Thank God We're Not Religious Freaks
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
9:50PM - Backchannel antics
What is backchanelling?
In brief: Many tech-conferences or any conferences provide wireless internet access for conference attendees. Of course, multitasking techies will have their laptops open during speeches and so they set up IRC channels and communicate on IM's with other conference audience members to discuss the lecture currently in progress. This can lead to productive discussion of the lecture material, or, in many case, snarking of the lecturer.
It's interesting how technology can a second layer of interaction that manifests itself over top of a real-live event like that, and either support it or subvert it. It's like we're in two dimensions at once, distorting time and space.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
8:54AM - Cabir
It's a frightening revelation: viruses have spread to cell phones. Apparently, some white-hat hackers have developed a virus that spreads via cell phones. Most mainstream media outlets seem to be primarily concerned with the security of mobile phones and the mobile phone industry.
But what I find more intriguing is that it uses Bluetooth; a wireless technology with a range of about 30 ft. According to the article, the virus scans the area for other Bluetooth-enabled devices and propagates to them. Am I the only person who finds this highly disturbing in a William Gibson/Phillip K. Dick sort of way? An electronic virus that propogates through the air like a biological virus? It's disturbing when technology takes on the characteristics of biological life, especially when it's a virus taking on the characteristics of a biological virus.
How long before someone a virus (or something) that we can't control? Is it too late?
"Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself unworthy of my condescension. Remember that I have power; you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!"
Sunday, June 13, 2004
Microsoft is suing spammers. This sort of thing is not new, but it got me thinking. Why is Microsoft doing the suing?
I think impartial consumer advocacy groups are a necessary part of our economy. They don't seem to have much of a presence at the moment though. Not that I believe a lot of people are buying penis-enlargement pills online.
Advertising differs from other forms of communication because it is often uninvited, and not reciprocal. My idea of freedom concerns choice - and we really don't have a choice about whether we want to see a billboard, bus ad, or receive spam. You could also argue that we don't choose to see the blue sky and green grass when we open the door but at least the sky isn't trying to sell me anything.
Maybe it's a minor complaint, and maybe sensory overload is a small price to pay for our abundance of consumer choice. But there's something aggressive and forceful about it all.
Thursday, June 10, 2004
1:40PM - Fuck in the library
In the U.S., all citizens are more or less guaranteed their first amendment rights above the law, especially in any publicly funded place. However, speech that poses a "clear and present danger" of violent or criminal activity is not protected.
That out of the way, read this article that was posted on librarian.net:
Were freedom of speech rights trampled on here? On one hand, sure you should be able to say whatever you want. On the other hand, I don't think it's unreasonable or "big brotherish" to expect "civil" behaviour in a library -- if you don't like it, just check out the book and take it someplace else. I'm not sure, I'm pretty conflicted. I don't think "fuck" inherently means anything, it's just a word and therefore it shouldn't matter who you say it to. But at the same time, I think if you're telling Ms. Parker the librarian to fuck off, you have some serious issues. It sounds like he was being pretty unruly in the first place:
He claims that on Dec. 30 he used the "F-word" in his "low library voice" when he was frustrated by a computer policy on the second floor near the periodicals. A few minutes later, after he returned to his studies, a library staff member approached him and told him he couldn't use such language. He says at that point, he raised his voice and insisted he could say "anything I (expletive) want to."
So, the $24,000 question is, were Frederic Alan Maxwell's freedom of speech rights infringed when was banned from the library for using the word "fuck" in an argument with a librarian?
Tuesday, June 8, 2004
11:25PM - Did you know
that it's because we reproduce sexually that our cells are mortal?
Cells that reproduce asexually just split and sometimes mutate but they don't die like somatic cells.
I was reading it here, in this book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0870235761/104-7107653-6887945?v=glance
I guess it really is sex that will kill us in the end.