Ellen Ullman in Harpers

Harpers magazine has been very good lately. If you missed the October 2002
issue, you missed an excellent article on "post human" programming by the
wonderfully lucid Ellen Ullman:

   Over the years, as I listened to the engineering give-and-take over the question of
   artificial life forms, I kept coming up against something obdurate inside myself, some
   stubborn resistance to the definition of "life" that was being promulgated, It
   seemed to me too reductive of what we are, too mechanistic. Even if I count not quite
   get myself to believe in God or the soul or the Tao or some other metaphor for the
   ineffable spark of life, still, as I sat there high in the balcony of the Stanford
   lecture hall, listening to the cyberneticists' claims to be on the path toward the
   creation of a sentient being, I found myself muttering, No, that's not right, we're
   not just mechanisms, you're missing something. There's something more, something
   more. But then I had to ask myself: What else could there be?

Netfuture commentary on the article.
Noted: Epicurian Simplicity

A thoughtful, if indulgent work by a genuine member of the Ludderati:

Epicurian Simplicity by Stephanie Mills

   Although my aim in this book is to advocate material simplicity more by attraction
   than by exhortation, through sharing the mingled pleasures of this kind of living,
   I'd be remiss in not saying that in and of itself, simple living won't solve the
   dreadful problems besetting the biosphere. There's something dangerously oxymoronic
   when simple living becomes a theme of slick magazines. Simple living needs to affect
   more than the household's discretionary budget.

   ...Simplicity and freedom are much allied. The pleasure freely derived from food
   and water, from companionship and countryside or city life, from good work and lives
   well lived, has been severed, privatized, tarted up, and sold back to us through
   mass media whose business is to advertize affluence. and whose vocabulary consists
   of vulgar sensationalism and cheap sentiment. Now we are slaves to the cash economy
   and buy our enjoyment.

Okay, but who's going to tell Superman?

Requiem for the Pay Phone


The Rise of The Machines

Terminator 3 trailer.

She's a bad blonde and she's after John Conner.



Healthy Opinion

Start spreading the news:

   Please, when you give this European letter to Democrats all over, remember that I helped
   give America finally that obvious goal of universal health care!

Link via BookNotes.


Jimmy Carter

Nobel Acceptance Speech

   Ladies and gentlemen:

   War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil,
   never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's

   The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and
   prejudices. God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We
   can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes - and we must.

   Thank you.

From Salon.


Big Money Is Not Free Speech

From a 12/6 Commentary in the Christian Science Monitor:

   The new law is like a city noise ordinance. It will help all to be heard in Washington,
   and not just those who can pay to make a very loud noise to needy politicians. Money
   corrupts, and absolute freedom to buy favors corrupts absolutely.

Hear, hear.



A continuation of Reflections on Sustainability...

   The term "Sustainable Growth" is an oxymoron...

   ...Twelfth Law: ( Eric Sevareid's Law ); The chief cause of problems is solutions. ( Sevareid 1970 )

      This law should be a central part of higher education, especially in engineering...

Albert Bartlett on the "Marginalization of Malthus"


Luddite Christmas Gift Idea

Looking for that special something for the luddite on your Christmas
list? Look no further...

The Luddites of Detroit, a folk/acoustic band has a new CD:

   "Cafe Believe" (2002)

Large, loud, and Ludd.