Archive for May 25, 2006

Comments on others’ blogs

Seeing as how I'm better parasiting off other people's words than writing stuff on my own. Here are a few comments I've left on other people's blogs as of late that are basically long enough to constitute a blog post.

From Uncertain Principles

While I agree that running education and research as businesses or using a capitalistic model, what is your model for education etc? I've had the idea as of late that a socialist system with complete (and by complete I mean every aspect of the operation is open source and traceable with personal privacy for the lives of the workers) might be a better way to reduce the problems in education funding and the bottlenecks in the spread of ideas (the u.s. system maintains little central planning which is both nice and a curse in that each city or school district has to choose to adopt newer forms of educational theory and practice which in the end means debate must occur, but in reality has more to do with city government change and getting people who are engaged with education into power). My point being, what if grades and everything else were open source? If scientests could comment directly on experiments, text books, and lesson plans, economists could compile data sets instaneously from the information available, etc.?

As for health care I'm not so sure. Billions are lost by businesses each year developing drugs, further socializing the system would mean putting price caps on drug prices in an industry in which prices need to fluctuate a lot to make up for the cost of research. In the end the companies spending and losing billions and paying taxes to do it no less, would have to be subsidized by the government, unless you're proposing that researchers could just live for free and the government pays for all the research stuff such as in Cuba. What strikes me a better component is to actually enforce patent and copyright law and makes the thousands of no longer commercially viable drugs developed over the past 100 years into generics that would take down the price of providing health care to those who can't afford it.

But what is your plan?

From GAM3R 7H30RY

  "It’s difficult to believe in a person who lives ‘entirely’ in the cave " I live in Taipei. I don't speak chinese, I don't speak Taiwanese (I am learning though). Everyday after work I play counter strike for one hour (most days 2) and then maybe play around in second life for an hour or two. First, in Asia I've seen entire families and individuals that live in computer bars you commonly find people sleeping in them while their game is still running. In Korea, where many families have small apartments attached to their businesses, some families literally do live in PC bars and sit around farming for each other in WoW. But this is beside the point because these people's circumstances are different than the assumed life the character on these pages has beyond the cave, your point seems to be the character in the novel's conscious decission (at least here on page 2) seems unrealistic, he seems like a Kathyron Biglow creation, someone to promo to be really real. And I do agree that his absence of curiosity at the real world reeks of a Baudrillard distyopian personality more interested in submitting to the gentle worlds of condemenation than displaying the natural curiosity that humans seem to carry around with him. Anyway, I've wondered off to far. Page 2 is interesting becuase the character for a second thinks the real world is less exciting than the game world in the cave. But is this point really that far from reality? People spend hours mining gold in MMORPG or fragging in FPSes, these games sucessfully simulate an environment that appeals to us more than the reality sorrounding us. They provide instant feedback for your work. After all when you're at your "real work" you're not usually aware of how many points, successes, of money you're cracking up per hour/ per minute/ per player etc. As both John Carmack and the pyschologist K. Anders Ericsson have pointed out, it's often experiences that provide immediate feedback that draw us in enough to master them. From Carmack: " I started programming on an Apple II a long time ago, when you could just do an “hgr” and start drawing to the screen, which was rewarding. For years, I’ve had misgivings about people learning programming on Win32 (unix / X would be even worse), where it takes a lot of arcane crap just to get to the point of drawing something on the screen and responding to input. I assume most beginners wind up with a lot of block copied code that they don’t really understand." In other words, what surprises me about the boy who returns to the Cave is his reason. He returns because "the light" makes everything look "unreal" it seems more like the pointless futility of a strip mall would be reason enough to return to something that actually provides you with a reward for a decent day's work (and provides that reward in small lump sums of encouragement every 5 – 10 seconds no less). Further rambling: maybe what we need is pay per minute with a little tie in to producivity to make work in real life a little more exciting.

From Some French Guy (who I am now subscribed to). 

when you think about it in terms of power effecieny, walmart's streamlined delivery service with the coupling of different categories of products (i.e. food, clothing, electronics, and sports gear) into one building, they've probably had an effect in increasing power effecieny by taking out numerous smaller outfits and decreasing travel distance when it comes to shopping. Then again I might be wrong, but it would be interesting to see the what the power usage of the estimated 200 jobs that Walmart replaces per town compared to it's own usage. After all 5,000 centralized ACs are more effecient than say the 5 or 6 independent ones that would have comprised the original market Walmart replaced.

May 25, 2006 at 8:02 pm

links for 2006-05-25

May 25, 2006 at 3:19 pm


is nice. it’s in the bubble district so to speak i.e. the area of Taipei that maintains the dreamlike archecture and trendy design shops and bars that make up the neavu-rich of Asia. My landlord is German and his wife is Taiwanese, I suspect she owns the building in reality, and is birkenstoked and rather friendly. The other folks sharing the effeciences in this place are of the usual Asian tech community build i.e. you could rip a page out of Richard Florida and find them, one dude down the hall is some type of technician for a DSL network, the dudes in a band I meet worked for a bio-informatics group designing software I would like repeat the last part: designing software. They don’t actually write it. School is ok. I start Chinese lesson June 10th with Catherine, who’s boyfriend I unfortunately meet and rather like. It kinda sucks to meet a cool girl and her boyfriend is cool too and you have to go ok well unfortunately I actually have to respect this mutually beneficial and enjoyable aquianteship we’ve started. Things are slower at school. Playing counter strike almost daily, and I might play mushiking or dinosaur king next week. When I have money again having shelled out over 1/2 of my salary just to move to make someone happy who’s never happy (and I might add only 1/2 my former roommates have still never paid me for the wireless router I set up and bought) going to buy the Karel Zeman box set that I see practically every week as ESLite. Got a Brockmann toy the other day and found an entire gallery devoted to Baseman toys and whoever makes those bears is popular down the street. Have dreadlocks growing in small proportions which I have yet to perfect (the first set didn’t take, the second is looking better, but at week 2 the bands have to go this weekend or I’ll kill my scalp). Have begun to program in second life and am making little things, about to login and try and make a randomized object that randomly makes it own size and shape and stuff twist, have also almost finished an entire guide to ruby which I need to fuck with. haven’t picked up any new video games, bought some japanese jazz disks and probably heading to Thailand for a weekend. In a strange way my posts seem more normal now, with various real world junk intervening in what is usually a carnival of ideas, but I feel a little bit empty now, like my brain is drained. Probably becuase I’m doing a lot of stuff. I still have grand plans i.e. what is the effect of copyright extension on the price of healthcare in the u.s.? are pharamectuaical companies acting like monopolies of yore? is walmart actually power effecient and benefecial becuase of it’s displacement of less power effecient businesses and limitations on drive time? can I make a little application using ruby that keeps track of my lottery numbers and tells me if I win? Can I find the little nemo collected comics in book form? can I actually buy all the books on I have listed? will I ever work on my idea that non-10 counting systems have different layouts of the primes and that this might make related small world networks that in turn could be part of the zeta zeroes(and what is the chance someone has tried this)? Can I write a story that feels like a video game? Can I use the basic effect used to make flower microphones to make circuits that obey the growth patterns of orchids? can I make effects pedals using plants? Will I ever finish my book on neural networking on the Thomas Kuhn book I just started? Will I finish the rather good japanese pornography I started the other day or continue to peter out in satisfaction after 10 – 20 minutes? (she’s a nice girl and a nurse who becomes dirty when she wants to and also licks men’s anuses… it’s awesome). Will I ever make my tradeable english language card game for my class card game obsessed kids? Will I start taking my geometry films that involve using the lines of buildings to cut and chase to different forms? (did some work on that turned out nice.) Will I ever get to see one of Taipei’s indie bands? Can I find a decent bike in a country that’s major exports include bikes? (surprisingly the answer seems to be no, but my landlord has an awesome giant fold up panasonic gave him). Will my mango seed grow or succumb to mold on my windowsill? Will my orchids make it through their new perch outside? Can I make shelves with the bamboo I left outside? (made flower pots on saturday). Will my new batch of plants bear fruit? Can I make a hailbach array? Can I make one using plants? Will it work? Can I make a minitature mag-lev using it? Can I make one that alternates magnetisuim so that the train bobs up and down and then use a bio-memetic design to make the thing go? Can it acheive flight? Can I create a multilevel farm that uses cyclical chilling of plant roots to speed ethanol production? More or less my life looks like one giant Saffran-Foer to do list only with out the humor or the jewishness. p.s. am I jewish? Can I afford the 900 bucks for a heritage test? Can I get an israel-heritiage visa? Can I then join the plo so I can stalk asian pop stars? that’s an idea worth pursueing.

May 25, 2006 at 2:50 am Leave a comment


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