Saturday, December 31, 2011

Twitter is down!!

It has become increasingly clear that the failwhale is becoming increasingly less cute. But, as usual, it likely has less to do with people using the system, and more to do with people abusing it.

Twitter is new territory for spammers, like the earlier days of mail, and it is particularly well suited to automation of accounts. With a fairly small amount of money, you can buy follower traffic, and even engage a source of  innocuous content to tweet out to them on an automated basis: like quotes from famous philosophers. Voila! You have a semi-credible bot account.

Then, there are techniques for interconnecting bots, so that "listener" points can be set up (also a paid service, for a small fee) that scan feeds for keywords of one's choosing. When those keywords occur in a feed, then your bot account can say things having to do with that subject: magically butting-in to whatever conversation. Or, you can schedule tweets, be so that in amongst your philosophy quotes. you toss in a scheduled promo for your aluminum siding company, your naked lady site, or your new album.

So, you now have a content feed with scheduled ads that semi appropriately acts like "it couldn't help overhearing..."

Now, imagine someone spending more than a small amount to create armies of these bots, with pictures of pretty girls as the avatars and all manner of automated or aggregated content. The scheduled ads in these are usually for naked lady sites, and the "bio page" usually has a link to such a site., but not necessarily.

Then imagine multiples of these armies, butting in to conversations, or even starting conversations with innocuous questions "Has anyone ever had a cat with hair balls, what did you do?" And there are "manual overrides", where the account operators can pop in with actual responses, tweeting as several accounts at once.

But the difference between twitter and email is that a great many things were made available for this sort of automation. And certainly, this sport of thing can be used for very good purposes, not all autoquote accounts are bad and some naked lady accounts actually have real naked ladies associated with them. However, at the end of the day, if bot army "A" is butting into the conversations of bot army "B", each with a series of automated actions set up to occur when engaged, then it is a little much.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Music day today.

I have off from work, and the family is visiting relatives, so I have the house to myself. Therefore,  today I will make electronic noises and hopefully cause some of them to align into music.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I forgot to tell you, the unusual thing

You have to read the previous post, but it was getting long anyway: I said something unusual happened angst it did.

I was thinking about the things in my previous post, and I thought "Jesus Christ is..." as kind of a mental exercise, to see if I could be Truthful, accurate and succinct, like that ideal religious idea I describe, you see-- but also to see what might pop into my head, as a way to better understand...

And at that precise moment there was a bright flash, like a flash of lightning, but bright enough to fill the sky: not just one bolt. It was really like all my surroundings vanished in a blink, and I was inside a bright sphere of light for that instant.

I was startled, it was a little scary. It seemed like lightning, so it must've been, but there was no thunder, and no subsequent flashes. There was like a kind of "popping" sensation, also, like an electrical discharge.

I was feeling proud of myself prior to that instant, musing to myself about these things and working that thought process. But, there was that flash and then I felt very small, unsure of what happened: a lowly, disconnected creature once again.

It seems meaningful: but, this is where the nuisance thing happens, I cannot tell you I had a "spiritual or religious experience", only that I experienced something while deep in thought about spiritual things.

I hope it wasn't something with my brain or nervous system. Really, it was more like lightning briefly erasing everything.

So happy blogging from my phone.

I like to write shorter blog blurbish things, so I installed the blogger app on my android phone and now I can blog much more easily. When I got around to it previously it was after setting up my notebook, usually for a different purpose. Now it can be more when the thought strikes me, which is better.

I have tomorrow off and it will be a music day, all day. I've put some new ideas down and it's great.

The other night something unusual happened. I was thinking about religion, like this: a good religion is actually designed to make you think. Religion and God are two different things, this should be clear. The backlash against religion comes from the practitioners of the religion being nuisances and seeming like they are dumb. I recalled all of the bothersome people who irritated me about their religion, and also other people who were plainly hypocritical to me but did not seem to recognize that. "Theosophy" was a response to the "lemming-ness" of religion, in their assertion that there is no religion greater than Truth, that if a god is God then Truth must be a subset of that god and wholly consistent with that Truth.

The best religious thoughts are like Kilgore Trout sci fi stories.  The way Vonnegut inserted them in his larger books, summarizing them succinctly and getting to the point of what was meant, even though the stories themselves were supposedly never needed to actually read a Kilgore Trout novella to "get it".

Now, however, once someone starts fleshing out these more succinct thoughts, they get tedious and tangled in details and contradictions can arise and sects sprout out of different interpretations and so on. The Theosophy movement got just as complicated and sect-ridden as any mainstream religion. But, it is a perfectly great statement to say if God is God, Truth can't be greater than God: God has to be at least as great as Truth.

I used to think that one followed a religion either because one was intellectually weak, so one needed a sort of mythology to explain things, or because one benefitted from belonging to a religious "club", so they paid lip service to whatever was required. This is maybe true in some cases, but if you get into it more you see that it can be a very rich intellectual exercise. The main thing is to avoid explaining things away, it all has at least some meaning.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Well, what a depressing blog post that last one was, huh?

ha ha. I say "ha ha" because I am laughing at myself in the mocking manner of Bart Simpson, and also because I am kind of amused/bemused about my situation.

I tried out one of the pieces of gear I thought might be ruined. It is not! It does not seem to be ruined! It might even sound better, I don't know.

Ok, the next thing: the cancer thing. It is pretty funny when you go to take a medical test and then you read about debates concerning the validity and usefulness of that test. And then you have another medical test whose validity sort of depends on the medical test that is being debated. So, there is a writeup from a doctor that says I have it, but I've asked for another opinion, and there is the debated test which indicates that I have a *chance* of having it. And, what I have may not kill me ever. Or it may kill me sooner.

In other words, prior to having these tests, I lived in a world where I might die sooner, or later, of any number of causes; let me emphasize ANY NUMBER of causes.

Now, I live in a world where I might die sooner, or later, with some knowledge of the amount of chance that I have to die of a PARTICULAR ONE of those causes.

This means that, henceforth, I will be undergoing a series of tests that will determine, indisputably, which thing I will die of, because I will die of it. In other words, I will continue to experience that which I have found to be "incorporeal life" up until such time as I experience something else.

Glad that's settled. Now, here is a set of thoughts with more entertainment value.

People sign things. In one case, they sign things to certify they agree with something, in other cases they sign things to certify that they understand something. In either of those cases, they are usually signing something with the intent to get things done. And in any other cases with whatever reasons, they are usually signing something to get something done.

There are other times they sign things, also with the intent to get something done, but also they feel confident in their ability to weasel out of anything. That's the funny thing, the classically funny thing, actually: all of the various deals with various nefarious deities, wizards, and so on which give rise to all of those classic tales of clever weasels outwitting death/devil/landlord/loanshark whatever even after sealing/signing/sgreeing/swearing etc.

But in any of those cases the signature works just as well to keep things moving forward until said weaseling begins. It is kind of funny, and kind of scary.

In general, it is a matter of how much bullshit one can tolerate: not just on the receiving end, but in how much one can stand to participate in.

Material things are a great incentive for getting people to agree to things, and then they do whatever they are supposed to keep up with agreement to keep those things. Taken as a sum total, it is that intertwined set of agreements that really keeps the economy of the entire world moving.

Then maybe someone stands outside of that mesh of agreements, to watch it evolve, and s "hey, when these agreements and those happen, this other thing happens" and they create an "investment product" which involves as set of interactions between those agreements. It is all very interesting.

But, (here is the most entertaning/amusing part) when the people signing the agreements in the mesh depend on the investment products derived from the interactions observed from outside the promise mesh to meet the agreements inside the promise mesh, and weasels start to break promises, what happens then?

A short circuit, or a warping, I would think; wouldn't it?

So how much of that can the system withstand?

The answer to that is what we are experiencing.