Monthly Archives: April 2001



I did some good work on the Martin Luther section of bingen. Now I have a Martin Luther bot, who responds to keywords, which are triggered by room noises, that represents Charles V, his advisers, and a series of cardinals. And they all ask him about his theological stance, and he answers them. Example:

A red-robed cardinal points at Luther and says, “You have been rumoured to deny the use of works. Do you really believe that bad men will be redeemed in Christ? Men without charity, men without compassion?”
Martin Luther says, “Good works do not make a good Christian, but a good Christian does good works. The soul is justified by faith alone, not by any works.”
One of the clerks shouts, “What are you trying to accomplish, Dr. Luther? Do you want to be branded a heretic and excommunicated?”
Martin Luther says, “I want to see reform, sir. I want to see the church return to its early purity. I love the church, sir, I love God and I love Germany. I want to see us all follow the precepts laid down by Jesus to us. I want us to be saved.”
One of the cardinals asks, “Meaningless? Confirmation is meaningless?”
Martin Luther says, “If confirmation brings our youth closer to the church and closer to God, we may certainly continue to use it as a means to an end, but it does not figure in the Bible, and therefore is not a sacrament.”
The crowd roars with surprise and enthusiasm.
One of the bishops shouts, “Are you calling the Pope the AntiChrist?”
Martin Luther says, “I say what I am prompted to by what I have learned in studying the Bible. I will say no more than that.”
The Emperor Charles the V, with a thick Spanish accent, notes, “So, Dr. Luther. You agree that infants require baptism for salvation?”
Martin Luther [to Hildegarde]: Yes, your Honour, I do accept that babes should feel the blessed waters of baptism.
One of the Emperor’s aides, asks, “What about confirmation? Do you believe in this sacrament?”
Martin Luther says, “Yet another meaningless ritual.”
Someone from the crowd shouts, “What about the saints? Do you deny them too?”
Martin Luther [to Hildegarde]: The saints were good people, and we should try to emulate their goodness when we can, but saints cannot intercede for us on behalf of God. We must pray to God alone.
Someone in the crowd jostles you.

I’m unclear why Luther insists on responding to the chair in the room instead of just generally. But it still works. And now to bed!



I’ve been pulling apart and reconstructing bots today at achieve, with Brin’s help. So the place should be ready for the students tomorrow. Bots take forever to put together, but I think have a couple of successful ones. Now at least they respond properly to the plague messages. My other goal today was to move Martin Luther out of the church and put him into a disputation with the Catholic hierarchy instead. A little more dramatic and interesting. I haven’t started on that yet, but I guess now’s as good a time as any.

The Technology of the Book


I had a fabulous time at Jason’s party….along with being social and eating strange and exotic foods, I got to talk shop with Jason, Emma and salmon, concurrently and consecutively. Emma had a great idea: she says that I should carry a moo concept book around with me…I seem to be getting a reputation for being a random idea generator, and I should probably write some of this stuff down so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

The Technology of the Book
Something I was thinking about on the walk from the subway to home: the advantages of the techonology of the book. What are they? The historical monograph, for example, as an option, rather than a requirement. What are the perks? They’re relatively cheap, they can be both text-based and graphical. They are portable, and you can stop and start accessing the content at your ease. You can write your own notes and questions in the margins, making it your version of the technology. Though, granted, most people reading historical monographs have them on loan from a library, making the comments option slightly more problematic. Other elements of the book as technology: linear progression of ideas (from page 1 to page 356), though these ideas are usually subheaded and are browsable; traditional interface is familiar to the user and needs no introduction. Usability based primarily on the programmer’s ability to sub-divide and clearly mark content, as well as good content writing. The historical monograph is best defined as an argument, addressing the arguments of those before, but primarily a monologue defending the validity of a particular thesis.

How can my historical presentation fulfill these functions, and be still more?



I don’t think I fell asleep before 5am. In fact, I think it was closer to 6am or 7am, because I remember seeing the sun coming up. I was working on the moo until 4am, building new spots that I needed and programming some verbs that I wanted. I should have kept going, I couldn’t sleep when I decided to try anyway. My productivity seems to have returned in spades. I build a shrine, and made a verb to light a candle in front of it. Then I wrote a slap verb for my innkeeper, because he’s cheeky and needs to be slapped pretty often. I made my physician tell you what your character should be like based on what month you were born. And then I took a break and tweaked the blog some more…more vegetables. (Scroll down and see the cute little bok choy at the bottom as a ‘home’ link.) At some point there I decided that I should just do a random search for nice icons to be used later. God knows why. But I do like the vegetables. Vegetables are beautiful.

And then this morning I fixed up my scavenger hunt, and made a series of objects for the triangle kids. salmon had some nice things to say about my work, and I’m terribly pleased. I do so enjoy working with her. I’m really looking forward to this triangle thing. I can’t wait to see how the kids respond to the work I’ve done, too.

Off to wash some dishes for a change. I’m scared to eat anything from my kitchen at this point. I must tidy up.

Building for Students


What a day. I mean, really. And I hardly got out of bed. I woke up this morning and got to work on a scavenger hunt for the triangle project. That took forever, mostly because I had to sort through a lot of the stuff on achieve to find as many elements of the place to show off, and to find ways to have students learn how to use some of the basic commands to manage in the place. Of course this meant I tweaked my own project some as well. I fixed up some bits that had been bothering me. Some I just simplified, because I had started to do too much. And at the same time Jason decided it was time I got a second character on achieve for testing purposes. I’m thrilled.

I’ve always wanted a second identity. 🙂 I’ve baptized her Rapunzel, and this is what she looks like. I love these images, I had a whole book on these flower fairies when I was a kid. There’s something about them that I find very appealing. I wish I could post them all.

My sister called to tell me that she bought my bridesmaid dress for me. It’s blue, with, of course, spaghetti straps. (What else would it have?) I’m glad that’s taken care of. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

Fun and Funded


Fun and Funded
Well…so on the way out to my meeting with Adrienne Hood (the historian with a clue about the internet and thing technical), I checked my mail. There, next to my rejection from SSHRC (Social Studies and Humanities Research Council, the national government’s answer to funding wacko academics like me, but not me in particular) was a slim letter from the Ontario government. I assumed this was my rejection from them. I was wrong. They’re offering me 15 grand for next year. I fell down. External funding means I get to leave the history department if it comes to that. Probably means I have a better chance of getting a SSHRC later on. Wicked. This means I worry about nothing next year….I can’t believe I’m that happy about 15 grand. I could make more working at mcdonald’s, but it does solve a lot of problems. No loan for me. Yay! Thank, Mike Harris. Bah.

Well, so I had this meeting with Adrienne Hood, and it went swimmingly. She told me lots about the politics of what I’m proposing, and who I should tread gently on. Since she doesn’t know me from Eve, I’m terribly impressed with her openness and kindness. Wonderful.

And then I met up with salmon for dinner, and we worked on some planning for the triangle project. We’re going to be helping a group of students through a 3-week workshop that involves developing projects on achieve. Honestly I think I still only half understand what they’re doing. I mean, I love achieve, and I can I think of lots of good ways to do projects and evaluation in moo, but I’m not sure why these students are there. I think there are lots of good reasons for students to be there, but I’m not sure I’ve figured out why these ones are. We do moo tutorial for a while, and then the start an online research project that they build on the moo. I’m curious to see how this will go. I’m looking forward to it. And it’s always fun to work with salmon in any context. And she’s really on right now, after the conference. Her brain has yet to stop buzzing. I could hear it at the dinner table.

Onward and upward….I can’t remember what I have to do tomorrow. All I know is that Contact is on at 8pm. Why do I remember only the really important details?