Monday, January 31, 2005

'54 concept car sells for $3.24 million

It's a lot of money, but a very cool car:


Strangers With Candy cast plays "Who Would You Do?"

After giving an interview to, Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, and Paul Dinello play a quick game of "Who Would You Do?"

Bonus Link! - FilmThreat's review of SWC

First review for Crispin Glover's "What Is It?"

Like the “masterpieces” of this genre, of which I would include Jodorowsky’s “Holy Mountain” and “Fellini Satyricon”, “What is it?” is nearly impossible to adequately describe, think about, or even review. Up until now, Glover’s oeuvre has mostly consisted of fringe characters with fringe, yet unforgettable moments. “What Is It?” however, is like an apocalyptic symphony of the auteur’s unconscious, an unveiling of the masturbating midgets and talking snails of his psyche, if you will. As one critic inanely put it, the film is like “Fellini on psychedelics.” Never mind that Fellini actually was on psychedelics for a time, you get her point. To be fair though, the film doesn’t actually contain masturbating midgets, my apologies to little people everywhere, but it most definitely contains talking snails. And a cast primarily consisting of people with Down’s syndrome. And gallivanting naked women in animal masks. And an anguished minstrel in black face longing to transform into an invertebrate by injecting snail enzymes into his cheek. And a naked man with cerebral palsy laying in a giant seashell getting fondled by one of those naked women. And lots and lots (and lots) of snails getting salted. And finally, Crispin Hellion Glover as a god-like figure in full-length fur coat, scheming against the film’s hero while bowing to a meta-god in the form of a Shirley Temple dictator in Nazi garb. Did I mention wanting my mommy?


US breeding sheep

One in three U.S. high school students say the press ought to be more restricted, and even more say the government should approve newspaper stories before readers see them, according to a survey being released today.

The survey of 112,003 students finds that 36% believe newspapers should get "government approval" of stories before publishing; 51% say they should be able to publish freely; 13% have no opinion.

Asked whether the press enjoys "too much freedom," not enough or about the right amount, 32% say "too much," and 37% say it has the right amount. Ten percent say it has too little.


U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote (NYT 9/4/1967)

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror

by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.


Friday, January 28, 2005

Engadget on a tinkerer's stomp-box

Engadget looks at the KillerTone, a stomp-box with a circuit bread-board inside of it. It comes with a bag of components, so you can make your own crazy effects.


JHymn for the iTunes Music Store

Wanna make sure you never have to ask for another copy of a song you buy at the iTMS when your hard drive crashes?


My first FARK entry

Since I didn't have a FARK account, they won't let me post my entry for another 24 hours... :(

The theme was: New advertisements for tobacco companies

FARK contest

"Strangers With Candy" gets picked up

Warner Independent Pictures acquired its second film of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival on Thursday as it picked up "Strangers With Candy," starring comedian Amy Sedaris.
"Strangers With Candy' completely caught me off guard," WIP president Mark Gill said. "It is rude, hilarious and bizarre. We loved it."


The day Slashdot jumped the shark

That day is today:

Nanotech Brings Battery Life Extender for Mobiles
Posted by CowboyNeal on Friday January 28, @05:47AM

from the extended-play dept.
An anonymous user writes "Using latest nanotechnology research, BatMax developed the first cellphone battery life booster that extends the mobile phone battery life and reduces charging time. BatMax is based on the IonXR, a new exclusively developed nanoceramic material, resulting from years of laboratory research. BatMax foil slows down the loss of capacity of Ni-CD, Ni-MH, Li-Ion and Li-Polymer batteries and thus provides improved battery performance. BatMax is a small (1.14 x 1.92 in) rectangular sticker which is installed on the mobile phone battery. Users just need to attach BatMax to the battery or the cellphone. They claim users will notice a battery life improvement after 5 to 10 charging cycles."


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Seymour Hersh: "We've Been Taken Over by a Cult"

"In the middle of all of this, I get a call from a mother in the East coast, Northeast, working class, lower middle class, very religious, Catholic family. She said, I have to talk to you. I go see her. I drive somewhere, fly somewhere, and her story is simply this. She had a daughter that was in the military police unit that was at Abu Ghraib. And the whole unit had come back in March, of -- The sequence is: they get there in the fall of 2003. Their reported after doing their games in the January of 2004. In March she is sent home. Nothing is public yet. The daughter is sent home. The whole unit is sent home. She comes home a different person. She had been married. She was young. She went into the Reserves, I think it was the Army Reserves to get money, not for college or for -- you know, these -- some of these people worked as night clerks in pizza shops in West Virginia. This not -- this is not very sophisticated. She came back and she left her husband. She just had been married before. She left her husband, moved out of the house, moved out of the city, moved out to another home, another apartment in another city and began working a different job. And moved away from everybody. Then over -- as the spring went on, she would go every weekend, this daughter, and every weekend she would go to a tattoo shop and get large black tattoos put on her, over increasingly -- over her body, the back, the arms, the legs, and her mother was frantic. What's going on? Comes Abu Ghraib, and she reads the stories, and she sees it. And she says to her daughter, “Were you there?” She goes to the apartment. The daughter slams the door. The mother then goes -- the daughter had come home -- before she had gone to Iraq, the mother had given her a portable computer. One of the computers that had a DVD in it, with the idea being that when she was there, she could watch movies, you know, while she was overseas, sort of a -- I hadn't thought about it, a great idea. Turns out a lot of people do it. She had given her a portable computer, and when the kid came back she had returned it, one of the things, and the mother then said I went and looked at the computer. She knows -- she doesn't know about depression. She doesn’t know about Freud. She just said, I was just -- I was just going to clean it up, she said. I had decided to use it again. She wouldn't say anything more why she went to look at it after Abu Ghraib. She opened it up, and sure enough there was a file marked “Iraq”. She hit the button. Out came 100 photographs. They were photographs that became -- one of them was published. We published one, just one in The New Yorker. It was about an Arab. This is something no mother should see and daughter should see too. It was the Arab man leaning against bars, the prisoner naked, two dogs, two shepherds, remember, on each side of him. The New Yorker published it, a pretty large photograph. What we didn’t publish was the sequence showed the dogs did bite the man -- pretty hard. A lot of blood. So she saw that and she called me, and away we go. There's another story."


Faces of Meth

Not for viewing while eating.


Stupidest f***ing guy on the face of the Earth resigns

Bye bye!


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

What's another word for high self-esteem?

Here are some of our disappointing findings. High self- esteem in schoolchildren does not produce better grades. (Actually, kids with high self-esteem do have slightly better grades in most studies, but that's because getting good grades leads to higher self-esteem, not the other way around.) In fact, according to a study by Donald Forsyth at Virginia Commonwealth University, college students with mediocre grades who got regular self-esteem strokes from their professors ended up doing worse on final exams than students who were told to suck it up and try harder.

Self-esteem doesn't make adults perform better at their jobs either. Sure, people with high self-esteem rate their own performance better — even declaring themselves smarter and more attractive than their low self-esteem peers — but neither objective tests nor impartial raters can detect any difference in the quality of work.

Likewise, people with high self-esteem think they make better impressions, have stronger friendships and have better romantic lives than other people, but the data don't support their self-flattering views. If anything, people who love themselves too much sometimes annoy other people by their defensive or know-it-all attitudes. Self-esteem doesn't predict who will make a good leader, and some work (including that of psychologist Robert Hogan writing in the Harvard Business Review) has found humility rather than self-esteem to be a key trait of successful leaders.


Family Guy un-cancelled?

Great news! I think I'm the last guy to know this - probably because I haven't watched a commercial in years. Here's an interview with Seth MacFarlane:


Reason, Michael Powell, and the broadcast flag

This is a rebuttal to this piece, a fawning, free-market libertarian's fond farewell to Michael Powell. These two articles, taken together, illustrate the intellectual over-simplicity of the standard libertarian point of view. The first article praises Powell for deregulation of telecom markets. This, I suppose, resulted in more freedom for large companies, but I'm not quite sure how much good this did for the general populace. The rebuttal decries Powell's pathetic attempts to regulate morality and push copy-protection boondoggles like the broadcast flag. Libertarians need to decide which side they're on, and realize that freedom is more complicated than they like to think it is.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Kos has a nice Boxer round-up

I have to admit, I'd never been a big Boxer fan until recently. Now she's showing the kind of spine you get from a 20-point victory.


Balls-out in Paris

Ivan? If you are reading this - don't get any ideas...


Monday, January 24, 2005

What the heck is Crispin Glover been up to?

(Yet another BoingBoing find)
Actor Crispin Glover, who seems to enjoy being weird for for weirdness' sake, has a trailer of his movie that'll screen at Sundance. He's been working on it for about ten years, I think. I have a feeling the trailer is going to be better than the movie. (Not safe for work.)


Gentlemen - set your PVRs

It's jugglin' time!


EFFlaunches their "endangered gizmos" list

The ReplayTV 4000 made the list - in the "extinct" catagory.


Gibson shows off new digital Les Paul

This is not just a guitar, it's a platform.


Guess who gets the best health care in the country?

Go ahead and try. I seriously doubt you'll get it right.


Is this what it will take to put torture back in the news?

The American Prospect looks into female prisoner abuse in Iraq. Much of this article is hard-to-read. I'm refraining from quoting it, as excerpting it feels exploitive.


Our first review with a wine pairing

Over at Tony Fletcher's
Wine? It's too obvious. They're simultaneously delicate and forward. Their music is disarmingly pretty yet almost deceptively complex. They recognize that California is a land both of space (i.e. technology) and country (i.e. nature). And their front man is called Babcock. So sit back (on your porch swing, if you have one) and listen to Sunset Homes with a glass of Babcock Tri-Counties Cuvée Pinot Noir 2002 in your hand, and for a moment, presume that all is right with the world.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

That was fast...

How to decrypt your TiVo ToGo files.


Friday, January 21, 2005

Even Peggy Noonan was freaked out by Bush's speech

I'm beginning to think that the only thinking people who still support GWB are those who actually have jobs in his administration. Oh yeah - and Ann Coulter. With Andrew Sullivan aghast about torture and gay-baiting, William F. Buckley "confused", and even Bob Novak nervous, it seems that the ranks of Bush's defenders have been thinned out to only the most partisan hacks.

And, of course, the entire news media.


Na na na na

Michael Powell leaving the FCC. As much as I'm happy to see Howard Stern's nemesis leave, this makes me afraid. Bush has managed to find even more over-the-top messed-up people to fill the shoes of everyone who fled his administration after the election. Who knows who they'll dig up to head the FCC now? James "SpongeDob Stickypants" Dobson? Ralph Reed? Rupert Murdoch?


A great primer on modern copyright issues

In the form of a series of book reviews.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Snark Attack!

The year's 50 most loathsome people, like:

40. Laura Bush

Crimes: Oh the first lady, what an inspiration she must be to android researchers everywhere. Smile, nod, smile, (look interested) nod, put on $50,000 dress, suck off the president and there you have a typical day for the first lady. Corporate yes-wives like her will hasten the coming of mandated burkas for American women. Actually looks related to George, which might explain their mongoloid children.

Smoking Gun: She married George Bush.

Punishment: Chugging a gallon of stem cells on Fear Factor.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Nation divided over Bush's divisiveness

It's meta-tastic!
Forty-nine percent of 1,007 adult Americans said in phone interviews they believe Bush is a "uniter," according to the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Wednesday. Another 49 percent called him a "divider," and 2 percent had no opinion.


Why has the "No WMDs After All" story already disappeared?

The problem wasn't a small, isolated ethical error, like Judith Miller's Chalabi reporting. The error here was not a mistake of fact. The problem was that a central tenet of our system of news reporting dictates that lies of consensus will never be considered punishable mistakes. In other words, once everyone jumps in the water, a story acquires its own legitimacy.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Killer-looking Mac sync software for Sony PSP

Man - I gotta get on the waiting list for a PSP now. It is going to crush all the other portable meida players. Plus, with the newly-confirmed update for the PSP in the works, it is looking like a pretty nifty device.


Is this real?



Monday, January 17, 2005

What a great inauguration lineup

Oh just go read it. It's too short to quote, but too funny not to link.


What our government has been up to

Sy Hersh does some great reporting on Rumsfeld's consolidation of power.
“Rumsfeld will no longer have to refer anything through the government’s intelligence wringer,” the former official went on. “The intelligence system was designed to put competing agencies in competition. What’s missing will be the dynamic tension that insures everyone’s priorities—in the C.I.A., the D.O.D., the F.B.I., and even the Department of Homeland Security—are discussed. The most insidious implication of the new system is that Rumsfeld no longer has to tell people what he’s doing so they can ask, ‘Why are you doing this?’ or ‘What are your priorities?’ Now he can keep all of the mattress mice out of it.”


Best music writing of 2004

A bunch of the best (and, of course, the worst) articles and opinion pieces about music from last year.


"Quickest" route between two Norwegian towns

According to MSN Maps, it involves a trip through seven European countries.


Special ReplayTV version of VLC

With Commercial-Advance!


Jamie Oliver regrets product-placing baked beans

What the Naked Chef star did not know, he claimed yesterday, was that the deal included an in-restaurant marketing campaign by Heinz, complete with people dressed up in bean suits.

"Next thing I know we've got giant baked beans running across the restaurant and paparazzi outside shouting 'Oliver's a wanker'. It was quite surreal," he said. "I should have been brighter. Baked beans have absolutely no place in any restaurant with integrity."


Friday, January 14, 2005

Borat goes to the rodeo

Introduced as Boraq Sagdiyev from Kazakhstan, he was said to be an immigrant touring America. A film crew was with him, doing some sort of documentary. And he wanted to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" to show his appreciation, the announcer told the crowd.

Speaking in broken English, the mysterious man first told the decidedly pro-American crowd - it was a rodeo, of all things, in Salem, of all places - that he supported the war on terrorism.

"I hope you kill every man, woman and child in Iraq, down to the lizards," he said, according to Brett Sharp of Star Country WSLC, who was also on stage that night as a media sponsor of the rodeo.

An uneasy murmur ran through the crowd.

"And may George W. Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq," he continued, according to Robynn Jaymes, who co-hosts a morning radio show with Sharp and was also among the stunned observers.


Monsanto continues bid for "most evil company"

This time, they are suing farmers for saving seeds.


We get a 7.8

Does Pitchfork really need to get that granular? Most reviews go from 1-5, but Pitchfork needs 100 different possible scores.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Democrats dig up a Roosevelt

After "Progress For America" started running a "let's dismantle Social Security to save it" commercial featuring FDR, Democratic Senate minority leasder Harry Reid's new rapid-response team dug up Roosevelt's grandson in less than a day, to issue the following statement:

It has come to my attention that your organization has begun running an advertising campaign to promote President George W. Bush's plan to privatize Social Security and cut benefits. The advertisements that are currently being aired feature President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his signing of the original Social Security legislation. I find the use of my grandfather's image and legacy in your campaign to be highly inappropriate.

For seventy years, Social Security has been the bedrock of retirement security for millions of Americans thanks to the efforts of President Roosevelt. My grandfather would surely oppose the ideas now being promoted by this administration and your organization. Not only that, but to compare the courage it took to provide a guaranteed insurance program for our seniors and the disabled to the courage it will take to dismantle the most successful social program in history is simply unconscionable. We should be working to protect and promote Social Security, not cutting benefits for our seniors.

On behalf of my family, I would ask that you cease using my grandfather's image in your advertising campaign.


James Roosevelt Jr.


Frank Rich on Amstrong Williams on Crossfire

That [Novak] and Mr. Begala would be allowed to lob softballs at a man who may have been a cog in illegal government wrongdoing, on a show produced by television's self-proclaimed "most trusted" news network, is bad enough. That almost no one would notice, let alone protest, is a snapshot of our cultural moment, in which hidden agendas in the presentation of "news" metastasize daily into a Kafkaesque hall of mirrors that could drive even the most earnest American into abject cynicism.

That's just about what's happened to me at this point.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A Morse code for human cells


Morse code is a simple, effective and clear method of communication and now scientists believe that cells in our body may also be using patterns of signals to switch genes on and off. The discovery may have major implications for the pharmaceutical industry as the signalling molecules that are targeted by drugs may have more than one purpose. The number of ‘dots and dashes’ being used by each signal could have different purposes, all of which could be modified by a drug.

The researchers, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and working at the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester and the Royal Liverpool Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with scientists at AstraZeneca and Pfizer, have studied transcription factors, the signalling molecules inside cells that activate or deactivate genes. They found that the strength of the signal is less important than the dynamic frequency pattern that is used.


Nelly, Alicia, Avril, Ludacris Help Radio Beat Back Howard Stern Satellite Threat

As Howard put it, they should have just paid him $28 million not to go to Sirius...


Arianna on America's Tony Manero approach to everything

Near the beginning of "Saturday Night Fever," John Travolta's Tony Manero, frustrated that his boss thinks he should save his salary instead of spending it on a new disco shirt, cries out, "Fuck the future!" To which his boss replies: "No, Tony, you can't fuck the future. The future fucks you! It catches up with you and it fucks you if you ain't prepared for it!"

Well, I don't know if you've noticed, but America has morphed into a nation of Tony Maneros — collectively dismissing the future. And nowhere is this mindset more prevalent than at the Bush White House, which is unwavering in its determination to ignore the future.


Creative comes out swinging at the iPod Shuffle

Said [Creative's CEO] Mr Sim, "Actually, to me it's a big let-down: we're expecting a good fight but they're coming out with something that's five generations older. It's our first generation MuVo One product feature, without display, just have a (shuffle feature). We had that -- that's a four-year-old product.

"So I think the whole industry will just laugh at it, because the flash people -- it's worse than the cheapest Chinese player. Even the cheap, cheap Chinese brand today has display and has FM. They don't have this kind of thing, and they expect to come out with a fight; I think it's a non-starter to begin with."

And the Creative MuVo Micro also has line-in recording! Sadly, iPod Shuffle will crush them.


Thoughts on the latest Steve-note

Apple announced a bunch of stuff yesterday in San Francisco (watch the keynote here). Some of it is pretty cool, but others left me feeling a bit skeptical.

1. iPod Shuffle: It's small, and the shuffling idea is a nice gimmick. However, it has no screen (somehow, Steve presented this as a plus), the interface is actually a fake click-wheel (a real one doesn't work without a screen), the USB connector cover is gonna get lost, and the lanyard is not only kind-of dorky, but when you use it, the headphone cable comes out of the bottom of the iPod, which is awkward.

2. MacMini: Another tiny piece of tech-goodness. What Steve-O didn't mention is that when you add all the stuff you want (Airport, Bluetooth, wireless keyboard and mouse, big hard drive, and SuperDrive), the price skyrockets to over $900. I like to think of the MacMini as the coolest $500 DVD player you can buy, rather than an actual great deal on a computer.

3. iWork: Basically, they've made a word-processing version of Keynote called Pages. Is it just me, or are all these Apple template-based software packages just not that appealing? Reminds me of preset sounds on my keyboard - fun to play around with, but I'd be embarrassed to actually produce something with them. Plus, without a spreadsheet (what kind of animated, drop-shadowed, watercolored charting monstrosities will Apple come up with for that?), iWork is all-but-useless.

4. iLife: Some neat stuff here. HD video editing (this part of the keynote was marred by an extremely awkward guest-appearance by Sony president Kunitake Ando) is all over the place, with kick-ass H.264 support. GarageBand looks like it might actually become useful, with an eight-track hard-disk recording piece, and iChat looks gussied-up, with fancy 3D-looking videoconferencing.

The most insane thing I heard during the keynote is that Apple now has 65% marketshare for all MP3 players. This is twice last year's number (thanks to the iPod Mini), and is truly mind-blowing, especially since every consumer electronics firm in the world is gunning for them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Matt Taibbi vs the DLC

When Marshall Wittmann, member of the spineless DLC mused about running for the charimanship of the DNC, I doubt he thought he'd get this virulent a response:

It's significant that you and Marshall started your animal blogs after Gillespie, the triumphant Republican, started the Yak—just as you're now pushing a "Pennsylvania Avenue Project" to match Tom DeLay's "K Street Project," and just as you wrote a long essay pleading with Democrats to come up with their own version of Norquist's coalitions and Gingrich's "Contract With America." Again, you have no ideas of your own; you copy everybody, most enthusiastically the enemy.

But there's a difference between your doing an animal blog and Ed Gillespie's doing an animal blog. The difference is essentially the same difference that separates the Democratic Party from the Republican Party—Ed Gillespie is a winner, you are a loser. The reason Ed Gillespie can pull off treating politics like a game is that it is, and should be, a game to an Ed Gillespie. He is, unabashedly, a professional con artist. That's what a Republican political operative is supposed to do—con Americans who've had their jobs taken away by big business into voting Republican anyway. And when he's done doing that, he's supposed to prance around the beltway in a cap and bells, laughing to high heaven about how cleverly he screwed the whole country. Government is a big frat prank to people like Norquist and Gillespie, which is why frat names work for them. It could have been Otter or Flounder. Gillespie chose Yak. It makes sense.

Democrats don't want to be conned by their leaders; they want their party to actually represent them. They do not want Otter or Flounder returning from the offices of Eli Lilly or (more to the point) Loral Satellite with some grand "realistic" plan to put a pair of Bible-thumping arms- industry executives on the 2008 ticket. They do not want to be told that this is the only way to get the "McCainiac" swing voter (another one of your cute words) to go against the Republicans the next time around. That shit does not work with the vast majority of Democrats. They want men, not clowns, running things. And you, Marshall Wittmann, are a fucking clown.


IBM frees 500 software patents

A great first step.


Monday, January 10, 2005

Tiny LED-based DLP projectors

Shrink these and put them in a handheld computer, and you've got a killer app.


Ken Lay is pathetic

Ken Lay is paying search engines to return his version (don't click that link) of the Enron scandal. Here is a version of the link that charges him a few pennies. Feel free to click on it as much as you like.


Friday, January 07, 2005

First images from Linklater's "A Scanner Darkly"

This is going to own.


A neuroscientist takes on the NBA

Last week, I wrote to the NBA owner I deemed most likely to consider applying the scientific method to free-throw shooting, Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks. I told Cuban that the assumption that waving balloons wildly will produce the biggest distraction is just plain wrong. Given how the brain perceives motion, randomly moving balloons aren't very off-putting. When you see a lot of little objects moving crazily back and forth, all the different motion signals that get sent to the brain cancel each other out. In the mind of a free-throw shooter, a crowd of people waving wiggle sticks looks like a snowy TV screen. This sort of white noise might make it harder to see the rim, but the stats show that isn't a big deal for the pros.

But what if the waving balloons didn't cancel each other out? If fans behind the backboard waved their balloons from side to side in unison, opposing players would perceive a field of background motion. When we see a moving background, we tend to assume that we're the ones moving and that the background is staying put. If everything on my desk suddenly drifted to the right, I would probably assume that my chair had rolled to the left. And if I were at the free-throw line as the world drifted to the right, my shooting motion would automatically compensate for what I perceived to be my own motion to the left. David Whitney, a visual psychophysicist at the University of California-Irvine, recently described this phenomenon in the lab. The results, published in Nature ("The influence of visual motion on fast reaching movements to a stationary object"), showed that a field of background motion can bias hand movements in the direction of that motion.

A few hours after I wrote Cuban that first e-mail, I got an answer. "I love using science to gain an advantage," he wrote. He said he'd give the plan a try.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Tony Hawk goes to Santa Cruz!

Guess I'm getting a PSP...


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Why can't we get these Focuses?


Whatever you call them, I want one of these.

Under the bonnet, the ST features a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, currently used by Volvo. With 220bhp and over 320Nm of torque, performance is likely to be on par with the first-generation Focus RS. That means the ST will go from 0-60mph in under seven seconds and on to over 140mph, making this the fastest model in the range by far.


Edge asks the big question for 2005


My favorite answer so far (from Oliver Morton: Writer; Contributing Editor, Wired, Newsweek International; Author, Mapping Mars):

The real question is what do I believe that I don't think anyone can prove. In answer I'd put forward the belief that there is a future much better, in terms of reduced human suffering and increased human potential, than the present, and that one part of what makes it better is a greater, subtler knowledge of the world at large.

If I can't prove this, why do I believe it? Because it's better than believing the alternative. Because it provides a context for social and political action that would otherwise be futile; in this, it is an exhortatory belief. It is also, in part, a self-serving one, in that it suggests that by trying to clarify and disseminate knowledge (a description that makes me sound like the chef at a soup kitchen) I'm doing something that helps the better future, if only a bit.

Besides the question of why, though, there's the question of how. And there the answer is "with difficulty". It is not an easy thing for me to make myself believe. But it is what I want to believe, and on my best days I do.


New Crackberry sort-of solves the texting problem

RiM's designers simply added an extra column of keys on either side of the traditional 12-button pad. Then they laid out the alphabet in traditional QWERTY format and allocated two letters per key—a single button has the letters A and S, or J and K. Like phones that use T9, the 7100t has to guess what word you're typing. But since the 7100t only has two letters per key, it has a much better chance of guessing an unusual word.

(If this was 1999, I would insert a RiMming joke here; but it's not, so I won't)


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

What's that song? (Shimmer Kids edition)

They only have "The Natural Riot," but this is still extremely cool. You can try it with ANY band


BobsWesternShirt points out the site is down - check back later, I guess
It's back!

Britney quits pop music to become a forensic scientist

No joke here.


Copyright Cartel continues work on diabolical scheme

Encryption scheme, that is...

"We can understand that the technology companies and movie studios have become attached to the idea of creating proprietary encryption for optical discs, but it doesn't do much good in terms of the stated objective of preventing copyright infringement, and it has a lot of downside for consumers," says [the EFF's Seth] Schoen.

He and others say success or failure of the approach may hinge on whether consumers will be able to move videos around a home network and among multiple players right from the outset. If they can, they might be more willing to accept the new technology. "It might lead to a higher level of satisfaction for mainstream consumers," Schoen says. "So there will be less pressure from them for unauthorized products that allow backups. But at this point, the details are a bit sparse."

If they can't, individual consumers will find ways to transfer their content anyway, Wallach says. "It is not a matter of if—it is a matter of when. As long as I have the technology in my living room to watch it for myself, I can modify the system to extract the video. They can make it hard, but they can't make it impossible.

"They are living in a fantasy world," he concludes.


Interviewing Bush's party planner

I hear one of the balls will be reserved for troops who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Yes, the Commander-in-Chief Ball. That is new. It will be about 2,000 servicemen and their guests. And that should be a really fun event for them.

As an alternative way of honoring them, did you or the president ever discuss canceling the nine balls and using the $40 million inaugural budget to purchase better equipment for the troops?

I think we felt like we would have a traditional set of events and we would focus on honoring the people who are serving our country right now -- not just the people in the armed forces, but also the community volunteers, the firemen, the policemen, the teachers, the people who serve at, you know, the -- well, it's called the StewPot in Dallas, people who work with the homeless.

How do any of them benefit from the inaugural balls?

I'm not sure that they do benefit from them.

Then how, exactly, are you honoring them?

Honoring service is what our theme is about.

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