August 31st, 2024

A Butterfly for Brian

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  • And so when my attention is drawn or pointed often I yawn. The Monarch butterflies dancing about the tops of the Jerusalem artichokes out the back window hold more interest for me. But I have a glance, think neat, and move on. I don’t really think about it. Maybe I should. Maybe there’s something there, about connnectedness.

    I want to meet Brian Moffatt someday… just shake his hand, look him in the face and grin complicitously. Golby too. Ray. I’ve had that pleasure with some of the blogging crowd. Almost makes me want to quit quitting drinking if only to have a beer with them. We’ve had our ups and downs here, together — writing and not writing, railing and raving, shouting truths to the deaf, illuminating a path for the blind. And yes, we’ve had the occasional yawn. I respect these men among others, and rather than call out a litany of writers around the world whom I also respect, I’ll trust that you know who you are, most of you, and there are others I’d call out who won’t be reading here anyway.

    Oregon’s Cascade mountains — from Mount Hood to Mount Jefferson — are exploding with bright orange butterflies that pulse in massive swarms through forests and meadows.

    Thick clouds of them are slowing cars on Santiam Pass and swirling like snowflakes on the road to Timberline Lodge, in some locales splattering windshields, in others producing near-whiteout, or orange-out, conditions.

    The boom of California tortoiseshell butterflies is not rare, but it is mysterious. Many are probably offspring of a monster swarm that started in California in early summer and later swept into Oregon, said an expert who tracks them.

    The tortoiseshells appeared around Santiam Pass about 10 days ago, said Joe Harwood of the Oregon Department of Transportation. They’re not implicated in any accidents, but Harwood advises drivers to have plenty of windshield wiper fluid.

    Think of the butterflys, floating on the breeze, a chaotic jumble of diffuse airborne intent, ignorant perhaps, and certainly not unhappy. Think of the bloggers and their intentionality, and their off hand inter-referential allusive community. It’s better for a butterfly to collide with his neighbor than with the windshield of a random oncoming car.

    Sometimes when I try to be funny I’m not, and sometimes of course I make a fool of myself without really trying, but in Toronto there’s a community online and a web industry that includes the likes of Miss Chickie and Brian Moffatt, Jon Husband and Elliot Noss, and dozens - yes hundreds and hundreds of creative people drifting like monarchs on their way to Mexico, enjoying the breezes of a summer day, and bound for a goal we needn’t comprehend.

    I’m sorry I caught you when you were feeling fragile, Brian.

    * * *

    No butterflies were harmed in the making of this post.

    August 31st, 2024

    Pimping the Party Cove

    Ben Paynter’s feature this week in Kansas City’s Pitch spotlights a jaded yet curiously repressed swinging soft-core set partying in a polluted cove on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. The language sometimes is a little rough. Ben describes a day and a night of dissipated debauchery, licentiousness that leaves you less excited than depressed.

    The way I read it Ben has a good head on his shoulders and pretty much keeps his pants on, but when I read something like this I’d rather he was covering the suburban little league beat.

    After his divorce in 1998, Hinrichs began staging hot-body competitions at the Cove. In 2024, he added the Web site. He says profits have allowed him to buy a home near the lake that he will soon use as a base of operations. He’s now known to Party Cove regulars as Mr. Happy, in part for wearing a G-string with a smiley face on the bulge and in part for his tolerance. He has since outgrown the suit, but he claims that he can still drink 80 beers a day.

    August 31st, 2024

    The Tussle

    David Clark, et al. (the ubiquitous Al, a guy who really gets around, a true multidisciplinarian) wrote a paper called “Tussle in Cyberspace: Defining Tomorrow’s Internet”.

    One of the tussles that define the current Internet is the tussle of economics. The providers of the Internet are not in the business of giving service away. For most, it is a business, run to make a profit. This means they are competitors, and look at the user, and each other, as a customer and a source of revenue. Providers tussle as they compete, and consumers tussle with providers to get the service they want at a low price.

    How can we, as engineers, shape the economic tussle? In fact, we have great power to shape this tussle, but first we have to understand the rules that define it. A standard business saying is that the drivers of investment are fear and greed. Greed is easy to understand—it drove hundreds of billions of dollars worth of investment in telecommunications over the last decade, much of which now [2002] sits at risk of bankruptcy. But fear is more subtle. The vector of fear is competition, which results when the consumer has choice. The tussle among providers and consumers in a competitive landscape is the most basic attribute of a marketplace. Most economists of a “western” bent would argue that competition is good: it drives innovation, disciplines the market, insures efficiency, and removes the need for intervention and regulation of a market. To make competition viable, the consumer in a market must have the ability to choose. So our principle that one should design choice into mechanism is the building block of competition.

    A year later, Clark followed up with a paper that altered our understanding of end-to-end design principles. In it, he said:

    Perhaps the most radical idea from this analysis is that the simple, end-to-end transparency model should be replaced with the more complex idea of controlled transparency. This implies active elements in the network, which in turn implies a tussle over who controls these devices. It also implies that we need to specify what impact these devices have on the semantics on which the applications depend on.

    Subtle stuff.

    August 30th, 2024

    Best Waxing in Toronto

    Roza’s Esthetics (Bloor West Village)
    “It’s cheap, quick and less painful than anywhere else I’ve ever been.”

    Beauty tip courtesy of Miss Chickie, personally stalked by yours truly after seeing the chickadvisor preview flash “Hotlist” animation at Allied.

    I wonder what BMO thinks

    August 30th, 2024

    BlogHer France….

    On the occasion of the publication of photos from BlogHer France I am feeling all literate and shit. The images of these young bloggy-bloggers blogging has inspired me to poetry. Lacking the verbal facility to whip up a good poem for you today… it’s one of those days when I can’t remember people’s names… have you experienced that? I got up this morning and thought to call a colleague and let her know I was running a little late. You know. The one I meet with on Wednesday mornings. What’s her name. Just look her up in the directory and give her a ring. What’s her name… can’t call, don’t remember her name. Really. There’s an entire gingko tree just outside the bedroom window and I can’t remember this woman’s name. I wonder if after dark, while we’re sleeping, the gingko insinuates tiny tendrils through the window screen, across the floor, beneath the pillow and into my ears, then draws out the naturally occurring flavone glycosides from my gray matter leaving me in some kind of Chekhovian syntactic and phonological knowledge bind… unable to remember the name of the horse much less the name of the woman of which the name of the horse might remind me… a classic anterior cingulate-prefrontal cortical bind as it were.

    Diane, her name is Diane…

    I read about gingkos in Hiroshima that survived the blast when all around them was blackened wreckage.

    But really, if I can’t remember people’s names, how can I write a poyme? I’ll have to pull one from the cellars, a modest vintage from the wet sunny slopes, the crider soil formations of Kentucky, formed in a mantle of loess with an underlying limestone residuum — a screw-top bottling, modestly priced, suitable as accompaniment to the best that vegan cuisine can offer…

    Presented then, in honor of all who attended BlogHer France, women who don’t need the advice but may be expected to understand and appreciate the sentiment:

    The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
    by Wendell Berry

    Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
    vacation with pay. Want more
    of everything ready-made. Be afraid
    to know your neighbors and to die.
    And you will have a window in your head.
    Not even your future will be a mystery
    any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
    and shut away in a little drawer.
    When they want you to buy something
    they will call you. When they want you
    to die for profit they will let you know.

    So, friends, every day do something
    that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
    Love the world. Work for nothing.
    Take all that you have and be poor.
    Love someone who does not deserve it.
    Denounce the government and embrace
    the flag. Hope to live in that free
    republic for which it stands.
    Give your approval to all you cannot
    understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
    has not encountered he has not destroyed.

    Ask the questions that have no answers.
    Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
    Say that your main crop is the forest
    that you did not plant,
    that you will not live to harvest.
    Say that the leaves are harvested
    when they have rotted into the mold.
    Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

    Put your faith in the two inches of humus
    that will build under the trees
    every thousand years.
    Listen to carrion — put your ear
    close, and hear the faint chattering
    of the songs that are to come.
    Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
    Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
    though you have considered all the facts.
    So long as women do not go cheap
    for power, please women more than men.
    Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
    a woman satisfied to bear a child?
    Will this disturb the sleep
    of a woman near to giving birth?

    Go with your love to the fields.
    Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
    in her lap. Swear allegiance
    to what is nighest your thoughts.
    As soon as the generals and the politicos
    can predict the motions of your mind,
    lose it. Leave it as a sign
    to mark the false trail, the way
    you didn’t go. Be like the fox
    who makes more tracks than necessary,
    some in the wrong direction.
    Practice resurrection.

    August 30th, 2024

    Free Beer

    These lists of “best freeware utilities” are too interesting to lose track of. A lot of guys would bookmark them on or in their browser. Not me. I’ll use my web log instead. (This is some kind of old school thing, like before the artists, the pomos, and the squirrels took over the tech)…

    46 best ever freeware utilities

    good enough to make the list freeware utilities numbers 47 through 95

    August 29th, 2024

    jon benet™

    witness ze Frank “leveraging the emotional aftertaste.

    August 29th, 2024

    Thursday on the River

    Less than a week ago, real time, but somewhere back in the neanderlithic in blog time, my friend Bruce at the River wrote another great piece. Nominally he was writing about Dershowitz’ folly, his ability to adopt inhuman principles promoting the Nazification of just about everything and everyone just about everywhere, including ironically enough those two bold national champions of freedom and justice, the United States of America and Israel.

    But he was writing about something deeper than that, because it’s not really Alan’s fault… well, it IS his fault and the war crimes tribunal will imprison his nasty celebrity professor ass for a million years because he does stand for torture and pre-emption, but you see it’s not his fault because his mind has been marinated in the briny depths of American media just like the rest of us. We don’t know up from down. We can’t tell if we’re on a great Starship boldly going where no man has gone before, or on a Wagon Train, boldly going west to claim our manifest destiny.

    With inspired links such as this and this, Bruce argues forcefully that for most Americans, the war on terror is a TV show. Bruce says,

    … the world situation is like a bad movie that we are fascinated with but don’t care about. Lives are either blown away cinematically or vaporized when you turn off the TV. For the most part, all these cathode ray and celluloid lives become our playthings, objects, hence no feeling for them one way or another. Luckily, the fine writer, director and actor can break through these limitations, but that’s the rare exception, hardly consequential and no one serious gives it credit…

    This isn’t about “us” and “them.” As Bruce says, “the system” is in power, de-humanizing everyone from the leadership (witness the bizarre caricatures, the host of flying monkeys, populating the executive branch of the US government) to the proletariat, soccer moms who have learned to seat their kids in front of a video taped entertainment while they put a meal together, or zombie dads who mark the passage of time by the shift in sports entertainments projected on the forty-two inch flat screens of their home entertainment centers.

    I think there is important stuff being written out here in the blogs, and Bruce is writing some of it. I resisted a close reading and response to his “What do I think” until now, because honestly, we turn these blogular interactions too much into intellectual tennis warm-ups, volleys and serves, pacing a “conversation” until it runs down because we are distracted from it by the next great enthusiasm.

    We are here building a common perspective, sharpening our tools for self expression, encountering the same bullshit that has troubled others for decades, muddling through and not losing sight of a path beside the moral swamp that Dershowitz wades through. This is no wagon train, this is no star ship. This is not even a cattle drive, and you are neither Gil Favor nor Rowdy Yates.

    Hard to accept, I know…

    August 28th, 2024

    Hurricane Che

    When I saw the headline, “Ernesto Pelts Cuba,” what was I to think? And then when I learned the storm was slowing for a while in the Sierra Maestra before roaring down and heading across the straits directly at the USA, well…

    August 27th, 2024

    The Big Con

    Scoble is fit to be tied that Amanda Congdon isn’t living her life the way he thinks would be best for her to live it. Robert is the new Mullah! Jeneane lays into him in the comment thread on that post. She’s been on a tear today, making fun of Robert, Seth Godin, and Hugh the cartoon guy. Hugh and Seth did an interview that was either hilarious (in a bad way) or an emetic (in a good way, I suppose, if you are anorexic or something).

    Madame Levy has a Site Pal reading a G.W.S. Trow passage about con men:

    The con man does give you something. It is a sense of your own worthlessness. A good question to ask: “Does this event exist without me?” If the answer is no, leave. You are involved in a con game. When the con man tells you that he is about to present you with “a wide range of options,” ask for one thing he will absolutely stand behind. Or beat him up. If he has some authority, you have a right to see what it is. If he is only describing the authority he senses in you, then do as you please.

    The idea of choice is easily debased if one forgets that the aim is to have chosen successfully, not to be endlessly choosing.

    By these lights, Scoble is behaving exactly like a con man! Kevin Kelly observed long ago that the web runs on love, not greed. That’s what dooms Michael Arrington to such a dismal life. Kelly said, “As the Internet continues to expand in volume and diversity without interruption, only a relatively small percent of its total mass will be money-making. The rest will be created and maintained out of passion, enthusiasm, a sense of civic obligation, or simply on the faith that it may later provide some economic use.” I don’t know if Robert’s core values ever lined up with Kelly’s observations, but regardless… the man needs a long vacation. Offline.

    The rip-off of BloggerCon IV was Arrington leading a core values session. There are all these bull elks out there clashing antlers and believing that there is some ultimate meaning in the struggle. I imagine that they’re lining up their own herds, and that there are plenty of submissive elks ready to present for them, but in the final analysis, one must remember that the critical importance of elk to the omnivore is that it provides the most flavorful red meat on the planet. Eat me? No, eat you, Robert. And Michael… eat you too. Good for Amanda for not listening to these confused voices. One of the saddest things about the con man is that he himself is the victim of a big con, or he wouldn’t be in the business of conning others.

    For core values worth internalizing one can look many places, but certainly not in the blogs of Scoble or Arrington. Here is a quick catch of the day from JP Rangaswami:

    I don’t read blogs to find out things faster than anyone else; I don’t read blogs to find things to link to and comment on before anyone else; I don’t read blogs because I can’t find any books to read.

    I read blogs because they’re participative, they are accessible, they help me learn. I write blogs because I want to participate. In a community. Everyone wants to make a difference, everyone wants to leave a legacy. Blogs are useful in both cases.

    August 27th, 2024

    Writing Assignment

    Here’s a challenge — re-write the following craptastical post by Halley Suitt to eliminate most of whatever makes it suck:

    There is something so classic about heavy metal Gothic videos. They all look alike. Big dining room table in big dark mansion, cobwebs on candlesticks, pierced girls with much mascara. Top 20 Countdown, some things you can just always depend on.

    August 27th, 2024

    Might Read

    From “The End of Irony,” Meghan O’Rourke’s review of Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children in this morning’s NYT Sunday Book Review

    “The Emperor’s Children” is, on its surface, a stingingly observant novel about the facades of the chattering class — with its loves, ambitions and petty betrayals — but it is also, more profoundly, about a wholesale collision of values: those of the truth-telling but hypocritical Murray Thwaite, who epitomizes earnest 1960’s liberalism, and the Machiavellian Seeley, who represents postmodernism and its assumption that truth is fungible. The metaphorical pawn in their struggle — a struggle over status — is Bootie Tubb, who is too young to accept that he lives in a world of filigreed self-absorption rather than pragmatic transcendentalism, and who rightly sees Murray’s self-satisfaction for what it is. And so Bootie — poor, clueless Bootie — becomes both the novel’s antihero and its hero, setting out to expose Murray by writing a tell-all article for Seeley’s new magazine.

    Based on the lengthy excerpt here, I’m guessing the Messud wrote but did not read this novel, making it a good early draft. I wish she had cleaned it up before release. Ah well, all is beta.

    I liked the proximate juxtaposition of “aubergine” with “Aborigines.” More of those and one could forgive the overwhelming turgidity, evidenced in sentences like:

    Having spent half an hour putting on her face in front of the grainy mirror of Moira and John’s bathroom, ogling her imperfections and applying vigorous remedial spackle-beneath which her weary, olive-shaped eyes were pouched by bluish bags, the curves of her nostrils oddly red, and her high forehead peeling-she had no intention of revealing to strangers the disintegration beneath her paint.

    August 26th, 2024

    Nazis on the Capitol Steps

    There they were, red flags with black swastikas flying, US flags flying, new banners — oddly beautiful in a dark fantastic kind of way — banners hybridizing the black, the red, the red-white-and-blue, and of course the good old blue and gray stars and bars of a racist unrepentant South. The Nazis came to Madison today. They had a permit. They had police protection and ten foot tall chain-link steel barricades to protect them. More importantly, they had the US Constitution to protect them.

    The cops wore kevlar. They appeared in full riot drag, gas masks at the ready, a dozen mounted officers, a huge number of state patrol officers, sheriff’s deputies, and Madison police, all positioned to face outward, protecting the savage monkey-men on the marble steps from those who had come to encounter them.

    (Beth remarked that this would be a good time to be speeding on the Interstate… all of the patrolmen were at the Capitol). Why were we there? Why weren’t you? Only about 1000 Madisonians showed up, plus 300 police and a couple dozen National Socialist Movement representatives. Five supporters of the Nazis were in a cage near the podium, sieg heiling when the Fuhrer said “Sieg heil!” As usual the AP miscounted… there really were only a couple dozen of the hatemongers, and a thousand or so demonstrators.

    “What does ‘Sieg Heil’ mean?” I was asked. I ran it through Babel Fish and came out with… “Victory Welfare.” “Hale victory,” maybe? I know what it means to the Bozos that were giving their stiff armed salute and shouting it out. It means: “We are so freaking alienated that we will dress in thirties German whitebread drag right down to the armbands and a few fetishistic Wehrmacht helmets…” (when I say Nazi helmet, what do you think of?)

    But seriously… I was glad to see hundreds and hundreds of young people giving them the finger every time they “sieg heiled,” the students chanting “Boring, boring, boring, boring” in endless repetition while the mindless buffoon at the microphone spewed his bizarre rhetoric about colonial wars and ending immigration and what-not. I was glad to see the not-white group hoisting beach towels imprinted with the Mexican flag. I was glad not to be able to hear any of the nonsense the Nazis spouted and if that makes me close-minded, so be it. I am glad that the five supporters who came to hear the brownshirts were in their protective cage and close enough to hear. The constitution does guarantee freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. The local authorities put such a massive police presence on display that the small group of black clad anarchists who might have added a violent tone was held in check. Fine.

    But there is a lot of subtext floating around for me about this. Civic leaders pleaded with the people to stay home, in order not to dignify the fascist assembly. Ignore them, the mayor said. Hope they will go away. I think it is much more effective to point them out, to make fun of them, to shame them; and maybe they won’t go away, but at least their numbers won’t increase, their role as laughable misfits will be obvious.

    Another issue I have relates to the expropriation of the terms National Socialism and Fascism. These pansies couldn’t organize the local chamber of commerce, much less achieve an integration of national government with corporate industrial power. While the Bush administration colludes with Halliburton, Bechtel, and big oil… while the Republicans disband the citizen army and rely on professional reserves and mercenaries like Black Water… while the entire public infrastructure is scrapped and private enterprise takes over public education, trash hauling, water supplies, municipal power and light… while two generations’ carefully crafted social statutes are flushed down a toilet and replaced by private security guards protecting privileged classes while poverty spreads and disempowerment of the poor is institutionalized… while the biggest state budget items are for new prison construction and a bizarre proportion of poor, young black and latino males are incarcerated, IT JUST DOES NOT SEEM RIGHT FOR THESE LITTLE PUD PULLERS TO OWN THE NAME FASCIST. We know who the fascists are and it ain’t them. When the few dozen brownshirts left today in their rented school bus (”Adolf has left the building”), protected by a phalanx of riot cops and led by a group of mounted police, horses being more effective at breaking through pickets than men with billy clubs, it was as if they had never been there. But the memory of the huge red banner with the black swastika will be with me for a while.

    I’m glad we so out numbered them and that we made fun of them and that many people screamed fuck-you over and over again and held rude signs aloft and generally disrespected them. I was glad to join the hundreds of people who raised an impudent digit when the brownshirts extended their arms in the Nazi salute. But there is a hidden irony here. Beth and I arrived late for our witness against hate. We had been at a board meeting planning programs for the fall. Earlier in the day about thirty activists had been sitting in a non-violent dialog training session. Any of these people could have taught the session, and they should have been walking that talk at the Capitol rather than preaching to the choir in the Meetinghouse. I believe they stayed off the street so as not to dignify the sick twists on parade with an audience, but by staying out of it they lost the opportunity to know that they were there, witnessing against hate, pushing back at something that is so horrible, malicious, and evil that it must be encountered whenever it appears.

    UPDATE (8/28/2006):
    Isthmus publishing has coverage here, featuring lots of links to blogs around town.

    Jesse Russell speaks of the pink bunny invasion and provides more links.

    August 26th, 2024

    Searls and Krugle and Locke, oh my…

    Doc says today,

    One virtue I’ve seen in the programming world is a preference not to re-invent code that’s already doing a fine job.

    Doc’s old friend, I mean former long time, not “old” as in decrepit because god knows I have a few years on both those boomer boys, but here’s my point… Doc’s colleague and Cluetrain co-author Chris Locke has been spreading this message himself for quite a while now in his role with Ken Krugler’s and Steve Larsen’s company, the vertical search leader Krugle. SearchInsider says that Krugle claims,

    …developers spend 20 to 25 percent of their time looking for code and technical information…. Krugle crawls source code, whether in open repositories or within source code control systems.


    Since Doc is one of the media heavyweights in open source, and open source is about code (source CODE, geddit?), why has he been so silent on the functionality, the utility, the need for a tool like Krugle? I can only find one reference that Doc made to Krugle last month in IT Garage (after an admittedly quick Google search). The product has launched, and during the beta period over 35,000 people, most of them developers, some of them — like me — simple souls in reckless pursuit of knowledge and understanding, have downloaded and used it and provided feedback. Unlike your perpetual beta web-too-oh! ad hockery, this tool was professionally designed, developed and released. It had a four month beta period and now it’s ready for prime time. So what do you think of it, Doc? What do the Linux folks have to say?

    August 26th, 2024

    Yule Heibel

    Yule Heibel had been off my radar since she withdrew from bloggaria some time ago. We had a brief email exchange, and in May she treated me to a beta trial of Writely, but her blog was shuttered. I’ve been cleaning up links. I clicked through to Yule, and I’m happy to say that she has become active again on her public blog. If you go there now, you may learn more about the fifty year old lamb, or the sexual nature of architecture in Victoria. Or why, if your brain hurts, you must have it out.

    And here… here is a free link to a surprising place that though it has a webbly too oh design, all rounded corners and shit, also has an interesting premise… “a new way to find people who don’t suck.” There is no way to tie this to my delight at finding Yule back again, except the implicit association of Yule with people who don’t suck, and perhaps the revelation that I found it looking for the ex-Cleese-iastical origins of the thought that if your brains hurts, etc.

    August 25th, 2024

    Marked by his middle name


    For John Mark Karr life sucks. The sad son of a bitch has been doomed since the media hung his middle name out in public and created that creepy public identity that goes with guys with three names: Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman, John Wilkes Booth… (John Hinckley and Arthur Bremer missed the triple appellation because their victims survived, I think).

    It will be interesting to see how much bandwidth “John Mark Karr” sucks up for “George What-a-fucking-idiot Bush” between now and November.

    (creepy photo credit to Metroblogging LA and creepy Jill Greenberg)

    August 25th, 2024

    Worm Slinging

    Little snakes without the plane? Who thinks this stuff up?

    I like Barbara Feldman’s site because she makes me think of 99.

    Honest to god I was driving to the job this morning thinking about a post called “pinochle on your snout.” Then I get this email about worms crawling in and out and I decided it was probably the divine speaking to me in special ways. I immediately stopped the car and carved a huge boulder, a glacial erratic pushed here from the sea, into a beautiful gold-encrusted jade Buddha and I left a little offfering of prime rib and black eyed peas there in his lap and went on my way relieved of that karmic burden.

    Wait. I didn’t get the email until later, so the whole thing about the jade Buddha with gold crustaceans is probably a hallucination or a lie or some kind of web-too-oh thing.

    August 24th, 2024

    Hot Library Smut

    If I had a scanner
    I’d scan it in the morning
    I’d scan it in the evening
    All over that land…

    (I do have a picture of Anne Galloway’s ear somewhere around here, a picture taken at the University of Chicago, the tutor was there, he’ll vouch for the provenance… a picture which I will be happy to share if I can only find it.)

    August 24th, 2024

    Back door draft

    back door draft
    From The Guardian

    The US marine corps has been forced to call up its reserves for compulsory service in Iraq and Afghanistan because it has not been able to find enough volunteers - a reflection of the strain the two wars are putting on America’s armed forces.

    The marines’ involuntary call-up, seen as a “back-door draft” by Pentagon critics, is the first since the start of the Iraq war, and will begin in a few months when a first batch of up to 2,500 reservists will be summoned back to active service for a year or more. The army has already sent 2,200 reservists back to the front, of which only about 350 went voluntarily.

    August 24th, 2024

    Arrogance Checklist

    (From Collin Brooke, via Barbara Ganley, via Technorati search for JP Rangaswami’s “Confused of Calcutta.“)

    It’s a good post, tight enough that it’s hard to excerpt without turning it into chopped meat, but the following chunklets I found particularly appealing.

    It’s easy to come off … as someone who’s already figured it all out — it’s a particularly academic attitude that’s all but hammered into us, that to “not know” is a sign of weakness….

    … let’s break out the arrogance checklist for this, I was making the following assumptions:

    • An idea is only good the first time, that is, if you’re the one to “discover” it.
    • My ideas are so good that people will steal them.
    • It’s better to be first than to write well.
    • I should hoard my good ideas greedily and then spring them all at once, so that people will think my genius is pure, whole, and polished.
    • “My genius” (snort)

    It’s so unbelievably hard to get out of the habit of policing the borders of “my” ideas

    Collin broke through his concern about creating in public and bravely opened a new site called “Rhetworks: An Introduction to the Study of Discursive Networks (& itself an experiment in networked writing).”


    To maintain a blog, I would argue, is to participate in a small-world network, one that involves both clustering and connecting. The combination of these forces (embodied in any number of different kinds of gestures) results in a different kind of writing altogether.

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