"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Political Videos

It's been a pretty good week so far. I would have more to say, but I've got to get ready to drive down to SF tomorrow, the better to fly to Boston for DrupalCon. So, here's a video I endorse:

And the tiny corona:

the tiny corona

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Smiles Publishes!

My man Mike "Smiley" Connery wrote a book! It's pretty exciting. He'll be going on tour and doing the whole deal. It's a natural continuation of the work we started at Music For America, and I'm looking forward to reading the final copy.

There's more Mike at Future Majority.

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Notes From the 99th Percentile

Somewhere on the edge of the bell curve is the girl for me.

Notwithstanding the fact that it's the intellectual equivalent of cocaine cut with baby-laxative -- which let me tell you really isn't any kind of fun, appealing though it may seem -- there's lately been a new spasm of comment around the crypto-racist tome The Bell Curve, a book that tries very hard to create an intellectual edifice in support of timeworn prejudices about who's smart and who's not based on skin-tone and "cultural background." Poo on that.

This isn't a post about politics though, so I'll leave the debunking behind the links above. Rather, it is a jumping off point to talk about the personal conundrums of intelligence, or more generally "capacity for life." This is a post that's filed under "authentic experience, hubris, love" and "juicy." So then, lets get to it.

First principles. Statistical metrics of measuring human capacity and/or achievement are suspect. Highly. At the same time, it's also undeniable that there are differences in people's capabilities and accomplishments, especially borne out over time. Equality is an ideal, something to be pursued in principle but impossible, even counter-productive, to enforce in practice. Different people do different things, and this is Ok, and probably Good.

Disclaimers aside, I've got good stats. Standardized general testing consistently puts me in the 99th percentile. That's one in a hundred, one of 10,000,000+ in China, nowhere unique or even really special, but certainly someone who's "talented and gifted," as they say.

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Among the many other things my mother does, she's started using her position at the UO Student Union to organize an annual LAN event.

Pretty cool!

For my part, I did my nerdly community service this Sunday, and recorded a new Drupal Dojo screencast on the new 6.0 theming techniques.

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I Been This Way Ten Years To The Day

Like most of my peers, I don't much like valentines day. It tends to be an artificial creator of stress, unwanted and advantage-taking. I resent it conceptually, even though in practice it has worked out on occasion.

A decade ago a friend of mine drove me from NYC to New England where my then-girlfriend was going to an all-girls college. The first love of my life. That turned out to be a very good weekend, the cold brisk Massachusetts air and light through leaveless trees, frozen ground and beautiful old architecture and heavy quilted blankets. Probably the best valentines to-date.

Five years ago I went on a first date, out with an artsy clever brash girl, a self-described bad girl, a girl who brought me gifts from the dollar store: this garish yellow notepad I still have (and use) today, and a bar of soap called stud which set the tone but was promptly lost. We had drinks at Beauty Bar, and it was the night before the big protests against the Iraq war. That one worked out alright too, even if we didn't stop the war from happening.

This year I stayed home, begging off from seeing the cute soccer-playing girl I've gone out with a few times in the past couple months, probably signaling finis to that going-out. I didn't intend for that to be the case, but the tone of her voice strongly suggested displeasure at our scheduling difficulties, or more specifically my lack of attention and follow-through in that regard.

It's something I have some experience with, the way that women get gradually fed up with me and my half-heartedness. It's not something to be proud of, but I've learned to recognize the scorn this inevitably brings, even in trace amounts.

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Time After Time Those Fanatical Minds Try To Rule All The World

draft lessig

That's right. Tell a friend, sucka.

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What Does The Future Hold?

As a fan of many things sci-fi, I think it's worthwhile to sometimes take a step back and ponder the future. For instance, in 1908 cars and telephones were just beginning to make their presence felt. The US was just starting to experiment with imperialism in Central America and the Philippines. Things were very different.

It makes me re-realize that the ginormous problems we face as a species are going to be managed, if at all, through similar deltas of change. For instance, as we learn to stop digging things out of the ground and burning them to power our civilizations, things like harvesting energy from the friction of walking will be employed along with now-familiar wind and solar power. Or maybe, on the dark side, we'll be sending the space equivalent of oil supertankers to <a href="http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMCSUUHJCF_index_0.html>the moon of Titan to suck up it's hydrocarbon-rich atmosphere to be brought back here to burn.

Who knows. My gut sense is that investing outside the status quo is probably smart.

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Day of the Black President Looms

I've been skeptical and critical of the Obama campaign, but I must admit I'm pleased to see the movement they've germinated really taking root and driving them ahead. With another three primary wins under their belt tonight, and the upcoming state of Wisconsin -- once though to be a "showdown" -- now trending towards another decisive victory:


Clinton's campaign is going to be up against a March 4th last-stand having won nothing in a month. Ohio and Texas are still favorable, but will they really buck the big O'mo for three more weeks?

And this is undeniably cool:

Donor for Obama

410,000 individual donors. A lot of those are $5 from people at a rally or online, but the breadth of the buy-in is pretty spectacular. This is what political junkies have talked about for a long time. The fact that they candidate to pull it off is an political cypher beloved by a decrepit establishment is a little bit of a surprise, but it does seem that Obama and his team have manages to pull off the big task: building a grassroots movement while simultaniously charming the pants off the national media.

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McCainz vs. Obama

Clever people in LA:

And also:

And, in case you haven't seen it, the original, which is a pretty amazing little bit of campaign juice:

Things look good for Obama. He swept the weekend primaries, and looks set to sweep Maryland, DC and Virginia. This should build momentum. The big showdowns will be in Wisconsin (February 19), and Texas and Ohio on March 4th. If Obama rolls through there, he will clinch it.

An Obama/McCain showdown would be pretty exciting. Literally the future vs the past. That's a hot matchup, and one that massively favors Democrats as far as I can tell.

It's almost enough to make me want to give money and/or reach out to people in Ohio or Texas.

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You Can Find Me In The Club

The new house is called The Cornell Club, which is a nod to the Girth's parents and their young days as Berkeley grad students. It's also a touch classier than "Man House." I like it. We'll have a warming party in about a month, which I'll send out invites to in a while. Hopefully some girls will show up.

I think there's a lot of potential here. I'll have a more or less set-up room in a bit, and it's going to be open to our friends and extended family any time I'm back in Humboldt or otherwise on the road. It's a little like my coworkers' love of CouchSurfing but more private.

We've got big maps, a garden started in the back yard and a huge amount of meat in the freezer. Nick and Luke kee[ a chess game in progress, and we sample Mao's little red book for inspiration from time to time. This week we discovered the threat to the revolution posed by "the petit-bourgeois and their individualistic aversion to discipline." That's a keeper.

Last night we had Interesting Times running a raucus poker game with four public defenders, another law school buddy, and myself. I managed to hold my own against men on leave from their wives -- determined to make the most of it, they were -- and managed to break even in spite of the massive quantities of high-quality scotch on the scene. This is better than I usually do at cards, and it was a nice unique way to spend an evening.

Things are shaping up. I remain, as ever, vaguely unsatisfied, ritually fatigues, and plagued with concerns that I am becoming -- to quote another tired old hack -- "all dead inside." Beautiful weather helps. I think getting back into a physical exercise routine will also. My foot is still a little messed up, but it's to the point where I just need to do my thing and be sore. I can feel my body jiggle when I go down stairs; my whole system is over-ripe, ready for some strong and steady running.

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