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Question about software patents

Posted by Ben
on 04.15.06

Check it out, it's the KZSU air studio, shown being manned by a guy who thought of sending email to wireless devices, such as pagers or the then-nonexistent blackberry.

I don't know a whole lot about mail transfer protocols and their relation to underlying internet protocols and hardware layers and such, so I don't know if this is right, but, once you've got wireless devices connected to the internet in some fashion, why would proceeding to send email to them be an especially noteworthy idea? No one would think of applying for a patent to send email to a device connected to the internet via a DSL modem as opposed to any other particular method. Someone please reassure me that anyone should have this patent.


 

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So This Is Depressing

Posted by LizardBreath
on 04.14.06

Ebonya Washington, an economist from Yale is about to publish a study indicating that white voters from both parties are significantly more likely to cross party lines when the candidate from their own party is black. Not that I wouldn't have guessed that was true -- there has to be some explanation for how Giuliani got elected mayor of NYC -- but it's just depressing seeing quantitative support for it.

(Via TAPPED, which pulls the somewhat questionable rhetorical maneuver of summarizing the study as if it applied to Republicans only. Not that it wouldn't be better for my estimation of my party if it did, but it seems to be a bipartisan effect.)


 

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Zach's back, again.

Posted by Ben
on 04.14.06

After a lengthier hiatus than ogged ever managed, Veiled Conceit is back in business, with promises of a strict new posting regimen to keep us in disdainful scorn and Times-related laffs.


 

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The values of our people

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 04.14.06

For reasons that needn't concern us here, I was looking for some of the lyrics from that lovable musical Bye Bye Birdie and found this completely true-to-life lament about how great life would be with an MA in English:

It was only a sideline
That's what you said
You just needed some money
That's what you said
You were going to college and get ahead
Instead of being a music business bum
You were going to NYU
And become an English teacher
An English teacher, an English teacher.
If only you'd been an English teacher
We'd have a little apartment in Queens
You'd get a summer vacation
And we would know what life means
A man who's got his masters
Is really someone
How proud I'd be if you had become one
It could have been such a wonderful life
I could have been Mrs. Peterson
Mrs. Albert Peterson,
Mrs. Phi Beta Kappa Peterson,
The English teacher's wife!

Wow. That, my friends, is campy. If I were John Holbo I'd be hard at work on Bye Bye, Bhabha, a musical about the zany antics of a cultural theorist entering the Army.


 

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Rage, my students!

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 04.14.06

I'm in the middle of grading a paper that, at a critical moment of what passes for an argument, says, basically, "well, I'm not sure about this, and it was never clarified for me in class, so I'm not sure what to say." This from someone who almost never comes to class. People without tenure shouldn't snark in the margins. Must resist. Pains me to do so. Must.


 

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I demand that you remove me from your rooster!

Posted by Apostropher
on 04.14.06

Actual snippets from assorted hate mail that landed in the inbox of several gay activists. It's like a collage of unintentional humor by way of subliteracy, but some highlights:

  • Check the following versus of scripture: Genises, Romens, Leviticals, and Profits.
  • I've never had sex with a man and neither has my wife.
  • I also challenge the word "homophobic" as fear of hobosexuals.
  • It has been my experience that the men gays have erroniously large cheek bones and are unusualy attractive therfore i think homosexunility is a mental as well as an phcysical disorder.
  • A penis was not meant to go into a man's butt, but rather a womens.
  • I have never misused the bibel to justify my bigtry, I misused the bible to justify my opinion, as I do in my everyday life.
  • And now you have homophobia to wave around just like the jews have anti-semenic.

Y'know, I thought if anybody was going to be anti-semenic, surely it would be the lesbians.


 

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America's not the mythical land of Madame George and roses

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 04.14.06

...it's the home of guys who blog hot chicks with douchebags.

It's so right that there's a blog devoted to documenting this phenomenon, because it really is one of the enduring human mysteries. I don't mean insanely attractive but vapid people hooking up with one another; that is as it should be. I'm talking about attractive women getting with guys who really aren't that good-looking and who also send off the trademark signal: I am a douchebag. It's sort of the dating equivalent of the Mystery of Chet. Why? Why?

The correct terminology for heterosexual dating asymmetries is, I think, overchicked/underdicked, and vice-versa.

On an almost related note, it's the time of year for undergraduates to dress inappropriately. Since, as I've noted, human sexuality is like a dead language to me, this doesn't pose any problems, but it is the source of this amusement: often one will observe some student discomfort about clothing choices (e.g., repeated doomed attempts to cover the abdomen) when old people are present-- as if they had no idea there'd be faculty around. It's funny.

Apostropher sent me the douchebag link, and I thank him.


 

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Sweeping the Clouds Away

Posted by Tia
on 04.13.06

Chopper wants a substantive post wherein smack is talked. What if I totally, like, deprive him by posting a sappy appreciation of community institutions and open-hearted people? But ooh, what if forcing all his little urges to remain thwarted is actually giving him exactly what he wants, since I will have implicitly talked smack at his expense? Deep. And that's exactly what's going to happen.

I'm unsure how to write this post, since it concerns a specific person, and even though I'm going to say nothing but nice things, I don't want to invade her privacy, so I'll try to anonymize it.

At the Park Slope Food Coop tonight, I asked some lovely folks if they knew where in the neighborhood I could find _____. And they said that the very best ________ was indeed not very far, and directed me. When I got there, I asked the proprietor to recommend a _________. She did, and I'm very excited about it, and perhaps later I'll report on how it was without referring to this post. As I walked up to the counter to buy my _____, she was poring over some accounting printouts, one of which was almost entirely highlighted in orange. "Last October was a bloodbath here," she told me. "Every check we wrote bounced." She told me a complicated story about how this had come to pass, speaking very quickly, unable to decide which direction she should take her sentences and deciding half of them weren't worth finishing, a habit I found very endearing because it reminded me of myself, and I am nothing if not self-satisfied. I asked how much work running a place like hers entailed. She told me that she'd been working eleven hour days for a while, and that was only counting the time she was in the store, though it wasn't as utterly taxing as it sounded, since she felt at work as if she were in another room of her house. Still, the simple act of attending a dinner party was like planning a wedding for her, so many were the necessary arrangements, and when she got there all the other women talked about their last vacation, while she'd had four days off in the last year (that's including weekends). "Why am I telling you all this?" she wondered. "Because I asked," I reassured her. But she said she loved her job, being so visible to the public, integral to the community--several people had popped in that night to inquire about her best friend, who was delivering a baby as we spoke. Her life had changed because of her job: she has a child living with her she met because he was always hanging out in the store.

See, my neighborhood may be bobo, but there is real community here. Kindly business owners really do take urchins off the street. And just a few weeks ago I was sitting on a bench on 7th Avenue munching a sandwhich, and an old man with a big nose and a crazy shock of white hair sat down next to me and, over the course of thirty minutes, greeted four passersby by name. One of the girls he knew wanted to take his picture, and he began pawing at his head shyly and saying, with total sincerity, "Oh, I don't look my best. Not my best at all. Take a picture of this girl," he motioned to me. "She'll make your photo attractive. I need to attend to my hair." Could that be any more adorable? And did I inadvertantly figure out how to get to Sesame Street?


 

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A Request

Posted by Becks
on 04.13.06

Please refrain from commenting on old posts (those not on the front page) for the time being. We're looking into ways to fix the comment links and that would help simplify matters.


 

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To Dos

Posted by Becks
on 04.13.06

The basics of the site are back up but I haven't done any extensive testing. Please record any bugs you find in this comment thread.

Here is my list of bugs/things still left to do so far:
* Make sure comment links working properly
* Make sure archive links working properly
* Make sure archives were generated OK
* Migrate static images
* Migrate About pages
* Get the Innocence thread working
* Reconfigure spamlookup
* Make sure bloggers' mailboxes are all OK
* Make sure RSS feeds working OK (posts+comments looks good)
* Import Being & Time reading group
* Set up bloggers for B&T group
* Why can't we see the database?
* Test mobile.html


 

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Bets

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 04.10.06

It's probably wrong to bet on Duke lacrosse DNA. That said, my money is on 3-4 matches at 4:1.


 

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Ask and ye shall receive.

Posted by Apostropher
on 04.10.06

Washerdreyer sez: "Man, I'm fiending for a comment thread."

I hear ya, brother. We're not yet back up at full speed here, so I'll take advantage of the situation to linkwhore. Here's your open thread, over at my digs. Knock yourselves out.


 

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More Tales From The Emergency Room

Posted by LizardBreath
on 04.10.06

While I?m still very happy with the care Newt got on Friday (and thank you, to everyone who emailed with sympathy and concern), there was an incident that I wasn?t all that happy about.

As usual, when one goes into an emergency room with a hurt child, I got some social-worker-type questions intended to elicit the possibility of child abuse. This is good: I?m all for it. While it?s a little weird being quizzed about whether you?ve hurt your kid, Newt was very helpful in defusing the embarrassment, in his incorrigibly motormouthed way, by rattling on at great length about which of his pre-K classmates had pushed him into the slide, and with what provocation. The next question was: ?Does anybody in the house smoke?? Now, this seems to me entirely irrelevant to the treatment of a kid who needs stitches ? but I figured, all right, they want to slip in a public health message while they?ve got a captive audience, and answered that no, no one smokes.

The next question was the really weird one: ?Is there alcohol in the house?? What is that supposed to tell them? My impression is that more adults than not drink alcohol; how is the presence of alcohol in a household diagnostic of anything at all that would be of interest to an emergency room physician? (I can see wanting to know if the kid?s injury was due to a parent?s alcoholism ? I just can?t see how the question gets you any nearer to knowing that.) So I said ?Yes,? but must have given the doctor a quizzical look. She instantly got all embarrassed and apologized, saying that they have to ask because ?We have a different population down here.? (Here, as in the location of the emergency room, is Harlem.)

What on earth is that? First, it?s a stupid question to begin with. Second, if it were a reasonable question, what could possibly be the justification for apologizing to me about it because I?m a nice middleclass white lady in a suit with a little blond kid ? it?s not going to tell you anything different about an African-American parent wearing a T-shirt, and I don?t have any rights to be free of intrusive questions about my parenting that another parent from a ?different population? doesn?t. If I were a parent from a ?different population? who had overheard the doctor?s apology to me, I would have been livid. I wanted to bring this up, but chickened out because pissing off a doctor who was about to put sharp things in my son?s face seemed ill-advised. So I?m taking the incredibly effective route of blogging about it instead.

UPDATE: Discussion thread here.


 

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Stand and deliver.

Posted by Apostropher
on 04.09.06

Alice Silverberg, a professor of mathematics and computer science at UC Irvine, asks the important question.

Do the people who run these universities know how urinals in the women's rooms make women feel? Whenever I get the opportunity, I naively ask the powers-that-be why there are urinals in the women's rooms, and why they haven't been removed.

Whenever she gets the opportunity? She must be a real hit at faculty parties. The top-secret offsite comment thread for this post is here.


 

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A fragment

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 04.09.06

Student paper: "The greatest minds to walk the Earth..."

Sweet.


 

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Mammon

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 04.09.06

My tax refund is more than a month's worth of graduate-school pay. May God have mercy on my soul.


 

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