Friday, March 30, 2007

Dvorak: Still crazy after all these years

I so agree with fake-Steve. Dvorak has been making bad calls for so many years

Dvorak: Still crazy after all these years: "
I swear John Dvorak just writes stupid things in order to provoke people and get traffic. How else to explain this article where he argues that 'Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone'? Dvorak, you have never, ever been right on anything. Have you? How do you keep getting people to pay you to write for them? Honestly."

(Via The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.)

Circuit City and the American Dream

been there,done that, at a startup in the 90's that went thru middle managers like shit thru a goose - I also was offered a lower paying position. God bles having enuf fukyu money at the time!

Circuit City and the American Dream: "An anonymous reader writes 'Circuit City said yesterday that it had fired 3,400 of its highest-paid sales staff — 8% of its employees — and will replace them with lower-paid workers. Sign On San Diego called this 'a risky strategy to cut costs that goes beyond the layoffs, buyouts and hiring freezes commonly used by struggling companies.' The fired workers have a chance to apply for lower-paying positions after a 10-week wait, the company said. Quoting a Circuit City spokesman: 'This is no reflection on job performance... We deeply regret the negative impact. Retail is extremely competitive, and if we're going to thrive and operate a successful company... we just have to control costs.' So: work hard, become the best in your field, and get fired so they can offer you a new job 10 weeks later at a lower salary.'


(Via Slashdot.)

Homeland Security Classifies TRON as "Sensitive"

more proof of the end of intelligent civilization

Homeland Security Classifies TRON as "Sensitive": "Edward Jeffries -- FPI BURBANK, CA - Reports are emerging from members of the movie industry that the Department of Homeland Security has designated the 1982 film TRON as 'sensitive', and ordered Walt Disney Studios to turn over all copies of the film in its posession. Retailers are also receiving notices to remove all copies of the film from stock shelves and turn them over to Federal officials. The reports have industry insiders bewildered and outraged."


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Who hasn't heard of The Who? A couple of teenagers, that's who

arrgh - hope I die before I get oldye

Who hasn't heard of The Who? A couple of teenagers, that's who: "I asked if either of them watched CSI. 'Oh my gosh, I love that 'Who Are You' song!' one of them said. 'I keep meaning to download it. That's from The Who? I can't believe I haven't heard of them!'"


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Photo in the News: Hexagon Spied Around Saturn's Pole

Photo in the News: Hexagon Spied Around Saturn's Pole: "

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More Photos in the News

Photo: Monster 'Hurricane' Spotted on Saturn (November 13, 2006)
Images: Cassini's Views of Saturn
Cassini Spacecraft Nears Saturn, Photographs Moon (June 14, 2004)
March 28, 2007—Everyone knows Saturn's rings, but what about the planet's hexagon?

A new image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft offers the first direct view of a six-sided feature that encircles Saturn's north pole. The 15,000-mile-wide (25,000-kilometer-wide) cloud formation was initially spied during the Voyager missions in the 1980s. But scientists remain baffled by the atmospheric forces driving the unusual feature.

'Nobody understands what it is,' said Kevin Baines, a member of Cassini's"

(Via .)

Evolution of Mammals Re-evaluated

Evolution of Mammals Re-evaluated: "AaxelB writes 'A study described in the New York Times rethinks mammalian evolution. Specifically, that the mass extinction of the dinosaurs had relatively little impact on mammals and that the steps in mammals' evolution happened well before and long after the dinosaurs' death.'


(Via Slashdot.)

strange, I've always felt that way too

Hotmail users deemed too dumb for employment at firm: "Mark Frauenfelder:
Pete says:

A guy, who works in the department of a Human Resources consultancy company, says they made a selection process in which, among other things, they asked for a person with ample experience in using the internet (navigation, searches, formats...).

They received 50 candidacies, from which 30 came from Hotmail-directions, all of them erased as they entered.

The reason: You can't pretend being an internet expert and use a Hotmail account at the same time.



(Via Boing Boing.)

Hexagon on Saturn: "David Pescovitz:

Just a few months after the Cassini spacecraft imaged an eyeball-shaped storm at Saturn's south pole, the orbiter has captured new images of this bizarre hexagon-shaped weather pattern at the north pole. It's approximately 15,000 miles across and has held its shape since astronomers first discovered it 26 years ago via the Voyager space probe.

 F 52 827 1D Www.Space.Com Images 070327 Saturn Hex 02


'This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides,' said Kevin Baines, atmospheric expert and member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. 'We've never seen anything like this on any other planet. Indeed, Saturn's thick atmosphere, where circularly-shaped waves and convective cells dominate, is perhaps the last place you'd expect to see such a six-sided geometric figure, yet there it is.'

Link to, Link to more images and movie at


(Via Boing Boing.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bloggers sift through late-night, 3,000-page DOJ newsdump

Bloggers sift through late-night, 3,000-page DOJ newsdump: "Xeni Jardin:
Snip from a New York Sun article:

A time-honored Washington practice of trying to extinguish, pre-empt, or redirect news coverage by dumping stacks of previously secret government documents on the press may be in for some changes after a headlong collision with hundreds of liberal Web loggers in the wee hours of yesterday morning.

On Monday night, the Justice Department delivered to Congress more than 3,000 pages of e-mails, memos, and other records about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. The handover came so late that many news organizations had to scramble to try to skim a few headlines from the files before latenight deadlines.

Despite the late hour, readers of a liberal Web site,, tackled the task with gusto. They quickly began grabbing 50-page chunks of the scanned documents from a House of Representatives Internet server, analyzing them and excerpting them. The first post about the Department of Justice records hit the left-leaning news and commentary site at 1:04 a.m. Within half an hour, there were 50 summaries posted by readers gleaning the documents. By 4:30 a.m., more than 220 postings were up detailing various aspects of the files.

Link (via Romenesko)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Hinode spacecraft reveals new details about the Sun

Hinode spacecraft reveals new details about the Sun: "Xeni Jardin:

NASA has released never-before-seen photos showing the sun's magnetic field to be more turbulent and dynamic than
previously known. Snip:

The international spacecraft Hinode, formerly known
as Solar B, took the images. Hinode, Japanese for 'sunrise,' was launched Sept. 23, 2006, to study
the sun's magnetic field and how its explosive energy propagates
through the different layers of the solar atmosphere. The
spacecraft's uninterrupted high-resolution observations of the sun
will have an impact on solar physics comparable to the Hubble Space
Telescope's impact on astronomy. (...)

Led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Hinode mission is a collaboration between the space agencies of Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Link to videos, still images, and more. Image (Hinode JAXA/NASA): 'Taken by Hinode's Solar Optical Telescope on Nov. 20, 2006, this image reveals the structure of the solar magnetic field rising vertically from a sunspot.'


(Via Boing Boing.)

Dog-sized toad

Dog-sized toad: "David Pescovitz:

This massive cane toad, 15-inches long and weighing in at almost two pounds, was captured in Darwin, Australia by a group called Frogwatch. The group seeks and destroys non-native toxic toads that are apparently wreaking havoc on Australia's ecosystem. From the Associated Press:

 Content Articles 2007 03 27 Ap Science D8O4E0Go0
'We kill them with carbon dioxide gas, stockpile them in a big freezer and then put them through a liquid fertilizer process' that renders the toads nontoxic, (Frogwatch coordinator Graeme) Sawyer said.

'It turns out to be sensational fertilizer,' he added.

Link (via Fortean Times)

Previously on BB:

• Cane Toad accessories Link

• Hallucinogenic toads sold in breeding pairs Link

• Flying dead toad used to smuggle SIM cards into Bangkok prison Link


(Via Boing Boing.)

Super Mario, the stop-motion Legos edition

i like it

Super Mario, the stop-motion Legos edition: "Cory Doctorow:

This little stop-motion animation recreates Super Mario Brothers in legos, which is charming enough, but what's even better is the theme, performed on guitar and recorder, and the sound effects, which appear to be some guy going 'week! week!' and so on.


(via Wonderland)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Architect of Smithsonian/Showtime sellout quits in disgrace

shame on him

Architect of Smithsonian/Showtime sellout quits in disgrace: "Cory Doctorow:
Lawrence M Small has resigned -- without severance -- from the head of the Smithsonian. This is the guy who sold out the Smithsonian's video archive to Showtime, giving the commercial entity the windfall of exclusive first-refusal rights to all the footage in America's national, tax-supported archive. Small -- only the second non-scientist to run the Smithsonian -- also paid himself a gigantic salary and billed the institution for the cleaning of his home chandeliers.

The announcement of Mr. Small’s resignation comes four days after Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, persuaded the Senate to freeze a $17 million increase in the Smithsonian’s financing, singling out what he called ‘out-of-control spending.’

Mr. Grassley was especially upset over Mr. Small’s compensation, which totaled $915,698 this year, and ‘hundreds of thousands’ in reimbursements during his tenure for items like ‘chandelier cleaning and pool heaters’ at Mr. Small’s home...

Its Business Ventures Division has come under major criticism, in part because of a recent deal with Showtime, the cable channel. In that deal, the Smithsonian agreed to restrict access to its archives and scientists, which critics said violated its public status.


(Thanks, Carl!)

See also:

Smithsonian becomes Showtime's exclusive first-refusal archive

Smithsonian's Showtime deal: critical attorneys shred it

Smithsonian's Showtime sellout needs FOIA sunshine

Hundreds ask Smithsonian not to sell out to Showtime

Smithsonian's sellout to Showtime slammed by Congress

Lawmakers slap Smithsonian over Showtime sellout deal

Smithsonian lobbies to preserve its Showtime sellout


(Via Boing Boing.)

Happy tapir receives massage -- exclusive video

Happy tapir receives massage -- exclusive video: "Mark Frauenfelder:

I took my 3-year-old daughter to the LA Zoo yesterday and we were treated to the spectacle of a very relaxed tapir receiving a body rub by a gentle zookeeper. I videtaped the procedure with my digital camera: Link


(Via Boing Boing.)

NYT on multitasking myth

I always suspected as much ummmm what was I doing?

NYT on multitasking myth: "David Pescovitz:

Multitasking may be an illusion that actually hurts productivity and increases error, according to various scientific studies. An article in yesterday's New York Times, looked at the 'limits' of multitasking. For example, a recent Vanderbilt University experiment with brain scans showed that particpants experienced up to a one second delay in reaction time when trying to do two things at once. Of course, that could be a problem if, say, you're checking email while driving at 65 mph. A separate scientific paper suggests that 'beyond an optimum, more multitasking is associated with declining project completion rates and revenue generation.’ The article also touches on how new social filtering systems and other technologies are emerging that may help us deal with cognitive overload, a notion that my colleagues and I at Institute for the Future are currently exploring. Unfortunately though, there's no mention of Linda Stone's work on Continuous Partial Attention, a concept I think best describes how I tend to work. From the New York Times article:

‘Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes,’ said David E. Meyer, a cognitive scientist and director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan. ‘Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ability to process information.’

The human brain, with its hundred billion neurons and hundreds of trillions of synaptic connections, is a cognitive powerhouse in many ways. ‘But a core limitation is an inability to concentrate on two things at once,’ said RenĂ© Marois, a neuroscientist and director of the Human Information Processing Laboratory at Vanderbilt University...

In a recent study, a group of Microsoft workers took, on average, 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks, like writing reports or computer code, after responding to incoming e-mail or instant messages. They strayed off to reply to other messages or browse news, sports or entertainment Web sites.

‘I was surprised by how easily people were distracted and how long it took them to get back to the task,’ said Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft research scientist and co-author, with Shamsi Iqbal of the University of Illinois, of a paper on the study that will be presented next month.

Link (Thanks, Marina Gorbis!)


(Via Boing Boing.)

DoD's Augmented Cognition plans - EPCOT meets PK Dick

like the image anyway

DoD's Augmented Cognition plans - EPCOT meets PK Dick: "Cory Doctorow:

The Department of Defense's 'Augmented Cognition' video is supposed to represent a plausible scenario for a human-computer interface that uses EEG and other technologies to figure out what to feed to operators, allowing teams to do fast analysis of giant amounts of data.

The video is like a 1960s jetpack future video mapped onto 21st century corporate video production techniques. Everything just works in a way that seems antithetical to the way heterogeneous data-sources work -- weird Babelfish translations and kooky spam results in the top ten listings. Star Wars and Blade Runner and Alien showed us technology that looked as though people actually used it -- dented and rusted and sometimes badly fitting. The future depicted here is straight out of Epcot Center, seen from a few hundred yards away, far enough that you can't see the duct-tape holding it all together. This seems to be built out of monolithic pieces, tightly coupled -- not small pieces, loosely joined.

The technology is kooky and interesting. A mind-reading tiara figures out how confused you are and takes stuff off your screen until you're less confused. If you go critical, it plays you soothing hyponogogic music. I don't know that this would actually work, but like most feedback mechanisms, I think that this would inspire me to figure out how to fool the machine into keeping the most amount of info visible at all times. This would be an excellent neural training device for being overloaded without lighting up the 'I'm overloaded' bits of my brain.


(via Beyond the Beyond)

Noah sez, 'I spent a *bunch* of time with
AugCog researchers last fall. The result: this Wired News article,
which came out last week. Mind-reading killer drone controllers,


(Via Boing Boing.)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

mmmm suite

New batteries run on sugar, are susceptible to cavities: "

coke-ipod.jpgSoon, your gadgets will be able to get their energy from the same place you do: sugar. Scientists at St. Louis University have developed fuel cells that run on any sugar source that happen to last four times longer than standard lithium-ion batteries.

So I guess that means that eventually you'll be able to rejuice your phone or iPod using a can of soda, finally making spilling soda on your electronics an intentional event with beneficial results rather than the stickifying, infuriating mess that it currently is. That's progress, I guess, although something tells me buying bottles of Pepsi to charge your gadgets will be a lot more expensive and annoying than just plugging them into the wall.

I4U, via UberGizmo


(Via SCI FI Tech Blog.)

like, who would live there??

Suspended tower office block: "Cory Doctorow:
Singapore is building this crazy housing block with four towers kind of hanging off the sides of another, central tower.

The 153 meter tall tower will be located at the intersection of Scotts Road and Cairnhill Road, in close proximity to Orchard Road, Singapore’s famous shopping and lifestyle street. With 20,000m² of built floor area, the building will provide 68 high-end apartment units with panoramic views. The design strategically maneuvers within the highly regulated building environment to maximize the full potential of the site: Four individual apartment towers are vertically offset from one another and suspended from a central core.


(via We Make Money Not Art)


(Via Boing Boing.)

family togetherness

More photos from Rand Holme's posthumous art show: "Mark Frauenfelder:
Patrick Rosenkranz, author of the highly recommended history of underground comics, Rebel Visions, says

Picture 2-37

Thanks for your advance listing for the Rand Holmes art show. I helped to organize it. It was a unique experience in a wild and wooly place. My son Crispin and I spent six days shooting a documentary of the event. He posted some pictures on Flickr.


Holme's painting of a marijuana farming family reminds me of Will Elder's A Visit to Grandma's. (Click on thumbnail for enlargement)

Previously on Boing Boing:

Rand Holmes retrospective

Account of Rand Holmes art show


(Via Boing Boing.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Microsoft to Open Source FoxPro

another db bytes the dust

Microsoft to Open Source FoxPro: "rah1420 writes 'Microsoft has announced that it will open-source the core portions of the Visual FoxPro DBMS software to its CodePlex community development site. At the same time, Microsoft has announced that it will no longer be making new versions of the FoxPro DBMS.'


(Via Slashdot.)

Slobs Found To Be More Productive Than Neatniks

heh heh

Slobs Found To Be More Productive Than Neatniks: "writertype writes 'Are you a slob? Do you pile papers on top of folders on top of game boxes? Here's the thing that those anal neat people can't even conceive of: you're more productive than they are. That's the conclusion of 'A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder,' by Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman, a new book that argues neatness is overrated, costs money, wastes time and quashes creativity.'


(Via Slashdot.)

Microsoft Gives In To the EU

oooh oooh

Microsoft Gives In To the EU: "An anonymous reader writes with word that Redmond Developer News is reporting that Microsoft has given in to EU threats of further fines. The company has opened up a whole host of protocols, including the Exchange protocol, under a license, the terms of which are not known. No other news outlet has picked up this story so far.


(Via Slashdot.)

Ron Turner's sci-fi pulp art

Ron Turner's sci-fi pulp art: "Mark Frauenfelder:

Picture 6-10
Nice Flickr gallery of 1950s pulp art by Ron Turner. Link (Via PCL LinkDump)


(Via Boing Boing.)

McDonald's: take "McJob" out of the dictionary

and put it where?

McDonald's: take "McJob" out of the dictionary: "Cory Doctorow:
McDonald's is taking action to get the word 'McJob' taken out of the Oxford English Dictionary. Let's be clear: the job of a dictionary is to record language as it is spoken, and people clearly say 'McJob' to mean a crummy job.

McDonald's argues that jobs at McDonald's aren't crummy, so people are wrong to call crummy jobs McJobs. Let's stipulate for the sake of argument that working at McD's is great -- would it matter? Nope. When we say 'McJob,' we mean 'An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.'

Now, whenever I write about trademarks, I get a bunch of emails asserting the voodoo theory of trademark: every conceivable use of a trademark has to be policed aggressively or you'll lose your trademarks forever. It's just not true. A trademark isn't the right to tell people what words they can use when they talk, and it isn't the right to tell dictionaries which words they're allowed to define. Voodoo trademarkism is a fairy tale that trademark lawyers tell their kids at night to reassure them that they'll have a healthy college fund.

From the point of view of the fast-food proletariat, the reason for the McLanguage offensive is clear: The word McJob, as the OED definition makes clear, is 'depreciative.' It goes on to define the term as: 'An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.' It found its way into the dictionary in March 2001, 15 years after it was apparently coined by the Washington Post.

'Dictionaries are supposed to be paragons of accuracy. And it this case, they got it completely wrong,' Walt Riker, a Mickey D's McSpokesman complained to the Associated Press. 'It's a complete disservice and incredibly demeaning to a terrific work force and a company that's been a jobs and opportunity machine for 50 years.'


(via Consumerist)


(Via Boing Boing.)

The Last Supper, with dogs, by Ron Burns


The Last Supper, with dogs, by Ron Burns: "Xeni Jardin:

Link to full-size image, 'Dinner and Drinks with the Son of Dog.' I am rendered speechless, so I'll let the press release do the talking:

One gallery owner in a 'Bible Belt' state has already refused to carry Ron Burns' latest work portraying a gathering of pooches around a well-known supper table. 'Maybe the world isn't ready for this. Truth is, I wasn't trying to be controversial with this one,' says Ron Burns. 'I love Da Vinci, I love dogs and it seemed like a fun idea to bring the two together.'

The result of this historic matchmaking enterprise? Burns Studio Publishing is pleased to announce the release of limited editions of 'Dinner and Drinks with the Son of Dog,' Burns' riff on Leonardo da Vinci's, 'The Last Supper', which was also a central image in the book 'The Da Vinci Code' by novelist Dan Brown.

The Burns version features his own beloved mutt, Rufus, in the center seat, a doggy bone with a halo-like glow floating behind his head. The table is set with tennis balls, dog food in bowls, chew toys and mixed drinks.

(thanks, Andrew Breitbart!)

Reader comment: Miles says,

Ron Finley, who runs a gallery of dog art in LA, is similarly obsessed with DaVinci and dogs. Last year he published a goofy Photoshopped graphic novel further giving more weight to the dog-DaVinci connection. No Last Supper remix, but some engaging pictures of dogs using DaVinci's flying machines, like this one. Link to gallery, Link to 'Shaggy Dogs Story' on Amazon.

P.S. Disclosure -- Ron Finley's my pop.

Alistair from Fortean Times says,

The Last Supper with Dogs pic reminded me of this decorative plate by Viz. I have one lying under my bed at home and, looking at it again, I'm thinking it's time to dust it off and give it the wall space it's due.

Steve Worcester says,
Reminded me of another, The Last Supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog cover by R. Crumb, which can be seen here: Link.


(Via Boing Boing.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Internet Radio on Death Row

the fools

Internet Radio on Death Row: "

Internet Radio has been sentenced to death.

In a move that recalls the Vogons' decision to destroy Earth to clear the way for a highway bypass through space (a thankfully fictional premise of Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), the judges comprising the Copyright Royalty Board have decided to destroy the Internet radio industry so the Recording Industry won't be inconvenienced by something it doesn't know, like or understand.


(Via Linux Journal.)

Can Apple clear the way for the Linux desktop?

Can Apple clear the way for the Linux desktop?: "

That's the question that occurs to me as I read this piece in Roughly Drafted. It's about how Apple is kicking Microsoft's butt at the high end of the desktop market, and how Microsoft seems to be bumbling its way out of desktop hegemony anyway. Linux is mentioned only twice in this long piece, but the harbingery of the references are significant. Here's the enclosing quote:

Combined with the dominance of the iPod over devices using Microsoft's PlaysForSure, the imminent goring of Windows Mobile by the iPhone, and the shift of support across the industry from Windows to Linux in servers, the days of Microsoft's monopolistic grip on the desktop are winding down.

Apple doesn't have to take a majority share of the desktop market to win, it only needs to take the most valuable segments of the market.

Once that happens, Microsoft will be forced to choose whether it wants to battle Mac OS X for control of the slick consumer desktop, or repurpose Windows as a cheaper, mass market alternative to Linux in corporate sales.

And, at some point, consumer sales as well.


(Via Linux Journal.)

oh boy yog soth

Lovecraft's 70th death-a-versary, Cthulhu adoration everywhere: "Xeni Jardin:

March 15th, 2007 marked the 70th year since HP Lovecraft's death. Necronomicon junkies and devotees of the Cthulhu mythos celebrated that day with online commemorations. La Petite Claudine has a thoughtful series of related posts on her blog here (mostly in Spanish): Link.

Image: 'Azathoth is described as both blind and idiotic and is regarded as the head of the Cthulhu mythos pantheon.' An illustration from this Lovecraft fan-page on MySpace (No artist credit given -- if anyone knows whose work this is, please let me know and I'll update this post accordingly).

(Thanks, Reverse Cowgirl)

Reader comment:

Peetee sez, 'A better term for death-a-versary is 'mortiversary'.'

BoingBoing reader Rob sends the photo below, and says,

He has quite the boring headstone.

It's in Providence, Rhode Island.

I took the picture, it was midday and the lighting was all screwy, but you can get the gist of it.

BoingBoing reader Remus Shepherd says:

Xeni, I saw someone sent you a picture of HP Lovecraft's headstone...and

called it 'boring'. Well, it is. But right behind it, they used to have

a gigantic oak (?) tree, which was carved with various sayings from his


I have some pictures of the Tree That Feeds On Him here: Link. I'd rather not mention who the people

are in those photos -- but I swear we didn't carve anything!

Sadly, the Tree That Feeds On Him was cut down a few years ago. Either

the cemetary owners found it too creepy, or they were tired of it being

climbed by weirdos like...well, us.

Ambitious Wench says,

My friend Remus just sent a link to his website with pictures of Lovecraft's grave. While he didn't want to identify the people in the picture of the group at the Tree that Fed on Him, I can say that I am the woman in the dark red dress on the extreme right.

Regarding the old tree near H.P. Lovecraft's grave, it blew down in a windstorm not more than two years ago, I'd guess. Last October I left my beloved Yosemite to go back to RI to see friends and family. While there, I stopped at Swan Point Cemetery and snuck a few pictures.

The new Tree that Will Feed on Him is the same species as the old giant; I believe it was a beech.


Will says,

Just wanted to point out, since it's not obvious in the photograph- Howard's headstone reads 'I am Providence.' HP is buried in the lovely Swan Point Cemetery, where Rhode Island's finest families rest their bones.

Although the on-site 'find a grave' computer kiosk at Swan Point (Link 1) will locate his grave for you, the cemetery's website lacks any mention of him. This is typical of the city itself- although many places mentioned in Lovecraft stories survive to this day, there are no memorials or markers (that I know of) at those sights. This AP story (Link) has a nice overview of some historic sites, but neglects to mention the most conspicuous- the Providence Art Club (Link), mentioned in the seminal 'Call of Cthulu', which has a truly weird, cylopean facade.

Emily says,

Concerning Lovecraft and Providence - I believe there is a plaque marking the former location of the church that featured so prominently in 'The Haunter of the Dark', despite the lack of markers at other Lovecraft-significant places. And not only does the John Hay Library have the world's largest Lovecraft collection, they also have an enormous vault in the basement in which they keep particularly rare and valuable books, including one bound in human skin. (I worked there one summer. I was not, however, permitted to enter the vault. Ahem.)

Wil Wheaton says,

Am I the first reader to notice that if you squint a little bit, the

illustration in your Lovecraft post looks eerily similar to the FSM?

It's clearly a sign.



(Via Boing Boing.)

Web zen: data mashing zen: "Xeni Jardin:

  • montage-a-google

  • nysoundmap

  • tree

  • phylotaxis

  • 5 ways to mix rip + mash

  • many eyes

    Web Zen Home and Archives, Store (Thanks Frank!).


    (Via Boing Boing.)

  • Thursday, March 15, 2007

    BizWeak: Vista "slow and dangerous"

    BizWeak: Vista "slow and dangerous": "I love it. See here. Dude says that new Microsoft safety software is such a pain in the ass that you'll be tempted to turn it off. 'The version of UAC in Mac OS X works much better, rarely popping up except during a software installation or upgrade,' he writes. Jeez and ours has been around for how long? Like several years? And all the MicroTards had to do was copy what we've done? Hmmm."

    (Via The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.)

    DoJ "LIfe and Liberty" website: Uh, what PATRIOT Act revelations?

    Lest we forget

    DoJ "LIfe and Liberty" website: Uh, what PATRIOT Act revelations?: "Xeni Jardin:
    Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says,

    Last week, the Department of Justice Inspector General's office released a damning report documenting the FBI abusing its powers under the PATRIOT Act and violating the law to collect Americans' telephone, Internet, financial, credit, and other personal records about Americans without judicial approval.

    It appears that not everyone at the DOJ got the memo. The DOJ's Life and Liberty website, a site dedicated to defending the honor of the PATRIOT Act during the re-authorization process last spring, still reads as if nothing has changed. Take a trip through the looking glass and remember what used to be the mantra supporting PATRIOT: no documented evidence of abuse.



    (Via Boing Boing.)

    Time makes Reagan cry with Photoshop

    so much for The Truth

    Time makes Reagan cry with Photoshop: "Mark Frauenfelder:
    Mike Hulsebus says:

    'The first new-look issue, on newsstands tomorrow, features what appears to be a photo of Ronald Reagan with a fat tear sliding down his cheek, illustrating the cover story, 'How the Right Went Wrong.' A somewhat cryptic credit in small type on the (revamped!) table of contents describes the image this way: 'Photograph by David Hume Kennerly. Tear by Tim O'Brien.' Nowhere does it specifically state that the cover is a photo illustration—in other words, that it's Photoshopped.'


    (Via Boing Boing.)

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    for vi fans

    Giggle of the Day: if Microsoft made vi: "

    How the vi editor would seem if it has been made by Microsoft

    It’s not exactly safe for work, but I found this animated GIF hilarious.


    (Via MacDevCenter.)

    How to get rid of the incandescent light bulb: "


    Incandescent light bulb, ye who sprang from the loins of Thomas Edison, thy days are numbered. Already you've been banned in Australia starting in 2010. Now similar moves are being contemplated in Canada and the European Union. Has the nanny state run amok once again?

    This guy thinks so. He acknowledges the advantages of compact fluorescent lighting — the main alternative to incandescents, at least for the time being — including energy savings and flexibility in color temperature. But he also offers a long list of cons: They don't produce a focused beam of light, don't work well in extreme temperatures, can't be battery-powered, pose a waste-disposal challenge due to mercury content, are too bulky for some light fixtures, don't quite duplicate the golden glow of incandescents, and have higher sticker prices (though they're cheaper to run). And, uh, they can't be used to incubate an egg or keep your lizard warm, because they run cool.

    Follow the link below for a few issues he missed — and how a ban in the U.S. could work. (Disclosure: SCI FI is owned by GE, which manufacturers light bulbs of all kinds.)

    I'd add a few more negatives: Compact fluorescents aren't approved for use in places with high humidity (like your bathroom). Some of them don't work with dimmers. And some people claim their flickering can produce physical distress, though others call that a myth, pointing out that modern fluorescents cycle much faster than the eye or brain can process.

    Having said that, I agree that incandescents should be banned. I've replaced 75% of the bulbs in my home and office with compact fluorescents and use the latter 95% of the time. They light my desk by day and my reading by night. Because they dissipate less energy in the form of heat, fluorescents use one-quarter as much energy as incandescents, thereby reducing global-warming gases and saving me money every month. They offset their initial cost by lasting much longer, and I enjoy my chosen color temperature of 4,100 kelvins, the hue of late-afternoon sunlight. Oh, and if you don't like fluorescents, you might try LED lights instead. There may even be a new breed of energy-saving incandescents from General Electric by the time the Australians pull the trigger.

    So I'm in favor of the ban as long as it allows exceptions, so old-style incandescents can be used where they're still appropriate. Climate change is a real threat and we need to modify our behavior. If people respond by acting like babies — 'I can't use my urine-colored luminescent space heaters anymore? Wahhh!' — maybe the nanny state isn't such a bad idea after all.


    (Via SCI FI Tech Blog.)