before you become familiar with regular expression syntax, it just annoys you. after you become familiar with it, you become annoyed that you can't use it more widely. for example, i'm often wanting to search for words that match some sort of pattern. most dictionary searches will only tell me "this is a word" or "this is not a word", but if i want to know which words end with "tionally", these dictionary searches are useless. onelook dictionary search allows you to search for patterns such as "*tionally". while this is better than most dictionary searches, it would be really nice if it supported more complicated patterns, like everything you can do with regular expressions. for example, say i wanted to find words that had only a single vowel repeated at least three times (like "banana"). with regex, this is easy: /(.*?[aeiou]){3,}/ (i haven't tested this, which means it almost certainly doesn't work.) of course, most people would look at that and wish there was an internet protocol for throwing shoes at people. but there's no reason why onelook (or someone else) couldn't implement regular expressions as an option that most people would never use. the ARTFL Project is actually closer than onelook to providing full regex word searches. but it still doesn't allow me to find words like banana.

 

today (2/28) is a national holiday in taiwan (where i am). this is something i knew nothing about before i came here, so i thought i might use this opportunity to educate you, assuming you also know nothing about it. basically, on this day in 1947, the KMT government began a genocide of the taiwanese which resulted in the murder of somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 people (by most estimates). you can read more about it at The February 28 Holocaust and Remembering 2-28. or you can read a critique of 2/28 memorials:Taiwan Independence and the 2-28 Incident.

(unfortunately, the critique is really of taiwan independence, and 2-28 is just used as an excuse to villify pro-independence politicians. i don't have much opinion on taiwan independence, but i don't care much for the opportunistic (ab)use of people's deaths to support political opinions of any sort.)

so anyway, as my (one) taiwanese friend was telling me about the history of 2/28, i began to wonder why the KMT was still a relatively well-supported political party in taiwan. he said every country has a dark past. i guess what the KMT did following 2/28 wasn't much different than the american democratic party supporting slavery before the civil war, and yet most african americans vote for that very part.

(don't get me wrong - i'm not advocating voting republican. but i am advocating third-party voting.)

 

i have very little sense of smell. today i came across a post by tom coates: On people who can't smell... this is not something most people discuss, nor something most people have the vocabulary to discuss. i'm not sure which is the cause and which the effect. but having been empowered by a vocabular lesson from tom, i'm excited to say that i have anosmia. (or maybe just "partial anosmia", but anyway...) i also learned from tom that there are treatments for anosmia. i'll have to do some more investigating when i am back in america. (like tom, this doesn't strike me as a serious problem.)

right now, i think i'm probably experiencing a small bit of what woman once felt (maybe some still do) when they learned words like "feminist" and "sexism". actually, "anosmiac" is not currently a word. right now, it seems there is no word to describe the person who has the condition of anosmia. but i'm confident "anosmiac" will find it's way into the english language after we bring about Global Anosmiac Liberation#8482;.

 

famous open-source musician fred rogers (i hear he also had a television show) died yesterday. a sad day for sweater-wearing folks everywhere.

 

as i happened upon a few links to news.com, i thought to myself "what a great domain name". news.com could easily compete with google news, even with poorer service, just because the address is so easy for users to remember - "you want news? go to news.com..." sadly, this domain name is largely wasted to promote the CNET brand. as if to formalize this brand-over-service strategy, CNET owns com.com, allowing it to redirect news.com to news.com.com. so news.com doesn't really exist in the sense that you can never load a page from the news.com domain. some day, domain names will fade away in favor of auto-generated site descriptions. maybe only then will CNET regret their failure to capitalize (intransitively) on the news.com name.

 

do you remember what i wrote in december? didn't think so. lucky for you, i'm around to remind you of my ponderings of the fate of domains after death. and lucky for all of us (who own domains), there is now AfterLife.org, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to archive Web sites after their authors die. now at least the website-as-memorial option is feasible, if still somewhat vain (in most cases, anyway).

 

joi ito writes: The world needs emergent democracy more than ever. The issues are too complex for representative governments to understand. it all sounds nice to me. my main worry is that emergent solutions only work with emergent problems. ants can make triangles because the problem of making a triangle can be broken down into the less complex problem of going far away. but ants' ability to create emergent solutions doesn't do much good when a foot comes down on half the colony. there is no discernable order to that problem from the ants' perspective. is it correct to assume that all important problems facing people today can be broken down into smaller problems? stephen wolfram believes so, but his predicted major intellectual revolution has yet to materialize. i'd like to see that take shape before we start revolutionizing democracy, which, despite some flaws, has worked rather well so far.

 

if a domain is on your blacklist, no email list in your domain should be allowed to send an email to that domain. otherwise, one will find oneself in the situation i am currently in. i am subscribed to mailing lists that i can't unsubscribe from because the mailserver i need to send an unsubscribe request to won't accept my email. but that doesn't stop them from sending me email. and lots of it...every day....

my situation isn't actually that bad because i can send my unsubscribe request through my webmail interface, and bypass my ISP's (apparently) blacklisted mail server. but my ability to work around it doesn't make it any less of a problem.

 

i really don't know what to say about this article in the telegraph , other than to quote the first sentence: The promiscuous sex life of lesbian Japanese monkeys is challenging one of the central tenets of Charles Darwin. you should really read it yourself.

 

on abc news: A congressman who heads a homeland security subcommittee said on a radio call-in program that he agreed with the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. this could perhaps be spun as some sort of misunderstanding if he hadn't said some of these Arab-Americans are probably intent on doing harm to us. if coble's "us" doesn't include arab-americans (or japanese-americans), who does it include? it's offensive enough that americans of any non-european decent can be so thoughtlessly excluded from "national security" interests, but it's doubly outrageous coming from the chairman of the judiciary subcommittee on homeland security. why not just rename it the "subcommittee on white people's security"?