Bloglet - A tasty morsel of web goodness every time I log in.

Searching was broken for a while. I'd been trying to optimize the search function, but I left out a necessary step, so it was missing a lot of results. I think it's fixed now. _
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12:24:43 PM, Monday 10 November 2003


The vim-mac Yahoo Group is about, well, running vim on the Mac. It's what I'm watching for updates on my current problems with Vim in OS X 10.3. _
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05:41:54 PM, Friday 7 November 2003


Apologies for the blogbot going down last night. Not sure what caused it, but anyway, it's back now. _
05:10:50 PM, Friday 7 November 2003


I am a debugging zombie. _
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07:59:30 PM, Wednesday 5 November 2003


From a post by Gideon Strauss, I learn of The New Pantagruel. The introduction has me very intrigued. For all that I am, by any number of definitions, an atheist, a materialist, and an enlightenment liberal, this way of seeing the world speaks to me more truly than much of what is said today. _
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05:38:49 PM, Tuesday 4 November 2003


If you're interested in writing a daemon in Python, this recipe from the Python Cookbook shows how to do it. For the most complete version, be sure to scroll down to the post by Clark Evans from 2003/02/23.

This helped me solve the problem that was keeping the blogbot from running on hobbes. I've now moved it over there (it was on my home computer before, which was sucky). I'm doing this in the interest of getting the blogbot packaged for distribution to people that aren't me, since Sean asked about it the other day. _
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01:28:13 AM, Tuesday 4 November 2003


I’ve finally updated my sidebar to reflect what I’m actually reading these days. Also replaced my sadly out-of-date list of SJCish blogs with a link to BLTadv. _
09:57:33 PM, Monday 3 November 2003


Heh. I had a dream the other night where Fidel Castro was posing as me, except also I sort of was Fidel Castro. I was worried, ‘cause (1) it made me get back from lunch kinda late and (2) I thought someone might blog about it and then the CIA would know where I (Fidel) was and send someone to kill me. I don’t claim to understand this at all.

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02:52:42 PM, Monday 3 November 2003


A very happy birthday to Moira!

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02:49:42 PM, Monday 3 November 2003


PyLog is like Prolog for Python. Cool. I should check it out, and use it to do, um, logic.

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01:44:01 AM, Sunday 2 November 2003


Testing Trackback

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01:37:33 AM, Sunday 2 November 2003


It's surprising how much a bug tracking system is like a blogging tool. They're really both about posting items onto a website where people can then respond to them. _
09:40:19 PM, Saturday 1 November 2003


“Why is it so cold, Moss?”
“Because… God has withdrawn his veil of protection from the apartment.”

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08:31:24 PM, Saturday 1 November 2003


So yesterday I think I finally really got Model View Controller, and understood how to apply it to web applications. This is good. _
05:57:02 PM, Saturday 1 November 2003


Hurray! Comments to the gallery are pinging BLT again! _
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11:40:17 PM, Friday 31 October 2003


My father now has a blog. I suspect he will do good things with it. _
06:46:24 PM, Friday 31 October 2003


Just in case anyone was wondering, algebra is something you may find yourself using in real life. _
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09:17:32 PM, Thursday 30 October 2003


Grr... network problems. _
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03:28:01 PM, Thursday 30 October 2003


Pashua is a tool for creating Aqua (MacOS X) GUIs for command-line scripts. _
09:22:35 PM, Wednesday 29 October 2003


Information Retrieval. See in particular the chapter on automatic classification, which is something I've been thinking about lately. Someone at Stanford has a Python program that does single-link clustering and a couple of other kinds. _
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09:57:51 PM, Tuesday 28 October 2003


Hunter S. Thompson: Big Darkness, soon come. Take my word for it. _
03:57:33 PM, Tuesday 28 October 2003


Open Directory - Computers: Artificial Intelligence: Machine Learning: Software _
07:36:37 PM, Monday 27 October 2003


Data Mining in Python: "This is a collection of libraries useful for machine learning and data mining." _
07:34:49 PM, Monday 27 October 2003


Cluster Analysis: "The term cluster analysis (first used by Tryon, 1939) actually encompasses a number of different classification algorithms . A general question facing researchers in many areas of inquiry is how to organize observed data into meaningful structures, that is, to develop taxonomies." _
07:32:35 PM, Monday 27 October 2003


Do you have a LiveJournal? Would you like it to appear on BLT? If so, leave a comment on this entry, and I'll see about hooking you up. _
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03:42:23 PM, Monday 27 October 2003


In AIM, talking about forming a band:
Neil: Unitam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant
Moira: a cow? _
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01:29:43 AM, Sunday 26 October 2003


I think even trying to separate an action from its circumstances may be looking at it wrong. The motives for acting, the time and place, the causes and circumstances, are all part of the meaning of the act itself. Firing a gun at a target is not “doing the same thing” as firing a gun at a human being.

“Is blogging virtuous?”

I too would say that the answer is uncertain, but the problem isn’t that no action is unequivocally right or wrong. Ask me if it’s wrong to throw your daughter down a well and I’m quite sure I already know enough to give a fair answer. The problem with the question about blogging is that it doesn’t tell you enough to give a good answer. Is it wrong to move your hand forward suddenly and quickly? Well, maybe it is. I don’t know. Is there someone in front of you? Is there a knife in your hand?

I think Kant understood this. He said that you should act on maxims that you could affirm as universal laws, but this is not to say that the acts must be universally right regardless of their circumstances. Rather, it is the defining principles that must be universal: the rules that guide you from the circumstance to the right action.

Kant also said, of course, that the only unqualified good is a good will. This seems related to what Cassie was getting at in saying that trying to do the right thing is always virtuous. However, it’s not the same as saying that any act can be excused if your intentions are good. Sean’s Mao example makes a good point, but misses an important distinction. Mao was (by hypothesis) trying to do the right thing, and this attempt was, in itself, virtuous. But in trying realize the good towards which he aimed, he came to do evil, and this was not virtuous. On a smaller scale, this is happening to all of us all the time: we are imperfect beings, and none of us has either the strength or the knowledge to make our deeds as pure as our intentions. We can and should try to do good, but we not succeed perfectly. We will continue to do evil. I suppose this is why some sort of redemption is needed—but I don’t know a lot about that.

But, to return to what Cassie originally said, I don’t think it is unvirtuous to blog. It can be done in a way that lacks virtue, but reading some blogs has done me good, and I believe there are some that do good for the world by existing. I would even say that reading your blog, Miss Sherman, has done me good. But perhaps you should say more: what leads you to question its virtue?

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06:06:09 PM, Friday 24 October 2003

- has just—for the first time—managed to impressed me.

03:17:31 PM, Friday 24 October 2003


Out of the corner of my eye, I'm watching the development of Divmod Quotient, a "multi-protocol messaging
server with tools for information management and retrieval." It doesn't look like it's quite together enough to use yet, but the idea of having one system to connect all my online communication is something I find interesting. _
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02:43:30 PM, Friday 24 October 2003


form is an (incompatible) alternative to the cgi module from the standard Python distribution. ... It supports all HTML form functions, including multiple-file-upload and imagemap-input, and has in-built Denial of Service safeguards. It has many utility functions you'll use a lot when writing CGIs, and can also output url-encoded and multipart/form-data for sending to servers. _
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02:11:04 PM, Friday 24 October 2003


It's now relatively easy to get antialiased text in the major consumer operating systems. This seems reasonably encouraging, but consider that the technology has been around for something like twenty years. Aren't computers supposed to advance faster than that? _
01:40:20 PM, Friday 24 October 2003


The most interesting internet technologies to have come around since the web got big are: instant messaging, blogs and news aggregators, wikis, filesharing. What else? _
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09:22:02 PM, Thursday 23 October 2003


Johnnies and other studiers of Greek: go see the word telos used in a tech article. _
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05:48:01 PM, Thursday 23 October 2003


Thou Shalt Not Kill
A Memorial for Dylan Thomas


They are murdering all the young men.
For half a century now, every day,
They have hunted them down and killed them.
They are killing them now.
At this minute, all over the world,
They are killing the young men.
They know ten thousand ways to kill them.
Every year they invent new ones.
In the jungles of Africa,
In the marshes of Asia,
In the deserts of Asia,
In the slave pens of Siberia,
In the slums of Europe,
In the nightclubs of America,
The murderers are at work.

They are stoning Stephen,
They are casting him forth from every city in the world.
Under the Welcome sign,
Under the Rotary emblem,
On the highway in the suburbs,
His body lies under the hurling stones.
He was full of faith and power.
He did great wonders among the people.
They could not stand against his wisdom.
They could not bear the spirit with which he spoke.
He cried out in the name
Of the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness.
They were cut to the heart.
They gnashed against him with their teeth.
They cried out with a loud voice.
They stopped their ears.
They ran on him with one accord.
They cast him out of the city and stoned him.
The witnesses laid down their clothes
At the feet of a man whose name was your name —

You are the murderer.
You are killing the young men.
You are broiling Lawrence on his gridiron.
When you demanded he divulge
The hidden treasures of the spirit,
He showed you the poor.
You set your heart against him.
You seized him and bound him with rage.
You roasted him on a slow fire.
His fat dripped and spurted in the flame.
The smell was sweet to your nose.
He cried out,
“I am cooked on this side,
Turn me over and eat,
Eat of my flesh.”

You are murdering the young men.
You are shooting Sebastian with arrows.
He kept the faithful steadfast under persecution.
First you shot him with arrows.
Then you beat him with rods.
Then you threw him in a sewer.
You fear nothing more than courage.
You who turn away your eyes
At the bravery of the young men.

The hyena with polished face and bow tie,
In the office of a billion dollar
Corporation devoted to service;
The vulture dripping with carrion,
Carefully and carelessly robed in imported tweeds,
Lecturing on the Age of Abundance;
The jackal in double-breasted gabardine,
Barking by remote control,
In the United Nations;
The vampire bat seated at the couch head,
Notebook in hand, toying with his decerebrator;
The autonomous, ambulatory cancer,
The Superego in a thousand uniforms;
You, the finger man of behemoth,
The murderer of the young men.


What happened to Robinson,
Who used to stagger down Eighth Street,
Dizzy with solitary gin?
Where is Masters, who crouched in
His law office for ruinous decades?
Where is Leonard who thought he was
A locomotive? And Lindsay,
Wise as a dove, innocent
As a serpent, where is he?
       Timor mortis conturbat me.

What became of Jim Oppenheim?
Lola Ridge alone in an
Icy furnished room? Orrick Johns,
Hopping into the surf on his
One leg? Elinor Wylie
Who leaped like Kierkegaard?
Sara Teasdale, where is she?
       Timor mortis conturbat me.

Where is George Sterling, that tame fawn?
Phelps Putnam who stole away?
Jack Wheelwright who couldn’t cross the bridge?
Donald Evans with his cane and
Monocle, where is he?
       Timor mortis conturbat me.

John Gould Fletcher who could not
Unbreak his powerful heart?
Bodenheim butchered in stinking
Squalor? Edna Millay who took
Her last straight whiskey? Genevieve
Who loved so much; where is she?
       Timor mortis conturbat me.

Harry who didn’t care at all?
Hart who went back to the sea?
       Timor mortis conturbat me.

Where is Sol Funaroff?
What happened to Potamkin?
Isidor Schneider? Claude McKay?
Countee Cullen? Clarence Weinstock?
Who animates their corpses today?
       Timor mortis conturbat me.

Where is Ezra, that noisy man?
Where is Larsson whose poems were prayers?
Where is Charles Snider, that gentle
Bitter boy? Carnevali,
What became of him?
Carol who was so beautiful, where is she?
       Timor mortis conturbat me.


Was their end noble and tragic,
Like the mask of a tyrant?
Like Agamemnon’s secret golden face?
Indeed it was not. Up all night
In the fo’c’sle, bemused and beaten,
Bleeding at the rectum, in his
Pocket a review by the one
Colleague he respected, “If he
Really means what these poems
Pretend to say, he has only
One way out —.” Into the
Hot acrid Caribbean sun,
Into the acrid, transparent,
Smoky sea. Or another, lice in his
Armpits and crotch, garbage littered
On the floor, gray greasy rags on
The bed. “I killed them because they
Were dirty, stinking Communists.
I should get a medal.” Again,
Another, Simenon foretold
His end at a glance. “I dare you
To pull the trigger.” She shut her eyes
And spilled gin over her dress.
The pistol wobbled in his hand.
It took them hours to die.
Another threw herself downstairs,
And broke her back. It took her years.
Two put their heads under water
In the bath and filled their lungs.
Another threw himself under
The traffic of a crowded bridge.
Another, drunk, jumped from a
Balcony and broke her neck.
Another soaked herself in
Gasoline and ran blazing
Into the street and lived on
In custody. One made love
Only once with a beggar woman.
He died years later of syphilis
Of the brain and spine. Fifteen
Years of pain and poverty,
While his mind leaked away.
One tried three times in twenty years
To drown himself. The last time
He succeeded. One turned on the gas
When she had no more food, no more
Money, and only half a lung.
One went up to Harlem, took on
Thirty men, came home and
Cut her throat. One sat up all night
Talking to H.L. Mencken and
Drowned himself in the morning.
How many stopped writing at thirty?
How many went to work for Time?
How many died of prefrontal
Lobotomies in the Communist Party?
How many are lost in the back wards
Of provincial madhouses?
How many on the advice of
Their psychoanalysts, decided
A business career was best after all?
How many are hopeless alcoholics?
René Crevel!
Jacques Rigaud!
Antonin Artaud!
Robert Desnos!
Saint Pol Roux!
Max Jacob!
All over the world
The same disembodied hand
Strikes us down.
Here is a mountain of death.
A hill of heads like the Khans piled up.
The first-born of a century
Slaughtered by Herod.
Three generations of infants
Stuffed down the maw of Moloch.


He is dead.
The bird of Rhiannon.
He is dead.
In the winter of the heart.
He is Dead.
In the canyons of death,
They found him dumb at last,
In the blizzard of lies.
He never spoke again.
He died.
He is dead.
In their antiseptic hands,
He is dead.
The little spellbinder of Cader Idris.
He is dead.
The sparrow of Cardiff.
He is dead.
The canary of Swansea.
Who killed him?
Who killed the bright-headed bird?
You did, you son of a bitch.
You drowned him in your cocktail brain.
He fell down and died in your synthetic heart.
You killed him,
Oppenheimer the Million-Killer,
You killed him,
Einstein the Gray Eminence.
You killed him,
Havanahavana, with your Nobel Prize.
You killed him, General,
Through the proper channels.
You strangled him, Le Mouton,
With your mains étendues.
He confessed in open court to a pince-nezed skull.
You shot him in the back of the head
As he stumbled in the last cellar.
You killed him,
Benign Lady on the postage stamp.
He was found dead at a Liberal Weekly luncheon.
He was found dead on the cutting room floor.
He was found dead at a Time policy conference.
Henry Luce killed him with a telegram to the Pope.
Mademoiselle strangled him with a padded brassiere.
Old Possum sprinkled him with a tea ball.
After the wolves were done, the vaticides
Crawled off with his bowels to their classrooms and quarterlies.
When the news came over the radio
You personally rose up shouting, “Give us Barabbas!”
In your lonely crowd you swept over him.
Your custom-built brogans and your ballet slippers
Pummeled him to death in the gritty street.
You hit him with an album of Hindemith.
You stabbed him with stainless steel by Isamu Noguchi,
He is dead.
He is Dead.
Like Ignacio the bullfighter,
At four o’clock in the afternoon.
At precisely four o’clock.
I too do not want to hear it.
I too do not want to know it.
I want to run into the street,
Shouting, “Remember Vanzetti!”
I want to pour gasoline down your chimneys.
I want to blow up your galleries.
I want to bum down your editorial offices.
I want to slit the bellies of your frigid women.
I want to sink your sailboats and launches.
I want to strangle your children at their finger paintings.
I want to poison your Afghans and poodles.
He is dead, the little drunken cherub.
He is dead,
The effulgent tub thumper.
He is Dead.
The ever living birds are not singing
To the head of Bran.
The sea birds are still
Over Bardsey of Ten Thousand Saints.
The underground men are not singing
On their way to work.
There is a smell of blood
In the smell of the turf smoke.
They have struck him down,
The son of David ap Gwilym.
They have murdered him,
The Baby of Taliessin.
There he lies dead,
By the Iceberg of the United Nations.
There he lies sandbagged,
At the foot of the Statue of Liberty.
The Gulf Stream smells of blood
As it breaks on the sand of Iona
And the blue rocks of Canarvon.
And all the birds of the deep sea rise up
Over the luxury liners and scream,
“You killed him! You killed him.
In your God damned Brooks Brothers suit,
You son of a bitch.”

--Kenneth Rexroth
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04:56:56 PM, Wednesday 22 October 2003


Reading about Python's automatic documentation generator:

You can also use pydoc to start an HTTP server on the local machine that will serve documentation to visiting Web browsers. pydoc -p 1234 will start a HTTP server on port 1234, allowing you to browse the documentation at http://localhost:1234/ in your preferred Web browser.

Cool! _
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05:01:49 PM, Tuesday 21 October 2003


SQLObject (the library I mentioned looking for in the last entry) is a very slick object-relational mapper for Python. It lets you define classes that feel like normal Python classes, but that are tied to columns in a database. It looks like it can do all the nifty relational database stuff like selects and one-to-many and many-to-many relationships. I'd like to play with it some. _
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06:18:59 PM, Monday 20 October 2003


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