July 14, 2005

The Naming Politics of Trademarks

Category: Politics — @ 3:18 pm

Via apophenia, the PTO finds Dykes on Bikes patently offensive, reject name

Twice, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected the Dykes’ application, on the grounds that “dyke” is vulgar, offensive and “scandalous.” Patent office attorneys even point to Webster’s dictionary, which says dyke is “often used disparagingly.”

“The examining attorney found it to be offensive to a significant portion of the lesbian community,” said Jessie Roberts, a trademark administrator with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. “And we’re also looking out for the sensitivities of the general public more than that of a specific applicant.”

July 13, 2005

Women on the Verge of a

Category: Research — @ 6:29 am

No No, not nervous breakdown… But on the verge of having to come up with the final title to my dissertation. And it is hard because all I am coming up with is eminently boring.

I have the first part set in mental stone:

The Social Creation of Productive Freedom:

And then there is the magical colon to deliver the punch. But I am afraid there is little punch with what I have so far.

The Social Creation of Productive Freedom: Free Software Hackers and the Liberal Tradition

I would like something about ethics in the title because a lot is about ethical reformulation so I guess I could say something like:

The Social Creation of Productive Freedom: Free Software Hackers and the Ethical Reformulation of the Liberal Tradition (and a few other things too).

I know some satoroams readers were forced to read the entire document or at least good chunks of it, so if the title-muse strikes you anytime soon, please do give me advice!

July 12, 2005

Thanks, for keeping me out of the whirlpool

Category: Wholesome — @ 7:54 pm

Today I could be found buried deep in my department toiling with part of a dissertation, furiously trying to get some sort of acceptable template going on MS Word, so that I can give a test copy to the dissertation office by tomorrow. Right now, Open Office is just not cutting it for me, which is a shame because it has improved leaps and bounds in the last few years. But it needs a few more steps to go and in the mean time, I will go campus to work on “El Miscrosoft Palabra.”

As I was leaving campus, there were two firemen walking away from one of the buildings where there had been some fire drill or scare or something needing of the Chicago department personnel. Walking away from the building, one of them, with a huge magnetic grin on his face, told his partner “I feel smarter just from being in there for 10 minutes…”

He passed his grin onto me and probably many others, just about immediately. It was of course a fun way to mildly make fun at all the geeky onlookers and the general reputation of this monastery of geekitude. I smiled even more because today I just marveled about my total inability and stupidity to do something like format a document. I have been fearing this moment for, oh, like 8 years, because I just don’t get it, especially when it comes to more complex formatting stuff and when I am faced with formatting some small and trifling, but essential detail that MUST happen, I feel like I have been thrown in some fantastically large whirlpool, where, if I make it out on the other side alive (not even likely) there are, killer mutant, bees waiting to devour me. I know it may sound like I am exaggerating but in fact, I am not. Just days ago, thinking about formatting made be break out in ways that have not happened since mid-puberty and also get a cold.

Thankfully there are very smart and helpful and kind folks at the U of C, like David Forero who is like a technological god-send to the anthro department and the social sciences. Though his technical skills reach far beyond something measly like formatting a document, he offered his base technical magic to me and got me out of some desperate quandaries today.

I guess this long post is just to thank him: thanks David for keeping me out of the whirlpool today. I hope I stay there.

July 11, 2005

HH.COM is going, forever

Category: Other — @ 12:15 pm

I did not renew my .com address so if you either email me or come to this site via .com, it won’t be working and according to Network Solutions, any minute now.

Bloggers Need Not Apply

Category: Other — @ 8:42 am

Bloggers Need Not Apply. (subscription required). Here is a short excerpt:

The pertinent question for bloggers is simply, Why? What is the purpose of broadcasting one’s unfiltered thoughts to the whole wired world? It’s not hard to imagine legitimate, constructive applications for such a forum. But it’s also not hard to find examples of the worst kinds of uses.

A blog easily becomes a therapeutic outlet, a place to vent petty gripes and frustrations stemming from congested traffic, rude sales clerks, or unpleasant national news. It becomes an open diary or confessional booth, where inward thoughts are publicly aired.

Worst of all, for professional academics, it’s a publishing medium with no vetting process, no review board, and no editor. The author is the sole judge of what constitutes publishable material, and the medium allows for instantaneous distribution. After wrapping up a juicy rant at 3 a.m., it only takes a few clicks to put it into global circulation.

We’ve all done it — expressed that way-out-there opinion in a lecture we’re giving, in cocktail party conversation, or in an e-mail message to a friend. There is a slight risk that the opinion might find its way to the wrong person’s attention and embarrass us. Words said and e-mail messages sent cannot be retracted, but usually have a limited range. When placed on prominent display in a blog, however, all bets are off.

So, to the job seekers.

Professor Turbo Geek’s blog had a presumptuous title that was easy to overlook, as we see plenty of cyberbravado these days in the online aliases and e-mail addresses of students and colleagues.

July 9, 2005

Debconf5, no I am not bitter

Category: Uncategorized — @ 10:04 am

Last year I had a blast in Brazil attending Debconf4 but this year I am unable to attend Debconf5 in Hel which is a shame. But they do have a a webcam up so it is *just* like being there, making me feel SO much better that I am in Chicago, formating my dissertation, instead of being in Finland..

July 8, 2005

Picture test failed but here is another one

Category: Politics,Wholesome — @ 6:19 pm

I failed, miserably, with my picture test (the picture is of a turtle, skying high for A disc) and am too lazy to figure it right now. But do take some time to check out what is one of the most ironically delicious pictures of the fight againts EU patents

Picture test

Category: Uncategorized — @ 4:06 pm


July 4, 2005

Ultimate Frisbee in Puerto Rico

Category: Personal,Wholesome — @ 7:09 pm

If you had known me around six years ago I was a fanatic. To be more precise, an Ultimate Frisbee fanatic. I basically made sure that my life revolved around the discian calendar. It was a fun though physically demanding life: practice twice a week, weekend long tournaments, travel, and money spent on travel. Even though never a great player, I loved it to the core.

For various reasons that stretched from health, to school, lack of funds, to research, I stopped. And entirely stopped and cold turkey. Ultimate Frisbee in my mind and heart became a relic of my past, something like a beloved lover who had passed away suddenly. I held great fondness for it, but it was just a thing of the past and I picked up other sports and pass times.

But while here in PR I met some ultimate players at the beach and found out that there is a biweekly game, which of course piqued my interest, in a serious way. There was something just enticing and alluring about the thought of playing my beloved sport once again and no less somewhere that I had never played.

But honestly I knew that any return right now to a sport that is extremely demanding of your cardiovascular system would be nothing short of PAINFUL. To say that I am “out of shape” is to acknowledge that there is some physical shape, when in fact, finishing my dissertation and winter in Chicago before that, pretty much nullified any sort of “decent shape.” One of the first things I started to do when I got back here was walk/run but I was doing more of the walking and less of the running. So the prospect of showing face and body at an ultimate game when I could barely run, was a little intimidating.

After running into two of the players on separate occasions yesterday, I thought “what the heck?!” the Ultimate Frisbee Gods were, for sure, giving me a sign. They were saying “Go, even if running will feel like Chinese torture.” I went tonight and sure enough Chinese torture it was but nonetheless it was a blast. A torturous blast. My heart felt like imploding and exploding yet it was ok. The players here are very fun and quite good. They don’t like to play with the most common offensive position the stack, which makes for a slightly more clogged field, but the athleticism of the players makes up for it. And they are a fun bunch too which is always an extra ++.

So if you come to Puerto Rico and play ultimate do play, the game is great! They play Mon and Wed from 7:30/8:00 at Parque Central. They allow cleats so bring them and bring LOTS of H20. It is HOT.

The Law of Rules

Category: Alzheimers,family,Personal — @ 6:54 pm

I have been in PR for nearly two weeks now and it feels like I have accomplished only 3 days worth of motherly errands. In fact, except for Sundays, I have been going nearly non- stop with her, and dealing with her affairs. It is just that things take a little longer here and more so over the summer when the heat is inescapable. I forgot what it was like to live, breathe, and generally move around in soaring temperatures. Actually when you are on the beach, it is delectable, because the only so slightly cool ocean waters vindicate the heat, entirely.

Otherwise, I languish. I think I languish more because I have been thrust into a role that seems somewhat foreign to me: adulthood. I guess I have long been on the path toward that enigmatic place we call adulthood: I got my drivers license at 16, at 18 I could legally drink in PR, I left home when I was 17, started to pay my own taxes when I was 21, now actually sort of understand my taxes, and so forth… I have reached my 30s. But the student way of life feels only at the cusp of adulthood, as if you put it on hold to pursue your personal desires, staying away from those signs and practices that place you firmly in adulthood, such as taking care of others.

But now as I take over my mom’s affairs, and her financial world, I am having to play some serious catch up to things adult: wills, taxes, funerals etc. It is a little overwhelming, and almost entirely unpleasant especially since my mom can sort of understand what is going on, but also sort of not. I try to make decisions that are right and explain them to her but there are times she just does not fully get it (although there have been times when she has given me crucial pieces of legal info out of the blue).

One of the larger current projects is re-doing her will because as the current one stands, there are some ambiguities that can cause us a huge, no gargantuan headache later on. So now, we are making a new will which will include a trust for my sister (who is not all that financially responsible) and this apparently is a huge headache to do. Ok, it would not be so bad if I lived here but I don’t. So I have meet with the lawyer a number of times, hammered out the basic details, and will have to coordinate the rest from Chicago/NJ and return in August for the signing. Since my mom can’t see well, we have to get five witnesses to proceed over the signing. The whole thing is a huge source of anxiety for me partially because I have to coordinate it, partially because the law seems so flagrantly obscure and obtuse (PR is also under Napoleonic code) and also it costs a lot of money. Legal services in general tend to cost more in PR, which is why there are a lot of really really wealthy lawyers in PR who drive some really nice houses, dine on fine food, and reside in luxurious homes, but I guess that is most places :-)

It seems like at least every third person in PR is a lawyer and they have created a system in which they are necessary simply to avoid disaster. Much of the western “liberal” world is such (so much for legal freedom) and ss our lawyer said, “we don’t live under the rule of the law but the law of rules.”

So true…