The Vanishing Doombringer

No matter who wins this Presidential election, it must be better than what we’ve had to endure these last eight, long years. It make me happy in the same way you are happy when a car that rolled over your legs, finally rolls off it. Pure bliss. This seems to be liberating. I’m feeling like it’s okay to write about other things. Even as we have all kinds of legal machinations happening quietly, while at the same time CNN seems to have “misplaced” their section on Law News. I’m leaving it alone, at least for now.

Deep Impact Flyby CraftFor several reasons. Take last New Years Eve, for example. While we were doing the many things that we do, one of our many little probes zipping about in the solar system was sent whizzing above Australia at around 20,000 mph. We called it back here so that the earth could steal some of its energy as part of our desire for it to run some laps around the sun. Remember the probe we sent out a few years ago, Deep Impact, that fired an on-board probe crashing into Temple 1? Well, the mother ship has been taken over by some other scientists now, with their own designs.

Instead of just letting the probe slowly die, they’ve taken the the driving seat, causing it to watch nearby solar systems that we know have planets. We want to know more about these planets. We know about so few, and the ones we do know about can be pretty crazy. Lots of these extrasolar planets are gas giants, like Jupiter (and larger), only the orbit extremely close to their suns, even closer than Mercury is to our own, and orbiting extremely fast. One of these gas giants is heated hot enough to melt metal. Another has thick winds traveling thousands of miles per hour. But we know nothing definitive about any planets more to our liking. Deep Impact, or Epoxi as the mission is now called, will be watching stars, observing how their luminosity changes as planets pass in front of them, and the scientist do their math.

But this task, while fascinating, is really more about keeping the probe occupied instead of bored, while it travels to its true destination, comet 103P Hartley (Hartley 2). Interestingly, Hartley 2 was not the probe’s first choice — comet 85P Boethin was. But somehow, Boethin has just vanished, and nobody knows why. So Epoxi will be flying circles around the sun, in roughly the same orbit as the Earth, until it meets up with Hartley 2 in October of 2010. That’s the same year the Space Shuttle fleet will be taken out of service.

Kepler’s Solar System Platonic SolidsWe probably can’t count on much amazing science coming from Epoxi watching star transits, however. But NASA has another space telescope scheduled for launch around this time next year, in 2009, called Kepler. It was designed from the ground up to do very well what Epoxi will be just lounging around doing. By the way, Kepler was the last scientist you could really say was both an astronomer and an astrologer. Before him, when Earth was the center of the universe, planets were known as the stars that moved in fast and “odd” ways across the night sky — they would travel along, then move in a retrograde loop backward, then carry on. Ptolemy worked out mathematically how this could happen, as the planets did a loop while traveling along their crystal spheres. But it was very complex math. Kepler simplified it with a profound insight — the math became much simpler when you moved the sun to the center, instead of the Earth. Their motion became nice circles. Well, ok, after a lot of irritation and work, ellipses. But by this time, Kepler had gone all loopy on how geometrically perfect the motions of heavenly objects where, and concluded that everything was based upon the Platonic Solids — the whole universe — he had seen the mind of God, in these geometric forms, overlain upon each other, inside and out. Unfortunately, he spent the rest of his life obsessively working on the math for this, never getting it right… well, because he wasn’t right. He was just loopy after his first discoveries, assuming them out to the prejudicial conclusions that he believed must be true. This is not so unlike Einstein’s condition after he became obsessed with the Grand Unification theory, which he worked on until his dying days, without a resolution, due to his prejudicial beliefs. Well, that, and the fact that it’s a true brain teaser, even to this day.

Anyway, Kepler, who gave us the true motion of the planets orbiting our star, and now over 400 years later, gets a giant device named after him that we’re sending out into space in our attempt to find other planets, around other stars, most like our own Earth. He’ll be following Earth, by the way, tagging along behind our orbit, as he peers out.

I Will Rule You

ps.pngI was talking politics with my dad earlier today. At one point he said it’s too bad Jake (our Golden Retriever) couldn’t be President. Although he is sweet, cuddly and gets all tongue-loose and grin-y when his tummy’s rubbed, I’m also pretty certain his first act as President would be seeing that other people have things, then go take them for himself.

I suppose it’s nicer to take things for friends instead of just yourself. He’s a bad dog. But there is also an honesty about a dog’s greed. They’re far too stupid to make up excuses and rationalizations. Or maybe too smart. After all, there is a cuteness even about a thief who takes thing blatantly, just because they must have it. There is no excuse making. Just their individual craziness, which we can all relate to, and even appreciate to some degree.

It’s the excuse-making – it’s the “talk” that pisses me off. Admit it, bitch: you saw it, you wanted it, you knew you could get it, you took it, and now you have it. You have it, and a lot of other stuff you didn’t count on, too. I sometimes wonder what it must be like, believing you are exempt from the laws of physics. Believing that balance meant, everything comes to you. Imagine if it did. Who could survive it?

Now, if I were wanting to be President, this is what I would tell people: “People of America, you couldn’t do better than me, and I want you to prove that to me by believing in me and giving me your vote. I think it would be really cool ruling over all of you, and everything else too. Also, I deserve to go down in history, because I am that great. I was born for this. Now you need to get out there and do your part. I’ll be nice to you, too. Just don’t fuck with me.”

Actually, if I heard someone saying that, I’d love it. I probably wouldn’t vote for them, but I’d love it. Hmm. Maybe I would vote for them. It would depend on how their face looked as they were saying it. Actually, if it were me, here’s what I would say:

Hi. You don’t know me at all, but you’ll probably hear a lot of things. That’s fine. You can always ask me if you’re wondering about something. I’m far from perfect – I’m human, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thing is, I know you are too. So we’re kinda in this together. That’s why I don’t think we should have some big “in here” and some big “out there” when it comes to our government and all of us. In fact, I’d probably be more comfortable with not even being your President. Wasn’t there some movie like this? Anyway, if you decide you want to elect me, this is what I’ll do. I know I won’t have all the powers to do it, but I’ll try to make it happen anyway.

First, I’m going to going to create a 4th branch of government – the Justice Department will be autonomous, and will be governed by 9 equal people instead of one – 3 placed from each of 3 existing branches of government, the Executive, Legislative and the Judicial. Justice should not be less than any of the others.

Anyone not following their oath of office will forfeit their office immediately and without any procedural requirements, unless they have filed ahead of time in full disclosure their reason for not doing so with each of the other branches. If the reason is subsequently found, beyond reasonable doubt, to have been unreasonable, that’s it.

Corporations that provide armed military services will be abolished. The military budgets will be cut 15% per year for the next 8 years and one half of that money will go instead toward hydrogen production and distribution and solar energy facilities. Coal and oil subsidies and tax breaks are eliminated, but those companies effected are welcome to their share of the military savings money to help convert their operations to hydrogen and solar. The other half of the military savings will be allocated to NASA for both public and private sector expansion of exploration sciences and the technologies that inevitably come from it, benefiting us all.

The recent Bush tax modifications, which helped only the richest, will be eliminated. Broadcast companies who use public airwaves will no longer receive free allocations of this public asset. For-profit Broadcast companies will be required to pay the public 10% of their gross income from airwave use. The same holds true for companies exploiting public lands for resources, and technologies transferred or licensed from public national laboratories. Funds from these changes will be channeled into Medicare, which will be expanded to offer all Americans assistance with their health care needs.

These changes will quickly result in our independence from foreign energy sources, justifying the cuts in military expenditures, which can be allocated more efficiently and helpfully at our home defense. We will review all existing international law and formally agree to be bound by those laws, as long as they do not conflict with our own good interest, laws and Constitution. International laws that do conflict will need to be addressed on the international stage until an agreement can be reached. At such time, we work in concert with the nations of the world, no longer unilaterally.

Agricultural trade agreements with foreign countries that favor the importation of foreign crops will be exited and all farm incentive money allocated internally to targeted crops will be redirected toward the re-establishment of diverse regional crop growers. This will, like energy, reduce our dependence upon foreign sources for our food supply, make us less vulnerable, contribute to regional economies, and produce a healthier food supply. Artificial pricing will be eliminated, resulting in even freer trade.

Economic stimulus packages will not be handed out as cash amounts, but will instead be an ongoing and steady program of larger-scale public works projects focusing primarily on the American infrastructure of roads, interstate highways, rail systems and development, bridges, water supplies, and housing.

Public university grants and loans will be expanded to completely cover college tuition at the national median cost. Low-interest loans can be paid back in cash or by working on any of the public works projects on either a federal or regional level.

No government branch or agency can claim privilege or state secrets as a defense in litigation, whether civil or criminal. However, there may be circumstances when only the presiding justice might see the evidence, then make their own free determination of privilege or state secrets. The Freedom of Information Act will be rigorously enforced.

The most important thing for America is to lead by example, not by force, fear or coercion. It is possible to be strong, without dominating. It is possible to be generous, without being weak. It is possible to open, without being vulnerable. And it is possible to be contented, and prosperous and great, in our own right, just being ourselves.

Oh, did I mention – change! Hope! I mean, change! You know, like.. change! Then you can hope! I’ll hit the ground running. Strong against our enemies, too, by the way. Really strong. Like you wouldn’t even want to smell me strong. Did I mention great?

Bye Bye. Dhanyavaad!

mahamarll.jpgTwist your Primary and NFL heads off and set them on the ground for a minute. There’s something wonderful happening that nobody seems to notice.

I wasn’t kidding around about NASA beaming an mp3 music file into deep space toward the Northern Star. It looks like it was in the news, so you probably knew it. The mp3 was sent X-band, by the way, so the space creatures can probably listen to it streaming in real-time, too, if they have ears, and sound waves travel the same through methane as they do through oxygen.

It was a Beatles song called Across the Universe, written by John Lennon in the mid-1960’s. It was sent via NASA’s Deep Space Network, aimed at Polaris (which isn’t the brightest star in the sky by any means, as many people believe). Polaris is just the star that sits atop the north pole, or rather axis, of the world, so that as we turn, it appears to remain stationary, with all the other stars revolving around it.

Anyway, this is the only song that has ever been purposefully beamed out into space. The song was written by John Lennon at a time when he was studying with an Indian guru named Mahesh Prasad Varma, by that time known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Maharishi was the conduit through which Eastern philosophies and spirituality became well known in the West. He simplified the techniques of Yoga Vedanta, which was highly meditative, creating the practice widely referred to in the West as Transcendental Meditation.

The Maharishi was a follower of the Vedas, the scriptures that are the foundation of Hinduism, which pre-date Christianity by more than 1,500 years. Vedic scriptures have given us many things, one of my most favorite being aromatherapy, the harmonious balance of scent. The Hindus also gave us the concept of zero, without which mathematics would be strange indeed.

The Maharishi was a physicist before devoting himself to spiritual matters under the tutelage of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. He obviously possessed a strong curiosity about the nature of existence. After his master died, the Maharishi often referred to his old master affectionately as “Guru Dev”.

om.pngThe Beatles song beamed out into space, “Across the Universe”, contains a repetition of the lyrics “Jai guru deva om” which means “Salutations to the teacher” along with the mystic symbol “om”, representing the infinite — all things, all power, all weakness, all change, all that remains the same, every aspect of existence as it manifests. The next day, today, after this song’s broadcast out into the universe, Maharishi Mahesh died.

That may not seem like much, but the media is all over the Maharishi’s death, going on and on about this song they say was written later by the Beatles, talking about how much they disliked the Maharishi after their short while studying with him. Christian religions have demonized Transcendental Meditation as well, saying that our attempt to uncover that aspect within ourselves that is connected to the rest of universe is somehow satanic.

Nobody mentioned that just yesterday, the song written with the Maharishi and his teacher in mind, was broadcast, just yesterday, by NASA through space, pointed toward the North Star. And now, the Maharishi is dead.

I don’t know if history will ever recount what this teacher accomplished in bringing together the East with the West, opening up so many currents that continue to unfold in our culture. I am not a follower of anything he represents, as far as I know, but I can see very clearly when prejudice overshadows something beautiful. A beautiful story.

And I suppose I just wanted to mention that, since nobody else seems to be.

“The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”

Bye bye Mahesh! Catch you on the flip-side!

mahamar.jpg

“Asato Ma Sad Gamaya/Tamaso Ma Joytir Gamaya/Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya/Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi.”

“O Lord Lead Us From The Unreal To The Real / Lead Us From Untruth To Truth / Lead Us From Darkness To Light/ Lead Us From Death To Immortality/ OM Let There Be Peace Peace Peace.”

Let your eye go to the Sun; your life to the wind; by the meritorious acts that you have done, go to heaven, and then to the earth again; or, resort to the Waters, if you feel at home there; remain in the herbs with the bodies you propose to take.

Rig-Veda X, 16,3

Stuff and Things for Your Interest

NASA Begins File Sharing with Aliens

In an unprecedented move, NASA last night started file sharing music mp3’s with aliens. This opens up a whole new arena for the RIAA, the ravenous attack dogs of the music industry, to snatch money. The unsuspecting creatures living in the vicinity of Polaris may find themselves facing unrelenting lawsuits in the year 2440 if they are stupid enough to copy and distribute these tunes to each other. The NASA ploy appears to verify suspicions that NASA is really just a front for the music industry, and the latest in a series of strategies by the music industry to enslave all forms of expression on a larger scale.

“It doesn’t matter if they don’t know what the mp3 format is,” said an industry insider, “or even if they have ears or not. If we find that data stored and duplicated in anyway, their ass is ours, even if they don’t have one one of those either.”

And legal experts agree. “Whether an alien has ears or not is irrelevant when considering the protection of our artists under the law. They will need asses, however, if we are expected to do our job.”

Dennis Kucinich, speaking while channeling a future Polarian consciousness via UFO’s accidentally crashed, embedded and trapped within Dick Cheney’s cerebrum, presents an alternate viewpoint. “What does it mean, vibrating oxygen and nitrogen gas at varying frequencies? This is useless!”

Americans Turn to Mars for Internet Access

Frustrated by the widening gap between America’s Internet access speeds and the rest of the world, more and more Americans are looking to Mars help bring them up to speed.

“Yeah, dude,” said Covington cracker lxY. “We’re gonna be sneakin in a relay on that polar probe they’re sending. Then we can piggyback our net pipe on that data stream from the MRO probe orbiting Mars — and dude that’s like twice as fast as anything people have here.”

Contacts within the US Telecom industry remained silent when questioned why the data rates between Earth and Mars were significantly faster than the data rates offered to US households. But fearing a deeper inquiry, they eventually replied.

“Americans are the best, Americans expect the best, and we give it to them. But you can’t expect household data rates to compare with the speeds that a multi-billion dollar, government funded, hi-tech agency can achieve. It’s not like you expect your Toyota, no matter how good Toyotas are, to get you to work at 20,000 mph.”

When asked why Japan’s data speeds were roughly 20 times faster on average than our own, and why our speeds are slower than nearly all other industrialized countries, the industries frustrations finally became apparent.

“Look. We’re not made of money. If the government wants to give us billions like NASA, we’ll have those speeds in no time. But they won’t, and we can only do the best they can. If you all would get rid of that Net Neutrality crap and let us have control over what we have to give you, then maybe we could start seeing some progress. Imagine the high speed gratification you could have. Yeah, you’d like that. I thought so.”

In the meantime, NASA planners continue exploring possible methods on future manned missions to Mars, to recycle and utilize the biological material that results from truly blistering Internet speeds.

Study Finds Spam Beneficial

A recent scientific study completed by Rand and funded by the American Coalition for What We Need, suggests that spam is not such a bad thing after all, and that in fact, spam is likely beneficial.

One of the most surprising revelations is that your penis actually is too small. “I was surprised by this finding as well,” said Jessica Hardmen, the consultant enlisted for scientific oversight. “I guess you never really know what you’re missing,” she laughed. “But now I do.”

Nearly as surprising, the study indicates the truth behind our brain chemistry’s problem. “Oh yes,” said Hardmen, “almost everyone’s brain turns out to be a mess. You would think that your brain would be smarter than that, but it’s not. It’s a chemical horror story.”

It seems that spam actually reveals to us that there are many people out there, just like us, who need to be chemically re-balanced and sedated. “It’s a godsend,” she says, “and we really shouldn’t be annoyed by it. I mean, do you think you would be getting those drug messages if you didn’t need them? A lot of science goes into identifying the people who would benefit most. This spam isn’t trying to sell anything — it’s trying to help you.”

“And this leads straight into one of the biggest misconceptions people have about spam,” she continued. “How do they know? Well, we discovered that the many and seemingly randomly-worded messages you receive are actually hypnotic triggers that help you gain the courage to subconsciously write secret messages detailing your issues to the spam providers. It’s not like they have a camera under your desk measuring everyone’s penis size. You tell them yourself, in your own words. And that’s how we know how to help.”

“Oops, did I say we?” laughed Hardmen. “What I really meant was you and me.”

Bush Declares Laws of Physics do not Apply to the Executive Branch

Drawing cries of outrage from liberals and constitutional scholars, President Bush yesterday declared that none of the laws of physics applied to the Executive Branch. “He’s overstepped his bounds yet again,” said George Washington University Law Professor Martin Freeling. “This administration just doesn’t know when to stop.”

California Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein when asked about her position on the matter suggested that people were getting all worked up over nothing. “President Bush may enjoy pushing boundaries, but he’s not above the rule of law, nor the will of the American People. I see no reason for concern.”

Senator Olympia Snowe, a Republican, differs. “After his third veto of children’s health care (SCHIP), I didn’t think there was much concern when he said he was sick of being told to provide medical care to children without insurance, and that he was going to make sure the problem went away — and then 3.5 million children just vanish. That concerns me — and frankly, it’s a little unnerving.”

“Nonsense,” says Feinstein. “I don’t see the problem.”

Issues finally came to a head when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi authorized impeachment proceedings after all American bank accounts showed $10 balances, unless the original balance was greater than $10 million, and piles of children’s bones were discovered in Dick Cheney’s basement, after neighbors complained of an overwhelming stench. When questioned at the Congressional hearing, Cheney replied that he had grown tired of desert meat and was just putting to good use what would have otherwise been thrown away, further suggesting that was taking environmental issues more seriously. But Pelosi halted the hearings shortly after her hands turned into goat heads, claiming that it made using the gavel too difficult.

In an uncustomary appeal to the American public, President Bush today worked to smooth over controversy caused by what he called “irresponsible political tactics” and “threats to American security”.

“As the Leader of the Free World, America is strong when I am strong. And I am strong. And you are strong. Because I am strong. I think you know what I’m saying. The liberals just want to take your money, and spend it. I just want to spend it, but I won’t take any, because you only have ten dollars now, and you need it. That’s the kind of guy I am.”

“Like I’ve been telling you, and now you can see, this is why corporate military contractors are so important — America would be in a bad place right now without them, now that we don’t have any money left for the great and honorable institutions of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and all those things. But you can rest safe in the knowledge that you’re safe now.”

“That’s why I’m declaring today, the month of November is illegal. It’s a very bad and dangerous month, and I’m the one taking the initiative to combat it. Anyone entering the month of November, even though it no longer exists, will be considered an enemy combatant, working against our most sacred American ideals of strength, justice, and me.”

“Your thoughts, dreams, feelings and ideas are important, and rest assured they will be heard by this administration. Every day, and every night. For your own good.”

The silence of all those gathered for the address was marred only briefly by the sound of Representative Reichert giggling and clapping excitedly as he piddled his pants.

“Since the American treasury is broke, I hereby, as Commander in Chief, order McDonald’s to take over operation of our Naval fleet. Their compensation will be all the dead fish from that low frequency sonar, plus they already have lots of people who know how to use those radio headset things.”

“This was not an easy decision, but the Army will be taken over by the World Wrestling Federation, and not the NFL. You NFL people rely too much on tax dollars, and though my heart is with you, there’s none left.”

“The Air Force will be split equally between Weyerhaeuser and Massey coal, which should help them clear forests and reach the coal reserves throughout the Appalachian Mountain Range far more economically than their current capabilities. And that will help all Americans.”

“The Marines command will be turned over to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, mostly because they are hot bitches even if they don’t know how to dance. At least that’s what I’m told. Except for Sergeant Gunner. He’ll remain my aide, because I reward good service.”

“The rest of all those Reserves people, go to Exxon, or Saudi Arabia, or whatever, I don’t care. And would somebody go fix Asia – oh, and bring me Africa, too, while you’re at it. I mean now!”

“Oh, right, the camera. He he. Well, guess that’s about it. God bless America. He he. Did someone sneeze or something? He he. See ya around.”

The Hopes of Machines in Heaven and Hell

When working with computers, interesting things are sometimes revealed. I’m not talking about Userland, where computers are used as tools, appliances and playthings. I’m talking far beneath that, where Userland becomes merely an incidental abstraction, having little to do with the actualities upon which Userland is dependent for its existence. There was a time when nearly all programmers worked beyond Userland. This is no longer true. A Purgatory between Userland and Reality now exists. It came into being as programmers were tasked with making the lives of other programmers easier. This Purgatory is now where most programmers live. They are free from having to deal directly with Reality while maintaining and expanding Userland. Reality has become sliced into generalized chunks, grouped, and abstracted to create the Purgatory from which Userland is painted for all. This has both benefits, and drawbacks.

In Purgatory you live with many promises. Promises of simplicity, quickness, and effortlessness. Freedom from mundane drudgery. But at the same time you discover yourself constrained by the things others have provided you, and subject to the strategic trends of your environment, while finding yourself grasping increasingly for the familiar, rather than the new. All this, while developing a growing sense that you are floating away in isolation from Reality into Userland with all the others. The kicker for those in Purgatory is, you can distantly remember what Reality is, and you can distantly envision what Userland is supposed to be, but you know that you will never be truly in either. The question remaining is, which is Heaven, and which is Hell? Interestingly, in Purgatory, it doesn’t matter.

Userland is all about getting what you want, when you want it, with no effort whatsoever. Userland is not thinking, it is doing. Userland loves aesthetics and is always dissatisfied with anything but the most perfect. Appearance, truth and lies are equally important. Rules are fuzzy and are secondary to desires whenever possible. Those in Userland revel in their freedom from thinking, finding humor and delight in their disassociation from Reality, which they unconsciously believe is subject to their whim. Inhabitants of Userland view the people within Purgatory as poor little things who need to just will themselves out. Sometimes they will become attached to a denizen of Purgatory, offering them their company, feeding them, and on the rare occasion, even trying to help them become a Userlandian. Inhabitants of Reality do not fare so well in the eyes of Userland. Those of Reality are viewed as disturbingly alien, dark, and unjustifiably condescending, which causes great confusion, and therefore thought, which is bothersome in its own right. Interestingly, Userland people sometimes become romantically obsessed with the people of Reality, though the converse is more rare. When this happens, appearance and truth become a war zone, complete with all the hazards. For the Userlandian, appearances nearly always prevail, since truth and lies are on equal terms.

Inhabitants of Reality, never called citizens, live a far more ordered life despite their oftentimes more scruffy appearances. Though long ago they handed off the ongoing construction and maintenance of Userland to the citizens of Purgatory, they underpin it all. Understanding of truth, regardless of any current aesthetic, is their focus. And more than that, the continued building upon that understanding, which frequently sets them at odds with the Userlandians and stirs the inhabitants of Purgatory into simultaneous feelings of annoyance and intrigue. Due to their perspective and priorities, the inhabitants of Reality can walk throughout Userland and Purgatory undisturbed by their gravity, though they seldom do. They will sometimes listen to the wild blathering of Userlandians and the whining of those in Purgatory, but they prefer remaining focused upon their occulted endeavors. Their work both creates and destroys, from the foundations. Often considered harsh, insensitive and abrupt, the people of Reality spend the majority of their time in towers or caves, in self-imposed isolation from the chaotic spectacle of their efforts, unleashed. Ironically, they continue their explorations and experimentations, fueled by their obsession for truth, unification, clarity, elegance of structure, and the recognition by others of their own cleverness.

The people of Userland care only about Userland. Anything other than Userland is simply an entertaining oddity that they believe is actually contained within Userland. Those in Purgatory are at their beck and call, while those in Reality sometimes seem to be, though Userlandians sometimes suspect that it might be the other way around, which is an oddity, of course, still contained within Userland. The people of Purgatory care only about Userland and Reality, unaware they are actually citizens of Purgatory. They wish they could be in Userland where everything is so simple and easy. They also wish they could be in Reality where everything made sense and choices were clear. This leaves them trapped, in-between. The people of Reality feel a responsibility toward the people of both Userland and Purgatory, though such feelings are secondary to their arcane pursuits, which in Reality created both. They view the citizens of Userland and, to a lesser degree Purgatory, somewhat condescendingly as little more than Turing Machines.

Another interesting thing is the structure and nature of data, or information. It represents some actuality. Structures of data can be tied to other structures with one manipulating the other, and vice versa. Data can be discreet and static, or perhaps lists, or comprised of keys and values. It can, and is most useful when, it is multidimensional. Relations are foreign keys that tie together a greater meaning. And exceptions should be caught, and handled gracefully, rather than resulting in termination. Also, lest we forget, inter-process communication should be synchronous to ensure valid states.

Catching Flies with Honey and Vinegar

Taken from xkcd.com

Catching Flies with Honey and Vinegar

It is a little strange hearing so much talk about change from Presidential candidates lately. It’s almost as if the concept of change injected into political rhetoric was something new. Imagine a candidate who campaigned on the promise of keeping everything the same. I don’t mean to be a fly in anyone’s ointment, but I am. Hope lives everywhere – in Reality, in Purgatory and in Userland. But hope can be many things. Hope can be selfish, selfless, or strategic. It can be a life line thrown to the drowning. It can be a call to arms. The invocation of hope can only be effective within an environment of despair. Some people despair when they see a wrinkle under their eye. Some might not despair until all their limbs have been blown off. And some few, not even then. Change. Hope. Why?

Userland may seem a wondrous and unbounded, rich, ripe and plentiful landscape, fueled upon invisible yet tangible dreams. But Userland is bounded. It is bound by intricate and terrifying Reality. This is neither hope, nor despair. Purgatory is between. Userland is fading, slowly, as the ground beneath it gives way into Purgatory. Reality remains, a wilderness unchanged and undiscovered. Then where does hope lie, in Userland or Reality? Purgatory vanishes when Userland is no more, yet it may remain in Reality. And without Reality, Userland does not exist.

Regardless, we cannot escape Reality. It gets us in the end, no matter how hard we try. That’s why Userlandians fear it. They have forgotten the foundations of their home, fearing the dark of the basement, and the infinite spaces beyond the sky. Hope is the most powerful for those in Purgatory, for they can see so much, yet touch so little. They are slaves to both Userland and Reality.

I hear often from Religious people about the End Days, when all the world will be destroyed and we will all, for all intents and purposes, be dead. This excites them. It confuses me. When questioned, they say that all the world being dead is not what makes them happy. That much is encouraging. They say that it makes them happy because they will be re-united with God, existing within his presence, where there is no fear, pain, suffering, and all you will know is eternal joy. In other words, the ultimate Userland, free even from vexing Reality, where all things are possible, and all desires fulfilled (or perhaps non-existent). I suppose it is clear where the votes of the Christians in Purgatory will go, when choosing between Userland and Reality. But Reality is persistent. Reality encompasses faith. Just as Reality encompasses Hope. Change, too, is bound by Reality.

It would be nice if a shepherd emerged who could lead us all to a better place. But it is a vast flock to shepherd, and more than one type of animal. Earlier today, I read a piece Mike wrote where he suggested that it was important that our leaders could cry. I think he is right. When someone in a hierarchy sheds tears, and those tears are not for themselves, the hierarchy falls along with those tears to become even with us all. The perspectives become level. They do not become weaker. They become stronger, because we will lend them our strength to persevere.

When we make mistakes, we must admit them, both to ourselves and to others. It is a treacherous path, not to. When we give hope to others, we must first know for ourselves that there actually is hope, and how it might be achieved. If we do not, or are unwilling to reveal how, then we are simply being manipulative. If we speak of change, we speak of nothing, because all new things are change. And if we are silent, or do nothing, we dig our own situation, and help to dig the situations of others.

Pete, stripped naked and alone in his New York apartment in the snow, opening all the windows, trying to hold a cigarette steady in his mouth to light, clenched between his teeth. Thousands of residents dying from the cold. The slick weather man on TV.

Hope, from words, from talking heads, on TV, as the snow falls. Ah, Pete, you’re everything that hope is, to me.