Monday, February 28, 2005

Republican insecurity explored

A great blog posting from Digby.


Road House the Play?

Solar breakthrough?

It's about time! 120 Watts per square inch at 110V! This sounds too good to be true...

Update: And it is. The actual value is 120Watts/Sq Meter.


A look at risk in laissez-faire America

Peter G. Gosselin from the LA Times did a three-part series on the rising risk burden for the middle class. It is now all online.


Halle Berry shows up for her Razzie

Berry was named worst actress of 2004 by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation for her performance in "Catwoman" and she showed up to accept her "Razzie" carrying the Oscar she won in 2002 for "Monster's Ball."

"They can't take this away from me, it's got my name on it!" she quipped. A raucous crowd cheered her on as she gave a stirring recreation of her Academy Award acceptance speech, including tears.

She thanked everyone involved in "Catwoman," a film she said took her from the top of her profession to the bottom.

"I want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of shit," she said as she dragged her agent on stage and warned him "next time read the script first."

It is rare for a Razzie winner to show up at the spoof awards held on the night before Oscars -- but Berry did, saying her mother taught her that to be "a good winner you had to be a good loser first." She received a standing ovation.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

When only the A-Team will do

Phase 1: Recruiting. If you were looking for a band of misfit ex-military types with welding and stunt-driving experience, where would you look? The "real" A-team lived in LA. So we placed an ad on Craigslist's LA site. There was no category for "crack commandoes" so we settled for "gigs>>crew."


Scott Ritter claims US plans Iran attack in June

Scott Ritter, appearing with journalist Dahr Jamail yesterday in Washington State, dropped two shocking bombshells in a talk delivered to a packed house in Olympia’s Capitol Theater. The ex-Marine turned UNSCOM weapons inspector said that George W. Bush has "signed off" on plans to bomb Iran in June 2005, and claimed the U.S. manipulated the results of the recent Jan. 30 elections in Iraq.

But then again, when has Scott Ritter ever been right about anything? Oh yeah...


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

What is Frank Luntz up to?

Kos has his strategy guide.


The real vast right-wing conspiracy

The CNP was founded in 1981 as an umbrella organization of right-wing leaders who would gather regularly to plot strategy, share ideas and fund causes and candidates to advance the far-right agenda. Twenty-three years later, it is still secretly pursuing those goals with amazing success.

Since its founding, the tax-exempt organization has been meeting three times a year. Members have come and gone, but all share something in common: They are powerful figures, drawn from both the Religious Right and the anti-government, anti-tax wing of the ultra-conservative movement.

It may sound like a far-left conspiracy theory, but the CNP is all too real and, its critics would argue, all too influential.


More background at this kos diary.

Dubai Open to host tennis matches on a helipad on top of the "world's most luxurious hotal"

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Apple Product Cycle

Hee hee.


Appeals court to FCC - "Not so fast!"

"You crossed the line," Judge Harry Edwards told a lawyer for the Federal Communications Commission during arguments before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

"Selling televisions is not what the FCC is in the business of," Edwards said, siding with critics who charge the rule dictates how computers and other devices should work.


Nanaca Crash!!

This flash games 0wnz. It makes those penguin smacking games seem quaint.

Rules (since they're in Japanese, here's what I've gleaned):

1. Adjust the angle, hold down the mouse button, and release at the right moment for maximum velocity.
2. There are two Aerials that you can use, red and blue. You only get three red Aerials, but the blue ones recharge over time. The red ones push you up and to the right, the blue ones push you down and to the right. The red ones only work while you are falling from the top of the screen to the tops of the trees. The blue ones only work while you are rising from the tops of the trees to the top of the screen. Click on the screen while the word "Aerial" (on the left side of the screen) is blue or red to use the Aerial.
3. Specials - On the right, there is a specials bar. From time to time, different characters will appear there. Below the specials bar, you can see which characters you are passing. If you bump into one of the characters in your specials bar, the word "Special" will appear. Click your mouse RIGHT AWAY, for a cool special. I suppose if you were very clever, you could try and use a blue Aerial to push you into a Special, but that would involve some pretty advanced reflexes.

So far my record is only 4359.85.


Update: The link seems down, so here's a yousendit link (download the file and drop it in a browser window):

Update #2: Here is a new link.

A little more Audi-lust

Thanks for indulging me. Not like I could ever afford one of these...


Monday, February 21, 2005

Don't like private personal accounts?

The AARP (that's American Association of Retired People) don't, so now the guys behind the Switft Boat Veterans for Truth are claiming the AARP hates our troops (?), and loves gay marriage (??), apparently. Are Americans this dumb (on second thought, don't answer)?


Baby Got Bible

Me so holy...


Beulah has a documentary

Who knew? This looks like fun, but the trailer also looks a bit cliched.


First A Scanner Darkly trailer

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Who was it that "divorced themselves from reality," again?

The crowd at CPAC's Thursday night banquet, held at D.C.'s Ronald Reagan Building, was full of right-wing stars. Among those seated at the long presidential table at the head of the room were Henry Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, Dore Gold, foreign policy advisor to former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and NRA president Kayne Robinson. Vice President Dick Cheney, a regular CPAC speaker, gave the keynote address. California Rep. Chris Cox had the honor of introducing him, and he took the opportunity to mock the Democrats whose hatred of America led them to get Iraq so horribly wrong.

"America's Operation Iraqi Freedom is still producing shock and awe, this time among the blame-America-first crowd," he crowed. Then he said, "We continue to discover biological and chemical weapons and facilities to make them inside Iraq." Apparently, most of the hundreds of people in attendance already knew about these remarkable, hitherto-unreported discoveries, because no one gasped at this startling revelation.

And why would they? Like comrades celebrating the success of Mao's Great Leap Forward, attendees at CPAC, the oldest and largest right-wing conference in the country, invest their leaders with the power to defy mere reality through force of insistent rhetoric. The triumphant recent election is all the proof they need that everything George W. Bush says is true. Sure, there's skepticism of the president's wonder-working power among some of the old movement hands -- including the leaders of the American Conservative Union, which puts CPAC on. For much of the rank and file, though, the thousands of blue-blazered students and local activists who come to CPAC each year to celebrate the völkisch virtues of nationalism, capitalism and heterosexuality, Bush is truth. They don rhinestone W brooches and buy mouse pads, posters and T-shirts showing the president as a kind of beefcake Uncle Sam, with flowing white hair and bulging muscles threatening to rend his red, white and blue garments.


Friday, February 18, 2005

What's next, glow sticks and pacifiers?

Seriously, though - this is probably a good idea.

American soldiers traumatised by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be offered the drug ecstasy to help free them of flashbacks and recurring nightmares.


NY Press' Jeff Koyen takes on Howard's "martyrdom"

The 50-year-old Stern is no martyr. He's a corporate cog who paints a passion play of his overlords' acquiescence. Did Stern publicly urge his bosses not to pay? Yes. Did he publicly urge them to fight in court? Absolutely. But did he walk away when they refused to take on a court battle in the name of free speech?

Threats must be dangerous to be effective, and Stern is a good 20 years past dangerous. He's just another comic on the decline, a pampered celebrity with wealth but little countercultural legacy, a tired mainstream star whose frat-boy routine is as dated as his wardrobe. These days, he's interesting only for his increasing resemblance to Joey Ramone's corpse—albeit with a liquid tan.

What's worse, Stern doesn't see—or, maybe, acknowledge—the connection between corporate pocket-monsters like Giuliani and Bloomberg (both of whom he has supported) and the current media landscape. He fails to connect the endorsement dots that float in his career like so many turds in a cesspool. Stern panders to the lowest common denominator with fake tits and conservative politics crafted to appeal to the morning-drive everyman. He campaigned for the very people who now seek media restrictions, curry White House favor and invite ad agencies to bid on our public space.


Gannon knew about Iraq bombing before the rest of the media

What is he, Prince Bandar?


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Paul Martin, on gay marriage in Canada

What a lovely speech.
Today, we rightly see discrimination based on sexual orientation as arbitrary, inappropriate and unfair. Looking back, we can hardly believe that such rights were ever a matter for debate. It is my hope that we will ultimately see the current debate in a similar light; realizing that nothing has been lost or sacrificed by the majority in extending full rights to the minority.

Without our relentless, inviolable commitment to equality and minority rights, Canada would not be at the forefront in accepting newcomers from all over the world, in making a virtue of our multicultural nature – the complexity of ethnicities and beliefs that make up Canada, that make us proud that we are where our world is going, not where it’s been.

Four years ago, I stood in this House and voted to support the traditional definition of marriage. Many of us did. My misgivings about extending the right of civil marriage to same-sex couples were a function of my faith, my perspective on the world around us.

But much has changed since that day. We’ve heard from courts across the country, including the Supreme Court. We’ve come to the realization that instituting civil unions – adopting a “separate but equal” approach – would violate the equality provisions of the Charter. We’ve confirmed that extending the right of civil marriage to gays and lesbians will not in any way infringe on religious freedoms.

And so where does that leave us? It leaves us staring in the face of the Charter of Rights with but a single decision to make: Do we abide by the Charter and protect minority rights, or do we not?

To those who would oppose this bill, I urge you to consider that the core of the issue before us today is whether the rights of all Canadians are to be respected. I believe they must be. Justice demands it. Fairness demands it. The Canada we love demands it.


Alaska to try out micro-nuke

Reading the Wired piece on how nuclear power is our ONLY way to "green" energy the other day, I thought it smacked of propaganda. Mostly because it didn't mention anything about the tiny, self-cooling micro-reactors that Toshiba has developed, instead focusing on the hyper-expensive, dangerous and dirty reactors that the US nuclear lobby prefers. Well, Alaska has decided to try out Toshiba's design. I'm interested to see how it turns out.


Wanna find out how much the new Social Security plan will screw you?

Look here:

Here are the detailed calculations and assumptions.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Maureen Dowd takes on Guckert/Gannon

How often does an enterprising young man, heralded in press reports as both a reporter and a contributor to such sites as,, Militaryescorts .com, and, get to question the president of the United States?

Who knew that a hotmilitarystud wanting to meetlocalmen could so easily get to be face2face with the commander in chief?

It's hard to believe the White House could hit rock bottom on credibility again, but it has, in a bizarre maelstrom that plays like a dark comedy. How does it credential a man with a double life and a secret past?


Take a few minutes

and read Cory Doctorow's new short story.


Life on Mars - right now!

Is it PR spin, or the truth?


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Democrats demand explanation for WalMart's deal with the Department of Labor

After admitting that WalMart gets to look at all Department of Labor complaints by their employees, the DoL also seems to be editing their press releases according to WalMart's wishes.

One more fox in the henhouse. Thankfully, this time the democrats aren't taking it anymore.


More DVD "protection" silliness

Is it just me, or does the following sentence sound ludicrous:

Macrovision Corp. today plans to unveil technology that it claims can block 97% of the DVD-copying software that pirates use without interfering with a DVD's playability or picture quality.

97%? What the heck does that mean? I think it means everyone will download the 3% of DVD-copying software that DOES work. Or maybe it means it only works on Windows.

And then, there's this gem from "one executive who asked not to be named:"

"We're always interested in another tool. But until they fix the analog hole … it doesn't solve the problem."

"Fix," the analog hole? Good luck with that.

One more lovely customer-hating bit:
But while analog copying methods are time consuming — it takes two hours to record a two-hour film — a DVD can be ripped in a few minutes. That's why technologies to stop digital copying, or at least make it much less efficient, would be valuable in Hollywood, said Danny Kaye, senior vice president of research and technology for News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

"If it takes a long time and the frustration level gets too high, you're not going to prevent 100% of it, but you can stop the casual user," Kaye said. "Why not try?"

Want to know why not, Hollywoood? BECAUSE THE CASUAL USER ISN'T YOUR PROBLEM! The "casual user" just wants the ability to back up DVDs and take their movie collections on the road. The problem is the guys in China who manufacture fake DVDs, and the guys who post DVD-rips to the internet. Not only are these people going to be able to find the "3%" of software that works, but by punishing your "casual users," you are forcing them to go to the pirate networks to get any kind of portable copy of your content, you morons!


Monday, February 14, 2005

Jeff Gannon blown wide-open

Pun intended.


Friday, February 11, 2005

Very cool music demo from the Media Lab

At first, the interface seems inscrutable, but bear with it (or skip past the first third or so).


Beautiful science photography

Put their book on my wishlist!


Thursday, February 10, 2005

LokiTorrent shut down

One of the last blatantly-illegal torrent sites left finally got slammed by the MPAA today, which left a scary notice on their front page.


The ten worst corporations of 2004

When will we pass a corporate death penalty?



See how popular your (or any name) was over the last century. Some stuff I've learned:

"Marcia" was a man's name in the '20s and '30s.

My name peaked in the 60s.

"Adolph" was quite a popular name until the late '30s, and then dropped to near-nothing, but not completely disappearing until 1970 or so.

"Madison" went from near-nothing in 1980 to the top 3 by 2003.

"Taylor" went from being a boys'-only name to a mostly-girls' name in 1970.

"John" was on a steady decline all last century

Number-one names in 2003? Jacob and Emily.


WFMU has a new blog

And it's really cool. Today they posted a couple of cool tools (which may or may not violate radio rules):

The Random Song Generator:
With the click of a button, a string of discriminating binary will deliver 10 random songs from various shows in the WFMU archives straight to your computer via Real Audio or MP3. And because you favor chaos, you won't even mind that the start times of songs are a tad, well, random.

and the Random Archive Selector, which arbitrarily selects a WFMU archive from their vaults for your mp3 (or Real) player.


War so isn't awesome

After Dano sent me this the second time, I realized I never posted it. Enjoy...


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mac OS 10.3.8 update fixes "jumping cursor" trackpad problem

For all of you iBook/Powerbook owners who have turned off clicking on your mousepad due to its jumpy operation, Apple has finally (supposedly) fixed this problem with their latest update.


Another reason to run out and buy an HD capture card:

The Superbowl commercial party. Soon to be illegal once the broadcast flag deploys.


Touching internet love story

With decidedly un-touching ending:


Area Man (me) Finds Onion Funny This Week

I haven't been loving The Onion as much as I used to these days, but this week's issue has been pretty funny, with articles like:

Latest Bin Laden Videotape Wishes America 'A Crappy Valentine's Day'

Product Placement Mars Otherwise Exciting Super Bowl

Project Manager Leaves Suicide PowerPoint Presentation

And, one of my favorite "What Do You Think?" responses ever. In response to the FCC's investigations into lifting the cell phone ban on airplanes:

"Now the only thing left is to fill the cabin with ankle-deep brackish ice water, and air travel will be about perfect."

Link, meet AudioLunchbox

With everyone collectively creaming themselves over's new DRM-free service, I thought I'd point out that has been serving up DRM-free music for a while now, but with actual artists that you've heard of: Eliott Smith, Sleater-Kinney, Interpol, etc. I'm not sure why they don't get more props. They give you Oggs and MP3s, and will let you re-download if you lose your files. Hopefully Society of Rockets will be up there shortly.


The Budweiser ad you didn't get to see

Backstory for the "wardrobe malfunction."

Link (quicktime movie)

Rove digs his in his hooves

During President Bush's first term, outsiders often suspected that Karl Rove was really behind virtually everything. Now it's official.

Rove, the political mastermind behind two presidential elections, yesterday was named White House deputy chief of staff in charge of coordinating domestic policy, economic policy, national security and homeland security.

All hail the Mayberry Machiavelli!


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Only in San Francisco

The Board of Education is expected to approve the school district's calendar for the 2005-06 academic year tonight -- but not before a spirited debate among parents over when classes should begin.

There have long been arguments among parents over whether school should start before or after Labor Day, with the former winning out the past several years.

This year, however, brings a new wrinkle -- the 20th anniversary of the Burning Man art festival in the wastelands of Nevada is scheduled for Aug. 29- Sept. 5. In an only-in-San Francisco argument, several parents are demanding that school start Sept. 6 so their children can attend the event.

Unfortunately for the Burning Man contingent, the board is expected to set Aug. 29 as the first day of school.


Google continues to not suck

Say hello to google maps:



You've probably seen this, but here's a little more evidence...


Stewart Butterfield on Flickr

If you are someone who has a lot of digital photos, and wants a fun, easy way to share them, without artificial restrictions (like only letting people see low-resolution versions, etc.), Flickr is for you.


Friday, February 04, 2005

I heart Fox News

Since Salon makes you watch an ad to view even this tiny piece of content unless you are a premium subscriber (like me), here it is:
Fair and buxom

You can't make this stuff up.

This afternoon on Fox News, Neil Cavuto spent a good chunk of time interviewing Focus on the Family's James Dobson. They talked about Dobson's efforts to fight abortion, they talked about the great SpongeBob controversy -- when you hear the words "tolerance and diversity," Dobson said, you've got to ask "what's behind it?" -- and then they talked about the awful influence that TV is having on our kids. Dobson said that popular culture is "at war" with moms and dads all over the country. Cavuto clucked clucked right along with him, saying he was worried about what his kids see on TV and didn't know what he could do about [it].

Minutes later, Cavuto was on to another story: A fawning live interview with two large-breasted women, dressed only in their underwear, who will be appearing in Sunday's pay-per-view "Lingerie Bowl." Politics

Forget HD-DVD and Blu-Ray

Here comes HVD (Holographic Versatile Disc)! One TERAbyte on a DVD-sized disc, with 1Gb/second transfer rates.


Bloodninja, "cyber"-master

Some of the funniest IRC transcripts I've ever read...


New York court rules that gay couples must be allowed to marry

Here is the Lambda Legal press release, and here is the thorough, well-reasoned, and touching decision from the NY State Supreme Court.

Hardware VST Plug-in Player

This is cool - a fast-booting (they claim 5-second boot times) Linux box (looks like a Via motherboard with a custom sound card) dedicated to playing VST plugins.



More Enron tapes

California: "Can we have our money back now?"

FERC: "No, you can't"

California: "Why not?"

FERC: "You're thinking of this place all wrong. As if we had the money back in a safe. The money's not here. It's in Ken Lay's Florida mansion, and in Jeffrey Skilling's Florida mansion..."


Wondering about that "57% turnout" number?

We all were. It's starting to sound like another case of the media printing whatever PR the white house releases.


Never do the remote-battery-shuffle again!

This is the coolest gadget I've seen this year:

Pogo Products EZPower Universal control features a little built in jog shuttle, which after you have wound it up a little, will power the handset for around seven days.



Rip, Mix, Burn.

How long until we lose "Mix?"


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Smallest Pac-Man game evar

***Watch out for the loud audio***


Another ridiculous use of copyright

It is now illegal to publish photos of the Eiffel Tower at night. Seriously.


Cell phones make you old, drunk

Well, maybe not - but they make you act like it.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Iraqi militants to behead a doll

The photo (above) that accompanied this story looked suspiciously like this:

"It is our doll... to me it definitely looks like it is. Everything the guy is wearing is exactly what comes with our figure,' Liam Cusack of Dragon Models USA, inc. told the AP

Calling all stoners!

Fight cotton-mouth - with technology!


How to teach improvisation

When I switched from classical piano to jazz/funk/rock, my new teacher had me do some similar exercises - finger-tapping, syncopated, rythmic stuff, with no pitch attached. The idea of learning this in an hour (as the author of this article claims) seems a bit over-ambitious, but the teacher sounds like a lot of fun. I want to teach "eurythmics!"


HP's "quantum crossbar latch" to replace transistors

According to HP... Color me surprised that HP even HAD a "Quantum Science Research group."


Bugatti Veyron almost ready for production?

The world's most ridiculous (1001 hp, $1000,0000, 16-cylinder, 252 mph) supercar looks like it's about to ship. I hope the kooky-looking headlights in these pictures are not stock.


World of Warcraft virtual protest

I'm a little hazy on the "why" behind this protest, but I love these things.


Patriots 26 - Eagles 21

According To EA's pre-play of the Super Bowl.

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