Personal responsibility my arse

February 27th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Oh, right, I have a Web site.

Amazon recently recommended a book it thought I would like, a new one called Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. According to Amazon’s summary, it exposes “the tactics used by the food industry to protect its economic interests and influence public opinion.” The book just started shipping today, and already there’s three scathing reviews, all of them obviously written by PR flacks. (Note the strange convergence on the theme of personal responsibility, the straw-man references to “greedy trial lawyers” and new taxes, and not least the fact that all three reviews were written before the book was publicly available.)

Stop and think about it for a moment: The food industry is paying an anonymous PR firm to simulate grassroots opposition to a book that exposes the industry’s tactics. It’s funny how they claim that we’re all capable of free will and making up our own minds, even as they try to influence us in such a way that we don’t even realize what’s being done.

If you think I’m missing the mark, take a look at Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! and get back to me. Or better yet, talk to my friend who works for a PR firm and earns a living by ginning up “grassroots” campaigns like this one. Just get some letters to the editor planted here and there, set up a phone bank to call elected officials, and maybe sneak a few fake book reviews onto Amazon, and voila, you’ve generated an imaginary public outcry. This sort of thing happens far more often than you might expect.

Like the man says

February 21st, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

You’re the man now, dog!

Forgive me. I’m a bit punchy.

When Flashing

February 20th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Caltrans has online versions of its sign specifications for a bunch of traffic signs. They’re strangely compelling.

Some of the specs are for common signs, like the Speed Limit sign. Others are more obscure, like the In Memory Of (one-name plate) and my personal favorite, $1000 Fine for Animal Abandonment.

learn to sexy dance overnight! 8044

February 18th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

from: t3j383e7@figomrrz.net

with instant access. step by step instructions are included. you must try this.

you’ll love it. simple! this is not a pyramid scheme.

Do something nice for somebody else

February 13th, 2002 § Two comments § permalink

My new personal theme song is “Do You Want to Feel Happy?” by Janeen Brady, from the album I’m a Mormon.

Janeen Brady – Do You Want To Feel Happy

If you do, in fact, want to feel happy, the song advises you to do the following:

Do something nice for somebody else
That’s what Jesus did
Don’t be afraid, it won’t hurt you to try it

As my brother astutely pointed out, “Didn’t it hurt Jesus a lot?”

Implementing e-business solutions

February 10th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Silicon Valley business-speak might become more enjoyable if people started using it euphemistically. Imagine the following sentences being uttered in America’s bars and nightclubs:

Wanna leverage some key strategic alliances?

I couldn’t help noticing that you were checking out my innovative, integrated, multi-channel base offering.

I’d like to rationalize your operations as we drive towards profitability.

Meme ahoy

February 9th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Some Googlewhacks:

Jainist zither
comedogenic politico
pentagonal bumbershoot

Reality check

February 6th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Handbook for Emergencies. March 1966.

“In the event of a nuclear attack, be prepared to live in a shelter as long as two weeks, coming out for short trips only if necessary.”

Nix nix

February 3rd, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Before there was any such thing as an LCD, people used nixie tubes to display numbers on electrical testing equipment. A nixie tube looks a lot like a vacuum tube, but it’s filled with neon, and it contains a stack of ten electrodes, each in the shape of a single digit. When a current runs through an electrode, the digit lights up.

People have been building clocks with nixie tubes for decades. I would give my eyeteeth for some of these clocks. (Scroll down to see Geoff Tomlin’s, which is my favorite; it looks like something out of Brazil.)

Cleaning house

January 30th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

I keep a list of Web pages that I intend to post here. The list is getting ridiculously long, though, so here’s several links all at once.

Informing Ourselves to Death
(” The computer and its information cannot answer any of the fundamental questions we need to address to make our lives more meaningful and humane.”)

Why Cryptosystems Fail
(good encryption does not a secure network make; it’s how it’s implemented that counts)

The Demon In the Freezer
(1999 New Yorker article; “No one knows exactly who has smallpox today, or where they keep the virus, or what they intend to do with it”)

Birth of a Movement
(“Three thousand marketing messages rammed into your neocortex every day, whether you like it or not”)

Where am I?

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