01 August 2006
SETI League
PriUPS Project



I'm perpetually amused by the incivility of the internet.  Last week I reprinted a small feature that appeared in Wired magazine whose subject was my PriUPS adventure.  This, if you're new here, is another Richard "save the world" project, whereby I use my Toyota Prius to ameliorate the consequences of terrorism and provide power to the temporarily deprived.  Unlike some of my other world-saving solutions which are intentionally or unintentionally satirical, this one actually works.  I have living, quietly-humming proof in my basement. 

Of course, such articles in the mainstream press attract attention to the web site, mostly from people who until then had no knowledge of the project's possibility.  As intended by the web site, it causes many people to think and some to criticize.  Criticism is welcome in that it causes me to think and occasionally add to or modify the site to expand on or respond to points that are unclear or sometimes <gasp>incorrect</gasp>.  The majority of criticism tends to fall into the category "Why do this when I can buy a generator for a few hundred dollars?"  The short answer is, "you should buy the cheap generator if you don't have a hybrid, otherwise you should actually read what I've written instead of jumping to conclusions."  However, until I invent an LCD monitor with a pantograph hand that comes out and grabs you by the neck and forces you to read the page, that minimal degree of discourse will have to do.  Other critiques fall somewhere in the spectrum between "why didn't you explain..." and truly valuable and useful suggestions.  (The "Why didn't you explain..." is normally answered by, take your pick:

  • "I did but the web site isn't as well organized as it might be."

  • "I did, but you have to look where it is, not where it isn't."

  • "I forgot."


But this is the internet!  And there are people from whom such logical dialog is a bit much to expect.  After the article appeared, I was curious to see if any new links to my site had developed, and I checked in the usual way.  Among others, I found an enlightening thread on a message board called "genmay.com."  My immediate (and, admittedly improbable) thought was that somehow this was related to the late Curtis LeMay, founding general of the Strategic Air Command, and a hard-bitten hero of the cold war.  But no!  Apparently it stands for "general mayhem!"  And correctly so, it appears to me.  On this I was treated to an almost surreal discussion of my project and other issues, a discussion that terminated with the post below, by Mr. (or, possible, Ms.) stapuff, the marshmallow man.

 Quote from genmay.com:  I have the ability to make men dumb

I will take credit for the elision in the post, which internal forces for good demand, and which I recognize will not fool anyone.  I found his note intriguing, both for its depth of scorn, and for attributing to me a superpower: the ability to make men dumb.  I wish!  If I had that secret weapon, I would be king, and would save the world by decree instead of nibbling it to salvation by blog.  So, Stapuff M. Man, thank you for the moment of levity and for reminding me and all who read this of our primordial background.

As much fun as that was, I can't give him credit for my favorite and best insult, one delivered verbally and almost certainly well-deserved by me, its recipient.  In fact, I won't even disclose it yet.  It's so good that it deserves a blogitem of its own, and it shall surely receive one. 

Follow-up 05 February 2007

The insult to which I referred above is disclosed in the all-too-sad blogitem of 05 February 2007.

Richard Factor