January 15, 2005

An excess of meaning

Category: Wholesome — Biella @ 4:48 pm

There are some authors, like Dick Hedbidge, that I love to read, especially to re-read after a considerable absence. It is not necessarily because I agree with everything he says but because of what he loves to write about: style. His style of writing, at once very precise yet expansive and textured with such excessive metaphors and vivid language, creates a type of text in which excess, an excess of meaning is created. This excess then becomes the basis for allowing you to make a series of assocations between his material and your thoughts (on some unrelated material) so many associations, it almost as if you can hear you brain’s synapses firing away. Next week I will write something more precise about what I mean by all of this on a new blog, 775 that I will be participating on as soon as it gets off the ground.

Oh and I also like Hedbidge because he looks like a thiner, more angsty Bill Murray.



January 13, 2005

Tribute to the Seiko Messagewatch

Category: Wholesome — Biella @ 11:12 pm

An entiely geeky and hackish homage to things past.

January 12, 2005

fav coffee for a steak rub and the MS kid

Category: Other — Biella @ 11:57 pm

So it is not often that I get surprised by things I stumble upon on the web or the net. After all, going to Boing Boing, for example, already announces that you will be reading about the strange and wonderful, which then, to some degree diminishes the surprise effect. So today, I received two somewhat odd and surprising pieces of news/information, one a question about the “best coffee steak rub” (see below) on a coffee roasting mailing list, the other an article about the Microsoft Kid sent to me by a student. Both made my eyes, widen, for sure.

I was wondering what peoples favorite coffee is to use as part of a
rub for steak or ribs? What degree of roast? How fine a grind?

Mine is usually a Kona or a Costa Rican coffee.
Roasted about first snap of second.
Ground almost for espresso. If you used the grind in Espresso you
would get about a ten second shot.

I think when I’ve done it I’ve probably used what I had on hand, but
were I to do it by design, I’d probably pick something like Moka
Kadir on the grounds that the wilder taste and uneven roast would
punch through a little bit more.

Political Ho-down

Category: Politics — Biella @ 11:26 am

So this morning, I received a notice about University of Chicago’s Counter-Inagural Ball organized by various centers like Gender Studies, Race and Culture etc. I have to say, I was somewhat surprised by this because it seemed that political activity over the elections was primarily sequestered to the student community. But this shows otherwise and it is exciting to see some of U of C’s brightest, engaging speakers confronting this head on, on the day, and even with a ball at the end of the day. So since activities span the day, see if you can stop down, for this political ho-down at the U of C.

January 11, 2005

Putting things into Perspective

Category: Not Wholesome!!! — Biella @ 11:21 pm

So today as reported on Lawrence Lessig’s blog, IBM is pledging 500 patents to a patent pool a safe zone for open source development. Even though Lessig places this news under his “hero” category, I will use my Not Wholesome category, in fact I think I will break out my rarely used Not Wholesome!!! category to comment on it,

Why? In 1999, IBM, the largest patent holder in the world, made a profit of 1 billion dollars from patent licenses alone (!!!) and along with this, they accrued a record breaking 2,756 new patents (!!!). The following year, they made 1.5 billion from their patents and were awarded 3.4000 new patents. 500 patents in a safe sone patent pool is not even like placing patents in a kiddie pool but is more like putting them in a (small) spalsh of urine. I am not alone in thinking of IBM’s move as tactically disingenous, yet enormously advantageous for them. It gives them some sort of street cred, fame, and publicity, and sort of serves to momentarily ward off the contradiction that is open source at the largest patent holder in the world (and probably Known Universe). I was also glad to see NoSoftwarePatents stand firm to their credo:

It’s just diversionary tactics. Let’s put this into perspective: We’re talking about roughly 1% of IBM’s worldwide patent portfolio. They file that number of patents in about a month’s time.

Ok, so I have to admit as much as I think this is a problematic political move, it does make my dissertation a tad more exciting (I have a whole section on IBM) and I can’t really claim some total vitriolic hate for IBM. After all, I just ordered an X40.

January 10, 2005

Dramatic weight loss

Category: Health — Biella @ 5:18 pm

So if your eldely parent all of a sudden loses a ton weight, and sh/e is not on some crazy low carb weight loss diet, or has some other medical condition, there is a chance, according to a very preliminary study, that weight loss can presage alzheimers . I know, I know the data looks shaky and weight loss can indicate a panopoly of conditions, but this stikes home because my mom lost massive weight before she got alzheimers and then as it her percpetual disturbances and memory degraded, she lost even more weight.

She went from around 135-140 pounds to 120 and then dropped to 114, 110, and has stablized at 104 for over a year now. She sometimes strikes as a walking corpse at least to those who knew here in the past. I sometimes feel like people look at me like I withold food from her but in fact she eats and can’t seem to put on weight.

She was eating a ton during the first drop in weight while I cannot say what happened during the second. I then also lived with when she reached 104, stuffing her with all sorts of food and lots of fat, but her weight never budged.

I bet such dramatic weight lost over the course of what seemed only like months, cannot be all that good for you. I know that fasts/hunger strikes can lead to brain damage, in part because of near total lack of the vitamin Bs. I wonder if such quick and dramatic weight loss even if spread a bit over timecan act somewhat like a prolonged mini-fast, speeding up the degradation of the brain because of lack of essential vitamins and such. I am sure it indicates some sort of malabsorption but for a doc of the brain to think of digestion is like sunbathing, along the lake, in Chicago, in Feburary, during the middle of an ice-storm.. Not likley.

Anyway, interesting stuff and if anything

January 8, 2005

East Meet West

Category: Wholesome — Biella @ 8:47 pm

Hmm even if it may be somewhat NANCY (Not A Nother Consciousness Yammering), I think that this debate between the Buddhist/scholarAndy Wallace and John Searle to be held next Friday at Northwestern, looks promising…

ps–> John Searle has a pictureonline with like a gazillion pixels. With such an image and such sharpness, makes you wonder if he secretly wants to be a male model.

Radical Software

Category: Wholesome — Biella @ 8:03 pm

All right I am going a little overboard with the blogging today but after such a long hiatus, I am making up for some lost time.

So I usually not all that excited about stuff I find on the web but this one was an exception —> check out radical software, a website about a journal published in the early 1970s on technology, IP, decentralized media, and political activism. According to their history page, they were way onto the politics of copyright: “To demonstrate their commitment to free information, they rejected the standard copyright mark in favor of a new one, a circle with an X inside it, meaning, “please copy.”"

The best thing is this site is not only is it about Radical Software, but it has all of the issues online. Nice.

On Representation

Category: Research — Biella @ 7:32 pm

So I have basically stopped posting on my research blog, instead posting articles on free software, hackers, IP etc, on Geniza. I prefer the layout and since there are a number of us posting, I get to bear the fruit of the labor of others.

I just posted two pieces that both deal with the question of representation. One is an article that announces Linux is no longer fringe or kinda-fringe, but fully mainstream. While Linux is mainstreaming, piracy has not only been aligned with terrorism but now is compared to a drug war: (“”There are a lot of similarities with the drug war,” said David Israelite, chairman of the U.S. Justice Department’s Intellectual Property Task Force. “You never really are going to eliminate the problem, but what you hope to do is stop its growth.”). And while piracy is being fought with the massive resources, Mr Gates is of course trying as best he can to downgrade the mainstream appeal of the Free Culture movement by tagging it as communist.

On a smaller scale, my friend Rex is re-designing his blogand I can’t but help think that it reflects a Jack Handy’s Deep Thought aesthetic.

Century of the Self

Category: Research — Biella @ 6:08 pm

So so so I really want to see Century of the Self not only because I am obssessed about questions of selfhood but I also love documentaries especially really long ones, that don’t skip on the details. I think it is a shame that it is so difficult to see documentaries in the sense that they only play in artsy type film houses, are not on regular TV all that often, and are not readily available in your local video store. I guess I should check out netflix and see if it worth signing up and watching a handful of the d-mentaries per month.

I think it is also a shame that the world of documentary film making is not an integral component of academia especially teachinbg. For example, any good ethnography should have a corollary documentary. That is how the emotive, visual force of your material can really come through. There is a chance that I may pair up with a filmmaker who I met in Brazil while he was making to do a documentary on a large hacker con What the Hack but we will see if we can pull it off. The timing of the con is not all that ideal for me because I think I may be teaching then but I may be able to change my schedule if indeed we manage to get permisison to do it. Now, getting permission from a group of hackers who value decentralizing authority will be interesting.