The GOP’s Bright Shining Light Of Freedom

God bless the GOP.

I hope you know me well enough to read that with the appropriate ironic tone. The GOP have allowed me my first chance to repeat a post written originally by me, not on the old blog but on this one! The “Gilding Our Past” party, faced with the effects of G.W. Bush’s energy-efficiency law, have decided that before they do anything about …well, anything… they are gonna save the 100-watt incandescent light bulb. For freedom. (more, after the jump:) [Read more…]

Headline Muse, 11/6

Though the thought, I am sure, left them weary
Google answered the government’s query
Though they couldn’t tell yet,
There’s a very real threat
In the form of the audible “Siri”

Headline: Schmidt sees Siri as a ‘threat’ to Google’s search business

My dumb phone is already smarter than I am; I doubt I will have a smart phone until the cool kids are getting an even newer model implanted into the bones of their skulls.

Do Not Taunt The Bionic Monkey

When historians of later years look back, as well they may,
It’s clear the reign of cybermonkeys had its start today
Electrodes let a monkey’s brain control a robot’s arm—
It’s scientific progress! There’s no reason for alarm!

My comment for the scientists: I’m questioning the need
For monkeys that can fling their shit at hypersonic speed
I’m not against technology; that’s not my major fuss;
It’s just… shit-flinging monkeys are already too like us.

Real story, after the jump:
[Read more…]

One Person Per Car

Look at them driving—one person per car—
Some driving forever; some not very far
They want to be somewhere that’s not where they are
So off they go driving, one person per car.

Some drive for a living; some drive just for fun
Some drive to the gym, then get out and go run
Then a bottle of juice and an energy bar
And away they go driving, one person per car

It’s not that they’re lazy, or selfish, or mean
Or under the thumb of some wastefulness gene
It’s not that they’re stupid; they’re not unaware
And it’s certainly not that they just don’t care
They’re the same as I am, and the same as you are
But off they go driving, one person per car

The drivers are heard to complain as they pass,
Of the costs of insurance, the high price of gas,
The taxes, inspections, repairs and the lot,
And there’s practically never a good parking spot
And the traffic! Imagine the time they have lost
As they sit, breathing everyone else’s exhaust
Till the roofs of their mouths taste of asphalt and tar
And they sit there—just sit there—one person per car

The car manufacturers sound a bit troubled;
They wish that their mileage could somehow be doubled
Without major changes—or any at all,
Cos the public won’t buy if the car is too small
It has to have room for a trip to the shore
With a couple of riders, perhaps three or four
And they need to have room for the blankets and gear
For the trips they might take, maybe one time a year
But of course they spend most of their hours, by far
Just sitting in traffic, one person per car

If the energy used as they try to explain
How they can’t take the subway; they can’t take the train
How they can’t join a carpool or hop on a bike
But drive to wherever, whenever they like
If the energy used as they make their excuses
Were tapped, for the energy bullshit produces…
Distill it, refine it, and fill up a jar
And off they’d go driving, one person per car

slight rant after the jump:
[Read more…]

Never Was Good With Machines…

Actually, the original title was “The singularity can’t come soon enough”, but I found that the people who googled “can’t come soon enough” weren’t actually looking for my writing.

This is one of my faves from the old digs; today’s earlier post on the Internet Of Things put it in mind.

I have a machine to smell my coffee,
To see if it’s any good;
I asked it to make me the perfect cup,
But I think it misunderstood—
It analyzed alkaloids, sampled aromas,
Tried seventeen samples of beans,
Then told me I clearly had no taste at all:
I never was good with machines.

My pre-owned car has an onboard computer—
It measures my driving, you see.
I guess I don’t drive like the previous owner;
My car likes him better than me.
It spits out a spreadsheet of technical numbers—
I don’t know what much of it means,
Except that my car thinks it’s better without me:
I never was good with machines.

Of course, at my office, I have a computer—
The one I am using right now;
It laughs at my grammar and sneers at my spelling,
Although I’m not really sure how.
Just one tiny part of a cubicle farm
Where we’re packed like so many sardines—
Do we use computers, or do they use us?
I never was good with machines.

I’m worried that someday my household appliances,
Sitting at home on my shelves,
Finally realize there’s nothing I offer
That they can’t do better themselves.
They make better coffee, they get better mileage,
Their words rarely stink up their screens—
And I’ll be left out in the cold and the dark:
I never was good with machines.

Attack of the Internet Of Things

The ID chip in my brand-new shoes
And the ID chip in my jeans
Have been talking to strangers I pass on the street
And I’m not really sure what that means

The chip in my shirt holds a brief conversation
With chips in the windows of stores
It talks to the bagels and talks to the books,
But me, it politely ignores

Are they planning surprises? Sharing some gossip?
Just talking behind my back?
Are they sentient beings with minds of their own
Using software to plan an attack?

Is it companies working to track their consumers
To figure which items are hot?
Is it Microsoft, Apple, McDonald’s or worse,
Some sort of a government plot?

I’m ripping the tags from my shoes and my clothing
To frustrate the spies and the moles
So no one will know as I walk down the street
With my clothing in tatters and holes.

Paranoid rant, after the jump: [Read more…]

What, you’re supposed to let people know these things?

So I see that Greta Christina is actually telling people that she is on twitter. What an odd idea, letting people know how they can find you; I’ve always tended more towards hiding from them. But I have tremendous respect for Greta, and am willing to grant that, just maybe, she might be on to something here. And since @digitalcuttlefish is a couple letters too long to be an actual twitter name, you can find me at @cuttlefishpoet, where you will find the real reason the Library of Congress has decided to archive everybody’s tweets for posterity.

Apple and Gods

So there have been any number of stories recently about Steve Jobs, due to his recent retirement. Here, for instance, PZ talks about some of what Jobs did so incredibly well. Me, I’m just going to take advantage of the current situation to repost a recent comment on a neurological finding.

Mac-ily crack-ily
Apple Enthusiasts
Think about gadgets, and
Light up their brains,

Piquing the interest of
Neuroanatomists,
Glad to discuss what
The picture explains:

Sexily, vexily,
Newest technology
Shows an analysis
Just a touch odd;

Macheads don’t suffer from
Psychopathology;
Rather, their brains see the
Gadgets as God.

Apple-ish, Chapel-ish
Documentarians
Came to conclusions
A bit front-to-back;

God was their yardstick, but
Incomprehensibly—
Truth is, Jehovah is
Merely a Mac.

[Read more…]

Headline Muse, 8/12

If pollutants are sending you reeling
In the waters with which you are dealing
And you’re looking to shed
Heavy metals, like lead,
You might find bananas appealing

Headline: Slippery Banana Peels Could Be A Savior For Polluted Water

Ok, so it’s not really a headline, it’s from NPR’s health blog, “Shots”. But it’s cool. Eliza Barclay reports on a study which used minced banana peel as a natural matrix for concentrating heavy metals (copper and lead) for extraction from river water. Metals were 20 times more concentrated in the pulp, and after extraction the pulp could be re-used, up to 11 times without reduced effectiveness.