Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Who are America's Celebrities ?
Alex Massie comments as follows on yet another journalist trying to make a career by making up stories:
"Young journalist makes things up on small, if highly respected, Washington weekly. Nobody dead. End of story. This story, this rumpus, tells us nothing about modern America, only about the weakness of Glass's character and the shrill egotism of American journalism."
Well, it is in fact a disturbing commentary on modern America because the young journalist in question, who even managed to get into law school afterwards (how that?), has written a book about himself, and there is even a film, and this person is then invited to TV shows and the like. He will probably become rich and successful wielding the power that money wields. The society does not have its priorities straight.
Are people like this America's modern celebrities?
In some cases, it appears to be so.
It is a very unfortunate statement on the vapid tastes of a certain portion of the American public.
We might call this "junk culture".
To be fair, I suppose it exists in Europe as well, if one views the recent junk books written here recently by people like Boris Becker and Dieter Bohlen, which pander to the lowest of tastes.
Whatever. It is still mindless fare for the mindless.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
More on DMOZ, Yahoo and Google, seemingly confirming some of my arguments about DMOZ as a total disaster, and finding similar problems in other search engines.
The Scripting News Archive: 10/20/2003 writes:
"Here's what I may just do. I could turn Scripting News into a directory. Forget the weblog. We already have enough of those. My directory would be the top of the tree of knowledge, like Yahoo used to be....
Google's directory of weblog tools. None of the tools I wrote made the list. Centralized directories on the Web are like buggy whips for cars. Let's fix this bug. Google, this makes you look like a total .... Your tool is listed first, and your competitor's tools aren't listed at all. When will it become too embarassing to support this antiquated model.
When I first posted that I thought it was just a repurposing-DMOZ-problem, so it was a question of how Google looked, not anything they had actually done. But then Seth Dillingham posted a pointer showing that Radio UserLand is actually on the DMOZ list for weblog tools, so Google modified the list to take Radio out. This is surprising, and imho, requires an explanation. Did they modify it? If so why? And do they modify search results to favor their products and services? This is scary stuff. "
LIfe and Eclipses
J-9 at achangintimes.com
writes upon seeing the lunar eclipse November 9, 2003 that:
"I guess I have the 'I'll never grow up' Peter Pan thing going, but I love it, and I hope it never leaves me. So, last night, while people around the world were still busy killing themselves off, I took a time out to think about life, and the beauty of it all. It's a gift. Open it, say thank you, and enjoy it. Life's a one time opportunity."
Monday, November 03, 2003
DMOZ The Open Directory Project is a Farce
HUMANS DO NOT DO IT BETTER
"Humans do it better" is the motto of the DMOZ so-called "open directory", i.e. a search engine which has a catalogue style in which the entries are made by hand by humans. In fact, humans do NOT do it better - rather, they are far more subjective than Google or AllTheWeb. Basically - you can forget the Open Directory as just one more failed attempt based on the gullible idea that humans are benevolent and objective, which they are not.
Why this directory is called the open directory is anybody's guess, because that name has nothing to do with reality. The Open Directory is a misnomer. The OPD is not only falsely named, but the name is quite misleading.
There are now allegedly ca. 60,000 editors - human Yahoos in the Gulliver Swift sense - sometimes even having competing pages of their own in the areas they are supervising - who are by no means necessarily objective or open to new submitted pages - I speak here from experience gained by persons who have tried to become editors. Once these editors exist in a particular area, the area is mostly closed to new editors, unless they are part of that crowd. You have thereby set up a fixed group of "good old boys" who rule their terrain like a company-town sheriff or mayor.
LOOK OUT: TITLE AND DESCRIPTION OF YOUR SITE ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE by DMOZ EDITORS
As the "Open Directory" (copyright by Netscape) itself states, it has its own strict policy of DISCRETIONARY inclusion OR exclusion of websites which has nothing to do with any OPEN-NESS of any kind.
Here is its posted policy: [emphasis added]
"Please recognize that making the ODP a useful resource requires us to exercise broad editorial discretion in determining the content and structure of the directory. That discretion extends (but is not limited) to what sites to include, where in the directory sites are placed, whether and when to include more than one link to a site, when deep linking is appropriate, and the content of the title and description of the site. In addition, a site's placement in the directory is subject to change or deletion at any time at our sole discretion. You should not rely on any aspect of a site's inclusion in the directory. Please understand that an editor's exercise of discretion may not always treat all submissions equally. You may not always agree with our choices, but we hope you recognize that we do our best to make fair and reasonable decisions."
I know of cases where a site has been submitted to DMOZ only to have the entire title and site description changed without the knowledge of the submitter and at the pure whim of the so-called "open" editors, who give the website any name and description they choose, even derogatory descriptions. Someone then accessing that site's description on DMOZ through search engines such as Google or AllTheWeb THEN thinks that the website owner or webmaster has made up these abominable titles or descirptions, which is simply not true.
This kind of thing should be forbidden by law.
DMOZ should be closed down as an abomination, as an abomination to the Web and as an abominaton to the human spirit, and as an abomination to freedom. How dare a directory be run under the above stated conditions.
I was watching CNN
showing a couple sifting through the charred remains of their house,
which had just been destroyed by one of the forest fires raging through the US.
They were looking for the wife's wedding ring
which she had inadvertently left behind
when they were evacuated due to the fire.
After a day of what appeared to be fruitless searching through rubble and ash,
the wedding ring was suddenly found and the woman exclaimed,
with a great smile on her face, and in genuine happiness,
while standing on the ashes of her home,
"Life is Good".
There is something wonderful about humanity - we Yahoos - which is expressed in that story.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Jonathan Swift was one of the first ancient "bloggers" as it were, and his book, Gulliver's Travels, reports the travels of a fictional "Lemuel Gulliver", whose experiences in "unexplored territories" are intended as social and political satire on humanity, depicted in Gulliver's Travels as "Yahoos", where Yahoo is a word invented by Swift as follows:
"composed of yah and ugh, both interjections implying disgust."
In Swift's day, critical commentary on the existing mainstream power structure was frowned upon by the establishment. Swift was in fact banished to Ireland for his irreverent writings about "the Yahoos".
The writer of this blog uses the intentionally punny Pseudo-nym "Houyhnhnm" (Hou-yhnhnm) from Gulliver's Travels, a Swiftian term which is defined as:
Hou*yhnhnm (?), n.
One of the race of horses described by Swift in his imaginary travels of Lemuel Gulliver. The Houyhnhnms were endowed with reason and noble qualities; subject to them were Yahoos, a race of brutes having the form and all the worst vices of men.
As one might thus imagine, YahooPundit comments on humanity.
Sunday, October 05, 2003
As these noble HOUYHNHNMS are endowed by nature with a general disposition to all virtues, and have no conceptions or ideas of what is evil in a rational creature, so their grand maxim is, to cultivate reason, and to be wholly governed by it. Neither is reason among them a point problematical, as with us, where men can argue with plausibility on both sides of the question, but strikes you with immediate conviction; as it must needs do, where it is not mingled, obscured, or discoloured, by passion and interest.
I remember it was with extreme difficulty that I could bring my master to understand the meaning of the word opinion, or how a point could be disputable; because reason taught us to affirm or deny only where we are certain; and beyond our knowledge we cannot do either. So that controversies, wranglings, disputes, and positiveness, in false or dubious propositions, are evils unknown among the HOUYHNHNMS. In the like manner, when I used to explain to him our several systems of natural philosophy, he would laugh, "that a creature pretending to reason, should value itself upon the knowledge of other people's conjectures, and in things where that knowledge, if it were certain, could be of no use." Wherein he agreed entirely with the sentiments of Socrates, as Plato delivers them; which I mention as the highest honour I can do that prince of philosophers - I have often since reflected, what destruction such doctrine would make in the libraries of Europe; and how many paths of fame would be then shut up in the learned world.
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