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Thu Oct 11 2001 at 19:38:32 (21.3 years ago )
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Fri Dec 8 2017 at 18:39:09 (5.1 years ago )
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Peak oil
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You've done a lot of reading here on everything2, and you've seen a lot of different points of view, and for a long time you were content to just absorb it all and see if any of it had a place in your own concept of the world. You catalogued isms by the boatload, both familiar and unfamiliar - philosophies dear to your heart, and ones you'd never dreamed existed. You considered the simple observations of the everyman, and wrestled with the abstracted works of the venerated thinker. You followed along as your fellow noders listed examples, laid out scenarios, and toyed with analogies. You watched the flames roar higher and higher on both sides of age-old debates. You shook your head incredulously at flawed arguments, and nodded in grinning satisfaction when 'your team' scored a hit. Sometimes, from one node to the next, you found yourself on different teams. In the privacy of your own mind you agreed, or disagreed, or agreed to disagree, or shrugged in disinterest. You learned; you grew.

But eventually, you began to notice that there were gaps: certain unique conclusions, quite apparent to you, that had somehow never been drawn. Just to be sure, you glanced up at your browser's address bar to verify that it didn't actually say or or even, but as expected, this was in fact everything2. And yet, a continuum of ideas this was not.

And that got you to thinking: But shouldn't it be? If this is everything2, shouldn't these ideas, neglected until now, have their place? You had seen too much already to expect much agreement (these were, after all, radical ideas, were they not?), but perhaps it was enough to merely state the point - to offer one more alternative, thus-far lacking.

So you gave your idea a node for a home. You'd read all the tips, suggestions, guidelines, and rules for good noding practice, and you were already a veteran reader-of-nodes, so between these dual lessons of theory and practice, you confidently authored a writeup.

To your dismay, your newborn creation died a slow and agonizing death by downvote. Or was it divine intervention, quick and ruthless? Perhaps you received a comment or two, criticism or condolences. More likely, there was no feedback at all. Bruised but not beaten, you tried again. And failed again, in the same fashion.

And as writeup after writeup ascended to Node Heaven, the truth slowly dawned on you. You were not the first to travel this miserable road, nor would you be the last. The culture of ridicule-by-softlink was too well established, the empty explanations of gods and editors too well practiced, to be anything new. No, the truth of the matter was that many a writeup like yours had come and gone. You recognized your error: a continuum of ideas was never the goal. The gaps were jealously guarded, fiercely defended, and never would they be filled, save the possibility that some latter-day scholar might lend the credibility of celebrity to once-forbidden notions.

Your radical ideas about philosophy have already been noded by others, but were quickly nuked. And they will be again, and again, and again. But don't let that stop you. Eventually, some of them are bound to get through. And no matter what anyone else might claim, they're important.

Hopefully someone will benefit from this before it vanishes as well.

Stupidest thing you've coded just to see if you could

The reason for coding these wasn't really 'just to see if I could', but rather for the purpose of general mischief. Still, these are pretty stupid programs... everything was in DOS QBasic.

The first program was essentially just a FOR loop containing the SOUND function, which let you hit the PC speaker with a particular frequency for a particular duration. We couldn't control the volume, but we had the program start out playing at a frequency beyond the audible range of the human ear (somewhere around 32 kHz), and was timed to gradually descend to the lowest allowable frequency (something like 50 Hz or so) over the course of an hour (a little shorter than the duration of a class). The effect was that very, very gradually, you would begin to notice something like that annoying whistling noise that old TVs sometimes make, which would eventually get lower and lower and more noticeable.

Meanwhile we displayed a fabrication of the ASCII Novell login screen, but made it so it wouldn't accept user input (you couldn't collect input and play sound simultaneously in QBASIC anyway - not with our limited skill). Then just before a class (not necessarily ours, and not necessarily a computer class - they scheduled all sorts of courses from math to english in the lab rooms), we would login to the Guest account and run this on a dozen or so of the machines. I seem to recall putting in a random delay so that the various machines would all kick in at different times.

A less insidious variant of this was to have the program idle silently at the faux login screen for a random period of time less than one hour, after which the screen would suddenly start flickering in wild ASCII colors and random tones of short duration would start playing (not long enough to form discernible 'notes'; not short enough or in a wide enough spectrum to be noise; more just a loud, very annoying, 'bubbling' sound).

we also used that same faux login screen to capture user passwords, including the admin password. we weren't sophisticated enough to incorporate this into the Novell login process; Instead we would login to the familiar Guest account, and run the compiled spoof program. The victim would sit down and provide their login/password, which would be written to a file in the Guest home directory, and then the program would pretend to crash with "Abort, Retry, Fail" and refuse to accept any further input. The confused and frustrated user would simply reboot the machine. Only incompetent high-school-caliber CS teachers would ever have fallen for this...

Redistribution of Self-Esteem

It is an unfortunate fact that some people are naturally gifted with better brains, better looks, and more favorable circumstances in life than others. This allows certain people to hoard all the self esteem by employing these natural gifts to lead a fulfilling life full of positive reinforcement and worthy accomplishment, while others are forced to look on in wretched envy and self pity. This is a social epidemic of staggering proportions, and it is long past due for the Government to intervene on the people's behalf.

I call upon our democratically elected officials to immediately implement a program to level the playing field and ensure that everyone has an equal share of the available pool of self esteem. To that end, the government must:

Of course, these measures should be applied to individuals in proportion to their surplus self esteem - "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs". Furthermore, it would be absurd to apply a 'flat rate' to these measures, since the extraordinarily wretched and envious haven't a single ounce of self esteem to spare, while the contented and successful would hardly even notice if nearly all of their self esteem were appropriated. Therefore the most fair approach would be to define a number of 'self-esteem brackets', each demanding a successively higher proportional contribution to the public self esteem treasury. This innovative approach will be referred to as 'progressive' redistribution of self esteem.

Remember friends, It's not vandalism, assault, or rape. It's perfectly justifiable, infinitely necessary Redistribution of Self Esteem.

Granpappy Karl's Ole' Time Recipe for Social Justice:


  • 1 handful, people who exchange valuable work for money (a.k.a. 'rich')
  • 1 handful, people who do not exchange valuable work for money (a.k.a. 'poor')
  • 1 smidgeon, lethal weapons
  • 1 smidgeon, thugs


  1. note that 'rich' expended time and energy performing valuable work and thus received money in exchange
  2. note that 'poor' did not expend time and energy performing valuable work and thus did not receive money in exchange
  3. induce voodoo trance
  4. arrive at the only possible logical obvious conclusion: 'rich' 'owe' 'poor' their money
  5. give lethal weapons to thugs
  6. instruct thugs to invade 'rich' people's homes brandishing lethal weapons
  7. instruct thugs to confiscate 'rich' people's money
  8. if 'rich' people do not surrender money, instruct thugs to kill 'rich' people and confiscate money from corpse of 'rich' people
  9. instruct thugs to retain 80% of money for themselves and give remainder to 'poor'
  10. celebrate social justice! Yay!

Note: for a tasty twist, taking a generous pull on the crack pipe can be substituted at step 3 instead of the voodoo trance! Same great taste, less calories!