Monthly Archives: June 2006

Rum, sodomy and…

In case it’s not on your regular reading menu, a recent posting from Crooked Timber tickles the risibility meters (they’re stereo…): The Holy Trinity is getting a makeover…. Puts me in mind of a favorite Pratchettism, in which I first encountered the [well known British] term “godbothering” [glossed as “fervent religious grovelling”] :

Archchancellor (of Unseen University) Mustrum Ridcully: So… how are things in the godbothering business?
Chief Priest of Blind Io: We do our humble best. How is the dangerous meddling with things man was not meant to understand?
Ridcully: Pretty fair. Pretty fair.
(incidentally, they are brothers)

(from Terry Pratchett’s Reaper Man, pg 91)


Thanks to Netflix and my own taste for the epic, I’m now entangled in Heimat II (more here). The first 11 episodes of Heimat I were certainly engrossing, but the second series is even more so because the characters are of my own age cohort. The events are mostly in Munich in the early 1960s, but they’re close enough to early 1960s Cambridge to give me a lot to think about. I’ve just watched the episode set on 22 November 1963, the day Kennedy was shot, and I was transported back to my own vivid memories of the day.

Yesterday I sprang for the 20-odd VHS tapes for both series (used, via Amazon), and today I found (via the Wikipedia page) pointers to Heimat script (German language) and The Second Heimat script (German language). This is sufficient inducement for me to attempt to retrieve/extend my college German (last seen disappearing in the rear view mirror 45 years [and several languages] ago).


I know I’ve mentioned Robyn Eckhardt’s EatingAsia blog before, but today’s posting on Rat-tail noodles is even more mouthwatering than the usual fare. It’s the photographs that make the site so remarkable, and I swear I can almost smell the dishes. I’m working on being able to taste ’em too…

First grade class 1905, detail

First grade class 1905, detail, originally uploaded by oook.

I’m experimenting with blogging from Flickr, something I should have tried long ago. This one suggests the profound challenges faced by educators everywhere, and is just one of a vast number of images I’m trying to figure out what to do with. is my main silo, but I’m also beginning to build a collection of my own photographic past at

OK, parse this

While sorting through a box of family photographs, I was brought up short by this postcard:

The two stumbling gentlemen would seem to be King Edward VII and Czar Nicholas. The ladies might represent Brazil (if color is the relevant attribute) and Spain, but I know of no early 20th century diplomatic crisis that involved those four nations. Any ideas?

On the RFID account

I’m always on the lookout for linguistic niceties and abominations, and this summary is too wonderful not to pass along. I can’t find a way to link directly to the 24 Jun entry at Beyond the Beyond, an RFID (etc.)-watch blog, so I’m reproducing the text here, with bits of emphasis added:

Web Semantics Watch VIII: RFID Jargon
Posted: 24 Jun 2006 04:44:44 -0600
Next-generation RFID tools expand the market

This InfoWorld article by James R. Borck is well worth a read for the techie contingent in RFID middle-management, but I find it chiefly remarkable for the startling beauty of its jargon. The RFID biz has plenty of rough patches ahead on its road to commercial ubitopia, but its geeks are shedding the initial hype and ballyhoo and generating a kind of poetry.

A few choice semantic nuggets from the article (and I grant Mr. Borck every credit here):

“newfound event stream”
“a flood of streaming data at high burst rates”
“an events management subengine winnows nuance from noise” (((Gosh-wow! This formulation isn’t just Flarf poetry, it *describes the very nature* of Flarf poetry.)))
“minimize the barrage before it hits the corporate network”
“a consortium of standards bodies and supply-chain interests”
“abstracts the internal machinations of relational databases”
“Time-based and delta change criteria”
“post-mortem latency”
“details on location, state, causality, and time reference”
“applications can rake supercharged events across complex rule sets”
“Stream Processing Engine”
“latencies too great to withstand the real-time surge”
“in-memory pattern matching and native temporal services”
“inevitable glitches, collisions, and partial reads”
“application sophistication will rise”
“insight into tomorrow’s highly distributed, real-time networks”
“delivers excellent distributed fail-over”
“an excellent next-step advance into building smart readers”
“support for the range of legacy and modern devices”
“a variety of interrogator interfaces”
(((And last but not least, these gnomic words of wisdom)))
“If you’re planning to deploy RFID today, prepare to face device compatibility issues, buggy software and firmware, global numbering standards that still need to be ironed out, and security threats in need of redress.”