mishalak: Mishalak reading a colorful book. (Reading Now)
One of the things that was done at MileHiCon years and years ago was a late night panel about slash fiction. I seem to recall that at first it was straight[1] panel discussion of slash by readers and writers of slash, though some of us showed up in pajamas since that was its first name. The panel came back again in later years with readings, Eye of Argon style, of slash found in the wild. This meant that the printouts would be passed around and people would read aloud until they could go no further or cracked up laughing. It was very fun.

About two hours after I got all excited by the idea of bringing back the Slash Panel at Bubonicon the thought occurred to me that looked at from outside that we were being cruel. I assume that some of the slash was written at least part in jest like that slash of the Arby's Oven Mitt with the Hamburger Helper Glove[2]. But I am fairly sure that the piece about Roy Orbison in cling wrap on a spaceship was written dead earnest. The guy who found it said that it was part of a series written by someone in Germany who had a very specific kink and that they all contained Roy Orbison and cling wrap.

My first reply to myself was, "Well how would you feel if you found out, inadvertently, that your pornography were being laughed at?" I thought I would not mind that it was happening, but I would not want to be there. I do not think I would want to be the subject of a comedy roast, either. Though simultaneously I would want to know what happened, so it might make me a little crazy.[3] Other than that I do not think I would care very much, but then I am an odd person and I have the safety of having written under a pseudonym from a disposable account that I no longer have, so any embarrassment does not attach to me.

So I am still left with two questions that I do not yet have an answer to. Is this panel idea ethical? Should it be revived?


1. Heh. I was the token gay/bisexual guy put on the panel along with the fanfic writers, so it was fairly straight panel, but of course I meant in the sense of being the usual panel discussion found at all fantasy/science fiction conventions. I later wrote some fanfic, but not much.

2. I really hope that Arby's Oven Mitt actually is not someone's kink. I think vore would be more comprehensible. Not by much, but still...

3. Okay, here is the plan. I am going to go to the roast and take lots of notes on what I need to improve. Then, as I come out, you are to poison me with this very precisely calibrated deadly poison dart that will cause just enough trauma to that I forget everything that happened in there. Any questions? "Why are you doing this?" I will get back to you with and answer to that one later.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
I do not like the proposal to end the leap second (discussions on the subject ended without decision). It is not as if I live on a prime meridian and going off the leap second will cause me astronomical angst. I just find it strange that some countries want to end the leap second to keep an absolute standard of time when there already exists an absolute standard of time, International Atomic Time (TAI). If communication and navigation systems need an absolute measure of time redefine them to use TAI rather than Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), problem solved.

If making the adjustment to UTC with just six months notice is the problem maybe the standard offset from TAI should be done in 10 second increments so they would come with some years notice. But I do not see why UTC has to line up with TAI.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Well that is a pretty bad signal, it turns out. Eight years ago I posted that I was worried about Hewlett-Packard due to them putting on some commercials that did not actually promote any particular product, but were just vague "HP brings you nanotechnology" spots. This one, N is for nanotechology is one of the ones I was talking about. But looking back now on the performance of HP since then it seems like it was a very poor predictor of the success of HP. Now, this year, they are taking a big fall and losing there direction, but that is an awful long time between prediction and result. So I think that the vague "we're cool" ads are not as good of a signal of what a company is doing as I thought. Looking at HP stock price they only stumbled a bit in the year after I posted about that advertisement.

Too bad... it would have been a useful thing to be able to point to.

Aging CDs

Jul. 31st, 2009 11:22 am
mishalak: Mishalak with short hair wearing a blue shirt and looking upwards. (Blue)
I just read an article on the BBC about long term information storage. At one point the article quotes a study by the Optical Storage Technology Association that found, "CDs had a life expectancy of only around 15 years". Has anyone reading this found this to be true? I ask because I have at least one set of CDs that I purchased in or just before I was in high school, so if I am not mistaken I would have purchased this in about 1993 about the time it was released. That makes these CDs close to 16 years old now and I should not expect them to keep playing. So far though no trouble. Anyone have a music CD fail due to age rather than scratches or something?
 
mishalak: Mishalak with short hair wearing a blue shirt and looking upwards. (Blue)
I think I finally figured out the sort of thing that I want to put on my personal ad when I start posting that sort of thing again (probably next month). The thing that defines me are those wonderful French phrases like Joie de Vivre and Bon Vivant. The Joy of Living and To Live Well. The only thing I worry a bit about is that using a French phrase might seem a bit pretentious. Not that I'm unpretentious, but I want to put my best foot forward.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Snark)
The United States of America, un-devastated by war and with large number of appliances in use, decided not to migrate to a 220V standard in the 1950s. Forget everything you read about Tesla, 120V at 60Hz is an historical accident informed by engineering. The problem is that we're stuck with a range of less efficient devices as a result.

My half baked idea? Individual migration and importation of 220V devices. A home could be wired with a few outlets of the type most commonly used in nations that have good 220V single phase power. The fact that we're be at 60Hz instead of the European standard of 50Hz does not hurt either since there is at least one industrialized nation that already uses 220V/60Hz, South Korea. And Taiwan uses both 110V and 220V at 60Hz using two different plug outlets, much like I'm proposing gradually doing.

Okay, it'll never work. But if I was crazy rich I could be irresponsible with my money in this way if I wanted to.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
If the various sídhe, fairies, sprites, bogies, and/or elves were real what rock musicians would they listen to?

My Answer )
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
There is only one Drive-in Theater left in the Denver area, the "Eighty-Eight" up on 88th Avenue and Rosemary Street in Commerce City. Dry and dusty as all drive-ins tend to be when it has not recently rained, it is not pretty. But there is a peculiar industrial beauty to the place with its rusting neon sign amid a tangle of telephone and power wires. The tower screen is made of corrugated tin painted white, many of the posts marking spaces no longer hold speakers and are bent due to collisions. Sometimes I have fantasized about the perfect drive in, but the thing is that if a drive in were perfect with nicely mowed grass and concrete parking spaces and surrounded by trees to keep out light pollution, it would lose some of the charm.

Going to a drive in is all about being able to bring in your own food and having enough space to behave badly. It is just like cars vs. mass transit. In a car you can talk back to the radio, sing along, or whatever you please. This is why I love going to bad or silly movies at the drive-in because then whatever group I am with can keep up a running commentary without bothering other patrons without our wit. Which Richie and I did to a certain extent as we watched first Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and then Iron Man last Sunday night. I was drinking very strong Thai Iced tea (it still needs to have the amount of anise reduced a bit), eating popcorn, bad Chinese food, and drinking soda. I just wish the 88 still had funnel cakes because that would have been a perfect addition to our self indulgent fare.

The movies were good, the wait to get in was long (show up at about a hour and a half before sunset, don't worry if the line is long), and we were up quite late because of this. But it was a lot of fun and reasonably priced at just eight dollars per person.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Alchemist)
If money were no object, if the blade was 1/16 of an inch shorter, and I did not worry about cutting myself using a knife with just a backspring rather than a full locking mechanism I think this would be my pocket knife. Everything about it is just so beautiful. The bee on the spring, the elegant curve of the handle, and the lovely pistachio wood. Well perhaps I would like ebony wood a bit more. But in some ways it would be too pretty to use and carry all the time. A really good knife should look beautiful even when well worn and used.

Why a 3½ inch blade? Colorado law defines a knife as a weapon if it is longer than that. So even though this knife with a curly birch handle and a locking mechanism would be closer to what I would like (except on price again, $149.00 is quite a bit) it would not be practical where I live with its 4-inch blade.

I did find two knives made by Coutellerie Chambriard that seem practical, somewhat elegant, and reasonably priced. One in ebony and one in juniper, but I do not have the money and even if I did I think I would want to shop around and learn some more about what makes a really good pocket knife before buying. And are there equivalent knife makers in the US that might make just as good a product, but locally? And somewhere that would be a good place to get one where I could really see it before I buy. And now back to work.
 
mishalak: Mishalak with long hair and modified so as to look faded. (Faded Photo)
So here I am blogging as I always said I was. For myself. I've been posting lots of private entries to myself. They don't go into specifics about work, because how dumb would that be? But I do talk about work and with the way things are lately I don't feel comfortable even putting those out even as 'trusted readers only'. Despite how I go on about blogging just for myself it does feel different when I write things that no one but me (and the snoopy techs at 6A should I attract their attention somehow) will ever see. If I die I think I should like my journal to be opened up. All the private stuff put out there after a decent interval has been observed. Say, five years. I wonder if that will ever be a thing. Researchers using computers to cull through old journal entries for ground level views of history. I know that researchers on any period before about 1850 would kill for masses of such information. How incredibly useful would it be if there had been a dozen lower class individuals keeping track of their lives around the French Revolution? But do such things hold any value today?

I know my journal has a lot of value for me. It can show me things like how I really thought about something at the time rather than how I remember it in retrospect. That is how I know that I expected Saddam Hussein to have at least some pathetic/decrepit chemical or bio warfare works around, though I did not expect the US troops to face any actually effective weapons. Though I held my breath fearing that I would be proved wrong in a dramatic way. That it would be a huge vindication of the Bush Administration and I'd have to eat at least some personal crow. I wonder how many people also felt those sorts of fears and have not forgotten saying, "Oh I knew all along and so did everyone really in the know."

It is even more useful for the small things. The bits that I would otherwise forget to write down. Like my random experiments with food and/or alcohol. Right. I should probably do more beer reviews again. I have, until this week, had about one a night with dinner. This week I skipped for a number of days because I felt blue and did not want to have alcohol. I tend to get bluer under the influence.
mishalak: Mishalak with long hair and modified so as to look faded. (Faded Photo)
I won't blog about a zombie uprising. See I figure that if there were one the power would go out here very quickly. And anyway I wouldn't have time to blog on account of dying. Honestly, do you see me as a survivor in the zombie apocalypse? Didn't think so. Plus I would need to know that my boyfriend was okay so I'd do something crazy like try to go meet up with him. Then we could spend the end of the world together.

I wonder what small towns would be like in a zombie uprising. I mean some of them the dead outnumber the living, but is it only the recently dead? If so I don't expect there would be more than a few dozen out here. Other than a lack of power maybe I would survive.
mishalak: Mishalak outside in the snow with scarf. (Snow)
I like my thin little internet fame. But I'm still enough of a lunatic that I would give it up over principle. I do not like how Livejournal or any other online journaling service operates. I would end up paying more for a personal page and so on, but it might be the right option for me. I could no longer post things of questionable nature and lock it to just registered people easily, but I could stand to not put such things out there.

On the other hand I keep up with many people here. I have found it terribly useful and I read good stuff here all the time. And it is silly cutting off my nose to spite my face since I'm unlikely to ever be hit by the various stupidities perpetrated by the LJ staff.

But it feels WRONG. I feel like I should take everything of value and never look back. EVIL should be punished. Yet I am but one man.
mishalak: Mishalak with long hair and modified so as to look faded. (Faded Photo)
A Thought Problem

Worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide in 1990 were approximately 22 billion metric tons. The current population is about 6.7 billion, give or take some. So that works out to 3.28 tons per person on average if we were to achieve 1990 levels of pollution.

If combined with a goal of the whole world having the same standard of living as the United States of America, about $43,574 per person, that means that the worldwide goal is producing about $13.28 of economic activity per kilogram of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere (43574/3280). It would be an understatement to say that this will not be easy as currently the US is at about 20.6 tons per capita (more or less), or about $2.12 per kilogram.

The most efficient of all industrialized economies, in terms of least carbon dioxide released for the amount of GDP produced, is Switzerland at about $9.42 per kilogram, almost approaching the goal number. Now if the Swiss are thrown out as being an outlier and use the number five spot instead to evaluate the reasonableness of the carbon per GDP goal we have Denmark at $5.59, or a bit less than halfway there (42%). This gives me hope. Particularly since Denmark isn't in love with nuclear power, unlike France, which comes out ahead. So there realistic room to grown. Indeed I think it could be possible to both have a prosperous world economy and carbon emission levels that would not be good, but would prevent further damage.

The question is how fast and by what mechanism.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Prince)
Robot armies won't eliminate killing. It will make it more suddenly terrible. It is one thing to give a group of men an order to kill other men or a whole people, but if it is made using a clean interface that will not reflect the horror inherent in such orders it will become easier to exterminate a whole people. I think intellectual morality will tend to keep the robot armies in check. In fact in their first uses they might actually reduce enemy casualties since a commander would be more willing to risk a robot than one of his men, but if a war goes on long enough or there are enough wars where robots engage against humans I think there could be a gradual erosion of the reluctance to engage to kill. Because the one sure way to make sure that an enemy does not rise up again to fight is to kill all of them. And without having to see the results of such orders in person there will be less reason not to.
mishalak: Mishalak with long hair and modified so as to look faded. (Faded Photo)
I am a freak of the United States. I don't like girl scout cookies. I like the girl scouts well enough. When I feel flush I make a donation of a ten to whatever group seems most enthusiastic about it. I figure that's better than buying cookies as far as supporting the girl scouts goes. But the fact remains that I do not like the cookies. To me they don't seem any different than the normal store bought cookies, mostly nothing I'd eat. Too much sugar, no real butter, not real chocolate, etc.

I do like some store cookies. Some of the thin ginger snaps that come out with a crumb I just cannot get in my own cookies. And far too expensive little (real) chocolate dipped crunchy things. But for the most part I prefer cookies made at home. Personally I'd be more interested in buying actual culinary attempts by the girls. Maybe give a ten in donation and buy some. Even if they were not MY favorite cookie I like trying different flavors and styles.
mishalak: Mishalak with long hair and modified so as to look faded. (Faded Photo)
I remember when the minute I turned on whatever instant message program was hot, AIM, ICQ, MSN, etc. I would instantly connect with people. And when I went to send an instant message I'd find a fair number of people who were available and would respond to an IM. Now... not so much. For every time I turn on GAIM, the client program I use, I will get a message once out of dozen or more. And the vast majority of people in my list never log on, have away messages set all the time, or don't respond when I send a message. I'm thinking perhaps IMs are one of those things that you do for a while and then grow out of. So if I wanted to keep connecting like that I'd have to keep working at replacing the people I connected with every few months or something.

So I am wondering if other people are having the same experience with instant messages. Does anyone IM you? Do you have about forty people on your list who never log on anymore? Do you feel like you should put the rest in a category for people who are constantly logged in but never available?
mishalak: Mishalak with long hair and modified so as to look faded. (Faded Photo)
He purposefully made it so that viewers could see it go either way, but he thinks that at the end of Pan's Labyrinth Ofelia really did become the Princess of the Underworld. This makes me very happy.

Edit with Spoilers )
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Alchemist)
When exactly did secretary become a job without respect? I mean look at the titles in our government, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Defense, etc... And yet out in the business world the word secretary has been replaced with the doubletalk title "administrative assistant". I suppose that somewhere along the way being a business secretary had became "women's work" and thus a title that both men and women wanted to avoid. Though if this is the case I wonder why then the word "nurse" was not replaced. It had the same development where once women were not allowed to do it and then, seemingly overnight at the start of the 20th century, women dominated the profession and it was one of the few ways in which women could be in the medical profession. Yes, yes I know there were women doctors earlier than 1900, but there were not very many until after the midpoint of the century.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Alchemist)
I've decided that whenever I post something negative here I must immediately follow it up with something just as, if not more, positive. Therefore I will note something that gives me hope for the future.

Scaled Composites has announced that it will make the first private manned space flight on the 21st of this month. In many ways this is the real beginning of the space age, for if space flight is to become common it cannot be something done by government to capture publicity and bragging rights. The reason we've never been back to the moon isn't because of a lack of dedication, it is because it was a shot, something done without any of the infrastructure that would make returning to the moon either logical or easy. If there had not been the cold war race I suspect that the first manned space flight would not have been until the 1970s and we would not have been to the moon yet.

This is the first tentative step that could very well be the start of a real manned presence in space. No longer a program constantly under threat due to government cuts, but people going there for their own reasons. And that is a very hopeful thing.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
One thing you should keep in mind as you read my journal is that even though it might seem that I sometimes write factually, that's just a literary device. I am overwhelmed by the world. More specifically there is too much information out there, too many studies, too many scientists, too much disagreement to believe in any of it. I find myself incapable of holding useful opinions because I cannot decide who is right and wrong. Sure I'll spout off about how certain ideas seem idiotic, but give a proponent five minutes with me and I'll be reduced to a quivering mass without an opinion once again underneath my hard exterior of argumentativeness. The only thing that I can hold onto, that I do know, is what gives me pain and pleasure. And that's just opinion and should not be taken as a positive statement.

In other words, this is a fact free zone. Everything I write is fantasy of one type or another, it is all normative. For all I know this is all an alcohol induced hallucination. There is more of gravy than grave about me.

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mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
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