March 2012

Editor’s note: This is the first guest post on — it was originally an email Winnie Fung sent, but given that, after all, the site’s name is “”, she graciously allowed it to be posted. I’ve never been an Apple user, so I can’t say this post sums up my feelings, but it certainly sums up my impressions! Apple users out there, any comments? -Karl

I am mad. mad mad mad. …

Apple is trying to control how I do everything, where I do it, on what devices I can do it, where I store it and I HATE IT. I am this close to wiping out my drive and sticking linux on it. icloud my ass. Not only do I have to pay for my .mac address all these years (fair enough I was too lazy to sever my ties), but if I want to keep the stupid address, I must transfer to icloud, oh but you have to upgrade to the newest OS in order to access it which btw will have to pay for.

So basically, I have been living in this address for years, paying the rent, and then one day my landlord comes and tells me that they are renovating the building and they are going to raise my rent and in order to stay in apartment, I must update my interior decoration to match spiffy exterior. No only that, I must buy my furniture from the landlord’s designer stores. And if I want to park my bike and my car at this address, I must also switch my car and bike to my landlord’s brand. Additionally, if I want to lock my bike to the building’s dock, I will need to purchase their special lock which only works for my landlord’s buildings and their company policy is to change the lock socket with every model so I should plan on collecting a pile of obsolete locks… No thank you, I think I will move.

-Winnie Fung

An old tradition holds that the location of the discoloration in the marble of the Washington Monument prefigures the end of the Republic:

The discoloration represents the division between the two phases of the Monument’s construction. The phases used marble from different quarries, resulting in a clear visual boundary. The pause between the phases lasted nearly two decades, from 1858 to 1876, and although the original reasons for it are complicated, it was drastically lengthened and nearly made permanent by the Civil War. We may take the discoloration as representing the Civil War, forever the spiritual halfway point in the United States’ history.

The discoloration occurs at 46 meters up, and the Monument’s total height is 169.29 meters; thus the dividing line is 27.17% of the way up. Depending on whether you use the beginning of the Civil War (1861) or its end (1865), the corresponding end year for the United States is either 2089 or 2104 — that is, the year 1861 (or 1865) occurs 27.17% of the way from 1776 to 2089 (or 2104).

So it looks like we’ll make it to sometime between 2089 and 2104. We had a pretty good run. Maybe someone else will find a use for our Constitution, especially since it’ll be in such good condition. (“Like new! The previous owners barely took it out — it just sat in the garage for the last few years, really.”)

The construction of the Monument is itself is a fascinating story. It turns out that our national weakness of historical amnesia is sometimes a blessing. Then too, it could be said that every nation’s weakness, and blessing, is historical amnesia.