Sunday, October 31, 2010

Don't judge a book by it's cover. Not.

'You don't judge a book by it's cover' is a cliche.   Cliches can reflect truth, but usually they are the sign of a lazy writer, and it is almost always useful to assume the cliche is false.  In the case of people the cliche is poor advice in both the literal and metaphoric sense.

In the literal case, book covers are carefully crafted by professional book designers.  These people work very hard to create a cover which will attract the audience which the author, publisher, and designers believe will want to read that book.

And at the metaphorical level, especially with people, we all make many choices about how we are going to present ourselves.

To exclusively judge a book, or a person, by their 'cover' is short sighted.  But to ignore the cover is to intentionally ignore key elements of design and self presentation.

Or am I guilty of 'judging a book by it's cover?'

I think the real point is to not make judgments about people based on things which are not relevant.   And especially to not make pejorative judgments based on things which are outside of our ability to control.

Frank Zappa said"Everybody in this room is wearing a uniform, don't kid yourself." So should we ignore the uniforms we each choose? Or just consider that any particular uniform or presentation provides information, but that it is not all of the information?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crazy people who are 'electro-sensitive'

The Sebastopol City Council decided, amazingly enough, not to oppose a wireless technology and voted _not_ to oppose PG&E's smart meters.

A person who I greatly respect, a person who helped me a great deal during a hard time, wrote a letter to the editor of the Sonoma West paper in which he was against the council's actions. It was titled 'Cowardly Council.'

This is a recapitulation of the previous decision in which the council voted to reject free WiFi offered by because of 'electro-sensitivity.'

Rather than remain silent, I wrote my own letter to the editor.

Read on...or simply accept that I think the opponents to WiFi are dangerous cranks.

Friday, October 1, 2010

There was a young man from Eugene, and a Golden Kleene.

The Golden Kleene
There was a young man named Kleene
Who invented a fucking machine.
Concave or convex,
It fit either sex,
And was remarkably easy to clean!

(limerick, attributed to John von Neumann)

In any event, it is also the name of the prize from Arse (not _ars_) Elektronika. And Rosie and I shockingly won a Golden Kleene.

This is cool.

But the limerick as I heard it was:

There was a young man from Eugene
Who invented a fucking machine.
Concave or convex
it could serve either sex
And play with itself in between

And I heard it attributed to my birth father, Dick Gale, from his high school or college days.