Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Mon May 31 17:13:16 2004
Lingua Russia

One thing to be careful about when talking to people who like playing with languages -- in Russian, there's a conversation terminator, Baka, which is a homonym to the Japanese Baka, which is a gentle form of the english 'Stupid', as in, "Baka, doshite anata-wa koko-ni deskuka?" (Idiot! What are you doing here?) .. it's almost a playful insult.. Anyhow, getting them confused is bad.

This coming Thursday, the philosophy group I'm in will be discussing Democracy, the tension between representating the masses and leading them, and scaling issues as democracy moves from the small to the large. The interesting essense captured in the announcement is that the process of government involves compromise, but it's not the masses that compromise, it's their representatives. A metric is proposed, that the process should aim for what the masses would compromise on, were they involved in the debate. I personally have doubts as to if this is possible -- It seems to me that there's likely an unclosable gap, and even a disinterest in compromise, among the masses. Further, should we expect the masses to accept the decisions of decisions they haven't taken part of, even if their will (as opposed to their best interests, which may be very different) was represented in some way? On another branch, should the opinions of the masses even have serious weight in the running of a nation? Is Democracy a lollipop to keep the masses from revolting? Perhaps Democracy is the opiate of the masses? If you don't have representativeness, if it's really possible to have that in the full sense, who rules? I dunno.. it's complex.. and .. it's going to be a lot of fun tossing the ideas around.

Now that things have changed, it's possible to reopen a friendship that was once (but likely won't be again) something more. It's good to have friends. Yesterday as I was running, I was thinking that it'd be good to have someone to help me live a more active lifestyle, so I won't be seduced by laziness so much. I don't seem to be getting sore anymore -- I am again bound by my lungs rather than my legs.

I realize that I haven't copied nearly enough of my old music collection to my laptop -- I should boot those old suckers back up and copy the rest.. It's funny how, perhaps stronger than a craving for a particular kind of food (or cold water), one can suddenly get a craving for a particular song.. Right now, I crave TMBG's "Doctor Worm", and while I can easily find a live copy online, and probably could find the version I want online if I put some time into it, it's all on one of my desktops where I ripped it from the CD, so that'd be a waste..

Now, onto more trivial things (?)..

As if it wern't already hard enough to pick your database, now Ingres will be open source... Well, maybe it's not that confusing -- unless Ingres has some features I don't know about, or is a damned good product, it likely won't be able to compete with the existing databases.. seems everyone already has their niche already.. Oracle for the really big databases with conservative DBAs, DB/2 for people who are a bit less conservative, and want a (somewhat) easier to administer database that might not scale as high, and don't want to pay Oracle's overpriced fees, Postgres for the clued open-source folk, or for people who want a fairly simple, standards-compliant, database, and MySQL, for people who like opensource and haven't yet recieved a visit from the clue fairy.

A thousand goths are breathing a sigh of relief. I find this story really funny, and sad. Yes, the government is spending money trying to fight goth culture. Money far better spent to fight religion, if it's really going to start getting involved with such things :)

Here is a real schmuck. He cheated on exams at University, and they decided not to give him his degree a day before they were going to, and he's suing them. Apparently, he thinks that they never made it clear that cheating is something people can get expelled for and that they let him stay at University for so long were both improper. Neither seem to be a good reason, and I hope that he loses all his friends over this stupid lawsuit.

Here's a bit of beautifully written satire. On a somewhat more serious note, here is a speech Al Gore gave recently. It's not bad.. however, as with many politicians, I wonder if he actually wrote it. I think I'd respect politicians a lot more if they routinely write their own speeches, partly because then we get to really know the politician, and partly because then we at least are sure we have a literate, coherent person at the helm. I guess that's a way I'm snobbish -- I do respect people who can put together a paragraph or a paper in a coherent, clean way more than people who can't. People, perhaps, who choose their medical provider by how many pleasant lies they're told.

Of course, everyone loves pleasant lies when they confirm prejudices they have.. Here is some guy who claim that all the viruses in the world are Microsoft's fault. Nope. While Microsoft does do some very stupid things, like having a powerful HTML interpreter at the disposal of their mail software, and they're certainly responsible for those problems, most virii are either the result of user error or are otherwise more of an 'oops' thing than a case of misdesign. It certainly would be nice of us Unix folk to pat ourselves on the back and say that it's Microsoft's fault that users have to deal with that kind of thing, but it would be wrong, and sickening to our community, to swallow such a thing.

Somehow, I don't think people will be lining up to try something with this name..

By the strangest turn of fate imaginable, I find myself in posession of a .. erm... destructor, for those programming geeks out there, for something relating to something I really dislike. This could be fun. It's all a matter of timing.