Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Get the Flock Outta Here!

Posting this using Flock's built-in blog editor. If this works like I want it to, I'll probably have a nerdgasm right here at work.

It's almost 3:30, and if I didn't know I should at least look like I'm doing work, I wouldn't even be trying right now. Flock is just that awesome.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Politics and the English Language

George Orwell possessed more insight than you or I are likely to encounter. Having reread parts of this article again today, I am reminded of why I hate politics so much.

Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
The way the English language is abused (for the record, I really struggled with the link placement on that one) sickens me, much like the way I do not think with fondness of my duty to vote for candidates from one of two stables: those whose primary concern is not to better society but to get my vote, and those who will never be elected. The connection between language abuse and politics is an important one, and more nauseating than either, when considered separately. Thanks for reminding me, George.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Again with the alcohol? Really?

I read this article yesterday, and the first post I wrote in response to it was considerably longer and less thoughtful than this one. I'm not going to post that one, because I cannot avoid the feeling that it would be useless. Plus, it was fueled more by an impassioned gut reaction than by reason. Let's try take 2.

Mr. Harsanyi doesn't like prohibition-style legislation or activism, and he's right. However, he fails to offer any solutions to the problem of drunk driving (it is a problem, isn't it, Dave?) that would be more reasonable than those currently advocated by MADD members and their ilk.

I guess part of me just doesn't get the point of writing this kind of article. Prohibition isn't a good idea, and most of us learned that in 7th grade. Why not an article the thrust of which is more like, "Prohibition is stupid, here's what we should do instead to curb drunk driving."

As it is, Mr. Harsanyi isn't barking up that particular tree, and the reader is left with the feeling that the entirety of the MADD organization has gone off the prohibitionist's deep end and we should all just leave the drinkers alone with their alcohol and the right to get smashed wherever they please.

Oh, see? There I go again. Sorry.

What I mean is, one gets the feeling from this article that preemptive measures are never a good idea, and since habitual drunk drivers are the real threat (which is only mostly true), all we can do is wait for the alcoholics to get drunk, drive, and be arrested several times before we can even identify who they are. I guess we'll all just have to keep our fingers crossed that none of those offenses involve the loss of human life.

Dang it, I did it again. Ok, back on the horse.

Personally, I'm solidly in favor of rehabilitative programs—reduce the number of alcoholics and you'll reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths—but I've always heard that you can't help an alcoholic who doesn't want to be helped, so I guess we might as well keep a clear path to the bar and wait for the drunks to see the light (or kill someone and be forced to attend a few AA meetings), right?

Crap. I guess this is why I should avoid this topic. Especially when I'm channeling my inner curmudgeon.

And while some of the above was unnecessary, here's the rub: if my neighbor can cling to his right to go get drunk and drive back to our apartment complex, which he does regularly, I believe I can reserve the right to be righteously indignant about it. Fair enough?

In the meantime, if you know someone who has a problem, stop letting it slide. You're not doing anyone a favor. (Oh, except there's the problem: we were all raised to keep our mouths shut if we don't have anything nice to say, and telling someone they're an alcoholic isn't very nice, is it?)

Ok, seriously, I'm done now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cluttr | 20 (Occasionally) Awesome Links

I was going to link to a whole bunch of awesome things I found & read this morning. However, I neglected to make a proper list of said things, so I will now go through my browser's history (just today, don't worry) and comment upon things randomly.

MySpace: I think I'm about done with this one. I mean, I'm not 13, and... well, that's about it. Oh, and does the site just look bad, or is that perception just a result of my not being 13? I'm not really sure.

Facebook: Transitioning with ease, I will only say that even given the fact that it's better than MySpace, I'm not sure how long this will last. Granted, Facebook affords me the belief (regardless of its veracity) that I can do the whole social networking thing and be an adult at the same time, but I don't think I'm the only one watching it become overrun by people turning each other into werewolves, ninja converts and the like. Plus, I cannot imagine ever using it for email (which, by the way, alerts me to anything that happens on Facebook–I sense a disconnect; am I alone?).

Here I will interject a thought I keep having, and have probably already had on this blog. The idea of social network platforms is just blueprints for chaos. I understand that people want to identify themselves with other people of like mind, I really do. My problem is that each new network just adds to the clutter (or is it cluttr? Ooh, I like that. I shall henceforth refer to all things that are redundant and generally not helpful in a big picture kind of way that are generally labeled "web 2.0" as "cluttr"). What the internet needs is something that allows people who are using different applications to connect with each other through those applications. I kind of like what the people at Flock are doing, but I think we're still a few cognitive steps away. We need someone to get us from aggregation to interconnectivity, or inter-interactivity.

Speaking of which, Flock is awesome. If I weren't at work, I'd probably already be playing with it.

I really couldn't stop with the Firefox extensions earlier. So far, there's BlogRovR, Twitterbar, and the Google Reader Watcher. All three have proven mighty amusing, and hopefully each will prove equally useful.

I'm still trying desperately to coordinate my Google Bookmarks with my bookmarks on Del.icio.us. Any and all tips are welcome.

I'm really not sure why people are so impressed by Achewood. It's funny at times, I suppose, but if my inability to laugh uncontrollably at something I don't understand makes me less, I don't know, less whatever, then so be it. You can give me xkcd, Dinosaur Comics, or Wondermark any day of the week.

If you want significantly less intelligent laughs, courtesy the mouse of a bored cubicle-dweller, this week's Flea Circus is up: No. 4.

I love baseball. Love it. And this is all totally true.

People like you and me simply are not this lucky.

Remember Pee-wee?

One final thought: I love America's Funniest Home Videos (or whatever it's called now), and mostly that's because it often involves people falling or otherwise doing things that probably end up hurting a great deal. Maybe that makes me a bad person, I don't know, but this video definitely scratches that particular itch:



[NOTE – this was my original list of labels for this post, a list which Blogger deemed too long: MySpace, Facebook, social networking, cluttr, Flock, BlogRovR, Twitterbar, Google Reader Watcher, Google Bookmarks, del.icio.us, Achewood, xkcd, Dinosaur Comics, Wondermark, Flea Circus, baseball, Pee-wee Herman, America's Funniest Home Videos, videos.]

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Oil & Hydrogen

The end of oil is upon us. Now, I'm no scientist, engineer, economist or politician. But even given the large number of ifs and other hurdles, I would love to believe the title of this related article is more likely than it is: How Hydrogen Can Save America.

And if you hadn't already noticed, I'm becoming a big fan of Wired. Just my kind of read (thanks, AC).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fuel for the approaching winter

...the utmost possible novelty would be the difference between me and myself a year ago. This alone encouraged me, and was my fuel for the approaching winter. That we may behold the panorama with this slight improvement or change, this is what we sustain life for with so much effort from year to year.
Thoreau, November 1, 1858