October 31, 2000
# little Hitlers

The sordid affair of a man battling his neighbors for the right to house stray animals. I for one have a hard time sympathizing with people who buy $200,000 homes and feel the need to impose all kinds of regulations on their neighbors. Mostly because their causes are supported with reasoning like this:

"I'm upset because my daughter asked me what [the sign] means," said Deborah Greener, 47, who lives next door to the MacFaddens. "I'm not sure what it means myself, what kind of statement are they trying to make."

I'm upset because I'm confused. God, the world is caving in. Yes, I'm feeling a little angst-y this morning.

posted by dru in blog
October 29, 2000
# Palestine Again.

A petition. (thanks to Jeremy Bushnell for the link)

Mr. Gore, we believe that your candidacy will spoil the election nationally for Ralph Nader and the army of citizen activists fighting to end two-party, corporate control of our democracy.

A Metafilter discussion about Palestine. Pro-palestinianism is being equated with anti-semitism, which is bizarre and Orwellian.

Frankly, I don't see how anyone in their right mind (Jewish or not) can support Israel's position.

A chronology of the Zionist/Arab conflict.

posted by dru in blog
October 28, 2000
# Feel the Fear!

Everyone is up in arms about Nader throwing the election to Bush. Great! Instead of voting for Nader, who is the only candidate to explicitly be interested in rebuilding the democratic process, vote for Gore... who is, uh, better than Dubya.

Or is he? Perhaps we need a cure for Dubyaphobia. In brief, the following points, popular among fearmongers, are popularly (but pointlessly) pointed to as reasons to fear voting for Nader:

Anti-abortion activist Supreme Court Justices. Actually, the two most anti-abortion Justices were unanimously approved by Democratic Congresspeople. Gore has, among other pro-life sentiment, voted against abortion in the case of rape.

Universal Health Insurance. Wait! Didn't Clinton promise the same thing? Gore only wants to take "small steps", which are in themselves meaningless without Congressional support.

Campaign finance reform, by necessity, can't be seriously addressed by anyone in the two major parties. To get that far, it's necessary to bend the rules in order to have enough money to keep winning elections.

I won't go on. I hardly want to tell anyone how to vote, just like everyone else. However, seeing things how they are, I simply can't imagine how anyone could, with a grasp of the facts, vote for Bush or Gore.

Before you vote, go read this article. If you still vote for Gore, email me (dojy@mta.ca), I'd love to know why you did.

One other point that shouldn't be discounted: if Gore wants the Progressive vote, there's no reason he shouldn't have to do something to actually earn it.

I wonder if I'll stop talking about Politics so much once the election is over..?

posted by dru in blog
October 27, 2000
# eBay

This week's Argosy is online, with a great cover (as usual).

Suprisingly enough, the Argosy's Bitch page has interesting content this year (in stark, stark contrast to previous years).

Salon: Doomed by eBay.

Just in case anyone was wondering, Misnomer wholeheartedly endorses Ralph Nader for President. He's the only candidate that is explicitly interested in real democracy.

In fact, I just sent in my absentee ballot today.

NYTimes: Mr. Nader's Electoral Mischief.

The country deserves a clear up-or-down vote between Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore, who have waged a hard, substantive and clean campaign.

Who are they kidding? A few issues that both candidates support:
  • starving/killing Iraqis
  • corporate globalization
  • the death penalty
  • little or even less environmental regulation
  • Israel's slaughter of Palestinians. (aka "the peace process")

In the debates, Gore stated: "our military is the strongest in the world. I pledge to do whatever is neccessary to make it stay that way".

Nautilus, a Linux GUI, "provides higher level views through its component architecture". With what look like some pretty cool possibilities.

I wonder if the Mnemonic browser project has died..?

David Grenier noticed that my micropayments article shows up first on Google. But in the last ten minutes, it has changed position considerably, a bunch of different times. Is it Google's dynamic nature, or a malfunction? Erk. now it's on the first page again!

posted by dru in blog
October 25, 2000
# Gold is the corpse of value

A Metafilter thread about stupid drug laws. I wonder if anyone from Congress read tha... no wait, don't answer that.

posted by dru in blog
by online poker

side projects / splinter groups), the results online casinos are rarely as satisfying, whether or not you (as online gambling the listener) are expecting the same music. I find bingo that to be true. Another thing that seems related casino to me: when the focus of a band is several different online casino songwriters writing their own material and alternately online bingo using the rest of the band as back-up or as session blackjack musicians (and even more noticeably when a band blackjack has initially been more of the collabourative, holistic baccarat

October 23, 2000
# Gold is the corpse of value

Here's a great Space.com interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, that most well read of Sci-Fi authors.

...human civilization is in need of a sense of project in history, and while the obvious project is to make a decent civilization for all humans, going into space might help that project, directly and indirectly. It has a spectacular quality that is encouraging, and the value of comparative planetology to managing the Earth's environment is very high.

A History of the Twentieth Century, with Illustrations, a novelette, by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Books by KSR at Amazon. Ooh - The Martians (an addendum to the Mars Trilogy) is out in Hardcover.

Another interview.

posted by dru in blog
October 22, 2000
# Maniacal Editor II - the spin

When I wrote this news story for the Argosy, I was a little unsettled when the editor added an introductory paragraph and changed the headline such that it changed the tone of the story, which bears my name. However, I shrugged it off - editors do these things, no big deal.

However, what Business 2.0 did, and what I've heard the NY Times has done - that is, change the entire story to present an entirely different point of view - is pretty scary. I can only see such abuse of editorial power making the author-editor relationship even more adversarial and suspicious, and that kinda defeats the purpose. [via camworld]

posted by dru in blog
October 20, 2000
# Palestine

What's really happening in Palestine. Oof. Wow. Ick. Yes folks, our news media is really that corrupt.

This is wierd. Oja is my middle name, so when I noticed that oja.org was due to expire in September, I thought I'd check back and try to register it. September came and went, and the domain hasn't expired. It still says:

Record last updated on 06-Oct-1998.

Record expires on 26-Sep-2000.

Record created on 25-Sep-1997.

Database last updated on 20-Oct-2000 14:14:26 EDT.

So it expired a while ago, but the same guy still owns it? I don't get it. update: Cam just happened to post this link yesterday.

In addition, the firm's press release says that NSI has "implemented a unilateral policy of refusing to delete expired domain names from the WHOIS database."


You can read The Pravda in English. (via girlhacker)

I wonder what this site or this site are about..?

I no longer have internet access at home (at least for the next two weeks), so I'm spending more time on campus. That, the two essays I need to write, and this weekend's bronze pour might result in less updates.

Then again, procrastination is a powerful thing.

posted by dru in blog
October 18, 2000
# Representative Democracy

Kendall Clark: Presidential Debates, Town Halls, and the Corporate Assault on American Democracy.

The radically asymmetrical access to political representation afforded corporate persons and ordinary human persons is the single most harmful trend in American politics today. It daily erodes whatever lingering measure of authenticity may have remained in the decaying corpse of American representative democracy as few as 30 years ago.

George Woodcock (a Canadian intellectual with an unfortunate name) once remarked that it is truly unfortunate that representative democracy and direct democracy are called by the same name, as they are different in every way. Except he said it more eloquently.

I couldn't agree more.

posted by dru in blog
October 16, 2000
# Gored by Bull

The Onion: Pantene Introduces New Behavioral Conditioner. B.F. Skinner would be proud.

There are a lot of reasons to hate Al Gore, but smearing him for saying he invented the internet isn't one of them. Starting with the fact that he never used the word invent.

"during my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet"

The problem, of course, was that Gore's claim was correct. As the Internet's scientific leaders attest, often heatedly, Gore recognized
the significance of the Internet very early, and took the initiative in doing the political work and articulating the public vision that made the Internet possible.

Wierd. According to Drudge, Gore has a history of being anti-gay.

posted by dru in blog
October 15, 2000
# The discourse of tech manuals

Sylvia's mathematical sculpture can now be viewed online. She spent this last summer working on art that incorporated mathematical shapes, patterns, and ideas into sculpture. The result is pretty interesting.

Phil Agre: Designing genres for digital media. "Each genre implies a particular sort of audience and a particular sort of activity."

Steven Feuerstein wrote an interesting piece on the political nature of the examples used in technical manuals. "I also believe that almost every technology book we buy and read is full of politics." [via htp]

I find that, in the United States, very few people are willing to talk "politics." It is, along with the topic of money and sex, generally veered away from in trepidation. Better to comment on the weather and sports.

How often do you see real political debate, crossing the entire spectrum, taking place? How often do you hear a member of the media truly challenge politicians and business "leaders" to justify their policies and actions?

posted by dru in blog
October 14, 2000
# Classmates

To Feel Like a Woman, by Carole Ferrari.

I recieved an email from a guy at X.com who read my micropayments article, and mentionned that PayPal's US-only limitation will soon be overcome.

Further indicating the recent revival of the micropayment meme, the Industry Standard has an article about some (IMHO) mediocre technologies.

Neil Postman in NY Times' article on McLuhan: "McLuhan's questions were generally more interesting than his answers."

"For a discipline like media studies, he makes for a weak founding father because he was wrong so much of the time," said Mitchell Stephens, a professor of journalism at NYU

The article concludes with a really weak argument against technological determinism:

said Ms. Jackaway, a member of the defeated anti- McLuhan group. "I am a firm believer that human beings invent machines, that from the beginning there is intention, that the way we use them is mostly the result of human and political decisions.

The implication here is that everyone who uses machines fully understands the implications of their limitations and extensions, and furthermore, that the users of technology have explicit control over the structure that technology imposes by its very use. McLuhan argued - rightly, to a certain extent - that the only people who can make their intentions expressed through media are those who have explicit knowledge of their medium: artists, writers, and those who really know the ins and outs of a given medium.

I registered at Classmates.com today, and was suprised to see a few members of my graduating class listed there. The site could stand to offer a lot more basic features, though. For instance, adding URL's to profiles, and noting how many discussion group messages there are before you click on the link.

posted by dru in blog
October 13, 2000
# Voltaire's Bastards

I went and saw John Ralston Saul speak this morning. He was in town with his 'consort', Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson (whew). As the name might indicate, they were there with a huge entourage, with university presidents, fine arts profs, and various assistants.

Given this context, I thought it was pretty cool that Saul specially requested to speak to some students. If he hadn't, I most likely wouldn't have known he was there.

He gave a 15 minute speech on democracy and citizenship, and then left the remaining 45 minutes open for questions. I wish I had time to go over what he talked about, but in short, he stressed participation in the political process (and cheap education) as essential to building a healthy democracy.

Not too far off from alot of Nader's Concord Principles.

posted by dru in blog
October 12, 2000
# Intellectual Wrongs and Intellectual Lefts

CBC's The National interviewed Fidel Castro. Castro was in town for Pierre Trudeau's funeral.

Tipster and Potlatch.net look like interesting sites.

Looks like there's a bit of interest in gift economies these days, which is cool.

O'Reilly's Seven Golden Rules for Building Community overlaps a bit with Howard Rheingold's Art of Hosting Good Conversations Online, and has some interesting ideas.

posted by dru in blog
October 10, 2000
# Abortion

Randomwalks makes it clear that a vote for Gore is not a vote for abortion rights. So I can't vote for Gore for human rights, abortion, or the environment (though Dubya would be worse). What's left?

Every time I talk to someone about fip, I get kinda excited about it again. I've started working on a bit more.

posted by dru in blog
October 09, 2000
# Gato Negro

Why Dubya can't read.

Here's a scenario: oil is discovered under an old victorian seaport, with cultural and historical significance. There's a pretty good chance that there would be some kind of petition to get it saved, and it would more than likely work. More likely, oil companies wouldn't consider drilling there in the first place.

Now, what if those people have brown skin, live far away, and feel so strongly about the cultural significance of the place that they decide that mass suicide is better than watching their land be bulldozed? I guess there's nothing we can do, right?

Oh yeah, and here's another scenario: Al Gore, the presidential candidate, owns shares in the company that's doing the killing, and hasn't done anything to divest himself of this obvious conflict of interest, much less address it publicly. But he's the lesser of two evils, so we gotta vote for him anyway, right?

posted by dru in blog
October 08, 2000
# Ye olde TG

It's thanksgiving here in Canada, so I have a three day weekend, but I have to read 200 pages of Herodotus and Plato's Phaedo, so I'm not sure it really counts as a break.

This page uses an annotation system that is a lot like FIP, but not quite as refined in its design. I say this because the original designs for FIP looked a lot like that page, until I thought of ways to simplify the design.

I went out dancing at the campus Pub with some friends last night. It never ceases to surprise me how many people are out at any given time, looking for love. It seems that they're all looking in the right place, but I would venture that they're going about it in the wrong way.

Carole's editorial touches on this a bit. A philosophy prof says we're Puritans. I'm not inclined to disagree, given the empirical evidence at hand. That is, the nightly emotionally hollow "picking up" that goes on.

From what I've seen and heard, people are really lonely, or at least insecure. They don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, preferring to do something about it, so insofar as people can't be expected to think, the situation is understandable.

I think it's the formulaic aspect that bugs me. The same 20 songs, the same alcohol, the same crowded dance floor, the same clothes, and the same ambiance all result in what everyone wants. I guess.

In other news, I'm constructing a massive slug for sculpture class, and I baked two apple pies today.

posted by dru in blog
October 05, 2000
# Eesti voit

This week's Argosy has been posted online. I wrote an article this time, though it's not liable to be too interesting unless you're in Sackville.

Kendall Clark looks at the Olympics, critically.

Despite the fact that I'm opposed to the Olympics, I have to be happy for the Estonian guy who won the decathalon. That article is in Estonian, but there's a good picture.

posted by dru in blog
October 04, 2000
# Anaximander

Boy Scouts take a lickin' and keep on discriminatin'.

Utne Reader: People in materialistic societies are less happy.

Randomwalks has been doing a good job of keeping track of interesting stuff on NPR, which is good, because I only get CBC and CHMA here in Sackville. Not that those radio stations are bad. :>

Peterme discusses Mcluhan and Innis briefly.

Voice of the Shuttle: Theory and Research on Hypertext.

posted by dru in blog
October 01, 2000
# structured creation

This week's Argosy is online, with a very cool cover.

Jakob Nielsen talks about structured creation for a paragraph. This is something I'm really interested in, but haven't got around to writing about. Structured interaction too. A great deal of the web (and almost all net-based interaction) is free-form, but it all has an implicit structure. What we need to do is understand that stucture and how it works, and more importantly, establish what is possible, and what is effective in different contexts. Real soon now, there will be a website which deals with this.

This morning on CHMA, Paul Griffin reminded me of yet another reason to be critical (or at least skeptical) of the Olympics: time spent sitting on the couch watching professional athletes could perhaps be better spent playing catch in the back yard, or going to see a local (amateur) hockey team.

But really, who am I to argue with the "Star System"?

posted by dru in blog