I Am Uninformed



Well. I'm not sure how to put this, exactly. "I am Uninformed" is over. It feels like the time is right.

See, I hadn't originally intended to write a blog. I wanted to start a webzine. But, since I was only updating that webzine once a week, in a media environment that requires 24 hour non-stop new content. I am Uninformed was created to provide a place where readers could come to get a daily fix, in between the updates of the main site. The name of this blog comes from the fact that I did not want to write about the news, because I wanted topical stuff to appear on Sloganeering.Org.

Well, Sloganeering.Org got sick, and the quality of the writing (on my part, anyway) went down. Worse, the updates started happening less frequently as I devoted myself to the low-standard environment of the blog.

It turns out that that was the wrong approach. Blog content shouldn't be lousy. So I stopped posting for fear of writing crap. So the updates slowed down there as well.

I want Sloganeering.Org to be a better site. That means that I am Uninformed has to stop.

And, to round out this farewell, let's have another quote from Doctor Who:

One day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.

-From "The Dalek Invasion of Earth," written by Terry Nation

.... In fact, I'm already back. You can find me at Sloganeering.Org, of course. But I have also created the new Sloganeering.Org Blog. This new blog will deal with more topical subjects, and will not include so much personal information. To those who will follow me to the new location, welcome. To those that won't, goodbye. I'll miss you.



Well, the end of my current contract is rapidly approaching (it ends next Friday), and with it comes the inevitable hunt for a new one, a rapid fire series of calls to various contacts and prospective employers, and deep feelings of desperation.

So, next week, I will be very busy, and probably won't even post with the limited frequency that I have been. I'll try to have something neat, week after next.



Cheryl Lowry at Flak Magazine asks, Is America hungry for giant, dancing blocks of poop?

You may have seen those ads for Domino's new brownie squares, and you might have had the same reaction. After all, everything "Fudgems" embraces gets coated with brown.

The product itself is yet another attempt to expand the range of products designed to "add value" to your order. If you call a pizza place it's a given that you are going to order pizza. For years efforts were made to try to get you to order more pizza then you really need, since that was pretty much they only way to make a $10.00 order into a $20.00 order.

But over the past couple of decades, fast-food pizza chains have been designing various supplimentary items that might be cheaper than a second pie, but have remarkably large profit margin. Things like buffalo wings, bread sticks, or anything else that can be tossed in an aluminum pan, sent through the oven, and kept in a warmer for hours on end. The speed at which these products can be prepared and deployed means not having to worry about their impact to your core business (pizza) and their low cost for materials and (relatively) high cost means that they are worth the minimal effort.

I don't really get it, myself; but then, I only order pizza for one, usually. A medium pizza from any national chain takes me more than one sitting to finish -- I don't have room for any additional food items. In anycase, when I order pizza, I want to eat pizza; not chicken, not bread dough, not little cinnimon balls.

And not poopy fudgems.



From MSNBC.com comes a link to another damn Forbes.com slide show. This time it's about America's hardest-drinking cities.
[...] Milwaukee isn't just your average brewing town. It's the hardest-drinking city in America, according to Forbes.com's ranking of America's Drunkest Cities.

Okay, who cares?

The real issue here is the proliferation of slide-shows on Forbes.com. First of all, was there some sort of demand for web articles that won't sit still and let you read them? Seriously, I thought Forbes was all about providing content for the rich, and those who aspire to cup the genitals of the rich; I had no idea that either of those groups could read so fast.

Let's not forget that another, more infamous article on Forbes.com got the slide show treatment.


Ed Champion has recieved a message of a less-than-friendly nature from a certain writer. I'm afraid to try to explain what's happening, in case I might get it wrong, so I'll just direct you
to Ed's post.

Incidentally, here is the post that the first post refers to.

And, incidentally, if you or anyone you know thinks they might be at risk for posting something on his or her blog, here's the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Legal Guide for Bloggers.

Not related: The ACLU "Bust Card".


So Pluto is not a planet anymore. Oh well.

I'm sorry if I don't seem emotionally moved by this whole thing, though Jove knows I should be. I was a junior astronomer and everything!

When astronomers speak to one another they use technial jargon, which requires the use of terms whose definitions are precise. Little wonder that they wanted to narrow the definition of "planet" to something that wouldn't include a whole host of other, unrelated bodies.

You and I, however, do not speak in technical jargon when we speak of astronomy. (Even if you are a professional astronomer, the odds that I could speak to you in your own language are slim. You'll have to dumb things down for me.) The language of the non-professional -- literally "laymen's terms" -- is not required to be precise. I promise not to tell the IAU if you call Pluto a planet, as long as you return the favor.

It's the perogative of the common person to use words however they damn well feel like it; disposible tissues are not all "Kleenex", cotton ear-swabs are not all "Q-tips", portable mp3 players are not all "iPods". Except, according to the popular lexicon, they are.

Oh, it may not be very cultured or classy to say we've got 9 planets. And people might think my insistence on the Ptolemaic* model of the solar system is in direct contridiction to the facts, but I am unmoved. I will continue to drink my lemon-lime flavored Coca-Cola, xeroxing documents with my Canon copier, and sitting here in the center of the universe.

* * *

Others say good-bye to Pluto the Planet:
A Transcript of Pluto's Consession Speech

The real reason Pluto lost it's status (2nd comic)

*[Correction: The original version of this post used the word "Copernican" in the place of the word "Ptolemaic". This ruined the joke, which was meant to imply that the writer (me) continued to believe in certain models of the solar system, even though they are outdated. Of course, the Copernican model is out of date due to its assertion that the orbits of the planets are circular, when, in fact, they are elliptical. But that is a very fine point compared to the differences between Ptolemy's geocentric theory and Copernicus's heliocentric one. We (me) regret the comedic error.]



Gamejerk (my video game-themed blog) is dead. I killed it, and I'm glad.



Spotted this post at Lifehacker that deals with something Glen Stansberry calls "diarrhea of the brain."

The premise is that sitting down and forcing yourself to be creative doesn't often produce results; you are more likely to get good ideas when you are doing something unrelated. The key is to capture those ideas when you have them. Therefore, Mr. Stansberry's helpful hints.

Although some of the suggestions are a little "Getting Things Done-ish*," they all appear to be pretty useful. Except...

The first suggestion, "Always carry paper," sounds okay. And, I generally always have paper -- it's the writing implement that's the problem. Pens don't really fit comfortably into pants pockets, and I don't always where shirts that have pockets.

I'm serious where's a good place for storing a pen? (And before you make the hilarious suggestion that I stuff it up my ass, consider the fact that my head's already in there, leaving very little room for such luxury items.) I've thought about wearing one on a lanyard, but I'm nerdy-looking enough as it is.

*It's not that I have anything against Getting Things Done per se; but the book's cult member-like adherents have taken to prostletyzing in the cubicle aisles, which is rather irritating.



I was clued in to this post on "life-long learning" via Lifehacker.
After dropping out of college, I promised myself that even if I never went back, I would at least continue to, uh, learn stuff. Over all, I suppose it's gone pretty well. I've certainly never had the money or time to take formal training in anything, and yet I do know more than I started out knowing, which means that I must have learned.

Still, I find self-training a pain in the ass; yes, it's worth it in most cases, but the memory of how tough it is makes it difficult to start educating myself on any new subject. Usually, I learn a little bit, then quit. Fortunately, that's probably okay. Check out this passaged (under the heading, "You don't need to master everything." Whew!)

I think the act of learning is usually what's important. Sure there are things you may need to learn for your job, or whatever, but don't feel like you need to become an expert at everything you pick up. For example, I'm reading a book (see, mixing it up) on Ruby On Rails. I'm learning a lot but I've got no intentions of becoming a Ruby programmer or RoR developer. My goal is to learn enough to be able to converse intelligently about it, but that's about it.

Yes, there is hope for folks like me -- or not. While it's not important to become an expert on everything, it would be nice to be an expert on something. Even the lower standard of being "[...] able to converse intelligently [...]" is beyond my grasp. If that's the phrase I'm looking for.

I'm slipping into a spiral of doubting my own knowledge! Who am I? Where's my dinner?!


Considering the other big news story hitting the airwaves (which you've already heard, probably), I thought it might be a good idea to mention this story:

A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

Who knows where this will go from here. I haven't the time to comment, but I just wanted to add my bread-crumb to this story's Internet mass.

Link via Maud Newton