Status update

Sunday 11 April 2010, 08:33

Just a note for long-time readers: as you can see, I've been gradually posting material copied over from the old site. I don't have a clear handle on what does or doesn't appear in the RSS feeds, nor what RSS readers (and syndicators such as Facebook and Livejournal) do with backdated entries. I'm going to post some old material as new postings, with or without notes at the top mentioning that it's reposted; other old material will be posted under its original date, and in that case it most likely won't appear in your reader. The "archive" links don't seem to work for old material, but that may be fixed at some point, and it remains accessible through the page-by-page and tag-based navigation as well as the search.

I'd like to remind you that I've also created a Japanese-language section. Items from that will not appear in the main RSS feed through which you're reading this entry; if you want to subscribe to it, you have to subscribe that page's RSS feed separately. The two share the search feature and tag cloud, but most other things are separated. I expect traffic on the Japanese side to be low but nonzero; subject matter will be determined by my language skill as it advances, but at the moment it'll be pretty elementary. Some day I'd like to be able to translate a lot of my "greatest hits" material, but my writing style in English leans heavily on technical skill in the language. It would be hard even for a native speaker to translate my work and have it still sound like my work, and it'll be a long time before I reach the level where I can do that myself.

Why astrology?

Sunday 11 April 2010, 07:55

Revised version of a Livejournal posting of 27 August 2005.

I consider astrology to be primarily a form of art.  It's a way for us to express our creative powers.  From that point of view, asking whether celestial forces influence the tenor of our lives becomes somewhat like asking whether The Starry Night is an accurate portrayal of how some real starry night physically appeared, such as might be produced by a skilled but not particularly artistic photographer.  It's just not an interesting question.

Desdemona

Friday 9 April 2010, 10:35

Desdemona, agent's daughter
Never would you cross the water
For the men who sought to take
Your quiet voice, your hidden face
Des, you held a thousand heroes
Peaceful in your arms.

John he said

Thursday 8 April 2010, 10:26

Walked on the beach today
Met John all a talk-talk
All a comfort my mind.

Technical analysis

Wednesday 7 April 2010, 09:41

No chance in Hell I'd sell my gold for mud
And give up hope of wiping off the stain.
She tapped in vain and never tasted blood
The toxic arrow lost into the sky.
Now chance repeats the lesson; have I learned
This random mapping on the complex plane?
I stalked the archer, saw the fire, was burned;
Devoured the pseudoscientific lie.
One day defines the gap from thee to thee
One speck of dust can tip the cloud to rain
In one night both of you could take from me
The difference I can't plausibly deny.
Corroborate the price at which I'll sell;
Dial in the bids, and ring the opening bell.

Truly

Friday 27 March 2009, 09:09

Where have ye been all the day, fair son of mine?
Where gat ye your dinner this long lonely while?
I did eat with my sweetheart, who put me on trial
I was flogged for my crimes and all covered with bruises
They were red and white and they were green and yellow

Mistakenly thought to be djinn

Sunday 4 April 2010, 17:41

First appeared in talk.bizarre, July 1997

You must know that Man was not the first of the Earth's masters.

A great many unusual people may be seen in the marketplace of Damascus on any hot summer day, but the Adept was definitely out of the ordinary.  She strode, alone and proud, though the crowd which parted unconsciously.  Foreigners have written that one veiled woman looks like any other, but even the quality of the material of Fatima's veil distinguished her from the rest.  The locals, accustomed to making the most of whatever they could get, stared outright, all as if they'd never seen a woman before.  They undressed her in their minds as she passed by.  The year, in your infidel's reckoning, was 738.

Race

Friday 2 April 2010, 17:37

This is a re-posting of an item that first appeared in Livejournal, in October 2004.

One day the Fox met the Bunny, eating grass at the edge of a big field.  "Hey," he said, for no particular reason, "let's race to the other side of this field." "Okay," said the Bunny.  So she hopped and he ran, and the Fox made it across the field just a little bit ahead of the Bunny.  "I win!" he said, and went on his way.  "Bye!" called the Bunny happily, and went back to eating grass.  The Turtle had been watching them, and he said, "I want to do that, too."

Colour, social beings, and undecidability

Monday 9 August 2004, 12:01

Okay, it's been about two months since I posted my piece about colourful bits, and I really should have posted a follow-up before now, but better late than never.  First of all, here are ten other places that carried the story, in no particular order:

What Colour are your bits?

Thursday 10 June 2004, 11:54

There's a classic adventure game called Paranoia which is set in an extremely repressive Utopian futuristic world run by The Computer, who is Your Friend.  Looking at a recent LawMeme posting and related discussion, it occurred to me that the concept of colour-coded security clearances in Paranoia provides a good metaphor for a lot of copyright and intellectual freedom issues, and it may illuminate why we sometimes have difficulty communicating and understanding the ideologies in these areas.

An article based on this one and its follow-ups, by me, Brett Bonfield, and Mary Fran Torpey, appeared in the 15 February 2008 issue of LJ, Library Journal.