Saturday, April 01, 2006

What Rough Beast?

A lot of exciting and terrifying advances in technology catch my eye these days. Though I think the research is great, I have doubts about putting such things into the hands of people. Some of the future ethical and technological issues are complex to say the least, and the some of the implications of these developments are downright frightening. The latest:

IBM researchers have developed tools that are a large step toward building computers on the atomic level.

European researchers have successfully fused living neurons with semi-conductors.

Kansas House rejected a bill that would prohibit creation of human-animal chimeras. This is the same government that thinks teaching "Creation Science" is a good idea. I wish they would make up their minds.

I will leave you to form your own opinions about these things, since I know my readers are all intelligent people. I think the developments are exciting and interesting, but the future implications are terrifying. Science fiction writers take note. Thar's gold in them thar news.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Who Do You Think That I Am?

Drop by my Johari's Window and let me know what you think about me. This is a pretty cool psychological tool for comparing and contrasting how I see myself with how others see me. Should be interesting.

Got the link from Kristina.

I also made a Nohari Window that lets you tell me all the negative stuff you think about me. You have to give a name, but it can be anything you like, if you want to stay anonymous. I don't mind. This one scares me a little, but it's good to know this stuff.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Wait a Minute...

A right-wing blog named Red America? Tailgunner Joe is spinning so hard the grass is smoking.

"Well, It's Cryin' Time Again..."

The pollen is upon us. So far, just a light dusting, but by the end of the week, we'll be engulfed in yellow clouds and sneezing out things that cannot even be described. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this stuff piles into half-inch drifts. It covers everything. We ain't talking hay fever, here, folks. This is pine pollen pandemic. Sinus cement. Allergy overload.

Ah, Spring! When huddled masses yearn to breathe free, when even the birds sneeze and snort and wonder why in the Hell they live here, anyway. Rain, rain come my way. Don't stay gone another day.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Quick Warning

Noise in the Attic may be moving soon. I have downloaded WordPress and am evaluating it on my Web site. At such time as I feel comfortable with it, I'll be moving over there. I don't really have anyhting against Blogger, I just like to have control over my stuff. I'll post a schedule for the move when I know more.

Just as a BTW, anyone thinking about doing the same should really check out this comparison of free blogging software that was put together by Owen Winkler. He put a lot of work into this and created a really great decision tool.

Brick by Brick

Brick masonry is an immensly satisfying hobby. It's one of those things I enjoy but don't do well at all. My projects all have a distinctly rustic look to them. That's fine for the things I do -- mainly small flower beds -- and I am not going to claim I do professional level work at all. No way.

I also won't bore everybody with the brick by brick, bird by bird, word by word cliche. You can beat yourself on the head with that if y ou wish, I think we all know it and are sick of it. I'm not trying to make any grand point, here, just talking about laying brick as a rewarding pastime.

Bricklaying requires concentration and attention to detail. The details make the difference. The mortar has to be the right mix and consistency, or it won't hold. The temperature has to be right -- not too hot or cold -- or the mortar turns to either sand or mud. The first course has to be straight and level, or everything gets way out of plumb. Each additional course has to be even with the one below and level. One detail wrong, and the whole project goes to shit.

The real benefit of bricklaying as opposed to woodworking, at least for me, is that there is zero chance that I'll cut off an appendage ot otherwise cause myself harm due to inattention or random stupidity. The worst that can happen is that the wall will crumble. Since I never build anything more than 3 courses high, that's not that big a problem. I can just rebuild it.

I get a real satisfaction from building. It's one area of my life where I can actually see some results from the hours of labor. Seeing that small (3.5 bricks square by 2 courses high) bed full of pansies of all colors just feels good. This is something I did, except my wife planted the flowers. It may well outlive me, though that time remains many years away, and a lot can happen. Even though the next tenants of htis house will never know anythiing about me, I left my mark here.