Blog posts tagged "history"

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

December 18th, 2006

by Charles C. Mann

A break-neck, intellectual joy ride very much in the spirit of Guns, Germs, and Steel (and significantly more fun then Collapse), I found it enthralling, and a page turner.

To his credit Mann manages to represent multiple confliciting views (even wrong ones alas!) in a balanced nuanced manner (guarenteed to drive experts crazy), delicate and fraught given how political charged the study of history in the Americas is.

These grand generalist histories, with millenial sweep fill the void of “just so” stories for the 21st century, explaing the big bad world in an engaging, entertaining way. Pure candy if you’re into that kind of thing.

The Old Name For Tags?

November 7th, 2006

K: What was that thing we used to talk about before “tagging”?

A: Um… keywords?

K: No, fancier

A: Topic maps?

… searching ensues …

K: Faceted classification!

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4 Years

April 12th, 2006

Leonard’s recent post, More than a Stopgap got me thinking about my original goals for re-launching this site. Similarly I was wanting to experiment with ways to expose, and explore the 4 years and 3319 entries that compose this site.

4 Years

4 years ago Monday, we had just moved out of our apartment in SF having moved to the city at the worst possible time to try to find jobs, Jasmine was back East lining up a design job in Boston, and I had just gotten back from a walk on one of my beloved Santa Cruz beaches, and decided that writing about it would make a good first blog entry.)


Some of the work on adding tags (and tag combos), and related entries (see middle-right column when viewing an entry) was an initial attempt, as was the Zeitgeist-esque archives page. But I never really was able to take it as far as I wanted. Why?

  1. Insufficient time to implement grandiose schemes
  2. Changes I made were invisible to aggregators, and therefore most people have never seem them
  3. No one else is as interested in my old content as I am

But I still thinks it’s an interesting an unsolved problem. Google is not always the best entry point to the world’s knowledge, chronologically new-new-new is perhaps not the best way to tell our personal stories.

From the Archives

Just found a post calling for a repository of community patterns from April 2002 similar to Clay’s Moderation Strategies.

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Burst and Bull: A Conspiracy of Letters

January 31st, 2006

I have a confession to make, it’s a bit out of fashion, but I adore epistolary novels. Especially ones with unreliable principles. Having been on something of a tear plowing through 4 (unspeakable) paperbacks in 3 days, I finally smacked up against Burst and Bull’s Freedom and Necessity, which has slowed me down considerably.

Published in 1997, I’m not sure how I’ve missed it to date. Finally Burst turns his considerable talent for sly mimicry to a worthy task (I’m not a fan of Dumas, sue me), and Bull’s wonderful characters escape the rather dead end genre of musicians and fairies (ditto de Lint).

Some folks might be turned off by the extensive expositions of Kant and Hegel (with a name like “Freedom and Necessity” Hegel not to mention Engels are something of a given), but “Sophie’s World” this is not, I promise there is nearly no educational value in the philosophical ponderings, just beautiful words, and plot twists.

Spice with subtle anachronisms (ala Stephenson), Chartist heroes, and one of the most interesting, fertile settings (19th century Europe), and for some odd tastes, you’ve got a winner. Will remind many folks of JSAMN (F&N was published 7 years earlier, and is about 60% the length, and 10% the hype), I’d rather suggest Hobsbawn’s work on long century as a companion piece.

I’m about half way done (when the urge to write about a book generally strikes me), and so could be let down horribly by the ending, but I doubt it.

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The Other Firefly, Phoenix Like?

December 6th, 2005

I’ve been telling myself that someday I’m going to make it to Scott’s NY New Tech Meetup, ever since he mentioned it this Summer.

But boy do I wish I was going tonight apparently there will be a demo of

Firefly (decision-support application)

Um, you mean like Pattie Maes’ Firefly, that hottest, sexiest, most buzzworthy, proto-dotcom spin off of the Media Lab? (complete with rockstar founder). The one that was bought, and killed by Microsoft?

Of course, now in our wiser, more cynical age, who would be dumb enough to pour their metadata into a closed system? To trust a company to safeguard the gates of their community?

Just kidding.

Also demoing:, and (Apparently .us has arrived. Or at least someone is hoping so.)

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Today is the 10th anniversary of my first homepage.

September 13th, 2005

Turned in as an assignment for Rich Muller’s “Networks, Computers, and Stories”. The class was supposed to be on hypertext fiction but a strong geek contingent in the room spent our time fiddling with, imagemagick, and building galleries of background patterns. (Seth Mills-Cannon’s I think was definitive of the genre, even today)

In fact, I’m not sure I ever got to the story piece, but the homepage did have randomly rotating graphic sets, random fortune quotes, and the current time (using non-parsed header animated graphics of course). Much more advanced then this current page of mine.

Thankfully it was lost to history.

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Daylight Saving Sucks | War Time

April 4th, 2005

Grumph, arggh. I hate daylight saving time. That first Monday morning is so painful, your body wakes slowly, outraged at the duplicity of clocks everywhere.

Sometimes known as “War Time” for its widespread adoption during WWI, its roots are clearly embedded in the imperial/capitalist agenda. Did you know that this morning is one of the most dangerous to drive? The spike in severe traffic accidents the first 3 days after DST is shocking. And its a key factor in why implementing a decent timezone library is such a pain in the ass. Not worth it.

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Icons of the 20th Century

April 2nd, 2005

Ken MacLeod, A canticle for Wojtyla, on the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Karol Jozef Wojtyla, and Fidel Castro:

…four old men with their roots in the Cold War, of which they are the last men standing… inchoate figureheads of a global humanism. It’s a measure of the strangeness of the New World Order that they all, in very contradictory ways, have become icons of its discontents.

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RSS Turns 6

March 15th, 2005

Via Danny, RSS is 6 years old today. Actually its a bit older, I first started playing with RSS that January.

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N30 and D1

December 1st, 2004

Some people seemed to get excited about yesterday, something about it being the 5 year anniversary of the launching of Indymedia (see John Tarleton’s work for a survey of that heady first year) and the launching of a (white) radical public identity in the US. Important stuff.

But we all know that the real importance of November 30th is that today is December 1st, which means the first day of the Perl Advent Calendar, which kicks off with one of my favorite modules, DateTime.

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November 11th, 2004

It is Nov. 11th again, seems to happen every year, and every year the hopes of Armistice Day and its declaration of the end of war seem farther way.

Global Security has a break down on the deployment of the nearly 400,000 uniformed soliders who are serving overseas maintaining U.S. global domination. (no word on the various non-uniformed military personnel who make up the 1.4+ million future veterans who make up a force larger the rest of the worlds combined military)

It’s enough to make you want to change your birthday.

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