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· Blue Eggs and Spam ·

My theme today is reading. It's naturally elementary — Dr. Seuss style — with a dash of rhetorical bitters added to my final result. "So what's new?" you might ask. Just that I'm in a blue funk about recent comment spam here.

Beyond my autumn paper grading (sadly occupying this last week), I've been fighting on the front lines of some intriguing political warfare. Consider how on the day after posting My New England Patriotism: Red Green Style, I received a thousand-plus spam messages. After two hours scrubbing their blue filth out, I found one of at least amusing, ironically geeky significance:

Lesser-Known Programming Languages #2: RENE

Named after the famous French philosopher and mathematician Rene DesCartes, RENE is a language used for artificial intelligence. The language is being developed at the Chicago Center of Machine Politics and Programming under a grant from the Jane Byrne Victory Fund. A spokesman described the language as Just as great as dis [sic] city of ours.

The center is very pleased with progress to date. They say they have almost succeeded in getting a VAX to think. However, sources inside the organization say that each time the machine fails to think it ceases to exist.

Naturally, I was amused by the clear, distinct style, but when scores more messages appeared later, I had had enough: I simply closed comments on old posts, but with RENE then acknowledging my latest move:

How doth the VAX's C compiler
Improve its object code.
And even as we speak does it
Increase the system load.

How patiently it seems to run
And spit out error flags,
While users, with frustration, all
Tear their clothes to rags.

That seemed the last word. But had not my site then been hacked Wednesday — breifly shutting it down — I'd not have another. All I can think now is that RENE is (if you'll pardon my French) just some impatient, blue-talking, ruddy political S/he/it.

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Well, Styles, if RENE can match you on the techno-front, we'll all be surprised. Full speed ahead, and devil take the hindmost!

Posted by loretta markle on November 13, 2004 07:12 PM

Sorry to hear about the spam attack, Styles. A very un-civil approach to political discourse. I did, however, delight in s/he/it, reading it as one word with the vowel drawn out for maximum effect.

And I loved hearing that you'd dined in the Eagle's Nest with a Lilly exec. It confirms my sense of the Hyatt hypocrisy.

Posted by
John on November 22, 2004 11:15 PM

A less blue, more amusing look at computer evil-doers is Strongbad's.

Do enjoy!

Posted by Styles on December 1, 2004 08:42 PM


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