Bruce Sterling: "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Google"

Posted on: Mon, 09/18/2006 - 13:00 By: Tom Swiss
Interesting little short short story from Bruce Sterling in New Scientist, considering the future of people and "controlled spaces":

Right. We teenagers have to live in "controlled spaces". Radio-frequency ID tags, real-time locative systems, global positioning systems, smart doorways, security videocams. They "protect" us kids, from imaginary satanic drug dealer terrorist mafia predators. We're "secured". We're juvenile delinquents with always-on cellphone nannies in our pockets. There's no way to turn them off. The internet was designed without an off-switch.

9/11 + 5

Posted on: Mon, 09/11/2006 - 19:48 By: Tom Swiss

Seems wrong to let the day, fifth anniversary of 9/11, pass unnoted; but there's nothing new to say. I'll just point to what I posted this time last year.

Here's lyrics to a song a wrote about that day (which will be on my forthcoming CD, whenever I get around to finishing that):

"No Words of Wisdom"
Tom Swiss

Everybody's looking at me
They ask me to sing and play
But I've got no words of wisdom
For a day like today

I came down here with my guitar
To help you pass the time
We could have a drink and have some fun
And sing these songs of mine

Zelda's exercise, September 3

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 12:34 By: Tom Swiss

This week's exercise from Zelda's Inferno: 5 card draw from a "universe deck", which gave me the following words to use: bitter earth spice kiss love

the love of the earth
slow moving and molten hot
comes to me through
her kiss

the sweet spices and bitter herbs
the fruits and the grains

her love sustains me
as love should

'Intersex' fish found in Potomac

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 12:23 By: Tom Swiss

LiveScience reports that “intersex" fish, with both male and female characteristics, have been discovered in the Potomac River and its tributaries. This of course raises questions about how whatever contaminants are causing this, will affect the people who drink tap water.

Last month's testing at three tributaries emptying into the Potomac revealed that more than 80 percent of all male smallmouth bass found were growing eggs, according to Vicki S. Blazer, a fish pathologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

journaling and Zelda's exercise

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 16:18 By: Tom Swiss
Went to see Nicole do the triathalon relay today - so proud of her! She and two co-workers split the "Iron Girl" triathalon in Columbia, she did the biking part. I got her to volunteer as model for shiatsu photos afterward.

Been working a lot on the house the past week, moving furniture around, making preparations to renovate the rear addition, catching up on cleaning.

Dusting off photos of old friends who I haven't seen in months...there's some kind of symbolism there. "The mind is like a bright mirror in a stand, take care to keep it free of dust.", the old Buddhist poem.

Dust piles up on the photos in their frames
Faces of friends, some long unseen
Are hidden and dimmmed
Though memory is always bright
Memory is always bright

Liquid explosive plane plot: real or hype?

Posted on: Tue, 08/22/2006 - 16:58 By: Tom Swiss
The Register looks at the supposed terrorist plot to blow up planes with the liquid explosive TATP, triacetone triperoxide, and finds the chemistry wanting:

Now for the fun part. Take your hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and sulfuric acid, measure them very carefully, and put them into drinks bottles for convenient smuggling onto a plane. It's all right to mix the peroxide and acetone in one container, so long as it remains cool. Don't forget to bring several frozen gel-packs (preferably in a Styrofoam chiller deceptively marked "perishable foods"), a thermometer, a large beaker, a stirring rod, and a medicine dropper. You're going to need them.

David Byrne on "Jesus Camp"

Posted on: Tue, 08/22/2006 - 15:50 By: Tom Swiss

Apparently there's a new documentary out, Jesus Camp, about a religious indoctrination summer camp. David Byrne comments in his blog:

There were some perfect sound bites — at one point Pastor Fischer instructs the little ones that they should be willing to die for Christ, and the little ones obediently agree. She may even use the word martyr, which has a shocking echo in the Middle East. I can see future suicide bombers for Jesus — the next step will be learning to fly planes into buildings. Of course, the grownups would say, “Oh no, we’re not like them” — but they admit that the principal difference is simply that “We’re right.”

Biggest thing in the universe

Posted on: Mon, 08/21/2006 - 16:50 By: Tom Swiss

Try to wrap your head around this:

An enormous amoeba-like structure 200 million light-years wide and made up of galaxies and large bubbles of gas is the largest known object in the universe, scientists say.

The galaxies and gas bubbles, called Lyman alpha blobs, are aligned along three curvy filaments that formed about 2 billion years after the universe exploded into existence after the theoretical Big Bang...

Some of the gas bubbles are up to 400,000 light years across, nearly twice the diameter of our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy. Scientists think they formed when massive stars born early in the history of the universe exploded as supernovas and blew out their surrounding gases. Another theory is that the bubbles are giant gas cocoons that will one day give birth to new galaxies.

Rolling Stone asks, Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

Posted on: Sun, 08/20/2006 - 10:38 By: Tom Swiss

I'd pretty much chalked up W's victory in 2004 to the successful application by the GOP of the politics of fear and bigotry. But now RFK Jr, in a piece in Roling Stone, shows that GOP opertives managed to prevent more than 350,000 voters in the pivotal state of
Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted
. That's more that twice W's margin of "victory" there.

But despite the media blackout, indications continued to emerge that something deeply troubling had taken place in 2004. Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad never received their ballots -- or received them too late to vote -- after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations. A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states, was discovered shredding Democratic registrations. In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes, malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots. Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment -- roughly one for every 100 cast.

one of those chain-letter survey/questionnaire things

Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2006 - 18:20 By: Tom Swiss

I don't usually do these (I could spend a lot of time on them if I did), but what the heck...was sent to me by someone I'd like to know better, and I'm sending it on to at least one person who might want to play, or at least be interested to see it...

1. FIRST NAME? Tom

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? One of my dad's best friends from high
school

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? define "cry"...I got misty-eyed watching a rerun
of the Simpsons this evening (the one where Bart sells his "soul" to
Milhouse for five bucks and Lisa ends up buying it back for him).

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Nope, it's why I print - and I don't like

Subscribe to