March 13th, 2005

Semiformalishmaybe

Dust-Packed Thimbles

What should've been an occasion for joy, with high hopes, has instead becomea major crash. This, when I think about it, is true on three levels, at least.It would hurt less if what happened wasn't so wrong on several levels, andif the continued separation wern't also based on a lot of sloppy thinkingglossed over by rationalization and a lack of ability to remember some things.So it goes. Clear time heals all wounds, but much time is not clear.

It may be reaching time to cut anchor soon. On the horizon, a possibilitybeckons, and things are made more simple, although not in the way I wantedat all, by recent events. Still, the issue that these kinds of changesbring is that they break my heart in another kind of way. Close friendshipsare very difficult for me to make -- I have a tough time opening up to people,and only with very few people does it go smoothly. Closing those ties, or atleast making them that much more distant, is very difficult for me. I am tryingto make it easier on myself by strongly encouraging a few friends who are opento the possibility to find jobs there at the same time and move with me. Onepair of them, a couple, both are of the rare personality type that I feelcompletely comfortable with. I hope that they, or some Columbus folk, or perhapsboth, can be convinced to come -- it would make me so incredibly happy aboutthe possibility. It is still just a possibility, but as is, I see no barriersto it becoming real, in terms of my liking the possibility. It is a step back,careerwise, in a sense, but a step forward in enough other ways that unlessI see any strong new evidence, and if the other end works out, I'm likely to doit.

I spent much of today doing two things -- implementing file support in POUNDand re-sorting my music collection. The first was kind of tricky -- I did thisonce before a few jobs ago, but I forgot some of the fine details about how tomake PostgreSQL/Perl BLOB support work. The biggest gotcha was that one mustwrap the lo_* calls inside a transaction. This was damned surprising to mebecause the lo_* calls arn't even SQL statements, so it seemed impossible tome that it'd even be able to notice a lack of transaction wrapping. Of course,the fact that there's no way to get good error notices from this kind ofwork meant that I was essentially shooting in the dark to fix it. This also madeother, more obvious oopses, like thinking lo_creat made lo_open unnecessary,harder to spot. Still, it's done, and I'm happy with it (although the interfacemay be a bit more complex than I like -- I'll come back later to clean it up).

I read in a recent issue of the Economist that some marketers focusing onChina were frustrated by older generations of Chinese being harder to marketto, and some tactics they were using to get them to buy stuff. Apparently, theoldest generations were the hardest to target, because they were raised on theidea that excess consumption is morally wrong. These marketers make me veryangry -- to me, that idea is part of an ideal of humanity, and they'reapparently spending a lot of effort to find ways to corrupt people. Disgusting.There are some things that are very right with China's attitudetowards greed and what's good for society.

In other news,The Himalayan glaciers are on their way out.We've been treating the biosphere so well.

The BBC is apparently not as good a mouthpiece for Blair as he wouldlike, so its management is to be restructured. This is not a good thing forthe world -- the BBC has been what's probably the best source of news (anda decent source for other things) in Europe for quite some time. I doubt itwill fare as well under the proposed new system. It's disappointing to seeit and Al Jazeera both facing damaging changes around the same time. Also,apparently Blair is hoping to go after the House of Lords because they tooare not playing his games. Ahh, America and Britain showingtheir shared ancestry by having similar people at the helm.

Greenspan is proposing new taxes to spur economic growth.I worry that this is going to primarily be a tax dodge for the wealthy --the poor are much more likely to be damaged by this kind of tax, as a greaterpercentage of their income is spent, rather than saved.

Mark Fiore takes a stab at recent events in Darfur.A particular point is that Americans, despite being generally less interestedin helping than other countries were in the recent tsunami, were much morewilling to help with that than with genocide in Africa. Why is that, I wonder?Could it be political -- not many people are "on the side" of the tsunamis,so we can act against them without being political. Could it be that thesolution is more clear with the tsunamis -- no issues about interfering withforeign governments or using a military for its normal purposes? Or could it bethat it's easier for us to identify with victims of a natural event than withoppression and genocide? Could be perhaps consider it justice on people of thosecountries for failing to rise up and crush their tormentors?

Apparently, campaign finance reform laws may target BLOGs.This is one of the classic issues with campaign finance reform -- how can wedeal with free speech and political support limits in a principled way? Therelatively obvious solution -- restrict companies but not individuals, seems tonot be in line with the American way of thinking that corporations are legallypeople, not to be discriminated against. Sigh. Along similar lines, we'reoverlooking the obvious and right solution in this problem --not enough broadband penetration in the U.S. The solution? Provide it, orat least the physical lines, as a government service like the post office. It'dbe more efficient that way anyhow. But we have to rule that out in America,because somehow freedom means inefficiency and corporate privilege to makemoney.

Hamas seems to be tired of blowing up Israelis, and now that the PalestinianAuthority has some power, is keen on attacking Palestinian police and civilians.I guess there's precedent.

Mac users may be amused by this.Google News, my main news source, recently added a neat newfeature to their site -- the ability to replace the static pregeneratedsections with a section specified by a search. That's really really cool.As can be imagined, I removed the sports section, and added a special sectionon Linux. Hurrah!

The FSF overhauled their job site inthe hopes that people will use it to find Linux-friendly jobs. I hope thatworks out -- it'd be cool to see a working job site for that kind ofinterest.

So, in conclusion, the world has not been good to me recently, and my loveis a dangling reference. I've been having two other thoughts that I'drather not share.


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