Archive for September 29, 2005

A Following Korea

Korea really is only psuedo-buried. It rests under pixelated bricks like the small brown pathways that lead Mario’s feet over clouds and mushrooms in the 80s-i-fied past. These bricks manifest in real life as quickly assimilated concrete structures intended to emulate Korea’s past (which was burned by the Japanese in the last war about 50 years ago). Ocassionally something pops up. This would be one of those moments where the psuedo-L.A. stylings of it’s modern patrons and it’s growing abuse of german automobiles simply seems mute in face of it’s history. This is only an occasional stop-gap in what is a fairly normal work and consume culture that seems to signal freedom of some sort in American eyes. For a second your talking to your boss about leaving, and he’s agreeing, and you go home. When you get home one of those cries comes out of the distance. This is usually a call. Buddhists, like any group that pre-dates amplification, perfected the art of pitching calls in signals so they carry, hence regardless of where you are a reverbating note of sub-conversational murmor to high toned freak out and can be traversed over several blocks if not 1/2 a mile if you really try. Tonight this call came in the form of something like ha–yet-hooooooo. I have no idea what this means, and it sounded like something from Thundercats, but you have to follow it and find out where. Last time I did this I ended up at some Buddhist shrine on some hill where I stomped rocks before realizing I was about to interrupt something with out the language skills necessary to make it apparent I wasn’t a total asshole. In this case though, the cries seemed to be perpetuating from some other corner of the city. So I began to follow. This ended up with me walking down various side streets, water in hand, coufing up flu, and final zoming in on some dude crying out in the middle of street as he walked by. I don’t if he was just selling something or what the deal was, but he had a box on his back hanging from a strap made of packing tape. He walked down the street crying, fairly well dressed, and he didn’t have the feel or look of the Buddhists who migrate around Seosan in grey clothes and shaved heads. It was one of those mysteries were regardless of language or not, you wouldn’t be able to easily solve it with just words.

September 29, 2005 at 11:26 pm 2 comments

National Budget Simulation or exploring America through software


Nathan Newman has created a rather simple or really basically a really really complex series of forms that in the end show just little budget slashing seems to makes on the defeciet. If anything the National Budget Simulation is kinda like The Oregon Trail of the government: despite your best intentions, the situation always seems a little bit more complicated than originally envisioned. The NBS is a series of boxes intended to simulate the U.S. government’s budget. It isn’t exactly realistic after all committes and economists debate these issues, and what the simulation overlooks is the reality that some programs are effective. For instance the u.s. housing program and poverty programs have been terribly effective, and cutting them 10 – 20 % isn’t going to have a noticable effect on the economy (or so my logic goes after a week or so of looking at New Orleans), but all of that aside it does give you a perspective that you wouldn’t get outside of the computerized world. Simulation here, as in the Oregon Trail, is rather brutal. Most plans just won’t work even if you really want to restore G.I.’s benefits while protecting environmental concerns. But it also brings up e-government, why aren’t we just outrightly letting people fuck with simulations of U.S. economic policy and seeing which one wins? Why isn’t government more like a design contest and less like an autocracy? Hopefully programs like this can span the gap of experiences we feel in this life, I don’t know what it’s like to be an airline attendant or a senator, but on the whole we hate senators a lot more than airline attendents. Here is one piece of software that makes beaurcracy seem like a reasonable deluge of delays and back-guessing. Perhaps we can all one day share the burden of balancing this bitch instead of leaving it in autocrats hands.
http://www.nathannewman.org/nbs/

September 29, 2005 at 11:43 am 2 comments


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