Saturday, April 20, 2002

this isn't an original idea, but it's more of a "mind bomb" for me than anything going on in the XML-RPC/SOAP world (including google): mark piligrim has created a system that auto-links back to referrers. so if i link to him, his weblog will automatically generate a link back to me, allowing him to watch his ideas as they float around the internet. (right now this only happens on the first level, but if everyone had this, we could actually watch the propagation of ideas). this is a real, practical advancement toward a "two-way web" and it's the first thing to inspire me to "roll my own" blog in a long while.

Friday, April 19, 2002

another interesting number: the percentage of male personal ads ranges from 60 to 67. men use personals significantly more than women.
i realized tonight that yahoo personals offer a huge wealth of demographic information. you can search for people by gender, age, location, income, religion, marital status, political leanings, and a variety of other characteristics. i did a quick survey just now of identified gender-seeking orientations (not all personals are sexual) among the personals in five cities in america. the results:

new york: 77% hetero-, 23% homo-
los angeles: 78% hetero-, 22% homo-
chicago: 79% hetero-, 21% homo-
philadelphia: 83% hetero-, 17% homo-
washington, dc: 73% hetero-, 27% homo-

which makes me wonder two things: first, what's going on in philadelphia? second, what sorts of interesting information could be gathered if yahoo offered a programmable interface (API) to this information?

i realize that this is only information about a somewhat unique group of people both willing and able to post personal ads on yahoo, but i still find it very interesting.
for example, dreadlocks are called such because they historically exemplified society's dread of nature. when you wear your hair in dreadlocks, you see that dread in people's faces when they look at you. that in mind, dreadlocks can not properly be styled. styled locks are just locks. dreadlocks are the locks your hair makes if you don't style it.

i find this so interesting because this original meaning of dreadlocks has been almost entirely lost, although it remains explicitly in the word itself.
today i ate lunch with lewis gordon. as lunch began, someone asked him "what is rastafarianism?" his answer lasted an hour. i learned more in that hour than i have in whole semester-long college courses.
a (the?) alert reader pointed out that my link to my paper was broken. it's fixed now.
a quote from oblivio:

"Every proposition proposing a fact must, in its complete analysis, propose the general character of the universe required for that fact."
-Alfred North Whitehead
"A new window will pop open and the word you selected will be sent to Dictionary.com"

i'm glad to see someone else figured out the browser-specific codes. but just for the record, i had already made this.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

speaking of (typing of?) japan, today i turned in my finished senior research project. i've been working on in all semester. over the next couple weeks i'll present or publish the paper in four different forms. no, make that five. i'm putting it online as a word document. i'll eventually get around to converting it to html, but in the mean time, you can download it here:

Exclusive Liberation and Lesbian Suicide in Interwar Japan
i'm getting back into the habit of IMing. yesterday i chatted with my friend takumi, with whom i hadn't spoken in about a year. he accidentally went swimming with a cell-phone in his pocket and lost the phone numbers and email addresses of all of his friends. and a $300 phone. as they say in japan, "sucks, desu ne."

today i just had a brief chat with kyle, who is coming back to america from china in five days.

and to complete the theme of studying abroad, tonight i played the role of "study abroad alumni" for a few students who will be heading to japan next fall. this all makes me want to go back to japan again.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

"sharp dressed man goes down" i took indymedia off my amphetadesk news list today. my memories of actual news coverage in the past have allowed me to ignore the reality of it being a bunch of envious kids.

i think open publishing can work. but it requires social control - someone has to say "stop publishing such crap." no one at indymedia is doing that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

twice in the past week i've noticed students ending conversations with "IM me about that." is it just a matter of time before that replaces "call me"? one student on my campus is compiling a list of AIM addresses for everyone on my campus. he's put flyers up around campus advertising this.

i hardly ever use IM. i used to leave it running all the time, but no one i knew ever used it, so i stopped running altogether. i must have missed the transition IM made from secondary to primary comminication medium.
"Senior members of the Bush administration met several times in recent months with leaders of a coalition that ousted the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, for two days last weekend, and agreed with them that he should be removed from office, administration officials said today. "

this is hardly surprising, but completely against principles of democracy. the bush administration was obviously acting against chavez because his policy toward oil threatened american oil interests. and yet they excuse the attempted overthrow of a democratically elected government by saying it is not representative of "the people." by "the people" the bush administration means "the people in the oil business."

Monday, April 15, 2002

Sunday, April 14, 2002

"They are killing each other's future." this excellent essay spreads the responsibility for the mideast problems and solutions where it belongs.

"Amidst the entire inferno, smoke, blown up buildings, and rotten corpses, there are a few good men and women who have put their own life at stake for the sake of Palestinians and Israeli civilians. Their voices are still not loud enough to be heard, their protests are mocked and vilified by the extremists and nationalists from both sides.

They are the peace lovers. Israeli Jews along with other religious denominations have participated as human shields in Arafat's besieged headquarters, many hundreds more boldly traveling to various shambled refugee camps to show their solidarity with the Palestinian population under attack."
"'What is undeniable is that corporations close to the administration have directly benefited from the increased defense spending arising from the aftermath of September 11th,' McKinney charged. 'America's credibility, both with the world and with her own people, rests upon securing credible answers to these questions.'"

what a bold claim. the bush administration replies: "The American people know the facts, and they dismiss such ludicrous, baseless views." the problem is we don't know the facts.

the administrations views are no less "baseless" because an atmosphere of secrecy has surrounded the administration for so long. if these claims are indeed baseless, a more transparent government would allow citizens to judge for themselves.
"In a new TV advertising campaign, Gateway bravely asserts their customers' rights to format-, time- and space-shift their music collections." this is a rational recognition that there are legitimate and perfectly legal uses for every technology the music industry seeks to end. if the music industry would work with rather than against its own customers, they may find ways of promoting these legitimate uses of music technology for their own benefit.
the real vjs:
last night i was at a party where some guys were mixing video along with a dj mixing music. it wasn't like mtv (though it was what mtv would be if mtv was doing anything interesting). they had hundreds of short clips of video that they would loop forwards and backwards over each other and in sync with the music. it was simple stuff like people doing aerobics, animals running, etc. but the looping made it look like everyone was dancing to the music. i'd never heard of this before and have so far been unable to find anything online about it. anyway, it was really neat, and if you're somewhere in illinois, you can hire them for your party via email.