Monthly Archives: December 2006

The Real Reason for News-feed

I am such an idiot. I was so distracted by that other ruckus involving news-feed that I missed the real reason for implementing news-feed. I knew that “we want you to know what your friends are doing blah blah” was BS, but I didn’t really examine it. Now, I realize what’s going on, and I’m kicking myself for not figuring it out a long time ago. (Note: I actually found this a bit ago, but I didn’t blog it yet.)

So, here’s the real reason:

facebook news-feed ad

ADVERTISING! The real reason for news-feed was to insert ads right on your front page. Bravo, facebook. What a brilliant idea. We were so distracted by our “privacy” that no one figured out what was going on. And I still don’t think anyone will really figure it out because the ads are so brilliantly designed. They’re so unobtrusive that people won’t notice them.

Philosophic Mood

I know that my final is over, so I should stop thinking about philosophy, but I’m a philosophy major, so it’s not going to happen. Anyway, a few items on the internets reminded me of philosophers…

In Harebrained hypotheses prove invaluable to scientific debate, Bradley T. Lepper’s points remind me of John Stuart Mill. Without conflict ideas harden into dogma? “Davis argued that when a discipline, which in his case was geology, got too stodgy and conservative, it was in danger of ‘theoretical stagnation.'” Yup. These ideas may actually be right? “Science sometimes needs wild and seemingly harebrained ideas to shake things up and get people thinking outside the box. Davis wrote, ‘We may be pretty sure that the advances yet to be made in geology will be at first regarded as outrages upon the accumulated convictions of today, which we are too prone to regard as geologically sacred.'” Yup. Yeah, totally cribbing off Mill.

The Blog Mob by Joseph Rago rips bloggers to shreds. It superficially reminds me of Nietzsche calling Socrates a decadent. And look, bloggers are a symptom of decay: “And in acceding so easily to the imperatives of the Internet, we’ve allowed decay to pass for progress.”

By the way, Mr. Rago claims, “The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage.” Yet if Mr. Rago had considered the value of the hyperlink, he could have provided evidence of his claims about bloggers. Instead, he is content with the technique of generalization. Also perhaps in the irony department, Neitzsche thinks the decadent philosophers are afraid of change, but here it is Mr. Rago who is behind the curve.

Note: I do not think that bloggers are journalists. They’re mostly opinion-mongerers and diarists. I’m merely pointing out the fact that Mr. Rago does not provide a proper argument. That’s also why it reminds me of Nietzsche, but at least Nietzsche was going somewhere with it. Mr. Rago appears to be taking himself seriously.

Not Quite as Blog Prolific

I notice that I haven’t written anything substantive (at least when it comes to politics) in about a month. This corresponds with Thanksgiving break. Truth is, I’ve been pretty burnt out from school — not that the workload was overwhelming, it’s just that I was sick and tired. Luckily, I only have one test left. After that, I’m off home, where I can work on various things, including varying my sentence structure.

End of Term Facebook Status Listlog

As we approach the holiday season, some people are in the midst of finals and some are finished with finals. I thought it would be an interesting time to take a snapshot of student life via facebook status.

  • Bill is wondering if he should burn his now obsolete texbooks. Mmm… fire….
  • Paige is takin a nap then typin a paper ugh it never ends <3.
  • Amanda is excited because Bobby is coming to the bay tomorrow!!
  • Heather is no longer having the axe hanging over her head. NO MORE INTROSPECTION!
  • Jessica is wondering when her hair will grow. She want more hair. She is wondering when she is going to get invited somewhere to have fun. Hello.
  • Cassie is done being raped by cell bio forever.
  • Grace is done with orgo, and moving on to bio. gasp.
  • Kyle is overwhelmed with stress and tired but he cant help being happy… IT’S FUCKING X-MAS TIME!!!
  • Jared is happy to be home.
  • Bill is gonna make it through the semester, he thinks.
  • Keshav is weqgtqwgr4hhar.
  • Cary is Hansel: so hawt right now.
  • Akemi is contantly thinking she is almost done with this semester but something new keeps popping up and having to be done for a class.
  • Khang is going to a little place called crazy.
  • Daniel is failure at orgo.
  • Lisa is hating schedules right now. Damn them.
  • Ian is waiting for one his finale then coming home!!
  • Tym is having a party at his house tonight. Call if you want to come!
  • Priya is done!!!!!!!!! and going home today!!!
  • Jenny is inundated by chocolate.
  • Sarah is finished everything, but Modernism! YAY.
  • Tracey is flabby, fat and lazy.
  • James is layin it down.
  • Luciano is thinking of writing a giant pentavalent carbon on his exam.
  • Nicha is going to see how many finals/papers/presentations she can bomb (or rather, hopefully not bomb) in 4 days.
  • Daryl is no bueno.
  • Jude is sleeping.
  • Sarah is exploring SoCal with Elizabeth and Greg and loving it!
  • Molly is freezing.
  • Araceli is back in the stack =].
  • Ashley is stuck at JHU for 4 more days wahhhhh.
  • sean is walking the cow.
  • Robert is counting down for x mas.
  • Elizabeth is done with three. Two left to go.
  • Sabrina is all over Italy until December 26th!
  • Emerald is home! =).
  • Sharlene is a gigantic bouncy stressball.
  • Al is happy because his soulmate is back.
  • Chao is not dead yet.
  • Ethan is packing up for his flight home tuesday morning.
  • Njeri is is wishing her friends good luck on their Orgo, Chem and Econ exams.
  • Steve is feeling like he is having a midlife crisis at age 19.
  • Steve is almost certain that Life is just fucking with him at this point and not too pleased by the whole situation.
  • Jessica is in the Philippines until the 31st. She misses everyone already.
  • Andrew is so damn tired from studying he can’t even remember his name.
  • Yessen is can’t wait till he gets to Crystal.
  • Shana is in Hawaii with her favorites! :).
  • Joseph is unwinding at home.
  • Padma is not going to do that again…
  • Andrew is hyphy.
  • Marcus is missing stanford already.
  • James is status.
  • August is sadly ready to go back to school…
  • Alex is back on the 18th.
  • Dan is going to see his old pal shlomo.
  • Leanne is home for two weeks.
  • Jackie is – yes – actually cutting down that tree. But not getting very far…
  • Ashley is not even concerned about math right now, cuz she’s back in the BAY.
  • Ashley is sad to be away from emma.
  • Monica is two finals down, one to go!
  • Lauren is not done with exams yet.
  • Eric is at home.
  • Michael is excited for the end of finals on monday!!!
  • Connie is wondering why the heck she’s spent the last hour playing bejeweled instead of studying for her final tomorrow.
  • Paulo is giving out presents ;D.
  • Ashley is so ready 2 go to China.
  • Mary is at home.
  • Vikram is almost outta the woods!

And myself?

  • Shawn is figuring out how to focus.

Usually, when I do these, I’m checking for humor, but even my status is not an attempt at humor. I find this listlog to be a curious mixture of elation and anxiety. It’s interesting.

Writing an Essay


I woke up this morning, wishing it was already done

I dreamt it was half-finished

But it’s not even begun

Argh, discontent. Grumble grumble. Why can’t I work? Just get it done, Shawn. Frederick Jackson Turner, go.


1 ½ pages done. So, at this rate, I will be done approximately… never.

Organized, or organic? This paper is too long to plan out beforehand. While in other classes, I had a scary intuitive grasp of things, this will require much more research. Not good. Not good at all. I’m stuck. I’m stuck I’m stuck I’m stuck…

Well well, another sentence, another half an hour. Bravo.

Slog. That is the one word that describes this. It will not get any easier men; it will be a long, hard slog through the snow. Through the white space, we will leave our footprints. The words will slowly mar the surface until I have traversed the entirety of this essay. Perhaps if you are lucky, you will forget where you are and be surprised at how far you have walked.

You’ve learned the rules already. Break them at will. Go around the mountain instead of a straight line over it. Or perhaps you have dynamite.

Good work requires good breaks. Lunch. Approximately 1/3 of the way done.

Okay, I’m back in, “I’m going to cry mode.” You can’t talk about anxiety in a paper and then not get anxious yourself. Now it’s going to take forever to get back into essay writing mode. No, it won’t. Don’t psyche yourself out.

4 ½ pages done. So, what, over half-way? Not so bad. I feel less panicky. Of course, I may feel more panicky once I have to study for my test. At this rate, I should finish by… 10 o’clock if I’m lucky.

Trying to force it again, as I move to the second half. Organic? Let it flooooowwww… (Also, time for a change of scenery.)

That break was entirely too long. Shit.

Pumping myself up! Eye of the tiger! I can do this! I can do this!!!! Rising up to the challenge…

Blather. Slog. Argh. Still trying to outline in my head. Just write, bitch. You can’t edit what you don’t have written down. Calm down. This music is too exciting. It’s making me anxious.

Ah Chopin, Now I can write.

Over 5 ½ pages done, but now I feel like I’m rushing. Do I care anymore, though? Do I really care? Fuck it, just keep writing. At least it flows to the next section a little better. I might get to drop out Empire too. That makes things easier.

6 ½ I sped up. Didn’t I? But it’s taxing. Rest again. On schedule, I think. 2 pages by 10 o’clock? Yeah, I can do that.

It’s just too much.

Don’t get discouraged. Take a couple minutes to clear your mind. Then, get another change of scenery and finish the damn thing. (But what about my other…? Focus on one thing at a time. Your first priority is to get this done. Period.)

Ave Maria

Is this song too beautiful to write to?

Hooray for block quotes!

I … I can see the end! There is but one page left. (Or two if I’m so ambitious.) It finally appears finishable. (That is not a word, but I don’t care, I’m nearing completion hooray!)

Half a page to go. Shall I talk about empire or not?

My transcendent ending is so much more interesting. Oh how I wish I had started with it. But it is too late. I tire of this affair. It is crap, but I assume other people will be crappier.

slightly hell

i drop my blueberry muffin on the cellar door

oh satan, it’s too salty again

where can I get a good burrito, i wonder?

all the burritos here are sterile and American

healthy and yet they give you diarrhea anyway

knock knock knoc

the last knock is missing a k

all the billiard tables tilt to the right

except for one

which is used for storage

perpetual 56k with an extra helping of spam

lines are longer and linger

10 items or less and everyone brings 10 and a half

everything always starts tomorrow

which is when he promises to make a good muffin

so i sleep on the floor or

the unstable bed

every once in a while, i get a good night’s sleep

[Even this random blathering I find more satisfying than my next essay.]

The Costs of Empire

I doubt you can find a thing much more expensive than war. Throughout history, wars have depleted the treasuries of countries and led to civil unrest or worse.

Do I have any historical examples in mind? Not yet. I’m going to do some research on the claim to find out if it’s true or not. I mean, one can provide a counterexample of a post-WWII boom, I suppose, but I fail to see how Iraq is stimulating our economy. Then again, weren’t we practically a command economy during WWII? I don’t know yet if my claim is true or not, but if it is, it means preventative war (and occupation) is a very dangerous strategy.

I do know, however, that war is expensive. The results of war’s expense — I will find them.

Hijacked by…

I must make an important distinction. In my mind, the Republican Party has not been hijacked by the religious right; it has been hijacked by those who exploit the religious right.

EDIT: I do think that there are members of the religious right who are exploiting their own.

Brief and Relatively Inconsequential

GOP Majority, RIP

From the Washington Post, GOP Laments Mixed Results As Control of Congress Ends:

Compared with the liberal ascendancy, which ran from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal to Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and arguably Ronald Reagan’s election, the conservative era has been brief and relatively inconsequential, said Julian Zelizer, a Boston University congressional historian. Nothing in the past 12 years compares with the creation of Social Security or Medicare, the voting rights and civil rights acts, the Marshall Plan or Dwight D. Eisenhower’s interstate highway system. Nor were any of those big-government achievements fundamentally altered.

Far from ending an imperial Congress, Republicans centralized power in their leadership to an unprecedented level.

Even some successes — such as a balanced budget and the diminution of farm subsidies — proved short-lived, GOP lawmakers and former leaders conceded.


In other news, I got through part of Bruce Reed and Rahm Emanuel’s book, The Plan, and I actually like their part about civil service. Know thy enemy is my excuse for reading it. It’s also good to steal your political enemies’ best ideas.

Bitter intraparty fighting

Selected quotes from the NY Times, Report on Iraq Exposes a Divide Within the G.O.P.:

“The divisions could make it more difficult for Republicans to coalesce on national security policy and avoid a bitter intraparty fight going into the 2008 campaign.”

“But the debate will go to the heart of the party’s identity — and its image as the party of strength on national security — after Mr. Bush’s aggressive post-Sept. 11 foreign policy brought electoral successes in 2002 and 2004 but was profoundly challenged by voters this year.”

“The ambivalence and introspection were summed up by Senator Gordon H. Smith of Oregon, who spoke at length in the Senate this week about the dangers of withdrawing from Iraq but said he could no longer support the status quo.”

Bitter intraparty fighting? Bring it on.

Dangerous Election in ’08?

I propose this: The Americans especially crave a strong leader for president in 2008.

Agree or disagree?

If you agree, I say that this election may well be dangerous. A speaker who is clear and distinct may not always be right. The strong leader may only take more power for the executive branch, and even the small suspicion we have now will be drowned out by the cheers of the populace, as opposed indifference, as was the case with the Military Commissions Act. After an incompetent man in office, we Americans will be merely pleased by someone who can get good things done.

I guess to put it in less dire terms: We seem especially prone to demagoguery for the next presidential cycle.

At least, those are proto-thoughts. I highly doubt this will come to pass, but I just put this here to remind myself to be vigilant, as one who lives in a free society must always be.

Stagnant Cesspool of Dogmatism

That’s what I think about the Republican Party unless we get real and learn how to criticize ourselves. It’s not that I don’t think that all our ideas are tragically flawed. It’s more like our ideas are bread that’s grown mold, if that makes any sense at all (which it doesn’t really when I think about it more, but whatever). Stagnant cesspool of dogmatism. I like that better.