Friday, August 22, 2008

Movin' Out

It's been a long time since I last posted -- as you can tell from the date of the post immediately below -- and in that interval, quite a bit has happened. Long story short, my perspective on a lot of things in my life have changed, and my attempts at blogging have been one aspect affected by that.

Before I go further, let me say this: I'm not abdicating my corner of the blogosphere, small though it is. I merely had a moment of sudden realization -- I simply can't do all politics, all the time, and my last pre-hiatus posts here reflect that. While there's no doubt that I am a political junkie, much of my hiatus had to do with the fact that I was simply burned out on the presidential campaign and politics in general. Sometimes politics seem meaningless and directionless for no necessary reasons, and attempting to maintain a level of rapt coverage in spite of that fact gets frustrating at times. (And now I join the vast crowd of people for whom this revelation is old news.) I'm still trying to figure out what truly drives me and how I can transform my myriad and constantly-shifting interests into not only gainful employment, but overall satisfaction and purpose in my life as well.

There's certainly nothing wrong with this blog per se, and I enjoyed posting here tremendously, but there is a certain one-dimensional aspect of this blog and blogging platform that I can't quite overcome. The name of the blog itself, and its corresponding domain name, effectively pigeonhole it into being a politics-only forum, which I have decided is an untenable model for me. While I still like the blog's name and concept, and value the archive of material this space has come to represent to me, it's time for me to broaden my blogging horizons. (I promise said horizons will not include clichés like the one immediately preceding this statement, however.)

With that in mind, I'm pleased to announce that I will once again begin blogging over at my new home, Siliconese. I will also continue to utilize Twitter for microblogging; the existing feed here will be left up and running for convenience's sake. For everyone who took the time to actually read here the mere ramblings of a college student, you have my sincerest thanks. I hope to see you all over at the new site, where I intend to take a more holistic view of the world around us.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Streets of Google Maps

Now you can drive through them, too.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Waterboarded...With Information

Gene Weingarten over at the Washington Post has some keen insights about the nature of our political culture after a 24-hour information binge. The following is but a small part of a very compelling and often amusing essay.

It is possible to know too much. It is possible to care too much. Hunger for information can become gluttony.

This has always been true, but it is more so now because the opportunities for abuse are greater. There are too many voices, competing too hard, fighting for attention, ranting, redundant, random. The dissemination of fact and opinion is no longer the sole province of people and institutions with the money to buy network monopolies or ink by the ton, as it was a half-century ago when information was delivered to us, for better or worse, like the latest 1950s-era cigarette: filtered, for an illusion of safety. Now, all is out of control. Everyone with a computer is a potential pundit; anyone with a video camera can be on a screen.

And so it has come to this: a Web site called Meme-orandum.com, which brags, in its mission statement, that it "auto-generates a news summary every 5 minutes, drawing on experts and pundits, insiders and outsiders, media professionals and amateur bloggers." Driven by algorithm, largely unimpeded by the human mind, this information-aggregating Web site offers an obsessively updated menu of hyperlinks to hundreds of morsels of political news and commentary, many of which lead to dozens more of the same, creating a bottomless pyramid of punditry, a tessellated spider work of interconnected news and opinion that canvasses virtually everything that is being publicly written or uttered minute by minute on every subject everywhere by everyone.

There's a colorful analogy for living in an age of information overload. When I couldn't remember it, I went to Google and typed in "analogy" and "information overload." Twenty-six hundredths of a second later, after combing through the published thoughts of millions of people, the search engine served up a 6,100-page hierarchy of Web hits sorted by frequency of recent usage. And there it was, second from the top:

"Information overload is like drinking from a fire hose."

Right. We're all getting hosed. No one can consume it all, nor would anyone want to try. You'd drown. So, as best we can, we try to reduce our intake to manageable, gasping, horking gulps, and, in so doing, are able to remain ignorant of the breathtaking, mind-numbing totality of it. But what of that breathtaking, mind-numbing totality? It's not like if you don't see it, it's not there. We are like those 2-year-olds who try to hide, in hide-and-seek, by standing in the middle of a room and covering their eyes.

Surely this neurotic impulse to hear and be heard means something, good or bad, about our national character. Doesn't the world need one individual with the courage and audacity to expose himself to it all -- punditry in newspapers, punditry on TV, punditry on the radio, punditry on the Web -- for 24 hours straight?

No? Well, too late.

I'm back, and I'm here to make my report. I should begin by correcting one important impression.

Not fire-hosing, exactly. Waterboarding.

You Can't Say He's Not Honest

David Paterson gets candid about his colorful past -- very candid. (More so than he already has!) Money 'graph from the linked interview:

In a one-on-one interview with political anchor Dominic Carter, David Paterson spoke candidly about his past, admitting to illegal drug use, but not since the late 70s.

Carter: Marijuana?

Paterson: Yes.

Carter: Cocaine?

Paterson: Yes.

Carter: You have used cocaine governor?

Paterson: I'd say I was about 22-23. I tried it a few times, yes.

And commenter "adaglas" hypothesizes about some of Gov. Paterson's other possible indiscretions:

Interviewer: So you say you were once a member of the SLA, Governor?

Paterson: Yes.

Interviewer: As well as the IRA?

Paterson: Yes.

Interviewer: And a brief stint in Khrushchev's Politburo?

Pateron: Yes.

Interview: And COBRA?

Paterson: That was a phase. They had pretty sweet uniforms.

Monday, March 24, 2008

So Much for Fiscal Responsibility

I used to think McCain wouldn't be such a bad alternative to Obama if Hillary won the nomination. It's reasons like this one that I'm now having serious second thoughts.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mea Culpa

I apologize to my readers for going off the grid -- I had quite the workload over my spring break this week. I'll be unavailable today due to travel, but I hope to get back up to a more regular posting schedule soon thereafter. God knows there's been plenty in the news and elsewhere to talk about.

Update: As a small consolation, I've embedded a widget for my most recent Twitter updates in the right-hand sidebar. I'll use it for random thoughts that might not otherwise merit a blog post, and potentially future mea culpas as well. (Though I hope I won't have to resort to any more of those.) Hopefully you find it worth a quick glance every now and again.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Transparent Candidate

Obama continues to impress on matters of ethics and transparency, even as a presidential candidate: between elaborating on the nature of his interactions with Tony Rezko, releasing all his earmarks, and making his last tax return public, he's really drawing a sharp contrast between himself and Clinton (and, to a lesser extent, McCain).

It really makes you wonder what she's got to hide. There is no legitimate reason for her to withhold her tax returns.