Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Jaron Lanier

How did it take me so long to come across this guy? The only time that I've seen him before (I think) is in the photo book Dreads. But this article is simply brilliant, and I'll be spending many happy hours searching for more stuff by him.
The article to which I refer to above refers to the internet and the hive mind (as witnessed in sites such as wikipedia.) Here is a brief extract:
I've participated in a number of elite, well-paid wikis and Meta-surveys lately and have had a chance to observe the results. I have even been part of a wiki about wikis. What I've seen is a loss of insight and subtlety, a disregard for the nuances of considered opinions, and an increased tendency to enshrine the official or normative beliefs of an organization. Why isn't everyone screaming about the recent epidemic of inappropriate uses of the collective? It seems to me the reason is that bad old ideas look confusingly fresh when they are packaged as technology.

Courteous to a fault

And I mean fault. I refer to the 'oh, please, you go first' attitude that Portland drivers have at stop signs and the like. They even courteously wave you through when they have the right of way.
Hell, it's not even uncommon for them to stop and wave you through when you have a stop sign and they don't. That's not being courteous, that's just silly. As this article points out:
"There are many drivers who think that yielding right of way is always a courtesy, when in actuality it can be frustrating or even dangerous,"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A future without bananas?

This from New Scientist:
Go bananas while you still can. The world's most popular fruit and the fourth most important food crop of any sort is in deep trouble. Its genetic base, the wild bananas and traditional varieties cultivated in India, has collapsed.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Vortex Camp

Those in the Tacoma area may wish to check out Vortex Camp, O.T.O. Founded in 1992, it is the longest continually operating body in Washington State. And I had a fine time there yesterday.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The site Serendipity has a nice description of a visit to the Alakh Nath temple in Bareilly, India, including some wonderful photos of sadhus. (Indian holy men always seem so photogenic.)

Trepanation kit on eBay

Take a look at the auction here. And there are only 22 hours to go, so hurry and get your bids in.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Swamp Gas Revisited

A study by the British Ministry of Defense has found no evidence of UFOs:
"Considerable evidence exists to support the thesis that the events are almost certainly attributable to physical, electrical and magnetic phenomena in the atmosphere, mesosphere and ionosphere."
Oh well.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Last Jew in Eritrea

I found this article quite moving.
...in 1998, Cohen's wife and daughters fled to Italy, leaving him behind [in Asmara, Eritrea]. They meet up from time to time in various countries. His four sisters live in Britain, the United States and Israel.
Times are tough and economic stagnation has hammered business, but Cohen plans to stay on in his home town, making a living from his import-export business.
"I was born here," he tells Reuters with another shrug.

Stuff I Collect - Militaria

Stuff I Collect - Militaria WW2 WWII First 1st Allied Airborne pin OPA ration token (1 blue) WW1 U.S. Shipyard Voluntee...