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[Comments] (6) : Sumana asked me if I'd ever kissed anyone underneath the mistletoe. I said I'd never even seen mistletoe. On reflection I have seen wild mistletoe, growing on trees in the Tehachapi Mountains when I was a kid. That's why it never seemed odd to me that First Edition druids were always going out and cutting mistletoe for spell components or whatever. But I've never seen it in someone's house around Christmas time, I guess because my family's not much for random kissing.

Where would you even get mistletoe? You can get it online now, but was there a span of about fifty years where people living in cities couldn't get it? Maybe it's a seasonal item in flower shops.

Does anyone of my generational cohort or the one before it 'do' mistletoe? It seems like something that died when office Christmas parties were toned down.

Hmm-hmm!: Cooking with Booze! And microformats!

: Selected clarifications of idioms in RESTful Web Services, from conversation with Collin, the guy doing the Chinese translation. Maybe I should put these on a webpage like Joel did.

What did the supernova metaphor mean here? Especially what do supernova and meme refer to here?

"Supernova" is being used as a verb similar to "explode". A meme is an idea. The same thing in simpler language might be:

The world of web services has gotten a lot of money and attention ever since the architects of bloated systems spotted another simple idea that they could make complicated and sell to big companies.

What does this metaphor mean? ["the Whoopee Cushion and Joy Buzzer of Internet protocols"]

The whoopie cushion and joy buzzer are cheap toys that you buy to play tricks on someone. The joy buzzer sends a vibration into someone's hand when you shake hands with them. The whoopie cushion is a bladder that's inflated and placed under a chair cushion; when someone sits in the chair it makes a fart noise. The implication is that HTTP and HTML are cheap and that to use them is to have a trick played on you.

Why did you say "That table looks kind of ridiculous"?

Because it has seems important but all it says is "DELETE deletes something. GET gets something."

What does "moving parts" mean, exactly?

The moving parts of a mechanism are the parts of it that do the job, as opposed to a piece of metal or plastic that holds them in place in relation to each other.

What does "plumbing about ..." mean?

Plumbing is the opposite of "moving parts". It's the structure that holds together the pieces that do the work. Here the built-in cryptographic functions are the moving parts, and the Ruby code I wrote is plumbing that makes them work in a certain way.

In chapter 4, there is a section titled "Resource-Oriented What Now?". I failed to figure out that "what now" means here. Can you explain the title?

It's an expression of incredulity. The idea is that I suddenly introduced a new buzzword without justifying its meaning or explaining why you should be excited about it (so I explain in that section). I walk up to you and say "Resource Oriented Architecture!!" and you might say "Resource oriented *what*, now?"

"Resource Oriented What?" would be similar and might be more familiar to you, except the implication would be of confusion. Here, it's not that the word "Architecture" is strange but that the whole phrase is strange.

What does it mean by "it doesn't know a username from an ostrich"? Does the "ostrich" here have any special meaning?

No, it's just a random thing that's not a username.

Why did you say the stock quote web service is a toy?

It's a common application that's used to demonstrate new devices, architectures, etc. But very few people really need or want real-time stock quotes for random stocks. And if you do actually need real-time stock quotes then you also need the ability to act on the information, or it's just a pretty thing to look at: a toy.

Does dissed here mean critized?

Yes, it's slang from "disrespected." The implication is that I just said [certain URIs] were bad rather than making a cogent argument against them.

Update: strangely (or not), nobody asked about "Don't Bogart the Benefits of REST."

Membrane-associated ring finger: As long as I'm talking about RWS, I'd like to pass along a service written by a reader. HGNC/wr is a bioinformatic web service that exposes every gene of the human genome as a resource. There are resources INSIDE YOU now.

: Basically tonight I'm trying to make a little progress on my inbox because I've got 750 messages in there, some from 2005. So I got this great spam last month about a new way of generating power from the sun even when the sun is on the other side of the earth. I wasn't sure how to bring it to your attention but now that some time has passed I can just link to it at a solar energy site. And here's the INVENTOR's response to a fellow INVENTOR's questions.

But I was intrigued by the audacity of the idea. Solar power at night! You could do it with a neutrino collector, since those just plow through the earth.

I like to think that if I invented something like that I would give it away for the good of humanity and not try to nickel-and-dime investors. Relatedly, one interesting thing about writing Mundane SF (tm) is that there's not much difference between a story idea and a real idea. I came up with a business idea for "Mallory" which (as you'll see if Futurismic ever publishes it) is similar to businesses that are starting up now. Things just got cheaper faster in the fictional world. I think this is a subtext of MSF: a farm for workable solutions to our problems. As RachelC put it once, not just escapism, but a map showing how to escape.


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