Ancientrails in Exile

Ancientrails in exile (I crashed my own website.  Geez.  Wrote this while it was down.  Thanks againn to Bill S. who undid whatever I did.)

August 7th, 2011  5:05pm

Lughnasa                                                   Waxing Honey Extraction Moon

Got a passport photo for my Brazilian visa.  Looks like a booking photo.  You can’t smile during these sessions.  Why?  Facial recognition software struggles with recognizing faces anyhow and anything that distorts the face makes their task even harder.  A great article in Wired talks about this problem and argues that the solution (if we want one) lies in the work of the caricaturist, who emphasizes the unique aspects of a person’s face.  This is the way our brain recognizes faces, but is very difficult for algorithms to master.

Now.  If you’re a terrorist, please don’t smile for your passport photo because we may not be able to recognize you.  Gives you confidence, doesn’t it?

Last night I made an attempt to increase my computer literacy by upgrading my WordPress software on my own.  Note to self.  Don’t do that again.  The result has been a database connection error.  As near as I can tell, I’ve succeeded in taking down my own website.

Mark and I have been rereading the Go handbook.  It’s a bit confusing, at least to me, but we’re going to get to playing anyhow.  This is a sophisticated, yet simple seeming game.

On to Tai Chi tonight.  I feel like I’ve made real progress over the last week.  Slow.  But progress.


August 7, 2011 10:30 pm

Lughnasa                                                 Waning Honey Extraction Moon

We learned a new move tonight.  The instructor, Cheryl, said I had the basics of it after our first independent practice.  “Gotta be a first time.” I told her.

It felt good to get something other than correction.  It’s been a tough slog so far, but I’m gradually pulling myself into the physical world, uniting mind and body.  At some point I want to learn the Taoist thought behind it all.  But not quite yet.

Not having ancientrails to post in feels pretty weird to me.  I miss the familiarity of it.  Posting on the blog remains one of the more steady tasks I have in my life.  Fortunately, I don’t need the program to keep writing.



August 8  2011   1:55 pm

Ancientrails is still down though the error message has changed.  That must mean Bill Schmidt, good friend and cybermage, has made some progress.

China scolded the US for “gigantic military spending and bloated social programs.”  That roused a patriotic wait just a minute reaction.  On several levels.  The military spending is high, but it has been high for some time as the US, the current and still reigning world hegemon, has many enemies and self-interest spread over the globe.  No matter what those of us who prefer peace or other foreign governments like China might want, the military spending reflects our status as the only ever global hegemon.

Bloated social programs.  Only if you’re not poor, old, disabled, a veteran or a person who wants at least some security in old age.  Bloated is the wrong word, a Chinese mimicry of our own Tea Party.  How ironic is that?  The Chinese Communist Party lining up alongside the Michelle Bachmanns and Ron Pauls of American politics.

Do they need reform?  Oh, yes.  Will it happen anytime soon?  I hope so, even though the result might negatively affect Kate and me.

What the Chinese could have scolded us for, what would have bit harder than hackneyed bumper sticker critiques, would have been questions about our love of democracy.  Democracy as it exists in this country today no longer solves problems.  It creates them.  Why does the nation of Madison, Monroe, Adams, Jefferson and Hamilton find itself broken down into the politics of faction?  Military spending and misshapen social programs are the not cause, they are the symptom of a nation no longer able to make its own form of government work.

Now, there’s a critique.