To Let Out the Steam…

Anger is an emotion, now I know. Violence is a fantasy, now I know.

Someone said ¡°Comedians are going to be so happy cuz they will be having another four years of prime materials to make fun of.¡±
For example:
Straight male seeks Bush supporter for fair, physical fight – m4m, at work, we all agreed that our one and only Republican co-worker should answer the ad.
The Onion | Nation’s Poor Win Election For Nation’s Rich:

“The Republican party¡ªthe party of industrial mega-capitalists, corporate financiers, power brokers, and the moneyed elite¡ªwould like to thank the undereducated rural poor, the struggling blue-collar workers in Middle America, and the God-fearing underpriviledged minorities who voted George W. Bush back into office,” Karl Rove, senior advisor to Bush, told reporters at a press conference Monday. “You have selflessly sacrificed your well-being and voted against your own economic interest. For this, we humbly thank you.”

Added Rove: “You have acted beyond the call of duty¡ªor, for that matter, good sense.”

a triumphant Bush said. “We have an understanding, them and us. They help us stay rich, and in return, we help them stay poor. See? No matter what naysayers may think, the system works.”

But this morning when I heard on the news that Dubya has appointed Gonzelas to replace Ashcroft, I was furious. What the fuck! We are going to start torturing our own dissents now that Abu Ghraib has been forgotten? How fast did Germany turn into a police state? How long it will take all the comedians to turn silent?

Laugh while you still can, who knows what¡¯s in store for tomorrow?

Fuck the South

But, on a brighter note, this Election result maps seems to say there is still hope, yet…

Troutgirl

Troutgirl¡¯s laidoff story has made it to today¡¯s number 1 spot on blogdex.com. I find her writing witty and entertaining, especially because she is also working in the Silicon Valley, I could relate to lots of her daily experiences. Even though, as Gui points out, her geeky level is way above all of us combined. When I send off a few entries url to my co-worker, she immediately asks me whether she is Asian. It turns out that Troutgirl is Korean-American.

My favorite entry is:Java haiku.
A few more interesting posts to get you started:
Pet peeve
Reading music
Eng BBQ
-And if you live in Sunnyvale and are in need of a realtor, Troutgirl has just the one for you: Realtor supreme
Last but not the least, Troutgirl archives

UN Joke

This is too funny! Thanks for forwarding it, mfd! 🙂

Last month the UN conducted a worldwide survey.

The only question asked was: “Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?”

The survey was a huge failure…

In Africa they didn’t know what “food” meant.
In Eastern Europe they didn’t know what “honest” meant.
In Western Europe they didn’t know what “shortage”meant.
In China they didn’t know what “opinion” meant.
In the Middle East they didn’t know what “solution” meant.
In South America they didn’t know what “please” meant.
And in the USA they didn’t know what “the rest of the world” meant!”

Gmail Swap

Saw this interesting post in Gmail-Swap:

I’ll vote for you
Author: NotGWBush
Date: 18-05-04 12:31

Well frankly I have not much to offer, but I’ll vote for the candidate of your choice for a Gmail account. I’m a registered Republican and will vote the party line otherwise.

Sounds like a threat doesn’t it?

I figure most of the people with accounts us Apples and vote Democratic.

Here is the Original Post with Comments.

Glosses.net is Back!

I¡¯m so happy.
She went on a hiatus last Oct. After going back and check for her regularly for three or four months (I didn¡¯t find her rss then), and seeing the same last brief entry, I gave up looking.

Tonight I discovered that she has come back starting Feburary¡¯04! Hallelujah!

I just spent better part of the evening catching up on her writing for the past three months. Followed (Tried to follow is a more accurate phrase) her through some language lessons in obscure languages in the Slavic area, enjoyed some mystical stories she translated from lesser known languages, and was delighted in some of her everyday observations. She is learning Czech right now.

Her site was redesigned (twice! And I missed the first one). Beautiful as ever. Interesting enough that she switched from MovableType to WordPress. Hmm¡­ I wonder if I should follow suit. Php does sound more interesting than perl. And the prospect of not having to do the stupid ¡°build¡± each time sounds wonderful, too. Maybe when I have more time.

A few new entries that I really enjoyed from glosses.net:

1.¡°The world around me..¡± – with beautiful folk art from a people called Inuit.

2.Omorzhilsya – Interesting language lesson on Russian, plus an interesting folklore called, oddly, ¡®Woman gives birth to a whale¡¯.

3. Making of Sharona¡¯s Journal – with beautiful illustrations! I’m envious of Sharona to no-end.

And here is my old blog entry that introduced glosses: wintu

“Towards ‘kasozi ka mpala¡®

It has been quite a while since Unganisha.org had an new entry. Today it showed up bold faced in my rss reader with this lovely article: Towards ‘kasozi ka mpala. It makes me want to travel again. To far and away places. To meet strangers, to taste strange food, to feel the wind on my face, together with the dust and fatique and heat… Africa, the continent that I have never been to physically but fell in love with so many times in fictions and movies.

Borders are strange — random lines on a map that can divide countries, cultures and languages. At sunrise, we are driving through rural Uganda and it feels strikingly different. While the roads on the Kenyan side made my teeth rattle ¨C the straight and level highway on the Ugandan side made the bus ride almost pleasant — ¡°Made by Israelites¡­!¡± ¨C the Ugandan lady on the adjacent seat informs me.

Breakfast is served — a skewered chicken heavily salted and roasted by the wayside.
I decline the offer of matoke ¨C mashed bananas that are probably Uganda¡¯s national dish.

Rome, Madrid, Iraq, New York

Zeldman is the site i go to for all kinds of technical references regarding website design. Occasionally he would write a piece on things other than technology, and those pieces, almost always move me to tears.

Rome, Madrid, Iraq, New York is such a piece. It makes me laugh at first.

…in the fantastical city of Rome ¡ª a town filled with so many naked statues, a thousand John Ashcrofts could not cover them all.

Then it gets sad when the topic turns to Madrid on March 11th. At the end it makes me angry with this newsline:

Right now we know that a leading Pakistani scientist has sold nuclear weapons technology to North Korea, to Iran, and quite possibly to members of Al Qaeda. But instead of finding out who bought what weapons and where they are now, my country¡¯s leaders are looking the other way. In return, Pakistan has agreed to help the U.S. find bin Laden before the U.S. presidential election in November. (The deal has been reported by the International Herald Tribune, The Economist, and the BBC. You might even find mention of it in an American newspaper.)

Enough said. How does GWB achive the peace of mind in the dead of the night? It is beyond me…

Artificial Morality

Sorry I’ve been slacking. It is just that when you are actually living your life, you are too busy to write about it. 🙂 heehee. I think that is a pretty cool-sounding excuse. Don’t you think?

Holiday is almost over. Here is an interesting article I just stumbled upon and found to be very interesting, geeky, yes, but interesting nonetheless. 🙂

Artificial Morality via Flammifer’s Blog.

Here is a little quote from the article to get you started:

I’m reading a book called “Artificial Morality: Virtuous robots for virtual games”, rather interesting. It’s basically about moral philosophy, but the approach is that of computer-simulated agents. I won’t get into to many details but the main idea is to show how morally constrained agents obtain better results in games like the prisoner’s dilemma – or, in other terms, to explore the rational basis for moral behavior.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Go (Weiqi)

I don’t play Go or any chess game. But i enjoy reading about Go playing. Its fascination seems no end. Just found an interesting blog entry on Go: Weiqi, from Flammifer’s Blog.

Playing Weiqi is like painting a picture together. Playing Weiqi is like confronting worldviews. You add a stone here, and it looks as if this corner is going to be black, these three poor little white stones are doomed. Your opponent adds a piece there, and the picture shifts, this corner is going to be shared. And all this while there are but five or six stones of each colour on the board. Put this stone there, and you will have outlines what is likely to be a fortified territorry. Put it one step further, and you have nothing you could call yours.

“China Dream”

Just stumbled on a really cool community weblog: Living in China. I can’t believe I just found it now!

Found the following entry very interesting. My own experience with the “China Dream”, posted by Richard on Nov. 16, 2003. It introduced a book I’ve not heard before:China Dream: The Elusive Quest for the Greatest Untapped Market on Earth, by Studwell.

There were some very lively discussion regarding various opinions on why Western Multi-National Companies are still yet to make a profit in China.

Enjoy!

Google and M$: Partners or Rivals?

 

This headline from today’s New York Times Technology section almost gave me a heartattack. 🙁 You could’ve heard this long and desperate sounding “NOOOOOOOOO!” echoing in my head.
Microsoft and Google: Partners or Rivals? By JOHN MARKOFF and ANDREW ROSS SORKIN

Google recently began meeting with bankers to prepare for
its initial public offering as it was still exploring a
merger with Microsoft.

This is an interesting idea: “Dutch Auction”

The company, which maintains tens of thousands of computers to help locate information on the Web almost instantly, has also explored the idea of a so-called Dutch auction, bypassing Wall Street and selling shares directly to investors. Such an approach could give it distance from scandal-plagued investment banking deals of the dot-com era as well as create a huge base of small shareholders.

The auction route is said to appeal to Google’s founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who are known for their fascination in pursing technical solutions to many different kinds of problems.

And this is why M$ is interested in Google: If it is better than me, kill it; if I can’t kill it, buy it and then kill it. The lovely concept of ownership.

Google’s ability to stir Silicon Valley into a frenzy has also brought back memories here of Netscape, another start-up firm whose own initial public offering in 1995 helped touch off the dot-com explosion. Netscape once threatened Microsoft with a software browser that promised to be an alternative to its overwhelmingly dominant computer operating system.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

It is very hard to miss Michael Hanscom’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame, since it made to #1 AND #2 spot of blogdex.com today. It is such a simple story, Michael owns a weblog and Michael was a temp worker working for Microsoft. One morning he noted a small event at the docking station, made a brief entry into his weblog. Later, Michael found his recent entry about his employer made it to slashdot.com. The next day, he was fired. Maybe someday someone will make a movie out of it?

The story didn’t end there because Michael’s weblog, unlike his employment with M$, continues.

I’ve heard of sentences and headlines here and there about how people got fired because of their weblogs. I always assumed it had something to do with leaking company secrets. As for the exact nature of such secrets, I always vaguely aligned it with something in the scale of Mission Impposible, something grand, important, blahblahblah. It is the first time I actually learned one such incident at its entirety. I¡¯m shocked at its …how should I put it?…triviality! Under comparison, the US government seems a much lesser evil than Microsoft. So maybe we have all been wrong about the evilness of politicians, it is really the big corporations that we should despise!

BTW, Michael quoted an article by Anil Dash, which I found very interesting.
privacy through identity control. It argues that there is no point in trying to maintain anonymity on the web. Hmmm…

Washington and “The Iliad”

This is hilarious: Swift-Footed W. by Nicholas D. Kristof, Editorials/Op-Ed from today (10/22/2003)’s NYT.

“The Iliad” is the greatest war story ever told, but it’s not fundamentally about war … [snap] …but rather about how great men confront tragedy, learn moderation and become wise.

In case “The Iliad” isn’t lying around the Oval Office, let me recap for our warriors in Washington. Achilles is both the mightiest warrior and a petulant, self-righteous, arrogant figure. A unilateralist, he refuses to consult with allies; he dismisses intelligence about his own vulnerability; he never reads the newspapers.

Ha.

It is a funny little article, not very long either. So read it and enjoy!

Does the ordering of letters matter?

This is cool:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, olny taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pcleas. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by ilstef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

via Joi Ito’s Web

Good Stories

This one made to #1 of blogdex.com’s ranking just now: LILEKS (James) The Bleat. It is a wellwritten piece. Even though I don’t agree with his argument–“We are not as bad as we could be” still doesn’t equal to “we are good.”–but his story still brought tears to my eyes.
I’m sure there are many like this one, too: Remembering Manny.
Last, but not the least, The Sonic Memorial Project from NPR is a wonderful piece. It gives each death a face, a voice, and a life…

The North Carolina Experiment

From Blogger’s Blogger of Note section, I found this beautifully designed and well written site this morng: The North Carolina Experiment. From there, I came across another lovely site Anyone’s Any, where I saw the following poem by e.e. cummings.

anyone lived in a pretty how town
e.e. cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then) they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

women and men (both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

I was introduced to e. e. cummings by my first English teacher, Mr. Brunn, five months after I came to the States. He was an elderly gentleman, romantic and a bit eccentric, who also introduced me to the movies The Blade Runner and Shane. I’ve often wondered what had made him give me those extra homeworks then, a girl who was only capable of mono-syllable answers sprinkled with “Pardon me?”s. For every video tape he lent me, I was supposed to write a review in exchange. The Blade Runner was a hard one. I had to pause every ten minutes and replay to decipher what had been said. Our tv didn’t have closed caption feature either. Afterwards, I would compose my paper in Chinese and then painstakingly translating it word by word into English with the help of a dictionary. He seemed to be pleased with my effort, and continued lending me video tapes. At the end of the semester he gave me a piece of paper that beared a poem, typed typed double space with a typewriter. It was an rather obscure poem by e.e. cummings. The only line I remembered now was “the girl is tomorrow, we belong to yesterday”.

The following semester I started my official college life at the main campus. I tried to look him up once after I have transfered from City College to Berkeley. I called up the community college branch where he was working and asked for him. The receiptionist told me there was no such person working there anymore. I guessed he had retired.

I hope he is well.

Shanghai Poster: Vintage Decorative Art

Advertisement posters from 1930’s Shanghai have been trendy for a while. We’ve been seeing them in almost all the upscale Asian-fusion restaurants in the Bay Area, such as Straight’s Cafe, Shanghai 1930, and Betelnut.
Here is a site that collects them.
Shanghai Poster: Vintage Decorative Art.

Apparently you can get them from flea markets in New York City for a buck or two a piece (via Zeldman’s Daily Report).

Paris Journal – the Anti-Anti-Americans

A summer of obsessions in France by Adam Gopnik. to be published in The New Yorker issue of 2003-09-01.
*Illustration / PHILIPPE PETIT-ROULET

It is a bit too long, and could be more concise at times. But it contains many interesting tidbits of information that makes it worth the read.

Even the most resolutely anti-anti-Americans in Paris don¡¯t know what to do about George W. Bush¡ªno one since Joseph McCarthy has been such a gift to anti-Americanism in Europe, and particularly in France. [snip]What the French, from left to right, see as Bush¡¯s shallow belligerence, his incuriosity, his contempt for culture or even the idea of difference¡ªno one in France can forget his ridiculing an American reporter, on his one visit to Paris, for daring to speak to the French President in French¡ªmake him a heavy burden even for the most wholeheartedly pro-American thinker.

I found that last bit of fact interesting. I wonder why it was not reported in the US at all…

This quote simply chilled me to the bone…

¡°What¡¯s happening is simple,¡± Glucksmann said. ¡°There are no longer battles, or Auschwitzes. But anyplace can become an Auschwitz. ¡®I kill, therefore I am¡¯ is the motto of the new generation of murderers. It¡¯s really very easy: the Hutus attacked with machetes and a few machine guns, and committed a genocide of a million people. The Russian Army blunders its way into Grozny, and no one cares or objects. Rwanda and Chechnya are the intimations of Manhattan¡ªthey are rooted in a will to kill no matter whom. The crime is to be,and the act is to kill: to be a Manhattanite on that morning was your crime, as to be a Jew was the crime in Germany.

Call me a sentimentalist, but i do find the following touching.

What is finally moving about the anti-anti-Americans in France is that they are defending a cosmopolitan tradition¡ªthe tradition of the Marshall Plan and the melting pot, where, as B.H.L. rhapsodizes, Daniel Pearl could be Jew and journalist and American and internationalist all at once¡ªthat they continue to identify, stubbornly and, these days, perhaps quixotically, with the United States. What is striking, and a little scary, in Paris this year is the absence of anti-Americanism¡ªof a lucid, coherent, tightly argued alternative to American unilateralism that is neither emptily rhetorical nor mere daydreaming. (In fact, it is easier to find this kind of argument in Britain than in France.)

This made me laugh. What is the deal between the Brits and the French? huh? 🙂

The real threat to France is not anti-Americanism, which might at least have the dignity of an argument, an idea, and could at least provoke a grownup response, but what the writer Philippe Sollers has called the creeping ¡°moldiness¡± of French life¡ªthe will to defiantly turn the country back into an enclosed provincial culture. ¡°For the first time, French people care about their houses,¡± a leading French journalist complains in shock. ¡°That was always a little England thing¡ªand now you find intelligent Parisians talking all the time about home improvements.¡± This narrowing of expectations and horizons is evident already in the French enthusiasm for cartoon versions of French life, as in ¡°Am¨¦lie,¡± of a kind the French would once have thought fit only for tourists. It has a name, ¡°the Venetian alternative¡±¡ªmeaning a readiness to turn one¡¯s back on history and retreat into a perfect simulacrum of the past, not to reject modernity but to pretend it isn¡¯t happening.

Wintu

update: glosses.net has been abandoned since 2007. author was Renee Perelmutter. hen a doctoral student at UC Berkely Slavic department.

I’m reading Glasses.net (Loved the original design, this new layout is equally excellent). Here is an interesting entry on Wintu: Wintu-2.
The Wintu language was spoken in Northern California by the Native Americans. They were distributed along the upper Sacramento river, in the counties of Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou.

Some interesting quotes used in the article:

to the Wintu, the terms ¡°left¡± and ¡°right¡± refer to inextricable aspects of his body, and are very rarely used. I think that only once the term left occurs in my texts, referring to a left-hand mythical hero; I cannot remember any occurrence of the term for the right. When the Wintu goes up the river, the hills are to the West, the river to the East; and a mosquito bites him on the west arm. When he returns, the hills are still to the west, but, when he scratches his mosquito bite, he scratches his east arm. The geography has remained unchanged, and the self has had to be reoriented in relation to it.

among the Wintu¡­ the principle of inviolate integrity of the individual is basic to the very morphology of the language. Many of the verbs which express coercion in our language ¨C such as to take the baby to (the shade) or to change the baby ¨C are formed in such a way that they express cooperative effort instead. For example, the Wintu would say, ¡°I went with the baby¡±, instead of, ¡°I took the baby¡±. [..] They never say, and in fact they cannot say, as we do, ¡°I have a sister¡±, or a ¡°son¡±, or ¡°husband¡±. Instead they say, ¡°I am sistered¡±, or ¡°I live with my sister¡±. To live with is the usual way in which they express what we call posession, and they use this term for everything they respect, so that a man will be said to live with his bow and arrows**

Interesting, isn’t it? They show so much more respect for their surroundings. Self must reorient according to the land. How about their indifference for possession? It is almost moving to read this. But there are only 6-10 Wintu speakers left in the entire US! 🙁 If “the fittest survive” is true, that shows “love for the environment and all men are equal” won’t prevent you from being conquered and absorbed by a “lesser” culture (lesser in the sense of being civilized). More over, the “lesser” culture thought people spoken such a language was barbaric.

Mozart Requiem conducted by Benjamin Britten

A classical album recommanded by About Last Night.

The recording was made at a 1971 performance by the the Aldeburgh Festival Chorus, English Chamber Orchestra, and four of Britten¡¯s favorite solo singers. It¡¯s well sung and well played, with slightly congested but otherwise serviceable sound¡ªnone of which matters in the least. If you had a chance to hear Felix Mendelssohn conduct Bach¡¯s St. Matthew Passion, you wouldn¡¯t pass it up because the organ was out of tune, would you?

ISSN for Weblog

Pretty amuzing! ISSN for Weblog.
Note on this site’s sidebar:

… In short, every country I have heard about is doing whatever it can to refuse new ISSN applications for Weblogs, usually on trumped-up reasoning.

I don’t blame them! Just imagine the sheer volumn of ISSNs required…and you thought IP address is about to run out? 🙂

Snapster – Son of Napster

Son of Napster – One Possible Future for a Music Business That Must Inevitably Change By Robert X. Cringely

I’ve heard Cringely’s speech at one of AC’s entire Northern California staff meeting. He was an amazing speaker. flamboyant, witty, and very very cocky. Here he described a way to make music sharing legal (versus the “illegal” Napster that got shut down years ago).

If anyone actually does this business, don’t forget where you first heard it. Of course, if you actually spend the $2 million as I suggest and lose it all, please forget my name.

The business I am about to describe has not been legally tested. I have run it past a few lawyer friends of mine, but a true legal test can only be done in the courts. Having said that, the universal response I have received from lawyers can best be described as giddiness. They get it. And the implications of this idea — the sheer volume of trouble it could create — gets their billing glands working.

Read the article yourself and see if you believe him. I wonder if it would happen. Consider the fact that this news article made to the #2 position of today’s blogdex, it is likely someone will start such a business, right?

“FB-eye Sightings”

In my limited knowledge of the US prior to 1990, I’ve heard stories of Elvis sightings, which usually cause much excitement among the Elvis fans. In my limited experiences with weblog community, I’ve started noticing a phenomena that can only be categorized as “FBI Sightings¡± by fellow webloggers, and they cause much excitement.

One such sighting just made to today¡¯s Number 1 spot of the reverend blogdex. It was well written and it was funny.

Careful: The FB-eye may be watching-Reading the wrong thing in public can get you in trouble

My co-worker, Craig, says that we should probably be thankful the FBI takes these things seriously; I say it seems like a dark day when an American citizen regards reading as a threat, and downright pitch-black when the federal government agrees.

And here is another “sighting” I’ve read a few months back when I just noticed the weblog community.
“The FBI has been reading my diary”
“A student is mistakenly targeted as an investigation blurs the line between local and federal law enforcement ”

On a slightly side note, I remembered an observation from Baraita:

September 30, 2001
My friends and acquaintances all seem to have acquired blogs/journals within the past week or three. Is it an Internet fad, or some urge to testify which the events of two weeks ago shook loose within us?

Interesting, isn¡¯t it? What happened on 911 caused a wave of people wanting to express their opinions and frustrations and they found weblog as the media; meanwhile, 911 also caused the US government¡¯s law enforcement agencies to go out and hunt for any ¡°suspicious¡± opinions being expressed by…whom? the former wave of people?