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randwolf

Best paper title of the week

"My Roomba is Rambo". (PDF. Ubicomp 2007. About human adaptation to the domestic robot. Not all that great of a paper, but great title.) Second best title from that journal, and a really good paper: "Merolyn the Phone", an HP Labs paper about cell phone naming.

Tree
randwolf

Shark, Apple. Apple, Shark

Jump, Apple, jump!

In one of these great moves in marketing history, Apple has decided not to support UIs written in C or C++ in 64-bit apps. Adobe CS4 is going to be greatly delayed on the Macintosh because of it, if the people who need CS4 (which is likely to include the most of the entertainment industry) even bother with Macs any more. Way to go, Apple!

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randwolf

Against Torture

Have I missed the day? It seems I have. We've been dealing with a domestic drama involving my lover's daughter, and I have had other things on my mind. And at first I thought I didn't have anything to say on the subject. I mean, what is there to say other than, "torture bad?" Which has been said over and over again over the centuries, believed for a while by some, and forgotten. But filkertom and catsittingstill have both written essays, and they sparked a few reflections.

You don't have to read it.Collapse )


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randwolf

My poli-snark of the day

A little common sense, please. The US voting system is an exceptionally poor one, but that's no excuse for not recognizing the difference between "not so good" and "spawn of hell".

Yes, I've been reading the political blogs again. Bad wolf! Bad!

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randwolf

Economic fanfic

The Theory of Interstellar Trade, by Prof. Paul Krugman.

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randwolf

"Institution Green" *

I've recently read William Poundstone's book Gaming the Vote, on voting systems. It's an interesting book, and I'll probably have more to say about it. Pounstone makes mention of economic analyses which point out that the personal value to voters of any given vote is minuscule. The more authoritarian sort of economist tends to regard this as One More Reason why democracy is a Really Bad Idea and, presumably, would best be replaced by plutocracy. It occurred to me today that, while the value of any particular choice is small, the value of making a choice is very high indeed. It's the same thing that marketers and advertisers pay a high price for in their research, information about the customers. We are the customers, and you could probably even set a price on it. So the next time someone tells you vote doesn't matter, tell them it's actually worth money.

* The title of a Suzanne Vega song about alienation and voting; the references are specifically to the old voting machines with levers and curtains used in NYC.

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randwolf

Duck!

Or at least,
DucksCollapse ) I love my cell phone.

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randwolf

The sound of a million butterfly wings beating

I wonder what effect Castro's resignation will have on the US elections. There are a lot of old Cuban refugees in Florida--even their children are old. Bush has called for democracy in Cuba. Over 100 members of Congress have called for a review of the embargo of Cuba.

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randwolf

Lost in translation: sopa and raza

(This is your brain when you live with an interpreter...)

The words "sopa" and "soup" have the same Latin root, but actually "sopa" means "stew", at least to Mexicans. A clear soup is "caldo"--something that used to be made in, yes, a calderon.

And "raza". It has the same Latin root as English "race". But a better translation is "nation" or "people"--it refers the the multicultural Mexican identity established by the "Tres Culturas" (Mexica, Spanish, mestizo) during the 19th century; it has none of the exclusionary meaning that "race" has come to carry in English.

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randwolf

Phil Foglio, postmodernist

BTW, has anyone noticed the wonderful digression Girl Genius has taken into a story commenting on the story? I find this wonderfully funny. It's also gracefully providing backstory that explains volumes 5 & 6. Odd to think that Girl Genius may be one of the great literary comedies, but I am beginning to suspect it it so.

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