Closing tabs from last year

You know the drill. I’m skipping the stuff that deals with Bush, Harper, or books, which should get their own posts.

  • I had a weird fascination with Cass Elliot for a while there, primarily as a reaction to how much I was digging her tune California Earthquake. There were some weird side effects of this, from the relatively obvious, like me finding out how many Mamas and Papas tunes I seem to have picked up by osmosis over the years, to the … um… less obvious, like me having to research HAARP. See, one of the crazier comments on that Youtube entry posits (well, “states” actually, but I don’t want to give it that kind of credence) that California Earthquake was “a prediction of the man-made HAARP earthquakes that began in the years shortly after this was released.” It then goes on to say “The Mama and Papa’s parents were involved in the clandestine services of the armed forces that experimented in all of that type of top secret science being used daily today.” In order to parse that, of course, I needed to know what HAARP was, and then I needed to know why anyone might think it was related to earthquakes–apparently this one slipped under my fringe conspiracy theory radar, which is actually kind of surprising when you think about how closely related it is to some of the wonderfully mad Tesla conspiracy theories. Now, if you look at the commentor’s profile, he’s obviously over on the nutjob side of the spectrum, but, isn’t the idea that the Mamas and Papas were rebelling against their black ops science parents by sending coded warnings to the world a great notion–wouldn’t the world be more wonderful if it were true.
  • I believe I have all the raw materials I need to prepare a custom deck of HGPA cards now. And I don’t mean just printing the back side image on a standard deck, I mean customizing the faces as well. Now all I need is time and motivation.
  • While watching an early episode of Leverage, Trish expressed some incredulity that a container-sized amount of government cash could just disappear in the Middle East–she thought the story was somewhat beyond the boundaries of believability. I showed her the truth, and pointed out that the show was only talking about a very small portion of the total amount. I am still shocked that there is no ongoing outrage about this.
  • Amanda Palmer is really not having a good label year, is she? Great fucking album, bastard label. First the label calls her out for this amazing album being uncommercial, then the ludicrous video thing, then having all her videos pulled from YouTube (which, by the way, renders a previous post of mine kind of useless). The videos are actually up at Vimeo now, in higher quality, but that’s not relevant to the “record label” issues. Of course, she’s probably better positioned to handle these kinds of issues than many–she’s smart enough to understand what she wants to do, and the realities behind it, and the 1000 True Fans style marketing of the last album+extras stuff in packages up to $110, and Palmer’s strong connection to her existing fan base both point to someone who’s aware of the realities that would be required to make it as an indie act–and actually, hearing Palmer talk about the financial realities (back in the day) makes me wonder if she couldn’t actually make more money without a label. Having one this year seems to be costing her money.
  • Things I Would Like To Buy For My Friend Neil: Chugalug Fridge Drink Mixer
  • Things I Would Like To Buy For My Friend Neil (if I had just won a lottery): The Original Model 420 Pneumatiform Infumationizer
  • Things I Would Like To Buy For My Friend Mike: Origami t-shirt or THIS Is How The World Ends shirt.
  • Did you know Toronto was thinking of going all London with the Big Brother cameras? Did you know a decision of whether or not to proceed will be made soon? Yeah, me neither.
  • The Onion still regularly makes me smile. But sometimes it makes me laugh right out loud.
  • I just like to remind you people from time-to-time: watching Avengers reruns at an early age meant that my idea of the ideal woman was permanently altered by exposure to Emma Peel. One lasting consequence is a lifelong affection for Dame Diana Rigg. Not enough to drive me to create YouTube tribute videos, but enough to make me watch one.
  • When the opportunity presents itself I spend a little time looking at the trend maps for the upcoming year from nowandnext. The media line this year makes me happy. Also check out the related blog, which is currently running a series of posts on the top trends predicted for this year. My favourite so far: serious media.
  • Speaking of serious media, I am cautiously optimistic about the notion of computational journalism–really anything that supports serious media is a win to me.
  • Will pointed me to the Boston.com article about research that suggests that the urban environment actually dulls our ability to think. It also mentions how research is now happening into how to design urban environments to avoid this problem, and one assumes, maybe to even cause an equivalent positive effect. Rather than thinking about this seriously, my brain insists on just pulling up Mister X stories that touched on this premise rather a long time ago.
  • Did you see that article in the Economist, of all places, about the role of music in human life? While I was heartily amused at the bits about creativity and sex being related–especially the anecdotal Hendrix bit, I actually quite liked Pinker’s formulation of “auditory cheesecake”. I kind of wish that I could believe the second hypothesis. (And, I suspect that the author of the piece probably wouldn’t get Hell Yeah.)
  • There’s something deeply ironic about the iminent inauguration of America’s first black president happening in a time when there has never been more slavery in the world than there is now.
  • Speaking of America’s incoming president, anyone who’s overdosed on messianism might want to look at Steve Brust’s rant about why getting upset about the Warren thing could be considered more than a little hypocritical. Steve’s never afraid to work the iconoclast role, indeed I think he relishes it, but he has his facts straight, and I bet a lot of people don’t know the history of some of the people on the team Obama’s already assembled. Some of the stuff in the comments is utterly fascinating too, but you have to sieve a bit.
  • I hadn’t heard Rumi’s parable of the three fish before, but it may now join my paraphrasing of some of Hume1 as part of my standard spiel about the direction of civilization being away from tribalism, and even statism, and towards inclusion.
  • Declan pointed me at some interesting free reading in intellectual property at Against Intellectual Monopoly. Definitely worth a read if you’re at all interested in the whole ‘intellectual property’ issue.
  • I self identify with six of the 56 geeks, although one of those identifications is purely historical at this point. First person to correctly guess the current five gets something fun.
  • The “making people feel trusted is more important than gaining their trust in a con” aspect of Paul Zak’s post at Psychology Today is interesting, but I’m actually more interested to hear that his research shows that 2% of people are bastards. I expected a larger number.
  • I read SFSignal for book news, but I won’t complain if occasionally there’s some non-book awesome on there.
  • Why Ferocious J is awesome: #543.
  • While I can understand how a burglar might have been scared to find a dude in a Thor costume in the house he was burgling, I think that what would be much more scary would be to run into my pal Neil in a pimp coat and Thor helmet.

And I guess I’ll stop there, since there’s no topping that last link.

  1. I summarize as “We’re always going to be us and them, but we can continue to make the definition of us more and more inclusive, with the set of ‘them’ continually shrinking over time.”(back)

  5 comments for “Closing tabs from last year

  1. will shetterly
    January 10, 2009 at 2:34 am

    I think there is a place in hell for people who screw up links to Emma Peel tribute videos.

    The Onion piece is grand.

  2. Richard B.
    January 10, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Oh, the geek guessing thing is just too easy. Clearly it’s: Scrapbook Geek, Spartan Geek, Kiss Geek, Cosplay Geek, and Larper Geek. And I know you’ve left your Furry Geek past behind you (sniff).

  3. January 10, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Will, if there is a hell, I’ve been headed there for some time, but this is clearly one of my more egregious transgressions. I fixed it, though. Oh, and to be clear, it’s a Diana Rigg tribute, not a Mrs. Peel one.

    Richard, you know me so well. 🙂 Actually, in all seriousness I was a bit disturbed, while playing 80s trivia on a MAME box during a break in my weekly poker game, to discover that I apparently know both the real and “superhero” names of all the members of KISS. I blame that movie where they all had superpowers.

  4. will shetterly
    January 11, 2009 at 12:28 am

    It is always good to correct a sin. The tribute was swell.

  5. Kira
    January 13, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    You know the “leverage” plot is the same one Gibson used for that novel, right?

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This work by Chris McLaren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada.