News for June 2010

The Gospel of Luigi

via BoingBoing

One of the many, many fan-goods created in homage to the Nintendo universe. Nothing new. We’ve see it before. Hell, I used to own a “1-Up” Mushroom T-shirt.

But on seeing this one, for some reason I suddenly fell into a trance. During the course of this waking dream, revealed knowledge from heaven poured down upon me. The Angel Peach came to my side. Then she bore me up upon a P-Wing, and took me to visit a future in which the famed Nintendo cartridges are treated as revealed texts. The original human creators of the games are forgotten, and instead the Japanese names from game credits are treated as the angels and prophets of the one true god, Nin-Ten-Do, whose trademark is not to be taken in vain.

The religion is administered in arcades, where one by one, the people come to the sanctuary, the sacred controllers are handed to them, a priest blows gently on a cartridge, and inserts it into the altar.

Religious scholars will debate the eschatological differences between the Super Mario 1, 2, and 3, while true believers will consider it anathema that they might have been authored by different, non-heavenly sources. The true church will firmly ban the use of warp whistles, though since the reformation, the Protestant services make use of the Warp Pipe to skip from Mario 1 1:2 directly to 5:1. Perhaps different sects will have differing opinions on the canonical value of Super NES games, while the Adventure Island series will be ecumenically considered heretical.

Perhaps there will still be some that claim that the NES cartridges are only derivative of a prior, lost faith, whose nameless ur-gods were some sort of armless, pink hopping beast, and a world-consuming yellow circle. But those practitioners of A’tari will no doubt be largely persecuted to extinction in the Konami Crusades of the 29th Century.

The Angel Peach told me I should go back to the 21st century, and begin to spread this world religion, and if I did, my place in the final castle was assured.

Oh yeah, she also said to send me money.

Posted: June 30th, 2010
Categories: Emissions
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Shouted death threats filterin…

Shouted death threats filtering in from the street with the afternoon sun.

Posted: June 30th, 2010
Categories: 140C
Tags:
Comments: No Comments.

Ceci N’est Pas Propaganda

What a great example of the absolutely ambiguous nature of signs.

via If Charlie Parker was a Gunslinger…

You know it means something, and something important. Not only because of the classic propaganda poster stylings, but because of the evocation of the swastika, and the extreme violent of the hand gesture, and the desecration of widely-known sacred object.

But what is it saying? Is it a pro-Nazi poster, claiming that the Bible is the enemy, and it should be violently stabbed? Or is an anti-Nazi poster, claiming that the Nazis are the enemy, because they would do such violence to a Bible? Do you react more strongly to the soul-violating desecration of the Bible, the physical violence of the bayonet, or the symbolic violence of a swastika? What are your emotions being harnessed to support? Should you be stirred by this violent harnessing, or feel even more violated for someone attempting to hijack your emotions for a cause you do not support?

On a wall during wartime, we would instantly know the answers to these questions, because the context clues would unite with the signs that are present, and meaning would flow. But as it is, it is “ceci n’est pas propaganda”, because the force of its meaning as propaganda has been removed, by a disavowal similar to Matisse’s famous surrealist move. You know it is propaganda, but at the same time forced to admit it is only a meaningless sign intending to be propaganda, because the meaning it intends to have has been disturbed by a cutting of the context net. So it intends to be, and yet is not, while still clearly being.

Until, you realize the caption is written in ENGLISH, thereby re-uniting you with the context. If it is assumed to be a legitimate, vintage poster from the war against the Nazis, then the context was obviously that of England or America, or another English speaking country, which all happened to be on the same side of the war. Therefore, context is re-established by divorcing the language of the sign from the immediacy of your own context. The caption is no longer a mere caption, but an “English caption”, which is not just the transmission of a message but a contextual message itself.

You might, as I did, not being a native French speaker, be amused by the fact that in French, negatives are actually given a conjugation that to English speakers might appear to be a double negative with the “ne (no) ‘est (it is) pas (not)” construction. And so the binary separation between “is” and “is not” in English, in French is a separation that unites a phrase around the verb, and thereby twice cuts the verb off from the sentence rather than simply modifying it. And then the difference in language adds additional ironic context to an ironic picture-phrase combination.

But in the case of the propaganda, the language difference is the only thing to deliver us from irony. Unless, of course, the caption was rephrased to say “This Is Not The Enemy”. Or, better yet, “Ceci n’est Pas Le Adversarie.”

I’d also like to introduce the swastika that was marked on the Arizona Capital in refried beans, after the controversial passage of the law illegalizing non-legal immigrants in the state, a potentially ironic response to a political controversy fraught with its own ironies.

Posted: June 30th, 2010
Categories: Emissions
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Invariably drawn to defend the…

Invariably drawn to defend the unpopular, minority, and dangerous argument.

Posted: June 28th, 2010
Categories: 140C
Tags:
Comments: No Comments.

“politically unreliable”

“Horribly depressed by the way things are turning out. Went this morning for my medical board and was turned down, my grade being C., in which they aren’t at present taking any men in any corps…. what is appalling is the unimaginativeness of a system which can find no use for a man who is below the average level of fitness but at least is not an invalid. An army needs an immense amount of clerical work, most of which is done by people who are perfectly healthy and only half-literate… One could forgive the government for failing to employ the intelligentsia, who on the whole are politically unreliable, if they were making any attempt to mobilise the manpower of the nation and change people from the luxury trades to productive work. This simply isn’t happening, as one can see by looking down any street.”

via Orwell Diaries

Posted: June 28th, 2010
Categories: Feedback Loops
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

The Distance between Them and You

The “irrational and violent few” are the handful of leaders from a mere twenty countries of the world, drastically and ruthlessly distancing themselves from the street.

This distance is one of super-structure–of political power–of the difference between those who wield power and those who receive it, of the pageantry of representative democracy, of the hierarchy, of the market. The distance is also one of structure–of physicality–of walls, and gates, and vehicles, and radios, and the end of truncheons, of boots, of city blocks, of the inside of buses and holding cells, of helmets and shields, black uniforms and masks. But the distance is also of a smaller sub-structure, a distance that is more difficult to describe because it is not the space between two points, but a fundamental repetition of a pattern–a pattern that has always occurred in history, and will no doubt not stop any time soon, regardless of events on the political stage or fundamental changes to city structures.

The pattern is, basically, humanity: the mob itself. The pattern is no different than a pattern of politics or a pattern of architecture–it is what repeats itself, maintaining its shape because the forces which we recognize as its shape perpetuate themselves. A pattern is a pattern by way of finding a cause to cause itself, over again and in perpetuity. Just like a successful business model is a pattern that sustains itself, or an armed police force, or a well-planned city.

But those are intentional patterns, or patterns we like to think of as intentional. Someone can propose a business, or a local constitution, or found a city. They, or a group of people, can then take actions to perpetuate the pattern, to do the work, to follow the law, or build the buildings. Then, if the pattern persists without falling apart, they can take a step back and congratulate themselves on a job well done. This is how they used to build buildings; they just kept throwing up walls in different ways until they stopped falling down.

And if they fail, they can blame forces “beyond their control”. They can blame the poor business cycle that “destroyed their customer base”, the rebel uprising that overthrew their government, or the hurricane that wiped their city off the map. Because that is what intentional action is, after all: an extension of will into the structure of nature. If you “tame the elements” of nature, and perpetuate your own monolithic pattern, you are master of destiny. If you do not, you are slave to the fates. These “forces of nature” are clearly things we could have foreseen if we looked at the market, the population, or the shape of the coastline and the weather. But we can’t see everything at once, and so we are slated against these unknowns of the natural world, much as if we were fighting them, hand to hand, every day.

But what about patterns for which there are no intentional actors? What about patterns that involve individuals to the point where they are, for purposes of ascribing intentional actions, no longer individuals? This is an alienating sensation to our natural sense of intention, the ego that puts us behind the wheel of the speed bus of our bodies, and it’s clearly uncomfortable. So we tend to blame the individuals. It was their fault for being “brain washed” to the “bigger cause”. It was their fault for not seeing the forces of nature that would rise up against them. It has to be someone’s fault–otherwise, what does that say about your individual control over yourself, or mine? It could be supplanted by something bigger than it? The suggestion is anathema to the self.

This is the same misconception as that of Fate: ascribing the pattern to a defined lack of intentional action, or a lack of willful intentional action, rather than to any particular malevolent action by an individual or a group. “Following orders” is a legitimate moral defense, if a flaw of individual personality. It is better to admit to being a weak individual, rather than say that you were knowingly part of a group in which there were no individual decisions.

What a lovely form of Newspeak! The group of individuals, so much more individual than those individuals in groups! Reduce your responsibility–stand in the group that stands alone!

When phrased with the contradictions visible, the true pattern is obvious. There are basically two groups, and all individuals fall into one or the other. There is the Group of the Will: those with “intentional actions”, standing strong against Nature; and there is the Group of Fate: those whose actions have failed to maximize their will, and who now are adrift in the sea. These groups are a polarity–that is, there is no defined line between the two. We weigh any particular pattern with this duality, and look which way the needle points to determine whether the pattern falls into the positive category, or the negative category. This compass is a pejorative tool: it doesn’t really matter whether a pattern is Willful or Fated; in fact, it is always both, and neither. Whether a group is in control of its actions or not in control doesn’t matter. The compass only points in a direction indicating our own alignment, and from it, we continue to willfully direct ourselves.

And with what do we magnetize this compass? What would stimulate us to apply these two categories? What sort of things would we approve of as upright, correct, Willful collaboration, and what would we reject as debased, irrational, Fated zombification? Things that act to reinforce and perpetuate the pattern you have chosen, those forces that seek to extend your willful investment into controlling Nature would no doubt be seen as an extension and proof of the uprightness of your will. And those things that break your pattern, that contradict your personal efforts to enact your will, whether they represent someone else’s will or simply the failure of your own, these are elements of fate. Because it always was you against the world, wasn’t it? YOU: against the power, against the asshole, the jerks, the screwheads. Because they are fucking with you. This is the essence of being human in the natural world. They are either with us, or against us–and the us is you.

The will is its own pattern, of course. And as a pattern, it seeks to perpetuate itself. Otherwise, it would not exist. Fundamental to human existence, the will is the one pattern that actually does “seek” to perpetuate itself, rather than this phrase only being an anthropomorphization. Indeed, this pattern IS anthropomorphization itself; the imposition of human qualities, namely that of willful imposition of will, onto things that are mere patterns. And this is not wrong. This is human. All too human, as someone once said. But I think it’s only just as human as it could be, and most of the time, it struggles to hang on.

Which brings us back to the mob: humans struggling to barely be human, over top of the vast network of patterns driving them to do everything that they do. If you have ever been in the mob, you know what I mean. Any sort of mob. Even if you are not smashing, guarding, yelling, or doing any of those “mob-think things”, and merely moving on the periphery of the mob, there is a sense that your feet are not your own. You are moving amongst the mob, with the mob, or in spite of the mob. The pattern is all-encompassing, and the human willfulness you are able to exude is different than simply being part of a crowd. Your will may have brought you to the street, but once you are there, the will takes a back seat. Not ceding control to fate, but to the amalgamation of wills in the street, the mob of wills, which you are now a part of.

The mob occurs from this collusion of separate patterns, time and time again. Nobody decides to form a mob. Not a real mob. They happen, like lines of Shakespeare popping up in frenzied simian typing. At the conclusion of sporting events, during festivals, at rock concerts, at political protests. They are clearly not random–there are threads here between the mobs, similarities that are as easy for a human to understand as they are hard to describe, predict, instigate, or prevent. But if the mob pattern is anything, it is the mob, and nothing else. It sounds tautological to state that “as long as the mob exists, there will be mobs”, but without recourse of the Will or Fate to describe this pattern, a tautological causality is as good as eschatological causality. This is, after all, a pattern.

While keeping this in mind, there is a distance between the general mob pattern, and the events at the G20 protests. The mob pattern was certainly rampant, I’m sure. Again, if you have been to a protest, you have felt the mob. The desperation of “kettled” protesters seethes, and you can feel it. I’m sure it’s like what an herd antelope feels when it sees the predator approaching the distance from which acceleration can beat sustained speed. The anger of the protesters at the police state, the amped up aggression of the cops. All of that is part of the mob pattern.

But there is an overlay of other structural patterns on top of this pattern. The political pattern, and the physical pattern, both mentioned previously. This is the arena in which the mob is given to occur. This is what creates the street, where these wills come together in the mob pattern. The people and the police are not called to this place for no reason. And they do not come unprepared. Both sides dress a certain way. Both have goals, plans, and tactics. The pattern of the will is engaged with these patterns, and when the mob pattern surfaces, the compass will turn, and align itself as necessary. Certain plans will succeed, others will fail. And patterns, freed from the tautological description of “goals”, will either perpetuate, or they will destabilize and evaporate.

If you are human (and you are) you will be involved in all of these things. And this is where the distance begins to grow. Depending on who you are, and what your will may be, your compass will swing to one direction or another, and there will be a rift in the pattern. Sides develop, based upon goals.

This part is self-evident, and I apologize for taking the long way around to get here. But I think it is crucial to see that the will is only involved as another element of the overall pattern, and not the end in itself. When you decide to hurl a brick at a sheet of glass, it is not because what you decide to do is either right or wrong. You think it is either right or wrong, but it is not. The act is many things, and a piece of many patterns, one of which, is the distance between your perception of right and wrong. But it is not reducible to morality. It is not reducible to politics, either. The brick flying through glass is not reducible to what political goals might be related, any more than a bullet ever brought peace. The same thing goes for a boot on the neck. It may be done in willful intention of what is believed to be right or wrong, but in the end, it is merely a boot on the neck, which in truth, is a very human thing.

But after we realize this, after we have returned the will, the morality, the political, and the physical back to their respective roles as interacting patterns, the distance still remains. After understanding how human the act of judgment, the act of destruction, the act of violence, and the act of action are, we understand it would be inhuman to ignore the distance that occurs.

If you are pissed off that a few leaders are able to spend billions of dollars to ensure they are able to continue doing nothing in your name, you may join a protest. If you are a Starbucks investor, you may hire some thugs to guard your property if you feel it might be damaged. These sides develop as patterns, and they always have. They are referred to as the haves and the have-nots, or the capitalists and the workers, or the state and the people. But this is the result of the patterns of humanity–there is an unresolvable distance that grows as part of the pattern, between these two sides. And you, as human, would not be human if your compass did not begin to swing.

Which side are you pulled towards? Where do you feel your willful agency drawn, between a pattern of those attempting to protect all that they have, and those who are angry because they have nothing? Forget what either side has told you about what is right, moral, just, or legal. What do you feel? What does your human pattern tell you? Why? What does this say about you, the things that you do, and the things that you have? What does this say about your own pattern? Which pattern is more harmonious to your personal pattern: a clean, always-open commercial district, or a burning police car? Another perfectly created large coffee drink, or sleeping on the floor in a strange city because tomorrow you are going to express your agency? Peace and quiet, or cops kicking in your door? Which of these patterns are mutually exclusive? Which are part of your every day life? Which patterns will perpetuate themselves, and what new patterns might develop tomorrow?

I could tell you what side of that distance I put myself on, or recite a meaningful quote of someone else doing the same thing, but that is your own personal mental pattern to decide. It has to be, otherwise it wouldn’t be human. And so I won’t.

But I can tell you this. Those leaders, meeting at the G20, have already decided their distance. Their patterns are not yours. Those few are protecting patterns that increase that distance. They are distancing themselves from you, from your Starbucks and from your anarchist squat, from your investments and from your daily work. They are building this distance every day, with patterns of fences, tear gas, cops, wars, leaking oil wells, unemployment, poisonous dry wall, protections for the rich who have patterns like them, and more walls and prisons for those who have patterns like you. The distance is increasing, whether by billions of dollars, closed city blocks, a pair of handcuffs, or by common bigotry. Regardless of what side you are on, you are not inside with them. They’ve seen to that. That is the pattern. You are out on the street, and the cops are in front of you. And they are telling you to move.

So what are you going to do? What is your pattern now? Today? Tomorrow?

Regardless of what you choose, you can be sure that patterns will perpetuate, unless new patterns emerge.

Posted: June 28th, 2010
Categories: Ballast
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Try to live each day as if you…

Try to live each day as if you didn’t know that when you die you’ll invariably void your bowels.

Posted: June 27th, 2010
Categories: 140C
Tags:
Comments: No Comments.

The Passenger List

Here’s the passenger list:

Hurcho Canino was seated at the front of his flock, next to the co-head of the church, Betty March. Canino was formerly in M&A. His long life of flying perhaps pre-disposed him to be the pastor of the church, but to his followers he was certainly embued with the word, and his oratory skill, not to mention his oracular abilities, came straight from heaven. Ms. March had formerly been in ad sales management, and it was her skill with books, and certainly, with a sort of evangelical sales process that led her to be Canino’s organizational partner as well as spiritual partner, and of course, sexual.

Across the aisle sat Mrs. and Mr. Davis Wright, who had sold all their property and donated the money to the church. In their late 60s, both of them were in poor health, and sort of looked on the church as a surrogate for the “lifestyle centers” into which many of their generation were transitioning. They were certainly taken care of by the congregation, and perhaps better, than they would have been at the sort of second-rate facility with minimum-wage caregivers they could afford. They seemed content at being together, not such believers in the word as they were in the community. They liked to be close to Pastor Canino and Ms. March, and so they were seated in first class at the insistence of the congregation. They were the elders of the group, if you will.

Behind them were Nephala Ngai, a 21 year-old girl hailing from a central Asia country (no one could quite remember which one it was). Next to her was Bran Wilco, 22, male. If the Wright’s represented the elders of the church, Nephala and Bran were its youth–both attractive, dynamic, responsible young people, held up as the church’s promise for a new generation, and the potential of what its members could and perhaps should be. Nephala was traveling back to her Orlando-area college after a break, and heard Canino preaching. Perhaps it was the jet lag or the adjustments to altitude after her long flight back across the Pacific, but she was immediately converted. It was similar for Bran, but not quite as miraculous. He was flying home from school after graduating. During his journey, he had been mulling over his options for the rest of his life. There was his father’s business, more school, or something new. Huracho Canino, testifying just inside the security check point, was the something new. Nephala and Bran were in love, and filled with the ecstatic joy of the church.

Willis Jone and Ki’issa Marx were next to them. Willis was the caretaker of the church, or as much as there was one, what with no property owned and occupied by the organization. In his early forties, he had been a baggage handler, and so he knew the grounds of the airport well. Ki’issa was his partner, and had worked at the airport Starbucks. They had joined the church individually, and at first had kept to themselves. However, with the church’s emphasis on finding a partner through its community, and with a little bit of helpful, though not in anyway aggressive, pushing by Ms. March, the two shy former airport employees finally found each other, with as much rejoicing as they had in finding religion. It certainly was a blessing, the members of the church agreed, and the two assisted Canino and Ms. March in many of the church’s day to day operations.

The first six seats in the coach section were occupied by the David family. Graham and Marian, father and mother, in the two aisle seats; Feliza and Joe, 17 and 16, beside them at the windows; and Francesca and Saran, 18 and 19, in the window seats behind them. The family were good Christians, and had been on a family vacation to Europe when they first met the church. They listened to a long service during a two-hour lay-over, and then when their connecting flight was delayed due to equipment problems, joined a prayer session with the congregation. By the time they were on their way back from their one-week trip, perhaps it was the tour of religious sites that had failed to impress them as much as they thought it would, or maybe it was the raw power of Canino, sitting in the linked seats of the gate waiting area, holding hands with the other parisioners, and the beauty of his words, warm and deep, displacing the static of the terminal intercom announcing flight delays, but they had decided to keep their bags packed, and join the church as full members.

Next to the two eldest David girls were their boyfriends, Boris Fondura and Manx Lepatto. Boris was sitting with Francesca, and Manx with Saran, though most of the folks were sure they had been paired the other way around at least only a week ago. Not that it really made a difference. It was difficult for Graham and Marian, patriarch and matriarch of the clan, to accept the sexual partnerships of their daughters after only recently being fully committed to the virginal commitments of Christianity. But, when Pastor Canino and Ms. March explained to them how sex within the caring, open community of the church was not the potential pitfall for health and morality that it was in the rest of the world, but an opportunity for spiritual growth, things were a bit easier. Certainly the transition was helped along by Boris and Manx’s intelligent dispositions, as an aerospace engineering and architecture student respectively. Boris’ knowledge of the aerospace industry was especially influential, as this was, after all, the Church of Airport Salvation.

Feliza and Joe, though being a bit younger, each had potential partners as well, who were sitting together in the next row back. The younger children were seated with their parents because of their age. The church recognized open partnerships only above the age of eighteen, though of course proper fraternization was acceptable at appropriate times, and in appropriate places like the food courts, the waiting areas during or after services, and the concourse walkways. But not in the smoking lounge, the Pilot’s Club, and certainly not, say, the family restrooms. Joe and Saran Montez had been seeing quite a lot of each other. Saran was a sixteen year-old runaway orphan, saved and reformed by the church. She was seated next to Constantine Lemancha, a former runway model in her late twenties, who had had issues with drugs and eating problems, but now was a model reform case for the congregation. After the adjustment to Boris and Manx, Mr. and Mrs. David had another trial in their youngest daughter getting cozy with an, albeit slightly, older woman. But surprisingly enough, as these things often are, the second step was much easier than the first. They came to see that a relationship with an older woman, who had already discovered many of life’s unfortunate traps and lived to tell the tale, might be a good influence on their teenage daughter.

Next to these two sat George Bailiff and Geraldine Drescher. George was a former red cap, who with the help of pastor Canino, found god and rebuked his alcoholism. His carry-on was a hard-shelled case with the hymnals, which he would hand out once the seatbelt-sign was turned off. Geraldine had been a TSA agent. She had remained at her job after joining the church, and it was her influence at the security checkpoint that allowed the church to peacefully carry on its existence at the airport. As the time grew closer for this flight, and the church stepped up its activities and its recruitment, there was a good amount of friction between Geraldine and her superiors, and so she had been forced to leave. But to reduce the possibility of a negative media incident, especially after the scandal in terminal D with the full-body scanners unrelated to the church, TSA had let the church continue their services past the security points, as long as they obeyed the carry-on rules and entered during non-peak times.

Behind them were Dan Sizer and Debra Myers. They were actually the first couple married by the church, but they had naturally decided to keep their names the same, to not complicate their forms of picture ID. Their marriage had been a beautiful ceremony, at the round end of terminal C, late at night after the last red-eye flights had departed. They were married by pastor Canino in front of the large picture window, with the lights of the runway twinkling beyond. And as if as planned, just as the ceremony concluded, a gigantic, brand-new Airbus 380 taxied past, fully illuminated in the bright lights of the docking area. George got a friend in the red caps to drive the happy couple the length of the terminal in an electric people-mover, decorated for the occasion, and the people of the church catered the reception themselves in the closed food court.

Mingas Taylor and Tiral Bengos were across the aisle, and they were a much-loved couple, the core of the laity, as it were. As restaurateur and head chef of a restaurant in Miami, the two men had cemented their relationship before joining the church, and their humor was appreciated by all. No one was really sure what inspired them to join the Church of Airport Salvation, but they did, selling their restaurant and apartment in Miami and buying a small row of town houses not five minutes from the economy parking. They rented the rest of the rooms to parishioners, and drove them all to the parking lot every morning in their big white van they drove up from Miami, still with the restaurant logo on the side, so they could take the shuttle to the terminals. They also prepared food for the congregation on numerous occasions, doing surprisingly much with very little. Their wedding cake for Dan and Debra was masterful.

Next were Sechan Quan and Mendoza Pongo. Sechan was a former communist from a minority party in Southeast Asia, who had defected to North America, and discovered the church in his travels. Mendoza was an Ecuadorian immigrant with somewhat troublesome immigration status, necessitating his frequent travel–the source of his original introduction and perhaps predilection for the church. This pair worked closely with Canino on many of the theological matters of the church, both being well versed in bureaucratic policies and the syncretisms of governmental beliefs in several traditions. They wrote the pamphlets the congregation distributed in front of the airports, and had established some of the well-known tenets of the group derived from Canino’s sermons. The key, as they saw it, was to make every-day practice fundamental to the spiritual goals of the church. If they were all waiting for their spiritual flight, then it made sense to spend as much time as possible in the airport, checking their status. If this was to be a journey in spirit, then physical possessions would only act as luggage to be lost in transit, so they should abide strict carry-on requirements at all times. If the membership of the church was to be those with the same spiritual itinerary, drawn from all walks of life to the same schedule, then their meeting and seat pairings were not just the luck of the draw. Those they met in the security line, in the waiting area, and on the flight were to share more than just the proximity of travel, but a certain closeness of bodies. They would be searched together, watch after their belongings together, and sleep and eat together. The members of the church were, in this sense, married in the partnership of spiritual travel. With Canino’s help, they composed these tracts on their wifi-capable computers, and printed them in the business lounge of the Pilot’s Club, and distributed them for the enlightenment of the church.

The seats next to Sechan and Mendoza were empty. Behind them, sat the three ladies, Megan Oftan, Pansy Thorpe, and Ferg French. They were not sexual partners, so much as simply spiritual friends. They had been some of the most evangelical members of the group, covering the entire scope of the airport, including the charter terminal, handing out literature and inviting people to worship. Megan had been a religious studies student, and had been studying the Airport Salvation sect for class. But she had been taken with just how modern the religion was, how it was a faith for a fast-paced, jet-setting world, and how it mimicked a Christian faith in organization, but without pinning itself, nailing itself down, so to speak, to a timetable of the savior’s return. Pansy Thorpe had actually joined many religious groups before this church. She had been an Adventist, a Buddhist, and for awhile, even a Moonie. But in the end it was the temporary aspect of the religion that won her over–for once, someone was offering her membership not based upon personal allegiance and self-sacrifice, but simply by spiritual alliance. The “camaraderie of air travel” they called it. Something that had been lost to the industry and religion alike. Ferg French did not like to talk about her past, and nobody pressed her. She had been an outspoken proponent of the final flight, asking Canino time and time again when they ought to buy their tickets, when they ought to collect their personal belongings, if it was true that their destination would not be an earthly one, etc. She seemed most impatient to leave. All three of these ladies looked forward to their departure expectantly. But, when finally Canino announced their flight, they became very quiet, and withdrawn. They sat together on the flight, holding each others hands.

Drew Mats and Pagar Antillo also held hands, in the next row. Pagar was eight months pregnant with Drew’s child, and for awhile there had been some quiet debate about whether or not they would join the rest of the congregation on the final flight. The debate was wrapped in language about what the soonest to a due date an expectant mother should fly, but underneath, there was the natural human fear of exposing infants to danger. They were flying north. It was a regularly scheduled flight, with a regularly scheduled flight number. Drew was a world traveller, and there was nothing new in just another hub route. But there was the silent knowledge imparted in each of Canino’s sermons, his prophetic depictions of this flight. The plane would take off from the earth, not only in a physical sense, but spiritually. They would arrive at their ultimate destination, this was foretold. But whether this destination was in the same realm as that they left, no one knew. Perhaps the weight of their unborn child would keep them from boarding the flight with the others. They were both committed to the church, but the strain of bringing a life into the world might cause them to… well, act accordingly. And Pagar had not fully recovered from her mother’s funeral, the journey home from which, had precipitated her joining the church. And yet, despite death and oncoming birth, they were on board, carry-on items stowed, seat belts fastened.

Next to them were Derd Hussle, and Wren Taylor, who both looked a bit nervous as the airplane pulled back from the gate. They needed this, especially Derd, who hadn’t quite recovered from his stint in the Army. Wren was more used to the anticipation and worry, being a former serial monogamist, now enjoying the stability of the church and their mutual journey to salvation. But still, their sweat dripped between their clutched hands. They looked behind them, at the mostly empty plane. Though security had cleared them all individually one more time before boarding, the passengers scheduled for this flight had asked to be switched when they heard the Church of Airport Salvation was going to be on board. There was nothing violent about the group, and nothing to indicate that anything unfortunate would happen to the plane. But Americans are a suspicious group, and prone to the apocalyptic influence of religious language. And when you combine that with air travel–well, no one blamed them, not congregation, airline, nor TSA. Since they couldn’t help but have overheard Canino’s “farewell sermon” just prior to boarding, filled with language of the promised destination and the departure from the stand-bys of earthly life, all the non-church passengers paid for the insurance policy on ticket re-scheduling, and the airline, in 0rder to make as little a fuss as possible, helped them re-book with other carriers without surcharges.

Zephyr Megalia, a flight attendant on this fateful journey, had served tea and orange juice to Canino and Ms. March, and in a brief discussion over the beverages, was not immediately converted, but quite intrigued. So, after doing the safety demonstration, she took an empty seat across from Omar Orchette, a convert to the church from Scientology, and Polly Hocker, a convert from the Hari Krishnas. Why airports, she wanted to know. They explained to her what they both had realized: religious conversion at airports was the cornerstone of modern civilization. It wasn’t so much about what religion you converted to, it was about being in a building that was a cathedral, traveling through the labyrinths of a infrastructure that was spiritual awakening to the needs of the world, implementing a belief system in practice that was never good enough to cope with the trials that life threw at a person. It was about being late, and being delayed, and being uncomfortable, overcharged, underprotected, disoriented, and jet lagged. It was about all of this, and about being together with other people in the same condition, at the same time, whatever time that was. Interesting, Zephyr said. So where are you going on this flight?

Greg Shultes, seated behind her, leaned forward in the aisle. The former aluminum wholesaler smiled, as did his partner, Sasha Ball, a former heiress. We don’t know, he said. But this is the flight we are all finally meant to take. And we’ll going to take it together. He and Sasha kissed, as the plane accelerated, lifted backward, and the Church of Airport Salvation rose into the air together.

The flight time was supposed to be four hours and forty-five minutes. Canino had already said that there would be no sermon on the flight, and so the passengers prayed individually. Some of them sang hymns, led by Adam Montez and Clara Reatrow, a failed journalist and a musician, respectively, who were the last two passengers on the plane. Above the constant whine of the engines and the omnipresent roar of the slipstream, the congregation sang the praises of their belief, their togetherness, and their journey. Ferg French said the Departure/Arrival prayer to herself quietly, counting the number of times on the edge of her boarding pass, making small indents with her fingernail. Zephyr Megalia handed out packets of peanuts, which the parishioners held in their hands, cupping the small crinkling foil packets, not a one opening them.

As they passed through fifteen-thousand feet, the pilot announced inclement weather ahead. They hit turbulence around thirty-thousand feet, but the church sang on without fear. At forty-thousand feet, the pilot put on the seat belt sign, and the plane shook, wings visibly flapping outside of the window. Thunder rolled over the noise of the plane, and lightening flashed outside.

After twenty minutes, the flight passed the turbulence, and into calmer air. In another two hours, they began their descent. As the plane landed on the runway, and then taxied to the gate, the passengers were completely silent. They deboarded the plane as they had done many times before, except they called no one on their cell phones. They had no one to call who was not on the plane.

Entering the terminal, there was a minute of odd culture shock as they realized it was a different terminal than the one they had left, a different airport than the one they had come to know so well, together. But they knew what to do instinctively, and walked together, partners holding hands, down to the baggage claim, where they retrieved the little luggage that had been checked.

The airport was a smaller one than they had left, and it took a while to secure ground transportation for the entire congregation. They tried to get rooms at the same motel, but it was a big party for one location with no reservation, and so they ended up split into three groups at three different motels off the highway that led to and from the airport.

In the days that followed, they looked for apartments and houses in the area. The members of the church eventually found places to live, and jobs. There was some discussion of whether or not they would continue to meet for church, daily, weekly, or at all. Many members were for it, at least provisionally, as was Ms. March. But Canino did not have the sermons in him anymore. The word had left him. And so they drifted apart, and on to other things, and other religions, some of them. Some of the partnerships continued, and some of them did not. Some of them flew again, others did not. Some of them lived for a long time, and others died relatively soon after.

But most importantly, after they left the airport, the membership of the Church of Airport Salvation were never all in same place again.

Posted: June 25th, 2010
Categories: Ballast
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Duct Tape and Plastic Sheeting

“I saw in one of yesterday’s papers that gas masks are being issued in America, though people have to pay for them. Gas masks are probably useless to the civilian population in England and almost certainly in America. The issue of them is simply a symbol of national solidarity, the first step towards wearing a uniform. . . . As soon as war started the carrying or not carrying of a gas mask assumed social and political implications. In the first few days people like myself who refused to carry one were stared at and it was generally assumed that the non-carriers were “left”. Then the habit wore off, and the assumption was that a person who carried a gas mask was of the ultra-cautious type, the suburban rate-payer type. With the bad news the habit has revived and I should think 20 per cent now carry them. But you are still a little stared at if you carry one without being in uniform. Until the big raids have happened and it is grasped that the Germans don’t, in fact, use gas, the extent to which masks are carried will probably be a good index of the impression the war news is making on the public.”

via Orwell Diaries 25.6.40

Posted: June 25th, 2010
Categories: Feedback Loops
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

The Farmville Dilemma

Here is a selection from an essay by “the99th”, on what is normally an indie video game review site, Play This Thing. The article is entitled, “Slot Machine vs. Agency: Fight!”

This guy is continuously blowing my mind. His essays are a little dense and unpolished, but hey, this is the Internet, and it could easily be the other way around. Remember, first of all, that he is actually writing about video games here. Now, try and slice his discussion of social media games along any of the typical genre veins of communication, social theory, economics, or game theory–the places where this type of language has typically come to rest. You can’t. Because its everything. This is where the Prisoner’s Dilemma has come to: to the Farmville Dilemma.

The Farmville Dilemma is a probabilistic choice theory designed to model the current state human interaction with the world, but human interaction with the world being has become such a complicated problem that its motion is not just summed in a theoretical description of a game, but an actual game, played for fun, and designed for money, by people who are actually thinking this way, in a combination of not taking humanity seriously in a B.F. Skinner sort of way, and taking humanity so seriously that they are actually making money on simulated click-farming by creating bizarre pleasure-center-kicking alternate facsimile economies, and while we sit here talking about it its actually happening to millions of people, and no matter what we theoretically conclude, nothing will change that radical fact.

And this is basically what he is writing about. I really don’t know what to do about it in these terms, except cry, and go back to my click-farming, because I am the indentured servant of a Farmville plantation, and my thoughts are no longer my own property.

Oh… I’m not? I could have sworn… so is this the video game? Please–somebody tell me what is not real, so I can know when to relax.

There is a temptation when working with these games to fall into the trap and start optimizing towards a dehumanizing abstraction of people, one where indivuals are homogenous and fitted along a normal distribution. The temptation is so strong because it actually works… until it doesn’t. For instance, to my eye the income ratios of stone and wood are skewed in Treetopia and this skew is intentional, but needs to be toned down a bit. If you made the wood price of quests a bit cheaper, you can calculate that the number of quests achievable per day increase by a certain amount and hypothesize that you’ll see higher engagement per session as people click through more quests, because players’ dopamine receptors are wired for it and the math works out. This was even more true back when fixed reward schedules were all you had to worry about, if you make the XP per dish X then the mean level gained per day will be Y, ect. Seductively deterministic, but play always intervenes. The most successful interactive properties took off because of the heterogenaity of uses that people found for them, there is no monolithic audience scaling from casual to hardcore, there are tribes of strategy, splinters of interface.

Social game developers run a risk – and this is more true the larger a company is – they run a risk of falling into the trap and optimizing their particular designs into perfect adaptation while neglecting the big demand inefficiency endemic to those designs. Just like free-to-play grew out of subscription MMOs neglecting the market demand for virtual goods bought as substitute for time spent, so too are social games neglecting market demand for social interactions. There is hubris of thinking of one’s customers as “users”, rather than players, that they are idiots wasting time and money because one can only masturbate to porn so many times in a day, this is the same kind of mentality that day traders get when they double their account through 10 good trades in a row just buying high Beta stocks and selling them at the end of the day; such conditions can only persist until they don’t and when they stop the dip-buyers give back all those gains. Same deal in this market. There’s no sustainable business in not respecting one’s customers and mistaking an early ease of distribution for a blank check. Ultimately, we must create value.

Remember: this is all about video games. Isn’t it?

You should look for more of his writing, here.

Posted: June 24th, 2010
Categories: Emissions
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

I think mainstream culture has…

I think mainstream culture has “turned on, tuned in, and dropped out” to you and me.

Posted: June 24th, 2010
Categories: 140C
Tags:
Comments: No Comments.

CPSC Micro-fiction #12

CPSC Notices 6/24/10 (Stitched together from all seven notices pertaining to the companies)

Seven Manufacturers Announce Recalls to Repair Cribs to Address Entrapment, Suffocation and Fall Hazards – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), with the cooperation of seven firms, is announcing voluntary recalls of more than two million cribs to address drop-side hazards and other hazards that affect the safety of young children. The recalling firms are providing consumers with free repair kits to immobilize the drop sides or other remedies. Do not attempt to fix these cribs with homemade remedies.

The cribs’ drop sides can malfunction, detach or otherwise fail, causing part of the drop side to fall out of position, creating a space into which an infant or toddler can roll and become wedged or entrapped, which can lead to strangulation or suffocation. A child can also fall out of the crib. Drop-side incidents can also occur due to incorrect assembly and with age-related wear and tear.

Simmons Juvenile Products – CPSC has received 30 reports of drop sides that have malfunctioned or detached. Two children became entrapped between the drop side and the crib mattress but were freed without injury. Two other children fell out of their cribs when the drop side malfunctioned and one child sustained scratches due to the fall.

Million Dollar Baby – CPSC and Million Dollar Baby have received 43 reports of drop side failures. There were eight reports of children being entrapped between the mattress and drop side resulting in three reports of bruises to the head or upper body. Additionally, three children fell out of the crib when the drop side failed but they were not injured.

LaJobi – CPSC and LaJobi have received 40 reports of drop sides that detached or malfunctioned. In one incident, a child fell out of the crib when the drop side detached and sustained a bruise.

Jardine – CPSC and Jardine have received 47 reports of drop sides that detached or malfunctioned. In one of these incidents, a child was found unconscious after becoming entrapped and was hospitalized. Nine other reports involving entrapments or fallouts resulted in scratches and bruises, including one child who sustained a broken collarbone.

Evenflo – CPSC and Evenflo have received 31 reports of drop sides that malfunctioned or detached. One involved the entrapment of a seven month old boy between the drop side and the crib mattress. He sustained bumps and bruises to his head. Nine children fell out of the crib when the drop side detached, unlocked or fell off. Seven of those children sustained minor injuries, including bumps, bruises and cuts. Fourteen other incidents involved no injuries. In addition, CPSC has received two reports of children who became entrapped when the mattress support detached in one corner of cribs manufactured between 2000 and 2004.

Delta – CPSC and Delta have received 57 reports involving drop sides that have malfunctioned or detached, resulting in three entrapments, including two reports of bruises and one child who fell out of the crib. Additionally, CPSC is aware of 19 reports in which stabilizer bars were installed upside-down, resulting in 10 mattress platform collapses. Two children were entrapped but freed without injury and one child sustained scratches.

Childcraft – CPSC has received seven reports of the drop side failing. In one of those reports, the child became entrapped in the gap created by the drop-side failure. In another incident, a child fell out of the crib and suffered bruises to his head when the drop side disengaged.

Microfiction 6/24/10

I put up another gate. It held, and I turned to the left, and then it fell, clattering down to the floor, bouncing back and forth on its corners. I put down the next one, and picked up what had fallen. I drove the anchors deeper, choosing fresh spots. It held. I waited a moment. Yes. I picked up, now, the next, and began to work. The corner came loose, and swung down, banging into my knee. Shock of pain vibrated and, I grabbed my kneecap, cursing, to make sure it was intact. I got the bolts in place. Turned left again, and picked up the next. On a hard spot, and I couldn’t get the anchors deep. I struggled, pushing my weight against the bolt, driving it deeper, swore, flailed, screamed with exertion. As I spasmed against wood and metal, I felt it slip into place, and I released my grasp. Too soon. I pressed on the far edge, and it pivoted toward the wall, ripping out the far anchor. It levered outward, my weight transformed into acceleration, and it slammed across the narrow space into the opposite gate, swinging, loose and dropped, which swung down and back to the last gate to the left of it, also knocking it loose. In frustration, Hanging loose on a single anchor, the last droppe to the ground, clattering on the rest.
I was a child. I couldn’t do this. I was no better than a helpless infant.

For information about this series, please see the introductory post.

Posted: June 24th, 2010
Categories: 250W, CPSC Micro-fiction
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

A spectrum-solution to a non-l…

A spectrum-solution to a non-light problem.

Posted: June 23rd, 2010
Categories: 140C
Tags:
Comments: No Comments.

More Witches

So I was musing to myself the other day, and by musing to myself, I mean writing on Twitter, which pretty much is myself:

“I wonder who, these days, is doing something interesting enough that in those days they would be put to death by the Inquisition.”

It seems like there is no cultural crime so great as to warrant death, in this day and age. Nothing for which the central cultural arbiter will condemn you, process you without trial, and kill you.

But I found one:

(12:15:11 PM) bradass87: hypothetical question: if you had free reign over
classified networks for long periods of time… say, 8-9 months… and you
saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public
domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC…
what would you do?
(12:16:38 PM) bradass87: or Guantanamo, Bagram, Bucca, Taji, VBC for that
matter…
(12:17:47 PM) bradass87: things that would have an impact on 6.7 billion
people
(12:21:24 PM) bradass87: say… a database of half a million events during
the iraq war… from 2004 to 2009… with reports, date time groups,
lat-lon locations, casualty figures… ? or 260,000 state department
cables from embassies and consulates all over the world, explaining how
the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal
perspective?

This comes from a chat log between Brad Manning and Adrian Lamo, the latter who allegedly informed on the former, for leaking classified government data to Wikileaks. Bradass87 is Manning, who is now reportedly jailed in Kuwait.

The guy isn’t a terrorist. He didn’t kill anyone; everyone was already killed, and he simply uploaded the proof to the Internet. Threat to national security, sure–but the whole point is that he realized that “national security” meant all of this exploitation, and wanted to rebel against this established order. The “law” of state secrecy, etc.

All of which, you probably have your own opinions about. And I’m not saying this guy is a saint or anything. Any more than Joan of Arc was a hero… but she was burned at the stake, just like witches, heretics, and scientists. Just like Manning most likely will be. For defying the natural law given to man’s most dominant order: the Church/State. For doing what they thought was right, even though the powers that be thought it wrong. The severity of which is a capital crime.

I read a great little story by Bruce Sterling this morning. Sterling one-ups most other SF by not just thinking about the same SF realm as everyone else and writing it down really pretty, but by really pushing the envelope. Taking some broken-down world apocalypse, and turning it over on its head by making the hero survivalists the bad guys. Maybe the bad guys. Or maybe just a personals ad.

They pretended that it was all about happiness and kindliness and free-spirited cooperation and gay rainbow banners and all that. It was really a system that was firmly based on “social capital.” Everything social was your only wealth. In a real “gift economy,” you were the gift. You were living by your karma. Instead of a good old hundred-dollar bill, you just had a virtual facebooky thing with your own smiling picture on it, and that picture meant “Please Invest in the Bank of Me!”

That was their New Deal. One big game of socially-approved activities. For instance: reading Henry David Thoreau. I did that. I kinda had to. I had this yellow, crumbly, prison edition of a public-domain version of Walden.

Man, I hated that Thoreau guy. I wanted to smack Mr. Nonviolent Moral Resistance right across his chops. I did learn something valuable from him, though. This communard Transcendental thing that had us by the neck? The homemade beans, the funky shacks, the passive-aggressive peacenik dropout thing? That was not something that had invaded America from Mars. That was part of us. It had been there all along. Their New Age spiritual practice was America’s dark freaky undercurrent. It was like witchcraft in the Catholic Church.

Now these organized network freaks had taken over the hurricane wreck of the church. They were sacrificing goats in there, and having group sex under their hammer and sickle while witches read Tarot cards to the beat of techno music.

There is always an underculture. And there’s always a majority culture. Even when an underculture becomes a majority, “the king is dead, long live the king.” There are some patterns to human society, and one of them is the dominance of the society by certain cultural tropes and mechanisms. Spiritual capital, economic capital, social capital. The gift is and was always us, because we’re the only one’s the gift means anything to.

The witches taking over the church… well, that makes a nice image. I think it cycles in and out. Romans, Catholics, Puritans, Deists, Neo-whatever. The diabolical regime of the bourgeois. The penis power inherent in large truck tires. There’s lots of witches, and they all like to burn each other, except when they exchange gifts, and team up to burn only a few other witches.

And so what is the critical commentary that BoingBoing had follow their sourced chat log?

The phrase around “as a boy” and the use of the verb “transition,” jumped out, and reading through again, dots seemed to connect: is Manning struggling with gender identity? If these chat logs really are authentic, and if Manning wasn’t punking Adrian Lamo, could Manning (“bradass87″) have meant,

“I can accept prison or the death sentence as punishment for leaking these documents, I just can’t accept the possibility of going through that before I’ve fully transitioned to being seen by others as female, which is how I already see myself.”

When I read the “somewhat less redacted” Lamo/Manning logs before publishing them on Boing Boing, I thought the use of the word “transition” meant transitioning from military to civilian life — nothing more. Manning said he was about to be discharged from the military. The “as a boy” line struck me as odd, but the notion that any of this had anything to do with transgenderism never entered my mind. But now, that passage suggested that the Boing Boing commenter and the person on Twitter might be on to something.

The phrases that seemed to support the commenters’ theory that Manning was pre-transition transgender were redacted from Boing Boing. A note that a redaction had taken place was added to the post.

[emphasis mine, because it is ridiculous.]

They redacted the unredacted part about a redacted sexuality, added a note about the redaction, and added a new post. Thanks a lot, coven of Internet freedom. Way to turn an issue back to sex. Transgender issues does seem to be a particular demon at BoingBoing, and by demon I don’t necessary mean something to be fought, but something that might be summoned up. To fight what? To fight for what? Who is the witch, and who’s doing the hunting? Who knows anymore.

It’s all a battle for freedom. Everyone is fighting for the same god, burning people at the stake and letting the fumes waft up to that god. Money, or credit, or cred switches hands. Revolutions, revolutions, revolutions. A body is only as good as what it can be cut up into.

But yeah, you know, it’s interesting. I think it’s interesting. Sometimes heretics come up with interesting theories. And there is a certain pathos in martyrdom. Especially when we are a species full of martyrs, dying to give a gift or so that others can receive. I mean, there better be pathos. Because what else is there?

Posted: June 23rd, 2010
Categories: Emissions
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Learning from A Pattern Language

[This was written in 1977. The article the authors quote (in the block quote) was written in 1971. The funny part is, they were thinking about PHYSICAL networks. They were actually thinking about a network of roads and paths leading to everyone's houses, upon which students could walk to and fro. As it turns out, Ethernet cable is the new asphalt.]

“Illich describes a style of learning that is quite the opposite from schools. It is geared especially to the rich opportunities for learning that are natural to every metropolitan area:

The alternative to social control through the schools is the voluntary participation in society through networks which provide access to all its resources for learning. In fact these networks now exist, but they are rarely used for educational purposes. The crisis of schooling, if it is to have any positive consequence, will inevitably lead to their incorporation into the educational process….
Schools are designed on the assumption that there is a secret to everything in life; that the quality of life depends on knowing that secret; that secrets can be known only in orderly successions; and that only teachers can properly reveal these secrets. An individual with a schooled mind conceives of the world as a pyramid of classified packages accessible only to those who carry the proper tags. New educational institutions would break apart this pyramid. Their purpose must be to facilitate access for the learner: to allow him to look into the windows of the control room or the parliament, if he cannot get in the door. Moreover, such new institutions should be channels to whic hthe learner would hae access without credentials or pedigree–public spaces in which peers and elders outside his immediate horizon now become available.

[...]

In short, the educational system so radically decentralized becomes congruent with the urban structure itself. People of all walkd of life come forth, and offer a class in the things they know and love: professionals and workgroups offer apprenticeships in their offices and workshops, old people offer to teach whatever their life work and interest has been, specialists offer tutoring in their special subjects. Living and learning are the same. It is not hard to imagine that eventually every third or fourth household with have at least one person in it who is offering a class or training of some kind.”

from A Pattern Language, 100-102

Posted: June 22nd, 2010
Categories: Feedback Loops
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Agon

[Thesis and anti-thesis being one of the older patterns we have. Note that the article mentions this term arising in comedy, not drama.]

“In Ancient Greek drama, particularly old comedy (fifth century B.C.), Agon refers to the formal convention according to which the struggle between the characters should be scripted in order to supply the basis of the action. Agon is a formal debate which takes place between the chief characters in a Greek play, protagonist and antagonist, usually with the chorus acting as judge. The character who speaks second always wins the agon, since the last word is always hers or his.”

via Wikipedia

Posted: June 22nd, 2010
Categories: Feedback Loops
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

It’s a good theory book when I…

It’s a good theory book when I can’t make any progress because I’m writing at least half as many sentences as I read.

Posted: June 22nd, 2010
Categories: 140C
Tags:
Comments: No Comments.

Because

“Diogenes, explaining why people give to beggars, but not to philosophers:

Because they think it possible that they themselves might become lame or blind, but they do not expect to turn out philosophers.”

via Vanishing Point, by David Markson, which has no Wikipedia entry.

[And a lot of other quotes I've been throwing around in the last week are from the same place.]

Posted: June 21st, 2010
Categories: Feedback Loops
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

“To write only according to th…

“To write only according to the rules laid down by previous classics signifies that one is not a master but a pupil.” -Prokofiev

Posted: June 21st, 2010
Categories: 140C
Tags:
Comments: No Comments.

I wonder who, these days, is d…

I wonder who, these days, is doing something interesting enough that in those days they would be put to death by the Inquisition.

Posted: June 21st, 2010
Categories: 140C
Tags:
Comments: No Comments.