Jon Johansen has a new blog called “So sue me”. I find this hilarious. Subscribed. (Best of all, it’s running on Blosxom and publicfile!)
Paul Graham has an excelled article on the problems with school, suburbia, and society called Why Nerds are Unpopular.
I don’t know if this is still true, but when I was in school, suicide was a constant topic among the smarter kids. No one I knew actually did it, but there were several who planned to, and maybe some who tried. Mostly this was just a pose. Like other teenagers, we loved the dramatic, and suicide seemed very dramatic. But partly it was because our lives were at times genuinely miserable, far more miserable than the adults who created the situation ever imagined.
Bullying was only part of the problem. Another problem, and possibly an even worse one, was that we never had anything real to work on. Humans like to work; in most of the world, your work is your identity. And all the work we did was pointless, or seemed so to us at the time. At best it was practice for real work we might do far in the future, so far that we didn’t even know at the time what we were practicing for. More often it was just an arbitrary series of hoops to jump through, words without content designed mainly for testability. (The three main causes of the French and Indian War were… Test: List the three main causes of the French and Indian War.)
[…] It seems to me there is something wrong when it’s routine for smart kids to dwell on suicide. It wasn’t just our school. I’ve met many people since who were vaguely suicidal in high school.
When kids think such things, the adults in charge of them like to attribute it to “hormones.” This may be partly true, but I think most of the problem is the way kids are made to live.
The article is long, but I highly recommend reading the whole thing.
Finally, I’m working on a new secret project (secret because I don’t want to get arrested right away) related to DVDs. If you can help me with DVD decryption or MPEG compression, can host a website or email in a free country (i.e. one without the DMCA), or are willing to defend me if I’m sued or thrown in jail, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.