Me Social Media

Dan Schultz doesn’t like Facebook or Twitter because they are too focussed on individual expression rather than the community.

That may be because he is using them wrong. I liked photography as a kid, but I didn’t know any photographers. Flickr happened to come into my life just after I bought my first digital camera. My participation in photography exploded. Not because I had a way to post my photos but because I had a way to find other local photographers for mutual encouragement. Even better was forming local groups to encourage people to meet. The value of Flickr is developing the community.

Worldwide Photowalk Panorama

Similarly, I got into Twitter because my community, peers at other universities running the same software as myself, were seeking help there. Any place with answers to the problems we face, which is where people with the answers are watching, is where we go. Twitter was the place to get the attention of the right people not a forum like phpBB. (There are already lots of email lists.) My other community, people using the software I run are also on Twitter. I’ve resolved issues for many clients by finding their public complaints and offering solutions. When my focus changed away from using Twitter for the community is when I stopped liking Twitter.

Personally, I have yet to find much sense of community in the phpBB, Google Wave, and Ning. So I find it strange these are the exemplars of community applications. They seem fractured so one finds dozens of groups to covering the same interest. Sometimes this is because some moderator upset a portion of the community with draconian behavior causing people to form an alternative community. Bad blood exists for a while. Other times people set up a new community unaware others exist.

TED Talk: Stroke of Insight

The first couple TED videos I watched didn’t impress me. A few weeks later, I saw this post from Sam about the top 10 TED videos. Sam is one of those people who reserves good for the truly special so I made sure to watch them. This video was the first on that list and occupied me as I watched it about once a day for a week. (Admittedly I didn’t get around to it until a few months later.)

B&N suckered me into buying the book My Stroke of Insight by setting up a table for interesting topics. Smart because I nearly dropped a couple hundred dollars that day. Anyway, I gave it as gift to Mom. Family conversations and book gifts about random miscellaneous topics is why I blabber so much about random miscellaneous information. No, I had not read it before I gifted it. So… Now I am reading it. I do like the book.

Alexis told me she knows someone else who is reading it. She has exams so I recommended she at least watch this video. I figure the invitation should be more global.

I’m kind of hoping to have a stroke now.

What About Mixed People?

These companies use mitochondrial DNA to trace one’s genetic lineage. So, they take a sample from my mitochondria (which I got from my mom) and compare it to samples that have been taken from mitochondria samples found in their database to match it.

Well, my mom’s mom has lots of English and Scottish ancestry. So this doesn’t really do me a whole lot of good (even if it were a viable program).


DNA Tests May Flunk African History
Topic: Genes

Remember a while back when Oprah Winfrey took a DNA test and found out she was descended from Zulus?

Other African-Americans have gotten their DNA tested too, as have curious people inspired by theories about ancestors known as the “Seven Daughters of Eve.” There are even “home” DNA tests, as I wrote last year.

But a new study published in an open-source journal suggests that DNA tests don’t have much to tell most African-Americans.

Researchers found that fewer than 14 percent of mitochondrial DNA samples tested could be linked to a single ethnic region, and 40 percent turned up no links at all due to incomplete data from Africa.

According to the study, the research “suggests that few African Americans might be able to trace their mtDNA lineages to a particular region of Africa, and even fewer will be able to trace their mtDNA to a single ethnic group.”

Best Virus of the Day

Subject: Order Confirmation number: 37679041
Dear Customer,

Thank you for ordering from our internet shop. If you paid with a credit card, the charge on your statement will be from name of our shop.

This email is to confirm the receipt of your order. Please do not reply as this email was sent from our automated confirmation system.

Date : 08 Oct 2006 – 12:40
Order ID : 37679041

Payment by Credit card

Product : Quantity : Price
WJM-PSP – Sony VAIO SZ370 C2D T7200 : 1 : 2,449.99

Subtotal : 2,449.99
Shipping : 32.88
TOTAL : 2,482.87

Your Order Summary located in the attachment file ( self-extracting archive with “37679041.pdf” file ).

PDF (Portable Document Format) files are created by Adobe Acrobat software and can be viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not already have this viewer configured on a local drive, you may download it for free from Adobe’s Web site.

We will ship your order from the warehouse nearest to you that has your items in stock (NY, TN, UT & CA). We strive to ship all orders the same day, but please allow 24hrs for processing.

You will receive another email with tracking information soon.

We hope you enjoy your order! Thank you for shopping with us!
(Attached is a zip file)

Going “nuclear” over use of “nucular”

Why does Bush go “nucular”? By Kate Taylor – Slate Magazine:

To say “the word is spelled (x), and therefore should be pronounced (y)” doesn’t make any sense. Spelling is not a legitimate basis for determining pronunciation, for the following reasons:

1) English spelling is highly irregular. For example, “move”, “dove”, and “cove” are spelled similarly but pronounced differently. Likewise, “to”, “too”, and “two” are spelled differently and pronounced the same.

2) English spelling is frequently based on factors besides pronunciation. For example, the “c” represents three different sounds in “electrical”, “electricity” and “electrician”, but is spelled the same in all to show that the words are related.

3) Most importantly, spoken language is primary, not written language. Speaking is not the act of translating letters into speech. Rather, the opposite is true. Writing is a collection of symbols meant to represent spoken language. It is not language in and of itself. Many written languages (Spanish, Dutch, etc.), will regularly undergo orthographic reforms to reflect changes in the spoken language. This has never been done for English (the spelling of which has never been regularized in the first place), so what we use for written language is actually largely based on the spoken language of several centuries ago.

I’ve never really considered the implications of written vs. spoken language. This will give me lots to ponder.

Homer a Pseudonym for a Woman?

I have always considered the Illiad or the Odyssey to be among the best of love stories. True, there is lots of violence. True, the characters are mostly men. Love is the motivation and driving force behind the heros and why each is able to overcome and win.

If they were written by women, then that will not change my opinion about them being my favorites.

Discovery Channel :: News – History :: Scholar: Iliad, Odyssey Penned by Woman:

The author of the Greek epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey was probably a woman, according to an upcoming book by a British historian and linguist.

Andrew Dalby, author of Rediscovering Homer, argues that the attribution of the poems to Homer was founded on a falsehood.

Homer’s link to the poems, Dalby writes, stems from an “ill-informed postclassical text, the anonymous Life of Homer, fraudulently ascribed to Herodotus,” a respected Greek historian who lived from around 484-425 B.C.

Read more


I got my oil changed today. One of the guys there sits down and says that he’ll put the more expensive oil I selected in my car while charging me for the cheaper stuff (about 60%) cheaper. The catch is he wanted me to give him a half the difference in cash under the table as a gratuity.

I told him that I wasn’t comfortable with that arrangement. He slunk off.

He came back later and claimed even a preacher the other day had taken the offer. In that case? Still, no. He then proceeded to tell me that when I bought the car, someone made a profit. Well, yeah, but that was built into the structure of the business model. What he wanted is make money under the table.

See, while its good for me (I get it cheaper) and good for him (he gets cash under the table), its not so good for the company where he works. He will get caught eventually. I know too many people who have done the same and gotten fired.

Back in Black

(No really, wearing the Binary People shirt!)

Back from Chicago. I posted the last of my pictures from the trip to Chicago. They are a tad out of order.

I really enjoyed the trip. Its nice to meet with people who are doing the same things and stuggling with the same issues.

I was able to meet lots of Baha’is at Feast. That alone made the trip worth it.


This series is my LOTR (the books I have read over and over). From 7th grade through 11th grade I read them at least once a year, usually twice. I replaced my first copy with another as the covers were nearly destroyed.

So, now I know how the fanatics feel (not true, . I so would love to see this be a great set of movies. At the same time, I know fanatics generally dislike the movie adaptations.

Dragons’ Weis Likes Movie | SCI FI Wire:

Author Margaret Weis told SCI FI Wire that the upcoming film version of her book Dragons of Autumn Twilight necessarily cuts a lot of the book’s plot to make it fit into 90 minutes, but, she added: “I read the script, and I like it. It’s very faithful to the book.” Dragons of Autumn Twilight, the first in the Dragonlance series of books, is being adapted into an animated film written by George Strayton and directed by Will Meugniot.

Weis added in an interview that she and her co-author, Tracy Hickman, always hoped that the series would be made into movies. “While we working on the book 20 years ago, Tracy and I used to joke, ‘This scene would look great in the movie!'” Weis said. “And now it will.” How does she feel about the upcoming production? “Very pleased. Very excited. And a little nervous.”

The series of books is based on the universe of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games. Dragons of Autumn Twilight begins with a group of adventurers who seek the truth about missing gods, then become involved in a quest to learn more about a staff with the power to heal. The series grew to more than 100 titles. Weis co-wrote 10 novels and wrote several by herself. She has also edited stories for Dragonlance anthologies.

The Dragonlance “world is fantastical, romantic, with lots of political intrigue and characters people can relate to,” Weis said. “The heroes are not kings or princes. They are ordinary people—middle-class working types—who get caught up in extraordinary situations. And, of course, there are dragons.” —Carol Pinchefsky

UPDATE 2010-JAN-16: I watched this movie a while back. While a fan of the books at age 14, the movie made me nauseas to watch. The voice acting sucked. Animation 1980s Saturday morning cartoon quality doesn’t belong in a movie made for the late 2000s.

Origins of Brazilian Soccer Scorer Names

The link is for the article at Slate. A good teaser paragraph.

How Brazilian soccer players get their names. By Nick Schulz:

Brazil’s affinity for nicknames might stem from the country’s historically high illiteracy rate. As such, shortened spoken names are typically used more often than longer birth names. In Brazilian society, the use of a first name or nickname is a mark of intimacy. It’s also often a class signifier. Lula, for one, is known for his working-class roots.

This might help those a little confused about Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.

Players with the same first name often change their moniker to differentiate themselves. In recent decades, there have been several Ronaldos at the national level. One became known as Ronaldao, meaning “big Ronaldo.” Another became Ronaldinho, meaning “little Ronaldo.” When another Ronaldinho came along in the late 1990s, he was called Ronaldinho Gaucho—that is, “little Ronaldo from Rio Grande do Sul.” Eventually, the first Ronaldo left the Brazilian national squad, so Ronaldinho became Ronaldo. Ronaldinho Gaucho became Ronaldinho.

Yeah, its a tad complicated…