Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 22, 2014: People's Climate Rally --Saheli's Manifesto And Links

Things Americans Need To Do To Fight Climate Change.

This is not a sermon but a memo of reminders for myself and for any fellow American who, like me, wants to fight climate change.

1) Register to vote!* Register others to vote! Reminds your friends to Register! September 23 is National Voter Registration Day. In some states the deadline to put your registration in the mail is as soon as Oct. 2 2014. Deadlines and links to register are available at
(*Okay, I am registered to vote, but I need to make sure it's all clear.)

2) Vote!!! Information on finding your polling place are available at , created by the League of Women Voters. Trying to decide whom to vote for? Look up endorsements from environmental group: The Sierra Club Endorsements. The League of Conservation Voters Endorsements.  California's League of Conservation Voters rates all State Assembly and Senators on environmental issues.If you are registered to vote by mail, MAIL IN YOUR BALLOT BEFORE ELECTION DAY.*
*This is very much a reminder to me, myself, and I, Saheli. And anyone else like me who always loses it, forgets it's not a sample ballot, and ends up having to cast a provisional ballot on election day sometime after 5pm.

3) Support candidates who are both most likely to vote to fight anthropogenic climate change and make the most of your support to win. This is a two-variable calculation. You can do it.

If your local candidate is already very likely to win, consider helping other such candidates win in other localities. You can cross-reference the toss-up predictions from Real Clear Politics with the endorsements above. For example, in California, any additional resources (donations or time) I think I can and should commit to supporting US Congressional representatives most likely to help the fight against climate change will probably go to Ami Bera (CA-3), Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Pete Aguilar (CA -31), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Scott Peters (CA-52), Amanda Renteria (CA- 21) and Michael Eggman (CA - 10).  You can also support the Sierra Club and NRDC's PACs directly.

4) Write to your elected and appointed leaders in all three branches (legislative, executive, judicial) , at all four levels (municipality, county, state, federal) both before and after the election, both to their government address and their campaign address. Polite, brief but unique and passionate letters on real paper and by email really do make an impression. Keep their eyes on the ball. Things we need:
--A Carbon Tax, especially on industry
--A More Progressive Income Tax
-- NO MORE subsidies for fossil fuels
--WAY MORE subsidies for renewable energy, green agriculture and manufacturing, walkability, and bike/bus-friendly road infrastructure.
--More funding for renewable energy research, climate research, atmospheric chemistry research, climate-friendly agriculture and plant biology.
--No more destructive agricultural subsidies--they're keeping Americans hungry and malnourished and overweight all at the same time, anyway!
-Reform of the financial industry regulations, which currently overfavors large corporations and prevents individuals and small businesses from accessing capital for reforming their own environmental practices and infrastructure.
--Move funds and votes away from opaque military industrial equipment expenditures and towards environmental technology and a transparent, green collar economy. War is bad for children and living things.

5) Keep an eye out for proposed regulations, legislation, and hearings that are open to public comment or attendance, research their potential impact on climate change, and then comment and attend: with courtesy, brevity*, and clarity For example, the EPA Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule is open to public comments until Dec. 2014. You can search for Federal regulations where comments are due at Regulations.Gov. Your state's public utilities commission (California's), energy commission (CA's), and housing agencies (CA's) all make policy that impacts climate change on a massive scale. Your municipal and county transit agencies and economic development boards are particularly crucial places for engaging in your civic oversight duty. You're not in this alone--look for local and state advocacy groups that are organizing others like you to do this kind of oversight. For example TransForm.
*Brevity, Saheli, Brevity.

If the public doesn't show up for the public interest in fighting climate change, these agencies only hear from monied special interests who have something particular to gain in the short term which they (foolishly) prioritize over fighting climate change.

6) Eat less meat* and dairy.
*Okay, I don't eat any meat. I don't want to eat anything that's capable of feeling pain, suffering or fear in anything remotely analagous to the way I feel it--i.e anything in Kingdom Animalia, especially with nerve tissue. But I want to eat less dairy, both b/c contemporary western dairying is usually cruel and involves a lot of cow-slaughter, and b/c it's hard to produce dairy products in a way that's climate friendly and sustainable. And I'd love to help you eat less meat.

7) Drive less or not at all; walk, ride a bike, and ride the bus. Ahem, Saheli.

8) Make your home more energy efficient and, if you own it, consider installing solar, or talk to your landlord about solar.

9) Buy fewer things, and fewer crappy and disposable things, and try to take up less space.Cough. Saheli.

10) KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING. Even when people are mean and snarky and make fun of you, Saheli.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why I decided to help organize the first Hacks/Hackers Unite dev camp around the iPad even though I have concerns about Apple's policies

Dan Gillmor wrote a blogpost lamenting the decision of the organizers of Hacks/Hackers to organize their first Unite Dev camp around iPad development despite the myriad problems that journalists have found with Apple's model for how content gets on the iPad. Since I'm one of the organizers, I felt the need to respond to his criticism. I appreciate Gillmor's emphatic insistence on talking about the constantly shapeshifting economic threats to the freedom of the press. While I respect his decision not to come to our event this weekend, simply because it's for the iPad, I wanted to explain why I wasn't ignoring the problems of the iPhone OS restrictions when I made my decision to help with this event. I'm acknowledging (and even agreeing) with most of his points while making the case for the event as we envisioned it and as it is currently going on.

First of all, I am no Apple fanatic. I got my first Mac a couple weeks ago, and while I enjoy some of its features, I haven't fallen in love. I still consider myself a "PC" person. I was gifted an iPod that I use to play music and watch videos. My phone runs Android, and I am really looking forward to learning how to build things for it.

I too am skeptical of how Apple is structuring the iPhone/iPod/iPad store, and how it's keeping much more tight control of apps being developed for the iPhone OS compared to the control it has kept over apps being developed for Mac OS X. According to the Net Applications Data quoted in this Ars Technica post from January, Mac OS X is still less than 10% of the personal computing operating systems market; Apple would have a hard time restricting developers to a controlled market when it was already hard enough to justify developing for such a small market. Many commenters agree that Apple's open market strategy for OS X worked, as evidenced by the plethora of good applications and the relief developers experienced when Steve Jobs confirmed that there is no App store for OS X.

With the iPhone, Apple's power dynamic in the smartphone market was different from the beginning, a difference that's magnified as the userbase of the iPhone OS grows. According to the IDC numbers quoted in this Information Week article, Apple's share of the smartphone market has grown to 16%: a single phone with a single carrier gaining on all the market share (19%) held by several Blackberry models on several carriers. About a year ago, Nielsen estimated that there were 6.4 million active iPhone subscribers. None of these numbers indicate a majority, but they indicate something close to a controlling plurality from a media-based developer's point of view: as a friend in the mobile gaming industry told me, if your product is an interactive mobile widget, right now you will get the most bang for your buck developing it for iPhone OS. (Please see my note below, after my reason #2 for helping with this dev camp.)

That means more power for the guardians of the iPhone app store, which is what scares journalists, and rightfully so. Between the Mark Fiore incident (Wired) and the so-called sexual content censorship (TechCrunch), we of Hacks & Hackers are quite aware of the problems with going to readers through an app store's bottleneck, even had Wired's Brian Chen not pointed them out back in February. It's not dissimilar to the situation faced by comics and columns carried in newspaper syndication during the 20th century: any large third party between the media-maker and the media-consumer allows for the possibility of corporate censorship--and also of government censorship or social-campaign censorship carried out by corporations too willing to kowtow. Centrally controlled device-based media even allows for further chilling possibilities: retroactive censorship and the backflow of information about identities and reading habits. (After all, our local ACLU chapter says our digital privacy laws have been far outpaced by our digital copyright laws.) One hacker friend's immediate response to the iPad dev camp was to ask me to read Richard Stallman's 1997 dystopic tale The Right to Read, which I now recommend too. These are all issues that journalists should be thinking about deeply, and that journalistic institutions should be taking into account as they develop major strategies.

Hacks & Hackers is all about these kinds of discussions, and the iPad censorship issue has been brought up numerous times in our informal discussion events and twitter conversations. (It came up pretty early yesterday morning at the mic: what about an app explaining these censorship issues?) When Burt told me this was the first workshop-type event he was working on, I was skeptical for exactly the reasons listed above. I'd just begun reading You Are Not A Gadget by Jaron Lanier, and I was worried that excessive devotion to developing for the iPad would lead to "lock-in" issues for the journalistic development community. Three things made me change my mind about helping:

1) Right now, the iPad is the biggest multitouch device on the market. There will hopefully be more. But if you're interested in just playing around with the cognitive possibilities of what can happen when journalism consumers kinesthetically play around with their media, this is the place to start. As a new frontier in how human beings play with information, one that unites visual and aural communication with our innate desire to pick things up and turn them around, I think it's worth exploring. And HTML5 offers the possibility of conducting explorations so that all your work isn't eternally restricted to this device. There are too many creative user-interface designers playing in this space to simply ignore it.

2) The very reason we fear the iPhone OS---its potentially strangling market grip over mobile interactive apps--is also why it's a good place to build a bridge between hacks and hackers: there are an awful lot of iPhone OS hackers, at least around here, who have put a lot of thought into making engaging mobile experiences. The talent of their community is not automatically diminished by Apple's policies. (I am even more convinced of this after meeting some of these talented developers this weekend.) There's strict lack of access due to concrete policies and legal restrictions, and then there's fuzzy lack of access due to opacity and difficulty of use. Apple has invested in making iPhone development feel accessible to people who might not otherwise try to code for a mobile device, and it shows in the community that's sprung up around this operating system. Android is growing, and I dearly hope we have an Android event soon. But this is the reality: when we shopped the various Unite ideas around, iPhone OS developers seemed to bite more. Maybe we can convince them that journalism and journalistic principles are so awesome they should transition their development focus to a more open system. But that would be a much easier sell if we actually got to know them and knew what we were asking them to leave. This event gives me an opportunity to learn. (NOTE: The recent data--see this Marketwatch story--also indicate that Android, as a platform, is edging out iPhone OS. This is why I bought an Android. But developer expertise follows market share, and right now I know more people who have worked on iPhone OS apps than who have worked on Android apps. The same mobile game building friend who told me about the iPhone OS's greater "bang for your buck" developing interactive mobile media also said he and his peers are keeping an eye on Android, and hoping to learn its ways soon. But right now the iPhone OS still seems like the easiest platform for us to run a 2 day camp that could be exciting, focused and productive.

3) Many media friends of mine, who do cool things in media & journalism while simultaneously pondering all these deep issues, still seem to be excited about the iPad. It's a consumer device as much as a platform, and it's not going away. Why not see if there are ways to develop items in parallel, for instance? I am willing to play with these ideas for now. This dev camp gives me a chance to stay in the conversation and keep it rolling, rather than roll my eyes and leave it. Since I first drafted this note on Friday, Virginia Heffernan wrote an essay in the New York Times Magazine, comparing controlled App stores to the white flight to suburbia of the mid-century, and while I don't completely agree, I do think there are some apt lessons to be drawn from the analogy. As a nation we are still suffering from the market repercussions of those large collective choices, and the crowd doesn't always realize the true power of its economic decisions. But the passion of the responses to that essay is also a simple indication that smart and creative people will be working in the Apple app store, and I want to learn from them. Boycotting an event with iPhone OS developers would be like refusing to conduct any kind of social activism in the suburbs.

Really we just wanted to jump in and experiment with an event where we were doing something, not just talking. And yes, Maker Faire is awesome, but I've been there a bunch of times and I wanted to try something different this year. We haven't tied our necks to Steve Jobs's ball and chain. It's great to listen to the great developers I've met this weekend and the guardians of the free press at the same time. I'll be writing about how this dev camp has gone so far later today, but so far I'm glad I decided to help: there's a lot of creativity and energy here, and plenty of learning that we can carry over to other platforms.

(Note: this isn't my main site, currently, but it functions to hold a post! should be back up soon.)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Time to Move On

Blogger has been good to us, but it's time to move on. The new blog is at .

We've been blogging for a while there, and I think we got most of the kinks ironed out. I'll be transferring over the blog roll and updating the template here as appropriate, but in the meantime, please come and visit! Thank you!


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Happy 108!

Today is the fourth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Padmanabha. May true good fortune be had by all the inhabitants of the Universe. . ."Every soul is related to every other soul."
If, in the course of your life, you come across true, essential goodness, my advice to you is that you snatch it up and try to slip it into your heart. It's often not easy---like bringing a bouquet of lotuses home to a vase, when you realize your only vase needs washing. I'm still washing, but ever so grateful to have seen the lotuses.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Yarrrr. It's International Talk Like a Pyrate Day. Light be running out like grog on a barnacl'd ship, so set to it, me harties! Arrrr!

I bin talking like a pyrate near three days now, and my pate be addled. With all the brethren of the coast yarrin an arrin', some landlubbers growl that we be a dark and evil tide, throwing good booty after that which be real and very, very bad. Ye olde costumed pyrate aside, sea-robbers are real, they're still around, and and nice they ain't. So whence all this arrrrdor?

Any time ye be aiming for fancy britches and sword play and corsets, all hornpiped to history-like, ye be ignorin' problems with luck and morrrality. God'fearrin' pyrates from the Golden Age might have been right cruel sea-dogs, but so were the better dressed and better lettered Red Coats, Conquistadors, East India Company Men, and assorted other fortune-hunters who chased 'em this way, and stole their tricks that way. Even fancy land-lubbin Knights dined by common folk slavin'. I be sounding like a cheap scurvy dog, but there's a bit of truth in me excuses--those legal sailors were as often not dragged to the seas 'gainst any liking, see that yarn by Cap'n Melville, Billy Budd. One man's pirate or mutineer is anothers' freedom fighting slave, as be found in Benito Cereno. If the established legal crown are just sponsors of pirates themselves, what's wrong with being a pirate for yourself? Live free and die fighting be an old and true part of the Code.

Talking like pyrate doesn't mean killing like one, and there be new means to live free and die fighting. Leave out the plank walking and the keelhauling, I'll take the stomping and the hornpiping and the free range of britches. If there be warriors for peace, there be pirates for right heartiness, and let a bit o' blinnnnnng and arrrrin' remind ye there be treasure in freedom.

From Unfogged: Pyrate Alphabet via Lizardbreath. From Daphne: Pyrate Law.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Yarrrr! Harr Harr, Yaar!

Tomorrow be talk like a pyrate day, and if ye be addlepated, scurvy dogs, I'll lend ye timbered visions to bring about the groggy voice. Avast and watch! Link from Michelle. Apologies to PowerPoint Bilge Rats.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Of Blogs and Bridges

The blogosphere can, in fact, occasionally get stuff done, and the proof was on Saturday.

My friend Steven met me because he read my blog. He's also a journalist, and when he came home to the Bay Area, he asked me if I wanted to meet up. We hit it off, not only with each other, but with each other's friends, and now we work mere blocks away from each other and meet up for coffee and collegial griping. We possibly would have met eventually, since many of his classmates have worked with me, but instead of being passing acquaintances, we've become good friends.

Steven's girlfriend Katie works at a spunky, ambitious charter school in Oakland, KIPP Bridge College Prep School. It has slowly been moving into an old building that previously belonged to Lowell Middle School, finally getting the whole building this school year. They didn't have any janitorial service until very recently, so the teachers had to clean the classrooms themselves--on top of a grueling work schedule. (KIPP schools have very long days, and teachers carry cell phones so their students can call them for help after school and on the weekends.) Steven felt bad that no one had time to wash the school's windows, which were covered in cobwebs, and that the library was unusable because it was overflowing with old textbooks and dust. The teachers have had a slow time clearing it out on top of all their other duties. Since I'm an East Bayer he asked me if I'd be interested in helping them do a little cleaning, and maybe my friends . . .?

I put out an email request. A couple of the usual suspects you know answered--Scotto and Emily Cooper and EChan--as well as another friend Emily. Let us say these were the friends I have in "real life." That's a pretty good gathering. But from blogospheric-friendland I also got replies from Robin of Snarkmarket, and Salil, a fellow commenting Sepia Mutineer. Again, like Steven--perhaps I would have met these guys anyway, but probably not. And their enthusiastic email replies were the tipping factor that made me think that yes, this was going to happen.

Several flurries of email later, we met up on Saturday afternoon. Steven brought three of his friends. We boxed shelves and shelves worth of old text books up, clearing space in the warehouse so that the library itself can be cleared out and made clean and organized so children can go look for knowledge and stories and have a nice place to do their work. There's a lot of work left, but I think we made a sizable dent. Windows were cleaned, both from the inside and outside. Salil and Steven's friend Joel were quite a sight, standing on the roof of a walkway, hosing off cobwebs and grime, uncomplaining about the fact that they were soaking themselves wet, despite the cold. The Emilies applied their eyes for detail and organizational skills. EChan boxed up copies of the U.S. Constitution study guides. Robin and I rebonded over library memories like D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. Steven's friends Sue and Ashanti brought bagels. Scotto kept everything safe. (Not trivial with huge boxes of books--at one point he had to come and unpin me and EChan.) We worked pretty solidly for four or five hours with music and snacks. There's still a lot of work to be done, and I'm not sure if, when, or how it will get done. But I do think we helped. It's really wonderful to have friends who are willing to party with me like that.

The whole thing gave me a lot of food for thought on the whole subject of our public school system and the way our communities and our age group interact with that system. It'll be many years before I have school age children, and now I think I'm going to need all of them to do my bit for the school system. There's a lot to say and think about that, and I'll try to later. But for now I'm glad that we put aside the saying and thinking and did more of the doing. I was raised with the belief that unselfish hard work is life's greatest joy, and while I usually feel about as far away from that ideal as from the stars, every now and then I brush against it and feel its truth.

I want to emphasize how simple this was. All you need to do is have a friend who is a teacher at a school in need, a Saturday afternoon, and some other friends, and less coordination then you would put into a BBQ. Try it! It's a huge amount of fun.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Building 253 after the rains

My colleague Telstar Logistics, editor and flickr maestro extrordinaire, has been documenting the abandoned military bases of the Bay Area. I thought this photo was really lovely, even without considerations of context and history---the plate glass, the shimmering reflection, the colors and contrasts, the composition. Here's a black and white postcard of the same building in its engineering heydey.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Right to Travel

I don't normally reblog stuff from Sepia Mutiny, since they have a larger and more focused audience, but this is too important and too general to ignore. Siddhartha brings our attention to the news that the United States has denied re- entry to two American citizens--one naturalized and one-native born--unless they first agree to be interrogated by the FBI abroad without a lawyer and take a polygraph test. They have not been charged with any crime. From the New York Times article by Randal Archibald:

In Hong Kong, Ms. Mass said, they were told there was a problem with their passports; other family members traveled on to California, while the Ismails returned to Pakistan. There, a consular officer suggested there had been a mix-up and advised them to book a direct flight to the United States, but at the airport, they were told they were on the no-fly list, she said.

Jaber Ismail, who was born in the United States, was questioned by the F.B.I. at the American Embassy in Islamabad, but his father, a naturalized United States citizen from Pakistan, declined to participate, Ms. Mass said. Jaber Ismail has refused further interrogation without a lawyer and has declined to take a polygraph test; Ms. Mass said the men were told these conditions had to be met before the authorities would consider letting them back into the United States.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Demian Bulwa appears to have broken the story, and here is more coverage from Reuters and the Stockton Record. Ms. Mass is a lawyer with the ACLU.

As you can tell, these two American citizens are Pakistani-American. They are from Lodi, and are also related to Hamid Hayat, the 23-year old Lodi resident who was convicted of supporting terrorists earlier this year. They have apparently been in Pakistan for more than four years. It would not be surprising if the FBI had a good reason to want to question them.

But let us not forget that the FBI has a long and storied past of using its powers unjustly. Let us not forget the right to counsel in the Sixth Amendment, or that Habeas Corpus cannot be suspended for a citizen. The FBI could arrest them, handcuff them, and bring them home to be questioned in the presence of a lawyer. Instead it is treating them like foreigners and convicted criminals.

In some sense the specifics of the case are irrelevant to general discussion. If they are guilty, or dangerous, there are constitutional ways of dealing with that. What is relevant is this: two American citizens are being prevented from coming home except on condition of giving up the very rights of their citizenship. They are being deprived of liberty without trial or even accusation. There are two interpretations of this.

Either all American citizens now forfeit their rights by traveling. Or these two are not really considered American citizens.

The former is a disastrous attack on our liberty. And the latter is a disastrous attack on our citizenry. Please don't ignore it. Please support the ACLU.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Birth on the Eighth Day of the Moon

It's still my favorite story. The sleepy guards of the jail, the sudden, fragrant rain, the lining up of constellations and half moon as the sun has swung completely away, leaving behind the cover of a darkness that's humming with anticipation. And then. . .

Happy Sri Krishna Janmashtami everyone!

"May there be good fortune throughout the universe, and may all envious persons be pacified." -- Srimad Bhagavatam,5.18.2

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Creatures Who Sit Around Watching While We Use Our Inner Eye

So over the years I have spent hours and hours reading and writing in my living room, and glancing out at our wide view of the north bay every now and then. My attention is frequently grabbed by something quickly moving across the blue. It's usually a bird of prey or carrion or sometimes even a hummingbird.

Now I have an office window with a much more industrial but still somewhat large view--three or four downtown office buildings, the new condos of SOMA, the port of San Francisco, Hunter's Point, a good portion of the bay, and of course, a large blue chunk of sky. And again that motion across the sky catches my attention.

The thing is this time it's usually planes, not birds. But even though I've been sitting here for weeks, there's no reason to see a bird around here or expect a bird to go so fast, and the motion is pretty unbirdlike, I keep thoughtlessly expecting to see a bird. And I am viscerally surprised when it's not a bird. Then I feel this odd mental hiccup, a weird dream-like tug on a body memory, and almost a sense of a barely visible sense of my living room *rushing away* as if it was, somehow, sitting silently around my working mind until focusing on the real world in front of me forced me to notice it wasn't really there.

It reminded me of this post by Matt at Snarkmarket, which is an excerpt from the book
The Singularity is Near describing some Berkeley research about how compact and brief optic information is as it travels from our eyes to our brain. It also made me think about all the things that visual cortex is doing when it's not actively looking around and being a wonderful camera and watcher.

I was at a conference recently filled with bloggers staring at laptops, and it's a bit eerie to see so many people whose eyes are so tightly focused on the area of the screen, and so carefully processing it for abstract informatoin. You can see them thinking. They are oblivious to their real periphery because their real focus is so densely occupied by virtual thoughts. I'm sure, of course, that I spend the vast majority of my day looking like that. And I wonder what the part of our brain that deals with peripheral vision does to amuse itself while we starve it all day. I wonder if it revels in reprocessing scenes and backgrounds from childhood and other times when we gave it a little more attention.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Popularity Dialer

ToastyKen sent me this amusing link: A web-service that places a prescheduled callt o your phone (most likely your cell phone) with a recording of one side of a conversation. Your options are a male friend, a female friend, an affirmation monologue or a boss demanding your immediate return to the office. The idea is that you either need to seem popular, get out of meeting, get some AI companionship, receive a reminder that isn't obviously a reminder, or play hipster pranks on your friends. Listen to the four types of calls if you can.

The idea itself seems obvious in retrospect. Cell phone calls have become acceptable interruptions of pretty much anything, and there are tiny but unsettling shifts in power dynamics that result from someone getting a phone call. Too many is just annoying, but a couple does indicate that a person has other people to talk to and other people to hang out with. It's also a sign of how phone-speakers have gotten really loud--you can no longer fake a call to yourself because people can catch snatches of your conversation. Though I try to step away from the group when I'm taking a call, as much to allow the group to continue its conversation without me as to protect my own privacy.

The affirmation call is silly and should be more creative and contain more pauses. The boss call is funny---the boss irately wants you to come back to the offie to fix a copy machine that is vomiting ink everywhere. It makes me wonder how many hipsters really have Marten-like drone jobs. It's prety useless for me, though--my boss would have to be insane to ask me to cure a hungover copier. I can barely move the monstrous paper tray to fix a jam. The first two calls, however, the male and female friends calling to find out what's up and if you'll hang out, are eerily familiar: overly mellow laughs, the gratuitiouslyinsinuating tone, the generically playful coaxing whine. My friends don't talk like that, but I've certainly overheard a lot of conversations that sound like this. I guess a Saheli-tailored version would insert some extraneous discussion of cephalopods. That would sound pretty authentic.

UPDATE: Cephalopod-oriented half of a conversation for your talking pleasure, courtesy of ToastyKen.