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2001-03-12 5pm

the diamond age

Two selections from the book I am currently reading, The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. I love this book. It's exquisite.

"The difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people- and this is true whether or not they are well educated- is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations- in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward."

and later...

"'I think I have finally worked out what you were trying to tell me, years ago, about being intelligent.'

The Constable brightened all at once. 'Pleased to hear it.'

'The Vickys have an elaborate code of morals and conduct. It grew out of the moral squalor of an earlier generation, just as the original Victorians were preceded by the Georgians and the Regency. The old guard believe in that code because they came to it the hard way. They raise their children to believe in that code- but their children believe it for entirely different reasons.'

'They believe it,' the Constable said, 'because they have been indoctrinated to believe it.'

'Yes. Some of them never challenge it- they grow up to be small minded people, who can tell you what they believe but not why they believe it. Others become disillusioned by the hypocrisy of the society and rebel- as did Elizabeth Finkle-McGraw.'

'Which path do you intend to take, Nell?' said the Constable, sounding very interested. 'Conformity or rebellion?'

'Neither one. Both ways are simple minded- they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.'"

On to other topics...

Guess who gave a free performance on campus today?

Tiffany. Late 80s, red-haired, mall-touring, I-think-I'm-alone-now Tiffany. She's revamped her image and is touring college campuses in preparation to release a new album. She looks very late 90s now. Mature even. I watched about 20 minutes of her performance. If you put all the most popular female vocalists of the last five years in a blender and made a new singer out of the most common elements, you'd have the New Tiffany. Not especially original or noteworthy, but not contempt-worthy, either.

Fun fact: A single human cell contains about 3 billion DNA base pairs, for a strand of DNA about 2 meters long. An adult human body contains about 200,000,000,000 kilometers of DNA (in 1,000,000,000,000,000 cells). That's about 1000 times the distance to the sun, or 10 million times the circumference of the earth.

Anyway, sorry I haven't updated or emailed or been online for any length of time lately. Been busy. But oddly enough, I have more I absolutely must get done today than at any time in the past few weeks, but...

I don't have any deep thoughts just now. Time to stop.

"If you think you know what the hell is going on, you're probably full of shit."