Suspicious Holidays

It’s always fun to check in with my colleagues in the Suspicious Cheese Lords, the male a cappella ensemble (specializing in Renaissance music) of which I was a member. I just received a postcard advertising Gaudete, their second annual Christmas concert, at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington DC this Saturday at 7:30 pm. If you’re in the greater DC area, you should definitely check out the show.

This month will also see the release of the Cheeselords’ second CD, Missa L’homme armé: Sacred Music of Ludwig Senfl. I’ll update this post with a link as soon as the disc becomes available. Their previous recording, the sublime Maestro di Capella: Music of Elzear Genet, is available used from Amazon or on back order from CD Baby, and should be at their gig as well.

I+S 2004: I’ll be there

In addition to the Scripting News Christmas Party, I’ll also be at the Berkman Center’s Internet & Society conference next week. This year’s theme is “Online Politics: Is the Web Just for Liberals?,” and should be just the thing to get me out of political blogging. With any luck there will be some startup type folks there as well, judging from the panelist and facilitator list (which includes Joi Ito, Scott Heiferman from Meetup, and Craig Newmark of CraigsList. Plus the usual gang—Dave Winer, Dave Weinberger, John Palfrey, Esther Dyson, Dan Gillmor… Oh, and it looks like Andrew Orlowski from the Register will be on a panel. This should be fun. 🙂

Happy Belated Birthday, Manila

house of warwick: Manila: Five Years Old. Steve points to Dave’s post on the fifth anniversary of Manila, the content management system cum blogging system that runs this site, as well as the blogs of more than a few Net luminaries. Unfortunately, it remains the Rodney Dangerfield of blogging platforms. I still have to explain Manila, and Userland, and Dave, and the whole history of blogging every time someone asks me what my site runs.

Manila officially launched on November 29, 1999. I got my first Manila site, the direct ancestor of this one, on March 14, 2000.

You can tell it’s a no-news day…

RSS in Government: Blog — Dictionary Word of the Year. Merriam Webster reports that, once you strip out profanity and perennial words like “effect/affect”, blog was the most-searched word this year on You can tell it’s a no-news week when I found reference to this fact on three sites I read daily. (I’m pointing to the article at RSS in Government because the original story, a Yahoo! News item, will disappear within the month, and I hate linkrot. At least this way there will be some context in my archives later.)

And how long is it before the anti-blog backlash starts? Surely the Register’s venom and new NBC anchor Brian Williams’s snide comment about bloggers in the bathroom are only the opening shots across the bow…

Brush with destiny

In other Virginia Football related news, I just realized (thanks to the College of Arts and Sciences alumni newsletter) that I am, as they say, one degree removed from the oracles who decide the Bowl Championship Series rankings. Wes Colley, UVA Physics 1993, runs the Colley Matrix, a simple iterative calculation that starts with a team’s win-loss record and then factors in the win-loss records of its opponents, and on and on until the records converge.

Interestingly, Wes’s story is also the story of how college football, in the form of the BCS, doesn’t understand blogging. He formerly kept a journal of games he attended on his site, but was asked to remove it by the BCS, who feared that the journal would lend the appearance of bias toward east coast teams. Never mind that the math is entirely objective and thoroughly documented…

My one degree of removal is due to my taking a statistical physics course (with John Ruvalds) in which Wes was also enrolled; I remember him being much better with the math than I was. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should also mention we were classmates in a grad level math course until I dropped it, crushed by the weight of my perplexity and overly heavy course load. I fortunately was able to come back two semesters later and complete the course, but I still think about certain Fourier transforms with a shudder.)

Oddly, I’m also one (or two) degrees removed from the concept of “one degree removed”; the Oracle of Bacon is a project at UVA.