My wife and I are in Ahmedabad where there was a library conference put on by the Indian Institute of Management. It ended on Friday. We had Saturday plus this morning to see what we could of this very large city.
Friday night was our first day without sleeping pills, and we hardly slept at all — up for the night at 1:30am. Since I was already sick, having caught Ann’s cold, and being a self-pitying weakling, I just wanted to stay in bed and sleep. Which is pretty much what I did for the morning and early afternoon.
At 3pm we set out to walk to the walled city. We figured we’d go to a beautiful Hindu temple there (Swaminaryan Mandir) , and then walk 15 mins to the only Jewish synagogue in the entire region, Magen Abraham.
It is about a 4 mile walk to the Hindu temple, but it took us over three hours because Ahmedabad has blown past the infrastructure for walking. “ Chaotic traffic and people busy with their lives”It is difficult to describe how overwhelming it is. We walked along main roads with sidewalks made impassable by parked motorcycles. We walked through some very poor neighborhoods, where people smiled at us elderly Americans, and called out “Hallo.” Mainly, though, we walked along streets filled with chaotic traffic and people busy with their lives.
And don’t get me started on the traffic. Huge streets with cars, tuktuks, motorcycles, bikes, carts, and anything else that is capable of movement, all without traffic lights Horns replace lanes. The balletics required to make a right turn on a major street with no regulation other than norms and horns are astounding. Crossing a street requires stepping into a lane with the confidence that the oncoming traffic will split around you. Hesitate and you have become a random vector and far more likely to be hit. It is terrifying. Why 40% of the population hasn’t been killed in traffic accidents is one of today’s modern mysteries. “Why 40% of the population of Ahmedabad hasn’t been killed in traffic accidents is one of today’s modern mysteries. ”
Since we couldn’t figure out the algorithm, we went with an heuristic: wait for a local to cross and follow her.
After maybe 2.5 hours, we crossed the Nehru Bridge of the huge river. That side of the river took the other side up a notch. All the way to eleven. More people. More traffic. And an outdoor market that went on for at least a mile, and branched out for acres and acres more on either side. The streets were nearly impassable except by walking in and amongst the crazy traffic.
These are not tourist markets. No geegaws. Just endless shops and carts, crushed together in disregard of every human sense organ.“endless shops and carts, crushed together in disregard of every human sense organ.”
By this time we’d given up on finding the Hindu temple and worked instead on finding the synagogue.
Unfortunately, the street the synagogue is on — Bawa Latif — is unmarked, and apparently unknown by the locals. After many inquiries, all politely responded to, we got into a tuktuk as soon as shabbos was over. The driver pretended he knew where he was going. After more wending through market streets, this time as the bodies with inertia on their side, and after several stops where he asked other drivers where the street was, he dropped us off at the street … except that it was an indoor market, not a street. (I believe that the gate it is immediately next to is Teen Darwaja.) We wandered forlornly looking for a synagogue amongst the stands selling food, clothing, and anything brightly covered.
Ultimately, a Muslim working one of the tables said he knew where the synagogue is, and he walked us to it. We would never ever have found it. Never. Ever. He expressed his commitment to religions respecting one another. We thanked him profusely — I said that helping strangers was so important, and he clasped my shoulders, which was touching in both senses — and we entered the synagogue. “a Muslim working one of the tables said he knew where the synagogue was… ”
It is a place of simple worship. In this, it reminded me of my wife’s synagogue in Boston. I sat silently through the end of sabbath ritual. Afterward, the president of the synagogue chatted us up, and his point of pride was that within a few blocks were five different houses of worship: Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and Jain. Even given India’s religious tolerance, nowhere else are the houses of worship that close together, he said.
We took a tuktuk home — the best dollar I ever spent.
The walk this afternoon was difficult, uncertain, and at times — crosswalks! — terrifying. But we will never forget it.
Date: December 6th, 2015 dw
I’m on a Heidegger mailing list where I get to lurk as serious scholars probe his writings and thoughts, and, not infrequently these days, his politics.
Recently, a member of the list I highly respect suggested that “Heidegger’s phenomenology of ‘Sein-zum-Tode’ [Being-toward-death] amounts to living each day of our lives with a sense of our finitude, our mortality, that unifies and heightens the meaningfulness of each and every moment.” He equates this to Michel de Montaigne saying that “it is my custom to have death not only in my imagination, but continually in my mouth.” This is great wisdom, said the list member.
I don’t want to argue against those who find wisdom in living “with the taste of death” in their mouths. But I also wouldn’t argue for it.
My understanding, such as it is, of Heidegger’s idea of Being-toward-death is that our temporal finitude is constantly present as a horizon: we look before we cross the street because we know we can die — “know” not as an explicit thought but as the landscape within which our experience occurs. We make long-term plans within a horizon of possibility that we number in decades and not centuries.
But that’s not what I take Montaigne to mean. And if that’s what Heidegger’s concept of authenticity entails (as I think it might), then that’s just another problem I have with his idea of authenticity.
Why is keeping explicit the awareness of my impending death preferable, wise, or phenomenologically true-er? Because only I can die my death, as Heidegger says? I’m also the only one who can eat my lunch or take my shower. [Frivolity aside: these are both instances of “Only I have my body.”] Because it makes our experience more precious? It doesn’t for me. For example:
We have a four-month-old grandchild, our first. (Yes, yes, thank you for your good wishes :) When I am caring for him–playing with him–my death is always present, but as an horizon. I’m aware that I’m 65 years older than he is, that I am in my waning years and he is just beginning. That is part of the deep joy of a grandchild, and it is definitional: if I thought I were immortal, the experience would be very different; if I didn’t have the concept of one life beginning and another ending, my experience of children would be incomprehensible. So, phenomenologically I think Heidegger is right about our death (finitude) always shaping our experience as an implicit horizon. Our stretch of time only extends so far before it snaps.
But, beyond that implicit horizon, do I need to keep a taste of death in my mouth to make the experience of our grandson more precious? On the contrary, the explicit thought, “Wow, I’m really going to be dead someday” would distract me from my grandson, and keep me from letting the adorable little phenomenon show himself as he is.
That’s a charged example, of course. But here’s another: I’m eating a delicious piece of chocolate cake. I do so within the horizon of my finitude, but that horizon is probably quite implicit. Perhaps it’s a bit more explicit than that, but still horizonal: I’m only eating half the slice for health reasons. But then I have a vivid taste of death alongside the chocolate: “Crap! I’m going to be dead someday.”
Does the cake taste better? I guess maybe for some people. For a lot of us, though, the realization that death is surely a-comin’ would make the cake turn to ash. Who cares about cake when I’m going to be dead sometime, maybe in a minute or a day? We’ve been pulled out of the experience and out of the world by the vivid intrusion of what is undeniably a truth. Why do you think Roquentin can never enjoy a nice slice of cake?
We can complain that such morbidity is inauthentic, but as far as I can tell that’s a value judgment, not philosophy and certainly not phenomenology.
My intention is not to argue against Montaigne on this. If keeping the fact of death explicitly present helps some of us appreciate life more, who am I to say otherwise? Seriously. And if someone goes further and seeks out death-defying experiences because she feels most alive when she is most at risk, who am I to judge? That works for her. Good! (I feel bad for her parents, though.)
But valorizing keeping death explicitly present seems to me to be more personality than philosophy.
I understand that Heidegger’s putting death front and center was a radical and healthy move for philosophy. Western philosophy, after all, has spent so much of its energy pursuing deathless wisdom and eternal Reality as the only truths. But as a reader of Heidegger, I put much of what he writes in Being and Time about death into the same bucket as what he writes about destiny, das Man, authenticity, and German peasant romanticism: It’s (to put it mildly) phenomenologically non-disclosive for me — part of the price of reading an ontologist whose methodology, at least initially, was phenomenology.
Tagged with: death
Date: November 28th, 2015 dw
I think I have some odd eating quirks. I don’t mean the fact that I’ve been vegetarian for 35+ years. It’s that I don’t like vegetables and I exhibit some possibly compulsive behavior about food.
Maybe 7 or 8 years ago (which probably means 10 years ago) I had put on a ton of weight. I had weighed 165 lbs. when I got married, but about 20-25 years later I had fattened myself up to 220+. My blood sugar control system was responding in the predictable way. My doctor diagnosed me as pre-diabetic.
So, I stopped eating things with added sugar and went on a low glycemic index diet. Over the course of maybe six months I lost about forty pounds. Even at 183 lbs., I was fat, but I was no longer a fat fuck. More like “Oh, he’s an American.” The weight loss, change in diet, and intermittent exercise dropped my blood sugar levels, and for at least the past five years they’ve been well below the diabetes threshold. I am no longer pre-diabetic. My doctor counts me as a success story.
“I got fat by eating with a child’s tastes and an adult’s permission.”I got fat by eating with a child’s tastes and an adult’s permission. Worse, if left at a table with a food that can be consumed in small amounts, I will eat one peanut or bread shred every 90 seconds until nothing’s left. Compulsively.
On the other hand, I am also very disciplined about food, which I think is just another way my compulsiveness manifests itself. So, I’ve eaten the same breakfast every day since my diagnosis. Every day. And it’s a fine breakfast: no-fat unsweetened yogurt with walnuts, sunflower seeds, and a little cut-up fruit stirred in. Every day. (I do allow myself exceptions during our two weeks of vacation.)
Dinner I eat with my wife. Weekdays she cooks. I cook on weekends. There’s a relatively small set of things we like, and that’s what we eat. A lot of it is carb heavy, but it’s just one meal a day, I eat in moderation, and my blood work says I can afford it.
But lunch has been a problem for years. I work at home these days, which means around noon I’m poking around the fridge. Egg whites have been one go-to meal, but I don’t like them all that much and they’re not very filling. A sandwich has too much bread. I like leftovers, but they’re often too carby.
So lunch is always a problem. It is why, I believe, I’ve gained back ten pounds over the years. That’s not bad given, well, everything. And I weirdly thought that I’d gained about twenty-five pounds until I finally weighed myself six weeks ago — so I apparently suffer from body dysmorphism also.
I needed to address lunch.“ I decided to use my compulsive personality as my secret super-power.” I decided to use my compulsive personality as my secret super-power.
I had been reading about Soylent, a perfectly engineered food replacement (or thus is the goal). I like the idea of a community of food hackers arguing about exactly which micro-ingredients are needed. Soylent is a commercial company offering its version. With version 2.0, it comes in convenient liquid form, shipped in plain white bottles. Four hundred calories. Glycemically ok, according to the site.
I have found my lunch.
You can apparently live on Soylent. Five bottles a day gives you 2,000 perfectly-balanced calories. (That’d cost you about $12.50/day, although you could make your own for far less.) But I’m just looking for a repetitive, never-think-about-it, healthy-enough lunch. So, “I’ve been drinking a bottle of Soylent every day”I’ve been drinking a bottle of Soylent every day between 12:00 and 12:30 in the afternoon.
Someone on Reddit, I think, described the taste well: It’s like the milk after you’ve eaten the Cheerios. I hate milk because it comes from inside cows, and Soylent is a little too close to how I remember milk tasting. So, I’ve been mixing it with a tablespoon of Hershey’s dark chocolate baking power (10 cals) and one packet of fake sugar. I actually look forward to it.
Yes, I know egg whites come from inside chickens, which makes me squeamish both because of the cruelty with which even “free range” chickens are treated, and because it is a slimy fluid that comes from inside a chicken. But I am a hypocrite, so shoot me. (I like honey even less because it comes from inside a bug. I’ve seen the insides of bugs. How does anyone eat that?)
Soylent is not intended to be a weight-loss product. A bottle has more than twice the calories of a Nutrisystem shake. But I have in my life done Nutrisystem and it’s deeply unsatisfying. One of their shakes doesn’t last long enough, and it’s jacked with fake everything. “Nutrisystem is jacked with fake everything”Soylent is, I’m pretty sure, actually good for me. And it keeps me going until around 4pm, when a half an apple will take me the rest of the way to dinner. Since starting on Soylent, I’ve lost 8 pounds, getting me close to where I plateaued when I did my big weight loss after the pre-diabetes diagnosis.
Although Soylent is definitely not a low-carb “food,” my blood sugar seems to be doing well with it. I’ve seen no spikes in my home tests after a Soylent lunch. Obviously, your blood sugar mileage may vary.
I’m not tempted to replace more of my meals with Soylent. One a day seems to be doing the trick for me, keeping in mind that I was looking for a way to be more compulsive about eating.
Soylent: The perfect non-food for compulsives! (Soylent.com, you can have that tagline for free.)
No, I will not be having Soylent tomorrow, Thanksgiving, for lunch. I may be slightly compulsive, but I’m not crazy. (Of course, I won’t be having turkey either.)
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, y’all!
Tagged with: compulsion
Date: November 25th, 2015 dw
Robin Chase is giving a lunchtime talk at the Berkman Center.
NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.
There is a totally new organization paradigm that exists next to the Internet, she says. She calls it “Peers, Inc.” It changes how we shape the economy. It’s happening now. Her explanation will be in three parts:
First, platforms for participation that leverage excess capacity. E.g., Facebook, Skype, Meetup, YouTube, MOOCs, open source, Blockchain, etc. For example, Skype is a telecoms company built on the excess capacity of its users systems. Working with excess capacity means sharing.
Bed-sharing (couchsurfing, AirBnB) uses excess beds. “It took four years for AirBnB to have more available beds than the largest hotel chain”It took four years for AirBnB to have more available beds than the largest hotel chain (InterContinental): 650,000. Couchsurfing has more than a couple of million.
We invented big institutions to do things that we can’t do as individuals. E.g., large investments, projects that require intelligence in lots of different areas, standardized contracts. And there are things that individuals do better: customization, specialization, creativity, trust.
These two coexist, and the Net enables them to collaborate. She calls this Peers, Inc. (“Institutions and governments are also Inc’s in this world view.”) The Inc’s provide a platform for participation, and the individual provides creativity and specialization.
Robin “adores excess capacity” because it’s green and efficient. Excess capacity is something that’s already been paid for but contains unused value. How do you harness it? 1. You can slice it so only pay for what they use (e.g., ZipCar); this lets you avoid buying more car than you need. 2. You can aggregate (e.g., AirBnB, Waze). 3. Open up these assets, e.g., data.gov and GPS.
The Inc side builds platforms for participation. They organize lots of small parts. “They “Platforms give the power of the large to the small”give the power of the large to the small.” They can scale. She points to a French car-sharing company: BlaBlaCar. Four million people use it every month.
Peers bring diversity. E.g., smartphones and apps. Smartphones are far harder to build than the apps they enable. Over 2M apps have been developed since smartphones were invented in the past seven years. “We’ve seen more innovation than throughout all of human history” because people can build apps that are relevant to their own situations. App creators are free-riders on top of the $600 people spend on their smartphones.
2. Peers Inc give us new powers, which she thinks of as miracles.
“The most depressing thing I know is climate change.” By 2100, we’ll see a 4-6°C increase unless we take dramatic action. What does that feel like? “The last time we were minus 7°F was the last ice age.” Warming the planet that amount transformed the planet. We should expect the same level of change if we boost it another 7°F. By 2060, it will be really awful. So we have to address this.
“Banny Bannerjee says: “You can’t solve exponential problems with linear solutions.””Banny Bannerjee says: “You can’t solve exponential problems with linear solutions.”
The “miracles” give her some optimism:
a. “We can defy the laws of physics” by leveraging excess capacity. If she had proposed building 640,000 rooms in four years she would have been told that that’s not possible. But AirBnb did it by leveraging existing excess capacity.
b. “We can tap exponential learning.” Platforms can get millions of iterations in and can do a lot of learning. E.g., learning a language. A semester is 130 hours. Rosetta Stone teaches the same in 54 hours. But it’s expensive. “My new favorite company is DuoLingo.” They do a lot of A/B testing. They now can teach you a semester in 34 hours. They have 90M people using it. A year and a half ago DuoLingo opened up its processes: Russians learning Balinese, etc. Now 45M of the 90M are learning language pairs DuoLingo did not create. (DuoLingo makes money because they have humans translating sentences from organizations that pay them incrementally.)
c. “The right person will appear.” E.g., Obama raised the prospect of normalizing relationships with Cuba. Six months later, AirBnB had 2,000 listings there, thanks to the Net.
Her only hope for climate change is creating platforms that will address climate “at scale, speed, and locally adapated.” E.g., a platform for a house will remember to turn off the light when there’s been no movement. We’ll get smart cities through the Internet of Things. Distributed energy. Autonomous vehicles, which will arrive in force in the next 5-12 years. We’ll only need 10% of the cars because we’ll be sharing them. “Public transportation will be at the cost of a bus but the speed of cars”Public transportation will be at the cost of a bus but the speed of cars, transforming job opportunities. (But the Internet of Things means that everything is tracked.)
All of these miracles only happen because of both sides of Peers Inc.
3. “Everything that can become a platform will become one.” Old-style industrial capitalism put thick boundaries around companies. Today, what’s inside and outside is blurred.
Four reasons Robin is convinced we’re moving into the collaborative economy:
1. Shared networked assets always provide more value than closed assets
2. More networked minds are smarter than fewer proprietary minds.
3. “The benefits of shared open assets are always larger than the problems associated with open assets.” E.g., yes, some people put scratches in ZipCars, but the company nevertheless is doing very well.
4. What I get is great than what I give.
We are in a time of instability. “Peers Inc is the only structure that can experiment, iterate, evolve and adapt at the pace required.”Peers Inc is the only structure that can experiment, iterate, evolve and adapt at the pace required.
So, how can we structure things so we give up the least privacy necessary? “What is the least privacy loss that delivers a habitable climate”
Q: For me it’s not privacy loss but who we’re losing our privacy to. What about platform accountability? Aren’t we pushing out power into more abstract systems that we cannot see or address?
A: I was on a panel at the Platform Cooperativism conference. I pointed out that these platforms are incredibly expensive. ““He who finances the platforms creates the rules of engagement.”He who finances the platforms creates the rules of engagement.” “I want these platforms created by a distributed, autonomous us.” We don’t have time to just hope this happens. “I have real anxiety.”
Q: [me] Suppose we build protocol instead platforms…
A: I’ve put all of that into the same bucket.
Q: Shareable cars disrupt ZipCar. There will be user agreements. How do we disrupt that?
A: “He who creates the data owns the data.” Autonomous vehicles have a middle space, e.g., around safety and learning issues. It’s in the deep public interest to have this data. But we need to make the privacy issues understandable and parseable by ordinary users so they can choose.
Q: Isn’t privacy gone already?
A: We can still do some structuring.
Q: Why does trust work over the Web, which is mostly anonymous?
A: Ebay was the first to figure out you need ratings and commentaries. We use other people as our proxies for trust.
Q: iRobot’s Roombas currently don’t upload what they’ve learned about the layout of your house. But Nest knows everything. What should the rules be?
A: That’s what I’m asking you. We have to figure this out.
Q: It’d be great if we had more choice about which pieces of info we give to platforms. Is there any work on standard ways of parceling out pieces of our identity?
A: I know people are working on this. “It comes back to the amount of money, time, and marketing it takes to push great ideas into market.”
Q: What are we doing to educate the younger generation about privacy?
A: Maybe you can push Harvard to do appropriate role modeling. Maybe students here could push for an icon system that tells us what data you’re taking from us, etc.
Q: [me] What would you tell a student about the dangers? And would you consider addressing this by putting restrictions on how the data is used, rather than on its collection?
A: How about doing some pilots to see what works? You have to inform people about the dangers as well regulating the industry.
Q: How will we embed public safety concerns into software for self-driving cars?
A: Self-driving cars will always follow the rules. No speeding. No parking in no-parking zones. All the existing rules will be embedded. So we’ll embed the appropriate behavior for ambulances, etc. No siren required. Also: The auto industry always brings up autonomous cars having to decide which person to kill in an accident. But why would you bring up this stupid case? One in a million trips this might happen? There are more deaths than that now. “Right now, 80% of cars are single occupancy. We need to put a high price on that.”Right now, 80% of cars are single occupancy. We need to put a high price on that.
Q: It sounds like you’re describing a train: get somewhere, not park…Why not public transportation?
A: We’ll see how it plays out. It’ll be a complex ecosystem. It’ll be decided city by city. More important than who owns it are: Will they be electric? Will it be 10x more expensive for single occupancy? Will we have pharmacy cars or liquor cars that deliver their wares without having a storefront? Who will design the software?
Q: Practically, how do you combat zoning for selfishness, e.g., my own one-person gas guzzler?
A: I don’t spend a lot of time on local issues. When I have, logic and data haven’t had much effect.
Tagged with: climate change
Date: November 24th, 2015 dw
I heard that Microsoft has some excellent $0.10 deals for Windows 10 owners like me. So I checked Bing:
The top hit (an ad by Microsoft) takes you to a page for corporate sales of Windows phones.
The second hit (an ad by Microsoft) takes you to the generic Microsoft Store front page from which it is virtually impossible to find the $0.10 sales.
None of the rest of the results on the first page of the Bing search gets you anywhere close.
Same search at Google:
The top hit (a Microsoft ad) takes you to the same generic front page of the Microsoft Store as the second hit on Bing, which makes no mention of the $0.10 sales.
The following Google results take you to pages about the $0.10 sales from which you can actually get to the goddamn sale.
Yes, these sales are real. For example, this is from the Microsoft.com site this afternoon:
I got there by going to the WindowsCentral.com post listed in the Google results….although right now the Windows site is telling me that something is wrong and I should come back later.
PS: To get to the Hitman Go sale, my best advice is to go to the Windows Store on your Windows 10 machine. The $0.10 sales are featured there. Or search there for Hitman Go.
Tagged with: bing
Date: November 22nd, 2015 dw
Google has just posted that it’s going to start defending some YouTube videos from DMCA takedown notices when it believes that those videos are protected by the Fair Use exemption from copyright law.
This is great news and long overdue.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 lets a copyright holder send a notice to a site like YouTube claiming that a video violates its copyright. YouTube passes that notice on to the video poster and takes down the video. The poster can enter into a legal battle with the copyright holder which is rarely worth the time and money even if the poster is totally within her rights.
As a result, Big Content sends YouTube thousands of takedown notices that are generated algorithmically, without a human ever looking at the video to see if it is actually a violation. Since there’s no practical penalty for sending in a groundless takedown notice, Big Content has a “When in doubt, take it out” attitude.
But you usually can’t tell if a video falls under the Fair Use exemption without looking at it. Fair Use exempts material from claims of copyright infringement if the material is satire, if it’s citing the original in a review, for some educational purposes, etc. Fair Use is just plain common sense. Without it, you’d have to get Donald Trump’s permission to mem-ify one of his quotes.
Google to its credit recently used Fair Use to defend Google Books‘ scanning and indexing of in-copyright works. It won. This was a big victory for Fair Use.
Now Google seems ready to step forward and champion Fair Use in other realms. It’s hard to see how this benefits Google directly — they’ll be spending legal fees to keep some person’s video up, even as 400 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. But creating a Fair Use speed bump in the automatic and robotic cleansing of the Net is great for the ecosystem, which is great for us and ultimately for companies like Google that rely on the Internet remaining a robust domain of discourse and creativity.
Tagged with: copyleft
Date: November 19th, 2015 dw
Monday, November 16, 2015
Vous n’aurez pas ma haine
Vendredi soir vous avez volé la vie d’un être d’exception, l’amour de ma vie, la mère de mon fils mais vous n’aurez pas ma haine. Je ne sais pas qui vous êtes et je ne veux pas le savoir, vous êtes des âmes mortes. Si ce Dieu pour lequel vous tuez aveuglément nous a fait à son image, chaque balle dans le corps de ma femme aura été une blessure dans son coeur.
Alors non je ne vous ferai pas ce cadeau de vous haïr. Vous l’avez bien“I will not give you the gift of hating you.” cherché pourtant mais répondre à la haine par la colère ce serait céder à la même ignorance qui a fait de vous ce que vous êtes. Vous voulez que j’ai peur, que je regarde mes concitoyens avec un oeil méfiant, que je sacrifie ma liberté pour la sécurité. Perdu. Même joueur joue encore.
Je l’ai vue ce matin. Enfin, après des nuits et des jours d’attente. Elle était aussi belle que lorsqu’elle est partie ce vendredi soir, aussi belle que lorsque j’en suis tombé éperdument amoureux il y a plus de 12 ans. Bien sûr je suis dévasté par le chagrin, je vous concède cette petite victoire, mais elle sera de courte durée. Je sais qu’elle nous accompagnera chaque jour et que nous nous retrouverons dans ce paradis des âmes libres auquel vous n’aurez jamais accès.
Nous sommes deux, mon fils et moi, mais nous sommes plus fort que toutes“You want me to be afraid, for me to regard my fellow citizens with a suspicious eye, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You lose.” les armées du monde. Je n’ai d’ailleurs pas plus de temps à vous consacrer, je dois rejoindre Melvil qui se réveille de sa sieste. Il a 17 mois à peine, il va manger son goûter comme tous les jours, puis nous allons jouer comme tous les jours et toute sa vie ce petit garçon vous fera l’affront d’être heureux et libre. Car non, vous n’aurez pas sa haine non plus.
“You will not have my hatred”
Friday night you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred. I do not know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls. If the God for whom you kill so blindly made us in His image, each bullet in the body of my wife would be a wound in His heart. “ …all his life this little boy will affront you with his happiness and freedom.”
So no, I will not give you the gift of hating you. You have obviously sought it but responding to hatred with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that made you what you are. You want me to be afraid, for me to regard my fellow citizens with a suspicious eye, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You lose. Game over.
I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left Friday evening, and just as beautiful as when I fell madly in love with her more than 12 years ago. Of course I am devastated with grief, I concede that tiny victory, but it will be short-lived. I know she will be with us every day and that we will find each other again in a paradise of free souls to which you will never have access.
We are two, my son and me, but we are more powerful than all the armies of the world. I have no more time to waste on you, I need to get back to Melvil who is waking up from his afternoon nap. He’s just 17 months old; he’ll eat his snack like every day, and then we’re going to play like we do every day; and all his life this little boy will affront you with his happiness and freedom. Because you won’t have his hatred either.
It can be heart-breaking to be an adult.
Tagged with: france
Date: November 19th, 2015 dw
This has been one of the longest stretches of non-blogging for me since I stopped blogging every freaking day in around 2010.
In part it’s because I’ve been traveling — to Mexico City for a library conference I blogged about, to Penn State for a talk at the new and really interesting Center for Humanities and Information, to Atlanta to talk at a Deloitte internal Knowledge Management get-together. (I’ve decided to mention my speaking more often in my blog to remind people that this is something I do. For the past twenty years I’ve barely ever mentioned it because it felt like bragging. It still does. Sorry.)
But it’s not really the traveling that’s kept me non-blogging. It’s that I’m in a weirdly hyperactive brain state. There’s too much to think about. Some ideas I’ve been trying to nail down — or, more exactly, tie to other ideas and wrangle into words — have kept my brain from settling. I’ve been doing a lot of writing, but almost all of it is fodder for re-writing.
Mainly what I’ve been thinking about is the way in which our idea of how the future works has been changing under our noses. I’m getting very close (I hope) to having a book proposal on that topic. But I’m not there yet. The ideas feel like they almost work together, but they don’t yet. Maybe they won’t ever. Maybe they’re bad ideas. Most of my ideas are, and some would say they all are.
It’s a weird state, waiting for a phase change.
I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, here’s something encouraging about the world.
Tagged with: personal
Date: November 18th, 2015 dw
For some reason, Apple Keynote continues to ship with many more frames than it lets you use. (Frames are called Picture Frames when you click on the Border dropdown menu in the Format panel.) You can get Keynote to list these hidden frames if you’re willing to mess around with a file that might break Keynote.
Please nod your head to indicate that you’ve read and understood the above warning.
The first thing to do is to find the hidden files. For Keynote 6.6 (the latest version), they’re here:
To get there you have to select Keynote in your Applications folder and right-click on it, or do what you have to in order to get the popup menu. Choose “Show Package Contents” and navigate to the Frames folder.
In that folder is a file named FrameInspectorLayoutInfo.plist. Make a copy of it as a backup and put it some place safe.
Nod your head to indicate that you have done that. I mean it.
Open the original of that file in a text editor of your choice. (If you’re comfortable editing plists in Xcode, use that. It’s easier.) This is an XML file that lists all the frames that will show up when you choose Picture Frame from the Border dropdown. (To see them, you have to click the tiny triangle to the right of the thumbnail view Keynote provides of the Picture Frame you’ve chosen.)
You can see the available frames in the Frames folder in Finder where you found the file you’re currently editing. To add a frame, you add it to the list called “Asset Scales” that is the first half of the file, and you add it again to the list called “Display Order” that is the second half. But you add it differently in each.
Asset Scales expects an entry of this form:
Please note that I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THAT SECOND LINE MEANS. So I’ve just been copy-pasting it and replacing the name of the frame. It does not work for some frames (e.g., Venetian 3), which results in a blank spot in the menu of available frames…but if you click on that blank space, for some of them you get the frame anyway. In the sample file I’m providing, I have not included any frames with that problem. (Asset Scales probably specifies how to display the thumbnail version of the frame. It just doesn’t work for all of them, and I don’t know why.)
The Display Order list does what it sounds like: it controls the order of the layout of the thumbnails you can choose from. It does not have to be the same as the order of the frames in the Asset Scales list. It expects entries in this form:
Make a typo and you’ll have a blank spot where a thumbnail is supposed to be, and that blank spot won’t do anything.
Now save the file; it will likely ask you for permission first. Reload Keynote. Enjoy your new frames.
I’m posting a version of the replacement file here. I’ve only added about half of the frames so far because I’m lazy. I’ll add more over time.
Nod your head if you agree not to blame me for screwing up your Mac.
Tagged with: howto
Date: November 11th, 2015 dw
“Bridge of Spies” continues Steven Spielberg‘s conscious (?) attempt to refashion what it means to be an American hero. It’s impeccably made, beautifully acted, and a compelling story. It’s more muted than Spielberg at his most exuberant (Jurassic Park, Jaws, Tintin), but it was a good night out at the movies.
And once again it’s Spielberg giving us the counterpoint to the cartoon heroism of Indiana Jones. It’s Spielberg being Frank Capra (e.g., Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) and Tom Hanks being Jimmy Stewart — both with a defining ambiguity. As in Schindler’s List, Munich, Saving Private Ryan, Amistad and Lincoln, to be moral is to be morally conflicted, which for Spielberg is a big step up from being right. As in Amistad and Lincoln, to be an American hero is to take the Constitutional promise of equality under the law as what binds us into a nation, and then to be conflicted about its application. In particular, it is to worry about the conflict between the rule of law that one has accepted as constitutive of the nation and the exceptional worth of every individual. It is the exact opposite of Indy facing the crazy swordmaster, shrugging his shoulders, and shooting him from a distance, and walking away. Tom Hanks never shrugs his shoulders in a Spielberg movie.
By the way, when it says at the beginning that it’s based on true events (truthy spoilers here), it’s not some wild fictionalization. All the major elements are true. Knowing that makes the movie more interesting.
Tagged with: morality
Date: November 8th, 2015 dw
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