"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Saturday, July 05, 2003

The Politics of Thirst

Some say that by 2025, water shortages will plague as much as half the world's population.

Do we have any real sense of the value of water?

Bloggers at OSCON

Ted writes about OSCON: Should we organize a blogger's gathering?

I might be able to attend, but my time is stretched already.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

'Bring Them On'

Is Bush being cavalier with US troops in Iraq?

'Bring them on' is not exactly 'Let's Roll,' is it?

Parliamentary or Presidential System?

Sometimes I wonder if the USA would be better off with a parliamentary system. The US government (a kind of presidential system) is never really supported or forced into having truly vigorous debates.

The other thing I admire about parliamentary systems is the quickness of the elections. Bam! There's an election and Bam! it's over.

In the US we've already started the 2004 presidential campaign. Fundraising and the deliberately stilted primary firewall will take care to preserve and further polarize the two party system...

"In '84, primaries were spaced farther apart and big expensive media states came later. Now, the schedule is compressed and expensive states are holding primaries earlier, favoring establishment candidates."

A Birthday Wish

No, not my birthday. Tomorrow is Independence Day in the USA.

I wish for a reasonable third party candidate.

Not a third party candidate for the far left, like Ralph Nader. Not a third party candidate for the far right, like Pat Buchanan.

Most people are middle of the road, by definition. The Democrat and Republican parties force most people to swing to the left or the right on all issues for better or worse. There is increasingly less room to be reasonable about anything. The parties don't mind dividing you in order to build a large enough coalition to get into or stay in office. They don't mind rigging election politics together to rule out strong middle of the road candidates. That's one of the few remaining issues they can agree on.

We need a third party candidate for the middle of the road. Most people are reasonable. A reasonably effective candidate with an effective (web-based?) fund raising plan should be able to pull people back to the center.

Or maybe one of the two parties will realize that the middle of the road is the best place to be.

Python, simplicity, and XML-RPC

Dave Winer embeds a reference to the simplicity of Python...

I have expressed an opinion that was rejected, that what matters is what the XML-RPC call looks like in your programming language. I still strongly believe that... It's also the reason Python is one of the more popular languages for XML-RPC apps, because it has a very flexible way of creating remote procedure calls that look much like local ones.

I have taken a liking to Python over the last several months. I used to be more of a snob. Python seemed to be a grab bag of reasonable ideas that were better expressed elsewhere. The thing about Python though is it seems to work well in practice.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

18 different things

Andreessen went on to call the state of browser navigation "an embarrassment."

"We had about 18 different things...in mind for the browser," he said.

1 in 5 US citizens believe Iraq *used* WMD in the war

Disturbing stats for the state of democracy from the Miami Herald.

A third of the American public believes U.S. forces found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, according to a recent poll. And 22 percent said Iraq actually used chemical or biological weapons.

With amazingly misinformed statistics like this, how can the American population in general be concerned about "nuances" such as that either the CIA or the administration (or both) has "mishandled" evidence in support of the Iraq war?

What do statistics like this say about the "Information Age" or the potential contribution of weblogs to supplant the traditional press?

[The] poll's data showed that the mistaken belief that weapons of mass destruction had been found "is substantially greater among those who favored the war.''

...Before the war, the U.S. media often reported as fact the assertions by the Bush administration that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of illegal weapons. CBS News in December reported how Bush officials were "threatening war against Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction.''

Shouldn't supporters of the war be even more concerned than the detractors? Do we have to be "right" so badly, we're willing to be ignorant? How bad is it that these facts were "mishandled"? From MSNBC...

[A] senior CIA analyst said the case “is indicative of larger problems” involving the handling of intelligence about Iraq’s alleged chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs and its links to al Qaeda, which the administration cited as justification for war. “Information not consistent with the administration agenda was discarded and information that was [consistent] was not seriously scrutinized,” the analyst said.

That's Politics

From the Register. They usually shoot pretty straight.

[While politicians] are a peculiar and varied breed, there are three things you can be fairly certain will not hold much sway with them:

Ideological argument. Politicians are nothing if not pragmatic. Their very survival is based on seeing which way the wind is blowing and adjusting accordingly

Little-man defence. Politicians will not risk upsetting rich and powerful people and companies unless there is a principle at stake: that principle being that the government ultimately decides. Therefore arguing a point on the basis that it will restrict or impair a powerful body is counterproductive

Criticism. Politicians do not respond well to criticism. In fact, the more they get, the more stubborn they become. Flattery is the surest route to their heart, and this means making them feel important. Wining and dining, listening, applauding their insight and then putting your point across

Sunday, June 29, 2003

This sucks

This sucks as of the time I am writing.

RSS/Echo Inconveniences

Danny Ayers says "Sure there will be inconveniences in a transition period, but that is often a side effect of progress."

It seems to be a poor choice of timing to start such a transition. Maybe this is progress, maybe not. Time will tell how significant the progress is relative to the chaos.

Many people are just beginning to be familiar with blogs and RSS. The RSS/Echo affair may complicate whatever confidence they otherwise would have had investing in RSS for applications they don't get free. For example, if someone is building an RSS feed for some internal source of data, do they stop and wait for Echo? You may feel there is a right answer to this question. Someone else may be uncomfortable enough to stop development.

Time cannot tell whether there would have been a better way to go about this. Kind of funny all the fuss. Fairly innocuous geek thrash sometimes has real monitary damage. We may never know some of the damage that's been done, even though the end result may appear generally to be a success.

Breaking Bread in July?

Maybe next week will be a time to break bread so we can get on with the business of building better applications.

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About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.