Archive for February, 2010

Meme stickiness

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Memes are little replicators, kind of like genes for culture (or ideas or general mind-things). Memes have a few properties, like how transmittable they are, or how “attractive” they are to the mind they occupy. Like that song you just can’t get out of your head, some memes are maddeningly sticky. For reasons unclear to me, one meme occupying my brain is bent on expressing itself through the medium of the blagoweb. You’ve been warned.

I’ve had Lady Gaga stuck in my head all week. Frakking Poker Face. It started innocently enough, I was watching South Park and Cartman was Rock-Banding it up. He was hilarious enough that I had to watch the clip a few more times on the YouTube. By that time, it was probably already too late.

This song is addicting on a dangerous level. I think there are at least three parts that are independently catchy — basically all the repeating parts: the opening mah-mah-mah-mah, the repetition of po-po-po-poker face, and the can’t-read-my can’t-read-my part, for those of you keeping track at home. Now, I wasn’t planning on writing about Lady Gaga. I don’t know firsthand how good her albums are. I won’t comment on whether I think all her hype is justified. I just know that forces acting beyond my control are propagating this absurdity over the intertubes.

The meme made me do it.

Free as in culture

Monday, February 15th, 2010

I’ve kind of lost my way. Over my past few months in grad school, I’ve forgotten my roots as a technologist, a techie, a computer nerd. I reconnected with my glorious past the weekend of Valentines Day, when the Free Culture Conference 2010 was held at George Washington University.

I haven’t thought about free culture and related issues in about eight months, since I started working toward my PhD in economics. Grad school doesn’t allow me much time to work on outside projects, and that’s a shame. I miss being surrounded by such good people, such technical people, having such interesting conversations, about such important and interesting topics. This past weekend showed me firsthand the massive opportunity costs that grad school entails. I really want to get back into coding or advocacy, but I keep running into that time constraint. What a damn shame.

I’m going to end with some advice. If you want to join a top-notch community, seek out those who identify with the free culture movement. You won’t find a more dedicated group of smart people with the tools and drive to make awesome things happen.

General Petraeus, all-around nice guy

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

General Petraeus gave a talk at Georgetown in late January. I decided to go, since it’s the first time I had a chance to hear a four-star general give a talk. He seemed really cool. I mean, never mind the fact that the guy has an absurd number of awards, honors, and distinctions — being a general with a PhD must be awesome.  Oh, he’s also the Commander of CENTCOM, meaning he’s in charge of thousands of men in twenty countries. But I digress.

But in spite of (or because of) his awesomeness, it seems like a large group of people make a sport out of being a dick to General Petraeus. I cannot understand why. At his presentation, there were at least a dozen student sleeper agents in the audience who would interrupt his talk by reading the names of people killed in military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m all for non-violent protests, but this was egregious and poorly targeted. Essentially a group of rabble rousers perverted free speech to their twisted ends, not to mention infringed on a lot of peoples’ good time.

I don’t know why General Petraeus is constantly a target for blind hatred. From his Wikipedia article, it seems to me like he made a bad situation way better in Iraq, and helped save a bunch of lives. Also it’s not like this guy embodies the military industrial complex. If you don’t like that we’re in Iraq, go heckle George Bush or Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney. Generals don’t make those sorts of decisions — not least of all generals who weren’t in charge of things at the time. David Petraeus is a gentleman and a scholar, and attacking him only makes you look like an r-tard.

When you decide it’s imperative to be a dick to someone, at least make sure you’re targeting the right person.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.