Thursday, April 29

RePet

[RePet]

Ah, it's great when sci-fi predicts. Although Genetic Savings & Clone's $50,000 price tag may be prohibitive to most, the cost will go down. And, soon, we'll see stores in malls.

What is progress?

Wednesday, April 28

Watched

[Watched]

[Heather Champ]

This image from Heather Champ reminded me of something, an image that I can't shake and I believe to be famous. I don't think it's a dream, but it might be. I could have just imagined it, or crafted it from a description in some book. Regardless, it's irking me that I can't place it. There's an image of a man wearing eyeglasses on a billboard, but only the swath between the nose and forehead is shown. He stares at us, watching, judging. It's indelible, as if I've seen it many times. GIS offers no assistance. I'm perturbed.

Tuesday, April 27

Inertia

[Inertia]

I've not been well. I've been sleeping so much. 12 hours last night. 14 hours Friday night. Long naps over the weekend.

I'm not getting anything accomplished: no cleaning, very little work, [obviously] no blogging, no reading. The only thing I've kept up with is my grooming — because, ya' know, it's not how you feel, it's how you look.

I'll post some of the more interesting things I've seen lately . . . . as soon as I get my brain back on.

Saturday, April 17

One Year

[One Year]

This blog has been running for a year as of today. As a summary of sorts, I'll note something that I've found curious along the way. The customized ads on the top of the page and the related searches links that are sometimes underneath them:From that list, one might infer that upon learning of Nina Simone's death, and fearing my own mortality, I began considering the level of hell to which I shall be assigned, and upon finding the answer, I started to diet and drink more, wanting to be thinner and more oblivious, which was working until the Cubs' eventual losses stopped me from sleeping and led me first to self-reflection and later to the seeking of bling, which proved unsatisfactory, causing me to turn to chocolate. Or, something like that.

Tuesday, April 13

Hi honey, I'm home

[Hi honey, I'm home]

Living alone, there is something I miss: I miss someone giving a fuck whether I made it home okay or am lying in a gutter somewhere being pieced over by urban vultures. How many days would it take for someone to take action? One? Two? Three over a weekend?

Monday, April 12

Echopraxia

[Echopraxia]
  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 23.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
M'kay . . . .
"It can only express the degree of radicalization."

— William Powell, The Anarchist Cookbook

Now, your turn.

[Via Jeremy]

Sunday, April 11

Que es ese ruidoso timbre?

[Que es ese ruidoso timbre?]

I went to a diner for breakfast this morning with J. There was this little flip card thingie on the table. As I flipped through it I noticed that although most things [specials for seniors, prices for side items and substitutions, warning from the department of public health about the consumption of undercooked foods of animal origin] were in English, two were in Spanish.

One of them was easy: "no toda la carne de vaca de angus es igual" was the Spanish version of a similar English page about Certified Angus Beef.

But, I had no idea what the other one was about. It had no English counterpart and I became really curious about it. The only words I could figure out at first glance were very basic or ones with similarites to English or French words — please, noise, safety, restaurant, health. So, I keyed it into my PDA. Then, this evening, I worked it out [with help from Google Translations, Dawg is Dead and Dreadstar].

The Original
Que es ese ruidoso timbre?

Por favor perdone nuestra campana! De un momento a otro usted podria escuchar un ruido duro molesto de un campana. Este no es un reloj, es una campana que recuerda cada hora a cada uno de loss empleados de Golden Nugget de lavarse las manos por l menos una vez cada hora.

Esta es una de nuestras reglas de entendimiento del programa de salubridad y seguridad de alimentos en nuestro restaurante. Ademas de cumplir todos los requerimentos del estado y locales, nosotros tenemos nuestro propio director de salubridad y seguridad de alimentos en nuestro restaurante. El conduce el entrenamiento, vigila y prueba la seguridad y salubridad de los alimentos en nuestro restaurante.

Nosotros le decimos esto en respuesta a todos las preguntas que hemos recibido referente al "ruidoso timbre".
The Translation
That it is that noisy clang?

Please pardon our bell! Once in a while, you will hear a hard bell clang. This is not a clock, is an hourly reminder to each of us to wash our hands at least once an hour.

This is one of our rules implementing the program for food safety and security in our restaurant. Also, to fulfill all the requirements of the state on the premises, we have our own director of food safety and security in our restaurant. He leads the training, he watches and he monitors the security of foods in our restaurant.

We say this (hypothetical) in response to all the questions that we have received referring to the "noisy clang".
I've been wondering why it's only in Spanish. Menus are offered in Spanish, but most of them are in English. Most of the signs in the restaurant are only in English. This was the only thing I noticed [granted, I wasn't looking that hard] that was only in Spanish.

Dawg's suggestion was:
Maybe because when you only speak Spanish, events like a bell going off in a restaurant can make you feel even more out of the loop than you did before.

We're used to walking around everywhere with a pretty good idea of what's going on.

Imagine you were in Japan and the sign was in English. The Japanese patrons probably wouldn't be too distressed because they can always ask if they need to. The Americans wouldn't know- they'd think it was a something they SHOULD understand and be on edge. It's a courtesy (I think) to people who don't need any more reason to feel out of the loop.
Hmmmmm. That does make some sense. Someone else suggested that perhaps only Spanish-speaking customers had asked, I find that a curious assumption even though I've never noticed any harsh clanging bell and I've been there for over an hour on numerous occasions.

It all makes me wonder what's on other signs in Spanish, Polish, Chinese, Russian [etc.] I've missed . . . .

Wednesday, April 7

Courting Pandora

[Courting Pandora]
The first adventurer was a nuisance. I am sure he acted against his mother's, his wife's, and the council of old men's strict orders when he did it; but it was he that found where the mammoths die and where after a thousand years of use there was still enough ivory to equip the entire tribe with weapons. Such is the ultimate outline of the adventurer; society's benefactor as well as pest.

— William Bolitho, Twelve Against the Gods
[as quoted in The Gripping Hand by Niven and Pournelle]

There are adventurers among us who are on the brink of creating artificial life.
"It's certainly true that we are tinkering with something very powerful here," said artificial-life researcher Steen Rasmussen of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. "But there's no difference between what we do here and what humans have always done when we invented fire, transistors and ways to split the atom. The more powerful technology you unleash, the more careful you have to be."

Kotulak notes more than 100 laboratories study processes involved in the creation of life, and scientists say for the first time that they have just about all the pieces they need to begin making inanimate chemicals come alive. "The ability to make new forms of life from scratch--molecular living systems from chemicals we get from a chemical supply store--is going to have a profound impact on society, much of it positive, but some of it potentially negative," said Mark Bedau, editor-in-chief of the Artificial Life Journal . . . .
Potentially negative indeed. I'm not implying that artificial life will infringe upon natural life like a genesis device run amok, but I am concerned that our ability to tinker may well dangerously ahead of our knowledge of what may happen. Even considering the leaps in DNA mapping over the past decade, we are only beginning to grasp the intricacies of genetic behavior.
In some sort of crude sense, which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.

— J. Robert Oppenheimer

As these scientists [and the ones working in nanotech — a topic for another day] once again court Pandora, we can only hope they remember . . . .

Thursday, April 1

Product Tour

[Product Tour]

Postings will be scant this weekend because I have visitors. Ms Rosie arrived from Hoboken this afternoon with her two boys [aged 9 months and 4 1/2 years — I'm shocked at how utterly adorable they both are, and at how they both look like their mama and papa yet look nothing alike].

The apartment tour took all of 2 minutes.

The kitchen tour [here's the coffee, here's the sugar, here's how to work the coffee maker] took an additional minute.

The bathroom tour [after the boys were asleep] featuring the plethora of lotions and powders and polishes and drops and towlettes and ungents and rinses and pastes and balms and creams and pomades and washes and conditioners and soaps and oils I keep, took 15. And those were just the general grooming products. We didn't even touch on makeup, exfoliation, depilation or nail care.

Granted, she is one of the few people I know who is truly interested in all of these products. And, she is one of the few people who love me not despite my being a product junkie, but, in part, because of it.