TWITTER | @martingruner


    And by the way, Eugene Volokh puts that whole is-gay-sex-unnatural argument to rest with eloquence.

    Homoseksualitet er simpelhen bare fullstendig unaturlig.

    Mest interessante bit i artikkelen: "Homoseksualitet er et sosialt fenomen og mest utbredt hos dyr med et komplekst flokkliv." Intewesting.


    Base, Meet Superstructure

    Marxism.org's philosophy resource is a splendid collection of philosophical texts from Descartes & Hobbes to Adorno, Sartre and Rorty. Essential reading! First on my reading list: the introduction to Consequences of Pragmatism by Richard Rorty, which I might just write an entry about sometime soon.

    Actually, Marxists.org itself is an amazing resource, filled with original texts from all over some several canons. A bit heavy on the Engels, Hegel, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Trotsky thing. But then, it's Marxists.org. What do you expect? They have texts by Leibniz too, and he was just completely goofy.


    Religion and the State: Toward A Grand Unified Metaphor. This might be the funniest political cartoon I've seen in a while, and I'm not just saying that because my brother made it.

    (Don't forget to click for a larger picture.)

    A very interesting analysis of the Al-Qaida movement & international Islamic fundamentalism.
    Martyrdom should be linked not to any political wish list but "ethical practice". That doesn't, of course, mean "there are no strategic aims at all, but the act always folds back into itself because the movement is incapable of controlling anything at the global level. Of course, on one level, the rhetoric is all about policy - but when you look at that rhetoric more carefully you realise that any political or strategic aims dissolve. For instance the Islamic demand 'get out of our lands' is completely unclear. It could mean anything. Such a programme ceases to have any real-world political or strategic relevance. It dissolves into something else."

    We should, for our own wellbeing Devji believes, think carefully about that "something else". Starting, for example, by reading what Bin Laden actually says. "I was surprised," Devji recalls, "when I went to the trouble after 2001 of looking at his speeches and statements and communiques at how coherent they were." More than that, how effectively they were picked up and absorbed as a coherent message across the Muslim world.

    "It's not as if people were educated to think as he thinks. It's spread amazingly fast. So if you look at the video tape by Mohammad Sidique Khan, the London bomber, it contains the most important elements in Bin Laden's discourse. The stress on 'ethics', for instance - Khan actually uses that word and defines his impending suicide bombing as an 'ethical act'."

    First blogger in space. Also: first Flickr user in space.

    They just don't make artsy magasines like they used to.

    (Link courtesy of Jill, who ahs a post about the magasine here.)

    Personal snapshots taken by Andy Warhol. He must have known every celebrity there was between 1965 and 1986.


    Two posts by a lawyer for one of the Guantanamo detainees: This post on habeas corpus and this post on why she is representing him. We're still allied to this government, btw.

    American journalism in a nutshell.


    Er det bare meg som synes det er helt ufattelig, tåkrummende, hårreisende, gåsehuds-knoppende pinlig at de artiklene om kulturøkonomi de siste dagene får lov til å stå i BT? Hvor ufattelig pinlig er det ikke at så unyanserte FrP-argumenter får stå på trykk, og så må Henning Warloe, en Høyre-byråd, gå ut og være fornuftens stemme for å demme opp (og så attpåtil ikke kommer på nett, som om det ikke var så viktig som de to foregående sakene).

    Stopp pressen! Kultur er ikke lønnsomt! Da må vi visst effektivisere og iverksette kostnadsbesparende tiltak og øke inntjeningsmulighetene gjennom helhetlige vurderinger av markedssituasjonen. Og ikke minst må vi visst outsource (istedetfor å bygge opp lokal kompetanse? Er det så smart?).

    Kan vi ikke alle sammen bare bli enige om at vi trenger kultur, at vi faktisk trenger det, på samme måte som vi trenger veier og hospitaler, og at kultur derfor har verdi som ikke (alltid) lar seg forene med økonomisk lønnsomhet? Ok. Godt. Da er vi enige om det. Hvorfor snakker vi stadig med FrPs reduksjonistiske argumenter? Hvorfor slår BT det allikevel opp som om det var en skandale? Det er sånn det er, sånn det må være. Ja, uten staten stopper kulturen. Det er en av de mange grunnene til at vi trenger staten. Kulturen er bra i stor grad fordi staten har hatt en stort sett god kulturpolitikk i mange, mange år nå.

    Det er dårlig journalistikk, og meget ugjennomtenkt at BT nå plutselig flytter kulturdebatten et sjumilssteg til høyre. Helt ut i myrlandet bortenfor nyansene. Hva i all verden har BT å tjene på denne senkningen av nivået på avisens kulturjournalistikk? Denne tabloidiseringen nytter ikke for noe.


    Speaking of which, Bill Clinton rips Fox News a new one. This made my lunch break sunnier than it looked like being.

    George Galloway delivers a speech in a US senate subcomitee that is absolutely delightful. He puts blisters on the paint. People opposing the US administration openly to their face is quite simply the greatest TV around these days.

    The rest of the video (parts 2-5) is in the sidebar of the 1st one.

    Kinder, friendlier torture.

    cum cunno mihi mentula est vocanda

    Men in black.

    Here's the letter Ahmadinejad wrote to Bush. He's not a bad writer. Bush wouldn't have the mental stamina to write a letter like that. Though he does go off on a couple of loony tangents (particularly on Israel and about 911 conspiracy theorism), a lot of the letter seems strangely sane and rational, with the basic rhetorical figure being questioning how the president's supposed christian values can be reconciled with his actions. This strikes a tolerant note which almost carries the letter. For instance, I can't help but completely agree with this bit:
    European investigators have confirmed the existence of secret prisons in Europe too. I could not correlate the abduction of a person, and him or her being kept in secret prisons, with the provisions of any judicial system. For that matter, I fail to understand how such actions correspond to the values outlined in the beginning of this letter, i.e. the teachings of Jesus Christ (PBUH), human rights and liberal values.
    (PBUH = Peace Be Upon Him)

    And now this guy named Bob Nielsen has written a letter in reply. Europe has answered! Hurrah!


    Tidsskriftet K R i T I K E R er ute og har swanky ny nettside. Jeg gleder meg til å lese det. Men jeg savner som så ofte før at de flotte nettsidene inneholder noe annet enn bare en presentasjon av bladet og litt presseinfo og kontaktinformasjon. Hvorfor ikke bare legge ut en artikkel eller to? Gi en teaser? Teksten må jo som kjent forføre leseren, som Roland Barthes sa. Men så er han jo også død.


    nephewy cuteness in Flickr

    - Hva handlet det teaterstykket du var og så idag om?
    - Nei.
    - Handlet det om nei? Var det spennende?
    - Nei.
    - Var det kjedelig?
    - Nei.
    - Er du veldig sterk?
    - ...Nei.
    - Er du smart?
    - Nei.
    - Er du pen?
    - Nei.
    - Har du lyst på is?

    (lang, intens stillhet)


    Joan Didion, bless her, rips Richard "...Dick." Cheney to bloody shreds of ick. She then disembowels and molests the carcass for a while, sets it on fire, douses the fire with holy water, and kicks it into orbit around the Earth. A tiny, mean, ugly, scowling little satellite of evil, waiting to burn up in the purifying purgatorial fires of the atmosphere.


    Crazy, crazy optical illusion.

    How cool: when you type Martin Grüner Larsen into the URL window of Firefox, it arrives at this very page which you are (probably) reading.

    It must be using Google's "I'm feeling lucky" - feature. Interesting. Makes my blog feel more like home, in some way.

    People suck, and that's my contention. I can prove it on a scratch of paper with a pen. Give me a fuckin' Etch-a-sketch, I'll do it in three minutes. The proof, the fact, the factorum. I'll show my work, case closed. I'm tired of this back-slapping 'aren't humanity neat?' bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, OK? That's all we are.
    --Bill Hicks

    Legal graffiti. A guy has been cleaning off grime to create grafitti. What a beautiful & creative idea!


    Our valiant fighting men in the field.

    It's like pressing a joystick, only with moral ramifications.

    Harold Pinter's Nobel lecture was on tv the other day. It's still a riveting performance. Worth seeing again.

    The Holberg Prize

    The Holberg Prize for 2006 went to Shmuel Eisenstadt of whom I know nothing, but he seems interesting.

    I totally would have scooped everyone on this if I hadn't stopped to eat on the way back from the announcement. I wanted to be a citizen journalist, but I had to eat. No, wait, BT published it live from the room. Damnit.



    Dewey Redman has died. I didn't know that. Bummer. I never met him, but I remember a fantastic interview my colleague Morten did with him when we worked in the student radio. He waxed poetic about John Coltrane, and talked about his own playing. At one point he talked about the different things he played, "whether you're playing free, or ballads, or up-tempo or..." and he put in this very slight, completely unself-conscious pause, and said "blues." And the way he said it, with this raspy, whisky-and-40-cigarettes-a-day-for-twenty-years voice, that bore every mark of his life in it, and the slight, lilting tremor on a sustained U: "bluu-hes". It sounded so close to being a parody of a blues singer, but at the same time hit this note of complete sincerity, and of having every right in the world to utter that word in that way.

    The funny thing is that I'm probably going to remember that one word better than anything I ever heard him play.


    Lysistrata meets the girl from Ipanema.

    This makes me queasy. Seeing my country's flag suddenly made a fascistoid emblem for the anti-moslem right wing. The way the flag is sort of heroically waving in the wind, with darkness creeping in at the sides is something I've only seen in photos of American flags so far.

    (Coincidentally, this flag is made out of silk and much too dark. It looks like a chocolate wrapper. It's not a Dannebrog. I could read something into that if I wanted to.)

    (Oh, and what's with the greek thing? They couldn't find the word ytringsfrihed anywhere?)


    Fugue you, Bee-ach.


    du godeste så fort ting forandrer seg

    Jeg foretrekker betegnelsen Hr. Fru Redaktrise.

    Så nå blir det hjerneflukt. Og Ragnfrid reiser også.

    silence variations, which I wrote about a few days ago, is now downloadable online here. That link also leads to Fredrik, the lead programmer's blog.


    eDonkey RIP

    The eDonkey network seems to have been permanently shut down. Goodbye, eDonkey, you were chock-full of horrifically bad German porn pretending to be Disney movies, but I still liked ya.
    The eDonkey2000 Network is no longer available.

    If you steal music or movies, you are breaking the law.

    Courts around the world -- including the United States Supreme Court --
    have ruled that businesses and individuals can be prosecuted for illegal

    You are not anonymous when you illegally download copyrighted material.

    Your IP address is x.x.x.x and has been logged.

    Respect the music, download legally.
    The industry still continues to choose not to adapt to the situation. The internet is not going away, filesharing is not going away. The music industry as we know it, however, is going away, and this latest development has made that abundantly clear.

    And you know what the little detail that really tells me that is? It's the part where it says "your ip adress has been logged." See, I know that they're just telling me the ip address I logged on to their website with (legal) but trying to scare me into thinking they know everything about my downloading. They don't, and trying to make me think that I do is just mean, and that's why I hates the RIAA.

    I've bought at least twenty CDs because I downloaded songs illegally. At least. Music I would never have heard otherwise (because they wouldn't have been played on the radio) that has become some of my favourite artists, records and songs.

    Oh, hey, that reminds me. Back in the day there used to be this site called riaa.sucksdonkeyballs.com. It didn't last, unfortunately. But they do. And I wish they still did, if you get my drift.

    My friends Jon and Fredrik made a game based on the Munch robbery. It now has a webpage. The game was called silence variations.


    5 years

    5 years.
    1825 days.
    That's 5 long, long years.
    On the other hand, Bush only has 861 days left in office.
    861 days, 8 hours and 6 minutes.
    And 52 seconds (but who's counting).

    2973 people died in the September 11th attacks (oh, and the 19 hijackers, but who is counting them? And incidentally, why aren't we counting them?).

    2973. That's a lot of people dead for no reason.

    Every single one of those one thousand eight hundred and twentyfive days since those 2973 people, roughly 30.000 children died from easily preventable causes.

    Jeepers, if we were counting, that would be 53 million children. Put it another way: think about that really big class you were in when you were a kid? 30 kids, far too many for the overworked teacher. You're dead. You are all dead, and a thousand other classrooms like the one you were in. Every day for five years.

    On the day that those 2973 people died, roughly 30.000 children died from easily preventable causes. That number of children also died the day before and the day after. That's like 60 crammed-full jumbo jets crashing every day.

    Somewhere between 62.000 and 180.000 people have died thus far in the war "on" terror, according to the Independent. That's at least 33 people every day = roughly 1/1.000th of the WTC disaster, or roughly 1/10.000th of the children who died that day.

    The thing we spend the most money on around the world is weapons that enable us to kill other people. We spend $950 billion on this. The US alone spends $441.6 billion on this.

    If you take what the US spends every single year on being able to kill other people, and had put it into food distribution, sustainable development, clothes and medicine for those 53 million children (they mostly die from things like diarrhoea, pneumonia, measles and malaria), you could have saved every last one of those children about 200 times over, and still have money left to put them through school for five to eight years.

    Also, 2.9 million people died from AIDS last year. Somebody should really be looking into that.

    We like to focus on big, dramatic dangers, and because of that, we're less focused on actual problems that are actually killing us. Unlike September 11th, life is mostly not like Hollywood movies. Statistics are realer than anything to the people doing the dying, and there are 30.000 good reasons every day to stop being idiots.

    I have a suggestion. It's a really simple and easy suggestion. My suggestion is based on the fact that a) I consider myself as being strongly opposed to human beings, both children and adults dying unnecessarily. b) I think that we are vastly overestimating our need for killing each other.

    1) Maybe we can all get together on the children not dying, and the not killing each other unnecessarily?

    2) Then we could funnel some if not all of the money and work skills used for the military into non-military work around the world.

    3) Maybe we could all get together on the not occupying other countries and killing people there.

    4) Points 1, 2 and 3 would lead to other people maybe feeling less inclined to coming over to our place and killing people over here, or having their cousins who already live here not killing people over here. It might even lead to people over there killing each other less, and people over here killing each other less.

    5) It would also lead to less dying in general from easily preventable cause, like hunger, AIDS, malaria, diahrroea, pneumonia, infections, terrorism and laser-guided smart bombs.

    Water Torture, the Spanish Inquisition and President Kennedy

    Making Light has a great post on the "interrogation methods" of the US intelligence community. New props in the same old play.

    It really leads one to ask the question*: how far removed from your own physical body, and your ability for empathy does one have to be to think that these are ok, that these are just fine and dandy for the not-yet-convicted-or-indeed-prosecuted-with-anything terrorist scum.

    The Bush White House has really worked hard turning Arabs into pseudohumans in the public awareness, and establishing the idea of the administration having access to some great arcane intelligence stash that puts them in the right. But honestly, we ought to just acknowledge the fact that the CIA has mostly been just flat wrong. It has completely misjudged the situation, and made the wrong moves almost consistently throughout the past fifty years. There's an old joke: know why the CIA was not involved with the Kennedy assasination? Because they managed to kill Kennedy, and only a single innocent bystander. Have a look at CIA history. And remember that most of these are historically confirmed facts. Isn't it just bone-chilling? These are the people doing the Spanish Inquisition thing down in Guantanamo and around the world in the secret prisons that Bush has now finally admitted to having. Do you really want them holding the switch to the electrical cables the day you get dragged in because your best friend the Middle-East researcher happened to know someone crazy in a mosque somewhere?

    * As a complete aside here, the phrase begging the question came into my head while I was writing this phrase. Begging the question is one of those blank holes in my brain. I have a few words I somehow manage to never learn the definition of despite having looked them up five or ten times. The term "begging the question" is one of them. Also, the names of some people that I know fairly well remain elusive much longer than they should. I wonder if I have a faulty synapse or something.

    Speaking of which, here's a very cool chart by the NYTimes detailing the five years since September 11th. Of special interest: the constant rate of descent in Bush/Blair approval ratings, word frequency notes in the State of the Unions, the uncanny stability of baby name trends in the US (they seem to be stuck in biblical mode for the boys and half biblical, half patriotic mode for the girls), and the NYTimes word frequency of the words "irony" and "ironic". Word of the year 2005? Truthiness.

    This is just to say

    I have eaten
    the plums
    that were in one
    of the three

    and which
    you were probably
    not saving
    for anything

    Forgive me
    there were
    fuckloads of them
    so I just ate them all
    and now I have a stomachache

    - William Martin Williams -

    Kom på ProSalong!

    ProSalong Bergen starter opp.

    Norsk faglitterær forfatter- og oversetterforening (NFF) inviterer til debatt:

    Wencke Mühleisen og Frode Thuen
    Kjærleik og utruskap

    Møteleiar: Hilde Danielsen

    Kan ein tenke utruskap som ei positiv erfaring?

    Alle parforhold kan rammast av utruskap, og mange blir det. Derfor er utruskap ein erfaring som finst side om side med den offentleg aksepterte kjærleiken.

    Kan ein tenke utruskap som ei positiv erfaring? Kan ein sjå annleis på forhold enn det ein vanlegvis gjer? Trass større mangfald i seksuelle relasjonar og nye rom for lyst og begjær, verkar heteronormative familieverdiar og seriemonogamiet som ideal og norm inn på dei fleste seksuelle relasjonar.

    Wencke Mühleisen, medievitar ved Universitetet i Oslo. M. er ei kjend kjønns- og seksualitetsforskar som stadig stiller spørsmål ved korleis ein tenkjer kjønn og seksualitet i Noreg. Ho er aktuell som redaktør av den nye boka Kjønnsforskning. Ei grunnbok, der ho blant anna skriv om kjønn og seksualitet. Korleis seksuelle handlingar vert tolka, ordna og organisert.

    Frode Thuen, professor i psykologi ved Universitetet i Bergen kom i vår ut med boka Utro. Om kjærlighetens bakgater. Her tek han opp utruskap, men kjærleiken og parforholdet er naturleg nok viktige emne i boka. Thuen er ein profilert familieforskar som har arbeidd særleg med samliv og foreldreskap.

    Dette er det første møtet til det nyoppstarta debattforumet ProSalong, drevet av NFF. Det kommer til å ha formidling og diskusjon av aktuell, bergensk faglitteratur som felt. Neste møte, i november, kommer til å ha midt-østen, utenrikspolitikk og islam som tema.

    NFF arrangerer ProSalong i samarbeid med Spartacus Forlag, Mangschou Forlag, Fagbokforlaget, og tidsskriftene Vagant og Prosopopeia.


    Wait, terrorists can be white? I'm so confused.


    The War-time Diaries of Edward Alexander Packe are interesting reading. He was both in the trenches & the Flying Corps in WWI and an intelligence liason officer in WWII.


    Gernsback International Airport

    "There's no waiting in this supersonic age. And very little walking."

    Also, no drinks on the plane, no toothpaste, aftershave, arabs or supersonic engines.

    Destillerte anti-venstre posisjoner (stråmannsøvelse)

    Samtiden, som i øvrig har den styggest designete websiden i norsk tidsskriftsoffentlighet til tross for toppkarakter for innholdssiden, har en enquete om politisk korrekthet i #3-06.

    Der sier Torbjørn Blåe Røe Isaksen: "I dag brukes politisk korrekthet om en slags parodisk utgave av venstresidens egendefinerte snillhet." Og deretter har han en i grunnen litt parodisk tirade om venstresiden. "[F]or en stor stat, for kulturrelativisme, mot markedskreftene" (ja, ja og nei: hvordan er man egentlig imot en naturlig tendens i markedet? Det er som å være imot tyngdekraften. Hvis venstresiden er imot noe er det et uregulert marked der makt og ressurser drages mot sentraliserte aktører, heller enn hele feltet.)

    Og så går det helt av hengslene: "Mot å stille krav, mot Israel og mot USA. (...) en ensidig forestilling om godhet, og et syn på mennesket som svakt og et offer strukturelle krefter som det kan gjøre lite med."

    Jeg er egentlig nesten litt imponert, for dette er vel det helt nedstrippete, konsentrerte, All-Purpose AntiVenstreArgumentet som Isaksen her leverer med nesten haiku-aktig konsentrasjon. Dette er alle de typiske venstresidestråmennene servert på sølvfat med en god blåvin. Selv om det nok delvis er ment parodisk er dette nok dessverre hovedsaklig alvor, så det er verdt å punktere disse ideene litt, fordi man hører dem hele tiden:

    1. Venstresiden er ikke imot å stille krav. Men venstresiden forstår, ulikt høyresiden, at man må stille krav til organisasjoner i tillegg til individer. Organisasjoner, om det nå er snakk om NSDAP i førkrigs-Tyskland, Oxfam, Amnesty, Haliburton, Coca-Cola eller en hvilken som helst nasjonalstat, har
    ofte interesser som gavner noen få fremfor mange (eller "folk flest"). Det mener venstresiden er problematisk, og prøver å regulere disse interesser ved hjelp av forskjellige intervensjoner. Dette gjelder også i tilfellet nasjonalstater, da med overnasjonale organisasjoner.

    Men det er vel egentlig ikke det Isaksen mener her. Det å "stille krav" er i det siste blitt Norsk Offentlighetsdiskurs sitt kodeord for "stille krav ...til muslimer". Vi (venstresiden) synes det er problematisk at det har blitt ok å hetse folkegrupper pga. deres rase eller religion i det siste, og det vil vi helst unngå, fordi vi vet at i det lange løp så tjener vi på å ha gode naboer. Man får ikke gode naboer ved å skape et fiendskap med dype røtter. Det har aldri virket. Fra 800-tallets Jerusalem frem til idag er integrasjonens historie en historie om vanlige folk som prøver å få ting til å virke og demagoger som hisser folkeslag opp mot hverandre. Det var der korstogene kom fra.

    2. "Mot Israel": Hvor mange ganger må vi si det? Vi er ikke imot Israel, vi er bare imot jøder. Nei, men seriøst: vi er ikke imot Israel som sådan. Vi er ikke imot israelere, heller. Vi er imot israelsk innenriks- og utenrikspolitikk i den grad den ikke bidrar til frihet, fred og rettferdighet for alle - også arabere - i midt-østen. Er det så mye å be om? Why can't we all just be good to each other?

    3. "Mot USA": vi er ikke mot USA heller, vi er faktisk for USA. F.eks. så mener vi at selv om noen få amerikanske ledere har en fullstendig rablende vanvittig utenrikspolitikk, og nok kan regnes for å være den største utenrikspolitiske trusselen i verden idag, så mener vi stadig at det er forsvarlig å handle med flesteparten av det amerikanske folket, og å fremdeles ha diplomatisk kontakt med USA. Men i dette tilfellet er vi kanskje faktisk for å stille krav. Særlig siden dette er den overlegne parten i... ja, verden.

    4. "ensidig bilde av godhet": Hvordan kan vi ha et ensidig bilde av godhet når vi er kulturrelativister? Alt er jo like godt. Men seriøst: nei. Snarere tvert imot. Venstresiden karakteriseres generelt sett - og her må jeg i ærlighetens navn innrømme at jeg drar en masse forskjellige bevegelser inn under fellesbegreper som egentlig ikke er så entydige, for å score et billig retorisk poeng - av et komplekst og overdeterminert årsaks-virkning-bilde av verden, og et flertydig, intersubjektivt og pragmatisk rettferdighetsbegrep. "Vi" foretrekker å ikke bruke ord som godhet, men istedetfor ord som rettferdighet, nytte og fred.

    5. Mennesket som offer for kulturelle krefter: Offer er et dårlig ord her, men jeg mener at du er en idiot - både i ordets moderne og dets opprinnelige betydning som er en person som er privat og ikke deltar i samfunnet - hvis du ikke ser at mennesket både former og formes av samfunnet. Det er like mye individet som får fugleflokken til å endre retning som det er flokken. Flokken flyr også noen ganger fuglen. Det er da helt åpenbart for enhver som har øyne og ører at dine valgmuligheter ikke er fullstendig åpne, at noen mennesker fødes med andre valg enn andre, at samfunnsmessige strukturer bidrar til din egen dannelse og at du seinere i livet kan komme til å ta valg som - igjen - er overdeterminerte, men der en del av årsakene er strukturelle. Ved å behandle og endre strukturene endrer man vilkårene mennesker har for å ta valg. Hvis man gjør det bra, blir vilkårene bedre og kanskje til og med friere.

    Enhver person som sier noe annet har så mye ideologi i bagasjen at jeg umulig kan forestille meg at noe fornuftig menneske skulle slippe dem i nærheten av en maktposisjon.

    innskrift, nedskrevet, nedtegnet, utskrift, skrive opp, opptegnet, oppskrift

    the online etymology dictionary may just about be the most delightfully useful thing on the web.

    other things which I take a similar liking
    are the acronymfinder and dictionary.com


    Who Writes Wikipedia?

    Who Writes Wikipedia? is a really fascinating article on Wikipedia's user contribution distribution. It starts with a depressing let-down: Jimmy Wales believes that roughly 1200 people are responsible for writing almost all of Wikipedia. It's not actually user-based and free, but a statistical aristocracy. The writer of the article objects, and does some serious number-crunching and concludes that Wales is wrong:
    When you put it all together, the story become clear: an outsider makes one edit to add a chunk of information, then insiders make several edits tweaking and reformatting it. In addition, insiders rack up thousands of edits doing things like changing the name of a category across the entire site -- the kind of thing only insiders deeply care about. As a result, insiders account for the vast majority of the edits. But it's the outsiders who provide nearly all of the content.

    And when you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Writing an encyclopedia is hard. To do anywhere near a decent job, you have to know a great deal of information about an incredibly wide variety of subjects. Writing so much text is difficult, but doing all the background research seems impossible.

    On the other hand, everyone has a bunch of obscure things that, for one reason or another, they've come to know well. So they share them, clicking the edit link and adding a paragraph or two to Wikipedia. At the same time, a small number of people have become particularly involved in Wikipedia itself, learning its policies and special syntax, and spending their time tweaking the contributions of everybody else.

    Other encyclopedias work similarly, just on a much smaller scale: a large group of people write articles on topics they know well, while a small staff formats them into a single work. This second group is clearly very important -- it's thanks to them encyclopedias have a consistent look and tone -- but it's a severe exaggeration to say that they wrote the encyclopedia. One imagines the people running Britannica worry more about their contributors than their formatters.
    An interesting read, not least because it confirms my deeply-held suspicion that not even the people running Wikipedia have quite grasped the enormity of what they've accomplished.

    This is a beautiful and quite disturbingly emotional photoset called "Aftermath" by David Burnett. It's shots of the aftermath of last year's hurricane season in the Southern US. Katrina etc. Something about the narrow depth of field makes it look like macro photography of a toy city, but then you see the real people and real objects.


    Ikke en eneste kommentar på forsiden. Jeg har kjedet verden til døde.



    Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray.

    I'm honestly a little surprised he lasted as long as he did. But I'm sorry he's gone. He made crocodile wrestling look so effortless and fun.

    Villa, vov-vov, Volvo og nykonservatisme

    Tidsskriftet MEMO, som gir deg andre vinkler, som tør å stille de kritiske spørsmålene, og gi et ferskt blikk på de sakene som angår deg, har inngått en avtale med Volvo. 7000 Volvo-kunder, deriblant mine foreldre, har fått et abonnement på tidsskriftet MEMO, tidsskriftet som gir deg overraskende synspunkter på viktige spørsmål som angår deg, som tør å være forfriskende politisk ukorrekt, av Volvo.

    Volvo. Selve symbolet på SV-borgerlighet. Høyborgen til den organiske, sikkerhetsbevisste, lilla-kledde, Steinerskolestøttende, rekkehusboende, venstre-orienterte, Bourdieu-lesende, rødvinsdrikkende, Beethoven-elskende, COOP-handlende, ferske-urter-spisende, peppermyntetedrikkende, miljøbekymrete, Nattjazz-gående, designer-bebrillete, jeg-synes-nå-at-den-siste-diktsamlingen-til-Jan-Erik-Vold
    -var-litt-svak-synes-du-ikke, keramikk-lagende, seksuelt frigjorte, sikkerhetsbelte-brukende-med-baby-i-barne-baksetet kunden? Og så MEMO: Tidsskriftet som gir deg forfriskende vinklinger på hvorfor innvandrere og muslimer er et problem, som tør å stille de vanskelige spørsmålene om hvordan ting egentlig går ganske greit i Norge, så vi ikke trenger å skjerpe oss, som sier fra om det som ingen tør snakke om, f.eks. hvordan du bør uttrykke din identitet gjennom varekjøp og hvordan ultrakapitalisme egentlig er en god ide. Tidskriftet som, når vi koker det ned, egentlig er fullstendig markedsorientert, turbokapitalistisk, småfascistisk og innvandrerfiendtlig?

    "- Vi vet at våre kunder er oppegående og samfunnsbevisste mennesker og tror at et slikt tilbud vil oppleves som positivt, sier markedssjef Steffen Bang i Volvo Norge til Dagens Næringsliv."

    Hmm. Good call, Volvo.

    You know, for as long as I can remember, I've had memories.

    This just in, male teenagers are also caught up in patriarchical power structures. They have empirical evidence that you couldn't shake a stick at.

    The thing that got me about this amusing and good art-prank is the reactions by the officials for the companies: all taking it in good sport, seemingly agreeing with what he's saying. This probably means that the corporate overmind is getting smarter and will soon grow to resemble the Borg Collective in ruthlessness and guile.


    The Danbolt Building is open to the public. Den bloggen gleder jeg meg til å lese.


    I AM NOT A TERRORIST. I am totally getting one of those t-shirts when my student's loan gets here. Proceeds go to the ACLU.


    the relationship between ideas and time (four things to keep in mind)

    1. All new ideas are not good ideas. The quality or value of any new idea at any given time is arbitrary. Value comes mostly (though not exclusively) with longevity, as the idea is enacted over time and is actualised, causing an effect. This effect can be bad. The effect does not follow any laws of causality or necessity; that is to say: something can be predicted to have an effect by a law of science or ethics or other rational or irrational set of rules, and still have any other effect. The rule-sets' worth are proven by consistency over time, not by being right every time. The invasion of Iraq may still (somehow) end up being a good thing (though obviously in my system of ethics is a bad thing until proven otherwise), while being kind to animals or clean can get you allergies or the plague.

    2. Old ideas are not always bad ideas. There is no necessary progression towards any historical absolute singularity (though one could possibly occur). If things are getting better, they are not getting better by necessity. Mankind took a beating in the year 400, and life got very much shittier than it had been, and stayed that way for about a thousand years. Also, note that some of the old Greeks and Romans were on to something, and many of them were not. We can learn from 5500 years of recorded history. We can learn something from ancient Chinese poets, renaissance philosophers and the morning paper.

    3. New ideas are not necessarily bad. Just as we are not necessarily moving with historical necessity towards some null point of joy, happiness, knowledge and oneness with the divine, we are not slouching towards some dystopic Bladerunnery hellhole. The fact that we have less time for each other and that we spend less time with our families etc. might be a problem with the present, but will not necessarily be a problem with the future. This does not mean that modern technology or the current culture is inherently sick. (Actually, the culture is sick, but not because it's new, and besides, we can fix that.)

    4. All old ideas are not necessarily good. Dude, I don't care if the ancient Iraqis could build a battery, that doesn't mean they were sitting on the key to the spiritual truth about the universe. The yogic mystics were mostly off their heads, the ancient aztecs sacrificed humans to (presumably) immaterial, (presumably) non-existant beings, John the Babtist was probably high on magic mushrooms and Jesus, while quite the visionary, was not a little bonkers.

    Plato was completely wrong: there are no absolutes in the world of ideas. You just have to start the clock to find out.

    Speaking of number 2:
    What historians know of the Harappan civilisation makes them unique. Their society did not like great differences between social classes or the display of wealth by rulers. They did not leave behind large monuments or rich graves.

    They appear to be a peaceful people who displayed their art in smaller works of stone.

    Their society seems to have petered out. Around 1900 BC Harappa and other urban centres started to decline as people left them to move east to what is now India and the Ganges.

    This discovery will add to the debate about the origins of the written word.

    It probably suggests that writing developed independently in at least three places - Egypt, Mesopotamia and Harappa between 3500 BC and 3100 BC.

    bye-bye, free will

    As it turns out, Leibniz' "two clocks" example is pretty different from how I remembered thinking about it when I read Bertrand Russells History of Western Philosophy, but it's still interesting:
    The souls follow their laws, which consist in a definite development of perceptions according to goods and evils, and the bodies follow theirs, which consist in the laws of motion; nevertheless, these two beings of entirely different kind meet together and correspond to each other like two clocks perfectly regulated to the same time. It is this that I call the theory of preestablished harmony, which excludes every concept of miracle from purely natural actions and makes things run their course regulated in an intelligible manner.
    -- Leibniz.
    (Here's the article I boosted it from.)

    13. mann til bords

    Gärtner gjør Ibsen. (Ikke på den måten.) Og sier i prosessen det som vi alle sammen går og tenker:
    Man hører stadig teaterinstruktører påstå at Ibsen aldri mister sin aktualitet, men la oss være ærlige: Det finnes neppe mange skandinaviske menn som i dag benytter ”sanglerke”- og ”slikkmunn”-diskursen overfor sin kone, eller mange kvinner som sier til sin mann ”Jeg kunne da ikke falle på å gjøre deg imot”.
    I 1890 satte Hedda Gabler fingeren på det faktum at det eneste alternativet for kvinner som ville være noe annet enn mødre og koner, var å skyte seg med pistol. I 2006 viser stykket at det eneste alternativet for middelklassemennesker overhodet er å skyte seg med pistol.
    Og en herlig avslutning der Ibsen forutser Norges forhold til seg selv 100 år etter. Noen andre enn meg som begynner å bli lei den selvrettferdige norske ibsenske reterritorialisering? Noen andre som også ble lei i januar? Opp med hånden.

    Nå har det vært høst i 11 minutter.

    Hittil har det gått bra.
    Hittil har det gått bra.
    Hittil har det gått bra.
    Hittil har det gått bra.
    Hittil har det gått bra.
    Hittil har det gått bra.

    12 minutter.