Chapter 17: Smudge on a Clean Slate
October 12, 2011
- NY Times article pointed out by Matthew Yglesias says that the Pearson Foundation has been funding international trips for education commissioners for what they call strictly educational purposes - to give the commissioners ideas for improving their schools from schooling models in other countries. The Pearson Foundation may have a generous streak a mile wide in its charter, but they surely want to sell books. At the very least they are counting on the recipients of their good will to drum up positive word of mouth for their company. It's a shame that the microscope for this sort of practice has to be on an educational company considering the vast world of lobbying sleaze out there. Possible that Pearson Foundation's travel agent got scooped by one of their competitors- En garde! Have at thee with this negative publicity!
- The largest European hacker club, the Chaos Computer Club, claims to have discovered and analyzed a piece of malware written and used by German police. It's the typical Big Brother program for a totally invasive breach of privacy. The German government spyware intercepts data used on Internet telephony. It has no protections against being hijacked however, and can easily be used by a third party to have it do whatever they like: turn on and use webcams, or connected microphones, and easily capture screenshots of browsing and emails. German officials voiced denial. They couldn't be proud that not only does the malware have morally and legally corrupt implications, it's a shoddy piece of work as well, since anyone can use it
- The Value Voters Summit straw poll contained an error in one of the multiple choice questions. The question asked which issue was the most important to the voter in deciding who to support. One of the answers was "Protecting one man one women marriage." Rick Perry gained the assistance of Robert Jeffress in spotlighting Mitt Romney's cultist religious beliefs, that church physically linked to the Utah badlands and canyon country and forever associated with polygamy in the minds of any who have learned about the sect. "One man one women marriage:" Legalizing polygamy once again could be part of a hidden agenda at Mitt Romney headquarters, where jealousy fans the flames of anti-Chinese sentiment. Romney: "So many Chinese women, so only one marriage, so not available."
- Not long ago Ars Technica ran a story enunciating a heap of very bad things about RSS, but the specifics weren't quite as large as the story. At the end the biggest definite negative was that RSS interrupts normal work flow. Updating feeds draw your attention away from a task at hand, and it can take up to fifteen minutes to fully resume the interrupted state of complete attentiveness. There was a brief section concerning the feeling that one is shirking work when confronted with the number of unread items at the top of an RSS reader, a number which never, ever goes down at any rate even close to the speed at which it goes up. The sense of an unmet obligation nags at the edges of one's awareness, and that can cause a slowdown in normal productivity.
Speaking of RSS, the front page link to Ars' RSS feeds is broken right now, which is why this story emerged here. This while Ars tries to sell personalized RSS feeds. 2011. Personalized RSS feed. 2D dating. Anti-depressant sales up. Topics relative to each other.
- Right wing conservative talk about the end of the era of constant scientific progress means little as the progress rolls on. New chips: 20 times faster than DDR2, less volatile due to decreased electrical demand, more stable than NAND flash memory. Out soon.
Mozilla Firefox will be updated silently. Users will have to understand that consent for update is given when they begin using Firefox. User input actually drove the decision. People have wearied of constant update announcements regarding their browser. The move to silent upgrades won't happen until 2012.
- Andrew Sullivan pays homage to some opinions found in the National Review Online, a piece written by Peter Thiel. Thiel hypothesizes that technological breakthroughs have come to an end and that our economic outlook has shifted accordingly. Facts have muffled the pomp and circumstance surrounding a move to green technology. The glorification of solar energy, environmentally friendly solutions to energy problems and all things green is a portrait of loss. The movement has failed. Futuristic agriculture isn't solving hunger. According to Thiel we have reached the end of progress and buzz now surrounds negative news rather than a slowdown in positive news. Economic news has returned to strictly economic trends as scientific discussion fades into obscurity.
"National Review Online" article, negativity, overweight Fertile Crescent descended marginally taboo sexual deviant - all factors that point to a yawn inducing Sunday afternoon non-news event. The Luddites in the GOP got an early Christmas present. It's an article saying their dreams have come true, that the development of new technology has ceased. Never mind Thiel created the story just to be contrary. Scientists, programmers, engineers and businessmen have never been hotter to make breakthroughs happen than they are right now, which is a constant state of deep seated yearning to make history and have a name that lives forever. Thiel, however, should be commended for bringing peace to some troubled oldsters afraid of a mandatory conversion kit that would sodomize their Studebakers, having them run on squeezed out Church's chicken napkins instead of good old fashioned liver friendly gasoline (gasoline is just for drinkin' now that cars run on stove drippings!).
I wrote what follows, but I respect Andrew Sullivan immensely. His posting of the material without a countering argument got on my nerves. This ad hominem response was uncalled for, and not my style.
Andrew Sullivan probably wanted to share a story about how long he gazed wistfully at a picture of Peter Thiel wearing a baby blue polyester sport coat in a speaking engagement for The League of Thermodynamics Deniers. It's difficult for Sullivan to be honest on a normal human level, however, so he brought us the uplifting words that our forward motion as a scientific culture has halted. So we are to go back to basket weaving in between gathering berries for the life prolonging paste our women will pound out. Hey, at least it wasn't Sullivan's NRO article.
- Learn how to make Matroska files just so there are no lingering questions about Matroska in one's mind: Matroskatoolnix. Also, that way mkv can be demuxed and the audio chopped up for personal use, in chunks small enough to escape the ire of any person or agency. A person created the software. His name: Bunkus. His real name. Fun stuff. What a start...
- Kaiji is available in a batch, it's just not public. It's the Triad subs. That oh-so-popular private dowhatchit has it courtesy of elshaitan. [Your topic may set off alarm bells in your own head if it contains references to an imaginary terrorist and fringe software that many people fail to understand legally- but seriously, it's a cartoon. K?]
- This life is out there. Life on the edge wears on the human mind after a while. Difficult: Presenting one's self as subsisting on the edge of society as a loner and a qualified judge of social extremes while living in a house with multiple kids and their mother, who all have or have access to video games, computers, HD cable with premium channels, dvd's, cars, music, plentiful food, stocked liquor cabinet, multiple full bathrooms, comfortable beds, pets of multiple species and square footage enough to always have personal space. I will not pretend I'm not here, nor will I pretend to be a permanent fixture in this demographic. I have to say, "One day I'm here, baby, and then I'm gone."
This beautiful life is not of my creation, nor can I truly say that it is my own. I'm just passing through on my way to my own beautiful life. It is beautiful, though. I can find no rational criticism for the comfort filled existence that includes all of the commercial trappings so clamored for by both the haves and the have nots, except maybe to urge saving money over spending it, and trimming the excess whenever possible. Even that criticism can't find a foothold here, where the family budget is never in the red and there are always desires that aren't being fulfilled. The home is comfortable, but it is not hedonistic or excessive.
In my own truly spectacular existence, as all life should be considered when we are blessed enough to wake up on God's green earth, or even in the sky or below the ground, I depend on open spaces, cleanliness, simplicity and intellectual sanctuary: the cultural comfort of books and art. The difficulties of poverty are something I imposed upon myself long ago with a religious decision I took very seriously. Spirituality and meditation take the place of television. I refuse to drive, instead choosing to savor the feel of nature on my skin and the sounds of the open world in my ears. I prefer to total the tea instead of dull the senses, although imbibed spirits have their uses in certain places and times. Experiencing what mainstream America considers the good life has not swayed me from my belief that the good life doesn't depend on things. Wellness comes from the inside, not from the outside. To have it is to never be a have not.
- Questioning the value of attempting visual appeal to both genders: Today I posted sexually suggestive pictures of both a woman and a man. I wonder if the pictures influence a surfer at all. The presence of a photographed nude male may provoke a negative response more than anything. I decided it likely detracted more than adding promotional benefits. I forgot it was there, even though I put it up early this afternoon. When I saw a naked male ass I was taken aback. Then I remembered, I did it to lure in a woman casually flipping through websites. One can speculate it would appeal to the homosexual male, but heterosexual women might find it notably out of place to see a nude male on a man's website. Some would jump to conclusions, others may be more inclined to take a look inside. It's not the normal thing, and that appeals to me, but not enough to make it a permanent feature.
- Posting inside of a morning post now considered a failed experiment. Nobody is checking here without electronic prompting. So, you know who you are, if you feel spammed because of the number of RSS stories from here, then unsubscribe. I won't even know you're gone. I don't pay extra for that information. :) Starting tomorrow every blurb will be published separately, like every other site does, unless it is part of a feature that offers multiple news items at one time.