October 28th, 2003

Semiformalishmaybe

News Forecast

Some time ago, someone sent me a link to a national anthems site, andI snagged a few of them. Some thoughts...

The Belgian national anthem, sorry to all you Belgians out there, soundslike perfect music for a news forecast.. you know, the kind where theyplay a few bars in the foreground, and then soften it so people can talkover it. Still, at least theirs is better than the American national anthem,which is pretty lame. The Mexican national anthem, or at least the versionthere, is actually pretty irritating. Their rendition of the Japanese nationalanthem is pretty good, and their rendition of Hatikvah, the Israeli anthem ishauntingly memorable. The Mongolian national anthem, which I had (probably)never heard before, is also pretty, inspiring imagery of a survey of a naturepreserve. Their russian national anthem rendition is inferior to that producedby the red army choir, so I didn't keep that. I found the Palestinian nationalanthem elsewhere, and it's totally lame, basically a bunch of people shouting.North Korea and China have beautiful anthems (although I've heard betterrenditions elsewhere of the Chinese national anthem). The Australian nationalanthem was irritatingly overlaid with some text, but it had a kind of Gaelicsound to it... with a bit of googling, I found the reason -- the Australiannational anthem was written by a Scotsman from Glasgow. Their renditionof "God Save the Queen" was pretty poor, and I don't like the south koreannational anthem too much. Their rendition of the German national anthem ispretty poor, but the Vatican national anthem, which I had not heard before, isactually pretty nice.. it has kind of a measured, intellectual feel to it.Cuba's national anthem had kind of a circus feel to it...

Sometimes, conversations happen that simply make one's week. W00t!And then, it's time to close one's eyes.

Semiformalishmaybe

Breath of Doubt

A question, simple, asked. And yet on reflection, it leaves dark clouds inthe air.. why was it asked? What does it mean? Could this mean what I thinkit means? The face scoots away, it's eyes twinkling, whether out of delight,cunning calculation, or some unmeasurable other emotion, noone is sure.

The technology was complex, but its implementation, with the completedentities, was not. The sharing of two minds in one brain, modifications tothe attentional systems, processing the memories to have a strong enoughsituational bias that they would remain seperate, for a time, and the trickiestof all, the actual overlay of one mind onto another, all were conquered, withmuch pain, by technology.. and now, it was not a rare occurance, for academicsespecially, to approach each other with offers to undergo the merging. Usually,one personality would be dominant, and only later would the other personalitymerge with it. For several years to come, the pairs would ask each otherquestions, providing information and companionship. It would be rare for themerged to date -- they would lack a certain need or desire that's fundamental,even though often the merged would not themselves be suitable for romanticpartnership between their components. Many merged, after integration was longcomplete, after five to ten years, would find themselves missing having apartner in the mind, and would undergo another later merging. Merging neverproved to be the path to immortality that some worried about -- for reasonssemianalogous to matters of love, the old almost never merged with the young.

She sat up, head clear for the first time since before the nanite infusion.Familiar sensations, perhaps too familiar. His mind had simply faded likecotton candy in the mouth, leaving not a trace, no other self. This was nothow it was supposed to happen, some instinctual initial struggle over thebody, some chatting, sharing of memories.. not this feeling as if nothinghad happened at all. She tried thinking of areas where she knew he hadknowledge she did not, but the familiar memories and recollection cameback, nothing new. Where was he? A feeling of vague disappointment filled her,as she got up to live the day as if nothing had happened, wondering what shewas to say to the curious friends and relatives about her experience, wonderingeven more about what to say to his friends..

By now, I imagine you've all heard about the arrest of a big businessman inRussia. There are two possible spins on it... firstly, that the state is beingtyrannical, and second, that all the anti-state positions is stirred up bypro-business forces that are perfectly happy with state corruption, so long asit's in their favour. We can't really know from the outside without pokingaround.. we might not even ever know from the inside...