Older blog entries for jfleck (starting at number 357)

duct tape
dcm has helpful advice for those hoping to prepare for the coming apocalypse here.
bumper sticker
Nora spotted our new favorite bumper sticker on a pickup trucks this evening:
FREE TACOS
It took a moment for full amusement to set in.
free
There's an interesting new report from the National Academy of Sciences about the importance of freely sharing scientific data on which research publications is based. This seems basic to science, but there has been a great deal of friction of late because of the potential for conflict between the principles of the open academy and the profit potential of discoveries. The NAS report is an attempt to essentially use peer pressure to get folks to share. Significantly for the Advogato audience, it is addresses the issue of software when the software is central to the science.
swamped
Been deeply buried at work of late. This is one reason. It's an eminently local story for me, but the international reaction has been the most interesting bit. My favorite quote is in the Scottish Daily Record, from Labour MP Malcolm Savidge:
"They want to start a war in Iraq because Saddam is breaking the rules on weapons of mass destruction but, at the same time, they are covertly planning to break the rules themselves."
19 Feb 2003 (updated 19 Feb 2003 at 17:55 UTC) »
Olduvai
When I was five, I got to stand in Louis Leakey's tennis shoes. When I was in junior high, I got his autograph. This week I get to write about him.
war as a market-builder
This is fabulous:
Always err on the side of overkill. Actually, there is no such thing as overkill in a situation like this. Ideally, long form coverage is the way to go using a combination of local anchors/hosts and network updates and cutaways.

The initial hours of coverage are critical. People who have never listened to our stations will be tuning in out of curiosity, desperation, panic and a hunger for information. RIGHT NOW, convert them to P-1's, or at least make them a future cumer. We must make sure we meet their expectations, otherwise they're gone forever and they ain't coming back.
Of course it's craven. Of course we shouldn't be surprised to see members of the media trying to turn war to their advantage. As Clive Thompson said, "It's hardly a secret to anyone that media organizations are slavering over the prospect of war. Hell, they slaver over the prospect of a kid falling down a well, or a local dog getting braces." But it's still striking to see it in writing. And with such fervor!
7 Feb 2003 (updated 7 Feb 2003 at 20:27 UTC) »
Lewis and Clark
In which I finally get up the nerve to write what I really think. It's here.

My bottom line on the meaning of the Columbia crash:
A newspaper colleague compared the shuttle astronauts to Lewis and Clark, but that is bad metaphor. Lewis and Clark were the vanguard for a huge wave of settlers who followed. The astronauts have been nothing more than a vanguard for a bunch more little Lewis and Clark-like expeditions.
(updated to include free link)
GNOME 2.2 Diaries
It's done. We're proud. I'm especially proud of this (scroll down to the Image Viewer screenshot - that's my pop, and special thanks to jdub for leaving it in when he redid the screenshots to make 'em pretty).
dancing bearware
The "dancing bearware" metaphor in Alan Cooper's The Inmates are Running the Asylum has provided a lot of traction lately for the discussions I've been having with daughter Nora about computers and why they largely suck. Cooper's point is that a lot of software is like dancing bears - they dance poorly, but we're so inured that we're just excited that they dance at all.

So eight years ago I would have been all excited by this: "Wow, look what they can do with Java!" But really, why not just put up a couple of static pages with a list? Or if you really need to be fully clever, a little php glue to a database? This is dancing bearware.
need a nap?
My boss, standing by his desk across the room, in a loud voice to no one in particular:

"There's nothing worse than talking to yourself, except talking to yourself real loud."

Lest y'all think I only bike, write and play at free software....

books and music

My sister, Lisa, gave me Richard Brettell's Modern Art 1851-1929 for Christmas, an astute gift. I've been intrigued with the art revolution of the early 20th century since Lisa, Lissa and I saw a show back in the 1980s at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art of a collection of work from the Hermitage. It had Picasso's Three Women, and I was blown away. It's a big painting, muscular, agressive, full of arrogance. There were these big Matisse's in the show, too, and I tried to write about the show afterwards and did so poorly and I've been tinkering with the ideas involved ever since.

Lissa (my wife, not a misspelling of my sister's name) at some point soon after pointed me to Cezanne, where you can see the shapes on a landscape hillside trying to break free like cubism waiting to happen, and she showed me Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a staircase - the ultimate artist's joke, cubism taken to its logical conclusion, as if Duchamp is gleefully washing his hands of the whole affair - "Well, that's done. What shall we try next?" And then there was one spectacular memorable afternoon in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, all by myself, where I found a Cezanne, Van Gogh and Gaugin, a Picasso and the great Duchamp and I could finally put them all together in sequence and feel like I understood how it happened, how one led to the next with an inevitability that brings us to today.

All this matters to me, because my aesthetic came of age in the 1970s, cut to rough form by exposure to my dad's painting from the cradle, honed to a sharp edge by years of anything-is-possible art that my teenage brain couldn't get itself around but loved. I am post-modern (please respect the hyphen) because I am of the generations after whatever modernism is.

But I don't understand modernism, of course. Brettell's book is helping, because he is towing me through the weeds of political, social and economic context - urbanization, global communication among artists, the new sciences of vision and light that were changing the way we perceived the way we perceived, and of course photography, which for some, and for a time, made painting seem irrelevent.

I meant to write about music, too. I've been digging some happening '50s Miles Davis/Gil Evans things, but I don't understand them either yet well enough to write very well about them. Something's up there, too, that helped shape the world I entered.
guttle
guttle (GUT-l) verb tr., intr.

To eat voraciously; to devour greedily.

[From gut, on the pattern of guzzle, from Middle English gut, from plural guttes (entrails), from Old English guttas.]

Now that's a great word

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