Saturday 6 December 2008

Easy pickings

I glance through the spam folder before trashing it, in case somebody's mass mailout opening invitation or party made it there instead of my inbox. Now, spam isn't what it used to be since they shut down that huge factory operation a few weeks ago. Apparently the pharmacological enticements that constitute 97% of my spam yield something like 27 sales per 5 million spams sent out, or something to that effect. Even at that ratio some of these megaspam operations can make thousands of dollars a day from this stuff.

There is also the kind of spam that makes suggestions such as: Make your Nomination Today for a Degree, or PhD in 5 Weeks: why spend 3 years writing your thesis when you can buy one today and have it delivered by UPS directly to your door? This kind of thing really does piss me off, because they wouldn't be doing it unless it sold to somebody, and really it's got to be the most vulnerable people who fall for this kind of shit.

Ireland has apparently seen a huge surge in cocaine use over the past few years. And Ireland is a small island nation, so the connections between things are really that much more apparent. When you know you're directly supporting the kind of thing that involves so much killing and brutality, not just in Columbia but in Limerick city, for instance, a town of 70,000 people that contains this phenomenon and leads to people being shot and neighbours terrorised with bomb threats in what is basically your neighbourhood, I would imagine it would kind of kill the fun, no? Cos that is what you're putting in your veins and up your nose. The white powder is just a metaphor.

Have I posted this before? Oh well. Watch it again, so.

Love this.

Sex for sanitary towels

The Guardian has this Katine project, where they are sponsoring various development projects in a Ugandan village, and reporting stories from the work that's going on there, and also stories from the lives of the villagers. This one: stories of teenage girls, sexuality and finance, struck me, today.

Thursday 4 December 2008

Rain on Flatbush

It's been raining for a half hour. Rain changes the soundscape reaching me here, at the nexus of three Brooklyn streets. The slosh softens things, makes everything sound more luxurious, generous. Though I seem to find the various alert sounds very appealing lately, with possible exception of fire truck when it makes its sonar spasticity as it heads the wrong way down Dean street. Houses catch fire and fires need to be quenched. Not a whole lot of that lately, maybe fires are going out of fashion. Maybe fire quenching is falling victim to the increasingly cautionary economic climate: people are being safe with their stuff. Anyway, often I find that the various alert sounds of cars, trucks, alarms and machines seem to syncopate melodically with whatever tune I'm humming. This is endearing.

I look out the window and see the street sellers with their huge line of $24.95 Christmas trees wrapped up in green bags. We saw a truck full of the things, billowing in the crisp clear night, as we drove home from Thanksgiving dinner in Westchester a week ago. That's the future, I said. Well, they're here. It's festive. They have lights and I'll bet it's cold out there. There's some kind of makeshift cabin but basically they've got to be around in case somebody has some kind of inane questions about Christmas trees they'll need to answer. Some people work hard for their $10 an hour.

Somebody's getting married in DUMBO and there are cocktails and cake. I may skip it. I'm listening to the slosh slosh slosh.

Wednesday 3 December 2008

Prop 8: The Musical

Physicalising bits of the internet

I seem to be talking about Russell Davies a lot lately, specifically his Lyddle End 2050 project, his slow project attitude, and the general friendly contrariness of his jib. I have been talking a lot about his idea of physicalising the internet, I particularly like the notion of a ring binder with wikipedia bits in it, and an old shoe box of random flickr images. Our clusterflock meeting on saturday felt to me like the human version of this, as we had never met before, and our meeting was at the urging of another Clusterflocker none of us have ever met, the lovely Sheila Ryan, of the Driftless Region, Midwest of the Internet.

Brooklyn Clusterdrinks

The internet became physicalised in human form on saturday night, as four bloggers from Clusterflock met, drank, ate and drank together. Here is what it looked like.


This is one of the most satisfying reads I had today. I love this dude sometimes, and he is a native of my native birthplace, Limerick. Also on a similar theme, this.