P.S. A Column On Things: May 13, 2002
May 13, 2002 Vol. 4, No. 19
Table of Contents:
- Teaching Advice
- I'm Just An Old Macro Writer
- Great Paper By Mary Rowe
- Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs
- Death Of Internet Radio?
Web Site of
- The Top 14 Signs Your Co-Worker Has "Star Wars" Fever
- The Top 13 Surprises in the New Kama Sutra (Part I)
- Cringeley, The Klez Virus, 60s Comedy, Oversensitive,
Funny Furniture, The Other Russell Baker, The Farm Bill, Dan
Those with long memories will recall that I published my
teaching philosophy last week. I got a very thoughtful
response from one of my correspondents:
Each child has come to this life with a gift and a
purpose. As teacher or parent to that child, it is to help them find
the spark of that gift, and to help them grow and share the talent.
Some of those talents will not have anything to do with knowing the
dates of the civil war. Some of those gifts will have nothing to do
with academics in general. But if you remind each student that he or
she is definitely special in some area of capacity for knowledge or
ability or character, then you can joyously help each one find out if
his or her gift is a strange and entertaining sense of humor, or the
skill to concentrate on small numbers for thirty years, or the wisdom
to teach a thousand children that each one of them has something to
contribute to their town, to the world, and to the Body of God. We
challenge you to help each one of them find what gives them Joy. We
know it will pay you back in equal Joy for yourself. The Universe needs
every cartoonist, every fisherman, every gnat, every playwriter, and
every nerd in every laboratory. Some of them, dear friend, don't even
really need to know how to write like a journalist. Please love them
anyway, and you will be the Best Teacher.
The reference to the Civil War stems from my citation of
its dates as one of the facts people should know. As it turns out, I
was shocked by someone who called to say she didn't know when the Civil
War was--I won't name names. But I may revise my opinion of the
importance of that particular fact. And I concede it is more important
to know where and how to find facts, these days, then to memorize them.
But if you don't know something, you can't look up anything.
That includes, up to a point, spelling, as well as the approximate
order in which things happened, historically. But enough; I don't wish
to step into another boobytrap, not after reprinting (and, in essence,
endorsing) the lovely sentiment above.
I'm Just An Old Macro Writer
We rip the covers of PSACOT and offer you a
behind-the-scenes look into... well, my mind.
Craig Reynolds sends his technobriefs to me in an email
message each week, and the URLs have to be converted. I realized it was
a repetitive process. Aha! I thought. A Macro!
I should explain here that in 1966, my freshman year at
Benson High School in Portland, Oregon, we got a Model 32 teletype
attached to a GE Timesharing computer in Seattle (the very same one
Bill Gates was using at that very moment. I think he got more out of
it). My math teacher, the late beloved former Oregon Teacher of the
Year Carlton Bryson taught all of us BASIC. It was my first computer
language (but far from my last).
When I got my first copy of Microsoft Word, imagine my
pleasure and surprise to find that Word Macro language was a variation
of Basic. I was in hog heaven. There's almost nothing repetitive you
can do by hand in Word that you can't automate. Between the macro
recorder and a little programming skill, you can work wonders!
Well, on Saturday morning, I couldn't sleep so I got up
to write a macro to prep the URLs in Craig's section of the column. I
finished two hours later.
And once more, I faced this dilemma: how many hundreds
of years do I have to write this column, with Craig's contribution,
before I save more time than it took me to write the macro? Still, I
had fun, and now I have another reusable code snippet for the future.
It was fun to write. I got into my code trance, and the time just flew.
Great Paper by Mary Rowe
I am writing a paper on gender inequity in science and
math education. Along the way, I ran into a terrific paper by the MIT
Ombud, available in PDF as Barriers
to Equality: The Power of Subtle Discrimination to Maintain Unequal
Opportunity, also available in HTML.
It turns out we should sweat the small stuff,
because it really matters and is really damaging. I copied this paper
for everyone in my multiculturalism class.
Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs
More great stuff from Craig again this week, like every
Rep. Rick Boucher (D Virginia) is once again
taking a courageous and forward looking stand for the Fair Use rights
of consumers. As Declan McCullagh writes in Another
DMCA Attack Looms Boucher is about to introduce
his bill amending the DMCA to exclude certain circumventions of copy
protection when there is no intent to violate copyright.
Speaking of admirable lawmakers, there is a spectacularly
well-written letter from Peruvian Congressman David
Villanueva Nuņez to Microsoft Peru. The Congressman manages to deftly
refute Microsoft's typically paranoid anti-Open Source propaganda,
while simultaneously skillfully attacking the excesses and shortcomings
of Microsoft's own practices. See also this page of related materials . Not only did Nuņez soundly
trounce Microsoft, but he also scooped most of the tech media outlets
conviction of software piracy last year, and the half million
dollar fine they paid.
The CEO of Turner Broadcasting, Jamie Kellner, was ranting against PVRs
(like Tivo, etc.) and called their ability to skip commercials "theft".
He argued that viewers had a "contract" with the broadcaster to sit and
watch the commercials. When asked if viewers watching live TV were
allowed to go to the bathroom, Keller grudgingly conceded they were.
Yale's LawMeme newsletter responded with a satirical piece Top
Ten New Copyright Crimes as well as a serious report
refuting Kellner's underlying assumptions: PVRs
Not Necessarily the Death of TV Advertising. Dan Gillmor chimed in with Paranoia,
stupidity and greed ganging up on the public
BusinessWeek online carried an interview with Lawrence Lessig The
"Dinosaurs" Are Taking *Over : "If the media giants have
their way, the Net freedom fighter says, content will be rigidly
controlled and innovation stifled."
Microsoft Vice President Jim Allchin testified at the antitrust remedy
hearings that that state's proposal "...would be a bonanza to online
vandals and other assorted miscreants..." opening Window's users to a
host of viruses and security breeches. Again: thank goodness it's not
that way now. It is also worth noting that all of the Linux source code
is freely available and Linux is at least as secure as Windows. Many
would argue Linux is much more secure.
Blogging news: in Blogspace
Under the Microscope Jon Udell describes
self-reinforcing feedback mechanisms evolving between blogs. Casey
Marshall's A Picture of Weblogs provides a Java-based
visualization of links between weblogs.
Technobits: now we know where Seamus Blackley was headed when he left
, Sony want to make
CGI films too
, the European Union has a new
, and who'da thunk it?: faces
hidden in music
Death Of Internet Radio
My former colleague Joy Culbertson sent me a note about
this issue, which is flying below most people's radar. If you care, do
something about it. Because by June, it may be too late.
you know I am a huge fan of listening to music via Internet Streaming
Radio. But did you know that Internet radio may cease to exist on May
to this website and read up on the subject and then go
to write directly to your legislators about the subject. (it just takes
a minute, please do this for me!)
are not a fan of internet radio, I urge you to give it a try; and I
think you soon will be. Go to Live365 or Shoutcast (my new favorite, but you have
to download the winamp player if you don't already have one).
I have a
wealth of information on this subject, so don't hesitate to write me about it.
with an independent broadcaster who will be affected by this
ruling. It's a good read.
My daughter Rae wrote me:
should check out the online comic "Red
it's so f*&^ing weird!
It reminds me of the cartoon David Lynch used to do. I
forget the name. Angry Dog, or something. Anyway, give Red Meat a look.
It is edgy, to say the least.
The Top 14 Signs Your Co-Worker Has "Star Wars" Fever
Let me just note that I made the list twice this week,
first at No. 6.
Insists you call him "Darth Fred, Dark Lord of Human Resources."
Arguments with him always end up with you being called "Greedo" and
getting shot with a toy blaster.
You find yourself sending thank-you cards to George Lucas because of
that gold Princess Leia bikini the hottie receptionist wears on casual
For weeks now, she's been whistling that annoyingly perky cantina music.
He's already uploaded 13 remixes of "Send in the Clones" to mp3.com and
is now working on his surf-guitar version.
Pokes his head into your office as you're interviewing a candidate and
says, "The force is strong in this one."
Remember the scene where Luke and Darth Vader have a saber fight on the
narrow bridge? Of course you do, because he and that bozo from
Accounting just reenacted it on the tabletops in the lunchroom.
Filming hasn't even begun for Episode III, yet he's already used a flag
to stake out his spot at the front of *that* ticket line.
He's upped the frequency of Jar-Jar effigy burnings from daily to
The silver coffee pot from the kitchen disappeared right around the
time his Boba Fett impersonation surfaced.
So far, she's spent six months of maternity leave in line at the
cineplex -- including the delivery.
Wears his Skywalker pajamas with the footies to work, and requires his
Secret Service detail to do the same.
Every friggin' morning: "These are not the bagels you're looking for."
Topfive.com's Number 1 Sign Your Co-Worker Has "Star Wars" Fever...
Late to the meeting he will be. In a strange order the words of his
[ The Top
5 List www.topfive.com ]
[ Copyright 2002 by Chris White ]
Selected from 76 submissions from 30 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Elliott Schiff, Allentown, PA -- 1 (Woohoo! 1st #1!)
Bill Muse, Seattle, WA -- 1 (51st #1/Hall of Famer)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 6
The Top 13 Surprises in the New Kama Sutra (Part I)
Then at No. 11 (and I had several runners up on this
list that nearly made the cut).
month, the Oxford University Press will issue a new version of the Kama
Sutra that corrects some of the translation errors that were included
in Sir Richard Burton's famous 1883 publication of the Indian erotic
The most recommended new positions all require a Segway.
"Warning: Objects on these pages are more limber than their real-life
That position on page 215 was intended as a
The "Flying Tiger Lotus" position has been renamed "Really Good Way To
Watch Satima's Boobies Bounce."
Apparently, sex is supposed to be fun. Won't Mrs. Falwell be surprised?
The "Trampoline" position is often followed by the "Hospital Bed" pose.
The back seat of an SUV is an acceptable substitute for positions
calling for making love on a water buffalo.
The dedication page includes a shout-out to "the sultry sounds of Barry
Turns out the best way to get a woman aroused is to blow gently into
Yogi Todd claims: "I knew this one dude who tried to do #72, 'Entwined
Serpents,' all by himself and got stuck that way. Seriously, man."
Warning: Avoid the "Squatting Lotus" position after eating Mexican food.
"The Flying Swan Anticipates the Ecstasy of Flight" from the original
text is now correctly translated as "Lonely Dude Makes a Booty Call."
Topfive.com's Number 1 Surprise in the New Kama Sutra...
It's the simple story of a nerdy average lover bitten by a radioactive
[ The Top
5 List www.topfive.com ]
[ Copyright 2002 by Chris White ]
Selected from 95 submissions from 36 contributors
. Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Wade Kwon, Birmingham, AL -- 1 (21st #1 / Hall of Famer)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 11
You want the facts? Go to the Internet
I am really starting to despise Hollywood's insistence
on ever more explicit sex in R-rated movies. It is so
gratuitous and unnecessary. Did I enjoy gawking at Diane Lane's body?
Yes, I did. I could, however, have done with less of Oliver Martinez.
Was it necessary to show Lane rutting? Yes, it was. Did it have to be
that explicit? No it did not.
Plot summary from IMDB:
"Unfaithful" centers on Diane Lane and Richard Gere as a
couple living in the New York city suburbs whose marriage goes
dangerously awry when the wife (Lane) indulges in an adulterous fling.
Adrian Lyne has only directed fight films, but what a
crop: Flashdance, 9 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Indecent
Proposal and Lolita. I think we can
fairly say we know what's on his mind.
This film is the rarest of rarities, an intelligent,
thought-provoking Hollywood studio picture, and one that tells a linear
understandable story. When was the last time you saw that?
It's been a long time for me, I can tell you. So, it shouldn't have
surprised me to find that this is a remake of the French film La
Femme Infidele, by Claude Chabrol, who has written 48 films
since his debut in 1959. Alvin Sargent gets the screenplay credit.
It is a sensitive, moving, realistic portrayal of love,
obsession, betrayal and revenge that is riveting from start to finish.
It moves right along at a zippy 100 minutes, and has a satisfyingly
Don't take anyone to this film (or let anyone see it)
for whom explicit on-screen sex is inappropriate. People who have
experienced adulterous affairs may find it hard to watch as well.
Cringeley, The Klez Virus, 60s Comedy, Oversensitive,
Funny Furniture, The Other Russell Baker, The Farm Bill, Dan
I don't think much of Cringely as a rule; he's a legend
in his own mind. But he wrote two remarkably moving columns lately,
pointed out to me by Scot Finnie:
Finding Meaning in a Lost Life
Is that a supercomputer in your jammies?
Speaking of Scot, both his newsletter and Fred Langa's report the Klez virus
is rampant. Both offer advice. If you've been hit, or are worried, surf
over! They both write first class newsletter. My own brother was hit
hard. Luckily, Norton Antivirus has blocked all attempts to get me. One
nasty one worked off an HTML formatted email message, so you didn't
even have to open the attachment to activate it. Nasty!
Daniel Dern found a site that is reissuing
classic 60s comedy records, many of which have never before
made it to CD.
Kevin Sullivan has an entry in the category that could
be either "too dumb to believe" or "oversensitive."
Craig Reynolds found two sites literalists might enjoy: Periodic
Table, Triangle Table History.
Dan Grobstein found a column by The Other Russell Baker, apropos
of my comments last week about the other Mr. Schindlers. I know Larry
King. No, not that one. No, not that one either. The financial
journalist. He also notes a column about the farm bill which compares it to federal support for NYC.
What's new from Dan
Rosenbaum you ask?
- The TV industry vs its viewers;
- How AOL can drive broadband sales and save the
- John Ashcroft lying to Congress and the American
- Protecting kids from online porn, and
- Is the Internet Revolution only the Golden Age of
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