Tuesday, November 28, 2006

SL or RL LOL!!!!!!!!!1

I think Second Life is creepy and silly.

On that note, here is "me." My "name" is Fleur Filleux. I picked it because it sounded like a spoiled yappy dog's name, or lacking that, a Parisian whore.

I honestly don't understand Second Life. I ran around awhile, changed my "hairstyle," tried to talk to people, but all they wanted to do was "cyber." Unsure of what this was, I was unpleasantly surprised. Then a gigantic anthropomorphic cat thing tried to talk to me, and I just got too scared. I flew away. I spent the rest of the time hiding and crying softly to myself.

My friend, who has been on it for some time, talked to me awhile about it today, showed me his flying spaceship and his enormous bat-wings Halloween costume. It's all a little too strange for my tastes, and I really want the two hours of my life back that it stole.

Monday, November 13, 2006

It's hard to type when you don't have hands

Tiffany was very tired from the Norman Mailer symposium weekend, so I've decided to help her out by typing an entry for her. She gives me food every day, and sometimes slices of American cheese (I LOVE American cheese), so I figured I owed her as much.

Anyway, you may be wondering who I am. Well, I am Asian in descent- Siamese, more specifically. I have lovely blue eyes, glossy dark hair, and sharp, white fangs. I am beautiful. If you were to meet me, you would love me instantly. I'm just that adorable. And I help Tiffany out all the time. Sometimes, when she is too lazy to get out of bed and go to class, I jump on her face and massage it with my claws. That usually helps to get her out and about. I'm very helpful.

You know, I don't know much about network technology. I mean, the only websites I really visit are the ones where I can ogle attractive members of the opposite sex. I also like webpages filled with hilarious jokes like this one. I tried to get on facebook.com the other day, but apparently it's not open to people of "my sort." Hmph.

On another note, I don't really know why you people are so obsessed with the latest and greatest technologies which really only seem to drive you further apart, when ideally the opposite is the goal. I mean, I must have been sleeping when the 2-4 line text message replaced an actual conversation (although granted I sleep about 15 hours a day). Tiffany is home way too often now, typing into little white boxes instead of going out and talking to her friends. She's always around, which leaves me very little time to rip up the sofa with my mighty claws.

Even Tiffany, who I generally hold in high regard, is dumb sometimes when it comes to the internet- she trusted a quack health website to tell her what "natural remedies" to try for my embarassing "can't find the bathroom in time" problem instead of actually taking me to the doctor. So poor me just got worse and worse until she broke down and shelled out the fifty bucks for some medicine at the doctor's. I blame her, and I clawed her peaceful sleeping face extra good the other day to get even.

Well I must get back to sleep, I'm exhausted now and I really just want some American cheese and a nap in my bed. I love being me.



Monday, October 30, 2006


In perusing others' posts, I realize I must have missed the part where we discuss a classmate's blog entry that we enjoy. As most everyone says Muneezeh's, I'll mix it up a bit and say I like Jillian's. (Although I do appreciate being "favorited" by Muneezeh, I blushed a little bit when I read her entry.)

I also love Pandora, I think it's an awesome idea and in my opinion a lot less intrusive/demanding than last.fm.

In closing, here is a cool picture I took looking up inside the Paris Opera House:

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I want to be a part of it!

My my, another week has come and gone. Seems like I'm always typing in this little box, straining my weak old eyes and feeling the carpal tunnel snake its way through my wrists.

But none of that matters now, you know, because I am going to New York City, ladies and gentlemen. I've never been, but in January I shall be visiting the Big Apple. I am super excited.

But this is the first time I've ever planned my own vacation- before it's always been 1) through a travel agent, 2) through my family (meaning my mom), or 3) unplanned because I was just gonna crash at my friend's pot-smoke filled dormroom in Honolulu and bum around for a week. But this is NEW YORK EFFING CITY! One must have lots of plans thought out well in advance.

Travelocity.com seemed to offer a pretty good deal- with 4 people going, the trip would be about $395 per person, including roundtrip airfare and 5 nights' stay in a midtown Manhatten three-star hotel. None of the other travel sites seemed to have as good a deal as Travelocity. I remember you mentioning that the prices slowly increase when you're comparison shopping online- how do you avoid that again?

What else is there to do in NYC? Broadway, if I can afford it- only $100 a show! I'm partial to Chicago:

Also, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ellis Island (and perhaps find my Irish potato-famine fleeing ancestors?, Statue of Liberty, Greenwich Village...

New York is complicated! Hopefully my good friend the internet will help me distinguish the Upper West Side from Astoria byt the time I get there.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Craigslist crime?

Our class discussion on Wednesday led me to think more deeply on the subject of possible craigslist.org crime. I mentioned the case of the serial killer back in the 50s... here's a link describing his "classified ads murders:" "After getting out of prison for robbery, he'd put ads in the local Los Angeles papers, posing as a glamor photographer and asking for models. He'd tie them up, photograph them, rape them, photograph them, ad nauseum. When he'd get bored, he'd finally kill them." Here, another article mentions his shift from 'models wanted' ads to a Lonely Hearts club- he would set up meetings with girls through the club, and then violently rape and murder his dates.

Another article tells the story of "America's first serial killer," H.H. Holmes, who murdered probably about 27 people in the late 19th century in Chicago: "A large number of his female victims came through false classified ads that he placed in small town newspapers, offering jobs to young ladies. When the ads were answered, he would describe several jobs in detail and explained that the woman would have her choice of positions at the time of the interview. The applicants were also instructed to keep the location and the name of his company a closely guarded secret. When the applicant arrived, and Holmes was convinced that she had told no one of her destination, she would become his prisoner.
Holmes also placed newspaper ads for marriage as well, describing himself as a wealthy businessman who was searching for a suitable wife. Those who answered this ad would get a similar story to the job offer. He would then torture the women to learn the whereabouts of any valuables they might have. The young ladies would then remain his prisoners until he decided to dispose of them."

Frightening, hm? These are just two cases of serial killers who used classified ads to lure their victims, which I easily found within about 10 minutes of googling. I'm sure there are more. Yet I cannot find much of anything linking craigslist.org, the modern, online, and frankly more "open" version of a newspaper's classifieds, to murders. The closest things I could find were two cases of craigslist prostitution, in Portland and Long Island, and one case of a criaglist robber in San Jose, who "in each case, the victim was either buying something from, or selling something to, the suspect, according to police. In every case, the suspect has robbed the victims at gunpoint before making off with property and cash."

Not good, but certainly not serial killings. "But why hasn't it happened yet?", I think is the important question. If you ask me, craigslist seems like a perfect venue for a serial killer. He would get almost complete anonymity, and a amazingly easy way to lure victims into the privacy of his home. When and if the missing persons were traced to craigslist (I say "if" because most women would probably be too ashamed to mention to anyone that she was meeting a man from craigslist in his home for no-strings-attached sex), all the admins would have would be his e-mail address, which could again be incredibly simple to anonymify. He could easily duck "flagging" by the craigslist community by posting very under-the-radar ads, normal and friendly sounding. No one would catch on for quite some time.

If you ask my opinion, I think it simply hasn't happened yet (at least, as far as we know). It certainly has the potential to, but craigslist hasn't been around too long, and these things take time. Also, the decrease in serial killers can probably be somewhat chalked up to the fact that most these days are medicated for schizophrenia, etc, before they can commit crimes, and true "psychopaths" are a rara avis indeed. Another idea is that people don't really respond to the "casual encounters" ads... but I think they probably do. A "missed connection" ad I read one time featured a man searching for someone he had originally met through "casual encounters," and who he wanted to see again because he felt that they "really had a connection," leading me to believe that people really do respond to these ads.

Craigslist itself has a very simple solution to keeping itself out of harm's way in this case- the mandatory release people click on when accessing the "casual encounters" page: "By clicking on the casual encounters link below, I will have released craigslist from any liability that may arise from my use of the site." Good idea for them, but I can't help but wonder if anyone thinks about what it really means, and the risk they invite by responding to these ads. I know I'm certainly going to bring a boy with me whenever I'm buying or selling something to someone from craigslist from now on.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Can you still say "boobies" on the internets?

I must admit, I am a bit of a closet libertarian.

I believe in the U.S. Constitution, and I am continuously amazed and thrilled at its profundity and accuracy, even after over 200 years. As a 95% libertarian, I also believe that upholding this sacred document is of utmost importance, even in changing times, even when it isn't popular to do so. I believe that the freedom of speech and press was the first amendment for a very good reason: take away this right, and the people become silenced, there are no more opinions, no more new ideas, everything stagnates, and democracy ceases to exist in favor of a brave new world, so to speak.

Hence, I do not believe in special new laws regarding what is or what is not appropriate for publication on the internet. They chip away at our fundamental rights in the name of morality, setting the stage so that eventually what is moral and what is not is no longer decided by the individual, but by the government. I vehemently disagree with the Communications Decency Act, and am glad it was (rightly) struck down by the Supreme Court. It is not the government's responsibility to raise its citizens' children, telling them what to think, what to see, or what to learn (for the most part, however for the sake of brevity and argument I will not elaborate on this issue).

The decision of what is appropriate for children ultimately lies with the parents, as I believe it should. If parents do not want their children looking at certain websites, they can monitor their child's access to the internet, or invest in software which filters out sites they do not wish their children to see (ironically, technology is both the cause and potential solution to this problem).

The book discusses pornography as its main point of contention, and porn is often exactly the "lewd, obscene, filthy material" parents don't want their children viewing. As a side note, I personally don't think most porn is particularly harmful. Most psychologists today consider viewing pornography as a healthy outlet for sexual experimentation and development in adolescents, and possibly humanity's greatest pastime (ok, I threw that last part in there). I consider horribly violent films and video games to be a much bigger threat to children's psychological health; why an act of reproduction and sometimes even love is more "lewd and obscene" than watching people graphically shoot eachother in the head is beyond me. But I digress. There are existing laws which I support (my 5% non-libertarian) that deem extremely violent or child porn illegal. As these are, in my opinion, the only things the government should be responsible to protect children from, I do not see why supplementary special laws need to be enacted. If parents feel that they would like to exert additional control, so be it, but they should not blame others for their lack of guidance if they discover their child doing something online that they do not agree with.

Additionally, the wording of these laws is highly a matter of semantics. What exactly is "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent"? The words are vague, therefore what they apply to is also vague, leaving almost anything open to "vague" persecution (for example, a Congressman doesn't like the news of his inappropriate relationship with a 16 year old boy made public, therefore he sues the publisher under this law as making the existance of his depraved act known to impressionable children). Ridiculous, but possible under such a law. Everyone differs as to the level at which they would consider something "obscene," therefore it is not right for a government to legislate this beyond a very fundamental baseline (child porn, for instance).

I could go on, but I've got to get back to watching porn and writing President Bush anonymous hate mail.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Drop your pants here for best results.

The above was taken from a sign at a dry cleaning store in Tokyo.

Just one of many ways that poor translation can lead to confusion, being less competitive in the world market, and hilarity.

Article with more details here, but biased because it is published by a translation company.

Wikipedia article on machine translation, the history of which goes back to the 1950s, when machines were in their heyday, and everyone wanted a machine to do everything. Why hire someone who speaks Russian and is probably a damn dirty Communist to translate, when you can have a clean running all-American machine to steal the Reds' secrets FOR you? Needless to say it didn't work out too well.

Online translation came much later, as the internet had to be invented by Al Gore before it could be possible. A Wikipedia article on SYSTRAN, one of the oldest and most prominent of machine translators, which powers Yahoo! translator, Babelfish, and Google translator. More information on SYSTRAN's products are here.

More research to come, however, this is hilarious:

"When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor."
-car rental brochure in Tokyo.

Oh, the Japanese.