Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Tale of the Crystal Splinter

Once upon a time, there was an ugly girl with three beautiful, but cruelsisters. They always treated her cruelly, making her do nothing but cleanthe house, while they went out and courted wealthy men (well, except forNancy, who courted wealthy women). This ugly girl, Francine, heard about awonderful upcoming ball called the Tomato Ball, and she begged her sistersto let her go. They just laughed, tossed their spaghetti sauce off of theirplates and onto the walls, and told her to clean it instead. Their datesarrived, and they went off to the ball. Francine sat on her knees, and cried,wishing she could attend the ball and meet someone wonderful. Just then, ashining green crystal cup appeared in the middle of the room. "My child, fearnot, you're not really ugly, come take the cup, and you will be transformed, andwill attend the wonderful ball". She stepped forward, arms outstretched to takethe cup, but tripped over her broom, fell forward, and swiped the cup out ofthe air on her way down. A faint cry of "Noooooooooo!" was heard from the cupas it shattered on the floor. She sighed.. dreams are such fragile things.. andtearfully stood up to take the broom and clean the shards. *sweep* *sweep*

  • crunch* .. she looked down, felt a sharp pain, and saw that one of the shards
of glass had entered her foot. She screamed, and suddenly found herself at theball, all dressed in a gown. She felt her face -- she was pretty, and she wasdancing with a handsome man with a strange goatee. The music was playing, andshe was dancing, but her foot began to hurt more and more. She ignored it,and spun in the man's arms. At the height of the music, he lifted her into theair, she did a leap, and for a brief moment, was like Icarus, her heart soaring.Then, a soft landing, and ouch, her foot was agony, a slight trail of bloodleft behind her. She kicked her bloody slippers off, suddenly tired of this, andyanked out the crystal splinter. In a flash, she was back at home, looking thesame, but different inside. She quickly poured some vinegar onto her foot,wrapped it, and put on some comfortable shoes to seek her fortune. Some yearslater, she started a group that made water mills, and, while still ugly,was happy. The spaghetti sauce stains never did come out.

From the "Who's controlling my mouse cursor?" department, there's a newWireless USB standard under development. Sure, it sounds like a good idea,but the security is going to be really difficult to get right, and means makingexisting devices a lot more complex than they are now. Imagine, for example,keyboards and mice -- presumably WUSB devices are each going to have a'fingerprint', and some kind of a policy manager to say "I don't want hiskeyboard talking to my computer", and of course more general things like"Only allow keyboard X to talk to my computer", which doesn't work so wellwhen that keyboard dies. It's gonna be ugly. Worse, the article suggests thatthe default behavior for WUSB devices should be to install drivers and configurethings automatically for the user. Systems that do this will, no doubt,end up frequently violating the wishes of the user -- there's somethingproblematic about doing things to the user's computer without asking...

Here's an article about something that's been happening for years -- peoplelike myself have been working to undermine controls that other nations puton their citizens. It (correctly) illustrates that there's a conflict here --the ability of group/contries to maintain their own culture versus notions ofliberty. A quote from a member of this particular group from the article:"We do think that information should be free, but we do need to find abalance for respect for sovereign states to preserve their own culture"Of course, others from that group disagree, as do I. There are cultural idealsthat are by nature evangelical (that is, they want to spread), and it isno different asking them to be supressed than to ask that the ability tomaintain cultural control be supressed. It is, in essence, a culture clash.Enough visibility of such cultural clashes expose that glasnost has limitstoo, or more simply, that liberalism has not stepped outside the game ofcultural politics even though it has instead changed it. We're happy to inviteother cultures to the festival, as we will assimilate them (well, partly,anyhow -- more like likely ask them to give things up). It might be interestingto compare this case to, for example, helping an Amish slip away from thecommunity discreetly to play video games every so often. Would I do that?.. Yes, yes I would. In this case, it's a good analogy. As westerners, wepledge to respect any culture, or remains of a culture, that can surviveexposure to the thunderstorm of media, advertisements, and evangelizing weput forth. In some ways I'm really disgusted by it too. It's so complex.

Ahh, but there's still good stuff happening. Someone started a company thatremoves pollutants from soil, both turning a profit andteaching the masses how to farm. That's really great.

Tags: tech

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