Saturday, October 28, 2006

More Zombie Andy

Lookit! :)


Another wacky Halloween Party, another wacky Halloween costume. Here's me, amongst the ranks of the Undead!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It cost too much, staying human.

Bruce Sterling's entry in wired's "Sci-Fi Story in six words" contest. I like it.

Here's a couple attempts of my own:

-Sorry, children, we loved our monster
-The ruins will never be believed

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Words that pop

Literally via good ol' Boing Boing, an article on the (in)famous czech plastic explosive Semtex. I closes on the thought that part of the mystique of Semtex might be due to the poetry of the name itself.

it does feel good rolling off the tongue. SEM-TEX. Two syllables. One soft, one hard. It has a science-fiction look with an acidic old-tech twist.

Ah, the poetry of technology. Hard-edged and sparkly. It's a big part of what I love about Gibson. Here are some more favorite tech words for me.

-twisted pair
-implosion device
-jacketed hollow point
-fiber line
-packet loss
-nominal yield
-electromagnetic pulse
-positron emission tomography
-neutron moderator
-throttle body
-Near IR

And last, but hardly least, everyone's fav from Neuromancer


anyone else have unlikely fun words to add? (Just in case this one hasn't gotten me on enough watch lists.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sometimes I Love BLDGBLOG just for the titles

I mean, really, how do you beat something like:
BLDGBLOG: The Transgondwanan Supermountain
for poetry? I mean, there is dada spam I suppose, but that's about it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

This is well within the capacity of even the smallest nuclear nation.... you know

North Korea claims to have gone nuclear.

Call me a bad man, but my first thought is to wonder about the impact on domestic politics here in the states. Will this hurt Republican candidates for congress and senate, by suggesting to the American people that current policies are making the world a more dangerous place? Or will it help said candidates, by getting the people's minds off of GOP congressmen who bugger 16 years old boys.

UPDATE: CNN international just gave their timeline of "how we got to this point" thusly:

-George Bush calls N. Korea part of "Axis of Evil"
-Everything goes to shit
-Blah Blah, crap with a Bank in Macau

One wonders if such sentiment will make it into the domestic CNN feed.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mandatory Glimour Girls Post

I can't believe they knocked up Lane. Fuckers. And if Lorelai + Christopher is the end-state of the show I may have to throw something rotten at Amy Sherman Palladino (Sp?).

Oh, and can I, as a male watcher of both Gilmour Girls and Veronica Mars, just say how annoying this "American Eagle Aerie" ad campaign, where they have clips of meticulously selected "average teen-age girls" pretending to watch the show along with you in the commercial breaks, is? Talk about making assumptions about your audience.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hard Negative Ads

The Republicans have gone hard negative against Ted Strickland, the democratic candidate for governor here in Ohio. Strickland has been consistently ahead of the Republican candidate by a number well outside of the margin of error (often in excess of 10%). Here are some of the nasty, homophobic ads:

This hyperbolic set of "values ads" reeks of desperation. Both use text on the screen that warp voting against institutionalized discrimination into voting against "marriage." Apparently Ted Strickland is in favor of eliminating marriage, replacing it with wild sex parties, at which attendance will be mandatory, all across Ohio.

Besides showing just how desperate the republicans are in this race (You NEVER try an ad like this unless you have no other choice... the risk of boomerang is just too high) and show just how ugly the GOP gets when its cornered, these ads make me wonder about something. They play to identity, othering homosexuals. This is designed to fire their base of course... why is their base not fired? Part of it must be the Ohio GOP scandals, but those should be dragging down Mike DeWine as well, shouldn't they? But DeWine is neck and neck with his democratic counterpart.

Could it be... race? Could white, rural Ohio (I assume this is the GOP base here... it is everywhere else) just not be interested in coming out for Ken Blackwell, the African-American candidate the Republicans are running? Could these ads hope to encourage Ohio voters to think of themselves, not as white (or black, since the GOP has been hoping to make inroads among African-American voters for awhile) but rather as straight and "Christian"?

William Easterly

William Easterly's new book The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Help the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good is getting quite a bit of attention of late, including this piece by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Review of Books.

Just from what I've gleaned from the various reviews, there seemed to be a variety of potential critiques one could make of this book. I find some of them more satisfying than others. Easterly is definately pro-capitalism, and the burden of responsibility his market-liberal ideology places on the poor certainly sounds like something most scholars in my field would find distasteful (a common quote given from the book is how attaching a token fee to mosquito nets, rather than giving them out for free, increased the percentage of people who used the nets they obtained, Easterly - or his source, it isn't clear - infers this is because the fee made net recipients "value" the nets). His central claim, however, seems to be that aid agencies should use best possible practices to target their spending (including, very importantly, listening to the expertise of the people they are tasked with helping) and the dollars spent should be evaluated objectively to evaluate how well they work. I understand the potential problems with this (who is "objective"? what questions will they ask? what assumptions about the goals will they make?), but I think it has some merit. I admit I can't speak for folks in the field of aid, but if its anything like my own field - academe - there may be a need to admit that wishes aren't horses. We need to find out if what we are doing is actually doing any good. I've read too many "revolutionary theories" that never lead to any revolutionary social change. Or even meaningful reform. Dreaming a new reality is a necessary step to creating a new reality, but it is not a sufficent step. We must know what methods will succeed in realizing our dreams.

That rant out of the way... here's a critique of Easterly's logic I find fairly compelling. Why is it only the poor and those spending money to help the poor who need to be evaluated? I suppose in Easterly's mind aid agencies are spending "someone else's money" and thus need oversight... but the west's wealth was gained via colonial exploitation. Is it really fair to evaluate only those who would try to give it back? Shouldn't there be some thought to "evaluating" how the wealthy and powerful spend "their" money, and what the social consequences of that might be? Or would that be an unthinkable intrusion on our precious "consumer freedom?"