blivet 5/1/2000 Beltane

Today is Beltane, or May Day, if you prefer

The day the Green Man and his consort the May Queen get together. Got your bonfires built?

[GPS] Selective Availability (SA) will be turned off. According to the White House Press Release the United States will stop the intentional degradation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) signals available to the public beginning at midnight tonight. ¡FINALLY! My archaeological and cartographic life just got a LOT easier. So did a lot of other people’s. I think I first saw this at slashdot.

Jim over at have browser has set a goal to lose 70 pounds in the next year. He is 1/52 of the way towards that goal. Go Jim! You can do it! Not that I have any issues in this realm or anything.

[dissent magazine] Rick Perlstein reviews THE LAST INNOCENT YEAR: AMERICA IN 1964: The Beginning of the “Sixties” by Jon Margolis in The Textual Vibe. link from array

I remember 1964, in some cases vividly. I’m not sure the last innocent year wasn’t 1963, perhaps that’s just when I began to sense that things were coming apart. I was 9 in rural Kansas and I could tell things were changing. I remember arguments the adults would have downstairs about the war and politics and ‘those damn kids’. The circle of friends my parents were in began to change. I just remembered some kid’s names that I haven’t seen since then. The last time I saw them was just before their parents slammed the door as they stormed out of our house. His dad’s parting shot was “I forgot you were one of those guys that went to college. I can’t believe you work for our Government!”. It took me years to put that one in context. At the time Kansas had voted for the Republican presidential candidate more consistently than any other state. I lived in Osage County which had voted Republican more consistently than any other Kansas county. I don’t remember being lonely but I found out years later that my Dad sure was. People can be so strange sometimes.

Super (P)Fat Tuesday

[Burnt Rock Mound] I was part of the crew profiling the first dissection of the mound today. I was working in Unit D of the soil series defined at Tule Springs by Vance Haynes. This soil unit, or rather the time period of and the evidence found in this unit holds the answers to the questions we’re asking.

I’m listening to Bill Bradley on NPR as I put this together. To me it sounds like he’s not only conceding the various Super Tuesday primaries, but setting the stage to end his campaign in a couple of days, if not tomorrow. I like Bradley and have been following his campaign since he announced he would run several years ago. It looks like it will be a race of the Democratic and Republican establishments, which are two wings of the same party, the Business Party, IMNSHO*. I’m not very political, but I find the process that we use to decide who runs the country is mesmerizing.

[UniSci] Driving Mechanism Behind Ice Ages Lies To The South.
It seems reasonable to think that global ice ages result from climatic forces at work in the Northern Hemisphere. After all, that’s where most of the world’s ice periodically accumulates into the massive sheets that then grind southward over Europe, northern Asia and North America.

[Scripting News] Dave Winer posted this on Scripting News today:

I just realized something about Microsoft. To most people, including people at Microsoft, you’re either anti-Microsoft or pro-Microsoft. Then thinking about it some more, this isn’t just true of Microsoft. It’s also true of Apple. And it’s also true of Linux. And Open Source. And it’s not just about computers either. It’s pretty much everywhere. And it’s total bullshit.

Dave, I couldn’t agree more! This is a classic series of ‘dualistic thinking’ examples in the Buddhist sense. It is so enmeshed in Western thought and is the root of the first Noble Truth, that be alive is to suffer. The Universe is not composed of Hegelian opposites. To view things this way will make yourself and those around you miserable. To recognize that that path is bullshit is a big step in the right direction. (I know you’ve taken that step loong ago Dave. I’m just completing the thought here)

Fat Tuesday – Mardi Gras is upon us! Live Cam on Bourbon Street! ~ Mardi Gras Guide – History

Best of New Orleans Mardi Gras Information

New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Mardi Gras Information

Mission to the Magnetosphere. The European Space Agency plans to send four identical satellites which will function in concert as they pass through the magnetosphere this summer. The quartet will collect data and map the Earth’s magnetic field which will provide a critical tool in the relatively young field of space weather forecasting.
European Space Agency

Cluster II home page.

This is part of the orbital system I wrote about several weeks ago that will eventually protect the ever-growing fleet of satellites that provide us with communications, locational information, and a hundred other things.

*IMNSHO stands for “In My Not So Humble Opinion”.


Part 4 of the Indiana Jones saga? Harrison Ford says he wants to do it. In a perfect world, Karen Allen would return. Read about this latest scuttle at Excite/E! Online. [archivist– lost link, sorry] They have a script already, all that really needs to happen is for everyone’s schedule to align for the project.

Ralph Nader is going to run as the Green Party candidate for President. . [CNN]

Today is the day for the Windows 2000 release.

Wired has a great take on the ‘people who use the internet are socially isolated’ non-study that everyone seems to be talking about.

An obscure university study, but a study nonetheless, reveals that Americans who have dogs spend the time with their dogs instead of said time watching TV, visiting with friends, sleeping, going to movies, surfing the Internet, and doing nothing.


At MSNBC from the ‘I sure hope so’ dept. Signals revive hope for Mars lander

Jan. 25 ˜ NASA says it is transmitting new commands toward
Mars amid indications that its Polar Lander spacecraft has been
weakly trying to phone home. Mission managers say the radio
signals, received twice in last two months, are so faint that it‚s
taken weeks to make them out, and they caution that their
expectations are low. Nevertheless, the development has revived
hopes for the luckless lander.

Mars Pathfinder enlisted in search for lost Polar Lander from CNN

This was kind of interesting. TV networks may be using digital insertion, which allows objects to be placed into the video that aren’t really there. Play ‘spot the insert’ on CNN.

from slashdot "According to the Daily Telegraph (free login required): the earth has a second moon called ‘Cruithne’, which was discovered by a British team. The moon was previously thought to be an asteroid, but the experts now tell us that Cruithne, which is 3 miles across (4.8km), is in fact a Trojan asteroid, and has an eccentric horseshoe orbit around Earth which takes 770 years to complete."

I was listening to All Things Considered on NPR as I was getting ready to go to work and, predictably, there was a lot on the Iowa Caucus. One observation: Several Republican interviewees said that they didn’t really ‘like’ Bush but voted for him because they "thought he could win". Hello?


late update…

Hubble Space Telescope Back and Better Than Ever from the BBC. Everybody is pointing to this, I’m just piling on.

slashdot thread: "This article in the Arizona Daily Wildcat details the efforts of Rep. Jean McGrath, (R-Glendale), to restrict dormitory visitation, require the installation of Internet filters, and allow students to to use campus Internet connections only for a “specific educational purpose” on all Arizona university campuses."

Bush and Gore in Iowa. Just go to any news site, this story is all over the place. Remember, its just a caucus!


We lost two days of blivet in the server crash. Oh well, its not like there was any thing that important here, just self-indulgent ramblings.

This is strange – The Intercollegiate Studies Institute of Wilmington, Delaware, a conservative “think tank”, has named Coming of Age in Samoa, Margaret Mead’s 1928 treatise, as the “worst nonfiction book of the past 100 years”. Beatrice and Sidney Webb’s Soviet Communism: A New Civilization? (1935) and Alfred Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and 47 other books make their ‘list’. I hear the sound of axes being ground in the name of ideology. The CNN story is here. Think Tank my ass! You have a political agenda, you’re not a think tank. Not to be confused with Dave’s computer program ThinkTank.

If my maternal grandfather (Lovell Martin Boyle) was still alive, he would have turned 100 today. Imagine having a lunar eclipse to mark your 100th birthday. 🙂

He was born in Oklahoma and raised in northeast Kansas. He farmed for much of his life and watched a lot of changes I take for granted like indoor plumbing, electricity, cars, radio, and television happen. Together, we watched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon on July 21, 1969.

He started farming with a team of Belgian draft horses, followed by steam engines, kerosene tractors, and gasoline tractors. He and Grandma raised their kids through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.

Once, I remember him squinting at my mother after she had complained about not having much while she was growing up and then very firmly and quietly saying, “You had two dresses, they were always clean, and you never went to bed hungry.” I can still see in my mind’s eye how ashen her face got when he said that.

She told me later that he had once put cardboard inside his work boots to cover up the holes in the soles through the fall and winter, so she could have a brand new dress to start the fifth grade. She said it was the first new, not a hand me down, dress she remembers having.

I’ve never been that poor. I have to say, I hope I never have to go through times like that. I wish no one ever has to.
One wish: If I could sit one more time with he and grandma in the motel chairs under the Elm trees in their back yard late in the summer, and drink iced tea from a Mason jar while I listen to them talk and watch the fireflies dance in the south pasture.

It was cloudy here last night, I didn’t get to see his lunar eclipse. Rats!

[archivist’s note 8/13/2006: my son bears this man’s name]


Apple Open Transport 2.6 update for all users of OS 9 & some 8.6 users (G4, slot loading Macs, and newest PBs), it addresses those pesky DHCP & Denial of Service issues. The download is a 1.1M image file.

Not much of note today. I still seem to have some sort of crud and feel pretty listless. Plus, I’m fighting to get the HP 6MP to talk to both the iMac and 3400 over Ethernet using an Asanté AsantéTalk Ethernet to LocalTalk bridge. Another aspect of computers I’ve not paid attention to that is now biting me on the hinder. But hey, that iMac is niiiice.

Later: It looks like the problem is outside the home network as everything works perfectly if you disconnect the cable modem. I’ll make another call tomorrow! BTW, Asanté‘s tech support is excellent. They have my vote!

From all over:

Clinton re-nominated Alan Greenspan to head the Federal Reserve Board. George Bush (the former prez, not his son) did one thing very, very right when he nominated Greenspan in 1988.

at Salon: Brilliant Careers – Charles Schulz, the first postmodern cartoonist.

sigh. The last daily Peanuts strip

at slashdot: from the Uri Geller bureau at IGN’s Sci-Fi Network Psychic vs. Pikachu: Real-life spoonbender wants to sue Nintendo over psychic snafu.

The case he’s making is that Nintendo is using his image without permission as a Pokemon monster. Namely, Alakazam, Pokemon #65. Although the resemblance is unclear to us in America, in Japan, #65 is called “Un-Geller,” which makes the case a little clearer. Also, since Alakazam carries bent spoons in his hands, Geller felt the reference was too specific.

from MSNBC: The definitive Top 10 gadget list of all time, You may not agree with their choices.

Bruce Sterling has released the The Manifesto of January 3, 2000.

We need a sense of revived possibility, of genuine creative potential, of unfeigned joie de vivre. We have a new economy, but we have no new intelligentsia. We have massive flows of information and capital, but we have a grave scarcity of meaning. We know what we can buy, but we don´t know what we want.

That’s it for now …


I don’t know what is is about Las Vegas traffic. Every time I return home relatively unscathed I’m reminded of the story (probably an urban legend) that Paul Erlich got his inspiration for The Population Bomb (1968) after being a taxi without air-conditioning stuck in a noontime Calcutta traffic jam in July. For those of you who don’t remember, the book was a dystopian view of an overpopulated world with diminishing resources and imminent disaster. Sort of like ‘Neuromancer’ without the plot or style. Las Vegas traffic elicits those sorts of images of the social fabric on the brink of some sort of Malthusian-induced collapse. People gesturing, yelling, shooting each other. Wait, that has already happened – some time ago in fact. OK, maybe congested traffic is not the harbinger of the decline of civilization. Thats already happened too. Driving in Las Vegas is just a pain. With all the people in town to witness The End of the World as We Know It© and get their drinks comped it just aggravates a bad situation. We need to finish those much delayed infrastructure improvements to I-15 and US-95, and build the Beltway. It would be nice to have a County Commission that planned as though people lived here, raised families here, and did something besides go to casinos instead of lining their pockets with developer dollars. did I say that last part out loud?

Early this morning George Harrison was stabbed at his home. Apparently he was not injured seriously. “From what we know, George was stabbed in the chest several times and [Harrison’s wife] Olivia was hit over the head,” said Police spokesman Geoff Baker. Will people please stop this nonsense! Please?

We put Mom on the plane back to her home about 6PM yesterday. I’ll have more on this ongoing rumination later, it needs some zafu* time.

There is some interesting stuff out there I missed yesterday, being away from the computer. Like that is a bad thing or something. slashdot has an interesting discussion on Geeks, Geek Issues and Voting “For Americans: it’s high time we thought about who we want to run the country for the next 4 years. What kind of laws we would want passed…or repealed. Who would be the ideal “Geek Ticket” and why?” Wired has a story about the Ig Nobel committee’s list of the 20 most spectacular failures of the last century.

*p.s. a zafu is a firm, round cushion associated with sitting meditation (zazen).