Tuesday, 12 March 2013


A meme is "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures. The word meme is a shortening of mimeme and it was coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. 

Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catch-phrases, fashion and the technology of building arches. Proponents theorize that memes may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition and inheritance, each of which influences a meme's reproductive success. Memes spread through the behavior that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread and mutate.

Memes that replicate most effectively enjoy more success, and some may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their hosts. A field of study called memetics arose in the 1990s to explore the concepts and transmission of memes in terms of an evolutionary model. Criticism from a variety of fronts has challenged the notion that academic study can examine memes empirically. However, developments in neuroimaging may make empirical study possible. Some commentators in the social sciences question the idea that one can meaningfully categorize culture in terms of discrete units, and are especially critical of the biological nature of the theory's underpinnings others, including Dawkins himself, have argued that this usage of the term is the result of a misunderstanding of the original proposal.

Thursday, 10 May 2012


The genus Aztekium contains only two species of small globular cactus. Discovered in 1929 by F. Ritter, in Rayones, Nuevo León, Mexico, this genus was thought to be monotypic (with Aztekium ritteri) until a second species (Aztekium hintonii) was discovered by George S. Hinton, in Galeana, Nuevo León in 1991.

Friday, 18 June 2004

Wheels in motion

Dave's announced his transition plan for hosted sites.

It's full and complete. Excellent. He still refuses to apologize for purposely turning out the lights without notice. It's not going to happen. The Ego lives.

Thursday, 17 June 2004


Let me clear my throat. I make my inaugural post only three days removed from the Dave Winer incident. There've been other incidents (some legit, some not so much), but this one has to take the cake. Not cool by any stretch.

Dave's been hard at work since. To wit (from this morn's post):
5AM Eastern. We now have a transition plan for the corner-turn, and have implemented most of it. The plan exceeds the commitment I made, by quite a bit; and will be implemented much sooner than promised. I'm writing the heads-up statement right now. The outage should be, Murphy-willing, completely cleared by the end of the weekend.

I don't know why I'm always amazed at outsized egos, but I am. It's totally, like, kewl that he's been busting his hump to resolve the situation more aggressively -- one can't help but think it has a lot to do with the recent roasting from all over the blogsphere (check blogdex or popdex)-- but the ego still hangs in there.

This stuff reminds me of sports stars who describe any and all heinous acts as a "mistake." Dave (and friends) calls this situation a mere "outage." He refuses to get it. Doesn't an outage generally imply something accidental? Of course in a true outage you can only alert folk after the fact. Ahh, so is that the way out? Imply with all your might that it was an accident? Par for the course, I suppose. Why own up when you can always change the subject.