggest news story in recorded history. Yes, even bigger than the Republican National Convention.

It's interesting being in the thick of a trasformation of an industry. Open Source is taking the software industry by storm. The game industry is huge. Software of the kind we're creating is a threat to the billions in revenue created by the current proprietary production methods.

Governor Scharawerzdzeeggger. Governor Arnold is pushing for the adoption of Open Source software as a way to decrease IT costs for the state of California. Great article on him on Wired.

Prediction for Florida. Insurance companies are going to begin to wonder if the recent rash of Hurricanes is the result of global warming. Premiums for coverage in Florida explode. People can't afford coverage and move. Homes get cheaper, I buy some land and build one made of some of that new Carbon Nano material which would be impervious.