07

2004-07 posts.

  1. 2004-07-01t21:11:06Z. RE: Animals. Bush. Cars. Cyber Life. Faith. Food. Iraq. Money. Movies. Programming. Science. Sex. Spider-Man. US. WarCraft. World.
  2. Shopping for a Gorget. RE: Martial Arts. Gorget. Armor.
  3. 2004-07-14t15:39:06Z. RE: Animations/Videos. Anyone But Bush. Comic Art. Computers. Cyber Life. Family Values. Food. Faith. Fun. Games. Green. Healthcare. Housing. Images. Interesting. Iraq. Local. Martial Arts. Media. Money. Politics. Programming. Robots. Science. Sex. Show Biz. Travel. US. US Elections. World. Writing.
  4. 2004-07-20t15:33:27Z. RE: Anyone But Bush. Comic Art. Computers. Cyber Life. Design. Faith. Family Values. Fun. Games. Green. Healthcare. Images. Interesting. Iran. Iraq. Local. Martial Arts. Media. Money. Programming. Science. Sex. Showbiz. US. US Elections. Web. World. Writing.
  5. 2004-07-25t14:46:24Z. RE: Anyone But Bush. Computers. Engineering. Family Values. Fasting. Food. Games. Green. Healthcare. Humanity. Images. Iraq. Local. Martial Arts. Media. Money. Music. Science. Sex. US. US Elections. Words. World.
  6. 2004-07-28t16:20:29Z. RE: aaBlog. Animation, Video. Computers. Cyber Life. Engineering. Games. Humanity. Images. Local. Movies. Programming. Sex. Show Biz. US Elections. Web. Words. World.

2004-07-01t21:11:06Z | RE: Animals. Bush. Cars. Cyber Life. Faith. Food. Iraq. Money. Movies. Programming. Science. Sex. Spider-Man. US. WarCraft. World.
2004-07-01t21:11:06Z

Animals

Bush

Cars

  • Too many cars, too few digits: U.S. will run out of vehicle ID numbers
    • 'The 17-digit codes that identify the origin, make, model and attributes of cars, trucks, buses -- even trailers -- worldwide will be exhausted by the end of the decade.'
    • ' Unlike telephone companies, which simply created new area codes to cope with a surge in households, cell phones and fax machines, the committee is not recommending longer VINs -- even though 18- or 19-character codes would not repeat for 100 years. Longer codes would require a major overhaul of computer systems that would dwarf the challenges and expenses spawned by the Y2K computer dilemma, said Dave Proefke, chairman of the committee.'
      • Lazy bastards!

Cyber Life

  • Malware attacks IE users via pop-ups [2004-06-30]
    • ' The malware, which has been identified by the SANS Institute, is delivered to users' PCs through pop-up windows that appear when users log on to financial portals. It seems that the suspect pop-ups are delivered on certain websites that run ads from third-party ad servers, which appear to have been hacked. When the pop-ups appear, vulnerable versions of Internet Explorer begin downloading a malicious file that records activity - such as passwords - onto the infected PC and sends that data to a server reportedly located in Estonia. '
      • OK. I guess I'll switch to Mozilla for few days until they get things patched.
    • Related:
  • AskTheTechGirl.com.
    • ' If you like super sexy girls with superior tech skills, you are in luck. "Ask The Tech Girl" gives you the rare opportunity to talk live to a super smart, sometimes snarky and always ready tech girl, geek chick or network ops cutie. '
    • Ha ha! For under-sexed geeks only. Their site needs some work though.

Faith

  • Keep Your Jesus off My Penis: The Video. Nothing graphic but the words are strong. It's basically about "hypoChristianity".
  • Churchgoers Get Direction From Bush Campaign. 'The Bush-Cheney reelection campaign has sent a detailed plan of action to religious volunteers across the country asking them to turn over church directories to the campaign, distribute issue guides in their churches and persuade their pastors to hold voter registration drives.'

Food

Iraq

  • Iraq looks good through rose-colored glasses
    • ' When the founders included language empowering the government to "promote the general welfare," they were not speaking that generally. They meant the welfare of Americans and Americans alone. Bush, however, thinks he has just as much power to spend money and do good things in Baghdad as in Baltimore. But what else can he say? Every other pretext for the invasion has disintegrated like a sand castle in a thunderstorm. So he and his aides fall back on insisting that the Iraqi public and everyone else are better off with Saddam Hussein in jail instead of in power. '
    • ' In the months before we attacked, the administration promised the achievement would be huge and the expense minimal. Besides reaping the adulation of Iraqis, we would cow rogue dictators, curb terrorism, promote democracy in the Middle East and pave the way for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

      Instead, North Korea and Iran are pushing forward with nuclear weapons programs. Terrorists are more numerous than sand fleas in Iraq, not to mention Saudi Arabia. Instead of offering a human rights model to Arab nations, we've given them pictures of naked men being tortured by Americans. The Israeli-Palestinian lovefest has yet to commence.

      Our failure to reap these side benefits would be excusable if the war had served another constitutional mandate: providing for the common defense. But there was no significant threat from Saddam Hussein. We had prevented him from aggressing against anyone for more than a decade. We had forced him to accept extensive UN weapons inspections that bound him hand and foot. The administration had persuaded the UN to adopt a new system of "smart sanctions" to constrain him without punishing his people. '

    • ' A lot of people across the political spectrum have had second thoughts. Laments Michael Ignatieff, director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University, "Someone like me who supported the war on human rights grounds has nowhere to hide." Legendary conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr. says, "If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war." Most Americans now say the war was a mistake and didn't make us safer. '
  • Saddam defies Iraqi tribunal
    • He sure is entertaining.
    • ' "I am Saddam Hussein, president of Iraq," he repeated, before quizzing the unnamed young judge about his authority. '
    • ' "This is all a theatre," Saddam said with a half-smile. "The real criminal is Bush." '
    • ' "They should put Saddam in a cage and send him around the world in a travelling zoo so everyone can see the monster as he is," said Baghdad shopkeeper Samir Majid. '

Money

  • Fed Raises Interest Rate a Quarter Point: Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates to 1.25 Percent, First Increase in Four Years
    • Bottom lines: Fed 1.25%, Prime 4.25%, 30 year mort 6.25%.
    • 'The Fed's decision triggered a one-quarter percentage point increase in commercial banks' prime lending rate, which also had not risen in four years. This benchmark borrowing rate for millions of consumer and business loans rose from 4 percent, the lowest since 1959, to 4.25 percent.'
    • 'Many economists are looking for the Fed to keep increasing the funds rate until it hits around 4 percent. At that level, analysts said, the Fed would view the rate as neither stimulating extra growth nor acting as a drag on growth.'
    • 'The nationwide average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages reached a low this year of 5.38 percent in mid-March, but was at 6.25 percent last week, according to the mortgage company Freddie Mac. Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis, said he looked for 30-year mortgages to climb to 6.5 percent to 6.75 percent by year's end and probably level off slightly above 7 percent next year. Still low by historical standards, that would compare with the four-decade low of 5.21 percent in June 2003.''
  • Budget Impasse Reflects GOP Schism: Tax Cutters in Standoff With Advocates of Fiscal Restraint
    • 'A deep rift in the Republican Party has left Congress unable to pass a budget this year, raising the probability that, for the third time in three decades, lawmakers will not agree on a detailed blueprint for government spending and tax policy.'
    • Oh these confused Republicans. The can't do financial math (big spending/deficits/military AND big tax cuts don't mix). Nor can they do social policy (libertarian freedom AND a theocracy doesn't mix).

Movies

  • IRrobotMovie.com [Release Date 2004-07-16]. Oh man! I had forgotten that the I, Robot movie is set in Chicago of the future! I see from the trailer that the Sears Tower is still up. I wonder if they'll have a Daley as the mayor?

Programming

  • Mono 1.0 Released [2004-06-30]
    • About time. Let's see what this open source version of the .NET framework can do.
    • Is it coincidence that the beta version of Visual Studio 2005 (codenamed "Whidbey") was released just yesterday? The conspiracist in me tells me that Mono is really a Microsoft trojan horse for busting up Linux and open source.
    • Related:

Science

Sex

Spider-Man

  • Spider-Man's Rogues Gallery of Villains
    • Cool!
    • 'Arguably the greatest assortment of bad-guys in comic history, and here I have an alphabetical listing of their Images with a brief description of each...For each villain, their name, alter ego, team affiliation, powers, & appearances in Spider-Man Comics are given. '
  • Some Spider-Man comic strips all twisted up [NSFW]. Funny shit!
    mangled Spider-Man strip
  • 3 Dev Adam loosely translates to "3 mighty men" or "Captain America and Santo (the Mexican wrestler) vs. Spider-Man.". This link cannot be explained --it can only be experienced.
    live action 3 Dev Adam

US

  • Supreme Court to Decide Medical Marijuana Case. All right dude!
  • Bid for information on lobbyists denied
    • 'The Bush administration is offering a novel reason for denying a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the Justice Department's database on foreign lobbyists: Copying the information would bring down the computer system.'
      • BWA-HA-HA!! This administration is such a joke! It's insulting. They come up with such crap and yet so much of it gets by. Maybe I should stop blaming the administration and start calling Americans sheep again.
    • ' "This was a new one on us. We weren't aware there were databases that could be destroyed just by copying them," Bob Williams of the Center for Public Integrity said yesterday. The watchdog group in Washington, D.C., made the request in January. He said the group expects to appeal the Justice Department's decision.'
      • BWA-HA-HA!! Stop it! My ribs are hurting.
    • ' The government said that an overhaul of the system should be finished by December and that copies should be available then. '
      • BWA-HA-HA!! Another thing that won't be ready until right after the election.
  • Interview With Jon Stewart on CNN Larry King Live [transcript]
    • Stewart on Clinton:
      • ' STEWART: I think he's an incredibly charismatic and certainly bright man. I think there's always, no matter when you listen to him you are engaged and repulsed. Engaged in that sense of you brilliant smart man who could have done so much, zip it up. ... You get angry because it's, you are so -- so needing of that inspiration and that leadership and that mind and that intelligence and so angry that it would be wasted on such a trifle thing.'
    • On entering Iraq:
      • ' STEWART: Well, I established my war cabinet, you know, years ago when we talk about this sort of thing. You know, there have been four justifications that I've heard so far for the war and you tell me if I'm wrong about this. There was the weapons of mass destruction. There was the ties to al Qaeda. There was the oppressed his own people. And there was one other in there somewhere. Weapons of mass destruction, ties to al Qaeda, possible nuclear. OK.

        KING: Support terrorism.

        STEWART: That describes like five countries. So if that is the standard that we've set to go into a war, shouldn't we also be...

        KING: North Korea.

        STEWART: Iran, Sudan, aren't they all doing the exact same thing and have maybe closer ties to al Qaeda, even?

        KING: How do you know they're not next? '

    • On Cheney cursing Senator Leahy:
      • ' STEWART: I think it's probably the nicest, perhaps conversation that a Republican and a Democrat have had in Capitol Hill for quite some time.

        KING: He told him to go blank himself.

        STEWART: Yes. KING: That's encouraging to you?

        STEWART: I think so. The encouraging thing to me is knowing the Republican platform against gay acts to tell him to go f-himself, I thought, was a real advance.

        KING: Oh, I see. It's progress. '

    • On the polarized nation:
      • ' STEWART: Right. Do both sides see it. And that's what we've done is basically -- conversation in this country, debate in this country is from the right and the left and there's ten different kinds of coke. You're telling me the only two opinions we've got is right and left? Even a graph has a Y axis. I don't understand how we ended up in this place where it's considered decent news analysis to do an event and then say from the right guy and from the left that guy. Thanks. When did the journalists become a referee? And why doesn't that person have the ability to say, stop lying about that, you know, police it. Be our -- help us!'
  • Hillary Clinton: No to Cabinet, Won't Say on VP.
  • Former head of GOP consulting group pleads guilty to jamming Democratic phone lines. Those Republicans are such patriotic, upright citizens.

WarCraft

  • I see that Battle.net reset the competition ladders. This makes a lot of sense since a ladder should be used to determine the better players for a season, instead of "all time". I also hope that they've fixed their ladder calculations because it did seem that my ladder experience points kept rising (with no end in sight) even though my win ration was less than 50%. I was at Level 16 before they reset the ladder.

World

  • 350,000 March For More Democracy In Hong Kong. 'Hundreds of thousands of people braved sweltering heat and humidity here Thursday to march through Hong Kong in an impassioned plea to China to hear their political voice, on the seventh anniversary of the former British colony's handover to Beijing.'

2004-07-06t04:03:24Z | RE: Martial Arts. Gorget. Armor.
Shopping for a Gorget

I needed to get a gorget (neck armor or guruwa in Japanese), for use in sword class. I thought I'd blog about the experience to help me track the options and to share my experience.

  • Some of the sites offer gorgets with bevors which are very nice but can't be worn with a fencing mask so I didn't include any of those. In the future I might like a bevor and sallet combo though.
  • I did not include any of the ridiculous gorgets without collars. They're not bishops collars or anything.
  • I didn't include any of the large number of ceremonial or dress collars out there.
  • Some of the models below did not provide any collar bone protection so I decided against them. However they might be useful if you already have that sort of protection. EG: Japanese gorgets (guruwa) are often just for the neck.
    Japanese guruwa
  • I've listed leather gorgets, but the only reason to get a leather gorget would be if you practiced with really flimsy swords --which I don't do-- so I decided against them.
  • I'm sure there are other sites and people who make better gorgets or custom gorgets. If you happen to be one of them, please contact me and I'll append this post with your information because this post will come up when people Google the Web for "gorget armor" or "gorget armour".

Here are the sites in the order that I stumbled upon them.

Vistar Armoury stocks 4 classic gorgets. They all come in sizes 14", 16", 18", and 20". Shipping is $15 and ship time is 2-4 weeks. http://www.vistarmoury.com/plate/index.html.

  • 'This stylish gorget is modeled after those of the 16th and 17th Century. Constructed of 18 gauge mild steel with period closures, rolled edges, recessed border, decorative brass rivets, and standard satin finish. Other finishes available. Measurements must be taken while wearing any applicable padded garments. Padding not included.' .
    Deluxe gorget by Vistar Armoury Plain ($60) or deluxe ($70).
  • ' This slim "brigandine" gorget is designed with safety and comfort in mind, providing ample coverage to the throat and collarbones while not inhibiting arm mobility. A good choice for those using two-handed weapons. Durable 6-7oz. leather is lined with contoured 16 gauge mild steel plates. A fine choice for the re-enactor wishing to portray pre-15th Century periods, this gorget is not strictly historical but rather an item that "could have been." Legal in all Kingdoms of the SCA (please check your local regulations.)' Price: $70.
  • ' This wider "brigandine" gorget is designed for the combatant who desires extra protection to the chest and collarbones. Recommended for sword and shield usage. Durable 6-7oz. leather is lined with contoured 16 gauge mild steel plates. A fine choice for the re-enactor wishing to portray pre-15th Century periods, this gorget is not strictly historical but rather an item that "could have been." Legal in all Kingdoms of the SCA (please check your local regulations.) ' Price: $75.

Albion Armorers stocks 2 gorgets (they have a bevor too).

Renstore offers several gorgets:

The Badgers Den show 3 gorgets with crappy pictures. http://www.badgersden.com/Armoury/Gorgets.htm.

  • Simple gorget by Badgers Den Standard $40. Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, and custom.
  • bibbed gorget by Badgers Den Standard Bibbed $75.
  • articlated gorget by Badgers Den Mild Steel 3-Piece Articulated Gorget $49. Available blackend too.

Arms and Armor Manufacture offers one gorget --although there were some bevors and a non-collared gorget. http://www.arms-armor.cz/index.php?catalog=true&src=products&category=PA&PHPSESSID=1e88d3be55264664406dc4e7e6402d2c.

  • large gorget by Arms and Armor Manufacture The PA004. No prices or sizes given.

MacKenzie-Smith offers several gorgets. http://www.mackenziesmith.com/Our_Products/Plate_Armor/Gorgets/gorgets.html.

  • ' Round-bib Gorget: our most popular model. Can be worn either alone or with additional armor components. Available with either a beaded or stepped outer edge. '
    round bib gorget by MacKenzie-Smith $125.00 s&h $8.95. No sizing mentioned.
  • ' Square-bib Gorget: designed specifically to the worn beneath a breastplate, yet an imposing and attractive accessory on its own. '
    square bib gorget by MacKenzie-Smith $150.00 s&h $8.95. No sizing mentioned.
  • ' Fantasy Gorget: fluted and scalloped to correspond with our Winged Helmets. A logical "next" step after the purchase of a helmet. '
    fluted gorget by MacKenzie-Smith $125.00 s&h $8.95. No sizing mentioned.

WoodenSwords.com (aka Purpleheart Armoury) offers 1 leather gorget.

  • 'I am pleased to offer this simple, inexpensive leather gorget. Available in natural brown leather this gorget offers protection during rapier swordplay to the front of the throat, larynx, and back of the neck. Its simple design allows ease of movement and comfort that other larger designs do not allow. An easily accessible buckle allows quick adjustment. Once size fits all. Typically in stock.'
    leather gorget by Wooden Swords $25.

Griffin Works offers 2 leather gorgets. 'These gorgets are made of the finest 10+ ounce vegetable tanned leather and are hand dyed and assembled with the finest of hardware. These gorgets are legal in all SCA kingdoms for fencing and heavy weapons.' http://www.griffin-works.com/view_list.php?subcat=Gorget.

  • 'Simple and effective. They are made of a front and back piece that is hinged on one side with a chicago screw, and a buckle and strap on the other. We generally stock black with silver hardware and dark brown with gold hardware.'
    leather gorget by Griffin Works $45.
  • leather gorget with trim by Griffin Works $50
  • leather gorget with studs by Griffin Works $60

Therions Arms has 4 gorgets. These guys are great! The offer the most detail about their products and the most pictures of their products from different angles. However, I did notice that these appear to be the exact same gorgets that Vistar Armory sells but at a greater price.  http://therionarms.com/reenact/armor.shtml

  • 'Leather and steel brigandine gorget. Provides throat and collarbone protection for a variety of combat activities. Armor technology has sure come a long way since the days me and my droogies used to take 70's leather "hippie hats" and convert them into gorgets. This brig gorget looks much nicer than what we wore twenty years ago. Six-ounce leather and 16 gauge steel plates (painted black to resist rust).'
    brigandine gorget by Therion Arms $120. In M 16", L 18", XL 20" neck.
  • slimmer brigandine gorget by Therion Arms $105. Sames size but slim line version.
  • 'Mid 16th to late 17th century style gorget. Rolled edges, steel rivets, articulated standing colar. Colar pin-locks in place on both sides, and the main body of the gorget hinges on one side and slots and locks on the other. 18ga steel construction. Made in the USA.'
    floating collar gorget by Therion Arms $95. In S 14", M 16", L 18", XL 20" neck.
  • 'Mid 16th to late 17th century style gorget. Rolled edges, recessed border, brass rivets, articulated standing colar. Colar pin-locks in place on both sides, and the main body of the gorget hinges on one side and slots and locks on the other. 18ga steel construction. Made in the USA.'
    riveted floating collar gorget by Therion Arms $115. Same sizes.

Ebay had several gorgets for sale but only one was notable. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3918551105&category=208&sspagename=rvi:1:1.

  • 'The metal plates are 18 ga type 304 stainless steel polished to a high shine they are held down by copper rivits. the leather is 60z black leather double chap steer hide. It is made to fit up to a 21 inch neck. The padding does not come with the gorget but I can add some foam for you to custom pad your own for only 2.00 more. ' 
    metal and leather gorget on Ebay Starting bid was $1, but the minimum reserve bid was hidden.

 

Kusari's Chainmail had 1 gorget of note.  http://artofchainmail.com/chainmailbykusari/chainmail33.html.

  • 'This stainless steel gorget (neck protection) can be worn in several different styles. Worn outside the clothing it makes for heavy-duty neck decoration. Concealed under a shirt, with just the top showing (dicky-style), it can create the illusion of wearing an entire chainmail shirt. Either way, it's guaranteed as bite proof against 98% of modern vampires. Material - 3/16" interior diameter, stainless steel, flattened and butted links.'
    chain mail gorget by Kusari's Chainmail $225.

By the Sword had 2 gorgets. http://www.by-the-sword.com/acatalog/Sports_Armour.html.

  • ' #SCA-10 Gorget (Steel) Munitions grade Armour made from 16 gauge polished steel and leather. These economically priced gorget comes in one size and fits approximately an 18-20" neck. Includes front and back steel plates that are padded with soft supple black leather on the inside. Comes with straps and buckles. '
    leather and steel gorget by By the Sword '$45.00 (Excluding: FL Sales Tax at 6%'
  • ' #SCA-11 Gorget With Chest Plates (Steel) Munitions grade Armour made from 16 gauge polished steel and leather. These economically priced gorget comes in one size and fits approximately an 18-20" neck. Includes front and back steel plates that are padded with soft supple black leather on the inside. Also includes overlapping chest plates. Comes with straps and buckles. '
    leather and steel gorget with chest plates by By the Sword 'Per Pair $51.00 (Excluding: FL Sales Tax at 6%)'

Follow Ups

2004-07-06t04:03:24Z. Just a few seconds ago I placed my order online at Vistar Armory for the 18" deluxe gorget at a cost of $70 + $15 shipping. The gorget should arrive in 2-4 weeks, i.e. July 19 or August 2. It's somewhat perplexing that after all this comparison shopping, I bought my gorget from the very first site that I came upon!

2004-07-15t16:07:41Z. My gorget arrived promptly from Vistar Armory. It's exactly as I expected it to be. I'll just sand a few spots, smooth it out with a metal polish (I'll try Brasso), and then it should be ready for use.

2004-07-15t16:09:41Z. Galls has a modern gorget that is probably meant for empty hand martial arts. This one was brought to my attention by Karen R. https://www.galls.com/style.html?style=TE262&assort=general_catalog.

  • ' TE262 Galls® Cushioned Neck Protector. 100% polyester padded dickie safeguards your neck and larynx. 8" x 1" plastic insert covers the larynx. Lined with soft terrycloth for comfort. Adjusts from the smallest neck size to a 20" neck circumference. 7"H x 12"W x 2"D. Black. Imported.'
    polyester gorget by Galls $14.99.

2004-07-14t15:39:06Z | RE: Animations/Videos. Anyone But Bush. Comic Art. Computers. Cyber Life. Family Values. Food. Faith. Fun. Games. Green. Healthcare. Housing. Images. Interesting. Iraq. Local. Martial Arts. Media. Money. Politics. Programming. Robots. Science. Sex. Show Biz. Travel. US. US Elections. World. Writing.
2004-07-14t15:39:06Z

Animations/Videos

Anyone But Bush

  • This is a joke that's passing around now:
    Dear Abby:

    I am a crack dealer in Beaumont, Texas who has recently been diagnosed as a carrier of HIV virus.

    My parents live in Fort Worth and one of my sisters, who lives in Pflugerville, is married to a transvestite. My father and mother have recently been arrested for growing and selling marijuana. They are financially dependent on my other two sisters, who are prostitutes in Dallas. I have two brothers, one is currently serving a non-parole life sentence at Huntsville for the murder of a teenage boy in 1994. My other brother is currently in jail awaiting charges of sexual misconduct with his three children.

    I have recently become engaged to marry a former prostitute who lives in Longview. She is a part time "working girl". All things considered, my problem is this. I love my fiancee and look forward to bringing her into the family. I certainly want to be totally open and honest with her.

    Should I tell her about my cousin who supports George Bush for President?

    Signed,

    Worried About My Reputation
  • DesignsOnTheWhiteHouse.com. Nice T-shirt designs and stuff.
    T-shirt: vote your hopes, not your fearsT-shirt: I was the victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy and all I got was this lousy PresidentT-shirt: Fuzzy math? 9/11 != Iraq. Dump Bush, Vote Kerry 2004T-shirt: Democracy is not a faith-based initiative
  • CafeShops.com/VPquote. Yes, they're making T-shirts and stuff based on VP Dick Cheney's recent public blurb.
    T-shirt: Go fuck yourself -Dick Cheney
  • StopBushProject.com
    • 'This site is a documentation of anti-Bush sentiment from around the world expressed through graffiti, placards, flyers and other spontaneous, 'guerilla' means.'
    • I suspect that a bunch of these are actually photo-edited images.
  • Documentary Director Morris to Make Anti-Bush Ads
    • 'Errol Morris, whose documentary "The Fog of War" earned the Oscar for 2003, has enlisted with the political action group MoveOn to create television ads aimed at ousting President Bush this fall, the group said on Friday.'
  • "The case against Bush, part 1: Closing of the presidential mind" by Franklin Foer as published in in The New Republic.
    • Lots of good stuff. I was going to quote some of it but it seemed like I was going to end up quoting the whole article.
    • 'The most common explanation for this animus is that the White House overflows with political hacks uninterested in the nitty-gritty of policy. But the administration's expert-bashing also has deep roots in ideology. Since its inception, modern American conservatism has harbored a suspicion of experts, who, through adherence to inductive reasoning and academic methodologies, claim to provide objective research and analysis. To be sure, this social-scientific approach has its limits. Conservatives have raised genuinely troubling questions about its predilection for downplaying the role of "culture" and "values" in shaping human behavior. But the Bush administration has adopted a far more extreme version of this critique: It takes the radically postmodern view that "science," "objectivity," and "truth" are guises for an ulterior, leftist agenda; that experts are so incapable of dispassionate and disinterested analysis that their work doesn't even merit a hearing. And the results have been disastrous.'
  • Role Reversal
    • ' Since 1932 Democrats have been so confident of the inherent virtue of government that they have been willing to trust any amount of power to it. The liberal agenda boiled down to the growth of government power. Republicans were the naysayers, forever quoting the Founding Fathers' warnings that government power meant liberty's demise.

      The administration of President George W. Bush has brought a reversal of these positions. Conservative Republicans argue that government can be trusted with any amount of power in the war against terrorism. Habeas corpus, the attorney-client privilege, due process -- indeed, the full range of constitutional rights -- have been set aside as obstacles to the war on terrorism. Patriotic citizens have nothing to fear, say the conservatives, as the police state methods will only be employed against terrorists.

      Such assurances have always proven false. '

    • 'Senator Robert Byrd (D-WVa), the Constitution's greatest -- and perhaps only -- defender in the US government, early warned that elements in the Bush administration were using deception to manufacture an Iraq crisis. The consequences would be dire, Byrd predicted. The US would cease to be perceived as peacemaker and be seen as warmonger. To facilitate its conduct of war, Byrd warned that the Bush administration would seek to reduce the powers of Congress and the rights of citizens.'
    • ' Are we witnessing an American version of the Reichstag fire in which dictatorial powers are created and civil rights subverted in the name of crisis? Can the Bush administration be held accountable for unprecedented lies and deceptions? Will the newly asserted powers of the executive survive Bush's administration and permanently unbalance the balance of powers?

      The stakes for liberty and political accountability have never been higher than they will be in November. '

  • Senator Edwards Speaks Out! 'There's that ole story about the lady grew up in my part of the world feedin poisoned acorns to kill the raccoons an the squirrels, next day went out an there was lots of coons an squirrels but mosly there was dead chickens! She got the wrong mix, like our president an vice president, they got the wrong mix, an we got more terrorists an the drug industry in America is gettin more medicines which we can sell only to Canadians because they get them at half price. That's the only country doesn't give us immigration problems--they can't afford to come south, they'd lose their free medicines.'
  • Pentagon Says Bush Records of Service Were Destroyed
    • Ha ha ha! How lame! LAME, LAME, LAME!
    • ' Military records that could help establish President Bush's whereabouts during his disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard more than 30 years ago have been inadvertently destroyed, according to the Pentagon. '
    • Bush must have been using the "my dog ate my homework" excuse his entire life. The thing is he has the strings to pull all this off. Variations:
      • The CIA gave me bad intelligence on WMDs in Iraq.
      • The CIA gave me bad intelligence on 9/11-to-Iraq connections.
      • The Geneva Conventions abuses went on without my knowledge.
      • I don't know who had outed CIA operatives.
      • They had nothing specific about al Queda attacking the US while I vacationed 40% of my term before 9/11.
    • BULL SHIT!
    • ' There was no mention of the loss, for example, when White House officials released hundreds of pages of the President's military records last February in an effort to stem Democratic accusations that he was "AWOL" for a time during his commitment to fly at home in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. '
  • It's time for a little bit of Cicero [The First Oration Against Catiline and Catiline Orations]:
    • ' WHEN, O Catiline Bush, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now? '
  • The kidnap videos in Iraq are suspicious. Some say they are fake. Some make their own... what do you think of this one?. He he. Now Al-Jazeera has a funny "not Bush" video.

Comic Art

  • News Skim part 1 [verbally NSFW] and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 by Jay Pinkerton. Holy crap! This is funny outrageous shit going down here! It actually looks much better than the current election. It's like Maddox but with more comic art talent.
    a few panels from the News Skim comic
  • Not Funnies
    • ' Someday the novel, too, will go into decline -- if it hasn't already -- and will become, like poetry, a genre treasured and created by just a relative few. This won't happen in our lifetime, but it's not too soon to wonder what the next new thing, the new literary form, might be. It might be comic books. Seriously. Comic books are what novels used to be -- an accessible, vernacular form with mass appeal -- and if the highbrows are right, they're a form perfectly suited to our dumbed-down culture and collective attention deficit. Comics are also enjoying a renaissance and a newfound respectability right now. In fact, the fastest-growing section of your local bookstore these days is apt to be the one devoted to comics and so-called graphic novels. '
    • The comic book format is a severely under-rated medium of vast potential. The term "graphic novel" is the next most popular name for the medium. Scott McLoud (of Understanding Comics) prefers "sequential art". I prefer "graphic book" or "comic art".
  • Superman 1 Batman 1 Amazing Fantasy 15 Spider-man X-men $1mil collection full runs of ASM X-men Hulk FF +more. The collection was going for US $199,100 when I checked.
    photo of Spider-Man #1 and X-Men #1photo of Superman #1 and Batman #1

Computers

  • Microsoft posts work-around for IE flaw. 'The flaw, in an ActiveX scripting component, gained notoriety last month when it became the mechanism used by a network of compromised Web sites to install a malicious program on victims' computers. Microsoft has decided to plug the hole by turning off the ability for the ActiveX component to write to the operating system. The software giant published the work-around on its Web site and directed customers to use its Windows update service to download the patch.'
  • Ballmer: Microsoft needs better sales pitch
    • ' "We must also work to change a number of customer perceptions, including the views that older versions of Office and Windows are good enough, and that Microsoft is not sufficiently focused on security," Ballmer wrote in a wide-ranging memo to employees, a missive that has become something of an annual tradition as Microsoft starts its new fiscal year. '
      • Well they are good enough. Just like the English alphabet is good enough. It's not so much your tools, but what you do with your tools.
      • Obviously MS isn't solving our problems anymore: they are only serving their problems (which is to trick us into buying more stuff).
  • FreedomScientific.com. This site sells computer accessibility products. I assume that there are other sites that sell similar stuff but this is the first time that I've seen a computer with a Braille display. I wonder if the Braille displays are as easy to read as Braille books.
    PACMate QX Braille computers
  • BrailleNote PK. By coincidence I also ran across this Braille PDA.

Cyber Life

  • I used to have McAfee anti-virus software on my home desktop computer and I had a lot of pop up ads. Admittedly, my version of McAfee software was probably from pre-adware days. Wednesday I finally received my CD of the Symantec's Norton Internet Security suite (Symantec.com) . It turns out I had 1 virus, a few spyware files, and tons of adware! 5 printed pages worth! I look forward to having all that crap wiped out from my computer.
  • Pencil necked chic: Being a geek is cool, possibly sexy. Films, fashions and even a nerdy action figure send a new message: Dweebie is dreamy. Hey, but I already knew I was cool.
  • GeekCode.com. This site, on the other hand, is a demonstration of a geek with too much time on his hands.
  • GoogleGuide.com/advanced_operators.html. Some fancy Google search operators that Google doesn't document. But on the other hand, I usually find what I want with regular searches.
  • Godwin's Law: Not Meant To Be Invoked.
    • ' The Law is actually stated thusly: As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. Unfortunately, a lot of people on the 'net try to invoke Godwin's Law in order to, by default, win an argument. This isn't what Godwin's Law is about. '
    • ' Godwin's Law isn't about "winning" or "losing" a debate. It's about promoting critical thinking and proving your point. Comparing one's opponent to Hitler/Pinochet/Pol Pot/Stalin does nothing for the argument, but rather admits that you don't have anything more to say. However, it isn't gracious to rub this in someone's face, which is, really, what's occurring when someone invokes Godwin's Law. Not only is it ungracious, but it, too, demonstrates that you've also run out of things to say. Thus, I submit my Corollary: Following a demonstration of Godwin's Law in action, the first person to refer to Godwin's Law also loses. This doesn't mean the other person wins. It means you both lose. Neither of you is, any longer, participating in a useful debate (there's another corollary along the same lines) and you should both back off and give up before you succeed in making yourselves look like bigger asses. '
    • Well, duh! All this is pretty obvious to me but on the other hand there are a lot of boneheads out there who like to argue badly.
  • Skype.com.
    • ' Skype is free and simple software that will enable you to make free calls anywhere in the world in minutes. Skype, created by the people who brought you KaZaA, uses innovative P2P (peer-to-peer) technology to connect you with other Skype users. If you are tired of paying outrageous fees for telephony, Skype is for you!

      Skype is quick and easy to install. Just download it, register, and within minutes you can plug in your PC headset and call your friends on Skype. Skype calls have excellent sound quality and are highly secure with end-to-end encryption. Best of all, Skype does not require you to reconfigure your firewall or router--it just works!'

  • BYOPVR.com.
    • ' Welcome to Build Your Own PVR! This is a community driven discussion for building your own PVR / HTPC (think Tivo without a recurring $ub$cription). Anything from mini-itx, case modding, which video card, to which software package is most advanced is fair game. '
    • Might as well --the DVD player's we've had have been all been lousy.
  • Chatango.com.
    • ' It's the first tool for real-time, private, disposable, one-to-one communication. It works just like one of those IM [Instant Messenging] products, but doesn't require a download, and is accessible from any computer! '
    • Wow! This can have a lot of uses. The usage that comes to my mind is the ability to IM from someone else's machine. And you'd be able to IM with people regardless of what IM the people you're chatting with usually use.
      Chatango logo

Family Values

  • Put Up the Hoop Sooner 10 lessons of parenting from one wise guy who's done doing the dad thing
    • Essential reading for dads from a dad who finally got his kids off to college.
    • His list:
      1. I Would Have Packed the Car More Often
      2. I Would Have Tried To Spin Things Less
      3. I Would Have Raised My Voice Less
      4. I Would Have Put Up the Hoop Sooner
      5. I Would Have Hung Around More at Bedtime
      6. I Would Have Bought More Hamsters
      7. I Would Have Invested The First Five Minutes More
      8. I Would Have Been More Patient With Fantasy
      9. I Would Have Touched Them More
      10. I Would Have Been Alone With Each of My Kids More Often
      11. I Would Have Had More Kids

Food

Faith

  • 'Bad' Catholics. Ha ha! The Right trying to use the Catholic church as a political tool.

Fun

  • LowBrow.com
    • 'Lowbrow.com is dedicated to bringing you the best user submitted content about scraping the bottom and being a general piece of shit. It is about moments where you said something completely inappropriate, where you stuck your foot in your mouth, or stamped the air out of some poor fuck's lungs.'
    • A lot of it is lame but it has gems like the following:
      • ' My dad and I are in a convenience store buying some beer or gas or something. Up at the counter is a lady furiously scratching scratch ticket after scratch ticket while her muddy-mouthed kid begs her teary-eyed for a thing of milk. '
      • ' One time I was waiting for a bus, and this older women with a load of shopping walked right in front of me, it was winter and she slipped on some ice I guess. I didn't help, I just stood and watched whilst she picked herself up and carried on her way. I thought it was my good deed of the year... I mean I didn't laugh in her face. '
      • ' Once dated a guy because I thought he had a cool name. Ended up his mother got it from Gunsmoke. Oh the white trash shame of it all. '
      • ' While working as a medic in an army clinic in Japan, I had to take a rather large-breasted woman for a mammogram at a local university hospital off-base. The Japanese X-ray tech is very nervous, especially after Ms. Double-D strips to the waist. He gets her all set up and then goes behind the shield to the controls. He calls out to her to hold her breath, but because of his accent, it comes out, "Please hold your breasts." She looks momentarily perplexed, then sort of shrugs, cups her boobs in her hands, and lifts them up. The poor X-ray tech nearly passed-out. '
  • PenTrix.com. Heaven forbid that I ever get so bored that I want to do tricks with a pen.
  • The perfect angle to staple paper. Let the arguments begin! Degrees shown: 0, 22.5, 45, 67.5, and 90. One visitor did have a nice point that the 0 degree angle is good for documents that are put into 3 ring binders.
  • I can't believe that I saw the US Secretary of State doing a YMCA skit on TV with my own eyes! I almost felt an urge to gouge my own eyes out. It was almost as bizarre as Ashcroft singing that song in Fahrenheit 9/11. At least he memorized all his words and moves.
    Colin Powell as the YMCA Construction Worker
  • AllAboutFrogs.org.
  • ZapatoPI.net.
    • 'Zapato Productions Intradimensional. Your Source For Conspiracies & Other Diversions'
    • The nifty MindGuard software is a relative of the mind-reading blocking tin foil hats.
  • WackyPackages.com. The original Wacky Package stickers (see them at WackyPackages.org) have been reborn. I remember them from when I was a kid: sort of like mini Mad magazines.
  • I Gave My Cat an Enema. He medically had to do it but the funny thing about the page are the crayon drawings. I've assisted my mom, who's a veterinarian, in many procedures including enemas so I empathize with him.
  • The Basic Laws Of Human Stupidity. The laws:
    1. Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
    2. The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
    3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
    4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
    5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person. A stupid person is more dangerous than a bandit.
  • The Lighter Side of Trach Life [with background music]. I'm enlightened that this guy has fun with his trach. I'm sure that my wife, who's a Respiratory Therapist and has dealt with 100s of trachs, will love this one.
  • BushSpeech.org [Interactive Flash]. This one can be fun. String together video bites of Bush speaking to make him say whatever they have available.

Games

Green

Healthcare

  • The Masai Anti-Cellulite Plan. So they have these funky shoes that forces you to have good posture and to have a gait similar to the Masai of Africa who walk their herds for great distances and they are all very slim.
  • Health-care costs shoot up, millions in U.S. left gasping.
    • Umm, have healthcare costs ever stopped shooting up?
    • 'In 1997, the United States spent $1.1 trillion on health care, or about 13.5 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. Last year, it spent $1.5 trillion, or 14.9 percent of the country's GDP. Government actuaries predict that by 2013, the nation will spend $3.36 trillion on health care, or 18.4 percent of its GDP.'
    • 'For the average American family with the median household income of $42,409, the increases have meant steep increases in what they and their employers have paid for health insurance. Last year, the average premium for a family of four was $9,086, up from $6,348 in 2000.'
    • 'Mr. Brass says the rising number of uninsured, and underinsured, in America is "becoming a critical problem." He says some estimates predict in two years the number of uninsured could climb to 51 million. That is more than the combined population of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Iowa. Hospitals, including his, are struggling to absorb those unpaid costs and that trend cannot continue unabated, he says.'
    • ' 80 percent of those without insurance have jobs. But most of those jobs either do not offer coverage or offer it at a price they can't afford.'
    • ' For those at the federal poverty level - which this year the federal government defines as $18,850 for a family of four - it would take 40 percent or more of their income to buy a basic health insurance policy. '
    • ' An estimated 18,000 people die annually because they lack health insurance and cannot get, or avoid the cost of, necessary medical treatment. '
    • ' The United States is the only industrialized country to rely on the private sector to provide most of the health coverage for its citizens. Good or bad, one result has been the United States spends the most of any country on health care, both nationwide and per person. America spends about $5,000 a person on health care, compared to $3,300 for the next closest country, Switzerland, which has government-run health care.

      The results of these differences are mixed. One simple measure is to compare average life expectancy. Last year, the average life expectancy in this country was just over 77 years. In Canada, which spends about $2,800 per person on health care - or about 60 percent of what the United States spends - average life expectancy is 80. '

      • Because we pay more doesn't mean we get better care -- it means we're paying more than we ought to.
  • As far as I'm concerned, the healthcare industry in the US is broken politically and financially. It's not a free market, it's a false market that barely works. The prescription drug companies and insurance companies are too involved. The way things stand private healthcare is run less efficiently than public run healthcare. Public money should pay for healthcare and healthcare research. There should be universal healthcare, socialized medicine, or whatever you want to call it.

    Make no mistake: The US has a lot of good medical science but our implementation of it sucks. There is good healthcare for the wealthy in the US but healthcare should not be such a huge financial burden on ordinary folk. The huge financial burden of healthcare is one of the factors that allows the vicious cycle of poverty to continue. A high civilization should care for its old and sick.
  • The Truth About the Drug Companies
  • COD = Cash-Only Doctors
    • ' When O'Brien leaves the exam room, he writes a check for $50 and he's done -- no forms, no ID numbers, no copayments. "This is traditional medicine. This is what America was like 30 years ago," said O'Brien, 55 and self-employed, who believes he has saved thousands of dollars by dropping his expensive insurance policy and paying cash. "It's a whole world of difference." '
    • ' An obstetrician-gynecologist in Salt Lake City, Nelson easily recalled times when he believed managed care rules prevented his patients from getting the best treatment. He said cash-only doctors are driven by the desire to practice medicine without interference. "There is a great intrusion by third parties into the patient-physician relationship," Nelson said. "We can understand their frustration." '
  • Disease Cards [PDF]. These are cards for kids that give info about various diseases.
  • AIDs is now at the worst that it's ever been

Housing

  • Abito.co.uk. Gee, they're marketing 347 square foot apartments.

Images

Interesting

Iraq

Local

  • Ikea picks 2nd suburban site
    • ' Home-furnishings retailer Ikea has picked a 21-acre location in southwest suburban Bolingbrook for its second Chicago-area store. '
    • ' The store would be smaller than the chain's 465,000-square-foot Midwest anchor near Woodfield mall in Schaumburg. That store opened in 1998 and has annual sales of more than $140 million. '
    • ' Construction could start in the fall for an opening one year later [2005-10]. The store will employ 300 people. '
    • Aw, come on! Bolingbrook is just as far away as Schaumburg and the new store will be smaller too. They should've built it in Chicago proper as they had originally planned. If you look at a map, then clearly Chicagoland would be covered nicely by a triangle where the third store is in Chicago.
  • DraftDitka.com. The Republicans in Illinois lost their Senate candidate Jack Ryan and they're so desperate they're fantasizing about having Mike Ditka run? It aint gonna happen --his wife would kill him. Plus as much as we lived him when the Bears were in their prime, I personally have never forgiven him for leaving. Also it wouldn't matter because Barack Obama (D, ObamaForIllinois.com) would still kick his ass!
  • World's longest hot dog at Taste of Chicago. Whoo hoo! An 11.6 m (58 foot) hot dog by Vienna. Related: Big Dog.

Martial Arts

Media

  • OutFoxed.org. A documentary looking into Fox News, their methods, and the memos. Several clips and previews on the site. The thing is everybody in the know knows that Fox News is Right biased but there are so many who don't know this or don't care. All they care is that Fox News say more of what they want to hear.

Money

  • DropDownInvoice.xls. I had someone ask me if I could make a quick and dirty invoice where each line has a drop down list of item names which then fills out the item # and item price. The person thought a database would be needed but I came up with a simple solution using entirely Microsoft Excel. I'm sure others have done similar things before.
  • Lay Surrenders, Faces 11 Enron Counts. Whoo hoo! Ken Lay in cuffs! Let's see how Dick Cheney's buddy slips out of these. His defense of "I didn't know, I was tricked" is just as absurd as Bush's story.
  • Ass-vertise.com. Simple silly concept: place advertising on bikini bottoms.

Politics

  • Centralist Conservatism and Command Morality
    • Wow. Excellent article. The concept of Libertarian Conservative (Athens) v Centralist Conservative (Sparta) is enlightening. The paradigm of the 2 evils of command economy (communism) and command morality (theocracy) is fascinating.
    • ' Conservatism, as I understand it, has always had as its end the cultivation of virtue in the individual and the community. Of course, the means towards this end have been heavily debated within the conservative movement. (An excellent anthology on these matters is Freedom and Virtue: The Conservative Libertarian Debate by George W. Carey. Murray Rothbard contributed an article to this collection.). I believe that these conceptions of virtue that exist within the conservative movement can be divided into two: The libertarian conservative and the centralist conservative.

      The libertarian conservative understanding of virtue begins with its source -- the individual and the voluntary community into which he is embedded. It emphasizes that virtue comes from the free growth of organic cultural institutions, freedom, authority structures outside of the State, such as the Church and the Family, and from the decentralization of power into distinct units who are able to maintain separate ways of life.

      The centralist conservative understanding of virtue stands in stark opposition to the libertarian understanding. This conception holds that a virtuous leader, especially a State leader, is required to impel his subjects to virtue -- that virtue comes from the top-down, from control, authority within the central State. For the centralist conservative it is the leader of the community, nation, etc. who alone knows the truths of the world and has to keep the people on the steady path to keep them from outside dangers. The leader sends goodness, security, and righteousness down from above. Starting to sound familiar? '

    • ' So, let me then pose a question to all of you: Is it an indicator of growth in the people or an indicator of corruption that parents see the military state as a way to cultivate virtue in the community through the regimentation and training of some of its members?

      The answer seems clear to me: this is one of the central causes of the decline of great civilizations. For we have already lost the battle for our culture and traditions when we send our young men and women away from our community to find out how to live. The battle for genuine authority is given to the enemy when we look at the world, see a lack of civil authority, and look to the military as a replacement.

      When the people believe that the State is not only the source of economic growth, security, and law, but virtue itself, we know that we are living in an age of decline. '

    • ' Libertarians helped to win the battle against the command economy, which is nearly universally recognized as a failure. What the conservative movement must learn is that command morality is just as destructive of the free and virtuous society they support. '

Programming

Robots

Science

Sex [Assume NSFW]

  • Introducing Nerve's First Amateur Video Contest: The John Ashcroft Video Project. I love it!
    The John Ashcroft Video Project at Nerve
  • Advanced-Art.com. Dr. Tom DeWire is a cosmetic plastic surgeon. I'm sure there are other sites on this topic but I stumbled upon this one while surfing. This guy sure knows his breasts.
  • AllNudes.blogspot.com. Lots of tasteful nude photography.
  • WarOnPornography.com. Bah. Related:
  • Sex and Lies: Sex Abuse in Amish Country
    • ' Ruth says she was six -- maybe younger -- when her older brothers, Johnny E. Byler, twenty-six, and Eli E. Byler, twenty-three, first sexually assaulted her. Over the next decade, they raped Ruth more than 200 times in the washrooms, barns and bedrooms of the farmhouses in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania where they lived. At least once, her stepfather, seventy-seven-year-old William Kempf, attacked her as well, knocking her unconscious during an argument. If the abuse was a secret in the family, it wasn't particularly well kept. Some of the Bylers' Wisconsin neighbors blame Ruth's mother, forty-nine-year-old Sally Kempf, for allowing the attacks. According to the La Cross Tribune, Sally once told her daughter, "You don't fight hard enough, and you don't pray hard enough." '
    • Related: AmishAbuse.com
  • Wave of outings hits: Congress Angry activists target closeted members, staffers with anti-gay records
    • ' "If you're gay and you support making sexual orientation a political weapon, then your sexual orientation is fair game, and you will be outed to the rafters," Aravosis said. '
    • ' "I asked them how their congressman could justify supporting the FMA knowing that his long-term aide was gay," said Rogers, a former staff member of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. "Those in public positions who support homophobia or work for someone who supports homophobia can no longer secretly enjoy the protections the gay community has afforded them." '
  • The whole sex issue is fucked up in the US. The only places the government should be butting in is where there is potential for harm to themselves or others. Legislation should serve and protect, not make worse or infringe. In that light then:
    • Child abuse: Not OK, they are not of consenting age.
    • Gay marriage: OK.
    • Polygamy: OK, but regulated for safety.
    • Pornography: OK, but regulated for safety (usu. of the actors).
    • Prostitution: OK, but safety laws should be in place.
    • Public Sex: Not OK, there may be kids about.
    • Rape: Not OK, no consent is given.
    • Sex with Animals: Not OK, no consent is given.
  • CostOfSex.com. A lame and pessimistic calculator by the lame and pessimistic NoMarriage.com people.
  • Penis explodes during sex. Geez, that had to hurt.
  • Couple won't pay fine for sex on stage
    • 'The environmental activists who claim they had sex on stage at a live music festival in Norway this week to help protect the world's rain forests say they won't pay fines doled out by police. That means the case will likely head for court.'
    • Very public sex for a good cause. Although possibly half their cause may be to have very public sex. Extremists make me feel so moderate. The couple runs FuckForForest.com
    • Extreme environmental activists have sex on stage at a concert
  • A tribute to a lost friend [Flash]. This is funny but some people will definitely find it offensive. Just having a link that plays "The Sound of Silence" is good enough for me.
  • Escortland.blogspot.com. Cool! A blog on escorts is very timely since I've been blogging about escorts lately. It is interesting that Googling for "prostitution" yields links for info about prostitution but Googling for "escorts" yields links for escort services.
  • Selfellatio.com. I didn't need to see pictures of guys who can blow themselves.
  • Showing Barbie Doll's Head on Sex Web Site May Be Fair Use

Show Biz

  • Farenheit 9/11
    • I saw this movie on 2004-07-03 Sat. It was the patriotic thing to do on the 4th of July weekend. The movie had been out for a week already but there was still a long line to see the movie and the movie house was full. People say the movie will have no impact but if people watch it, regardless of their political opinions, no one can deny the emotional truth of the movie. Funny is funny, sad is sad, mad is mad. Hopefully the movie will be released on DVD a few weeks before the November election for maximum effect.
    • Related:
  • Marlon Brando dies at 80 [2004-07-02]. Stella!!!!!! Sweet dreams Godfather.
    RIP. Marlon Brando as the Godfather
  • Xaphoon.com
    • 'Introducing the Maui Xaphoon (pronounced "za foon"), a "Bamboo Sax" for everyone who appreciates awesome sound but doesn't want to schlep around a bulky instrument. The Xaphoon's sound falls somewhere between a saxophone and a clarinet -- a much richer sound than its size would suggest -- and was born to be played wherever and whenever the mood strikes. The experienced player will find the Xaphoon capable of all the subtle shadings and vibrant power of a saxophone. The beginner will find it fun and easy, and good practice for other reed instruments.'
    • I've never heard of a xaphoon, but sound sample they provide sounds pretty nice.
      The xaphoon, a bamboo sax

Travel

  • HillmanWonders.com. 100 wonders of the world. I've only been to a few. Why isn't Krispy Kremes on the list?

US

  • Bill Cosby Gets a Little More Off His Chest
    • Cosby telling it to us straight!
    • ' "Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it's cursing and calling each other [racial epithets] as they're walking up and down the street," Cosby said during an appearance at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund's annual conference. "They think they're hip," the entertainer said. "They can't read; they can't write. They're laughing and giggling, and they're going nowhere." '
    • ' Cosby appeared with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the education fund, who defended the entertainer's statements. "Bill is saying let's fight the right fight, let's level the playing field," Jackson said. "Drunk people can't do that. Illiterate people can't do that." '
    • ' Cosby also said many young people are failing to honor the sacrifices made by those who struggled and died during the civil rights movement. "Dogs, water hoses that tear the bark off trees, Emmett Till," he said, naming the black youth who was tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955, for allegedly whistling at a white woman. "And you're going to tell me you're going to drop out of school? You're going to tell me you're going to steal from a store?" '
  • Lines in the Sand: Supreme Court rulings on enemy combatants, a breakdown [2004-06-29]
    • Related:
      • A blow for freedom [2004-07-06]
        • 'The US supreme court's two rulings that terrorist suspects held at Guantánamo Bay and in America must have access to the US courts are among the most remarkable in the long history of that famous institution. The positive implications for the hundreds of internees held by the US across the world have yet to be clarified but will be immense.'
        • 'In the Hamdi ruling, decided at the same time as the Guantánamo case, the majority of judges saw off the administration's claim to be able to hold "enemy combatant" US citizens indefinitely and without any due process. This time the majority was eight to one'
        • 'Only a patent political lackey on the bench could go as far as the executive demanded, and it is part of the wider ineptitude of the Bush presidency that it forced its friends into such a corner. When only the George Bush Sr-appointee Clarence Thomas is on your side you know you are in deep trouble.'
        • ' The last word deserves to be left with the US supreme court from its judgment on Hamdi delivered by one its most conservative members, Sandra Day O'Connor: "It is during our most challenging and uncertain moments that our nation's commitment to due process is most severely tested; and it is in those times that we must preserve our commitment at home to the principles for which we fight abroad." '
  • July Surprise?
    • ' This public pressure would be appropriate, even laudable, had it not been accompanied by an unseemly private insistence that the Pakistanis deliver these high-value targets (HVTs) before Americans go to the polls in November. The Bush administration denies it has geared the war on terrorism to the electoral calendar. "Our attitude and actions have been the same since September 11 in terms of getting high-value targets off the street, and that doesn't change because of an election," says National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack. But The New Republic has learned that Pakistani security officials have been told they must produce HVTs [High by the election. According to one source in Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), "The Pakistani government is really desperate and wants to flush out bin Laden and his associates after the latest pressures from the U.S. administration to deliver before the [upcoming] U.S. elections." Introducing target dates for Al Qaeda captures is a new twist in U.S.-Pakistani counterterrorism relations--according to a recently departed intelligence official, "no timetable[s]" were discussed in 2002 or 2003--but the November election is apparently bringing a new deadline pressure to the hunt. Another official, this one from the Pakistani Interior Ministry, which is responsible for internal security, explains, "The Musharraf government has a history of rescuing the Bush administration. They now want Musharraf to bail them out when they are facing hard times in the coming elections." (These sources insisted on remaining anonymous. Under Pakistan's Official Secrets Act, an official leaking information to the press can be imprisoned for up to ten years.) '
      • Fuck this! We should have had bin Laden by now but Bush is a freak!
    • ' A third source, an official who works under ISI's director, Lieutenant General Ehsan ul-Haq, informed tnr that the Pakistanis "have been told at every level that apprehension or killing of HVTs before [the] election is [an] absolute must." What's more, this source claims that Bush administration officials have told their Pakistani counterparts they have a date in mind for announcing this achievement: "The last ten days of July deadline has been given repeatedly by visitors to Islamabad and during [ul-Haq's] meetings in Washington." Says McCormack: "I'm aware of no such comment." But according to this ISI official, a White House aide told ul-Haq last spring that "it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July"--the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston. '
  • John Titor's US Civil War. The way this administration is going, the upcoming US Civil War, mentioned by supposed time traveler John Titor, is starting to sound plausible.
    • ' There is a civil war in the United States that starts in 2005. That conflict flares up and down for 10 years. In 2015, Russia launches a nuclear strike against the major cities in the United States (which is the "other side" of the civil war from my perspective), China and Europe. The United States counter attacks. The US cities are destroyed along with the AFE (American Federal Empire)...thus we (in the country) won. The European Union and China were also destroyed. Russia is now our largest trading partner and the Capitol of the US was moved to Omaha Nebraska.

      One of the biggest reasons why food production is localized is because the environment is affected with disease and radiation. We are making huge strides in getting it cleaned up. Water is produced on a community level and we do eat meat that we raise ourselves. '

  • Transcript: Ridge on Summer Threat

US Elections

  • Kerry Announces Edwards As Running Mate [2004-07-06 Mon]. Good choice because without Edwards the Self-Made, Bush the Cowboy is currently more marketable than Kerry the Dry. Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton would have been too inflammatory. McCain would have been an excellent choice too but I respect McCain's loyalty.
  • Kerry Faces the World: What would a John Kerry foreign policy look like? In some ways a lot like one the current President's father could endorse
  • Bush Regime working out Procedures for postponing November Election
    • UN-FUCKING BELIEVABLE. The audacity of this President Bush --he means to steal the Presidential election a second time by any means possible.
    • ' The Bush regime is now working out procedures for postponing the coming November general election. This is totally unprecedented -- even in 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, the Lincoln vs. McClellan presidential contest took place according to the schedule established by the Constitution and relevant statutes. This represents further planning for a cold coup designed to perpetuate the power of the current gaggle of discredited neocon ideologues and their Wall Street backers.'
    • Related:
      • Officials discuss how to delay Election Day
      • Postponing the Election?
        • 'First, some of the news stories I've seen have suggested that a terrorist attack a few days before an election is a sufficient reason to postpone an election. The claim is that the terror attacks in Madrid "influenced" the parliamentary elections in Spain, and we should not allow the same thing to happen here. I think this logic is faulty: What influenced the election was not simply the terror attacks but the government's manner of handling them; at first government officials tried to suggest that Basque separatists and not Islamic terrorists were responsible. This angered many voters, who then sought to teach the government a lesson.'
        • 'Second, it is very important to understand Congress's role in any decision to allow elections to be postponed. There are strong constitutional reasons, whether or not judicially enforceable, for Congress not to allow elections to be postponed or canceled lightly, and certainly not because of a fear that the population will be unduly influenced. We have had regular elections during wartime before, and we have even had regular elections during a Civil War.'
        • 'Third, and finally, there are important structural reasons why the decision to postpone an election should rest in Congress, and should not be delegated to the Executive, as the Office of Homeland Security has recently suggested. The reason is that the Executive focuses decisionmaking in one person who is a member of one political party, while Congress consists of members of both parties representing all different parts of the country.'
  • Dems ask that U.N. monitor election
    • ' "Generally, the United Nations does not intervene in electoral affairs unless the request comes from a national government or an electoral authority -- not the legislative branch," said U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe. '
    • ' Besides [Eddie] Johnson [of Texas], Democratic members of Congress signing the letter to Annan were Julia Carson of Indiana; Jerrold Nadler, Edolphus Towns, Joseph Crowley and Carolyn B. Maloney, all of New York; Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Corrine Brown of Florida, Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, Danny K. Davis of Illinois and Michael M. Honda of California.'
    • ' The Democrats said they feared a repeat of the 2000 election, which was won by George Bush, a Republican, through the Electoral College count even though he lost the popular vote.'
    • ' Only $650 million of $3 billion Congress authorized for election reform since 2000 has reached states. On Friday, The Miami Herald reported that more than 2,100 eligible voters still appear on the state's list of purged felons. Many are black Democrats. '
  • DrudgeReport.com/kerryk.htm
    • Ha ha! Some homophobic Conservatives are trying to project their hidden homophobic tendencies on to Kerry and Edwards.
    • Related:
  • This Land [Flash animation]. Hilarious and it makes fun of everybody. One of the most uniting pieces I've seen in a while.

World

Writing

  • A Guide to Alternative Handwriting and Shorthand Systems. What I need is better handwriting period.
  • ForbiddenLibrary.com. ' The books listed on my site were all challenged on some grounds by groups who wished to impose restrictions on them. Some were removed from reading lists, some were removed from school or public libraries, some were burned in bonfires. I do not claim that all of the books in my list are for the same age group, nor do I believe they are all equally suitable for academic reading lists. I merely report documented challenges to books, and in some cases poke fun at the rationale used by those who object to the works mentioned. '

2004-07-20t15:33:27Z | RE: Anyone But Bush. Comic Art. Computers. Cyber Life. Design. Faith. Family Values. Fun. Games. Green. Healthcare. Images. Interesting. Iran. Iraq. Local. Martial Arts. Media. Money. Programming. Science. Sex. Showbiz. US. US Elections. Web. World. Writing.
2004-07-20t15:33:27Z

Anyone But Bush

  • PantsOnFire.net. A site on Bush lies. It just happens that I have in-laws that do stuff for this site.
  • Negative Capability.
    • 'I'm not very analytical.'
    • A little collection of Bush phrases that come in the form of "I'm not...".

Comic Art

  • IncredibleHulk.blogspot.com
    • LOL! What it would be like if The Incredible Hulk did a blog.
    • ' HULK GOT EMAIL FROM BUG MAN!

      Hulk,
      This is Spiderman... I want my deepfryer back. If you could please mail it to a little old woman in manhattan named May Parker who has nothing at all to do with me it would be nice. Don't forget the Labour Day party at Iron Fist's place. See you there.

      Your pal,
      Spidey


      Hulk take exception to this for two reasons! BUG-MAN GAVE HULK DEEP FRYER AS PRESENT. Other Bug-Man, ANT-MAN, was there and saw it and he knows the truth and HULK WILL HAVE HIM EMAIL stupid Bug-Spider-Man to tell him WHO IS RIGHT.

      SECOND: HULK IS NOT YOUR PAL, BUG-SPIDER-MAN.

      ONTO OTHER MATTERS (Hulk learned this phrase from Tony Stark during long boring talky meetings at Avengers Mansion): HULK DID NOT WRITE THIS AND MAY GO TO ONION OFFICES TO SMASH. '

Computers

  • 'Important' Windows flaw could turn critical. Poor Microsoft: they have to announce vulnerabilities they find but then hackers reverse-engineer the vulnerabilities in order to exploit them.
  • Microsoft Patents Grouped Taskbar Buttons. And lucky for them everybody uses them these days.
  • Linux kernel: Moving closer to Windows?
    • 'Security and the way windowing is handled remain two of the diminishing differences between Linux and Windows, according to one of the main speakers at Microsoft's developer conference'
    • 'The talk, given by Mark Russinovich, chief software architect for Winternals Software and co-author of Inside Windows 2000, 3rd edition (published by Microsoft press), was clearly delivered to a home crowd, and its message was clear: Linux is paying catch-up with Windows and the gap is narrowing.'
    • 'It all means, said Russinovich, that the kernel is becoming less relevant. Both kernels are monolithic, he noted, meaning that all core operating system services run in a shared address space in kernel mode. And, he asserted, both have a common heritage.'
  • Quantum crypto network debuts
    • 'The quantum cryptography network works with Internet protocols including the secure Internet Protocol (IPsec) and creates a type of virtual private network, which provides secure communications over unsecured networks like the Internet at large. The idea is that even if an eavesdropper is able to listen in on a line, he would be unable to learn much about the communications traversing it.'
    • Holy crap! Apparently they've been running this in Cambridge since 2002! The technology is not a fantasy but is ready to be used today.
  • China's New Generation Of IPv9 Network Technology Ready
    • Holy crap! They skipped right over IPv6! And the US is still on IPv4!
    • 'So far, China is the only country in the world that has consolidated domain names, IP addresses and MAC addresses into ten-digit text files. China and the United States are currently the only two countries that possess root domain name analysis servers, IP address servers, independent domain names, IP addresses and MAC address sources. Shanghai Jiuyao Digital Network Co., Ltd has been established to popularize the IPv9 technology. The company will work with telecom operators such as China Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile and China Netcom to better publicize the IPv9 technology.'
  • Evolution could speed net downloads. 'Pablo Funes of US company Icosystem and Jürgen Branke and Frederik Theil of the University of Karlsruhe in Germany used "genetic algorithms", which mimic Darwinian evolution, to develop strategies for internet servers to use when caching data. Using a simulation they were able to improve download speeds over existing caching schemes.'
  • Virtual project may one day let your work jump from computer to computer without interruption. 'By taking advantage of the Internet, distributed file systems and a concept called virtual machines, Internet Suspend/Resume allows a user to stop, or suspend, work on one computer and then move to another computer, perhaps at home, or even across the country, and instantly resume that work. The computer desktop at the second machine would appear identical to what appeared on the first machine's monitor when work was suspended ---- the same programs and files open, even the cursor at the same spot.'

Cyber Life

  • Time for a Redesign: Dr. Jakob Nielsen
    • An interview with the "King of Usability".
    • Quick tips given:
      • Searches are still awful.
      • Content is poorly structured with headings and such.
      • Information architecture. Sites are often structured by company departments instead of how a user would need things.
      • Clarity and explicitness of content.
      • Pages need to be liquid, i.e. windows and fonts can be resized.
      • Links should have sensible colors for visited, unvisited, etc.
      • Graphics should provide real content instead of being merely decorative.
      • Every page should have a link to the home page.
      • Pop up ads suck.
      • PDFs suck.
      • If your site is keyboard-centric or mouse-centric, then keep it that way, don't make the user switch from on to the other too often.
  • Wikipedia.org hit the 300,000 article mark
    • Wikipedia along with Google is one of the best sites on the whole WWW.
    • 'On the 7th July 2004, the English language Wikipedia had 300,000 articles, 90.1 million words, giving a mean article length of 301 words. It also had 72,000 photographs and illustrations, 179,000 redirect pages (think of them as additional index entries in the form for BBC see British Broadcasting Corporation), 203,000 links to other websites and a staggering 5.0 million cross reference links between articles.'
    • 'The advertisements for Encyclopædia Britannica's 2002 edition proudly proclaim they have over 85,000 articles. A claimed word count of 55 million words gives an estimated 330 million characters, and a mean article length of 647 words. '
    • Related:
  • Groups-beta.Google.com. Google is trying out an improved version of Groups.Google.com.
  • IE usage drop--slip or blip?. The 1% drop in MS Internet Explorer usage is not surprising. I myself have switched to using predominantly Mozilla.org since the recent government warning. The only sites that give me problems so far are Microsoft's.
  • Searching for The New York Times.
    • ' How can the mighty New York Times, which considers itself America's paper of record, be the paper of record in cyberspace when its articles barely show up on Google? ... when I googled the terms "Iraq torture prison Abu Ghraib" -- certainly one of the most intensively covered news stories of the year -- the first New York Times article was the 295th search result, trailing the New Yorker, Guardian, ABC and CBS News, New York Post, MSNBC, Slate, CNN, Sydney Morning Herald, Denver Post, USA Today, Bill O'Reilly on FoxNews and a host of others news sites. '
      • Yep, yep. As much as I like the articles in the NYT, I hate linking to them. The NYT requires registration and archived links aren't free.
    • ' The economics of digital media are certainly working against it -- even though Nielsen ranks The New York Times on the Web as the No. 1 newspaper site on the Internet. (And contrast the Times with the Tribune, which spent $600 million to develop an online presence, without much to show for it.) The Times attracts 9 million unique visitors a month, while only about 1 million read the daily paper. But the dot-com makes a scant $11 per user, while the printed paper earns the Times a whopping $900 per reader (in subscription fees and advertising). As Crosbie said, "as fewer and fewer people read print publications and (more) make the switch to online, the Times" -- and its competitors -- are "going to have to figure out a way to make more money on the Web." '
      • Yep, it's a tough call. But it seems that they could make more money from advertising on free archives than they currently make from the archives.
  • Polite computers win users' hearts and minds
    • 'Computer glitches would be a lot less annoying if the machines were programmed to acknowledge errors gracefully when something goes wrong, instead of merely flashing up a brusque "you goofed" message. The trick, according to a researcher who has analysed users' responses to their computers, is to make operating systems and software more "civilised" by saying sorry more often. That way people won't feel they are stupid or at fault, so they become less apprehensive about using computers, and perhaps more productive and creative.'
    • 'Messages such as "HTTP 404 - File not found", which appears when a web page is unavailable, and "invalid credit card number" on e-commerce sites, make people feel stupid when they have not done anything wrong. This scares them away from exploiting computers to their full potential, he says. But Jonathan Klein, who builds robotic toys at iRobot in Sommerville, Massachusetts, warns that any apology will eventually cease to sound sincere if it is repeated too often. '

Design

  • Bisque.co.uk
    • 'home of the world-famous Hot Spring and many other beautiful designer radiators'
    • I love it when people do design on things that are generally not designed.
      photo of designer radiators by Bisque
  • Prophetable colors
    • ' This new one seems to be related to the big khaki push of a few years back. There are a lot of dusty off-shade pastels: pink, peach, sage, taupe, cornflower, and a bunch of light to medium browns. Blues have gone grayer, grays bluer, reds more orange, and yellow's either gold or greeny-bronze. Dark red's a major accent color. Dark gray and very dark brown are in; black is out. Scariest news: burnt orange, avocado green, and harvest gold are fashionable again. New official cliche: Gray is the new black. '
    • ' Who does this to us? An outfit, founded in 1962, called the Color Marketing Group. These are the people who wished avocado green and harvest gold kitchen appliances on America, and put the 1980s into those mauve-pink shades that looked so peculiarly horrible on so many of us. Basically, the CMG is a trade organization, with 1,500 members drawn from a bunch of different industries. Twice a year they get together in Alexandria, VA, to come up with long-term and short-term color predictions. The long-term prediction is a set of sixteen colors that will be profitably marketable two years hence. That is, the 2003 palette was distributed to manufacturers in 2001. The short-term prediction is a palette of colors declared to be currently the thing. '
    • Very interesting. However, although I appreciate fashion and fashions, I don't really follow them.
  • http://www.cufflinksworld.com/acatalog/Compass_and_Thermometer_Cufflinks_.html. So now if a geek has to wear tux, and then he can get cufflinks that are muli-purpose.
    photo of multi-purpose cufflinks

Faith

  • French Jews 'must move to Israel'
    • 'Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has urged all French Jews to move to Israel immediately to escape anti-Semitism.'
    • 'Mr Sharon said his advice to French Jews was that moving to Israel was "a must and they have to move immediately".'

Family Values

  • Laws Concerning Food and Drink; Household Principles; Lamentations of the Father
    • Pretty funny stuff! And these laws will always be broken from time to time.
    • 'And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke.'
  • Good News! The Kids Are Alright
    • ' The Mood of American Youth Survey found that more than 80 percent of teenagers report no family problems -- up from about 40 percent a quarter-century ago. In another poll, two-thirds of daughters said they would "give Mom an 'A.' " '
    • ' "In the history of polling, we've never seen tweens and teens get along with their parents this well," says William Strauss, referring to kids born since 1982. Strauss is author, with Neil Howe, of "Millenials Rising: The Next Great Generation." '
    • 'Hymowitz offers four explanations:
      • 1) a "rewrite of the boomer years," with young people reacting critically to the world of sexual experimentation and family breakup and "earnestly knitting up their unraveled culture,"
      • 2) the trauma of 9/11, which has made kids more patriotic and turned them inward toward the comfort of family,
      • 3) the information economy, which has given young people greater faith in their own chances to succeed, especially through self-reliance and entrepreneurship, and
      • 4) immigration, which has produced what she calls a "fervent work ethic, which can raise the bar for slacker American kids, as any higher schooler with more than three Asian students in his algebra class can attest." '

       

Fun

Games

Green

  • The truth about global warming - it's the Sun that's to blame
    • ' Global warming has finally been explained: the Earth is getting hotter because the Sun is burning more brightly than at any time during the past 1,000 years, according to new research. '
    • ' The team studied sunspot data going back several hundred years. They found that a dearth of sunspots signalled a cold period - which could last up to 50 years - but that over the past century their numbers had increased as the Earth's climate grew steadily warmer. The scientists also compared data from ice samples collected during an expedition to Greenland in 1991. The most recent samples contained the lowest recorded levels of beryllium 10 for more than 1,000 years. Beryllium 10 is a particle created by cosmic rays that decreases in the Earth's atmosphere as the magnetic energy from the Sun increases. Scientists can currently trace beryllium 10 levels back 1,150 years. '
      • Dear Corporations: Feel free to pollute like crazy!
    • ' He added, however, that the study also showed that over the past 20 years the number of sunspots had remained roughly constant, while the Earth's temperature had continued to increase. This suggested that over the past 20 years, human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation had begun to dominate "the natural factors involved in climate change", he said.'
      • Dear Corporations: Stop polluting!

Healthcare

  • Flicking Mosquitoes May Prevent Infection. ' The issue is reviewed in an article published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine that focuses on a 57-year-old Pennsylvania woman who died in 2002 of a fungal infection in her muscles called Brachiola algerae. Doctors were puzzled because the fungus was thought to be found only in mosquitoes and other insects. But it's not found in mosquito saliva like West Nile virus and malaria, so a simple mosquito bite could not have caused the infection. The article's authors concluded that the woman must have smashed a mosquito on her skin, smearing its body parts into the bite. '

Images

Interesting

  • MetroNaps.com. Ah. Finally someone has capitalized on one of our older desires: to take naps. I have often been about and wanted to just take a nap without seeming like a social misfit.

Iran

  • Let's see how this administration starts building FUD against Iran. Everyone will start mentioning Iran, 9/11, al Queda, and terrorism in the same conversation, thus effectively making an emotional connection if not a logical one --just like they did with Iraq, 9/11, al Queda, and terrorism. Don't forget that almost every country has some al Queda connection. The question is "is it an active connection?". This 1984 Bush administration has to keep producing enemies like an assembly line.
  • Regime change in Iran now in Bush's sights. 'President George Bush has promised that if re-elected in November he will make regime change in Iran his new target.'
  • Report: Israel's 'first strike' plan against Iran ready. 'Israel has completed military rehearsals for a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear power facility at Bushehr, Israeli officials told the London-based Sunday Times.'
  • 9/11 Commission Finds Ties Between al-Qaeda and Iran
    • ' Next week's much anticipated final report by a bipartisan commission on the origins of the 9/11 attacks will contain new evidence of contacts between al-Qaeda and Iran--just weeks after the Administration has come under fire for overstating its claims of contacts between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. '
  • U.S. Faces a Crossroads on Iran Policy
    • ' Since May, Congress has been moving -- with little notice -- toward a joint resolution calling for punitive action against Iran if it does not fully reveal details of its nuclear arms program. In language similar to the prewar resolution on Iraq, a recent House resolution authorized the use of "all appropriate means" to deter, dissuade and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weaponry -- terminology often used to approve preemptive military force. Reflecting the growing anxiety on Capitol Hill about Iran, it passed 376 to 3. '
    • ' Pressed to define U.S. policy on Iran, one frustrated senior U.S. official cracked, "Oh, do we have one?" '

Iraq

  • Advocates of War Now Profit From Iraq's Reconstruction Lobbyists, aides to senior officials and others encouraged invasion and now help firms pursue contracts. They see no conflict.
    • ' Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said the actions of former officials and others who serve on government advisory boards, although not illegal, can raise the appearance of conflicts of interest. "It calls into question whether the advice they give is in their own interests rather than the public interest," Noble said. '
      • So war profiteering just goes on --business as usual.
    • ' Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey is a prominent example of the phenomenon, mixing his business interests with what he contends are the country's strategic interests. He left the CIA in 1995, but he remains a senior government advisor on intelligence and national security issues, including Iraq. Meanwhile, he works for two private companies [Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm, and Paladin Capital Group] that do business in Iraq and is a partner in a company that invests in firms that provide security and anti-terrorism services. '
    • The article goes on to name other war profiteers such as:
      • 'Neil Livingstone, a former Senate aide who has served as a Pentagon and State Department advisor and issued repeated public calls for Hussein's overthrow'
      • 'Randy Scheunemann, a former Rumsfeld advisor who helped draft the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 authorizing $98 million in U.S. aid to Iraqi exile groups.'
      • 'Margaret Bartel, who managed federal money channeled to Chalabi's exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, including funds for its prewar intelligence program on Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction.'
      • 'K. Riva Levinson, a Washington lobbyist and public relations specialist who received federal funds to drum up prewar support for the Iraqi National Congress.'
      • 'Two ardent supporters of military action, Joe Allbaugh, who managed President Bush's 2000 campaign for the White House and later headed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Edward Rogers Jr., an aide to the first President Bush, recently helped set up two companies to promote business in postwar Iraq'
  • Baghdad Car Bombing Kills 10, Wounds 40. I don't usually post these but this one was in the Green Zone!
  • White House, CIA refuse to release pre-war intelligence document
    • ' The White House and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have refused to give the US Senate Intelligence Committee a one-page summary of pre-war intelligence on Iraq prepared for President George W. Bush, The New York Times reported Wednesday.'
    • ' "In determining what the president was told about the contents of the N.I.E. (National Intelligence Estimate) dealing with Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, qualifiers and all, there is nothing clearer than this single page," Senator Richard J. Durbin, a Democrat of Illinois, said in a 10-page "additional view" that was published as an addendum to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report released last Friday. '
  • Philippines Capitulation in Iraq Widely Questioned
    • This story has been developing for days and I've been avoiding it because I'm an American-Pilipino and I don't think they should have capitulated.
    • 'Manila said it had begun preparations to withdraw its 50 troops in Iraq in line with the demands of kidnappers who threatened to behead hostage Angelo de la Cruz unless Philippine troops left by July 20, a month ahead of schedule. Some Philippine media said the government spared truck driver Angelo de la Cruz only at the expense of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's reputation and possibly even ties with key ally the United States.'
  • Early drafts of Powell's speech flawed
    • 'Days before Secretary of State Colin Powell was to present the case for war with Iraq to the United Nations, State Department analysts found dozens of factual problems in drafts of his speech, according to new documents contained in the Senate report on intelligence failures released last week.'
    • 'A Jan. 31, 2003, memo cataloged 38 claims to which State Department analysts objected. In response, 28 were removed from the draft or altered to address analysts' objections, according to the Senate intelligence report released last Friday.'
  • Acting Chief Insists Agencies Aren't at Fault in War Debate
    • ' But in an hourlong interview on Wednesday morning in his office, Mr. Roberts said he was "not too sure" that the administration would have invaded if it had known how flimsy the intelligence was on Iraq and illicit weapons. Instead, the senator said, Mr. Bush might well have advocated efforts to maintain sanctions against Iraq and to continue to try to unearth the truth through the work of United Nations inspectors. "I don't think the president would have said that military action is justified right now," Mr. Roberts said. If the administration had been given "accurate intelligence," he said, Mr. Bush "might have said, 'Saddam's a bad guy, and we've got to continue with the no-fly zones and with inspections.' "
      • What a load of crap. Bush was going into Iraq regardless. Justifications by Intelligence, approval from the UN and the public were all secondary to invading Iraq. It was not evidence that drove Bush to invade Iraq --rather it was Bush's desire to invade Iraq drove Intelligence to find evidence to support the invasion.
  • Kids sodomized at Abu Ghraib, Pentagon has the videos - Hersh
  • Sixteen Truthful Words
    • The 16 words are "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
    • I'll bet that William Safire feels smug about this one. The thing is, is that Bush does this misleading truth all the time. If I have a little old Chihuahua, and I put up a sign that says "beware of dog", I've told the truth but it was a misleading truth.
      beware of dog!
  • The $6 Million Cutthroat Payoff. Arrgh! The Philippines withdrawal of its troops from Iraq because of the hostage situation was stupid enough but now there may have been a $6 million payoff to the terrorists? That is insane! The Philippines can't afford that kind of relationship with terrorists. I hope it's just some stupid rumor.
  • PM admits graves claim 'untrue'
    • 'Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered.'
      • So sorry --it's just an 80,000% error.
    • 'The admission that the figure has been hugely inflated follows a week in which Blair accepted responsibility for charges in the Butler report over the way in which Downing Street pushed intelligence reports 'to the outer limits' in the case for the threat posed by Iraq.'
  • Allawi shot prisoners in cold blood: witnesses
    • 'Iyad Allawi, the new Prime Minister of Iraq, pulled a pistol and executed as many as six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station, just days before Washington handed control of the country to his interim government, according to two people who allege they witnessed the killings.'
    • Related: Iraq's interim PM executed six insurgents: witnesses

Local

  • New spin for Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's
    • At first I was mad when I heard that they were going to dump the Rock 'n' Roll McDonalds, but then I got wind of the what the new place will be like and I think it's pretty cool, esp. the 2-lane drive thru.
    • ' A pair of 60-foot yellow arches protrude through an angled roof in McDonald's in-house design to replace the Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's. The sloping windows of an old-style diner are extended to two floors of seating, to give more than 300 diners a view of Chicago's River North tourist strip. '
      super replacement for Rock 'n' Roll McDonalds
  • Ditka punts on possible GOP run for U.S. Senate. Too bad about Ditka. No one really has a chance against Obama but at least a Ditka run would have made it a fun election.
  • For some it's coffee; for others it's class
    • 'Finally on Friday, a Starbucks will open on the corner of 71st Street and Stony Island Avenue, the only shop of its kind in Chicago south of Hyde Park. The familiar green awnings of Starbucks are another sign of hope on the South Side, where home values are rising. Many neighbors see the shop as a mark of newfound respect for black buying power and a harbinger for more new stores. Hairston, for one, dreams of a Target, a Best Buy and maybe a Kinko's.'
    • The 1st Starbucks on the southside is an indicator that the southside has been depressed but is now and upcoming.
  • Celebrating all weekend. The new Millennium Park in Chicago is opening this weekend. Related: Flash demo of the new park.

Martial Arts

Media

  • Local Nonprofit Sues Media Giant: Clear Channel Nixes Group's Times Square Billboard Times Square
    • ' Many have claimed the company is very supportive of Republican causes. Clear Channel donated more than $1 million to Republican candidates between 2000 and 2002, according to the Federal Election Commission. '
    • ' Project Billboard offered to substitute the bomb with an image of a dove Friday, Slater said, and Clear Channel agreed to accept the design, but left the final decision to the hotel. The Marriott is looking into whether they will accept the new design, said Kathleen Duffy, Marriott Marquis hotel spokesperson. '
    • Here is the original bill board. It will be replaced by a dove instead of a bomb.

Money

  • 'Perp walk' a blot on American justice.
    • 'Lay, the former chief executive officer of Enron Corp., hasn't been found guilty of a thing. All that has happened so far is that a federal grand jury, hearing only from the prosecutors and their witnesses, have found "probable cause" ("more probable than not") to believe that the former Enron boss is guilty. And they have voted an indictment, which is a paper setting forth the charges.'
    • 'The only legitimate purpose of handcuffs is the restraint of a person who might escape, or cause physical harm to himself or those around him. There isn't a soul connected with Lay's humiliation last week, from the officer who led him through the spectacle, to U.S. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, who believed for a moment that Lay was dangerous.'
      • You never know when a suspect may try to escape or cause harm so the bailiffs have to make a judgment call.
    • 'There is no legitimate law enforcement justification for the perp walk. It confuses the presumed innocent with the convicted. So it blurs the essence of due process: Punishment begins after conviction, not before. Law-enforcement officials should declare an end to it.'
      • Arrgh! This is proof that I have a bleeding heart. I personally believe that Lay will be found guilty so I felt good seeing Lay in cuffs. However if there is no legal or practical need for the cuffs, then I'm forced to agree with the author of the article.
  • Show Me The Money
    • 'I worked as a developer on the Microsoft Money team for a little over two releases (Money 99 - Money 2001). During my time on Money, it made its transition in the eyes of the press from an inferior Quicken wannabe into what reviewers would agree is a superior product (the dramatic improvement wasn't due to me, of course -- I just happened to have graduated in 1998). Despite this, I ultimately left the team because I was frustrated by the direction that Money was being led. Instead of making Money into what we knew users wanted, we were busy trying to match Quicken and meet MSN goals.'
    • 'The majority of consumers who buy computers claim that personal finance management is one of the top three reasons they are purchasing a PC. They've been claiming this for more than a decade. But only somewhere around 2% of consumers end up using a personal finance manager ("PFM"), with Intuit Quicken and Microsoft Money dominating the market. Both products have been around for -- you guessed it -- more than a decade. This dramatic disconnect between consumer demand and actual market penetration is mind-boggling.'
    • Fascinating. We actually use Quicken at our house. We experimented with Money a bit when they were practically giving it away but the bottom line was that Quicken was familiar and it worked.
  • The customer is always right? Not anymore. Best Buy has identified some of its customers as losers worth losing.
  • Martha Stewart Gets 5 Months in Prison.
    • ' Stewart, who was also ordered to serve five months of home confinement and fined $30,000, did win a key victory when U.S. District Court Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum stayed her sentence pending appeal, a process that could last many months. The sentence was also far less than it could have been. Experts had predicted she would receive 10 to 16 months. '
    • I'm not terribly vengeful so I'm OK with her mild sentence. I am, however, curious about just how rough or cushy her incarceration will be. Certailnly the 5 months of home confinement will be a breeze.

Programming

Science

  • Hubble discovers 100 new planets. The aging satellite is still kicking ass! It just doubled the number of known planets.
  • Holograms enable pocket projectors.
    • 'Researchers from the University of Cambridge in England and Light Blue Optics Ltd. have found a way to leverage holographic technology to produce a small laser-driven video projector. The method could lead to pocket-sized, battery-powered video projectors that produce images whose quality matches that of today's full-sized projectors, according to Adrian Cable, a researcher at the University of Cambridge in England and director of Light Blue Optics Ltd. This type of projector could also be built into a laptop computer, said Cable.'
    • 'In the researchers' design, a two-dimensional hologram is shown on the microdisplay rather than an image, and the projected image is formed by shining a laser beam through the microdisplay, which scatters the light into a particular pattern. "No lenses are required -- the projected image is formed entirely by diffraction," said Cable. '
    • 'The researchers aim to produce practical pocket-sized video projectors in two to five years, said Cable.'
    • This could be used for TV too, not just to replace projectors used in presentations.
  • Notes from the Third Annual Space Elevator Conference.
  • Hawking cracks black hole paradox
    • ' After nearly 30 years of arguing that a black hole destroys everything that falls into it, Stephen Hawking is saying he was wrong. It seems that black holes may after all allow information within them to escape. Hawking will present his latest finding at a conference in Ireland next week. The about-turn might cost Hawking, a physicist at the University of Cambridge, an encyclopaedia because of a bet he made in 1997. More importantly, it might solve one of the long-standing puzzles in modern physics, known as the black hole information paradox. '
      • Ha ha! 2 scientists making bets? It's like an Isaac Asimov story.
    • ' Hawking requested at the last minute that he be allowed to present his findings at the 17th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation in Dublin, Ireland. "He sent a note saying 'I have solved the black hole information paradox and I want to talk about it'," says Curt Cutler, a physicist at the Albert Einstein Institute in Golm, Germany, who is chairing the conference's scientific committee. "I haven't seen a preprint [of the paper]. To be quite honest, I went on Hawking's reputation." '
      • When a science superstar like Hawkings whispers, people listen.
  • MNT2004.org. '1st Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology: Research, Applications, and Policy'
  • Excel ate my DNA
    • ' The problem, which can cause medically important genes to be hidden from view, is widespread, and has affected some public databases, including the gene expression data on the NCBI LocusLink database in the US, the researchers say. ... The errors are introduced because some genetic identifiers look very like dates to Excel. If the spreadsheet is not properly set up, it will convert an identifier, such as SEPT2 to a date: 2-Sep. The conversion, the researchers say, is irreversible: once the error has been introduced, the original data is gone. '
    • It's a serious problem but funny in a small way. Data scrubbing issues turns up in the oddest places.
    • Related: Mistaken Identifiers: Gene name errors can be introduced inadvertently when using Excel in bioinformatics.
  • Slow motion video of a sphere falling into sand. I'm sure techies do studies like this all the time.

Sex [assume NSFW]

  • Lynne, Dick Cheney Differ on Gay Marriage.
    • Yep.
    • The whole gay marriage amendment is such a waste of time. The will never get the 2/3 majority votes that they need. The only good thing that comes out of it is that it makes people discuss gay issues and think about their homophobic attitudes. It's analogous to how people before the Civil Rights movement weren't even aware of how racist they were.
    • Gay marriages do not in any way impact "the sanctity" or quality of heterosexual marriages.
  • Senate Scuttles Gay Marriage Amendment
    • 'The vote was 48-50, 12 short of the 60 needed to keep the measure alive. Six Republicans joined dozens of Democrats in sealing the amendment's fate.'
      • Sad that it even got to be that close.
    • ' At issue was an amendment providing that marriage within the United States "shall consist only of a man and a woman." A second sentence said that neither the federal nor any state constitution "shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman." Some critics argue that the effect of that provision would be to ban civil unions, and its inclusion in the amendment complicated efforts by GOP leaders to gain support from wavering Republicans. '
    • 'Bush's fall rival, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, opposes the amendment, as does his vice presidential running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. Both men skipped the vote.'
      • That explains the 2 missing votes.
    • 'In all, 45 Republicans and three Democrats voted to keep the measure alive. Six Republicans joined 43 Democrats and one independent in opposition.'
  • "When One Is Enough" by Amy Richards as told by Amy Barrett
    • I'm going to copy the whole thing here before it disappears into the NYT archive black hole.
    • ' I grew up in a working-class family in Pennsylvania not knowing my father. I have never missed not having him. I firmly believe that, but for much of my life I felt that what I probably would have gained was economic security and with that societal security. Growing up with a single mother, I was always buying into the myth that I was going to be seduced in the back of a pickup truck and become pregnant when I was 16. I had friends when I was in school who were helping to rear nieces and nephews, because their siblings, who were not much older, were having babies. I had friends from all over the class spectrum: I saw the nieces and nephews on the one hand and country-club memberships and station wagons on the other. I felt I was in the middle. I had this fear: What would it take for me to just slip?

      Now I'm 34. My boyfriend, Peter, and I have been together three years. I'm old enough to presume that I wasn't going to have an easy time becoming pregnant. I was tired of being on the pill, because it made me moody. Before I went off it, Peter and I talked about what would happen if I became pregnant, and we both agreed that we would have the child.

      I found out I was having triplets when I went to my obstetrician. The doctor had just finished telling me I was going to have a low-risk pregnancy. She turned on the sonogram machine. There was a long pause, then she said, ''Are you sure you didn't take fertility drugs?'' I said, ''I'm positive.'' Peter and I were very shocked when she said there were three. ''You know, this changes everything,'' she said. ''You'll have to see a specialist.''

      My immediate response was, I cannot have triplets. I was not married; I lived in a five-story walk-up in the East Village; I worked freelance; and I would have to go on bed rest in March. I lecture at colleges, and my biggest months are March and April. I would have to give up my main income for the rest of the year. There was a part of me that was sure I could work around that. But it was a matter of, Do I want to?

      I looked at Peter and asked the doctor: ''Is it possible to get rid of one of them? Or two of them?'' The obstetrician wasn't an expert in selective reduction, but she knew that with a shot of potassium chloride you could eliminate one or more.

      Having felt physically fine up to this point, I got on the subway afterward, and all of a sudden, I felt ill. I didn't want to eat anything. What I was going through seemed like a very unnatural experience. On the subway, Peter asked, ''Shouldn't we consider having triplets?'' And I had this adverse reaction: ''This is why they say it's the woman's choice, because you think I could just carry triplets. That's easy for you to say, but I'd have to give up my life.'' Not only would I have to be on bed rest at 20 weeks, I wouldn't be able to fly after 15. I was already at eight weeks. When I found out about the triplets, I felt like: It's not the back of a pickup at 16, but now I'm going to have to move to Staten Island. I'll never leave my house because I'll have to care for these children. I'll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise. Even in my moments of thinking about having three, I don't think that deep down I was ever considering it.

      The specialist called me back at 10 p.m. I had just finished watching a Boston Pops concert at Symphony Hall. As everybody burst into applause, I watched my cellphone vibrating, grabbed it and ran into the lobby. He told me that he does a detailed sonogram before doing a selective reduction to see if one fetus appears to be struggling. The procedure involves a shot of potassium chloride to the heart of the fetus. There are a lot more complications when a woman carries multiples. And so, from the doctor's perspective, it's a matter of trying to save the woman this trauma. After I talked to the specialist, I told Peter, ''That's what I'm going to do.'' He replied, ''What we're going to do.'' He respected what I was going through, but at a certain point, he felt that this was a decision we were making. I agreed.

      When we saw the specialist, we found out that I was carrying identical twins and a stand alone. My doctors thought the stand alone was three days older. There was something psychologically comforting about that, since I wanted to have just one. Before the procedure, I was focused on relaxing. But Peter was staring at the sonogram screen thinking: Oh, my gosh, there are three heartbeats. I can't believe we're about to make two disappear. The doctor came in, and then Peter was asked to leave. I said, ''Can Peter stay?'' The doctor said no. I know Peter was offended by that.

      Two days after the procedure, smells no longer set me off and I no longer wanted to eat nothing but sour-apple gum. I went on to have a pretty seamless pregnancy. But I had a recurring feeling that this was going to come back and haunt me. Was I going to have a stillbirth or miscarry late in my pregnancy?

      I had a boy, and everything is fine. But thinking about becoming pregnant again is terrifying. Am I going to have quintuplets? I would do the same thing if I had triplets again, but if I had twins, I would probably have twins. Then again, I don't know. '

    • As presented, Amy Richards was OK with getting pregnant but did selective reduction abortion more for convenience birth control than for health reasons. The phrase "I'll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise" really annoys people but all sorts of thoughts pop into your head when you're in such a situation. As far as I know the author, Amy Barrett, may have put significant spin on the story or did this story as a red herring. I have not seen Amy Richards herself comment on the NYT article. However, if I take the article as is, then Amy Richards has done wrong but that does not mean that there aren't times for abortions.
    • Related:
    • 2004-07-22t00:19:51Z. I've thought about this a little more and I've decided that her personal life is none of my business. In pre-modern times, if a woman had to give birth to triplets, then she would have had a very hard time surviving the delivery, so in one sense reducing triplets to a single child pre-delivery makes sense. The other thing is that when couples take fertility drugs (and yes I know that Amy did not), many couples have multiple eggs fertilized children, thus many of those couples often opt to discretely have selective reduction. The presentation of Amy's story is only part of the picture.In any case, I'm sure it is a hard decsision that people have to make and they should be given the privacy to do so.
  • Let the games begin
    • 'The secret of the modern Olympics is that the athlete village, with its tightly packed collection of firm young bodies, 24-hour sports television and all-you-can eat international cuisine, has become the most exclusive VIP club in the world. It's "a two-week-long private party for thousands of hard-bodies," says Nelson Diebel, an American swimmer who won gold twice in Barcelona. Like a mirage, the village appears in the middle of an exuberant host city for two weeks every two years. Open only to competitors, coaches and trainers, it's a wonderland of hormones, glycogen and dance mixes. '
    • So that's where the party's at!

Showbiz

  • Universe Collapses: Well, TV's, Anyway
    • ' In a development that appears to defy the laws of television industry physics, the medium's expanding universe may have reached its limit much sooner than anyone would have imagined--and it seems to be one that is considerably less than the apocryphal 500 channels it was ultimately projected to deliver. For the first time since Nielsen Media Research began tracking it, the number of channels receivable by the average U.S. household declined last year, and appears to have stalled out at about 100.'
      • And usually it's 100 channels of crap!
  • Spider-Man 2 Mistakes. Ha ha! 44 and counting. I wasn't looking for mistake in the theater -- I was too busy enjoying the show! Usually mistakes in movies are either glaring or they reveal themselves after the 20th viewing on DVD.
  • Ten-disc 'Matrix' DVD boxset planned [for Christmas]. That's OK, but I'm waiting for the 12+ disc Lord of the Rings boxset.
  • Fahrenheit 9/11 still burning up box office. ' Disney probably wish they kept this one. Michael Moore's headline grabbing documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," which Disney declined to distribute, grossed more than $80 million in its first three weeks of release, more than any Disney film this year and any documentary ever. '
  • AsimovLaws.com. '3 Laws Unsafe is a website about Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics and the film adaptation of I, Robot. We take a critical look into whether Asimov's Laws are sound solutions to safe artificial intelligence.'
  • European Copyright Clock Ticking on Elvis Hits
    • ' As "That's All Right" is being hailed by some as the beginning of rock 'n' roll, the implications are that every year after 2005, more recordings that defined the genre will fall into public domain. In the United States, BMG will continue to own the rights to the recording. Under the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, sound recordings are protected for 95 years from the day of recording in the United States -- for post-1976 recordings, coverage is the artist's life plus 70 years. In most of the European Union, the duration is 50 years after the first release of a sound recording. '
    • That's all right with me! The public has a right to the public domain. Record companies can still make money from packaging and distributing older songs.
  • Elton attacks 'censorship' in US
    • ' "There was a moment about a year ago when you couldn't say a word about anything in this country for fear of your career being shot down by people saying you are un-American," he told the magazine. The singer said things were different in the 1960s. "People like Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, The Beatles and Pete Seeger were constantly writing and talking about what was going on. '
    • ' "On the one hand, you have someone like Toby Keith, who has come out and been very supportive of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq - which is OK because America is a democracy and Toby Keith is entitled to say what he thinks and feels. "But, on the other hand, the Dixie Chicks got shot down in flames last year for criticising the president. They were treated like they were being un-American, when in fact they have every right to say whatever they want about him because he's freely elected, and therefore accountable." '

US

  • The New Anti-Semitism?
    • 'Anti-Americanism has become a superstition. Fear, loathing, fury and resentment have combined to produce something that resembles nothing so much as a new form of virulent anti-Semitism.'
    • ' The stark lesson of the twentieth century is that socialism is a marvellous idea that doesn't work, and capitalism is a terrible idea that does. Unbelievably, inexplicably (to socialists), it turned out to be capitalism which delivered what socialism always promised: not all at once, not without bad episodes; not evenly, not at first for everyone, or even now for everyone; not quickly, and, certainly, not always willingly. But, in the end, it delivered. '
    • ' Yet nowhere did socialism fail to fail. Nowhere was it tried - and I mean real socialism, not welfare statism - where tyranny, misery, poverty, fear and oppression failed to follow. Capitalism delivered its share of the bad stuff, too; certainly oppression - witness Taiwan, South Korea, Chile. But capitalism's lackeys always seemed to recover, to get over it, and get better: witness Taiwan, South Korea, Chile. Socialism never did; it never found a cure for its ills. '
    • He paraphrases Why Do People Hate America? by Ziauddin Sardar:
      • ' First, the existential: "The US has simply made it too difficult for other people to exist." The USA has contrived to structure the international economy to guarantee perpetual enrichment of itself, and abject poverty for everyone else (at least, the non-Western world).

        Second, the cosmological: America has replaced God as the "cause of everything". Further, imperial America is engaged on a project that involves the consumption of all time and space, and aspires to consuming all non-American people; "Inducted into the cosmological structure of America, the rest of the world will vanish."

        The third is ontological: America has replaced the notion of "good" with the notion of itself, as the binary opposite to "evil". Thus, America can only be good and virtuous, and only America can be such.

        The fourth is definitional: American has assumed the right to define what it means even to be human, and that only in terms of its own identity. American values are therefore the only ones that any longer actually are.

    • Then he makes this comment:
      • 'Two things might immediately be said about this. One: it is transparent nonsense, evidencing a seriously deformed kind of intellectualism. (The whole world is no more than items on America's fast-food menu - literally the imperialist's snack, for heaven's sake.) Two, and more disturbingly: replace "America" with "the Jews", and you begin to get some idea of where this is coming from.'
    • For me, the disturbing concept invoked by this article is one that I've been building upon: The US is becoming like Israel.
      • America is forming an "us v them" mentality.
      • America is resorting to power, force as our primary means of diplomacy.
      • America is becoming the enemy by using evil means to achieve its goals. EGs: assassinations, civilian deaths, torture, etc.
      • America is becoming above international review.
      • America is becoming a military police state.
      • America is believes a self-fulfilling belief: that we are hated.
      • America is doing nothing to stop the hatred.

US Elections

  • Ron Reagan to Address Democrat Delegates
    • ' Reagan, 46, has been critical of the Bush administration's restriction of federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research and the war in Iraq. But he said his speech will only deal with the subject of stem cell research, something he and Nancy Reagan have argued could lead to cures for a number of diseases like the Alzheimer's that afflicted the late president. Because the extraction of stem cells destroys day-old embryos, the process is opposed by groups who link it to abortion. "If they had asked me to say a few words about throwing George Bush out of office, I wouldn't do it," Reagan told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "This gives me a platform to educate people about stem cell research." '
    • I've known that Ron Reagan was a Democrat for a long time, but I just wanted to point out that this guys is a class act. His public statements have always been very careful and respectful.
  • Bush Fortifies Conservative Base
    • ' Therein lies an important key to understanding Bush's reelection strategy. Although age-old campaign rules dictate that the general-election candidate must emphasize moderate "swing" voters and political independents, Bush strategists are predicting that this election, more than previous ones, will be determined by the turnout of each side's partisans. Although not discounting swing voters, Bush is placing unusual emphasis so far on rallying the faithful.'
    • 'Some Bush allies say it is more efficient to boost turnout among partisans than to sway the fence-sitters, who the campaign believes may be 10 percent of the electorate or less. "How much time and energy do you give to picking up the 10 percent, who are disengaged from politics, and how do you communicate with them even if you want to?" asked Grover G. Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "You can go to the 45 percent [who already support Bush] and ask them to bring a brother or a sister or a friend to the polls.'
  • Slim-Fast drops Goldberg over Bush jabs. Pretty lame Slim-Fast. If comedians aren't given a lot of artistic leeway, then the world would be less funny.
  • Dick 'n' John: The Veeps Go At It
    • Andrew Sullivan always confuses and astonishes me in how he can attack and praise both sides --and yet I don't consider him to flip-flop.
    • ' But beneath the cultural surface, there is also a simple truth about these two vice-presidential candidates. They both represent the bases of their respective parties. In a polity that is as polarized as it ever has been, where congressional districts have been gerry-mandered so radically that over 90 percent of representatives are in safe seats, both the Republicans and Democrats have become far more insular parties. The people who make it to the top are no longer those who can forge compromises, but those who can rally the faithful. '
    • ' The same paradox may well be true about the scheduled debate between them. Edwards is perhaps the best orator from his party for many years. Expect him to raise the roof at the Democrats' convention in Boston. Cheney is terrible on the stump. He doesn't even like applause. At a recent speech when cheers forced him to repeat a sentence, he growled, "You guys want to hear this speech or not?" Edwards, in comparison, targets every member of the audience for charm and persuasion, just as he did so brilliantly with dozens of juries. But in the intimate context of a television debate, Cheney could do well. His low-key, authoritative daddy act will contrast dramatically with Edwards' blow-dried bangs and populist sound-bites. Edwards' best shot? To get a Cheney snarl that reminds voters why they distrust him. Cheney's best shot? To have a foreign policy question where he leaves the neophyte Edwards in the dust. And just because it's a side-show doesn't mean it won't be drama. Think Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader; Austin Powers versus Dr Evil; and the boyish charms of the 1990s versus the cold fear of the new millennium. It will be not so much a vote as a taking of the American temperature. And you couldn't find two more constrasting characters to choose between. '
  • Electoral-Vote.com is predicting Kerry to beat Bush 322 to 205.
  • Jon Stewart's Daily Show commentary on the threatened cancellation of the November US elections in the event of terrorist threat [see video]

Web

World

Writing

2004-07-25t14:46:24Z | RE: Anyone But Bush. Computers. Engineering. Family Values. Fasting. Food. Games. Green. Healthcare. Humanity. Images. Iraq. Local. Martial Arts. Media. Money. Music. Science. Sex. US. US Elections. Words. World.
2004-07-25t14:46:24Z

Anyone But Bush

  • Being Nothing: George W. Bush as Presidential Simulacrum
    • ' This article appropriates ideas from Being There and Baudrillard's Gulf War pieces in order to propose that George W. Bush is a simulation, a virtual figure upgraded from a prototype like that of Chance the Gardener. I am not interested in George W. Bush's corporeal being but rather in his flatness and in the way that his obvious deficiencies are "spun" by supposedly disinterested media pundits. Bush's estrangement from the real -- evident in his unfamiliarity with geography, history, ordinary English syntax and semantics, and a fund of common knowledge -- stems from his own lack of reality. George W. Bush does not exist. '
    • ' When Bush stammers publicly about freedom, democracy, and the axis of evil, American media commentators gloss his remarks positively. Reporters and pundits chronically overestimate Bush in much the way Chance's admirers do, discoursing about him as if he actually possessed a political philosophy and an understanding of government policies. They overlook, understate, or make excuses for his slipshod syntax, reliance on clichés, and inability to answer either theoretical or factual questions. They inevitably refer to him as if he were a "real" person with a complex sensibility, rather than a simulacrum entirely composed of sound bites and photo opportunities. '
    • ' If coldness, lack of empathy, and a bias in favor of abstraction are characteristic of the android, then George W. Bush is clearly one of them. His political speeches are composed entirely of undefined abstractions like "freedom." While governor of Texas he inevitably approved state executions, never exercising executive clemency. Appeals for mercy were particularly ardent in the case of Karla Faye Tucker, the convicted murderer who had undergone a conversion to Christianity while incarcerated. Bush, who had claimed in a national debate that Jesus was his favorite philosopher (no one asked him to name his second favorite), refused even to meet with Tucker's many advocates. Not only that, but according to no less a stalwart conservative source than bowtied Tucker Carlson, Bush mocked her imagined appeal to him: " 'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me'." Like Reagan, Bush seems solipsistic, unable to believe in the existence of other people. He has shown this coldness even to members of his own family. According to The Perfect Wife, Gerhart's biography of the First Lady, Bush was "snarly" upon learning that his daughter Jenna would undergo an emergency appendectomy, "like he was pissed at her." '
    • ' What is the origin of simulacra like the current President of the United States? When I argue that Bush is not "real," I do not mean that he was manufactured in a secret factory, owned by a corporation like the Karp Cartel and controlled by a powerful conspiracy. But I will speculate that in a post-literate, hyperreal world, those accretions of historical time and psychological reflection that produce subjectivity tend to disperse before they constitute a deep, coherent self. The result can be a personality like that of Bush -- intellectually narrow, emotionally shallow, working with an abridged vocabulary, like a novice in a foreign language class. He is a commodity produced by contemporary American culture, with its bizarre admixture of consumerism, television, worship of celebrities, and glib Christian fundamentalism. Other cultures in other periods have produced personalities limited in different ways -- the provincial peasant, for example, who has never been more than a mile from his birthplace. Unlike the peasant, the contemporary flat personality knows that other countries, other cultures, other religions exist -- but in his solipsism they remain "unreal" to him, mere delusions to which other people, themselves mere figments, display an irrational attachment. '
    • ' One might speculate that a flat personality like that of Chance, or of George W. Bush, is inherently more in accord with the flatness of the television or computer screen and thus transmits smoothly and consistently. By contrast, perhaps, a complex, three-dimensional personality, full of contradictions, corners, and real history is difficult to reduce to a flat surface. Not all politicians, however, are inherently flat. John Kerry, for example, has posed a problem for the sound-bite insights of television pundits. How could anyone be both a decorated war hero and a longhaired protestor? '
  • AP Seeks Release of Bush Military Records. ' Texas law requires separate record keeping for state National Guard service, and those records should exist on microfilm in Austin, the AP said. ''A significant, ongoing controversy exists over the president's military service during the Vietnam War, specifically whether he performed his required service between May and October 1972,'' lawyers for the AP wrote. '
  • GeorgeBush.ca. 'Our mission is simple: to provide a forum for Canadians to show their support for the election of a new United States government.'

Computers

Engineering

  • Apollo Anniversary: Moon Landing "Inspired World"
  • HowToons.net. 'Howtoons are one-page cartoons showing 5-to-15 year-old kids "How To" build things. Each illustrated episode is a stand-alone fun adventure accessible to all, including the pre-literate. Our Howtoons are designed to encourage children to be active participants in discovering the world through Play-that-Matters -- fun, creative, and inventive -- and to rely a lot less on mass-consumable entertainment.'
  • XLerator--The Electric Hand Dryer Reinvented. ' When Denis and Nancy Gagnon bought Excel Dryer four years ago, they entered an industry that hadn't seen significant innovation, aside from automatic sensor controls, in decades. Determined to create a better mousetrap, they commissioned some research and learned that wet hands have water in two forms: loose droplets and an adherent film. They realized that by blowing the droplets off with a high-velocity air stream, they could eliminate most of the water in just a few seconds. Providing this air at a higher temperature than that of standard dryers 135*F (57*C) results in quicker removal of the water film as well, so hands are dried in 12 to 15 seconds--about the same amount of time it takes to use a paper towel. The Gagnons' claim, which we have verified, is that conventional dryers take 30 to 45 seconds. In addition to more effective drying, the XLerator is redesigned to draw only 1,500 watts, instead of the usual 2,200. '
  • Trinity Test, July 16, 1945 - Eyewitness Accounts
    • Another anniversary.
    • ' when the atomic bomb was tested at Trinity, Los Alamos scientists were the first humans to witness the power of a nuclear weapon. '

Family Values

Fasting

  • Benjamin Franklin on fasting
  • Calorie Restriction Drastically Reduces Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke and Diabetes
  • ChetDay.com. 'Natural Health Articles and Recipes Since 1993'
  • Fasting Across Religions
  • HealthPromoting.com. 'TrueNorth Health Education Center has operated its residential health education program in Penngrove, California since 1984. Our program educates participants on the benefits of healthy living and on the use of fasting as a tool to improve their diet and lifestyle. Like a compass, we help our participants chart the course toward optimum health. We call this direction TrueNorth.'

    • Therapeutic Fasting: An Introduction to the Benefits of a Professionally Supervised Fast

      • 'Therapeutic fasting is defined as the complete abstinence from all substances except pure water in an environment of complete rest. ... It is important to go into the fast with a willingness to allow the body to tell us what is indicated. The idea is to fast as briefly as possible, but as long as necessary to allow the body to generate and resolve any possible healing crises that might result.'

      • ' The physiology of fasting has been extensively studied, and three phases of fasting have been identified.

        1. The first phase can be called the gastrointestinal phase, and lasts approximately for first six hours following the last meal. During this phase the body uses glucose, amino acids and fats, as they are absorbed from the intestinal tract.
        2. Phase two lasts for more or less the next two days. During this time the body will use its glycogen (sugar) reserves that are stored in the muscle and liver cells. These glycogen reserves are mobilized to provide the central nervous system, including the brain, with its normal fuel, glucose.
        3. Within a few hours the body begins to convert adipose (fat) tissue into fatty acids. Were it not for the body's ability to switch fuels and enter phase three, where the body switches from glucose to fat metabolism, therapeutic fasting could not take place. The body's protein reserves would be quickly depleted. Fortunately, this is not a problem. In fact, within ten hours from the last meal approximately 50% of muscle fuel is coming from fat. Even the brain itself begins to shift over the fat metabolism. The consumption of protein reserves decreases from 75 grams per day at the beginning of a fast to just 20 grams a day by the end of the second week. '
      • 'Most fasts will be terminated with fresh fruits or vegetables or their juices. ... The most important period of the fast is the initial re-feeding. Too rapid a return to food and activity can spell disaster. Materials that have been mobilized during the fast must be eliminated. Improper feeding or activity after the fast can seriously disrupt this process. It is during the re-feeding program that good dietary and lifestyle habits are reinforced.'
  • Skipping Meals May Protect Against Diabetes and Alzheimers
  • The Health Benefits of Fasting
    • 'Fasting technically commences within the first twelve to twenty-four hours of the fast. A fast does not chemically begin until the carbohydrate stores in the body begin to be used as an energy source. The fast will continue as long as fat and carbohydrate stores are used for energy, as opposed to protein stores. Once protein stores begin to be depleted for energy (resulting in loss of muscle mass) a person is technically starving.'
    • 'Detoxification is the foremost argument presented by advocates of fasting. .... A second prescribed benefit of fasting is the healing process that begins in the body during a fast. During a fast energy is diverted away from the digestive system due to its lack of use and towards the metabolism and immune system. ... In addition, there is a reduction in core body temperature. ... Finally, the most scientifically proven advantage to fasting is the feeling of rejuvenation and extended life expectancy.'

Food

Games

  • Stave.com/ePuzzles. Lots of puzzles done in Flash.
  • Dance, Voldo, Dance [see Quicktime video]. I had no idea that people were doing synchronized dancing with video game characters.
  • Doom3.com. The game ships 2004-08-03.
  • Eskiv [Flash]. Whew! A simple game that increases in difficulty rapidly. Just use the arrow key to get the square and avoid the moving balls. After a few dozen tries, I got a score of 110. My trick was to get into a safe lane in 1 axis so I only had to be concerned with balls crossing on the other axis.

Green

  • Sustainable oil?
    • ' An intriguing theory now permeating oil company research staffs suggests that crude oil may actually be a natural inorganic product, not a stepchild of unfathomable time and organic degradation. The theory suggests there may be huge, yet-to-be-discovered reserves of oil at depths that dwarf current world estimates. The theory is simple: Crude oil forms as a natural inorganic process which occurs between the mantle and the crust, somewhere between 5 and 20 miles deep. '
      • Of course such astounding claims requires astounding evidence. So far all we have is theory. (I suspect this is pro-oil propaganda from the oil corporations that want to keep their show running.) Besides, regardless of the origin of oil, it is not fiction that many areas, such as Texas, are drying up in oil. In other words it is a fact that oil demand is outstripping oil production.
    • ' Dr. Gold strongly believes that oil is a "renewable, primordial soup continually manufactured by the Earth under ultrahot conditions and tremendous pressures. As this substance migrates toward the surface, it is attached by bacteria, making it appear to have an organic origin dating back to the dinosaurs." '
      • It would seem that oil would have bio-signatures. We should be able to determine if the bio-signatures could have been produced by bacteria. Also, oil is chemically very complex and it seems that geothermally cooked ethane would be chemically simpler.
    • Related:
  • KFC Supplier Suspends Worker Over Video. ' A supplier for Kentucky Fried Chicken suspended a worker without pay and is investigating three others after an animal rights group released video of workers kicking, stomping and throwing birds against walls at a West Virginia plant. Pilgrim's Pride President and Chief Operating Officer O.B. Goolsby said in a statement late Tuesday that in addition to the suspension and investigation, the company has ordered managers at all 25 of its plants in the nation to take time out on each shift to educate workers about animal welfare policies. '
    • Related:
      • PETA's video. It's one thing to read about torture of animals, but it's quite another thing to see it. These are living animals that we're killing to eat, but they're treated not merely like objects but like toys or objects of hate. I was avoiding KFC because of the grease but now I have more reasons to avoid eating there.
      • Why You Are Committed To The Immorality Of Eating Meat
  • SeedBalls.com.
    • By Masanobu Fukuoka.
    • ' Seed Balls are one half inch diameter models of the living world. They can contain all the seeds for a complete habitat, or a wild or domestic garden. In a holographic way, each ball can contain the whole plant potential of the entire ecosystem. They require a fraction of the cost of planting or drilling and are hundreds of times faster. They can be made by anyone anywhere in the world where there is clay, soil, seed and water. Seed balls work on all scales, small to large, and can be air dropped over broad areas! Hundreds of kinds of mixed seeds, soil humus and dry powdered red brown clay, form the solid components of seed balls. When mixed with water and rolled into balls, they become little Adobe Gardens. '

Healthcare

  • Lou Dobbs, Call Your Office
    • ' A few months ago, activists and journalists were blasting the U.S. for plans to buy only branded drugs, made by companies like Merck, to treat patients in poor countries under the president's $15 billion AIDS relief program. American authorities responded to the pressure ... The U.S. global AIDS program will buy medicines made anywhere in the world -- as long as they're deemed safe and effective -- in an especially generous emergency approval process. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has agreed to review the drugs within two to six weeks (rather than the usual year or more) and even waive fees. "We're going to buy the least expensive drugs that we can find without regard to country of origin, patented or generic," Randall Tobias, the top U.S. official at the giant 15th International AIDS Conference here in Thailand's capital, said. '
    • The amazing thing about this article is that James K. Glassman, the Right-biased author, is actually complaining! Glassman is whining about how US pharmaceutical companies will lose out contracts to India. As a progressive, I see the story as "more lives will be saved". The drugs made by non-US pharmaceuticals will eventually pass tests. It isn't to hard to make good drugs instead of bad. Some of these corporate paid Conservatives aren't even aware of their own evil. They should go read Dicken's A Christmas Carol again.
    • Related:
  • The Weight
    • 'This crisis sneaked up on us. Three decades of hoopla about the fitness craze in America obscured the reality that health clubs are generally frequented by an elite minority. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight, with about 30 percent obese, according to the CDC. Although the weight problem is greatest in the South, no region or group of people is exempt. While Mississippi's obesity rate is 26 percent, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, all three at around 20 percent, are plagued by the problem, too. And national health officials believe that many state figures are underreported, suggesting that obesity rates everywhere are higher.'
    • ' Even so, Americans' collective affluence means that we eat for less than we once did, actually. You don't become an obese nation unless food is a relative bargain. Meals consume about 10 percent of the average American family's income, about half of what food cost (adjusted for inflation) in the 1950s, according to public and private researchers. '
    • 'Limitless food and sedentary lives coupled to produce obesity's explosion. From 1960 to 2000, according to the National Institutes of Health, the percentage of obese American adults under age 75 more than doubled, jumping about 8 percent in the 1990s alone. About 15 percent of children from 6-year-olds through teens are overweight, up from 5 percent two decades ago, while the risk that such children will become overweight adults is a dispiriting 80 percent.'
    • EXERCISE MORE, EAT LESS! And fast now and then.
  • The lock-up diet. Possibly this poor girl has a severe medical condition that explains her weight problems, but such conditions are very rare.

Humanity

Images

Iraq

  • German TV news report (and take a deep breath, folks): Children at Abu Ghraib
    • ' a German TV newsmagazine called Report Mainz broadcast an eight-minute segment reporting that the International Red Cross found at least 107 children in coaliton-administered detention centers in Iraq. '
    • ' In addition to the Red Cross and UNICEF concerns, Report Mainz broadcast an original interview with U.S. Army Sgt. Samuel Provance, who was stationed for six months at Abu Ghraib and later quite famously blew the whistle about abuses there and the subsequent cover-up. In this interview, Provance confirms the presence of teenagers in Abu Ghraib, describing the torture-by-cold-and-exposure of a teenage boy in order to get his father to talk. '
    • Related: Norway reacts to torture of children. ' As a reaction to the alleged torture of children, Norwegian authorities state they will address the US both politically and diplomatically and clearly state that it is not tolerated. '

Local

  • BlackoutSolutions.org.
    • ' On August 14, 2003, a "perfect-storm" of peak demand, computer malfunctions, obsolete equipment, inadequate training and miscommunication resulted in the worst blackout in North American history leaving 50 million people in the dark. Just two days later "The Special Task Force on the Condition and Future of the Illinois Energy Infrastructure" was created. '
    • A few dozen people can take down much of the utilities infrastructure of this country. The 2003 multi-state black out was unintentional. Simultaneous attacks on the power plant or transmission line (backbone) level could cascade to an even more massive black out. Similar attacks could be done to the water supply and oil supply. There are also multiple points where illnesses and disease can be massively distributed.
  • We weigh the options: 6 burritos, 1 winner. ¡Burrito grande! La Pasadita offers a 0.75 kg (27 oz) burrito, so the restaurants in Chicago that advertise "burritos as big as your head" must mean it literally.

Martial Arts

  • A Farewell to the Corps
    • 'The following is the retirement address of Marine Col Wayne Shaw who retired recently after more than 28 years of service.'
    • ' The modern service member is well read and informed. He knows more about strategy, diplomacy and current events that Captains knew when I first joined. He reads national newspapers and professional journals and is tuned into CNN. Gone are the days of the PFC who sat in Butzbach in the Fulda Gap or Camp Schwab on Okinawa and scanned the Stars and Stripes sports page and listened to AFN. Yet our senior leadership continue to treat him like a moron from the hinterland who wouldn't understand what goes on. '
    • ' He is remarkably well disciplined in that he does what he is told to do even though he knows it is stupid. He is very stoic, but not blind. Yet I see senior leaders all of the time who pile more on. One should remind them that their first platoon in 1968 would have told them to stick it where the sun doesn't shine. These new Warriors only think it.......He is well aware of the moral cowardice of his seniors and their habit of taking the easy way out that results in more pain and work for their subordinates. This must be reversed. The senior leadership must have the morale courage to stop the misuse and abuse of the current force. '
    • ' We are in the midst of monumental leadership failure at the senior levels. Just recently Gen Shelton (CJCS) testified that he didn't know we had a readiness problem or pay problems.... Can you imagine that level of isolation? We must fix our own leadership problems soon. Quality of life is paid lip service and everyone below the rank of Col. knows it. We need tough, realistic and challenging training. But we don't need low pay, no medical benefits and ghetto housing. There is only so much our morality should allow us to ask of families. Isn't it bad enough that we ask the service members to sacrifice their lives without asking their families to sacrifice their education and well being too? '
  • Guns Worn In Open Legal, But Alarm Va.
    • It seems that people are exercising their rights to openly bear arms in Virginia. I'm so jealous!
    • ' In Virginia, as in many states, carrying a concealed weapon requires a permit, issued by a local court. But no permit is required to simply wield a gun in the open, a right reinforced by a state law that took effect July 1. Not so in the District and Maryland, unless you're a police or federal officer. '
    • ' "Crime is at 20-year lows in the county," Lt. Col. Charles K. Peters pointed out, even though the population is soaring. The county's homicide rate was the lowest in the nation last year among the 30 largest jurisdictions. "Hopefully no one feels the need to carry a gun, lawfully or unlawfully," Peters said. "But there's no question it is lawful to carry a gun on the street. So we've had to ensure that all of our officers are updated on the nuances of Virginia law that allow citizens to carry firearms in public places." '
    • ' Perez said an officer spoke with the men, then took their guns and charged them with possession of a firearm in a public place. Virginia law 18.2-287.4 expressly prohibits "carrying loaded firearms in public areas." But the second paragraph of the law defines firearms only as any semiautomatic weapon that holds more than 20 rounds or a shotgun that holds more than seven rounds -- assault rifles, mostly, Van Cleave said. Regular six-shooters or pistols with nine- or 10-shot magazines are not "firearms" under this Virginia law. '
  • By y2karl at Metafilter:

Media

Money

  • Why Do We Need the IMF?
    • A little game that explains why people "need" the International Monetary Fund. Personally I see the WB and the IMF as good-hearted "theory" organizations that have a tendency to muck up a country's free market, self-design, and infrastructure. If they really wanted to do good, they should give grants instead of loans.
    • Related:
  • Microsoft to share its wealth with investors
    • ' Microsoft said it will spend about $14 billion over four years in boosting its dividend to a total of 32 cents per share a year, essentially doubling the past year's dividend of 16 cents per share. The company expects to spend $32 billion on the one-time payout and $30 billion on the stock buyback. As of March, Microsoft had $56.4 billion in cash and short-term investments. In addition, analysts say the company generates in the range of $12 billion a year in cash, meaning that even with the buyback and dividends, the company should have plenty of cash in four years' time. '
    • Better buy more Microsoft stock now!
  • Halliburton probed over Iran ties
  • Sony, BMG Merge into One Grotesque Abomination. 'Sony Music and Bertelsmann Music Group (aka BMG) announced that they have merged to form the world's second largest recorded music company, coming in a close second to everyone's favorite media conglomerate, Universal Music Group. Sony BMG now controls more than 22% of the global music market, with sales totaling around $8 billion annually. The merger now leaves the music industry with just four major labels: Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, WEA, and EMI.'

Movies

  • 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Making GOP Nervous. ' Republicans initially dismissed "Fahrenheit 9/11" as a cinematic screed that would play mostly to inveterate Bush bashers. Four weeks and $94 million later, the film is still pulling in moviegoers at 2,000 theaters around the country, making Republicans nervous as it settles into the American mainstream. '
  • Aristophanes: the Michael Moore of his day. ' "The Knights" was the "Fahrenheit 9/11" of ancient Greece. It's a direct personal attack on Cleon, the head of the Athenian State and chief cheerleader for the Peloponnesian war. Cleon was a useless, two-bit demagogue (The historian Thucydides called him "malignant" and "the most violent of citizens"), but malignant demagogues are often wildly popular. '

Music

  • Flea market suitcase yields Beatles trove. 'All you need is luck: A vacationer who purchased a suitcase at an Australian flea market found a trove of Beatles memorabilia inside, including photos, concert programs and unreleased recordings, The Times newspaper reported Tuesday.'
  • Turbulence.org/Works/song/mono.html.
    • 'The diagrams in The Shape of Song display musical form as a sequence of translucent arches. Each arch connects two repeated, identical passages of a composition. By using repeated passages as signposts, the diagram illustrates the deep structure of the composition.'
    • Fascinating visual insight into the structure of songs. Plus it has a nice bunch of MIDI music to listen to.
  • Labels think 'Louder Is Better', but has it gone too far?. If I were an audiophile, this would make me bitter.

Science

  • "One in a Million" by Freeman Dyson
    • Dyson's review of the book Debunked! ESP, Telekinesis, and Other Pseudoscience by Georges Charpak and Henri Broch, translated from the French by Bart K. Holland.
    • ' Littlewood's Law of Miracles states that in the course of any normal person's life, miracles happen at a rate of roughly one per month. The proof of the law is simple. During the time that we are awake and actively engaged in living our lives, roughly for eight hours each day, we see and hear things happening at a rate of about one per second. So the total number of events that happen to us is about thirty thousand per day, or about a million per month. With few exceptions, these events are not miracles because they are insignificant. The chance of a miracle is about one per million events. Therefore we should expect about one miracle to happen, on the average, every month. '
      • Then there are miracles which are not just extremely low in probability, but are impossible, i.e. they break the known laws of physics or the like.
    • ' There are two extreme points of view concerning the role of science in human understanding. At one extreme is the reductionist view, holding that all kinds of knowledge, from physics and chemistry to psychology and philosophy and sociology and history and ethics and religion, can be reduced to science. Whatever cannot be reduced to science is not knowledge. The reductionist view was forcibly expressed by Edward Wilson in his recent book Consilience. At the other extreme is the traditional view, that knowledge comes from many independent sources, and science is only one of them. Knowledge of good and evil, knowledge of grace and beauty, knowledge of ethical and artistic values, knowledge of human nature derived from history and literature or from intimate acquaintance with family and friends, knowledge of the nature of things derived from meditation or from religion, all are sources of knowledge that stand side by side with science, parts of a human heritage that is older than science and perhaps more enduring. Most people hold views intermediate between the two extremes. Charpak and Broch are close to the reductionist extreme, while I am close to the traditional extreme. '
    • ' I am suggesting that paranormal mental abilities and scientific method may be complementary. The word "complementary" is a technical term introduced into physics by Niels Bohr. It means that two descriptions of nature may both be valid but cannot be observed simultaneously. The classic example of complementarity is the dual nature of light. In one experiment light is seen to behave as a continuous wave, in another experiment it behaves as a swarm of particles, but we cannot see the wave and the particles in the same experiment. Complementarity in physics is an established fact. The extension of the idea of complementarity to mental phenomena is pure speculation. But I find it plausible that a world of mental phenomena should exist, too fluid and evanescent to be grasped with the cumbersome tools of science. '
  • Scientists analyze perception of 'self'. 'Ehrsson, working with Oxford University psychologists, manipulated volunteers' perceptions of their own bodies through three senses - vision, touch and proprioception, the sense of where an object is located in space.'
  • Plankton Cool Off With Own Clouds. 'Phytoplankton may be small, but that doesn't mean they can't do big things -- like change the weather to suit their needs. A recent study funded by NASA's Earth Science Department shows that the tiny sea plants release high quantities of cloud-forming compounds [dimethylsulfoniopropionate, or DMSP] on days when the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays are especially strong. The compounds evaporate into the air through a series of chemical processes that result in especially reflective clouds. This, in turn, blocks the radiation from bothering the phytoplankton. '

Sex [assume NSFW]

  • Love on the Quiet. 'While New York is legendary as a place where gays and lesbians can live openly and free from prejudice, Mr. Briggs's story reveals a great deal about what might be called the other gay New York.'
  • The Gay & Lesbian Atlas
    • 'Drawing on the most recent data from the U.S. Census, this groundbreaking work offers a detailed geographic and demographic portrait of gay and lesbian families in all 50 states plus the top 25 U.S. metropolitan areas.'
    • GL map of NYC [PDF]

US

  • "Democracy in the Balance" by Bill Moyers
    • I am shocked and grieved that Conservatives can read something like this piece by Bill Moyers and call these ideas "un-American" or "un-patriotic".
    • ' THIS IS A TIME of testing - for people of faith and for people who believe in democracy. How do we nurture the healing side of religion over the killing side? How do we protect the soul of democracy against the contagion of a triumphalist theology in the service of an imperial state? At stake is America's role in the world. At stake is the very character of the American Experiment - whether "we, the people" is the political incarnation of a spiritual truth - one nation, indivisible - or a stupendous fraud. '
    • ' Nothing seems to embarrass the political class in Washington today. Not the fact that more children are growing up in poverty in America than in any other industrial nation; not the fact that millions of workers are actually making less money today in real dollars than they did 20 years ago; not the fact that working people are putting in longer and longer hours just to stay in place; not the fact that while we have the most advanced medical care in the world, nearly 44 million Americans - eight out of 10 of them in working families - are uninsured and cannot get the basic care they need. '
    • ' Nor is the political class embarrassed by the fact that the gap between rich and poor is greater than it's been in 50 years - the worst inequality among all Western nations. They don't seem to have noticed that we have been experiencing a shift in poverty. For years it was said that single jobless mothers are down there at the bottom. For years it was said that work, education, and marriage is how they move up the economic ladder. But poverty is showing up where we didn't expect it - among families that include two parents, a worker, and a head of the household with more than a high school education. These are the newly poor. These are the people our political and business class expects to climb out of poverty on an escalator moving downward. '
    • ' For years now a small fraction of American households have been garnering an extreme concentration of wealth and income while large corporations and financial institutions have obtained unprecedented levels of economic and political power over daily life. In 1960, the gap in terms of wealth between the top 20 percent and the bottom 20 percent was 30-fold. Four decades later it is more than 75-fold. Such concentrations of wealth would be far less of an issue if the rest of society was benefiting proportionately and equality was growing. That's not the case. '
    • ' And household economics "is not the only area where inequality is growing in America." We are also losing the historic balance between wealth and commonwealth. The report goes on to describe "a fanatical drive to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that have shaped public responsibility for social harms arising from the excesses of private power." That drive is succeeding, with drastic consequences for an equitable access to and control of public resources, the lifeblood of any democracy. From land, water, and other natural resources to media and the broadcast and digital spectrums, to scientific discovery and medical breakthroughs, and even to politics itself, a broad range of the American commons is undergoing a powerful shift in the direction of private control. '
    • ' THAT'S THE SHAME of politics today. The consequences: "When powerful interests shower Washington with millions in campaign contributions, they often get what they want. But it is ordinary citizens and firms that pay the price, and most of them never see it coming," according to Time magazine. Time concludes that America now has "government for the few at the expense of the many." '
    • ' That's why so many people are turned off by politics. It's why we can't put things right. And it's wrong. Hear the great Justice Learned Hand on this: "If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: 'Thou shalt not ration justice.'" He got it right: The rich have the right to buy more homes than anyone else. They have the right to buy more cars, more clothes, or more vacations than anyone else. But they don't have the right to buy more democracy than anyone else. '
    • ' To put political muscle behind these ideas, they created a formidable political machine. Thomas Edsall of The Washington Post, one of the few journalists to cover the issues of class, wrote: "During the 1970s, business refined its ability to act as a class, submerging competitive instincts in favor of joint, cooperative action in the legislative area." Big business political action committees flooded the political arena with a deluge of dollars. And they built alliances with the Religious Right - Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority and Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition - who happily contrived a cultural war as a smokescreen to hide the economic plunder of the very people who were enlisted as foot soldiers in the war. '
    • ' Look at the spoils of victory: Over the past three years, they've pushed through $2 trillion dollars in tax cuts. More than half of the benefits are going to the wealthiest 1 percent. You could call it trickle-down economics, except that the only thing that trickled down was a sea of red ink in our state and local governments, forcing them to cut services and raise taxes on middle class working America. Now the Congressional Budget Office forecasts deficits totaling $2.75 trillion over the next 10 years. These deficits have been part of their strategy. The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan tried to warn us, when he predicted that President Reagan's real strategy was to force the government to cut domestic social programs by fostering federal deficits of historic dimensions. President Reagan's own budget director, David Stockman, admitted as much. Now the leading right-wing political strategist, Grover Norquist, says the goal is to "starve the beast" - with trillions of dollars in deficits resulting from trillions of dollars in tax cuts, until the U.S. government is so anemic and anorexic it can be drowned in the bathtub. '
    • ' And, yes, they are proud of what they have done to our economy and our society. If instead of producing a news magazine I was writing for Saturday Night Live, I couldn't have made up the things that this crew in Washington have been saying. The president's chief economic adviser says shipping technical and professional jobs overseas is good for the economy. The president's Council of Economic Advisers reports that hamburger chefs in fast food restaurants can be considered manufacturing workers. The president's labor secretary says it doesn't matter if job growth has stalled because "the stock market is the ultimate arbiter." And the president's Federal Reserve chair says that the tax cuts may force cutbacks in Social Security - but hey, we should make the tax cuts permanent anyway. You just can't make this stuff up. You have to hear it to believe it. This may be the first class war in history where the victims will die laughing. '
    • ' And they hijacked Jesus. The very Jesus who stood in Nazareth and proclaimed, "The Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor." The very Jesus who told 5,000 hungry people that all of you will be fed, not just some of you. The very Jesus who challenged the religious orthodoxy of the day by feeding the hungry on the Sabbath, who offered kindness to the prostitute and hospitality to the outcast, who raised the status of women and treated even the tax collector like a child of God. The very Jesus who drove the money changers from the temple. This Jesus has been hijacked and turned into a guardian of privilege instead of a champion of the dispossessed. Hijacked, he was made over into a militarist, hedonist, and lobbyist, sent prowling the halls of Congress in Guccis, seeking tax breaks and loopholes for the powerful, costly new weapon systems that don't work, and punitive public policies. '
    • ' Our times cry out for a new politics of justice. This is no partisan issue. It doesn't matter if you're a liberal or a conservative, Jesus is both and neither. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or Republican, Jesus is both and neither. We need a faith that takes on the corruption of both parties. We need a faith that challenges complacency of all power. If you're a Democrat, shake them up. If you're a Republican, shame them. Jesus drove the money changers from the temple. We must drive them from the temples of democracy. Let's get Jesus back. '
  • Failure Is Not an Option, It's Mandatory
    • ' For more than three decades, the Republican Party has relied on the "culture war" to rescue their chances every four years, from Richard Nixon's campaign against the liberal news media to George H. W. Bush's campaign against the liberal flag-burners. In this culture war, the real divide is between "regular people" and an endlessly scheming "liberal elite." This strategy allows them to depict themselves as friends of the common people even as they gut workplace safety rules and lay plans to turn Social Security over to Wall Street. Most important, it has allowed Republicans to speak the language of populism. '
    • ' Losing is prima facie evidence that the basic conservative claim is true: that the country is run by liberals; that the world is unfair; that the majority is persecuted by a sinister elite. And that therefore you, my red-state friend, had better get out there and vote as if your civilization depended on it. '
  • Minister of Fear [Flash animation]. Remain calm, but ahhh!
  • U.S. claim of terror cases in Iowa raises doubt
    • The Bush FUD Machine® in action!
    • ' Federal prosecutors claim they built 35 terrorism-related cases in Iowa in the two years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but most of the defendants have questionable links to violent extremism. ... Lumping minor crimes under the terrorism label could wrongly heighten public anxiety and provide a questionable rationale for more anti-terror resources, critics say. '
    • 'Included among the 35 cases were:
      • Four American-born laborers who omitted mention of prior drug convictions or other crimes when they were assigned by a contractor to a runway construction project at the Des Moines airport or when they applied for manual-labor jobs there.
      • Five Mexican citizens who stole cans of baby formula from store shelves throughout Iowa and sold them to a man of Arab descent for later resale. '
  • ACLU.org/pizza [Flash animation].
    • Pretty funny simulation of what it would be like to order a pizza in a world without privacy.
    • 'The government and corporations are aggressively collecting information about your personal life and your habits. They want to track your purchases, your medical records, and even your relationships. The Bush Administration's policies, coupled with invasive new technologies, could eliminate your right to privacy completely. Please help us protect our privacy rights and prevent the Total Surveillance Society.'
  • Imperial Amnesia. 'The United States invaded a distant country to share the blessings of democracy. But after being welcomed as liberators, U.S. troops encountered a bloody insurrection. Sound familiar? Don't think Iraq--think the Philippines and Mexico decades ago. U.S. President George W. Bush and his advisors have embarked on a historic mission to change the world. Too bad they ignored the lessons of history.'

US Elections

  • This Land [Flash animation]. Very funny and right down the middle --it pokes fun at both candidates. Yes, I've posted it before but now it has a more reliable host.

Words

  • Words Woe & Wonder. I love style guides and such. This one covers recent problems such as Saddam or Mr. Hussein? (his full name is something like "Saddam Hussein al-Majid al-Tikriti", i.e. "Saddam, son of Hussein al-Majid, part of the al-Tikriti tribe".
  • Drunk Talk. 'The New Crop of Bar Slang'

World

  • By homunculus at Metafilter
    • '34 Million Friends was founded by Lois Abraham and Jane Roberts to gather private contributions for the United Nations Population Fund, and had gathered $1,957,613.31 in gifts and pledges as of July 4. For the third year in a row, the Bush administration is withholding $34 million in aid because of accusations that UNFPA supports China's policy of coercive abortions, despite evidence to the contrary. UNFPA estimates the money could have helped prevent as many as 2 million unwanted pregnancies, 800,000 abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths, and over 77,000 infant deaths. '
    • The stench of Bush's evil is unbearably disgusting.

2004-07-28t16:20:29Z | RE: aaBlog. Animation, Video. Computers. Cyber Life. Engineering. Games. Humanity. Images. Local. Movies. Programming. Sex. Show Biz. US Elections. Web. Words. World.
2004-07-28t16:20:29Z

aaBlog

  • I go thru this now and then: I promise not to overe-quote my links! I'll just have to consume my links, make a little quote, a few comments, and hope that my entry has enough keywords in it so that I can find it in my archives if I need to. Plus I really should work on more of my original content. I seem to be putting original content elsewhere in my site and then not mention it in my blog.

Animation, Video

Computers

  • Isn't Now the Time to Try a Linux Desktop?. Includes links to the latest Linux alternatives to Windows.
  • Jackito-PDA.com
  • Universal Product Code (UPC) and EAN Article Numbering Code (EAN)
  • Microsoft: Expect 1 Billion-Plus Windows PCs by 2010. Up from the current 600,000 PCs now. Maybe, but if I were a country just starting to get into computers, then you'd think that a PC with a free Linux OS and free open-source software would be a good choice.
  • Sun: A CEO's Last Stand
    • 'Sun's sales have tumbled 48% in the past three years, it has lost a third of its market share -- and it continues to head south even as its rivals ride the economic recovery. Its stock, which reached $64 in 2000, trades at about $4. No other major player has been weakened as much during the tech downturn.'
    • I've never been worried about Apple over the years but Sun lost it's shine somewhere along the road. Perhaps it got too muddied by Microsoft. The mid and low ends are going Linux and Microsoft. Sun should release their software and Java to open source, then cash out.
  • Interview with Brad Silverberg, former chief of Microsoft Windows division
  • SCO flops in DaimlerChrysler Unix lawsuit. Case dismissed: Choke on that SCO!
  • Improving keyboards.
    • Lately I've been thinking about improving keyboard layouts.
    • It all started with my watch. I stopped wearing a watch years ago when my wife and I started having kids in 1998. Having kids meant that I often had to pick up a sleeping child, which meant I had to slip my hands underneath them, which meant that if I wanted to avoid scratching them that I had to take my watch off frequently. I noticed that I had to take my watch off to avoid scratching kids, to wash my hands, to take a shower, to go to bed, etc. I also lost watches now and then. The last straw was when I started relying on my cell phone to get the time. So I stopped wearing a watch.
    • However a few months ago, I took a trip to the Philippines and so I wore a watch on the trip. I was constantly using my watch to do currency exchange calculations plus I was using the dual-time zone. So when I got back, I wanted to see if it was time for me to wear a watch again.
    • That is why I only just now noticed how annoying the keyboard layout on my laptop is. If I wear my watch while keyboarding, then the watch is pressed into my wrist by the wrist rest. I have no problem with a regular desktop keyboard because it has no wrist rest. This got me thinking about keyboards again.
    • Here is a typical keyboard for a laptop with the confounded wrist rest. I never use the wrist pad or the touch pad. I've always been annoyed by the different keyboard layouts on different laptops --it makes you appreciate how relatively consistent most desktop keyboards are. I also hate how some laptop keyboards have smaller keys.
      typical laptop keyboard
    • I noticed that some older laptops didn't have a wrist rest --but look at all that dead space.
      laptop keyboard without a wrist rest
    • Here is typical keyboard layout for desktops. Macs will have the OPT key instead of the ALT key plus an additional CMD key (looks like a clover). Newer PCs also have the WIN key (looks like the Windows logo) and APP key (looks like a drop down list), but those are trivial differences.
      typical desktop keyboard
    • My dream keyboard layout would be exactly the same for desktops and laptops.
      • The smaller horizontal foot print leaves more room for the mouse on the side.
      • The increased vertical foot print is fine because most desks have vertical space to accommodate a typical portrait laid sheet of paper and it eliminates that nasty wrist rest. Plus the stuff on top middle aren't used that often anyway.
      • The overall layout is closer to the 4x3 dimensions of most laptop screens (except for Macs).
      • This layout will work with legacy systems because I haven't eliminated any of the keys (although all the keys in the editing keys in the upper right could have been eliminated since they are duplicated on the numeric keypad).
      • If a keyboard has a power button, it is extremely annoying because it gets accidentally pressed --one simple solution would be to require that 2 buttons be pressed to simultaneously to power on or off.
      • I've kept in enough white space to clearly delineate the different sections, but even given the white space, there is plenty of room for other keys.
      • To make keyboards work for Mac, Window, Linux, etc., there should be a "ALT/OPT" key and a "WIN/CMD" key.
      • keyboard layout by George Hernandez

Cyber Life

  • DVDs will be obsolete in 10 years: Bill Gates. Gee, I thought everyone knew this. People will still want copies of images, music, movies, etc., but everything will be digital and it shouldn't really matter if your data is on a CD, DVD, min-CD, flashcard, or whatever they come up with.

Engineering

Games

  • Is Math a Sport? And what about target shooting, Skee-Ball, and standing on one foot?
    • ' Can math really be a sport? That depends how you define "sport," something the IOC has carefully declined to do. It's not easy--try it yourself. Must a sport require physical exertion? If so, does target shooting count? And if you do count it--presumably because non-exertive physical skills like accuracy are athletic, too--then aren't you bound to include billiards, darts, and Skee-Ball? By what means do you distinguish between elemental physical trials like weightlifting and the marathon, and elemental physical trials like standing on one foot, or urinating for distance, or holding your breath as long as you can? '
      • Math doesn't need to be a sport because the whole academic field of math is open to all players. Many other activities
    • ' The philosopher Bernard Suits defines a sport as a game that meets the following four criteria: "(1) that the game be a game of skill; (2) that the skill be physical; (3) that the game have a wide following; and (4) that the following achieve a certain level of stability." '
      • Sort of arbitrary. Video games require physical skill don't they?
    • ' Consider for example the proceedings that we call "games." I mean board-games, card-games, ball-games, Olympic games, and so on. What is common to them all? Don't say: "There must be something common, or they would not be called 'games' "--but look and see whether there is anything common to all. ... How should we explain to someone what a game is? I imagine that we should describe games to him, and we might add: "This and similar things are called games." And do we know any more about it ourselves? '
      • The last quote was from Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. It turns me on when philosophers are mentioned in the mainstream media! While defining "game" is like defining "beauty", defining it is not perceived as a high-minded pursuit.
    • Related:
  • Multiplayer Gaming's Quiet Revolution
    • 'We naturally express ourselves through movement, bodily attitude, and facial expressions. This primal and vital method of communication, although universal in appeal, has historically been unrealized. The early days of text-chatting were all about the literal. 2D graphics changed our way of thinking about expression, offering the potential to "show" rather than "tell." The 3D graphics found in games and virtual reality formed a primordial ooze of potential and expanded into the massively-multiplayer realm. Places such as The Sims Online and There gave us a glimpse at things to come. The introduction of user-created animation in Second Life has opened our eyes to a future cyberspace where technology empowers rather than suppresses humanity.'
    • The possibility of more sophisticated movements and facial expressions can be much more interesting than some of the games.

Humanity

  • 2x2 matrix illuminates strategies. ' Much of our life is spent in the quadrant of low importance and high urgency. Most of us should be spending far more time on matters that have little urgency but high importance. The 2x2 matrix is about as simple as a chart can be: Just take two factors that have some relationship with one another, assign one the horizontal axis and the other the vertical axis. ... Now Toronto consultant Alex Lowy and his Silicon Valley-based partner, Phil Hood, have gathered together 300 such commonly used matrices and present the best 55 in The Power of The 2x2 Matrix [Amazon]. '
  • Synergy
    • I've been thinking lately that it's one thing to read about stuff and study stuff, but really you also have to do stuff and talk about stuff with people.
      • Analogy 1: Listening to music on CDs v listening to live music. Playing music by yourself v playing with others.
      • Analogy 2: Reading about martial arts v observing martial arts. Practicing martial arts by yourself v practicing with others.
    • Sometimes, esp. when you're advanced, only you can advance yourself further. But sometimes geometrically more complexity can be attained when people interact with each other, than when a person is alone.
    • There is a caveat: You have to interact with the right people in the right way otherwise it's not productive. There is good debate and there is bad debate. One of the worst things about America right now is that we are so divided that there isn't any debate, let alone productive debate.
  • LandmarkEducation.com. One of my friends just went thru a multi-day seminar with these folks

Images

  • FotoLog.net.
    • 'Fotolog.net is a website that lets you easily put your digital photos on the web in a daily log format. If friends/family have their own Fotologs, you can see everyone's latest photos on one page and link back and forth to each other. And, you can comment in each other's guest books.'
    • Even if you don't use FotoLog.net to make a photo log, it still has a lot of potentially interesting images.

Local

  • Tech breakdown nearly stops Tribune presses. ' The Chicago Tribune, which hasn't missed an edition since the Great Fire of 1871, came perilously close to doing just that Monday. Because of a computer breakdown, about 40 percent of subscribers received no paper Monday. And those that did got a truncated version with strange page numbering and unusual placement of some features. '

Movies

  • TeamAmericaMovie.com
    • ' Team America: World Police. Putting the "F" back in freedom. From the creators of South Park. Coming October 2004'
    • I just found out about this movie today. It looks like it could be a lot of fun.
    • Related:
    • According to IMDB, the plot is "arionette superheroes fight to end terrorism and put tired celebrities out of their misery".
    • The message board at IMDB led me to these episode of Princess, that are clearly by the South Park guys. NSFW, even more so than a typical South Park episode.
  • Special Announcement: Episode III Title. It's official! The name will be Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Wicked Maroon and Black; I like it --dark, cool but fiery. I like the phrases they're using such as "Before the helmet". I hope Hayden Christensen looks less like a punk kid and more like a dark lord. Of course the movie itself won't be released until 2005-05-19. May George Lucas redeem himself with this one.
    Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Michael Moore Breaks $100 Million in Box Office Receipts

Programming

  • Open source kills jobs, says Gates. Partially true but programmer love to emphasize and work on apps for the love and pride of it.
  • Digital disgust. ' Too many other computerized products and computer programs, however, force you to get bogged down in so many options, functions, and modes that you may just give up before finding the simple thing you want to do. Moreover, the simple thing may be what most people do 90 percent of the time. '
  • Hitchhiker's Guide to Biomorphic Software

Sex [assume NSFW]

Show Biz

  • Ronstadt casino furore over Moore
    • 'US singer Linda Ronstadt was booed and removed from a Las Vegas casino for praising film-maker Michael Moore and his film Fahrenheit 9/11 during a show. ... Some among the crowd of 4,500 stormed out, tore down concert posters and tossed cocktails into the air.'
    • It's amazing that anti-Bush celebrities aren't allowed to express themselves but pro-Bush celebrities are given free reign.

US Elections

  • The 2004 Democratic National Convention begins today [2004-07-26 Mon]. Here are the top sites returned by a Google search:
  • The 2004 Republican National Convention begins 2004-08-30 in NYC. Here are the top sites returned by a Google search:
  • Who would bin Laden vote for?
    • ' al-Qaeda loves Bush.
      • al-Qaeda Says So: As Reuters reported an letter from an al-Qaeda group said "it supported U.S. President George W. Bush in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry, as it was not possible to find a leader 'more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom. … Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilisation. … Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected.' It seems pretty clear this isn't reverse psychology.
      • Experts Say So: Anonymous, a top CIA expert on al-Qaeda, has concluded that al-Qaeda loves President Bush, and might go so far as to plan an election attack to rally the country around Bush. "I'm very sure they can't have a better administration for them than the one they have now. … One way to keep the Republicans in power is to mount an attack that would rally the country around the president." This isn't partisanship, because Anonymous is even more hawkish than Bush is.
      • Facts Say So: Even administration officials concede "al-Qaeda has morphed into a loose and expanding association of regional terror cells [and] the Iraq war has fueled rather than doused the fires of jihad." Furthermore, Bush let bin Laden escape while he's left the US dangerously insecure. '

Web

  • Changing the Face of Web Surfing. 'Many who are fed up with high-profile design mess-ups are taking it upon themselves to publicly correct conspicuous corporate faux pas, right under embarrassed proprietors' noses. These volunteer make-over consultants receive neither a paycheck nor permission for their efforts. Regarded as Good Samaritans in Web circles, many can instead expect the threat of a day in court. '

Words

  • The ampersand.
    • Adobe does a history of the ampersand. Via http://kastalia.free.fr/serendipity/index.php?p=33.
    • ' The term ampersand, as Geoffrey Glaister writes in his "Glossary of the Book," is a corruption of and (&) per se and, which literally means "(the character) & by itself (is the word) and." The symbol & is derived from the ligature of ET or et, which is the Latin word for "and."
  • Speaking Plainly
    • I just read about writing and speaking plainly in the paper so I thought I'd throw in a few links about it.
    • PlainEnglish.co.uk. 'Plain English Campaign is an independent pressure group fighting for public information to be written in plain English. We have more than 6000 registered supporters in 70 countries.'
    • PlainLanguage.gov. 'The Plain Language Action & Information Network is a government-wide group of volunteers working to improve communications from the federal government to the public.'

World

  • Japan school kids to be tagged with RFID chips. The Japanese are all about conformity so this isn't surprising.
  • Arroyo vows to reform economy: President defends Iraq troop pullout
    • ' Arroyo identified five "key reform packages" that her administration would put into effect: "job creation, anti-corruption, social justice and basic needs, education and youth opportunities, and energy independence and savings." Arroyo said the Philippines must take bolder steps in the next six years. '
    • ' Sacrificing dela Cruz, she said, "would have been a pointless provocation" that would have put at risk the lives of a million and a half Filipinos working in the Middle East. '
    • ' The Philippines has one of the highest unemployment rates in Southeast Asia and its economy has been among the worst performers in the region. These chronic factors prompt at least 2,500 Filipinos to leave the country every day to try their luck abroad, making the Philippines one of the biggest exporters of labor in the world. '
    • ' Aquino said all those changes were needed to unite the country. "Our nation is divided by social and economic fault lines," she said. "The tectonic plates may shift with unthinkable consequences." '
    • I was against her troop withdrawal as a response to a hostage situation, but I her policy of getting out of a mess made by the US and working on the infrastructure of the Philippines is an excellent one.
Exploring odd subjects including myself. GeorgeHernandez.com
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