[ f e c k l e s s ]

Wednesday, March 27

Today's Spectator goes after meanspirited satirists:
There is nothing that more betrays a base, ungenerous Spirit, than the giving of secret Stabs to a Man's Reputation. Lampoons and Satyrs, that are written with Wit and Spirit, are like poison'd Darts, which not only inflict a Wound, but make it incurable. For this Reason I am very much troubled when I see the Talents of Humour and Ridicule in the Possession of an ill-natured Man.
If you've guessed that by posting these most days I'm making some sort of analogy between The Spectator and weblogs, well, you might be correct. If, on the other hand, you've guessed that I'm doing it to force myself to post more often, then you're too clever by half and should go try out for Hollywood Squares or something.
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Tuesday, March 26

By 2010, more than 50 percent of books sold worldwide will be printed on demand at the point of sale in the form of library-quality paperbacks. Jason Epstein says yes, Vint Cerf says no (in favor of books read on screens).

A computer - or "machine intelligence" - will pass the Turing Test by 2029. Mitch Kapor says no, Ray Kurzweil says yes.

The Long Bet Foundation will make the call, 8 and 27 years from now.

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Thursday, March 21

We're heading to New York tomorrow, where we'll get to see two of my oldest friends married off to each other. Yay! It's a four day trip, which sounded really cushy until I realized it's more like one and a half days plus a lot of time spent in airports/airplanes. Still, I've only been there once before, it should be a good time. I'll take plenty of pictures, promise.
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Today's Spectator is a rant about the popularity of Italian opera in England:
Arsinoe was the first Opera that gave us a Taste of Italian Musick. The great Success this Opera met with, produced some Attempts of forming Pieces upon Italian Plans, [which] should give a more natural and reasonable Entertainment than what can be met with in the elaborate Trifles of that Nation. This alarm'd the Poetasters and Fidlers of the Town, who were used to deal in a more ordinary Kind of Ware; and therefore laid down an establish'd Rule, which is receiv'd as such to this [Day.] That nothing is capable of being well set to Musick, that is not Nonsense.
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Last night's EastBayCHI talk, the Design of Online Communities, featured Derek Powazek and Matt Haughey. Who are both really neat live and in person. Rashmi Sinha (organizer extraordinaire) put the event together and is running a community site of her own for discussing India-Pakistan relations. Weblab's small group dialogs, Caleb Clark's work, and Lawrence Lessig's Creative Commons also came up in the conversation.
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Wednesday, March 20

This morning's Spectator assures us that it is no crime to be ugly:
Since our Persons are not of our own Making, when they are such as appear Defective or Uncomely, it is, methinks, an honest and laudable Fortitude to dare to be Ugly; at least to keep our selves from being abashed with a Consciousness of imperfections which we cannot help, and in which there is no Guilt.
The Spectator goes on to tell us that: "for my own part, I am a little unhappy in the Mold of my Face, which is not quite so long as it is broad: Whether this might not partly arise from my opening my Mouth much seldomer than other People, and by Consequence not so much lengthning the Fibres of my Visage, I am not at leisure to determine." Well, there you go.
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Tuesday, March 19

Breakfast this morning was the normal newshound gang meeting, which today also included our advisor and Sara Diamond (code zebra, among other works). This afternoon's HCC lecture was by Patrick Baudisch, who was showing his work on focus + context displays for large screens. I'm going to miss graduate school.
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From today's Spectator:
I HAVE receiv'd a Letter, desiring me to be very satyrical upon the little Muff that is now in Fashion; another informs me of a Pair of silver Garters buckled below the Knee, that have been lately seen at the Rainbow Coffee-house in Fleet-street; a third sends me an heavy Complaint against fringed Gloves. To be brief, there is scarce an Ornament of either Sex which one or other of my Correspondents has not inveighed against with some Bitterness, and recommended to my Observation. I must therefore, once for all inform my Readers, that it is not my intention to sink the Dignity of this my Paper with Reflections upon Red-heels or Top-knots, but rather to enter into the Passions of Mankind, and to correct those depraved Sentiments that give Birth to all those little Extravagancies which appear in their outward Dress and Behaviour.
I wonder to what 'depraved Sentiment' Addison would attribute those Levi's commercials with the low-cut jeans and the singing belly buttons.
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Monday, March 18

Do you know who Jhonen Vasquez is?
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Want: checks that say "wage slave." Not that I get a wage these days . . .
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Hey, I may not have been updating properly, but at least it looks a little spiffier around here. Oh, wait, content over style, that's right--better get working. While we're at it, here's a bit from yesterday's Spectator--well, yesterday minus 291 years:
True Happiness is of a retired Nature, and an Enemy to Pomp and Noise; it arises, in the first place, from the Enjoyment of ones self; and, in the next, from the Friendship and Conversation of a few select Companions.
We'll overlook that this is part of a rant about the (apparently many) frailties of Womankind, it's a good enough thought to stand on its own.
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20 Billboards . . . in the old hood!
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Monday, March 11

The Internet Library of Early Journals has, among other wonderous offerings, scans of 20 volumes of the Gentleman's Magazine, from1731 through 1750. The scans are far from perfect, but it's great to be able to just page through them. Also, The Spectator Project has text versions of some of its run up for browsing.
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Thursday, March 7

Have I mentioned how amazingly thrilled I am that I'm going to marry this woman?
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Monday, March 4

I really wish that Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, John Burton, Jesse Jackson and all the rest of them would stop calling me. I mean, I know I'm a popular guy, but . . .
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