The Fitful Flog

February 7, 2007

Blognotes from the Underground

Underground Man Roundel

This is just to apologize for making you ask yourself unpleasant questions.

The site was being haunted by a most unpleasant spambot. Dybbuk is the term that leaps to mind — a brainless, leechy kind of dead thing. Kept sending requests every few seconds to the comments script.The flakiness of the database was like pie crust made with real lard on a cold winter’s day. After the standard methods of laying the ghost had failed, there was nothing for it but sacrificing a chicken or installing a challenge system. And I had had chicken for lunch.

The challenge system makes you prove that you’re not a spambot before it lets you submit a comment. I hate that. Not because I have any sympathy with the nasty scripts that cruise this information boreen, but because I have so constantly to prove that I’m a human to non-humans. It’s more than a little degrading, isn’t it?

And then, it might make you wonder, am I a spambot? Many people at work think I may be, as I’m constantly bombarding them with cryptic mailings in a harsh jargonese. Dusty Scott Key, (the lesser known grandson of American poet, Francis Scott Key), wrote a short novel called, Notes from the Underground, where he ponders the issues of determinism and freedom and eventually decides that he is only free when he acts against his own self-interest. One can feel for the Underground Man. No spambot, he. Little prolix, though.

One can imagine a machine that can fold paper. One can not imagine a machine that would enjoy creating a new fold. Go ahead, try. Let us all then be mysterians, together.

Clematis Box, Flat and Curved

Clematis Box Crease Pattern

7 Responses to “Blognotes from the Underground”

  1. 1
    Mélisande Says:

    [was asked to type “allow” by your anti-spam robot, so I am grateful to be allowed to write here…]

    Sub diversis speciebus
    Signis tantum et non rebus,
    Latent res eximiae.
    – St-Thomas d’Aquin

    Not that his complete works are actually my livre de chevet ; we are learning Lauda Sion from Mendelsohn at our choir.
    Yesterday evening, instead deciphering notes and listening to our director, I began to think about the meaning of the lyrics and got messed with the music.

    Whole text is kind of mystico-cryptic poetry, even in french I can’t achieve a proper and elegant translation.

    A metaphoric one could be as follows :
    Best things are not real, they are hidden under various symbols.

    We are able to recognize and share these things, spambots are not.

  2. 2
    christine Says:

    Christiane you may be allowed to type. I have been relegated to Santa, a host of responsibility I have never requested or looked for.

    I just needed to say Aquinas??? can’t we all just get along without the need for thought? Thoughts lead to potential emotion and emotions can destroy rather than create. Spambots do well what spambots do well and I think less thought and more consistent focus on the basics that let us live would be helpful.

    Perhaps I’ve read to much Phillip Dick, but I don’t exclude the possibility of machine with the potential to enjoy the creative process. Clearly much of mankind is good at the opposite end of the spectrum, destroying inanimate as well as animate objects.

    Perhaps I should pick up a few old college textbooks and review my dusty old philosophers.

  3. 3
    oschene Says:

    Though I am not of the Romish tribe, I’ve a soft spot for such hymns — Latin has an economy of meaning that you just can’t achieve in English. Or French, I’m guessing. This is a lovely lyric and is aptly quoted.

    I know I shouldn’t worry about determinism, but occasionally, I do. I work with machines so much, they color my vision. Since you’re speaking of science fiction, are you familiar with Sheckley’s Can You Feel Anything When I Do This? Short story about a vacuum cleaner who falls in love with a human. Written years before the invention of the Roomba.

  4. 4
    christine Says:

    It sounds vaguely familiar, but that could be because I read much and remember little. If you wish to foray into the history of man and machine there is a delightful little book called “Edison’s Eve,” a brief history of automata, by Gaby Woods. It is a quick, but satisfying read. I’ll look into the story sounds amusing.

    Christiane-It is a lovely quote I do quite agree with. I put my foot in my keyboard, often, when having a bit of stress.

    Noticing a holiday theme-today’s word tinsel

  5. 5
    Joan Michaels Paque Says:

    Don’t know why my messages don’t get
    through but will try again. Is anyone
    else suffering from brain strain from
    the onslaught of tempting ideas that
    are flooding the tessellation site? Am
    trying to concentrate on interpreting
    Fujimoto’s complex pleat folds and the
    distractions are just too tempting.

  6. 6
    oschene Says:

    Do you mean the Flickr tessellations group or Eric’s site?

  7. 7
    Joan Michaels Paque Says:

    Both as well as individual
    sites like yours.

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