Friday, May 18, 2007

aqr / hacker

I've been toying with a story idea for some time, where hackers -- those people who through their dedication to knowledge, geekiness, hardware and software -- have become in the future a sort of community, that of "Aqr". These are the people who fix problems but who have difficulty in conversing with the norm. Highly intelligent folk who may not have the best in social skills.

Aqr'i live in closed community groups, with their own laws and society. They are seen as being.. valuable. Sometimes. Aqr formed due to persecution and overreliance -- coming together because they were blamed for system failures, and also to pool skills. The result is a bunch of hardcore geeks that the outside world relies on, but otherwise disdains and treat as abnormal (ie, same as it ever was).

Okay, other than wishful thinking on the part of a geeky guy, this idea nugget was more as background to other stories -- I could have an Aqr in the story, with some background but not the main storyline.

This came to mind when I read this: From FijiTimes via BoingBoing

BUSINESSMAN and information technology specialist Ulaiasi Taoi says he was punched and kicked by eight soldiers while he was kept overnight at the military
He was arrested and detained over allegations that he was involved in anti-military blogs on the Internet.
Mr Taoi was held in a cell at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks for 24 hours after soldiers escorted him from his office in Toorak about 2pm last Friday.
The military took him over its suspicions that he was behind one of the resistance blog sites that have been very vocal against the takeover. He had earlier had a "heavy" and "very abusive" telephone exchange with Colonel Pita Driti in which he was blamed for instigating the blog sites.

So... blaming an IT guy for bloggers attacking an illegal regime. At the same time, the military are trying to use IT guys to block the sites -- Aqr'i can be on either side of a problem, because they are there for a PROBLEM, not for a CAUSE. It's a failing -- most people, including hackers/coders/geeks, hate spam, for instance, but who do you think wrote the programs that do the spamming?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Waiting for Scalzi

Day 43. We've run out of pancakes. The dog is looking edible. Still waiting for Scalzi to return.

Actually, I don't remember my comment on his site as it dropped into the moderation queue never to be seen again. At least *I* thought it was funny.

Edit: Turns out that, because I was viewing his site through Netvibes, I never saw all the updates he was making to his tour thread. Doh.

Friday, May 04, 2007

On syndromes and disorders

On wikipedia, I wasted some time by looking up some facts, which led to other links (as usual) which led to Attention-Deficit Disorder. Since my attention span is quite often sadly lacking, I followed a link to Adult Attention-Deficit Disorder. Hmm.. I'm certainly not "hyperactive", but inattention, impulsivity, restlessness... sounds familiar to me.

A link elsewhere took me to tics. When I was younger I used to sniff constantly (although, I did have a diverted septum so it could be related to that), I had a 'thing' with my right eye, where it moves up to the top right (well.. that's my top-right. I guess from the outside, it would be me looking to the top left). Apparently sniffing can be a "phonic tic", while the eye thing could be a motor tic. Hmm. That led to Tourette Syndrome which surprised me, as the uncontrolled swearing aspect that it is famous for is really something that only effects about 15% of sufferers. And also, these tics are not truly involuntary, but more "unvoluntary" -- the inflicted gets an overwhelming urge to swear, jerk, move. If concentrated on, it can be supressed, but eventually they have to release it. Interesting, because the sniffing is pretty much gone now, my eye only jerks when I think about it (damn it) and now I swear like a sailor.

Some more links take me to Asperger's. This mild form of autism occurs in people who test with superior intelligence (that rules me out) but some of the markers include not reading the social and emotional message from eyes (I find I often don't look people in the eye, which is a bad thing apparently), being considered rude (that's definitely me!), being "too honest", difficulty in being deceptive (certainly). Inability to recognise boredom in others (no comment :D). I hit most of these targets more or less. Damn, I'm just re-reading these and this is from the page:

15. Coping with criticism - people with AS are compelled to correct mistakes, even
when they are made by someone in a position of authority, such as a teacher. For
this reason, they can be unwittingly offensive.
Oh my... Not only do I do this (correct mistakes constantly) but I get stressed about not pointing out a mistake, and then I stress about how I will be perceived if I do point it out (Should I point out the mistake? They might think I'm being picky. But its a mistake. What if they don't notice? Will they think I'm a smartarse?) which can cause me problems.

On the other hand, I'm way way not totally ignorant of other's feelings.

So. ADD. Tourette's. Asperger's.

Good thing I didn't look up hypochondria.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Can't find a book

Went looking for another 'atheist' book to go with The God Delusion, but surprisingly couldn't find one. Borders Adelaide stocks TGD in the "Science" section, which is where the other major booksellers put theirs. Although I saw a copy of The Atheist Manifesto the other day, no such luck today.

But what else IS there? And where do you put Reality-Based books? I found twelve bookshelves for religion, spiritual and alternative medicine books in Borders, and yet only a couple for science topics. I could get the Satanic bible, books on the Kabalah, books on the medicines THEY don't want me to know about (the all powerful "THEY" who apparently weren't powerful enough to stop the publication of the book...) and yet I didn't find a non-fiction reality based account of the world. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place.

Patrick, Get an Appointment