ScrimismsPresently suffering a dearth of witticisms

October 2006

Links and Musings28 Oct 2006

It sounds like it is raining but it isn’t. Through my open window I can hear the leaves scraped along the asphalt by the wind and the sound is like the pouring rain. Fall is here.

“O Wind / If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

(On an unrelated note: here’s a neat radio show with Richard Dawkins and Penn Gillette).

Musings12 Oct 2006

Why must it be Web two-point-oh? Is the “-point-oh” really necessary? I thought Web 2.0 was a qualitative break from what came before. Using a real number implies that the change from the original web is incremental instead.

I guess Web 1.8 was when they removed the vowels (“flckr”) and Web 1.9 was when they took out the spaces and started turning nouns into verbs (YouTube).

“I’m going to go tube. Will you tube later?”

“The internet is a series of tubes!”

Maybe the old coot meant “tubes” as a verb. The internet is made up of a lot of people tubing, all at once. It makes so much sense.

Maybe I’m just sore that no one wants to buy anything I started in my garage for 1.6 billion dollars.

Musings12 Oct 2006

The above is the subject line of some spam I received this morning. Spam subject lines often give me a chuckle, but this one particularly caught my eye for its poetic pretensions.

The message body lives up to the subject line. It begins with “Calls on Sudan To Comply With UN Resolution 1706″, and then launches into a fairly standard “This stock is poised to explode! Buy Now!” sales-pitch, except the stock in question is for a company that uses its “proprietary Nano-Enhanced Mold and Fungus Inhibitor to control disease.” My head is spinning.

After the stock tip, the spam goes on a rambling analysis of the English football club. “His last act as a footballer was to shove his head into the chest of Marco Materazzi,Estimates of increased opium cultivation in 2006 highlight the challenge”, etc.

I know that this is all calculated to beat my spam filter: the stock pitch is actually a picture of some text, and the football stuff is probably a jumble of some newspaper’s online sports section, but I’m struck by the sheer strangeness of the juxtaposition here. It’s almost art.

Movies03 Oct 2006

I saw “An Inconvenient Truth” last night, and it left me feeling doubly depressed, first because we’re all doomed due to global warming, and secondly because I couldn’t help but imagine what the world might be like if Al Gore had been president of the United States for the past 6 years instead of Bush.

The movie is largely footage of Gore giving his “slide show” on Global Warming, with which he’s been touring the globe for the last few years (I find it difficult to imagine GWB preparing and giving a talk wherein he skillfully navigates scientific and moral arguments for something he’s passionate about). I won’t bother to take you through the argument here except to note that there’s a pretty tight correlation between the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and global temperature over the last 600 million years, and that carbon levels are currently higher now than they’ve ever been (and are climbing). He investigates several of the effects of this: from the melting polar ice cap (to the point where Polar Bears have been drowning) to increase in hurricanes and floods and droughts, to the possible breakup of western Antarctica that would cause global sea level to rise 20 feet and displace a few hundred million people.

My only real complaint was that after laying out the problem, his proposed solutions (walk more, use energy efficient appliances, etc) seem rather futile. Admittedly, he does note that to address this issue properly will require “political will”. He also takes issue with the common assertion that “We can have the economy or the environment, but not both”, which one often hears from those with a vested interest in staying rich.

Reminds me of the New Yorker cartoon in which a businessman addressing some corporate board-room says, “The bad news is, the world is about to end. The good news is, the period right before the end will contain huge profits!”.

See it if you get the chance. The showing I went to was sold out.