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User Journal

Journal Journal: Foldplay: fun for your photos 1

foldplay is my newest project: an online sandbox where your digital photos can come out to play, without the sand. Map four of your own photos (or four of ours) onto an endlessly rotating paper sculpture called a kaleidocycle. Check it out.

Journal Journal: Slavery versus Abortion 2

Spoken by someone already free, spoken by someone already born....

SLAVERY - Although he may have a heart and a brain, and he may be human life biologically, a slave is not a legal person. The Dred Scott decision by the U.S. Supreme Court has made that clear.
ABORTION - Although he may have a heart and a brain, and he may be a human life biologically, an unborn baby is not a legal person. The Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court has made that clear.

SLAVERY - A black man only becomes a legal person when he is set free. Before that time, we should not concern ourselves about him. He has no legal rights.
ABORTION - A baby only becomes a legal person when he is born. Before that time, we should not concern ourselves about him. He has no legal rights.

SLAVERY - If you think slavery is wrong, then nobody is forcing you to be a slave-owner. But don't impose your morality on somebody else!
ABORTION - If you think abortion is wrong, then nobody is forcing you to have one. But don't impose your morality on somebody else!

SLAVERY - A man has a right to do what he wants with his own property.
ABORTION - A woman has a right to do what she wants with her own body.

SLAVERY - Isn't slavery really something merciful? After all, every black man has the right to be protected. Isn't it better never to be set free than to be sent unprepared, and ill-equipped, into a cruel world?
ABORTION - Isn't abortion really something merciful? After all, every baby has a right to be wanted. Isn't it better never to be born than to be sent alone and unloved into a cruel world?

1857 -> Dred Scott decision
1973 -> Roe v. Wade decision

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Philippines 55

I'd like to give a hollow Thanks to the Philippine government for the blow they just dealt the war on terror. As if Spain wasn't enough...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Sig graveyard

He heard the sound of the future, on a scratchy old 78.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Sig graveyard

I told the priest, "Don't count on any Second Coming. God got his ass kicked the first time he came down here slumming."
User Journal

Journal Journal: anybody but bush in 2004 1

This is straight from my blog. Also, check out the earlier entry about Nader, via rdewald.


say it with me...
ah-nee-bah-dee but bush is collecting pledges of time to counteract bush's enormous war chest of cash. 6407940 hours have been pledged so far, 36 by me (I pledged one hour a week until the election).

Take Back the White House!

President Bush has already raised hundreds of millions for his bid. Our great hope is in our collective power to get out the vote. We'll work via the Internet, the telephone, and face-to-face conversations with voters. And we'll take back our democracy, city by city, block by block, and voter by voter. Are you in? Sign the pledge

short on time? how about donating some money?

john kerry for president

moveon's political action committee

geov parrish at working for change lays it out so clearly that I've excerpted most of his column here. bush & co. used a relentless campaign of innuendo, slander, deception, and outright lies to fabricate support for their invasion of iraq, we would be foolish to expect different from them in the battle for the presidency: we're in for a long ugly fight.

This year's presidential race is going to be the most important the United States, and the world, has seen in decades. At least. And it is going to be very, very nasty. Liberals had better stop being nice, stop being complacent or cynical or despairing or disengaged, and take your gloves off. Now.

Like it or not, the president who came in promising to unite us has created, in only three short years, the most polarized and the most bitterly politically divided country since Reconstruction. His team has created more anti-American hatred around the globe than has ever previously existed in history. Those same political strategists have shown that they will stop at virtually nothing to gain and exercise power, and will do so almost exclusively to enrich their hyperwealthy friends and feed their warped ideological crusades -- crusades that, if presented honestly, would be rejected by the vast majority of their countrypersons and the rest of the world.

This is a war. It's being fought like one, whether or not we participate, and we are all targets. We'd better start acting like our asses are on the firing line. They are.

I don't hate George W. Bush; I do hate what he has done and is still doing to our country and to my planet, and I do intend to do everything in my power to ensure he and his cabal don't have another four years to abuse their public trust. But now comes the hard part. The excitement and headlines of the Democratic primaries are over. It will be a long, hard slog to November, interrupted only by two party conventions/infomercials and the power of the White House to control the headlines of a news media whose critical thinking muscles are atrophied beyond recognition.

We can already see how this will go. If you have any doubt how the White House will attack John Kerry, look at its last great sales job: the invasion of Iraq. For months, we were besieged with exaggerations, accusations, planted stories, and outright lies. No fib or rationalization was too ridiculous; as soon as one was disproven or shot down, three more were trotted out. Eventually, some stuck, for a while. But more to the point, the White House wore down public skepticism just enough, and just long enough, that their raw power could do the rest. If it all turned out to be a fraud, who cares? This is what ruthlessness looks like.

John Kerry has decades' worth of votes and public statements from which this sort of malicious playbook can be stocked, and the attacks have already begun. The question is one of perspective: by virtue of sheer scale and audacity, George Bush's crimes against the public trust dwarf any policy reversal John Kerry, or most any other politician, has ever contemplated. But if Kerry and his supporters wring their hands and spend the next eight months answering every charge and talking nobly of future public policy, they'll deserve to lose. The issue this year is nothing other than George Bush's attack on 300 million of us, his betrayal of what is best in and about America: front, back, and center.

Defense doesn't win wars. And that's what this is: war, one we didn't start, for nothing less than the future of the country, the world, even. The six billion of us without any trust funds to finance our tickets to Mars are pretty well stuck with this one planet. We'd better start acting, all of us, like no one government, let alone one politician who says he talks regularly with God, has the right to recklessly endanger it and the lives of so many of the people on it. Get angry about it. You should be.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Yes, I wrote it. Happy Holidays.

Ode to Ye Beautiful Trolls (2004)

Hear now, hear now!

Gather round ye trolls of slashing,
Come to listen to that fateful dotting.
With goatse dudes and hot grits flashing.
Tis a grand karma massacre we're plotting.

Extoll hear, ex troll here!
Extolling extrolling, we trumpet your arse,
Yet break wind from front and rear,
Perl,PHP,Python: these you cannot parse.

Lampstacks and lampshades come tumbling down,
Your platform by default is Win Thirty Two.
Linuxheads marching to the beat of the town,
In Soviet Russia the trolls comment you!

Who cares about Redmond and Research Triangle Park,
Those madhouses make us to laugh.
Who wants fat dollars when we can read fark?
And trade our sh*t on eBay and Half.

King troll-hack cmdrtaco even disclaims his disclaimers
while his minion editors still sleep half the day.
and post stories from thousands of spineless lamers
who have too much karma to ever get lai...

Meta-moderation be damned?
Just buy a subscription!
True trolls have all payed and planned,
To give us their fits of conniption.

The GNU Stallmans sound crappiest
At the end of the movie.
But what THOSE TROLLS SAID makes us happiest,
ESR's anti-Micro-taunt in RevolutionOS was so groovy.

"We're your worst enemy" has oft been said,
But Raymond speaks with a snarl,
And his trolling of the genuinely special ed.
Led us past many a crufty "Dear Darl".

SCO takes the cake this year my friends,
For biffing the basics of U.S. copyright law.
The lawyered system will find due motivation in the end,
Tangling with both tux AND Linus was Darl's fatal flaw.

Apple is a whole 'nother ball of wax,
Those powerbooks,ipods, and OSX really rock the house.
But pudge gives apple./. naysayers a thousand wacks.
Freedom of speech means nothing to that louse.

Weak of mind, and faint of brain,
Resort to comments of the ad hominem sort,
While commenters of ignorance feel no pain,
Those with long beards loathe the FreeBSD dying part.

Carolling, merrily, we give you to read,
More goodness than you've ever drank in or out pee'ed,
Await you with hot grits and Amidala Queen.

Will a troll ever troff?
This holiday, break a limb.
We wish your fingers fall off.
All eleven of them.

- ubiquitin, the self-proclaimed fookin Slashdot poet laureate

Note to ye fateful moderators, this year I achieved my first ever +5, Troll. Yes. You're welcome. Thank YOU. To accomplish this marvelous deed, I first climbed the mountain of +5 mod, and THEN was capped and crowned with that glorious label of insults gone right and good deeds gone bad: troll!

User Journal

Journal Journal: beat geek 5

I'm including a comment I made in the discussion of Kurzweil's poetry generator in hopes of getting more feedback. Thanks!


I've been working on a project (nicknamed "beat geek" in my head) that uses the digital equivalents of dada/beat cut-up techniques and other forms of randomness in or artificial generation of language.

For example, I have a program called autopoem (written by Bill Sethares) loosely based on an idea from Shannon's original paper on information theory.

Suppose you took all the words in the English language and calculated how often the character "s" is followed by the character "t", the character "e", and so on. You'd end with a table of transition probabilities that showed how often each letter is followed by any other letter (or punctuation mark or space) and starting with a single seed letter you could generate "english-like" words randomly. The output using the probability that a single letter is followed by another letter doesn't actually resemble English much, nor does the output using probabilities based on two letter combinations (how often is "th" followed by "e", by "a", and so on) but by the time you get to 3 letter combinations, (how often is "the" followed by "a" or by "s") the output starts to look a lot like "twas brillig and the slithy toves", like ye olde englishe with very creative spelling.

The scheme I described above is difficult to implement in practice, because the table of probabilities gets big fast as the number of letters used to determine the next letter gets longer. Autopoem uses a particular text as a source and instead of generating a table of probabilities it scans the text looking for the next of the letter sequence, say "the", and then selects whatever letter or punctuation mark comes next, say "a", then it continues scanning until it finds the next occurrence of "hea", and selects the following letter, and so on. the longer the sequence of letters, the more likely it is that whole words or phrases from the original text will appear in the output. An alternative version, requiring a reasonably long text, applies the same principle on the word level, how often is the word "red" followed by the word "hat" or "dog" or so on.

Here's some autopoem output:

Your strip of entirely
tired witches scarecrow me at night
That reached the next
He witches at and glow in a cruel head
Done behind the mark

Nothing but the Land of blue
And the green wizard answer with sharp teeth

(anyone care to guess the source text?)

Other ideas/algorithms/programs that fall into the same genre are dilbert's corporate values generator (now defunct?), eliza (especially when she interacts with zippy), madlibs (I don't know of a computer application), scott reynen's poetry and prose generators, rob malda's poetry generator (currently offline) & googlism.

Any suggestions or links to related ideas or programs would be greatly appreciated --- anything having to do with language generated digitally would be of interest.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Enter The Meatrix

I haven't seen the latest installment of The Matrix yet, but Free Range Graphics did a great job with this flash Matrix parody:

The Meatrix

Take the red pill and let Moopheus open your eyes to the reality of factory farming.

User Journal

Journal Journal: more updates 1

I just redid the alt.personae writing/photo index at my website, adding a couple of essays that I wrote when I was in grad school.

The main page of blog-O-rama is as always but I've added a b & w version for people who don't think that purple-on-purple is the coolest color scheme ever.

Recent entries include:

the erector shrine
recounts my attempt to overcome childhood trauma by building my own space station. with photo-documentation.

marie osmond saves the day
describes how my blog entry went pfft! and how marie osmond got it back for me.

I had an actual weekend. really.

smart people are stupid
my comments on the 'preferred upgrade' poll I submitted to /.

From the archives:

what do ladybugs eat?

Thanks for checking it out.

User Journal

Journal Journal: cool. 2

I submitted the current poll:

Preferred Upgrade?

20% smarter
20% happier
20% richer
20% more whuffie
20% better looking
20% larger hard drive
20% larger
20% more karma

except that my version had the last option as:
20% more like CowboyNeal.

Looks like it's generated some good discussion already, no shortage of folks hanging out at slashdot on Friday night.

But for some reason, the poll was listed as "rejected" on my "submit stories" page. Oh well, next time I'll remember to slap a creative commons tag on my submissions.

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