Blog stats are always depressing. Posts that make serious statements on the world around get little traffic, while those that are entirely inconsequential and happen to mention porn stars or cartoon redheads get loads of traffic (see here if you’re interested in la royaume des gros seins, Brandy Taylor, and here for posts about her cartoon counterpart, Jessica Rabbit).

Yet knowing this didn’t quite prepare me for the fact that the top post on YS today is Mandrake’s “2008 Watch: Why Barack Obama Will Not Be President,” a humor piece written about a year ago. There’s nothing serious about the piece, it’s more an assemblage of witticisms and not-quite witticisms. Nor is there anything topical about it; the jokes are a year old, and it’s premise is bunk.

Of course, that doesn’t stop people from googling “Barack Obama is not president,” or “obama not president,” and being sent here. I’m really not sure what these people expect to find. I don’t have proof that he’s not president, nor do I think that proof exists. On the contrary.

I love conspiracy theories. But even if you don’t believe he’s eligible to be president, he was still inaugurated. And even if today was nothing but simulacra, it was pretty good simulacra, at least third order, to the point where it doesn’t matter any more. The reality and fictionality of this situation would have merged and he’d still be our president. No, not even YS at our most Baudrillardian will endorse an Obama not president hypothesis.

So for those hoping to make YS an imagined community of Obama denialdom: sorry. He is our president and hopefully will be for a long time.

Retrogeekery and The News

November 25, 2007

Though it has been a slow week here at Yesterday’s Salad, because we are busy eating leftover turkey (and salads! and eyes!), the rest of the world (apparently) has kept moving.

And despite the best efforts of your “moral majority” and your “president,” it’s moving quickly. In a rare case of “intellectuals-actually-showing-smarts,” a team of scientists have given stem cell critics a sweet lil’ reach-around. Instead of waiting for this “moral issue” to work itself out in the political sphere, they’ve kept working (with science!), and have learned how to bypass the need for embryonic stem cells in…embryonic stem cell research. Science bites religion’s eyes.

While the benefits of stem cell research are not exactly as far-reaching as the theoretical benefits of nanomachines (as far as I can tell) they are pretty close. And I think the topics themselves are either closely related or overlapable. If you are a scientist, or a superior geek, tell me if I am wrong.

The point is that it’s cool to see things that you read about in science fiction books as a kid…nearing scientific fact. Hence the title of this post.

Book 1: The First Immortal. This is a science fiction novel that predominantly deals with the far-reaching implications of nanotechnology on the world and humanity at large. Cryonics, or cryogenics, also play a big role in this novel. This is kind of a weird book, and kind of a scary book, and I kind of liked it. It follows the story of a man who chooses cryogenic suspension after death (a la Ted Williams’s head) and who is later revived and repaired by nanomachines, and who later becomes the first immortal human being when scientists learn how to literally connect our minds to computers through what is best described, in current geek-terms, as incremental direct downloads. I am decently sure that after reading this book, many people decided to freeze themselves, so that they can be revived and repaired by nanomachines, and eventually become immortal. I am not one of these people (death will be a nice rest) but if that sounds like your kind of cheeseburger, you can download the entire book, for free, here. I only bring all of this up because when I think of stem cell research curing disease, I think of nanomachines curing disease, and when I think of the implications (good, and yes, bad) of cured diseases, I think of this book.

Book 2: The Truth Machine. This is the first novel of James L. Halperin, the same author who wrote The Last Immortal. It also warrants a mention, because of this article in the New York Times, which is actually about people who were convicted of crimes they did not commit but who were exonerated by DNA (and not by lie detecting equipment, which is what happens in the book). However, these are the people who are punished by an imperfect system, and whose lives are ruined not necessarily by this system (which is probably better than we think it is) but by the fact that without scores of dependable witnesses and ample concrete evidence, it’s often very difficult to know with certainty who actually committed a crime. Anyway, this article got me thinking about Halperin’s first science fiction novel, The Truth Machine, which is essentially a utopian novel about a future where the world is saved by a genius who invents a machine that can tell with one hundred percent certainty whether or not a person is lying. Apparently, this concept may be based on actual theoretical science as well. If something like this sounds like your kind of chocolate milkshake, you can download the novel for free, here.

In case you are wondering why both of those free download links come from a coin collector auction gallery web site, it’s because Halperin is a famous (infamous!) coin collector and dealer. Though Chief Daily Salad would probably call him a numismatist.

Thank you for reading Retrogeekery and The News. I am the eye biter, and I bite, freeze, repair, and re-bite your eyes.

2008 Watch: The Return?

October 28, 2007

Mr. TWhere have I been? Astute readers will note I was last seen here challenging the internuts to duels. It’s not everyday that I get the chance to brandish my cherished flintlocks, so naturally I entered into honorable combat with a certain gusto. What I had not counted on was that the LAPD would choose to uphold the law–also with a certain gusto (and with significantly more modern weaponry). I was detained by the authorities, but I promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, I survive as a blogger of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find me… no wait, that doesn’t sound right.

Regardless, I was on the run from the law and had to maintain radio silence at all times. My benefactor and semi-professional linguist Dash Hammarskjold recently managed to track me down. In exchange for my eternal servitude, he agreed to smuggle me out of California and into a third world country with poor extradition laws. That’s right: Dash (or Herr Hammarskjold as he insists on being called) sent me to Iowa to resume my duties as lead political correspondent for YSMedia and our sister blogs worldwide.

The fact is that whoever wins Iowa will probably be the next president. All of the campaigns have invested so many resources here that to lose will be a huge sign of weakness. Needless to say, there is a lot riding on these January caucuses, especially if you are under the (mistaken) impression that the president actually runs our government. So, here now, is what’s really going on in Iowa which the news media may is ignoring. To be honest, I have no idea what they’re reporting. Per company edict, Dash had forbidden the viewing of any TV network not owned by GlobalSlaladTech Inc. As you may have noticed, however, our TV division pretty much sucks. There, I said it. Actual content after the break.

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