June 8, 2004

Bulk view

Moonlight

The smog-choked and world-weary sky shrouded the moon and she was glad
of that, glad of the blurred shadows she faded into as she walked
undefined through the resolute dreariness of the city, eyes fixed on
the ground and a careful blankness maintained in her head, filling her
time with the quotidian in order to escape her grief.

Then the world stopped in breathtaking clarity, razor-sharp shadows
cast by a perfect moon suspended against stars she hadn’t seen in
years. Against her will, her eyes were drawn to that horrible bright
orb that mocked her as her heart traced again and again that one
question: why.

Moonlight prickled her skin, pooled in her eyes and trailed down her
cheeks unnoticed. She stood there in the middle of the street,
searching even as she told herself her eyeglasses could do no more
than the telescopes at the space command lab. Somewhere beyond,
unblinking eyes stared at her, helmet dustless on an disturbed plain.
Who knows? Perhaps a bone-dry mouth whispered sweet nothings across
the expanse as she stood there, transfixed, deaf to the car that
hurtled in from nowhere and sent her across the skies into his
embrace.

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“After Life”

The funeral procession slowly winds its way through the rain,
oblivious to the struggling man desperately trying to claw his way out
of the tightly-sealed coffin. We talk a little louder to muffle the
dull thuds of frantic fists, averting our eyes from the coffin and
drawing our coats about ourselves as we pray we won’t be the next
picked by the fickle hand of fate to sacrifice ourselves for a greater
good that seems more and more distant each day.

The eulogy is short, reminding us of death after life and life after
death. The grave-digger’s shovel works constantly through the service,
reforming the irregular cavity hard-won from a too-yielding surface,
shoring up the sides of the grave as they slope back in. The last
words are said, the last prayers murmured. The pastor puts away his
translucent book as the coffin is gently lowered past a decent
height—and then released, plummeting through the air in a cloudburst
of light and shattering upon a hospital below where at that instant a
baby wakes up, squalling, thrust unwillingly into the violent world.

“Access Patterns Organize Data”

Old Dominion University researchers have devised a method that
mimics the brain’s ability to order information so that connections
can be automatically established between digital objects; such a
technique could one day enable information repositories to
self-organize based on the way …
http://www.acm.org/technews/articles/2004-6/0607m.html#item8

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“What Is Google’s Secret Weapon? An Army of Ph.D.’s”

Google, the next challenger to Microsoft’s dominance in personal
computing, may have an advantage in that its entire culture is
infused with research lust: The company famously hires Ph.D.’s and
encourages them to pursue independent projects alongside their
everyday work at the company. Though …
http://www.acm.org/technews/articles/2004-6/0607m.html#item5

w00t. Cool company.

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