Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Echo and the Loud Room

I'm still waiting.. *tap tap* for the next release of GAIM that'll put meback on Yahoo. It's a tool I rely on.. and it's served me well over the years..

Leon wrote a tribute to Howard Dean, whose announcement that he'sno longer actively campaigning also reached my mailbox this morning. I agree withmuch of what he says, and I do hope that Dean, as mentioned in his letter,does continue to operate in the political sphere, and builds something interestingwith what he did, hopefully more successfully than Perot did. This election, althoughnot over, has really taught me more about how much I've changed politically in thelast few years. I now know with certainty that I am NOT a Libertarian any more --I now think it would be disasterous if one were, through some freak accident, tobecome president. I don't think that social programs and financial responsabilityare completely incompatible, if one is careful, although there's certainly atension there. Selling off large parts of the government to individuals andcorporations would, I think, get rid of a useful tension between two sets ofmasters. Anyhow, regarding Dean, it is remarkable how well he did.. or was itillusory? Dean's power base was, I think, intellectuals, and while he made somereaching out beyond that to unions, he always was championed by a loud minorityin our society. Perhaps that's why he got so much voice but didn't do so well,comparitively, in the primaries. Was there more to it than that? I wonder..Dean would make a really great Vice President. I hope the people still inthe running are considering that.

Dubin mentions again a student group at Ohio State that existsto provide free pizza to its members. Food and socializing are the core of anystudent group. The person who's running it, who's known in that socialcircle as MathAdam, is a cool guy.. I miss a lot of the people from theColumbus social circles..

Orkut really seems to have become the preferred socialcircle site, sweeping Friendster out of the running, and likely obsolete ( is roughly comparable when it comes to features).It seems that everything that Google does is successful.A geeky friend of mine thinks that Microsoft may, again using its monopoly power,be able to 'pop' Google, using its normal method of squashing competitors -- bybuilding things into Windows that give it an unmatchable homefield advantage.In this case, the database features present in future versions of Windows, plusthe ability to have the operating system compute preferences for the searchengine without giving the user a choice, or at least using their likely preferenceto use built-ins, will let Microsoft do smarter searching than Google is likely tobe able to easily do. In theory, the Google Toolbar combined with appropriate hooksinto Windows could do the same thing. Google right now is the strongest searchengine, but Microsoft has a lot of leverage with its control of Windows. So, whyis Google cool? First, to be fair, here are some people who think Google is not cool.Google is cool because it does and publishes research.It's a wonderful home for academics (and I know some people who have yo-yoedbetween CMU and Google), and like many good geeks, they've provided lotsof fun toys for the world. Googlehas the sweet smell of academia, and thumbs its nose at people who try to breakthe PageRank system to make their sites more highly-placed.They also mirror/cache a lot of sites, helping to make the web more stable.In short, Google gives me warm fuzzies. I'm rooting for them.

That reminds me of some further elaboration of an essay I wrote once calledthe colour of a jog (too lazy to find the URL.. even though it's on my site).Nations... I have similar strange shape/concept associations to nations.. I wonder what their origin is, if there is even a decent explanation possible.In particular, I think of Turkey as being kind of blocky, with some coffee mixedin.. maybe like coffee-cake, and as one moves southeast into the lands of Islam,the nutty soil of Europe gives way to a gritty, more pure, sublimely alien impression.Arabia.. not a clockwork, but a mocha-flavoured kind of Zen.. Buddhism's conceptof waiting to understand, and making the smallest steps possible, covering greatgrounds with them... understanding magnifies those steps greatly.. power throughsubtlety.. let's take that as an elaboration of the notion of subtlety -- the degreeof which one's action has that amplified-by-understanding effect, the most nimble offingers versus the brute strength of deep effort. Arabia has some of this, butPersia nee Iran.. it still has memories of another sort.. and it remembers it'sdeep culture too well to achieve meditation. It's not exactly the sand castle, it'sorigami that remembers its paper nature all too well.

What would it take, for you to celebrate the chaos within you as well as thelaw? To be uneasy partners and to be two sides of the same coin.. not thesame thing. If they can dance together richly, that's how you can see.

I've been reading up on Mel Gibson's movie, and have been thinking of seeing it.Debb surprised me by indicating that she wanted to see it, at aboutthe same time I was thinking of asking her if she was interested.I'm not too inclined to give money to Gibson, but on the other hand,I own a lot of religious literature, partly out of curiosity/desire tounderstand, and partly to know how to argue against it.. well, that'sreally one and the same. Learning is a good thing.. (more on that below),Some other people from PUSH are also interested..It's interesting that the entire film is subtitled, the content being in amix of Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin. Anyhow, while reading about the film,I also read about Gibson's religious beliefs.. apparently, he's part ofa Catholic splinter group -- the Traditional Catholics. Apparently,they split from the Roman Catholics after the Second Vatican Council, theconclusions of which they see as being hijacked by liberalizing forces.They have a kind of spooky creed:

We are what you once were.We believe what you once believed.We worship as you once worshipped.If you were right then, we are right now.If we are wrong now, you were wrong then.

While reading up on them, I also read about a few other splinter groupsfrom Catholicism..True Catholics, with their own PopeThe Old Catholic Church

I got something interesting in my mailbox today -- apparently, there's thepossibility I might get a tax break for having attended classes. I'm notcertain if the fact that I did it for free is significant or not, and I'mstarting to research the two relevant tax breaks:The Lifetime Learning Credit and the Hope Scholarship Credit. There is apossible lifetime cap on these though, so there's a chance that I'd bebetter off saving their use until later...

Oh, BushJr's administration has been accused accused of distorting science.Big surprise.

Anyhow, I am in a really wonderful mood, and feel like I couldn't behappier. No worries, madly in love, happy at work, happy in school.Hooray!

Tags: friends, philosophy, politics, tech

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