Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Quick Queries!

I am still trying to clear decks to give you all the great big essay on The Insipid Way That Both Sides Are wrong in the Debate Over Markets...

But first, a couple of quick items:

1) A plea to mac experts! My ancient and beloved Laserwriter II (which is more rugged than an Abrams Tank) has stopped working on my Mac G4. It was working a week ago (and a test on the ancient G3 shows the printer is just fine). Clearly, the driver old laserwriter8, can't be found anymore. But when I go online I cannot seem to find any drivers on offer that might drive this wonderful old contraption. Help, anyone?

2) In honor of all the springtime colds going around... and the dreaded (but Karl Rove's beloved) Bird Flu, I will now offer, for your amusement, a little song. Only one half verse and the refrain are original (I memorized them years ago) while the rest I wrote myself. Still, I am curious if any of you could track down the original. It played once on NPR, back in December 1979, in a production called "Unpackaging the Eighties" by Jesse _______, and it was a true delight. Anyway, next time you sniffle and wheeze, let this song give you solace:


Back in the Pleistocene,
When we were still marine,
a virus launched a quest,
to be the perfect guest
And re-arranged our genes.

So to this very day,
Whether you grok or pray
all your inheritors
count on those visitors
And what they make you pay.


It’s a virus,
It inspired us,
to rise above the mud.
It’s a virus,
It’s desirous,
of your very flesh and blood.

Now I know your body’s burning,
But don’t give up the ghost.
Tiny viruses are turning you
Into the perfect... host.

Though you may curse microbes
who make you blow your nose,
evolution bends
to what a virus sends,
making us recompose.

Though when you least expect
You may be struck down next
thank the virus, he
put us in misery,
But then he gave us sex!

It’s a virus,
Its inspired us,
to rise above the mud.
It’s a virus,
It’s desirous,
of your very flesh and blood.

Now I know your body’s burning,
But don’t give up the ghost.
Tiny viruses are turning you
Into the perfect... host.



Tony Fisk said...

Of course, autumn, and all-but 4 years olds going to kinder have the same effect.

I snuffle and wheeze with the greatest of ease.
My sole consolation: it's not caused by fleas!

A recent New Scientist article points out that, unlike previous RNA memes, H5N1 will probably be able to continue crossing between the wild (where it can spread but not flourish) and poultry farms (where it can flourish but not spread) and thereby hang around indefinitely.

Oh! Saw the necsi link with a copy of your updated Earth predictive hit list. (I'd forgotten about the Chinese!) Ironically, I've just started updating that Earth Wiki that tchansen set up a couple of months ago. Added image plaques (ie those mass produced wireless OLED screens that clutter the paperless office of 2040) and still need to update from necsi. Double irony: one other person has actually made a contribution only a couple of days ago. They suggest that the soviet partition was not predicted in the novel. Can't comment yet 'cos I haven't re-read far enough.

Somebody else could, though! (hint, to other readers!)

David Brin said...

The Soviet Union did still formally exist in Earth. But the republics were autonomous, almost completely independent.

Stefan Jones said...

"Morning Edition, May 16, 2006 · Police surveillance cameras cover much of London already. Now, a new community television channel is being launched where residents of one neighborhood will be able to monitor their local surveillance cameras. The idea is that regular people will be able to report -- and deter -- crimes. Detractors say it's another step towards creating an Orwellian city."

reason said...

Stefan Jones:
sounds more like reality TV, than 1984 to me. The danger is that it will deteriate into an inbred village atmosphere. People will be so interested in what their neighbour is doing they will miss the dangerous stranger beating someone up in the back ground.

Anonymous said...

You can get an 8.5.1 driver from:

If you want the 8.7 you might need to find an OS9 CD.

David Brin said...

Actually, I want to run the laserwriter from OSX Tiger (10.4.2) I know it's possible because it was WORKING dammit! Then suddenly stopped and can't seem to recognize the printer's even there, anymore.

(It connects via a Belkin box translating appletalk to ethernet. Could my ethernet be turned off, somehow?)

Well, thanks, I will try that. I just hope it workd from OSX.

Nobody knows how to find the original version of that song? I hope at least it amused some of you.

Been hanging with venture capitalists so many days now. Need a break...

Sander van Zoest said...

Re: LaserWriter II

It is hard to know what the actual issue is. It might be some simple that went wrong with your CUPS configuration.

Hit up on your G4 and see if that interface provides more details on what is actually going on.

Otherwise, maybe these links help
LaserWriter IIg, LaserWriter II NTX

-- Sander

grendelkhan said...

If you can see the printer, but just need a driver, you might want to try a generic Level 1 PostScript driver, as the LaserWriter series speak Level 1 PostScript. (One of those wonderful standardization things that never made it into cheap, consumer-level inkjet printers.)

grendelkhan said...

Offtopic but possibly interesting:

You might be interested to see that the folks at Daily Kos are peer-producing, with lots of feedback from citizen-experts in the comments section, a legislative agenda for Democrats in the fall on the topic of energy security and energy independence. It's called Energize America; you might be interested to see the iterative process by which reg'lar folks are going to try to insert this into the debate this fall.

Note especially that their solutions are not entirely of the form of legislating end results; there are plenty of "right-handed" solutions for creating markets that go in the desired direction, or creating an environment which will be fertile ground for the desired results.

praxcelis said...

Along similar lines (and perhaps another predictive hit?):

These folks at Inventables are recruiting "freelance researchers"--that is, if you have an eye for interesting advances in materials science, and think of a possible application that no one else has, they want to hear about it. No mention of how royalties are paid, but it seems a lot like the freelance research postings described in Earth.

At the very least, it's fascinating that someone out there is picking up on the idea that thousands--or millions--of eyes can combine the disparate ideas floating around and come up with new and intriguing applications.

Anonymous said...

Found your blog because I was actually searching for the lyrics to "It's a virus". I WAS THERE! Yes, I heard the same broadcast on NPR and the song has stuck ever since. I remember that whoever was performing it had awesome vocal harmonies! I am a ukulele player now living in Costa Rica and looking for unusual songs to add to my amateur repertoire. Wish I could find the original source, but I got a kick out of the fact that I found any reference to it at all. Yours is the only one!