a kind of willful blindness to the future

Lacking anything intriguing in my pack to read and sadly mourning the recent (yet not at all sudden) death of my loyal iPod of nearly 5 1/2 years, I needed something to sooth my walk home (and distract myself from being irritated with the traffic), so I printed out a little document to read. Now, I’ve always been a fan of the concept of philosophy, and the years that I spent purchasing (and dare I say, nicely expanding) the Philosophy section at the old City of Books were quite enjoyable. But you know, I’ve never had much interest in actually reading any of it. Today though, while pondering the word crepuscular, I looked up Paul Virilio, who I knew little about aside from that he was someone whose books I needed to keep in stock, and I’d always thought that Crepuscular Dawn was one of the most intriguing book titles I had seen.

Anyway, I ended up printing out a short article called “The Coming Crisis in Real-Time Environments: A Dromological Analysis” (by Ronald E. Purser). I must say, I found it quite intriguing and I may need to pick up some Virilio soon. While my adult life I have always been firmly anti-television, and though I’d always thought that recreational use of the computer was equally unneeded, I’ve always felt that the computer was a still a better way of wasting ones time than watching the television (and I greatly appreciate Jerry Mander and his Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television for its clarity and sensibility in pointing out the psychological, cultural and sociological damages of the medium of television). With the expansion of the, um, “social” aspects of the Internet (especially in the hands of children), I have started thinking that maybe the computer has become a more harmful influence than I generally considered it.

This paper delves into the effects of what Virilio calls Dromospheric Pollution, which is bascially the sociological, psychological and ecological effect of people living in the instantaneous gratification of the virtual data world. He has the premise that people become cut off from spatial and geographical realities and begin to lose track of the unfolding of time as a past-present-future cycle and instead become focused on “abrupt and discontinuous irruptions of various intensities” and that Viriolio “claims that real-time technologies have an effect of narrowing our time sense, refocusing our attention exclusively on the present” and “screen or cut out concern for the past and future”. Some choice bits:

“Dromospheric pollution of our temporal economy is degrading our relationship with the natural and social environment and radically altering the tempo of lived experience”

“in what amounts to a fundamental con-fusion of natural, collective and technological horizons, Virilio posits that Dromospheric pollution, if left unabated and unregulated, will lead to a sharp loss of cultural memory and a degradation of collective imagination… A live (live-coverage) society that has no future and no past…”

“perhaps the greatest danger and threat to our temporal ecology is the erosion of human judgment”

Anyway, for someone like me who is always looking for weak spots in how we live, it was quite interesting and inspiring, even if its relevance is purely theoretical. And you can read the whole thing here The Coming Crisis in Real-Time Environments.

But all in all, what I am really shocked by is that the ‘Sox traded Manny! I mean what? Why? And why to an old New York team? Even the ‘Sox need to have players that the public gravitates towards, and Manny was the best.



bs strangeness and northwest underdwellers, be on the lookout!

Now, I don’t hear much general classic rock anymore. Due to the lack of a radio and the fact that KGON seems to play about 3 commercials for every song, I just don’t have the access that I used to. Funny though, last night “The Boss” was on 60 Minutes, then today I was at the Laurelthirst where they were playing The Boss. What makes it especially strange is that they followed up The Boss with a bunch of the other BS, Bob Seger (who I always liked better anyway). And then while walking home from there? A van stopped next to me… Also playing Bob Seger! Yes it is one of those days.

For another odd series of events, today I realized that the wondrous Thickets are, in fact, playing at the Lovecraft Film Festival this year! And you may say that this is a coincidence, but today I also found out about the plight of the Tree Octopus! Those are three tentacle related events in one day. A bit beyond the pale of mere coincidence… But read on… To ensure the waking of the great Cthulhu, we mere mortals must all strive to save his minions. As reported at zapatopi.net, The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus population has fallen to dangerously low levels! As Cthulhu has few land-based servants, these octopi must be saved!

Go to Save The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus to learn more! And get your ribbon!

 

Octopi

 



well, happy flu sounds a bit funny to me…

I know, I’ve been terribly negligent with blogging… And with movie watching. While I can throw out all of the standard excuses of: work, baby, taxes (yes, not quite finished yet)… I actually do have some stuff up my sleeves. In the meantime, there is always happy flu! I came across it on Duke Listens and, though I’m not really sure about it, and I had to do some click dragging to get anything to appear on my graphic, I figured, what the heck. If you’ve got a website, you should click the “spread it!” button below and add the Happy Flu to it!




with paranoia, you are never alone…

Following a chain of clicking from Brian Jepson’s Blog (I’m a sucker for anything that mentions mysterious tentacled creatures from the deep cold waters of Antarctica), I ended up at this MSNBC post, Doomsday fears spark lawsuit. Referring to a couple of folks in Hawaii who have filed a federal lawsuit against the Large Hadron Collider, because they fear that it may create black holes that might destroy the Earth! If you are keeping tabs on it, the LHC is an underground circular tunnel about 5 miles in diameter (or 27km circumference, if you prefer) whose stated purpose is: “LHC – the aim of the exercise: To smash protons moving at 99.999999% of the speed of light into each other and so recreate conditions a fraction of a second after the big bang. The LHC experiments try and work out what happened.”.

 

Large Hadron Collider

 

As loyal readers will remember, I made a post in February where I expressed similarly ridiculous fears. It’s nice to know that even if these fears are ungrounded, at least there are some people who have succeeded in bringing them to the forefront. If for no other reason then to attempt to get people to at least question the safety and ethics behind unbridled scientific research. With the advances over the last century or so in nuclear physics, biochemicals, miniaturization, genetics and especially cloning, we have hit a point where there is some research that shouldn’t be done, even if it can. Sometimes, this isn’t obvious until it is too late, as in Oppenheimer’s oft repeated quote that he is said to have made when he witnessed the first nuclear bomb explosion at Trinity: “I have become death; the destroyer of worlds.”.

This may not be an example of that, but, of course, the government is trying to get the case thrown out, seemingly before any of the scientific evidence is looked at, or at least that is what is implied here:

In 40 documents comprising hundreds of pages, attorneys and government officials contended that “scientifically, there is no basis for any conceivable threat” from black holes or the other theoretical horrors posed in the suit.

If the government has its way, the lawsuit would be thrown out on procedural grounds even before getting to the scientific arguments.

Of course, I realize how unbelievable these fears sounds (or downright silly), but as someone may have said at some point “I have witnessed too much to not believe the unbelievable”

And why was I even at Jepstone.net? Well our new future consideration is to look into relocating to Providence! One of our original ideas from when we first met and were still on opposite coasts, I also have a fondness for its HPL history, I like the size of the city and how you never hear about it and… Neither one of us has ever been there. Plus (and this is a big plus) house prices seem pretty darned low. So if anyone out there has any thoughts or knowledge regarding living in or moving to the Providence area, I would love to hear about it.



three, for the money

Yes, today marks three years of this blog. It has been quite enjoyable, not only the act of the blog itself, but spending more time than I normally would have thinking abut the 450 movie watchings that I have had in that time. Looking back at the early months, I would have liked to have put a bit more into them, as some of those movies have faded from my memory. But this has also led to three other blogs, none of which I put much time into, but still. And not just to be contrary to Paul, I think blogs are a good thing. Unlike bands, people should keep starting blogs, even if they don’t put enough time into them.

Also this week had the passing of good old Chuck Heston. While I realize that he was a conservative good old boy, I always appreciated the politically oriented science fiction roles that he took on in his 40’s: Planet of the Apes, The Omega man and Soylent Green. All were great and (relatively) meaningful films and, with the addition of the non-Heston films Logan’s Run and Rollerball, they certainly made the most socially meaningful years for Science Fiction films, if not for genre films altogether… And they were also just plain good entertainment! Though aside from those I’d kept pretty unaware of his later career years, aside from of course, his running the, ugh, NRA. But I felt bad for him when he appeared in Bowling for Colombine. I thought it showed something for him to go on a Michael Moore movie, knowing full well the reception that he may get and the slant that he would receive. So I thought it was quite unfair, irrelevant and uncalled for the manner in which Michael Moore treated him. Though everyone knows of Moore’s rather arrogant petulance, I still thought it was annoying and to me the whole scene cast Moore in a worse light than Heston. Especially that silly stunt with the photograph in Heston’s driveway.

Finally for today… Though the new year is well past us I felt the urge to look over the last year and compile, my Top Fourteen Movie Viewings of 2007:

    An Unreasonable Man
    The Apostle
    Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
    Citizen Kane
    Coup de Torchon
    Gangster No. 1
    The Host
    Hot Fuzz
    Idiocracy
    Kingdom of Heaven
    Peeping Tom
    Severance
    Solaris
    Tideland


full of zest, but no appeal

Well, maybe it doesn’t seem too impressive, but it makes sense… In a fashion. Yes, thanks to a blog which I’ve forgotten, I stumbled on the “What reading level is required to read your blog?” test…

 

blog readability test

 

Sure, we’re no geniuses like Blix, but than I didn’t need no silly online magic to know that…



I’m not sure what I told you, I’m only sure that it wasn’t true

What is that strange language of “distance support”? Sometimes it seems as if they don’t really pay much attention. This morning I woke up to a screen from my dsl box stating that my password and email do not match anything on record. Of course they do, as when I went to sleep they did. After some minor fussing, I rebooted the computer, reset the dsl box and went in via dial-up to the “set-up your dsl” page to ensure that all of the settings for the DSL were correct. After all of that failed, I logged into webmail and my account homepage to ensure that the credentials I was using were fine. Then I made the always lame mistake of going into a support chat session. I was wondering if there was an unreported outage or some kind of problem with my account.

Sometimes it seems like I’m talking to myself on a bad day when going through things like this. I basically stated what had transpired. They said they would walk me through resetting my password. I said that my password is just fine, as I have just logged into to the account portion of their website with it. They asked me to login into webmail to make sure, so I logged out of webmail and logged back in and all was fine. They then asked me what the status of lights on the dsl box was. I said that I had power, ethernet and dsl, but no internet light. They gave my a link to the “set-up your dsl” page. I said that I already went there all the settings were correct. They said good.

Then they asked what the status was of my “internet” light. I said that, as I had just said, it was off, that was the problem. They then said, “Well, your PPPoE isn’t setup, this page has the instructions on how to set you DSL modem.” and directed me to the “set-up your dsl” page. I said, yes, I had already done that.

Sadly, as I needed to go to work, I had to sign off. I assume that whatever the problem was will fix itself today, as these tend to anyway. But still, I didn’t want to leave the wife home sick with just measly dial-up.

Anyway, it’s 9:00, and I should clock-in and get to work… Luckily it’s “speaker Saturday” and not one of those “headphone weekdays” here…



my ten issues

I was over at Stupid Evil Bastard where I found him dissing on the anti-fluoride crowd. While I had to punch out a (not-too-brief, of course) comment to that, it also got me to thinking… What are my pet peeves with humanity. And could I come up with ten? Then, if I could, should I list them politely? Or not-politely? Anyway, as a last minute, late-night list, here they are in (approximate) order of precedence:

1)  Religion. No, I don’t mean “organized religion” or Christianity… I mean any kind of belief in: a supernatural world, a “creator”, life after death, reincarnation, omnipotent immortal beings, other planes of existence… Anything that ignores the reality of the physical universe or that insults or undermines the great (potential) powers and abilities of humanity. I don’t like it. I can’t stand it. Though I find it funny when used as a tool to control or profit off of naïve people… Go Trinity!

2) Violence and killing. By which I mean primarily war, but also any other stupid hostile antic that people do either for profit, glory, self-edification, or because they don’t know how to control their frustrations, from bar-fights to street gangs to organized armies. Of course, this also includes killing animals because you think that they taste better than things that don’t have to have their heads cut off and be bled dry (admittedly, this all relates back to my “insulting the potential of humanity” issue in problem 1. Well, I guess that all of these points do).

3) Non-personal pride: Nationalism, ethnic pride and stuff like that. The tiring debate between people on other sides of the hill saying “our side of the hill is better than yours, so we’re going to throw rocks at you” is very annoying, especially with how destructive modern violence has gotten.

4) Homogenization of business and culture. The lazy desire to have everything and to have it all the same everywhere you go (aka, the spread of Starbucks, and the demise of small-town businesses so that people can save some money on crap that they don’t need at Wal-mart).

5) Always kowtowing to the “official” line and then criticizing people who dare to question what those in power say. This goes along with letting the government and businesses engage in practices that are damaging to our people or environment and not at least questioning their motives. Especially relevant in the era of Bush Jr and his endless misleading of people, which seems to be eerily effective.

6) Official hypocrisy, by which I especially mean the American hypocrisy of “don’t question the government”, “the president is for jesus”, and all of that other crap that violates both the letter and the spirit of what the “founding fathers” put in place.

7) “Fashion”, fixation on entertainment celebrities, commercials and anything that makes pop culture the wasteland of irrelevant, irresponsible, mind-numbing, maturity-slowing crap that it is.

8) Unneeded movie remakes.

9) Racism, sexism, homophobia and anything that entails judging people on some made-up criteria that ignores who they actually are.

10) Homeless people who sit on the street all day (generally waiting for handouts that involve making them sit through christian sermons) and throw garbage down on the ground for others to pick up, when there are garbage cans just a few feet away that they could just put their crap in, if they had the respect for themselves and the society that they live off to actually stand up and utilize them.

As an added bonus, my remaining pet-peeve relates to so many issues above that I figured I’d just keep it separate. It is “colonialism” and “domination of already occupied territories”: Ireland, Tibet, Palestine, “Kurdistan”… I don’t understand the desire to go somewhere where people live and claim it as your own (well, I understand the motives behind Israel, but…). It leads me to understand why America was as thorough as it was in annihilating the native populations, because there isn’t really a large enough remaining native population to give the America’s back to, or to make a big enough stink about it. But it is a ridiculous and crazy idea, to go to someone else’s land and claim it as your own.



not quite what I was thinking…

Following Kurty’s lead, I took the “What Science Fiction writer are you?” test. Sadly, he scored a much cooler writer, and I got stuck with one that I don’t even care much for the writings of…

I am:

Frank Herbert

His style is often stilted, but he created what some consider the greatest SF novel of all time.


Which science fiction writer are you?


Honestly, it took me three tries to get past page 50 of Dune, and that was back when all I read was Sci-Fi. If only I had more Robert Silverberg in me…



in case anyone was wondering

For some strange reason (though probably my love of multiple choice tests…) I followed a link from from Tricia’s blog, to see “if I could pass 8th grade science”… Here are the results.

JustSayHi - Science Quiz

I guess I can’t be too excited as, what there was of a stint in college for me (my grade school and high schooling was all pass/no-pass), I came out with a c-average anyway…



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You scored as: atheism
You are... an atheist, though you probably already knew this. Also, you probably have several people praying daily for your soul.
Instead of simply being "nonreligious," atheists strongly believe in the lack of existence of a higher being, or God.
Vitruvian Man

Atheism
96%
Satanism
79%
Buddhism
63%
Paganism
50%
Islam
38%
Judaism
29%
Christianity
25%
Hinduism
21%
Agnosticism
0%

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