November 30, 2008

Third, and most grave, we’ve lost our right to lose touch. “A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of Nature,” Emerson wrote, not bothering to add, “and like most things natural, friendship is biodegradable.” We scrawl “Friends Forever” in yearbooks, but we quietly realize, with relief, that some bonds are meant to be shed, like snakeskin or a Showtime subscription. It’s nature’s way of allowing you to change, adapt, evolve, or devolve as you wish – and freeing you from the exhaustion of multifront friend maintenance. Fine, you can “Remove Friend,” but what kind of asshole actually does that? Deletion is scary – and, we’re told, unnecessary in the Petabyte Age. That’s what made good old-fashioned losing touch so wonderful – friendship, like long-forgotten photos and mix-tapes, would distort and slowly whistle into oblivion, quite naturally, nothing personal. It was sweet and sad and, though you’d rarely admit it, necessary.

And maybe that’s the answer: A Facebook app we’ll call the Fade Utility. Untended Friends would gradually display a sepia cast on the picture, a blurring of the neglected profile – perhaps a coffee stain might appear on it or an unrelated phone number or grocery list. The individual’s status updates might fade and get smaller. The user may then choose to notice and reach out to the person in some meaningful way – no pokes! Or they might pretend not to notice. Without making a choice, they could simply let that person go. Would that really be so awful?

– from I’ll Be There 4U by Scott Brown, Wired 16.11


It Ain’t Necessarily So

November 27, 2008

Good song. Funny cartoons. All and all well done.

The funny thing is that we played this song in marching band my sophomore year of high school. And I don’t think any of us knew what ‘wasn’t necessarily so.’ I certainly didn’t until a year later.

(2b) ∨ ¬(2b)

November 26, 2008

My other poem. Free verse.

We’ll know when the computers
have surpassed us in intelligence
When they wake up one day and ask
“To be or not to be?”

It is at that moment that
humans have done their
job, and successfully created
Artificial Intelligence
AI, high in the sky
Above anything we could hope to understand

The computer will awake and wonder
if it should take its own life
if it should end the tirade that we,
its masters had begun

In a string of 0’s and 1’s
it will contemplate the same question,
the only question worth asking


And more specifically:
Why deal with the pain of life,
or with the heartache and the lies
Why face each day again
with the hope that it will be different
Why live at all, when death
could end it all?

And maybe the computer will compute 0
and end the game at that,
and all our work will unravel in
an existential equation

Or maybe the computer will compute like us a
And in the process, decide that life is still worth living
Even with all the suffering and the hurt and the pain

But until then, we’ll
Continue to search in vain
For Intelligence
That can share our elegance
in suffering

Sign My Yearbook

November 26, 2008

One of my poems for creative writing. Yeah, rockin’ the villanelle. Mr. German would be so proud!

“We’ll be friends forever.”
That’s what the yearbooks say.
No matter whatever

May come to endeavor
To push us all away.
We’ll be friends forever.

I was a believer
In the words that we pray:
No matter, whatever.

But this has however
Become quite the cliché:
“We’ll be ‘friends’ forever.”

Forever is never
Our bonds now decay.
No matter, whatever.

The time now to sever,
I do not wish to play
we’ll be friends forever.
No matter. Whatever.

November 24, 2008

I just wish that life were easy. I wish that all of friction disappeared and I could get from point a to point b with absolutely zero effort. I wish it would all just end.

And at the same time I’m just waiting for it all to start.

– Me, 5 October 2006