A reader suggested that I should take a look at an article I wrote back in 1997, Five Myths of New Media, and consider how those predictions panned out. Good idea, here goes…
The newspaper industry’s death spiral is accelerating. The “increasingly rapid and broad decline in the newspaper business in recent months has surprised even the most pessimistic financial analysts.” In related news, the average age of TV viewers has reached 50 and is still rising. The networks are losing their audience.
OK, I’ll admit it: six months ago I was very near buying into the whole Obama thing. That was when he was in his post-racial phase — before Jeremiah Wright, back when voting for Obama seemed like a way of putting an end to the unhealthy obsessiveness about race that disfigures liberal politics.
Listen. This news story (which I meant to blog about two years ago) is the sound of cultural suicide happening…
A bricklayer who passed a toddler walking alone in a village shortly before her fatal fall into a pond said yesterday he did not stop to help in case people thought he was trying to abduct her.
Ideas have consequences. Toxic ideas have toxic consequences. Feminism’s toxic idea that all men are barely restrained sexual predators killed that little girl. This probably wasn’t the first time it happened, and almost certainly won’t be the last.
I think this is worth blogging about, even two years after the fact, because it’s another indicator of a huge and horrible thing that Western culture has been doing to men for most of my lifetime. Men are designed to protect women and children, specialized for it; in a very basic biological sense it’s what we’re for. But the modern West bombards men with the message that their specialty isn’t needed, isn’t wanted, and that they’re assumed to want to prey on and abuse women and children.
Is it any wonder, then, that young men are increasingly opting out of college, that the percentage of adult males never married is also rising, and that in the 21st century many men seem to want to opt out of responsibility altogether? When our instititions equate feminization with virtue and masculinity with evil, this is exactly the outcome we should expect.
And it kills children. It kills children.
If I were a praying sort, I’d pray that Scottish bricklayer’s warning cry has not come too late.
As part of reactivating my blog, I’ve had to grovel through over 160,000 back comments over 99% of which were blog spam. I’ve been doing this by skimming 500-comment chunks of the back list (it’s normally 20, but I know where to hack the WordPress code to change that). In the process, I have almost certainly made some errors.
So if you submitted a comment recently and have not seen it published, don’t assume that you’ve hit a mechanical spam filter or that I’m purposely deleting your posts. I may have deleted some by accident while skimming. I apologize, and devoutly hope you will never find yourself having to filter that much spam by eyeball.
(And before you ask: Yes, WordPress’s tools for the job are both weak when they work and buggy in crucial spots. WordPress looks nice but the more I get to know the PHP codebase the less I like what I see.)
I’ve had time to think about the impact of the Heller ruling on the 2008 elections now, and I’m concluding that a pro-gun-rights ruling with a 5-4 split was absolutely the worst possible outcome for Barack Obama’s campaign.
This morning I read the entire majority opinion from the Supreme Court striking down the D.C. gun ban. Then I walked over to the Malvern Police station and asked for a few minutes with my town’s Chief of Police.
Yes,. there is a good reason that I disappeared for two years. As soon as a certain lawsuit now in court wraps up, I’ll even be able to explain it in detail.
But I’m back to blogging. Starting now.
In Nablus, a young man is kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists — who then set him free on learning he is an American because they don’t want to end up like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi so recently did.
I am irresistibly reminded of a piece of cynical wisdom from the mouth of the mad Roman emperor Caligula, born of experience in dealing with the barbarians of his day: Oderint, dum metuant: “Let them hate, so long as they fear”.
I have extremely strong convictions about free speech and robust debate. Thus, I was rather unhappy the first time that I decided it was necessary to delete a comment on this blog. The rule I published at that time was that comments that were both (a) anonymous, and (b) content-free vitriol, would be subject to deletion.
Unfortunately, as this blog has become more popular, some semi-regular commenters have descended to the level of monkeys throwing feces. Often the feces are flung in my direction, but that bothers me very little. What concerns me more is that an increasing percentage of comments are not about ideas but solely about the personalities and motives of other commenters. That is not a useful direction for the blog, even when the accusations being hurled are justified ones originating from sensible people. The entire tone of the blog is being lowered.
Therefore, with great regret, I must announce that I am considering banning commenters who are persistently and virulently disruptive. This would not be from any particular desire to control the wrongdoers’ behavior, rather it would be to relieve more civilized persons from the temptation to get into slanging matches with the wrongdoers. I hope not to have to actually take this step; I hope this announcement will serve as a warning to those who need it that they must moderate their behavior or begone.
Bannings, if any, will not take place in the dark of night; my notion of honor forbids this. Should I ban anyone, I will do so publicly with an accounting of my reasons in each case, and accept any criticism that ensues.
NEW YORK (Disassociated Press) – In a surprise sequel to the death of top al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi this morning, police have executed raids and searches on dozens of newsrooms and editorial offices belonging to a shadowy and ill-defined network called the “MSM”. The resulting haul of intelligence on terrorist objectives and strategy has been described as “priceless”.
“It’s no secret that these `Main Stream Media’ organizations have been handing the terror network a lot of its talking points,” said one spokesman. “Increasingly, terrorists have been shaping their strategy around media operations, relying on their tacit partnership with the MSM to achieve shared political goals. Cracking the media side of the operation may be the most effective way to cut off the terrorists’ oxygen.”
Representatives of the New York Times, the Reuters news agency, the Guardian, and other apparent targets of the investigation declined to comment, except to blame U.S. President George W. Bush for millions of hitherto-undisclosed Iraqi civilian casualties, higher gas prices, several extragalactic supernovas, and the Hindenburg disaster.
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I’ve put a new page up on my website about the excellent Commands & Colors: Ancients game. It’s just couple of variant rules and some scenario results now, but may grow in the future.
Well, this is novel. I’ve just received a terroristic death threat. From
an idiot who failed to obscure his return path. Here it is, precisely as
I received it mere minutes ago:
From email@example.com Sun May 21 22:44:42 2006 Return-Path:
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.1.1 (2006-03-10) on snark.thyrsus.com X-Spam-Level: X-Spam-Status: No, score=-1.0 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_00,DNS_FROM_RFC_ABUSE, DNS_FROM_RFC_WHOIS,UPPERCASE_25_50 autolearn=no version=3.1.1 Received: from snark.thyrsus.com (localhost [127.0.0.1]) by snark.thyrsus.com (8.13.6/8.13.6) with ESMTP id k4M2igAJ026952 for ; Sun, 21 May 2006 22:44:42 -0400 Received: from grelber.thyrsus.com [192.168.1.31] by snark.thyrsus.com with IMAP (fetchmail-6.3.4) for (single-drop); Sun, 21 May 2006 22:44:42 -0400 (EDT) Received: from web30106.mail.mud.yahoo.com (web30106.mail.mud.yahoo.com [126.96.36.199]) by grelber.thyrsus.com (8.13.4/8.13.4) with SMTP id k4M4Y51D023721 for ; Mon, 22 May 2006 00:34:05 -0400 Received: (qmail 18608 invoked by uid 60001); 22 May 2006 02:43:29 -0000 DomainKey-Signature: a=rsa-sha1; q=dns; c=nofws; s=s1024; d=yahoo.com; h=Message-ID:Received:Date:From:Subject:To:MIME-Version:Content-Type:Content-Transfer-Encoding; b=lFrB0rAPphpP3Q0wd5pQF1rMjBCYJ5O8pKh0risWlb2KbzXBMfqKQpx/SHq/s1DUJvPATn8XDECDCawxtzr1TokVZPGtbEfmV1BFHO3w6sr83VgcpMPrpf0fxSS6G2rCdMcSm2Xe0c45olKryo3zHIKz8Rygdu1xdES2rK/90Bk= ; Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Received: from [188.8.131.52] by web30106.mail.mud.yahoo.com via HTTP; Sun, 21 May 2006 19:43:29 PDT Date: Sun, 21 May 2006 19:43:29 -0700 (PDT) From: hhh hyftyf Subject: Islam To: email@example.com MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit X-UID: 24454 X-Keywords: Status: RO Content-Length: 343 Lines: 12 We have your address. YOU WILLBE KILLED YOU WILLBE KILLED YOU WILLBE KILLED YOU WILLBE KILLED YOU WILLBE KILLED __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around http://mail.yahoo.com
I will report this threat to the appropriate authorities. I guess
all my writings about terrorism and Islam struck a nerve somewhere.
Here’s a message to whoever is behind this threat: Maybe you think
you can intimidate me, or that threats like this will stop other
bloggers from speaking the truth about your barbaric mass-murdering
death-cult. Well, screw you and the camel you rode in. I will not
be silenced, and we will not be silenced. All you do
with terroristic threats is to demonstrate your evil nature,
confirm our resolve to resist you, and speed the day when your
diseased ideology will be wiped from the face of the Earth.
Yes, testosterone makes people stupid. No, I’m not talking about the men who secrete and metabolize it, I’m talking about the nervous old women of both sexes who pronounce upon it as though it were some sort of demonic drug.
About a month ago, one of my regular respondents asked me to blog about self-awareness in animals. I’m doing so now because it will be useful for an essay I’m planning to write about ethical and legal definitions of humanity.
I enjoy strategy games. I’ve been playing them since the heyday of the elaborate hundreds-of-tiny-counters hex-map historical-simulation wargames in the 1970s and early 1980s. But those games don’t get played much any more, largely because they took so long to set up and
learn; after 1985 or so younger gamers moved to computer simulations instead, and as the hex-wargame genre stagnated many old-school gamers eventually abandoned it in favor of military-miniatures gaming.
Bwahahaha! My sinister master plan for world domination is
working. Straight from the pages of the highest-quality general-news
magazine in English, check
this out! The money ‘graf is the last one:
Moreover, the ease with which the internet spreads
wrong-headedness–to say nothing of lies and slander–is offset by the
ease with which it spreads insights and ideas. To regret the glorious
fecundity of new media is to choose the hushed reverence of the
cathedral over the din of the bazaar.
There’s an old saw to the effect that there’s no limit to what you
can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit. More precisely,
when your signature memes start showing up as generative metaphors in
elite and popular usage with your name stripped off them, you
know you’re winning.
Winning, that is, at the only game that is really interesting —
changing the world.
(Hat tip to my blogson Walter Hunt over at Stone of Remembrance,
though I’d have seen it anyway in my weekly Economist and
In the beautiful-irony department, I have just learned that my name
and copyright now appears in the EULA (End-User License Agreement) of
a Microsoft product. A vector-graphics editor called “Microsoft
Expressions”, apparently — thanks to Martin Dawson for the
The history behind this is that GIFLIB is open-source software for
hacking GIF images — the direct ancestor of libungif, which is
the name under which the codebase is more widely known these days.
The original software was by Gershon Elber for DOS; around 1987 I
ported it to Unix, cleaned up the architecture, added numerous new
features, and wrote documentation. When Unisys started to jump salty
about the GIF patents in the mid-1990s, I handed the project off to a
maintainer outside U.S. jurisdiction, Toshio Kuratomi.
I have no idea why the copyright on this EULA is dated 1997, I
think that is a couple of years after I passed the baton to Toshio
Subsequently I did a lot of work on libpng, implementing 6 of the
14 chunk types in the PNG standard and designing a new more
object-oriented interface for that library. So if you use open-source
software that handles either of the two most popular raster-image
formats, it is rather likely that you rely on my code every day. Yes,
that includes all you Firefox and Netscape and Konq and Safari users
And now, my code is in a Microsoft product. This may not be the
first time; in fact, thinking about all the other places it would
have been silly for Microsoft to pass up using libpng and giflib,
it probably isn’t even the dozenth time.
I’m OK with this, actually. I write my code for anyone to use, and
‘anyone’ includes evil megacorporate monopolists pretty much by
definition. I wouldn’t change those terms retroactively if I could,
because I think empowering everyone is a far more powerful
statement than empowering only those I agree with. By doing so, I
express my confidence that my ideas will win even when my opponents
get the benefit of my code.
Besides…now, when Microsoft claims open source is inferior or not
innovative enough or dangerous to incorporate in your products or
whatever the FUD is this week, I get to laugh and point. Hypocrites.
Losers. You have refuted yourselves.