Sunday, December 29, 2002


(originally posted at

Opening of SMART Letter #80 - Trans-Pacific tour, part one:
"I'm distressed that huge multinational corporations have given globalization a bad name.  Notwithstanding, people who oppose tyrannosauric actions of big companies ought to stop calling themselves "anti-globalization."  Globalization itself is a fact.  There are more ways to be globalized than there are to be American; some of them are wise, human and life-affirming, while others are toxic, taxic, imperialistic and exploitive.  Most of the time it is easy to tell which is which.  We share a small, beautiful planet "Anti-globalization" sounds so head-in-the-sand.  C'mon people.  You're not against cheap, easy, international air travel or instantaneous international communications are you?  If you're SMART you're not against treating our planet as a single complex system.  I hope you're not anti-roundness or anti-blue or anti-anybody-but-your-own-tribe.  Let's find a better descriptor!"
That's by a fellow by the name of David Isenberg.  I've read a bit of his stuff lately via cross-posts on the transhumantech list.  I see further down in SMART Letter #80 that there's a section on Japan, so I'll be interested in reading that.

Suffice it to say, I'm definitely pro-globalization - just not in its current form.  As dkp reminded me yesterday - "nothing gets done right the first time."  I guess it's just a matter of surviving the first time.

The following two lines satisfy re-distribution criteria on the quote from David Isenberg:

Copyright 2002 by David S. Isenberg -- -- 1-888-isen-com

The Family Music Collection

(originally posted at

my father, aiming to clean out the former music room in our house for his new office, has seen fit to hand down his old music collection to me.  this is very exciting.  i've never really had much experience with vinyl and practically none with reel-to-reel tape, but now i'll have a chance.

i plan to bring the stuff back to nyc, buy a decent turntable, and digitize the rare stuff in my spare time.  i'll also be bringing the reel-to-reel recorder with me to fool around with.  i'll be able to record stuff, make loops, experiment like some of the forefathers of electronic music did.

very exciting indeed.

Friday, December 27, 2002

Japan's Dark Valley

(originally posted at

Yesterday i got to reading about Japan's "Showa Era" (1926-1989).  Showa means "Enlightened Harmony."  The Japanese now call it Kurai Tanima, or the Dark Valley.  It's interesting to draw parallels between earlier empires and present-day America.  Here's a sample of the text that I found particularly interesting:
Faced with international opprobium, Japan withdrew from the League of Nations in 1933.  Ultranationalism, resentful in its isolation, became more focused.  Efforts were made to purge Japan of foreign concepts and words; regressing to nationalistic Meiji-era emperor worship, education promulgated historical disinformation (mythical emperors and warriors were presented as fact) and the glorification of the Japanese race.
This eventually lead to a deviation into empire-building which was corrected through the Pacific war and the nuclear attacks on Japan.

The interesting part is the reason why they were faced with "international opprobium."  Japan had its mind set on annexing a part of China known as Manchuria.  In 1931, the Japanese army staged a sabotage of a railroad in Guangdong, China - which gave them an excuse to move in and take over.

What instantly sprang to mind was the current American administration.  We've got our minds set on war with Iraq, and now we're just looking for the right way to sell it to the American people.

That's the difference between an Empire and a Representative Democracy.  An Empire only needs to convince the international community that what it's doing is right.  A representative democracy needs to convince its representatives and the people they represent as well.  Truth be damned, sell them the story you want them to hear.

Thinking about it, it's hard not to personify countries.  You see America being sort of punch-drunk and out-of-control, not knowing how to behave under the circumstances.  You can look at Empires the same way.  When they get far enough out of line, the rest of the world corrects the problem.

When it's America's turn, I'd rather be with the rest of the world.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Family Ritual Yields Holiday Loot

(originally posted at

news at 11.

i'm sitting in the kitchen of the only home i've known since birth.  listening to the city of lost children soundtrack.  my fish swim around my desktop and keep me company.

we had a new addition to the family this year - my sister's boyfriend.  i have to admit that it made me rather uncomfortable to have him with us during our unwrapping ritual.  but the discomfort is unwarranted, and i realize that.  just triggered a little cognitive dissonance, that's all.  i can't say "this holiday is religious bullshit and materialism" and then complain about "the way it should be."  and so i concede that christmas is whatever we want it to be.

...on to the loot!
  • The Golden Bough
  • Falling Out of Cars
  • The Libertarian Reader
  • Black Holes & Time Warps
  • Seth Speaks
  • After Capitalism
  • The Mystery of Capital
  • Globalization and its Discontents
  • The Universe in a Nutshell
  • The Annotated Alice
  • Everything You Know is Wrong
...all books from my wishlist.  Running from political theory and economics to philosophical and spiritual, making stops at anthropology, physics and fiction along the way.

I'm most interested in reading Falling Out of Cars, which is Jeff Noon's latest work, which my mother went to the trouble of importing for me.

But now I must go, I'm being summoned to brunch.  Happy holidays, all.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002


(originally posted at

i love when things just work.

today i sat down and wrote out the second part of a reporting script with a  decent amount of intelligence for a work-related project.  and it just worked.  no real debugging or re-writing was required.  felt great.  i'm really getting a good grasp of perl and having fun at the same time.  go fig.

anyway, it just makes my job easier and the reports empower the field team to take responsibility for a certain portion of their job which as been lacking.  feels even better.

i'm about to head out and pick up groceries for a salad i'm making for the family tomorrow.  we've gotten a little snow and the driving was a bit tricky last night... but it looks beautiful out.

i'm sure i'll be posting more over the next few days.

Monday, December 23, 2002

cold weather

(originally posted at

it's quite late and i'm tired, but i felt like posting a quick update.

i've been slowly battling through my email during the day and hanging out with cory at night.  we rented some video games - metroid prime, being the most fun of the bunch, and we've been taking turns battling through it.

new media acquired today.  the serial experiments of lain dvd box set.  i've only seen the first 3 episodes, but i just couldn't resist.  who says piracy hurts sales?

also; i picked up The National Geographic Traveler: Japan... which I've been reading through this evening.  i'm not quite sure yet whether or not i'd be able to function in japanese society.  but it sure is a romantic escapist dream...

time for sleep.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

vacation, errata, japan

(originally posted at

well, for the most part, i'm done with work until after the holidays.  quite a stressful time, but i suppose this time of year always is.  i've been more and more dissatisfied with my work environment and i'm beginning to seriously consider a change.

the only problem is, the market is awful right now.  american foreign and domestic policies are... well, disturbing.  i just feel like less and less at ease with where i am in life and in the world.

my thoughts have taken me back to japan, which was a teenage obsession of mine.  seems more and more feasible.  i've read a bit about it, talked to some americans in japan and native japanese people online, and have searched for jobs in the country.  surprisingly, there were a few posts for exactly the kind of work i'm interested and skilled in.

so what to do?  who knows... bide my time and save some cash.  research japan and perhaps a new industry to migrate to.

in the meantime, laurie's visiting nyc with her husband.  i won't get to meet her which will be twice our paths have unsuccessfully crossed.  it's a shame, really.

jenelle, dave and i had middle eastern food for dinner and i'll be packing for our trip back to rochester shortly.  i've tried to meet interesting people from rochester online with little success... i'll give it some more time.  maybe i'll find a way to have fun on my vacation.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

public service announcement

(originally posted at

you.  yes you.  the lady i saw on the train yesterday.  you're an elderly lady.  maybe you've got some nerve damage, maybe it's another type of problem...

but you had a tic.

i shouldn't have noticed.  i wouldn't have noticed.  i shouldn't have stared.  but i did.

for those of you out there where this may apply, please heed my advice:  i fyou have a nervous tic or some other medical condition that makes your head jerk around in a spastic manner... do not wear dangly earrings.

you're only drawing attention to yourself.  if your dangly earrings are long enough, they may even whip around and catch the person seated next to you in the eye.

be mindful, and good luck overcoming your ailments.

Monday, December 16, 2002

the stupidity tax

(originally posted at

jenelle arrived yesterday.

her train was delayed five hours.  i sat.  and sat.  in penn station.  i read from eliezer's work "levels of organization in general intelligence" and ran down the batteries on my ipod.

the manitoba song "people eating fruit" reminded me of a coincidence i had with nora during her last visit, so i left her a voicemail.

i sat at penn station, in the courtyard of the restaurant just beyond the main junction area.  my table was directly adjacent to the hudson news' lottery machine next door.  i was amazed to see the people who came up to the lottery machine.  the moral struggle that crossed their faces as they tried to decided whether to spend just one more dollar.  they all looked down on their luck.  just a bit behind in the game of life.  some of them looked downright pathetic.  i was reminded of the saying regarding the lottery being a tax on stupidity.

anyway, last night jenelle and i went grocery shopping and made salad and fell asleep watching koyaanisqatsi together.  it was wonderful waking up in her arms again.  she felt comfortable being close to a friend whom she could trust not to get too physical.  today we met for lunch and i bought a virgin wool hat and scarf set.  the scarf is 90" long and fantastically soft.  the colors are a bit off for me, but i needed something new and we stumbled on them walking around the christmas shops in bowling green.

tonight we made dinner (i even helped a little) - cajun chicken, cous cous with toasted pine nuts, and a salad.  it was fabulous.  i felt bad that dave and alex couldn't join us, but jenelle was most understanding.  after that we cuddled up and watched royal tenenbaums.

tina thinks i'm obsessed with the movie.  she knows me better than i let on.  she started work at a daycare today.  she's been avoiding my questions about it, but i do hope she enjoys the work.

regarding royal tenenbaums, i do need to expound on why the movie touches me so much.  i'll save that for a later date.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

quick redesign

(originally posted at

just a quickie.  pulled a div here and there.  added some spacing, did a little indenting... just minor stuff that had annoyed me with this layout.

Thanks a lot, see you later

(originally posted at

i slept a good 14 hours and feel totally refreshed.  i woke up to an empty house, but soon alex and dave were back with a breakfast croissant for me - which i had with a strawberry yogurt smoothie.

talked to tina for a bit.  josh and angela, too.  watched dave trying to catch a mouse.

quite an eventful morning.

and soonish i need to start getting ready for jenelle's visit.  she gets here tomorrow.  i'm more than excited.

the title of this entry is what mary said after the encore performance of come and play in the milky night, when they played it in sweden on september 18th, 2001.  i've got a bootleg, if you're interested.  perhaps my favorite bootleg.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Digital Snowstorm

(originally posted at

I couldn't really focus at work today.  I've had a headache since I woke up.  But I found new OSX drivers for my old USB webcam... which I had to pay for!  They were cheap, but I've never paid for drivers before.

Anyway, I took some pictures and fooled around in my *ahem* legal copy of photoshop.  And the above is the result.  After grayscaling it, I just played with the curves, contrasts, and levels until I was happy with the result.  The picture was taken in my office, sitting at my desk.


(originally posted at

the Independent has an obituary for mary.

also; her family asks that donations be made to CanTeen - a charity for the younger sufferers of cancer.

the more i listen, the more i wonder what the future of stereolab will sound like without her.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002


(originally posted at

On the 9th of December, 2002, Mary Hansen died.

It was a cycling accident, in London.

For those of you who don't know, Mary was a vocalist/guitarist with Stereolab.  She masterfully provided the offset harmonies that supported the melodies sung by lead singer Laetitia Sadier.

This is very sad indeed.  The whole magic of Stereolab was in the subtle complexity of interwoven harmonies and melodies.  The music was written in a style that considered the human voice to be just another instrument.  This allowed for a much more vibrant group dynamic.

I saw Mary and the group a handful of times, and it won't be the same without her.  There's no word yet from the group on whether they plan to continue.

I talked with koly today - he runs ultra-high frequency, the unofficial stereolab site - and we were discussing ways for the Peng! list members to pay their respects.  I've suggested we sponsor a community garden in Mary's home town in Australia.  If anyone has any other ideas, please get in touch.

A sad, sad day.

Thursday, December 05, 2002


(originally posted at

i totally forgot the thing that prompted me to post a journal entry in the first place! it's the quote of the week from the Harrow Technology Report (Dec. 2, 2002)...
Storage space and computing power are dirt cheap; our task isn't to "use them efficiently", it's to "squander them creatively."
That's from David Gelernter, Professor, Computer Science at Yale. He's also the Chief Scientist of Mirror Worlds Technologies.

Good stuff. Where's the nano? Where's the VR? I want to squander my creativitiy. :)

let it snow

(originally posted at

eh. it snowed all day.

i'm still alive, though - haven't had much time for journal entries. the month of november literally flew by. i spent a whole shitload of time on this project for work, and it's finally getting somewhoere. of course, i've had to bribe dave to help me out. it's the project he was working on while he was still working there. but he saved me a lot of time.

i'm still reading blackmore's "the meme machine" - which has taken a strange turn... talking about religious memes, memes of supernatural stuff... she tries to make it respectable, she really tries... but it makes her book harder to take seriously.

when i'm done with it, i won't be reading any more books until i've read all of eliezer yudkowsky's works (which are all online, if you look for them). he's an AI researcher whose style i happen to like. he's written a whole lot of material that i haven't gotten to reading yet, but i've read his stuff on the extropian and sl4 lists and i'm curious about his more formal pieces.

angela's let me borrow some godspeed you black emperor! cd's. and i love their stuff. i had a lo-fi peel session mp3 by them, but i didn't like it as much as their album work. i let her borrow some of my mogwai. godspeed reminds me of mogwai mixed with sigur ros. great stuff.

and... i got an iPod. and... i love it.

and... tomorrow i'm meeting nora after her portfolio review. the other night we talked for hours and hours and it just felt good.

felt good to hear about jeff noon's new books and projects, too. more writing, a vurt film and a piece from cobralingus being done by brian eno. awesome.

and... that's my snowy day update.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

smiling since saturday

(originally posted at

this past saturday was a very good day for me. i regret not having time to update the journal since then.

i started my day with a great exercise session. all upper body work. i'll straighten out my posture yet! then i had a nice, cool, iced chai and caught up on email for a couple hours. then a quick chinese dinner before i ran out to see powaqqatsi, the second in the qatsi trilogy.

powaqqatsi is "life in transition." the juxtaposed images of third world suffering and celebration again reminded the audience of where humanity came from and where we're going. this film moved slower than the first, and presumably *much* slower than the third - which, unfortunately, isn't in the theaters anymore. another unfortunate thing is that nora missed the screening.

but celine showed up. and nora was waiting for us outside the theater afterwards. with mike, it made four, and we high-tailed it to a diner for tea. followed by an hour or so of great conversation, where we introduced nora to transhumanism and discussed the film we'd just seen.

after that nora and i escaped off to the megastore in union square for some more talking about uploading and the future, and where we are in life. we walked around and found a few good books. just got to know each other a bit. i had a great time and i'm looking forward to seeing her again soon.

are we only animals?

(originally posted at

mike seemed slightly shocked, though mildly amused that i so effortlessly spun the words "but we're only animals" out onto the table for discussion. a day or two later, i came across a few passages in blackmore's book "the meme machine" - which, ironically enough, only makes me want to put her book down so i can read the books she references. meme machine, indeed.

she references Baldwin and Dennett - the latter of which has co-written a book i've read and own called "the mind's i" - with hofstadter. i'd like to put a few passages in here, for the heck of it.
As Baldwin himself puts it - the highest phenomena of intelligence, including consciousness, the lessons of pleasure and pain, maternal instruction and imitation, culminate in the skillful performances of human volition and invention. 'All these instances are associated in the higher organisms, and all of them unite to keep the creature alive... By this means those congenital or phylogenetic variations are kept in existence, which lend themselves to intelligent, imitative, adaptive, and mechanical modification during the lifetime of the creatures which have them. Other congenital variations are not thus kept in existence.' (Baldwin, 1896)
Yeah, 1896. Animals indeed! Good passage, although it's not very forward-thinking. "The highest phenomena of intelligence... culminate in... human volition and invention." -- and what then? Is it inconceivable that human intelligence can create something more intelligent?

And then... Dennett's "Tower of Generate and Test."
  • 1st floor: Darwinian - natural selection
  • 2nd floor: Skinnerian - operant conditioning
  • 3rd floor: Popperian - creatures use hypotheses
  • 4th floor: Gregorian - intellectual positive feedback loop
So now I've got Dennett on the reading list.

But what does it all mean? It means, yes, we're animals. But based on the environment we started with and the resources we've had to compete for means we've evolved into a special kind of animal.

Thinking about environment and competing for resources has me thinking about how an AI will behave given the environment it finds itself in and the resources it'll have to compete for. But that's a topic for another day.

Monday, November 25, 2002


(originally posted at

a funny thing happened at work just a little while ago. one of our client's had their machine compromised by a host originating in brazil. heavy traffic was being pushed on port 1501, which is the "satellite data acquisition system" port.

say what?

granted, anyone with half a brain can configure a daemon to listen on a specific port, but that just shook me up. it also makes me think about the how's and when's of involving local or federal authorities when working on network abuse issues. most times, they won't care... but... satellite data acquisition? huh?

the chris salad

(originally posted at

Available at your local PAX Wholesome Food store:
  • Mixed greens
  • Shredded carrots
  • Chopped cucumbers
  • Cajun chicken
  • Black olives
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Croutons
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
If you're a vegetarian, replace the chicken with egg whites. If you're a vegan, tofu. If you're in need of protein, just add both. With a Granny Smith green apple for dessert, the total comes to $8.88.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

synchronicity - it is now twelve o'clock

(originally posted at

such a strange day.

long, super-hyped-on-caffeine day at work. tons of progress on the boring project i'm working through. can't wait to get it behind me. if i were to be less cynical, i could look at it as a great experience in project management. marshaling the resources of a team of technicians distributed nationwide to implement a system to save the company valuable time and money. but really it's just nasty telecom stuff that i don't care much about.

after work i picked up some new media. grosse point blank. little nicky. koyaanisqatsi and powaqqatsi. all on dvd. came home, came online. great japanese dinner. i'm trying to condition my body to the taste of seafood. it started a week or two ago with a delicious tuna filet that alex prepared. tonight was salmon teriyaki. my stomach's still not used to it. and it's not all that pleasant-tasting. but it's good for me, or so i hear.

it turns out angela, an online acquaintance of mine from a few months back, has moved to my block! the odds for that are staggering. so we met tonight. watched Y Tu Mama Tambien. all the good things people have said are true. great mexican film. the luisa character's mindset reminds me a great deal of jenellle. i miss her and will be glad to be with her shortly.

speaking of people i miss, tina's visiting errica this weekend. it's a first for me. having a friend from college meet a friend from the internet. it's always weird when remote parts of your life happen to cross when you least expect it. i remember feeling the same way when dave and carrie were chatting online. but tina and errica are apparently getting along famously, which is exciting.

and i've been hearing more and more from tina's friend/sorta-ex-boyfriend joey. conversations with him are interesting. almost a struggle for me. his recovery seems to be going very nicely, which is equally pleasing and satisfying. i'm glad that tina has someone else in her life that appreciates her for who she really is.

the irresistible force song was playing as my iPulse pinged 12 o'clock. a night of synchronicity.

the best - and most out of place - scene in Y Tu Mama Tambien was when Luisa asked Tenoche and Julio whether they ever thought of living forever. she asked it with such a passion... she was in love with the idea. and as blockheaded and immature as these boys were, they were receptive to it. who wouldn't want more time?

Thursday, November 21, 2002

why i wear headphones

(originally posted at

for the first time in my life (that i can remember) a stranger offered me candy, today. he looked like he had slept on the street. a tattered glove held out a little round peppermint candy wrapped in plastic.

did he expect me to take it? was he trying to sell it to me?

just keep walking. just keep walking.

in other, less creepy news, i've continued to read Susan Blackmore's "The Meme Machine" - which I had commented on earlier. She discounts imitation in "lower" animals by adhering to a strict definition of what counts as imitation. She pits imitation against social learning, and I'm not quite sure I followed her all the way through her explanation. I'll have to re-read that part.

i'm closing in on the halfway point in the book, and she's still in the middle of proving that imitation was the catalyst for the evolution of our advanced brains. Given how much space she has left to work with, I doubt very much whether she'll succeed in swaying me.

I'm in the middle of a chapter on the evolution of language, and it's reminding me that I still need to finish my book on the world's major languages. For some reason, my interested dropped off when I got to Dutch. It's a rather dry, technical book on language, which could explain it.

At tonight's NYTA meeting, John Klos will be giving a talk on neural networks. Given my recent dinner with him, Elaine, and Mike, I'm excited to learn the math behind the process he describes. It's an especialyl relevant and well-timed talk, given that the gov't has just given IBM a contract to construct a computer with a computational capacity that's equivalent to a human brain.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

wined and dined

(originally posted at

well, tonight's been an interesting one.

two of our biggest vendors were in town and wanted to take us out to dinner. a limo took us to spark's steakhouse, where we had a private room waiting for us. i had to dress up. i hate dressing up. slacks, a shirt and sweater, nice shoes. it's the least i could do, but i didn't enjoy it.

wined and dined. swapping stories about how terrible local exchange carriers are and just basically talking shop. as expected, the engineers and operations crew migrated to one end of the table and the management and sales crew migrated to the other. i think it was a healthy split.

i got to speak to the VP of Operations at one of the companies for a while, and he seemed like a really nice guy. the only vegetarian of the bunch, and from australia, too. i didn't get a chance to ply him with questions on immigration or tell him how i think australia's AI research groups are neat.

one thing i'll have to research later on, is why red wine gives me a headache and white wine doesn't. all i can come up with is the flavor and texture. red has a full-bodied feeling, while white is crisp and dry. i should learn more about wine.

in other news, i just got off the phone with tina, who is back safe and sound in the states. quite a relief. hearing about that bus explosion really freaked me out. she's going to visit errica later this week to see a tori amos show. i wonder how that'll turn out. :)

Saturday, November 16, 2002


(originally posted at

I saw Koyaanisqatsi tonight at the American Museum of the Moving Imagine, in Queens. It's a documentary from 1983 on American life. No dialog, no plot. Scored by Philip Glass.

It was very powerful, but it seemed that the filmmaker wanted to instill in the audience the notion that humanity is small, fleeting. That no matter how we may try, there are forces greater than us that are beyond our control.

It backfired. It instilled in me an optimism. How far we've come and how far we still have to go. Our future is open-ended. Our technology may cause problems, but it also has the ability to solve them.

During the scene on cars, all I could think of was clean fuels. During the production-line scene at the car factory with the works, I could only think of nanotechnology's coming effect on manufacturing.

Koyaanisqatsi means "life out of balance." Which is certainly befitting the time in which we live - but it isn't necessarily a sentence passed down on humanity.

Maybe I'm naive.

Friday, November 15, 2002

disappointment can be pleasant

(originally posted at

So I've finished Drexler's "Engines of Creation"; and will be journaling up a review sometime soon.

But this morning I picked up Susan Blackmore's "The Meme Machine" which has been collecting dust on my bookshelf for the better part of two years now. Lo and behold, she cuts to the chase and by page 3 I'd discovered that I already disagree with her entire thesis! Get a load of this...
The thesis of this book is that what makes us different is our ability to imitate... Certainly, other animals do not take naturally to it."
Say what? It seems she's taken Dawkins' idea of a meme to a most illogically extreme conclusion. When a hungry chimpanzee sees one of its brethren fetching bugs out of the earth with a stick - it learns that behavior or it continues to grow hungry and will eventually starve. Predators mimic bird mating calls. Non-poisonous butterflies have evolved the bright coloring of poisonous butterflies to blend in and not get eaten. Imitation and mimicry seem to be prevalent in nature.

But still, I can't judge a book by the preface and first 3 pages. I'm looking forward to reading on, with the author trying to convince me every step of the way.

It's refreshing to read a book whose thesis I don't particularly agree with. Perhaps it'll better prepare me to handle Fukuyama's work.

Monday, November 11, 2002

odds and ends

(originally posted at

I never updated the journal on last week's NYTA meeting. Guest speaker was Andrew Zolli, editor of TechTV's The Catalog of Tomorrow. Which presents dumbed-down descriptions of cutting-edge and future technologies for lay-people. The "grandma" demographic. He was a cogent and coherent speaker; intelligent. He brought to the table degrees in Computer Science, Cognitive Science, and Philosophy - precisely the areas i'm interested in pursuing.

He understood that to be an effective speaker, especially to special interest groups such as NYTA - you have to go against the grain a bit. Preaching to the choir bores everyone involved. So he talked to us about trends and statistics and presented the view that our full-speed-ahead attitudes were admirable but probably unrealistic. And in a way, he's right. His talk wasn't meant to discourage us - though some seem to have come away feeling more discouraged... I came away feeling empowered. He understood what many transhumanists don't - that we can't leave the rest of humanity behind. The way society and the (human) world works is far too complex for that.

I came away from the talk feeling reaffirmed in what I already knew to be true - that an effective transhumanist has to focus on more than just science and technology.

An interesting sidenote: hanging out in the transhumanist circles I'm seeing and hearing extropians berated more than I'm used to. Perhaps my defense of them is more emotional than logical; as that community was how I was introduced to futurism/transhumanism. It's something I'll need to explore more in-depth.

Tonight I meet Elaine for the NYC-Geek dinner. Wonder how that'll be. She says the group has been meeting for many years now. Hope all goes well.

I've decided to explore my life insurance options. If they can pay for cryonic suspension, I'd be a fool not to go for it - as I have no dependents. I told my boss that I plan to use my company's policy on me to fund being frozen after death and he had a good laugh. We'll see. Drexler's book paints too pretty a picture. :)

Also; as it's still National Novel Writing Month, I came up with a wonderful scene for a novel - if I ever write it. I'm letting my subconscious work it over for a while before I put it on paper. But I think it's pretty good. The problem is finding a plot to glue all these pretty scenes together.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

the music was better than a backrub

(originally posted at

i more or less just awoke. last night was quite a night. i took dave and alex out to see bonobo, strictly kev, p-love, and amon tobin at this wonderful venue called the warsaw, in williamsburg, brooklyn.

i listed the artists in the order that they performed, although p-love was already tooling around with the turntables when we got in. he transitioned mr. scruff to the cure to towa tei to... oh, i forget, but it was rad.

bonobo came out and hooked his tibook up. hot shit. unlike his production work (the album animal magic was quite amazing) he used many ethnic beats and samples. traditional religious instruments and newer indian bollywood raga jazz. all on top of some nice and heavy beats. alex and dave shook it while timmy and i hung up in the balcony.

actually, the balcony is where i stayed for the entirety of the show. my back was still hella sore, which was quite a shame - since the music seemed good enough for me to overcome my natural disinclination to shake my funky white ass.

strictly kev, i thought, was pretty good. he just seemed to be having such fun on the stage. he definitely wasn't "at work." the video projector played this strange cartoon while he played. crazy 70's animal animation, all tits and ass and cops coming in to bust the place up. i've no clue where he found it, but it was a riot.

amon tobin didn't come on until about 12:30am, but the crowd was still really really worked up. i stood to get a better view - as i was in the dead center of the balcony. the music and the crowd just danced together. this is where i get all lit101 on yer asses: "it was an undulating mass of beats and bodies the likes of which mine eyes had never before seen." (re-read that last sentence with a hoity-toity brit accent for full effect).

but as the title of this post says, the music was much better than any backrub. the beats were so heavy that they pulverized my spastic back muscles into submission. brooklyn better recognize!

Thursday, November 07, 2002

pain and more to read

(originally posted at

i threw my back out this morning walking to the subway. i have no clue how it happened, but i suppose it was bound to happen eventually. anyone who's met me - or even just knows me really well - knows that i have horrendous posture. the question is, was this due to my posture or my current sleeping arrangements? my mattress is on the floor until i get a new frame. bah.

anyway, professor bostrom plugged his new book on the WTA discussion list yesterday. it's called Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy. and i'm excited to read it. it's been added to my wish list.

i've recently heard from tina, which was delightful and unexpected. she seems to be doing very well in india. i can't wait until i get a chance to talk about it all. i just hope she's kept a journal that captures her unique view of the experience.

argh, my back hurts.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

good, bad and quiet

(originally posted at

paperwork came through. i'm now senior network engineer for hq global workplaces.

also; from simon, an old comic.

and i'm listening to vincent gallo's album. especially "her smell theme." beautiful.

interesting ignorance, life and death

(originally posted at

Just a couple of selections from Drexler's "Engines of Creation":
In recent decades, the very quality of our remaining ignorance has changed. Once, biologists looked at the process of life and asked "How can this be?" But today they understand the general principles of life and when they study a specific living process they commonly ask, "Of the many ways this could be, which has nature chosen?"
Physicians once declared patients dead when the heart stopped; they now declare patients dead when they despair of restoring brain activity. Advances in cardiac medicine changed the definition once; advances in brain medicine will change it again.
Interesting, no?

I started the day off with a thought experiment from Changesurfer's James Hughes, who wrote to the WTA discussion list about a panel he's on to supervise a show on the next 1000 years. His specific topic was the human body, and what it'd be like after 1000 years. Of course, everyone was quick to point out the futility of guesswork - but to think about it, the question should be whether humans even have bodies that far into the future...

If you're really interested, parse through the WTA thread on the yahoo board to find my reply.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

funny how that works

(originally posted at
"just because i'm a brilliant genius, doesn't mean i'm not a complete retard."

Sunday, November 03, 2002

technology woes

(originally posted at


coinciding with the installation of linksys wireless card drivers and the wap11 control software, my iMac could no longer set up a samba share to my thinkpad. linksys didn't want to pay microsoft's API license on wireless cards and built their own stack, which completely fucked things up. argh. they've been removed and it's still not working.

i wish there were a soulseek client for osx. best p2p software there is at the moment, IMHO. i've recently downloaded rolling stones, velvet underground, modest mouse (live stuff, too), and sigur ros (life stuff too, too :) -- and it looks like i'll need to set up ftp services on the iMac in order to get the files transferred to my firewire drive, as this linksys thing has completely fucked everything up. argh.

oh, right. on top of everything, the well's pop server has been down all day. just as i had caught up on email, i lose a day of productivity. bastards.

but grand theft auto: vice city has chainsaws. so it's all better :) quite a sweet game.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

biomimicry is a dirty word

(originally posted at

"Evolution isn't a perfecting principle; it works on the principle of 'just good enough.' If you really want to design something for a task, you have to look at the diversity of organisms out there and then get inspired by principles."

- Robert J. Full.

a day of woe, corrections

(originally posted at

first with the correction. university of arizona, tucson, says staci. that's where she's at. that's where the killings were. scary.

today dave was laid off at work. some major re-organization is happening. my job seems secure. my new title will apparently be "senior network engineer." i'll be talking to dave and alex tomorrow regarding financial and housing arrangements, to make sure everything is alright for the next few months.

mind you, alex is a great cook. we've actually *made* dinner the past few nights and it's been fantastic. of course, by "we" i mean "her"... but i suppose that goes without saying. but i said it anyway. argh, i dunno. i'm kinda loopy right now.

i'm still in shock about the changes at work. it seems inevitable that my job will be re-homed to Dalals. i've never been, and the stigma surrounding all things texas is just too much to bear. if it ever came up, i'd let them fly me there to look around and evaluate.

so dave's playing the copy of grand theft auto: vice city i picked up for him. it's such a sweet game, we all agree. i'm still struggling through old email. the transhumantech list doesn't have the high volume of the extropian list, but the quality of each post is pretty impressive. of course, they're all pointers to resources elsewhere, but i probably wouldn't find most of this stuff on my own.

tonight i've been reading about quantum information systems, wearable device interfaces, and virtual governments. that last one i'm only partially done with. i wonder if they'll get into the economic models of current MMORPG's.

ah well. signing off on this strange and interesting day.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

The Future of Holidays

(originally posted at

i don't like to celebrate holidays.  i like to think about the future.  imagine my consciousness in a machine orbiting some distant star, controlling nano-devices in multiple locations as a form of embodiment.  in the mind, there's no day or night.  no holidays.  no gender.  that our minds are stuck in our bodies means we're affected by various things - fatigue, environment, hormones, etc.  Remove the mind from the body, and the sky's the limit.  That's the future.  That's where I want to be.

today i received "a new kind of science" in the mail. i won it in a raffle, as a door prize during the extropian monthly chat.  i read the preface on the train home.  he seems really full of himself.  he believes his own hype.  based on the pictures, it looks like the book is all about emergent systems and complexity theory.  should at least be an interesting read if i ever get around to it.

tonight i've read a paper called "immortality and sentencing law" from the journal of philosophy, science and law.  interesting concepts.  taking away an immortals right to work or educate him/herself.

also; a transcribed lecture on the canadian healthcare system.  not nearly as socialized as i had previously been lead to believe.  mom makes a good point about opportunities for american expatriots in canada.

also; the suicide note of the university of phoenix killer.  i forget his name.  an interesting read.  beauracracy fucked with him every step of the way.  he made a rational decision to educate those who slighted him.  i forwarded it on to cory.  i wonder how long until he snaps.

and for a second night in a row, i'm watching royal tenenbaums.  i love this movie.  i'll need to elaborate on this in some future post.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

White Blood Cells of Jesus

(originally posted at

i've started drinking a glass of wine per day, again.  white wine, thus far.  at the NYTA meeting, jones murphy mentioned struggling through a glass per day.  and he's on a caloric restriction diet!  so i looked into it again, read the studies on the cardiovascular benefits and the effects of alcohol consumption.  decided the benefits were worth the risks, especially with the low volumes i'll be consuming.

i've got about eight minutes before i have to coordinate a router swap in chicago.  that should be fun.  also on the news front; my telecommuting options have slimmed dramatically.  i had a talk with albert that put everything in perspective and i've got a new outlook on things.  it's bleak, but it's realistic.  i think i'll start preparing for the worst, and we'll see what happens.  it's obvious i can't "think down" to the level of management that's conducting the business decisions - perhaps i should take business classes.

yeah right, what would i do with myself in a scholastic environment?  go crazy, perhaps. that's no way to live life.

i'll be leaving nyc within a few years. but to where? on what terms? i'd like to get bbsm up and running before i leave hq... if i decide to leave.  who knows?

Monday, October 28, 2002

More Modest Wanderlust

(originally posted at

modest mouse always instills a sense of wanderlust in me.  hop in a car and just go.  i wonder if i'll ever do that.  i miss the wide open spaces.  i need to spend a week or two driving through the midwest.  end up in colorado.  i miss the mountains and the air.

new media acquisitions: stereolab's "abc music" - a 2cd set of bbc radio 1 sessions.  great stuff.  also; real genius and the neverending story on dvd.

i slacked this weekend and have yet to finish pinker.  i'm so looking forward to moving on in my studies.  next book is drexler's engines of creation - and i need a good, solid technical theory book to ground me after pinker's exploration of the mind.

tina left for india yesterday and my thoughts are with her.  i hope she stays safe and has the time of her life.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

NYTA & Subjects of Interest

(originally posted at

I've been nominated for a seat on the NYTA's Board of Directors as Technology Coordinator.  I've accepted and await the vote on the resolution.

The problem with listing subjects of interest is that there are too many interesting things in the world.

I'm trying to come up with a list of study subjects, but I'm finding it difficult to narrow it down.  Instead of narrowing the list, I've merely grouped subjects into four groups:

Life: bio-sciences and philosophy - life and how it is defined.  of particular interest are the neuro-sciences.

Habitats: physical containers, from the universe as a whole down through the lowly eco-system.  astronomy and the earth sciences.

Technology: the yardstick of human knowledge.  computing, nanotechnology, artifical intelligence, genetic engineering, cryotechnology, robotics, transportation, medical engineering, optics.

Interaction: how the above three groupings relate to one another.  sociology, politics, human-machine interation, ecology, psychology, behavioral science, urban planning, communication.

My goal is for any subject you can come up with to easily fit into one of the groups listed above.  But the ones listed are the ones to pay particular attention to, as they may have a direct impact on human life in the future.

It's difficult not to have an anthropocentric view.  But is an anthropomorphic view necessarily a bad t hing?  I'm a human with a (currently) limited lifespan.  I consider myself to be made of two constituent parts - mind and body.  My body may live or die.  I don't want my mind to ever die.  That's the whole point of this, isn't it?

Friday, October 25, 2002

Men Are Slime

(originally posted at

from pinker's "how the mind works" - which i'm going to finish this weekend:
Confidential questionnaires asked a series of questions.  How strongly are you seeking a spouse?  The answers were on average identical for men and women.  How strongly are you seeking a one-night stand?  The women said, Not very strongly; the men said, Pretty strongly.  How many sexual partners would you like to have in the next month?  In the next two years?  In your lifetime?  Women said that in the next month eight-tenths of a sexual partner would be just about right.  They wanted one in the next two years, and four or five over their lifetimes.  Men wanted two sex partners within the month, eight in the next two years, and eighteen over their lifetimes.  Would you consider having having sex with a desirable partner that you had known for five years? For two years? For a month? For a week?  Women said "probably yes" for a man they had known for a year or more, "neutral" for one they had known for six months, and "definitely not" for someone they had known a week or less.  Men said "probably yes" as long as they had known the woman for a week.  How short a time would a man have to know a woman before he would definitely not have sex with her?  Buss never found out: his scale did not go down past "one hour."  When Buss presented these findings at a university and explained them in terms of parental investment and sexual selection, a young woman raised her hand and said, "Professor Buss, I have a simpler explanation of your data."  Yes, he said, what is it?  "Men are slime."
...addendum: so now that i've got evolutionary psychology in the back of my mind, i wonder how it'll affect my current and potential future relationships.

Get Rich Quick

(originally posted at

nick reminded me of an idea i had a week or so back.

take one part sigur ros, one part bjork.  just add water and a shitload of marketing.


rake in the dough.


(originally posted at

this morning walking to the subway i saw a hipster in nice shoes working under the hood of a beat up old pickup truck.  he had a mod haircut and a little lower-lip goatee but no beard or mustache.  the license plates were from arizona and there was a folded-up matress, a rolled-up sleeping bag and a guitar case in the back of the truck.

it was exciting to see someone like that in my dingy neighborhood.  awakened the wanderlust in me.  i take solace in the fact that the path i'm on is the right one for me.

a part of me thinks that sounds like bullshit.  no one has a path.

who knows?

Tonight Tonight

(originally posted at
"A paradox is truth standing on its head to attract attention."
 - Nicholas Falletta
the NYTA meeting went very well.  nine people showed up in total.  the speaker, murphy jones, gave a great talk on cryonics and calorie-restriction as two life extension options.  for someone who severely restricts his caloric intake, he had quite a bit of energy and seemed quite fit, healthy and happy.  surprisingly, a full third of the participants in the meeting were female.

even more surprising was that elaine walker showed up.  she's quite a busy lady.  she claims to be 34.  i suppose i believe her, but i figured her for much younger than that.  her, hatuna and i went out for dinner after the meeting.  hatuna's a pre-med student at nyu in a neuro-field that i can't quite recall.  she wants me to see vanilla sky - a movie jenelle recommended very highly.

the NYTA meetings are to be held in my office building twice a month in one of our conference rooms.  makes it easy for me, sure - but the group gets a venue free of charge, which is nice.  it feels good to give back to the community that has fostered my self-teaching methodology and personal intellectual pursuits.

sleepytime tea + brian eno = logically, i should be unconscious.

i had a great talk with laurie tonight, too, after she got back from work.  things between her and i are so interesting.  it definitely goes beyond two people simply wanting what they know they can't have.  we've got a great intellectual connection, and it just feels great.  it's good to have proof that you're not really all alone in the universe.

tonight was about being with people who i could identify with.  the NYTA group, laurie, people i feel naturally at home around.  gives me that security of knowing not only am i not alone, i'm also probably not all that crazy, either. :)

who knows?

tonight was wonderful.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Things Involving Today

(originally posted at

i have a bit of a stomach ache.  too much caffeine in my diet.

quite early this morning, before i even went to sleep last night, i received an IM from cassy.  she's not interested in attempting to maintain our friendship.  i'm just too busy to give her the attention she needs.  she'd been bugging me for a while to write about her visit.  i just didn't know what to say.  i'm just beginning to recover from my sickness and just haven't been able to concentrate on things.  hence, not writing about her visit.  well, she came to visit.  to see the legendary pink dots with me.  it was such a great show (first time i heard the song "birdie," which is a new fave).  her and i have great physical chemistry, but she seemed very put off - maybe even hurt by the emotional distance i kept.  i wish i could express to her that it's just how i am.  everyone seems to complain about it.  i did, however, try to explain to her what makes me tick.  what interests me and keeps me going from day to day.  my love affair with the future.  i don't know what she made of it.  maybe she thinks i'm crazy.  i couldn't respond to her last night.  what she said hurt because it was true, and it's difficult to come to the realization that maybe you're not as close to someone as you thought you were.

i think my friend laurie's going through a similar situation, but that's another story.

sitting here in the office lounge, watching a muted version of the sniper show with brian eno and harold budd playing off my tibook, i feel a strange sort of calm.

perhaps it's relative.  today's been particularly hectic.  network problems in new york and san francisco, originating from korea, it seems.  lots of data shuffling at work.  at least i took 15 minutes to sit down and write a pretty cool sql query for the database.  it worked, first time.  very satisfying.

and tonight is the inaugural NY Transhumanist Association (NYTA) meeting, which I am hosting.  should be fun.

ah, and DSL has been really flakey for about a week now.  covad is coming out tomorrow to test with a new DSL modem.  i hope it solves the problem.  being without a steady internet stream has been pretty painful.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Thoughts on Suicide

(originally posted at

for those worried by the subject line of the post; don't be.  i'm not a suicidal person.  those of you who really know me, know that i plan on living a *very* long and fulfilled life.

that being said, there's a thread on the extropian list that got me thinking about suicide as a natural human right.  so many thoughts swirling around in my head it's difficult to know where to begin.

so, one doesn't choose to come into the world - one is brought into the world.  does this mean that one shouldn't have the right to choose when to leave the world even when they have the ability to do so?

there's something inside me that thinks everything that's possible should be permissible.  if you let your mind wander, you can see how truly horrible that would really be.  but if a person want to end their life, that's their prerogative, right?

we're all ultimately responsible for ourselves - self-inflicted death included.  but suicide doesn't just affect the one who dies.  it has an impact on friends, family, and society-at-large.  so what stance should friends, family, and society-at-large take to reduce the amount of suicides?

forget about laws for a moment and think about an interpersonal situation.  your best friend wants to kill themselves.  what do you do?  you offer support and create an environment in which someone wouldn't *want* to commit suicide.  is it possible?  it's worth trying, i suppose.

but does this scale to societal levels?  can a complex society manage to create an environment in which life is cherished to the point where suicide isn't even a consideration?

i don't pretend to know the answers.  but it's interesting to think about.  personally, thought of the future keep me going day-to-day.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Geometry and Grammar

(originally posted at

what is it that makes me want to create geometric patterns out of the blog calendar to the right?

dave's going to help me coordinate the sale of the spare pc's we've got laying or lying around.  why have i never been able to remember that rule of grammar?
Lay and lie are most easily distinguished by usage.  Lay is a transitive verb and takes a direct object.  Lay and its principal parts (laid, laying) are correctly used in the following examples: He laid (not lay) the newspaper on the table.  The table was laid for four.  Lie is an intransitive verb and cannot take an object.  Lie and its principal parts (lay, lain, lying) are correctly used in the following examples: She often lies (not lays) down after lunch.  When I lay (not laid) down, I fell asleep.  The rubbish had lain (not laid) there a week.  I was lying (not laying) in bed when he called.  There are a few exceptions to these rules.  The phrasal verb lay for and the nautical use of lay, as in lay at anchor, though intransitive, are standard.

Oh.  Lay.  Ok.

Last night was difficult.  Jenelle had a rough trip to San Diego.  Mr. Perfect seems perfect no longer, and she won't be seeing him again.  She seems to lack the mental flexibility that would allow her to see around these obstacles in life, and expose the bullshit for what it is.  She worries about things she "shouldn't" - whatever those are.  It's difficult to see a friend in pain.

Unless you're the cause of that pain, I suppose.  Then I guess it's fun.  I dunno.  People are selfish and cruel.  Or maybe I'm just seeing my own worst qualities in others.

Enough psycho-babble for one day.  I'm off to get my new iMac soon...

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Gymnopedie Bliss

(originally posted at

i'm currently downloading a few versions of erik satie's gymnopedie - which i'm hoping to be the lost piano track from royal tenenbaums.

yes... yes, this is definitely it.  ahh, bliss.

i'm a music pirate, i must say.  i view it as civil disobedience.  since switching to osx, i've missed kazaa lite.  limewire just isn't where it needs to be on osx.  so what does a mac user do?  he downloads the mp3's on his high-speed connection at work from kazaa lite on his windows bow... then he sets up a samba share to the windows box and streams the mp3's over a wireless connection.  ahh, bliss again.

oddly enough, i found out about erik satie from a cornelius breezeblock bbc radio 1 mix.  the setlist wasn't online but radio 1 is great about answering email.  oddly enough, this was also the first time i discovered the cornelius remix of "brand new day" is the remix of a sting song.  who knew?  not i, apparently.  ugh, sting.  no bliss there.  at least cornelius makes him listenable.

the particular mp3 file i found that i was looking for was called:

eric satie - trois gymnopedies.mp3

search for it, you won't be disappointed.  i promise. :)

peppermint tea, lovely music and a warm sweater.  what more could one ask for on a cold thursday morning?

Monday, October 14, 2002

Pinker's New Book

(originally posted at

From Locke's "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" as quoted in Pinker's new book "The Blank Slate":

Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper void of all characters, without any ideas.  How comes it to be furnished?  Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety?  Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge?  To this I answer, in one word, from experience.

I'm not even finished with "How the Mind Works" and already Pinker has a new book out.  I'm so behind in my reading...

Sunday, October 13, 2002


(originally posted at

i am sick.  ugh.

however, that's not going to stop me from posting this absolutely fascinating blog entry by Lawrence Lessig on his interpretation of the supreme court argument on the eldred v. ashcroft case.

not knowing the rules, i don't know how to interpret his guarded optimism.

i'll update the journal when i feel better to reflect on cassy's visit and the legendary pink dots show.

Thursday, October 10, 2002


(originally posted at

where to begin?

my glasses broke.  they've been krazy glued back together, but that appears to be a temporary solution.  i need new glasses.  yuck.

new media: beetlejuice dvd, super mario sunshine for nintendo gamecube.

i bought a firewire cable for my camcorder, enabling me to edit videos, use it as a webcam, and take digital photos.

last weekend i was paid a visit by carolyn and kim from simon's rock.  enjoyable, even thought it completely threw off my sleep schedule to have them arrive at 3:30am.  they introduced me to a custom-card game called fluxx.

cassy arrives this evening.  we're going to the legendary pink dots concert tomorrow, i'm excited.  it'll be great to see her again.  she had a layover in nyc a couple months back and we explored central park and enjoyed each others company.  so this should be a good visit.

thoughts on extreme psychosomatics.  i mean, extreme.  fun sci-fi stuff.  game genie walk-through-walls code stuff.  also; a race of creatures whose cells don't undergo mitosis, but reproduce sexually, cause the skin to glow.  don't know where that one came from.  sexual reproduction of cells means evolution.  our cells are constantly dying and being replaced by identical cells... but in a being whose cells reproduce sexually means intracellular evolution over time.  weird.

i'll be getting a new iMac shortly.  also; mom's coming for a visit after cassy leaves.  that'll be fun.  i think that's about it.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Note About Applicator:

(originally posted at
Believe it or not, the high-tech organic applicator that comes with your TiPaint is really the best tool for the job.  We tested many different commercially available brushes and applicators before settling on what you may call the "toothpick".  It allows you to decide how much paint you want to apply and allows you to apply it very precisely with the fine pointed tip.  We include two of these applicators "just in case".  Happy painting!

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Field Tech Mark

(originally posted at

Note to self: reminder to let mark know how much he resembles 90's german technopop-sensation Andreas Dorau.

Especially on the album cover for 70 Minuten Ungeklarter Herkunft. :)

Friday, October 04, 2002

A Great Day

(originally posted at

the conference was great.  seeing klaus heiss speak was a joy.  also; meeting taylor dinerman was great - i look forward to future run-ins with him and his folk.

i also met elaine walker.

in the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy i recall arthur dent describing tricia mcmillian ("trillian") as beautiful and devastatingly intelligent.

elaine is not unlike that. :)

also; the presentation on GPS by the principal engineer of the FAA was insightful.  unfortunately i missed half of pascal lee's presentation on the mars on earth project - as i was pulled into a work issue.

unfortunately, ed belbruno couldn't make it - he's a professor of applied mathematics at princeton.

but all in all, the day was great.

What to Do

(originally posted at

i know this much; i'd like a webpage with content. :)

i'd like a database that tracks the library of books i own and which book(s) i've read, or am currently reading (or re-reading as the case may be).  this database should allow me to write a librarinth application based on the work of jeff noon.

i'd also like to maintain online image galleries of found images, digital photos and other bits of miscellany.

the question is: how should all of this come to pass?  i could write each application separately and use them separately.  i could implement a content-management system and manage it all centrally.  i could do a combination?

hermit prods me in the direction of zope/plone, but i'm not sure if that's overkill or not.  plus, it's based on python - of which, i have zero knowledge.  not sure if that's good or bad. :)

but it's getting late and the laundry needs to get put in the dryer so i can be sharp for tomorrow's NSS conference

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Hobby Kit

(originally posted at

i'm putting this idea down here so i don't lose it.

1 x hot dog bun
1 x polly-o brand string cheese

note to self: include a spice packet and charge extra for "gourmet" branding.

Ah, Nostalgia

(originally posted at

there are three programs that every mac user / nostalgic gamer should have...
  • MacMAME: for arcade games
  • RockNES: for nintendo games
  • SNES9X: for super nintendo games
I've been using SNES9X for the past few weeks, replaying Final Fantasy 6... but when I found RockNES, I immediately switched over to playing Crystalis - which is arguably my favorite NES title.

It's just as fun now as it was back then. :)

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Machine Panic

(originally posted at

on the train today i had a panicked moment.  i was reading steven pinker's "how the mind works" - the chapter entitled "the mind's eye" - which is on vision and perception.  a particular passage affected me:

"Of course, we don't perceive infinite possibilities [of what an object is, based on retinal images]; we home in on one, generally close to the correct one.  And here is an opening for a crafter of illusions.  Arrange some matter so that it projects the same retinal image as an object the brain is biased to recognize, and the brain should have no way of telling the difference."

I put the book down in my lap as the train pulled into a station.  I was reflecting on what this *truly* means, when I glanced to my right... Just in time to catch the image of the sleeve of a man's shirt as he was stepping off the train.  And my entire mental being seemed to just halt and crash.

It was overload.  The knowledge of how vision was possible - how incredibly complex in order for it to work properly.  Some might say God has blessed us.  I choose to remain in awe of the way our eyes and brains evolved in tandem to work this way.

I forced myself to breathe, and continue reading.

What a day

(originally posted at

i telecommuted to work for the majority of the day.  just over 14 hours.  i caught the tail-end of a 3-day network outage in san jose which turned out to be a compound problem (router/wiring).  between spurts of troubleshooting i managed to install circuits in boston, los angeles, and san francisco... not to mention fixing a broken netsaint.  sigh.

writing up the post-mortem on san jose took the last bit of my energy, though.

so i'm just sitting here in a daze, listening to the beta band.  thanks for the album, kristen - i'm enjoying it.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Finalizing Config, New Media

(originally posted at

Made some quick changes to the admin section of the page.  Really impressed with Movable Type.

Well, today I received my monthly shipment from Amazon.  Eric Drexler's "Engines of Creation" (on nanotechnology) and Marvin Minsky's "The Society of Mind" (cognitive science/AI).  Also; the first season of Twin Peaks on DVD.  Been watching it in the background all evening.

The NY Transhumanist Association meeting was either moved or cancelled.  So after my long, stressful day at work (AT&T lost Dallas) - I just sat in the cafe and read cached email.

I left the book I'm currently reading at home today, so I started reading Drexler's book.  It's pretty fast-moving and no-nonsense.  He doesn't apologize for his views of the future.  He simply tells it like it is.  I think I'm going to like this book.

Monday, September 30, 2002

end of life

(originally posted at

this journal has reached the end of it's life.

please contact me if you'd like access to the new journal.

More thanks...

(originally posted at

Johan Kellerman for the photo, Kochanie for the inspiration. :)

Look for a gallery of Johan's digital photos to show up sometime in the near future on

You can find Kochanie's LiveJournal here.

Back to work. :)

this is a test

(originally posted at

i'm testing the new css.  this is a link.


...and thanks!

(originally posted at

I need to thank Lucifer, Hermit, and DKP for their help in getting this MT-driven journally-blog thing operational.


New System

(originally posted at

The bugs appear to have been sorted out, and this system is about to go live.  I'm going to have to do something about the design...

And the admin tool needs more exploration.  But this is definitely a functional journal.  I wonder if it'll work with iJournal.  Hmmm.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

PPPoE in Philadelphia

(originally posted at

I got into Philadelphia late last night. I'm only here for the weekend, visiting my friend Kristen.

The first thing I did when I got there - even before changing out of my wet clothes - was to get my laptop hooked up on their building network. Verizon brings a T3 into the building and there are probably fiber runs to a switch room on each floor. They use PPPoE to connect.

Kristen's roommates were confused how I'd get PPPoE working on the Powerbook (running OSX 10.2) without being able to install Verizon's Windows-only PPPoE software connection client.

Oh man, it was SO easy. Created a PPPoE location, gave it the username, password, told it what the service name was. And bang, I was connected.

Their jaws dropped.

"We can't do that in Windows without their utility!"

"Funny, that."

Thursday, September 26, 2002


(originally posted at

i love breezy, gray and drizzly days in autumn.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002


(originally posted at

On Friday, October 4th, I will be attending a conference titled "Space Technology for Developing Nations." Here are the conference details:

Title - "Space Technology for Developing Nations"
When: October 4, 2002, 10 AM - 5 PM with reception following
Where: New York University (32 Waverly Place, room to be announced)

There will be five panels of roughly 1 or 1.30 hours each.
  • Panel 1 - Precision Agriculture (GPS Farming)
  • Panel 2 - Remote Sensing (Joanne Gabrinowitz may moderate this one. Joanne is the Director of the National Remote Sensing and Space Law Center, University of Mississippi School of Law)
  • Panel 3 - Distance Learning (RS Bhatia from the Indian Embassy will participate in this one)
  • Panel 4 - Telecommunications & the digital divide.
  • Panel 5 - Space Technology and the future of humanity as a whole (moderated by Taylor Dinerman of
Attendees must bring photo ID and an invitation.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

controlling robots with the mind

(originally posted at

amazing scientific american article on convergence.

iJournal and life changes

(originally posted at

i'm just back from rochester. boss is in dallas for a big meeting. roommate's been laid off - i need to find a new place to live soon. met some interesting new people lately. project is coming along nicely. life continues to be strange and interesting.

just downloaded iJournal. enjoying it. perhaps it'll inspire me to update this more often.

the future of life, be e.o. wilson is a bit depressing. i expected something other than a 200-page guilt trip.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

ah, tonight

(originally posted at

i can now say that since i moved to the city, i've had (and taken) the opportunity to see all of my favorite bands. first was stereolab. then mogwai. then tortoise. i was even fortunate enough to see the solid steel set at the knitting factory. but tonight was something different and special. all the way from japan, i saw cornelius.

felt great.

doors were at 8, cornelius didn't hit the stage until 11. felt like forever, waiting. opening band, dymaxion, wasn't very cohesive. i'd seen them open for stereolab once.

cornelius knows how to put on a show. they played most of the tracks off the new album, perfectly in sync with the music video being projected behind them. i mean it was perfect...

they also played some tracks off the first disc, and some that were only released in japan - one in particular was apparently about soccer and if i were to give it a title, it'd be "spalding."

he played like a chill virtuoso... hitting all the hard notes and making it look easy. it was really a sight to behold.

in the middle of "brand new season" - which was accompanied by a video of elvis and some hula dancers on a loop - he pulled an audience member up onto the stage and used the audience member's body in conjunction with a theremin to belt out a cover of "love me tender." after it was over, they threw confetti in the air and presented the audience member with a flower-necklace (lei?) and a hug before sending him back to the main floor.

i'm left utterly exhausted but with a feeling of such great satisfaction.

Friday, August 02, 2002

yes, more

(originally posted at

new picture on moc.

although sometimes i wonder why i bother. if asexual reproduction is good enough for amoeba, why can't it be good enough for me? that's all cloning is anyway...

although the oppressive heat has curbed my recent biking habit, i've been more active in the extropy group as of late, and that feels just as good.


(originally posted at

it's difficult to watch friends make painful decisions. i worry so much about j and her relationship. this whole week, the lack of communication, it's been just awful. i need to step away from it all for a bit. i've been unfair to myself these past few months(years?) and this sudden feeling of hopelessness is in a strange way empowering.

wonder what i'll do with it...

on a different note, i've just been given a *heavy* project at work on a *very* tight deadline... so it looks like i won't get a vacation until sometime in Autumn. which is my favorite time of year anyway, i suppose.

i've bonded with the powerbook. it's become my main machine at work as well as at home. can't wait for the jaguar release on 8/24. chimera's the browser i'm on right now. feeling the love.

fuz isn't home yet, so it looks like i've probably got the apartment to myself all weekend as dkp is off at defcon and his girlfriend is down in georgia... i suppose i can occupy myself by cleaning the bathroom. it needs it, yuck.

bewildered. that's a good word for how i'm feeling right now. it's a kind of sad, muted, clear-headed rage - yet numb at the same time. have you ever felt that way? have you ever wanted to?

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

officially switched

(originally posted at

so this past weekend i did it. i took the plunge and switched over to the Apple world with the purchase of an incredibly sexy powerbook.

i love it. i've been using it almost non-stop, and it pains me to think that when I go home this evening i'll need to use my IBM thinkpad to do a circuit install out in LA. although i'm pretty sure i can find a way to do it with the mac... hmm...

so i'm still tooling around with the OS, trying to figure out all its idiosyncracies.

things with jenelle have taken a turn for the... well... interestingly worse, i suppose. i'm not sure if i'm ready to express feelings about it one way or another.

ah, the file transfer to miss laurie just finished. hope you enjoy the music vid, doll. :)

i'm off!

Friday, July 19, 2002

h2k2 wrapup and apple stuff

(originally posted at

as i promised, i wanted to expand on my h2k2 experience. it was... interesting. it had the general feel of a conference without major corporate sponsorship. no marketing stazi to make sure everything was picture-perfect. i met some interesting people, and saw some famous people speak. that's about it, really.

i gave the negativland guy (mark dosler) $20 because i'd downloaded some negativland mp3's. it freaked him out, and sparked a conversation. his presentation included some really amazing video clips. afterward was jello biafra's state of the world address... which was really just a long-winded diatribe about the current events as seen on or metafilter or anywhere else online. nothing new there.

although after his rant, he played some interesting vinyl he brought with him, and I had some great seats, only a foot away from the turntable. if anyone has pictures of jello playing dj, lemme know - i'm probably in them. :P

- - - - -

so i visited the new Apple store today down in SoHo. let me first say, there are too many goddamn beautiful people in SoHo. that being said, the store was beautiful and the people were helpful. i got to play with a Powerbook, and I'm intent on buying one now.

they tell me that they carry them in stock. so next week, after i'm sure i can sustain on my new shoestring budget, i'll go down and pick one up... *drool*

- - - - -

derrek's in town for macworld, and we're going to check the siren festival down in coney island tomorrow if it's not rained out.

and i'm looking forward to my strange upcoming vacation. who knows how things'll go with jenelle and her boyfriend situation. i might end up in maine with cory and anna instead. who knows?

Sunday, July 14, 2002


(originally posted at

hackers on planet earth conference.

i've been there the past few days and will be there tomorrow. lots of interesting things to talk about... when i have more energy to devote to it, i will.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

long life rant

(originally posted at

it irks me every time i hear someone ask an old person "what's your secret to long life?"

i'd imagine that an elderly person would find this patronizing, as - when spoken by a smiling, on-air personality - seems to roughly translate into: "how come you're not dead yet?"

i hope that i live long enough to be asked what my secret of long life is...

to which i'd reply: "avoiding people like you... unngh..."

...and then promptly die.

Monday, July 08, 2002

typing from a mac

(originally posted at

yes, i bought the powermac g3 tower from work. i made reference to it before, but now it's all mine. :)

upon finding that opera 6 wasn't out yet for osx, i switched my default browser to omniweb. but i missed tabbed browsing so much that i've switched again... this time to mozilla. i'm not as impressed with mozilla's tab feature as i was with opera 6's. tabbed browsing is an absolute must if you're an uber-surfer (imagine that 'u' had two little dots above it; i'm too lazy to look up the escape sequence).

oh well.

more program woes... i miss trillian. i use AOL, MSN, Yahoo, and ICQ to keep in touch with people. so i found a program called Proteus. it LOOKS great. problem is, it doesn't work. for some strange reason, it would connect to each of the services and download my buddies or friends or whatever... but it wouldn't actually show them as being online. so i couldn't send anyone a message. moreover, when i told the program to search for any updates... it found one and downloaded it... although it turned out to be the same version as the one i already had. boo! what's more (yes, there's more) the splash screen while Proteus is loading tells me "version 1.6something" while the About... menu tells me version 2! at least it *looked* like pretty software. sigh.

i finished selfish gene today. liked it so much i added the extended phenotype to my wishlist. i'm moving on to reading a book about marketing/branding called No Logo.

Oh... and Cornelius is playing at Bowery Ballroom August 9th. I'm more than excited. Will you be there? Let me know.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

quantum computing update

(originally posted at

an okay update on the state of quantum computing to solve unsolvable problems.

here's the original paper in pdf, for anyone technically inclined.

Saturday, June 29, 2002

expectation leads to disappointment

(originally posted at

tonight i saw the transient rainbow project, by cai guo-qiang.

click the link. go there. see the picture, read the description.

it was not like that at all.

what i had built up in my mind was this: a futuristic fireworks display. state of the art, man! a copious amount of luminescence streaking across the night sky, setting it on fire. once formed, the rainbow would hang there, emanating warm, bright colors as new age music floated down from the heavens.

ok, maybe the music was a bit much to expect.

what did i get? fireworks that spelled out MoMA (with an S showing up for no apparent reason) and then POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-BANG-fizzle.

and then a whole bunch of pissed-off onlookers.

as they left you'd hear people say: they dragged me out to Queens for this? and: guess I won't be going to the MoMA-QNS anytime soon.

of course, what you DIDN'T hear was: guess i'll pull my funding for the MoMA, or: i can't believe i paid for this...

anyway, i taped it with my camcorder to show some friends (and my mom) who'd be interested. when i got back to the apartment (took forever, argh) i watched the tape and... and... and... the fireworks lasted exactly 10 seconds.


Friday, June 28, 2002

i hate microsoft

(originally posted at

playing civ3 out in the living room, donnie darko on in the background. i'm on the sofa, wireless laptop. chatting through trillian behind civ3.

i lose track of time, without warning the laptop goes into standby mode. i rush back into my room and give it the AC, but it's too late. it's gone to sleep.

rather, microsoft put it to sleep, along with my wireless settings.

that's right. after waking my laptop up, no more internet connection. the little wireless NIC is flashing green. ipconfig tells me: media disconnected.

no big deal, tcp stack crashed. i'll log out, log back in. this is windows xp, i shouldn't even have to reboot.

three reboots later...

i still hate microsoft. thinking of the moment in the south park movie where they shoot bill gates in the head. wondering if i'll ever be able to save enough money for one of those gorgeous apple powerbooks.

this problem solved itself. i don't know why. the NIC configuration GUI (using MS API's btw) showed me that my preferred network was still configured properly... while the available AP had wrong settings. no sweat, i can fix that.

or can i? apparently, i couldn't. MS wouldn't let me. so what CAN i do? i can remove the preferred network entry and hit refresh on the available network list and see what happens. ah. it brings back my preferred network entry. lovely.

so... i remove my preferred network entry again. this time i don't hit refresh, i try to configure the available network entry. will it let me? YES! it let me! rock! does it connect? nope. hit apply, hit ok, go back in... and the wrong settings are back, as is my removed preferred network entry.

so i give up. i say fuck it, hit ok, ok, i'll just shut it down and worry about it later. staci can find someone else to play scrabble with tonight... and just when i'm ready to shut down...

it connects.

for absolutely no reason.

i wonder how long i would have to whore myself out in order to afford a powerbook.