I started sitting at the back of the plane because the probability of survival in a crash is significantly higher. To do this, I had to overcome considerable anxiety, since as it turns out I’m waaaaay out there on the Autism spectrum. What I found was a whole bunch of people who enjoy being alive way more than the folks in the front of the plane. I’m not on the same frequency as many of them, but if you want joy de vivre, it’s back there, and the harmonics are great.
I’m at the point where if you want me to sign up for your free service, your website better have a main menu titled “Revenue Model”. Ain’t nuthin’ for free, so just come clean and tell me which piece of me you’re trying to get a slice of — or I’m likely to assume you aren’t going to last anyway.
I’ve spent a good part of the holidays trying to reconcile the over-saturation in my life. Of the large number of things I’d like to be doing, I’m coming up against the realization that I’m attempting to do too many of them. The result is a spectrum of underachievement. Read more
My blog is on its third platform, from Blogger to Serendipity, to Wordpress. This post is about the freedom of open source software, the freedom of simplicity, and differences between building sites in Joomla and Wordpress.Read more
A PHP upgrade leads to transitioning the blog from Serendipity to Wordpress. Will a new platform revitalize my blog?Read more
It seems I had a recurring dream about a man who played beautiful music in the morning. I say “it seems” because the music is quite familiar; I think I have heard it many times in dreamland. He played from some place nearby, a small house or maybe a shack.
A few days ago I dreamed that I recorded his music as I heard it from my window. The music was interrupted by argument, then by shots.
I ran out to see my friend dying on the street — the dream was quite graphic. His race was different from mine but the same as the murderer.
This morning, I dreamt that I was in his house. A crowd – mostly members of his race – gathered outside, angry, seeking revenge.
I had the recording. I played it. We all cried.
I wonder if I will ever dream about this man and his music again.
Possibly the Internet’s most valuable contribution to society is it’s ability to foster dialogue. Unfortunately that dialogue is frequently not constructive. Among the least constructive techniques is the “attack and run” method, because there really is no way to control another person’s ability to communicate. The attacked person merely opens another channel. This is a case in point.
Earlier today, the nameless writer behind a seemingly useful site, http://www.space.gs/, known as “Astronautics” (formerly “astrospace”) on Twitter, decided to communicate information about a mail server security problem. He or she posted several tweets on the subject (many now absent). This is the remaining one:
Astronautics: JSC mail server may have been hacked. If you get an HSFNEWS email from NASA check that the urls in the email are not Chinese
Then some time later, this tweet:
Astronautics: I lost many followers making that public service announcement – it’s strange how so many people have no sense of duty.
I thought I’d offer an explanation. Honestly I thought I was polite:
alan_langford: @Astronautics You assume all your followers are affected and/or can’t recognize spam. You flooded twitter with what amounts to noise. Not good
Just in case, I added (fixed a typo):
alan_langford: @Astronautics I happen to think your “regular” feed is interesting enough to tolerate the odd lapse, but obviously not everyone else does.
The public response was:
Astronautics: I do my duty and make public service announcements. I make a difference. I will not bend to court popularity.
Which is all well and good, but it seemed to me that the author was trying to understand why many followers left, which is unrelated to one’s sense of duty. Maybe it was my sense of duty to try to offer an explanation in the first place. Then I got this rather shocking direct message:
DM from Astronautics: It is not a ‘lapse’ and I do not care what some loser like you thinks. I am a professional journalist with a sense of DUTY. Go to hell.
The individual subsequently blocked me, removing the opportunity to respond as well as depriving me of his “journalistic” feed and forcing me to respond in a public way. I suppose in hindsight that’s not much of a loss.
So here’s my response: this person is clearly using a definition of “professional” with which I am not familiar. Maybe I’m out of touch. If anyone has a link to a credible reference that lists name calling, not identifying yourself, and telling people to “go to Hell” as professional, please send it to me. Considering the increasing meaninglessness of “professional” when attached to “journalist”, I am now questioning the credibility of anything on this site. That’s too bad, because credible news on space and astronomy would have been a good thing.