concrete chipping - Thursday June 05 2003

I keep being harassed by Yellow Pages people wanting to set up meetings with me. They've seen my advertisement in the paper and then they think I'd also want a mention in the phone book. Perhaps I do, and at first I really did - but why would I want to have meetings with three different people? How many phone books can there be in the greater Kingston, NY area? They're becoming as annoying as spammers.

I've resurfaced most of the concrete slab out in front of the door, but there's still a narrow section farthest from the house that remains as it was. I would like to continue covering this slab with native rocks, but this remaining section sticks up so high that I can't think of any surfacing materials thin enough to keep it within the slope I am trying to build. I was high on pseudoephedrine again today when I decided the easiest way to lower the highest corner of the slab was to chip away at it with the pick end of a mattock. This was easier (and more fun) than expected, though I only managed to rip down an area of about one square foot in size.

This evening Gretchen and I watched a ghost movie called The Others. I'm not a big fan of ghost movies - I hate it when a character keeps opening doors and finding nothing as the creepy music repeatedly swells and collapses. However, the ends of this particular ghost movie definitely justify the annoying particulars of its means. It does seem to drag in places as it gets to where it's going, and at times I even wondered why I was investing the time required to watch it. But I'm a huge fan of the thought-provoking mindfuck, and that's what The Others delivered in the end.

A relationship between physical locations in the real world and various "places" on the web has never really existed. Sure, people updating websites do exist somewhere in the real world - but they can also be whole swarms of people from all over the world acting upon just one URL. If one wants to say a particular place on the web corresponds to a particular place in the world - we'll just have to judge that claim based on the level of trust we have in the person making it. Such claims are so arbitrary and easy to spoof that my first inclination is to believe they are worthless. But now I see someone has created a database system especially to log, search, and compare these claims. Like all database schemes, it ends up being far more interesting than you'd imagine once it's actually collected a certain threshold amount of data. Then suddenly you can plot where "websites" occur on the globe, and you can also tell people who their nearest physical neighbors are "on the web." Still, like all databases, this one seems to be dogged by its error rate. Its biggest source of errors appears to be people not knowing what hemisphere they're in. This accounts for the large number of "websites" floating off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean.
The system is set up in such a way that you can provide real-world co-ordinates for every HTML document you put on the web. The whole virtual universe could theoretically be nailed down to the globe, and if (say) I provided co-ordinates for every page of my online journal, you could plot my progress around the globe over time - to the extent that I wanted you to. For those who prefer to jealousy guard your privacy and whereabouts, I should point out that such plots can probably already be generated by the FBI for anyone who carries a cell phone.

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