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A little infinity goes a long way.
~ scott @ 8:46 AM [link]
A Dumb Idea

I wrote this sometime after the hurricane hit, in a strange and fatalistic mood, but resisted posting it for fear of sounding both strange and fatalistic:


Some part of me would welcome a ridiculous, lasting surge in gas prices. Like $10-per-gallon ridiculous. Not logically, since the repercussions would probably include invading other foreign sources of oil or nuking OPEC, but emotively. It's the desire for something large scale to happen that isn't a heartbreaking disaster for a change. For something to bump our collective (American) way of thinking onto a new path. For something to get us over the hump of discovering better energy sources, or changing our comfortable addiction to the old ones, or - fuck, I dunno - just, something.

And of course, like all my emotive desires, the longer I consider it the more it makes no sense at all. Poor people would suffer; the "middle class" would stagnate; the rich would just retreat further away in larger HumVees. About the only net gain would be giving global warming a break. Long-term, of course, after things had re-normalized out, it'd probably be better. But for who? And how?

I don't know anything. This is why I don't do geopolitics.


And then today I read this article in the New Yorker which changed my mind*. It may still be a strange and fatalistic idea, but it's also - unfortunately - probably right.

*"Americans consume about a quarter of all the oil in the world, with per-capita use of gasoline at least double that of other developed countries."

Is this true? Holy crap.
~ scott @ 2:11 PM [link]
Today in Verse

Inspired by the morning weather
Now go sit in your dim grey cube
Ticking off tasks on a penciled list
Fulfilling your mission with acquiescence.
~ scott @ 9:23 AM [link]

"Even during the years when Matisse lived mostly alone in Nice, an 'annual ritual of unpacking, stretching, framing and hanging ended with the whole family settling down to respond to the paintings.' The conference might last several days. Then the dealers were admitted."
~ Art Review, The New Yorker
~ scott @ 9:57 AM [link]

Why is it so hard to find balance
Between living decent and the cold and real
~ Jimmy Eat World, Futures
~ scott @ 9:19 AM [link]
iTunes 5

The latest version of iTunes, a single dot upgrade from 4.9 to 5.0, is quite nice. I heartily applaud it, although I doubt I'll be using it to listen to music on a cell phone anytime soon.

They've improved the interface: less brushed metallic surrounding, less jelly bean eye-candy, and therefore somewhat slicker and cleaner (although my memory of the old one is already fading fast)*. I think they've improved both the randomness of random play and the song selection of Party Shuffle. And Show Duplicate Songs is smarter, although it still can't distinguish between the same song from different albums (like an original release and greatest hits) - it seems like a tool like this should have customizable presets.

But the biggie for me: at long last, playlist folders! A dream come true - my screen-length collection of playlists was a disaster of long titles (trying to explain what a particular playlist was about) and special character prefixes (trying to sort them into relevant groups). And so now I have: a long list of folders, with disastrously long titles and special character prefixes to sort them into relevant groups! Ah, Apple... you foul temptress, you. Why on bloody earth would you add folders, but not nesting folders? Saving it for version 5.3, probably.

* See also: Daring Fireball
~ scott @ 4:30 PM [link]
It Makes Me Cry

Why do I love the stupid stuff at the Onion the best?
"Archaeological Dig Uncovers Ancient Race Of Skeleton People"
~ scott @ 4:02 PM [link]
Death of Distance, My Ass

All the post-modern claims to the digital revolution killing off the meaning of distance fail when you spend a day transporting 3000# of firebrick from one place to another. I did this last week, including loading and unloading by hand, and that's about as physically solid as the world gets for me these days. Quite a change from clicking around on a CRT.
~ scott @ 11:27 AM [link]