New Worlds Weam » 2007 » April
 
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How can you not like this president…

Senrab, 2007/04/25 

He's so playful…

He so, well, rhythmic…

He's so…. presidential!!!

What I’m reading

Max, 2007/04/23 

Too many things, as usual. I read the first entry in Kim Stanley Robinson's global warming trilogy, 40 Signs of Rain, but will wait for Byronius to lend me the second book to keep going on that one. I'm stretching it out to savor the pleasure. I also started into Stinger by Diana Chambers, a local author for whom Sofia has done some graphic design work. It's the first of two related spy novels about the Russo-Afghan war.

I might have stuck with that one but for a conversation that came up at Begemotya's place the other night. A distinguished guest from St. Petersburg was in town, an eminent Russian computer scientist named Alexander something. 'Sasha' mentioned a story of how an old friend who was down on his luck and nearly destitute had occasion to give him a present and produced a copy of a book by Lewis Thomas called The Lives of a Cell. He said that this became one of his most loved possessions and he's re-read it several times over the years. By amazing coincidence, this very book recently came into my possession through my acquaintance with Robert and Magdalena Palmer, our dear friends in Moss Beach. I immediately set Stinger aside and started into The Lives. It's awesome! I will be describing it- and quoting from it- in upcoming posts.

If anyone is still out there after the NW doldrums of late… pitch in with what your eyes have been scanning…

Pot cures cancer

Max, 2007/04/18 

Says so here.

That's my interpretation and I'm sticking to it. Pass the bong.

Update: 

Of course, never having touched the stuff myself I have no real acquaintance with the cannabis culture, so I simulated some familiarity with the street lingo by choosing a word from the helpful glossary below:

* Bong – device used for smoking Marijuana, sometimes called a waterpipe 
* Dry-mouth – When the inside of your mouth has no moisture after smoking marijuana, also sometimes called cotton-mouth   
* Gear – The stash of marijuana you are using. Also called cannabis, blaze, green, Greenwich, skunk, weed, pot…
* High – The effects felt after smoking marijuana. Also known as being stoned, mashed, lean…
* Joint – Tobacco rolled with marijuana. Also known as a spliff, zut, jay.
* Kingers – King Sized rizla
* Marijuana – "Marijuana" refers to the dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant, which contain the non-narcotic chemical THC at various potencies. It is smoked or eaten to produce the feeling of being "high." The different strains of this herb produce different sensual effects, ranging from sedative to stimulant
* Munchies – A slang term for food eaten when stoned. Usually crisps, chocolate and sweets.
* The Munchies – The feeling that you want something to eat when stoned.
* Rizla – Brand of rolling papers commonly used in the UK for rolling joints.
* Roach – Piece of card rolled into a spiral shape to be used a filter of sorts, placed in the smoking end of a joint.
* Skinning up – The act of rolling a joint.
* Solid – A form of marijuana combined with resin. Usually of poorer quality than green. Often called puff, hash, block, solid.
* Toke – A puff or singular drag of the joint itself.
* Toploading – Packing the end of the joint with more marijuana than usual.

Source: wacko leftist hippy blog DailyKos of course 

Follow the money…

Senrab, 2007/04/16 

…Its fairly easy and mighty interesting too with this spiffy graphic at the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/ref/us/politics/2008_EG_FINANCES.html

I found it particularly interesting how much of Obama's millions came from contributions under $500.  This seems to signal much stronger grass roots support than any of the other candidates.

At first I couldn't figure out why Romney had such a strong pull in Oregon.  Then it hit me!

Top 10 U.S. States with Most Latter-day Saints, 1990

(source: http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_lds.html)

Utah 2,924 1,236,242 71.76%
California 1,323 533,741 1.79
Idaho 662 268,060 26.63
Arizona 469 199,761 5.45
Washington 371 150,634 3.10
Texas 329 111,276 0.66
Oregon 228 89,601 3.15
Nevada 198 89,033 7.41
Colorado 193 70,313 2.13
Florida 160 59,845 0.46

Secretary of the Nation

Max, 2007/04/13 

This was amazingly prescient:

Bush To Appoint Someone To Be In Charge Of Country

In response to increasing criticism of his handling of the war in Iraq and the disaster in the Gulf Coast, as well as other issues, such as Social Security reform, the national deficit, and rising gas prices, President Bush is expected to appoint someone to run the U.S. as soon as Friday.

This is dated October 12th 2005, a year and a half ago. How did they know that this would happen in real life?

3 Generals Spurn the Position of War 'Czar'

The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has had trouble finding anyone able and willing to take the job, according to people close to the situation.

I almost wish Charles was around to try to defend this. Cue Begemotya… 

Chip off the old block

Max, 2007/04/12 

Slickrock is an amazing dude. I’ve been trying to get him to post here for an eternity and he keeps promising he’ll do it, but I’m still waiting for that dark matter post. He’s a fanatic mountain biker. He’s the one I was following when I wiped out on Montara Mountain last summer (see “The Bike is Max”). One of Slick’s many fields of super expertise is the full suspension configuration known as the Horst Link after its founder- a guy named Horst apparently. He could do a pretty awesome post on that as well. His main thing, though, is a general all-encompassing mastery of computer geekdom. His only known post on New Worlds was a brief comment regarding his views on the early Macintosh- which he got characteristically fired up about.

Much as I could go on and on about Slickrock, this post isn’t about him. It’s about his son, Sirius. He called me this afternoon and we seemed to have a bit of a problem with the connection. No doubt realizing this, Sirius then left me a brief message. This wouldn’t be too unusual but for the fact that Sirius is all of 14 months old. Apparently he got a hold of his Dad’s cell phone and couldn’t stop himself from tinkering with it.

I can’t say I’m too surprised.

Changes

Max, 2007/04/09 

I started New Worlds about 14 months ago as an experiment. Primarily, I wanted an inducement to write regularly, and for whatever perverse reason I thought that making my confused ramblings public would help me to keep with it better than all of the failed attempts over the years to keep a private diary of some kind. Along with this decision came some other choices that would end up determining to a large degree the nature of the community of readers and contributors that might develop. Some of these choices were conscious, most were purposefully left unconscious. I thought it might be interesting to let the community define itself; to grow organically so to speak.

For a long time I found this process extremely gratifying and New Worlds did grow into a surprisingly vibrant community. I was tremendously pleased to make contact with several old friends and engage in dialogue that was enlightening, though often frustrating. Several new friends appeared as well, and provided insightful commentary and a fair amount of entertainment value. When I slumped in the writing output, I could count on others to jump in and keep the threads going. Byronius, in particular, deserves a callout for producing strong and steady- often brilliant- content through a few of these slumps.

Unfortunately, along with the decision to not decide a lot of things, I risked opening up the development of the site to certain problems. The biggest risk was, what if a user decides to come in and just be a general pain in the butt and cause a lot of the traffic to dry up? The first time it happened, I found it necessary to ban somebody for use of obscenities and ad hominem comments despite numerous warnings to cease and desist. This might have been the end of it, but the problem was that the user in question was a genuine old friend. I did value some of the things this person contributed and thought I could reform him. This user contacted me for months via personal email and was clearly reading the blog regularly in the interim. Eventually I gave him another chance on condition that there be no obscenity or ad hominem in his posts.

For a while it seemed to work. The user dropped his directly confrontational style for a while and made some decent contributions to the site (usually about music). Gradually, he reverted to form, though not in so overt a manner as to tempt me to ban him again. His new modus operandi was largely to overwhelm any and all ideas presented with counter-arguments seemingly designed purely to piss people off. I tried to ignore him, but there were certain developments that I couldn’t avoid noticing. Byronius disappeared, ostensibly to focus on taxes. Other traffic dropped off, and I found myself going into as prolonged a writing slump as ever. My favorite kind of writing has always been direct experience, and I didn’t feel much desire to share this only with someone who seemed predisposed to hostility. Eventually the blog became his own world and even I stopped wanting to visit.

I actually think he likes to get noticed and dissed publicly, so this post only plays into his hands if I make it about him. It should really be about how to get back to enjoying this thing and that means writing what I want to when I want to. Expect to see more, briefer posts about nothing in particular- ‘cause that’s what I do best.

Google offers free broadband

Max, 2007/04/01 

http://www.google.com/tisp/

Please take a look at the support forum if you have any questions about installation.

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