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Feature Story: Well... here we go again


...not that anyone's listening.

Yet another term with the country's least-elected resident. I don't see that it will matter whether the Ohio election is invalidated now, and of course that was the point. I predict someone will try to whack him. But, since I no longer live in a country with free speech, I will refrain from expressing an opinion on whether I think that would be a good thing.

I *knew* there was a reason why

I liked women with large breasts.

Saturday, February 5, 2005 @ 09:54 p.m. - Comment

Put a LID on it, eh, buddy?

I'm looking into this new thing, recently installed by Dan at Flutterby called LID.

It stands for "Lightweight IDentity", and it's primarily a single-signon doohickey. It seems to me there are some holes in it, which I'm musing on on my personal wiki.

Seems Phil Windley isn't the only one who agrees with me.

Saturday, February 5, 2005 @ 08:10 p.m. - Comment

I think I forgot to mention this one...

The lastest fashion in TV fandom seems to be generating realtime back-story for the characters in your favorite show.

We saw this in the last season of Buffy, with the Sock Puppet Theatre LiveJournals -- which continue on to this day -- and now it's spread to our latest favorite TV medical comma (that's the opposite of a dramedy, for those who hate that neologism with a passion): his name is Greg House, and he's a weblogger.

Saturday, February 5, 2005 @ 01:19 a.m. - Comment

And I thought I was having a high traffic week

Look what happens when Pam gets noticed:

Friday, February 4, 2005 @ 11:03 p.m. - Comment

More...

*Much, MUCH* more, on the whole Enterprise fracas, over at Pam's Place... along with that delightful picture of Les Moonves gagged and tied to a chair; thank-you-very-much Andie MacDowell and David E. Kelley.

Friday, February 4, 2005 @ 10:26 p.m. - Comment

Nice tasteful pictures

of beautiful naked women.

No, these are probably "nudes". :-)

Thursday, February 3, 2005 @ 05:42 p.m. - Comment

ST:Enterprise cancelled

Details here; more as I get them.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005 @ 04:15 p.m. - Comment

In case you've been wondering

what the Religious Right are telling each other about those horrible herm-o-secsuals... here it is.

What's more important? Paranoid Ghod-o-phrenics? Or the Constitution?

I knew the test cases would happen; I didn't think they'd take this long. Go, Constitution.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005 @ 06:48 p.m. - Comment

Well, here comes the Sextel merger

"Will I see a decline in customer service?"

I certainly hope not; it's worthless as it is. It can only *get* better. Same for the rest of their service.

"Infuriatingly excellent", Jerry Pournelle calls it. (Well, he was talking about dBase I, but I understand now what he meant.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2005 @ 06:19 p.m. - Comment

Oh, ghod.

Even. More. News.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005 @ 06:07 p.m. - Comment

Unsurprisingly,

when Texas teens were told, in school, to 'just say no', they said yes, instead.

Despite taking courses emphasizing abstinence-only themes, teenagers in 29 high schools became increasingly sexually active, mirroring the overall state trends, according to the study conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University.

Where were they when *I* was goin'a high school?

Tuesday, February 1, 2005 @ 05:37 p.m. - Comment

Spamku, part 1

Lots of people have blogged the contents of some of the spam that get that's almost poetical in its construction. I don't often read mine, but this looked like a winner:

Braniff compulsory Joaquin cooled
wile mourned sunken systematically novels
sector slackness limiting
thousand counteracted Gauls recipients
sires Australianizes endorsed
perfumes leeward panorama vine
frayed begins splices smokescreen
nag sigma hides
piety euthanasia dissenting Kafkaesque organization

Monday, January 31, 2005 @ 08:19 p.m. - Comment

Ok, like we didn't have enough awards shows...

It's time for the 2005 Bloggies!

Sunday, January 30, 2005 @ 06:27 p.m. - Comment

Another sign on the Apocalypse

You really can buy ANYTHING on the Internet.

[ Thanks to Pam. Well, maybe "no thanks" would be closer... ]

Saturday, January 29, 2005 @ 11:20 p.m. - Comment

The September that Never Ended...

finally ended.

Friday, January 28, 2005 @ 07:16 p.m. - Comment

Alex Haley interviews

Johnny Carson, for Playboy, in 1967.

I was 2.

Weird.

Despite occasional charges that the Tonight Show is "verbal Muzak" or that Carson deliberately skirts controversial subjects, the program attracts a hefty 40 percent of the late-evening audience. Recent challengers, such as Joey Bishop on ABC and Bill Dana on the short-lived United Network, have run far behind Carson not only in the Nielsen ratings but in the judgment of the critics. Time has called his show "the most consistently entertaining 90 minutes to be seen anywhere on television." The main drawing card of the program is Carson himself; a gracious, tolerant host and a quick-draw, sharpshooting ad-libber, he is able to eke laughs even out of mishap -- as when a mechanical device refuses to work or when a guest fails to maintain the lively, cocktail-party repartee that is the Tonight Show's stock in trade.

"Short-lived United Network." Heh.

My favorite quote; amazing that reality shows took another 25 years to happen:

there's a lot of chaff on television. No doubt of it. But let's not forget a fundamental fact about this medium. It starts in the morning, about six a.m., and goes off anywhere from one to three a.m.. Where are you going to find the people to write consistently fine material 19 to 21 hours a day, 365 days a year? A Broadway play that's going to run for 90 minutes can take a year or more to get written, by the biggest playwrights in the business; then it can spend months and months on the road, being tested every night and changed daily; they can bring in the best script doctors in the country -- and yet that play can still open on Broadway and bomb out the first night. How can you expect television to do any better -- or even as well -- when it's showing more in a week than appears on Broadway all year?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005 @ 03:28 p.m. - Comment

Why Tech Support people throw their hands up in despair

Users are *really* stupid.

Google Inc. marks such ads as "sponsored links," Yahoo Inc. terms them "sponsor results" and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN uses "sponsored sites." Such ads are placed to the right and on top of the regular search results, in some cases highlighted in a different color.

But only 38 percent of Web searchers even know of the distinction, and of those, not even half - 47 percent - say they can always tell which are paid. That comes out to only 18 percent of all Web searchers knowing when a link is paid.

Forty-five percent of Web searchers say they would stop using search engines if they thought they weren't being clear about such payments, yet 92 percent of Web searchers say they are confident about their searching abilities.

Did you know that 87.5% of all survey results are crap? And that number rises to 92.35% for any result with more than one decimal place.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005 @ 11:51 a.m. - Comment

That Hancock story

is here. Won a Pulitzer.

Sunday, January 23, 2005 @ 06:51 p.m. - Comment

Bright House Pinellas

has changed their channel lineup again.

Sunday, January 23, 2005 @ 06:37 p.m. - Comment

Without Comment


NuclearTypewriter.com

Sunday, January 23, 2005 @ 05:15 p.m. - Comment

Reqiuescat in Pace

RIP, J.C.

Johnny Carson; dead at 79.

Sunday, January 23, 2005 @ 03:04 p.m. - Comment

Aha!

(It's a detective thing...)

Now I know why the Sox won the World Series this year.

Sunday, January 23, 2005 @ 01:34 p.m. - Comment

Another sign of the apocalypse

No, wait; this is just par for Les:

Viacom's Les Moonves announces plans to make the CBS Evening News look a lot more like The View.

Moonves, who will ultimately select Rather's replacement, said he believes many young viewers are turned off by a single "voice of God" anchor in the Internet age.

... which, of course, was what CBS used to be best at. But, although, amusingly, cbsnews.com was the *only* source GoogleNews handed me for this story, it wouldn't do for them to admit to this aspect of things, now, would it?

My favorite quote (it was also their chosen pull-quote, amusingly enough):

Asked twice, Moonves wouldn't rule out a role on the evening news for Comedy Central's Jon Stewart, whose "The Daily Show" skewers politicians and the news media each night.

<giggle>

I guess shooting your mouth off on Crossfire is a pretty productive approach to advancing in the news business, huh?

Saturday, January 22, 2005 @ 11:26 a.m. - Comment

Not in My Name

[ Stolen shamelessly from Interstate4Jamming ]

As George W. Bush is inaugurated for a second term, let it not be said that people in the United States silently acquiesced in the face of this shameful coronation of war, greed, and intolerance. He does not speak for us. He does not represent us. He does not act in our name.

No election, whether fair or fraudulent, can legitimize criminal wars on foreign countries, torture, the wholesale violation of human rights, and the end of science and reason.

In our name, the Bush government justifies the invasion and occupation of Iraq on false pretenses, raining down destruction, horror, and misery, bringing death to more than 100,000 Iraqis. It sends our youth to destroy entire cities for the sake of so-called democratic elections, while intimidating and disenfranchising thousands of African-American and other voters at home.

In our name, the Bush government holds in contempt international law and world opinion. It carries out torture and detentions without trial around the world and proposes new assaults on our rights of privacy, speech and assembly at home. It strips the rights of Arabs, Muslims and South Asians in the U.S., denies them legal counsel, stigmatizes and holds them without cause. Thousands have been deported.

As new trial balloons are floated about invasions of Syria, or Iran, or North Korea, about leaving the United Nations, about new “lifetime detention” policies, we say not in our name will we allow further crimes to be committed against nations or individuals deemed to stand in the way of the goal of unquestioned world supremacy.

Could we have imagined a few years ago that core principles such as the separation of church and state, due process, presumption of innocence, freedom of speech, and habeas corpus would be discarded so easily? Now, anyone can be declared an “enemy combatant” without meaningful redress or independent review by a President who is concentrating power in the executive branch. His choice for Attorney General is the legal architect of the torture that has been carried out in Guantánamo, Afghanistan, and Abu Ghraib.

The original Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience initiated in 2002 was signed by over 66,000 people and was published in most major U.S. newspapers.

The Bush government seeks to impose a narrow, intolerant, and political form of Christian fundamentalism as government policy. No longer on the margins of power, this extremist movement aims to strip women of their reproductive rights, to stoke hatred of gays and lesbians, and to drive a wedge between spiritual experience and scientific truth. We will not surrender to extremists our right to think. AIDS is not a punishment from God. Global warming is a real danger. Evolution happened. All people must be free to find meaning and sustenance in whatever form of religious or spiritual belief they choose.

But religion can never be compulsory. These extremists may claim to make their own reality, but we will not allow them to make ours.

Millions of us worked, talked, marched, poll watched, contributed, voted, and did everything we could to defeat the Bush regime in the last election. This unprecedented effort brought forth new energy, organization, and commitment to struggle for justice. It would be a terrible mistake to let our failure to stop Bush in these ways lead to despair and inaction. On the contrary, this broad mobilization of people committed to a fairer, freer, more peaceful world must move forward. We cannot, we will not, wait until 2008. The fight against the second Bush regime has to start now.

The movement against the war in Vietnam never won a presidential election. But it blocked troop trains, closed induction centers, marched, spoke to people door to door -- and it helped to stop a war. The Civil Rights Movement never tied its star to a presidential candidate; it sat in, freedom rode, fought legal battles, filled jailhouses -- and changed the face of a nation.

We must change the political reality of this country by mobilizing the tens of millions who know in their heads and hearts that the Bush regime’s “reality” is nothing but a nightmare for humanity. This will require creativity, mass actions and individual moments of courage. We must come together whenever we can, and we must act alone whenever we have to.

We draw inspiration from the soldiers who have refused to fight in this immoral war. We applaud the librarians who have refused to turn over lists of our reading, the high school students who have demanded to be taught evolution, those who brought to light torture by the U.S. military, and the massive protests that voiced international opposition to the war on Iraq. We affirm ordinary people undertaking extraordinary acts. We pledge to create community to back courageous acts of resistance. We stand with the people throughout the world who fight every day for the right to create their own future.

It is our responsibility to stop the Bush regime from carrying out this disastrous course. We believe history will judge us sharply should we fail to act decisively.

Friday, January 21, 2005 @ 05:17 p.m. - Comment

Real American Heroes

Collect the whole set!

Friday, January 21, 2005 @ 04:31 p.m. - Comment

Life is such a hassel

I believe the animated GIF on this page (no thanks to Flutterby :-) is a sign of the coming apocalypse.

(And clearly, I watch too much Buffy, since I didn't have to look up how to *spell* apocalypse.)

Friday, January 21, 2005 @ 03:01 p.m. - Comment

Ron Paul to the rescue, again

I like this guy. And he's a Republican. Whouldathunkit?

Government IDs and Identity Theft

by Rep. Ron Paul, MD

Before the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee

Mr. Speaker, today I introduce the Identity Theft Prevention Act. This act protects the American people from government-mandated uniform identifiers that facilitate private crime as well as the abuse of liberty. The major provision of the Identity Theft Prevention Act halts the practice of using the Social Security number as an identifier by requiring the Social Security Administration to issue all Americans new Social Security numbers within five years after the enactment of the bill. These new numbers will be the sole legal property of the recipient, and the Social Security administration shall be forbidden to divulge the numbers for any purposes not related to Social Security administration. Social Security numbers issued before implementation of this bill shall no longer be considered valid federal identifiers. Of course, the Social Security Administration shall be able to use an individual's original Social Security number to ensure efficient administration of the Social Security system.

Mr. Speaker, Congress has a moral responsibility to address this problem because it was Congress that transformed the Social Security number into a national identifier. Thanks to Congress, today no American can get a job, open a bank account, get a professional license, or even get a driver's license without presenting his Social Security number. So widespread has the use of the Social Security number become that a member of my staff had to produce a Social Security number in order to get a fishing license!

One of the most disturbing abuses of the Social Security number is the congressionally-authorized rule forcing parents to get a Social Security number for their newborn children in order to claim the children as dependents. Forcing parents to register their children with the state is more like something out of the nightmares of George Orwell than the dreams of a free republic that inspired this nation's founders.

Congressionally-mandated use of the Social Security number as an identifier facilitates the horrendous crime of identity theft. Thanks to Congress, an unscrupulous person may simply obtain someone's Social Security number in order to access that person's bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial assets. Many Americans have lost their life savings and had their credit destroyed as a result of identity theft. Yet the federal government continues to encourage such crimes by mandating use of the Social Security number as a uniform ID!

This act also forbids the federal government from creating national ID cards or establishing any identifiers for the purpose of investigating, monitoring, overseeing, or regulating private transactions among American citizens. At the very end of the 108th Congress, this body established a de facto national ID card with a provisions buried in the intelligence reform bill mandating federal standards for drivers licenses, and mandating that federal agents only accept a license that conforms to these standards as a valid ID.

Nationalizing standards for driver's licenses and birth certificates creates a national ID system pure and simple. Proponents of the national ID understand that the public remains wary of the scheme, so proponents attempt to claim they are merely creating new standards for existing state IDs. However, the intelligence reform legislation imposed federal standards in a federal bill, thus creating a federalized ID regardless of whether the ID itself is still stamped with the name of your state. It is just a matter of time until those who refuse to carry the new licenses will be denied the ability to drive or board an airplane. Domestic travel restrictions are the hallmark of authoritarian states, not free republics.

The national ID will be used to track the movements of American citizens, not just terrorists. Subjecting every citizen to surveillance diverts resources away from tracking and apprehending terrorists in favor of needless snooping on innocent Americans. This is what happened with "suspicious activity reports" required by the Bank Secrecy Act. Thanks to BSA mandates, federal officials are forced to waste countless hours snooping through the private financial transactions of innocent Americans merely because those transactions exceeded $10,000.

The Identity Theft Prevention Act repeals those sections of federal law creating the national ID, as well as those sections of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 that require the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a uniform standard health identifier an identifier which could be used to create a national database containing the medical history of all Americans. As an OB/GYN with more than 30 years in private practice, I know the importance of preserving the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship. Oftentimes, effective treatment depends on a patient's ability to place absolute trust in his or her doctor. What will happen to that trust when patients know that any and all information given to their doctors will be placed in a government-accessible database?

By putting an end to government-mandated uniform IDs, the Identity Theft Prevention Act will prevent millions of Americans from having their liberty, property, and privacy violated by private and public sector criminals.

In addition to forbidding the federal government from creating national identifiers, this legislation forbids the federal government from blackmailing states into adopting uniform standard identifiers by withholding federal funds. One of the most onerous practices of Congress is the use of federal funds illegitimately taken from the American people to bribe states into obeying federal dictates.

Some members of Congress will claim that the federal government needs the power to monitor Americans in order to allow the government to operate more efficiently. I would remind my colleagues that, in a constitutional republic, the people are never asked to sacrifice their liberties to make the jobs of government officials easier. We are here to protect the freedom of the American people, not to make privacy invasion more efficient.

Mr. Speaker, while I do not question the sincerity of those members who suggest that Congress can ensure that citizens' rights are protected through legislation restricting access to personal information, the only effective privacy protection is to forbid the federal government from mandating national identifiers. Legislative "privacy protections'' are inadequate to protect the liberty of Americans for a couple of reasons.

First, it is simply common sense that repealing those federal laws that promote identity theft is more effective in protecting the public than expanding the power of the federal police force. Federal punishment of identity thieves provides cold comfort to those who have suffered financial losses and the destruction of their good reputations as a result of identity theft.

Federal laws are not only ineffective in stopping private criminals, but these laws have not even stopped unscrupulous government officials from accessing personal information. After all, laws purporting to restrict the use of personal information did not stop the well-publicized violations of privacy by IRS officials or the FBI abuses of the Clinton and Nixon administrations.

In one of the most infamous cases of identity theft, thousands of active-duty soldiers and veterans had their personal information stolen, putting them at risk of identity theft. Imagine the dangers if thieves are able to obtain the universal identifier, and other personal information, of millions of Americans simply by breaking, or hacking, into one government facility or one government database?

Second, the federal government has been creating proprietary interests in private information for certain state-favored special interests. Perhaps the most outrageous example of phony privacy protection is the medical privacy' regulation, that allows medical researchers, certain business interests, and law enforcement officials access to health care information, in complete disregard of the Fifth Amendment and the wishes of individual patients! Obviously, "privacy protection'' laws have proven greatly inadequate to protect personal information when the government is the one seeking the information.

Any action short of repealing laws authorizing privacy violations is insufficient primarily because the federal government lacks constitutional authority to force citizens to adopt a universal identifier for health care, employment, or any other reason. Any federal action that oversteps constitutional limitations violates liberty because it ratifies the principle that the federal government, not the Constitution, is the ultimate judge of its own jurisdiction over the people. The only effective protection of the rights of citizens is for Congress to follow Thomas Jefferson's advice and "bind (the federal government) down with the chains of the Constitution.

Mr. Speaker, those members who are not persuaded by the moral and constitutional reasons for embracing the Identity Theft Prevention Act should consider the American peoples opposition to national identifiers. The numerous complaints over the ever-growing uses of the Social Security number show that Americans want Congress to stop invading their privacy. Furthermore, according to a survey by the Gallup company, 91 percent of the American people oppose forcing Americans to obtain a universal health ID.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I once again call on my colleagues to join me in putting an end to the federal government's unconstitutional use of national identifiers to monitor the actions of private citizens. National identifiers threaten all Americans by exposing them to the threat of identity theft by private criminals and abuse of their liberties by public criminals, while diverting valuable law enforcement resources away from addressing real threats to public safety. In addition, national identifiers are incompatible with a limited, constitutional government. I, therefore, hope my colleagues will join my efforts to protect the freedom of their constituents by supporting the Identity Theft Prevention Act.

January 12, 2005

Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

While I'm not particularly happy with his use of "hacker", I'm quite pleased otherwise.

Friday, January 21, 2005 @ 10:32 a.m. - Comment

Well, I'll be darned...

What a surprise.

LiveJournal's outage was a molly guard failure.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 @ 03:05 p.m. - Comment

It's...!

Stolen shamelessly from DaveDorm.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 @ 12:19 p.m. - Comment

Nielsen Media Research

has this website called EveryoneCounts that's much in the we-dost-protest-too-much vein about how evil they're not.

I found it while in the quest for material to make a "Nielsen didn't count *me*" postcard for my sister, for the good folks at The Enterprise Project (whose site banner art I stole shamelessly).

If you watch Enterprise, on, oh, say, Saturday night instead of Friday, or you get preempted by sports, and you want to let them know, print that out and mail it to Paramount TV; the address is at TEP's website. It's sized to be quarter-legal at 200DPI.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 @ 08:57 p.m. - Comment

Josh Cooke

is the luckiest man in the universe.

His Nate Solomon, who is television's latest obsessive-compulsive, is busy falling madly in love with Jennifer Finnigan's well-on-the-way-to-a-non-Daytime-Emmy Marni Fliss on NBC's new romantic commedy Committed, which, of course, is primarily about two lovers who probably should be...

And so, I suspect, is almost every other male in its audience.

Marni is, though just a bit loonier, that "you look like you'd be awfully fun to get in trouble with" type of girl that Parker paints Susan Silverman as (at her best) in his Parker novels; she's just *fun*... ok, weird, but fun. Nothing wrong with weird.

In fact, it sort of supports my running assertion that the Internet is good for American culture because it torpedos hypocrisy -- you can't be all hoity-toity about how strange the other guy is, if everyone can tell that you are, too.

They don't seem quite to be able to air the episodes in the order they intended -- and there's some question whether they even realize that or not (or, maybe, they just thought that whole 'time-travel' thing on Enterprise was a Pretty Neat Idea), but the show is still a fun watch.

Oh, my ghod; I just said that.

That giant sucking sound you hear is the columnist position at The Hollywood Reporter.

Needless to say, I'm madly in love with her as well.

More hagiography here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 @ 10:41 p.m. - Comment

My sister thinks this quote is ancient

*I* think it was Lord John Marbury, on The West Wing.

In any event, a great perspective:

Englishmen think 100 miles is a long way.

Americans think 100 years is a long time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 @ 09:24 p.m. - Comment

Rare, yet Well Done

Ok, I can't do any better for a lead than Tom Shales of the Washington Post... but he's right: Patricia Arquette's new NBC series Medium carries some water.

In the pilot, perhaps, a little too *much* water, but it turns out ok in the end.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 @ 08:41 p.m. - Comment

Bush says president must

be an evangelical Christian.

Well... approximately.

Monday, January 17, 2005 @ 10:28 p.m. - Comment

What's the difference between Linux and

System V Release 4?

Well, the answer is somewhat counterintuitive, if you haven't been paying attention...

Monday, January 17, 2005 @ 08:35 p.m. - Comment

So there was this commercial on TV...

Doesn't that sound like a Live Journal lead? ;-)

For "Fifth Third Bank".

My sis thought that was a looney as I did, and clearly Cecil concurs.

Monday, January 17, 2005 @ 06:41 p.m. - Comment

One Last Campout

Jeff Tweiten is sleeping on a blue fold-out futon in front of the Cinerama Theatre in Seattle (restored by Paul Allen, BTW), in one last splash for (a second, or perhaps third) generation of Star Wars fans. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, premieres 19 May.

He's blogging, in case you care.

Sunday, January 16, 2005 @ 06:16 p.m. - Comment

100 Ways to

accidentally dial 9-1-1.

Thursday, January 13, 2005 @ 04:21 p.m. - Comment

See what happens

when I write long?

Thursday, January 13, 2005 @ 03:36 p.m. - Comment

What happens...

when we run out of phone numbers?

Thursday, January 13, 2005 @ 03:12 p.m. - Comment

Stupid word alert

A new neologism (if that's not redundant): blognoscenti.

(It's on the second page of the piece)

Thursday, January 13, 2005 @ 12:08 p.m. - Comment

Corporate exec accepts blame

World ends.

Film at 11.

Thursday, January 13, 2005 @ 10:13 a.m. - Comment

NASA Gets A Launch Right

:-)

About 4 minutes ago, they got a Delta II off the pad, carrying the comet exploratory package Deep Impact.

NASA TV coverage here.

Ans, a LaunchBlog here, though they aren't quite up to date...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005 @ 10:32 a.m. - Comment

Donny Osmond has a new album

I have declared it "mushy crap that isn't all that crappy".

If you're wondering where you've heard, before, that backing track on track 2, the first single, "Breeze on By"... it's George Benson's "Breezin'"; one of the three or four most popular instrumental pop recordings in history.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 @ 12:36 p.m. - Comment

I've just finished reading

Michael Crichton's new novel, State of Fear.

It's his usual cautionary tale, but with a twist.

This time, he says that what we have to fear really *is* fear itself.

It's difficult to explain further without blowing any of the (really good) twists in the book, but you can get a good idea where he's going by reading a speech he gave at Dartmouth last year: "Why Aliens Cause Global Warming":

My topic today sounds humorous but unfortunately I am serious. I am going to argue that extraterrestrials lie behind global warming. Or to speak more precisely, I will argue that a belief in extraterrestrials has paved the way, in a progression of steps, to a belief in global warming. Charting this progression of belief will be my task today.

Let me say at once that I have no desire to discourage anyone from believing in either extraterrestrials or global warming. That would be quite impossible to do. Rather, I want to discuss the history of several widely-publicized beliefs and to point to what I consider an emerging crisis in the whole enterprise of science-namely the increasingly uneasy relationship between hard science and public policy.

Monday, January 10, 2005 @ 04:13 p.m. - Comment

30 years on...

Popular Science was much more optimistic (and a little bit breathless) back in the mid 70's when they ran the famous "Flying Car" cover. And while the issue has become ingrained into poopular culture so far as to appear in a famous IBM commercial, no one has yet actually managed to get one off the ground.

Well, for more than a minute or so.

But Paul Moller keeps trying...

Monday, January 10, 2005 @ 03:50 p.m. - Comment

DejaGoogle

has announced that they've extended their Usenet archive to 20 years, and they feel it's fairly complete now. We'll see... :-)

20 years... A timeline through the eyes of Usenet. Wow.

Monday, January 10, 2005 @ 10:40 a.m. - Comment

Schmidt Happens.

How *do* you minimalize something whose name starts s-h-m?

Candice Bergen has arrived on Boston Legal as the mysterious, missing third named partner, Shirley Schmidt, at Crane, Poole, and Schmidt.

She's fairly normal, which of course makes her stand out at this law firm. Judge Beds would be proud.

In her first appearance, in an episode I-promise-I-won't-say-'penned' by series creator David E. Kelley, she fired an associate who was suing the firm over the bathroom fixtures, won a really stupid motion in federal court, commented on the size of Alan Shore's... fixtures, and turned out to be best-old-buddies with Lori Colson, who's portrayal by Monica Potter is improving episode by episode.

Alas, it seems the person whom she'll fire next is the less and less featured Sally Heep, played with aplomb (and very large breasts) by Lake Bell. I hope it turns out to be a lie... I like those breasts a lot.

Monday, January 10, 2005 @ 12:14 a.m. - Comment

Wow!

I guess I started something.

I think that's a record for second level replies on that Roadfly board...

Sunday, January 9, 2005 @ 06:20 p.m. - Comment

Lots and lots

and lots of cool looknig web design ideas and tutorials from an Ozzie company with the likely name of Max Design. [ Thanks to FlamingFoo on irc://irc.freenode.net#css ]

Saturday, January 8, 2005 @ 01:39 p.m. - Comment

The Linux Mafia

is headed by don Rick Moen, and he's much, *much* smarter than I am. He's always got something interesting, and often amusing, to say, and his latest foray is into the California judicial system; seems he was called for Jury Duty...

The assistant D.A. was a well-dressed, go-getter young white woman, the public defender was a burned-out looking, pot-bellied, middle-aged white guy with a beatnik-manque' beard, the judge was a wise-cracking Jewish guy, and the defendent was a powerfully-built, 6 1/2' black man with a shaved head.

That's just to set the scene: I swear that everyone was out of Central Casting (your generic big-city criminal trial scene) -- except it wasn't amusing in the least, just surreal.

Now, I absolutely would not have flinched from throwing the fellow in the Big House for a long time, if the burden of proof were met. I wasn't in any way trying to get off the jury or excused from service (having told whiners that, if they didn't like it, they could emigrate). Yet, I got thrown off for simply admitting to Judge Richard A. Kramer that -- with great respect for the rule of law -- I nonetheless had a functioning conscience.

Saturday, January 8, 2005 @ 01:11 p.m. - Comment

I like the way this guy thinks...

Dan's Domain Hall Of Shame.

Friday, January 7, 2005 @ 06:21 p.m. - Comment

One of the 10 smartest guys on the web

Dan Gillmor, has stopped writing his weekly column, syndicated by the San Jose Mercury News. He's got an independent weblog now, so we still get to hear what he thinks, and he's working on a grassroots journalism project, now, no doubt inspired in part by the Howard Dean campaign's early success last year.

Geez, it's a time for last columns...

Thursday, January 6, 2005 @ 01:01 p.m. - Comment

I'd been thinking about backing off

on my prediction that, if Microsoft was still in business at all by close-of-business 2005, that they wouldn't look anything like they do now: the majority player in OS and Office software.

Myabe I'll stick with it.

When they can't even get a sufficiently stable machine for Bill Gates to get through a public demo without a bluescreen, things are just too, too bad.

Microsoft still has monopoly, TPC, "We don't care; we don't have to" (regardless their marketing campaign taglines) reflexes: those are *good* when you actually *are* still a monopoly. But the cognitive dissonance inspired by the very arrogance of such approaches builds *much* faster than you can kill it off as you slide downslope from actually *being* a monopoly... and the bigger you are, I guess...

Keep your eyes here, for further predictions.

Thursday, January 6, 2005 @ 12:38 p.m. - Comment

Coolest. Star Wars. Pic.

Ever.

[This one, and quite a few more, thanks to theMaxx.com]

Thursday, January 6, 2005 @ 11:47 a.m. - Comment

And some people say they have

baggage.

A picture for Alan.

Thursday, January 6, 2005 @ 10:18 a.m. - Comment

I'll get my mouth closed, eventually...

This week's West Wing, titled Faith Based Initiative was penned by actor Bradley Whitford, who plays Josh on the show.

Clearly, he's learned something from saying Aaron Sorkin's words for 4 years; the script is easily up to the stuff Aaron wrote... and it seemed to be about nothing (in the grandest tradition of TV comedy)... *right* up until the last 15 seconds of Act One.

Game the hell *on*.

UPDATE: Wow. Just, wow. I can't even begin to explain the many levels on which this might have been the best episode of TWW I've ever seen.

Today. I'll do it tomorrow. Did you call your senator yet?

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 @ 08:01 p.m. - Comment

Well, now, *this* looks cool, too

Nextel, done right?

All Linux based, too.

Love to see Pinellas County go there.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 @ 02:45 p.m. - Comment

COOL!

Does anyone want to bet that these won't be hacked for access to the underlying Linux before they even ship in production?

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 @ 02:07 p.m. - Comment

Aw....

I'm a 'good friend'.

<kick> <shuffle>

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 @ 02:01 p.m. - Comment

Well...

here's a LiveJournal community I should have heard about long ago. :-)

There's a rumor they might be bought out by SixApart, which surfaced on Slashdot, which I filter through Bryce's cool Freshnews RSS aggregator.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 @ 01:32 p.m. - Comment

And if you needed a *reason* to call...

James Lileks gets it exactly right in today's Bleat:

What's next for our hero? Oh, I don't know. I have to finish the Thursday column now, this being Three-Column Monday. Maybe I'll watch some TV, although I have nothing good Tivo'd. Watched all the Enterprise episodes this weekend, and while I enjoyed the Vulcan arc, it did seem to consist mostly of Archer striding through tunnels with Melissa Etheridge, looking nearsighted. And no one seems to have picked up on the political undercurrent -- so the Vulcan top guy wants to make a "pre-emptive" based on falsified evidence that the other side has weapons of mass destruction, and has paved the way for his evil plans by staging a terrorist attack on an embassy he uses as a pretext for a domestic crackdown.

I dunno, James, I got it, oh, about 4 seconds after I realized it was really Sura's katra.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 @ 12:58 p.m. - Comment

TODAY is the day

US Representatives Conyers and Jackson are urging floor debate in both the House and Senate on the propriety of accepting the electoral votes from the clearly flawed and possible fraudulent Ohio Presidential election. But they need a Senator to stand up with them and force it.

I called mine, now you go call yours.

Tell him or her to stand up and support debate of the acceptance of the electoral votes, in support of Conyers and Jackson. Or Else.

Go. Call. Now.

The deadline on this is 1pm Thursday.

More from GoogleNews, including an open letter from Michael Moore.

And even more.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 @ 12:50 p.m. - Comment

Roblimo writes

over at Newsforge, that you don't *have* to twiddle your Linux machine all the time.

Thank ghod for Windows. If our clients didn't insist on Windows workstations, we'd have gone out of business *years* ago: the 40 or 50 Unix servers we have out in the field generate, maybe, one or two service calls a year, each.

Microsoft has kept us in business, as they have for so many people. Yeah, they're responsible for the growth in the computing industry, alright...

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 @ 12:21 p.m. - Comment

Courtesy of Slashdot

Samsung 21" OLED.

Oh My Ghod.

(Why I care.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 @ 11:44 a.m. - Comment

Well, now

I had the most delightful little hour on the phone this morning, with my ex-grilf Amber (from -- we did the math -- 11 years ago). She was kind -- and talkative :-) -- enough to carry it for the first 15 minutes or so while I woke up.

She's recovering from back surgery, and I'd overslept (for the second time this week, which is a bad sign), so...

She's started a new book-review weblog, which is an interesting idea that, if I had a more powerful blog engine, I might try, too. I *so* need to whack down all my archived pages, JIC pitas folds. I'm in Google, though it seems not to have all of me, and also archive.org, but nothing beats having the data in your hot little hands.

I'm actually trying to figure out how to turn Mediawiki into a blog engine. It shouldn't, actually, be too hard, I don't think...

Anyway, good to hear from you love, and thanks for the Christmas card...

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 @ 10:54 a.m. - Comment

I would like to call the attention of

all women between the ages of 18 and, oh, say 26, to this story.

:-)

Tuesday, January 4, 2005 @ 12:06 p.m. - Comment

As you may have noticed

I've replaced the hurricane-season WeatherBar up on the nameplate with a TsunamiBar, with links to information and safe places to send your money, should you wish to donate towards relief efforts.

The links were all stolen from Google, who have a link on their front page to their (more complete) page of information and relief links.

Google doesn't feature much in that one spot on their front page, except occasionally plugs for their own stuff; it gets a *lot* of focus. Don't Be Evil, I guess, huh?

It doesn't excuse everything, but it does go a fair way.

Tuesday, January 4, 2005 @ 11:11 a.m. - Comment

I've un-featured the election story

though it's certainly not any less important. It will roll down, now, but I'll post further updates (like: the guy who got the most *votes* finally won :-) as they happen.



...if the political-industrial complex will let you.

MERRY EFFIN CHRISTMAS: Kerry gives a crap, after all. More to come, I hope...

Older stuff (shortly to be rearranged)

Clearly, they're not going to let you. But it's not the complex. It's federal judges. I *STILL* wanna know where the outrage is!

New: Several professors at The University of California at Berkeley have produced an analysis, of scientific quality and rigor, of the election.

The Libertarian and Green Parties of the US have raised the required $113.600: there *WILL* be a recount of Ohio. And Ohio's 20 electoral votes *are* enough to give Kerry the election, if they, ahem, 'flop'.

And Florida may be in play. BlackBoxVoting.org is doing FOIA fraud investigations all over the place, and blogging (and filming) the results. Check out the possible election fraud map, courtesy of BBV and Wikipedia.

I'd like to remind everyone that until all 51 state election results are certified, we don't even know which way the Electoral College will be instructed to vote... and as I've noted before, they may not vote that way. So no one can claim victory until at *least* November 12th (the date when Ohio must have it's absentee ballots counted by), and we won't actually know who's going to be president until December 12th, unless there's a landslide in the certified electoral votes.

UPDATED: The Wikipedia page on possible election fraud has been expanded and reorganized -- the hottest fire makes the strongest steel :-) -- and continues, in my opinion to be one of the best compilations of data on the subject. Go back and re-read it even if you've seen it before: it's All New and Improved!

Ohio's Democratic party *is* holding the vote counters' feet to the fire.

More on the RISKS of letting big money control elections.

The opera isn't over, folks, until the fat lady sings.

But the lack of outrage troubles me. I'm not alone.

On the other hand, from the always uplifting (if you're not a Republican :-) Michael Moore: 17 reasons not to slit your wrists. And, of course, a shout out to the client on whose computer I'm adding this note... who is a Republican, and yet, still a great guy. Thanks, Larry. :-)

Sunday, January 2, 2005 @ 04:03 p.m. - Comment

To start the new year off right

Courtesy of John at Genehack, I've found my new favorite search engine...

same as the old favorite search engine.

Sunday, January 2, 2005 @ 03:59 p.m. - Comment


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