It resonated with me when John Holbo wrote recently: “Remember when there were blogs? Ah, those were the good old days.”
It gestured back to a day when the internet was built mostly out of individuals putting together things which they cared about and sharing them on a server somewhere in the world. The internet was the magic maze which let everybody else wander around and marvel at the wonders.
Continue reading “Elegy for the Blue Room”
Among my agenda items for the summer were participating in a reading group on Alexander Nehamas’ theory of beauty and writing a paper on William James’ epistemology. Done and done.
Continue reading “The trail of the Jamesian octopus is over everything”
Richard Roundtree wanted to go to a science fiction convention, but he was worried that too many people would recognize him. So he decided to go in disguise. He dressed up as the monster bug that fought Godzilla, but his costume was so revealing that everyone could tell it was him.
They said the man who played Shaft was a bad Mothra faker.
When I got my first iPhone, I wrote that its “compressed functionality underscores the extent to which the internet has changed things. If you had told me about it when I was a kid, I would not have been able to wrap my head around it.” It’s a camera, a calendar, an address book, a pocket watch, a GPS. It also takes calls, although I use it for text messaging more than voice.
When I imagined future technology as a kid, I often imagined smart houses. There was recently an on-line ad targeted to me for a front door lock that you can control from your phone. This is like the computerized houses of my elementary-school imagination. I should be excited, but I’m not.
The future has gritty problems that 1980s cyberpunk novels didn’t prepare me for.
Continue reading “Cyberpunk ambitopia”
Steven Frank drew the webcomic Spamusement from 2004 to 2007. The schtick was “Poorly-drawn cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines!”
It was a genius idea. Frank encouraged other people to draw their own, based on spam they’d received. Back in the day, I drew about a dozen. Drawing them was a pleasant kind of mental palate cleanser, doodling that was tethered loosely to the verbal part of my brain.
Continue reading “Sponsored links are the new spam”
In a recent conversation with Cristyn, we somehow came to be talking about the sentence: Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.
This sentence, sometimes with a couple of extra “Buffalo”, is often used as an example of a grammatical sentence which is hard to parse. In a less perplexing form, it says: Bison whom bison baffle— they themselves baffle bison.
Continue reading “Animals which are also transitive verbs”
Q: What fruit is most like a pot of giraffe soup?
Continue reading “Monday levity”
News of the Cambridge Analytics debacle has prompted several of my friends to quit Facebook. They say (rightly) that anyone who needs to reach them has their e-mail address or phone number. Perhaps their choice is the politically and morally right move, yet…
Continue reading “Ambivalence about Facebook”
Today’s game: favorite practical superpower.
The rules: name a superpower that you would love to have and that make your life (or someone’s life) immensely easier, but which would be boring to read about or watch on TV.
This is a Facebook prompt from Carl Sachs. I gave several answers, most inspired by minor abilities of old GURPS characters.
Continue reading “Quotidian superpowers”