Last hours

This is my last night of living in the Bay Area! Tomorrow I set off for the north.

I will be driving 605 miles north on Highway 5 tomorrow to reach Portland, where I hopefully won’t be too exhausted to hang out with James for an evening, as he makes his way down to the Bay Area. The next morning I drive up to Seattle to start moving in to my apartment.

Today I went to the DMV to switch ownership of my car to myself, so I can sell it in a few weeks. Afterwards, I picked up Paolo and we headed to Benihana in Japantown for lunch. After saying goodbyes I packed my car full of bags and boxes. Barely enough room to sit, and fortunately I can at least look out my side mirrors…

Anyway yup that’s my plan. So long, Bay Area. I’ll be back for vacations but I have no plans of moving back. Not that I would be against it or anything if I had a great job in the area, but I’m just not one to make plans so far into the future. :)

Lunar eclipse!

I was playing God of War 2 and getting my Vista partition to work under VMWare in Ubuntu and decided I’d watch out for the lunar eclipse, too. I’ve got a skylight in my room, so it’s easy! And it’s pretty much total right now! All brown ‘n… shit.

But I think that’s all I can take and I will go to bed.

Digg headlines and sensationalism

I’ve been thinking today about ways to make Digg better. My main beef with Digg is that it’s flooded with misinformation – and it’s done through sensationalized headlines. There are lots of upper-case stuff, lots of buzzwords like “breaking” and “confirmed,” identifiers like “[pic]” or “(VIDEO)” – but the worst part is just the fact that users are fine with Digging up interesting headlines, while the articles focus on something entirely different.

There was a headline yesterday about how Mother Teresa always questioned her faith and found it very difficult to find God, late in her life. The corresponding Digg headline was “MOTHER TERESA REVEALED: She was an Athiest and had NO Faith!“, while the article had no mention of the term “atheist” nor did it say that she lacked any faith whatsoever.

The positive side of this article was the first few comment replies, which were voted up by hundreds of other Diggers:

“Every Christian has a crisis of faith at times. Even Christ was tempted by Satan and offered many things as he sufferered. That does not mean that Mother T gave up her faith. Your troll fu is weak. This is not even a good try.”

“Read the article, people. She was not an atheist. She simply did not feel the presence of God. But faith doesn’t require any feelings. Faith is simply the will to believe. She perservered in her faith despite that, and indeed came to the conclusion that what she was going through was sharing in the most profound part of Christ’s passion — the part where he cried out “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” The quote in the Digg summary is taken way out of context. It’s a hypothetical — a rhetorical question.”

I would say that the way to make Digg better is by improving what makes it Digg – its userbase. There do seem to be a lot of bright people who mark articles when there’s something wrong with them, and even better, speak out in the comments to tell the truth of the matter. But that number is greatly overshadowed by the hordes of people who Digg these articles up and come away thinking they have the full story by only believing what they see in the headline.

I propose some sort of system that tells the truth behind the most-Dugg headlines. Either a blog, or a wiki. Something that is there for the Digg population to contribute toward so the truth is known about each and every article that is posted up.

There are two already-available, widely-used sources that are often used to verify whether something is true. Wikipedia is one of them, although it obviously cannot always be trusted, as anyone at any time can edit what they’ve read on Digg into related articles. Snopes is another one, but it’s only run by one couple who can’t get to fact-checking every single thing that pops up so rapidly – and although its forums demonstrate a good community dedicated finding the truth of the matter, it doesn’t seem to affect the mainstream.

The thing is, a blog or wiki like this, which is there to provide the correct information about articles posted to Digg, must have some way of reaching the general Digg readership. The best way would be to incorporate it into Digg itself. Perhaps after a certain number of people vote, the title/description of pages can be changed to reflect the article’s content more accurately. Or perhaps a link next to “Comments” that goes to a page called “Paraphrase” where Digg users can collaborate on a better version or summary of the article.

I think there are a lot of ways to aid the flow of information on Digg. The manpower is there, as is the aspiration to spread truth rather than sensationalism. I do think that Digg itself needs to take the initiative to enact some sort of system like this – and it is in their interests to do so – but in the meantime, Diggers can always take it upon themselves to create some sort of unofficial system of their own.

And uh I’m wondering if you guys could maybe digg this.

Four years ago???

I’m really impressed by the fact that I hold the exact same philosophy as I did four years ago. I was just lookin’ through LJ for the post where I hint that I lost my virginity and I came upon this one first – and, like, wow. That’s the same conversation I’ve been having with my parents for the past few days.

I’m an atheist; life has no universal meaning; the constant I live by is “life is good.”

Then the rest of that post goes into talking about trolls for some reason, but it is an interesting observation that I forgot about: some don’t go by the given “life is good,” instead, they go by “MY life is good” and say fuck y’all to everyone else.

Four years ago, man! Back then stuff was great! I was readyin’ for Santa Cruz, saying goodbye to good friends for the time being, and basically recovering from one hell of an emotional summer. I was feeling anti-social, and couldn’t wait to jump into a new environment in which to make friends. Also I made this awesome quiz which I still think is pretty relevant I’d say.

Four years later I’m coming down from another pretty emotional summer, just about to move away from the Bay Area again, looking to make new friends, and preachin’ the exact same message as I once was. History repeats itself.

I’d say the biggest difference between now and then is that back then a lot of commenters were really freaking nice on LJ and I was nice back to them but now I’m a total dickhole to all of my LJ friends. Maybe I should start using mood icons again to reach for fake sympathy. Look I’m being a dickhole again

God's Warriors

CNN has this special on Jewish, Muslim, and Christian fundamentalism, called God’s Warriors. I watched the third tonight that focuses on Jewish fundamentalism, and was just amazed at how well-done it is. Giving equal time to all three radical faiths is a great idea.

I don’t know what to say, really. I learned a lot, heard a lot of radical viewpoints from people living in settlements and other places in Israel and America, and got pretty pissed off. I hope CNN puts these online once they air all of ’em. I’m going to try to catch the next two parts tomorrow and the day after.

Update

Okay before I start, why does anyone like the Knife? They’re pretentious as fuck and the music sucks ass. I realize how pretentious and ass-sucking I sound by saying this. But am I missing something?

These past few days have been eventful! I mentioned all this stuff in the past few blogs but I might as well recap a bit.

I took a break from the usual routine of a bit of web design and gardening now and then by taking a trip to Los Angeles with Hannah and crew. I was only there two nights but it’s the longest I’d ever spent there – it wasn’t as unpleasant as I thought it’d be. She and I did a lot of walking and some bussing, and everything worked out well. We ate some great Japanese and Thai, and the concert (we went to LA because of Beau’s band playing) was intensely enjoyable. I sold some o’ their CDs and had to pretend as if I knew anything about Cambodian Living Arts.

Then the next day was Junior Senior with Paolo in the city. Coincidentally, the venue was just across the street from where my mom owns an apartment (so maybe we could have parked there), but parking wasn’t a problem. There was much dancing to be had, and we even saw Will and Derek and Mari so that was neat too. Junior Senior was great live! Obviously a lot more energetic (and louder). A very good experience – I hope to get into the music scene once in Seattle and hope every time’s like that one.

And today was Marin Shakespeare’s Henry IV, pt. 1. Sat with Sophie‘s family, who we saw by coincidence. My mom got a Bard’s Pass (8 tickets for $22 each), so we’ve been to two plays so far – the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and this one – and we’ll probably see Henry IV, pt. 2 next week.

I totally jumped the gun and signed up for a class (Calculus I) at NSCC without realizing that paying the tuition would clean out my bank account. I’ve got $30 in there right now, uugh. It’ll be remedied within the next day or so, but let’s just hope that AT&T doesn’t charge me or anything… oh, well, it’s actually not too big a deal since I think my savings account provides overdraft protection. Yay.

That’s about it! I should head to bed so I can wake up and welcome Shiranne out of Shabbat-land!