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April 30, 1997, Wednesday

Now I'm telling them: reflexes do not make me feel special.

some bonafide musings


've been thinking about the technological revolution that has taken place in the world. What is it based on? Surely it must be the transistor. Perhaps it's the computer. How about the steam engine? Benjamin Franklin's discovery of electricity? I have a brand new suggestion. I think it's mostly based upon photography. Consider for a moment:
Photography is about capturing the essence of the real world as a representation. Originally it was a response to the imprecision and sluggishness of artists. Now it is so much more. In the manufacture of microelectronic devices, the bedrock of the information age, photographic techniques are heavily utilized to transfer designs from the macro scale of our world to the microscopic world of the machine. Similarly, the automated storage and retrieval of data using lasers has much in common with and borrows heavily from the craft of photography.
Otherwise one risks being added to the snicker and grin museum with the pathetic likes of Cargo Cultists and Cold Fusionists.

onight I've been reading an interesting back issue in Scientific American that discusses nanotechnology and draws a comparison between it and religion. My father, who is an expert in the field of thermodynamics, has discussed nanotechnology with me in the past. He believes there are insurmountable hurdles placed by thermodynamics in the way of anyone wanting to build large structures molecule by molecule. After all, the creation of such order must of necessity create greater disorder elsewhere in the universe. How does energy get into a nanotechnological system and how is the disorder channeled away? In many ways biological organisms can be viewed as nanotechnology in action. But we have very specific requirements as to fuel, environment and waste disposal that limit us in ways conventional technology is not limited. It's a complex issue and I think valuable results can come out of nanotechnological research if thermodynamic constraints are kept in mind. Otherwise one risks being added to the snicker and grin museum with the pathetic likes of Cargo Cultists and Cold Fusionists.

Surely if we are just who we say we are and do what we do industriously, the best will rise to the top and the worst will sink like the turds they are.

've been amazed and horrified to discover that there exists on the web a culture dedicated almost entirely to the presentation and expectation of awards. I'm amazed by the sheer number of the awards and I'm horrified by how ugly they are and the significance seemingly attached to them. It rather reminds me of high school or local governments in Redneckistan, where everyone eventually gets an award and as such they have no meaning, like a hippie chick telling you she loves you. I've been (professionally) surfing the web perhaps 80 hours a week since June 1996, and I only really encountered this culture in its full force last night while surfing through the Open Pages Journal Ring. Some of the journals (and their homepages) are so cluttered with unsized "awards" that they take a lifetime to download and look like the Burger King district along the US Highway just outside any American town. Others have thoughtfully placed their awards in another section, but would anyone really want to visit such a concentration camp of tackiness? What do these awards mean? Who cares (except perhaps the presenter and the receiver)? I understand the desire all of us have for recognition and 15 minutes of Warholian fame, but there has to be a better way. Surely if we are just who we say we are and do what we do industriously, the best will rise to the top and the worst will sink like the turds they are. Billboards scream loudly with meaningless ugliness.

3:50pm Eastern Daylight Time

Bill Chance has reminded me that Grinder provides awards for the taking, but... heh heh, they're rather beastly and I wouldn't expect to see them in the show and tell at the top line of Nova Notes any time soon.
The day is reassuringly hot. I use the term reassuringly because it's been a cold April here in Central Virginia. Rare have been the days warm enough for tee shirts.

My room was smelling kind of funky, so I did a laundry (and I also cleaned the first floor bathroom). In the process of going through my dirty clothes I discovered an abandoned bottle of urine I must have filled one night in my drunken laziness. It had actually been nutritious enough to grow a culture of mold. I think the funkyness of my room has now been fully accounted for.

I need to get out of this computer lab and enjoy the day.

I smoked some pot at the Dynashack with a subset of housemates. Steve tells me that some people confuse him for me. I told him that when I first went to Oberlin College I thought a guy named Matt Rogers was really two different people.

I wonder what ever happened to Matt Rogers;
he used to sit in the kitchen of my Co-op, Harkness,
his buttcrack showing prominently as he gesticulated wildly,
making nonstop pretentious references to philosophy.

I felt pleasant as I sat, stoned, on the front porch, watching high clouds slowly accumulate. Andrew showed up and we had an interesting conversation, though I forget what it was about.

I lay down in bed and fell asleep though I did not really want to.

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