Oh, my poor livejournal. I've been neglecting you again. Aren't I awefull. I promise to go through another brief spate of posting (but I can't promise that I won't stop posting regularly at some point in the near future. Sorry :-(

After hearing it reviewed on Front Row, I read Markus Zusak's new (2006) novel The Book Thief recently. Its narratively about a girl growing up in wartime Germany with foster parents in a town on the outskirts of Munich. Thematically, its about death, words and colour. Though I was moved to the extent of now being haunted by the image of Liesel pitifully urging her dead foster father to wake up amongst the ruins of Himmel Street, I can't sympathise with the appalling extent to which Liesel experienced death - everyone she was close to by age 14. The colour theme is a device used by the narrator of the book, Death (though not as you would imagine him), to convey mood which, again, I am not left overwhelmed by. It was the words that got me. It was through words that Hitler stirred the German people into war, it was through words that Liesel learned to hate him. Language is powerful, language-fuelled prejudices are the enemy of independent, creative thought.

I had a meeting with my supervisor this morning and, although things seem to be going a little slowly, I now have a plan of work and have solidified some of my thoughts about the direction it should take. Its around the nature of musical knowledge and its relationship to the nature of knowledge in computers - musical- and digital-epistemology. I've been reading Richard Coyne's book, Technoromanticism which has a lot to say on digital epistemology as it frames ideas of representation and interpretation in IT in the idea of digital narratives. He also talks about speech act theory and the reduction of science to language. Language is powerful, we manifest and comprehend through language.


Posted Fri 16 Feb 2007 14:53:00 GMT

So I read in the paper this morning about the Fox television network in the USA starting a new topical satire show, The Half Hour News Hour, to rival The Daily Show fronted by John Stewart (and, incidentally, broadcast in the UK on More 4). The idea is that satire has too long been the preserve of the liberal left and that this new show should provide a space for right wing satire - deriding climate change, gay marriage and Barack Obama.

But they seem to have missed something really crucial here: right wing people don't a sense of humour. The reason why satire and, in fact, comedy in general is dominated by liberal, Guardian-reading, BBC-loving lefties is because good comedy requires intelligence - both to write and to enjoy. The article also suggests that Fox think liberals wouldn't find jokes about Hilary Clinton or Che Guevara funny but actually they do. They're getting confused with the fact that right wingers don't find George Bush jokes funny. Intelligent people laugh at anything funny - including themselves (or maybe that's not true of Americans?)

Anyway, personally I'm looking forward to seeing The Half Hour News Hour on More 4 in the future so I can laugh at people taking the mickey out of ridiculously polite British tourists.

Posted Sat 17 Feb 2007 17:04:00 GMT

I finally read PEP 0333 last night, WSGI. I've been meaning to do it for months after my co-developer on Pycoon started work on a new version of the project which implements it as a WSGI application.

I have become an immediate convert and really like the idea of little, discrete interoperable components that you can mix and match into whole Web applications without worrying abouts platforms. Of course, if the plethora of Python web frameworks is a problem, then WSGI will only exacerbate it, but in a more manageable manner. I don't see Python web frameworks as a problem though, more a sort of rite of passage - everyone should have a go at writing a Python web framework. WSGI will mean that other people will actually be able to use your framework before telling you that its pointless at best, or at worst, complete rubbish!

Right, now I'll be able to be a more useful Pycoon developer again. Yay!

Posted Thu 22 Feb 2007 15:04:00 GMT