log (2007/07/20 to 2007/07/26)

Back when I used to write in my weblog like daily (anyone remember those heady days?), I would write about just completely random stuff that sprang to mind (with random degrees of profundity or silliness), and often didn't have pictures or anything.

So we'll do that today, in a spirit of giddy nostalgia. *8)

(Besides, the little boy is hogging (I mean) using the World of Warcraft machine.)

A quote from Wired:

In design, the tag is simple: A medical-grade glass capsule holds a silicon computer chip, a copper antenna and a "capacitor" that transmits data stored on the chip when prompted by an electromagnetic reader.

Now I'm not quoting this because of the somewhat disturbing (or not, but perhaps at least significant) piece about computer-chip implants that it's from, or even because it's wrong about what the capacitor in the device actually does (arguably at least). Rather, I'm quoting it because of the adorable shame-quotes around "capacitor".

What's up with that?

Is this implication that these so-called "capacitors" are really something else? (When I was a wee lad, they were called "condensors".) Or that Wired's readers would be confused and befuddled and offended by the use of the word in routine speech, and have to be comforted with "we realize this is a big scary technical word, and it makes us feel all woozy too, but the geeks insisted that we put it in" type quotes?


If my company was called Precision Consulting, I think I'd change the name.

Noun Phrase That We're Ashamed To Admit We Find Intensely Amusing o' the day: sweater puppies. (Blush)

Search Term That We're Amazed Gets Zero Hits On Google (Although It'll Have At Least One Now) o' the day: ELIFETOOSHORT. (From a conversation with Ian.)

Weblogs that I really ought to go back to occasionally reading o' the day: Susie Bright, from which I recently got to this wonderful (if factually inaccurate) picture, and this page about sex-related resources for those that really need them, and this piece about those "Girls Gone Wild" ads that I never really noticed, which led to this very nice piece by Greta Christina on the same general subject (including her very nuanced and informed opinions on a few of the semi-porn GGW videos themselves), and thence to a whole weblog by Greta Christina, which leads back to the idea that I really ought to go back to reading weblogs now and then.

RC r00lz! u all sux0r!!
  -- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Here's a Washington Post story about this most recent pronouncement by the Organization Formerly Known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition, and some of the reaction to it (a story that, as the popular press usually does, unaccountably omits a pointer to the actual document or the commentary on it).

While I'm being confused about things, what's up with that "commentary", anyway? Is there one buncha guys that write the actual document, and another bunch that then comments on it? Which bunch should we take more seriously? Is the actual document official ("canonical" har har), and the "commentary" only an unofficial gloss that Papa Ratzi himself might not have vetted and approved? If the Church as a whole had further stuff to say on the matter, why didn't they just make those "comments" in the actual document, rather than creating a whole nother document to hold them?

Some of these old viral meme complexes are so complicated!

But then that's why we love them...

Friend Diane (who is very into this) showed me the kiva.org site on Second Life, from which I went to the actual kiva.org and loaned some random person quite distant from me on the "marginal value of money" curve some money.

It was cool!

The site generated the following text for me to pass along to you:


I just made a loan to someone in the developing world using a revolutionary new website called Kiva.

You can go to Kiva's website and lend to someone in the developing world who needs a loan for their business - like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent - and you get updates letting you know how the business is going. The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back - and Kiva's loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.

I just made a loan to an entrepreneur named Amalia Sanchez Rivas in Mexico. They still need another $75.00 to complete their loan request of $1,100.00 (you can loan as little as $25.00!). Help me get this business off the ground by clicking on the link below to make a loan to Amalia Sanchez Rivas too:


It's finally easy to actually do something about poverty - using Kiva I know exactly who my money is loaned to and what they're using it for. And most of all, I know that I'm helping them build a sustainable business that will provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate their family long after my loan is paid back.

Join me in changing the world - one loan at a time.


David Chess

So go do that. *8)

Modes of transport:

Spennix takes ship

That's Spennix on the Intercontinental, westbound (I think). It's not easy to get out onto the bowsprit there, but it's definitely worth it. Great place to make train noises, too.

Spennix on wyvernback

That's Spennix on Wyvernback, flying over the ominous Twilight Shore on the western continent (whose name I always forget). We're like level 28 or so in these pictures.

Have been spending lots of time in WoW and SL, as always. See previous discussions (which oddly seem to occur about annually) about theories of radical freedom, what one should do, and all like that.

A related but different question, though, has to do with what one does do. There've always been a certain number of people who (the poor things) find various alternative worlds, or various smallish subsets of the real world, significantly more attractive than the real world. In the archetypal narrative, these people don't do very well, and the rest of us (who remain proudly grounded in the real world) pretty much feel sorry for them, feel grateful that we aren't them, and so on.

One obvious thing to think is that these people don't have very good real-world lives, and that it's therefore understandable that they find Dungeons and Dragons, or Second Life, or UFO narratives (or religion, heh heh) more attractive, and easy rabbit holes to get lots down.

But this line of thought suggests that as we develop and produce more and more attractive pocket worlds, virtual worlds, alternate worlds, there will be more and more people for whom one of those worlds is more attractive than the real one (here I resist a tangent on "real").

Does this process continue more or less continuously, until we get to worlds that are more attractive than the real world to half of humanity, to two-thirds, to nintey percent? Or is there something identifiably unfortunate or unusual about those people who can be seduced by pretend worlds, and do the rest of us, the normal folk, stay in reality at least much of the time?

Is there, that is, something inherently attractive or preferable about the real world as compared to any worlds that one might embed within, invent from, it?

I tend to think that the answer is "no", of course, because the picture of infinitely nested worlds, none really more real than any of the others, has (for whatever reason) great appeal. *8)

Whatever the answer to that question, there's also the empirical question of how far, at this stage of technology, we are towards (or from) making enbedded worlds that a rational ("rational") person might find anywhere near as attractive (as a dwelling place, rather than as a diversion) as the real world. Probably pretty far, I suspect; but then it's only July.

Went to Boston to visit family the other weekend, and saw her performing in the square by Faneuieueille Hall. She was good! Love live music.

Vicious lesbian gangs! Would be funny if only hardly anyone at all believed these idiots.

Spam-in-its-entirety o' the Day:

Subject: churchmen cofactor abash

clear baggy clock compassion. badland desuetude clamorous agouti carib cleavage. bract archdiocese abandon annal devoid balzac dissuade charisma anguish. chrysanthemum candidacy contractual chap buckskin churchgoer coroutine.

Not bad, eh?

And I went to the grocery, and now we're sitting around in a Sunday Afternoon sort of way, eating crackers and brie, and cherries, and honey-mustard "dirty" potato chips, and generally enjoying time. The little daughter's reading that "Harry Potter" book that you may have heard about, and the little boy is in some one-person virtual world on the computer in the playroom. After I post this, I'll either work on the piles of printed matter in the backroom, or go into Second Life and fiddle around there.

We'll see. *8)