Cold Ground
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Places to Go:
Derryl's Fotolog
Fictionwise (reprints of some of Derryl's fiction)
Alyx Dellamonica
Boing Boing
Charlie Stross
Electrolite
Jena Snyder
Making Light
Randy Reichardt

~ Friday, November 08, 2002
 
Aidan has chicken pox. I'm tired, he's keeping me hopping. So another fun stopgap. Movie titles redone as per a certain celeb shoplifter.
~ Thursday, November 07, 2002
 
"I'll never trust squirrels again." Personally, I've never trusted them.
 
Obviously the boys were too young for us to hike this trail (scroll down to the fourth pic) when we were at Zion National Park. Bren wasn't even walking yet. Having seen some of the trail from a distance, this story gives me the chills. But I still want to hike it.
~ Wednesday, November 06, 2002
 
The whole family's been sick as dogs lately. So as a stopgap, I'll note that Jena recently discussed the horrible things parents do to their kids when they name them. Check out Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing, which gives many samples as well as some fine commentary.
~ Monday, November 04, 2002
 
I'm hoping that Randy will post something about this story, although since he's visiting New York right now, I don't know if he has the time. But I seem to recall that the UofA was trying to get the collection, which obviously didn't work. And so now an apparently magnificent collection will be sold off piece by piece.
 
I'm feeling out a potential topic for my English Theory 400 topic (believe it or not), so bear with me here. Last night we went for and excellent dinner at the Nearys. Sean is a friend of Jo's brother (and, by extension, Jo), and his family and hers were great friends through her childhood. Sean is a Corporal with the RCMP, in charge of the federal drug ops here in PG, transferred here after years in smaller towns in the BC Interior and in the Northwest Territories. And by fine coincidence, they live about a three-minute walk away.

Sean talked about a friend of his who recently purchased a new GM truck that came equipped with a year of OnStar service. Said friend was in such a hurry to run an errand for his wife that he didn't stop for diesel, and ran out while on the road. He had no cell phone with him, so he pressed the On Star button to see what would happen. A few seconds later, he was greeted by name and asked how he could be helped. Pretending he didn't know that he'd run out of diesel, he told the operator that the truck had broken down. There was a pause of a couple of seconds, and then he was informed what he already knew, that he needed fuel.

Before he could ask the next question, he was given walking directions to the two nearest gas stations, both less than two blocks away, and was asked if he would like a tow truck or cab. He said no, and then asked if the operator could phone his wife and tell her he would be late. The operator couldn't do that (I imagine there would be a liability issue), but did patch a call through to the wife, and they talked over the OnStar system. Then he went and got more diesel, and all was well.

Here's a great definition of a Panopticon, and here's a picture. And then recall the pointer I gave some weeks back, leading to Rob Sawyer's views on privacy.

I'll try to touch on more of what Foucault has said about the Panopticon at a later time; this paper is supposed to be in the region of 6000 words, which ain't much, but more than enough when it's still scratching around in my head. But I find myself wondering about this Panopticon of a world in which we live. The amazing thing is, we are not giving up privacy for security, which is at least a reason I could understand (if not exactly accept). No, as seen in the OnStar example, we are giving up our privacy for the sake of comfort. Not the comfort of knowing we are safe from harm, but the comfort of knowing someone can hold our hand when our car breaks down, the comfort of a store knowing our buying habits so they can send us related coupons, the comfort of a phone company that has to have your Social Security Number before they can hook you up.

The EFF is one organization that fights this, as far as I can see. While I hold out little hope that the widespread and pernicious effects of this loss of privacy can be beaten back, I believe that there are (or will be) tools that will be able to turn that central tower into the visible structure, and the outlying ring, where you and me and you exist, will be the darkened rooms.

More later.
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