Friday, November 30, 2007

Facebook, Le Sigh

Once again, Facebook oversteps the bounds of information sharing, causing a backlash from the community.  I am becoming more and more disappointed with Facebook.  The last time they added a feature that published information without consent there was a massive outcry, and the ability to opt out was added.  It amazes me that they crossed the same line again, in an even more impressive way.  Seriously, the idea has terrible mistake written all over it.  Publishing user information without consent, and having that data be from parties outside of Facebook?  Neither of those are good ideas to start with, and the combination makes it worse.  More information can be found in this Business Week article.

--
Robert Alverson

m*lambda=d*sine(theta)

I Enjoy Russia...

...Because they have awesomely draconian laws about protests.  According to the police, an unsanctioned protest is the gathering of two or more protesters without permission.  Individual protesters may protest without permission.  This is the best quote from the article, "The provocateur told the police, joyfully, when asked what he was doing out there, 'Provoking. It's what we have to do'." Reuters Oddly Enough

--
Robert Alverson

m*lambda=d*sine(theta)

Awesome, or not Awesome: That is the Question.

I noticed that it was one in the morning with the slow astonishment of a drunk spilling his drink. A puzzled look, a double take at the clock on the microwave, and the bewildering thought of "What have I been doing for the past two hours?" I'd reckon most of it was spent in the astoundingly interesting, but as of yet not-directly-profitable contemplation of the craft phenomenon. That, and making food. But this of course begs the question of what have I been doing since one in the morning. Sadly, I spent it engaged in that most fruitless of exercises, trying to fall asleep. Keep in mind the amount of caffeine it takes to get me going is in the range of 300 mg, roughly 3 coups of coffee. I have had zero caffeine today. Thus, I am led to one of two conclusions: either one of the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal is insomnia, or I'm still going slowly out of my mind.

I'm now drinking some sort of energy drink, but the reasoning behind that is two-fold. First, if I'm going to be awake, might as well make it productive, and second, its the only thing I have to drink up here. On the upside, I tend to write good papers while sleep deprived. Even better, the hallucinations from not sleeping for over 72 hours can help me do my finals! Some days, I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll just go mad some finals week; finally disposing of sleep altogether I'll wander the campus, chanting mnemonics of dates and people in a confused litany chronicling my education. Or perhaps it will just be madcap papers, dictated to the sky and any passer-by who strays too near. "...and as we can clearly see in the works of Kafka and Beckett, particularly in the latter's play "Waiting for Godot", the theme of waiting began to play a major role in cultural discourse after the first World War*..."

In this regard blogging has similar characteristics to the rantings of a madman: if they are not a particularly well-known madman people pay him no heed. On the other hand, if they are a well-known public figure then you have the start of a new social, political or religious movement. The trick, clearly, is to be eccentric rather than crazy. I tire of this line of thought however, and will now turn my mind to European Intellectual History; I should be able to get some reading done and pound out a page or two before the sun rises.

*Actual sentence from the paper that I'm about to write.
--
Robert Alverson

m*lambda=d*sine(theta)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The End of the Quarter

I came to the realization today that one fifth of my quarter is spent in a state of metal panic, followed by a almost subliminal sense of anxiety until grades come out 2-3 weeks later.  Thus roughly 5 weeks per quarter I hate life, and this happens three times a school year.  Thus school alone makes my life stressful or otherwise uncomfortable 15 weeks a year, or roughly 29% of the year.   Thats not even counting individual assignments, midterms or quizzes.  Yay, stress...

--
Robert Alverson

m*lambda=d*sine(theta)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Update

A class that I had in the Physical Sciences Building (adjacent to the hippy protest) has been moved to Stevenson for the remainder of the quarter, due to the ongoing protest.  That's mildly irritating on many levels.

--
Robert Alverson

m*lambda=d*sine(theta)

To the Hippies

Dear Hippies,

I am glad that you love the environment.  It is sadly neglected, and could use some good advocacy.  However, odds are it shouldn't be from you.  At least on this campus, your main pastimes seem to be smoking pot and pissing fellow students off with your shoddily organized protests.  Most recently, due to the limited foresight of both the police and a cadre of tree-sitters, the main road through campus was blocked.  This resulted in terrible traffic, making people late to classes, which is doubly unfortunate as it is midterm time.  For me at least, the kicker is that you are protesting a building that is getting built in a parking lot, cuts down no old growth trees, and is indefinitely delayed.  Congratulations.  You successfully brought your cause to the attention of your fellow students and the media.  Hopefully, people will not be lured in by the thrill of your asinine "revolutionary actions" which featured juvenile pranks such as pulling fire alarms and scrawling "No LRDP" on every surface you can find.  Thank you for pointing out that you don't like the LRDP, which everyone has known about for years.  Also, while pulling a fire alarm to disrupt a corporate office may be a brilliant piece of work that wastes thousands of dollars in company time, its just not cool on campus.  When you pull an alarm on campus, you are disrupting classes and wasting the tuition and time of the people you are ostensibly trying to help.  Your protests would be impressive, if they were not ineffectual, irritating and constant. 
Reading the LRDP resources page, and noting that cutting three acres of trees in the middle of campus takes immense amounts of paperwork, I think you could affect the process more by forcing reviews of the paper trail.  Look at the Biomed Facility, its tied up in legal issues.  Exploit the legal system, because it costs more and takes longer for the university to hire lawyers and go back through what was already done once, than to send police up to campus to mace protesters.  And trust me, they care about losing money.  Oh, I forgot, you're all about "fucking the system" and screwing "the man", so the practical solutions aren't acceptable. 
In conclusion, I don't care what you do, so long as when its something stupid I don't have to pay the price for it.  And when I do have to pay for it, don't expect me to support you.  You are taking environmentalism as a religion, with the result of making everyone else feel justified in dismissing you as crazy hippies.
--
Robert Alverson

m*lambda=d*sine(theta)