Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Alpha Geeks

Some time ago, on slashdot, I made a post onnmap, a popular security tool that's often used by black hat folk.Someone overreacted, and another person saidMaybe I'm a UID elitist, but I wouldn't pay much attention toanybody with a UID of over 600k who would call a sub-10k'er a response to the overreactor. What they were pointing out is that I joinedslashdot back in the very early days, and so I'm user #2467 (they're up toabout a million now, I think). Yes, geek kultur is elitist, but it's anelitism that's at least somewhat accurate. To some degree, people earn respectfor being in the know for the right tools and best places earlier than otherpeople, and given that much of it is based on internet time, it's not somuch a problem that younger folk simply wern't around to get to those places..and with the rapid evolution of the internet, there are always new placesthey'll be able to find early. The theory then is that the alpha geeks willalways rise to the top, there being few material disadvantages that can makea difference in their rise, unlike in RL society. Does this work in practice?Perhaps the more democratic-minded of you might not like the idea ofmeritocracy (might even find the term offensive) in the first place.There is the very valid point that not everyone even has stable internet access,and this is indeed true and problematic. Perhaps there are psychologicalanalyses of the role of power on people, but most other systems have this aswell. Hmm.

Segway has a new line of smaller Segways for sale.Apparently, the P-series is slower, smaller, and lighter than the I-series(the original segway), designed for smooth terrain. How much cheaper? Thesegway site wouldn't tell me, but Amazon lists it as $4k, compared to $4.5kfor the P-series. How much slower? 10mph instead of 12. Looking over theAmazon sale page again, I wonder how much of that cost is the training thatcomes with the thing -- apparently they actually send someone to where youare to show you how to use it. That's got to be expensive, except in areaswhere they already have people. Here's a few sites that(this last one only because of the jingoism) might be of interest that Istumbled across. I still doubt I'll get one -- at 12Mph, I don't see much of anadvantage over biking, but they are kinda cool.

A last note on the recent events in Georgia.Perhaps Shevardnadze deserves some respect after all. People who can say"I made mistakes, I was sometimes unfair, but what is one supposed to do --
stick with one position to the end? To the death? We have all changed."
and mean it...

This article places the recent financial hiccups in the EU inan interesting light -- a struggle between rule of law and needs (wants?) thatdon't fit well into the law. It also resembles, to a degree, the anti-nuclearpact the U.S. is trying to push for everyone who doesn't have it already --something that resembles special privilege for the empowered...

Some lingists are making a few bold steps, using computational techniquesto attempt to date events in the development of language again. ProfessorRussel Gray claims to have statistical methods that can get a whole lotof historical structure out of cognates, vowel shifts, and other data..It seems to me that the variability possible in rates of linguistic evolutionwould make any such reconstruction impossible...

Ethanol as fuel might be a sham..This is very cool -- it's a grid made from the livejournal icons ofrandom people. Speaking of which, some time ago I picked up another domainin case I ever want to polish my POUND software up, make it properly multiuser,and let people keep their BLOGs on my server.

Today, after I get back from a nice weekend jog, will be a study day, withmaybe some cleaning on the side.

Tags: politics, tech

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