Quick Comments and One Liners

The Society for Human Sexuality has a new Comes Naturally column available.

Okay, I'm no longer going to take any crap about my cynical politics. The California Republican Party just mailed us a flyer in support of Dan Lungren, our fascist attorney general turned candidate for governor. One of the bullet points they offer in support of Lungren:

He offers a good counterbalance to Democrat-controlled state Legislature. We like the notion of checks and balances on state government. The thought of either party getting control of both the legislative and executive branches of state government scares us and, we suspect, most people...

Youch. And I thought I was cynical. That lends to one of two translations. Either "We can't offer any real candidates or ideas, so we can at least introduce gridlock", or "we think voters are stupid enough to think that we really don't want control."

Whichever way, my cynicism in American, and especially Californian, politics, has just been completely trumped. Way to go, guys, I didn't think that was possible.

Need To Know is as sarcastic as always this week.

In Salon this morning, the changing face of the fight against spam . I got fed up for a while, but now I'm sending messages to every postmaster mentioned in a received line from every spam I get. I'm not sure I like the idea of anti-spam legislation, but it's all of our responsibilities to make sure that it costs more than it pays off to send spam.


A new mouthorgan

Tomorrow I'll be sedated and a professional sadist will be using Vise-Griptm like tools in my mouth. If you see wacky barely coherent notes (I mean, more so than usual), that'll be why.

In the "and in 20 years their high school graduates will be kicking the collective asses of our high school graduates, technology wise" department, Linux is being installed in every elementary and mid-level school in Mexico

Unix gaining in NT rivalry screams the headline in the San Jose Mercury News. I don't know if this is a Microsoft PR ploy to take the heat off the anti-trust lawsuits, but... Certainly after my experience yesterday with the Winsock API I can't believe that anyone with any technical know-how whatsoever would believe that Windows NT is anything other than 1960s operating system theory applied to microprocessors.

Part two of that Salon article on circumcision , it's time we helped stop the mutilation.

The Haikuomatic

A new Topping the News in Spectator.

Salon this morning on circumcision (hint: a large portion of the reason circumcision is so widespread in the U.S. was the anti-masturbation hysteria of late last century).

Marylaine not only has My Word's Worth , but other column is available on Fox News (alas, due to some truly horrible frame design I can't link to it any closer, which is why I'm always forgetting it) aaaaaand, Making It Up As I Went Along: A Webmaster's Saga of Trial and Error chronicles her struggles in creating Where the Wild Things Are (which has had to be renamed to The Best Information on the Net for trademark reasons).

A CNN report claims that monkeys can count .

"Though monkeys do not recognize the word 'two' or the symbol '2,' they share with humans the ability to master simple arithmetic on at least the level of a 2-year-old child," Brannon said.

This apparently distinguishes them from certain lower level primates, like the politicians who just passed the budget bill, for instance.

Been there, done that: A physically addictive drug with significant withdrawal symptoms; proven links to heart disease, kidney stones and other health problems; dummy research institutions set up "prove" no downsides; packaged and marketed specifically to children? No, not Joe Camel, or even the Budweiser frogs, we're talking about soft drinks .

What kind of people are concerned about the Y2K problem? Take Dr. Billy McCormack's speech archived on the Christian Coalition website in which he lays out a worst case scenario:

The state gov't may have to yield to the federal gov't. The federal gov't may be in shambles. Many offices and agencies will no longer exist. President Clinton will declare a state of emergency. He will invoke executive power beyond our wildest imagination. He will become our very first dictator. He will seize control over utilities and industry. He will federalize the National Guard. It will ration food, gasoline, etc. Your money will be declared illegal except for transportation no more than $25.

If you need further proof, have you noticed that few Democrats are concerned? Obviously there's a deep conspiracy happening here, but if you happen to be a right wing Republican it's not too late to switch your affiliation... [okay, normally I wouldn't be so flippant about turning Democrat, I generally like to vote for a second party, but here in the People's Republic of California it seems that voting for a Democrat is the lesser of the evils, and the greater evil is really evil.]

*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk , as usual is spot on.

Alas, Rumor Mill seems to have sunk to the basest personality reporting. Is this really what my industry has sunk to?

Oh, and lest you think I'm deliberately ignoring the Microsoft vs DOJ thing... well... I am. I'm no fan of Microsoft, but the issue in this battle seems to be figuring out if lying to protect one's-self from unjust laws brought is right.

Whoops, sorry about the missing header. I put a feature in for Glenn Dixon that handles date switches without cron jobs, and forgot about its one flaw.

Another gushing ABL review at http://www.darkhorizons.com/reviews/bugsn.htm , this one with pictures.

Just to build the anticipation, even though release is over a month away, I offer some A Bug's Life reviews:

http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/hbs.cgi?movie=177 "This get's my highest recommendation. Don't be fooled by rushed immiations. A Bug's Life is a damn masterpiece. Pixar has done it again."
http://www.aint-it-cool-news.com/display.cgi?id=2352 "This is THE best ends credit sequence every devised."

I'm hoping to finally get out and see that other insect movie this weekend.

A new mouthorgan this morning, summarizing the results of their earlier sex survey. One of the quotes to come from that is this:

I think the last group that will out themselves are vanilla, monogamous heterosexuals; unfortunately, they are the group that needs it most.

Which ties back in to an e-mail conversation I'm having, where my correspondent mentioned that I have a lot of energy around sex. I'm working on a longer response, but I think we all do, it's just that so many of us are ashamed of it. I mentioned yesterday the "hot talk" workshop at Good Vibrations; people aren't comfortable with the "7" (or quite a bit more than that), we use sexual terms for violence ("fuck you"), in some cases words that were once loving have been perverted ("cunt"). As a child hearing mythology I was told that if you know something's secret name you have power over it. That's true, which means that it's also true that if you don't have a secret name then you don't put the "shame" handle out there for others to manipulate. Something to consider next time some authority starts preaching the "sex is sinful" line.

Which is why I (Dan) often tag myself with "vanilla het monogamous pervert."

Gulp: BBC News reports on the installation of a system which recognizes faces in crowds , 140 street cameras and 11 mobile units take images to "be compared with a database of target faces supplied by police."

Scripting News this morning points to this article on UNIX as Literature , an exploration into the verbal versus the visual and correlations between command lines and writing ability.

Went to a workshop last night at Good Vibrations hosted by Carol Queen and Robert Morgan. As usual, lead to some good discussion afterwards, although the topic was "hot talk" and I don't find myself responding to the same sorts of maps they've developed. But the presentation style was great, they work well together and managed a just right response level from the audience. If they're doing a presentation on the national budget in your home town go see 'em just for that, but their topics are likely to be far more interesting.

In Salon this morning, Greg Costikyan rebuts the Myst is dead article. He's always worth reading. Also, an article on the shakeup in psychotherapy , how psychologists are threatened by movements which don't think wallowing in self-pity is a good thing, and how they're protecting their turf... Well, it doesn't say it quite that way.

The publisher of The Spectator magazine confronts her past in this exchange with a childhood Sunday school classmate

Salon has an article on the world of online porn sites that is, alas, muddled. The first half reads like it was taken from someone's press-release, the second half seems a little closer to what I hear from other people, but the article as a whole seems to go nowhere.

RIP: Jon Postel , among other things editor of the RFCs and head of the IANA, which hands out IP addresses.

Yet another example of American laws run by large corporate interests: CNN reports that a judge has placed an injunction on a pocket device to play MP-3 files based on a lawsuit brought by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Finally, a practical use for Java: How to keep an idiot busy at http://junior.apk.net/~jbarta/idiot/idiot.html

In Salon this morning, a great essay by a Vietnam protestor meeting the cops who beat him .

Monday, which brings the usual things: Marylaine leads off with My Word's Worth :

Think about that--an entire office suite, cubicle after cubicle, filled with people making a living staring at sex acts eight hours a day, five days a week. Is that depressing or what?

And there's a new set of Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet strips.

NTK is particularly feisty this week.

A new NETFUTURE which starts out with this great quote from a past issue:

"I've [asked] people to imagine themselves in 1957 or so, trying to discuss the social consequences and significance of the nascent U.S. Interstate Highway System. If they got all enamored and enthusiastic about life on the highway itself, they'd completely, *utterly* miss the real story. Which was not about what it was like to *drive* on an Interstate Highway, but about the myriad ways in which Interstate Highways dramatically (and often detrimentally) altered American society off-road." (Richard Sclove)

A while back I linked to a Rumor Mill about a Dan Savage sex-advice column alleging that Microsofties were... well.. Here's the Dan Savage follow-up. http://www.thestranger.com/COLUMNS/col.savage.html

A ROBOT'S GUIDE TO SURVIVAL is a look at the social aspects of what robots will have to endure. Written by a guy who builds radio controlled robots for parties and trade shows, it's a look at how humans treat machines. Worth reading, even if you don't care about robotics, just for the human factors aspects.

Also in the erotica/porn genre, the second issue of Clean Sheets is out.

You heard it here first: Orgazmo coming to theatres October 23rd. What happens when a bright eyed mormon in LA stumbles into the porn business? Plugging "Orgazmo" into your favorite search engine also yields interesting results.

A new mouthorgan this morning.

If you don't understand "nslookup - hastur.rlyeh.net" stop here... Otherwise, here's an abuse of technology worth trying:

nslookup - hastur.rlyeh.net
set querytype=txt
set domain=adventure

Hey, conspiracy buffs: "a threatening, terrible event occurred to my family, which I could not tell you about. Because of that event, and a succession of other events, what you're listening to right now, is my final broadcast." Art Bell has quit his radio show.

Sorry to those who are waiting for me to clear my backlog of mail, I'll try to answer tomorrow morning.

A review of Vincent Bugliosi's No Island of Sanity about why the Supreme Court shouldn't have allowed the Paula Jones case to proceed while Clinton was in office opens some interesting questions, I may have to read the original book. http://www.rain.org/~openmind/bugliosi.htm

In Salon this morning, The joy of Perl

Marylaine this morning questions what we're paying for free information in My Word's Worth

Sorry about this, folks, I'm making some changes and testing a few things. Normally I abhor test messages, but this time I don't have time to find interesting stuff to do the testing with.

Marylaine questions what we're really paying for all this free stuff in My Word's Worth this morning.

For you nerds out there, segfault presents the Linux drinking game

A new NETFUTURE has hit the web, and as usually it's an insightful, although not always comfortable, look at the advances of technology.

Reuters reports Germans Asplutter at Naked Sushi Platter , a restaurant in Hanover is serving "sushi ala Jungfrau".

"They aren't entirely naked," wrote Bild. "Caviare is stuffed into their belly buttons, sword fish sushi is stuck near their armpits and between their legs is raw tuna fish sushi awaiting the hungry guests."

If you're a sysadmin or other person charged with medium to high reliability computer systems (all of them should be), read http://www.microsoft.com/backstage/column_T2_1.htm and then tell me again why people are buying operating systems software from people who think that 95% availability is even an option? Hello? If my Linux boxes were down 1 day in 20 I'd be bloody irate, but I've come to expect that from NT machines. Apparently so has Microsoft, enough that they think it's an accomplishment to work around it. "Hey, my leg's broken, I can't walk." "Here, have a wheelchair." "Cool solution. I'm satisfied now." Jeepers.

A new Need To Know : NOVELL says they're "not competing with Microsoft" - you got that right...

Only response to my question about colors a few days ago was along the lines of "I run Opera and it has a button to change everything to white on black, so it really doesn't matter."

From Nerve :

"Man is in the wrong in being ashamed to exhibit it . . . when he ought to adorn and display it."
-- Leonardo da Vinci on the penis

Interesting article in Salon today cries the death of Myst like games. I don't agree with it, but the author does hit some salient points, especially about the rise of networked/multiplayer chat features.

A new mouthorgan , I don't expect the same level of discussion as from last week's, alas.

A Reuters report on CNN (but don't expect that URL to work tomorrow, alas) says that Reinhold Messner (the guy famous for climbing Everest without oxygen) is publicising a book which claims that the Yeti is a species of bear. Complete with photos, apparently.

That'll teach me to believe the 'net: So http://www.flutterby.org/ (that other Flutterby domain) claims that "The oldest English word for butterfly is flutterby" and I've been blithely repeating this. Alas, the OED reports:

"cf. Dutch botervlieg, earlier botervlieghe, mod.G. butterfliege. The reason of the name is unknown: Wedgwood points out a Dutch synonym boterschijte in Kilian, which suggests that the insect was so called from the appearance of its excrement."

On second thought, maybe I like the wrong version better...

In the "well, duh!" department: CNN reports that "Teen-agers are much more likely to use condoms if their mothers talk to them about safe sex while they're still virgins, according to a new federal study." While studies like this are just screaming for questions about kids whose familial relationships were such that they could talk about sex with their parents, the conclusions seem like a no brainer.

For the nerdly amongst you, there's been a concerted effort to develop a standard and coat of arms for sysadmins: http://www.sackheads.org/~cerebus/asr-coa.html

Well, apparently I can't talk to my automated update software correctly. Sorry about the yucky formatting errors, I'll get 'em this evening.

If you had any doubts about Naomi Wolf, author of a book called Promiscuities_, you might want to read the roundtable in _Nerve about politicizing puberty .

Well, after this article in Salon about the Flycast advertising network dropping advertising for offensive content, I'm going to have to start reading Tabloid.net . Salon also has a writeup of the first world pornography conference , but it's written with a horribly judgemental tone that turned me off.

In the comics department, more Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet , and if you haven't checked back in on _User Friendly (http://www.userfriendly.org/ ) recently, you might want to.

And last but not least, Marylaine writes about The Meaning of Never Again in My Word's Worth , attempting to reconcile pacifism with genocide.

I've put about 130 photographs up on the web. Articles to go with them coming soon.

A new Topping the News by Pat Califia in the Spectator

The smash hit really cool computer animated movie about insects with my name in the credits to be released later this year is called A Bug's Life . The other computer animated film about insects which hit theatres today is called Antz . Make your own decisions, I'll go see both even though I never go to the theatres, but in the office pool I've got lunch riding on this being a $15M opening weekend, and if any of you go see Antz and it exceeds that, I may have to hurt you.

Bert Archer pans Moore's The Soul of Sex . I didn't pick it up because I've heard second hand reports of Moore personally and as a teacher. Or maybe that was Gillette or whoever his coauthor for King, Warrior, Magician, Lover was, but we know people by the company they keep. As a sometime fiction author I've lamented that most books are "non-fiction" (yeah, right), but this brings new resolve that for every non-fiction book I buy I'm going to buy something literary; we need to bring the debate and exploration of life altering issues back into the novel and away from the cheesey flock of self-help authors who will regurgitate the latest claptrap to reiterate the corrupt morals of our society.

Feedback from a coworker on The Bears , which my father and I built for a neighborhood spoof:

you sir, need professional help.

I am most honored by this assessment.

Admin Question: Since everyone hates my color choices, would I be better off just leaving colors unspecified and let everyone configure their browser as they'd like? Or is that expecting too much of the users?

A new Need To Know

Salon Magazine discovers Mindstorms . I think I'm the only person in the office who doesn't yet have a set simply because I've got too darned much CGI script writing to do for Flutterby™!

Designers run amok: The Seven Stages of Type Appreciation advocates:

Use type on your Web site! Even if that means setting some type as a .gif graphic. GIF type can actually be quite compact, fast to load, and add a lot of distinction and personality to your site.

Now I admit that Flutterby does specify type in the titles, but the point of HTML was to provide display independent content (anyone remember content?), and it's easy enough to set up your browser to read Flutterby and other similarly designed sites with the fonts that you're most used to. Recently I've turned off all image loading in my browsers (it's no longer as easy to get to in the latest Netscape as it was with v3) and the web has become a much neater place. So, be warned, use gifs for text and chances are I'll never see your page; I've been so disappointed on most sites where I have to hit "load images" to navigate them that chances are if I have to I won't give yours a second look.

But then, alas, I am not a market sample.

So I got another Programmer's Paradise catalog in the mail today. Anyone else bothered by the contradiction that they sell Microsoft products, or is that just me? I guess one man's heaven...

From the Scary Devil Monastery (if you have to ask, you aren't a sysadmin) comes this gem:

I honour and express all facets of my being, regardless of federal, state, and local laws.

mouthorgan today bemoans the lack of men in straight porn.

Archives of neat sites posted to Flutterby , notes to webmaster@flutterby.com