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Some catching up to do. First, don’t miss my technical book reviews or what I’m reading now. If you were wondering whether I actually read fiction, here’s an essay I wrote about Hans Christian Anderson. Am currently reading an amazing book, Digital Game-Based Learning by Mark Prensky of games2train.com. I’ll be posting a longer discussion of this book very soon.

From my Asiafirst weblog : Here’s a way to test how ferocious the Chinese firewall is . From this: It reminds me a little of the Monty Python sketch about the world’s funniest joke , and anyone who heard or viewed the joke would die of laughter. The premise of censorship is that offensive content contaminates the hearts and minds of people. But you can only have censorship if someone can judge content without himself being contaminated. This contradicts the premise of censorship, which alleges that these contaminating powers exist inherently in the offensive material. On the other hand, if a censor can censor without being contaminated, that implies that offensive content does not automatically contaminate the mind or heart of a person. In that case, you would be admitting that censorship is unnecessary. That is the contradiction of censorship.

I finally put up a postnuke content management system at imaginaryplanet.net. Not much there yet, only two political essays. Heck, I’ll save you the trouble of clicking to it. Are U.S. Universities Trapped in Post-Colonialism Idealogies? and Is striking Iraq preemptively just crazy?

I finally published my correspondence with Jeffrey Friedl about the art of reviewing technical books. Kind of silly, but enjoy it. Seriously, Friedl writes great books. (P.S. Don’t think I’m an idiot, but I just noticed that I spelled Friedl’s name wrong. Will change this afternoon). While looking over his online material, I came across this amazing essay by Andy Oram on Friedl and Regular Expressions. Oram compares their transformative power to that of Marshall McCluhan’s insight about how technology changed the nature and the scope of the message. He writes, ” Used to their fullest, regular expressions ignore figure/ground. They operate holistically. They swallow the entire text–sometimes tens of thousands of characters in one fell swoop–and create an impression of it. When you are processing a concept like ‘find a quote-delimited string, but not where either quote lies inside a comment,’ the result is a function of the whole text, not of individual characters.” Oram is an editor with Oreilly and a very interesting person.

A good introduction to minidisc technology.

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