Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Age of the Essay

I've been approaching them all wrong. Mostly due to time constraints, I've viewed essays as arguments. The process involved is much shorter; consider the work, and then come up with a position (hopefully one that hasn't been addressed before) and defend it.

The other big difference between a real essay and the things they make you write in school is that a real essay doesn't take a position and then defend it. That principle, like the idea that we ought to be writing about literature, turns out to be another intellectual hangover of long forgotten origins.


This makes much more sense, is much more interesting, and I think makes for a much better paper overall... but one can't do it quickly. There's got to be more rumination, more rolling around of ideas to explore- it's more playful and almost counterintuitive. Start somewhere, then wander around and connect some dots.

You just can't do it in a day, or maybe even a few days. It's no good for an undergrad, in terms of academic work, but I can immediately see the value in doing this regularly.

Perhaps we'll see some essays here, in the future.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Can we please get on the ball already?

A method for classifying civilization types was introduced by Russian astronomer Nikolai Kardashev in 1964. Known as the Kardashev scale, classifications are assigned based on the amount of usable energy a civilization has at its disposal and increasing logarithmically:

Type I - A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available on a single planet, approximately 10^16W.
Type II - A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available from a single star, approximately 10^26W.
Type III - A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available from a single galaxy, approximately 10^36W.
Human civilization has yet to achieve full Type I status, as it is able to harness only a portion of the energy that is available on Earth. Carl Sagan speculated that humanity's current civilization type is around 0.7.

A major criticism directed at the Kardashev scale is that the difference between a Type II and Type III civilization is ten orders of magnitude and that significant civilization types likely reside within that range. Moreover, given the seemingly extreme energy sources available to Type II and III civilizations, the question as to why we haven't seen evidence of these advanced societies remains unanswered, a possible indication that no such civilizations exist.


Between this and the Drake Equation, I wonder whether we'll ever see anything interesting before we sputter and extinguish like a candle in the dark.

I mean, I envision a future where we eventually leave our cradle, and go on to seed other places; in order to get to a point where that is viable, we'll need to be past Level I anyway. If we manage to make it that far, chances are that we won't be anything like we are now-certainly we'll be the same physically- but the very nature of the type of space exploration I'm talking about necessitates a wholly different type of social management, government, and psychological outlook.

I'm dying to know whats out there.

I wonder whether we'll ever make it far enough to find out...

Sunday, May 29, 2005

pish

pish is still an awesome game. I'd play it just to listen to the music in the background. [shockwave]

Orson Scott Card: Sci-Fi author, Social Critic, or both?

Orson Scott Card is a great writer, but there has been some recent discussion about his political stance, as well as some insight as to the author's psyche (and perhaps sexuality?) informing and infusing his fiction. I liked Ender's Game when I read it several years ago, and I'm curious to see whether I'll read it differently given some new filters. I am curious as well about "Songmaster" and "A Planet Called Treason". The latter two I haven't read yet, but I expect an interesting read, given some of the commentary I've read about them.

He's written some essays, about same-sex marriage and other current political and social issues, linked below with commentary.

Orson Scott Card on The Riots of The Faithful

America's Anti-family Experiment.

The Ornery American

above links via.

Creating the Innocent Killer

Any input from fans or critics of Card are appreciated.

Friday, May 27, 2005

totally unrelated words

slapping and biting and scratching and pulling and slipping and straining and lifting and thrusting and bending and sliding and pushing and sucking and arching and twisting and sweating and flexing and gripping and riding and caressing and pressing and clinging and stretching and mounting and churning and rolling and stroking and cupping and rubbing and licking and clasping and squeezing and parting and panting and and spreading and tensing and touching and

relaxing.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

ok, real content to follow this post

English Literature 1 : A-

American Literature 1 : A-

European Literature : A

Ethnic Literature of the U.S. : A

gpa : 3.81

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I am trying to keep from making journal-style posts, and yet...

...one is going to slip out once in a while.

I checked out a house in town tonight, as a potential place to live next semester / year. The people that live there are really cool, at least that was the impression that I left with. The rent is completely doable- 2/3 of what I'm paying right now, if that. It's exactly the kind of situation I was looking for- responsible but not uptight people, quietish, beautiful older house with tons of art on the walls and painted unconventionally inside. It's close to the campus and even closer to the town. They seem to want to maintain a sense of community. I can get with this. Why live in a house with other people if you're not going to enjoy their company? It reminds me a little of the old "Red Balloon" House in Stony Brook. At the risk of sounding new-agey, it's got a 'good vibe'. They are seeing a bunch of applicants though, so it's not a sure thing by any means. Still, it would be a nice situation. It would also allow me to live up here year-round, which is what I wanted in the first place.

Cross your fingers for me.

Living in the technological dark ages.

I am working with a ~7 year old CompUSA AmeriNote Laptop, with a 3.5 gig hard drive, that crashes like five times every day. One of these days, it's not going to come back. I just finished my last post, and lost the whole goddamned thing.

I'm just venting. It makes me really frustrated. I suppose when it dies, I will just have to start posting from the terminals on my campus.

Translucent Concrete

I have a thing for design. I used to go to the New York Gift Show for my old job, and usually the coolest stuff there was either in the "Handmade" section, (mostly art glass and metalwork) and the "Accent on Design" section.

There's more stuff at the inhabitat website. Look at the "Tetris Shelving". (via)

You can also find similar cool stuff at MoCo Loco

Friday, May 13, 2005

purification

the trees reach up, green dendrites
arching to shock the sky.

the grey roughly kisses them, the wind
a crushing swaying embrace.

the robins are hopping close
the jays are screaming for it

then the sky cracks in half like
a fresh egg...

You walk through this mad earth-love, as
fat raindrops leap down
hammering your soul,
stripping away rough rusty ideas
blasting away thought
burnishing and polishing
until
soaked, you reach the door, turn the knob and
step in;

only to drop your bag, turn smiling
and walk back into the rain,

knowing that this is as

close to God

as you will ever get.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005