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    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Tweeting the Dialectic of Technological Determinism

    "Tweeting the Dialectic of Technological Determinism"
    by Ted Friedman / Georgia State University - Atlanta

    Excellent article about Iran and the so called Cyber Revolution.
    I don't necessarily agree with this point of view but the author is clearly pondering what I'm pondering.

    Saturday, June 27, 2009

    Patrick Vent's over President Obama

    Another Obama signing statement giving himself the right to ignore part of a law.

    Essentially, Bush (43) and Obama have both reclaimed the line item veto. Clinton briefly had this power from 1996-8 but the Supreme Court ruled the law as being unconstitutional and struck it down. Now both his successors have decided that the president can merely choose to ignore parts of laws they sign by stating that certain provisions would interfere with the powers of the executive.

    Well, that's not how it works, my friends. If a bill does that, then you don't sign it into law. You veto it and tell Congress to try again. If Congress overrides it you have the Justice Department bring suit against it and go through the courts. I understand Bush doing this, he was not a lawyer and he was someone who was easily manipulated by his royal court. But Obama, someone who A) taught constitutional law and B) criticized Bush for doing this very same thing, knows better but has decided to try this out and see if he gets much push-back. Which I'm sure he won't. The media's criticism of presidents revolves around whether or not he endangers capitalism, i.e. the entrenched system of wealth distribution that funnels money upwards from the poor to the middle class to the insanely rich, i.e. the very people who pay their exorbitant salaries. So they have no problem getting tough on Obama when it comes to "nationalizing" General Motors (which it did not do) or trying to pass any kind of health care reform that doesn't consist solely of providing massive subsidies for everyone to buy expensive private coverage. That makes the media pat itself on the back for grilling the president and living up to the legacy of Woodward and Bernstein, an ethic that even Woodward and Bernstein couldn't maintain. But stories about the Office of the President abusing power, stealing power for itself, torturing people for political ends, refusing to play straight with the electorate? Bo-ring! Where's the percentage? Their bosses don't really care what laws presidents break so long as they don't have their taxes raised. And both Bush's and Obama's people know this.

    Yes, yes, I know, Obama's very smart. And he probably knows things we don't know. And he's playing the long game. Biding his time. Waiting for the Republicans to trip up and drop from 25% approval down to 15%, or something, and then he can REALLY stand up and do the right thing. I'm not sure how much longer people will keep resorting to these excuses - and that's what they are, excuses. And I don't know what to make of a president who can't roll over the GOP in their current dessicated state. I can only conclude that he doesn't intend to. He's an adjuster, not a reformer. Even health care, I suspect, is going to end up being nothing but a big giveaway to the HMOs without any real guarantees that people can't be dropped whenever they actually get sick. And Obama will give his usual line about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, and no one will dare to tell him that sometimes the good just isn't good enough.

    Sorry, but I'm more and more disappointed with our president lately. Being "better than Bush" is not a high enough bar, for Christ's sake. Khrushchev was not a great statesman simply because he didn't kill twenty million of his own people like the last guy did. A leader must be judged by his own actions, and we can't keep giving Obama a pass just because he isn't George W. Bush. Just my opinion.


    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Tipping Point?

    Excellent Article by Wilson da Silva in Cosmos


    As an outsider I have watched in horror as the outrages of the fascist, theocratic, dictatorship in Iran have escalated. I am always resistant to advocate the use of force in political matters. I have tried to favor peaceful change through passive resistance. If, however, even a small part of the reports now coming out of that country are accurate; I don’t think that peaceful protest is still a viable option. The brutality of this corrupt regime has become unspeakable. It shows, more clearly than even their most zealous and verbose detractors could ever hope to, the depths of depravity the former leaders of that country have sunk to. I say “former leaders” because no matter what happens from here they no longer represent the people of Iran. These are your own people you are attacking!
    Needless to say this is no longer merely about an election, or votes, or anything of the sort. By resorting to this kind of viciousness the situation has escalated into a full scale revolt. By letting their fear drive them, the former leaders have done what their enemies could not and turned the people of their own country against them. Like men, no country is an island. These crimes will long weigh on the minds of your neighbors and indeed the rest of the planet.
    This is not the first time this has happened nor, I fear, will it be the last. What is also important here is the speed with which it all happened. The technology that facilitated this rapid change is more ubiquitous everyday. Imagine if North Korea allowed unrestricted internet access and Twittering.
    Even as President Obama has maintained a hands-off approach from the US government (a decision I support by the way) the people of the US and the rest of the world have reached out and embraced the protesting Iranians. Their peaceful and reasonable demonstrations and cries for Democracy and Freedom reach us and we are with them. Not merely months or years after the fact, but in the moment. We hear their voices and we raise ours in support of them.
    This will be even more and more the case as we move forward and these technologies expand and are refined. As more and more people around the world attain the ability to speak to each other directly the age of repressive dictatorships is gradually ending. As I watch the continuing events in Iran, I say, good riddance.

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    I am REALLY sorry about last night.

    Well folks, things got a bit out hand for me yesterday. There was too much drinking, and then some more drinking, and then it all caught up to me. I remember telling some age inappropriate stories and jokes, and offending some some people I haven't seen in a long time, and I feel really terrible about it. Later it got so bad my wife and friends had to call 911. I remember some EMT's and then waking up in the hospital. My sister Denise, who is a nurse, was working at the time and her and Gina looked after me.
    Later Denise drove us home, thanks again for that.
    This morning I am, of course, dealing with the aftermath of my own stupidity.
    I am, as I say, home from the hospital, and I feel as well as can be expected and better than I deserve.
    I want to sincerely thank and apologize again to everyone involved especially Gina.
    There are no words I can use to express the depth of my shame.
    I hope that at least some of you will find it in your hearts to forgive me for getting so carried away and acting so stupidly.

    Monday, June 15, 2009


    Twitter is going wild today as it has become the primary source of information on the demonstrations and riots in Iran. This ties into something I was trying to explain to my friends a few weeks ago. The rapid advances in technology and communications are becoming tools for change, almost in real time. The days of a repressive state locking down the coverage so no one can see what they are doing to repress the people internally are almost at an end. Twitter was, almost certainly, never meant to be used this way but here we are watching what the authorities in Iran clearly do not want us to see. How long can these regimes retain power when the people of their countries and their neighbors stand together and say "ENOUGH!" remains to be seen. However, I believe it will be less time than it would have been with the technology of even ten years ago.
    Power, and Freedom, to the People.

    "Revelations" in the news again

    The LA times has the article "Hollywood hits the stop button on high-profile Web video efforts" which mentions Shane, "Star Wars: Revelations" (see the link to the 47 minute movie, starring Gina and featuring me, on this page.) and "Trenches". It's an interesting article but I think it misses some key points. For instance it doesn't talk about The Onion and it's video offerings. This is an example of an existing product using webisodes to enhance their offerings.
    The fact that the television model doesn't work on the web doesn't surprise me. Let's be honest, it never really worked all that well for television. Their overall point though is well taken, when almost anyone can produce their own content and distribute it for free, we need a completely new business model.
    It' nice that their still talking about "Revelations" though.
    Shane is quoted at the beginning and end of the Article.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009


    Hot Damn! I'm glad to hear this.
    As Bender would no doubt say: "Compare your lives to mine, then kill yourselves!"

    Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    60 Marvelous Superhero Wallpapers
    Something for almost everyone!
    Thanks to 9swords on Twitter for linking this one.

    The Bunker Hill Bogs Wildlife Recreation Area

    The Bunker Hill Bogs Wildlife Recreation Area

    Ummm, yeah, . . naming stuff is not our strong suit around here.
    Still though, the park itself sounds nice. I haven't been on a hike in too long and I'm sure this is an easy walk.

    Starship design in the NEW timeline.

    Check this out.
    A 360 panorama of the Bridge fro the new Movie.

    A couple of notes:
    I'll never understand why designers love to put those needless ankle breaking steps all over the floor.
    The disco floor lighting under the Captain's chair is just plain dopey looking.
    The Captain's chair itself is, well, why don't I just skip that one.
    The very nice indirect ceiling light is wasted by the needless and ubiquitous spot lights all over the place. Also if you were trying to work at any of the wall side stations those lights would be right in your eyes.
    Lights mounted in bulkheads and support beams are a major mistake but you'll find them in all kinds of movie sets.
    The Chairs are clearly a nod to the original series but not something you would ever actually see or use on a Starship. Here is an area where they could have improved on the original and didn't.
    The transparent panels would be a lot cooler if they moved in some kind of track but they don't, they're fixed. Still I like the idea of being able to display all that information.
    I could go on and on, (You have no idea, really!) but overall, I think it looks like it was designed by a lighting technician. It's a mishmash of different Star Trek series and movie set elements just thrown together and over lit.

    "So much style without substance
    So much stuff without style"
    - Peart

    Friday, June 5, 2009

    Trailer for "The Answer Man" with Gina
    You can clearly see Gina twice in this trailer.
    This movie stars Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham and it keeps changing it's name from "The Answer Man" to "Arlen Faber" and back again. We're hoping that you will really be able to see Gina do some real acting in this one. Seeing her in the trailer is a good sign.

    Brooke Elizabeth Collins

    Born: June 4, 2009, 9:07pm
    Weight :7 pounds, 4 ounces
    In: Community Medical Center, Toms River NJ

    Marcia and Brooke are both doing well!

    Welcome to planet Earth!

    Thursday, June 4, 2009

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    Cybersecurity vs. Human Extinction

    Interesting article on the Daily Kos (of all places) here.

    What's interesting about this article is some of the timelines they suggest and the concepts it practically takes for granted. Also I notice that nanotechnology is not mentioned. It seems like the closer we get to this Singularity thing the harder it is to get your heads around everything that it implies. This article seems to take a raw power approach to advancing technology. For all of that the timelines it suggest are still staggering.