Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Geek Cred Compromised
From Overtaken By Events, we have a revelation that shakes the MfBJN Geek Cred to the core. Of the UK Guardian's top 20 Geek books, here's what I have read (books I've read in bold):

1. The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- Douglas Adams 85% (102)
2. Nineteen Eighty-Four -- George Orwell 79% (92)
3. Brave New World -- Aldous Huxley 69% (77)
4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? -- Philip Dick 64% (67)
5. Neuromancer -- William Gibson 59% (66)
6. Dune -- Frank Herbert 53% (54)
7. I, Robot -- Isaac Asimov 52% (54)
8. Foundation -- Isaac Asimov 47% (47)
9. The Colour of Magic -- Terry Pratchett 46% (46)
10. Microserfs -- Douglas Coupland 43% (44)
11. Snow Crash -- Neal Stephenson 37% (37)
12. Watchmen -- Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons 38% (37)
13. Cryptonomicon -- Neal Stephenson 36% (36)
14. Consider Phlebas -- Iain M Banks 34% (35)
15. Stranger in a Strange Land -- Robert Heinlein 33% (33)
16. The Man in the High Castle -- Philip K Dick 34% (32)
17. American Gods -- Neil Gaiman 31% (29)
18. The Diamond Age -- Neal Stephenson 27% (27)
19. The Illuminatus! Trilogy -- Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson 23% (21)
20. Trouble with Lichen - John Wyndham 21% (19)

Yikes. That's 35%, although in my rather feeble defense, I have The Illuminatus Trilogy and Microserfs on my shelves to read. Take a moment, though, to reflect upon the recent nature of most of these books; my formative years and most intense teenage geekification took place before they were published.

Additional rationalization: I was an English major, so my directed learning and self-improvement impulses lead me to heavier works (although pound-for-pound, the Illuminatus Trilogy is up there).

Forget it; I am just making it worse.

Query on the Blogoschism, Wherein Brian Joins the Navel Gazing That Only Appeals to Other Bloggers and Not Casual Readers
Does the whole Open Source Media imbroglio (briefly touched on at The American Mind), with its partisans shrieking that it's great and it's made a couple of mistakes but it's going to revolutionize the blogosphere and its antagonists mocking it as a means of funnelling venture capital and advertising revenue from the rich to the leaders of Open Pajamas Media at the expense of the lesser serf blogs in OPM....

Does this strike anyone else as a sincere, authentic recreation of The Alliance of Free Blogs versus the Axis of Naughty?

This new medium has indeed re-written things. History has repeated itself first as comedy, then as tragedy.

AOL Manufactures Friends For You
Some people, me included, were a little peeved when America Online added its advertising bots to all Buddy Lists this week:

AOL's making friends for you

I mean, it's bad enough we have full volume flash ads on the Buddy List window with the obligatory mouseover pop under ads and the insistent AOL Today or their equivalents, but now we get AOL adding things to our Buddy List. What's next? Removing other bots for its advertisers' competitors or banning screen names with product names in them? Or is it....the "Words In Your Mouth" campaign?!

AOL puts words in your mouth

How far fetched is this? Don't think about it, because it's not.

If Called, I Will Serve
If my home state needs me, I will serve in the invasion of Illinois. That is, if Wisconsin and Chicago have a war over water, my side is clear.

And just in case you wonder, I would have had to come down on the side of Kilbourntown in Milwaukee's Bridge War because I'm from the northwest side.

Friday, November 18, 2005
Headline on the Day
Reluctant victim sees priest get 20 years

No word on what the willing victims saw.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Book Report: Bag Limit by Steven F. Havill (2001)
I bought this book at the Seasonal 80% Publisher Price Store in Springfield. Suddenly, it occurs to me that it wasn't last was two years ago. Wow. I paid $4.00 for the book by the unknown-to-me author because I was in an orgy of spending.

Within the text, Sheriff Bill Gaston of Posados County, New Mexico, is enjoying the night air of his county when a car full of drunk teens strikes his parked car. The driver takes off across the scrub, but Gaston and his undersheriff--who's standing for election the following week--know where the boy lives, as he's the undersheriff's cousin. But the boy tries to flee again when the sheriff apprehends him at home later, and the boy dies as he falls into the path of a truck while escaping. Gastner wonders why the boy is running so hard to get away from the police for an accident that hurt no one.

The book definitively takes a retrospective, somber tone, as Gastner's planning to retire and this book might represent a conclusion to the Sheriff Bill Gastner series. I came late to it--this was the first I've read--and don't know the characters that well, but that didn't really hurt my experience. However, its meandering tone reflected a lot of time on the reminiscing and very little on the investigation of the crime. Perhaps the book is looking to be serious fiction with a crime in it, but it shouldn't be a series mystery then.

But it wasn't a bad book. It's one of several I've read this year set in the southwest (Killing Raven, Cyber Way, Appaloosa, and so on), so I'm beginning to want to travel down there and see how the books have captured the flavor.

Take One For The Team, Taxpayers
Kansas City gets Super Bowl -- on one condition

You can guess the condition: Missouri taxpayers pony up to sissify Arrowhead Stadium by putting a roof on it.

Can Ball Cameras Be Far Behind?
Supervisors vote to require neutering of pit bulls, mixes:
    San Francisco supervisors unanimously approved a set of ordinances Tuesday requiring the neutering or spaying of an estimated 7,000 pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes in the city.

    The legislation, sponsored by Supervisor Bevan Dufty, also will set new restrictions on the breeding of pit bulls, requiring breeders to obtain a permit from the city. People found violating the requirement to have their dog neutered or spayed could be fined up to $1,000.
One must wonder if this particular law means all currently endowed male dogs must be disenfrankcized. One suspects, given how much respect San Francisco has for other tenets of the United States Constitution, that legal protections like ex post facto don't apply there either.

When You Go Ad Absurdum, Go All Ad Absurdum
Maybe None: Is having a child -- even one -- environmentally destructive?:
    Knight is the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, an informal network of people dedicated to phasing out the human race in the interest of the health of the Earth. Knight, whose convictions led him to get a vasectomy in the 1970s, when he was 25, believes that the human race is inherently dangerous to the planet and inevitably creates an unsustainable situation.

    "As long as there's one breeding couple," he says cheerfully, "we're in danger of being right back here again. Wherever humans live, not much else lives. It isn't that we're evil and want to kill everything -- it's just how we live."

    Knight's position might sound extreme at first blush, but there's an undeniable logic to it: Human activities -- from development to travel, from farming to just turning on the lights at night -- are damaging the biosphere. More people means more damage. So if fewer people means less destruction, wouldn't no people at all be the best solution for the planet?
One could apply Knight's sound--but hardly valid--logic to all of life itself, since every herbivore on the planet eats weeds and damages their life cycles, and every damn weed on the plant sucks nitrogen out of the soil and changes the environment.

Why stop at living processes? Why, rain erodes landmasses! Solar flares irradiate uninhabited planets! Novae char!

The only solution is to embrace nullity!

Anything less is inconsistency.

Maverick Math
McCain: Pentagon spending 'unsustainable':
    Republican Sen. John McCain Tuesday said the massive Pentagon budget for the war in Iraq can't be sustained because of the need to replace weapons.

    "We have unsustainable defense spending," said McCain, a chief proponent of military acquisition reform. "Refurbishment or replacement sooner than planned is putting further pressure on DOD's investment accounts. We cannot sustain the number of weapons programs that are in the program of record."
However, Medicare spending and a new drug benefit are different. Whereas each dollar spent on a bullet or a bomb gets used up when that bomb or bullet is used up, each dollar of health tax dollars extends the life of someone who will need another dollar of tax dollars tomorrow.

The more they succeed, the more they cost. Unlike wars.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Yahoo! Bomb
Apparently, this blog is the only search result on Yahoo! for:

"how to get your wife to agree to a threesome"

Buddy, shouldn't you have asked her if she wanted children before you married her?

Plucky Hero Faces Obstacle
Interesting narrative that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch would seem to offer with a headline like this:

Eminent domain faces roadblock in Creve Coeur

Except that the poor roadblocked practice is the mechanism by which a local government seizes property from the little guy for things like the entertainment complexes about which the Post-Dispatch routinely crows.

Because face it, citizen, you don't buy ad pages like the casinos, sports venues, or go-cart tracks do.

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."