November 17th, 2003


Dance Dance Mantra

You called it a tired old dance, boring, the same old. And yet, youwatch with disgust, as it slowly loosens us, takes away the day's kind of time,establishes the field. For us, it's not a painting, it's the key to a door.Anyplace we turn it, any place we build that circle of rocks, the gate willopen, and inside, what was once grass takes on a whole new meaning. Even one ortwo of us with a single stone, going from memory, can cause the light to flicker.You can tell, the influence, when dropped, coins will spin without end...

Tonight, I busted open a food I haven't had for awhile, something which,even ignoring the good teas and cheese, redeems British cooking -- LemonCurd. My mom gave me some quite some time ago, and after checking theexpiration date (still have plenty of time), I spread it on some sourdoughbread... yummmmm.. Whowever you are out there, if you haven't tried lemon curdbefore, head out to your supermarket, and look in the jelly section for's one of my favourite things, foodwise.

While I've known about this for months, here is an articlethat includes some tidbits about Solaris 10.. Two things of interest:1) Zones2) More fine-grained privilegesZones are probably not too different from Usermode Linux, a pretty decent wayto run virtual copies of Linux under a main one. Actually, as I write this,my webserver is actually an instance of this. Concievably, years later, I mightswitch to a real server, but for now, it's a decent analogy of how zones mightwork. Basically, I have root, and have my own filesystem, my own /proc, andall that other stuff. The only way I can tell that it's not a real system isthat my filesystem devices have funny names. As for the fine-grained privileges, I remember, years ago playing with some ofthe stuff on Solaris, in a previous job. I remember there was a pretty neat,but horribly slow, tool to tweak the actual privileges, and it actually wasuseful. Unfortunately, I don't think sun provided a non-GUI way to do it.There are two concerns with the fine-grained privileges, if they are used toset the system up in a way that root can't do everything: a) Bozo bosses - currently, it's impossible on unix for the boss to do things that the root user can't. This is a good thing -- it makes the sysadmin's job a lot harder if they can't actually administer the box, troubleshooting problems, and all that. The most irritating example of what this might do is require the sysadmin to physically visit the boss (or whoever) to perform some mundane task that on a well-designed system they'd have privileges to do b) Less flexibility - If your root-equivilent people can't read some files, how are they going to back them up? Is the tape drive (or other backup device) going to need DRM? When everything is no longer just a stream of bytes, people lose..Maybe it's good for military/government types though.. I think Sun has prettymuch lost the battle for anything but the biggest businesses in the businessworld, sadly.

Looks like Dell is supporting recycling. Go Dell!

Some thoughts from British politician Robin Cook...

If you're tired of politics, and want something funny, thismight hit the spot.. It might be very mildly offensive.

An article on spammers who make bigbucks off of the collective torment of millions. The solution? Find where theylive, and start, using megaphones connected to record players, reading all theirspam at them, 24 hours a day. Follow them wherever they go, and do what it takesto make them miserable. And yes, go further. Vigilanteism is what's necessarywhen the laws are malfunctioning. Have fun. Yes, if I meet a spammer, or findthat I'm living near them, I'm going to spread the word to all the geeks Iknow, and bad things will happen to them. Micropayments are the wrong solution.Sure, you can move your business around, mister ubercapitalist, but we'llstomp on YOU. On that front, other kinds of scammers/spammers are gettingtheir just deserts.

Looks like Kasparov won the third round, so he and Fritz are tied, with thenext game deciding the outcome. I found the website for thisgame. Cool!

I find this to be hilarious. In Serbia, they need50% of the people to have voted in an election to choose their president, andthey failed to get that. Of course, in the U.S., we also probably have lowvoter turnout, but it's not as visible to the public because nothing happenswhen turnout is low, except the loonies on the right tend to get elected more,as fundies tend to be much more politically active than the average American.

Here's a new science BLOG to read regularly. Apparently, Google thought theywere linking to me, for some odd reason (that's how I found them), but I saw nosigns of that on their site. I guess I'll link to them instead. :)

I notice how this site has the normal model faire and stuff.It might be more amusing, although rather morose, to have pictures instead ofthe people right as the service is to be useful. Heh. Seriously though, it'snot a very unique idea to have emails that only go out on one's death. I havesome things set up on my systems that would do similar things should I not checkin for sufficiently long.. although I've never thought to sell it as a service.I wonder if their business will take off.

Incidentally, here's the dirt on diamonds.De Beers keeps them artificallyexpensive. Schmucks.

I had a very enjoyable conversation tonight with a friend. Kind of a nice wayto end the evening.

I have three ideas that are baking in my brain like an oven. They'll be readysoon.

I think I need some sleep


Bees in the Wind

Some more chewing on capitalism as being an ocean in which smallersystems float... the inner bubbles are not themselves capitalistic --so long as the means is present to eject people who don't play by therules from them, they can use alternative means. The problem that othersystems have is dealing with noncooperators, and where in capitalismthey are not treated well, their noncooperation becomes their shameand/or starvation, a penalty we've come to accept. Other systems whichdon't have that kind of reflection, and our particular notion of liberty,use different means to deal with the problem, means that generally lookgrotesque to us. There are two general classes of tactics that are usedon the problem (any government would, of course, use more than one tactic,quite possibly from both of these tactics) -- the preventative and thepost-fact. As preventative means tend to need to be involved during upbringing,traditional notions of family, and as such people's strongest tendencies towardslassiez-faire tend to be brought out, which might explain the difficulties inthis kind of tactic. Some socialist implementations take this head-on,attempting to abolish the 'soverignty' of the family, while others are contentto control the schooling system. As any society relies on schools to do someinculturation, this is an easier means for this kind of work, although savvynoncooperators attempt to 'opt-out' of public schooling, for religious orother reasons. As an avenue for social change, it makes sense for peopledevoted to great societal change to block the normal socialization of theirchildren and replace it with their own programme, or at least to supplementit (Compare Yeshiva, Catholic, and other schools to home schooling). It'seasy to dismiss this as cultish, but it's just another point on a spectrumin activism with social struggles. Apart from the preventative measures involvedin upbringing, other mechanisms are available that can dissuade noncooperators,which may be discussed elsewhere. Post-fact mechanisms are less effectiveand more costly, and include well-known programmes such as unemployment benefits,shelters, and job training centres. It is noteworthy that many of thesemeasures are just 'life support' for true noncooperators -- without thedesire to participate in the system, one cannot be shoehorned into it.It's also true that the applicability of these measures is more primarilyintended for unfortunate cooperators who fall on hard times, as recent limitson use of these systems show. The presence of such systems may act as abuffer against social change, as it may mask underlying instabilities of theeconomic system as people come to rely on the social 'safety net'. Note thatthe term non-cooperators is not meant as a perjorative in this context.

So, that's the first thing I've been chewing on..The second is a story, or a play, or something, but it's not quite ready tograb its spear and jump out of my head. Later, perhaps. The third wasmeant to be a more polished version of my thoughts on American Indians, andthe treaties that govern the relation of the American government to them,but I'm not sure if I have much new to say. The most recent thing I've beenthinking is that treaties should only be between governments and people orgovernments outside of it, and I'd like to reiterate that people musteither join the union, and become legally equal to other citizens, orremain outside it, with no participation in it. Allowing participation withspecial privileges preserved is too abusive, and easily becomes a mechanismby which groups might seal special status. In most cases, the rights preservedare innocuous, and should actually be granted to everyone in the United States,such as the use of recreational drugs. In other cases, such as the use of tribalcourts, this choice should be required. Imagine if the Mormons or evangelicalsgot clever, and arranged special pacts between the U.S. government and theirgroups.. *shudder*

There's another song from Outland that, amazingly, I can't find online,even though I remember a lot of the lyrics. I guess the internet isn'tomniscient after all. Because the lyrics are quite offensive, I'llrefrain from posting them here :) Well, just so I remember, I'll postthem privately..
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I find myself in a really good mood today, which is rather surprisingfor a monday. I think last weekend, with it's two parties and a lot ofmental relaxation did me a lot of good. I'm also well caught-up on sleepand making good progress with stuff at work. Yay!

And now, the obligatory news recap..Dear China, do you really want to buy your Linux from a company thathas repeated, over and over again, that it doesn't think Linux makessense in the business world? I guess you're too busy paying attentionto what's going on in Taiwan to reallyworry about stuff like that. On that note, for your reference, Taiwanis effectively another country. It has a separate government, is recognizedby several other countries as a country, and doesn't rely on you in anyway. If you would realize this, and give up your claims over it, it wouldmake the world a safer place, and cost you nothing. *shrug*

On the topic of Israel, this is kind of interesting, although the AlJazeera slant is pretty visible. Israel certainly is a racist statethat needs a lot of work to become civilized. However, stoppingsuicide bombers against civilians really is a good thing. ThePalestinians should concentrate their force against the settlers,those who demolish their villages, and people like Zeevi,and do so in an organized fashion, stopping the abuses. Killingrandom people in Israel proper is just stupid and unacceptable.It's, of course, disappointing to see the reaction to the peaceefforts in Geneva. Sadly, the racist ideal of ethnic purity seemsto have captured the hearts of many an Israeli. Of course, sometimesyou see something that just makesyou laugh. Did anyone actually think that the catholic pope would havemuch influence in Israel? Heh.

It looks like Microsoft is doing the right thing, mostly.They've released XML DTDs for Office documents, making interoperabilitypossible without reverse-engineering, at least in theory.

Utah's going down an interesting route with internet access --they're providing, through the government, internet access as apublic utility. I think this is a wonderful idea, and I'm disappointedthat they're going to do it by allowing ISPs to lease it and resell itto people. But yeah, it's pretty cool, and because of the economies ofscale involved, I'd love to see the experiment replicated nationwide,ideally with wireless APs enough to blanket each city.

An interesting science article for you..Found: an interesting possible influence in the development of autism..It's mercury poisoning, and this claims to be able to explain whyautism is diagnosed so much more often than it used to be, althoughthe alternative, that the disorder is being better defined, is alsoa strong explanation.

Ahh, Coffee Tree's about to close, so I'd best wrap up.Note that that's just a random link -- coffee tree isn't aboutto close for good (thank goodness -- Starbucks makes terribletea, and the 61C.. well, I stopped by tonight, and left beforeI ordered -- the place just sucks).