February 28, 2004


"Perhaps the most insidious single group of publications is the cheap pocket book. In page after page of these so called novels sex organs, positions of intercourse, abnormal sex practices of every kind are described with intimate physical detail. Nothing is left to the imagination. An invitation is even extended to the reader to come join the fun! Teenagers particularly are liable to fold down the corners of the obscene passages. The more readily to dwell on them over and over and over again." You'll have to excuse me now. I need to, um, go do some me some reading.

While I'm gone you can download part 1 and part 2 of "Perversion for Profit".

Be sure to check out their archives of the SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre!

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February 25, 2004

It's Really Simple


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February 24, 2004

Jobs Update

Congressman John D. Dingell has some questions about Gregory Mankiw's proposal to count burger flipping as a manufacturing job.

Dear Dr. Mankiw:

I noticed in the recently released Economic Report of the President that there was some consternation in the defining of manufacturing. It could be inferred from your report that the administration is willing to recognize drink mixing, hamburger garnishing, French/freedom fry cooking, and milk shake mixing to be vital components of our manufacturing sector.

I am sure the 163,000 factory workers who have lost their jobs in Michigan will find it heartening to know that a world of opportunity awaits them in high growth manufacturing careers like spatula operator, napkin restocking, and lunch tray removal. I do have some questions of this new policy and I hope you will help me provide answers for my constituents:

  • Will federal student loans and Trade Adjustment Assistance grants be applied to tuition costs and Burger College?
  • Will the administration commit to allowing the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) the fund cutting edge burger research such as new nugget ingredients or keeping the hot and cold side of burger seperate until consumption?
  • Will special sauce now be counted as a durable good?
  • Do you want fries with that?

Finally, at a speech he gave in Michigan this past September, Secretary Evans announced the creation of a new Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing. While I understand that it takes a while to find the right candidate to fill these positions, I am concerned that five months after the announcement no Assistant Secretary has yet been named. I do, however, know of a public offical who would be perfect for the job. He has over thirty years of administrative and media experience, has a remarkable record of working with diverse constituencies, and is extraordinarily well qualified to understand this emerging manufacturing sector: the Hon. Mayor McCheese.

With every good wish,

Mr Dingell

I'm not sure if Mayor McCheese * is the right guy for the job. I mean he's had the job for over a quarter of a century and the Hamburglar is still roaming the streets. He seems to have a serious conflict of interest that explains everything. Apparently he has a long history of moral lapses.

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February 20, 2004

New Manufacturing Jobs!

I was looking at the want ad section of the paper yesterday and only saw one job listing for computer engineers. Happily I woke up today to discover that the Bush administration is considdering a bold move to create literally millions of new manufacturing jobs:

Is cooking a hamburger patty and inserting the meat, lettuce and ketchup inside a bun a manufacturing job, like assembling automobiles?

That question is posed in the new Economic Report of the President, a thick annual compendium of observations and statistics on the health of the United States economy.

The latest edition, sent to Congress last week, questions whether fast-food restaurants should continue to be counted as part of the service sector or should be reclassified as manufacturers. No answers were offered.

In a speech to Washington economists Tuesday, N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, said that properly classifying such workers was "an important consideration" in setting economic policy.

Two weeks ago the blogger formerly known as Emma posted this as a joke. I guess Tom Tomorrow was right when he observed that the Bush administration had rendered satire obsolete.

(spotted on Eschaton.)

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February 19, 2004

Two Too Many

I've recently been re-reading The User Illusion that goes into great depth about the nature of consciousness. The difference between Me and I if you will. I'll write more about it later, but for now I'll simply point out it reminded me of the episode of Star Trek (the next generation) where we learn to our collective horror that there are, in fact, two William Riker's. I shouldn't be so snarky - I actually enjoyed the episode. I guess I just feel a special empathy for nerdy dorks who keep making dumb choices when it comes to romance.

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February 15, 2004

Isaac 'Fig' Newton

I've discovered I have a lot more free time if I just quote people smarter than me instead of trying to think of things to write about.

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

--Isaac Newton

I, on the other hand, tend to spend most of my time at the beach with a stick poking at jellyfish that have washed up.

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February 14, 2004

Saber Tooth Tiger of Love


Creation seems to come out of imperfection. It seems to come out of a striving and a frustration, and this is where I think language came from. It came from our desire to transcend our isolation and have some sort of connection with one another. And it had to be easy when it was just simple survival. Like the word water, we came up with a sound for that, or saber tooth tiger right behind you, we came up with a sound for that. But when it gets really interesting is when we use that same system of symbols to communicate all the abstract and intangible things that we're experiencing. What is frustration? Or what is anger? Or love? When I say love, the sound comes out of my mouth and it hits the other person's ear, travels through this byzantine conduit in their brain, through their memories of love, or lack of love, and they register what I'm saying and they say yes, they understand. But how do I know they understand, because words are inert, they're just symbols, they're dead, you know? And so much of our experience is intangible. So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed. It's unspeakable. And yet, you know when we communicate with one another, and we feel that we've connected, and we think that we're understood, I think we have a feeling of almost spiritual communion. And that feeling might be transient, but I think it's what we live for.

Happy Valentine's Day...

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February 12, 2004

A New Kind of Monkey

I ran across this essay at Jef Allbright's blog that seemed to have something to say about the controversy over Dr. Stephen Wolfram's book A New Kind of Science. Not that I think anyone who reads this weblog will find all this remotely interesting. Heck, even I don't find it terribly interesting - I just have a lingering fondness for monkeys.

UPDATE: Speaking of monkeys...

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Just Get Me Out of Here

I really should write something. Really. But my mind of late has assumed a mush-like state. Thoughts swirl around, crash into one another, and then stumble off in a daze to the dark corners of my mind. It's kind of like a Mental Demolition Derby. In computer science there is a condition known as thrashing which happens when you try to make the computer do too many different things at the same time. The poor little computer spends all its time switching between the tasks but doesn't actually spend any time on the tasks themselves. Seeing as I have neither a job nor a girlfriend it's sort of hard to imagine I'm that busy. Maybe it's more like an endless loop.

Since none of this is particularly interesting I will leave you with a little wisdom from Joe:

"I was thinking that everyone I loved I still love They are just below the horizonline in my mind's eye, just waiting for them to come up like the sun again. These are the people I pined for, longed for, cried over, would have done anything for. I think that the great challenge in life is to have an experience and not be bitter about it. Love is painful for everyone. To get the full high you've got to pay the full price. What is the full price? It's the devastation of its loss.

Allen Ginsberg once said - love doesn't die, it just get buried under fear and misunderstandings, and the accumulation of missed connections and failures to be brave. It gets buried under all that sludge. It's funny that if someone expresses love for us it means they owe us all kinds of things. From then on, once the word love has come up, the other person is on trial."

I hope the Jury finds everyone innocent of all charges.

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February 05, 2004

Intercessions by Agitation

Or should it be Intercession by Agitations? Either way, the Internet Anagram Server* is fun!!!

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February 03, 2004

Dubious Safety Features

"Would you like to go fly some aerobatics sometime?" he asked.

"Sure, I've always wanted to try that," was my reply.

A week later we were standing on the tarmac performing the ground-check of the plane. Everything seemed firmly attached and we were ready to don our parachutes and climb into the cockpit. Once we were all strapped in he says, "I forgot to tell you but you can kick the windows out."

"Kick the windows out?"

"Yeah, it's a safety feature..."

"Kicking the windows out is a safety feature? Why would I want to kick out the window?"

"Oh, you'd only want to do it if things got really bad - like if the wing fell off or something."

"Ah, of course. I probably would feel like kicking the window out in that case."

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