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2013.02.06: Meatless Midweak

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

It's a low-key sort of day. Ms. S. is at work, the cat-demons sleep, I watched the end of season 2 of 'Haven' (and first episode of season 3), and before Ms. S. went to work we watched episodes 3 of 'Millennium' and 'The X-Files' respectively. Neither was anything to write home about.

I.

I'm still mildly obsessed with Schiller's "Theatre Considered as a Moral Institution" sites.google.com/site/ge
rmanliterature/18th-centur
y/schiller/the-theatre-con
sidered-as-a-moral-insitution
, which I began re-reading at the end of January during our trip to Birmingham. It's from a 1784 speech, but the version -- and title -- we read today was edited years after the fact, and so I should compare the earlier and later versions.

Why?

There are elements clear early on in the text that tie it to Schiller's "mature" thoughts on art/aesthetics, thoughts from his Kantian/post-Kantian period. The question is how much of what we consider distinctly "Schillerian" in this comes from -- and engagements with -- his reading(s) of Kant (and encounters with Goethe), and how much was nascent/latent, in a sense. There's also a great appeal in the introduction to German Enlightenment thought (the reference to Sulzer [ de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo
hann_Georg_Sulzer
], for example, who provided the first German-language "encyclopedia" of aesthetics).

I'll return to it later.

I keep promising that.

II.

In this age of Java exploits (see also: blog.twitter.com/2013/02
/keeping-our-users-secure.
html
), password theft, and easy easy -- as well as technically legal but counter the spirit of a free and open society -- surveillance of electronic communication, my thoughts return to security and cryptography, a topic I haven't worked with in years, really.

Back in the 90s it was of interest because of my work in mathematics, work that focused primarily on number theory and combinatorics. At the time I understood public key cryptography rather well because we more or less designed/implemented it from the bottom up in our classes. Later when I worked with Linux and ran the local LUG it was a topic that interested our membership, some out of practical or business concerns, some out of civil-libertarian and/or idealistic concerns, and some out of paranoia. We all envied OpenBSD in a way.

Now I'm rusty. I have to start over. There are probably three concrete steps to take:

[1] Reacquaint myself with the materials and topics, such as:
- Authentication, e.g. userpages.umbc.edu/~dgor
in1/451/security/dcomm/aut
hentication.htm

- Kerberos, e.g. www.kerberos.org/softwar
e/tutorial.html

- Public-key cryptography, e.g. gdp.globus.org/gt4-tutor
ial/multiplehtml/ch09s03.html


[2] Practice and fool around using the ol' iBook server as a sandbox and toy-server and the like. Tools include:
- Postfix ( www.postfix.org/ )
- Fetchmail ( fetchmail.berlios.de/ )
- Archiveopteryx ( archiveopteryx.org/ ) [I've *always* wanted to play with this!]

[3] Be practical, and employ GnuPGP where possible and such (to the extent and in locations I'm not now). See, for example, www.gnupg.org/

But now I have other chores to do.

III.

I want to read something.

I'm still in the middle of "The Library of Shadows", which drags along and does not inspire me, though its material and themes ought to. I never finished "American Sideshow". When Ms. S., suffering from a strained and pained lower back, took to bed early last night I watched the most recent episode of 'Bones' (nothing spectacular ... we're treading into afterschool special terrority this season), and then, after going back to 'Haven' for the first time in ages, went perusing Ms. S.'s bookshelvs in search of something to intrigue me. There are plenty of good books around here, but nothing that really catches my fancy at the moment, in my collection or hers.

And so I crawled in bed and returned, for the first time in months, to Bolaņo's "2666" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/26
66
. This evening after dinner I returned to it again as A. slept on my chest, and I'm at around page 99 of 896 on the eReader. There's something stylistically and dialectically fascinating about the narrative structure, but as I'm only 1/10 through it, I can't say how characteristic it is ... I expect it to change/shift/rupture in the next fifty pages.

I began not with "2666" but with the first several pages of "Pale Fire". And that did captivate me. I realized, 'this is the book for me'. And I set it aside and (re)turned to "2666" because I also concluded that it was not the right moment for "Pale Fire".
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