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Couch Cushion Architecture: A critical analysis

May 6, 2010

This is so brilliant.

“While foundation as roof structure may not create the most efficient tectonic solution, we applaud the geometric inversion and fresh perspective on the “form follows function” relationship. As a side note it’s always disturbing to see the finish details carried out with such haste in the presence of true structural achievement. Grade: B-“

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Song O’ the Day

May 5, 2010

Light posting day.

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Song O’ the Day

May 4, 2010
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Are you afraid of killer artificial intelligence robots?

May 4, 2010

Because you should be. (Seriously read this.)

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Tourist Trap

May 4, 2010

The potential Times Square bombing got me thinking. I mean, it’s kind of crazy that it was just about sixty blocks away from my apartment, making it easily the closest I personally have ever come to something so terroristy, aside from that awful day nine and a half years ago.

I think it’s such a strange, weird phenomenon.  That a man born thousand of miles away, then naturalized into this country – see also: ‘accepted’ or ‘welcomed’ (not to overstate the case: I can’t possibly claim to understand the Middle Eastern immigrant experience) – would want to drive a shitty Japanese SUV into midtown and blow up an area dominated, primarily, by billboards and the M&M store.  It seems especially strange to me considering terrorism’s course over the last 100-150 years.

And  I say that because terrorism used to be a very localized response to perceived oppression.  Think Dostoyevsky’s Demons.  Think about our boy, Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  Think Algeria.  Think Boston Tea Party.  Think IRA.

Those are all cases in which a group of extremists, for better or worst, reacted to systemic pressures that existed almost entirely in their immediate vicinity. Suicide bombers, born and raised in Algeirs, attacked policemen in Algiers.  Same with Moscow anarchists.  With Basque separatists and the Tamil Tigers.  And so on.  Of course, some of the conflicts were intra-regional, as in the IRA attacking London and other English cities.  But always as a reaction to a physical presence at home.

In light of the above, the rise of international extremist terrorism – which has been largely religiously fundamentalist – looks like something of a different beast.  Except that, in many ways, I don’t think that it is.  Which is to say that, the conflicts don’t really diverge from the ones listed above, they’re simply examples of the pool getting a lot larger.  It now, effectively, encompasses the globe, which is how an attack on Times Square can still be an attack based on local pressures.

The only difference being – in terms of the vehicles of said pressure – the oft pointed out substitution of McDonald’s franchises for army bases, Chevys for tanks. Meaning that all of it stems from the great success and attractiveness (or marketability) of Western values and institutions around the globe.  What does that say?  I think the answer follows that so long as we stand behind our values (and I recognize the fraught maneuver of labeling anything ‘our values,’ and that, to the extent to which ‘we’ can agree on ‘our values,’ that isn’t even addressing the weird implications inherent to, and hidden in, said values (though I haven’t heard any of these objections explained in even a halfway convincing way by anyone anywhere close to a terrorist way of thinking) but which, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll suggest reside mostly along the civil liberties-political fairness axis) and think they are worth propagating, that we are winning in some way.  Because, in all but the most egregious cases, we haven’t been imposing any of this on anyone.

Which is all very simplistic, and maybe not even getting at what I wanted to say originally, but there it is.

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Song O’ the Day

May 4, 2010

Because I forgot last nite.  Oops.  And this song rocks.

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That is an impressive thought for a human . . .

May 3, 2010

Robots are everywhere.