"Well-meaning intellectual movements, from communism to post-structuralism, have a poor history of absorbing inconvenient fact or challenges to fundamental precepts. We should not ignore or suppress good indicators on the environment, though they have become extremely rare now. It is tempting to the layman to embrace with enthusiasm the latest bleak scenario because it fits the darkness of our soul, the prevailing cultural pessimism. The imagination, as Wallace Stevens once said, is always at the end of an era. But we should be asking, or expecting others to ask, for the provenance of the data, the assumptions fed into the computer model, the response of the peer review community, and so on. Pessimism is intellectually delicious, even thrilling, but the matter before us is too serious for mere self-pleasuring. It would be self-defeating if the environmental movement degenerated into a religion of gloomy faith. (Faith, ungrounded certainty, is no virtue.)" - Ian McEwan
The missing sentences do not appear anywhere else in The Age's version of the essay. The attribution reads: "Copyright Ian McEwan 2008" and there is no acknowledgment of editing by The Age.
Why did the paper decide to offer its readers McEwan lite? Was he, I wonder, consulted on the matter? And isn't there a nice irony that The Age chose to delete the line about ideologues not being very good at "absorbing inconvenient fact"?
I knew that the "Biblebot" idea was too obvious not to have been implemented - there are multiple versions available. I also feel comforted in knowing I'm not alone in having to filter my own words about talking about controversial stuff.
#178890 +(11588)- [X] *** Now talking in #christian -Word_of_God- Welcome Abstruse to #christian I am a Bible Bot. For more info type: /msg Word_of_God !info Abstruse: !kjv numbers 22:21 Word_of_God: Numbers 22:21 -- And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. - (KJV) *** SageRider sets mode: +b *!*@c211-30-208-111.rivrw3.nsw.optusnet.com.au *** Word_of_God was kicked from #christian by SageRider (Please dont Swear) Abstruse: I know I'm never going to be able to come back in this channel again after this, but damn was it worth it to see that...
I wonder if anyone has built a koranbot, torahbot, and biblebot, and put them all in the same chat room with eliza....
I still haven't been able to figure out why the privacy, identity and vrm debates wander around such abstract terms and doesn't talk about two technologies of the 90s that I thought were promising if more widely deployed.
The first technology - ecash of various sorts - I am not going to go into today (as the answer is too large to fit into the margin of this blog)
The second technology - pgp - has thus far been uncracked (well, there was an issue once, long ago), is widely used (there is no good substitute for PGP/mime), fully standardized and interoperable, and works on personal data, email and various chat systems, on every platform known to man.
The infrastructure has existed for over a decade - gpg itself, key servers, and the graphical tools such as engimail for thunderbird, and seahorse are now straightforward to use, at least under Linux. Less straightforward under other OSes, but that's a solvable problem
As to why browsers don't support pgp based authentication (based on your signature and the keyserver infrastructure)... don't know. I would love to be enlightened.
(Browsers have extensive support for certificates, but the primary certificate authorities are charging 2600 dollars a pop for that string of numbers. Sounds like a great business to be in, but I think true security needs to come from the bottom up rather than the top down in many cases, which is what pgp derived system do.)
"Identity" and "verification of identity" have been solved from the bottom up, already, using pgp. It's astonishing to me how many times the concept of a "web of trust" has been reimplemented in (linkedin, myspace, facebook, amazon, etc) - without actually implementing any real, cryptographically secure trust between the participants. Each person is placed in a silo from which the trust does not escape, and the middleman holds the keys.
Wider use of pgp might be able to solve that.
As to solving the "I'm a real guy, with real money to spend" problem, presenting a signed key (signed by for example, your "buyers club" of individuals, which has a track record) on an anonymous email address, with your "personal rfp", would reveal the depth of your interest without revealing your actual identity.
Apple: Would you sleep with me for a million dollars a shot?
Music Industry: Um, yes.
Apple: Would you sleep with me for 30 cents a shot?
Music Industry: What kind of girl do you think I am?
Apple: We've already established that, now we are just negotiating the price.
That's inaccurate, though, the real story is closer to:
Apple: Would you have your artists sleep with me for a million dollars a shot?
Music Industry: Um, yes. Well, Madonna might cost more. Also, we just signed up this new kid, Kristin, and she might be difficult...
Apple: Would you have your artists sleep with me for 30 cents?
Music Industry: What kind of pimp do you think I am?
Apple: We've already established that, now we are just negotiating the price.
That negotiation, having gone well, has led to:
Apple: Can I have all your artists sleep with me all year for a 80 bucks an ipod?
Music Industry: Um, yes. Well, um, David Bowie's slept with everybody, you sure you want him?
Apple: Yea, definitely him. He's part of our "Screw Different" campaign. Would you have all your artists sleep with me for 20 dollars an ipod?
Music Industry: What kind of pimp do you think I am? I gotta make my Rolls payments!
Apple: We've already established that, now we are just negotiating the price.
This still doesn't quite capture it. Part of the analogy that I need to work through lies in the necrophilia involved - the industry represents all those living and dead with their enormous back catalog. There are far more dead than living at this point. I think there is a lot more margin for the music biz to shower the graves with silver than promote the living...
I've often thought that the current atrocity of copyright law existed not to protect new artists or markets, but to obsolete the old markets by taking old product off the market. Now, we're finally in the situation where the back catalog is always there (and paid for over a year), who is going to want new music, new books, etc? I haven't bought anything but old music for years, and I'm only about 1/7000th through the Gutenberg library on books, I read blogs and news and strip out the ads, and haven't bought anything other than food, housing and plane tickets in a year.
What's going to make you want new music? It doesn't mean I (or anyone serious) is going to hang up the guitar, but music making - like writing english, and for that matter code - are bad ways to make a living.
On a lighter note, I can't help but think about how adding a ball launcher like the one on the left would make endless kennels and SPCA zones happier places for dogs. And remember, on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog! I keep wondering if a dog would ever get tired of feeding a machine like this, if the Pavlovian reaction would finally exhaust itself.
I doubt it. But I'm not a dog... I tried to make a cat toy out of an irobot and a fishing rod once, but both the cats I tried it on were scared of it and stayed well away - and I hated the noise.
Multiple times in the last two months I've thought about going to Sri Lanka, just to get a few minutes with the last living author that heavily influenced my early youth. I waffled. Delayed. Felt like, no, knew I'd be imposing. And now I'm never going to have a chance to talk to him about what he thought of NEOs. Damn it.
Thanks for your optimism all these years, Arthur. I had great difficulty with your retreat into mysticism at the end of most of your books - but found your faith in a positive ending for humanity uplifting when I needed it the most.
I hope that you, and Isaac, and Robert, all enjoy getting together again and chewing the fat. I hope you run into Bucky, and Kornbluth, and C S lewis, and Gernsback, and Campbell, etc...
I think I need to go beat a drum by a black monolith for a while...
One nice thing about trying to explain a difficult thing is that you get to challenge your assumptions.
Yesterday, I was quite ironically amused at the idea that in order to talk about filtering out [REDACTED] content you had to filter your own content just to talk about it. The problems in filtering out references to [REDACTED] and to advertising and other [REDACTED] content are manyfold. The advantages of filtering are equally manyfold. The strongest point that I can make about it, though, is that it is best that those filters be under your control - not under the government's or the ISP's or your corporation. Although - I know quite a few sysadmins that filter out out advertising content transparently on behalf of their bandwidth needs, with the tacit approval of their IT manager if not necessarily the CEO....
It is possible to implement a pg-13 web, for yourself, if you so desire, and I'm totally cool with that - just don't force your filters down my throat. Same goes for google safesearch. I just turned it back on because the effects were minimal, and I know how to turn it off, and I'm already less horny for having done so.
I have been using privoxy for years and years now. Although privoxy just came out with a new release, it still doesn't do ipv6, and I decided to update to the latest adblock plus and go with that alone. I'm a little nervous about this, as I understand how privoxy works, and it arbitrarily drops potentially dangerous (worm/virus) content, as well as eliminates flash (which, aside from youtube, is mostly ads), but it does tend to be slow...
So I just updated to the latest adblock plus and it's doing a great job so far. Very fast, very clean... no ads....
I still haven't figured out how to make adblock drop flash images by default, nor malware, but I'm looking into it. Given the good reviews firefox 3.0 beta has been getting, I decided to try that yesterday, too.
I am a tabbed browsing addict. I will end up with hundreds of tabs over the course of a couple days. I still find it amazing that firefox 2 just runs and runs and runs under almost any load I give it. It's a far cry from 2000 where I'd be lucky to keep a browser running for more than an hour or three. Still, with lots of tabs open, I would end up with a gigabyte of memory in use, eventually, and a dramatic slowdown, after a couple days. Firefox is one of two reasons why I ended up updating my laptop from 1GB to 4GB of ram, actually - the other was ardour...
So I fired up the beta of firefox.
Wow. I have 30 tabs open, and I'm only using 101MB of ram. Gmail is lightening quick, seemingly faster than my IMAP connection(s). Blogger is zippy... Everything seems faster (partially due to dropping privoxy). Ipv6 just works. Wow. Wow. Wow.
I have some issues with font rendering (and flash isn't working, but I don't care - although I imagine that flash was causing a lot of my old bloat) but I want to give this release a good workout, so I'm planning to wait for a crash.
I can't wait for this code to get into my nokia 810... and I wonder what will happen if I incorporate jemalloc into ardour....
I used two [REDACTED] terms in describing how to improve your web experience in an attempt to further comment on Doc's issues with ad loading speed earlier today. Usually I would see some notification that "my comment is up, but awaiting moderation". Didn't see that this time and I posted twice... I guess aggressively spreading around this sort of hex-ed information will lead to the collapse of web 2.0 as we know it, and thus there are filters for that already in wordpress - or just perhaps for the analogies I made.
Given all the filtering going on out there, I dropped reference to those terms in this repost, here. I worry that one day I won't be able to post to my own blog due to [REDACTED] content, and have to wonder today if my lack of readership from [REDACTED] is related to pieces linked to off over on the [ELIDED]....
Along the way I discovered that the syntax for setting expires headers was apparently busted in ubuntu gutsy - setting
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 month"
was accepted but didn't work!
ExpiresByType image/png A2592000
did. I wonder how many web servers out there are busted due to this, and how much bandwidth is being wasted, or if I was just doing it wrong.... Have to get around to bug reporting that.
Anyway, I was writing about improving Doc's web experience via better filtering... and wrote:
Well, lots of people out there can help you strap on an internet ad-busting [REDACTED] as it is no longer terribly difficult, and doesn't require a degree in [REDACTED] ed. Starting with the easiest, adblock plus... (Sure hope you use firefox):
Adblock is my favorite firefox plugin. It's (unsurprisingly) installed in nearly every clued cybercafe I've been in...
While we are in the browser...
If you would like some additional insight as to why the web is slow, even with a 20Mbit connection, install firebug and Yslow, and look at the inadequate cache expiry times and useless extra http lookups on the 2 pages that you have control over and swear to find some way to make those that don't have 20Mbit downloads happier... save on the metered bandwidth bills for those in Australia and other parts of the world... and write to people that you read regularly to help 'em conserve bandwidth... (in the nicest possible way(s) :) ) if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
Exiting the browser arena (and adblock is "good enough" for most people)...
Privoxy is available on every OS. I still use it as it seems slightly more thorough than adblock, and I can do amusing things with with it. A big advantage to privoxy is that it works with ie, safari, etc, but usually in that case it's best to install it on the edge of your home network, rather than on the laptop...
You'll note that one of these tools (don't know which one) completely eliminates ads from your own site. By acting in your own eyeballs' defense you are hastening the end of the Internet as we know it (I sure hope some kind of ecash comes along in time to save whatever is left)
Due to an ever increasing number of corrupted DNS servers (stuff that feeds you malware or redirects you to advertising sites when you mistype an url, I gave up trusting DNS and started running my own bind (also known as named)....
Under linux, this is easy - just install bind, (apt-get or yum), which by default is in a caching configuration - and make one changes to your dhclient.conf - add a
prepend domain-name-servers 127.0.0.1;
somewhere near the top. I don't know how the mac does it, but I hope it would be close to this easy.
boom - no matter where you go, vastly speeds up the 2nd dns search for something (because they are cached) - no arbitrary dns relocations at wifi hotspots except the first one - and you can strap on a few additional [REDACTED] to combat malware, see, for example malwaredomains.com.
Makes sense to do on your home network, too. You can name stuff... openwrt has a much easier to configure dns server called dnsmasq...
The hosts file thing mentioned by someone else earlier is a decent first start, but not as effective as running bind in combination with it. I note that there is a memory hit for running bind but it barely registers on my process list.
Would like to know in a future post what you think of the web after you implement (some of) this. Your eyes might improve without surgery, and web 2.0 become tolerable again. Hopefully, if more of the members of the metaverse implement this kind of stuff, after the advertising bubble bursts, web 3.0 will look this good by default.
But I'm not holding my [REDACTED] [ELIDED] [REDACTED] breath.