MonthMarch 2004

Welcome the guest bloggers

Well, I’m out of here in the morning. I’ll probably still be blogging at Klintron’s Brain.

The migration is in process, I have no idea what sort of odd behavior it may cause. I’m sure problems will arise, and I will try to fix them as they come up. The dot-com URL should continue to be reliable.

And most importantly, I’d like to welcome Michael and Wes to the mic.

Olympia, WA March 30, 2004

Tate’s first ascii video

Tate’s put up an ASCII video. I watched it on my PC the other day, and indeed it didn’t look so good. Watched it on a Mac this morning, and it was pretty cool. It was still a bunch of abstract blobs, but definently much cooler looking.

The rise and fall of 21st century jobs

Interesting article from Personnel Zone about growth of certain jobs. But how plausible is this?:

In 2002 Easy Jet advertised in the national press for a new position as “Head of Fun”. Whilst people naturally smile at such a job, the underlying logic behind such roles is simple and compelling, aiming to boost the productivity of the workforce and reduce the costs of high staff turnover. Fun workers will not be employed to turn the office into a party venue. Instead, they will focus on how to make work more enjoyable and as a result more productive. Clearly many aspects of many jobs can be unpleasant and that is just the way work is, but fun workers will be let loose to discover ways of improving these tasks. More generally, fun workers will aim to identify interesting ways of making all aspects of our working lives more enjoyable, whilst at the same time improving the bottom-line performance of the organisation.

Via Fast Company

Letters from London: New Fidelities

Via City of Sound, Things Magazine editor Jonathan Bell talks about getting old

So while the city changes, we become more set in our ways, despite our protests to the contrary. London is constantly tearing itself apart with a capacity for reinvention that any musician would envy. Dumpsters – which we more elegantly know as “skips” – line the streets, bearing the trash of an endless cycle of commercial fit-outs. Plasterboard and outdated bathroom suites sit on street corners as new homeowners make their mark on the steep climb up the capital’s property ladder, a subject of constant fascination for anyone in their late 20s onwards.

Question authority says who?

This is a post in reference to this post and this article.

Although Vice has come out and said that the “hipster conservative movement” was a hoax, there are plenty of other examples of this trend. For instance, look at the Suicide Girls blog.

I went to Evergreen State College, one of the most left-wing schools in the nation, and also incidentally, the highest rated school in the Hipster Handbook. Before I went there, I spent 5 years living in Wyoming, one of the most conservative states in the nation. I was right out of high school and full of rebellion. Naturally, living in Wyoming I took on a left-anarchist way of thinking. But when I got out to Evergreen, and was surrounded by liberals, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of these people were un-thinking liberals in the same way I’d been exposed to so many unthinking right-wingers. So I began to lean more to the right, though I tended more to the libertarian right than the neo-conservative right.

But eventually, with enough reading and enough travel back and forth between Olympia and Wyoming, settled into a progressive/social democratic way of thinking. And while I’m constantly interested in challenging my own views and thinking about different approaches to achieving liberal political goals, I definitely identify as liberal.

Anyway, in my last year at Evergreen I definitely noticed some of the younger students falling into the same way of thinking I did when I first came out there: feeling that there was a lot of intellectually lazy leftists out there, and sort of rebelling against the same tendency. In McInnes’s essay he says:

More than ever, there were young people responding with favor to a predominantly right-wing discussion. . . These were a new group of kids sick of how “intellectually lazy” (to quote the Hipublicans) the Left had become. They weren’t necessarily for invading Iraq. They just wanted to discuss the pros and cons in a rational and calm forum, without the liberal hyperbole of their peers. I felt like Dr. Frankenstein: “It’s alive! IT’S ALIVE!”

Now McInnes is claiming all this to be a hoax, but it wouldn’t surprise me much to see a large conservative movement within the youth culture, especially in areas like New York City and the Bay Area where progressive ideology reigns supreme. And I’ve thought for a while that right-wing libertarianism would become the dominate youth-culture politics. Essentially it’s an anti-authoritarian political philosophy that still let’s kids consume all they want and not feel bad about it. It’s the market at work, right?

Of course I don’t believe that libertarianism is about shunning responsibility. Quite the opposite. But it could very easily be interpreted that way, and it could very easily be used as an excuse by the young as a means to justify their every materialistic whim. And another disclaimer: I don’t think that there’s any reason why we should expect rebellious youth to become liberals instead of libertarians in the first place. I don’t mean to suggest that everyone one thinks things through will end up being a social democrat or anything.

(more coming sometime about the racism aspect of all this)

NASA hears words not yet spoken

NASA has developed a computer program that comes close to reading thoughts not yet spoken, by analyzing nerve commands to the throat.


(via DPH)

Pentagon Bankrolls Swedish Stem Cell Study

The Pentagon has granted $240,000 to a Swedish team for embryonic stem-cell research linked to Parkinson’s disease, the researchers said on Wednesday, despite U.S. government limits on stem-cell research.

ABC News:

(via Hit and Run)

What are blogs good for?

tobias has a great post up about blogging. I don’t take issue with the thesis of the post, but there’s something there that I’ve been thinking about:

Blogs tend to not express or reflect on political action, taken or organised by the blogger; rather, the act of writing the blog is considered to be political and active in itself. Blogs are not reports. This is not a new position–it is the turf of the political writer (Voltaire, Rousseau, etc.).

This does indeed seem to be the position taken by many, probably most, political bloggers. However, I doubt that blogging is a particularly effective political act.

What has changed since the times of pamphlets is not just the speed of publication, but also the amount of information. I don’t really see the web as a very effective tool for propaganda and persuasion, except for perhaps the very most popular of web sites.

I don’t think indy Media or American Samizdat are going to win a lot of people over to progressive causes. Nor do I think Little Green Footballs is going to lure a lot of people over to neo-conservative views. But, what American Samizdat can do is serve as a medium for communication between “the converted.” It’s a great place to share information. The blogosphere in general serves as a way to share ideas and discuss them, but is limited to a fairly small audience. The real work of activism must come from other activities, and blogging is not an effective political act, and shouldn’t kid ourselves about it. That doesn’t make it any less worthwhile.

Did the Dean blog or Meetup really serve as ways to recruit new people to the Dean campaign? Maybe a few, but I think the real recruitment happened in the streets and in the big media. What meetup and the blogs did was organize, solidify, and inform the group. That is what blogs and the web in general are good for.

Christiania can stay, but must pay rent

Looks like the Danish government has reached a compromise, but it’s probably not the one Christiania’s citizens want:

In 1987, Christiania was recognized as a “social experiment” and residents were later given the right to use the land, but not own it. The government plan eliminates the agreement.

By Jan. 1, 2005, residents must make agreements with the state to rent the areas they use. Adults now pay a fixed monthly fee of the equivalent of $266 to the community for electricity, water and other services.

Two-thirds of Christiania’s residents live on social welfare or have no official income.

Full Story: The Guardian: Copenhagen’s Hippie Enclave May Remain.

Sarah Trigg


Art and info at Metropolis Magazine

More art

Via Angermann2

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