Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Thu Feb 19 09:18:22 2004
Echo and the Loud Room

I'm still waiting.. *tap tap* for the next release of GAIM that'll put me back on Yahoo. It's a tool I rely on.. and it's served me well over the years..

Leon wrote a tribute to Howard Dean, whose announcement that he's no longer actively campaigning also reached my mailbox this morning. I agree with much of what he says, and I do hope that Dean, as mentioned in his letter, does continue to operate in the political sphere, and builds something interesting with what he did, hopefully more successfully than Perot did. This election, although not over, has really taught me more about how much I've changed politically in the last few years. I now know with certainty that I am NOT a Libertarian any more -- I now think it would be disasterous if one were, through some freak accident, to become president. I don't think that social programs and financial responsability are completely incompatible, if one is careful, although there's certainly a tension there. Selling off large parts of the government to individuals and corporations would, I think, get rid of a useful tension between two sets of masters. Anyhow, regarding Dean, it is remarkable how well he did.. or was it illusory? Dean's power base was, I think, intellectuals, and while he made some reaching out beyond that to unions, he always was championed by a loud minority in our society. Perhaps that's why he got so much voice but didn't do so well, comparitively, in the primaries. Was there more to it than that? I wonder.. Dean would make a really great Vice President. I hope the people still in the running are considering that.

Dubin mentions again a student group at Ohio State that exists to provide free pizza to its members. Food and socializing are the core of any student group. The person who's running it, who's known in that social circle as MathAdam, is a cool guy.. I miss a lot of the people from the Columbus social circles..

Orkut really seems to have become the preferred social circle site, sweeping Friendster out of the running, and likely making Tribe.net obsolete (Tribe.net is roughly comparable when it comes to features). It seems that everything that Google does is successful. A geeky friend of mine thinks that Microsoft may, again using its monopoly power, be able to 'pop' Google, using its normal method of squashing competitors -- by building things into Windows that give it an unmatchable homefield advantage. In this case, the database features present in future versions of Windows, plus the ability to have the operating system compute preferences for the search engine without giving the user a choice, or at least using their likely preference to use built-ins, will let Microsoft do smarter searching than Google is likely to be able to easily do. In theory, the Google Toolbar combined with appropriate hooks into Windows could do the same thing. Google right now is the strongest search engine, but Microsoft has a lot of leverage with its control of Windows. So, why is Google cool? First, to be fair, here are some people who think Google is not cool. Google is cool because it does and publishes research. It's a wonderful home for academics (and I know some people who have yo-yoed between CMU and Google), and like many good geeks, they've provided lots of fun toys for the world. Google has the sweet smell of academia, and thumbs its nose at people who try to break the PageRank system to make their sites more highly-placed. They also mirror/cache a lot of sites, helping to make the web more stable. In short, Google gives me warm fuzzies. I'm rooting for them.

That reminds me of some further elaboration of an essay I wrote once called the colour of a jog (too lazy to find the URL.. even though it's on my site). Nations... I have similar strange shape/concept associations to nations.. I wonder what their origin is, if there is even a decent explanation possible. In particular, I think of Turkey as being kind of blocky, with some coffee mixed in.. maybe like coffee-cake, and as one moves southeast into the lands of Islam, the nutty soil of Europe gives way to a gritty, more pure, sublimely alien impression. Arabia.. not a clockwork, but a mocha-flavoured kind of Zen.. Buddhism's concept of waiting to understand, and making the smallest steps possible, covering great grounds with them... understanding magnifies those steps greatly.. power through subtlety.. let's take that as an elaboration of the notion of subtlety -- the degree of which one's action has that amplified-by-understanding effect, the most nimble of fingers versus the brute strength of deep effort. Arabia has some of this, but Persia nee Iran.. it still has memories of another sort.. and it remembers it's deep culture too well to achieve meditation. It's not exactly the sand castle, it's origami that remembers its paper nature all too well.

What would it take, for you to celebrate the chaos within you as well as the law? To be uneasy partners and to be two sides of the same coin.. not the same thing. If they can dance together richly, that's how you can see.

I've been reading up on Mel Gibson's movie, and have been thinking of seeing it. Debb surprised me by indicating that she wanted to see it, at about the same time I was thinking of asking her if she was interested. I'm not too inclined to give money to Gibson, but on the other hand, I own a lot of religious literature, partly out of curiosity/desire to understand, and partly to know how to argue against it.. well, that's really one and the same. Learning is a good thing.. (more on that below), Some other people from PUSH are also interested.. It's interesting that the entire film is subtitled, the content being in a mix of Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin. Anyhow, while reading about the film, I also read about Gibson's religious beliefs.. apparently, he's part of a Catholic splinter group -- the Traditional Catholics. Apparently, they split from the Roman Catholics after the Second Vatican Council, the conclusions of which they see as being hijacked by liberalizing forces. They have a kind of spooky creed:

We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed. We worship as you once worshipped. If you were right then, we are right now. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then.

While reading up on them, I also read about a few other splinter groups from Catholicism.. True Catholics, with their own Pope The Old Catholic Church

I got something interesting in my mailbox today -- apparently, there's the possibility I might get a tax break for having attended classes. I'm not certain if the fact that I did it for free is significant or not, and I'm starting to research the two relevant tax breaks: The Lifetime Learning Credit and the Hope Scholarship Credit. There is a possible lifetime cap on these though, so there's a chance that I'd be better off saving their use until later...

Oh, BushJr's administration has been accused accused of distorting science. Big surprise.

Anyhow, I am in a really wonderful mood, and feel like I couldn't be happier. No worries, madly in love, happy at work, happy in school. Hooray!