The end of the Evil Empire, as we know it. That is so gay.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, But It Will Be Blogged
Markos Moulitsas (LAW’99) talks with Maureen O’Rourke, dean of the School of Law, at the conference New Media and the Marketplace of Ideas. Photo by Vernon Doucette
[From an interesting interview with Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos published today in the BU newspaper web site]
Do you think the Republicans will eventually pick up on the Internet as a fundraising and campaigning tool?
They never really needed it before. They’ve been very good at getting small donations in the past via direct mail. Now direct mail has become obsolete. The people who fill out a check are old and dying off, and my generation — well, I can’t imagine being caught dead writing a check.
At the Boston Public Library each month, teenagers get down to the
vigorous techno thumps of the popular arcade game Dance Dance Revolution. The Norwell Public Library treats visitors to a monthly free dinner and a movie.
Borrowers in Andover take out portable, digital audio books so tiny that they can jog through the park or shop at the mall while listening to Dan Brown’s bestseller “The Da Vinci Code.”
And in Palmer, young patrons jostle for their turn to play Guitar Hero II, a video game that has replaced the more traditional karaoke nights in some bars.
from the Boston Globe
Long a fan of libraries, the Dowbrigade is all in favor of their trying to reinvent themselves in the digital age. When we were a kid, we remember spending many a Saturday morning in the Rochester Public Library, and it wasn’t to play games. It was to flirt with Lisa Sattinger, who as a 12-year old was known to wear pantyhose and play footsie under the library tables while perusing tomes on the Italian Renaissance and radioactive isotopes.
Last we heard Lisa won a genius grant, while we are still playing footsie with fate under the table of life. And while we strongly believe that in a world awash in electronic information we need people and places dedicated to cataloging, accessing and helping people use that information more than ever, we question such crass attempts to lure in new patrons.
Furthermore, libraries do not need such extreme measures to survive. They are not in danger of extinction. The role of the library, and the librarian, are simply evolving with the form and function of the information they contain, getting closer to the Universal Library envisioned by Jorge Luis Borges.
But promoting Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero as ways to attract youth to the libraries strikes us as misconceived and counterproductive. You might as well post a sign over the door, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Couldn’t they at least try to get them to play games with a lexical component, like “Scrabble” or “Dungeons and Dragons”? Games like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero not only fail to provide opportunities for developing reading and writing skills, they don’t even involve talking, or thinking.
You might as well offer slot machines, dog fighting and topless librarians! We thought one of the goals of a library was to promote literacy, or are we hopeless old fashioned?
Harvard University today unveiled a brand-new website, HarvardScience, devoted to all matters related to science at the various schools, departments, institutes, and hospitals of Harvard University.Now, although Harvard is not as scientifically astute or as storied as its geeky neighbor MIT, it has indeed been the scene of numerous momentous moments in the history of science.
In 1689, for example, Godswabber Hackenthorne, a Calvinist predicator and Isaac Newton Professor of Alchemy, scientifically established once and for all that witches’ specific gravity is not necessarily greater than that of water in all cases, as anecdotal evidence had suggested for years.
Later, in 1875, pioneering psychologist and philosopher William James discovered the mind-clarifying effects of Nitrous Oxide, and began a scientific tradition of “huffing” between classes that continues to this day.
In the 1960′s iconic neural scientist Dr. Timothy Leary blazed a trail by turning Harvard Yard into a revolutionary “acid test”, engendering a psychedelic movement which transformed the American consciousness. For a while, he was actually paying undergraduates $20 to drop acid, in the name of science.
Then, in 1976, the Dowbrigade himself participated in a seminal investigation into the effects of cocaine and mescaline applied simultaeously to the nasal membranes, one to the right side and the other to the left, affecting opposing brain hemispheres.
Somehow, we doubt that any of these achievements will appear on the HarvardScience web site. We were born too late, and now is no time to rehash the past. However, now there is a place for milestones like these which occur in the future. Ladies and Gentlemen, start your computers.
Of course, we read the comics page because every so often we see ourself there, so plain and exposed and idiotic that we can’t help but laugh out loud.
The lovely and providentially patient Norma Yvonne well knows by now that when we climb upon our high hobbyhorse and begin declaiming and bemoaning the state of sports in America, and the tawdry way that it demeans everything decent and healthy about physical competition, uses, misuses and discards the lives of millions of young Americans, and keeps racial minorities at the bottom by luring their youths away from the classroom with fey dreams of glory and gelt, it must mean that one of our teams, the Sox, Celtics, Revs, or Pats has been eliminated from their respective professional leagues.
The sad truth is that becoming a sports fan is akin to signing away your soul to the Prince of Darkness (the original, not Dick Cheney). In the dark night of the sporting soul, what wouldn’t the true fan trade away for that one magic, championship consummated winning streak?
We may be cognizant of the crass commercialism, flagrant drug abuse, blatant hypocracy and rampant racism rife throughout professional sports, but when one of our teams takes the field, they are chivalrous knights in shining armor, defending the honor of team, town and nation.
What else but this deal with the devil can explain Barry Bonds fiendish popularity in San Francisco? The rest of the league unanimously recognizes him as the craven cheater and low-life he is, but in the City by the Bay you could bottle his farts and sell them as air freshener. They tell us that in the rest of the league Manny Ramirez is seen as stuck-up, idiotic flake, but here, hell, with 11 RBIs in 7 post season games this year he could probably get appointed President of UMass if he wanted the job. Meanwhile, J.D. Drew, who couldn’t hit the floor if he fell off a step ladder, should be tarred and feathered and run out of Beantown on a rail.
We could go on and on about how the local pro teams are business boondoggles owned by cynical capitalists and the athletes are pampered head cases, drug addicts and self-centered prima donnas, but that hometown hero J.D. Drew just hit a home run in the first inning of game six, and the crowd at Fenway is going nuts. Gotta go……
“My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots,” artificial intelligence researcher David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands told LiveScience. Levy recently completed his Ph.D. work on the subject of human-robot relationships, covering many of the privileges and practices that generally come with marriage as well as outside of it. At first, sex with robots might be considered geeky, “but once you have a story like ‘I had sex with a robot, and it was great!’ appear someplace like Cosmo magazine, I’d expect many people to jump on the bandwagon,” Levy said. “There’s a trend of robots becoming more human-like in appearance and coming more in contact with humans,” Levy said. “At first robots were used impersonally, in factories where they helped build automobiles, for instance. Then they were used in offices to deliver mail, or to show visitors around museums, or in homes as vacuum cleaners, such as with the Roomba. Now you have robot toys, like Sony’s Aibo robot dog, or Tickle Me Elmos, or digital pets like Tamagotchis.” In his thesis, “Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners,” Levy conjectures that robots will become so human-like in appearance, function and personality that many people will fall in love with them, have sex with them and even marry them. from Fox News Doesn’t sound so weird to us. Of course, we are already on the record as being in favor of allowing people to marry their pets. Nevertheless, the gratuitous reference to Massachusetts seems like impolite piling on. Actually, a stubborn strain on Luddite Calvinism still current in the Commonwealth lead us to imagine Mass will come relatively late into the Robot Rights movement.
“My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots,” artificial intelligence researcher David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands told LiveScience.
Levy recently completed his Ph.D. work on the subject of human-robot relationships, covering many of the privileges and practices that generally come with marriage as well as outside of it.
At first, sex with robots might be considered geeky, “but once you have a story like ‘I had sex with a robot, and it was great!’ appear someplace like Cosmo magazine, I’d expect many people to jump on the bandwagon,” Levy said.
“There’s a trend of robots becoming more human-like in appearance and coming more in contact with humans,” Levy said. “At first robots were used impersonally, in factories where they helped build automobiles, for instance. Then they were used in offices to deliver mail, or to show visitors around museums, or in homes as vacuum cleaners, such as with the Roomba. Now you have robot toys, like Sony’s Aibo robot dog, or Tickle Me Elmos, or digital pets like Tamagotchis.”
In his thesis, “Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners,” Levy conjectures that robots will become so human-like in appearance, function and personality that many people will fall in love with them, have sex with them and even marry them.
from Fox News
Doesn’t sound so weird to us. Of course, we are already on the record as being in favor of allowing people to marry their pets. Nevertheless, the gratuitous reference to Massachusetts seems like impolite piling on. Actually, a stubborn strain on Luddite Calvinism still current in the Commonwealth lead us to imagine Mass will come relatively late into the Robot Rights movement.
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The image, said by believers to show the Holy Father with his right hand raised in blessing, was spotted during a ceremony in Poland to mark the second anniversary of his death.
Details appeared on the Vatican News Service, a TV station in Rome which specializes in religious news broadcasts.
Service director Jarek Cielecki, a Polish priest and close friend of John Paul II, travelled to Poland after hearing an onlooker had photographed the image.
Father Cielecki said he was convinced the picture showed the former pontiff.
“You can see the image of a person in the flames and I think it is the servant of God, Pope John Paul II,” he said.
from the Daily Mail
We hate to say it, because we alway sort of liked the formalistic old fart, but it looks to us like the servant of God, Pope John Paul II ended up in the “other place”….
As if we weren’t worried enough about our personal security, what with radioactive waste and deadly pathogens in the vicinity (see previous post), as we went to park at our local sports bar for lunch, right around the corner from our home (see church in background), we were confronted by a scene out of a disaster movie.
Actually, it was all rather innocuous. A Yellow delivery truck (it looked orange to us, but we are somewhat colorblind) making a delivery at the fabulous CuCu Club, got hooked on some cables and brought down a utility pole. We passed up the light, flaky fish and chips from Donahue’s we had been looking forward to and settled for a Cubano from the diner on the corner instead.
BTW, a re-election kickoff party for JD Donahue (Watertown City Councilor at Large) will be held tomorrow night at the Ancient Order of Hiberian Hall at 6:30. Local politics rule! Support your local sports bar – and its owner.
Several large properties in the East End of Watertown, including a nearly 12-acre swath of land at Greenough Boulevard and Arsenal Street that was once used to burn depleted uranium from a Watertown Arsenal nuclear reactor, are undergoing close scrutiny to determine how badly contaminated they are and who is responsible for cleaning them up.
The status of the former uranium disposal site is in limbo, as state and federal agencies haggle over who should make the land safe for public use.
from the Boston Globe
Are you kidding us?!!? That 12-acre swath of land at Greenough Boulevard and Arsenal Street is FOUR BLOCKS from the Dowbrigade’s Fortress of Solitude and Rest Home, from whence we pen this post.
And now, after three years we discover that we are living atop a nuclear waste dump! And that the area in which we live is undergoing “close scrutiny” to see how badly contaminated it is! And we thought the reason the walls glow at night is that the previous tenants had used that luminescent “Glowz” paint.
The Watertown Arsenal is a huge red-brick conglomeration stretching almost a half mile along Arsenal St. in Watertown, which abuts Cambridge on the east and the Charles River on the south. Part of the wave of urban arsenal construction during the buildup to WWII, it is being converted piecemeal into retail and high-tech rental space.
We had always envisioned that era as a patriotic jamboree of American industrial stockpiling, with endless rows of jeeps and lorries, neatly packed and stacked gas masks and maybe an occasional Sherman tank or amphibious half-track waiting for the call which eventually came and went. This is the first we have heard about the existence of a WATERTOWN ARSENAL NUCLEAR REACTOR!
We have long been aware that the neighboring People’s Republic of Cambridge was a nuclear power. The research reactor at MIT, a squat white dome tucked behind Central Square on the MIT campus was both a scary reminder of the isotopes among us and a noteworthy driveby on the tourist’s tour of Cambridge, between the excretionary Stata Center and the corner in Cambridgeport where the Toasted Toga Taco House once stood. The joke, back in the day, was that if the Northeast power grid ever went down, at least Cambridge would have lights.
But who suspected that a stone’s throw away, stuffed under the radar by the nefarious military industrial complex, was a working military reactor producing weapons-grade plutonium waste.
Or that this highly radioactive waste was being BURNED IN AN INCINERATOR, with the ensuing smoke and ash left unfiltered to drift down on the neighborhood and contaminate people, pets and the places they live.
We thought the operant debate was whether to bury our radioactive waste for 20,000 years under Yucca Mountain near Bumfuck, Nevada, or find some obscure third-world cesspool desperate enough for US protection or pandering to take it off our hands. Or somehow shoot it into the sun (our personal favorite). Little did we know that another alternative existed – just throw it in an incinerator a few blocks from Dowbrigade headquarters!
Taken on top of the developing story that our august employer is in the process of constructing a Biosafety Level-4 lab, where scientists will fool around with microscopic killers such as Ebola, plague, and anthrax right across the street from the Boston Medical Center, which just happens to contain our dentist’s office, we are feeling less and less secure these days.
Now, we are trying not to panic with the implications of this news. We are desperately looking for a lighter side of this situation. So far, the best we can come up with is this:
Since our governor seems so determined to bring legal gambling to Massachusetts, perhaps the state will give us odds as to the relative likelihood of succumbing to radiation poisoning as opposed to some mutant strain of the plague.
All kidding aside, folks, is anyone else concerned about the recently revealed Watertown Nuclear Reactor, and the radioactive waste in our gardens and yards? Or are we being needlessly paranoid again?
Frankly, we love living in Watertown. It is quiet, family oriented, and a mere 20 minutes from our office by car or bicycle. Our neighbors are all Armenians, which is fine as long as we don’t bring home any Turkish taffy. Our garden is thriving. In fact, we have a fat, juicy tomato on our nightstand right now, serving as a nightlight.
Spokane, WA (KXLY) – He wanted to avoid a divorce, so police say a Spokane man took his wife to his garage to show her a haunted house he created, and then tried to hang her.
Sean Jennings’ wife still has the bruising and rope burns from where her husband allegedly tried to hang her.
Police say Jennings had the woman climb a ladder so she could test a noose that would support a skeleton during a neighborhood haunted house later in the month. The woman says her husband then turned on the garage radio and pulled the ladder away.
The woman often needs a wheelchair to get around but she was able to periodically support herself on her tip toes. She says at the last minute she was able to escape, but only after promising her husband not to divorce him and never tell anyone what he had done to her.
She kept her promise until Tuesday when she called police from a Wal-Mart parking lot in Spokane, Washington.
from WLTX in Spokane
This guy deserves to be nominated twice. Once, for giving his wife too much rope to hang herself, and again for making her promise to not divorce him for trying to kill her. And it took her a couple of days and a trip to Wal-Mart to decide to reneg on her promise, so she deserves at least an honorable mention. It must have been a tense couple of days in the Jennings household…..
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Spent the weekend up in Down East. mainely with family. A family-friendly slideshow is available HERE
I remember looking up across Times Square just after New Years in 2000 and seeing the new 60-foot tall LED video display that curved around Nasdaq’s Times Square showroom. It seemed at the time to be akey marker of what the next century would look like. The Nasdaq sign cost $37 million, but we know that the price of semiconductors is crashing toward zero. And sooner or later, nearly every surface in our world is going to be a computer display.
Month by month, more and more of what had been static images — billboards above subway stations, menus in McDonalds, maps in the back of taxicabs — flicker with video and computer-generated text.
Now, riding the economics of the iPod comes the digital “Hello-My-Name-Is” badge. I received a press release from an outfit called My iButton. For $79, they will sell you a generic portable video player set in a plastic frame that you can pin on your clothes. Soon every car salesman and trade show booth babe will be wearing a video screen with their latest spiel.
The company hopes to attract ordinary consumers as well, and offers frames for every phase of life, from baby birthdays to twisted yellow ribbons. We have already seen a similar video belt buckle, but at $279 it was a very expensive novelty. As the price of memory and displays falls ever faster, moving images are going to become routine in the most mundane places: baseball cards, take-out menus, exit signs.
The century, after all, is only 7 years old.
from the New York Times
For those moments when you really don’t want to talk to anyone…..or for when you do! Brilliant! Electronic plumage! We predict this will become an essential electronic element in the modern mating ritual.