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.