Solipsism Gradient

Rainer Brockerhoff’s blog

Browsing Posts published in March, 2003

For several reasons I decided to rename this weblog “Solipsism Gradient”. Blame it on having reread all of Iain M. Banks‘s Culture novels in a row…

…on the practical side, it’s shorter and easier to remember than “Stochastic Aleatory Ontological Expostulations”, or whatever it was before. At least for me. 😛

Now, can someone explain to me why weblogs are traditionally named like rock bands? (Or Culture starships, for that matter?)

As the subject says icon_wink.gif, now and then I’ll post interesting links and/or talk about random subjects here. More structured topics will be added.

Currently, nobody else is allowed to post comments here – at least until I figure out a way of initially hiding these comments from others. Stay tuned…

x AKA M. wrote:

I had missed the point being to communicate with spiders. It became more clear due to Kevins patient explanation at Joi Ito’s blog in this thread. I thought it was so people could vote on links, not spiders.

Yes, Kevin’s explanations are great. However, just for whoever else’s reading this, I’d like to make clear that people (or at least whoever puts the links on the site) do vote on the links, but it’s the spiders (not other people) who count the votes.

I had not thought about, spiders, bots, and engines out there secretly logging your activities and words and generating Whuffie points. Cool thought.

Exactly, having an attribute would make all that much easier; see how TechnoRati and Google have to jump through hoops to do their rankings, and still they have no clue whether my links are meant to be positive or negative. Also, votes will not depend on anything whatsoever being installed on the site being voted on, which is extremely important.

Posted by x AKA M.:
I had missed the point being to communicate with spiders. It became more clear due to Kevins patient explanation at Joi Ito’s blog in this thread. I thought it was so people could vote on links, not spiders. My bad. It does bring up a thought closer to the heart of the Whuffie concept: Automated Whuffie. Though Doctorow’s book is not that clear on how one’s Whuffie is built, (or torn down for that matter), thus far the discussions I have had (OK I admit they are with myself most of the time) have pointed to merit being added by people. I had not thought about, spiders, bots, and engines out there secretly logging your activities and words and generating Whuffie points. Cool thought.


Here’s more from John Perry Barlow, talking at ilaw in Rio:

It’s time to re-envision how we should get paid for the works of our minds. I believe that Brazil has a unique opportunity to help us all re-imagine this. I’ve observed that Brazilians have a strong sense that music is shared property… It is the joint property of Brazilian society. So I propose that this is a good place to take a stand against the corporate copyright holders.

…Giving music away does work… I have suggested to Minister [Gilberto] Gil that Brazilian music be put on the Internet; this would create a worldwide flowering of creatvity inspired by this music.

And earlier, talking about the Digital Divide:

Brazil is the greatest inside joke that I’ve ever seen. This creates a kind of digital divide between Brazil and the rest of the world. This is a unique problem that has to be addressed.

I used to think that the use of English on the Internet was no big deal; after my experiences here, especially, I’ve changed my mind. I spent a month here feeling like a stroke victim. It’s a good thing that many of you are very good at communicating with body language.

An interchange with Charles Nesson and an audience member:

Charlie: Audience–why isn’t deregulating telecom more important to this audience than other things on the list?

Audience: It’s funny when we talk about IP and protection–the fight against piracy. This is the view of the company, of the US. We are a poor country; our priorities are different. It surprises me that the US is surprised that we have a problem with piracy. Of course we do: people want access to the software; they simply cannot buy it.

The discussion of this piracy is therefore empty, useless.

Curiously enough, the cost of participating in the next ILAW at Stanford makes it so no one from Brazil will come.

I’m following Donna Wentworth’s reports from the conference, at Copyfight, with great interest. Let’s hope that full transcripts will be available later.

Update: Here’s Lawrence Lessig‘s comment on the encounter between Barlow and Gilberto Gil.

Catching up…

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Still catching up to e-mail and unread RSS items. Here are some that look interesting and/or important:

The ever-interesting and well-informed folks at Boing Boing alert me to John Perry Barlow‘s post about his month in Brazil:

Brazil is the world’s largest Inside Joke. It is, to those who get it, sufficiently involving to render even such external considerations as the possible outbreak of Armageddon slightly irrelevant.

Besides, it seems to have an instinct for peace that runs the length of its history and is wisely aware that even opposing the bellicose behavior of less enlightened cultures adds energy to the cyclone of war. Brazil doesn’t study war no more. The only organized conflict Brazil is likely to enter involves no weapon more lethal than a soccer ball.

…As you might expect, I have much more to report from down here, where I’ve now spent an utterly transforming month. Until now, I’ve been having too much fun having adventures to spend my energies on turning them into information.

Extremely well put, and a must read. I’m looking forward to his forthcoming reports.

Still on Boing Boing, a link to an extremely interesting NYTimes article about inventor Woody Norris. Apparently, Norris invented the medical ultrasonogram, the Jabra earphone, a soon-to-be-available personal helicopter, and countless other things – among which the focused loudspeaker which is the article’s theme is one of the most interesting.

Mark Pilgrim admits to being the Raging Platypus. Hopefully he’ll continue posting platypus stuff… I’m searching in my stored books for Arthur Byron Cover‘s 1976 story collection “The Platypus of Doom and Other Nihilists” (sadly out of print). The book’s cover should be a nice addition to the site… IIRC, the title story involved the protagonist playing table tennis for his life with the P.o.D. Other stories are called “The Aardvark of Despair”, “The Clam of Catastrophe”, and “The Armadillo of Destruction”; perhaps someone will put up a “Raging Aardvark” site? icon_biggrin.gif

Re: I’m off…

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Back from São Paulo. The trip’s highlight was a visit to the Chinese exhibition, which included a dozen members of the Xi’an Terracotta Army in individual display cases, the largest number so far shown outside China. This alone was worth the trip.

Besides several other interesting museum visits we managed to see Deborah Colker‘s new dance, 4×4. We’d seen her previously in the wildly innovative MIX. Highly recommended.

In between, I visited Macmania Magazine‘s offices, to play with a 12″ PowerBook G4 they’d just gotten for review. I found it noticeably faster than the iBook/600 I’m posting this on, and the left handrest isn’t all that much hotter. If I find someone to buy my old one, I’ll switch in a minute.

I’m off…

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Tomorrow I’ll be off to São Paulo for a short trip; updates until Sunday (March 23) will be few or even nonexistent.

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