Archives by year:

To jobs whose function is known, to a new year of witlessness:  Happy New Year!  (CST)
Literal translations of various Finnish surnames:

Kompa = Mr. Trick question
Kunnaton = Mr. Without municipality
Varovaara = Mr. Beware of danger
Using science to create perfect techno:
. . .according to Kelly's Grand Unified Theory, the perfect form of music is an infinitely long, totally consistent 140bpm abstract kick with offbeat high-hat.
How to build a Scanning-Tunneling electron microscope:
It doesn't look good for the Beagle 2 Mars Lander.  (But not all hope is lost; they will try again tonight.)  The orbiter, however, proceeds without a hitch.
Having been compelled recently to cook from recipes by Martha Stewart, I have a burning desire to cook things a tad bit more . . . harmful.
Soros opposes voter brain-washing with $12M.

If Americans reject the president's policies at the polls, America can write off the Bush Doctrine as a temporary aberration and resume its rightful place in the world. If American voters endorse those policies, the US shall have to live with the hostility of the world and endure a vicious cycle of escalating violence.

The gamut of the paranoid logic against Soros:
I added new site functionality.  You can now attach extra links onto any entry.  Click on an entry's date to view the entry by itself.  The rest should be self explanatory.
Powerpoint makes you stupid:

The Gettysburg Address as a PP presentation:
Supersonic flight was achieved by a private company for the first time today.  Here is an entertaining mission run-down:
New creative commons flash movie.  Pretty cool.  Apparently, it's so new, it's not up yet.
via &

So far, my only use of these is on my Transformers reviews site (at the bottom):
A photo of Mars taken by ESA's Mars Express on 1 December from 5.5M km away.  On the 19th it will launch a lander (Beagle 2) which is planned to land on the morning of the 25th.
Mission URL:
  (Don't miss flash "Where is Mars Express Now" on the right.)

Also, NASA's Cassini is 111M km from Saturn and approaching.  It also took a snapshot of its destination (set to orbit and take pictures).
Mission URL:
Bizarre Howard Dean supporter tales.  Despite my more reasonable judgement, I think I am inspired.

(Kind of long.  I recommend skimming parts.)
The death penalty is more expensive to administer than life in prison.  Shocking.  Here is a decent overview:
Should ICANN, or ITU govern the internet?  There seem to be some strong international divides.

Also, a more technical examination at all the useless crap flying around TCP/IP.
The Internet being what it is, I suppose I shouldn't be shocked that there's a huge industry-site dedicated to pomegranates.  But I am.
I am very sorry for a nagging bug on the Shrub of Consciousness;  it appears that until now (possibly in certain browsers, in certain situations) it was intermittently registering new thoughts as skipped thoughts.  I believe the issue is fixed now, so go on playing the Shrub, or feeding the Shrub, or fertilizing it, or whatever one does.
This is a characteristic essay by George Soros (extremely rich philanthropist).  [Found via Mitch, via Agnry Arab.]

The quest for American supremacy qualifies as a bubble. The dominant position the United States occupies in the world is the element of reality that is being distorted. The proposition that the United States will be better off if it uses its position to impose its values and interests everywhere is the misconception. It is exactly by not abusing its power that America attained its current position.

AT - I'm thinking that the resistence of gay marriage is just as compatible with this economic bubble analogy also.
Young children are asked to review various songs by bands like Barcelona, the Strokes, and Yo La Tengo:
devan: that's disgusting! miss allen, you should not be letting little kids listen to songs about a boyfriend. that's dirty.

amanda: it's not dirty! it's only dirty if they say the word "booty." (multiple pages, via metafilter)
Hate to be so predictable, but ...
Two unrelated articles on the core of Microsoft (It is good to remind ourselves of the phenomena at hand), and then a Linux initiative in Thailand (Not very detailed, but it is half a world away, and just starting out).
An astonishingly detailed guide to shooting rubber bands.
Calvin Trillin lists a series of questions he'd like to ask at Bush's next press conference:
Zen question: “Sir, if the ability of the Star Wars ABMs to hit a nuclear missile is imaginary and the nuclear missiles in Iraq are imaginary, does that mean a Star Wars ABM could hit an Iraqi nuclear missile?”
Soros's Foundation Moscow offices sabotaged.
Consumerism necessitates containers: Despite my best eco-friendly intentions, I (and everyone I know) has a huge bunch of grocery-store plastic bags, which is slowly growing and threatening to overpower me.  Luckily, there are neat things to be done with them.

I don't know...
What do you think?

It is much easier to cling to alternative media outlets that take our side than carry the fight on to popular radio talk shows, local TV and radio outlets and the letters columns of our newspapers. We need to engage the mainstream, not retreat from it.
Intense Martian sand dunes.
Not sure what to think of this site.  They sent me a bogus site submission confirmation e-mail.  (I'm guessing it was not spam.)  They've got some bizarre descriptions of themselves, and slightly too many ads.
Participate in the return of my silly experiment, now renamed "Shrub of Consciousness".

* Now with more speed.  Cursor focuses to the form now so SOC can be keyboard controlled for you speed users.
* I just put in a "better" random function that may cure your "I keep getting the thought I just put in" woes.  (
* Also, new "inside the shrub" feature (scroll down).
* Just passed 1000 thoughts already.  You are all animals.
One of my greatest regrets is not finding this site before Halloween:
In order to fully protect your family, your home should be outfitted with Zombie Alert.
* Most Americans use and value their brains --  the natural food of zombies.
* Ninety percent of zombie related fatalities occur in the home.
* The only proven defense against zombie attack is an effective early warning system.
A useful technique in philosophical discussions is to posit a theoretical liminal situation.  This has the effect of reducing a complex situation to a few salient considerations which can better strike at the heart of the matter.  (Eg. Consider an android indistinguishable from a human, a friendly chimpanzee, and a fully-functioning disembodied human brain which cannot communicate.  Which is most "human?" Which is most intelligent?  Is any more or less valuable than any other?)

Because of this technique of reductionism, philosophical stances lend themselves surprisingly well to the new-ish genre of online quizzes.  What is your basic moral stance?  Are your views on God internally consistent?  Only an online quiz can tell you for sure.
Excellent meditation on Open Source and Microsoft.  It contains possibly the best argument for open source I've seen.

"It's very simple," said Linus. "Because the software is free, there is no pressure to release it before it is really ready just to achieve some sales target. Every version of Linux is declared to be finished only when it is actually finished ..."

The Register's take, including some background:
Diet Alert:  Old-skool wheatgrass blended health frappes are out.

What's in?
A list of mostly-archaic occupations.  Some of the names are great, some of the occupations are odd, and sometimes the name and occupation match up perfectly in a strange way.
* FAKER - photographic assistant who added color to photographs by hand before color film was available.
* RECTIFIER - one who distilled alcoholic spirits
* WHEEL TAPPER - railway worker who checked for cracked wheels by striking them with a long handled hammer and listening for a clear ring.

Isreal isn't getting enough Hebrew compatibility from MS product.  (So it's banning new government purchases.)
Get Your War On gets back to the basics.

And a nice Maakies, while we're at it.
The geology of the crater.  (Mars pic of the day)
An argument that the draft should be reinstated.  Frankly, I'm somewhat compelled.
A discussion of the types of guys.  Funny, and probably true.    On behalf of guys everywhere, I apologize.

Ebay is going to start aquiring more companies.  Scary.
Kids rate various old-skool video games.
Brian: What's this supposed to be?
EGM: Football. It's one of the first great portable games.
Brian: I thought it was Run Away From the Dots.
John: I don't see how this has anything remotely to do with football.
Tim: They could've just as easily called this game anything—Baseball, Bowling, Escape From the Monsters.,436...
Versign is going to relaunch SiteFinder despite what has to be unanimous opposition.
Today's "Mars picture of the day" is probably the coolest I've seen so far.  I think it is fairly representative of Mars' surface (craters, dust, ...)
I had always thought that Dr. Pepper was made by the Coke company, and 7-up by Pepsi.  After being told twice (by Brian) that this isn't the case, I've finally found the company responsible for these beverages: Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.  What a boring name.

Their other products include A&W Root Beer, RC Cola, Hawaiian Punch, and Diet Rite.  (Oddly, their product list coincides neatly with my mental list of "Beverages that babysitters drink.")
Regular semaphore is for wimps.
The acquired skill known as Trouser Semaphore is swiftly gaining currency as the only way for people of quality to communicate in an age of rapidly escalating background noise levels. . . Surely, there is no sight more moving than a man and three square yards of carefully tailored cavalry twill moving in perfect harmony.

(via the wonderful J-Walk Blog: )
A new typeface which is designed to alleviate the problems of dyslexia:

Click on "Read Regular" on the right to see examples of the font.  Click on "Background" to learn why they did what they did.

The text of a once-popular rap song by Sir Mix-a-Lot, translated into Latin, and then given an interlinear English translation.
magnae clunes mihi placent, nec possum de hac re mentiri.
(Large buttocks are pleasing to me, nor am I able to lie concerning this matter.)
A new state of matter found in laboratories?  (Very technical, but does an ok job at explaining to the layman [considering].)

NASA is (at long last) actively investigating the retirement of the Shuttle.

China will put an astronoaut in space (the third country to ever do so) in three days.  The whole thing seems bizarrely iffy, though (i.e. we don't know if it will make 1 or 14 orbits).
Another excellent meditation on privacy.  I highly recommend reading both last week's (linked to earlier) and this week's column.  (Also note totally fresh new format.)

Ultimately, it would come to function like a much larger version of eBay's feedback system which would result in subtle pressure toward more civil behavior -- something we don't have in any practical sense today.
The old Road-Runner-vs.-Wile-E.-Coyote ACME Catalog post?

Lame.  New, better catalog:

Someone, get me an ACME All-Purpose Farm Implement!
How to road-trip.

I want to drive (or be driven) somewhere far away.  Appease me!
The Multiple-Use Interlocking Modular Container is like a cross between a milk-jug and a LEGO. 
Just when it  seemed that every container possible had been invented, an innovative concept that changes the essence of packaging has arrived on the scene.

It also solves transport and storage problems in unexpected ways.
I don't think I've ever been so excited about food storage.
My high-school chemistry teacher told us that elemental sodium is extremely volitile, that it will explode on contact with water.  (She also heated the classroom on cold days by lighting 30+ bunsen burners, and she good-naturedly answered the compulsory "Does it explode?" question before every demonstration.)

This guy decided that he hadn't been given sufficient proof of the sodium-water phenomenon.  (Great pictures, and video if you want it.)

He's also responsible for the Periodic Table Table:
Kentucky's new license was probably designed by kindergarteners:

It's certainly no "Famous Potatoes."
A campaign to get the Dutch out of the US:
They are beneath contempt!
They stink of Edam and Gouda!
The lewd litanies of the Dutch Reformed Church are ever on their lips!
Shun these sinister impostors!

Thank goodness it's from the National Lampoon--we can continue to foist our wooden-shoe-wearing ways on an unsuspecting populace.
Cool photos of Hurricane Isabel - unknown photographer.
[Thank heavens;] Verisign is suspending its grand internet hijack.
The 2003 Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded.  A few of the winning papers:

Physics: "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces."

Psychology: "Politicians' Uniquely Simple Personalities."

Who knew that science could be so fun?  Or so useless?
Earnest argument for reforming privacy (and stopping privacy theft).

My Social Security number is an artifact of the 1930s, a master identifier that has to change not just into a number that is harder to copy, but into a feisty little program that has only my interests at heart. When someone wants my Social Security number, I want my number to ask, "And who the hell are you?"
Problem:  You're a zombie, and you're hungry.


The product reviews are nice.
The "I Can Eat Glass Project" is an attempt to translate the phrase, "I can eat glass, it doesn't hurt me," into all known languages. 
The Project is based on the idea that people in a foreign country have an irresistable urge to try to say something in the indigenous tongue. In most cases, however, the best a person can do is "Where is the bathroom?" a phrase that marks them as a tourist. But, if one says "I can eat glass, it doesn't hurt me," you will be viewed as an insane native, and treated with dignity and respect.
This is yet another reason that the internet was invented.
Technology-packed "SMART-1" began its 18 month journey to the Moon.  (Dry, interesting.)
For the most part, local TV news is teeth-itchingly bad.  Based on how these shows usually sound, a producer has compiled a list of questions that viewers will never ask, though it seems like most newscasts are designed to answer them:
"Remind me - can Halloween be dangerous for my kids?"

"I knew the station would give me news that was live and local. But latebreaking too? Awright!"

Some are in industry-speak, but most are accessible.  (2 pages.)
The World Beard and Moustache Championships will be held this year in Carson City, Nevada, on November 1.

The gallery of past contestants and champions is astounding (partially because of the "freestyle" category.)
Jurassic pines are found and are to be sold.  Why the site is so secret is beyond me.  (Maybe marketing?)
Why a guy named Paul Graham doesn't like Java...

Also, Total Information Awareness update:
What do you do if you're dressed in a suit, wearing a straw boater, armed with only a cane, and you must defend yourself against a similarly armed-and-dressed opponant? 

You consult a reference on the internet, that's what you do.  If you're lucky, it will be as thorough as this one.

No. 9. -- How to Defend Yourself with a Stick against the most Dangerous Kick of an Expert Kicker.

(The pictures by themselves make the link worth clicking on.)
"The throwing card ranks near the bottom in terms of sheer combat effectiveness. The throwing card is also incredibly hard to master, and it takes quite a bit of time to reach a decent level of accuracy and power. However, card throwing has an unbelievable style factor and can be lethal with proper technique."

You'd be well-advised to begin living in fear of my Death-Dealing™ skills.
As of last week, if you type in an unknown .com or .net address, you are redirected (by Verisign, keeper of .com and .net) to a site with links to ads on it.  ICANN, leaders of the internet, told them they should stop, and Verisign refused.
If you can't decide whether to read Cosmo or the New Testament:

The tagline "Guys speak out on tons of important issues!" might also do well for the Declaration of Independance, or perhaps the Communist Manifesto.
If spring is the season of love, autumn must be the season of unspeakably-disturbing old-skool Valentine's Day cards.

(iconomy's entire site is supercool)
As a rule, I dislike objects.  However, I love methods that companies use to try to advertise objects.

Old-skool pencil ads:
It's a shame I got a bike before I looked at all of these.  Human-powered transportation has never looked weirder.
The Fellowship Baptist Creation Science Fair 2001.  Interesting projects include:

*  "My Uncle Is A Man Named Steve (Not A Monkey)"
*  "Women Were Designed For Homemaking"
*  "Thermodynamics Of Hell Fire"
The Nike vs Kasky court case was settled out of court today for $15 million.  (And I was hoping that legal corporate personhood would be abolished.)


Update: Public Relations Society of America is the first to be publicly dissappointed about the settlement.
Recent experiment suggesting liquid water may not exist on Mars.

Less well reported recent experiment suggesting liquid water may exist on Mars.
"All over the developing world resources are used to help the affluent avoid traffic jams rather than mobilizing the entire population," he says. People ask him why this is not done everywhere, if it is so simple and inexpensive. "I tell them the only issue is a political one. They don't want to take space from cars and give it to buses, bicyclists, and pedestrians."
Government should be a responsible spender, Nader says.
Rational update on DVD-decryption legal progressions

Also, update on fiasco.  (Microsoft deletes 35 weeks of inciminating e-mails)
Space shuttles are bad.  I'm convinced.

... The Shuttle was designed by great engineers. The problem is they were forced to fit their designs to fit what has proved to be an impossible concept, a chemically-propelled rocket ship that would carry humans and heavy payloads into orbit routinely, then land to be refurbished and sent aloft again within days. They also had to do it on the cheap. It was inevitable that a flawed design would be the result.
Sad account on unjust reporting of Is./Pal.

[Update:] Another sad account dramatizing Iraqi neighborhood democracy
Another geek-perb edition of The Pulpit

(New Get Your War On also.)
Mind-opening position promoting 'complimentary currencies' (interview)

[For all you lazy non-believers, ctrl-F to "correct" and read to the end.]

Assume that a Martian lands in Denver on the wrong side of the tracks. He ends up in one of the ghettos and finds that the houses are run down, the kids not taken care of, the elderly in trouble, and the trees dying. He sees all these things, and discovers that there are people and organizations absolutely equipped and ready to solve every one of those problems. So this Martian asks, "What are you waiting for?" The answer: "We’re waiting for money." "What is money?" the Martian inquires. "It's an agreement in a community to use something as a medium of exchange." Don’t you think he may leave the planet believing there is no intelligent life here?
Who in the Sam Hill is Sam Hill?  (Posted on the bold assumption that most of our readers don't know.)
A British student wondered if politicians have ridden on skateboards, BMX bikes, go-karts, etc.  So, he wrote letters to ask them if they had.

Many of them wrote back.
If you're interested in copyright and intellectual property, then I highly recommend all of these sites:
I heard about this on the radio, and kept forgetting to look it up;  Robotwisdom had to remind me.

"Jesse Ventura's advice to Schwarzenegger"
New strips at Get Your War On (daily?)  [update: not daily.]
Breaking news and discussion on all kinds of transportation:
"Good grammar," in the fullest sense of the term, is neither an embellishment nor an accessory to anything else. It is the Law by which meaning is found and made. It may be, of course, that a good "education" ought to provide something more, but it is preposterous, perhaps even wicked, to suggest that it can be had with anything less.

As if grammar even needed a good defense.

(From The Underground Grammarian-- )
Soothing philosophy on Law, Time, and GPL.

But in about two hundred years someone would have to secede from the California Republic, because it takes about two hundred years for any system to get corrupted and monopolised.
Some bizarre usages of domain names:
Researchers at the University of Washington reveal equasion that predicts with 94% accuracy the likelihood of a successful marriage based entirely on a 15 minute conversation.
This is a good video game development concept (2nd half of article).  If only more companies were making simpler games with "broader appeal".

Mr. Driller
Super Monkey Target
Mr. Driller
Hot Shots Golf 3
Mr. Driller...
Wow, this is bizarre:

A Missouri company has been fined $6,000 for answering a customer's question and not reporting to the federal government that the question was asked. The question that's punished by law is: Are any of these products made in Israel, or made of Israeli materials?

Free online courses from the BBC on how to do what they do, in case you find yourself working with them.
I've been reading through the articles at , and they're all really good.  Plus, it's brand new.  Shiny!
Is "Sesame Street" going to be cancelled due to budget cutbacks?

Does swallowed chewing gum stay in your stomach for seven years?

You'll be the least-misinformed kid on the block with the Urban Legends Reference Pages.
Play 20 Questions against a computer!  It figured out "bassoon" in 28, which is pretty impressive, considering.

Warning:  Addictive.
And you thought the Toyota Echo looked weird.
Is it just me, or are we getting a wave of grounded publications about the 'war'?  (I haven't been watching much TV lately, just MPR [radio news] and internet.)
Robot creators among us, see this: ROBOSNAIL.  Emulating real snail motion.
Netscape is being "killed off".  The new is awesome, with links all over the main page to FireBird 0.6.  I now recommend firebird & thunderbird full force.

The most unambiguous article I've found:
Philosophy majors, why wasn't this addressed earlier?

Also watch out, if this sort of thing keeps up, it could be the next big fashion in American media.
Freaky internet/phone/etc. surveillance plans.  Get scared.

Also, not exactly relatingly, the latest fashion in press now seems to be to examine whether or not it was right to invade Iraq.  Here are some of the more bizarre explanations:
I remember this being a big deal back when Eolas sued MS (what seems like years ago), and it appears that it's in court now.
Photos of SF after the Earthquake of 1909.  Note link at bottom to tethered balloon photo.
Need an Atom-Rearranger?  Roller Skis?  Jet-Propelled Pogo Stick?  Female Road Runner Costume?

ACME's catalog is online!
Some nice meta-election commentary.  We need more meta-election commentary.
Nike vs. Kasky: Apparently the Calif. Supreme Court ruled on the 26th something unsatisfactory for Nike Inc.  What it ruled, or the significance of the ruling (even after research), still confuses me.  I think I need a N vs K timeline with some details on the hierarchies of the courts.  Any enlightenment is welcome in the "Discuss" section.

(Non-pro-corporate-free-speech articles are hard to find.)

Search page:
ICANN, emperor of the www, might start not to be such a hated entity - with its first respectable action in a while.
Today is the first day that you can add your name to the National Do-Not-Call registery.  It takes effect roughly 3 months after you register, and there are some various exceptions and exemptions built in, but it's one of the more apparent ways that the Fed. Gov. will improve the quality of my life.
Legality of music sharing software: honestly, this scares me a little.

The following program is the obvious answer, but I can't seem to get it to do anything useful.  (It's not developed enough yet to be super useful even in theory, anyway.)  I endorse giving it a try, at your own risk.

While I'm on the subject, it's now law that the internet is filtered at libraries - unless you ask for it.  Don't ask me; just read.
A small sampling of entries in this weblog tells me that this person and I have some overlapping modes of thought.
Nestle sued for marketing rather icky water as "Poland Springs" spring water:

Nestle's counter-webpage:
Jerry Springer for Senate in '04!
2 apartment photos.
A while back I recall coming up on top in searches for "rockstar ninjas" and other such absurdities.  Apparently, this is a problem. Bookmarks is ready for your (beta) internet-surfing pleasure.  There isn't much in the way of documentation/explanations yet, but there should be enough for one to experiment.  The authors of this site are already using the bookmark section as a start-off site for internet surfing.
1. A dollar spent at a locally owned book or music store tends to "[create] more than three times the local economic activity" than its counterpart large franchise.

2. "Big box retail", shopping centers, and fast-food restaurants tend to require more money to be spent on higher road maintenance costs and more public safety services (etc., as a result of their presence) than they pay in taxes, which does not tend to be the case for locally owned businesses.
An online quiz, which determines how accurately you can make the decision between art and crap.
I've been trying to figure this "Creative Commons" thing out, and it looks pretty neat.  They have a flash video that makes everything clear and features, oddly, The White Stripes.  They even have South-Park-esque flash animations of Meg and Jack White.
Flash video:

Also, if anyone has the patience to figure out who these people are... then... tell us.  They seem to have some activity (and have vague relation to) the Creative Commons' discussions.
This is a review of what sounds like a neat new search engine.  Unfortunately, I can only assume that the article (and maybe other articles?) has instigated too much traffic to the new search engine, because their "search function" is down as of this morning.
As I read articles from the Journal of Mundane Behavior, I wasn't quite sure if it was farce or scholarship.  It seems that it's the latter, and what's more, it's all fantastic.

The Journal of Mundane Behavior, hosted by the Department of Sociology and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at California State University, Fullerton, is a peer-reviewed journal that is devoted to the study of the "unmarked" -- those aspects of our everyday lives that typically go unnoticed by us, both as individuals and as academics. We approach these topics with both the sense of whimsy about the extraordinary efforts we put into maintaining such "mundane" aspects of our lives, and with the seriousness of intellectual integrity in our analysis of these matters.
Lest you feel that this site contains too much useful information, we present Koala Bear Poo Earrings.
Geek-perb speculation about Microsoft, IBM, Linux, SCO, blah blah blah.  The beginning is also a nice overview about what's been going on lately in extreme tech news.
The waterways of Hennepin County, painstakingly drawn to scale.
I came across this the other day in the store.  It is something that I (with the help of my friends) invented also, but these people have done far more research and have produced a product:  The Ultimate Meal.

The site is full of great utopian-type declarations such as these:

... A MEAL REPLACEMENT?  It is BEYOND a mere replacement, hence an entirely NEW standard for a meal (a lightbulb is far more than a mere replacement for a candle) ...

... As your taste buds and health improve, it is best to avoid juice and other sources of concentrated sugar ...

Also, if you don't read the site yourself (which they command you to do "word-for-word at least 3 separate times" on one of their front pages), read this at least:

It certainly was not in vogue when we started this concept over 15 years ago, but in case you have not noticed yet, green is in! The problem is, a small amount of any sub-standard algae will turn anything green.
The primary source of greenness in THE ULTIMATE MEAL® and THE ULTIMATE MEALBAR® (the first and only green bar anywhere) is a therapeutic dose (by far the highest in the industry) of the ultimate quality spirulina on Earth from Hawaii, which is one of our most expensive ingredients. It also happens to be THE richest source of beta carotene and chlorophyll (the primary detoxifying agent in dark green vegetables, which comes only in green). Without chlorophyll, it would be THE ALMOST ULTIMATE MEAL. . . We would rather inform and educate than lower our standards.

Hilarious study of a doctored image on the cover of the April 9, 2003 London Evening Standard. gives the meaning of every internet common-phrase-abreviation I can think of.  They seem to be getting the data from this site that does the same thing, but with a harder-to-remember URL:

Long Arundhati Roy speech on the world and the war (5 days ago).  It's nothing new, but one should expose one's self to the other side of the coin, especially those of us who've been oversaturated with local news on these subjects.

She offers some useful, revelant propositions at the end.  Ctrl-F to "What Is To Be Done?".  A snippet...

It would be naïve to imagine that we can directly confront Empire. Our strategy must be to isolate Empire's working parts and disable them one by one. No target is too small. No victory too insignificant. We could reverse the idea of the economic sanctions imposed on poor countries by Empire and its Allies. We could impose a regime of Peoples' Sanctions on every corporate house that has been awarded with a contract in postwar Iraq, just as activists in this country and around the world targeted institutions of apartheid. ... It would be a great beginning.

Also, another rehash on privacy/security today regarding automated pattern recognition.  Again, worth a read-through as a reminder.
When second- and third-graders get to illustrate the school lunch menu:
Corporate free speech:
There was a California Supreme Court hearing a few weeks ago on Nike vs. Kasky (decision due in June).  There is a storm brewing, and I'm hoping it doesn't fizzle out. (Excellent coverage of what is going on.)
Soon, nobody will invite me over, for any reason.

All thanks to House Gymnastics!
The offical site of the Dull Men's Club. 

"This is a two-step program:  (1) we admit we are Dull, (2) we're going to keep it that way."
A pretty timeline of the confusion of dietary health (link at bottom)

If we were to follow even a fraction of the guidance we are given we would swing from one faddist eating pattern to another, and end up both unhealthy and quite miserable.

What is this "Social Issues Research Centre" thing?
How to thrive in a British pub:
Today I had tooltips popping up behind the start bar in XP, where I couldn't read them.  Here is an article on human interface design in the real (up close and ugly) world.
Very Robot-Wisdomy advice on how SlashDot blurbs should be written -- applies equally to writing links anywhere.
A fantastic review of an English usage dictionary by David Foster Wallace--it's both gigantic and fantastic:

A call-in radio show with both DFW and the author of the book:  (in RealAudio)
The They Might Be Giants news site is looking cool.  Check out the "production rider".  Also, the free MP3s are good.

I'm looking for things to sell on eBay, just for the possibility that this guy will leave me feedback:

Eg:  Praise: FREAKY! Seller is FANTASTIC, but, somehow, REALLY DOESN'T EXIST AT ALL!
IBISTEK calls them "High-performance Stealth Vehicles with
Remote Control Weapons and Sensor Control Systems," but I call them "SUVs With Freaky Guns On The Top."
Every year, the Journal of Improbable Results awards a series of Ig Noble Prizes to scholars and world leaders.  For example, in 2001, the Peace Prize was awarded to Viliumas Malinauskus of Grutas, Lithuania, for creating the amusement park known as "Stalin World".
Microsoft finally realized that no one knows what ".NET" means.
Some random links for today ~ - what a neat design.  (I was searching for "/dev/null") - a new version of a weblog I used to go to -- where I found this:
Let's see. . .this Sunday I could either go to church, or go to the monster truck rally. . .

Maybe I could do both!

Presenting Jesus the Monster Truck:
In Japan, a professional wrestler has won an elected office, but he refuses to remove his mask, and still goes by his stage name.
We'd like to draw your attention to the upper-left corner of the page.  In the little weird box, you'll see a link that says, "Discuss these links!"  That link will bring you to a page where you can do just that. 

At, our motto is, "We do as Brittain says."
The Iraqi Minister of Information had some interesting commentary on the American invasion:
"We have placed them in a quagmire from which they can never emerge except dead"

"We will kill them all........most of them."

"We're giving them a real lesson today. Heavy doesn't accurately describe the level of casualties we have inflicted."
Plus, he has a fan club:
New Get Your War On:

Also, Michael Moore, who is crazy, is also so right.
Ever wonder what would happen if you popped a water balloon in space?  So did NASA:
Will the english alphabet and decimal digits all fit into 32 x 32 pixels?  Yes, they will.  They don't even touch the edges.
Sadly, I think that the recent infrequency of my posts here is partly because I've been spending all of my time reading this book:

Compared to this book, all other Linux books (that I have ever seen) are crap.  They're not fooling around when they say, "Although there are lots of introductory Linux books on the market, we find that most of them are pretty ... well, bad."

(El Edwards has some low rates there.  I know there are possibilities, I just can't think of any right now.)
El Edwards, the voice of "You've Got Mail," will provide you with custom sound files.  For a small fee.

The possibilities are . . . certainly funnier in theory.

And on the "About Me" page--from his "Selected achievements": 

--Identified, qualified, hired, trained, promoted (and when necessary, separated) employees at all levels. 

What kind of company needs someone to occasionally separate the employees?
The presidential inaugural addresses, charted according to Flesch-Kincaid reading grade-level:
Yes.  If this atricle has anything to do with the future, Mozilla/Phoenix(/Netscape) is begining to head in the right direction.
(the whole thing:

(I am an E-prime drop-out.  I can't do it.)
E-Prime is a linguistic movement which eschews all forms of "to be".  It's interesting in a wacky sort of way, and it's a strangely useful mental exercize.
The top 100 April Fool's Day jokes of all time.

(I always got a bunch of cold cooked spaghetti labeled "WORMS" in my lunchbox.  On April 1, at least, I was popular.)
Precious little collectible figurines, ". . . authentically detailed with soldier's helmet, rifle, and desert fatigues."

Only $19.95!                    (via
I hate bad TV.  Give me TV that I like, whenever I want it.  I am very close to trying something like this (and I only have extremely basic cable):

Come on.  Buy a recorder.  Pay for service for a few months at $13/mo.  Sell recorder on e-bay.  Is it really this simple?
Bartender, get me another Smouldering Democracy!  General, make the final preparations for Operation: Irascible Goat!  Or is it the other way 'round?

With the Internet American Military Operation Naming Device, you'll be sure to have a plethora of names for both your mixed drinks and strategic campaigns!
This site (admittedly biased) gives a somewhat reductionist view of the war in Iraq, which I feel makes things more accessible in terms of actual reality that I can understand.

As simplistic as it is, and as little as a few numbers can represent such a complex situation, it's still surprisingly powerful.  I looked at it before I left for a class, and when I checked it again 3 hours later, the number of bombs dropped had gone up by 1500.  That's a lot of bombs. 
Know what you watch.  (Not as readable as it could be.),2...
A funny speculation on the possibility of GWB body-doubles:,12...

"It has long been suspected that Mr Bush employs a string of lookalikes for difficult or dangerous speaking engagements, some of whom may have had their ears specially enlarged for the task."
The progression of crackpot ideas on the internet:



"SACKCLOTH is gothic lifestyle attire, based in Sydney, Australia."

I dare you.
The National Potato Promotion Board would like to revise the supply chain diagram in the section "Creating an Environment for Investment" of their online PDF publication "Re-inventing The Potato"
It seems as though all web sites are triggered in a search for "http" in Google.  Check out this list of most popular web sites, in order:
People with impractical jobs are properly honored with exceedingly practical awards:
Yo the moniker is MC Frontalot
I got a +1 bag of nerdcore hiphop.
New developments in potato marteting are outlined in a brochure by the National Potato Promotion Board, entitled "Reinventing the Potato".  It's a 10-page PDF file.  Apparently, "Consumers want/need more information."
These are downright hilarious; via TheRegister.

"If you spot a terrorist arrow, pin it against the wall with your shoulder"
War colors @  Great.  There is really no reason we shouldn't do that here. (ok, I did.)

Also, I love Robert X. Cringley (  I always want to use the imaginary programs he makes up.

[I haven't had much time lately to look at, or put stuff up here.  Also, my computer @ home is toast.  Working to get that fixed.]
This guy lives in Baghdad, and he has a weblog.  It's being updated fairly frequently.
We're at war.

"And the poor young man covered his face with his hand; and many a time afterwards, in the course of his life, he shuddered at seeing how much inhumanity there is in man, how much savage coarseness is concealed in delicate, refined worldliness and, O God! even in that man whom the world acknowledges as honorable and noble."

-Nikolai Gogol, The Overcoat

(thanks to chrisgregory at
Everyone remembers those old fairy tales, like "Guilty Looks Enter Tree Beers" and "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut."  Right?

The Museum of Online Museums is why the internet was invented.
If you're a hermit with an internet connection, you're probably familiar with this site:

"Resources and reflections on hermits and solitude."
The patron saint of circus workers is Julian the Hospitaller, and the patron saint of protection from vermin is Magnus of Fussen.  If you have an occupation, condition, or place of residence, you probably have a patron saint.

(It seems that St. Magnus can also be invoked vs. caterpillars.  Just in case.)

A superb radio series by Radio Netherlands on the ways in which wars are promoted.  (Needs RealPlayer; each episode is ~30 min.)

From the first episode: "A system which relies on majority consent develops sophisticated methods of achieving it."
An alternative to war for defeating Saddam Hussein--it's a religious initiative, and it even seems reasonable.

"Anti-war" doesn't mean anti-change.
It seems that you can make traffic better simply by being nice.  A multi-page detailed description, complete with animation!
Longbets is a site where people can make predictions about the future, and bet thousands of dollars that they're right.  The bettors are fairly well known in their fields, and the predictions are interesting. 

An example: By 2010, more than 50 percent of books sold worldwide will be printed on demand at the point of sale in the form of library-quality paperbacks.
Longtime readers will probably have no need for this, but for all you neophytes out there, here's a brief tutorial on how to slam-dance safely:
Punkrock played by classically trained musicians!  Just last night I was whining that there's no way for a bassoonist to achieve true rock 'n roll superstardom--it seems that I'm just living in the wrong state.
For those who are interested in the future of computers...  I am about a third of the way through this.  It is largely an unbiased report on the state of things, but he uses some particularly ruthless language with regard to Microsoft.  Also, it cites many internet articles that I have already read.
This is the best plan I've ever heard for helping the homeless.  It's boldly optimistic, practical, and reasonable.  Do whatever it takes to make this work.

What's more, the parent organization (The Trinity Foundation) also investigates fradulant tele-evangalists, and also publishes The Door, which bills itself as "The World's Pretty Much Only Religious Satire Magazine".

If you're looking for pictures of celebrities talking on telephones, "Celebrities With Phones" is the site for you.
A list of US bombing missions on Iraq, from 2000-2003.

When you bomb a country more than 20 times a year, for more than 3 years, doesn't that mean that you're at war with them? 
On the future of computers:

These are some interesting ideas, and I have had some ideas about what a more ideal computer world would look like (but they are not particularily refined).  I think we might benefit by giving programs less freedom to do what it wants with a computer.  I think I want something in between what OS'es do now (e.g. programs running in windows), and a GameBoy Advance playing a GameBoy advance game.

What is needed is well defined.  I want to edit pixels; I want to organize text; I want to view the internet.  I don't need a program that optimizes my hard drive, or goes in any freaky "full-screen" modes.  In fact, I would rather that programs weren't capable of it.

(Disclaimer: this flies in the face of some other things I think.)
A single new icon.  I hope to make a companion to this one soon, but for today I have expelled all my icon-making energy reserves.
What the world thinks about almost everything:

(This is the summary page--the huge .pdf report is a link off to the right.)
I didn't know anything about the "long-range hydrophobic force" until now. via
The greatest book review of all time, on the worst book of all time.

(The article might require registration--I urge you to lie boldly.)
Overture, a huge internet ad agency, is going to buy AltaVista.  Goodbye AltaVista. via

The latter has a funny excerpt from the former.  (I went to the latter because it had a URL that reminded me of this one.)
This is interesting (though I don't know why.)

(And this)
However, the cuteness of puppies is augmented with cute captions.
Puppies and kittens, as seen through a fish-eye lens.  They're unbearably cute.  (Note: the text on the page is Japanese--luckily, the cuteness of puppies crosses all linguistic boundaries.)
While its usefulness and versatility is widely recognized by handymen, duct tape turns out to be really bad at sealing ducts.  (A study by the acronym-eschewing Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Environmental Energy Technologies Division.)
I have been realizing the joy that is "Right-click : Block Images from this Server" in Phoenix.  Goodbye remotely hosted ads. (The more annoying the ad, the better the chances it is remotely hosted - try it out yourself.)  Goodbye mercilessly graphical (yet informative) message boards.  There is one thing better than an internet where there are no ads: an internet where you get to block ads.  It is enlightenment.

No link!
Googlefight lets you enter 2 phrases, and then tells you which one has more hits in Google.

In case you're wondering, "old-school" beats "new-school" by more than 100,000.
When Saddam speaks to the west, he is clear and concise.
I've been disillusioned by Napster: I have this mp3 that I've listened to many times, "88 lines about 44 women".  I've always thought it was by TMBG because the file name is "They Might Be Giants - 88 Lines About 44 Women.mp3".  It turns out it's by The Nails.  I feel violated.  (But it still sounds a lot like John Linnell singing.  Maybe I have a *special* mp3.)
I am putting this up incase it is interesting.  (I may read it it later.)
Some more Columbia things via RobotWisdom:
This map is truly amazing -

And this is a really long article about Columbia (and how it's a ridiculous enterprise) written in 1980.  I learned more than I thought I would about shuttles from this.  If you have no time, ctrl-f to "prestige", "truly", "tiles", "spitting", and "cryogenic". doesn't work explicitly in Opera.  (naughty, naughty)
Late at night, Animal Lad transverses the star-filled sky on his Omega-Stationwagon.  Having gained the powers of Super Ventriloquism and Insect Control from a radioactive source, he now battles the forces of evil armed only with an Ether Truncheon.

There's no better way to name mixed drinks than Lee's Super-Hero Generator.
I really enjoy toast.  So does the aptly named Dr. Toast.
Two starting-places for information/news on Columbia:

President Reagan's speech on the Challenger disaster:
This is the most bizarre thing I have seen on the internet to date.

I had a dream where I was taking pictures with my camera up at buildings in front of landscapes.  These two icons are my best reproductions of these photos.  They were next to each other in my dream also.  (I accidentally stepped in puddles of liquid nitrogen inside one of these buildings - and I was only wearing sandals and socks!  Good thing my feet didn't shatter.)

Also, I have a stamp sheet titled "Women in Jounalism."  I made a web page that represents the layout of the stamp sheet.  (I don't know why.)
The 2003 Subaru Baja, the gooniest looking car in the world!
What makes the weather?  What is an insect?  How do we measure energy?  Why does the sun shine?

As always, scientific questions are best answered in verse set to music.
If Mojo Jojo had a weird subliminal-mind-control website, it would be
Dave Barry has a weblog!  As of this posting, it's 2 days old, so there's not much there.  What's more, it's on a free weblog-host-site and uses the default setup.  +1 indie cred.
A guide to Japanese emoticons!  They're superrad.
This is a pretty cool article about Windows and Linux.

Concerning Linux, I have been noticing a lot of articles about how Linux is up-and-coming in more common news-type places lately.  I have only little to moderate experience with Linux, but I think that what it needs is a very stable, very smart windowing system.  (KDE looks on the right track, but it doesn't quite cut it yet.)

PS - this is neat. (via robotwisdom)
The London Review of Books has a section for personal ads.  A sample: 
F designer/writer, warm heart, nice eyes, 50+, seeks M with whom to debate these ads’ wit, literary merit etc.
One of these is in my office.  (Sans monitor.)
We are finally pictured on our own web site!
Although things described as "Extreme" are generally dumb, I have found an exception among the humblest of domestic tasks.

The gallery of pictures is astounding.
In response to Elizabeth L.:

I'm certainly without livlihood, but I bet I could make a killing selling these delightful items:
Drawings and descriptions of scientists, done by 7th-graders before and after a trip to Fermilab.

Some of the differences are striking, to say the least.
According to, I'm not messy -- I'm thinking.
Directly from Robotwisdom, "Make corporations obey Asimov's robot-laws!"

This brings to mind an article from TheRegister I read that was titled "'Prices are trade secrets' - stores unite to make DMCA look stupid."  A great way to make a law look stupid is to make insane arguments for which said silly law is used as a backbone.
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