Winged Migration

If you’ve not seen the documentary movie Winged Migration, I can’t recommend it more highly. The filmmakers somehow manage to keep with the birds, filming at the bird’s perspective as the different breeds migrate around the world.

The visuals are extraordinary, with minimal human presence. There is a strong environmental element to the story, but the filmmakers never dwell on it. It occurs naturally, a part of the birds’ lives.

The humans in the movie appear infrequently, and are gone quickly and some may be disappointed by this. I’ve noticed that occasionally we don’t value films that don’t feature humans as the central element as highly as we could. I sometimes think as we progress, we lose our empathy to the world around us.

Ach, there goes me, moralizing again. Tell me to stop.


Okay. Go rent it. It’s a beautiful movie.

*Warning: the movie is about nature, and not all nature has happy endings.

Culture Diversity Weblogging

We women, we hookers

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I liked what Kevin Murphy had to say in the comments to the post “In Defense of Michelle Malkin”:

The only thing you can learn of substance from such an adverserial segment is that it’s pointless to expect to learn anything by listening to two unprepared pundits argue it out on TV.

We both agreed that it would take little to extend this to weblogging, and with nine more weeks until the US election–oh, how I wish it was over and done with–we’ll be treated to many more so-called online debates, which are really nothing more than contenders standing virtually toe to toe, scuffing it out in the dirt.

I don’t particularly care if people want to argue; it’s not my business, and we’re all adults here. But I am disturbed by a trend I see among a certain group of webloggers, and it was this that brought out my defensiveness of Michelle Malkin more than anything else.

I have no problems with anyone attacking Malkin’s words, or her viewpoint on things. For instance, leaving aside the dangers of abuse and the increase of state-sanctioned racism, Malkin’s views on racial profiling are short sighted for assuming that the foe will always be helpful by looking and acting like the foe.

However, there’s a difference between being critical of the words, actions, or beliefs; and using derogatory or disparaging remarks or techniques in order to discredit the person directly, especially based on a characteristic of birth, not what a person says or believes. This is what I saw with Malkin.

As I discussed already, Atrios calls her LuLu, after a little girl portrayed in the comics . But he let’s her off easy. Listen to some other fine liberal men.

“Malkin has been chosen to foist dumb ideas onto the world precisely of her background and what she looks like, and she needs to be called on that. It’s not like she’s an independent person who just decided to get this idea out there. She’s the product of an incubation system that’s worked the refs for some time now.”

Oliver Willis

“Yeeesh, Michelle Malkin is a bit of a nutter, but my god is she ever sexy when she’s acting all huffy…Oh so nutty, but oh so sexy. Grrrrrrowl. Gotta love that pout.”

Maladjusted-Fair and Balanced

“Michelle Malkin, the sexy, wild-eyed, internment camp vixen, got her ass handed to her by Chris Matthews on Hardball.”

Article One

This crew picked out frames of a video of a Malkin appearance to make fun of her eyes. And other things. Of course, one could say we do the same for George Bush–grab shots that deliberately make him look funny. But last I heard, no one said of him, I don’t think she’s attractive in the least , and I do find asian women attractive. She looks like a cheap asian hooker in “Platoon” or some other ‘nam movie.

And, well, I could go on. Calling her a hooker, focusing much of a comment thread on how she looks, making crude jokes about pulling her into bed; talking about ‘digging Asian chicks’, and how sexy she looks.

Some would say that if Malkin didn’t issue the statements she makes, she wouldn’t be generating this kind of remark. That she brought these types of statements on herself.

If that’s so, then where’s the line between her and someone like me? Or Maria. who wrote in the comment thread earlier:

I first saw Malkin on the Bill Mahr show only days before Shelley referred to her column and blog, and though I knew immediately that I didn’t’ agree with her politics, I was impressed by the way she focused on staying within the framework of the debate, rather than try to use cheap tricks, like getting personal or shrill, or play some card or other. Bill Mahr seemed to respect that, too … so no one got into a huff or had to walk off; instead, there were some interesting points made that provided ample stuff (not just fluff) for debate.

So yes, this comment here is in defense of Malkin’s right to be heard in her terms … which to me, in what I saw of her on the Mahr show, seem to be very much the same terms we demand for ourselves when we speak.

In comments in the post “In Defense of Malkin”, Kevin was kind enough to let me know that Atrios uses “Little Lulu” because it is some kind of ‘freeper’ handle for Malkin and her husband.

“freeper” is a FreeRepublican groupie. Right-wing conservative groupies. Gag me.

Anyway, that’s great. But since most of Atrios’ readers are not ‘freepers’, and probably don’t have this context, the term comes across as derogatory–rather than what it really is, Atrios and Malkin are great friends, and love to tease each other online.


Books Writing

Free of the toothless sharks

Now that the book deal I had spent four month wrangling over has fallen through, I pulled the about page until I can figure out what it will say.

(Oh, did you miss that particular rant? You’ve got to move quick in the Burningbird world, or you’ll miss the good stuff. You can, however, still catch the link in Bloglines.)

After spending over a year with two publishers that have beat me about the psyche, eating away at my inspiration and enthusiasm like old, toothless sharks desperate for human juices, I don’t know if I want to consider myself a ‘technology writer’. Once I was a technology writer. Now, all I know is that I’m not a Wal-Mart worker.

Unlike the sharks, I’m not starving to death, thanks to contract PHP/MySQL and other work (helped in part by recommendations of a friend made through this weblog). I guess that makes me a member of an endangered species, a Woman in Technology; but it doesn’t make me a Technology Writer.

I could go elsewhere, look for another other publisher. I could also pull my fingernails out one by one, or have a dentist drill my teeth without Novocain.

I’ve talked about quitting the comp book biz before, but in the back of my mind, it was always there. Writing computer books isn’t just part of my income, it’s part of my identity. I feel like I’ve lost part of my identity, but I don’t know if this is a bad thing.

Without worrying about a computer book, there’s more time for walks. More time for pics. More time for my balcony garden, or bookbinding, or other interests. More time to write just for the fun of it. And no worries about offending–or trying to attract–any publisher or technology group, so I am free to write whatever I want.

No more sucking up to the toothless sharks.


Nope nope Nah ah Nope

Speaking of Planet RDF, I spotted a link to Jamie Pitts posting about the new DropCash – a fundraising organization effort using TypeKey and PayPal.

Better not come back to this page if you use DropCash. No siree. If my page detects that you’re using a single sign-on proprietary, centralized service to manage your money collection, a hand will reach out of the page and slap you silly.

You be warned, now. I is in Missouri. We take these things seriously.


RDF Bees

Did you know that when you search on the term “RDF weblog” in Google, this site is the first result? Does this mean I hold the fate of RDF and weblogging in my fragile little hands? Well, let’s see if I can do something with all that power.

RDF, or should I say RDF and OWL (since the two ran off to Vegas and got married a while back) are seen as the tools for the Semantic Web. Rather fine and dandy, but until that brilliant bit of lightning hits us from the sky, we’ll see if we can’t make the pampered little darlings put in a fair day’s work.

If interest in RDF is not waning, as I was assured in my last post, then where are the places one can find out information about what’s happening? I pulled my own small list together:

  • Dave Beckett’s Resource Description Framework page, needs to be on any list for RDF resources, though I’m not sure all or even most of the real world applications of RDF are appearing in the page. However, it is a good resource for keeping up with the APIs, editors, tools, specs, and some of the more scientific work.
  • Though RDFWeb focuses on FOAF, FOAF is it; where it’s happening right now when it comes to RDF.
  • The RDF weblog aggregator Planet RDF is really the site that should own ‘RDF and weblog’. It pulls together entries from various RDF interest weblogs, including yours truly, into one spot. If anything can get the word of RDF as ‘real stuff’ out into the world, I think weblogs writing about ongoing efforts is the trick; using online or syndication feed aggregators such as Planet RDF to pull it all together into one easily accessible location.
  • Once upon a time there was an RDF Interest group, but the W3C replaced it with the Semantic Web interest group. That’s because to the W3C, RDF and OWL are for the Semantic Web. Not the semantic web, which is really just people using RDF and OWL, a little bit here, and a little bit there to do interesting stuff (and someday all the bits will be all grow’d up and become Semantic Web). But still – always good to keep up with the eggheads. (Besides, what’s not to like about a group that uses words like ’smushing’?)
  • O’Reilly’s is another resource, though the site focuses on all things XML not just RDF/OWL stuff. Still, it’s a decent resource.

So far, that’s what I have for good, centralized locations of information about what’s happening with RDF. A start, but incomplete.

In the comments to the last post, several commercial uses of RDF were mentioned; what I would like to see is some form of aggregation of RDF/OWL commercial application efforts. These are the ones that are hard to find; yet these are the spreaders of the meme – the bees, if you will, in the semantic web orchard, with bits and pieces of RDF/OWL stuck to their little furry bodies as they flit about, from venture capitalist to venture capitalist.