aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
South Park season 9, Pt 2
The NYTimes tells me that in tonight’s episode “a beaver dam breaks, causing a flood in a neighboring town. Assigning blame becomes the top priority.”
Animated series are not known for their timeliness, but “South Park” is different. When the show began in 1997, Mr. Parker, Mr. Stone and their staff would spend two weeks on an episode. Now they create each one, from start to finish, in six days, handing it over to Comedy Central on the morning of the broadcast. The process evolved from what Mr. Stone called “sheer procrastination” and Mr. Parker called “laziness.”
Doug Herzog, Comedy Central’s president, said: “For Matt and Trey, life is still a term paper. They put it under the professor’s door at 11:59.”
This crunch is what allows “South Park” to comment in real time on zeitgeist themes, from news headlines to video-game releases, but it’s a harried process. Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker begin the Thursday-to-Wednesday week in the writers’ room, where they throw around ideas. When they hit on ones that might work, Mr. Parker writes individual scenes so that the animators can begin creating the actual episode. As days pass, those scenes add up to 21 minutes with, eventually, a beginning, an end and a plot. As for how they arrive at an episode’s larger narrative, Mr. Parker described the different approaches: “Do we come at it from, ‘Remember this from third grade’? Do we come at it from, ‘This happened on the news’?”
Sometimes an idea is character-driven. “Like, ‘We need a Kyle story, there hasn’t been much Kyle this season,’ “ Mr. Parker said. Those episodes, where the boys are just boys, are Mr. Stone’s and Mr. Parker’s favorite ones. “It feels very ‘Peanuts,’ “ Mr. Parker said.
They don’t work for us
Dan is cool to my thoughts of a utopian corporate state that aggregates our preferences into a more perfect post-democratic governing structure.
BOB GARFIELD: If not Google now, then who? And when? Who should be in charge of deciding which books get scanned?
SIVA VAIDHYANATHAN: Well, I actually think that this is the job of libraries. I think libraries should be doing this first and foremost. The Library of Congress should have identified this as a major public need and goal and pursued this sort of project years ago. Instead, they’ve outsourced it to a private corporation, and this corporation, as good as they like to make us think they are, is still operating by keeping us blind. Their technology is proprietary. Their algorithms for search are completely secret. We don’t actually know what’s going to generate a certain list of search results. They don’t work for us. [emphasis Seth’s.]
I’m thinking that neither did Andrew Carnegie, who pretty much funded the birth of the modern public library.
From Time’s The Road Ahead:
O’REILLY: The generation now growing up is going to expect access to information in a way us fuddy-duddies don’t take for granted. Some say the Net will lead to a radical democratization--power to the people--but I don’t think so. When you harness collective intelligence and the power of blogging, it doesn’t mean power to individuals. It means power to the people best able to aggregate those individuals. Google is a profoundly powerful company because it has figured out algorithmically how to learn from millions of people at once.
This is a key to, a hint at, a post-democratic governing structure that can both reflect the will of the people and address some of the limits of democracy.
And it might just emerge from a corporation.
If the sweep of history has indeed taken us from the city-state to the church-state to the nation-state, and if now we’re heading for the corporate-state, perhaps that’s how it will be made manifest.
Not the worst thing I can imagine.
Do conservatives like Bush?
Franklin Foer says apparently not:
This is the striking feature of the conservative backlash against Miers: It hasn’t just involved a searing critique of the nominee, but also a damning assessment of the man who sent up her name. (A small sample of right-wing Bush-bashing from Rod Dreher on National Review’s Corner: “I fully expect that if Justice Stevens retires, President Bush will nominate his dog Barney to fill that vacant seat. After all, who can a man trust to be loyal more than his dog?")
As the Miers debate reveals, many conservative intellectuals have exactly the same problems with Bush as liberals. They disdain his cronyism, doubt his intelligence, question his use of “character” to judge individuals, and can’t stand his pandering to evangelicals. “The trouble with Harriet is that she has given us a depressing glimpse into the vast open space that now appears to be the Bush political mind,” a piece on The Weekly Standard’s website argued last week.
Monday, October 17, 2005
The Blog Interviews
Harvard Law has brought on three professors that are ”generally considered to be conservative.”
I’m all for it. But then I favor affirmative action. And I was inclined to believe that most professors tend to be socially liberal and vote Democratic even before David Horowitz’s much ballyhooed study found that at the University of Chicago Law School, Democrats outnumber Republicans 55 to 8, out of the 100 full-time professors surveyed.
My strong reaction is where the heck did all these Chicago law professors come from? The study claims to exclude clinical faculty and adjunct faculty, but still manages to find 100 full-time law professors at the University Chicago, or 67 more professors than our own web site indicates we have (show “full-time faculty"). According to the table on page five of Horowitz and Light’s paper, Chicago has a larger faculty than Harvard, Columbia, and NYU!
...it does make a certain degree of sense that softy, idealistic liberals may want to go into teaching and sacrifice the allure of money and power, while hardheaded, realistic conservatives would either enter the private sector or think tanks where they can make more cash and influence authority.
Cass Sunstein (dare I wonder, another Dem?) explains why it is we need them:
As decades of social science research have shown, like-minded people, engaged in discussion with one another, tend to go to extremes… Deliberating groups, after deliberation, usually adopt a more extreme position in the same direction as the median of their predeliberation views. This is the phenomenon known as group polarization.
Why does group polarization occur? Several factors appear to be at work. 1) If a group’s members are predisposed to think that X is true, group members will hear many arguments in favor of X, and few the other way. Exposed to more arguments in favor of X, people tend to become more convinced of X. 2) If a group’s members are predisposed in favor of X, those who are skeptical of X might well silence themselves, so as not to seem obtuse or to risk their reputations. Both individuals and groups as a whole are likely to shift as a result. 3) People tend to moderate their opinions when they don’t know what others think. If they’re surrounded by like-minded others, their initial inclinations are confirmed, and they tend to become more confident—and probably more extreme as a result.
Here’s the upshot: When a college or university is skewed in one direction, group polarization is highly likely.
And see, Sunstein sees that as a problem. I of course do too. In the following example, I’m sure George Bush would too:
Of course group polarization occurs within countless groups; left-leaning organizations have no monopoly on it. The conservative furor over the appointment of Harriet Miers, for example, seems to be a case study in group polarization. (This is simply a point about social dynamics, not at all about the merits.) There’s no simple “cure” for group polarization, but awareness of the phenomenon can provide at least a degree of inoculation.
Wouldn’t it be good to see an argument like this succeed where all others have failed: as a justification for a truly diverse student body.
In case you missed it
From the October 8 NYTimes:
A plan developed by the Bush administration to deal with any possible outbreak of pandemic flu shows that the United States is woefully unprepared for what could become the worst disaster in the nation’s history.
A draft of the final plan, which has been years in the making and is expected to be released later this month, says a large outbreak that began in Asia would be likely, because of modern travel patterns, to reach the United States within ‘’a few months or even weeks.’’
If such an outbreak occurred, hospitals would become overwhelmed, riots would engulf vaccination clinics, and even power and food would be in short supply, according to the plan, which was obtained by The New York Times.
The limits of democracy
Dean and I disagree on how to handle the bird flu threat. Dean says it’s “a lesson in the difference between ‘what could happen’ and ‘what we think will happen;’” I say it, like New Orleans and global warming, is a lesson in the limits of democracy.
Slate’s David Dobbs parses the flu issue nicely. Who gets the vaccine?
More than 10 million older Americans traveled last year, often in lousy weather, to stand in long lines and get poked in the arm with a flu shot. They made the trip in response to recommendations by the federal government that gave priority for flu vaccines to the elderly and the ailing. This, it turns out, is probably a bad idea. A Harvard study published last week adds to mounting evidence that the best way to ward off the flu’s ravages is to target transmission (meaning a disease’s main carriers, which in this case are kids) rather than risk (meaning the population at risk of death or serious illness, which with the flu is the old, the ailing, and infants). All signs are that giving children quick, painless nasal-spray vaccines while they’re already gathered at school could spare the elderly from standing in long lines for flu shots-and better protect them and everyone else.
Kids don’t vote. Old people do. And the argument is counter-intuitive so not easily sold. 60,000 people die in the United States each year from flu. And what we’re doing is ALLOWING THINGS TO GET WORSE:
Because the human immune system weakens with age, only 28 percent of elderly people who get vaccinated develop immunity. The low rate of protection means that 84 percent of all elderly (the 72 percent whose vaccinations don’t take, along with those who don’t get vaccinated) remain prey to a flu virus that runs otherwise largely unchecked.
This vulnerability, combined with the aging of the population, has caused the nation’s overall flu death rate to rise 400 percent even as we vaccinate more of the elderly.
Here’s the argument for vaccinating kids:
Their immune systems respond wonderfully to flu vaccine. A whopping 90 percent are successfully immunized by a flu shot, compared to the 28 percent figure for the elderly and 60 percent for middle-aged adults. Kids’ 90 percent success rate has been used to set up viral roadblocks high and wide enough to increase protection for whole populations. In the late 1960s, for instance, University of Michigan researchers vaccinated 85 percent of the schoolchildren in Tecumseh, Mich. The program reduced flu cases by two-thirds. In the late 1990s, a Baylor College of Medicine study vaccinated just 25 percent of 18-month to 18-year-olds in Temple, Texas, every year for three years. Adult flu cases dropped 8 percent to 18 percent.
Computer models...show that as child-age vaccination rates pass 50 percent, a community increasingly gains overall resistance to disease-what epidemiologists call “herd health"-which protects even those most at risk. Specifically, vaccinating 30 percent of preschool and schoolchildren would reduce a community’s chance of flu epidemic from 90 percent to 65 percent. Vaccinating 50 percent of kids would cut the chance to 36 percent. And vaccinating 70 percent of them would shrink the risk of epidemic to 4 percent. Any of those scenarios would prevent more elderly deaths than giving flu shots to 90 percent of seniors.
Dean says, Bird Flu “has so far struck down far less than 100 people.”
I say, if not that one there will be another. We’re not doing right by the flu we got; I don’t want to be around for the one that may be. Let’s get this one right.
But my topic is the limits of democracy. We’re watching this thing spread around the globe. It looks something like slow motion suicide to me. And what are we doing about it?
It’s not just conservatives who applaud the benefits of democratic delay. In times of war and pestilence, I just don’t see how that works for us.
The limits of openness
Kurzweil and Joy argue that the 1918 flu shot genome should NOT have been published:
AFTER a decade of painstaking research, federal and university scientists have reconstructed the 1918 influenza virus that killed 50 million people worldwide. Like the flu viruses now raising alarm bells in Asia, the 1918 virus was a bird flu that jumped directly to humans, the scientists reported. To shed light on how the virus evolved, the United States Department of Health and Human Services published the full genome of the 1918 influenza virus on the Internet in the GenBank database.
This is extremely foolish. The genome is essentially the design of a weapon of mass destruction. No responsible scientist would advocate publishing precise designs for an atomic bomb, and in two ways revealing the sequence for the flu virus is even more dangerous.
We urgently need international agreements by scientific organizations to limit such publications and an international dialogue on the best approach to preventing recipes for weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands. Part of that discussion should concern the appropriate role of governments, scientists and their scientific societies, and industry.
We also need a new Manhattan Project to develop specific defenses against new biological viral threats, natural or human made. There are promising new technologies, like RNA interference, that could be harnessed. We need to put more stones on the defensive side of the scale.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
It’s not the blog
A colleague read my blog today. Uh oh:
[L]ast week’s vote by his departmental peers to recommend against tenure for [37-year-old University of Chicago assistant professor Daniel] Drezner has reverberated in the small circle of academics who blog and in the larger one of bloggers generally.
Web lore abounds with tales of people being fired for blogging about their jobs, but it seems to be an especially touchy issue in the academy, bound by both tradition and a tendency to discredit work done in the public sphere.
The concern, as elucidated by Drezner on his blog and in an August Tribune article on the dangers of blogging, is that maintaining a Web log will be seen as a diversion from the real scholarship an academic ought to be doing.
Phew! I’m staff, not faculty. And this is leisurely civic engagement, not scholarship (lest you were confused).
How it would work:
1) Permit private companies to compete for licenses to cultivate, harvest, manufacture, package and peddle drugs.
2) Create a new federal regulatory agency (with no apologies to libertarians or paleo-conservatives).
3) Set and enforce standards of sanitation, potency and purity.
4) Ban advertising.
5) Impose (with congressional approval) taxes, fees and fines to be used for drug-abuse prevention and treatment and to cover the costs of administering the new regulatory agency.
6) Police the industry much as alcoholic beverage control agencies keep a watch on bars and liquor stores at the state level. Such reforms would in no way excuse drug users who commit crimes: driving while impaired, providing drugs to minors, stealing an iPod or a Lexus, assaulting one’s spouse, abusing one’s child. The message is simple. Get loaded, commit a crime, do the time.
From Chief Stamper’s plea for legalized drugs:
...Not until we choose to frame responsible drug use - not an oxymoron in my dictionary - as a civil liberty will we be able to recognize the abuse of drugs, including alcohol, for what it is: a medical, not a criminal, matter…
...The huge increases in federal and state prison populations during the 1980s and ‘90s (from 139 per 100,000 residents in 1980 to 482 per 100,000 in 2003) were mainly for drug convictions…
...In 1980, 580,900 Americans were arrested on drug charges. By 2003, that figure had ballooned to 1,678,200. We’re making more arrests for drug offenses than for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape and aggravated assault combined. Feel safer?…
...[expose] the embarrassingly meager return on our massive enforcement investment (about $69 billion a year, according to Jack Cole, founder and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)…
Let those dopers be
A former police chief tells it like it is:
SOMETIMES PEOPLE in law enforcement will hear it whispered that I’m a former cop who favors decriminalization of marijuana laws, and they’ll approach me the way they might a traitor or snitch. So let me set the record straight.
Yes, I was a cop for 34 years, the last six of which I spent as chief of Seattle’s police department.
But no, I don’t favor decriminalization. I favor legalization, and not just of pot but of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, psychotropics, mushrooms and LSD. Read on.
Via Dan Gillmore.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Way cool. Yet oddly retro:
MIT Media Lab’s Counter Intelligence Group, which develops innovative kitchen designs, has created a machine that makes dishes on demand and recycles them after diners have finished a meal. The dishes are made from food-grade, nontoxic acrylic wafers, which are shaped into cups, bowls and plates when heated, then resume their original wafer shape when they are reheated and pressed.
Let’s have a Dem mid-term convention
A suggestion by which the Democratic Party could command the greatest public attention for its positive agenda: It could within weeks call an extraordinary midterm convention to draw up its platform.
The convention would not need to be expensive. The delegates could be those who attended the 2004 convention. Their meeting would be open to the public and of course the press.
Could the idea get traction? SneakySu has a poll. Right now of 3.058 respondents 84% say yes, 14% say more discussion. Only 1% say no.
Morris is a clown
Bill Clinton’s biggest mistake (and that’s saying something). He must really hate Hillary; or is this just his latest crass self-promotion:
There is one, and only one, figure in America who can stop Hillary Clinton: Secretary of State Condoleezza ‘Condi’ Rice. Among all of the possible Republican candidates for President, Condi alone could win the nomination, defeat Hillary and derail a third Clinton administration.
Condoleezza, in fact, poses a mortal threat to Hillary’s success. With her broad-based appeal to voters outside the traditional Republican base, Condi has the potential to cause enough major defections from the Democratic party to create serious erosion among Hillary’s core voters. She attracts the same female, African-American and Hispanic voters who embrace Hillary, while still maintaining the support of conventional Republicans.
There has been a lot of talk about a Condoleezza Rice run for President in 2008, much of it propagated by Dick Morris in an attempt to siphon female support from Hillary Clinton. Rice’s views on domestic issues (read: reproductive rights) are even less known than Miers’, Estrich points out, so the idea of Rice winning the nomination is “wishful thinking.”
...And when the prosecutor in the case asked her to explain how “Valerie Flame” appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she “didn’t think” she heard it from him. “I said I believed the information came from another source [!], whom I could not recall,” [*] she wrote on Friday, recounting her testimony for an article that appears today…
...Ms. Miller is known for her expertise in intelligence and security issues and her ability to cultivate relationships with influential sources [!] in government…
...Mr. Bennett, who by now had carefully reviewed Ms. Miller’s extensive notes taken from two interviews with Mr. Libby, assured Mr. Fitzgerald that Ms. Miller had only one meaningful [!] source. Mr. Fitzgerald agreed to limit his questions to Mr. Libby and the Wilson matter…
Who told Judy about Valerie Plame (or “Flame” as the name appears in Judy’s notes)? According to these two pieces, the name was immaculately conceived. “As I told Mr. Fitzgerald, I simply could not recall where that came from,” Miller writes.
When the Plame case broke open in July 2003, these notes were presumably no more than a few weeks old. But who had revealed Plame’s name was not seared on Miller’s mind?
This is as believable as Woodward and Bernstein not recalling who Deep Throat wasÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Arianna’s on Reliable Sources tomorrow. I’ll be watching.
UPDATE: Kevin Drum’s free form speculation? It was Bolton. reads right to me.
“W.M.D. - I got it totally wrong,” she said. “The analysts, the experts and the journalists who covered them - we were all wrong. If your sources are wrong, you are wrong. I did the best job that I could.”
In two interviews, Ms. Miller generally would not discuss her interactions with editors, elaborate on the written account of her grand jury testimony or allow reporters to review her notes.
Although criticism of Ms. Miller’s Iraq coverage mounted, Mr. Keller waited until May 26, 2004, to publish an editors’ note that criticized some of the paper’s coverage of the run-up to the war.
The note said the paper’s articles on unconventional weapons were credulous. It did not name any reporters and said the failures were institutional. Five of the six articles called into question were written or co-written by Ms. Miller.
Raines brought down by Blair, now Keller likely to be brought down by Miller. Common thread? Sulzberger. Blair was nothing. This is something. Arianna’s prophecy sounds more right-on every minute:
And this time, the anguish won’t be brought to an end by the kind of ritual bloodletting that followed the Jayson Blair fiasco. Sulzberger sacrificing Keller won’t do the trick. No one doubts for a moment that on all things Miller Keller has been acting as a loyal lieutenant to the publisher.
As a source familiar with the inner working of the Times told me in August: “Every big decision that comes out of the Times comes directly from the top. Nobody does anything there without Arthur Sulzberger’s approval. It’s the larger untold story in all of this—that he now runs the newsroom.”
Or as longtime Times observer Michael Wolff told me: “The distinction between the 3rd floor and the 14th floor used to be real. The editor was always in charge. That’s no longer the case. And it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that while Pinch has been running the paper, it just lurches from crisis to crisis. At some point you have to question the quality of his leadership.”
And that questioning has already begun, leading to the unspeakable being whispered among big media players. As one of them boldly asserted to me: “Mark my words, this will end with Sulzberger’s resignation.”
The DC government has a long history of it. This time, it was the police. They have a “discretionary” zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving:
D.C. police have said that District law gives them the authority to arrest drivers with blood alcohol levels above .01.
The Washington Post this week published the story of Debra Bolton, a 45-year-old energy lawyer and single mother of two who was arrested in the District and spent five months fighting a charge of driving under the influence after drinking one glass of wine with dinner. She was stopped, handcuffed and put in a jail cell for several hours after she pulled out of a parking garage in Georgetown without realizing that an attendant had turned off her automatic headlight feature. Her blood alcohol level measured .03.
These laws, and I mean the .08 laws, are outrageous. They are a back door tax; revenue generators for cash starved local governments, and they’re rooted in a punitive shaming attitude that does nothing to solve the real problem.
Who among us can come out in favor of higher alcohol levels? I am! I want better technology, that takes into account women v men, fat v skinny, tolerant v not. For the record, I don’t drink. At all.
I also want the drinking age lowered to 18. It was 18 when I was 18 and I made it through.
What we have here is a discretionary policy, we arrest those whom we wish to. Don’t worry about this new law, it is discretionary, we only arrest those we want to in our superior law enforcement hat, because we (law enforcement) are so much better than you (the proletariat).
Friday, October 14, 2005
Arianna’s hearing the Times’ Judy-culpa’s coming Sunday. And Judy’s camp is worried:
“The team of reporters working on the story is absolutely top notch,” a Times source told me. “Don Van Atta is one of the best investigative reporters in the country.
If there is something gettable, they’ll get it. And I’d be stunned if Sulzberger and Keller tried to suppress anything these reporters come up with.” The team has been interviewing what a source calls “some of Judy’s most ardent critics, people inside the paper who have worked with her in the past.”
Arianna says there’s a lot riding on it. The Sunday chat shows should be good.
UPDATE: In an irony not unlike Albert Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, assuaging his guilt with the Nobel peace prize, today we learn that Judy will get a First Amendment Award on Tuesday, and speak on a panel titled “The Reporter’s Privilege Under Siege.”
She’s got lots of money. And big ambitions. I’m impressed that 95% is from small donors:
Sen. Clinton’s campaign account raised $5.2m in the quarter from a record 70,052 individual donors. It’s the largest number of contributions ever to the campaign in any quarter; Approx. 95% of the contributions were $100 or less. Going into the fourth quarter of the year before the election, Clinton has nearly $14m on hand.
Democratic fundraisers who speak with the New York Senator’s tight circle of advisers guesstimate that Clinton’s campaign intends to raise as much as $70m for the re-election campaign and spend about $40m of it—leaving them with a nice, $30m cushion should any other, eh, opportunities present themselves. Folks who actually know such things poo-pooh any specific plans so far in advance.
And in other Hillary news, Nixon’s son-in-law has dropped out of the race. (I didn’t even know he was in it!)
Andrew Sullivan is at it again. Gay culture is over. You see it, he says, in the P-town real estate bubble, ignoring that it’s of a kind with that in San Francisco, Manhattan and L.A., and that gentrification there is like gentrification everywhere.
Slowly but unmistakably, gay culture is ending. You see it beyond the poignant transformation of P-town: on the streets of the big cities, on university campuses, in the suburbs where gay couples have settled, and in the entrails of the Internet. In fact, it is beginning to dawn on many that the very concept of gay culture may one day disappear altogether. By that, I do not mean that homosexual men and lesbians will not exist--or that they won’t create a community of sorts and a culture that sets them in some ways apart. I mean simply that what encompasses gay culture itself will expand into such a diverse set of subcultures that “gayness” alone will cease to tell you very much about any individual. The distinction between gay and straight culture will become so blurred, so fractured, and so intermingled that it may become more helpful not to examine them separately at all.
The gay culture he describes, the one I agree is ending, is the gay sex culture. Though he notes the paradox that “gay culture in its old form may have its most fertile ground in those states where homosexuality is still unmentionable and where openly gay men and women are more beleaguered: the red states.” I know that to be true.
He’s also right that there is no “single gay culture” today. But when he asks, “Who can rescue a uniform gay culture?” I wonder, was there ever? Not that I know of. And I was there in the 70s when:
The fact that openly gay communities were still relatively small and geographically concentrated in a handful of urban areas created a distinctive gay culture. The central institutions for gay men were baths and bars, places where men met each other in highly sexualized contexts and where sex provided the commonality. Gay resorts had their heyday--from Provincetown to Key West. The gay press grew quickly and was centered around classified personal ads or bar and bath advertising. Popular culture was suffused with stunning displays of homosexual burlesque: the music of Queen, the costumes of the Village People, the flamboyance of Elton John’s debut; the advertising of Calvin Klein; and the intoxication of disco itself, a gay creation that became emblematic of an entire heterosexual era. When this cultural explosion was acknowledged, when it explicitly penetrated the mainstream, the results, however, were highly unstable: Harvey Milk was assassinated in San Francisco and Anita Bryant led an anti-gay crusade. But the emergence of an openly gay culture, however vulnerable, was still real.
Sullivan says that culture was “primarily about pain and tragedy.” I’d quibble with words. Not “primarily about” but infused with…
That was an era, but there was a before. Indeed, I worked on the film, Before Stonewall, that made the point that gay culture didn’t start then. There was Mattachine and Daughters of Bilitis and Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde.
And there will be one tomorrow.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
They picked a way better name then us! (Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2 just does not roll off the tongue)
I’m with PVRBlog:
One things for sure—the first steps have been taken and they’re the hardest—Apple is the first to offer paid TV show downloads and they’ve got a new media center package for sale. I can’t wait to see what Apple has in store a couple years from now.
No one I saw said anything about the built in iSight. Folks out here in userland are talking excitedly about that. Overall, a much bigger announcement than Nano or iPod photo or even my favored Mac Mini.
And important progress at moving control over production AND distribution away from Massive Media so all of us can create content for mass consumption.
Dr. Moira Gunn talked with him about his latest book, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology at Accelerating Change 2005. Via IT Conversations, here’s an edited clip of Kurzweil answering the question, “how will the singularity help me get more sex?” I’ll quote to tease:
We do know that sex is a significant motivator, has been an early adopter application for just about every communication technology… Every form of communication technology has used sex… the real interesting application that will affect sexual relations is virtual reality… we’ve had one form of virtual reality for a century, the telephone… there is a form of sexual activity over the telephone which is not that satisfying… but it does have a following…
Same sex marriage in Texas
Have I mentioned that I was born in Texas? Gone before old enough to remember much. Marriage is on the ballot there again:
Texas, which already prohibits same-sex marriage by law, is the only state voting on such a constitutional amendment in November, and odd-year elections with only local officials and state questions on the ballot usually draw low turnouts.
Only 12 percent of the electorate voted in 2003, and 7 percent in 2001. “No doubt this will be passed,” predicted Bob Stein, professor of political science and dean of Social Sciences at Rice University here. But he said that with Harris County, including Houston, accounting for about 30 percent of the statewide vote and Houston generally more liberal than the rest of Texas - the county went to Senator John Kerry in 2004 - “the question is how it will pass.”
The amendment is needed despite the existing law, proponents claim, because an “activist state judge” could overturn it.