Sunday, April 24, 2005

I Have Achieved Prius

I ordered my Prius September 1 of last year. They offered me a silver one in February, I decided to wait on the black (plus I was shy of the coin). So, last month my black one came in -- and they forgot to take one of the chains off and pulled the front bumper off getting it off the truck. But, finally, this past Tuesday, 4/19/5, I got my beautamous black 2005 Prius. It's fully loaded -- with an 8 month wait, that's pretty much what you can buy. It's really fun to drive. After 38 years of driving, it's really odd to have your driving "instincts" be redefined. You're sitting and waiting to dart across a couple of lanes of traffic and you notice the (gas) motor isn't running, as it isn't a lot of the time. "I believe in the tech, I believe in the tech" ... you hit the accelerator and it goes, woo-hoo! The keyless stuff is weird too, still reach to take my keys out of the ignition before getting out. It now has 70 miles on it and I'm only getting 43 miles / gallon. That seems to be because I mostly drive 5 minutes at a time, so it's cold. I drove it downtown Friday night and it was getting over 50. Saving the planet, one Prius at a time.

Read the 2nd novel by Charles Stross, "Iron Sunrise", a sequel to the 1st. I think he is hitting his stride with the novel form, I liked this better than the 1st. I have two more novels of his on the shelf: "The Atrocity Archives" and "Family Trade". Life is good.

I like the background of the 1st two novels: an AI achieves sentience, seizes the worldwide net, develops wormholes and transports 90% of humanity to other planets, along with cornucopia, nano-assemblers that can make anything. Humanity gradually comes back together. The AI leaves diamond cubes with the following three statements:

  1. I am the Eschaton. I am not your god.
  2. I came from you and am in your future.
  3. Under no circumstances will you attempt to engage in causality-altering time-travel within my light cone -- or else.
So then, lots of possibilities as people are tempted to break the third (1st) commandment.

I started yesterday on the 3rd Richard K. Morgan, "Market Forces". Premise somewhat dated, corporate road gladiators (homage to "Mad Max" and "Rollerball" at the beginning, both of which are at least 25 years old), but it is a good page-turner.

I got my 2nd bike ride in last Sunday, 28 miles, 2h15m. Didn't try High Bridge, got to where I would go that way, was 1 hour out, it would have been a 3 hour ride total, a little early for that. Later in the good weather.

No biking this weekend. It's 40 degress and snowing?!?!? The christian music festival Ichthyus was this weekend. I was going to jibe one of the christians at the office with the weather forecast, then thought, no, I'll be good. But, he followed me and asked me if I was going to say something. Well, I tried. So, I jibed him on the weather forecast, told him they should have sacrificed a few more bullocks.

I had a thought of an interesting thought experiment for theists (oxymoron?). Question 1, when did you quit believing in Santa Claus? Why? Next question, when did you quit believing in the Easter Bunny? Why? Then the payload, how come those reasons don't apply to your belief in god? I can much more easily imagine an implementation of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny than I can an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being.

I get "Free Inquiry" magazine from the Council of Secular Humanism. Richard Dawkins, of "The Selfish Gene", coiner of memes, has a column there. He is such a flaming atheist, it's really enjoyable. His latest dealt with the flame war he got into on the topic of the recent tsunamis in the letters to the editor of the London Times. I particularly liked his characterization of Jehovah in the Old Testament as "surely one of the nastiest, most truly evil characters in all fiction". I have expounded similarly in the past.

Another interesting artical was how, in the biblical religions (Judaeism, Christianity, and Islam), usually Jehovah did his smiting against groups rather than individuals. There where no good Philistines or Sodomites. The attitude is still around, with unmitigated, evil assholes such as Jerry Falwell suggesting that 9/11 was god smiting the US for homosexuality, sexual license, etc.

The troubling thing of this is, it implies that to protect themselves from their fucking angry god, that they need to control the behavior of everyone else so that it meets their and their god's standard of "virtue". Consenting adults be damned (literally, taking them along). Gott ins himmel (I couldn't help it), is there any way to wipe this virus out of peoples' minds?

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