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Thursday, July 25, 2002
Here's An Uplifting Set Of Stats - Gleaned from Metafilter the other day, this list of Mortality Statistics tells you the odds of succumbing, in a given year or 'til your clock runs out, from all the common, and some uncommon, accidental causes. Likely a few of the numbers will surprise you, they did me.

A Very Funny Thread - Metafilter had a link to this Long and Funny thread on a British soccer site. The exchanges are between the lady damaged, fair Susan, The rotter who did her wrong, boo - Brian, one of his purported shagettes, Emma the clerk, and many folks cheering them on in their mutually assured destruction. Read the first two pages or so and you'll likely be hooked for a while, but it does go on and on ;-)

Some Very Discouraging Numbers - On the AIDS Pandemic. They say that it would take at least $10B a year to fight this scourge, but that the first world nations foolishly feel neither threatened nor very compassionate and collectively contribute only 1/3 of that amount. That would be a pittance for this country alone to fund, roughly $35 a person or 7 less tubs of overpriced, greasy and salty popcorn a year at the movies. Think how small that is in relation to the 10% that organized religion tries to squeeze out of the faithful. Even a small percentage added to our income tax would not be a substantial burden, but could you trust Congress to use it for the intended purpose? - I suspect not.

Deep Linking Takes A Low Blow - It seems that news gathering web sites aren't looked upon with favor, and more importantly, any sense of reason, in several European courts. First the Danes and now this "decision". In what sense is Linking To A Story a violation of copyright, especially if the site presenting the source story they are putting on the web don't own the copyright to it themselves?! Yet another verification of Dickens' famous "The law is a ass..." line.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

   Haiku For The Summer

Summer rains--
leaves of the plum
cold wind color

I Scream, You Scream, We All... - Hey, I'm as big a fan of ice cream as anyone, but these Japanese Flavors are truly bizarre, each one seems to be even stranger than the previous. Are you ready for tuna ice cream, or squid, or wasabi? I thought not ;-)

Quite An Image - From APOD a few days ago of the often mentioned Crab Nebula. Beautiful to look at, but the explanation of the various colors we see is what really made this image interesting.

Possibly Useful, But Likely Discouraging - RefDesk had a link the other day to ratings of US Hospitals. If you're lucky enough to live near, and can afford, one of the few good ones, and they are few, this list may please you. Surprising to me was the vast difference in ratings across even the top few - 100% from #8 at 16 to #1 at 32.

Take A Virtual Trek - To the Star Trek Convention coming up next month in Las Vegas. It appears as though someone besides e-Bay and the porn sites are poised to make some money on the net. It's really not a bad idea either, not just for the legions of folks who are still in thrall to Star Trek, but consider the cost savings to businesses who could afford to have many of their employees attend trade shows at a fraction of the usual cost with travel, lodging and lost productive hours. At $9.95 for a one-day pass it doesn't sound like a bad deal for a fan (but of course they have offerings that go substantially higher.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2002
Two Things Amaze Me - In this story about the Drunken America West Pilots: One is their colossal stupidity and the other that there exists any limit other than zero for a pilot in charge of a commercial passenger flight?! - not necessarily in that order ;-) I'm pissed that Nancy and I just flew across the country and back on America West (booked some time before the incident) - I won't try them again.

Count Me Among The Folks - Who were sucked in by his book, Telecosm. As bright as he is it sounds as though George Gilder is still a true believer, but then he was also a big fan of Ken Lay - I wonder how that's holding up ;-)

Political Duplicity Redux - Both parties are shamelessly throwing away national sovereignty in a blatent attempt to win votes from Illegal Aliens and they'll force the border states to pick up the tab (as they have for years.) They refuse to guard our borders, even after 911 (yes, I know, it wasn't Hispanics flying those planes), won't allow the border states to pick up their abrogated responsibility and worse yet, won't fund the social services the border states incur as a result. Now "Dick" (yet another but from the other side) Gephardt has picked up the banner and is marching alongside the Bushlet on this one. Both sides have lost my vote, and any shred of respect I may have had in the past :-(
NB - the NY Times article may require a painless one-time registration.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - It was well advised, in my opinion, for the aptly named "Dick" Armey to come out against the Hitler Youth and Red Guard inspired TIPS program. However, being against a National ID card doesn't make much sense and an indefinite delay on x-ray screening of ALL checked luggage, something that should have been implemented well before 911, is simply ugly. To allow security providers exemption from being sued for their mistakes (some past examples would more accurately be termed malfeasance,) would lead to the obvious question of whose pockets in this arena his hands are in.

An Awesome View From Mt. Everest! - Today APOD did something a bit different and offered us a spectacular Panoramic Vista from the top of Mount Everest. Don't miss this one, it's stunning.

Monday, July 22, 2002

     Haiku For The Summer

Hollyhocks follow
the slanting path of the sun
in summer rains

Ouch! - I've Been Pelted By The Light - With apologies to Bruce Springsteen (but nobody ever understood those lyrics anyway.) This story on Liquid Light raised more questions in my mind than it answered. For example: if the "droplets" kept moving at light speed then how were the physicists able to make those various physical measurements?!

Something Neat For Comics Lovers - Most of us have never seen the first issue of the Superman Comic Books, but here's your chance to step backwards in time. I saw the link to this very nice set of scans of the entire comic book, page-by-page, on Metafilter - it's worth a look.

Thinking Of A Roadtrip? - This site, recommended by, is a great idea and hopefully will grow. It currently lists many of the great Backroad Drives as I verified by looking at the CA listings. Unfortunately, they haven't yet populated it with much detail about views and stopovers along the way, maps and etc.

The Story Doesn't Quite Match The Title - In my opinion the heading should be more on the lines of What Science Can Learn From Buddhism, but it is interesting.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

   Haiku For The Summer

Cool breeze
filling the empty sky--
pine voices

An Amazing Look Backwards - From APOD recently, this great shot from Mariner 10 looking back at the planet Mercury after a close flyby.

You Have To Admire Those Linux Guys - They seem able to make just about anything do their bidding, even The Xbox. One might ask though, when are they ever going to find a workaround for winmodems, or get the somewhat universal tulip ethernet driver capable of being installed on the newer distributions? They clearly have great technical skills, as a group, but seem to lack clear focus ;-)

A Bit Of Self-Congratulation - has been noting daily that they were selected in Yahoo's collection of 50 Most Useful Web Sites. Well, they do have a right to be proud of themselves, they are a great site, but judge for yourself how many of the selections are really noteworthy.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

 Haiku For The Summer

The cuckoo--
flies and insects,
listen well!

This Article Doesn't Really Surprise Me - I never expected much more from my Yahoo.Com e-Mail account than what it provides, mainly remote access to my other POP3 accounts. Still, I did find it interesting that they claim academic papers have been altered by the filter. Huh! - what college, and/or academic, would rely upon Yahoo to transport their papers?!

Is There No Respect For The Law? - I always thought of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics as inviolate, but now it seems that at some scales of size and time the entropy of a closed system can actually decrease. Sheesh: cold fusion, slowing & even halting a beam of light, anti-gravity and now violations of the 2nd Law - is nothing sacred? ;-)

This Is A Very Odd Story - As I read it there are only 46 residents on Pitcairn Island, but as many as 20 of the "men" are being charged with molesting an unspecified number of the girls and young women. Damn, so much for the theories that large urban settings are breeding grounds for this sort of thing or that people in small, insular communities enjoy a more peaceful lifestyle.

Well Worth Revisiting - Most of us have seen this Great Picture and many of us are old enough to remember seeing the first Moon landing on TV. It's certainly worth revisiting, but I wish APOD had chosen to run it on the 4th of July.

Friday, July 19, 2002

    A Taste of Omar (The Good One)

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

"How sweet is mortal Sovranty!"-- think some:
Others-- "How blest the Paradise to come!"
Ah, take the Cash in hand and waive the Rest;
Oh, the brave Music of a distant Drum!

I Guess It Doesn't Really Matter - Playing music off a Pair Of Ipods seems an odd choice, even if the songs are ripped at 128 kbs the quality isn't CD or even LP. Still, in a noisy club, especially playing Hip-Hop, quality isn't likely an issue ;-)

It May Be Wise To Check Again - I've been hit 3 times in the past two weeks by e-mail attachments infected with Klez. If you have any concerns, or if a virus scan detects Klez, this Symantec Site has a tool to remove it, but pay attention to the OS Specific Instructions.

Intellectual Property Or Simply Greed? - The way the story reads to me the current Patent Holders didn't create the software their claims on JPEG are based upon, then simply acquired it. To my mind that really seems lame. If anyone should derive benefits from this 16 year old patent it should be the folks who developed the algorithm, not another company that acquired it along with other assets, had no part in the development and didn't even realize the potential worth until years later. So much for their claims of intellectual property rights.

Now That's A Spot! - This time the solar erruptions occurred on the side facing away from Earth, but the Resulting Sunspots had rotated into view when these shots taken between July 15 and 17. Pretty amazing, it says their total area is approximately 10X the size of our planet.

Thursday, July 18, 2002
Why Am I Not Surprised - In an all too common story these days yet another big company is under suspicion of Accounting Irregularities. Pittman resigned today as COO of AOL-Time Warner (a nice way of saying he was fired) and there's apt to be more thrown out the door, but it likely should be straight to prison.

Nice News Resource - This was posted on and is a pretty nice gauge of what the Hot News Items of the day are as evidenced by headlines from a wide variety of sources. You also can select specific items of interest such as Finance, Sports and etc.

Why Do We Need Them? - It's not as if we had any shortage of people, and we clearly have enough morons to fill Congress and the White House; why don't we just do ourselves a favor and eliminate this type of Sociopath? The animal abusers and child molesters often go on to ever worse crimes and yet we remain under the delusion that their lives are in some sense precious. The only possible good they could serve would be as organ donors or medical research subjects - short of that I would strongly favor euthanizing them, and not by the painless means of lethal injection.

Color Me Pissed - Perhaps the ACLU has its moments, but most days they simply act like confused adolescents. It seems this country has far more concern for our convicted felons in prison than it does for their victims, the poor in our wealthy society, the physically and mentally challenged and our failing schools. Perhaps I would favor Net Access For Prisoners, but only after those other issues had been fully addressed. Oh, and I would screen their outbound mail, just as their snail mail is now, and not condone mail to anyone not on an approved list or the establishment of self-promoting web sites, that's inane.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Pretty Funny If True - I saw this story shortly before we went back east and hadn't gotten around to posting it yet. We all know about, and have our opinions regarding, open source, but OpenCola? What a wild idea, I still haven't seen any so am not convinced this is for real, but it should be ;-)

An APOD Image Not To Be Missed! - I've been out of town for a week, but a friend e-mailed a recommendation for this beautiful picture of Interacting Galaxies. His suggestion was spot on, not to be missed.

Yet Another Recipe Resource - I wasn't thrilled with their search mechanism, but they claim over 14,000 Recipes and I did find several for chili that sound interesting. Give it a try, you're bound to find some ideas to try.

Is This Positive Or Negative For Students? - As long as there have been exams and term papers students have found ways around the system, ie They Cheated. But in the past they often simply cheated themselves by not really acquiring the knowledge and/or skills offered in the classroom. Today that may not really be the case as proficiency using the web is not simply an asset, it's often a job requirement. I can see some virtue to what this student was doing, how about you?

Such A Deal They Have For You - Well, likely not for you, but for the 34 million or so Chinese who have e-mail capability and would like to correspond with one of the majority who don't. I think I would just go ahead and use snail mail myself and not put the process in the hands of Big Brother directly.

Monday, July 08, 2002
Great Photo Collection - And he says he took The Pictures with a Nikon Coolpix 990, 3 mpel digital camera. Damn, I have its little brother, the Coolpix 885, and I sure haven't managed any shots that look this good, color me envious ;-)

A Fascinating Article - Was linked to today on It gives very interesting details on the Origins of Modern Languages and examples of commonalities that are quite surprising. Well worth reading to the end.

Supercomputers Redux - I wonder who's actually keeping score? This story from claims that NEC Holds The Record with a rating of 35 Teraflops while IBM is second at a mere 7 Teraflops. Odd, I posted this story on June 25th that says "Q" At Los Alamos is currently rated at 30 Teraops (their term for the same thing) and is scheduled to ramp up to 100 Teraops in one year's time. Perhaps "Q" isn't yet fully operational, the story from the NY Times (requires a painless registration) is somewhat ambiguous on that point.

A Touching Story - Actually a touching Re-touching Story from I suppose these people are doing good work, but what a morbid job - I don't think I could deal with it.

Sunday, July 07, 2002
Just For The Geek In You - Rather uneven in chuckle factor, but the Cartoons are well done and some are pretty sure to resonate with you.

Evolution Or Simply Overfishing? - The article suggests that overfishing will cause an evolutionary change to Smaller Fish in just 4 generations, does that sound credible? Perhaps it's simply the case that overfishing of the subject species has virtually eliminated the larger fish as the fishermen continue to set their size cutoff, if they even have one, lower and lower.

Science In Its Neverending Quest - To better our lives has hit upon a research topic that many folks would dearly love to participate in, the search for the Elusive G Spot. Now that should make for an interesting conversation at the Thanksgiving family dinner when your mother, or your maiden aunt asks: "How are things are at the office and just what is it that you do there, dear?" ;-)

Dumb Danish Decision? - Well, the courts have "ruled" and Netbooster Is SOL. At first glance this seems like a very stupid, or at minimum Luddite-like decision. All that it has going for it is that Netbooster is a for fee site with links to online news items, so they are profiting off the efforts of others and bypassing their only revenue stream, advertising fees based on clicks to their entry page. Still, a link isn't plagiarism, the material is posted for free access and if the story is good and well written it seems likely viewers will return to the home site. This ruling seems to fall in the same camp as the inane sputterings of the TV Exec who claimed that people who use such things as VCRs or TiVo to bypass ads are thieves.

Mars By 2015 Or Bust - Thank goodness for the Russians and their urge to regain their space program's early glories. Left to its own devices NASA would keep throwing money into their stale Shuttle missions, although they do continue with some very interesting unmanned probes. Now Russia proposes a joint Manned Mars Mission - that rocks! I hope they can get some funding support, they can't bear the cost on their own.

An Interesting Link I was Led To From APOD - One could spend a lot of time with this site, literally so if their server bogs down as it did a few times this morning. It's the Visible Human Project. With this applet, which requires Java, you can choose either a male or female body, different orientations of the slice and cutting planes from head to toe. At high resolution, if you have the bandwidth, the image quality is great. Eventually they will have MRI or CT scan as an option, but right now it's limited to photo images.

Saturday, July 06, 2002
Another Important Anniversary Is Approaching - While the Revolutionary War was still being waged the founding fathers worked for 9 months crafting our first constitution, The Articles of Confederation. Signed and adopted on November 15, 1777 by the Continental Congress, it served us for 10 years until it was replaced by our current Constitution.

An Attitude Ajustment May Be In Order - An alert for all anglophiles: your much admired "true" Brits Were Actually Welsh and they were pushed into Wales by a large invasion of Anglo-Saxons from the Netherlands. The Anglo-Saxons now represent almost the entire indigenous population of England.

These Pictures Made Me Thirsty ;-) - The next time some wise guy tries to tell you that all beers taste alike just show him these Amazing Photomicrographs of various beers from around the world. It's pretty interesting how very different they look, one from another. In fact, I didn't spot any two that look that much alike.
NB: Be sure to browse the rest of the site, they have many other subject types for their photomicrographs.

A Passing That Deserved More Notice - Count me among the folks who had never heard of Robert Friedman while he was still with us, I wish that I had. The obit above tells some of the story, but take a look here for more of his Amazing Vita.

It's Worth A Second Look IMO - And APOD obviously feels so since they first posted this beautiful image of Io Over Jupiter in April of last year. Io is roughly the same size as our own Moon and is similarly distant from Jupiter. This photo gives one an idea of the size of Jupiter which is more than 10 times the diameter of Earth and even though its average density is 1/4 that of Earth's is still has almost 320 times the mass of our home planet.

Burp! - It seems as though this fellow simply didn't know When To Quit. Clearly he far outclassed the competition, if it's permissible to refer to "class" in the context of these silly contests; still, it does sound as though they had the right to scream foul. But then, the entire event sounds rather foul ;-)

Dammit, I Know My Rights - It seems that these days all people can talk about is either their rights or their opinion that something they disfavor is unconstitutional. It's rather entertaing that this little survey by Columbia Law School demonstrates how uninformed so many people are About The Constitution itself.

Friday, July 05, 2002
And These Fools Are Our "Allies"? - This story is unbelievable, in fact I choose not to believe it in the hope that I don't dream about it tonight. My God, the girl was sentenced to suffer a Gang Rape for something her brother did, and even he did not commit a crime by any rational definition. In what sense are these people any better than the Taliban? In fact, in what sense are they even human?

Are We Crazy, Self-Destructive Or Simply Stupid? - According to their story about the plans for Attacking Iraq the NY Times says the document is "highly classified". Damn, one simply has to ask: what level of classification would have kept the "secret plans" off the front page of the NY Times? I don't know why our enemies go to the bother & expense of planting spies here - surely a subscription to our venerable newspapers would be far cheaper and likely more effective :-(

The Real Titanic People, Not The So-So Movie Folk - If you want to learn a little about the poor souls on the Real Titanic disaster this site has passenger and crew lists with 2100+ biographies (some quite sparse) and some first hand accounts by survivors.

Thursday, July 04, 2002
More Troubling Thoughts Re The Demise Of WorldCom - the crisis of confidence that it caused the stock market seems to be bleeding over into concerns about Internet Performance since WorldCom's pipes carry a huge portion of the Internet traffic, including about 70% of the e-mail in the US. Well, there is an upside, nothing else has slowed down SPAM, but shutting off 70% of the flow sure could ;-)

Lawyers With A Sense Of Humor? - I saw this on Memepool yesterday and had to laugh. It's a bit too lighthearted to seem real, but who knows, perhaps there really are Lawyers With A Sense Of Humor. If not, it still is pretty funny; if for real, there actually may be some likable lawyers and I wish them well ;-)

Uh Oh - Now The SUV Owners Are Mad - It's bad enough sharing the roads with these moving barricades, it's not good to see them pissed ;-) Actually, the CO2 Emissions Bill is a much watered down version of the previous assault. CO2, it would seem, is relatively benign so I don't really see the point here. What I would favor are measures to dramatically reduce our reliance on oil imports. At the current, unreasonably low by world standards, level gasoline prices do nothing to encourage conservation. I know I'm lonely in this, but I would favor raising the price of gasoline to at least European levels, putting heavy excise taxes on new/used gas guzzlers, similarly raising their annual license fees by as much as an order of magnitude and imposing the same safety standards on trucks & SUVs as are applied to passenger vehicles. Oh, a side issue: uninsured motorists. I would turn the insurance concept on its head and require people to buy insurance to cover their own lives and property - no insurance, no one to collect from and no right to sue. Then it wouldn't really matter that border states are inundated with uninsured, unlicensed and often unskilled drivers, at least in terms of collecting for losses.

A Game With A Mission - Literally - It actually seems rather innovative of the Army to develop its own Shoot 'Em Up Game for the express purpose of encouraging the young gamesters to give the real army a try. The word in this article is that the game is actually rather good, guess I'll have to give it a try.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002
At The RIAA It Seems Resumes Are Only Accepted From Congenital Idiots - These folks truly don't get it, but they do seem to be backing off from their Latest Dumb Decision so I guess they did hear the boos & hisses. But with both Napster and AudioGalaxy poleaxed, those still inclined to download mp3s should start looking at the alternatives; a pretty nice assessment of the Leading Contenders is presented here.

What Do You Mean My Kid Has to Pass An F****** Test?! - Pretty funny piece by Jonah Goldberg (Editor of NRO and Luciane's son) on the Debasement Of The SAT. The sad thing is, in today's P.C. climate, it's likely more akin to reality than the intended satire.

What Could Be More American Than Junk Mail? - Yet another article on Spam By Damn. Perhaps more than you really wanted to know, including a link to a huge graphic showing how it gets collectected/passed around. The odd thing is: I have one e-mail ID I've never used to post, subscribe or any of the obvious vulnerabilities and yet the vast majority of my spam hits that ID?! Almost seems as though my ISP must have released a list ;-)

Damn, That's Really Slick! - First we had the NY Bloggers associated with subway stops, now the same thing has been done for London Bloggers and is keyed to stops on the Underground System. Truly a nice implementation - I wonder if some enterprising soul will do a similar linkage to the greater Los Angeles area freeway off-ramps?

An Intriguing Story You likely Won't Understand - Unless you were a math major chances are you never even heard of The Riemann Hypothesis, but this little story from yesterday's NY Times is still a fascinating read about the sort of Grail mathematicians spend their lives chasing.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002
Some Really Sad And Frightening Numbers - AIDS may not have invaded your immediate circle, yet, but these figures paint a Very Bleak Picture for the years ahead of us. The numbers make the antics of the terrorists sound like pretty small potatoes :-(

You Know That You're A Clever Rascal - But are you of Mensa Caliber? This little test won't really answer that question, or qualify you to join, but it is supposed to reflect the flavor of their testing process.

A Web Accessible Learning Tool In The Guise Of A Game - This is supposed to display some of the considerations in Orbital Mechanics, but it's actually a fun little game. Some of the "challenges" are pretty tough, but you get to keep whacking away until you get it right.

It's Summer, Does That Spell Road Trip In Your House? - If you're firing up the car for a family vacation you might consult this site for offbeat Roadside Attractions. Open the map to states you plan to visit, you may find something quirky enough to be worth a pit stop along your route.

Monday, July 01, 2002
Good News For Dieters - Maybe - It seems strange, but your scale actually will register as much as 10% More Weight if you place it on a carpet rather than on a hard surface. So, for that instant reduction, if you happen to have had yours on the carpet, simply move it. Of course, if it was already on that solid surface, well, just leave it there and keep on exercising ;-)

Catching Up With McDonald's? - That's rather an amazing number, One Billion PCs sold. I wonder how many are still in use, or better question yet, useful? Think of the latent computing capacity of 1B computers of any size. Too bad that there's no effective way to harness it all.

Amazing Penetration If True - Please don't get the wrong idea, I'm referring to the Broadband Installation figures from PEW. They're quite a bit higher than any I've seen elsewhere.

Useful Information - It's good to know, but it may be a bit discouraging to learn the Crash Test Rating of your car or truck. It's a lot of data so be sure to read the explanation of the ratings, especially what they say about vehicle weight.

A Name From The Past - Years ago I ran a majordomo list devoted to mysteries. A membership requirement involved submitting a minimum number of reviews, but one member, Harriet Klausner, always produced more reviews than everyone else combined. As she explained to me, she was a speed reader who operated a small bookstore in Georgia and had the time, ability and access to run through a huge number of books, at least 5 a day. Looks like Harriet hasn't slowed down ;-)

Sunday, June 30, 2002
One For Your Calendar - Each month a dozen Did You Ever Wonder type questions are addressed by scientists from the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - Whew, that's quite a mouthful. Take a look, there's likely an area or two you will find of interest, and don't forget to look back monthly for the new set of topics.

Froth On The Gene Pool - Stories Such As This really make one wonder if the planet wouldn't be better off without certain people. Perhaps public opinion and/or the courts are turning from capital punishment, which may be too harsh, and may not be a deterrent (although it does a fine job on recidivism.) Still, we all would be better off without certain people roaming freely among us again, ever, and if there's anything at all to genetics I'd really rather that they didn't propagate.

Probably Not A Good Idea - Flashing one of These Babies at the airport security check may get you a laugh, but it's more likely you would get pulled aside for a strip search. Don't try this unless you really enjoy rectal probes ;-)

A Different Moon View - Literally - In this spectacular photo from APOD we're treated to a view of an asteroid orbiting Jupiter named Ida, and Dactyl, it's own moon. Great picture and Ida is only 36 miles long by 14 wide - not to be missed! Dactyl by the way is only 1 mile in diameter.

The Possibilities Are Mind-Boggling - Just imagine what it would mean for encryption possibilities alone if they could atcually decipher a photon's Quantum State. Zowie, the ability to lay almost an infinite number of distinct states on a given photon and downstream to determine it will change everything.

Saturday, June 29, 2002
My God, What A Concept! - I don't really think it means anything, but what a fantastic presentation! Spend a little time with this applet, learning about which are the Most Popular Numbers in the range 0 - 100000. Don't miss the little associations window - this thing is fascinating IMHO.


   Haiku For The Summer

The morning breeze
visibly ripples the fur
of the caterpillar

Take This Simple Little Test - To measure your Political Compass. I saw this mentioned at Rebecca's Pocket and thought it was entertaining - I came out almost on center.

If You Want Something Done Right, Should You Call On The Government? - In the case of the Postal Service I think the answer is starting to look like no. With this latest Rate Increase they only exacerbate what was already a serious problem. Why, one might ask, should the rates for necessary mail, the first class things we need to mail to one another and to pay our bills, go straight up (an increase of 50% over the past 10 years) while junk mail costs less than a third. I received one such this week, a sealed, odd sized envelope (for which you or I would pay an off-size surcharge) and the postage was only $0.08! We don't want the damn stuff, it costs real money in manpower & equipment to deliver it and yet they essentially get franking rights to bombard us with dreck that goes directly from the mailbox to the trash can. If junk mail is so necessary then why not charge twice the "first class" rate to distribute it? I suggest that we'd all be better off and it would save a few trees ;-)

Friday, June 28, 2002

    A Taste of Omar (The Good One)

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse-- and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

They're Singing A New Song At NPR - In honor of NPR Recanting on their dumb no link policy, here is one to an 8 minute audio clip about an all time, kick ass song by Tina Turner, River Deep-Mountain High. Really worth listening to and a shame that it was a bit ahead of its time. Too bad that they use the proprietary RealAudio format, but it's worth the hassle to listen to their story.

Not Exactly Proof - This wouldn't satisfy the folks who don't believe we ever made it to the Moon, but this photo of the Lunar module, Challenger, is pretty cool (not that you or I could actually discern what it purports to show.)

Two Good Stories For The Price Of One - High Tech rivalries can be entertaining and it isn't always clear who the guys in the white hats are. ran a neat story about a Microsoft Requested raid on pay-for-play game rival MindArk that caught the dreaded Swedes with 600 or so unlicensed copies of software - dumb, but not unusual in business. But even more interesting to me was the side issue of MindArc's Project Entropia game. That sounds as though using illegal copies of software is the least of MindArc's scams.

Thursday, June 27, 2002
Let's Do A Big BOO! For Brazil - No, I'm not exercised about their soccer prowess, I actually couldn't care less about that. But whoever is responsible for this Idiotic Decision should be deported to Afghanistan, or some such garden spot. No, wait, given that we have our own set of morons "controlling" immigration those fools would probably be invited here ;-)

The 5K Contest - Was mentioned on Metafilter the other day. This site has the 366 final entries for 2002 available to Test Drive. Some are sort of lame, some are actually entertaining and a few are even useful in one sense or another.

Say Cheese - A nice story about the legitimacy of the Photomontage As Art on Be sure to visit their link to Cut & Paste, an interesting little site devoted to the history of the photomontage, then fire up your copy of Photoshop and get to work ;-)

Now You See 'Em, Now You Don't - An odd little article on the other day on How To Disappear. Some rather trite & puerile tips on reducing one's tracks and then the strange suggestion that one can use a 50 year old SSN (078-05-1120) with 99% success - bizarre.

It Seems Like Only Yesterday - On Mars, a mere 3.5 billion years ago, a large river may have fed this lake complex and carved out the Ma'adim Vallis Canyon, as dipicted in this APOD false color image.