great books

there is an awesome bookstore in cambridge called harvard bookstore. they are open until either 11pm or 10pm every day, so of course i spent some quality time there. here is a list (ironically, linking to the one store that has decent ASIN / ISBN coverage):
It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science
Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It
The FUTURE AND ITS ENEMIES: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress
The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era
Beauty of Another Order: Photography in Science
The Atoms of Language: The Mind’s Hidden Rules of Grammar
Natural Hierarchies: The Historical Sociology of Race and Class

etoy.tanks are in town

etoy tank

today, july 10th, the etoy.CORPORATION will place two etoy.TANKS prominently in the heart of zurichs most vibrant center.

agents from throughout the world tune in to supervise the performance and ensure security for the valuable cargo. in addition there will be airborne support to guarantee smooth execution of this logistically challenging and meticulously planned operation.

offspring

Last summer she went with a friend from her hometown of Pittsburgh to a Silver Ring Thing. These popular free events meld music videos, pyrotechnics and live teen comedy sketches with dire warnings about STDs. Attendees can buy a silver ring and a Bible for $12. Then, at the conclusion of the program, as techno music blares, they recite a pledge of abstinence and don their rings. “My friend, who’s also a virgin, said I needed to go so I could get a ring,” Lenee says. “It was fun, like the music and everything. And afterwards they had a dance and a bonfire.”

more power to you, lenee! why don’t you keep it up all your life, and spare us with your offspring.

is credibility doomed?

ivan amato reports about video insertion technologies:
The ability to manipulate video data in real time, he says, has just as much
potential as some of these forerunners. “Now that you can alter video in real time, you have changed the world,” he says. Deleting people or objects from live video, or inserting prerecorded people or objects into live scenes, is only the beginning of the deceptions becoming possible. Pretty much any piece of video that has ever been
recorded is becoming clip art that producers can digitally sculpt into the story they want to tell.

clearly, these technologies erode the trust that average persons have in visual imagery. the parts of society that rely on television for their news are doomed.

“Imagine you are the government of a hypothetical country that wants more international financial assistance,” says George Washington University’s Livingston. “You might send video of a remote area with people
starving to death and it may never have happened,” he says.

amato then goes on to blame the internet because “so much internet content is unfiltered”. the opposite is true, actually. the only hope we have to counter these massive manipulations is decentralized publishing combined with a web of trust. already, mobile devices with integrated cameras are available, personal publishing is here (albeit not on a joe sixpack level yet), and the first crude experiments with trust metrics are being undertaken. big media relies on trust, and if this trust is gone, big media is dead.

fighting the colossus

i have followed the war between internet radios and the RIAA (and its equivalents worldwide) for a while. boundless greed and insistence on obsolete business models is killing off culture everywhere. now one of my favorite radio stations in switzerland, lounge radio, had to close its doors. time to support tara in her election campaign, and take charlie up on his request to help the copyright case with a proper cms for the good guys.

zurich boredom

i experienced the meaningless zurich life this weekend when i walked around in the city for a bit. everyone is so full of themselves and thinks they have seen it all when they are provincial idiots at best.

rich languages

i got interested in the question which language was generally considered to be the richest in the world.

according to some it is sanskrit:

Sanskrit is the richest language in the world. There are often double or triple meanings in one word, so it is a very difficult language to learn, but a very expressive one.

while others think its english:

The Oxford English Dictionary has 615000 words. About 200000 are in common use. Compare this to German, which has a total vocabulary of 185000 words, and French, with fewer than 100000. There is no doubt that English has the most varied vocabulary in the world, but most use a very small portion of it to express themselves.

i have found myself in trouble discussing some concepts in my native language when i could explain them much better in english :)

fighting barney

i had an awesome night at the eff fund raising party. the dna lounge is a nice club for sure, and hearing it firsthand from wil wheaton how he hates shatner was triple A. turns out he knows about our little software project, and he loves it. the celebrity match with barney was a trip. add in some awesome ladies, fine music, and you get an awesome evening, which ended in some apartment in north beach, sf. the next morning we literally stumbled across friends of ours who had crashed at the same apartment! that incident reminded me that i should really check out some of the schmoozing sites. i will admit it i’m beginning to like that schmoozing thingie, i’m becoming a social whore. :)