Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sam (For Liz): Video

For giggles and an experiment, I made this video of pix and music. It's a lovely thing at full size but that is around 22mb, so this reduced version is on the web.

Sam (for Liz)

The music has been up at my web site for awhile. The pix are gathered off of download sites. Many thanks to the people who provided those.

I miss her too.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Sociopaths in The White House

The paper cited below is about the sociobiology of sociopaths and their social strategies. The media talks about culture wars. This isn't that. My theory is this: the Republican leadership at this time is made up of sociopaths, and given their prominence, they created an environment that made it attractive to the sociopath in each of us.

A sociopath is typically created by early childhood experiences plus genetic disposition in the case of primary sociopathy. The emergence of that personality feature is frequency dependent particularly in secondary sociopaths.

As Linda Mealy puts it, the sociopath becomes "apparent at a time when immediate environmental circumstances make an antisocial strategy more profitable than a prosocial one." and that is exactly what the strategies of the Republican and evangelical right have done: made cheating advantageous. Karl Rove is the exemplar.

What is fascinating about the sociopaths in charge at this time is how much emphasis they place on morality while pursuing immoral ends. That is almost the clinical definition of sociopathy at the extremes. America saw this once before during the administration of Nixon and Agnew.

I've been explaining this to my son who wants to know why things are as dark as they are and why we are seeing a sudden upsurge in student violence here in the South where the solid base of support for the Republican agenda is. I am noting smaller examples of it in behavior of some who now confronted with the evidence of the sociopathy of the administration are in deep denial and actively hostile toward anyone who was not historically supporting the hard line conservative position.

But the damage and concern are much greater and more insidious than what we do to ourselves. In effect, unless the moderates of both parties pull toward the center, we are poisoning our children for at least a decade much as we were poisoned in the late Sixties and early Seventies. The impact on our lives varied by environment (parents and other social advantages/disadvantages) but they are there.

We've seen this movie before. It is long, fatiguing and ends with the sound of children screaming followed by a terrible silence.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

XML: When We Wuz Fab

Innovation is when someone folds the universe, taking two distant points and connects them. Otherwise, it is incrementalism. The vision for innovation is most always outward seeking. That means someone knows just enough about something to try or say something they won't if they know too much. I'm writing a course on XML this week and had to get XML for Idiots to do it. It isn't that I don't know enough; it's that I know too much. Even then, I keep looking up pointsto be sure I'm right. So the chances that I will ever innovate on XML are pretty slim.

That's Ok. XML is mostly done and the undone parts are undone to keep us honest. Otherwise, we'd cheat and take LISP and a Volkswagen repair manual and come up with something really cool and totally obsolete. But reallllly efficient.

And that would die. Why? Too hard to innovate on that... and the heater wouldn't work. You have to leave something undone for the next guy. Otherwise, he won't take possession and get passionate about innovation. When something becomes plumbing, everyone thinks they can do it, and where's the fun in that?

When XML was SGML and not well-liked by the programming community, the documentation and hypertext communities that did like it conceived of many extraordinary uses for it. When SGML became XML and was well-liked by the programming community, most of those extraordinary uses dwindled as the programming community was as it always is, absorbed in the minutiae of tools and syntaxes, content to treat it as bits on the wire, not as a fertile ground for extraordinary uses. Thus to the world at large, XML became plumbing, a dull subject and mostly one that is well understood.

I cannot conceive of a commercial like the one for faucets where an attractive venture capitalist is shown a software firm. She places a chunk of XML down on the table in front of a CTO and asks, "Can you design a business around this?"

But I think perhaps someone will. I want to work for that guy or live with that girl.

The Rules of Sex For Men

So many serious subjects; so little bloggin' time.

Tonight, the rules of sex for men.

Not wanting to blog about topics I have no expertise in, these are the rules for Hetero-mutual sex for men. Women may have rules but they don't tell. That may be a rule. Men need help.

Not the how; there are no rules for how. That is a topic for scrupulous study and experimentation, so take it to the lab and make careful observations. Watch some films. Or do both at the same time. It's all ok as long as it's mutual. Oh... and ask questions when in doubt... laughter is not no. No is no.

Anyway, the rules:

Rule #1: Everybody gets their cookie. Otherwise, it ain't mutual.

Rule #2: Women come first. Otherwise, given nature's machinery, men break rule #1.

There may be other rules, but those will get ya by until she tells you what they are. She can break the rules. Men... don't. Rule number one is there to make sure you get enough chances to master rule number two in case you break it.

That's all. That's enough rules for a lifetime for men. We are simple creatures and too many rules will make us forget rule number one.

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