Friday, May 30, 2003

Apple's alive, alive!

Posted by MacDood
Apple Computer's persistence defies the law of increasing returns, writes Bradford DeLong in a commentary from Wired magazine. [Wired News]

My friend Dave Thau, who used to work for The All Species Inventory, has been building an neat site about ants, called AntWeb. LinkDiscuss
[Boing Boing]

I'm gonna line forever

Posted by MacDood
Researchers at the Institute for Stem Cell Research in Scotland have discovered a gene that turns ordinary cells into immortal stem-cells.

The gene found in mouse ESCs and some human equivalents appears to be the "master gene", co-ordinating other genes to allow stem cells to multiply limitlessly while still retaining their ability to differentiate. It has been christened Nanog after the land in Celtic myth called Tir nan Og, whose inhabitants remain forever young.

"Nanog seems to be a master gene that makes ESCs grow in the laboratory," says Ian Chambers, one of the team at the Institute for Stem Cell Research (ISCR), Edinburgh, Scotland. "In effect this makes stem cells immortal."

LinkDiscuss [Boing Boing]

Thursday, May 29, 2003

I find this relaxing - should I be institutionalized? []

gasp choke arrgh

Posted by MacDood will join the growing ranks of sites for freelancers that have shut down. Seems predictions that a big portion of U.S. workers will become free agents won't pan out. By Amit Asaravala. [Wired News]

freakin sars!!!

Posted by MacDood

Los Angeles-based digital artist and illustrator Sean Bonner of sixspace gallery created a number of items for the BoingBoing SARS folk art series. Here's the first of several from Sean that we'll post over the coming days. Link to complete image.


(Earlier "SARS folk art" exhibits in this reader-contributed series: A,
J, K, L, and

[Boing Boing]

"You're dead to me, can opener!" Fred shouts

Posted by MacDood
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, is a new Cartoon Network show in the tradition of the classic Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, in which classic cartoon characters are reimagined as vicious, satirical criminals. This Salon piece on the show was intriguing enough that I've asked my TiVo to get me a Season Pass to it.

Like a shotgun blast, "Harvey Birdman" explodes outward into postmodern reconfigurations. "The Dabba Don," referenced above, embroils the cast of "The Flintstones" in a mobster universe. Even minor characters, such as the various creatures that mundanely function as household appliances, are called to the witness stand to testify against Fred's illicit gambling and "white slavery" empires; "You're dead to me, can opener!" Fred shouts at one poor dinosaur that rats him out. Birdman himself, pressured by organized crime to defend Flintstone, ends up with more than one severed head at the foot of his bed; only one of them (Hanna-Barbera's Quick Draw McGraw), however, is a horse. Meanwhile, in the fan favorite "Shaggy Busted," Scooby Doo and Shaggy are unmasked as stoners, nabbed at the beginning of the episode in a live-action "Cops"-like bust as they drive down dank streets in their smoky van (Cheech and Chong's "Up in Smoke" anyone?) while blasting the opening riffs to the Doobie Brothers' (get it?) "China Grove." And that's just the beginning segment. We haven't even gotten to Birdman's opposing counsel, Spyro, a literal drama queen who phrases most of his arguments in Shakespearean meter (his version of Shaggy and Scooby's pot bust is titled, "As You Smok't It"). Or Hanna-Barbera bit player Magilla Gorilla propositioning Birdman in prison. Or the heavy-lidded montage featuring Scooby and company's various pizza binges and herbal appreciations. Or the bizarre resurfacing of a decades-old Tab commercial spotlighting Birdman's more-than-platonic relationship with his favorite one-calorie soda.

Then there's "Death by Chocolate," an episode that would make even McCaffery (who argues that a "bleak, absurdist comedy permeates the epistemological skepticism" of postmodern enterprises in "The Metafictional Muse") blush, this time starring Yogi and BooBoo Bear. While the plot line confirms Richter's assertion that "Harvey Birdman" is interested in telling straightforward stories, the episode is one extended, hilarious hallucination. Yogi's trusty (and usually much brighter) companion has metamorphosed into a Ted Kaczynski-type radical called the UnaBooBoo, and is nabbed in a government sting reminiscent of the Waco and Elián González debacles. The Waco jab may be a sly one; the government gives BooBoo 10 seconds to come out -- before launching an explosive at the count of two. But the Elián jab is more like a haymaker, replicating Alan Diaz's famous Associated Press photo of the closet invasion, with Yogi and BooBoo in the starring roles.

LinkDiscuss [Boing Boing]


Posted by MacDood
Cool NASA photos and streaming movies of plant experiments on the International Space Station:

One month ago, these peas were full of life and vivid green. Now they're brown and dry; they've "gone to seed." It happens in gardens on Earth all the time. These seeds are special, however, because they were grown in space, inside the Russian Lada greenhouse onboard the International Space Station (ISS). On May 16th, ISS commander Yuri Malenchenko took the brown plants (pictured above is just one of many) and stored them whole in ziplock bags filled with silica gel. Later they'll be taken out again, the seeds harvested and planted to grow a second generation of space-peas. If all goes well they'll become the first legumes to reproduce in Earth-orbit. This is the fifth "seed-to-seed" experiment conducted by Russian researchers. They've grown Arabidopsis onboard a Salyut spacecraft, turnip greens and wheat onboard Mir, and now peas on the International Space Station.
Link, Discuss [Boing Boing]

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]

free again at last

Posted by MacDood
On May 22, the judge who upheld the legality of the FBI Russian hacker trap and also issued a permanent injunction against the City of Medina free speech-stopping statute declared the Washington state law barring publication of law officers' personal information unconstitutional. []

Sure it smells really bad but...

Posted by MacDood

The world's largest-ever flower bloomed in Germany yesterday last week. The nearly three-meter-tall Titan Arum at the University of Bonn kicks the previous flower record's ass (set 70 years ago) by 7 centimeters. This species is known as the "corpse flower" because it reeks of rotting flesh.

Link, Discuss, (Thanks, Steve)

[Boing Boing]

sounds like I need a good scifi convention

Danny O'Brien, in the midst of a very funny rumination on science fiction conventions (I dragged him to BayCon last weekend), makes a very good point about following your weird.

Baycon is a very costume-based convention... everyone looks like a freak. Especially people like me, who don't dress up. We look like the weirdest freaks ever. Even the hotel staff look like fairly normal freaks by comparison, because they're dressed up in waiter and maid's outfits.

And some people, look like incredible, dressed-like-Lara-Croft-only-with-chains-on semi-naked babelicious freaks. Not that I stare. Or even look, or think about them, or anything ever. I only know about their existence because when these people walk into a room, all the straight boys nearby give out this universal telepathic deflatory pained sigh. It's like the sound of a wolf-whistle, only backwards, sucked in. Ooohhhhhh.

The sigh has a meaning. All my life, it says, I have been told by my superego that dressing like a Marvel superhero will not get me laid. And, here, here and now in this temporary saturnalia, surrounded by other males who are - at best - my equals in the ugly league division table: here is my perfect woman. But the world knows that this mad girl's flickering eyes craves just one thing. A man dressed as Galactus, Eater of Worlds. And not only have I left my Galactus costume at home. I never made it. Worse, I threw those biro drawings of me in the Galactus helmet away the moment I'd drawn them, ashamed to show them even to (say) Dave. And now I know: I'm not a virgin because I'm a geek. I'm a virgin because I have pursued geekdom with a less than pure, directed gaze...

LinkDiscuss [Boing Boing]

ties for the modern man

Freedom to Breathe Safe Clothing makes neckwear -- ties and scarves -- that are suppposedly good enough to filter whatever terrornoia phobia (anthrax, smoke, dirty nuke fallout) you're worried about. They'll sell you these garments so that you can look smart and businessy and still be prepared for the bogeyman's Orange Alert atrocities, wrapping them around your mouth and nose while you belly-crawl to safety. Kind of a duck-and-cover tool for your face.


(via SFGate Morning Fix) [Boing Boing]

Jean Panke of Mobile Tech News wrote a fun tutorial on "picture spamming" with the Sanyo 8100 phonecam:

We've been sending so many pictures with our new Sanyo 8100, we've started referring to them as "picture spams." With the 8100, we can set up an e-mail listing and select one person, a select few, or everyone on our list to "spam" with photos. Here's a list of fun and helpful things the Sanyo 8100 has allowed us to do the past few weeks: 1) send photos of a grandchild blowing out his birthday candles to an uncle out West and a great-grandmother in the Midwest. 2) emailed a photo of a complex engine problem on our airplane to our mechanic in Virginia, 3) took lots of pictures during a recent beach week-end and spammed everybody in the Midwest we could think of (this technology is really fun!), 4) took a picture of a visiting grandson and emailed it to my PC so he could view his picture instantly, 4) sent pictures of a prospective house we were hoping to buy to family for their feedback and approval, 5) got a picture of a friend's lunch (a plate of Chinese food accompanied by chopsticks and tea) with a fun audio message attached. This is great stuff!
Link, Discuss (via Gizmodo) [Boing Boing]

Hey now here's a way to make money with the six new kittens

Mr. Winkle, small dog and web celeb, now has a book. At left, he cross-dresses as Rosie the Riveter. From the publisher's notes:

"Mr. Winkle is a REAL dog, as genuine as the underdogs he celebrates in A Winkle in Time. He dedicates this book to all the world's underdogs who have struggled against long odds and high obstacles, and who have labored humbly in the shadows of others - not for fame or fortune, but for the love of their work, the faith of their vision, and the good of humanity."
Update: BoingBoing pal John points us to some extremely cool vintage work in a similiar vein from Harry Whittier Frees, and says, "I scanned one little booklet of his here. I'm not sure if my favorite photo is the cat in pants riding on a hen, with reins and all, or the bunny with old timey headphones."
Online book preview, Discuss (Thanks, Susannah, via Geisha!)
[Boing Boing]

for you disney-philes, you know who you are

Good MSNBC piece on Disney's efforts to reinvograte itself and become profitable again. Here's my three-point plan for a Disney recovery:
  1. Be like Walt: invent a new, amazing thing (movie or ride technology) every year, so that the company becomes synonymous with innovation again (don't be like Roy: stop using IP to keep your competitors from cloning you, and invent new stuff to stay ahead of them)
  2. Be like Walt: fire all the McKinsey consultants involved in the running of Disneyland and hire back all the senior staff who were forced out as a short-sighted cost-savings measure (don't be like Roy: stop nickle-and-diming your staff; after all, they're in charge of putting the richest children on earth into threshing-machines for 12h a day)
  3. Be like Walt: rebuild Imagineering as an interdisciplinary skunk-works that creates brand-new, amazing, one-off stuff that builds your brand (don't be like Roy: stop subbing out your ride design and maintenance to outside contractors and buying off-the-shelf midway rides for your parks)

(Thanks, Gary!) [Boing Boing]

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Yet Another Quote

3/24/99: "Writing for the web is too damned hard." [Scripting News]
New pics from inside Starbucks in Cambridge. [Scripting News]

they'll be back

Uber-Soldier Needs Much Debugging. Nanotechnology could help futuristic battle suits protect troops from bullets and chemical weapons. But for now, simply keeping grunts dry would be a big accomplishment for MIT's new Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. Noah Shachtman reports from Cambridge, Massachusetts. [Wired News]
segue: Word of the Day. segue [ Word of the Day]
Albert Camus. "You cannot acquire experience by making experiments. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
Layman's Guide to the Banach-Tarski Paradox. The Banach-Tarski Paradox is well-known among mathematicians, particularly among set theorists.1 The paradox states that it is possible to take a solid sphere (a "ball"), cut it up into a finite number of pieces, rearrange them using only rotations and translations, and re-assemble them into two identical copies of the original sphere. In other words, you've doubled the volume of the original sphere. "Impossible!" I hear you say. "That violates physical laws!" Well, that is what many mathematicians said when they first heard this paradox. But I'd like to point out in this article why this may not be as impossible as one might think at first. 1It revolves around the decades-old debate of whether the Axiom of Choice should be admitted or rejected. More on this in the epilogue. []

Friday, May 23, 2003

My iTrolls comic has moved to its own domain, with a different look and the addition of a forum section. It's now hosted through MacMerc.

Navigating through the archives is easier, and you can navigate through forward and back buttons or by title and date. Anyone who visits the old link will be automatically redirected, but be sure to update your bookmark.

Like Pixels? Check out MacDesign [MacMerc]
It's been a while since I brought you my
last Graphics Tip
— too a long while. Nevertheless, I believe you
will find that the tutorial I have to offer you this time around will be to
your liking. But, I don't know if you're ready to see what I have to show you,
but unfortunately, you and I have run out of time. This is your last chance.
After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends,
you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the
red pill
- you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Like Pixels? Check out MacDesign [MacMerc]
harridan: Word of the Day. harridan [ Word of the Day]

and i myself am an extraordinary person...

Otherkin: A Short Introduction.. I have heard a lot recently about Otherkin (aka Fae, Fairths, Metahumans) -- those who believe that they are spiritually or physically other than human. It might surprise you to know that whole communities have built up around these kinds of beliefs. []

be the web...

Web Zen: Celebrity Zen.






bruce lee

the harts

Link, Discuss (Thanks, Frank)
[Boing Boing Blog]

so now you know, what was the question?

Dynamics of a blogosphere story. Microdoc News posts this item exploring how an idea enters the blogosphere, develops, and reaches a conclusion.

We have traced such stories as "Where is Raed?", "Microsoft iLoo", "war blogging", and "Second SuperPower", which actually divided into two additional stories "Googlewash" and "Googlewashed". Overall we have traced 45 stories that have developed in the blogosphere over the last three months. Each blogosphere story has a definite beginning, develops along quite predictable lines and comes to a predictable end.

Link, Discuss (Thanks, RCB!) [Boing Boing Blog]

we prefer Peets to Starbucks but this sounds like good anarchical fun

Let's take pictures at Starbucks!. Lessig's got a great idea: let's all go commit "contributory trade dress infringement" by taking pix in Starbucks this weekend (maybe next holiday weekend we can do Toys R Us or one of the many other retail chains that ban photo-taking).

Story one: Last month while visiting Charleston, three women went into a Starbucks. They were spending the weekend together and one of them had a disposable camera with her. To commemorate their time with one and other they decided to take round robin pictures while sitting around communing. The manager evidently careened out of control, screaming at them, "Didn't they know it was illegal to take photographs in a Starbucks. She insisted that she had to have the disposable camera because this was an absolute violation of Starbuck's copyright of their entire [OE]environment'--that everything in the place is protected and cannot be used with Starbuck's express permission.

Story two: At our local [North Carolina] Starbucks, a friend's daughter, who often has her camera with her, was notified that she was not allowed to take pictures in any Starbucks. No explanation was given, but pressed I would think that the manager there would give a similar rationale.

I wonder what would happen if hundreds of people from around the country experimented this holiday weekend by taking pictures at their local Starbucks [sigma]



(Thanks, Larry!) [Boing Boing Blog]

I have always felt an affinity for dark matter

Study Sheds Light on Dark Matter. Dark matter is the most prevalent 'stuff' in the universe, but it can't be seen and no one knows what it is. A new study illuminates some of its cosmic mysteries -- and shows it's undoubtedly out there. By Leander Kahney. [Wired News]

this goes for you, you know who you are

Edgar Watson Howe. "When a friend is in trouble, don't annoy him by asking if there is any thing you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]

probably commie dust as well, shades of Andromeda Strain

Did SARS Land With Star Dust?. The search for the source of the SARS virus continues. A group of scientists suggests that the virus that causes the potent disease may come, not from terrestrial sources, but from outer space. Others are dubious. By Kristen Philipkoski. [Wired News]

Thursday, May 22, 2003

board of directors sentenced to play rollerball!

The BBC website today reported that the UK government plans new laws to create a new offense of corporate killing. Provided it goes through this would be a major step forward in making corporations accountable for their actions. []

epidemic mutations predicted by x-men;

"They were right," say psuedo-scientists

Europeans and Americans are at loggerheads over a very contentious issue. There are street protests. Diplomatic squabbles play out. Emotions run deep. No, it's not some recent war that will go unnamed. The issue is Frankenfood. So what gives with the Transatlantic contrast? Like the mob hysteria of the peasants who wanted to burn the monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, there is much simple fear of the unknown at work here. But caution is still warranted. I say that the proper approach on GM crops is that where there are errors and arrogance, chastise the corporations, and not the tech. []

Do you know what the semantic web is?

Web 'Shaman' Fights His Demons. Tim Berners-Lee, the man who dreamed up the World Wide Web, is worried that commercial interests threaten the future of the Internet. Speaking at the International World Wide Web Conference, he offers a possible solution. Michelle Delio reports from Budapest. [Wired News]

do you think split pea would help?

SMS + SARS: cellphone cures from babies and beans in Beijing. A BoingBoing pal living in Beijing sends this surreal bit of local news involving rural SMS rumors, SARS, and talking babies.

The ideas stemmed from a rumor about a baby who
purportedly spoke immediately after birth and said
firecrackers and "green bean soup" could prevent
infection, said an official at Anhui Provincial Public
Security Bureau.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the province,
including the capital, Hefei, received the rumor via
text messages on their cell phones, the official said.

Different variations of the story, told in areas as
far-flung as Guangdong and the northern region of
Inner Mongolia, say the baby said the soup had to be
consumed by midnight on May 7 and that he died after
delivering the message, according to newspapers.

The rumor caused sales of mung beans and firecrackers
to skyrocket in Guangdong, Fujian and Guizhou.

Update: Link to Beijing-based AP correspondent Audra Ang's story.
Discuss (Thanks, John) [Boing Boing Blog]

the force can inveigle the weak minded

inveigle: Word of the Day. inveigle [ Word of the Day]

So he's not the one, maybe the two?

Morpheus This!. A picture named 1145502.jpgTake criticism well? [Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]

you try it, then google for your phone number

Jon Udell: "Now and again, I google for my social security number, hoping that the number of hits will be zero but fearing that it won't be." [Scripting News]

existential bidding

Zany eBay auctions: soapmod.
Someone morphed a bar of Zest into a digital camera, then auctioned it off for cash on eBay. I love it when people turn the eBay auction process into a wacky, post-modern form of online performance art. It's not the object, it's the auction itself that becomes the art/prank/fun online thing. Link, Discuss , (Thanks, Eli the Bearded)
[Boing Boing Blog]

the great grand amoeba of computing

Turing's single-celled millions-old ancestors are Turing-complete. Oxytricha and Stylonychia, two ciliated protozoans, are Turing-complete biocomputers that rewrite their DNA to perform calculations. They've been at it for several million years. Keen.



(via Coherence Engine) [Boing Boing Blog]

Monday, May 19, 2003

A short story drawing on some of my own experiences, but set in the universe of Prime Intellect. []
Imagineering Way: Imagineers in their own words. Imagineering Way is a forthcoming collection of essays by Disney Imagineers recounting the process by which various Imagineering innovations were arrived at, refined and implemented. I just read a bunch of excerpts in Disney Magazine (sorry, no link) and it's gripping stuff.


Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]

alexa addressed the alien "I am what is called a homo sapient." The alien guffawed.

sapient: Word of the Day. sapient [ Word of the Day]

The board has received several complaints from young Dr. Frankenstein...

Med Schools Cut Out Cadavers. As institutions cancel anatomy classes and shy away from offering students hands-on experience with actual dead bodies, critics worry that doctors in training will miss out on a valuable rite of passage. By Randy Dotinga. [Wired News]
Spy Plan Faces Critical Deadline. Architects of the federal government's controversial Total Information Awareness project must turn in a report to Congress on Tuesday outlining their goals. Without lawmakers' approval, the program could be toast. By Ryan Singel. [Wired News]
Getting Inside Einstein's Head. How does one begin to understand the mind of the man who came up with the theory of relativity? A new website peers into the world and the work of Albert Einstein with a collection of personal correspondence, notes and scientific papers. By Michelle Delio. [Wired News]
Fame Is No Laughing Matter for the `Star Wars Kid'. The Internet is riveted by a video of a 15-year-old boy in Quebec who filmed himself wielding a double-bladed light saber in the manner of Darth Maul. By Amy Harmon. [New York Times: Technology]

Sunday, May 18, 2003

This evening I will be going to see The Matrix Reloaded. I have no doubt I will enjoy it (at least as much as, say, X2), even though my opinion of the movie has already been irrepairably influenced by the (mostly negative) advance reviews I’ve read. Timothy Shey, for example, pointed out Adam Gopnik’s review in The New Yorker, which, in a tone of unremitting snark, demolishes the decade’s most anticipated film. So great is Gopnik’s antipathy that, even while praising the first movie, he can’t resist a savage (and hilarious) dig at the franchise’s star:

Even Keanu Reeves, bless him, played his part with a stolidity that made him the only possible hero of the film, so slow in his reactions that he seemed perfect for virtual reality, his expressions changing with the finger-drumming time lag of a digital image loading online.

Ouch! And that’s an example of when he’s trying to be charitable! My favorite part of the article is his description of Zion in the new film:

Like every good-guy citadel in every science-fiction movie ever made, Zion is peopled by stern-jawed uniformed men who say things like “And what if you’re wrong, God damn it, what then?” and “Are you doubting my command, Captain?” and by short-haired and surprisingly powerful women whose eyes moisten but don’t overflow as they watch the men prepare to go off to war. Everybody wears earth tones and burlap and silk, and there are craggy perches from which speeches can be made while the courageous citizens hold torches. (The stuccoed, soft-contour interiors of Zion look like the most interesting fusion restaurant in Santa Fe.)

I can certainly appreciate Gopnik’s sentiment, which, I would argue, is mostly a reaction to the ridiculous amounts of hype attending the movie’s release. Furthermore, as someone who has always been a little miffed at the widespread perception that the original Matrix was a wildly original, deeply philosophical work, I can understand his need to point out the Wachowski brothers’ debt to Philip K. Dick or William Gibson or the medieval Cathars. However, I think it is important not to lose sight of the fact that this is just a movie, and, most likely, a very fun one at that (14 minute chase scene? Hell yeah!). The press (and, honestly, the filmmakers themselves) may have made the mistake of taking the whole thing too seriously, but I fully intend to enjoy myself by recognizing the movie for what it is: an action movie with philosophical overtones—not the other way around.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

[Sci-Fi Hi-Fi]

Now that I’ve seen The Matrix Reloaded, here (as promised) are my impressions (oh—and though it makes me feel like a goofy, Aint-It-Cool-reading fanboy to say this: spoilers!):

  • Justin Williams hits the nail on the head in his review: the scenes in Zion are every bit as lame as Adam Gopnik said they would be. Morpheus’s speech (“Hear me Zion!”) is so corny as to be cringe-worthy, while the big “rave in the cave” dance sequence is gratuitousness itself. For the most part, the Zion interlude provides prime material for the proverbial “cutting room floor.”

  • Nearly everything after the Zion sequence is pure, unadulterated genius! I’m not being facetious here—I went to this movie with a very healthy amount of skepticism and came out a true believer. Even the much-ballyhooed philosophizing, which I was quite ready to snicker at, impressed me. Believe the hype: the Wachowski brothers have actually managed to make an action movie that vividly dramatizes some of mankind’s oldest philosophical questions (free will, systems of control, cause and effect, McLuhan-esque speculations about our symbiotic relationship with technology—they’re all in there). I would be particularly interested in reading a transcript of the “Architect” scene—there was so much being said there that I didn’t really have time to digest it all!

  • I disagree with Jason Kottke’s assertion that the CG during the huge fight scene looks fake. I was looking pretty closely, and it seemed surprisingly natural to me. Kudos to John Gaeta and company!

  • The 14-minute car chase alone is worth the price of admission. The twins are very bad-ass characters. ‘Nuff said.

  • It’s pretty clear to me, based on Neo’s conversation with the counselor on the “engineering level,” Agent Smith’s sudden ability to influence events in the “real world,” and Neo’s newfound ability to stop sentinels, that Zion is just another level of the Matrix. I guess we’ll find out for sure in November.

[Sci-Fi Hi-Fi]

nothing from nothing inflatable church

To me, nothing says "life-long commitment" better than a 47- by 25-foot inflatable plastic wedding chapel with a blow-up organ, altar, pulpit, pews, candles and gold cross. (05-17) [Cruel Site of the Day]

seek the geek and it shall set yee free

rajiv was among dozens to report that unlike most "Hacks" in film, The Matrix reloaded actually has an ounce of reality where other films would rely on fancy ... [Slashdot]
zymano writes "Extremetech has this nice article on the future of 3d graphics. The article also mentions that graphic card gpus can be used for non-traditional ... [Slashdot]
ptorrone writes "Washington State just passed NEV legislation, legalizing them for in-road use. NEVs are neighborhood electric vehicles. This is a big deal ... [Slashdot]
The NYT has a piece on the history and future of satellite imagery. Short but interesting. [Slashdot]
genial: Word of the Day. genial [ Word of the Day]

I can think of a few disney dvds I'd like to self-destruct beore I see it...

This DVD Will Self-Destruct. Disney found a way to rent DVDs without needing a system to get the discs back. Using self-destruction technology, Disney will begin 'renting' DVDs this August that become unplayable after two days and do not have to be returned. [Wired News]
U.S. Charges 135 With Net Crimes. Attorney General John Ashcroft said 135 people have been arrested and over $17 million seized in a crackdown on 'cyberswindles and dot-cons' this week. Ashcroft said online crime now accounts for more than half of all fraud complaints. [Wired News]
Matrix Reloaded Reviewed. Saw Matrix Reloaded this afternoon. Executive Summary: It sucked. For a more detailed review of this 138 minute suckfest, read within. []
Preview of Rucker's "Frek". Rudy Rucker's started to build the site for his forthcoming novel, "Frek and the Elixer." Rucker is one of the most intimidatingly well-organized writers I know, approaching his fiction with the attentiveness to detail of an engineer: he writes tens of thousands of words' worth of notes about his work, and once the book comes out, he puts all that material online. It's awe-inspiring.

I got a copy of the "Frek" manuscript this week (nyah nyah nyah) and I got to reading it last night -- and couldn't put it down. I was up for hours reading it, laughing aloud and marking passages of language so fluid and funny that I wanted to stick them up on a cork board over my desk.

Frek and the Elixir is a profound, playful SF epic. The central theme is human individuality vs. the homogeneity of monoculture.

It's 3003 and the biotech tweaked plants and animals are quite wonderful -- but there are only a few dozen of the old species left. Nature has been denatured by the profiteers of NuBioCom. It's up to Frek Huggins, a lad from dull, sleepy Middleville, to venture out into the galaxy to fetch an elixir to restore Earth's lost species. At least that's what a friendly alien cuttlefish tells him the elixir will do. But can you really trust aliens?

Frek finds himself in the midst of a galactic struggle for humanity's freedom, accompanied by his talking dog Wow, the down-home mutant Gibby, and an asteroid-raised girl named Renata. The final liberation depends on freeing Frek's long-lost father from an all-seeing alien known as the Magic Pig.

Frek and the Elixir is an archetypal saga reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter books, and Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials series -- enlivened by Rudy Rucker's trademark originality and wit.

Ages 12 and up. Length 166,000 Words. The novel will be published by Tor Books in Spring, 2004.


Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]
Dating a Blogger, Reading All About It. While personal blogs have been around for years, their proliferation has caused a wrinkle in the social fabric among people in their teens, 20's and early 30's. By Warren St. John. [New York Times: Technology]
Chinese Proverb. "The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
florid: Word of the Day. florid [ Word of the Day]

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Dumb Terminal Trick - Time to chat !!! [OSXFAQ]
So where do you store your web site files on your Mac OS X development server? The Sites folder, aliases to other locations on your hard drive, virtual hosts? Patrick Crowley (of shows you what he's learned from his experiences. [MacDevCenter]

Friday, May 16, 2003

While many commercial websites struggle to be noticed, some bloggers are unintentionally attracting lots of hits. Their daily utterances, even on topics they know nothing about, are generating high traffic from search engine queries. By Joanna Glasner. [Wired News]
hugger-mugger: Word of the Day. hugger-mugger [ Word of the Day]
Matrix: Not Much Neo to Report. The first Matrix film justifiably earned its cult-like status with a beguiling mix of information-age theology, cool special effects and thrilling plot twists. The Matrix: Reloaded, however, lacks the mythic resonance of its predecessor. By Noah Shachtman. [Wired News]
Betsy Devine: "Will they take up the growing speculation that Bush's flight suit was -- errrr -- strategically enhanced?" [Scripting News]
Badass Buddy Icons.
My 13-year-old niece turned me on to Badass Buddy, a site with more than a thousand free icons for AOL Instant Messenger. My faves as of this minute are "Kinky" and "Torture."
(Thanks Awwwwdrey!)
[Boing Boing Blog]
NY Times on White House theatrics. They hired people from ABC and Fox to stage events for them. The pic of Bush in front of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt at Mt Rushmore is beautiful, and frightening. [Scripting News]
Folkloric history of those "Calvin peeing" car stickers.
This site explores the evolution of those annoying and ubiquitous "Calvin peeing" stickers stuck on truck windows all over America. Explores the variations and corruptions, includes an excellent photo gallery.

My favorite part: the "generate-a-Calvin-peeing" engine, where you select who he hates (la Migra? The Navy? Ford trucks? "Fat chicks"?), whether it's the real Calvin or not, then generates a sticker for you on the fly.
At left, the variant I probably see most often when I'm tooling down the freeway between L.A. and the border. OK, that and the "praying to Jesus" one, which actually does not involve peeing, rather, praying.
Link, Discuss, (Thanks, Steve)
[Boing Boing Blog]

Jason Cook: Sharing Your Site with RSS. [Scripting News]
Web Zen: Time kill Zen.
(1) rock paper scissors

(2) trainspotting

(3) scrollbar racing

(4) badger racing

(5) arm wrestle

(6) trogdor the dragon

(7) stickman fight

(8) and a classic: orisinal

Link, Discuss (Thanks, Frank!)
[Boing Boing Blog]

CSPAN "Washington Journal" covers blogs today, watch webcast here. BoingBoing pal and wireless guru Shirley Tseng says:

CSPAN devoted their Friday morning Washington Journal call-in show to the use of blogs. View it here. I thought it was pretty good. The webcast should be available for 3 days.

Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]
Rucker's students do Wolfram simulations.

Rudy Rucker has whipped his computer science students into building a series of online Java applets that run cellular automata simulations inspired by Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science. These are truly mind-bending graphics, what Rucker calls "the Lava Lamp school of computation, a process to be watched."



(Thanks, Rudy!)

[Boing Boing Blog]

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Is Long Beach next?

Espresso. Cigarette smoke. 802.11B. Paris cafe society becomes unwired.

Paris could soon be among the first cities to offer Internet all across town, allowing e-mailing and Web surfing from the Left Bank to La Defence. Two technology firms and the agency that runs Paris' subway have launched a test run that, if successful, could lead to Paris becoming one massive "hot spot." In the trial, a dozen antennas were erected last month outside Metro stations lining a major north-south bus route, allowing anyone nearby to go online with a computer equipped to receive the signals.
Link to AP story, Discuss (via unwired listserv) [Boing Boing]

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Republican Chickenhawk Cards. Paroday of the Iraqi [base "]Deck of Death[per thou] playing cards - a deck with 54 hawkish Republicans who finagled their way out of military service.

What exactly is a "chickenhawk"? According to The New Hampshire Gazette, "a "chickenhawk" has three qualities: bellicosity (a warlike manner or temperament), public prominence, and a curious lack of wartime service when others their age had no trouble finding the fight."

Link Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]
Hugo-nominated fiction online. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine have both posted the Hugo-award-nominated fiction they published this year to their websites. Win or lose, these are some of the finest sf published in 2002.

Asimov's Link (Ian R. MacLeod -- Breathmoss; Charles Stross -- Halo; Gregory Frost -- Madonna of the Maquiladora; Ursula K. Le Guin -- The Wild Girls; Molly Gloss -- Lambing Season; Michael Swanwick -- The Little Cat Laughed to See Such Sport)

F&SF Link (Maureen F. McHugh -- Presence; Charles Coleman Finlay -- The Political Officer; Jeffrey Ford -- Creation; Richard Chwedyk -- Bronte's Egg)


(via Futurismic) [Boing Boing Blog]

Vonnegut on "Shock and Awe". Kurt Vonnegut's stirring address at Mark Twain house in Connecticut is a wry, sharp indictment of war and the Bush presidency.

I note that construction has stopped of a Mark Twain Museum here in Hartford -- behind the carriage house of the Mark Twain House at 351 Farmington Avenue.

Work persons have been sent home from that site because American "conservatives," as they call themselves, on Wall Street and at the head of so many of our corporations, have stolen a major fraction of our private savings, have ruined investors and employees by means of fraud and outright piracy.

Shock and awe.

And now, having installed themselves as our federal government, or taken control of it from outside, they have squandered our public treasury and then some. They have created a public debt of such appalling magnitude that our descendants, for whom we had such high hopes, will come into this world as poor as church mice.

Shock and awe.

What are the conservatives doing with all the money and power that used to belong to all of us? They are telling us to be absolutely terrified, and to run around in circles like chickens with their heads cut off. But they will save us. They are making us take off our shoes at airports. Can anybody here think of a more hilarious practical joke than that one?

Smile, America. You're on Candid Camera.



(Thanks, Tom!) [Boing Boing Blog]
Cute virii stuffies.

Giant Microbes sells stuffed animals that are anthropomorphised microbial bugs. Pictured here, the happy rhinovirus.



(via Making Light)

[Boing Boing Blog]
eleemosynary: Word of the Day. eleemosynary [ Word of the Day]

another thing the RStones and I have in common

Wireless net helps Stones roll on. The Rolling Stones are using wi-fi technology to help their Forty Licks world tour go more smoothly [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]
Oh, It's Not a Hoax: MS ILoo. After claiming that the iLoo, a portable Internet-connected toilet, was a hoax, Microsoft has changed its tune. The company now admits that the iLoo, as silly as it sounds, was a real project after all. [Wired News]
The Onion | What Do You Think?. Last week, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for winning the war in Iraq. What do you think? "Man, this must've been a pretty shitty year for peacemakers." "If they win, they would join the esteemed ranks of Henry Kissinger and Yasser Arafat." "Well, they did go to war when the entire rest of the world was opposed, so I suppose they deserve it. Wait, that came out wrong." "What, were the Powerpuff Girls too fictional or something?" "Nominated by the grateful Iraqi people, no doubt." [The Onion | America's Finest News Source[dot accent]]
The Onion | Pfizer Launches 'Zoloft For Everything' Ad Campaign. NEW YORK[~]Seeking to broaden the customer base of the popular drug, Pfizer announced the launch of a $40 million "Zoloft For Everything" advertising campaign Monday. "Zoloft is most commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders, but it would be ridiculous to limit such a multi-functional drug to these few uses," Pfizer spokesman Jon Pugh said. "We feel doctors need to stop asking their patients if anything is wrong and start asking if anything could be more right." [The Onion | America's Finest News Source[dot accent]]
Matrix: Reviewed. Great Salon review of the new Matrix movie. I know what I'm doing Friday night. If I can get a ticket.

Early on in the film, Morpheus whips the inhabitants of Zion, the underground city where the last band of human rebels have their stronghold, into a frenzy. The agents of the Matrix have finally located Zion, and a dreadful army of 250,000 Sentinels -- those scary, dreadlocked killing machines from the first film -- is burrowing down through the earth, on its way to destroy the city and annihilate the free survivors of the human race. But Morpheus does not rouse the citizens of Zion for battle, although a final battle is close at hand. He wants them to party. The machines have been trying to kill them for years, decades, he reminds them, longer than anyone living can remember: "But we are still alive!"

What follows is a thunderously exciting all-night multicultural rave, an ecstatic dance party the likes of which I've never seen on film before -- intercut with a hot 'n' sweaty interlude between Neo and Trinity, who've been struggling to find some Q.T. together amid the impending apocalypse and hordes of strangers who want Neo to bless their babies. One of the marks of genuine genius in the Matrix films, I think, is the way the Wachowskis manage to have it both ways so much of the time: They can make a box-office-busting action spectacular that is also an explicit critique of media-age capitalism and a lefty-Christian parable. They can turn a sex scene between two movie stars with fabulous bodies into a celebration of the sheer sensuous delight we all share (or should share, anyway) just at being alive, experiencing the world with our own bodies and our own minds.


Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]
Texas Spam Bill: Who We Trying To Help Here?. The Texas Legislature currently is considering a new Spam Law. House Bill 1282 has sailed through House Committee and is on the verge of being passed out by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. This would be fine except for one thing: this law would help spammers more than it does their victims. []
Preview of new Stephenson novel. Neal Stephenson's publisher has posted a preview of Quicksilver, the first volume of The Baroque Cycle -- a followup to Cryptonomicon.

Enoch rounds the corner just as the executioner raises the noose above the woman's head. The crowd on the Common stop praying and sobbing for just as long as Jack Ketch stands there, elbows locked, for all the world like a carpenter heaving a ridge-beam into place. The rope clutches a disk of blue New England sky. The Puritans gaze at it and, to all appearances, think. Enoch the Red reins in his borrowed horse as it nears the edge of the crowd, and sees that the executioner's purpose is not to let them inspect his knotwork, but to give them all a narrow [~] and, to a Puritan, tantalizing [~] glimpse of the portal through which they all must pass one day.

Boston's a dollop of hills in a spoon of marshes. The road up the spoon-handle is barred by a wall, with the usual gallows outside of it, and victims, or parts of them, strung up or nailed to the city gates. Enoch has just come that way, and reckoned he had seen the last of such things [~] that thenceforth it would all be churches and taverns. But the dead men outside the gate were common robbers, killed for earthly crimes. What is happening now in the Common is of a more Sacramental nature.

The noose lies on the woman's grey head like a crown. The executioner pushes it down. Her head forces it open like an infant's dilating the birth canal. When it finds the widest part it drops suddenly onto her shoulders. Her knees pimple the front of her apron and her skirts telescope into the platform as she makes to collapse. The executioner hugs her with one arm, like a dancing-master, to keep her upright, and adjusts the knot while an official reads the death warrant. This is as bland as a lease. The crowd scratches and shuffles. There are none of the diversions of a London hanging: no catcalls, jugglers, or pickpockets. Down at the other end of the Common, a squadron of lobsterbacks drills and marches round the base of a hummock with a stone powder-house planted in its top. An Irish sergeant bellows [~] bored but indignant [~] in a voice that carries forever on the wind, like the smell of smoke.



(Thanks, Zed!) [Boing Boing Blog]
A picture named matrix.jpg

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

go ahead, laugh out loud

Happy Fun Pundit weighs in with the Top Ten Things I Hate About Star Trek. [Wil Wheaton]
Wondering what a JPEG is? Confused over the meaning of bit mode? Jargonary, a new Mac OS X dictionary, can help. It lets you look up computer jargons in a definition database that's stored on your computer. The database contains explanations for over 13,000 computer terms. Jargonary also provides real-time searching; a history feature for retracing your search results; an auxiliary definition feature that helps define words within definitions; and a "closest match" feature for quick browsing. [MacCentral]

and its about time

Consumer Reports says some good things about Apple and the Mac for a change. [MacInTouch]

an interesting article on the foibles of interface; I just might read the book, too

jef raskin, the humane interface

It seems kind of unfair, doesn't it? First, developers have to understand and accommodate users' habits. Then we have to deliver solutions that add value while surreptitiously encouraging users to adopt better habits. Finally, we have to bring to the surface, examine, and modify our own deeply-ingrained habits. That's a painful and psychologically hard thing to do. But happy users are not the only reward. The habit of breaking habits will serve you well. [Full story at]
... [Jon's Radio]

Monday, May 12, 2003

I think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates should mud wrestle on the web and settle this once and for all, don't you?

Apple Tweaks Microsoft Over a New Computer. A few years ago, when Steve Jobs introduced Apple's popular iMac computer, his archrival, Bill Gates, groused that Apple had reduced innovation in the personal computing world to translucent colored plastics. By John Markoff. [New York Times: Technology]

Finally, we know who is to blaim: Oreo!

Selling Oreos to kids is criminal. A lawsuit in San Francisco seeks to ban the sale of Oreo cookies to children on the grounds that they're full of transfat and sugar and lard and other crud.

The suit, the first of its kind in the country, asks for an injunction ordering Kraft Foods to desist from selling Nabisco Oreo Cookies to children in California, because the cookies are made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, also called trans fat...

In particular, he mentions a school-based program called the Oreo On-line Project, which involves stacking Oreos as high as possible without toppling the tower. In 2002, more than 326 schools and classes around the country participated, according to the Oreo Web site.



(Thanks, Mark and Steve!) [Boing Boing Blog]

Thomas Pynchon on the future is now

Pynchon on Orwell. Thomas Pynchon introduces a new edition of 1984:

Prophecy and prediction are not quite the same, and it would ill serve writer and reader alike to confuse them in Orwell's case. There is a game some critics like to play in which one makes lists of what Orwell did and didn't "get right". Looking around us at the present moment in the US, for example, we note the popularity of helicopters as a resource of "law enforcement," familiar to us from countless televised "crime dramas," themselves forms of social control - and for that matter at the ubiquity of television itself. The two-way telescreen bears a close enough resemblance to flat plasma screens linked to "interactive" cable systems, circa 2003. News is whatever the government says it is, surveillance of ordinary citizens has entered the mainstream of police activity, reasonable search and seizure is a joke. And so forth. "Wow, the government has turned into Big Brother, just like Orwell predicted! Something, huh?" "Orwellian, dude!"



(via Schism Matrix) [Boing Boing Blog]

today's quote

Margery Cuyler. "I think wholeness comes from living you life consciously during the day and then exploring your inner life or unconscious at night." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]

This is so beautiful and so amazingly far away in distance and time

Deepest deep-space photo ever taken.
Using the Hubble Space Telescope's new Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), astronomers have taken what is said to be the deepest visible-light image of the sky ever captured. At left: at detail from the ACS image with a few bright Milky Way stars in the foreground, framed by faint stars in the halo of M31 and far-away galaxies. From the Sky and Telescope article:

"The 3.5-day (84-hour) exposure captures stars as faint as 31st magnitude, according to Tom M. Brown (Space Telescope Science Institute), who headed the eight-person team that took the picture. This is a little more than 1 magnitude (2.5 times) fainter than the epochal Hubble Deep Fields, which were made with the Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. It is 6 billion times fainter than what can be seen with the naked eye."

link, Discuss, (Thanks, JP!)
[Boing Boing Blog]

I just love a good Bill Gates but, but, but its a joke

iLoo makes Microsoft gag. Claims that MSN UK was creating an Internet-ready outhouse were an April Fools' gag, says the software giant. But isn't May a bit late? [CNET]
I haven't looked at it yet but thought it might be amusing.

Online art: "The Nudemen show," and

DB-DB is an wonderful online gallery of art-game-oddities. The site's loaded with amusing little flash-based goodies. My favorite piece right now: The Nudemen Show," by Francis Lam, shown here. Link, Discuss, (Thanks, Susannah!)
[Boing Boing Blog]

Sunday, May 11, 2003

enjoy a fresh bowl of ghagh while reading this

"Klingon Language Interpreter" Urban Legend. Every once in a while, in order to remind myself of the quality of information typically reported, I trace down the source of a particularly ridiculous story. The "Klingon Language Interpreter" myth, which is spawning now, provides an amusing case study of the process of pack journalism. []

Completely hilarious geek minimalist comic strip

Awesome geeky comic strip.

Death to the Extremist is an hilarious, geeky, minimalist/situationist comic strip in which two vague blobs (labelled "1" and "2") exchange quips for nine panels/strip. The jokes revolve around Photoshop defaults, fonts, porn, and the Internet, and there's even Death to the Extremist fan art in which DttE fans draw their own blobs, labelled "1" and "2," and generate their own nerd humor.



(via The Adventures of AccordionGuy in the 21st Century)

[Boing Boing Blog]

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Hey use this in a sentence
contemporaneous: Word of the Day.

Hey they went contemporanous on his schumck-cup
I like spam! I'm having spam, spam, spam...
I must admit that I do enjoy trying out different anti-spam techniques in Eudora and Both applications work well enough to filter spam-ola but a few real emails slip thru making me have to skim thru the 50-100 spams per day. The good fight continues...

Re: What People Love to Hate. As the crackdown on unsolicited e-mail surges along with its volume, it may be time to acknowledge that it's fun to hate spam. [New York Times: Technology]
Remember that email about the Nigerian woman being executed...
When Do-Gooders Don't Know What They're Doing. A collision of well-intentioned foreigners and imperiled Nigerians illustrates the hazards of using modern technology to apply political pressure in developing nations. [New York Times: Technology]
How much knowledge is safe? - (interesting article about info post 9/11)
How much knowledge is safe?. When should information be placed on the Internet? What are the reasonable bounds of the US' First Amendment? At what point does National Security take precedence over personal freedom? Can scientific facts - which are universally true - ever legitamately be censored? []


Noogie Promotion: Some slumber parties get advertised all over the world.  Looks like the advertising for this one got a bit out of hand...

Some slumber parties get advertised all over the world.  Looks like the advertising for this one got a bit out of hand...

Can you come up with a caption for this pic? [Scripting News]

Hey its one of my fave movies too

I always like this movie for two reasons: Robert Preston is in it and it is one of the first uses of CGI in a mainstream movie. Now I know I have something in common with our prez.

The Onion | Bush Cites The Last Starfighter As Inspiration For Entering Politics. WASHINGTON, DC[~]During a speech Monday, President Bush disclosed for the first time the pivotal role the 1984 science-fiction adventure film The Last Starfighter played in his decision to enter politics. "My whole life, I'd grown up around politics, but it wasn't until that fateful day in 1984, at a matinee screening of The Last Starfighter at the old Orpheum Theater in Midland, TX, that I finally realized that my destiny lay in public service," said Bush, speaking at a Republican National Committee fundraiser at the Washington Hilton. "The movie showed me that no matter who you are and where you come from, you can make a big difference." [The Onion | America's Finest News Source[dot accent]]

There was something funny about that meat...

The Onion | Dozens Dead In Chicago-Area Meatwave. CHICAGO[~]A deadly meatwave swept through the Chicago area over the weekend, leaving an estimated 40 residents dead of steaks, chops, ribs, bacon, and various other forms of meat exhaustion. "This is easily the worst meatwave I've seen around these parts since the summer of '79," said John Gruznek, a Chicago gravicologist. "Most of the bodies I've examined were bloated beyond all recognition." "The excessively high level of pork loins, sirloin tips, bratwurst, and other meats was indisputably the number-one factor in these deaths," said Chicago mayor Richard Daley, speaking from his temporary command center at Ruth's Chris Steak House on North Dearborn Street. "Most of these people consumed a considerable fraction of their weight in animal flesh before ultimately succumbing to meatstroke." [The Onion | America's Finest News Source[dot accent]]

Friday, May 9, 2003

To restore peace, US hires Iraqi looters. The experiment in east Baghdad virtually eliminates looting at a power company. [Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]

If this works ouit maybe we can try this at home, maybe in New York...
Steve Jobs will kick off Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference with a keynote Monday, Jun 23, at San Francisco’s Moscone West. The five-day event features more than 170 in-depth technical sessions for Mac developers, including a dedicated track for QuickTime. [May 8] [Apple Hot News]
I like to discuss these concepts with my daughter Molly. She says it makes her head hurt

Are there multiple universes?. Scientific American is running this article about parallel universes. The article discusses four types of parallel universes that might exist. The author argues vigorously that the existence of these kinds of parallel universes are scientifically valid theories. This is, in my opinion, necessary because one can make a strong case that none of this is science but philosophical wanking. []
Super-cool undersea creatures: red jellyfish discovered. Paul Arzul points us to underwater oddity Tiburonia granrojo:

"T. granrojo is not just a new species and genus. It is so different from other jellies that it had to be assigned to a new subfamily (Tiburoniinae). Its large size and deep red color are distinctive. But what really sets T. granrojo apart is that, unlike most jellies, it has no tentacles. Instead, it uses its four to seven fleshy arms to capture food. Researchers were particularly surprised to find that the number of arms varies from individual to individual, because this is generally a diagnostic feature for determining different jelly species."

More info. Still images, Video clips, Molecular data, and desktop wallpaper!, Discuss
[Boing Boing Blog]
Oh my dear sweet Buddha.

Japanese shops are selling a set of 11 Buddhist action figures.



(via Geisha Asobi)

[Boing Boing Blog]
kewl commercial. Got kids? [video] [Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]
Operation Strangelove: stop cowboy diplomacy. "On May 14, put on a screening of Dr. Strangelove -- in your living room, at the local theater, on campus, on your laptop, anywhere you can -- and say no to unilateral invasions, to endangering our troops for the sake of oil, to flouting international law and the world community in the name of empire. Follow the film with discussions, forums, debates. Keep talking. Keep acting. Let's give new meaning to the old Strategic Air Command motto, "Peace Is Our Profession." Link Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]

Writing that the iTunes Music Store “flat out rocks,” Ron Harris of the
Associated Press adds, “The service offers unparalleled flexibility for legitimate music downloads, a beefy selection of musical genres and, best of all, no subscription fee and no limits on burning songs to CDs. Snagging music from the Internet hasn’t been this simple since the Napster days. And now I no longer feel like a scofflaw.” [May 9] [Apple Hot News]

Thursday, May 8, 2003

Slashdot | Revising the Internet Email Infrastructure

its about time
Slashdot | Revising the Internet Email Infrastructure

BBC NEWS | Health | Sars 'here to stay'

BBC NEWS | Health | Sars 'here to stay'

Ben Hammersley's latest Guardian column challenges the received wisdom that the Internet is killing off good prose:

Writing is dead, they say. The internet killed it: kids r writing SA n txt, grown-ups rely on spell checkers and stylish grammar is punished by green squiggly lines. In fact, listen to the critics and you would be forgiven for thinking the internet is not so much a cultural wasteland, but a vacuum - sucking the very essence of civility and art out of its users...

Readers are getting a good deal. But why is this? Cost, mostly. Until now, a free press has been anything but: paper, printing, binding and distribution all cost money that niche publications would never be able to find or recoup. But with the internet, one can be read almost anywhere on the planet, contributed to by strangers and influenced by writers who, only a few years ago, you would have never had the chance to hear of.

The unveiling of good writing is one thing, but how do you become a good writer in the first place? The internet helps out there, too. Writers' communities, where people offer advice, encouragement and read and review each other's work, are becoming very popular. Sites such as Zoetrope, the Short Story Group and, while offering no critique, sites such as ABCTales, will publish anyone who wants to show their work to the world.


(Thanks, Rob!) [Boing Boing]

The aftermath in Iraq

you'll need to login to read it
Women Fear Their Rights Will End With Hussein Era
[from Sarah Galacticat]

Still whiney after all these years

(Isn't it great that Wesley is STILL whining...)

Speaking of getting burned, I read a wire story (warning: pop-up and cookie hell) that talked about the explosion of "celebrity weblogs." In it, he mentioned me, failed to mention that I was doing this LONG before it became a marketing tool for Big Celebrities, and portrayed me in what I think itsn't a very positve light. [Wil Wheaton]

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Ain't it the truth...

"No good deed goes unpunished." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]

MacInTouch: Mac news, information and analysis

MacInTouch: Mac news, information and analysis
Writing for Microsoft's MSNBC, Gary Krakow takes several shots at Apple's new music service:

Even if you think AAC cuts are good enough for your listening needs, you're paying way too much for this near-CD quality when a few cents more per cut can get you the real thing. Apple should consider slashing the price of their music to reflect the ultimate quality of its offerings. For now, I'll stick with CDs.
[You've got to wonder about the ethics of the Microsoft news organization publishing critiques of its competitors' services.... - - FIRST REVIEW OF STUNNING NEW MATRIX MOVIE-YACBM* - FIRST REVIEW OF STUNNING NEW MATRIX MOVIE

watch out for spoilers-macdood
*Yet Another Comic Book Movie

Let's all make an effort to read a fairy tale this week, 'kay?

Imagine going through a weekend without electric lighting, TV, radio, computers or even books. Use candles and lamps sparingly, as if wax and oil were rare and dear commodities. Instead, rely mainly on a fire. If you can, do this at an isolated rural house, away from the distractions and noise of the city. You are replicating the common experience of humanity before the twentieth century. The outside world is darkness, full of the noises of unidentifiable animals and insects, the groan of creaking wood and the whisper of wind through unseen spaces. Out there is the unkennable realm of nature, indifferent or perhaps even hostile to mankind. As night falls, your family begins to huddle in the pool of light and warmth thrown by your fire; the light is to weak to do much work by, so mostly you sit and talk to each other. This was the nighttime world of virtually every generation before ours -- the place and time of the storyteller, the folk poet and singer. In between the outer world of darkness and the inner world of light, there is an third place, where things can be seen but only indistinctly; of shifting shadows, curling smoke and imagined shapes. This is the world of Faerie11. Faerie has been our constant nighttime companion from the earliest days of our species until light bulbs and electricity became common in the last century. []

so much time, so little good scifi, here's some if you're looking

In the fine tradition of E2's Books that will induce a mindf*ck, I present a list of authors and books that I think are more than worth the time required to read them. My main criteria here are that the books be interesting, gripping, etc. -- not necessarily of great "literary" value. []

You know, I've always wondered about the answer

Not obsessively, just wondered..

From the Straight Dope, answers to the Mad Hatter's riddle, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

* Because the notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical notes. (Puzzle maven Sam Loyd, 1914)

* Because Poe wrote on both. (Loyd again)

* Because there is a B in both and an N in neither. (Get it? Aldous Huxley, 1928)

* Because it slopes with a flap. (Cyril Pearson, undated)


(via Vitanuova) [Boing Boing]

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

walking with woodlice

A list of the least popular and sometimes weirdest search terms is compiled by net giant MSN. [BBC News | TECHNOLOGY]

At the top of the list is the phrase "walking with woodlice" perhaps occasioned by the BBC's series of programmes that give the viewer a new view of life during the heyday of the dinosaurs, cavemen and other ancient beasts.


Blinked and missed the movie but the DVD has appeared

From: 20th Century Fox - Year: 2003 - Rated: PG-13 - Release Date: July 29, 2003 - Features: Anamorphic * Widescreen * DD 5.1 * DTS * Extras! * - Recommended! I enjoyed Daredevil infinitely more than Spider-Man , in the theater as well as on DVD. The film offers a much darker and intimate look into the world of a superhero and is absolutely stunning in its production design and action sequences. The DVD is fantastic, offering an amazing wealth of extra features as well as what is quite possibly the best Dolby Digital and DTS mixes I have ever heard. In terms of big budget blockbusters DVDs, they do not get much better than Daredevil. Highly recommended. Amazon Compare [ DVD Reviews

*Yet Another Comic Book Movie

Changing the world one mouse click at a time

In the U.K., the BBC is known as 'Auntie Beeb' because of its safe, provincial values. But in October, the esteemed British broadcaster will launch a radical experiment in online democracy -- a website for turning ordinary citizens into grassroots political activists. By Leander Kahney. [Wired News]

Monday, May 5, 2003

MacSlash | Apple Stock Up 11%-Long live Apple

MacSlash | Apple Stock Up 11%

OSXFAQ - Technical News and Support for Mac OS X

OSXFAQ - Technical News and Support for Mac OS X
Apple's iTunes 4 came the new feature of sharing music over the
internet. Now that we have a framework available to work with, came the
problem of advertising your iTunes address to the world. An iTunes
sharing service allows you to tell other users that you are sharing your
music through iTunes and whether you are currently sharing or not.
Here is two COOL sites that have sprung up in the past week to deal
with this ...
Both of these are GREAT !!!

A great man passes

Walter Sisulu, long-time friend of Nelson Mandela, dies after a long illness. [BBC News] || The Passage Home || The Passage Home
an online sci-fi story
check it out

A diet pill that works

Interesting weight-loss tech: a pill that expands in your stomach, making you feel full. The pill dissoves after a week, so you have to take one a day. It's an alternative to grody stomach-stapling surgery, and appears to be very much the lesser of two evils.

LinkDiscuss [Boing Boing]

Saturday, May 3, 2003

Today's Quote

"Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]


The Matrix, like Star Wars, hangs a lot of philisophical references on an action movie and a Saturday Serial to give seemingly greater depth to what is really just a lot of effects and fun well edited and special effected. Not quite ready to be included in the great philisophical movies of our time. Its no 7 Samurai. -MacDood

kauff writes "Slate has recently released a somewhat-inspired article about what the Matrix was. You have to read it for yourself. Good way to hype yourself up ... [Slashdot]

What is Blogging?
If you are new to this site, chances are that you found it through Blogger is a pioneer of the blogging community, and is one of the most popular tools that allows anyone to publish a blog. A lot of people, however, are still asking, "What is a blog?"

Blog is a cute abreviation for "web log". Basically, it is an online journal that can be used for any variety of applications. This blog focuses on computers, the internet, and related topics. Other blogs will cover a wide range of topics. Many are simply online diaries that provide a vehicle of expression. Blogs are used by individuals, companies, community organizations, and special interest groups.

What all blogs have in common is that they are updated regularly. New items appear on the top of the first page and are dated. Older items are moved into an archive.

Some of the most popular blogs can be found on this list.

Blogging, although still in its infancy, is catching on like wildfire. It has produced phenomena that has impacted culture, politics, news distribution, and internet activity. It has certainly impacted my life: I waste a lot of time to waste your time reading this. I find it quite rewarding, however, and I certainly encourage anyone with or without web design skills to consider blogging as a way to share your interests and ideas with the world.

Watch a great PBS report on blogging here.