18th Anniversary of Blogging

Here is my first blog post from 18 years ago, which makes it as old as a legal adult. Wow…

Two Footballs

I got started at a place called Diaryland. A friend, Lacey, had started using it. Back in those days, I was up for trying pretty much anything geeky friends were doing. Blogging was a natural place for me to go.

Diaryland became Pitas and the site there was the first Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric. As other platforms became available, I tried them all:

My activity is far less now than it was back in 2000, but as I understand, most people active back then primarily post on Facebook or Twitter.

On Oil

Hubbert Peak Theory
Hubbert Peak Theory (image via Wikipedia)

A while ago, George wrote about the new fees for flying. Lacey pointed out how the price of oil affects the cost of running an airline. Thoughts about these have been lurking in my head ever since. Today I have watched a couple times a speech given by Congressman Roscoe Bartlett on how oil production is about to peak. The transcript helped the second time through. (Wikipedia on Hubbert Peak Theory) I also watched A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash on Netflix’s Watch Instantly.

Bartlett quoted Thomas Friedman:

Our problem is so much worse than you think. We have no energy strategy. If you are going to use tax policy to shape energy strategy, then you want to raise taxes on the things that you want to discourage — gasoline consumption and gas-guzzling cars — and you want to lower taxes on the things you want to encourage — new renewable energy technologies. We are doing just the opposite.

(Bolded for emphasis; even though italics is emphasis.)

While this may not be a strategy, Bartlett does not point out keeping our economy in a positive growth direction has been the emphasis for the past 30 years. Cheap oil keeps factories running, keeps transportation moving, and forms the basis of our plastic-based society. Without cheap oil, we could not maintain the wonderful society we have today.

In Europe, they discourage the use of oil by much high taxes on it. The cost of this approach is we would almost certainly also enter into a recession for some time. Would it be the end of the world? No.

I don’t think our leaders completely ignored the problem as Bartlett suggests. They gambled on the choice technology would make alternatives cheaper by now and conservation would bridge the gap. They wanted their party to remain in power, so they would not have Instituted policy which would cause voters short-term pain with long-term benefits (despite the long-term benefits once through the pain).

That may be the kind of leader we need, but I would be surprised for such a person to get elected President of the United States.

Zemanta Pixie

RRRv302 REPOST: Did A Stupid Thing

Originally posted January 15, 2004.

v4 means its the fourth incarnation of this blog. This post was in v3. Thankfully, MovableType writes the content to files meaning there is a lasting archive. That reminds me… Need to put on the calendar to do regular backups of this blog.

Back to the post:

Did A Stupid Thing

No, really stupid. About the stupidest thing I have done in years. So stupid that it proves my idea that I am the luckiest person ever. No, really!

Soft sand cannot support weight. Small Japanese cars do not have the traction or capability of getting out of it. So even to attempt to turn around on a dirt road where there is a gate and soft sand between is about the dumbest thing ever. I knew it before I tried it. However, I had just spend 1/2 an hour driving around the middle of nowhere to find a friend’s house using only my recollection of the directions and map from several days earlier.

So my car was stuck and my efforts to get it out probably were only making it worse. This is the worst part in terms of my abject stupidity. Decided to ask for help. Walked down the dirt road to the first house and knocked on the rail leading to the mobile home. The people inside obviously did not hear so I stomped on the step and yelled an inquiry as to whether anyone was home. The lady of the house turned on the light, saw me, and freaked. Her husband was not quite as skittish, but still pretty nervous as he asked me to show him my hands and inquired about the availablity of weapons on my person and car. His dad next door had a tractor that might be able to help so he went to ask. While waiting for his dad, he asked all kinds of more questions.

I did lie here. Told him that I was visiting my friend earlier. On my way home, I realized I left something at the house and was going to turn around to go back over there. Because of the hills and speeds of cars on the highway, I didn’t want to turn around in the middle of the road (this sentence is true). Didn’t want to let these people know that I was out here essentially kind of lost and helpless.

The dad came, asked more grilling questions and asking for specifics. Stuff like my name, where I live, where I work, what I do. Turns out he has a web site. They pushed the car enough back with it in reverse that it was able to get traction. I turned around in their driveway and went home.

Called my friend to let him know what happened and that I am okay.

In talking with one of my assistants this morning, I found out that someone had used a ploy of asking for help to murder a family not all that far from there. Their timidity was certainly understandable. Their bravery in assisting me seems so much more impressive. The guy could have seen me there, killed me and probably not gone to prison. That is why I am still the luckiest guy walking on this planet.

Posted by Ezra at January 15, 2004 11:27 AM

Comments

Good story, though. Why didn’t you go to their front door and knock?

Posted by: lacey at January 15, 2004 05:58 PM
Knocked on the railing because I didn’t want to be extremely close to the door. As a black male, I know that white people tend to be a little skittish around “my type”. Them looking out the window and seeing me right there might have been a little nerve wracking.

I did notice that the husband stayed in his truck quite a bit with his right hand on the seat. I really think he might have had something there to take care of me should I have been a threat.

Posted by: ez at January 15, 2004 06:15 PM

Obscurity Obsolescence

Along the same lines as Lacey’s Travel and Usability post, libraries are not really designed to be very usable. Well… unless you think like a librarian. Who gets a MLIS degree in order to use a library. Okay… I would… bad example.

The below article’s Digital Natives are kids who have played video games all their lives. Its reporting on a talk given at an ALA conference that librarians should redesign libraries to be friendlier to these Digital Natives (aka more like video games). The strawman argument:

When ‘Digital Natives’ Go to the Library :: Inside Higher Ed:

“The librarian as information priest is as dead as Elvis,” Needham said. The whole “gestalt” of the academic library has been set up like a church, he said, with various parts of a reading room acting like “the stations of the cross,” all leading up to the “altar of the reference desk,” where “you make supplication and if you are found worthy, you will be helped.”

This similie is warped in my experience. When I worked the reference desk, I didn’t so much bestow books upon supplicants and demonstrate how to use the tools. In essence, it was like explaining to a friend who is stuck how to play the game. I had heard of libraries in which non-library employees are not allowed access to the stacks, but I thought them rare.

Maybe instead of librarians playing more video games, students who play video games should actually use those skills when they go to the library? They can master a university library by spending a couple hours a week for a month browsing, identifying patterns, and enjoying the fruits of their efforts: interesting books. For me, “research” meant skimming all books and articles on a topic and tangents to the topic. I could spend a year absorbing knowledge in a good library. Working in the library explosed me to such an enormous wealth of knowledge free for the asking.

Instead, students typically go into a library to find a list of books or articles. They want to spend the minimum amount of effort to accomplish the goal. This certainly is not how they approach video games.

Racism

Lacey’s story about her first brush with racism in Houston reminds me that they were well intentioned. I am not very hard on such people because my so very white grandmother has made similar comments. Hers was that the neighborhood was suffering from all the crime, the specific example was that my bike was stolen out of our yard. Actually it was stolen by a white kid on the street.

Despite that my father is black and my mother (her daughter) is white, to my grandmother I wasn’t black. I pointed out that to most people who make similar comments who don’t know me consider me black and part of the crime problem because I am black. She never made such a comment again (at least in my presence). I was 13 or 14 at the time.

A couple years later, a guy who was part of my “crew” told me he believed it was morally wrong for blacks and whites to interbreed. However, he didn’t consider me a bad person. I was highly offended at the time. It took a while for me to understand people have lines they consider good or bad, but the line can be easily moved at whim.

Being a mixed kid, race is something I have to deal with almost every day. For the most part, I have come to have blinders to many things that upset those who are still sensitive. There are plenty of opportunities to get upset:

  • Slow service at a restaurant.
  • Sales people following me in a store.
  • Police officers stopping the path changing directions to shadow me.
  • Evil glares from women of African descent when I am with a woman of European descent.
  • Assumptions about my intelligence.
  • Assumptions about my athletic ability.

Why get upset over other people’s ignorance when it doesn’t have an impact on me? The police officer who arrests me just because I am “black” would, of course, have a lawsuit coming.

Racism

Lacey’s story about her first brush with racism in Houston reminds me that they were well intentioned. I am not very hard on such people because my so very white grandmother has made similar comments. Hers was that the neighborhood was suffering from all the crime, the specific example was that my bike was stolen out of our yard. Actually it was stolen by a white kid on the street.

Despite that my father is black and my mother (her daughter) is white, to my grandmother I wasn’t black. I pointed out that to most people who make similar comments who don’t know me consider me black and part of the crime problem because I am black. She never made such a comment again (at least in my presence). I was 13 or 14 at the time.

A couple years later, a guy who was part of my “crew” told me he believed it was morally wrong for blacks and whites to interbreed. However, he didn’t consider me a bad person. I was highly offended at the time. It took a while for me to understand people have lines they consider good or bad, but the line can be easily moved at whim.

Being a mixed kid, race is something I have to deal with almost every day. For the most part, I have come to have blinders to many things that upset those who are still sensitive. There are plenty of opportunities to get upset:

  • Slow service at a restaurant.
  • Sales people following me in a store.
  • Police officers stopping the path to shadow me.

Why get upset over other people’s ignorance when it doesn’t have an impact on me? The police officer who arrests me just because I am “black” would, of course, have a lawsuit coming.

Kewl layout at the technorigami pita.


Formatting the hard drive, creating partitions, and installing Windows 2k!!! Woohoo!

If you actually understood that let me know by leaving a comment.


Kewl… up and running on the new machine. Happy now. Time to go home.


Lacey has moved cities and now sites. She can’t keep anything too static otherwise we would get bored with her.